It is 4 PM. The bulls are supposed to be on their way, according to the few mentions on websites and the stories of my students. I have been here since 2:30 PM, as it is my habit to seriously overcompensate when attending basically any event. However, this is the Middle East, where they say inshallah in connection with time and attendance. “God willing,” the bulls will arrive at 4 PM.
Just after 4PM , the bulls begin to arrive. First, there is one, groaning and snorting as he pulls on his tethers, one through the nose, one around a hoof. Slowly, the others are brought in. Three in a truck, two in a truck. They are unloaded and tethered and they too strain and groan and begin to tear up the dirt inside the arena as they smell and see one another.
Perhaps a bull is worth 5000 Omani Rial (OR) when the day begins, but a victory can push their worth to as much as 40,000. “They all have names,” an elderly gentleman tells me. “And many of us here know their worth as well as their names.” I point to one large bull with the hair between his horns dyed red and I ask his name. “He is new,” the Omani man laughs. “I will learn his name if he wins.”
The arena begins to fill with men and boys, and some sit inside the pitch itself. The bulls are mostly ignored in the beginning, as the farmers exchange greetings and the crowd gathers and quickly grows impatient. Although most people in the beginning sit in the stands, the pitch itself begins to fill with men clad in the traditional dishdasha bring small lawn-chairs or simpl sit in the dirt.
And these bulls are the reason why the crowd came out in the heat on a scorching Friday afternoon. A large black bull from Pakistan faces off against a white bull from England. There is a rage in the white bull, and he wastes no time in charging his opponent. Their heads collide with a loud crack and the black bull seems dazed, but angered and so he bellows and tries to spin his opponent. But the white bull is all muscle and speed and force, and the black bull is quickly pushed towards the crowd in the pitch. The men jump and move quickly, and the fight is called. The white bull stands proud and bloodied off to the side, refusing to leave the ring even as another fight begins.
A larger crowd has gathered, and now there are foreigners mingled in. There is energy in the crowd from the last fight, and the energy of the crowd passes into the bulls. Larger and larger bulls are brought in, and the fights become roving, rambling affairs that move from one side of the ring to the other. The spectators inside the ring are no longer comfortable; they must be alert and ready to jump as the bulls seem to notice nothing so small as a human as they knock heads, lock horns, and attempt to exert dominance over one another.
About the Creator
Writer of all types of fiction, poetry, and odd bits of non-fiction. Traveler, scuba diver, teacher, and observer of human behavior in Saudi Arabia. Buy "Rejuvenation", my new dystopian novel, at: https://tinyurl.com/yyevad5n
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