Afrosays to me

…random excerpts from my communions with the AfroMuse

The legend of Two Strokes August 2, 2010

Filed under: Scenic — afrosays @ 6:43 am
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It’s still a riddle for me, how I’m going to wake up very frequently in the week to beat the gong in obeisance to the dictates of the AfroMuse.

I’ve discharged my duties effectively so far but lately I’ve been hoping to broadcast her messages to a wider audience.

I’d be waiting for that higher calling while put on my garb, clean the weekend dust off my gong and walk into the streets early this morning, waking the neighborhood, just because AfroSays:

THE LEGEND OF TWO STROKES

Our Late Principal

Our Late Principal

It was still my first week at the village school when the kids dubbed me “Two Strokes”. The teachers eventually came to identify me by that name.
Two Strokes, however, did not survive long enough to become a secondary school legend like the Madame Koi Koi types. In fact, his legacy perished with the beginning of the second academic term after the Christmas break. I write about him now, twenty years later, laughing at the memory of it all. Permit me to title my narration, “The fleeting legend of Two Strokes”.
Two Strokes was a celebrity. I was granted immunity from the severe flogging that befell my comrades in crime whenever they were caught. My claim to fame had been incidental to the calamity that had befallen the first person who dared to lay his hands on me. Since then, nobody had been brave enough to test the ‘head’ of two strokes, who knew what misfortune might befall them? My ruthless karma kept them all at bay. This however ended when Madame Rita, our new principal, came along.
“Obinna Ike”, she called out finally, summoning me to the front of the school assembly to receive my share of flogging for resuming school late, all week, as was my tradition. It was general practice at the village school to make an example of students who committed offences that were above classroom jurisdiction on the Friday closing assembly.
I wasn’t surprised that I was last on the list because only the worst offenders were given that honour. My predecessors were in a crumpled heap to the left, broken and subdued, looking like a scene from Hades.
I made my way to the front with confidence, walking with the false limp I had learned from my Lagos-based cousins during the Christmas holiday. The students immediately started cheering me on loudly. “Two Strokes! Two Strokes! Two Strokie Strokie!!!” rang out from the masses of students in united worship of the one who was above them all. I took the glory in stride, waving, shaking hands, blowing kisses and signing autographs. Damn! It felt good to be Two Strokes.
The teachers didn’t bother calming them down, they were concerned for Madame Rita. They all tried to reason with the indignant little lady but she couldn’t understand them; she preached discipline and equity like it was the Holy Gospel. When the five teachers saw that their efforts were in vain, they left it to the Vice Principal to tell to tale of Two Strokes. He did his best to educate the madam with his handicapped employment of the Queens language.
“Two Stroke is not a boy to be flog”, he said, “He kill our last principal”
I remember that day like my mother remembers the day she gave birth to me.
We were having mathematics lessons and I was late that morning. The classroom back door was open and I peeped in to discover that the principal was the one teaching. I was officially chopped and screwed.
His was writing on the blackboard, back turned to the classroom so I quietly slipped into the class and made for my seat at the far right. I was about to take my seat when old man smirked, back still turned, and said aloud, “Two strokes”.
He then turned to the class and continued, “Two strokes for late coming, two strokes for not greeting ya elders”. I looked at him briefly because something on the teacher’s desk caught my eye; that cane looked like it had been optimized for inflicting excruciating pain on its victims. It was long, thin and so flexible that even the sudden stir of wind in the classroom caused it to swing menacingly. It looked like it was practising for me. I desperately that wished I wasn’t the only person who was late that day but it seemed that the other students had learned their lessons early enough. I was on my own.
The old man turned back to the wretched blackboard and finished writing the class work on the board. The fear in me combined with the fact that I was late to class, earned me a zero with mouse ears, and I was to get two strokes for every single question I missed. I had successfully earned fourteen strokes for my scrawny back to endure. The cane on the table was swinging mockingly and my spirit man was in tears.
It was time. The rest of the cane’s victims lined up behind me, each giving praise to God that for the number of victims that preceded him. I could even smell urine somewhere from the line at my back, the terror was paralyzing.
The principal smiled and started again, announcing my offences like a judge before issuing a sentence. “Two strokes, my friend”
“Two strokes for coming late”
“Two strokes for not greeting ya elders”
“Two strokes for missing question one”
“Two strokes …” he went on and on and on and ON and finally beckoned for me. I don’t know how my wobbly legs managed to transport my body to the terrifying presence of that wicked old man.
He lifted my punisher into the air.
Both of them collapsed onto the cement ground. He teachers rushed the grandpa to the school clinic, and eventually to the village dispensary. He died of a stroke.
Madame Rita couldn’t believe her ears. “That’s just a coincidence!”, she exclaimed, in an effort to convince the superstitious lot that I wasn’t an enigma after all.
“Madame Rita, you better not try me!”, I warned her boldly, “Or else!”
The slap was louder than the cheer of my supporters club. “Or else what?” she retorted. I would have responded but I was already dazzled by the glory of the starred universe.
Her cane wasn’t as daunting as that off my former adversary but lord knows that little lady could flog out the colour from a black man. When she was done, I created a special crumbled heap of my own and it admitted only those who Hades had referred to his mentor.
A taboo had been broken. My cry was the only sound that morning; even the noisy birds from the Guava tree were silent, recognizing the anathema.
Madame Rita did not resume work the following Monday morning.
She came in right before closing time to share the news of her newborn grandsons, bringing with her a picture of the cutest little twins you ever saw.
As for me, the teachers did not spare any efforts in making up for lost time. It was the same for seniors, school bullies and any other person whose fury had been held back by the legend of Two Strokes.
Although Madame Rita took me under her wing in the long run, grooming me to be useful enough to become the class captain, and later the head boy, I would forever miss the immunity I enjoyed in the awe-inspiring shoes of Two Strokes.
Thus ends my tale.

