THE STRENGHT OF A WOMAN ~
They stood there with their hands akimbo, resembling quite a hilarious picture from an African comic book, with a well drawn, colourful scene. They are a trio of early teenage girls, only out for a busy afternoon of fun. Monday is the fat, slow and lazy one amongst them. In her bright orange dress, she looked very much a discarded piece from the olden days, like the badly styled old dress she had on, which had been handed down to her from a much older sister of hers, two persons up.
The dress was still out of fashion, just like it was when her older sister had first put it on as a much thinner flower girl, at a relative’s wedding many years ago. Monday had squeezed her plumb fleshy body into the slim dress with the considerable pressured ease of a thumb forcibly thrust into an unpeeled, half-ripe orange. Monday is stupid now as everyday she had lived and tags along any where her two other friends went, though it didn’t please her so much. Like her, her two friends were also named after the day of the week they came into the world.
Friday is the tall, thin one with a loud voice she just loves using so much. She stood humming a popular tune under her breath as usual, wearing one of the so many short checkered faded dresses her mother still makes for her from the tiny pieces she collects from a nearby tailor. She is a shade smarter than Monday and tags along always too, when Wednesday says so.
Then there is Wednesday, the gorgeously shaped girl, with highly developed bodily curves beyond her tender age and an ever present beautiful smile on an ugly face. Her nose is an extension of her forehead and her large ears are too visible from the front that they appear to be on her cheeks. With her favorite bright purple cap pulled down over her eyes and in a tight fitting black T-shirt, over white knee-low straight-cut shorts, she appears very much the dish any male eye would fish gladly.
Sharp as new razor and wise as a well handled crackling horse whip, Wednesday always called the shots for the trio and all her shots spelled out only one thing over and over again; trouble. All the little bits of trouble she gets her group into from time to time, were costly ones; more so to her sheepish disciples than to her. To her, the costs were estimated as calculable.
In her selfishly styled smarter bravado, she rode on the more immature silliness of her companions as they fumbled along in their naïve good natured mannerisms, more sisterly than neighbourly. Wednesday is edged at the top notched hierarchy of bullies, if truly there is such definite bureaucratic manner for classing this psychological specie of human beings.
The girls all stood on their dirty bare feet; under the shade darken mango trees, pointing out the ripe mangoes with eager fingers after their sharp teenage eyes had picked them out. The trio didn’t say much as they all meaningfully waited for Wednesday to confirm anything final first, as it is customary.
Friday hummed a tune, Monday suddenly farted and almost simultaneously coughed loudly too, with the cunning hope she could disguised the fart’s soft explosive sound with a loud cough. The strong breeze blew into their faces and she wasn’t bothered her friends would sniff the foul smell her fart emitted, for she was sure she had successfully disguised the initial sound made when it exited her rectum with its habitual stealth.
Behind Wednesday’s back everyone joked about her rather large nose. People humorously said it took in more air than normal and could easily smell out a pebble in a hot plate of well cooked beans mash. Friday hoped still.
Then Wednesday spoke, ordering Friday under a tree, to call out the directions to the ripe mangoes as well as to catch those thrown down from the trees above. Monday would pick and collect all the mangoes from beneath the tree and they were both to keep a look out for the orchard’s owner and his famously timid dogs.
As they boldly matched out towards their assigned roles and positions, Wednesday sarcastically told Monday she could freely fart out loud all the foul smelling gases in her fat rotten smelly gut while at it. She gave Monday a stern meaningfully slow glary stare in emphasis. The joke about the nose must be true then, Monday concurred as she looked away, ashamed. Wednesday had definitely smelt the fart, despite her best effort.
It isn’t difficult for Monday to take the daily decision to join the group on any of their many escapades, at any one time. But she remains afraid she would fail at deciding when to take the tougher choice of not staying on, a decision which she knew she must make soon, maybe at some point she couldn’t control.
The minutes ticked away quickly as the tree riding Wednesday ‘monkeyed’ from branch to branch in the first dark mango tree she chose to climb. Beneath her, Friday called out the directions to the ripe fruits with her well practiced voice as she pointed them out for Wednesday, quite high in the thick tree.
Wednesday plucked the mangoes and threw most of them down at Monday, while she paused from time to time to eat a juicy ripe one, in full view of her assistants below. At such times, they all stopped and waited quietly, pretending not to look up at her. Wednesday had always forcibly displayed her self imposed tremendous responsibility for their all girls’ group, calling it hers, for it was indeed hers in every sense of the word.
When they had joked and laughed, jostling each other as they walked along the quiet deserted dusty road, headed for the orchard earlier, Wednesday had made it clear that no one could eat any mango until all the collection had been fully shared.
Obviously in their trio, Wednesday isn’t just anyone. All knew it pretty well. No one dared argue or complain with or to her, respectively. The two girls beneath the tree couldn’t muster the courage to look up when she paused to eat a ripe mango. It was early in the raining season and ripe mangoes were still few.
