Why is the waitress carrying a pistol?

My breath froze as another bead of sweat rolled down my back.

A deafening noise pierced the suffocating humidity and engulfed my senses. I gasped for air through a bone dry mouth. Then I saw it.

The waitress emerged from the cafe with a steely, determined expression fixed across her face. In her apron, beside her pen and notebook, was a pistol.

I froze. Everyone froze, entranced by the sight of the pistol and the ensuing confrontation we were powerless to stop. Patrons deftly lowered their cutlery with extreme care so as not to attract the attention of the waitress, and held their breath lest they become her next victim.

She strode defiantly toward her target with the practiced assurance of a seasoned veteran, and neared the pistol with her right hand, never for a moment removing her gaze from her intended victim.

Bead after bead of sweat rolled down my back as my heart beat quickened and opened every pore of my skin. I dare not speak, I dare not breathe, and wished I could somehow evaporate into the soupy evening.

Why had I chosen this cafe? Why had I not sought the safety and air conditioned comfort of an indoor eatery where the scene I am now witnessing are unheard of? Was it the view, the cuisine, the cool breeze skipping across the river?

Except the breeze had disappeared, as if in a vacuum, as if it too feared the wrath of the waitress with the pistol. The incessant hum emanating from the loud speakers served to bless what could be my final meal.

Brunei not a violent country. This was not a violent city. Yet this scene was not uncommon. Not unheard of. I should have known better. I admonished myself for inviting this danger into my life, a life which could at any moment be truncated.

I admonished myself again. I knew the target was defenceless. I knew the waitress, with her pistol enjoyed a grossly unfair advantage over her tiny victim. Yet I felt no sympathy for the creature. I felt no compulsion to defend it. I wished it gone. Now, and forever, never to return to this place. I cared not for its welfare.

She drew.

Extracting the water pistol from her holster, she fired upon a stray cat for the umpteenth time that day before clearing away the remains of a family’s meal. The desperate mangy cat scurried for cover and the waitress holstered her weapon for the next battle.

The waitress then quietly carried the assorted cutlery and crockery back into the kitchen.

Image: Van Thanh

Aussie sports shooters to take on new role after Olympics.

Australia’s best sports shooters will shoot and kill invasive animals upon returning from Tokyo 2020 under a new plan devised by Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley.

The nation’s elite shooters will travel the country hunting and killing the invasive animals which are destroying Australia’s natural environment and its native wildlife. Australia has the highest rate of native mammal extinction in the world, and feral animals contribute greatly to this destruction. The estimated cost of invasive species was $AUD13.6 billion in the 2011-12 financial year alone.

“Australia’s best sports shooters will use their skill and experience to hunt and kill invasive animal species,” announced Ley.

“They will begin this important work upon the conclusion of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, and will continue until every feral animal is eliminated from Australia. We must eliminate invasive species from our land in order to protect the ecology of this country.”

Ley believes the initiative presents numerous benefits. Shooters will help rid Australia of destructive species while honing their skills in a realistic environment shooting at moving targets, enabling them to hopefully win more medals at the next games.

“This will be especially beneficial to ‘Shotgun’ competitors, who must hit a moving target during competition, as well as exponents of Rifle and Pistol disciplines. We are also confident that it will provide a competitive edge for our shooters over shooters from other nations at Paris 2024.”

Ley also explained that Olympic shooters are suitable for this task because they are likely to return to Australia with COVID-19, and spreading this disease among the animal population may be more efficient than shooting,

“And it’s much cheaper than bullets.”

Under the plan, shooters will be required to reach a quota of animals killed in order to receive continued sports funding from the Australian taxpayer.

“We believe this will incentivise shooters to carry out their task effectively. We also expect Bridget McKenzie to join the shooters on their hunt, because she knows all about sports funding and she loves to shoot.”

Australia’s natural environment is under great threat from a range of invasive species such as cats, foxes, deer, mice, rats, myna birds, camels, horses, pigs, dogs, rabbits, goats, donkeys, buffalo, carp and cane toads. All of these animals can be shot, including the much-maligned cane toad.

“Cane toads are hard to shoot, but when you hit one, gosh it feels good. Watching the toxins spurt out of its guts is why I love shooting,” explained one Aussie shooter.

Another benefit of assigning this role to sports shooters is that many invasive species are found on private land, and many shooters own this land, so it will be easier to gain access to areas where feral animals dominate.

Ley was excited at the proposed outcomes of this program, and the contribution that some of our Olympic competitors can make to the country.

“Eliminating feral animals from our continent is far more valuable to the country than an Olympic gold medal.”

Image: http://www.commonwealthgames.com.au