Lets pretend they weren’t plastic.Let’s pretend those one-inch toys named Billy the kid, Clint Eastwood and John Wayne, were more than drastic attempts at escapism; that nestled in my front pocket, they tore open the terrain. Let’s pretend my belts were horse reins and the mop between my legs was a black bronco named Buck. Let’s pretend its mop top were horse manes that flicked wild to my hummings of rolling rolling rolling raw hides! Let’s pretend the flattened bottle tops cellotaped to my trainers were riding spurs that’d make the bronco buck wild. My backyard was Texas, all tumble weed, no grasses and you would catch a glimpse of me, gold rimmed glasses, shorts too short, knees scuffed, mother’s pride and joy, ten years old, scrawny arms, Nigeria’s first cowboy;

Whilst the others believed in Thunder Cats, He Man and Turtle Power, mine was the Grand Canyon’s sun settling across rocks formed where nomads scour.

Everything then was cowboy themed; those trainers were purposefully campfire singed. School books were saddle bagged, paper’d with wanted posters, strapped with horse hair, wrapped in cow skin, wrestled from a coyote, one vicious and lean and my pen was no simple implemental thing, ‘twas a cactus spike its tip - fine hay, I’d dip into venom mark posters, plot ways through English classes mastering the western drawl, to math lessons where gold was a hundred’s haul, to lunch times when juice was a liquor filled flask, I’d lapse into lands of bulls and hay bales; spent months hidden in these wild west ways,

Till one midday, when the dust divided, three unprovoked shapes ambushed then chided, their shadows formed a premature night. None could hear me calling through their fists flying past, those dudes were wild Indians, the moon was a traitor, left in that dark side, crater faced and feebled, punched floundering, almost unconscious, I accepted the bullies’ riddle: I’ll never know the reason why such wicked boys be. To cease the pain, I took the name; they labelled me “The Nerd”, the logic being glasses framed the word, no quibbles.

And beaten in that brawl of a peaceful cowboy’s tragic fall, heard a subtle something, a desperate mantra playing: he who lives to run away, lives to fight another day, (this mantra holds the nerd way). So my pen, still cactus spike, its tip - fine hay, dipped into backbone, stirred the marrow till boiling bayed, fought through legs to these elder brighter days. And still I am bespectacled, still good to run away, but now I know sometimes, fists bring forth the day, still pockets full of cowboys, ride least thrice a day, once for metaphor, twice for simile, thrice so reading, rhythm stays, still juice, now apple cider, books bagged in satchel old, which holds this tale, none finer, of this trial I struggled through.