The Gift Of The Magi*

I first read this Christmas story by William Sydney Porter (known by his pseudonym, O. Henry) some years ago and I fell in love with it. I got a muse from it and planned on writing an African version of it, but I never got the time and chance to do so. Luckily for me, I now have the opportunity of presenting the story to you in my “31 Days of Christmas” series, in unadulterated form. I hope you enjoy it like I did (and still do).

31-days-ofchristmas

 

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one’s cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty- seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.

There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.

While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad.

In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name “Mr. James Dillingham Young.”

The “Dillingham” had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, though, they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called “Jim” and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good.

Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn’t go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling–something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.

There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pierglass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered the art.

Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. Her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length.

Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim’s gold watch that had been his father’s and his grandfather’s. The other was Della’s hair. Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty’s jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.

So now Della’s beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.

On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.

Where she stopped the sign read: “Mne. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds.” One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the “Sofronie.”

“Will you buy my hair?” asked Della.

“I buy hair,” said Madame. “Take yer hat off and let’s have a sight at the looks of it.”

Down rippled the brown cascade.

“Twenty dollars,” said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand.

“Give it to me quick,” said Della.

Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim’s present.

She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation–as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim’s. It was like him. Quietness and value–the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87 cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain.

When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends–a mammoth task.

Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically.

“If Jim doesn’t kill me,” she said to herself, “before he takes a second look at me, he’ll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do–oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty- seven cents?”

At 7 o’clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops.

Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit for saying little silent prayer about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: “Please God, make him think I am still pretty.”

The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two–and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves.

Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.

Della wriggled off the table and went for him.

“Jim, darling,” she cried, “don’t look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold because I couldn’t have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It’ll grow out again–you won’t mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say `Merry Christmas!’ Jim, and let’s be happy. You don’t know what a nice– what a beautiful, nice gift I’ve got for you.”

“You’ve cut off your hair?” asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor.

 

“Cut it off and sold it,” said Della. “Don’t you like me just as well, anyhow? I’m me without my hair, ain’t I?”

Jim looked about the room curiously.

“You say your hair is gone?” he said, with an air almost of idiocy.

“You needn’t look for it,” said Della. “It’s sold, I tell you–sold and gone, too. It’s Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered,” she went on with sudden serious sweetness, “but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?”

Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year–what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on.

Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.

“Don’t make any mistake, Dell,” he said, “about me. I don’t think there’s anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you’ll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first.”

White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.

For there lay The Combs–the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell, with jewelled rims–just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone.

But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: “My hair grows so fast, Jim!”

And them Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, “Oh, oh!”

Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.

“Isn’t it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You’ll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it.”

Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled.

“Dell,” said he, “let’s put our Christmas presents away and keep ’em a while. They’re too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on.”

The magi, as you know, were wise men–wonderfully wise men–who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.

 

***

*“The Gift of the Magi,” one of the best-known American short stories, was hurriedly composed in a few hours after its deadline had already passed. Celebrated American short-story writer William Sydney Porter, known by his pseudonym, O. Henry, wrote the story for New York Sunday World magazine in 1905. It was published in 1906 in a collection of his short stories, The Four Million. The story contains Porter’s characteristic ironic plot twists and surprise ending, and is set in New York City, Porter’s home from 1901 until his death in 1910. The city was a common backdrop for his stories. Today Porter is memorialized in the O. Henry Awards for short stories. These stories have been published annually in anthologies since 1918.

Source: Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation.

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Would you like to feature your Christmas-themed short story on this blog? Kindly send a mail, attaching your short story to haroldwrites.official @ gmail.com . Each day of December, I shall publish a Christmas-themed short-story. You can write on any genre.

 

Papa Panov’s Special Christmas*

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It was Christmas Eve and although it was still afternoon, lights had begun to appear in the shops and houses of the little Russian village, for the short winter day was nearly over. Excited children scurried indoors and now only muffled sounds of chatter and laughter escaped from closed shutters.

Old Papa Panov, the village shoemaker, stepped outside his shop to take one last look around. The sounds of happiness, the bright lights and the faint but delicious smells of Christmas cooking reminded him of past Christmas times when his wife had still been alive and his own children little. Now they had gone.

His usually cheerful face, with the little laughter wrinkles behind the round steel spectacles, looked sad now. But he went back indoors with a firm step, put up the shutters and set a pot of coffee to heat on the charcoal stove. Then, with a sigh, he settled in his big armchair.

Papa Panov did not often read, but tonight he pulled down the big old family Bible and, slowly tracing the lines with one forefinger, he read again the Christmas story. He read how Mary and Joseph, tired by their journey to Bethlehem, found no room for them at the inn, so that Mary’s little baby was born in the cowshed.

“Oh, dear, oh, dear!” exclaimed Papa Panov, “if only they had come here! I would have given them my bed and I could have covered the baby with my patchwork quilt to keep him warm.”

He read on about the wise men who had come to see the baby Jesus, bringing him splendid gifts.

Papa Panov’s face fell. “I have no gift that I could give him,” he thought sadly.

