“Damn ! Damn! Damn! Double damn damn!”
Mr A was hitting the DSTV remote on the edge of his seat repeatedly. Luckily the thing seems well made enough. The battery cover popped off and the two AA batteries rolled under his chair. He got even more worked up fishing around for them with his stubby fingers under the seat.
Outside it was raining cats and dogs. I don’t mind. If anything it suited my mood perfectly.
I know why I am here. I am still trying to figure out Mr A’s motives. I can’t say he’s driven by a strong ideology because his utterances tend to change along with whatever programme is on the DSTV channel he happens to be watching at any given time.
You probably won’t agree with my motives either. You see I am plagued by the big “C”. Cancer of the bowel and it’s terminal. I have gone through all the stages to finally – acceptance. That I might just make it past 40. But that still doesn’t explain what I am doing in this nondescript building. You see, I have always been a loner. And before I found out what the cancer was doing to my innards I had finally made it past daydreaming to actually asking a girl out. Unfortunately I didn’t quite do it right. Rejection twice in a row and in the midst of all that came the diagnosis. That pushed me into a really dark place. I finally emerged after I accepted the reality of my terminal existence. But I was a changed person. So when I hooked up with certain people who thought they could use my skills, it wasn’t because I believed in their ideology: it was more an opportunity to make my “passing” mean something: to leave a mark. You can call it whatever you want. A midlife crises coming at the end of my life if you like. You see, there is never going to be an acceptable reason for doing the things I do knowing the havoc, the panic, the sorrow, the destruction that are the final fruits of the things I create: you just choose a side and do what you want: “do what thou will”.

“Do you think if we rotate the dish outside the signal will return?” Mr A broke into the chain of my thoughts.
“Mr A. We have discussed this before. That won’t help.”
“Yeah. You said it’s the technology. Something about the dish size right?”
“Yes. You see. The DSTV you now have uses the KU-band satellite technology. This allows the receiving dishes to be much smaller so that more people can afford it. So DSTV sells more and makes more money. The downside is that the transmission strength is very weak and is affected by the weather. Especially rain. If you remember the big swimming-pool-size dishes from several years ago. Those ones use the C-band technology. They are very powerful and more expensive of course. But they are not affected by the weather.”

“Yes. Yes. I remember now professor. I still don’t know why you all insist on this Mr A, Mr B, Mr C business? After all we have been here several months. If we have been infiltrated, the police would have been here by now. Anyway, as you know my real is on the underside of my suitcase. If you ever want to know since you insist I must not tell you.”
“Mr A. It’s better this way. If something were to happen, you know one can’t give up information you don’t have even under torture. It’s more for your protection. Me. I am gone soon.”
Some day when the my “reality” had weighed extra-hard on me, I had dropped my guard and told him about the cancer and the grim diagnosis.
“At least write it somewhere I can find it after you go” (emphasis on the go)
“Speaking of which” he continued. “I read there is a proposal by one of the satellite company to put a tracking device in planes so that if they disappeared like the Malaysia Airline’s plane, it would be easy to track them down”.
“Professor, I think someone like you should be able to find a way to exploit that for our cause?”
He knows I don’t particularly believe in their “cause” but that’s nitpicking given the fact that I was in that house doing what I was doing.
“Yes” I said. “I read the same article and it got me thinking. You see you are actually more brainy than you give yourself credit for.” I said.
He beamed at me, “It’s from rubbing shoulders with you and some of the others.”
“I know when you think there is always results. What good things have you discovered now? About this tracking business I mean.”
“True I have thought about it. You see what the company is proposing is like the GPS in your phone. Or even the GSM technology at a terrestrial level. Right now as you move around your phone reports itself to the cell towers of your GSM telco. That way even if you switch off your phone, there’s a record of when last you were seen on the network and where.
But at the scale at which aeroplanes operate, you know, right across the world, the same way masts are tall and way above you to cover particular areas and ensure you get service, the same applies to planes: you will need something above them to track them in an efficient, accurate way at reasonable cost. You could do it using masts as well I guess, but it would be costly and the number of agreements that would have to be signed between countries and business organizations would be horrendous. Also what happens when they are over water in no-mans-land? Floating masts? You see?”
“And putting the infrastructure so close to the ground is just calling for trouble. It would be hacked in no time. Not that we or our brothers will be complaining though. If anything it will be a heaven sent. Another means for the will of our God to be done.”

Fact is I don’t believe in whatever God they profess to worship. Certainly not a God that wants what we are doing. If he truly wants it, he doesn’t need our help for sure if he’s God. No, this is not the God of any of the popular religions no matter the affiliation these guys may claim. They are confused: the God they worship is the God of self-actualization; of ego and plain self-delusion on a grandiose scale.

