The Second Quadrannium of Gambrach: End SCARS

The Passion of the Christ Revisited 15 Years Later – /Film

In the land of Jirriah, where King Gambrach reigned over the 37 Kingdoms, from the Iron Throne of Boo Jar, there was a division of the King’s Constabulary known as SCARS.

SCARS was an acronym and lo, it stood for Subhuman Constables Against Robbing Sitizens. Yea, it should have been SCARC, as ye well know that ‘citizens’ is spelt with a C. But the King who inaugurated this unelite unit did so in a time of scarcity and did not want to give his detractors the opportunity to say he created both SCARC and scarcity. Yea, was he a cerebral king. But we digress.

SCARS was created as the arm of the constabulary that would defend the people of Jirriah against robbers and bandits. The constables who filled its ranks were those who failed the Humanity and Empathy modules at Constabulary College – by design, so they could deal ruthlessly with the menace of crime. And gaddem, how it backfired!

You see, lacking in Humanity and Empathy, the SCARS commanding elite quickly came to the conclusion that the best way to save the Jirrians from the scourge of robbers and bandits was to rob the people themselves, before the robbers. They called it the Hammer for Headaches Strategy.

Thus it was that SCARS began to relieve the people of their wages, their dignity, their virtue and their blood. The people rechristened them the Subhuman Constables Against Revelling Sitizens for behold, all one had to do was look like one was enjoying life a little too much and he would fall into their trap. And if he did not have the means to satisfy their vampirous thirst, it was quite possible that, like in the ancient times of the slavedealers, such a person would never be heard from again.

Time and again, the people cried out to Gambrach and the Nassholes, “deliver us from SCARS!” but the Many Years’ Disease meant Gambrach heard them not and the Nassholes gave no gaddem, for they hired the SCARS as their personal bodyguards. If the wailing was loud enough, the Head of the Constabulary would re-call the SCARS from the highways, that the people might have respite for a few days, but in no time they would be back again. Thus it was that on three occasions, Bashally, one of the King’s Spining Quills, announced to the people, “thy King has heard thee despite the Many Years, and the SCARS shall trouble thee no more.” But it was an ofege.

Finally, in the second year of the second quadrannium of Gambrach, the Neests of Phemmi rose with a loud cry, declaring “It is enough! SCARS is scarring our lives, our pscyhes and beings. No more SCARS, no more scars. End SCARS!” And the cry rang throughout the 37 kingdoms, from Ekonnos, to Canodonia, to Ekitilopia, to Oshunlonica all demanding an end to SCARS.

Yea, they sent word and shekels to the Neests of Phemmi saying, “do with our coin what ye must, that we be saved from a life of SCARS!” From all over Jirriah, the shekels poured in, even from Jirrians in the dayasporata. And with the coin, Queen Effle Kay and her fellow Neests bequeathed succour, refreshments, security, repair and morale upon the crowds of people demanding full and final reprieve from SCARS.

Mefilius, warden of the Iron Bank of Boo Jar saw it and was greatly troubled. Gambrach summoned him on the fifth day, asking “How have the Neests of Phemmi amassed so much shekelage in such a short time?”

“Your Majesty,” replied Mefilius, “it seems to be the work of the Social Medianites and the Digital Perusites; feeling cool with themselves, communicating and coordinating like a government. If not that it were completely legal, it would be high treason!”

“Can the inflows not be blocked?”

“Majesty, I am thy intellectual slave but bankers never reject money deposits. This is not like geographical borders, O King.”

“Okay, how about withdrawals then? Money that cannot be withdrawn cannot be spent,” countered Gambrach, slightly irritated.

“Now that is a most excellent idea, Great King. I shall throttle them.” Lo did Mefilius give the order to all the Copper Banks (Garantease, Zany, Hack Sex and all the other copper banks) to encumber the Neests of Phemmi.

