BIANGO BUIA | The Crocodile Prize
BANGI WAS ALWAYS NOISY in his class and the teacher Miss Sama Saki put him up with a girl called Dorrtie.
Dorrtie was a “nice girl” said all the teachers in the school. She never said bad words, was never late, an obedient girl and always very clean.
iss Sama had thought that if she put Dorrtie and Bangi on the same desk then there was a chance that Bangi would quieten down and that maybe some or all of Dorrtie’s goodness would rub off on to Bangi.
Bangi and Dorrtie were in grade three at the Morehead Primary School in the South Fly District of the Western Province.
While they were the same age at 11, in the same school, in the same grade, and on the same desk, they were very different in outlook. Some teachers suggested that they appeared more like an angel and the devil on the same desk!
While in Grade 3 Bangi, his village friends, Wills and Boni and Mila the son of the Head Teacher were playing marbles at the edge of the school yard on a dry Saturday afternoon. After playing for some time Bangi ran into the nearby scrub, pulled done the front of his shorts and began to pass urine.
His friends heard some giggling from the scrub and ran to see what Bangi was giggling about. What they saw was quite funny. Bangi was spraying the lizards in the scrub and the lizards were running in every direction to avoid the “mighty waterfalls” of Bangi.
It looked so funny that the other boys pulled down the front of their shorts and also started spraying the lizards. It was so funny to see the whole lizard population in and around the scrub running for cover in all directions.
The boys laughed long about this situation. But sad to say the young boys ran dry of “ammunition” to the relief of the lizard population.
Then Bangi suggested, “Let us go drink more water or anything that would make us pass more urine and chase the lizards again.”
Then Mila, said quite excitedly, “Hey Bangi, you know when my father drinks beer how they always go to the toilet to pass urine at short intervals.”
Bangi screamed; “Yes Mila”.
Mila said, “Well my father and Dorrties’ father were drinking last weekend and when the Pastor came to see how we were going they hid the beer bottles at the back of our garden”.
“Okay, Mila run right now and find the bottles,” commanded Bangi.
Mila ran as fast as he could and returned in record time with the three bottles.
Wills and Boni were quite nervous now.
“Bangi, you are not going to drink beer are you?” they asked.
“Well, not drink but we want to chase the lizards and we need the water, so that’s why we will drink.”
Bangi opened one bottle and drank a mouth full. The taste was terrible but he subdued any signs of yuckiness and offered it to the other boys.
In a short time the boys had lowered the front of their shorts and were at it again, wetting all the lizards in the surroundings. It was quite funny because the boys were literally “operating on fire truck mode”, with their little “water sprinklers” ahead of them.
When the water sprinklers dried up, Bangi opened another bottle of beer and drank a mouth full and offered it to the other three. Being very scared now, Wills and Boni refused to take any more but Mila joined in and they both continued spraying the lizards.
The four boys were having so much fun, that Mila’s sisters heard the noise and came to see what was happening. By then Bangi and Mila were towards the end of the third bottle and already Wills and Boni could see Bangi and Mila were not talking normally.
They were now laughing for no reason, dancing in silly ways and Bangi was pretending to be the Head Teacher, at the School Assembly.
Bangi stood on a mound and raised his hands up like the Head Teacher and said, “My children, you must all study hard and become the best you can. Life is in your hands.”
Then they all laughed loudly and Mila and Bangi did girlish dances.
Bangi stood up again and said, “Now some of you boys and girls are naughty. Let today be the beginning of a new way of life for you. Today I ......”
“Hey, what’s this nonsense?”
They turned towards the direction of the voice. They could see Mila’s two sisters and mother standing right behind them.
The boys ran in all directions (a bit like the lizards). Wills and Boni ran as fast as they could to their village. Bangi and Mila tried to run but to their surprise their legs were very heavy.
Bangi and Mila tried to jump over the drain but instead landed in the middle of the drain and did not stand up.
“Oh Mummy, Mila is going to die, Mummy noooo!”, please where is Daddy, Mummy Mila is going to die,” cried Mila’s sisters.
“Well if Mila dies, I will kill Bangi with my own hands,” screamed Mila’s mother in the midst of the panic.
“Look Mummy the empty bottles, they drank these three bottles of beer and, oh Mummy, Mila is going to die”, the girls kept screaming and crying in shock.
“Yeh but how did this son of a drunk end up here,” screamed Mila’s mother at Bangi.
“Just like his father, shame,” she continued.
Then Mila’s father, the head teacher, arrived and asked what had happened.
“Oh Daddy, Daddy, Mila’s is going to die,” cried the sisters. “He has not woken up. Bangi got him to drink these three bottles of beer.”
Mila’s father knew exactly where the bottles of beer came from. But he pretended to look very surprised, puzzled and very serious.
“Okay, let’s carry them to the health clinic for the Nursing Officer’s medical attention.”
The Head Teacher carried Bangi and his mother and daughters carried Mila to their house. The two boys were laid on the mats outside the house, while the Head Teacher looked around for bigger boys to help carry the boys to the clinic.
When the big boys arrived, the Head Teacher and other teachers accompanied the big boys as they carried Bangi and Mila to the clinic. As the boys were being carried to the clinic the crowd got larger and larger.
A story spread that Bangi had somehow got a cartoon of beer and had drunk all 24 bottles and had fainted and was probably dead!Bangi and Mila were attended to by the Nursing Officer and after hearing the story from Mila’s mother, he said the only medicine at this stage was to let the boys sleep off the intoxication.
The only intervention was that the boy’s “sprinklers” were going to be inserted into a waste tube to hygienically collect any access urine. That to do this he was going to put a pillow each between their legs so that the waste tube was free from possible entanglement.
“Teach this boy, he is like the father”
All of a sudden screams could be heard outside the Clinic. Mila’s mother was now shouting at Bangi’s mother.
Bangi’s parents had just been alerted and they had run all the way to find out if Bangi was truly dead!
Bangi’s father passed all the screaming women and went straight into the Clinic and sought the Nursing Officer’s assessment. On hearing the assessment he was relieved and went outside to rest from the running and anxiety.
“Bangi can’t be that silly,” screamed Bangi’s mother to Mila’s mother.
“You know that, Bangi’s father does not take beer. It’s your husband, beer face Head Teacher. That’s why even grade 3 children imitate their teachers!”
Mila’s mother stood very quiet breathing heavily from the verbal “flooring” from Bangi’s mother.
Bangi’s father coughed and this caught Bangi’s mother’s attention.
“And you, your bald head is so big and clean that we cannot tell where your forehead begins and where the rest of your head is,” she shouted at her husband. “Aren’t fathers supposed to know where their sons are?”
Bangi’s father said something like, “Ah mum ah...”
“Stop, I don’t want to hear anything from your toothless mouth,” shouted his wife.
The crowd was really swollen by now, it looked like all of the Morehead Station residents where there. Even the lame, the blind, the crippled and the mentally ill were there too.
Dorrtie and her sisters had by now arrived. Dorrtie was really enjoying the descriptions of Bangi’s father. Because in many ways Aunty Yana was describing Bangi himself! Dorrtie laughed quite loudly when she imagined Bangi without his hair and teeth.
“What! .... the laugh?” asked Wena, Dorrtie’s big sister, as she “burnt” Dorrtie with her eyes.
“Mum is going to wring your neck, if she hears that you are laughing at Aunty Yana and Uncle Wangarr.”
Biango Buia was born at Usakuk on the mainland 90 km west of Daru in Western Province. He is a teacher specialising in teacher education and is currently managing development programs and activities for his church in partnership with the PNG government, AusAID and other agencies. His stories are part of a novel he is writing