In Flo’s second year of the university, when she was just eighteen years old, her school embarked on a six month strike. She came home to Minna so spend the grueling days of idleness and boredom with her family. The strike started in December so the ‘break’ felt like an extended Christmas holiday. It was in that period that she met Savage. She had secretly given the chicken that name because of his fighting spirit. She had never seen a chicken so ironically fierce and bold. Amina Jiya, her mother had bought the snow white agric chicken along with two others for the Christmas holiday. The plan was to buy them before Christmas, fatten them until it was Christmas time and then use them as the holiday meal. That strategy beat buying the animal at twice its price during the Christmas season, a clear example of motherly wisdom. Close to Christmas, her father was given a goat as a gift and that ended up being their Christmas meat. Savage and the others were saved. At least until the New year.
This particular chicken had luck on its side because during the New years celebration, Savage was the only chicken spared and so it began its new life at Flo’s home with her mother’s other local Chickens. Because of Flo’s idleness, Flo paid particular attention to the white broiler. Agric Chickens were engineered to be bigger and this caused the broilers difficulty in walking. Usually, they were locked up in coops their whole lives and fed until they were big enough to be eaten. They were slower than local chickens and sometimes, even broke their legs because they were not strong enough to carry their body weight. But Flo could see that Savage was a fighter. It fought despite its brittle bones, it struggled to survive. Bread only to be eaten, it took its place with the other, faster, local chickens who were more like Mrs Jiya’s pets. It adapted to the lifestyle of pecking, scratching and rummaging like the others.
In a couple of months, the Chicken had turned from White to grey, it had become a real savage. It always had this nasty look in its eye, this “Get-outta-my-way” look. It would limp around like an old geezer, struggling to survive. It always walked alone, it didn’t associate with the other local chickens. It kept going even though Flo knew that life for the animal was probably full of anguish. Somehow, this chicken was resisting its nature. it was adapting. Flo would point out Savage to her mother. “Kill it nah.” She would say. “Go and buy your own chicken” was her mother’s reply. Even her mother knew that Chickens like Savage where not built to last so long, yet she waited to see how long it would last.
In the beginning of March, Savage grew slower. The signs showed that it was about to die. It could only endure the pain for so long. Mrs Jiya eventually killed the chicken. Flo was asked to prepare it. Flo ascribed a kind of honor as she seasoned the plucked animal. “You were a fighter till the end.” She heard her self say. It was silly but she felt a bit sad for the animal. It was probably because of idleness but Flo learnt a lesson from the life and times of Savage. He was a survivor. She believed that that was the kind of spirit which one needed in passing through a cruel world like this. Flo ended up not eating Savage. She just couldn’t. The animal had thought her something in some crazy way.
That evening, after dinner, Flo went into her room. She laughed at herself for bearing so much significance and sympathy to a Chicken. She picked up her jotter and scribbled down an Eulogy for Savage. “Savage,” she wrote “if only we can fight the ‘conditions’, just as you did. If only we can brave the pain in our bone. If we can limp, scratching until we find what we deserve, then maybe we could meet our dreams. Even for the slightest second, we can rise beyond what we were engineered to be. If I can fight like you, I will definitely be able to achieve the impossible.”