Then his face brightened. He put down the Bible, got up and stretched his long arms t the shelf high up in his little room. He took down a small, dusty box and opened it. Inside was a perfect pair of tiny leather shoes.

Papa Panov smiled with satisfaction. Yes, they were as good as he had remembered – the best shoes he had ever made. “I should give him those,” he decided, as he gently put them away and sat down again.

He was feeling tired now, and the further he read the sleeper he became. The print began to dance before his eyes so that he closed them, just for a minute. In no time at all, Papa Panov was fast asleep.

And as he slept he dreamed. He dreamed that someone was in his room and he knew at once, as one does in dreams, who the person was. It was Jesus.

“You have been wishing that you could see me, Papa Panov,” he said kindly, “then look for me tomorrow. It will be Christmas Day and I will visit you. But look carefully, for I shall not tell you who I am.”

When at last Papa Panov awoke, the bells were ringing out and a thin light was filtering through the shutters. “Bless my soul!” said Papa Panov. “It’s Christmas Day!”

He stood up and stretched himself for he was rather stiff. Then his face filled with happiness as he remembered his dream. This would be a very special Christmas after all, for Jesus was coming to visit him. How would he look? Would he be a little baby, as at that first Christmas? Would he be a grown man, a carpenter- or the great King that he is, God’s Son? He must watch carefully the whole day through so that he recognized him however he came.

Papa Panov put on a special pot of coffee for his Christmas breakfast, took down the shutters and looked out of the window. The street was deserted, no one was stirring yet. No one except the road sweeper. He looked as miserable and dirty as ever, and well he might! Whoever wanted to work on Christmas Day – and in the raw cold and bitter freezing mist of such a morning?

Papa Panov opened the shop door, letting in a thin stream of cold air. “Come in!” he shouted across the street cheerily. “Come in and have some hot coffee to keep out the cold!”

The sweeper looked up, scarcely able to believe his ears. He was only too glad to put down his broom and come into the warm room. His old clothes steamed gently in the heat of the stove and he clasped both red hands round the comforting warm mug as he drank.

Papa Panov watched him with satisfaction, but every now and then his eyes strayed to the window. It would never do to miss his special visitor.

“Expecting someone?” the sweeper asked at last. So Papa Panov told him about his dream.

“Well, I hope he comes,” the sweeper said, “you’ve given me a bit of Christmas cheer I never expected to have. I’d say you deserve to have your dream come true.” And he actually smiled.

When he had gone, Papa Panov put on cabbage soup for his dinner, then went to the door again, scanning the street. He saw no one. But he was mistaken. Someone was coming.

 

The girl walked so slowly and quietly, hugging the walls of shops and houses, that it was a while before he noticed her. She looked very tired and she was carrying something. As she drew nearer he could see that it was a baby, wrapped in a thin shawl. There was such sadness in her face and in the pinched little face of the baby, that Papa Panov’s heart went out to them.

“Won’t you come in,” he called, stepping outside to meet them. “You both need a warm by the fire and a rest.”

The young mother let him shepherd her indoors and to the comfort of the armchair. She gave a big sigh of relief.

“I’ll warm some milk for the baby,” Papa Panov said, “I’ve had children of my own- I can feed her for you.” He took the milk from the stove and carefully fed the baby from a spoon, warming her tiny feet by the stove at the same time.

“She needs shoes,” the cobbler said.

But the girl replied, “I can’t afford shoes, I’ve got no husband to bring home money. I’m on my way to the next village to get work.”

Sudden thought flashed through Papa Panov’s mind. He remembered the little shoes he had looked at last night. But he had been keeping those for Jesus. He looked again at the cold little feet and made up his mind.

“Try these on her,” he said, handing the baby and the shoes to the mother. The beautiful little shoes were a perfect fit. The girl smiled happily and the baby gurgled with pleasure.

“You have been so kind to us,” the girl said, when she got up with her baby to go. “May all your Christmas wishes come true!”

But Papa Panov was beginning to wonder if his very special Christmas wish would come true. Perhaps he had missed his visitor? He looked anxiously up and down the street. There were plenty of people about but they were all faces that he recognized. There were neighbors going to call on their families. They nodded and smiled and wished him Happy Christmas! Or beggars- and Papa Panov hurried indoors to fetch them hot soup and a generous hunk of bread, hurrying out again in case he missed the Important Stranger.

All too soon the winter dusk fell. When Papa Panov next went to the door and strained his eyes, he could no longer make out the passers-by. Most were home and indoors by now anyway. He walked slowly back into his room at last, put up the shutters, and sat down wearily in his armchair.

So it had been just a dream after all. Jesus had not come.

Then all at once he knew that he was no longer alone in the room.

This was not dream for he was wide awake. At first he seemed to see before his eyes the long stream of people who had come to him that day. He saw again the old road sweeper, the young mother and her baby and the beggars he had fed. As they passed, each whispered, “Didn’t you see me, Papa Panov?”

“Who are you?” he called out, bewildered.

