Encounter with the king of rats – Part 1

[FILE PHOTO] Sleeping man

“Call back next week. We’ll write you as soon as possible.” Those were the words that kept recurring in Bedebe’s memory as he sat on his bug-infested bed that fateful Monday morning.

These were the exact words many employers used in sending him off. And he was totally sick and fed up with hearing these heart-breaking phrases.

“Psssht…what a life!” he hissed, “It’s a terrible thing to be poor,” he concluded. He could imagine the kind of room he was living. No radio, no CD player, no television, no fan, no fridge; and worse still, no companion or friend.

The thing is, when you are broke or poor nobody fancies you. You become a recluse. Your old friends desert you, and you will even find it difficult to make new friends.

People will treat you as if you’re leprous or suffer from a most terrible, incurable and infectious disease you can ever imagine.

Bedebe remembered his only wife, Nze, who left him about five years ago when his fortune nosedived into bad waters.

He wondered why God was unfair to him. When situations really go wrong people actually remember God, as the last succour and comforter.

Even if the reasons for such bad developments are caused by humans themselves. Such was Bedebe’s case and he wallowed in self-pity and murmured sad notes to himself.

He shook his head and hissed again; when would this suffering end? He looked up as if to talk to God, but this only made him to see his crumpled and battered ceiling, which seemed to have caved in.

He wasn’t among those who prayed for rain. He dreaded rain as much as little children were afraid of injections.

The reason for this was that whenever it rained there would be a deluge in his room. He had to borrow buckets from neighbours and position them at strategic places where his roof was leaking.

He often wondered at the sound some big cats made on his ceiling, which had become their dwelling place. They would run and run, chasing each other, and making such disgusting, purring sounds that at times gave him sleepless nights.

One day, he thought, he would roast and eat one of these troublesome cats if they should accidentally fall inside his room.

‘Hmm, how would a cat meat taste?’ he thought. Such were the gloomy and crazy thoughts running through his mind. To be poor is even a sin and curse. He wondered why super-rich people in this country didn’t take it as a challenge to help poor people! What a bad and jaundiced situation.

But that particular Monday, morning it wasn’t raining. And he had no intention of going out. He was bored with life. Totally bored. He was still resting the palm of his right hand on his chin thinking about his horrible life when he suddenly saw a well-fed rat ran inside his room.

The rat looked luscious, robust and fresh. And it was big, a real indication that it had enough to eat where it came from. In a split second, the rat scampered under his bed.

Bedebe wondered aloud that he now had a company at last. “I have a visitor. He! Hee!! Heee!!!” he chuckled to himself. “This could be fun!” he added.

In this article:
Bedebeking of rats
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