Pandemonium

The night was filled with shouts and cries from McGriffin Hostel. The jock boys were at it again, they were always the ones disturbing the peace of the hostel. Craig opened the door of Room 42 to see other boys rush by in a hurry; they were going to see the jock boys pound one another to a pulp as they provided entertainment for the boys of McGriffin Hostel with their occasional night fights and squabbles. ‘What’s going on this time with those jerks?’ asked Max, Craig’s roommate. The noise generated from the fight happening in one of the rooms below had disrupted their video game. Seated next to Max was Lance who seemed in a hurry to get back to thrashing Max in the game. Laying on one of the beds in the room was the fourth and last roommate, Ryan. He was reading a book and he seemed unperturbed by the noise. He was used to them, the jerks who always felt as though they owned the school. They disturbed the hostel with their loud and deranged music, quarrelled every now and then but were hardly confronted by anyone. The hall wardens never bothered to check in on them as one of them had ended up in the hospital with a broken nose three weeks earlier. He had earned that while trying to separate a fight that had ensued between two jock boys. In addition to the broken nose, he also got two fractured ribs and a battered face. The two miscreants were of course expelled from the school but no one wanted to be a martyr. Everyone just seemed to mind his business whenever the jock boys were around.

Just the other day, some second year students were found beaten and bloody as a result of crossing paths with some jock boys. Earlier that day, some jock boys were beaten by the second year students but later that night, the jock boys retaliated and exacted sweet revenge back on the poor fellows. The beaten boys refused to disclose the people responsible for their predicament but everyone knew the jock boys had their imprints written all over it but still remained mute.

The shouts and cries at the hostel intensified as many onlookers and spectators gathered to see the rascals batter their faces. The occupants of Room 42 however remained in their room. Max and Lance resumed their video game but their minds weren’t in the game anymore; they wanted to go and see the fight down below. It looked like people were gathering but no one was ready to separate them. ‘Who could blame them anyway?’ thought Lance to himself. Craig suddenly stood from his bed saying, ‘I have to go and see this fight, this noise is deafening. Having said that, he walked to the door, opened it and walked out. It wasn’t long before Max and Lance followed suit, dropping their game pads on the floor. They all left the room except for Ryan who seemed rather pre-occupied with his novel in hand.

The crowd surrounding the fighters egged them on, cheering them on as the two jock boys involved in the fight kept battering and ramming into each other. The taller of the two boys held his opponent in a tight neck grip and pummelled the living hell out of his face. The second jock suddenly found the first jock’s foot and twisted it. A sharp cry of pain tore through the night as the first jock went down in a heap. He hurriedly let go of the second jock who instantly landed a swift kick on to the face of the first. Blood erupted out of the face of the first jock as the second jock added two more kicks to his temple. The crowd was now chanting for the defeated jock to get up and continue the fight as his opponent kept delivering blows, punches and kicks. The jock on the floor suddenly rushed and grabbed the second jock by the torso, lifted him up in the air and with a loud cry, threw him on the floor. Loud cheers and whoops emanated from the crowd. Lance and Max were screaming themselves hoarse, congratulating the first jock. Craig stood at a corner watching the whole fight. He wondered what people enjoyed in it though, the fighters could get themselves killed but yet people found pleasure in it. He soon felt that he had seen enough and made his way back to his room. Max and Lance would return when they‘ve had their fill. He got to his room, opened the door and was greeted with a cold dark silence. The lights in the room were off. They had all left Ryan in the room with the lights on. Maybe, Ryan had decided to go to bed and had switched off the lights. He had better turn them on. He groped along the wall, looking for the light switch. ‘Ryan, Ryan’, he called out but he met with no response. Alas, he found the light switch and turned it on. What he saw, he wasn’t prepared for. Ryan laid on his bed, his throat slashed and his face stabbed multiple times. The book he was reading lay on top his chest soaked in his blood. A part of his cheek had been cut off and his nose bashed in. Blood dripped from the bed and pooled all over the floor.

***

“Pandemonium” was written by Onadeko Akinwande, an aspiring writer, biochemist, lover of reading, music and fun. He is also a graduate of Bowen University.

