Once upon a time, not too long ago, around lunchtime the other day actually, Wakayima saw Roger in the playground. Roger was sitting way down over there at the distant corner of the playground, sitting on the old rusty iron swings. No one used those swings anymore because they were old and rusty, and the paint was peeling, and Rukia once said that you can get scabies from rusty swings.
Then Kwezi said that she was lying— you don’t get scabies from rust, you get it from not bathing. But Rukia said it was because when you don’t bathe, the scabies from the rust stick to your body, and if you don’t wash the rust off that is how you get the scabies, and you got the rust from the swings. Then she snapped her fingers and swung her head because she had made her point. Then Natalia walked up and caught the conversation half-way and she asked, “What are scabies?” and everyone started laughing at her for not knowing what scabies were.
Then Kwezi told her that scabies is a disease you get when your bum itches because it is dirty. Then Natalia laughed at everyone for knowing what unwashed bums felt like because, of course, she wouldn’t know— she takes a bath every morning… Anyway, no one used those swings any more. There were plastic ones up the field now. But wait a minute. This is supposed to be telling you about Roger, not about scabies.
But for the record, scabies isn’t caused by rust. It is caused by… you know what? Google it. Or let your teacher google it. I am supposed to be telling you about Roger, not about scabies. Don’t let me get distracted again.
But make sure you bathe daily.
So Roger was at the far end of the playground where none of the other kids ever went. He was alone because he didn’t want anyone to see him crying and yet he really really had to cry a bit.
He sat on the swing, careful to avoid the rusty part, of course, just in case, and with his shoulders hunched, his head hung low, he sobbed and sobbed.
Now, the thing with hares, even when they have disguised themselves as human beings, is that they are careful to retain their special hare strengths and abilities. For example, hares have very good hearing. Even when they have folded their long ears to make them look more like humans, the ability to hear from long distances away remains.
Wakayima was able to hear Roger sobbing quietly to himself from all the way across the schoolyard. He was quite concerned because ever since Roger began doing his homework for him, they had become close friends. Wakayima wondered what was wrong. So he started to hop over then, ooops! He remembered that he was in human form, so he shouldn’t hop, and walked the rest of the way.
“Roger, what is going on? Your nose is making funny noises and it looks as if your eyes are susuling,” he said.
“Leave me alone, Wakzi. I don’t want to joke around,” sobbed Roger.
“I am not joking. There are gooey things coming out of your nose. Are those your brains? Do you need me to help you put them back in?” Wakayima asked.
“Wakzi, leave me alone,” Roger insisted as he sniffed the boogers back up.
“I will leave you alone once you explain to me why your brains are spilling out of your face and why your eyes are sweating. Dude, it is very weird.”
Wakayima was able to disguise himself to look like a human but this doesn’t mean he knew how human beings worked. Hares do not cry. Very few animals do. So it was no surprise that Wakayima didn’t understand what was happening with Roger.
He wondered whether Roger was sick. Maybe this was what happened when you got that scabies stuff the other kids were talking about the other day.
Fortunately, Wakayima didn’t have to ask because, luckily, in many cases, when a human is crying and they say they want to be left alone, what they really want is someone to listen to them say why they are crying. And so Roger began to talk.
Wakayima listened as Roger sobbed and snorted through the tale of how Ngiri the bully kept pushing him around. Today it became worse, because today Ngiri had even taken away his lunch.
This greatly annoyed Wakayima. It was cruel and wicked behaviour. It truly angered him.
Even though Wakayima tricked and cheated and conned to get the other kids’ lunch, he would never force them to give it to him. That was just wrong.
Wakayima thought about it as he watched Roger sobbing on the swings.
“Don’t worry, my friend. Put the fluids back in your nose and your eyes. I will make sure this boy never bothers you again,” he said, with resolve.
Roger looked up at him with his wet, blurry eyes and wondered what his friend was talking about. How could Wakayima stop Ngiri, the biggest, most brutal kid in the schoolyard? Wakayima did not feel the need to ask how, because he already knew the answer. And so he told Roger the plan. Then he turned to hop away, remembered that no hopping was the new rule, and walked away.
The next day, when Ngiri accosted Roger to demand he hand over his lunch, Roger, as he had been told, replied, “Sorry, Ngiri. I can’t give you my lunch today. I’m supposed to give you a message instead.”
Ngiri grunted. He had big teeth in the front of his mouth that made him grunt very well. If grunting ever becomes a form of music like ragga and mumble rap did, then Ngiri would be a big star.
So Roger continued. “I was told to tell you that you are too late. There is a new bully in school and he is taking over all your victims. He took my lunch and said if you want it you should go and ask him nicely and maybe he will let you have the crumbs.”
Ngiri did not talk when he could grunt. His mouth actually had a list of main activities in order. Eating was first, grunting was second and talking came a distant third.
But Roger was a clever fellow and was able to understand when it was the right time to offer an answer, even when the question had not been asked.
“It is Wakayima. Wakayima is the new bully. He has taken everyone’s lunch. Mine, Kwezi’s, Natalia’s Akello’s… everyone.”
Ngiri was very offended by this. Offended as well as hungry. He wanted food and he wanted to face this upstart who dared try to take over his job as the school bully.
Roger, once again knowing when to answer unasked questions, pointed.
“He is there, behind the mango tree.”
Ngiri grunted off.
Once Ngiri was gone, Roger smiled quietly and pulled a package out from under his shirt. It was his lunch, which he had hidden safely away.
But what was Wakayima’s plan to deal with Ngiri? How awesome was it? Don’t miss the next episode!
The adventures of the cheeky, cunning hare that sneaks into the human school continue with a fresh story each week. Join the mailing list by at >>>>>or visit bazanye.com/wakayima for the latest. Stay tuned