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"The Tech Rep" by James Michener, Continued

"Take the time Harvey Holt was left in central Sumatra to maintain the communications system UC had installed for the Indonesian government. He was stationed temporarily at Simpang Tiga, the airfield near Pakanbaru, trying to clear up some trouble that had shown up in a relay station perched on a small hill that lifted its head above the jungle. Temperature 100 degrees, humidity 100%. Normal gear had rusted in the first two months and had to replaced with stainless steel.

When Holt organized a safari to take him from Pakanbaru into the hill station, some of the old Sumatra hands warned him, BETTER TAKE ALONG A PROFESSIONAL HUNTER. He said, I HAVE MY GUNS, so they shrugged their shoulders and watched apprehensively as he set off.

At dusk on the first day the gang heard a terrifying scream, and turned in time to see the last man in line having his face tore off by a tiger who must have measured ten feet from nose to hind paws. You see, most people who watch a tiger in the zoo see only the enormous teeth, and say, HE COULD BITE A MAN IN HALF. That isn't it. What the tiger does is to creep up on its prey from behind. You simply cannot hear a tiger approaching. Then, with an overwhelming leap, the tiger throws his right paw forward and around the victims face, while the left paw digs into the left shoulder and the throat. With the first enormous swipe the tiger rips away the target's face and eyes, simply wipes them out. With the second, he cuts the windpipe and the big blood vessels in the shoulder. With his teeth, of course, he bites into the neck, but that isn't necessary, for its the mighty swipe of the claws that kills. Within thirty seconds after the claws hit, the target is dead, and this night the tiger had dragged the workman into the jungle before Holt could get back to his rifle."

To be continued:



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