Posted by: nativeiowan | January 27, 2010

Peter Pan obituary

this is a guest post from WE…

The loss of a flawed but great man. My favourite story about Phil.

When he was beach trading, three of his guys took the skiff after a late drinking bout at the Gizo Hotel. One guy got stroppy and stood up, another stood up to calm him down, and the skiff went over, cash box and all.

Phil heard about it in the morning, and immediately went out to dive for the cash box … couldn’t find it anywhere. So he enrolled what he called the “ngunu patrol”. In some local language “ngunu” means snot running down from your nose, what we used to call “number 11”. So the “ngunu patrol” meant the kids of the town. He told them that the first kid to come in and tell him who had any wet money would get a lolly.

Phil was in the Gizo Depot that same morning when the news came in. One of the ngunu patrol said that in the Kiribati village there was a house with a whole bunch of money drying on a roof. So Phil said his goodbyes to us and started off to the other end of town to tell the police to have the men arrested.

Of course, when he was walking through Gizo, everyone he met wanted to know if he’d found the money. And about half of them offered him a beer while he was telling the tale. And being Phil, he couldn’t resist the beer, and the tale grew longer, and slower, and more confused each time he stopped.

When he finally reached the Police Station in the late afternoon, he told the policemen that he had found the money, and he wanted the thieves arrested. “Oh, no need for an arrest,” said one of the cops. “We already have the money. Some Kiribati guys found it and brought it in … they left just before you got here.”

Phil was a good man, and a pleasure to know. I hope they have beer wherever he ends up …

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