22 Oct 2018

 

Fiction: Spring Of Anger

"The man suffered from oral diarrhoea. When he opened his mouth hate speech escaped unedited. Walls fell. Bridges collapsed. Anarchy".

 
 By Victor Lugala
 
The evening sun's reflection on the wall was harsh. For a reason. I turned my back and walked to an abandoned warehouse shade. Unbeknown to me brute reality was waiting. A masculine voice thundered behind me. There was anger in the air at the close of Friday.

The owner of the voice was twisted with gall. The space in his heart was a dark cloud of hatred. With hand like a spade he pointed at me rudely, choking under his volcanic breath.
 
The man suffered from oral diarrhoea. When he opened his mouth hate speech escaped unedited. Walls fell. Bridges collapsed. Anarchy.
 
He succumbed to distress, then this:
 
“Is that your car? Why do you block my car? Who are you? What are you? Ant!”
 
“Yes. I'm sorry.”
 
“You are very stupid. You don't know how to drive. You don’t know how to park even. Look at him. Whose car did you steal?”
 
My heart sank below the sea. Patience escaped. Did I apologise? Did he mistake my apology for weakness, or he simply found a soft target in me? His words were like bricks on my face. His ears were plugged with irreverence.
 
The man refused to hear what I said to him. He thought he was Mr Right and I should just stand there, mute, to take his blows while willingly turning the other cheek.
 
Seconds ticked away and the man’s toxic words hijacked the space between us. If I were to lose my cool, I’d kick him in the groin. But people would have not told the difference.
 
When the angry man walked the ground cracked. Reason collapsed. The sun dimmed. It threatened to rain. There were flashes of lightning in the sky. The man's voice roared. Lion man. A giant rainbow drew an arch on the eastern wall of the sky. I took a photo of the mythical python. It enraged the giant in man's clothes even more. He threatened to confiscate my smartphone and my right.
 
“You blocked my car, we are not finished on that and now you are taking photos? Don't you know it is illegal to take photos in this country? Where are you from? Show me your identification papers!”
 
“Is it prohibited to take photos of a rainbow?”
 
“You didn't know? Do you live in space?”
 
“Where is that law written, if I may ask?”
 
“And you have the audacity to speak to me like that? Do you know me? Don't you know the rainbow is our god?”
 
“Do you worship colour?”
 
“I will slap you. I will slap you now, now. You are insulting my faith. And you are insulting our god. How dare you call our god colour?”
 
My tongue got stuck in the roof of my mouth. I gestured my ignorance while at the same time wondering how a rainbow, which evaporates in minutes, could be a deity. I only know of the myth told and retold that when a rainbow appears in the midst of a drizzle and sunshine a hyena is in labour.
 
“Come on, bring that smartphone. Delete that photo before I lose my temper.”
 
What temper is the man talking about that is to be lost when he is imploding?
 
The man's neck bulged with poisonous anger. I pitied him. I didn’t want his heart to explode in my presence. I didn’t want to be the cause and witness of anything unpleasant happening to him. I’m not a coward. I’m a humanist.
 
He slowly advanced toward me, the ground breaking beneath him, anger imploding inside his millstone chest.
 
“Patience, patience, brother,” I implored.
 
“I'm not your brother. Get lost. Look at me and look at your miserable self. You are miserable like your miserable car blocking my car.”
 
“But that is not your car. It is our car.”
 
“Shut up! Shut up! How can I co-own a car with a scum like you.”
 
“But that is a government car. Our government.”
 
“It is my car, I’m telling you. Stop reasoning like an idiot! I will arrest you for treason and for taking pictures of the rainbow, for taking photos of our god.”
 
The rainbow had just disappeared as we locked horns with a man whose arms were like tree branches. His eyes blazed with the fire of impurity.
 
“What evidence do you have against me? Where is the rainbow, your god?”
 
He turned quickly and scanned the sky. Blank. His dark mouth opened and closed. His eyes opened wide like electric bulbs. His hands shook then became stiff. “Oh, my god,” he said with a calm voice. His stature collapsed into a mass with the disappearance of the rainbow. His god had abandoned him. I looked at the rainbow in my mind and saw the cracked ground where the angry giant left the footprints of his anger.
 
 
An unkind spirit seemed to have seized the man. He was not himself again. He was a prisoner of an innate negative force. He didn't notice anything wrong with his irrational behaviour. His towering figure gave him the self-made image of Goliath. And it was only over his dead body could he concede to reality. For as long as he was concerned no amount of reason convinced him otherwise. Everything he saw was rubbish. What of his paunch which was the source of his distress?
I struggled with the man’s weight. Eyewitnesses came to my rescue. We bundled him into a wheelbarrow, his legs spread like creeping weed. The rainbow, his god, had abandoned him. That was his first-aid bed for the evening.
 
The Eye witnesses looked at the man and looked away. They blacked out for a second when they reflected on their own condition. For they too were not different
from him.
 
They had their own internal battles with daily life. It gave some of them temporary relief that they were not alone in this. The problem was deeper than it appeared on the surface until they too slumped into the wheelbarrow bed of their imagination.
 
The Friday evening sunset was patient on the man's anger
 

    

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