I rather be barked at by a dog than receive any more insults from him. What’s worse was that his side had just scored again.

He bent over, so that I could see the wicked grin on his face. “What are you still waiting for? Or should we invite your fat sisters to help you?”

“Leave them out of this.” You idiot! As much as I wanted him to hear those words, they never made it past my lips lest he dealt a severe blow to my mouth. No one dared to fight him. Not even me. Well, I’d twice tried in the past, coming out with a sore eye and lots of bruises on both instances.

I managed to pick myself from the ground, the very narrow road our street was known for. I could hear a few cheers amidst the loud boos. Of course, he had brought friends from his street and beyond; folks who were quick to vomit a lot of rubbish whenever we had possession.

My number two set the football for restart. “Do you think we still stand a chance,” he stuttered.

“Why not,” I replied, trying to be bold by placing a foot on the ball. “Are they better than us?”

Number two scratched the back his head. His eyes restlessly moved about like the spoilt hand of a wristwatch.

“Look, they’re a five-man team just like we are. It doesn’t matter if they’ve scored twice. Let’s maintain focus and play our game.”

Restart. It didn’t take long before we scored, sending the ball right past the blocks that served as their goalpost. This gave the boys and girls from our street a lot to cheer about. They chanted our names, waving clothes in the air. Idiot and his team loathed the moment. They barely gave us time to celebrate our first goal.

Restart. Tackles were won and lost. The ball was knocked around like filth. As the game picked more and more tempo, all I wanted was to bring our side back on level terms. I relished scoring our second goal, then sticking out my tongue in order to make fun of those who thought we were out. Number two dribbled, made a smart run from the left, setting me up for a perfect strike. Then I felt it. A sharp kick in my shin and I miskicked.

All eyes followed the ball’s trajectory. It ricocheted, breaking a louvered window in one of the buildings on our street. Quickly, everyone including the idiot took to their heels. This was trouble. The man who owned the damaged house was a sadist. Everyone dreaded him, including my parents.

18 thoughts on “STRAY SHOT

    1. LOL. Then, this would mean one heck of a problem. Such kata-kata would send me straight to bed so I could avoid Popsi’s cane. (The guy no dey use ear hear say we play ball for our street, or we commot house when we no suppose).

      Childhood memories are hard to die. This is one of them, though I added a few things. It’s my pleasure to meet you, sis.

  1. Very interesting and descriptive story of what many children (like myself many years ago) have felt like and encountered. I want to know what happens next! You are a very talented writer 😀

    1. Papa, I bet, would’ve dealt with me. In fact he did so, even when Mama asked him to stop. Well, who’s that person in our house to question his authority? This doesn’t mean that Papa was the only one who would beat me if I erred. Mama did as well. But hers was by far bearable.

      Thanks for your words of encouragement, Mary. You’re also talented. It’s nice to meet such a generous woman like you.

      1. So this is a very true story. I can relate to the abuse, however it was not a parent who punished me repeatedly when I was young. It’s nice to be able to relate to someone. 🙂

        1. Yeah, except for the ‘fat sisters’ part, because I don’t have any sister. As a boy, I was at different times bullied by boys who were bigger than me. I had the guts to fight one them. But he beat the hell of out me and never stopped at that. Since my parent didn’t want to make a show of all that, this forced us to relocate months after.

          Writing this story made me laugh and remember what I couldn’t stop 🙂

          1. It’s amazing what writing can do. It can pick us up when we’re down, remind us of times we thought we had forgotten, and help us release whatever emotions we hold inside.

            1. Exactly. That’s the gift we writers and poets have alike–to tell of human temperaments, conditions and life in general. It’s wonderful how stories connect us all 🙂

  2. Yes, o. It’s a lot of fun. We staged street competitions. Won the cup once. And it was made from a plastic container.

    I’ve been to Uwani area and still remember it. We were living in Independence Layout in the ’80s.

    It’s a pleasure to meet you, Noel. Thanks for the comment.

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