Then another voice answered him. It was the voice from his dream- the voice of Jesus.

“I was hungry and you fed me,” he said. “I was naked and you clothed me. I was cold and you warmed me. I came to you today in everyone of those you helped and welcomed.”

Then all was quiet and still. Only the sound of the big clock ticking.

A great peace and happiness seemed to fill the room, overflowing Papa Panov’s heart until he wanted to burst out singing and laughing and dancing with joy.

“So he did come after all!” was all that he said.

 

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“Papa Panov’s Special Christmas” is a story by Leo Tolstoy.

Credit to: AboutEducation

Would you like to feature your Christmas-themed short story on this blog? Kindly send a mail, attaching your short story to haroldwrites.official @ gmail.com . Each day of December, I shall publish a Christmas-themed short-story. You can write on any genre.

 

31 Days of Christmas

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Sometimes, I think I don’t give enough publicity to my blog posts or plans. I don’t know why. Maybe, I am sceptical about coming across as a pest. You know, maybe I don’t want to be that blogger who is always in your face with news about their posts/plans and all…

Anyway, if you like my page on Facebook [www.facebook.com/haroldwrites] , you would have probably seen my plan about publishing one Christmas-themed short story on each day of December. I had requested interested writers to send in their Christmas-themed stories if they would like to feature on the blog. Well, so far, I have a few entries. The plan is to have at least 31 stories. I don’t have that number yet. But I will still go ahead with the plan.

I know a couple of people who have signified interest in sending a story or two, but I am yet to receive their entries. [Hello Aunty Kiru Taye and Seyi and Karo]…. *clears throat* The initial deadline to send in entries was November 20, but I have decided to extend it.

So, are you a fiction writer and would like to share your Christmas-themed story on this blog? Please kindly send it to my email: haroldwrites.official @ gmail. com . Both established and aspiring writers are encouraged to partake in this. You can write on any genre: crime, fantasy, gothic, mystery, realism, romance…as long as it has a Christmas feel to it. Please include a short author bio to your mail as well. My email again is: haroldwrites.official @ gmail.com .

Thank you.

Diary of a Jumoke: Episode IX

This is the ninth episode of Abduwahab’s Olajumoke’s “Diary of a Jumoke”. Kindly do give it a read and let me know what you think of it in the comment section below.

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Two weeks passed and my contract with Dr Bassey ended. He traveled out of the country last weekend after depositing a breathtaking amount of money in my bank account.

I mean five million naira for two weeks of being his side chick! If you ask me, I’ll say that’s good business.

Shade’s birthday was coming up soon and I planned a small party for her. It was the least I could do. The lady was like a sister I never had.

My head was all wrapped up in the birthday preparation that I forgot totally about Chief Ike’s invitation. When I remembered, it was way too late and I figured I had to devise a plan to make it up to him.

The day came and we were all prepared for the celebration. Shade had pestered me into inviting Dapo for the party.

She was hoping he would come with one of his friends or he could hook her up with one of his friends. Shade who was notorious for changing boyfriends like clothes told me she was a changed person and was down for love. Well, every girl deserves a second chance.

It was meant to be a small party, but the number of people who turned up was crazy. Even those people we had not invited came. Even Tega too came and she was acting this “goody” too nice girl to me. That girl’s stupidity is just beyond me.

I decided to wear a casual micro mini grown and a leather pam sleep on. I packed my braids in a ponytail and as usual, I was looking ravishing!

The party was already bubbling and everyone was having fun. Shade was all smiles.

I was busy with a plate of grilled meat when Dapo arrived. I was so into it that I didn’t notice he had been taking pictures of me chewing a mouthful of meat.

I was highly embarrassed when I finally knew what had happened.

“Hello Barbie, enjoying the meat?” he asked with a mocking grin on his face. I swallowed hard.

“Hi Dapo” I replied with a smile, standing up to give him a hug.

He was dressed in a red polo T-shirt, a short knickers and matching snickers. He looked completely dashing. I couldn’t help but stare at his lips. He caught my eyes on him and he winked.

 

***

The party was a blast. I was really tired and my neck was hurting. God knows, I nearly twisted my neck, made silly faces and replicated model like poses all in a bid to take perfect selfies with the celebrant.

It was late in the evening and almost everyone had left except for some of our neighbors and then Dapo. He stayed till the end of the party to keep my company. Thank God I hired a caterer; the whole place was a mess. Shade and I could not have cleaned it up in two weeks.

“I like your shorts” I complimented gesturing towards his khaki short.

I was slightly tipsy – and well, you know what happens when a girl is tipsy.

“I like your gown too”

“You look like a fairy!”

He picked his phone and asked if we could take a picture together. I gladly agreed.

The picture was beautiful and he joked about how my eyebrow looked like a Nike symbol.

At one point during our conversation he held my hand. His hands were warm and I wished he could hold me forever. Suddenly, he drew a bit closer and took my mouth in his (and there goes my kiss!). I was slightly shocked. I wasn’t expecting him to kiss me.

