Old Mr. Washington had a guard dog. He thought it was the “baddest” dog on the planet. Most people knew different. He called the dog Goliath but he really should have called him Evader. Once there was trouble Goliath would be absent.Two parts Stray, three parts Rice Eater and one part Dustbin Terrier, the dog was good at only one thing; eating. His favourite meal was rice. Goliath would go through a large bowl of rice as easy as a harvester cut through a rice field but with much more urgency.
Goliath’s sleeping was something to see. He would lie on his back his feet sticking up and his tongue lolling out of the corner of his mouth. The animal knew every inch of the yard and as soon as trouble arose he would seek refuge in one of his hiding places.
Mr. Washington liked to watch Goliath play. When he wasn’t bounding all over at hyper speed he would be in endless pursuit of his tail.
One good thing about Goliath was that even though he ran for cover he would raise hell before disappearing. This would alert Mr. Washington who would ensure there was no threat. Most of the time there was not any.
If dogs passing outside braked aggressively at him, he vanished. When thunder and lightning struck, he disappeared. If something fell making a loud noise, zoom! He was gone. When his master shouted angrily to draw his attention, that sent him into hiding. When he wasn’t hiding he would be sleeping, playing or eating. Miraculously, thieves had never entered the Washington premises so his master thought him to be very effective. Then things changed.
Mr. Washington decided to take up chicken farming. He bought 100 layers and began rearing them in the pens he had specially built for this. As the chickens grew bigger, they began to attract the wrong kind of attention. Many of the village ‘limers and junkies’ passed by and made all sort of comments:
“Mr. Washington yo chickens getting fat!”
“Ol boy wen dey goin start laying?”
“Washie, yo gon sell eggs?”
Old man Washington had little patience with them so he made his response short and to the point.
That did it for everyone.
Now Goliath had a problem. He started to see Jumbies! Whenever he slept they did not affect him. This caused him to begin sleeping for longer periods. Whenever he awoke, his eyes would be full of “Boo Boo.” Mr. Washington noticed this and had a special rag to wipe the dog’s eyes. The rag was hung on a line under the house. After a time the cloth was full of Boo Boo. The dog owner never bothered to wash it.
Late one Friday night Mr. Washington heard some suspicious sounds. Fearing for his chickens which had already started laying, he called out to his dog. “Hoots!” Sick them!” “Get them Goliath!”
This was part of his usual routine if he heard any strange noises. These always turned out to be false alarms.
Something was moving around downstairs. Worse than that there was blackout. Mr. Washington knew that this was an ideal time for thieves to operate; so did Fast-Hand Eric. He got that nickname because he stole any and everything he could get away with.
Tonight it would be old Washington’s chickens and eggs. He had been keeping an eye on their development and knew they had begun to mature. It is time to make a raid. He had thought of many scenarios until the sudden blackout that night. He decided to go for it.
Eric found himself creeping from pen to pen taking birds and putting them into a rice sack that he carried on his back. When he had about fifteen bagged, the hatch on one of the pen made a loud click. He froze. “Hoots!” “Sick them!”
Washington had heard. It was then Eric remembered that there was a dog in the yard. He began to sweat. Peering around in the dark he tried to locate the animal. It was not around.
Bram! Bang! Crash!
The noise was loud and the timing was bad. He edged towards the side of the building hoping to make a silent exit.
Now, Eric was a seasoned thief but had never been easily detected nor had he ever experienced such a stressful situation. The volume of the last commotion caused him to panic. He jumped about three feet in fright and dived behind a couple of old drums. Sweat poured from him. He looked around and saw a rag hanging above him. He grabbed it and dried the running swear steams. He dried his face, eyes and neck then tossed it aside
From the moment he wiped his eyes things went from bad to insane. It was as if a whole new work had appeared in front of him. Even though it was dark he could see a strange figure standing a very short distance away. It was white or sliver or both.
Poor Eric began to tremble. His knees went into jelly mode. His breath was laboured and tears were tumbling from his eyes.
Suddenly he realised that he was not alone behind the drums. Someone or something was very close. He could almost feel its presence. He closed his eyes for a second and reopened it hoping for the spectre to disappear. It stood there as real as sunlight.
Something brushed against him and he let the bag of chicken go in his panic. Their sudden freedom caused a melee. The chickens run, jumped, screeched and flew in all directions.
Moving in his hiding spot, he stared hard out and could barely make out a dark mass. Even if he wanted to he could not run. His legs refused to take action.
The strange figure in front of him was suddenly joined by another. Together they turned and headed for his place of refuge. Eric forced himself to stand up. Somewhere to his right he heard a whimper. A passing car threw its head beam monumentally into the yard and he found himself looking into the terrified eyes of a dog. As the Jumbies came closer the two hidden figures drew closer to each other. Soon they were side by side both trembling with teeth chattering.
Two bright eerie shapes loomed over the drums and Eric could take no more of it. With a scream he fell backwards hitting his head on a column and knocking himself unconscious. He lay sprawled awkwardly with his bag beneath him inside where there a few birds that did not manage to escape. Goliath too has seen enough. With a whimper he fainted, landing on Eric’s chest.
When light returned 15 minutes later Mr. Washington and his neighbours came upon an unusual sight Eric lay unconscious. Beneath him; his bag of for remaining chickens. Across his chest was Goliath as though keeping him under guard. Covering his face was the dirty rag Mr. Washington used to wipe his dog’s eyes.
Goliath became a village hero. He was acclaimed the best and bravest dogs in the small community. Two persons knew better; Eric and Goliath. After that incident Eric had plenty of problems with seeing Spirits. But that’s another story. As for Goliath he is still MIA whenever there is any sign of trouble. But now he had a new hiding place; behind the chicken pen.
Written By Neil Primus