Monday sat quietly on the moist ground, day dreaming of a wedding reception and all the things she could eat there. She looked at the small pile of ripe mangoes beside her and wondered why Wednesday could eat some mangoes up in the tree, and not let she and Friday do the same on the ground.
She wanted to call out that she will eat one mango out of her final share but did not have the stomach for Wednesday’s curses. So instead she went back to her dreamt up wedding. None of them saw the two dogs quietly go by for the second or third time. The first any of them knew of not being on their own anymore, was when Monday gave a nerve chilling strangled frightened shout, after the orchard’s owner sneaked from behind, grabbed her bare thick fat neck, literally choking her.
Friday’s legs had involuntarily folded underneath her in response to fear. She abruptly knelt down in sudden breathless panic as she was so terrified and stunned speechless. With her widen scared eyes she started to plead with the old man, who was now busy dragging a tamely resisting Monday towards the transfixed Friday. Monday struggled feebly as her sliding body made an unevenly cleared path on the thick carpet of dried up decaying leaves and weathered prunes from the trees above.
Then in a quick flash, Monday broke free and ran off. Friday took off in another direction as the old man’s timid dogs separately chased both girls, with as much aggression as they would have a strolling Hyena.
The painfully thin dogs tucked in their tails in between their hind legs, as they chased no further than a shouting distance and soon returned to their waiting frail master, so much faster than they had chased after the girls.
The old man didn’t appear too bothered as he observed his singular sizable living trophy, still above him as he stood beneath his mango trees, his walking stick in hand, looking up at the visible and apprehensively motionless expressionless Wednesday, still high up in the tree, trapped like a webbed fly.
The old man cursed the grey mystical heavens and the brownish earth beneath. He cursed all children and their parents, then all time and the present age. Then he cursed all men and all women, their many silly sons and their wrongly conceived, badly raised and horribly brought up naughty, unruly, rowdy, mischievous erring daughters. Finally he cursed these three girls, starting with Monday, then Friday and ending with Wednesday.
He detailed their very contrasting looks in such appropriately expressive vocabulary, as only the elderly can. He used words well known to only his peers but rarely used anymore by others.
Though he shook in his rage, Wednesday still didn’t budge or come down the tree. She remained motionlessly mute, as if all the cursing had indeed stricken her, wrung her tongue and severed her witty answering chord. Still he threatened and cursed some more, but even as he summed up his vast insults, she still didn’t move.
She spied at her pals, finally congregated at one common place some distance away from her, still in full view of the agitated old man as they silently, as quietly laid their support to her predicament at that safe distance, like most true parishioners would do for their ill fated faithful peers.
At last the old man called his dogs over and tied them to the mango tree’s trunk, under her. He verbally threatened her some more before hastily walking away, swinging his walking stick and promising to shoot down Wednesday and cut up her corpse into tiny pieces for his dogs to feast on, if she didn’t climb down and surrender with her pals.
He walked away too quickly for his much advanced age, leaving the silly scene. His scared dogs’ loud barking started to change into eerie canine squeals. The dogs’ courage diminished with the little confidence their master’s presence gave them, as they steadily lost sight of him walking away from the tree Wednesday was trapped on and the dogs were now tied to. Soon after he left, a descending Wednesday threw unripe mangoes at the dogs from above.
The other girls quickly ran over, brandishing sticks, and the terrified dogs pulled at the ropes with such force, till they manage to cut loose and run away from the now cheering girls. Monday went over to their small pile of ripe mangoes, still on the ground where she had left them. She pulled up the low frontal edge of her tight fitting dress and put them all in its curve, with the hurried help of Friday. Wednesday ordered them to wait as she bravely climbed up yet another tree and resumed her foray, vowing to get some more mangoes before they leave.
An even more frightened Friday and Monday stopped transfixed, frantically keeping a re-freshened look out for the old man and his dogs, this time relying more on a strenuous visual regime than merely their sense of listening, which had failed them earlier, but their newer rapt attention soon passed as well. Their momentary dogged stance proved to be more of a whim rather than the sheer will power required.
Wednesday took her time, not showing any concern in the slightest. From above she encouraged her friends and even permitted them to eat one mango each. Soon they also became more comfortable and relaxed. It looked like the old man wasn’t returning, but that is always the case with children at that age, they soon forget they should be vigilant.
Severally in the girls’ many obnoxious attempts at being helpful to their popularity; over their few years of friendship, they had frequently rubbed shoulders with their community’s ordered self indulgence and had never come off the better for it. It happens so often to worry.
Thirty years out of the old man’s now eighty-something years of life were spent in the Army. One long world war and a short civil war would teach any old man a thing or two about camouflage and concealment. So without crawling or making the slightest audible sound and hiding behind the many trees’ trunks and in the shadows, the old man edged closer to the girls without being seen by them. In minutes he was upon them again.
This time he was calmer, composed and dangerously armed with a long loaded local rifle, which he stood pointing at a startled Monday and Friday, yet again. The two girls were too stunned to think and the idea of dodging splashing bullets while making a quick dash for it was easily repudiated. Their itinerant spade of ill luck hadn’t prepared their childish minds for this.