And as quick as he began, he pulled away and mouthed a silent “I am sorry; you are just too beautiful”.

Hian! Which kain I’m sorry? [What kind of sorry is that!?]

I replied by kissing him back. I had always wanted to do that. His lip was just as I had fantasized – soft, sweet and … (I kennat explain)

My hand was under his shirt in no time but we were interrupted when Shade cleared her throat loudly. We pulled away from each other. I could see the flush on his face.

“Sorry for interrupting” Shade teased.

“I just wanted to thank you for showing up Dapo”

“And Jumoke, thank you so much for this party”

“I feel so honored”.

I gave her a tight bear hug and Dapo took a picture of us.

Few minutes later he was in his car ready to go home.

“Take care of yourself Sweetheart”

“See you soon” he said his full blown baritone voice.

I gave him a wide smile and waved as he zoomed off.

I started missing him the moment he left.

“The guy is just a “potential customer”, don’t start catching feelings” I mused, trying to talk myself out of the idea that I was falling for him.

“Lover girl! When did you guys started dating?” Shade asked with a mischievous grin.

“Obashade! Please don’t start with me” I replied and headed straight into my room.

“No one is dating anyone” I added.

“Sha tell him to hook me up with one his friends Shade shouted after me.

I entered my room and crashed on my bed replaying the day’s event in my head. I was still in Disneyland fantasizing about how cute a couple I and Dapo will be when my phone rang.

Chief Ike was at it again.

 

***

Lexicon:

 

*sha – just

Diary of a Jumoke: Episode VIII

This is the eight episode of Abdulwahab Olajumoke’s Diary of a Jumoke. It is quite a short one. Read and let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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I lay sprawled across the bed wearing only a bum short and an alter neck. Arianna was pulling my weave frantically in an effort to style my hair. It was painful, but I allowed her.

The little thing seems to be having fun. From the corner of my eye, I noticed the notification light on my BlackBerry was blinking. I picked it up and saw that a text message had come in.

In my mind I thought it was one of those “If you want to be happy, send 1 to 3205” messages MTN was always sending.

I opened it and saw that it was a credit alert. The amount I saw made me gasp for air. Someone had transferred a whooping sum of 1.5 million naira into my account.

I guessed that was why Mr Ibu (make that Chief Ike) had been calling me nonstop for some hours now. I allowed his calls to ring off the hook. I was not ready to let him engage me in one of his boring tales.

Really, that man can talk for Africa. He promised he would “furnish” my account and he actually “furnished” it to the fullest. He deserved an Oscar.

“Awwwhhhh! Arianna you are going to pull off my scalp. Oya please leave it. Its fine already” I pleaded.

She examined the hair and she seemed pleased with what she had done.

“Lemme go and bring grandma’s mirror” she said in her regular singsong voice and raced out of the room.

I decided to see the mess she left on my head as I fetched my makeup bag and removed a mirror. My reflection made me roar with laughter.

Even the witch of Oz doesn’t have a thing on me.

I had been very close to my daughter these few hours after Noka’s resurfacing from God-knows-where. When I saw him earlier, I felt thousands of unexplainable emotions rushing through me.

My heart was beating so fast I thought it would bust open. All this while and I still felt that way for him. I was furious though. I would rather die than allow him back or even allow him touch my child.

My mother instincts had been resurrected.

I was having a strong urge to go clubbing to get his selfish ass off my mind. No sob stories abeg. Hitting Club 44 was the first item on my to do list.

And come to think about it, I had been considering letting Chief Ike into the honeypot too. That was the best way I could appreciate him for his kind “furnishing” gesture.

And there was Dapo again,

“I really still wanna kiss him” I thought with a mischievous smile on my face.

 

***

“Is she asleep?” I whispered silently.

Arianna had been tailing me since forever and I had to wait until she fell asleep before leaving.

I was sure she would cry her eyes out when she wakes up and discovers that I had left.

“Jumoke wa joko” [Jumoke, have a seat]

“We need to talk about something before you leave” my Mum said.

I sighed loudly. This was one of those reasons why I always shy away from visiting her. Her long talks about life and all could squeeze life out of a living person.

I had no choice this time or else I won’t hear the end of the matter.

“That guy I saw with you the other day…. I didn’t allow her to finish, I knew where the whole issue was going.

“Mummy, Dapo and I barely know each other”

“Please don’t start this marriage talk. Please I interrupted.

I knew my mum; she would never back down. She pretended as if she didn’t hear what I just said and continued.

It doesn’t matter oko mi.”[my dear]

“You people can start from somewhere”

“I can see he is a nice and cultured boy” she continued.

“Okay Mum, I heard you”

I had to agree with her if I wanted the matter to be laid to rest.

And just when I was thinking I had gotten off the hook, she dropped the bombshell.

“I think you should forgive Noka”

“He realized his mistake and came begging”.

I have had enough!

I stood up, picked my bag and gestured that I was ready to go.

Before she could think of composing another speech on how I was supposed to be a responsible woman, I dashed out towards my car and I entered with the speed of light.