 

***

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A Home for Christmas

31-days-ofchristmas

His little beady eyes scanned the horizon as he watched people pass by. He was standing in the alleyway, pieces of paper and garbage strewn around him. The pile of cluttered papers where he had spent the night before now lay in a disordered clump as he had prowled through them earlier this morning looking for bits and scraps to eat. A distant noise soon brought him running on all four paws of his to a nearby building where he began sniffing about for pieces of bone. Luckily for him, he soon found a half eaten bar of chocolate discarded on the floor. No sooner had he taken a bite than he was kicked at and shooed by a disgruntled man dressed heavily in a wool jacket. He yelped in pain and scampered back to the alleyway from which he had come, tail in between his legs, the chocolate all forgotten. Safely hidden between two Dumpster cans, he began to lick his furry coat as if in consolation. He has had a difficult life, for crying out loud, he was just a puppy. A cool gust of wind blew past making him shudder a little, if the temperature drops by a degree again, he would be dead by midnight. He moaned unhappily at the thought of that. He tried again but to no avail to scout for food. Walking down to the front of the alleyway, he looked at the people going home with happiness written all over their faces. They were all heavily draped in their fur coats and leather boots to think about an abandoned scruffy puppy like him. He shook from the cold as he imagined the warmth provided them by the heavy coats and jackets, shielding them from the onslaught of the chilly wind. They seemed happy and even looked so, their faces registered joy and excitement. He couldn’t tell what it was but he could feel it. Maybe it was the delicious smell wafting from the bakery opposite him but no one ever offered him a bun or maybe it was the sound of happy laughter emanating from the kids as they played happily on the street but none of them ever glanced or smiled at him. No one thought about him, he was just a lost poor dog. Abandoned by his owners few weeks after birth, he had learnt to fend for himself, most times; he had been bullied by larger and stronger dogs. Their menacing faces and bulk always sent him running for safety. Another chilly wind blew across again, even colder than the former. He walked back sadly, thinking to himself that he had better find other pieces of paper to curl himself on, that was if he hadn’t frozen to death by then. Continue reading

Papa Panov’s Special Christmas*

31-days-ofchristmas

 

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.

 

****

“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.

 

Sent To Golgotha

golgothaI struggled to scribble as much of the events my eyes could behold. My hand shook like the waist of a cultural troop dancer. The old village stadium was overcrowded. The village chief, his elders and their wives occupied the front row; all dressed in royal regalia like it was some feast we were celebrating. Well, yes, it was the New Yam Festival, but no one was here to see any tuber or masquerade. Everyone here came to send the wicked on a journey of no return. They were here to witness the public execution of a varsity miscreant who raped and gruesomely murdered a daughter of the soil. And yes, on a venerated festive day.

“May the Lord accept your soul. Amen,” the pot-bellied Priest said and banged his dusty Bible, the expression on his face suggesting the direct opposite of his prayers. It was obvious he wished the convict baked in hell. A hood was placed over the boy’s head, and the thick noose fastened to his neck.

Did he really do what he was convicted for? I thought. Was the Judge unduly pressurised by the village to pass a death penalty on him?

When the case was assigned to me by my Editor, I reluctantly accepted it. My last Crime Report on the country’s first use of electric chair left a sour taste in my mouth that I vowed never to cover death sentences again. I still remember the experience like it was yesterday. It was horrifying.

 

The first jolt of 1900 volts passed through the condemned prisoner’s body. Sparks and flames erupted from the electrode tied to his legs. A large puff of greyish smoke and sparks poured out from under the hood that covered his face. An overpowering stench of burnt flesh and clothing pervaded the room. Later, two doctors examined his body but declared he was not dead. He was administered another doze of electricity. His hood burst in flames, revealing a blackened face. Again the doctors examined him, but declared his heart was still racing. A third charge of electricity was passed through his body. The blackened skin exploded, revealing a bone of skull streaming with blood. The doctor checked the third time and pronounced him dead…

“Aww!!!” the cry of the crowd jolted me out of my thoughts and brought me back to the present. The boy had just been hanged. His head hung askew over of his neck. I could see his eyes had also popped out of their sockets. His tongue hung out as well.

