I strode elegantly into the arena to witness the most insidious city. I was welcomed with wine and mad kisses and given a place amongst the elites of this great city to watch from a graceful view. Offenders were brought out for persecution and their throats were slit to warm the ground and prepare it for a bloody day. I nauseated from the sight. When I asked them the offenses of these offenders, they merely replied, “Who cares what their sins are; it is more like a warning to potential law breakers”, their faces warped and lips twisted to one side in despise, “and also to wet the land for the event of the day”, they quickly added amidst roaring laughter and ecstatic shouts. I was yet to witness even more nauseating scenes.
Now the gates are opened and men (slaves) trooped in to the arena; broad chested, arms mighty (I’m sure a grip will kill the highest commander in my dear country), faces scary like monsters and their growl loud like a lion’s. These are the gladiators, men who fight for honour that’s hardly theirs (I’m amused at their sense of entertainment).
First were the eliminating rounds where freshmen were put to test to determine their masculinity. Every one of them fought ferociously to gain the praise of the crowd. The less fortunate ones were slew, their blood saturating the ground; arms, legs, heads rolling on the ground, bodies badly battered and beaten, being dragged away covered in dust and sand (I think I’m going to throw up anytime from now).
The noise had increased; I guess we’ve finally come to the come to the main event of the day. This was the time of the gods of the arena. The champions of each house trooped out once by one. I scrutinized every one of them; their faces a scare to behold. I bet a little child will scream on beholding their faces at night. But then I saw someone; someone different whose heart didn’t lie with the glory and honour of being a gladiator. His eyes held dreams of a saner world and a life of better purpose. It’s relieving to behold, in this mess of a city, a fine gentleman with a heart and a difference.
In no time the tournament ensued. Swords were flying. I saw for myself the finest display of battle skills – now I know why they are called gladiators. They fought as though they’ve become one with their swords. I’ve never seen such mastery of swords. More blood spilled. More bodies dead. Someone among the crowd sitting very close to the battle ground even lost his fingers. The crowds were cheering and shouting for more blood. What a city! Secretly I prayed for the safety and victory of him whom I presumed was different. It was as if God answered my prayer because He began to fight with ease and attacked with the efficiency of an ancient master of the arts. “This is really cool” I thought to myself.
After what seemed like an eternity, the tournament finally came to an end and him who I presumed to be different emerged as the winner. He became the champion of champions, the god of the arena and to reward him for his bravery, they granted him freedom. He was all smiles. At least he can live outside this whole madness and lead a normal life. Now that’s a fight that was worth it. I was glad it was finally over. Without much ado, I excused myself from their mad merriment and set on my way back home. What a day! I heaved a sigh of relief and drifted to sleep in my cab.
“Janet, wake up. Its past 7” my mother shouted.
I opened my eyes to see my mum staring into my face and wondering what has come over me. Gosh! Still in Naija? So this was a dream.