Whoever said dogs were man’s best friend clearly hasn’t been bitten by a German Shepherd in Africa. Samuel named him Jackie, mostly because of his adoration for Jackie Chan. I’d never owned a dog, so dog names were unaccustomed to me.
I paid Samuel a visit because of his younger sister, Maureen. I had a flair for Maureen but I was confronted by the thought of dating my friend’s younger sister. He’d earlier stated his suspicion about the both of us. He said my name had taken resident in her phone and her incoming calls were mostly mine. She saved my number as ‘Dani’ not Daniel or Danny. I guess she was sheepish.
When I knocked on his front gate, I’d hoped Maureen grace me welcome. It was sub-urban Lagos and the streets were mostly quiet in Jubilee Estate. I spat on my thumb and curled my eyebrows. That was one of the things Maureen fancied about me. She often pleaded to garden my brows with razor blade but I always denied.
I noticed a shadowy figure behind the gates through the opening under.
“Maureen!” I called out, “It’s me Daniel.”
“Daniel? You didn’t tell me your were coming today.”
My balloons inflated. It was Samuel.
“Er, I was just passing by and decided to stop by.”
“How random you just seemed to stop by when my parents are away.” Samuel unlocked the gate.
“Wha-aaa-at?” I stammered as I bounced into the compound.
Their compound was wide and spacious. To the upper left corner, there was a parking lot. Their house, itself was situated at the hindmost part of the plot, and the rest was just empty space. One could build a boy’s quarter but they didn’t. Samuel often practised skating in the compound. It was his skating ground.
I left Samuel, who was locking the gates, and proceeded towards the inner parts of the compound. I contemplated knocking, but there wasn’t any need. I’d already been granted an invitation by Samuel. So, I opened the door and took a step in.
My chest quaked as a barking sound shattered the calmness within me. I blinked twice. A wolf-like figure was before me, barking like hell. I counted my steps backwards, but slipped and stumbled upon the floor. The floor was tiled, so I had no severe injury.
“Jackie! Come here!”
The wolf-like figure before me suddenly became mute and limped over me. I shielded my face with my hands. My heart was pounding faster than my dad pounds yam when hungry. And he pounds non-stop.
I turned around to see what lured the wolf-like figure away. It was Samuel. The wolf-like figure was licking Samuel. Gleeful cackle surrounded me. Maureen was looking down on me, shaking her head as mocking tunes played from her mouth.
I held my head, in hopes of gathering my thoughts.
“What’s going on?” I threw myself on my feet.
“You should have seen the look on your face! You were like Argh!” Maureen plastered words on my face.
“Very funny. When did you guys start rearing wolf in your house.”
“He’s not a wolf. He’s Jackie. A dog.”
“You call that a dog! A dog is small not huge, like that! A dog doesn’t flaunt fangs at people, like that! What is wrong with you people!?”
I became a jester and Maureen and Samuel, my audience. Even Jackie, was laughing at me with his tongue out. I exhaled deeply and calmed my fiery self. A ding in the air suddenly stole the laughter off their faces and replaced it with joy. The bulb above me was glowing, they had brought the light.
Jackie was the first to sprint indoors. I dived onto the floor as he ran by me. I was expecting mockery, but my audience’s attention had been robbed by the electricity. I picked up myself and wiggled the sand off my body.
The interior design of their house was complemented with beautiful paintings, one would think he’d been transported into a museum-heaven. It wasn’t my first time to behold the beauty of Sam’s home but every time I stand in awe of it.
Maureen’s instinct was to refuel her phone with power. She hijacked her phone from the sofa and took the stairs to her room. Sam turned on the TV. His interest wasn’t in the premium DSTV package his parents always subscribed to. His love for PS4 gaming could only be understood by the flatness of his thumbs and the softness of his pads.
He found joy beating me in games I would have never played, if I was given five lifetimes. He could afford changing pads daily more than he’d change his underwears. I soon got bored of playing a game I could never win. I took my shadow along with me as I left his side. Maureen had been in her haven for quite sometime.
I stamped my feet continuously as I climbed that stairs leading to Maureen’s room. If the door was locked I would have humbly knocked. But it wasn’t. It was drawn so closely but wasn’t entirely shut. Between the small spacing, I caught sight of Maureen twerking to N. E. R. D and Rihanna’s Lemon which was emanating from her phone’s speaker. She was dancing before her full length mirror, basking in reflection of herself.
I tried to part the door well, so Maureen would be within my view completely. One misstep and I collapsed upon the door; breaking into her room and halting her performance. A long shriek accompanied my uninvited entry. Maureen’s voice could shattered the windows of the room.
She stopped and caught her breath on the sight of me.
“I-I-I” I stammered, as I stood up caressing my right arm. The impact on the floor had bruised my shoulder. I tried to gather my thoughts and vomit a good reason for my intrusion.
Something snarled besides me. Jackie was afoot before Maureen’s room. Footsteps resounded from the stair case with Samuel yelling, “Jackie come here!” Jackie snarled again and leaped at me. I guarded my face with my arm and felt blades sink in to my flesh. Jackie had taken a bite at my arm.
I felt a shooting in my arm.
“Ah! Maureen get Jackie off me!” She just stood there watching as Jackie feasted upon my flesh.
“Jackie, No!” Sam shouted from behind as he pulled Jackie away from me. I felt my tissue rupture as Jackie’s teeth struggled to depart from my skin. Blood oozed all over Maureen’s pink flower carpet. She jumped at me with a cloth and wrapped it around my arm.
In one moment, the events leading to the incident flashed before my eyes. I wished I’d knock. Perhaps then, Maureen wouldn’t have yelled and Sam’s shepherd would not have taken a bite at me.
Written by Praise Uyioghosa Osawaru (Wordsmithpraise)