“I’ll call you when I get home” I said and zoomed off without waiting for her to reply.

 

*********

“Who is this person that parked in my spot” I yelled angrily to no one in particular.

I arrived at my house and helped myself with the gate only to discover that a black Camry was in my spot and there was no more parking spaces in the compound. I had to leave my car outside.

I rang the doorbell and Shade answered it, only for me to enter the house and find her witch friend Tega sitting on the couch as if she owed the house.

Sitting beside her was Sam, Freddy’s Latino son. The bit*h had brought the child to spite me.

I mouthed an unfriendly hi to her and she reciprocated my unfriendliness by keeping mute.

I’m still gonna bitch slap that silly brat one day.

I dropped my bag and pretended as if I didn’t see the boy.

“Shade, is there food in this house?”

“I am starving” I asked with a yawn.

“Yes babe, check the microwave” she answered.

Without wasting time, I walked briskly to the kitchen to fetch my food.

“Sam really looks like Freddy”

“They have the same nose” Tega said loud enough for me to hear.

“This girl is really foolish” I said to myself.

“His skin is nice too”

 “I hope he doesn’t follow your footstep and bleach in future” I chipped in.

The words hit her like a brick. Bit*h wasn’t expecting it. I gave her an obvious side eye, picked my bag and went straight into my room.

Few minutes later I was dressed in a jumpsuit, ready to hit Club 44. I couldn’t stand the presence of the silly girl for one more minute. She should better be gone when I come back.

 

******

Rukky was in a middle of a lap dance when I got to the club. If I was the man she was entertaining I would be praying fervently that one of her bones should not detach and drill a hole on my face.

I saw a couple of friends and I sat with them, a bottle of booze in hand. I was planning to get high.

I had been dancing for a while and then decided to take a break when I noticed someone was standing behind me.

I turned and there was Noka!!!

There goes my new stalker.

Dennis Agyeman reviews “Don’t Join” by Azubike A. Ahubelem

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Cultism has infested deep into the fabric of our society. It has transcended the era of safe barricades confines of a university campus. Cultism is now everywhere; from political party systems, hoodlums and rich folks alike. Just the mere thought of this sends shiver down my spine.

With a rich narration by Azubike A. Ahubelem in his book: Don’t Join, you are surely going to find yourself in the protagonist shoes. You would feel his pains; you would be in his corruptible world right in your safe environment. You will find out why the protagonist joined Cultism for reasons best known to him.

Don’t Join is an avant-garde piece written in a witty and invigorating style, weaving through a 110 pages from the beginning to the very end. It is not just a book that sheds pain, blood, love, lust and rage. It is also a book that will send your ribs cracking with laughter. Azubike A. Ahubelem could also be a comedian if only he considers that line of career. He did a very good job in blending a gory scene picture with comedy, a cultist prayer and well written poetry of songs.

“We drink in barrels and not in bottles

Lazy Warrior, you drink in bottles

Warriors like to drink gin, but only in barrels

Lazy Warrior, you drink in bottles

Warriors like to drink beer but only in barrels

Lazy Warrior you drink in bottles”

 When you read a rarified yet extraordinary book like Don’t Join, you will have a different view about Death. It is inevitable and it is something that we should embrace now and probably plan towards it. The book adopted a University campus in Nigeria setting which comprised of radical students who believed in social pride, war and death. Even at the face of death, they feared absolutely nothing.

“Tell them how no one could tamper with you because you were my friend; tell them I died a hero and that my spirit dwells in Valhalla, a place where all great warriors go. Tell them that I am brewing [drinking] from Mimir, the fountain of wisdom with the gods.” Then he growled like a wolf, Awoo! Awoo!”

Each chapter in the book is preceded with a foreign quote by renowned people in academia such as Presidents, Nobel laureates, Musicians and etc. all having one thing in common: Art. The quotes were part of the author’s brilliant idea to paint a picture before you even begin a chapter.

“A man has less conscience when in love than in any other condition.” —Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860), German philosopher

The cultist believed in afterlife and they lived a brave life as such so their soul could be captured by a Valkyerie and transported to Valhalla or Hades, a rival eternal place for the weak.

“I woke up sweating, but full of excitement for it has just been confirmed that in death I would be a hero: yes, a fallen hero worthy to be lifted high, riding behind the Valkyries as they fly high on their wings of glory.”

Don’t Join painted an environment of quest for power and competition of ranking system, respect for mankind and pride. You would shed a deeper light into their choice of names, choice of punishment and choice to live in fear.

My favorite quote in the book would be;

“Do not be afraid to kill a man when the need arises, for murder is sacrifice.”

I almost cried when I read these lines…

“May the Valkyeries welcome you and lead you through Odin, father of Thor, great battlefield. May they send your name with love and fury so we might hear it rise from the depth of Valhalla and know that you’ve taken your rightful place at the table of Kings for a great man has fallen, a warrior, a chieftain, a brother, a friend.”

