Captive No More part VIII

Captive No More part VIII

(Continue from my post on 02-20-2020)


Tanto, my grandfather’s dog,

shook the rain off his furs

as vigorously as he could

being a dog who hated water

and always tried to escape

whenever Iya, my great grandma

made any move whatsoever

to give him his weekly scrub.

He could easily tell it was his bath time

as soon as grandma brought out a large pot

filled to the brim with water

together with a sponge and black soap

placing the bathing things

already stored in a basket

under the shade of the baobab tree

in the yard behind her room.

Tanto, upon seeing these messy stuff

always tried to sneak away

but, alas, it was always too late

as Iya would first lock the gate

before bringing out the bath water

anticipating his plan to escape.


He always helplessly submitted to the bath

knowing a treat awaited him

after she gave him a thorough scrub

with Akin pouring the water over him

as Iya scrubbed his fur

while searching for fleas,

buried deep into his skin

tickling him sweet-pain both.

Akin, his special watch

was particularly keen with flea searching

and would always find the tiny insects

gleefully screaming, “Iya, another one,”

which Iya would then pull out

also a sweet-pain feeling.

If they found more than three at a time

Iya would go inside her kitchen

bring out a sharp herb

smelling like sour orange

spiked with ginger liquor,

warmed with eucalyptus oil,

she would pour a large measure

of her wonder working herb

in his bath water pot

letting the liquid soak deep

into his hairy hide

leaving on him a scent

lasting until next fortnight bath

when she repeated her stern exercise.

He always left his revenge until last moment

because as soon as Iya finished bathing him

he lowered his head

until it almost touched the ground

and from the inside out

he rattled his body

as vigorously as possible

shaking off all the water

spraying it on Iya and Akin

while Iya said curse words

with Akin giggling with pleasure

as the water showered Akin’s body.


The treat after the bath

was always worth the torture:

leftovers of amala yam puddings

soaked in gbegiri bean soup

placed in his special bowl

was always waiting for him.

Occasionally there was a piece of bone

sometimes with scraps of meat

which he always saved for the end

after consuming the amala pudding.

He would take the bone with relish

lick it and crack it wide open,

sucking out the marrows clean,

digging his teeth into its hardness

removing every trace of flesh

while sharpening his incisors on it.

After exhausting it of all nutrients

he would carry the clean bones

a couple of feet from the adobe wall

to bait the sly agama lizard

who couldn’t resist the lure

to take a lick at the bone.

The red neck lizard

who was never known to take a bath

would wait for him to slumber

and slither down the wall

to take a bash as the bait

while he pretended to sleep.

The moment the lizard licked the bone

he would pounce at it

but the cunny crawly monster

had a way of ducking off

slinking to the left

while sliding away to the right

although a couple of times

he nearly caught its tail.


On that fateful day

when Akin disappeared with the stranger

he knew his bath day was drawing near

happy at least that he was flea free

because he did not feel the ticklish itch

of any bug buried in his skin.

The rainstorm that came down with a fury

fell for no more than a moment

and it disappeared with no trace

just as Akin and the abductors.

Iya came out that same moment

scanned the yard with her eyes

yelling three times with all her breath

“Akinwumi! Akinwumi! Akinwumi!”

Her scream stopped the storm

and the rain went away

but Akin was also gone

with the passing of the shower.

She looked at him

as he shook off the rain water,

“Tantoloun, where is Akin?”

he lowered his head in shame

knowing he had failed her

unable to look her straight in the eyes

his bushy tail tucked with guilt

between his sturdy hind legs.

When Iya began to sing and dance

he knew he was in deep trouble

and he dashed out of the yard

in pursuit of the abductors

determined to bring back his ward

and teach the rascals a lesson.

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