Posts in Books

The Elder from the War

She sat down, half-sliming and taking a sip of a cup of smoothie she had just picked up from the counter. From the corner of his eyes Kevin noticed the attendant at the counter staring at them. He must have thought to himself, “Are they married? Are they ‘committing sin’?” Just then Mr. Koku walked in, staggering. The way he walked one feared for him that he would suddenly fall apart. “He must be ill or something …” Amanda thought to herself. Kevin didn’t see him until he turned around from the counter. He was both shocked and upset. How could he intrude so rudely? Did he need money all the time? Kevin received money in six digits every month so he had no way on understanding that Ten Cedis every week was very difficult to live on particularly when someone was on drugs!

“How may we help you, Sir?” he snapped, giving Mr. Kokou a very hostile stare, straight in the eye. The old man was not a bit perturbed. He let out a little forced cough and softly responded in a cracked voice:

“I am so sorry to disturb you Sir…” He dipped his right hand in his breast pocket and out came a doctor’s prescription for some lung infection. “…I have to by some medicine… you see I used to smoke a lot before so it affected my lungs and created all sort of diseases in my tracheal system. I don’t have anyone to help me… please just Twenty Cedis to buy my medicine…”


Kevin’s first instinct was to ask what had happened to his extended family. How was it possible that he did not have anyone at all to help him? On second thoughts, he felt there was no need inciting another long story about the old man’s life. He needed to spend time with Amanda who was just smiling at the old man. He handed him a Fifty Cedi note and Mr. Kokou thanked him profusely.

“That must be the second time this week you are giving someone something to dismiss them rather than out of Christian compassion!” Amanda said, sipping her smoothie carefully,

“Unless of course you have other beneficiaries…”

Kevin stared at her. She always seemed to get him thinking more seriously about his spirituality.

“You do know he still smokes, right? Probably Indian Hemp!”

“What?”

Amanda laughed aloud. She could not believe the depth of his naivety. 

“The dark lips, bloodshot eyes, desperately agitating for small amounts of cash… he is what you call a junky. Does that make you regret giving him money?”

“Of course!” Kevin snapped, visibly upset.


Amanda laughed again, practically reeling. “You don’t want your money used for unholy purposes? Anyway, I think you just weren’t paying attention the last two encounters you’ve had with him. You might have noticed if not for a certain tall dark lady you were thinking about”

“Naughty you! And I suppose you know the name of that lady, huh?”

Amanda rolled her eyes and pursed her lips. Kevin watched her, strongly attracted to her sassiness. Her boldness in saying her mind. Her brain that matched her beauty.

“On a more serious note, Kevin, I think most people in our churches these days are simply too much into their own selves. I am avoiding using the word selfish but that is just what it is. When I was young, we were Catholics and a lot of emphasis was placed on helping the poor and less privileged. Why should the fact that a junky comes to church to beg for money bother you? Who did Jesus die for?”


Culled from Osimiri & Other Stories

Njànsí

“Your case is not too difficult …” It was Agbako, a renowned witch doctor of Abia, Ohafia. He was aged but physically and spiritually strong. He was speaking to a young couple who had come to seek help from him in order to bear children. They had been married for only a full year but Benjamin Kalu was impatient.

“In fact,” continued Agbako, “It is good news that I have for you. The Oracle says that one of your ancestor Njànsí, the great wizard of Akanu who dined with Ubina-Ukpabi, Amadioha and Kamalu-Ikere; who commanded men, wild beasts and evil spirits…” “… Njànsí wants to return to this world.”

Benjamin and Comfort looked at each other in amazement. “So are we going to have a child?” asked Benjamin “Iroha!” Agbako called the young man by his native name. “My father” answered Benjamin. “Your wife will bear a son, a great son” his eyes were set as he spoke.

Benjamin smiled. His wife must have been happy too but she didn’t show it. This whole idea of coming to a witch doctor didn’t go down well with her. She had been raised in a Christian home. Her father was one of the first elders of their church in Ohafia but she wasn’t firm in her faith. Besides, she was just twenty, she couldn’t but succumb to her husband’s persuasion.

“The oracle says you must call your son no other name but Njànsí. Also, do not forget this: when the child is born, your wife must put the after-birth in a small clay pot and bring it here to me alone”.

Agbako paused for a moment.

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Till Death

I was standing by the staircase at Silverbird Galleria after a movie. Helen and I were gisting about what most 21st century girls gist about in their mid-twenties. I had not noticed Elvis until he got quite close to us. “Mademoiselle …”, he began. I stopped talking and looked at him. Helen cleared her throat and excused herself to take a look at some jewellery nearby.

We had been friends a while and she had gotten used to being completely ignored when men walked up to me. She wasn’t ugly though. In fact, in some environments, she was actually beautiful but standing beside me was, I dare say, like the moon, as beautiful as it is, standing beside the sun. Please forgive me Helen. I love you. Mmuah!

“Monsieur” I responded in the little French I knew wondering whether he would keep speaking French. His French must have been flawless from the way he pronounced Madmoiselle. He was definitely attractive and could have made a fortune just toasting girls for a fee (from the girls themselves). “How was your flight?” “Sorry…” I was actually stammering. Unbelievable. “How was your flight, ma belle dame?”

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Entangled

This book is based on a true story. A story of sin and forgiveness, a story of sonship and slavery, a story of lust and love. A man fails because he has failed to accurately analyze his true strengths and weaknesses. He fails because he has not taken time to be honest with himself.

The filth hidden within his heart is suddenly exposed, embarrassing him, trapping him, enslaving him. He has judged others without first judging himself. He had no idea whatsoever what he was capable of until he was exposed to the right (or wrong) circumstances.


Extract

“Good to see you too…” , Philip responded after a short lag. Zainab leaned back and smiled again. It could have disarmed a Russian soldier. Philip glanced at the yellow handbag dangling from her left arm while looking for something else to focus on asides Zainab’s face. She broke the brief silence.  
“Please come help me with my big box”

“OK” Her hand slithered down his upper arm and back to her hand luggage as they both went back to the ninety-seater luxury bus. It was rowdy. Passengers were clamouring for their luggage while the bus conductors did their best to help maintain sanity. Zainab stayed an inch behind Philip pointing out her huge brown leather bag. It was out in a few minutes after just a little pushing and shoving and both walked side by side out of the park to the busy highway where Philip had parked on the covert. The ride was very chatty. One chatty lady with one responsive man creates a chatty ride in a brand-new city. Much of the conversation was about her experience with the trip and her questions about Ghana.

 
“… I hate sitting for long…” “Thank God you made it then. It’s not a problem for us…” “Us?” “When I was you we used to go home every Christmas like most Igbos. The bus ride is about ten hours…”


Out December 2017