I have a member of my family, till this day, whenever he wants to make me smile after a family feud, he will say: “When was the last time you heard the tongue telling the dentist, “cut me off, because those dam teeth keep on biting me. Or the mouth complaining about the tongue who keeps making it talk?” This is his way of reminding me the value of family bond, regardless of our differences. My brother does have a great sense of humor which I admire. However, one of my uncle without a doubt, should never be judge lightly, when it comes to his humor treats.
I still recalled the very day when I met my uncle. It was during the same year when my older sister and I were introduced, I was about ten years old. My father had agreed for us to spend the summer vacation together at her house; of course, I was looking forward to bond with her. My father finally came to pick me up one morning, for the half an hour drive to her house, I was so thrilled that I hardly touched my breakfast. It was my first time, leaving my familiar surroundings behind, but I was not concerned.
A couple hours later after my arrival, shortly after my father’s departure, my uncle had made his grand entrance into the dining room, where the whole family had just finished eating dinner. “I’ve heard there is an angel in my town, who happened to be my niece, so I came to see this great sight!” I turned my head back in attempt to detect where the male voice was coming from? But by then, my uncle had swiftly walked toward the dining table, and stood right by me, while he placed his hand upon my head, he screamed, “ouch! She burnt me!” We all burst out in laughter, as all the children spontaneously got up one by one to kiss him. Then he pulled a chair, and sit right next to me. This time however, he turned my chair facing him, with a very serious look on his face, he placed both of his hands upon my shoulder, as he starred at me for a few seconds, and said, “a pretty little thing, hen!” I was quiet by nature, so I just smiled, and said nothing. After a brief conversation with the adults, he grabbed both of our hands, as the three of us left the house. We then crossed the street which led to the tiny little park across the Church.
As we arrived at the park, he sit on a bench. With an audible voice, he said. “Come here!” Hesitantly I started walking toward him, but he did not allow me to get too close to him. With a hand gesture, he said, “stop!” Then he starred at me one more time, as he did the prior time, while we were still back at the house. At first, I thought he was trying to intimidate me. But he smiled lightly, as he said, “You see my dear, my job as your uncle, is to inform you about our tradition here in this side of the land. I gather, you’ve never been here before, right?” I slowly shook my head, to indicate “no” to him. Then he said “Well! Take a sit next to me, and welcome to our world!” He took a deep breath, as he expended both of his arms sideways, then he leaned back, and crossed his legs. All along, my sister could not stop laughing, so he turned his head to the opposite side, and gave my sister a strange look. And, as if they both had a mutual code of silence, she stopped giggling, while at the same time forcing herself to remain serious. Then he turned toward me again and said: “You see my dear, they know me here as the bearer of bad news. Your uncle, which is me, is in charge of informing all the visitors about our customs here in this town. So pay attention to what I’m about to tell you: “ You must never mistreat a dog, or a cat in this town. And, you must never throw any food away.”
After I heard that, I was more confused than scared. “But why must we not mistreat the dogs and the cats here?” I asked him. As serious as he could be, he answered. “Because they are the only meat we eat here. “Eat?” I yelled. Immediately, I felt the urge to run as fast as I could back home, but I would not know which direction to start off. When I turned to look at my sister, she had walked away to speak to a young lady, which appeared to have been her friend. So my uncle, although he could see how scared I was, he continued with his drill. “By the way, what type of meat you normally eat at your house?” Still scared to death, but I forced myself to answer him. “I, I think chicken.” “York! Those poor chicken, with their tiny little legs, they can hardly run for their lives, and you eat them?” “Well, I, I think so.” “So you guys from the City are not concerned about those poor little chicken, are you?” Then I thought to myself, “Maybe I should lie to him,” before I said. “Well, we don’t eat chicken, we eat pig.” Before I could even finish pronouncing the word pig, he screamed. “Oh My God! You guys eat pig? That filthy animal?” Now, he really left me so confused, I did not know what else to answer him. So I responded with a lie again. “We only eat salad, we don’t eat meat at all.” He looked at me, and for a moment, just when I thought he was about to smile, he immediately stopped himself. “No wonder your skin is green, you eat grass.” “I don’t eat grass.” I promptly answered. “Oh! I guess they never told you. Salad is made out of grass dear. How sad! You guys eat the same food as the donkeys, cow and horses. Then with a concern look, he said. “Oh dear! Remind me to bring you something for your green skin.” He paused then said, “You did not eat grass before you came today, hen?” I answered him. “No.” “So that’s explains why your skin is turning green. Whenever people from the City come here, their skin always turn green. Because people who normally eat grass on a daily basis, when they don‘t eat it for one day, their whole body will be stained in green. Green hair, green eyes. Come here, let me wipe out some of the green on your forehead. Poor child. You will be ok as soon as you start eating it again. Don’t worry.” The look on my face was a blend of confuse and hopeless. I had tears running down my cheek, but it did not stop him from his sick joke. Then, I guess he could tell, I was so afraid, my heart was beating as fast as a race car. “Don’t’ worry, we only eat dogs and cats here. We don’t eat people, chicken, pig or grass. So you are in good hands.” He pinched my cheek while he smiled, as he stood up.
He then stood up and stretched his back. And, just when I thought he was done torturing me, he said. Do you remember the second rule?” I answered, “Not to throw any food away?” “Yes.” As he shook his head. Then he said, in fact this is when they actually may decide to fry some of your fingers. Believe me, you don’t want to lose your fingers. It happened to me, and it’s not fun. “But, you have all your fingers.” I said to him. “That’s because they grew back. In fact, it took them ten years to grow back. You see, the people here are very sensitive for their food. So my advice to you is, anything you don’t want to eat, particularly the meat portion of your meal, just pass it on to your sister. Or if I’m around, I will gladly try to help you out, by forcing myself to eat it. I don’t promise, but I will try. Ok?” “O..okk, uncle R.”
I was trying hard not to cry. However, since the moment I had heard “we eat dog and cat meat here,” I was ready to go back home. And throughout the whole conversation, I was trying to figure out how to call my father. But, when I arrived, I did not noticed a phone at the house. What’s worse, with my sister still busy talking to her friend, I was not left with any other option, but to believe every words my uncle was saying. At last, we started to walk toward my sister. So I finally gathered enough courage to ask him one last question. “Uncle R, could I ask my father to bring me some fish to eat instead? Because I never ate dogs and cats’ meat before, and where I come from, we don’t eat them either. “Be careful!” He answered with stern voice. “What I’ve just told you is only for those who are invited to sleep in this town. The secret of this town, must always remain here. Once you leave here, you will never remember it again.” Then he shook his head and said: Anyway what is fik? We’ve never heard of such thing in our town!” “Not fik. FISH!” I answered him. “And they are from the ocean.” “Oh! We don’t have an ocean here. So I don’t know what is a fik, or whatever it is you just mentioned.”
As we walked back home, I felt like the sacrificial lamb on its way to be slaughtered. Because since there were no other adults present to defend me, I assumed he was telling me the truth. Thankfully, the following Friday, we were served fish for dinner. And, guess who came to eat dinner with us? My cruel uncle. So while he sit next to me, he whispered into my ear: “Are you sure you want to eat this? This is not fik, but snakes which they turned into fik.” I’m told you have not been eating meat since you arrived.
So I whispered back: “No, I have not. But I’ve been feeding the meat to the lions, so they will be strong enough to smash you into pieces, when they get a hold of you!!!
He burst into laughter, so everybody heard him. Then he whispered back to me: Welcome to the land of creativity! Then I answered: You mean the land of torture!