Hi hi hi 🙂 Yes I missed you more, thank you.
Flavour’s ‘Golibe’ and Solid Star’s ‘Oluchi’ were on repeat on both my phone and laptop through the entire holidays. If you know wassup that should hint you on the state of my heart affairs. And you – yes, you – are a major reason for that joy. For reading, liking, sharing, and commenting on my posts as epileptic as they were, I couldn’t possible thank you enough. An entire epistle could be written but it still wouldn’t adequately capture how thankful I am. So I’ll keep doing this – writing – and hope you outdo yourself in reading, liking, commenting on and sharing my posts going forward.
This year, our WAW experience shoots off with this short piece which both is and is not a personal experience. There’s a lesson buried somewhere in it and I hope you find it. ‘The Lectern’ continues tomorrow for the fifth month running, and standing at the lectern will be Emma Akaeze, an especially gifted young man who I am honoured to say, is a good friend and brother. You want to read what Emma has to write, I assure you.
In this week too, we’ll be starting off on a short series with Uche Anichebe, you know the sweet lawyer babe from here. What do you know, turns out she writes fiction too, very good fiction. I have struggled to find the words to qualify that story, but all I can come up with is this: it is a story that could only have been so told by a female, a deep feeling female.
You dey feel my ginger this new year abi? 🙂 See ehn, even if this my IGG (initial gragra) will eventually fizzle out mid-year, make we start first. At all at all na im be winch.
And on that note, I present the first WAW post for 2015 – PQ.
Enjoy, like, share and don’t forget to let me know what you think in the comments section. Fantastic new year ahead!
It’s weird how you always wake just before your alarm starts to beep. Every morning. This one is no different. As you disentangle your frame from the sheets, you wonder – like you do every morning – why you ever bought the damn thing. You’re done bathing in ten minutes, dressed in another ten and out the door in five; breakfast became history since NYSC days.
She is right there when you turn the corner. Today, her skirt is a ‘glowing’ white; its wooly shroud hangs on by a bare string woven through its waistline, and it billows around her, grabbing at her stockinged ankles again and again, like williwilli. Her blouse is a different shade of white – more cream than white really – and it hangs on her scrawny frame like every other piece of clothing you have seen her wear, loose and wrinkled.
PQ is what everyone calls her – Prophet Queen – and she is bellowing into the ‘microphone’ held in one hand.
“Sinners! Sinners all of you! Bad people. Maaad people.” She spits. “You better go home now. Go back home and pray for yourself. Pray for your mother too, she brought you into this evil place!”
You remember that you didn’t say your morning prayers. Well you heard PQ, go home and pray. You chuckle to yourself, but very carefully so that there is no sign of amusement on your face. Right after she lambasted a neighbor who had dared, by reeling out yards and yards of his private stories for everyone to hear, the whole estate had learnt never to laugh when PQ was ‘ministering’.
Meanwhile PQ continues: “Lamentations Chapter two to six, I am the Lord, your God…think not what I can do for you; think what you can do for me”
Then she made that whining sound that always preceded a pirouette, and that in turn always preceded a series of jerks which apparently was the Almighty leaving her body. But only for a while, she would quickly remind everybody.
“It is me Queen,” she announces her return to her body, “Queen of the ghost! And you have heard my words of extortion.”
Somebody really needed to tell her, you think, that it’s exhorta- not extor-, and coast not ghost, and that most importantly, it was bad for business to be queen of the coast in these environs. But who would tell? Certainly not you.
“Look at you people,” she is still yelling into the dead piece of wood that is her mouthpiece. “Where do you think you are going? Is it not the same work you went to yesterday? And day before yesterday? And day before day before yesterday?”
She lets out a raucous laughter. “Stop fooling yourself! Let me tell you, you are rushing to hell. Hell fayyaaaaaa! So better come here and confess your sins.”
She moves a few steps backwards, and perches her bum on the stump of what used to be a street lamp. Then she waits.
People are passing by, a lot of them still in a hurry, pretending she isn’t there. But PQ doesn’t mind; from her throne of mercy she has raised her staff in the air. Her lips are moving at rapid-fire speed, the words inaudible. Her staff repeatedly slashes the air, bestowing signs of the cross upon every passerby.
You stop and drop a crinkly hundred naira note into the bag that is open in front of her station. You have always wanted to do that but you never have change to spare in the mornings. You are glad you have spare change today because besides pebbles and some other oddities, yours is the bag’s only content. PQ acknowledges you with a sign of the cross and moves on to the next rushing passerby.
You are hurt. You alone after all stopped to give her money; surely she could have done more than one cross? An extra sign of the cross maybe, or a nod, or even a special word of benediction can’t be too much to ask?
You want to bend and retrieve your money, but you advice yourself appropriately on second thoughts. The vex never reach to enter craze. Onye ara, you curse under your breath as you shuffle away. Mad woman.
You are nearly past the estate gate when the words of her inaudible incantations flow, carried by the winds, into your ears. She says them over and over again;
There are two black birds
Sitting on the wall
One named Tunde, one named Paul
Fly away Tunde, fly away Paul
Come back Tunde, come back Paul
Oh come back birds and sit on the wall…
A smile splits your face in two as you step up to the road and hail a keke.
Your name is Tunde.