They simply never seem to apply the right logic for the right task, since the right logic is wisdom, which they lacked. Though necessary knowledge breeds wisdom, it is its logical interpretation that is wise. Either ways they failed repeatedly.
The old man also had a glittering, sharp machete tucked into a strapped leather belt around his thin waist. He ordered the two girls to kneel down and place their hands on their heads. As they complied, Friday; true to character, broke down into a silly tearless mournful wail that sounds so much like a wordless tuneless song, which she usually passes off for crying.
Monday jellied down to her fleshy knees, into a puddle she absentmindedly let trickle down the inside of her chubby legs, as her full bladder betrayed her fright. Her senses had numbed up, like they so often do when she wets her bed at night.
Wednesday this time calmly climbed down the tree in response to the old ex-soldier’s threatened beckoning. She joined her kneeling cronies. They appeared totally subdued as there was the evident note of lingering pessimism in their earlier professed optimism. The victor planned to match his ‘prisoners of war’ to the Village head and demand compensation from their parents. He whistled for his dogs and they raced back to him, barking with wagging uncertain tails. They came closer to him, keeping their distance away from the quietly kneeling girls.
The old man ordered Monday to pick up the pile of mangoes again and this time without the help of any of the other girls, the chubby girl simply knelt beside the pile of mangoes and collected them all in the front of her tight fitting dress again.
This done, she stood up with some effort and returned to her kneeling spot, turned around to face the old man once more, before kneeling down again. With the lower front of her gown curved upwards, her once white but now dirtied brown panties showed, visibly flashing into view, all tucked up in very tight captivity amidst the meaty fleshy folds of her upper thighs, as she absentmindedly revealed her lowest pelvic region. The old man looked away sharply, but Wednesday had caught his eyes and had one of her now renowned mischievous brain waves.
Suddenly, Wednesday more jumped than stood up and started to strip. It took the old man by complete surprise and he was speechless momentarily. Before he could find his voice, Wednesday’s T-shirt and cap were on the ground beside her and she was pulling down her shorts and panties in a much hurried dance like movement.
The instruction to stop undressing barked out loud by the old man went unheralded by Wednesday. The confused war veteran lowered his weapon and extended his free hand, pleadingly at the undressing girl with no effect. Wednesday winked at her friends and her message was instantly understood by her still obediently kneeling friends.
Though reluctantly, the message was accepted and with a similar dose of hesitation, was also executed. The bewildered old man watched helplessly as the other two girls still kneeling, joined in and all three girls undressed right in front of him.
Friday undressed as she remained on her knees, still too scared to be seen to be disobedient. While Monday, very much still jellied by fear, sat down in her small puddle of urine and symbolically started with her wet panties first, after discarding the pile of mangoes at her side.
The old man dropped his gun and pleaded at the top of his voice for them to stop undressing. But the stripping trio continued unperturbed, even appearing to be encouraged by the old man’s attempt to dissuade them. Soon the girls were completely undressed right in front of the old man.
They stood defiantly upright in front of him, nude like dark brown eggs, naked like the day they had each come into the world, only obviously bigger, darker and with slightly visible hairy spots in areas the helpless old fellow was embarrassingly keeping his gaze away from. Still he made offers, begged and coaxed to no avail. They just stopped listening and got bolder.
Then his silent dogs appeared to help him out when they quietly started to walk away from the embarrassing scene. Soon he copied the retreating dogs and stopped talking. He painfully stooped low in a submissive prostrate in front the girls, picked up his grounded weapon and quietly turned away to leave when Wednesday suddenly spoke and stopped him dead in his tracks.
Deliberately slurring her speech, she threatened him with an exposure he will find quite hard to explain to his peers. She spoke of three naked girls held in his fruit trees shaded dark confines, within his orchard, facing the old pervert holding a loaded gun, with a sharp machete tucked in his belt, complying with all his sick biddings in an obviously frightened state.
Another thirty years stint in the all the world’s armies or another decade long world war or ten more brutal civil wars, wouldn’t prepare anyone enough for this kind of mind torturing harassed embarrassment. The old man had just one slim chance to decide his all time reputation, not just his immediate response. It has to be his honourable word against theirs. But strangely though, judgment publicly continues long after it formally ends.
So a deal was inevitably struck. The girls will leave with the mangoes they had plucked, using a bag the old man will give them. He will not make a complaint and allow them to return for free mangoes anytime they wished to. The girls get all these for their continuous silence about the incident. So they allowed him to leave with his silent dogs, who like him, had their single limp tails tucked between their hind-legs, their egos sapped and drained by this miniature act of a woman’s strength.
Where is the bird that hatched this egg?
Flying above the world, up so very high.
And the monkey the farmer wouldn’t beg?
Laughing up a branch, he threatens not near.
Will they ever marry their ideas, so very big?
As always they steal, flock, eat and do share.
Flying above the world, up so very high,
The bird still returns down to hatch its egg.
Laughing away harmless threats if not near,
The monkey’s hunger for the farm will beg.
Their ideas created their world and it is clear,
That strength of the woman gave marriage a leg.