The King of Twilistia, Samurai Jax, saw all that was going on in Jirriah and it gave him a constipation most severe. Wherefore he sent for his Twilistian meisters to engineer a solution for the Jirrians. And thus it was that the walls of Twilistia collapsed for half a dozen hours and none was able to send word to another. And there was no gaddem chill in the land.

But then the walls were rebuilt and Twilistia stood again and with this came the revelation that King Samurai Jax had blessed the Neests with verificato certificato and appointed a sigil unto the tagging of hashes for the ending of SCARS. Behold, the agitation took off with renewed vim and vigour and lo, was the cry heard across all the four corners of the earth, “End SCARS” and “halt Constabulary capriciousness”.

The Head of the Constabulary squirmed as he saw the rising tempers. “My King, permit me to inform the people that we have proscribed SCARS, taken them off the King’s highways and replaced them with an all new unit called SCRAPS – the Subhuman Constables Really Against Plundered Sitizens.”

“This is a great idea!” declared Gambrach. “Give them SCRAPS!”

The people heard it and maigheeeeurd, THERE WAS NOT A SINGLE GADDEM CHILL IN ALL THE LAND!

to be continued sigange

All in One Place:The Limericks of November

The Victorious Golden Eaglets

GEJ’s brought the rub of the green

The best footie days since my teens

MRIs or not

Three great goals, One shot

Our sorrows, tonight, they are lean

 

The Sacked, Unambitious $1m Ghanaian Minister

Ghana must go, so they went

And the last three decades have been spent

In doing stuff right

And fighting the fight

Of not letting government be bent.

 

Please stop referencing Ghana

And all Dramani’s Drama

While you eulogise

Our government denies

Being a republic of banana

 

Stella “Escapes”  Attack #Stellagate

She purchased those cars, not in jest

And also a bulletproof vest

The House’s report

Is just writing sport

Now sympathy trumps an arrest

 

Turned out the Beamer’s weren’t costly

And we were outraged unjustly

To questions about

Corruptional doubt

Our Prez has replied “robustly”

 

Birthday Blues

Twas Ol’Goody’s day yesterday

50yrs Oswald popped JFK

From school with no shoes

To buckets of booze

No surprise he was poorly today.

 

Christopher Kolade Resigned

Hear Chrissy has chosen to leave

Untainted, he’d have us believe

But all that is sure

SURE-P wasn’t more

Than an ace up ol’GEJs sleeve.

 

ASUU Wants Strike Pay

Did nothing for four months and one

It seemed like the striking was done

But they want to show

Much more than we know

The pen is a BROS to the gun.

AMEBOR TALES FROM THE MATERNITY WARD

So, Mrs Tex recently had a baby. Habemus nueva Texina  – dodgy Latin for we have a new Texina. After delivery, we were moved into a recovery ward. 6 women in the room, with their baby-daddies (“partners” is the politically correct term in England) and frequently wailing babies, each couple with its unique story, from my perspective, at any rate.

The couple beside us on the first day (we were there for 48 hours or so), appeared to be a (British?) man of Arabic descent and a woman who sounded eastern-European. They stood out, not because I am xenophobic, but because I noticed after a while that they were communicating in heavily accented English, like in Maria de Los Angeles or one of those Hollywood movies set in Germany, in which all the officers of the Reich speak in a thick German accent, the thickness being directly proportional to the proximity of the officer from the Fuhrer. The other foreign couples only spoke English to the nurses. It was for this reason that I noticed them and started paying attention to their conversations. Their most remarkable exchange was when he asked her, for the umpteenth time apparently, “Are you alright?” She retorted angrily in her thick accent “Every time you ask if I alright!! What you want me to say??? Ugh!” And then she walked out and left him with the baby for a bit.

Then there was the Yoruba couple, like us, across from us. Except that the just-delivered mum wasn’t too happy with her partner. How could I tell? Well, she had this very loud conversation on the phone, in Yoruba, complaining bitterly. Husband’s name has the same intonation as Rotimi, Kayode, Bidemi. Shall we call him Deremi? Conversation and a contextual translation for non-speakers of Yoruba are provided below.