Then a car sped into the arena, causing pandemonium in the crowd. A man ran out of the car, holding a court document in his hand. Ten minutes later, the word spread in the crowd. The court had just ordered a stay of execution. New evidence revealed the wrong person was prosecuted and convicted. The actual criminal – the boy’s twin, had turned himself in to the Police and confessed to the crime.

***

PS: I originally published this story on Naija Stories on November 2010.

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Actus Dei

TGIF, people! Unfortunately, due to reasons beyond my control, I won’t be publishing any episode of Amicus Curiae today. I’ll do that next week. I sincerely apologise to every one who had been looking forward to this. My BBM has been on fire since morning when I broke the news vide my PM.

 

Tolu, Uwah, Daneil, Nkem, Sokoribobo, Ify baby, Mani, Teemee et al, make all of una forgive me, abeg.

 

To calm flaying nerves, I decided to publish a short story instead. Please do give it a read and let me know what you think. Also use the share button too. It’s free, I promise. O se!

 

judgeJustice Aderemi-Ishola Fagbohun of the Lagos State High Court walked sluggishly into his seat. He looked downcast and forlorn. His heart was heavy. Although, today was another Monday, which meant another week of hearing the problems of the world had begun, this was not the primary reason for his unhappiness. His unhappiness lay between the thighs of Lara – his standby call girl, who had denied him a gate-pass into her throne of grace over the weekend because he had refused to furnish consideration for the ceremony. What consideration was this? A million naira.

Lara had requested that he gave her a million naira, but Justice Aderemi-Ishola had blatantly refused to oblige her. He did not consider her worthy of such amount of money. Lara was a cheap call girl whom he once picked along Allen Avenue one faithful Friday evening when the call of nature erected a mountain-of-fire consciousness around his groin as he returned home from Court. Justice Aderemi-Ishola has always had the same problem as the legendary King of Israel – the love for a maiden’s garden. He had battled with this personal demon all his life. However, the demon only seemed to have grown bigger since his elevation to the Bench. So, this faithful Friday evening after a hard day in court, he had a visitation from this demon on his way home.

Lara proved to be the very angel he needed that evening as she quenched his ravaging fire with acrobatic, WWE-esque bed moves. She then lit his ravaging fire, quenched it again, lit it once more and quenched it yet again. All in the space of three hours. Within those three hours, Lara transformed the learned Bench into the monster he had always only dreamt of being with his wife. There and then, Justice Aderemi-Ishola knew that he had found heaven. He knew he had to have her all to himself. Thenceforth, he made it a habit to boost her financial health. Every month end, he always sent her gifts wrapped in beautiful linens, accompanied with a hundred thousand naira worth of cheque. Just a hundred thousand naira worth of cheque. He knew the money was not reflective of his status, but he needed not give Lara any ideas that she could have more.

Last week Thursday, everything was about to change. He got a text from Lara requesting that he upped his monthly sacrifice to a million naira. Justice Aderemi-Ishola knew the game was about to change. But he was not ready just yet. Give in to her demand and she would ask for a hundred million naira the next time. These street ratchets were not loyal.

No. He would not accede to her request. If she wanted to call it quits with him, good riddance to her throne of grace.

Last week Friday, Justice Aderemi-Ishola decided to call Lara’s bluff. So, he dialled her line to book the regular visit, but lo and behold, she did not answer. This had never happened before. Ever. She almost always picked his calls on the first ring, like she was always staying on standby, waiting for him to call. There and then, the Learned Bench knew that the house cat had become a Sambisa tiger.

Justice Aderemi-Ishola dialled her number all through the weekend. She still did not answer. Lara was serious about her threat. This morning however, he got a text from her which read,

Dun u efa in ya lif, call ma line agn. Efa!

Justice Aderemi-Ishola grew goose pimples all over his groin. His man swelled like it would explode. There and then, it dawned on him that, his staff of honour had lost a rare gem of inestimable value. Forever. The sweetest garden he had ever harvested was gone. And this saddened him greatly like his mother had died. He felt as if he was carrying the burden of the world on his shoulders. An unfathomable act of god.

