Captive No More part VIII
(Continue from my post on 02-20-2020)
Tanto, my grandfather’s dog,
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.