“But I digress. Your question was if we would be able to exploit this technology if and when it comes online?”
“Yes professor” he said with a laugh. “And try to avoid the big big terminologies eh? I get a headache from them knocking around in my little brain.”

“I shall try. But you don’t have to pretend. Some of the stuff I have seen you read on the internet betrays your otherwise convincing attempt at ignorance.”
“But here goes. So according to the story, one of the biggest (space) satellite technology providers is suggesting they track flights at roughly one dollar per flight. That’s still a lot of money if you consider the hundreds of thousands of flight taking off and landing every day. Even if we exclude local in-country flights. But we are not concerned about money of course.”
He nodded in agreement.
“So something of this nature will probably call for a small chip or even software loaded into an existing one. But due to intellectual property issues and the self-interest that drives capitalism I would suggest that they will implement it as a new chip. They will load some software on it. Thus turning it into what some would call a firmware. This combo would be quite small to start with. Even the code will be say a couple of thousands of lines. Written by a bunch of very sharp guys. The satellite company is going to proclaim the greatness of the code. How much man hours they spent on regression analysis to ensure there are no bugs in there. But of course due to the nature of the beast, and to keep it from people like us, they can’t make that code available for peer review. No open-sourcing there sir. That won’t stop the security agents of each country trying to get their hands on it by crook or by force of course. Neither would it stop us or our brothers pursuing the same goal. I will get to the why in a minute.”

The rain didn’t seem to be letting up. So the last frame was still frozen on the TV screen: a big man trying to get into a little cab.

“The company would start off saying the chip once made cannot be written into. So they wouldn’t have included any sort of NVRAM or related tech to start with. In fact just about the only thing it would be able to do is indicate it’s position which is all well and good.
So let’s say some of the airlines agree and this chip ends up in several planes. Then a few planes have mishaps and the chip helps to locate them. Both the airline and satellite companies will do some chest thumping which is in fact marketing. They will issue press releases as to how this new technology in collaboration with others of course has allowed the families of those involved get closure, how it has saved millions in dollars they would have spent on searching etc. in short it’s the next best thing since we invented the bread toaster.”

“That’s capitalism for you.” Mr A interjected.

“Completely true” I agreed. “So it’s likely to result in more business for all concerned. For the satellite company, any holdout airlines would probably have a rethink. No CEO wants to be the one in charge if something nasty happens to one of his planes and it becomes known that he resisted implementing a technology that could have helped.”
“For the airlines themselves, may be several more thousand people who would not fly before would be more confident now to do so. At least even if the technology itself can’t save you (for now), it can help your relations get your body back for closure and proper burial. It never ceases to amaze me the sort of attachment people have for lifeless bodies. Once a person dies, that body that remains is not much better or more important than say a similar body of say a cow or goat. In fact it’s more expensive. At least you can eat a cow or a goat. A human body takes up space. And inconveniences the living if you don’t take adequate steps such as embalming it. Which costs money. Why do you think Jesus said “let the dead bury the dead?”.
I had tested this limit several times and found that the most fanatical of them actually tend to read the good books of several religion to try and figure out what’s going on in their target or opponents heads, or how those targets are likely to respond in any given situation, so making references to those books or people therein was not a taboo as one would have expected looking in from the outside.
“You know, that’s where the ancients civilizations and still some cultures today got it right. Burn up the body. The ashes return to the ground as fertilizers. The cycle of life continues. The dead doesn’t care and even if they do, there is nothing they can do about it. There is nothing such as ghosts. Maybe demons and angels. But no ghosts. If we had such powers after death the world would be a better place.”
“But I digress again.”
“So now we have a chip. It’s a winner. It’s a win-win for all involved. We are good right? No. That’s the thing with humans. That’s also what makes us superior to animals. Our quest for perfection. For improvements. Take the bear for example. It’s been eating his meat and fish and vegetables raw forever. Has it ever crossed its mind that maybe cooking it might make it more palatable? Or tenderizing it? No.”
“But not so with humans. Soon someone is gong to wonder why since the investment has been made in the chip already, what else can it be made to do? Maybe we can put a bigger battery in there so that even if the plane goes down it will continue to work for a while? But we already have the black box for that? Yeah. But that does something else. Besides you can think of it has redundancy. Hmmn. What if we put a little NVRAM in there? Then we can make it store some relevant data? What if both pilots suffer some unfortunate issue such as a heart attack at the same time? Very unlikely but probably right? But we don’t engineer for every possible corner case right? That would make systems too complex and expensive. Remember Ocam’s razor? But what if we could? This isn’t good enough. We can’t spend money and time changing the chip every time we need to upgrade it. What if there is a bug? We have to change the whole chip? In hundreds of thousands of planes? That would wipe out our profit! Em. What happened to the exhaustive regression testing? But you know there is no guarantee that any nontrivial software code is bug-free?”

