“If your name is written on a piece of paper with red ink and burnt, you will die,” said Kashubi, a short, bald man dressed in all white. He appeared to be in his early thirties. His audience, also wearing white t-shirts and shorts, considered his statement for a second then cackled unrestrainedly. Kashubi chuckled after the four of them, revelling in their pleasure, having been the cause of it. Ebi, while laughing, rested his left chin on the table around which they were sitting, and pounded it mildly with his right fist; Justus was neck arched backwards, eyes closed and mouth opened – this deepened the tone of his laughter; Terlumun was in distress – he did not fancy spewing the beer that was trapped in his mouth when his amusement began without warning; he couldn’t swallow it either and Ademola clutched his chest with his right hand, because he was doing more coughing than laughing. They were all drunk, and it showed.
Continue reading “Cometh the Girl”
FACING MY MIRROR
I look at you and hate me
you give me reasons to
you don’t appreciate me
why do I keep seeing you?
how do you say so much;
in so little time?
some names you call me
bring tears that never dry
long hours; huge money
gone down the drain,
what haven’t I done to please you?
you always have a complain
my number one critic
I hope you understand
you can’t control me any more
I’ve chosen to take me as I am.
Everyone has problems; including ten-year olds like me. My problem, that rainy Sunday afternoon in 1997, was separating those filthy beans from my precious rice. Sometimes I wonder why God created some things; things like beans, mosquitoes and flies – they are good for nothing, if you ask me.
Even though mama was well aware that beans and I don’t mix, she, for some reason, could not get enough of them. If it was not beans and rice, it was yam and beans or beans and fried plantain. As my mum got more creative with new ways to prepare beans, I got better at my skill of separating them from whatever combination she came up with. On the days she cooked beans pottage or beans soup, I’d be stranded and father, when he was around, would provide an alternative meal for me (which usually riled my mum) but when he was not, I would starve till the next meal.
Little boys are usually cats and mouse with their sisters; I had two brothers (one elder; one younger) and no sister. However, I wouldn’t say my mum took the place of my sister in my life, as regards the cat and mouse thing but she and I – we knew how to get on each other’s last nerve without much effort. It was her nerve that was on the receiving end that Sunday in August.
“Get out of Continue reading “First Class Boarder”
I got a thick skin
too thick for criticisms
I hear you, but never listen
this is me at my pretentious best
your friends hate me; they say I’m frugal
you heed them not as usual
still do I want their approval? Continue reading “Action Words”
Not long after you had finished sucking and masticating a few of the oranges Anjikwi, your nephew, bought for you, had you gotten in the mood for number two, for the first time in three days. But, as if on cue, the uncoordinated applause of the distant gunshots erupted as soon as you settled in the toilet seat. Those ominous sounds then cued up an instant commotion – fathers shouting a myriad of instructions, motorcycles revving, several pairs of feet scurrying incessantly, remote screaming and wailing from women and frightened children. You knew it was only a matter of time before the whole village was devoid of villagers, yet you were unmoved.
The water closet your son, Yamta, erected behind the family house last year, was much more comfortable than the pit latrine you were familiar with. But that was not the reason why you remained seated in the midst of the ruckus. It was because Kwajaffa was your home and you didn’t see the sense in abandoning it, besides, an 87 year old woman with a snail foot for legs, would only embarrass herself trying to race Continue reading “Snail Foot”
I’ve never seen one before, except in the movies. So, yesterday evening, when my best friend, Martha, confessed to being a witch, I was confused because she really doesn’t look as scary as the ones that fly across the flat screen T.V aunty Uduak sent us from Uyo, last month. I tried to point this out to my mother but she wouldn’t listen, “you’re only seven years old, Idara; you’ll understand when you get older,” she had told me.
Perhaps this was all my fault. I should have listened to Martha yesterday afternoon,
Continue reading “The Mannequin”