“Call the first case,” he said nonchalantly to the court clerk upon recovering from his reverie.

“Suit No: LD/1427/2013: Oluwayemi Falode and six others and Otunba Rasak Onikoyi.”

It was a land dispute suit. The seven Claimants had sued the village head, Otunba Rasak Onikoyi a.k.a Old Money Never Dies for using touts to trespass over their land.

“Parties?” Justice Aderemi-Ishola asked in low tone. He wished the day was over already.

The parties were absent. None of the seven claimants nor the defendant was in court. Justice Aderemi-Ishola could not have been more irritated by their absence.

“Any appearances?”

The Claimants and Defendant’s counsel announced their appearances.

“Why are your clients not in court?” Justice Aderemi-Ishola asked the claimants’ lawyer.

The lawyer, an old man who looked to have clocked past his “death age” stared at the Judge without an answer. He had no answer. He had no idea why his clients were not in court. He had informed them the previous day of today’s proceedings and they had promised to be available. Now they were not here.

“My Lord,” he said with a shaky, unsteady voice. “My clients are on their way. Just before the court sat, they had called to say they were in traffic…”

“Case struck out,” Justice Aderemi-Ishola interrupted. “Registrar, call the next case.”

“What?” the claimants’ lawyer said in disbelief, unconscious of how loud his voice was. “But My Lord…”

“Counsel, I am done with you. Registrar, next case.”

“Petition No: LD/1111/1997: Mrs Patricia Araromire and Mr. Felix Araromire….”

“No! My Lord,” the Claimants’ lawyer persisted. He could not understand what warranted his case to be struck out. This was a case in which he was handling almost pro bono because his clients could not afford his professional fees. They had only given him a paltry sum to file the processes in court and had agreed to be paying him “appearance fees”. If this case was struck out, his clients would not give him a dime for appearing in court today. He could not let that. “My Lord, you can’t strike out our case…”

“Will counsel address the court properly?” Justice Aderemi-Ishola said, his patience running thin. Lara’s text message had destroyed his day.

“I will address My Lord as I want!”

The whole court was in shock. This was an unprecedented reaction from Counsel in court.

Justice Aderemi-Ishola was not in the mood for any hyperactive Hollywood-wannabe Counsel today. He knew what to do.

“Baba, I will charge you with contempt if you don’t keep quiet,” he warned.

“My Lord, the law is trite….”

Justice Aderemi-Ishola had had enough.

“Musa,” he called at his Police Orderly who sat behind him. “Take this man into the box…”

As Musa approached the elderly lawyer, the learned Bench’s phone which was beside his gavel, buzzed. He had a Whasapp message. He stole a quick glance at the message. It was from Lara. Justice Aderemi-Ishola’s face brightened. Slowly, he moved his hands towards his phone to access the message. Lara had sent him twenty Whatsapp messages. They were all provocatively nude pictures of her.

“Jesus,” Justice Aderemi-Ishola whispered unconsciously as he jerked in his seat. Suddenly, his man started rising gloriously underneath his pants. Gradually, it hardened like the rock of Gibraltar. He felt throngs of electrodes fire through his system as the hair on his back rose in attention.

Another message from Lara came in. It read,

If u want dz, mt me @ Room 400 @ 4 Pointz by Sharatin by 10.00 am

Justice Aderemi-Ishola could not believe his eyes. Was this for real? Was the Queen of Sheba returning to Solomon? Was his gate-pass to the throne of grace returned? Oh! How much he had missed her water melon! Lara was one weird floosie. He loved her little games.

Another message from Lara came in.

Not a 2nd late.

Justice Aderemi-Ishola looked at the clock hanging on the wall of the court room. It was five minutes past nine. He looked at the court room. It was as full as a pack of sardine, with expectant faces of lawyers and their clients.

“Let Baba go,” he said to the Police Orderly who was leading the past-death-age lawyer to the dock.

The audience in court were surprised at the sudden turn of events. What was His Lordship up to?

