Under his Shadow; a Metaphor to Being a Man

                                                           Under His Shadow 1

The whole trip he had been scared, he knew his father sensed it, the way he turned away from the wheel and smiled at him every 30 seconds amidst small attempts at playful conversation that he didn’t quite respond so well to. The road was empty, partly because the cars time showed 4:47 am, mainly because they had driven so far off from the city, any form of human life was lost in the distance behind the trucks exhaust fumes. He felt cold, and afraid…. labored by the thought that he’d disappoint his father.

**************************

Pow! The gunshot echoed through the clearing.

He turned his gaze from the can and looked up into the face of his father, his palms tiny in the clasp of hard firmer ones. He sought approval, father looked down at him and nodded,“Now you do it by yourself”.

His voice made out what vaguely sounded like an okay; heart to his throat, desperate to impress. Father let go of his hands and moved some distance off, his tall legs went three strides backwards.

He focused on the juice cans tied by strings to the trees branches, gun heavy in his palms. From behind him father’s voice,“Relax, breathe in, you can do it”

He inhaled and readied the 9mm as father had taught him, exhale, inhale, his right eye squinted shut, exhale… inhale….he bit his lip and fired

Pow! The first can fell, the force momentarily throwing him off balance. Pow! He missed the second….“Keep going, don’t stop”

Pow! The third fell. He felt his feet get swept off the ground. Bashir laughed excitedly and stared down at his father’s face, “That’s my boy…”

***************************

“He is my son too!”

Fathers whispers had grown loud now, behind the door he could hear his mother’s heavy breathing, his parents were always fighting, this was no first, although this particular argument mattered him more personally than most. He had been living with father for three weeks now, mother wanted him back.

“Abu he’s eleven, he’s just a boy! you can’t bring him up like this, please, please don’t turn him into you”

Loud crashing sounds, father was throwing things around

“Fuck! FUCK!”

A silence took over the entire house, all he could hear now was mother’s stifled sobs.

“Can I see him?”

****************************

Bashir woke with a start, sweat trickling down the hairs of his chest and the back of his neck. He shifted till his back was propped against the head of the bed. It was the same dream, the same room, the same stale air. They came back when he closed his eyes, three gun shots, a loud ringing in his ears, his father’s body slumped over, hands tied to the back of a chair, feet walking towards him. Always at the crescendo, Mahadi on one knee, locks partially covering his blood splattered cheeks. His large eyes staring directly into his,

“Do you smell that? Your father shit himself”

******************************

Ayisha tapped on the glass surrounding the front of Mothers Waakye stand. She raised herself from off the ground where she was pouring her shito into a pan and looked around confused. Ayisha tapped again, she turned, Ayisha placed the newspaper on the glass pane so she could see the front page. The writing was sideways but she identified the picture of Bashir handcuffed and being led into a van immediately. She cupped her mouth with both palms and closed her eyes.

******************************

Outside the court room an increasing mob grew the more restless, Police officers in full gear barricaded the front entrance amidst chants of “Free Bashir!”. The placards were varied in their appreciation of the man himself, ranging from “Bashir is better than Police” to “Bashir marry me”, the only certainty was his actions were not lost on them nor should they have been.  A female anchor stood in front of the chaos with her camera man about interviewing one of the persons who had come to demand Bashir be released. He nodded and smiled a wide one that showed a bad set of teeth.

*******************************

“It has turned into the story of the century, Bashir son of Abu continues work of vigilante father, kills 13 local crime lords in a span of 7 years, thousands hospitalized as mad vigilante sets quarters ablaze, Mahadi, Slumlord of the Eastern Precinct carved up and beheaded in private suit, latest victim of second generation vigilante. Bashir Mahamadu this, Bashir Mahamadu that. Nowhere in the history of this capital has one man left such a horrendous streak of violence.” He puffed at his tobacco, “The law is law however ladies and gentlemen; the rule of law exists. What if some of the men he killed were innocent? what if he made mistakes? One man cannot carry the law into his own hands…or can he?”  Mr. Amissah, owner of the Daily Bulletin turned away from his window and faced the journalists gathered in the room, smoke at his side, “This paper will cover all sides of the story, front Page tomorrow morning, I want to see, Bashir son of Abu, Savior or Psychotic?, I want a full 360.” Rushed feet shuffled out his office.

******************************

“Hello, Bashir?”

“Mother….”

She placed her palms on the glass booth separating her from her son, he stared at her palms, then placed his own against it. For the first time since she had arrived he looked into her face and she noticed the tremble in his cheeks.

“It’s okay to cry…”

“Yes Ma”

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