“Can you walk a little faster?”
If there was a term ‘zombie stride’ in the vocabulary, I was doing it. The local brew was not effective in waking up my system.
We heard a grating sound, the noise produced when a solid object was dragged on the gravely road. It was slowly approaching behind us.
“Are you going to the sea?” the man riding atop a carabao asked. The animal drew some sort of a cart, a wheel-less attachment made mostly of bamboo, nailed together to form a flat bed, where heavy loads were placed.
“Yes,” I replied halfheartedly. Yet, at the back of my mind, there was an idea that sprouted out once the new arrival showed up.
“Come on! Hop in!” he invited, pointing to the empty cart.
Rolly, who weighed over 80 kilos, had second thoughts. Nearly 70 myself, I believed the animal would have much difficulty dragging the cart if we ride it.
“Thanks! But we’re too heavy,” Rolly explained, shaking his head.
“I’d love to,” I replied. The ride would save us much energy from the long walk.
“My carabao is strong. It’s trained to haul heavier loads.”
Not waiting for Rolly’s consent, I positioned myself on the small cart. When he sat beside me, we almost occupied the entire flat space.
Without meaning no harm, I held the carabao’s tail and pulled it slightly, a childish prank I should have not tried.
Startled, the carabao nearly jumped, its two front feet were lifted a foot up. The rider, who held a short rope attached to the animal’s nose, was nearly unseated.
“Woooh! Wooh!” he tried to steady himself, commanding the animal to take it easy.
The animal did not follow. Instead, it started to increase its strut into a quicker pace. In a few seconds, it ran like a horse dragging its carriage.
“Hold on!” the rider yelled, keeping himself in control of the uncontrollable beast.
Rolly and I clasped the sides of the cart tightly, balancing ourselves so as not to be thrown out.
“This is fun,” I remarked, downplaying my fears of falling off the cart.
“We’re be lucky to get out without a scratch!” Rolly shouted, his eyes straight ahead.
“Wooh! Wooh!” I yelled repeatedly, copying the rider’s command.
All of a sudden, the animal stopped, perhaps tired from the run or perhaps my command had its desired effects.
“That’s strange,” the rider said, trying to figure out what had just transpired. “My animal had not done this before.”
I glanced at my cousin’s husband, signalling him not to tell the truth about the tail pulling.
“That’s okay,” I said, grinning mischievously. “It’s an experience we’ll never forget.”
Rolly controlled his urge to rat me out.
“I think I need to head back home to fix the cart.”
The rider reigned on his animal to take the turn. We saw him scratching his head, still confused of what happened.
“Next time, don’t touch anything!” Rolly walked briskly, scolding me as if I was his child.
“How do I know that that animal had no sense of humor?”
“Will you react the same way if someone pull your tail?”
“I have no tail!”
“So, what’s that in front of you?”