This book is an eye-opener that will enable you experience the nitty-gritty of this filthy environment in all its glory in your comfort zone and leave you with only one ultimate advice, (I am sure you can guess) Don’t Join.

 

Don’t Join is written by Azubike Akin Ahubelem and published by AuthorHouse UK

 

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in |110 pages| ISBN 9781496986962

Softcover | 6 x 9 in |110 pages| ISBN 9781496986972

E-book | ISBN 9781496986986

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

 

 About the Author

Azubike A. Ahubelem has a master’s degree in Information and Communication Technology from Anglia Ruskin University. He currently lives in the United Kingdom with his family. He is inspired by events around him and tries to relate it to topics he writes about. He writes purely fiction but he has been privileged to have his opinion expressed in the Punch Newspaper where his article “Taming the Monster” was published.

Contacts:

Website: http://www.jollyrogueseries.com

Twitter: @DTjoin

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jollyrogueseries

***

Book Review Credit:

This review was first published by Dennis Agyeman.

Link: https://denizutopia.wordpress.com/2014/09/30/book-review-dont-join-by-azubike-a-ahubelem/

Christmas Ideas, anyone?

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So, today is the 1st day of the last 61 days in 2016. In the last couple of weeks, I have been toying (or should I say, battling) with several blog ideas for the month of December. I have a sense of what I should do, but for some reason, the ideas are still fuzzy without any concrete form. Even in my head. I would love to do something special for my blog readers/followers but I am having a tough time deciding what it should be. So I have decided to pour out my thoughts here. I hope you can help me make a decision.

IDEA #1 

I am contemplating publishing a special Christmas series for the 31 days of December.  I want to tag it “31 Days of Christmas”. One post will be published on each day of December. I will not be the author of the 31 posts. I want 31 different bloggers/authors to send in Christmas-themed entries. I think this could be a nice idea. You know, giving my readers something to look forward to on each day of December. I have not decided if I want to go ahead with this. Why? I don’t know if I can get 31 entries before November 30. Like, is it possible to have 31 entries within a short span of time?

PS: You can make this happen. If you have any Christmas-themed short-story you would love me to publish on my blog, you can send me an email with the story attached. My email is haroldwrites.official @ gmail.com

 

IDEA #2

I would love to give freebies (Ebooks, paper backs, cash, gift items etc) to my readers in December. I have not been able to decide what I should give. Do you think this is a great idea? Let me know which freebies you would like in the comment section below.

 

IDEA #3

Organise a hang out with some of my readers. Like, have a kind of meet and greet with my readers/followers. I am here because of you all. I may not be doing this if no one was reading my posts. And I am desirous of meeting as many of my readers as possible. In person, that is. However, the singular reason I have not settled for this idea yet, is because, I am quite a shy person. Lol. Many people who know me in person find this hard to believe, but really, I am that shy guy.

Kinda.

Sometimes, I stay indoors on weekends (even when I am out of groceries and need to do some shopping) because I don’t want my neighbours on the street to see me. A few times I summon courage to actually come out of my flat, I would take a bike to a shop down the street to purchase what I need. Lol. I cant imagine taking a short trek and having every eye fixated on me. Big LOL.

Will you like to meet me in person? If you think I should do this, let me know in the comment section below. I could come out of my shell for you. We could go canopy walking at Lekki Conservative Centre. Or hang out at Elegushi Beach. Or do whatever.

I am serious.

IDEA #4

I have also been contemplating organising a Blogging Workshop for newbies. You may have seen my Facebook ad a few weeks back. Yeah. It is something I would really love to do, but I have been very busy off late. And I am Mr. Shy. A follower of my blog actually sent me a message saying he is willing to pay N10,000.00 for me to take him through the ropes of Blogging. I told him I was willing to teach him for free. Yea. You read that right. After that interaction with him, I thought to myself: why don’t I organise a Blogging Workshop for anyone willing to learn? I am not a guru in Blogging but the little knowledge I have, I am willing to impart it in others. I know there are so many beauticians, interior decorators, social media merchants etc out there who need a blog presence but don’t know how to go about it. I could teach them for free.  But I will need a conducive venue for this.

So, if you can offer a free venue for this purpose or you know anyone who can do this, let me know. I will be willing to go ahead with this plan in December.

 

So…

Those are a few thoughts I have been having for the yuletide month. Which of the above would you love to see me execute?

 

 

Diary of a Jumoke: Episode VII

 

This is the seventh episode of Abdulwahab Olajumoke’s Diary of a Jumoke. b9565334-2a5d-4d71-9f13-c7c36d94dd7e

“Musa,where your Oga?” I inquired.

I was at Freddy’s house. I had called him but he refused to pick up. Even his gate man doesn’t seem to know his whereabouts and the silly guy had been calling me all this while. Now that I needed his help, he was nowhere to be found.

The guy’s sugar daddy game was just decreasing bit by bit.

“E be like say Oga Fred talk say him won go pick madam” his gate man said.

“Madam keh? Who is madam?” I asked a bit confused.

Instead of answering, the gate man just shrugged.