“So now after a few cycles, we get to version 4.0 of the chip. It’s the latest and greatest. It’s gone from a few thousand lines of code to a couple of tens of thousands of code. It’s gone from read-only to read-write. It’s gone from a closed sandboxed system to being integrated into the plane’s central control system. But that shouldn’t concern the average traveller right? After all, it’s got self-verifying code in there so it’s tamper-proof. Every person that so much as breathes the air around it during production has the highest government-level clearance possible.”
“Prof. The rain has stopped. But I really want to know where you are going with this. Though I have a good idea already. The signal’s back on and the match of the day’s about to start.” Mr A said beaming at me while turning down the volume on the TV a notch.
“True. But you got me started.”
“I wasn’t expecting a thesis prof.”
“That’s OK. Where was I? Yes. Now that the chip can do a thousand things, in fact all but serve alcoholic beverage to the passengers, guess what, we, the so-called bad-guys haven’t been idle. The fact is that nothing is impossible if you want it enough. The chip becomes another way to 9-11 all over again. Of course this won’t succeed more than a couple of times before that avenue is shut down but still. This time no one needs to even physically hijack planes anymore. We just hack it remotely, upload some hostile code into the memory, do a buffer overflow or some other exploit, run the hostile code and presto we are in control of the plane. It becomes just like flying the Microsoft flight simulator. Remember there is talk of a windowless plane taking to the skies soon? Hyper-automated of course.”
“OK. OK. In summary. What you are saying is that once this chip is in place, we can hijack planes remotely and do as much damage as we want?”
“Yes. You could say that.” I replied.
“Prof. You just said now that nothing is impossible if you want it enough. Can I take that to mean you didn’t want that girl’s love enough? That’s why you just gave up when she said no?” There was an evil twinkle in his eyes and a smirk on his face.
He threw me a curve-ball I wasn’t expecting.
“Touché. That’s a different thing entirely. And there are other extenuating factors.”
“Like the big C? You know that’s just an excuse. You just chickened out. What I can’t then understand is how you went from that to this? At least I know why I am here. I am a believer. We are going to countermand the new order with our own order even if it’s effected in blood and tears. But you – I just don’t understand. I know you get paid. But what do you do with the money? Give it out to your relations? You still drive your old jalopy when you can obviously afford a new car. Your reasons defy logic and I think if not because we have thoroughly investigated you, one would have thought you were a spy or something. And if that was the case, we won’t be here having this nice conversation we are about to end. You would have been buried somewhere minus your brainy head.” He said it jovially enough, as if it was another comment on the weather when in reality, it was exactly what would have happened if I had been found to be a spy.

I look out the window. I don’t see the rain which is picking up again. I imagine her standing out there. In the rain. I like it when it rains. I don’t know if she feels the same way – about the rain I mean. A smile on her face. My pulse quickens. I feel it. Just the thought of her.

Maybe just as well. I won’t be around for that much longer.

I am going out on my terms: with a Big Bang. The IED is practically ready. If you can call it that. Apart from being made in a private house, there is nothing improvised about it. It’s going to flatten a whole block of buildings. In a couple of days, there is going to be a gathering of the worst of the group’s members in this same house. A celebration of sorts before they deliver the IED to its intended target.

I have sent the mails already so people will know what happened here. They say the only secret is what’s known to no more than one person. It’s my sendoff gift to myself and the world. I conceived it. I am implementing it. I am going to see it to the end. It won’t be a secret anymore after I am gone. But for now no one else knows.

I will  be like the emperor, accompanied by a thousand of my clay soldiers – my “brothers” on my journey of no-return. I was never their brother, but they are not to know that. It’s a wonder how I got away with it. I never built a single IED that was used in the “field”during all these months here because of course with my credentials, I came in for the “big job”.

I hope she will think of me once in a while. Not just sleep over it and forget. Maybe I am already forgotten.

But it won’t matter then. Nothing will matter. At least not to me because I will be gone.

Gone forever.

