MY CHOICE DEATH
Seated with my legs crossed, eyes straight, mouth ruffled upwards, scratching my cheek to my under jaw, swinging from side to side, I was awaited Usman who promised to bring my share of sallah meat. If the next minute passed without him showing up, it will be exactly an hour since I’ve been waiting for him to arrive.
With my eyes so tinted, nose blown out, knuckles cracking under the pressure of their neighbouring fingers, I awaited Usman like a man whose entitlements after retirement was being denied him.
In the midst of my wait, I looked away and saw this view, a young man pulling a stubborn ram across the road. Quickly my thoughts ran like a flash, and the question popped into my subconscious; WHAT GOOD DOES SALAH DO THE RAMS? I beheld the young man pull the ram like “Come here, you are beginning to waste my time” and I also saw the recusant ram draw back like “What good will you be doing me where you are taking me to?” T he tussle got so bad, the young man employed a whip because at that time the ram had settled for death, butts on the ground, right in the middle of the expressway.
Faster than quickly, my countenance began to change, beholding the drama I titled; “The Ram Who Pulled the Man”. Sooner than longer, there came an accumulation of cars on the highway, why not? Of course, the obstinate ram had refused to lift its butts despite severe whips from its desperate lord. This is crazy, I chuckled. At this time, the thought of Usman was far out of my mind, this new sight was all I needed to make my sallah celebrations a memorable one.
Thirty minutes down the line, nothing had improved, strategies had been developed only to fail as they were applied. The craziest was yet to come I sensed as I focussed my gaze and tripled my concentration on this live drama staged by two. The dust from the road side was beginning to inconvenient my eyes, so I pulled out my handkerchief to pick some beams from out of the corner of my eye sockets. This I was on when suddenly, I saw the young man drop the drag rope used to pull the main actor of the day’s drama. It was clear he has done all he could and now was needing help.
Hey! I yelled out of my subconscious, “It’s going to run away don’t you think?” talking to myself because he wasn’t even listening to me, neither was he coming towards me for help. This drama is getting to its climax I told myself. Indeed it climaxed, because the next thing I saw would beat the imagination of any scriptwriter, because it was simply out of mother earth. Believe me, this ram moved not an inch, it simply brought out its tongue, regurgitated some earlier meal and chewed comfortably, staring at the backlog of cars queued up in what I called “The Sallah Day Traffic Special”.
Oluwa mi o! I spoke in my mother tongue, meaning my God! “This must be the best stage drama I will ever see in this life” (I stressed). In a flash again, my thought joined up with the ram’s as I looked into its eyes, reiterating the earlier line; Nonsense, what good will he be doing me where he is taking me to? I’ll rather die here than see him fulfilled.
Five minutes gone on the extra, and it was like the drama was picking up another episode. The young ram lord showed up with an older man whose technique I couldn’t predict because he wasn’t armed with nothing, not a club, not a whip, but his bare hands. There they went; attempting a sneak-up on a ram that already saw them but was neither interested in them nor their vices.
“Gbim” Oya gbe! The older man signalled speaking in his dialect, meaning lift it now. Off my seat I jumped, surely my drama had reached its end, I told myself, and at last man was set to prove why he is called a higher animal. But very unlike the ram in the past thirty minutes, it began to struggle in the hands of its captors, it was clear it wanted to drop off. Soon the sound of horns from the cars blared in quick successions with so much relief, knowing their time to move had come. I stared again into the ram’s eyes and our thoughts collided again, this time it was simply saying in its struggle; “I would rather die here than see you two fulfilled.
Still in the trance, I felt a cold hand on my shoulder; I opened my eyes to see, alas! It was Usman. I shrugged my shoulders pointing his attention to the drama I had been watching for forty-five minutes now. It was clear to me, the drama had reached its end, but how it was going to end, I couldn’t fathom. On looking at my side, I saw Usman who also had his eyes glued on the sight emanating from the location I was pointing.
Suddenly, the ram dropped off from the hands of its captors far on the other side of the road. Like reflex, my two hands took their place on the top of my head as my jaw dropped like someone who had just been hit with bad news. Regaining its freedom from its captors, the ram headed straight to the road, fleeing away from the men, only to rush into the bonnet of an oncoming four wheel drive pathfinder jeep. Knocked to the ground in a loud bleat from its mouth, the ram’s eyes rolled within its socket and I caught a glimpse of it, our thoughts jammed again. This time, it simply declared, alas! I have died my choice death, not an imposed death.
Disclaimer, no part of this work should be used without the writer’s consent
Akogun Olalekan © 2011.