HOME IS A CASTLE OF STORIES

OF CHICKEN AND BATTLES




Sometime, somewhere, I traded battle stories with some boys. Our voices dissolving in the wind like distant radios. I don’t remember their faces, not the tone of their voices, but I am sure they were boys. Their names are lost too, buried in a timeless void, the dozens of people I’ve met, the tired and bubbly faces I’ve run into.

What made me remember these chaps was chicken. I recently slaughtered a cockerel and as I slashed its stoic throat, my mind travelled. With these boys, we’d talked of killing animals for food. There were some who said they couldn’t murder a chicken. They couldn’t stomach it’s struggling and the sight of blood repulsed their stomachs. Funny enough, these chaps enjoyed eating chicken, loved it. Yet if they saw a hen losing its dear life, they couldn’t touch the meal. I found that to be pretentious and a fall, far from the ideals of manhood.

Killing animals has been a mode of survival for man since time was time. In our stone-age days, men could set traps, light fires and capture animals, or stone them to death. Which seems ugly and terrible, but that is the cost of surviving, something else, someone else must suffer. It’s been ingrained in our DNA, this killing of animals, and it’s part of our nature as sapiens. Thus, when I run into folks who claim that they can’t slaughter a chicken, yet they’re not vegetarian, I mock them. How would they survive before civilization? Thankfully, all they have to do these days is seat at a KFC and place an order.

Personally, I’ve participated in countless animal killings. Chicken, goats, cows, sheep, turkeys. I’ve murdered rogue cats and dogs. It’s not something I enjoy doing. I fret to start, but that moment I wield my knife and see the life sliding out of a goat’s eyes, there’s an elation I can’t explain. It’s like I am suddenly alive, all the cells in my body seem to be bubbling. I allude it to our cavemen days. The joy of finally knowing that you have protein. This story comes at a bad time when flocks of animals are dying of fires in Australia. I don’t in any way condone that. I’ve seen images of their tragic deaths and I feel wrecked, they did not deserve any of it.

Anyway, someone, asked me what I did on New Year’s Eve. I found it an odd question. I shot back.

“Why not New Year? Nobody remembers the 31st of December. It’s a day which withers and fades away. 31st is never remembered.”

“Precisely why I asked. New Year is filled with pointless vanity. To really know a person, ask about the day before. It speaks volumes.”

I thought about New Year’s Eve. I spent the day lolling around the house, flipping through Aljazeera and BBC. It was around the time when some folks were demonstrating on the US embassy in Iraq. I did not read much into it.

At night, I YouTubed Murder in the USA   a song by ASA. It’s a beautiful song and tragic. A girl and a boy are in love. They chase each other around, having fun, smoking on a bridge. It’s the perfect love story. One time, the girl is making the dude’s hair, someone calls (Another girl maybe) he charges for the phone. The girl lets it slide. It happens again. The girl goes batshit about it. The boy beats her up. The girl lies in the shower crying, water washing away blood in her face. She will later produce a gun, the boy will fight her for it, in the process, she will get shot. The boy will be arrested. Tragic, right? That’s Murder in the USA, listen to it.

I liked the song, it’s insightful. It’s jolly at the start. But as Silas Nyachwani writes, it will always end in tears, always. And maybe to avoid tears, you should never let it end. The song has a strong theme of domestic violence, which is contemporary. All over the country, the news is rife with couples slaughtering each other. There’s something terribly wrong. You’ve exchanged fluids with someone, yet you want to butcher them? I find that to be sick!!!

The song died away as I sank into the Badlands of sleep. Outside, the moon was up, a few stars littered the sky. Shooting stars drifted across the sky like trans galaxy shuttles.
It was the perfect summer night. Crickets echoed, competing for audience. Mid sleep, my phone rang. It was my eldest brother; homeboy wished me a Happy New Year. I mumbled “Happy New Year”, and turned off my phone, I didn’t want any more calls, drunk chaps shouting over music and merry on how 2020 would be good to us. I wasn’t ready to lose sleep.

2020 is here and its glowing gift is the possibility of a confrontation between USA and Iran. I am not a war analyst. I don’t know who is right or wrong. But I do know that war is never beautiful. Narratives from past wars are enough to send chills down my spine but weirdly, folks seem pumped at the prospect of a world war. Like, aren’t there lessons learnt from past battles, the catastrophes, the human suffering? World war two had an estimation of 85 million casualties that’s double the population of Ukraine. The internet is awash with funny memes. There’s sadistic pleasure in killing fellow humans. We, humans, are a species without a natural predator, we’re predators to our own kind.

Thinking of it, the development of civilization is to blame for it. The moment fire was discovered, that was the great turning point in human history and endeavour, it brought with it explosions. And of soldiers who go into battle, you can’t blame them, we live in a society which celebrates materialism. They need those cheques for themselves and their families. 

Personally, I would rather be a shoe shiner than fight in pointless wars to salve the egos of power-hungry maniacs. This isn’t to condescend shoe shiners or make fun of them, it’s an honourable profession. It places dinner on many tables. It’s a prime mover of the economy and capitalism. And it’s also a sordid reminder of the unjust society we live in.

I honestly don’t understand how leaders convince people to go into battle. I mean those chaps in power hide in their private residences and underground bunkers, yet they’re promising revenge, fire and fury. If war was so good, why don’t they fight it themselves, or send their children to the frontlines?

Sorry. This is a rant.


2 comments:

  1. Indeed , that line got my mind running

    "We, humans, are a species without a natural predator, we’re predators to our own kind.

    ReplyDelete

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