Life is like that

Life is like that

I am at Bongobiri. I am seated beside a young lady. She’s is one of those pint-sized bubbly souls I think. She’s got a stud in her nose and a few rings on some fingers. She’s got a notebook with her. I think she’s got a poem in there. She’s probably going to go up to the mic at some point to recite it.
I couldn’t help glancing over at the face of her phone as she typed away steadily:

“I love u”
“It hurts”
“But I just love you so much”

I look away. The exchange continues. Faster. Her expression began to change little by little.
Then she starts to cry.
She gets up and walks out.



I am walking down the street with a bag of shopping on my left arm.

There is a homeless young man asleep curled up in a blanket with his work boots placed beside him. He has his back to me. From the color of his skin I would have guessed North African. Or he could just be a well-tanned European from his living in the open.

A few feet away a gentleman is taking the picture of his lady partner in front of a Dolce and Gabana store. It’s the high street and shops on both sides of the long street beckon on you to come and buy expensive goods. Just before them a group of well dressed friends are chatting on the sidewalk.

No one seems to notice him. Acknowledging his presence would awaken the human conscience that results in guilt, so it’s easier to pretend he is not there.

Phil Collins/Genesis (song) “Paradise” comes to mind.

Sadly, I am no different: I walk on in search of the Roma Cathedral.

Sept 3, 2014. 8:40pm.

A Night in Nairobi

A Night in Nairobi

“Kenyans love to have fun. What are you doing later?” That was John. One of the people I was working with at the bank
“Oh. Back to the hotel.”
“You should go out. See the town a little.”
“Thanks. Maybe. If I am not too tired.”
A text came in. My driver is outside waiting. I say goodbye and head out.
We spend an hour and a half in the traffic going to the hotel.
The driver says in case I want to go out later, I should let him know. He’s on duty all night.
I get to my room and stretch out on the bed. Nothing much interesting on the TV and the night is still young. I should call “Cee-Cee”. She’s faraway: an hour behind but probably still in school.
I called the driver and ask him to pick me up in front of the hotel in thirty.
A quick shower and I was ready.
“where do you want to go?”
“Somewhere not too far away”. I say.
“There are a few places around. It depends on what you are interested in. There are some wild places as well. Some of the msungus (not a particularly nice name for typically white people from the colonial past) like to go there.”
“Thanks. Somewhere a little exciting. But not so exciting I get into trouble” i say with a smile.
“Which one would you suggest?”
“Gypsies or KlubHouse”
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.
“KlubHouse it is.”
It’s a relative big compound with several big “sheds” under which seats were arranged around small stages and a bar. The driver goes off to find a place to park his car.
Something was obviously going on in the nearest one. I turned in and found a seat. A lady on the stage was just introducing a band. They came on stage to loud applause.
The band was quite good. I ordered a bottle of some light stuff. More people drifted in. Soon there were very few seats free in the place. A group of four who seemed rather animated ended up on my table. They ordered drinks.
I think they know the band. Because their applause after every song was louder than everyone else in the place. Besides they spoke a mix of Swahili and English. I could pick up some references to the band leader’s name from time to time.
They didn’t seat still for long. Back and forth. Sometimes with their drinks, sometimes not.
After a while, three of them went to hang out at the back of the place with some other friends I assume.
The fourth I guess decided to seat for a while and take the load off her feet.
Our eyes met a few times. I was just thinking the polite thing to do was to say hi when she said “Mambo”
I didn’t remember the correct response so I said “Hi” instead.
We both smiled.
“You should say poa or sawa.”
“Thanks. I couldn’t remember for a minute there.”
“You don’t sound like a Kenyan.”
“No. I am not. I am a Nigerian.”
“Cool. How do you like Nairobi?” She at least didn’t mention “Ebola” which was nice.
“Lovely city.”
Light banter.
Off and on while we Listened to the band. We somehow got around to talking about how busy the city, the traffic and the population. Family sizes, and so on.
She: “Do you have any siblings?”
Me: “Yes. Three boys and a girl.”
She: “Not a lot.”
Me: “What? I think we are too many.”
She: “That’s not many. There are fifteen of us! A football team.”
Me: Wow! Not from the same woman?” (I couldn’t help myself)
She: “No. Two women. Eight from the first wife and seven from my mum.”
Me: “Where are your parents?”
She: “My dad works in Uganda and my mum has gone to visit him.”
Me: “And the first wife?”
She: “She’s somewhere around.”
Me: “How many kids do you want to have?”
She: “Two or three. This generation can’t afford to have more than four.”
Me: “I think even four is too much. Two or at most three. You have to feed them, clothe them, take care of them, love them, etc. It’s a lot of work.”
Me: “How is it raising a kid on your own?”
She: “It’s hard. Especially if you are a woman, and there is no man to help and it’s difficult getting a job.”
Me: “True. So how old is she? Is that her picture on your phone.”
“Yes.” She said as I asked to see the picture.
Me: “She’s pretty like her mother. How old is she?”
She: “Thanks. Five years.”
Me: “What’s her name?”
She: “Shantel.”
Me: “Nice American name.”
She smiled.
Me: “Where is the father? Doesn’t he help?”
She: “I don’t know where he is.”
Me: “How old are you?”
She: “Well I was eighteen when I had my daughter and she’s five now.”
Me: “That makes you 23”
She: “How old are you?”
Me: “Make a guess”
She: “27?”
“Not even close. Add more years. Many more.” I said laughing.
Finally I told her my age.
She: “Stop lying! Why are you lying?!”
I assured her that’s my true age.
She: “You don’t look it at all.”
Me: “Thanks for the compliment. I am an old man.” I said laughing.
Me: “So how much schooling did you do.” (I tend to ask this question when I think “Childhood: interrupted”)
She: “I completed my secondary school. But I was very heavy during my exams.”
Me: “How were the results?”
She: “It was ok. But not as good as I would have liked.”
Me: “Yeah. It couldn’t have been easy.”
Me: “Any plans of going back to school?”
She: “Yes. When I have money. I would have to stop working to do that and right now I have to work to pay my rent, take care of my daughter, and so on.”
Me: “So did your parents kick you out when you got pregnant?” I said with a smile to lighten the mood.
She: “No. I decided to move out after I had my baby and get my own place.”
Me: “So what do you do now?”
She: “I am a stylist. I like fashion. You know, clothes and materials. And I know how to put them together. The group performing are my friends. I style them. I have also just decided to start modeling. I am putting together my portfolio (of pictures)”
“Are they on the internet yet?”
“No. Not yet. I found out I have to take between 300 and 350. I am getting a friend to take the pictures so I don’t have to pay.”
A text comes in. It’s from my driver. I had told him two hours. He’s my get out of jail free card. Time flies when you are having fun.
I was ready to leave but thought I should offer her a drink at least. It was the gentlemanly thing to do.
“I have to leave. Long day tomorrow. Nice meeting you. Would you like a drink.” I asked looking at the bottle in front of her which was almost empty.
She says thanks. Indicated another bottle of the same light beer she was having would be nice.
I called over one of the attendants and paid for the drink. I got up to leave. One last waive and I was out in the brisk Nairobi evening.

