Christmas Eve

by Dexter Joseph

Everyone hung around the bush doing mostly nothing of immediate relevance. Olu, though the smaller-sized cock of the three in the clan, was the toughest, the most stubborn and the most sexually irresponsible. Once again he was on about, chasing Matilda from tree to tree, completely ignoring all indications from her that she wasn’t interested in his baby-making advances.

Usually, Tanko would sit idly and ponder on the drive of these earthbound birds. In all his life as the oldest goat around their territory, and the self-proclaimed wisest amongst their wild clan, never had he fully comprehended why breeding dozens of children from multiple women, none to which they ever take responsibility for, all outside wedlock, seemed so important to these cocks.

Life was getting, on a constant, tiring. Tanko was beginning to think too much for one his age. Being made to believe that this was a sign of a man nearing his poorly dug grave, he had thus chosen to make peace with it, go with the flow of time and if possible, pass all his great wisdom to whoever he chose to succeed him as leader of the wild clan.

As usual, by his side sat Chidimma, his favourite daughter, the one he had chosen to succeed him if training the rats and their education didn’t work out. However, for days to his notice, she had been walking funny, sitting more often and masking guilt in her big eyes. He was old and wise enough to know another goat from the outside was somehow responsible for it and she took his grey hair to be a joke. What he didn’t know was if such an unfortunate goat had any idea what would become of it if he laid sight of them.

His thoughts were distracted when a festive whistle from a distance came towards their territory. It was a familiar one, usually from one of the domesticated farm animals from across the street: the Orie’s home, the very place he and most of the Wild clan had once lived before their mutiny.

From the bush, out came Cardoso. He was young, naive, but always had a cheerful look on his oval, beautiful face. If there was any evidence that animals loved being treated like animals, it was Cardoso. His stomach looked full, and his steps were one of pride and arrogance Tanko had warned would lead to his demise someday in the hands of a moving truck with no breaks.

“What’s up y’all?” Cardoso cheered, overridden by the impression that he was some likeable celebrity. If anything still was his problem, it was that he not just inflated his relevance but also believed his own delusions.

“Great, the goat arrives again,” Chidimma sighed aloud, moving her head away from the fattened animal before her.

“Oh yes, he has.” Cardoso was grinning.

“Were you any less preposterous and with an IQ a little better than those of that simping cock chasing a girl giving him negative vibes all morning, you’d have realized that ‘goat’ in the context used by her, was an insult…” Almost immediately, Tanko regretted saying a thing. It was a waste of time.

Cardoso thought about what had been said, understood nothing, then chose to wave it as irrelevant. If it was meaningful information they would have explained it in ways he could understand, and if they were trying to insult him, then they were dumb using language he didn’t understand to do so. He smiled, walking close to both father and daughter. “Guess what?”

“What? What?” the rats who had been studying early, chorused. Cardoso lived on the inside, a place they had been banned from entering. He had a better understanding of humans and seemed well fed. For all intents and purposes, he was like a cool guy.

“Well, tomorrow is the 25th. The baby is going to be born again tomorrow and the Ories are throwing the usual party. Not just that, being the cutest and most plump of my siblings, I’ve officially been invited to their kitchen. Cool right?” Cardoso was thrilled, jumping as laughter shot off his mouth.

Chidimma turned to her dad. “Should we tell him?”

“Oh no, my dear. He is best left to his thoughts. Going out with happy delusions is the best parting gift for this friend of ours,” Tanko smirked with a shake of head.

The feast is here.

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