E wo, inu mi o dun si Deremi joo. O ti lose  spark e as a husband. Look, Deremi’s bloody pissing me off right now. Carries on like he has no clue about being a husband anymore.
Ko ki n ba mi se anything mo. Ko ti e ki n help mi rara. The man does nothing to help me around the house. Nothing!
Shebi bi mo se n s’ise l’oun naa n s’ise. Meanwhile, ko ni fun mi l’owo anything. We both work, don’t we? Yet he doesn’t give me a bleeding penny.
Maa lo si’bise, maa s’obe fun’le, maa we f’awon omo then, to ba d’ale, a wa ni ki n lie down s’ori bed I go to work, come back and cook, bathe the kids  and then at night the plonker wants a shag…

Yeah, very colourful. Moving on now to the most interesting couple we shared the ward with. I shall use their real names because they sounded middle-class (why then were they in a public hospital?) and the chances that they’ll read this blog post (it’s not from the Economist or Horse & Hound) by an inconsequential African are slim. So, meet Matthew and Alice of posh street, South Kensington.

Matthew and Alice had twin girls, who we shall call Bethany and Margaret. Having Matthew and Alice in the next cubicle was  like being next to Boris Johnson and Lady Thatcher. Strong, affirmative, cultured language and, to my constant amusement, the most officious (almost pretentious) manner of speaking to each other. When they arrived (they took over from the Arab/Romanian couple), they came in congratulating each other.

“I do say, Alice, that was quite a stunning, five-star performance, you having the twins. Well, done!”

“No Matthew, indeed, it is you who are the star of the show, with your unwavering support for me these past months.”

 

Ho, Hum, La, Dee, Da. Then they settled in and Matthew picked up Bethany, who apparently was already his favourite, as he never really mentioned or spoke to Margaret. “I simply adore you Bethany, you precious little sausage, you. A priceless sausage you are!” And then he proceeded to call her a sausage for the next hour. Lovely sausage this, pretty sausage that, Ho, Hum, La, Dee, Da.

Eventually, Matthew’s upper-crustedness kicked in and, unlike us plebs and foreigners, he wouldn’t spend the night on a hospital chair beside his wife. “I feel awful at leaving,” he said, “but I don’t think I really could stay, could I? I’ll be back first thing in the morning. A million thanks again for being such a smashing champion.”

“No Matthew”, she replied, “I would like to reiterate my appreciation of your care and attention. You’ve been wonderful.”

I swear she said reiterate. To her husband. Reiterate. Ho, Hum, La, Dee, Da.

When he arrived the next morning, she said “I’m afraid I’ll have to put you on nappy duty straightaway.”

“Grrrrrrreat! I thought so. Ah, Bethany’s done a poo. A super poo! She’s a super pooper. Super pooper, super pooper.”

Later, the doctors gave the twins their first physical exam, after which Alice informed Matthew “The twins have passed their first tests with flying colours!”

“O!M!G! Smashing!!!” said Matthew. I saw him do the running man, in my mind’s eye.

Alas, we were discharged and saw no more of the diamonds in the rough. I could probably do 500 more words on Matthew and Alice.

The Convention

*This piece is a work of fiction and the ribbing is intended to be in good humour.*

 

This story cannot begin without me telling how I got into the business; how I became a surgeon of destinies. Well, I am only in my first year or practice, so perhaps I’m still a resident or trainee surgeon but well on the way to being a consultant. Forgive the medical metaphors, I probably watch a little too much Grey’s Anatomy in my ever-shrinking windows of spare time. I’ve become much busier these days. And I digress.

