Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Strange but Overheard

My brother bought a he-goat at an auction during last year's camp meeting, most likely for the fun of it, to win a bidding war. His winning bid eventually turned out to be good value for money, far beneath goat market price. The goat lived in Grandma's compound for a year, grazing and being a frisky randy generally undiscriminating he-goat, like the rest of its kind. But its life was brutally cut short one night when unknown people slaughtered it and stole its meat. So clean was the job that only its bones were found, but "a zasbec was abbri-ended."*

The case is still current, despite the owner of the goat (my not-so-little lil bro (he's actually taller than me by now)) seeming more amused than annoyed by the whole scandal, even though that theft effectively ended his short humble stint in the league of livestock owners.

Anyway, fast forward to our chance meeting with two local stalwarts of the drinking den, who were either eyewitness to the drama following the slaughter, or had gleaned enough from the grapevine and embellished it with an active enough imagination to paint a vivid picture.

Upon setting sight on my brother and I, these two offered their unique idea of commiseration in a lengthy rambling dialogue.

"It's not the first time such a thing has happened. The thief should not have been caught."
"Catching the thief was the most foolish thing those people did."
"That one, they beat him a little, but it would have been good if he died."
"If it was another village that thief's carcass would be collected on the highway by police."
"He was lucky! I'm telling you, if you had been the one who got caught slaughtering other people's livestock, not even far, in just the next village…"
"You are talking about slaughtering livestock! You don't want to know what they did to me in Kano when I was on my way to the market and I saw a ram entangled in the bushes and I just had pity on it."
"Bad idea."
"I was beaten so badly that I forgot about going to the market and went back home. The lucky thing is I had my own cow with me so they reasoned I couldn't steal their sheep while I had a whole cow. That's what saved me. Anyway they still beat me properly."
"Nobody will believe you were helping their ram even if it was near death."
"Nowadays when I see domestic animals entangled in the pastures I never try to release them! Instead I remember the beating with which I was beaten."
"Elsewhere they kill thieves."
"The other day one man woke up in the morning and killed his wife. Now what manner of killing is that? That kind of killing is not good."
"That one woke up craving to kill, just bad luck that he found his wife nearby..."

As they went on and on, meandering between deathly subjects, I wondered how they distinguished good killings from bad ones.

* - "zasbec was abbri-ended" is police talk for "suspect was apprehended."

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