I walked towards his front porch. Even if he had gone to the moon, I was going to sit and wait for him.

The previous day had been a hit actually. Mike made reservations at a Chinese restaurant around town and he made sure we ordered almost all the dishes available. It seems he had planned to stuff me with food. We started with the sweet and sour pork and switched to the Gong Bao chicken and then the Mapu tofu to the Wontons.

I couldn’t even pronounce the name of most of the dishes.

By the time we finished eating, I was feeling as if I had swallowed a whale.

That didn’t stop me from showing my gratitude for the gift he had sent to me though. I pounced on him like a tiger the instant we got into his apartment. Dude wasn’t expecting the move.

I undressed him like a pro, blindfolded him and tied his hands to the bed post. Oga Spartacus was chanting “Ohhhhlaaahlahhh” all through the show down. I showed him the real definition of freaky.

I won’t be here waiting for Freddy if not for the call I received from my mother. She called to inform me of her plan to leave with Arianna later in the evening.

I was surprised when she didn’t ask where I was. Shade must have covered me up. That girl was bae.

I was feeling a bit bad because they were leaving so soon. I could not even spend quality time with my daughter and now that I don’t have a car, how was I supposed to take them back home?

Making them take public transport was not even an option. For that reason, I decided to see Freddy. I wanted my car back already.

I had been sitting in his porch for like two straight hours and just when I was thinking he was never going to show up, his red SUV pulled into the compound.

I didn’t see the woman with him until the car moved closer. Freddy sighted me and I saw the shock that was spreading all over his face.

“What is wrong with this one?” I thought.

The lady with him looked like she was in her late thirties. She was tall, thin and had a model like frame.

She could have passed for Rukky. They were both really thin, except that she was more beautiful. Her cheek bone was on fleek.

And I should also mention that she was a “Latino”.

“This must be the madam Musa was referring to I thought.

A small boy about seven years old was also with the pair. He had Freddy’s face written all over him.

Even before being told, I did the math. The Latino must be Freddy’s wife and the Mini-Latino [Half-caste],his son.

To be honest, I didn’t care one bit. I was just his sugar baby after all. All I wanted was my freaking car.

“Hello Jumoke” he said in a shaky voice as he neared me.

The fool just called me Jumoke! What happened to all those pet names?

Oh I forgot, anty-fresh-Puna-Latino was around. Alaye had to act like a gentleman.

Next thing I knew he faced the Lady and said “Neesha, meet my cousin”

“Jumoke, this is Neesha, my wife”

“And Sam my little simba

 Mayweather’s hammer blow could not have flattened me out like his statement just did. I flashed a cute smile at the lady and she smiled back.

“I’ve been shagging your husband, sister” I thought.

This guy is funny sha. What’s my own with your wife abi the Mufasa son you have?

I was highly irritated.

“Freddy, I need to pick up my car”

“Can you hand over the key” I demanded.

He flashed me a smile full of gratitude. It seemed he wasn’t expecting the calm way I handled the situation. He called Musa to pack some luggage into the house while he led his wife and son in and I waited impatiently outside.

He was back in no time with the key to the Range. He handed the key over to me and to my surprise he also added a cheque of five hundred thousand naira.

I collected the cheque and smiled. I covered the distance between us and gave him a passionate kiss.

“You are not getting off that easily” I said and walked towards the garage to pick my car.

I was actually hoping his wife would catch a view of the kiss.

***

I was home in time to pick up my mum and Ariana. Mike would not be needing my company for a while so I was going to sleep over at my mum’s and then come back home the following day.

I was hoping to spend more time with my daughter. The poor thing doesn’t even know me well enough.

It was late when we arrived at my mum’s and I was too tired to even eat. I just took my bath, engaged my daughter in a conversation for a while and before I knew what was happening I had fallen asleep.

Arianna’s gentle tap was what woke me up the following day.

“Mum, grandma said you should comeshe said in a singsong voice.

I rubbed my eyes sleepily, gave her a kiss on the forehead and headed to the bathroom to brush my teeth. I was hearing voices. It seemed some people were in the house.

“Who could be visiting so early in the morning” I thought as I picked my bathrobe and wore it over my pajamas.

I stepped into the living room and I went into a trance. Standing there was Noka and an elderly lady who I presumed was his mum. I was stunned into silence.

After leaving me for six years he just appeared out of nowhere. Am I supposed to run into his waiting hands or what?

I couldn’t move, so I just stood there looking like a dummy. He moved closer to where I was, with an apologetic look on his face.

He tried to touch me. That was when my anger surfaced.

Without thinking I gave him an epic slap and the look on his face was priceless. I was not satisfied so I gave him another resounding one. I felt so pissed that I wished I could knock out his jaw.

Not knowing what else to do, I turned back and made for my room. Arianna was standing right behind me with a white face. I could swear she was terrified. The little thing had just watched me delivered two hot slaps in quick succession to a guy whom she would soon find out was her Dad.

I carried her, wrapped my hands around her with this “if them born you well, come touch am” [if you’ve got the guts, come for her] face and bolted into my room.