One Sunday, at Church, rather than have a conventional sermon, the preacher invited a motivational speaker to talk to us about fixing all aspects of our lives, especially our marriages and careers and getting everything back on track. I was spellbound. I had just lost my job in the aftermath of the bursting of the banking sector bubble and had been trying to figure out the next phase of my life. After I heard the man who would later become my mentor speak, I knew what I wanted to do. I made sure I met the speaker after the sermon and spent the next 3 weeks begging him to let me be his personal assistant. I was well-educated enough and I was willing to work for absolutely nothing. Soon enough, I was taught the basics of the trade.

“First of all”, he said, “you have to dress and sound like the archetypical dream husband. You must be immaculately groomed. Low haircut, chiselled hairline, bespoke suits and a high-sounding but not too evangelical lilt to your voice.”

So I invested some of my bank severance money in 2 expensive suits, a killer pair of black leather shoes (the plan was to expand my shoe options once I got onto the speaking circuit), and cufflinks. My banker’s shirts had always been well cut, so no problem there.

“Next”, he said, “you must develop the ability to make the most mundane things sound unbelievably profound. The simpler the concept ostensibly sounds, the more profundity you can inject into it. Especially, most especially, if you rhyme.”

“Rhyme?” I asked. “Oh yes”, he replied, “to make it in the big time, you gotta learn to rhyme a rhyme.”

Fast learner that I am, I retorted, “You mean to win the bingo, I have to learn the lingo?”

“Precisely”, he said, laughing heartily. “You’re catching on very quickly.”

“What else must I learn in order to earn?” I asked eagerly.

“Calm down now”, he cautioned, “a gig isn’t a day at the crèche. Not too much rhyming. Remember, profound. There’s a thin line between profound and cheesy. A great Life Coach never crosses that line. Okay?” I nodded.

“You also need a treasure trove of scripture to buttress metaphors of increase and promotion. We are in the business of selling hope. Hope that if a person truly believes it, he can achieve it. Now, if you can garnish the hope with scripture, legitimise it so it doesn’t sound like being greedy or covetous, you cannot go wrong.

“For instance, the scripture says ‘Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers’. This clearly supports the aspiration to ‘go higher’, to ‘be better’. Our message is, if you hold on to God, it’s okay to also want prosperity.”

I nodded again, soaking it all in.

“Now, to the imagery. Again, it has to be crisp, catchy and validative of improvement in personal circumstances. So, lots of ladders…”

“You have to empty your bladder to climb that ladder?”

“Bladder, sha?” he asked, looking confused.

“Well, if you take the bladder as an organ that removes harmful things from our blood, the statement could be symbolic of purging oneself of the harmful things in one’s life – vices like smoking, excessive drinking, womanising…”

“You know what?” said my mentor, “let’s forget the ladders. How about mountains?”

“There’s a fountain beyond that mountain?”

“Dude, calm down. That’s not profound enough.”

“I respectfully disagree, sir. Finding a fountain after a mountain symbolises a reward, perhaps a divine one even, after the struggle of, well, surmounting the mountain. In  fact, how about ‘surmount the mount to reach the fount’?”

“No, no, no, no! Forget mountains, then.” For some reason, my mentor seemed upset. “Let’s think altitude, you know, a variable height.”

“Someone’s already done that. Your attitude determines your altitude? Haven’t you heard that one before? Aspire to go higher? Acquire the fire? Perspiration determines your elevation?”

“You know what?” my mentor said, taking in a deep breath as if to calm himself, “there’s a Life Coaches convention in Abuja next week. Newbies like you can attend the 2-day course and become Associate Members of the Chartered Institute of Motivational Speaking and Life Coaching. More than anything else, there’s a chance to meet other mentors. Much greater coaches than myself. Perhaps they might be able to show you an even better way.”

So here I am at the convention in Abuja. It was during the flight that I decided that I wasn’t going to be a mere life coach – I was going to be a surgeon of destinies. It sounded profound enough. I had also started working on a mantra that I wanted to run by the coaches at the institute, but I won’t bore with you with it.

