Monday Morning Blues

Obi woke up on that Monday morning feeling excited. He sang through his shower. He has always taken time on his appearance and this morning was no different. By the time he finished, his grey suit was crisp and the morning sun bounced off his polished shoe.

It took him twenty five minutes to get to work only to realise that his office identity card was missing. He ruffled through his suit pockets and trousers, yet he could not find it. Christ! Even the drawer keys. He smiled at the security desk and then hurried off to his car.

Obi have driven for twenty minutes before he remembered that his office need to be told he will be late. He knew the office rule and has never for once been a rebel. He made a call to his line manager, who as Obi imagined, sounded unusually cold.

Ten minutes later, Obi have joined the long traffic jam leading to his office. ‘It isn’t your day son’, a voice said in his head.

Obi smiled.

When he finally made his way back to the office that morning, it was ten past eleven. ‘Hey, Obi. I have been looking for you.’ He turned and it was Diane, a ginger haired woman in her late thirties. Obi has known her for some years now in the office but was not sure what her position is. ‘Please come this way’, she said.

Obi followed behind her as she led the way to the conference room. There were already eight people waiting in the room.

Obi’s heart skipped a beat or two.

He helped himself to a glass of water in front of him as soon as he was offered a seat.

‘Morning, every one. This should be brief.’ Diane began. ‘Obi, did you receive the invitation concerning this meeting?’ Diane began. ‘No, not to my knowledge’ Obi said with parched lips.

She passed him a two paged document and a big relief suddenly enveloped Obi as he read through. He was being removed as Union Assistant Secretary due to non-participation in union activities since he wash nominated.

Obi smiled.

‘Do you have anything to say, Obi?’

Obi shook his head. ‘Nothing and if you don’t mind, I will really need to get back to my desk. ‘

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Ezeego

You have to make noise. How will they know if you didn’t tell them. No, you don’t have to strain your voice like the town crier. You will let your money do the talking. Yea, money talks, nnaa. So if you have not ‘made’ it. Please, stop reading now. This is rated 18 and isn’t for you. Onye na enwero ego bu umu azi.

So now you have made it. You got to look for a car that befits your status. I know there might be nothing left in your bank account when you have bought the car but that is not the issue here or is it?

How Good Igbo boys marry

You hanged out with the boys from high school to university. From classroom to football field. You listened to several stories filled with bawdy laughter about your mates’ escapades with girls from neighbouring schools. The love letters written in scented pad. ‘…the only sugar in my tea’. ‘…the only cockroach in my cupboard’. And all the other magic phrases coined by the Romeos of the days. But you are a good boy. That’s not what good boys do.

Truth of course, is that you liked girls. You know you did, the day you wrestled with Enebong, the daughter of your mum’s best friend. You knew you should have stopped touching but she laughed so hard that you were glad you was responsible for her happiness. It thrilled you and your fingers went places. But mum and dad didn’t have to know. You were after all a good boy. You were punctual at all the evening mass and served diligently as an altar boy. you could sing all the missal while in the bath to the approval of your parents. You were a good boy.

All those years have passed but you can still hear the voice of your dad, the law giver. ‘Women are bad’.(You are pretty sure that didn’t include your mother and sisters). ‘Don’t worry when you finished school and get a good job, we will get you a good woman.’

So you finished University and got your dream job. But there was something they didn’t teach you. Something you needed to learn by yourself.But it doesn’t matter now or does it? All you need do now is find yourself a wife. You are a good Igbo boy. So you told your parents of your hunt and they joined the party. Pictures went back and forth. Awkward meetings filled with pretend conversations nobody was actually paying attention to. Boxes are ticked. 4/10, 6/10. Failed. Passed.You didn’t have to know much about the girl. Good references will suffice. You start a relationship on a promise of marriage. No going back as hearts will break and faces will be lost. So you nervously match to the altar to the approval of everyone but self. One month down the line, you wished you had another chance.

For Ikem Ebenihe

I heard the marauder knocked,
stealing the very air you breath.
Did the coward sneak by side
no doubt awed by your size ?
never was a lie heard from those lips
nor a face drained from warm cue.
You of bawdy humour and bridled temper.
I heard the earth bled and heavens blissed.

Good Night, My Brother.

Miracle at Lagos Airport

Miracle at Lagos Airport

Her brown teeth shone as I approached. I dragged my bag on top of the desk in front of her.

‘broda, well done o, wetin you bring for us’

Her boldness offended me but I was pretty aware of where I was. Babangida may no longer be president but his legacy lives on, twenty years after. Who will ever forget ‘government of you chop, I chop’? Such a big hero, they named a university in Minna, after him.

I surveyed my panel of searchers. Two uniformed men and two women in civilian clothes. They looked dour and bored. It appears to be a particularly quiet evening for them. The lady of brown teeth seemed better fed and more rambunctious than the rest. She reminded me of another national hero, Aunty Peshe.

‘broda, I no want make dem open your bag. You be gentleman.’ I smiled at her craft. She seemed so nice in a bad way.

‘Aunty, I don’t actually mind opening my bag’. I said as I unzipped my bag.

‘You mean you no fit give us something’. Said Aunty Peshe.

I looked into my wallet, wastefully. I did not need to look as I have given the last naira note to the friend that brought me to the airport. But a single twenty pound stuck out and I quickly pushed it back in. Did she see that?

‘I don’t have any naira left, aunty’

‘If you give me naira I no go even collect.’ She spat out, face contorting.

‘Give us dollar. Na only una sabi chop am’. Said one of the uniformed men; a tall lanky fellow.

‘Okay make we do our work’. He continued.

I wasn’t sure how it is such a bad thing if a civil servant decides to do a job he is paid to do until this fellow started.

He rummaged through my bag so swift that I had to warn him of fish bones that might cut him.

‘So you get dry fish for this bag? He queried rudely. ‘Where is your quarantine certificate?

‘Quarantine? Have you looked at the sign here? I said, pointing at the ‘departure’ sign.’ I think you are at the wrong side of the building if you are controlling food coming into Lagos’.

Yours sincerely is fed up at this point. So I locked my bag and went to airline manager to notify that my baggage arrived check in on time. Turns out, he has been there all the time, watching the drama.

‘Just settle them and get your bag. You know our people’. I smiled at him and went into good bye calls, inadvertently rattling some people.

‘Oga, na your bag’. I turned and it was the tall lanky fellow. I let him preach to me for two minutes on why I needed a certificate to export a whole 5kg of fish but thanks to the benevolence of this all powerful Nigerian civil servant, I didn’t have to bother on this occasion.

Well I finally checked in my bag. Alleluia! If you think anything is easy, you have not been to Naija. So I went to the airline manager to testify what the good Lord has done for me.

‘Oh, they don release am. That’s good. Anything for me?

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