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The Sokoto Rascals July 27, 2010

Filed under: Scenic — afrosays @ 7:38 am
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The AfroMuse had been quite excited lately. She talked too fast this time.

She said a lot but  this is all I could pick up.

I hope I reconstruct everything with time or else I’d definitely be in trouble and lord know what that crazy witch can do.

She said, I heard and I beat a my gong like a siren as Afrosays:

THE SOKOTO RASCALS

The Sokoto Rascals

The Sokoto Rascals

“In this farade, we must pocus”, bellowed the commander, substituting ‘F’s for ‘P’s and vice versa in accordance with the peculiarities of his accent. “We shall discifline all acts of indiscifline”, he shouted across the ranks in an effort to impress his presence.

The boys were looking awkward, trying to stand at mock-attention in their clingy vests and shorts despite the unforgiving Sokoto morning breeze. They had been told that camping would be fun and so it had been till commander Musa, the superintendent of the Young Men’s Christian Squadron paid a visit.

They had unwillingly traded board games for extremely strenuous morning drills and afternoon swimming for rigorous march past sessions since the commander arrived. Everything that they had held sacred had been taking away from them and they had vowed revenge. This day, the commander was to travel to Kaduna to terrorize another set of fun-loving boys and the Sokoto rascals wanted to send him on his way with a gift.

“Our Pinal exercise this morning shall be the fath of truth”, commander Musa informed the boys, “Poward march toward the riber!” he shouted at the top of his lungs.

They all knew the path of truth and they had been looking forward to it. In fact, some of them had been sneaking to have a try at night but none of them had been brave enough to complete it.

The Sokoto rascals watched mischievously as their antagonist approached the path of truth cautiously. It was his duty to lead such endeavours by example. His back was turned so they couldn’t see the fear in his eyes.

“I shall teach you the song!” the commander told the boys. He went on to position himself on the treacherous device that was hanging fifty feet above the river and suspended between two trees that were a hundred meters apart. “This exercise shall teach you pocus!”

“You hold the rofe above , walk on the rofe below” “Hurrah!”

“You are holding onto God, don’t ever let him go” “Hurrah!”

“You slide forward a little, then move your body slow” “Hurrah!”

“Or you goooooooooooo crashing down below” “Hurraaaaaah!”

His voice alternated between five pitches as he sang ; he could not admit his fear of heights. He was about thirty meters in when the boys picked up the chorus, surprisingly willingly. They sang as they had rehearsed:

“You better hold the rofe above, forget the rofe below”, “Hurrah!”

“You better hold onto God, don’t ever let him go”, “Hurrah!”

“You better run if you can, do not take it slow”, “Hurrah!”

… and the firewood axe slowly traveled the ranks from back to front.

“goooooooooooooooooooooo crashing down below!”, “Hurraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!”

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The bella-noveau July 26, 2010

Filed under: Scenic — afrosays @ 8:12 am
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The goddess must be crazy!

She visited me last week and told me that she enjoyed the human concept of suspense and wanted to integrate that into our relationship in some way. I didn’t understand what she was talking about till she started visiting my dream space with linked, short story episodes that always ended quite dramatically.

I had to wait for a whole season before I could get a complete story to share. Hopefully, she’d mercy me and give an ending to the five concurrent stories she’s yet to complete.

