SHANPAWPAW – a hard guy’s tale.

A guy who is unafraid of a fight and/or can take loads of physical punishment and drink.

I kept tossing and turning, sleep was being elusive. The constant hum of Mr. Amponsah’s generator wasn’t helping. It was an old thing, every fifteen minutes or so it would backfire, making an odd noise. Most residents had gotten used to it and just ignored it. Constant pleading with him to turn it off at midnight had fallen on deaf ears.
“Blame your government not me”, that was his favorite saying. As if the government had bought him the generator.
“Ewurade m’awu!” (Lord I’m dead)
“Ewurade m’awu!” (Lord I’m dead)
“Ewurade m’awu!” (Lord I’m dead)
I was the first to come out, my dad followed suit not long after. Seeing Mr. Amponsah, one would think his house was on fire. The old man kept dashing up and down the street. But no, the house was all right from where we stood. Other neighbours had joined us now. My dad approached him then, he said nothing: he just pointed to his generator, or should I say “ghetto blaster”.
Everyone broke into laughter, it genuinely was funny. Mr. Amponsah’s reaction wasn’t helping too. An enterprising thief had sneaked into his compound, made off with his generator and replaced it with a recorder just by his window. What fascinated me most was how loud the recorder was. The thief had even gotten all the backfire and gunshot noises, he really meant business. I couldn’t help but wonder when he had come to record the noise. The sound quality meant he had to have been really close to the generator.
The laughter seemed to have annoyed Mr. Amponsah, who cast an angry look around and without another word stormed into his house, slamming the door after him.
This wasn’t the first time a thief had shown such ingenuity. It wasn’t even the most ridiculous. That went to Shanpawpaw. Shanpawpaw was a notorious thief, junkie, handyman and general nuisance in the neighborhood. We all knew him and just ignored him, his crimes (if they could be called crimes) usually failed woefully. They were more annoyance than criminal. Let’s take his latest offense for instance.
For safety, most of the houses in the neighbourhood had their gas cylinders outside. Auntie Lameley, a food vendor was no different. She had three cylinders which she kept in a metal cage behind her kitchen. At dawn 3 days ago, I had gone out to pee when I saw Shanpawpaw in Auntie Lameley’s compound. Only a short hedge separated our place from hers.
He had managed to pick the padlock to the cage and had already carted two of the cylinders to the wall. The third one is what was connected to the stove, he had saved that for last. Right as he unhooked the regulator from the cylinder, I saw the kitchen lights come on. He froze then, he slowly put the regulator back. The clicking sound of the regulator must have sounded like thunder in his ears, from where I stood, I could see him go pale. Whoever had entered the kitchen, oblivious to what was happening outside, turned off the lights and left. Quickly, Shanpawpaw unhooked the regulator and carried off the last cylinder.
Now, he was at the wall with three cylinders, I was very interested in how he intended carrying all three away. As if he had read my mind, he deftly raised the first two cylinders and put them on the wall. The third one had some gas in it and took him a while, but he still managed it. With that done, he took a couple of steps back and made a mad dash at the wall.
I was holding my breath then, I half expected him to punch through the wall, his speed was that impressive. Well, he outdid my expectations. Getting to the wall, he put in a greater burst of speed. For you to know how impressive this was, you should know Shanpawpaw had started his mad dash not more than 4 meters from the gate.
With the great burst of speed he lept, he flew more like, and with his left hand grabbed hold of the top of the wall. That’s where it all went wrong, attempting to scale the wall like a high jumper, his hand slid along the wall and tipped over a cylinder, the one with gas in it.
Shanpawpaw fell back into the compound and the cylinder right on top of him. I saw him grimace and bite his lower lip. Shanpawpaw is a “hard guy”, he wouldn’t cry out, besides, that would be raising the alarm. Before he could get up, the other cylinders fell on him too. This time around he screamed, to be fair to him, one of the last two clipped his ankle bone, and that thing really hurts.
Shanpawpaw was rolling on the ground holding on to his ankle. His scream had woken up his would be victims and a couple of their neighbour’s, my dad included.
This is the point where I started screaming (it wouldn’t do to have seen a thief and not raise the alarm;
Hearing that, the neighbour’s rushed towards my voice. Shanpawpaw wasn’t yet done, from whence he gathered the strength, I don’t know. But he managed to scurry up and grab two of the cylinders and jumped over the wall. Yup, he lept clean over it.
The neighbour’s arrived then, with stupefaction I pointed at Shanpawpaw’s disappearing back. He wasn’t even limping. And oh, the cylinders he made off with, one had the gas.

Author: OsugyaniAbrantie


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