“The court shall go on recess…..till 12pm,” he said, without offering an explanation. He rose, took a bow and scurried out of the court room. The lawyers were left stunned.

Justice Aderemi-Ishola dispensed with his driver and decided to drive himself instead. He was not sure of what he was doing. He did not care. The only thing he was sure of was that, he had to get into Lara’s throne of grace, else, he could run mad. He would run mad. The last three days had been the most miserable in his life.

He cruised his SUV on Lagos roads as a Formula One driver would and by 09.55am, he was already at Four Points by Sheraton in Victoria Island. He hurried over to the elevator and punched the keys like Mike Tyson, his heart pounding like Usain Bolt rode on it. By the time he got to his floor, he was already sweating profusely like a dejected dog drenched by its abusive owner. He pulled his shirt over his fat body as he ran down the hallway. His protruding tummy jiggled like Miley Cyrus on a “wrecking ball”.

Justice Aderemi-Ishola rushed over to the room with Number “400” inscribed on the door and pushed open the door. By now, he was already lost for breath. He bowed his head, his tongue hanging out as he panted. When he raised his head, his eyes witnessed the last thing in the world he had expected to see:

His wife.

Their three kids.

Lara.

And

His Pastor.

 

***

Let me know what you think. You can follow me on Twitter (click here) and like my Facebook page (click here). Gracias.

Saving Okon

iq-khampha-kenh14--03a-3178aOkon burst into the small room with grave expressions of disappointment and sadness sitting across his little face. Mama Okon and Papa Okon were seated on the old, worn-out sofa in the middle of the room when he came in.

Today was the end of the first term at school when report cards were distributed. Okon had come last but one in a class of fifty two students the previous term. He has always come last but one every term. Mama Okon and Papa Okon had threatened to disown him if he came last but one this term.

When they saw the expressions of sorrow on his face when he burst into the room, they knew it had happened again. Papa Okon slowly rolled the big morsel of fufu in his hand, his mouth agape, as he stared at his unintelligent son.

Okon walked to a seat and sat, unperturbed by the presence of his parents. His big school bag clung to his back like that of a soldier in the battlefield. He kept breathing heavily and bowed his head in defeat.

“What happened this time?” Mama Okon asked reluctantly. She already knew the answer.

“I failed,” Okon whispered in shame. “I failed the challenge.”

Papa Okon slowly got up from his seat and like a predator bidding his time as he awaits his prey in the jungle, he carefully scanned the small room for his belt. He was going to beat the devil of failure out of his son today.

“What do you mean you failed the challenge?” Mama Okon asked.

“Akpanobong, my friend, challenged me to donate N1,500 to him today,” Okon answered. “He said the N1,500 was for charity and if I did not have the money, I would have to bath ice water.”

Mama and Papa Okon looked at their son, confused. What the devil was this blockhead of a child saying?

“Mama, you know how much I hate ice water,” Okon continued. “I have to give Akpanobong the N1,500.”

Nsi nam eyenem?!” Papa Okon barked in Ibibio. “What is wrong with this boy?! What was your position in school my friend?!”

“Papa, I …. I did not fail,” Okon said nonchalantly as he shook his head. “That is not the problem, Papa. I need the N1,500.”

Papa Okon looked startlingly at his son. Was this boy taking him for a joke?

“Okon, so me and you are now mates that you can lie to me about your result in school and then demand money on top?” Papa Okon said. “Nno belt ado,” Papa Okon said to Mama Okon, pointing to his belt which hung by the arm of the sofa. He intermittently twisted and stretched the leather belt as he approached Okon.

Okon tried to reach for his report card as quickly as he could, but it was too late. Avalanches of whips landed on his head, back, arms and every other exposed part of his body.

Sio iceblock ke fridge di!!!!!” Papa Okon screamed at his wife.

Mama Okon returned with bowls of iced blocks. She could not dissuade her husband from beating their son. The boy was simply too stupid academically and needed this kind of treatment to awake his brain. Papa Okon collected the bowls, smashed them into bits and rained the iced blocks on his son.

Ayom N1500? Unam ikot ke ado!” he kept cursing as he flogged his son.

