Ngiri found Wakayima sitting under the mango tree by himself surrounded by lunchboxes and packages and foodbags.
“Don’t bother me Ngiri. I am very busy. I just bullied all this food off a lot of kids and I have to eat all of it. I don’t have time to talk to you,” Wakayima said.
Ngiri frowned. “You can’t bully the kids. That is my job!”
“Really?” sneered Wakayima. “Did someone hire you? Did anyone appoint you? Were you elected to be a school bully? No. As far as I see, anyone can be a school bully if they want and so I have decided to take it on. I’m the school bully now.”
“You can’t just…” began Ngiri
“Anyone can be the school bully except you, because you are too slow. You show up and start bullying when it is too late because the real bully, me, has already done all the bullying. Hah. Loser!” Wakayima then rubbed his hands together and smiled looking at all the food around him.
Ngiri grunted, then said, “Don’t call me loser!”
“What will you do to me?” Wakayima grinned. “I’m the bully, remember. No one messes with the bully.”
“Grunt,” was all Ngiri said.
“It’s not like you can bully the bully,” Wakayima said.
Ngiri looked at him. He looked at Wakayima with his eyes slightly crossed and a bit lopsided. It is the look some people make when they think there is something there that is not right but they are not used to figuring out things so they cannot figure out what is not right.
If you want to see it, tie a bunch of mangoes or bananas to a traffic sign. Add some leaves. And then watch the look on people’s faces when they see it. Most of them will just laugh, knowing some kids are trying to play a joke. But a few, just a few, will look and wonder what and how and why this is happening, and then take photos with their cellphones.
Wakayima realised that if his plan was to continue, he would have to help Ngiri along as far as the thinking part of the conversation was concerned.
He said, “I mean what can you do to me? Take away all the food I’ve got? You can’t do that when you are not the bully.”
Slowly Ngiri began to get the idea. “I am still the bully, okay?”
“Really? If you are the bully, then that means you are going to take the food!” Wakayima pretended to be worried.
“That is right!” said Ngiri. “Give it to me now!”
Wakayima looked worried. “You are going to take this delicious crispy cassava and plantain that I took from Akello? Please don’t. It looks so delicious.”
“I said give it to me!” Ngiri balled up his fist.
“Okay, okay,” Wakayima surrendered. “No need to bring violence into it. Take the cassava. Eh, banange!”
Ngiri grabbed the lunch box with the sticks and began to shove them into his mouth. Wakayima watched.
“Any good?” he asked. “Are they as delicious as I thought they would be? Am I missing out?”
Ngiri didn’t look happy. “They taste terrible!” he said. “They taste like bits of wet wood. As if someone just snapped bits off a tree and cut off the bark and then pretended it was cassava.”
The reason they tasted that way was that, well, Wakayima had, in fact, just snapped twigs off a tree and cut off the bark and pretended it was cassava. He had also dipped them in a bit of milk tea mixed with salt instead of sugar, just for extra yuckiness.
“Well, it’s too bad for you,” Wakayima said. “At least I still get to eat this delicious mandazi I got from Natalia. It looks lovely. Let me…”
But before he could finish, Ngiri grunted, “Gimme that!” and snatched it out from Wakayima’s hands.
“Hey, I really wanted to eat that mandazi. It was so plump and spongy!” Wakayima said.
“I don’t care. It’s mine now!” Ngiri said. Wakayima watched as Ngiri took a bite, chewed a bit and quickly spat it out.
“Ngiri, you are eating it the wrong way,” Wakayima said. “You are supposed to swallow food after chewing it. Man, you really suck as a bully!”
“It tastes horrible! What sort of mandazi is this?” Ngiri was furious.
“Really? I wonder why it would taste like that,” asked Wakayima, knowing exactly why it tasted like that. It was because it wasn’t a real mandazi, of course.
Wakayima had scooped all the mandazi out of it and stuffed an old sock inside the mandazi skin. And before he stuffed the sock in, he dipped the sock in milk tea mixed with salt instead of sugar. Just for extra yuckiness.
“Sorry you are having such a hard time bullying me, dude,” said Wakayima. “But let me have a sip off this yoghurt I got from Kwezi…”
“I am taking that!” Ngiri grunted Ngiri and he snatched the bottle away from Wakayima.
Wakayima watched patiently as Ngiri spat the liquid back out.
“It tastes awful!” Ngiri spat.
“Why would yoghurt taste awful?” Wakayima asked.
You and I can both guess why. Because it wasn’t just yoghurt. Wakayima had mixed salt and chilli sauce and tea leaves in with the yoghurt. And then poured in the rest of the tea he had used for the other two recipes. Just for added yuckiness.
Ngiri was furious. He grunted and grunted and grunted and even growled a bit when he felt that grunting was not enough to show how disgusted he was.
“What is this nonsense?” he grunted. “You call me a lousy bully and you are so much worse. All the food you bullied off the other kids tastes awful. You can’t bully anything that tastes better?”
“I don’t know what you are talking about. Everything tasted fine to me,”
Wakayima said. “It actually tasted better than food usually does.”
The next day Wakayima ambled up to Ngiri with an armful of lunchboxes and lunch packs. He dropped them next to Ngiri and said, “Here, Mr Bully. That is everybody’s lunch.”
Ngiri looked at him, puzzled. “Grunt?” was all he said.
Wakayima sighed with a sad tone. He said, “Bullying is pointless now. I give up. You can be the bully again. I am done.”
Ngiri looked a bit more confused.
Wakayima continued. “I asked everyone why their food tasted so bad yesterday and they all said the same thing. When they told their parents that whatever they pack is taken away by bullies, the parents said they weren’t going to go through the trouble of making nice, healthy, wholesome meals just for some mean bully to take them away. So now the parents just pack rubbish and garbage instead, since they know their kids are not going to eat it anyway.”
Ngiri looked at all the packages and all the lunchboxes and asked, “So it all tastes nasty?”
“All of it,” Wakayima replied. “Especially Roger’s food. His nanny packed chapati that looks and feels and tastes like cardboard.”
“So, if it is so bad, why are you giving it to me?” Ngiri asked.
“Duh. Because I don’t want it,” replied Wakayima.
“I don’t want it either, if it tastes so bad,” Ngiri grunted.
Wakayima pretended to be angry. “Gwe, you. I went through a lot of trouble to bully this food off those kids. The least you can do as my fellow bully is bully it off me. Come on. Are we bullies or are we not?”
“Grunt,” went Ngiri. “What is the point? The food is going to taste like what it did yesterday, I don’t want to be a bully any more. I quit.”
And he got up and walked away, leaving Wakayima with his baggage of lunch packs. Wakayima smiled to himself and hopped—- ooops! Remember, no hopping— and walked back to Roger to tell him the news. The bully had quit.
Hope you enjoyed that story. Wakayima got the best of the school bully, didn’t he?
The adventures of the cheeky, cunning hare that sneaks into the human school continue with a fresh story each week. Visit bazanye.com/wakayima to download and read all the episodes.