As I enter the convention auditorium, I hear an attendee ask his colleague if he would like a coke. The colleague replied, “Not for me. A coke will make you choke, but a Fanta is made for banter.”

Ah, I say to myself. I am in the right place.

Good King Flashoslas

 

Flashoslas

 

Good (?) King Flashoslas looked out o’er the Lekki people

With the 4-eyed man he thought, let us fleece the people

Widen roads and build a bridge, then exact full measure

For a quarter century, jingling pockets, pleasure.

 

What if they revolt, F said, could we still withstand them?

Do not fret your little head, we will just disband them.

Bring out tanks and sub-machines, gas to end their gathering

When they beat a full retreat, there’ll be no more blathering.

 

And, the 4-eyed man went on, see their feeble leaning

Gutless, rudderless and poor, full of empty steaming

They are well-renowned, you see, for a deep resilience

After feeble mutiny, they’ll accept their sentence.

 

-Timmy Flowers, 1734 -1862

Endangered Specie: Save the Side-Mirror

The Lagos side-mirror is endangered and someone has to do something about it. Every car comes off the assembly line with two unique side-mirrors, the beginning of a life-time ménage a trois. The car and the side mirrors work hard together under the hot sun in the traffic, huddle together in the rain and enjoy those long, moonlit nights in each others’ company. In Lagos, this happily ever after almost never is.

Wing mirror VW Fox

Wing mirror VW Fox (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

From the days of area boys smashing the side-mirrors of “one-way” infringers, to one-side mirror being stolen at wedding receptions (why just the one?) to okadas scratching them in every single go-slow , the Lagos side-mirror has suffered violence and the violent keep triumphing by their force. Lagos has now been rated 300th out of 299 cities surveyed for the likelihood of cars to be scrapped with the same two mirrors (10+ years of use) with which it left the manufacturer’s warehouse.

Only today, I lost my second side-mirror in three years. I was at the front of the queue at the traffic lights. Once the lights turned green, the cars in my lane (on the right) would go forward and the cars in the lane to our left would turn left. Easy, no? Well, the lights turned green and, out of nowhere, this construction truck raced up and tried to squeeze itself in between my car and the median in the road. It almost succeeded. The measure by which it didn’t make it resulted in the smashing of the side-mirror on the driver’s side of the car. I swear I virtually heard my car heave a moan of despair at its bereavement.

 

 

Side mirrors are easily damaged

Side mirrors are easily damaged (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

At that unfortunate moment, I snapped. It was the final straw, you know, the one that broke the camel’s back. How much longer will we stand by and let the dregs of society continue this inhumane action against side-mirrors and their owner cars? How many more vehicles will go through the traumatisation of losing their assembly-line mirrors? Apart from affecting their sense of perspective and hindsight, other studies show that 73% of Lagos-based cars find it harder to concentrate for the first 13 months after an assembly-line mirror is replaced. The statistic goes up to 93% when the replacement side-mirror is a “Made in China” tokunbo. A few cases of loss of horsepower have even been reported but studies are currently inconclusive.

The time has come to pool all our collective goodwill and money into the brand spanking new NGO I’m about to register (the MirrorMax Movement) and let’s save the assembly-line side-mirror. The MirrorMax Movement will take donations from sympathetic members of the public and plough it into the development of the MirrorMax MirrorCush™ (patent pending). This revolutionary device creates a protective force-field around side-mirrors, ensuring that even if the car is smashed by a speeding train, the side-mirrors will always remain attached to the car. Until the very end, when crushing does them part.

Given the data available to us at MirrorMax, the business of this NGO is extremely urgent and needs to be taken expeditiously across all the motoring locations in Nigeria and, eventually, to the ends of the earth. Going by the Doctrine of Notorious Facts, this clearly means that one of our most pressing needs is a private jet, as we have no time to lose. If you feel as strongly about saving the precious vehicle/side-mirror relationship as we do at MirrorMax, then you must give violently – the earlier it seems like we’re reaching our targets, the better. Side-mirrors are counting on us to stop the genocide. Will you stand up and becounted?