After about fifteen minutes of intense “treatment”, Okon lay on the floor, bleeding and panting for air. By now, he had succeeded in retrieving his report card from his bag. It lay in a pool of his blood. Papa Okon pick up the report card, flapped it and flipped to this term’s column. Okon had come first.

 ***

Let me know what you think. You can follow me on Twitter (click here) and like my Facebook page (click here). Gracias.

#Classic: Kill Me Before I Die*

This is an old post I published sometime in 2012.

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black-man-upsetWhat is the worst thing that could happen to a man? Losing a mega contract? Getting ditched on the eve of your wedding? Being caught in the act?
I think the worst thing that could happen to a man is going to sleep, on the wrong side of the bed. Relax. Don’t get me wrong. Any of the above would pass. But to put things in perspective, if you go to bed with any of them in mind, you definitely would be going to sleep, on the wrong side of the bed. And when you wake up the next day – anything you do, touch or say would be a mess, because you definitely would be waking up on the wrong side of the bed as well.
I recently happened to find myself in that annoying spot – going to bed on the wrong side of it. The night in question was supposed to be a unique one. Sandra, a girl i had been wooing for some time had just got into town and i was determined to give her a treat. The treat – i gave her; i took her shopping; and then we went to the beach; we followed that up with having a walk before we finally rounded up the night at the movies. As i drove her home, we talked about stuffs. Well, she did most of the talking – she kept blushing about the movie we had just seen, the clothes and accessories i bought her earlier in the day, my nice heart, how handsome i still looked….blah blah blah. All the while, i waited patiently for her to get to the part where she would give me her decision on my proposal – was she ready to be my boo? She never did.
We got to her parents’ house, alighted from the car and i walked her to the gate. I was determined not to lose two things that same night – her decision and a good night kiss (at least for a job well done – the treat). So i placed one hand on the wall, using the other to stroke her hair.
“So you are not going to even give me a good night kiss?” I said, trying to act cool even though i was desperate for it.
She smiled and pulled my hand away from her hair.
“Dear, you know i…i can’t do that – atleast, not at this stage. I know we are getting too involved by the day, but i still need some time to figure out what we are getting ourselves into,” she said, looking at me with her dreary, innocent eyes.
The atmosphere was becoming tense and i needed to diffuse it.
“I know why you can’t kiss me,” I said.
Surprised, she asked “Why?”
I made for her ear and whispered, “Because your dad is a Pastor?”
She burst out laughing.
“Ah ah, no nah,” she said. “My dad is a Pastor quite alright and yes, he would kill me if he knew a boy brought me home – but no, he is not the reason i won’t kiss you….”
We both laughed at my joke and i kept teasing her – even begging her, hoping she would let her guards down. I really needed that kiss. The teasing and begging continued for another twenty minutes. I had got her in the position i wanted. Her back was against the gate as she faced me; my left hand was on the wall while my right hand continually made for her hair.
I was getting there. She was beginning to trip – even though she claimed she didn’t like what we were about doing. Our lips were getting closer. And then, i heard a clang at the gate as it swung open.
The silhouette of a big man occupied the gate entrance. Sandra immediately swung around.
“Dad?” she gasped.
An avalanche of ice immediately trickled down my spine and my legs started trembling terribly. I searched for composure but lo and behold, it was as far away from me as the heavens is from the earth. My mouth immediately grew dry as i searched for words; my heart pounded like it would tear out.
Then i heard the man bark, “Sandy, whether you kiss him or not is your problem! Just tell this…this…this son of man to get his hands off my intercom! We all have been listening to you two in the parlour! My pastors, elders, deacons, ushers, choristers…everyone! Fulfil your immoral act and make your presence available!”
Without saying a word to me, her dad slammed the gate and stormed away. I stood, deep-rooted to the ground, hoping it would just open and swallow me up. But how impossible – and stupid was my wish! Now, there was no chance I was going to get that kiss anymore and worse still, I may have put the girl i cared about in some deep shit. I knew i was going to bed on the wrong side of it – and i knew the next day would be hell.

*Fiction. Adapted from a joke.

 

Photo credit: Single Black Male

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