I’m getting distracted by one of our guard dogs. Goodness! It isn’t giving me a break. It’s sniffing at my fingers and toes. Its jaws are open, pink tongue out as though it wants to lick my skin off.
Does it think I stole its meat? Com’on, I wouldn’t do that. Why would I steal? I wouldn’t compete with a dog for meat. That’s not human-like. Besides, just the other day, I was at the dentist’s. I underwent a root canal procedure on one of my upper molars.
I arrive at the dental clinic for my final appointment after two previous procedures. My teeth are in position. My mind is set. I know I’ll be asked to open my mouth and because I’ve gone through it twice before, I convince myself that this time I won’t drool. I know I’ll be told to open my mouth or to clench my teeth. The dental nurse calls me in. I place my specs and wallet on a chair. This surgical set-up has spatulas and other things whose names I don’t know. They are made of stainless steel. The wall is white and the window has blue blinders that have been opened. The rays of the morning sun bounce off one of the glass-slide windows.
Madam dental nurse hands me protective glasses. They are dark, like the sight of closed eyes in the night. I lie on the dental chair. My hands are on my chest, my eyes are closed. I can feel my lungs move. The sound of silence stings the room. My ears sharpen. It isn’t as quiet as I thought it was. The AC is on, cool air blowing over my face. Bob Dylan’s “Blowin in the wind” is playing in my head.
You probably don’t know Bob Dylan. He is a pop and rock & roll artist who made chart-topping tunes in the 60’s. He’s been around for over five decades. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature. That might not be useful information to you. I listen to his music sometimes.
I know his songs because I used them for practice when I was learning to play guitar in 2010. Blowin’ in the wind was easy and great for learning basic chord progressions. Chord progressions are how people move their fingers on the guitar (or any musical instrument) to give off the organized sound that vibrates in your ear drums. The lyrics are poetic and nonchalant. Check this out. My favorite lines in this song.
Yes, ‘n’ how many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, ‘n’ how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, ‘n’ how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind
That’s what was playing in my head as I lay on that dental chair or bed or whatever it is called. I hadn’t realized the dentist had taken his seat.
He greeted me.
I dragged my back forward, moved my head on the rest. He lowered the surgical bed, turned the light on and asked me to open my mouth. He did things that dentists do to make your gums numb. My eyes were closed. He inserted stuff in my mouth. I heard the sound of a drill, a spray and a vacuum cleaner. Whatever the drill and spray thing were doing, I don’t know. The vacuum cleaner sucked the drool. I surrendered my mouth to him completely. The doc pushed those things made of stainless steel in there.
My mouth stayed open, my eyes kept shut. I moved a leg to confirm I was still awake and in control of my senses. Yo’ you’ve got to be sure about some of these things. One moment you think all is well then you wake up by the pearly gates of heaven with St. Peter holding a scroll with names of those who made it on the list.
His beards will be white and long. His teeth will be as old as old age. He’ll wear a never ending smile for those on the list. He’ll read out names.
Paul will stroll in. He’ll see David playing his harp under THE apple tree that caused all the trouble we have. Paul will wave to him but homeboy David will be deep in his world of music that he won’t notice.
John will enter.
“Peter. Oh, Peter my namesake, good to have you here.”
He’ll give Peter a pat on the back for running a good race. You’ll be peeking from the back of the line, keeping your ears sharp, waiting for your name. The point is, you don’t want to get there when you aren’t yet ready.
“We’re done,” the doc announced as he stepped off that chair, his mouth still hidden behind that mask.
I rinsed my mouth and gave myself a break from eating meat. So this dog has no reason to think I have its meat.
The dog’s sniff hasn’t spared my laptop either. Does it think I’ve smuggled cocaine under my keyboard? What does it think it is? A sniffer dog? Oh please, give me a break! I don’t even know any dealers of that stuff. Hold up. I heard rumours about a certain place around Kamwokya that deals in all things drugs.
You need a code to get to the guy who runs the place. You’ve got to be referred by a guy who was referred by another guy who was referred by some other guy. Sales are made by word of mouth. It’s a tight knit group of people, sworn to each other through a secrecy oath of brotherhood and sisterhood. They speak in code.
Ah, this dog is still here. It thinks because it has canines and barks the loudest in the night to keep crooks away gives it the leeway to poke its nose in my space. Look, I don’t even know your name, doggie. We are not that close. We aren’t mates. Who has given you the audacity to stick around? I’m not comfortable. You’re invading my personal space. Can’t you see?
I asked you politely to leave. You refused. I relented and asked you to sit there, to my extreme right, with your head up and back straight. You refused. You stood there on your fours, staring at me. If you want a cafuné, I’m not giving it to you. Don’t count on it. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever. I will not caress your neck.
I’ve pushed you away, told you to go find your friends but you’ve remained here. This story I’m supposed to write isn’t going to write itself. Do my legs look like juicy steak to you? Tell me, doggie. Do they? See, you’ve got no answer.
Alright, go play in that water.
Oh, that worked.
The dog has jumped into the waterway. It’s running in the opposite direction to the flow of water. It has turned to look at me. Nope, I won’t give it the satisfaction of thinking it has won. I’ll pretend I haven’t seen it loving that splash.
You might think I’m not big on dogs. I won’t pull a Shaggy on you. You’re right. I’m not overly friendly to dogs. They say dogs are man’s best friends. Maybe they are. I’m a rabbits and pigeon’s kind of guy. At least I can eat those if hunger strikes.