THE LAGOS-LONDON EXPRESSWAY JUST BEFORE FRANCE

Interesting things typically happen in transit on flights between London and Lagos. Tolu Ogunlesi’s recent YNaija piece reminded me of a few of my own experiences. Once, a woman who’d probably got lost in the Terminal 5 Duty Free, and on account of whom the flight had been delayed for nearly 45 minutes (they were about to take her luggage off the aircraft) finally showed up, wheeling in a humoungous holdall. Now, even if the overhead locker above her seat had been empty she would still have had trouble fitting her luggage into it. However, this was the London –Lagos flight and she was the last person to board, so the odds that it would be vacant were next to nil. Said lady, opening the locker and seeing it full, casually remarked “You Nigerians sef, is this your seat?” and proceeded to toss all the other bags on the floor. Of course, pandemonium ensued.

The incident after which this piece is titled is no less remarkable for its shock-factor. We were well into the British Airways flight, dinner had been served and cleared, alcoholics had had their nightcaps and passengers were falling asleep on their second or third movies. The lights had long since been dimmed and we were nearing the end of the silence just before the flurry of activity that usually precedes landing; that point when the flight map shows the aeroplane somewhere between Morocco (?) and France. Suddenly, three sharp slaps rent the air, thwap, thwapp, thwapp! “You thief!” the slapper accused.

Going by standard fare in Nigerian comedy circles, the recipient of the slaps must have been a Yoruba man, as the final syllables of all the exclamations that followed left him with his mouth wide open.

“Ha! Ha! Haaa! You slapped me? Me, you slapped me?? I will kill this old woman o!” he screamed. He spread his fingers wide and raised his arm in a pre-slap arc. A gentleman sitting in the row behind them quickly grabbed him mid-swing. “Control yassef” he urged the incandescent man, “are you not a man?”

“You stole my money,” the middle-aged lady alleged.

“Me???!! Steal money from you??? I have three thousand pounds in my brief-case!” as he lunged for her again. But the intervener refused to let go. “You’re a man. Control yassef. Control yassef,” he urged.

By this time, the BA flight attendants had run over in military formation and asked the man to come four rows back, to the rear of the plane, two seats away from me. A male attendant remained with the woman, while the person interviewing the alleged thief was female.

“Did you take her money sir?” the attendant asked. The man, in his late 30s to early 40s, started denying very loudly but she insisted he calmed down before answering. The man, still upset, very firmly refuted the accusation. The male attendant came over very shortly afterwards and asked to confer with his female colleague in the galley. They soon emerged, with female attendant looking slightly embarrassed.

“Ok sir, Let me first of all apologise for what just happened. My colleague has spoken with the passenger beside you. She’s now said she’d been dreaming that someone’s hand was inside her purse and suddenly woke up… I’m really, really sorry sir…we’ll also have to ask you to remain here at this seat until we land at Heathrow… I’m so, so sorry, sir.”

The man was silent for a few seconds, appearing to contemplate the misfortune that had just befallen him. Then, with absolutely no warning, he burst into tears and cried thoroughly, bitterly, broken-heartedly for a good five to ten minutes.

A SHORT STORY

The one thing in the world that will reduce the world’s stateliest royal to the ranks of the most abject of its hoi polloi, more than bankruptcy or a reversal of fortunes, is a runny stomach. Diarrhoea. All sense of comportment and etiquette vanish with that urgent, almost panicked, longing of your body to relieve itself. Feyi learnt this in the most practical way that one learns things in life – through personal experience.

