Bogeyman

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Baba Galleh JallowBy Baba Galleh Jallow

With time, Second Genamin Gyant DaMidget aka Mbarass the Kuroo Jaaro became widely known as the ngorr gejja, the yaapaa ngelaw and the chaali fenyoo: the infamous bogeyman of No-Talk Republic. He got this name on account of his penchant for threatening unwary folks with death or setting of nasty examples. The fact that he carried a monkey tail in one hand and a dead rat in the other only crystalized his image as bogeyman, the famous chicken who thought he could fly over the river and was swallowed by the hippos. Add to the mix the fact that he also carried a human or monkey skull beneath his grand boubou and you get an image of the unfortunate mouse who thought he was king of the animals and challenged the lion to a biting contest; the piece of dry wood who thought that he was steel and challenged the fire to a melting contest; the frog who, because he could so loudly croak, thought that his voice was thunder. He was much like Bassa the lizard who, because he could nod his head and run up the tree, felt that he could also run right through the tree. He smashed his snout against the tree, broke his neck and lost the capacity to even move his head for the rest of his life in the land of memory. As our people say, he who grows too big in his head fails to see himself. That was why people said of Gyant DaMidget amaa fang long! They also called him nyaka faida, amul boppa!

Gyant DaMidget himself promoted his bogeyman persona by performances and utterances that left the people of No-Talk Republic holding their mouths and staring wildly this way and that, this way and that, asking heh? Did you hear what he just said? Did you see what he just did? “He who wields power wields life,” he would loudly brag, pounding his chest and making a noisy grunt. Every so often, Gyant DaMidget wore his bogey clothes, clutch his monkey tail and dead rat, and venture forth into the streets of No-Talk Republic to demonstrate just how powerful he was. Trailed by a raucous crowd of sycophants, Gyant DaMidget proudly strode up and down the streets making huh huh sounds, gnashing his teeth, and grunting strange nothings to demonstrate his familiarity with the dark world of occult powers. He would thrust his chest forward and spread his arms and violently shake his head and bend down again as his cronies shouted Da-Midget, Da-Midget, Da-Midget! He would rattle his monkey tail and fire a loud shot from his invisible gun, prompting those behind him to scatter meters away, holding their noses and loudly coughing and spluttering before regrouping to continue watching the strange spectacle.

When sometimes he felt so uneasy and paranoid that he couldn’t sleep, Gyant DaMidget would don his bogey dress and summon his loyal stooges. Then clutching his monkey tail in one hand and his dead rat in the other, he would sling his skull behind his back and march forth into the darkness of the night. Sometimes he would pretend to be Fangbondi, the dreaded ancestral spirit that hunted witches and watched over newly circumcised boys. He would hew and haw and loudly coo and shriek in the manner of a real Fangbondi and would gnash his teeth and shake his monkey tail shouting curses against imaginary witches and evil spirits whom he accused of invading his sleep. He would let several shots fly from his invisible gun and would crawl and hop and do the boogie woogie to the accompaniment of his stooges’ incessant cheers of Da-Midget! Da-Midget! Da-Midget! He would wiggle his rotund waist and do the yengal dance, thrusting his butts this way and that, this way and that to demonstrate his powers. Once in a while, he would run a few steps and stop and do the summersault, which always reminded him of the days when he was a village wrestler. He soon thrust those thoughts out of his mind because they always brought back unhappy memories of the day he was thrown so hard that something happened that he did not want to remember. And so he would make the huh huh and the hah hah and do the chicken dance instead, pushing all thoughts of his wrestler days far out of his mind. Some things, he quietly grunted, are best not remembered. That is why Gyant DaMidget always flew into a blue rage when people tried to wake any kind of sleeping dogs in his world.

Sometimes, flanked by his crony television crew who liked to ask him juicy questions and always nodded sir even if DaMidget blew a tire, our famous bogeyman never mentioned his wrestling days. He would rather recall those days when he was acting sergeant in the army. With a malicious twinkle in his eye and a cunning grin on his dancing lips which reminded us of burnt hotdogs with mayonnaise in the middle, Gyant DaMidget would narrate with much icy buffet how his superiors tried to punish him by refusing to promote him to full sergeant for eight long years. “For eight long years they made me wear this badge of shame,” he would prate, stabbing his finger at an imaginary badge on his grandly bouboud chest. He would wear his special sneer and tilt his head towards the heavens, pretending to be deep in thought. Then he would shake his head, loudly groan, gnash his teeth, and let an invisible bullet fly. “They used to say I would never make it and call me woogie woogie. I said to them you call me woogie woogie today but one day you will kneel before me and kiss my dirty feet. Go ask them if they are not kissing my dirty feet today. That is why when I tell you that Gyant DaMidget is no ordinary fool you should not question the wisdom of my mouth because my mouth was not born today or just any day. It was born when it chose to be born after the white man left. And so when it says this you must not say that. If you do, I can be very nasty.” Gyant DaMidget would suddenly jump into the air and land on his back and stand on his head for several minutes to demonstrate his bogey skills. And all his cronies would loudly shout and yell Da-Midget, Da-Midget, Da-Midget, and he would proudly wiggle his rotund waist and do the hurley burley to the thunderous acclaim of his faithful cronies. His crony TV will spend the next year repeatedly airing his bogey feats.

Genamin Gyant DaMidget prided himself on being a bogeyman on many fronts. He particularly enjoyed bullying helpless persons through arbitrary arrests and detentions. He loved to make those who question his power disappear into thin air, driving crippling terror into the hearts of their families and loved ones. His mouth literally watered at the thought that he exercised the power of life and death over people. He bragged about how, with only one wave of the finger and just two words, he could dispatch somebody to the other world. “That is why you must all fear me,” he would brag, titling his head sideways and wearing his bogey sneer, the one he used to bully and intimidate his helpless subordinates. “You must fear me and you must tremble when I say I will do something because I don’t care about any so-called human right or so-called rule of law or constitution. If you want to say I have to care about that nonsense then you can go to hell because Gyant DaMidget does not give a hoot.”

Gyant DaMidget poked his nose into all nooks and crannies of No-Talk Republic. He considered himself a jack of all trades and a master of all, claiming not only to be possessed of dark mysterious powers, but also to be an expert in the arts of golf soccer, a legend in basketball, volleyball, carpentry, mechanics and ndolin, the popular local game he used to play when he was a child. In his bogeyman status, he declared that there must no longer be arguments or quarrels during games of soccer because if there were, he would set a nasty example. “You know that I am a nasty guy and so if I see anyone frowning during a game of soccer, or not smiling when you see my poster, I will show you just how nasty I am. I will make of you such a nasty example that history will never forgive or forget you. But I know that a wise for the word is never enough.”

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