Diary of a Jumoke: Episode VI

This is the 6th Episode of Abdulwahab Olajumoke’s “Diary of a Jumoke”. This episode is a quick read. Read and let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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The look on Shade’s face was priceless when she entered the living room and found Dapo Badejo sitting right there. She had been sleeping when I arrived.

After staring at him for what seems like ages at the door, I finally invited him in and he was sitting comfortably on my favorite couch. I wanted to ask him like a million questions. One of which was how he got to know where I was living. Noka’s issue was laid to rest for a while as the anger I was feeling earlier had dissolved into something I couldn’t understand.

“Dapo, this is my mumI introduced.

I was actually expecting him to do a casual “Good Morning Ma”

But to my surprise, he dropped his phone and did a full Yoruba greeting by prostrating. I couldn’t help but laugh.

Ekaaro Mummy” [Good morning ma] he greeted.

Kaaro oko mi” [Morning my dear] my mum replied with a wide smile and a face that showed she was making up funny ideas.

“I hope she won’t start one of her long marriage lectures later” I thought.

“Jumoke, I’ll be in the room” Mum said and left, giving me and Dapo privacy.

“Erm, how did you locate me” I asked, not knowing what else to say.

“I have a friend living close by”

“And I was visiting”

“I was on my way out when I saw you”

“You were still wearing the same cloth from yesterday, so it wasn’t so hard recognizing you” he pointed with a mischievous grin.

I shifted on my seat. His remark about me still wearing the cloth from yesterday made me slightly uncomfortable. I studied his face from the corner of my eyes. He had a plump round face and I couldn’t help but notice his pink lips. I was fighting the urge to grab and kiss it.

We chatted for a while after he caught me staring at him and I covered up my embarrassment by offering him a glass of fruit juice.

He was fun to talk with and we chatted as though we’ve been friends for a very long time.

“I think I should be on my way now” he said out of the blues.

“I have to be in Abuja by noon” he added.

I gave a curtly nod and smiled nervously. His presence was somehow giving me goose bumps. I didn’t know if it was because of the fact that he was a celebrity or because I was crushing head over heels on him.

I followed him all the way to the gate like a lost puppy.

“What on earth is wrong with you Adejumoke!” I asked myself silently and gave myself a mild knock.

I was really acting out around this guy.

He asked if we could exchange contacts and I gave him my phone number while he did the same.

“See you soon Barbie” he said jovially as he brought his car engine to life and zoomed off.

I found myself fantasizing on how to nail him the next time we meet. His cute pink lip was just too sexy to ignore.

***

The loud buzz of my phone woke me up. I had crashed in Shade’s room immediately Dapo left. I picked the phone to check who was calling but I couldn’t recognize the number. I rubbed my eyes sleepily and I was about to continue my peaceful sleep when the phone rang again.

“Hi, who goes there??” I said into the phone, slightly irritated.

I really hated being disturbed when I sleep.

“Omalicha my pretty baby”

“How are you dear?” the caller asked.

I was lost for a while.

“Who is this alien calling my phone?” I thought.

Then my brain booted and I picked the Igbo accent. I had totally forgotten about this gaped tooth man. Chief Ike or whatever his name was.

But wait, I didn’t remember giving him my contact.

“Hello Chief, good afternoon”

“I hope you are okay?” I asked.

Few seconds passed without him saying a word, he seemed to be struggling with what to say.

“Biko, Ada send me your account number, let me furnish it” he said finally.

I busted out in laughter. Did he just say he wanted to furnish my account??

Is that even English at all??

“I want to make you happy baby” he added.

“I’ll send it very soon Chief. Thanks for the kind gesture”.

“You are always welcomed Omalicha

“Biko keep that face smiling” he replied and the line went dead.

This man should stop calling me these silly Igbo names abegi. I thought I told him my name. If he wanted to furnish my whole life I’ll let him. It is not kuku my money.

Meanwhile, Freddy had been calling me ever since. It seemed he was craving for a delicacy from the honey pot; nothing good comes easy though. I won’t just throw myself at him like a cheap girl. He would have to beg me with something big. A new car would do or maybe a trip out of the country. I yawned lazily and sat up in bed. Mr Ibu or was it Chief Ike had disturbed my journey to dreamland.

I was about stepping into the kitchen when I heard the doorbell.

I walked lazily towards the door and answered it before the bell rang the second time. Standing at the door was Mike’s chauffeur and a lady who I couldn’t recognize.

She was holding the most beautiful evening gown I had ever seen in my life.

“Good day madam. Oga talk say make we deliver this gown to you

Him also talk say make you get ready by 6pm”

“I go come carry you” he said.

I couldn’t help but admire his Warri inspired Pidgin.

“Dude must be from the creeks” I thought while I gestured to the lady to hand over the gown.

I had to think of a way to steal out of the house without my mum’s knowledge. I don’t want her asking questions about where I was going.

 

***

Lexicon:
*abegi – please

*kuku – none

*Omalicha – sweetheart

*Oga – boss