Feyi graduated with a degree in law from the University of Lagos in 2001. As the system of legal training in Nigeria requires, he enrolled in the Nigerian Law School the following year and was called to the Bar in 2003. From the very beginning of his journey as a law student till the day he was presented with his certificate of call to the Bar, his teachers had reinforced over and again that the legal profession was the noblest of all professions. He had taken an elective in Classics in his third or fourth undergraduate year and had learnt that there were only 3 ‘noble’ professions. Apparently, in the classical era, you were among the most privileged and noble of society if you were a clergyman, a medical doctor or a lawyer. He surmised that all other professions, going by the thinking at this time, were merely decent.

His law teachers were unshakable in their belief in the nobility of the profession. “Do not speak so imprecisely, you’re training to be a lawyer.” “Do not dress as students in other faculties do. Don’t you understand that at the end of their training they will merely become educated; you will become learned?” And so on. One of his lecturers even went so far as to say that the legal profession was traditionally the preserve of the wealthy. At the time, Feyi thought the statement excessively arrogant but later in life came to see some justification in it.

Students from other faculties and departments also fuelled the superior air that law students carried. If there was ever an argument between a law student and, say, a student of psychology, bystanders were usually more inclined to side with the law student and, on occasion, would accuse the other person of being foolish in thinking he could take on a ‘legal mind’. At the national youth service camp, where there was already a good-natured divide between university graduates and those from polytechnics, it was common to hear such phrases as “De Law, why are you bothering with this fellow? Don’t you know he didn’t even go to a university?”

It therefore was quite commonplace for new lawyers to be filled with pomp and a sense of a glorious destiny when starting their first jobs. Life usually separates the wheat from the chaff but all new lawyers plunge in with great expectations.

Feyi’s first job was as a ‘Youth Corper’ with the Ministry of Justice in Calabar, Cross River state. Most corpers spend their mandatory year of national service as teachers or administrative staff so it suited Feyi quite well that he would spend his working in a professional capacity. It was with great pride that he had packed his brand new Ede & Ravenscroft wig and gown with the rest of his belongings.

The most frequently asked question amongst ‘new wigs’ is whether or not they had appeared in court and, if so, whether they had ‘flown solo’. Feyi had appeared in court several times with his boss, the Director of Public Prosecutions, a very pleasant gentleman. The DPP had four corpers assigned to his office but appeared to be most comfortable with Feyi as his assistant. This was the reason why, when a meeting of Department Heads was suddenly called by the Attorney-General, the DPP asked Feyi to handle his out-of-town trials for the day.

The trials were scheduled for the high court in Akampa, about twenty minutes from Calabar by car. Usually, Feyi would ride along with the DPP in his car. Today’s turn events meant that Feyi had to travel to Akampa by public transportation. He knew he was in the good books of the DPP but borrowing the car would have been totally out of the question. So he made his way to the motor park.

When he got to the park, he caught his reflection in the window of one the cars parked nearby. He smiled what he hoped was an inward smile as he admired his stiff collar, the starched bib and the important-looking case file. He was also wearing his favourite cuff-links, given to him as a graduation present by an old lady neighbour whose husband used to be a judge at the court of appeal. He felt it was probably a little infra dig that he was travelling by public transportation but quickly filed it in the recesses of his mind under ‘paying your dues’. He felt a little more discomfited when he realised that cars going to Akampa did not care for the legal limit of occupants in their vehicles. The saloon car in which he was travelling took four passengers at the back and three in front, one sharing the driver’s seat with the driver.

As the car began its short journey, Feyi felt that feeling of intestinal contortions in the pit of his stomach. At first he thought it was as a result of the combination of him having to squeeze his long legs into the back of the car with three other passengers and the rancid body (or was it mouth) odour from the person beside him. He took a few deep breaths and the churning stopped. Then, at the same time that Mr. Mouth Odour started to ask whether Feyi was really a lawyer the driver swerved, trying to avoid a pothole. Three of the vehicles tyres missed the pothole but the right rear tyre, where Feyi was seated went straight in, very hard. Typically, any semblance of shock absorbers or a suspension had left the car a very long time ago. The cocktail of halitosis and the thumping of the vehicle set Feyi’s churning stomach off again. This time, he knew he was in trouble.

