The Christmas Chicken

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People chasing the chicken.

By Joseph Ntensibe

Orders we issued on the night of 24th December. The Commander in Chief (read mum) wanted the white cock to be get ready for the next day’s lunch.

A three man unit set up to execute (pun intended) the task given. The team constituted my cousin, my sister and yours truly.

She had asked us to do it earliest morning before going for prayers but knowing our expertise at the game, we arranged to do it after prayers.

So its 25th December, Venue: Church. Donned in our Christmas best, we sat pretending to be following how the Holy born child had essence in our lives-pretending it was because in truth our brains were filled with the orders issues the previous night and how we were to do it.

Every ten minutes Tim, my cousin would remind us of his prowess in chicken chasing moments while he was at jjajjas. All lost in thought, he would poke your ribs just that all attention would be drawn to him-painfully, you had to listen-he was older.

Prayers done, changed to operations fatigue, we stormed out of the house for the job. Mistake number one; we approached shouting as though we had come to give this cock a hug.

Immediately it jumped above our heads leaving a claw mark on Ann’s clean shaven head. We joined the chase as Tim was already a head of us.

Tim ran so fast that he failed to negotiate a corner between the tank and the verandah.

My aunt was collecting water and she stood ladden with a 20 litres jerrican. Tim, commader one, rammned into the jerrycan carrier, knocking away the jerrycan and with a great thud, crashed into the tank.

The cock was still going, Tim could wait. He ran or jumped passed the scenario, this time Ann leading the chase and stayed focussed on the mission. The cock had now found refugee in a shrub near the guava tree.

Being Commander 2, I took lead here. I ordered Ann to be on the lookout as I get the job done. I don’t know how but the thing was in the middle of the shrub. So I went for the final assault (or so I thought it was). I plunged myself into busy well covered shrubs.

Mum was in the habit of digging and collecting all thorny material and collecting it under trees. Having dodged several call to dig with her, I never knew this was part her collections because in the next few seconds a collection of thorns were skin deep punctuated by an unexplainable itching from Nettle leaf.

The next sound I had was coming from Ann who I am told was nursing bee stings. I was told after my fiasco of a final assault, the cock jumped to the guava tree and stirred bees that made chase for Ann who was standing in wait of results from my efforts or failure.

After my failed commando tactic, I passed out for a few minutes and the rest of the story was just told to me. Upon absolute failure by her team, I was told she just opened to kitchen door, dropped a few corns and got the thing as it was congratulating itself on the corns.

Ann and I had a nasty smelling and sticky syrup smeared all over our bodies, Tim had an arm sling and we were all distanced from the rest during lunch time. I painfully dug my teeth into drum stick, commander one-Tim only had soup as his jaw was spent.

I don’t what happened after the meals because I was too much tired in pain to stay long awake….

Joseph Ntensibe is a Ugandan poet and teacher of Literature.

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