Don’t shoot first and ask questions later
A family fresh to Auckland from the country, settled in the Huia Road area of Titirangi, which is part of the iconic Waitakere Ranges in West Auckland, New Zealand. This area is famous for its scenic backdrop of native forests and woodlands, and has its own micro-climate. It is near the black-sand West Coast beaches which are spectacularly wild and beautiful; and the native flora and fauna thrive in this unspoilt habitat which is only 30 minutes from the Central Business District of Auckland City.
Settling in was a breeze as here was a log cabin type house in a peaceful bush setting, not unlike what they’d left behind in the country.
The first evening this new family discovered one big fat possum on the wooden veranda looking as if he owned the place and nonchalantly eating the remains of their dinner, totally unconcerned with the proximity of the new resident humans.
Mr Newby’s automatic response mechanism kicked in and the rifle came out and one shot was all it took. It was easy, as this obese possum was the ultimate in sitting targets. I mean that’s what any self respecting country boy would do, right?!
The neighbours called around the next morning to say “Hi”. Introductions and small talk ensued with Mr Newby waiting for the opportune moment to relate his superlative hunting prowess of the night before, when he was asked: “Have you seen Percy, by any chance?”
“Who’s Percy” asked all the Newby’s, wondering if they had another neighbour.
“Percy Possum. He comes for dinner every night as we all leave our leftovers out for him to enjoy. He’s quite an icon out this neck of the woods as he’s so friendly and adored by all and sundry. You’ll just love him.”
There was a deathly silence and then: “No, we have not seen Percy yet” was Mr Newby’s sheepish reply.
Mum Newby quickly put a tea towelled hand over her loud -mouth kid’s face, on the pretext of wiping any stray Weetbix crumbs, whilst hauling him directly to bathroom before anything incriminating could be deciphered from his muffled utterances.
Mr Newby was relieved the weapon used on the recently departed was stored securely away in the master bedroom closet and could not be used as circumstantial evidence against him. Full of guilt, he resolved from henceforth never to be a serial killer. But he would have to do a spot of gardening first to ensure Percy would never be found by his would-be accusers.
The moral of the story… don’t shoot first and ask questions later.
Another moral of the story is: Leave country behaviour back on the farm paddock when entering JAFA territory. (A “JAFA” is colloquial abbreviated slang for “Just Another F… Aucklander”. It is now applied as a term of endearment to over one quarter of New Zealand’s population who reside in this sprawling metropolis of a city.)
Poor Percy Possum! It’s not as if the Newby’s could go into the local pet store and replace Percy Possum because it is illegal in New Zealand for possums to be farmed or bought as pets.
The size of Percy suggested he was a Primary Possum with a penchant for polygamy in his fiefdom in West Auckland, if our deductions are correct. That means his extended family, who can place their family “trees” back 150 years ago to when they first migrated from Australia, are mercilessly Percyless!
They await an opportune time to carry out “The Revenge of the Possums” debacle. Newby’s beware – to coin the Pantene slogan: “It won’t happen overnight but it will happen” – be afraid, be very afraid… I’ve heard a hiss of goss regarding a pack of prickly possums going to party in someone’s roof shortly and it won’t be pretty!
As told by Rick, Possum Catcher Extraordinaire with profuse embellishments by the inimitable Ms Possum.