The trip to Akampa could not end quickly enough. He was physically contorted, having crammed himself into the back of the car. Metabolically, to prevent the biggest embarrassment of his life from occurring, Feyi was clenching all the muscles in his buttocks with everything he had. This, of course, meant he was sweating.

Luckily, the court was only a few meters off the highway when the journey eventually came to an end. Feyi looked at his watch and figured he had at least twenty minutes before the judge arrived. Very measuredly, he walked into the courtroom and checked that the two matters he came for were put on the cause list. He put his wig, gown and case file down on a chair and, again at a very measured pace, being extremely careful not to tip the balance of his internal equilibrium, went back outside the court and asked the two policemen standing nearby where the toilet was.

“Ehn?” one questioned back. Feyi was slightly embarrassed to have asked the initial question. Making him repeat himself was traumatic.

Oga Police,” he said, “Please, could you tell me where the toilets are?”

“Barrister”, the second one said, “no toilet here o. We ‘ave latrine at the back towards the bush there.”

Under normal circumstances even public water closet toilets were repulsive to Feyi but he was unperturbed as he made for the latrine with his still measured but by now much more brisk walk. Twenty metres from the latrines, the stench of putrefaction hit him in the face. It was almost as if he was walking through a wall of heat and odours. He paused to reconsider the options before him but quickly had his mind made up for him by the twanging in his belly. He could not think what of all that he had eaten the previous day put him in this predicament, but it did not matter.

It was one of Feyi’s most enduring beliefs from childhood that the human organs of excretion had ‘bathroom sonar’ – they seemed to know when their owners were within the vicinity of toilets. The bladder, though letting you know that it is full and ready to be emptied, will comfortably restrain itself until the moment it sets its eyes on a WC. When Feyi’s rectum set its eyes on the latrine, the churner in his stomach shifted gears.

Quickly, he took of his jacket and hung it on the jagged remnant of a door. There really was no door in the traditional sense of a partition that either shuts one in or out of a room. In fact, for some reason, the architects of the outhouse had designed it such that it faced the highway. Thankfully, a cassava farm shielded what was left of Feyi’s modesty. His belt and trousers had come off too and were hanging on the same jagged edge. Hurry, his body said to him.

He undid one cufflink and put it in the pocket of his trousers. His body sensed though that the clothing barrier had been removed and, like a woman crowning towards the end of labour, his body started to act on its own. Still, Feyi would not go with his shirt on and fought furiously to undo the second cufflink. To his dismay, not only did the cufflink come undone, it flew in an arc away from his sleeve and its trajectory carried it straight into the pit of human waste. It did not register yet though that Feyi’s beloved pair of cufflinks was no more as he bestrode the hole in the ground and gave in to his body.

Relief surged through his body and for a brief moment blocked the foulness of his surroundings. The moment passed, though, and he suddenly knew the difference between good and evil again. What was worse, he realised that he had not given any consideration to how he would clean up his posterior after he was done. Again, he considered his options. Cassava Leaves? There was no way of telling how his body would react to that. What he needed was something white and soft and reminiscent of tissue paper. Then he glanced down at his singlet and without a moment’s hesitation quickly took it off.

Upon returning to the courtroom, sans singlet and with one of his cuffs hanging freely in spite of his attempts to tuck it into his jacket sleeve, Feyi looked himself over again. The judge had arrived but the court was not yet in session. The police had brought the suspects into the courtroom and Feyi wondered whether the suspects looking at him were doing so in a silent appeal for help or because they knew where he was coming from and what he had just done.

He smiled as he remembered what his thoughts were as he used his singlet for the very last time. If any of my teachers could see me now, he had thought, they would say Don’t wipe your ass with your singlet! You’re a lawyer!!