We come back from church at night, tired and weak, we come back to meet our big fat white broiler chicken dead.
Chai! I wan cry when I see am. And then it has to be carried to the back of the fence, on the outside, to be buried.
“Oya bury it fast! Don’t let people see us and start talking rubbish!”, my mother says, visibly agitated at the thought of being seen in the midnight burying a white chicken.
“Then let us keep it in the cage and bury it in the morning”, my father suggests.
“No ooo! We cannot leave a dead animal in the house na!”, I retort. “Who even cares who sees us? It is their mouth, jare!”
“Don’t say that! Just dig faster and put the chicken quickly!”, she says hastily, we can already hear voices at the other end of the street, church returnees.
Red earth gives way as the black shovel ectomizes it every now and then.
The voices are getting louder, we can already see the dim glow of their flashlight, swinging from side to side with their gait.
“That is deep enough. Oya put it inside!”, my mother said rather fearfully.
“But it is not yet…….”
“Just put it jare. Don’t let people meet us here!”, my mother cut in.
I drop the bird into the rather shallow grave. Its neck is above the ground, I twist it here and there with the shovel and then I cover it with the excavated dust. Dust to dust, is that not so?
We bury it in time, we are not seen by anybody, at least we don’t observe ourselves being seen.
“So what will we eat tomorrow?”, my father says, as we close the gate and walk back into the compound, his voice tinted with a bit of sadness.
A goat bleats happily in the street, just in front of the gate. The whole family rushes back to the gate and pull it open to see our neighbour’s goat. Standing there and bleating joyously, obviously happy to be alive to witness the new year.
I smile a evil smile, an infectious evil smile. The rest of the family smile with me, we exchange glances of maleficience, a glitter of evil in our eyes and then we turn our gaze back to the giddy fat goat, the evil smile brightens and lengthens.