We’d be thankful for what we have now, I beat a Garala rhythm on my gong as Afrosays:

THE BELLA NOVEAU

Mon Cherie Koko

Mon Cherie Koko

I was going to marry her, I hadn’t been searching for a wife but now I knew there would be no need to; I’d found a wife in Cherie Koko.
She was every man’s dream, that’s what she was, at least every man that lived in Ajanpadi, another nondescript habitat for members of the masses like myself. Most men didn’t know her real name, Cherie Koko seemed the consensus. I’d even heard variations like “Cherilious Koko baby”, “Cheronicus Kokolet”,  and a few others that were strange to pronounce whenever I went to  get a haircut or watch a Champions league at the viewing center, or play lotto at Lucky Sule’s. She was a “trending now” topic. She brought a different vibe to our little world.
We all thought she was from the United States because her accent slayed us by the dozen. Our Cherie could pronounce double Ts with an ‘R’, speak through her nose, and walk like a sick chicken. She was simply awesome and in her, we’d found our eight world wonder.
She lived with Mama Iyabo, the Akara seller, but we’d never seen her eat those delicious, palm oil themed bean cakes. In fact, no one had ever seen her anything but Hot dogs and I felt quite fortunate to be the source of her nutrition never minding that my business was making a loss.
A few weeks back, she had come into my world. I was on my way to work when I stopped at Mama Iyabo’s for a delicious breakfast experience. She definitely looked out of place inadequately employing a duvet as a wrapper. She was classy and I couldn’t get my eyes of her “Hello Kitten” handbag. She took ghetto morning fashion to a whole new level.
Needless to say, I was too ashamed to buy those bean cakes that had nourished me every morning since I moved to Ajanpadi. When she talked to me, I was ‘flabberwhelmed’! I started mumbling something in foolish when Mama Iyabo took pity on me and kindly introduced us. I guess I was the only one that met Segilola, pre-Cherie Koko.
That was the only day being a Gala Sausage Roll hawker did me any real benefit. Segi had asked what I was doing with so many Hot dogs and Mama Iyabo had introduced us on that basis. We became friends when I gave her two free Hot dogs, wondering why the illiterate Nigerian populace called them sausage rolls. Segi had to be right! I even became a Hot dog evangelist, educating whoever cared to listen. I guess that’s how we kicked it off.
In less than a week, every man in Ajanpadi was gearing to be affiliated with Segi, but I was the chosen one. On weekdays, we spent most evenings together at St Jordan’s Cool Spot having drinks and Pepper soup. I chose St Jordan’s because they only played the latest American music. We usually talked about American movies, that is, she talked and I listened. I didn’t know who “Angelica Jolin” was but I felt lucky to be the one nodding like an Agama lizard to her wonderful words. Weekends were even more wonderful with Segi. She had changed my life like the new One Naira note.
Things went on quite well between Cherie and I. She gradually became my reason for going home at night. She was with me the night Jeepy, my cousin from Port Harcourt came to spend the weekend. I’d been looking forward to showing my new found pride off to Jeepy. He had always been the one to beat. I had been envious of Jeepy, even since primary school. He was the one flogged on the general Monday assembly for kissing beautiful Mary. He didn’t stop there, he re-earned those stripes of honor again in our second year of junior secondary school for kissing even more beautiful Chiamaka and another time in our senior secondary classes for doing something more devious with most endowed Janet. The best I managed was the ugly beating I earned for stealing mangoes from the school farm.
Jeepy met us at St. Jordan’s. He smiled excessively when he saw her and I knew I had won our age-old rivalry. Cherie Koko didn’t disappoint, she immediately threw  a fancy greeting line at him but Jeepy was quite adequate, he dodged and aptly retaliated. He was smiling confidently and I soon started loosing my ‘victory-esteem’. They immediately started a conversation that sounded like something from one of the movies she talked about and although I tried to chip in one or two comments myself but I was constantly ignored. I didn’t know they were being polite till I pointed out that a ‘Brad Pitt’ must be very deep. Their looks were unforgiving. It  took me back to the worst day of my childhood.
The teacher had come into the geography class that Monday morning looking very benevolent towards everyone except me. He gave me the most sour look in the world. He started distributing our marked test papers from the previous week. I soon noticed that I was the only one without my script. He then called out Jeepy, our class captain to read out my test answers. Today I’m sure that Kilimanjaro did not kill anyone and Trinidad doesn’t have three daddies.
I didn’t exist anymore. I should have left with dignity, but I endured on and watched as almost every word  gained an “izzy” or “izzle” suffix. Before I knew what was happening, Jeepy became “Young Jeezle”, and my darling was answering to “Chizzy Kizzle”. It almost sounded abominable. I tried to be an “Onyekadigbizzle” but it just wasn’t working for me. I was steadily loosing ground.
Chizzy Kizzle shouldn’t have relaxed into  Young Jeezle’s skinny chest, she really shouldn’t have. Maybe if she hadn’t we’d have all gone home peacefully; maybe my jealousy wouldn’t have boiled into action; maybe I wouldn’t have thrown my bowl of  “Peppersizzle” where I did; maybe she wouldn’t have cried; maybe he wouldn’t have been foolish enough to throw a punch at me; maybe I wouldn’t have given him the beating of his life.
I still don’t know why she broke that bottle of  33 Export Lager but I’m happy I was the one who moved out of the way; I’m happy I wasn’t the one who tripped and face-long into a serious case for plastic surgery.
I won!
… and when next you see that guy smiling happily, selling ‘Hot dogs’ in Lagos traffic in the most merry fashion, please buy one?

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