I punched him in the kidney, and he had to choose between being surprised and feeling faint. His eyeballs rolled behind his lids and up into his brain; on the white of his eyes, red tendrils curled into the word, ‘pain’ and his face creased into a thousand folds of agony; a thousand volts of anger surged through his veins, and he balled his shaking hands into twin fists of fury, and raised them, the right to the side of his mouth, the left just above his nose but a little farther from his face. Then he started shuffling, bobbing and weaving his head, his frame holding the image of a pro boxer about to become famous. The lights in the room gleamed on his dark skin which was glazed with sweat, and his muscles rippled with each movement he made. His knuckles were two death threats.
“What have I got myself into?” I thought as my heart fell into my stomach and started beating my breakfast of boiled yam and egg into pounded yam and egg sauce.
“Should I apologise?” I asked myself, negotiating with my pride, but my opponent was edging closer, grunting like a bull intending to do me hurt; I felt like a matador wearing a red flag. My mouth ran dry, and from the corner of my eyes, I searched but couldn’t find the door; I was confused – the analyst in me was calculating:
“This man is 6-foot-plus, and I am just 5-foot-seven. He must weigh much more than I; if he punches me twice…”
The fear of dying from internal bleeding and broken bones buoyed my fists into the air before my face – I was imitating my opponent, but I didn’t tell him that. I stiffened my sinews, knowing that I had a worse chance at beating this guy than a French orangutan had at speaking English. But I danced with him, like him; we danced in a circle; ten vicious toes and two prayerful soles trailed the circumference that our bare feet had drawn.
As he was about to lunge at me, the lights went out, and I plunged to the spot where I’d last seen him – headlong.
“Uuugghh!” he cried.
I scrambled to my knees as something wet ran down my sideburn.
“I think I’ve cut my scalp with his teeth, but can’t feel the pain because of my adrenalin rush.”
That was the analytical me again.
“I must seal this victory; I must strike him down.”
But he was on the floor already, being eaten alive by untamed agony, as I imagined; if I weren’t the one who’d hurt him, I would have thought it was a gorilla groaning in the darkness.
I groped for him and found his feet, and patted my way to his torso, but his abdomen, like his feet (it suddenly occurred to me) had stopped moving.
The lights came back on.
“My God! I…I’ve ki-ki-ki-killed him!”
A pool of blood flowed unto the floor from a place where the man’s nose used to be. With shaking, blood-stained hands, I picked up my phone, and tried to dial 767, and regretted that the keypads of my Blackberry were too small.
My vision blurred, compounding my difficulty at making the emergency call; I was crying, and shaking my aching head, and asking my analytical self,
“Wetin cause dis fight sef?”