I will call “Cee-Cee” when I get back to the hotel. She should be back from school.

Some “FaceTime” would be nice.

CYBORG says Oscar not a member

CYBORG says Oscar not a member

In other news, the organization known as CYBORG (CYBernetic ORGanization) has distanced itself from Oscar Pistorius. In a press release by the organization’s spokesperson who goes by the alias “A.I.”, the organization said, “Oscar has never been a member. When we are ready, we will take over the world. Not go around killing innocent women under any guise.”
The complete press release is available online at:

That’s the URL of the page you are reading. That’s the complete story. Lol.

A sink full of plates

A sink full of plates

I had been eyeing the pile in the kitchen for a number of days. But unfortunately by the time I get home I am too beat to do more than eye it again, take a drink from the fridge, and go lie down on my bed.

But despite the fact that I got home late last night, with my cousin’s visitor in tow, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I was tired but I just decided enough was enough.

The title may give you an idea of what I am going on about. When you have three working-class guys in the same apartment, some things are definitely going to slip under the table or remain in the sink until they are well and truly “ripe”.

Once I got on a roll, I couldn’t stop till I had done justice to it. I decided to tackle the plates in the sink and scattered all over the kitchen first. Most of them had little bits of soup, oil and left over food on them. Not too bad, I started throwing stuff in a big black refuse plastic bag: in goes the half-drunk plastic soft drink bottles after emptying their content into the sink. Followed by bits of food scraped off several plates. It was all going relatively well until I got to the bottom of the pile. One plate face-down on another. On opening it, I was faced with a decomposing mixture of cooked yam and fried eggs about 3 or four days old. The smell was something else. I managed and went on. A couple of pots with charcoal in them from someone burning whatever they were used to cook. Those went on the floor with water in them to soften the burnt stuff. Probably half a dozen dirty plastic food containers. Got as much of the content into the waste and stacked on the floor. Washed maybe another half dozen.

Since I had to finish what I had started, I dug around in the freezer compartment of the refrigerator. Electricity is a still a curiosity in Nigeria. I gingerly opened the covered plastic bowl containing what I knew was  catfish pepper-soup. I almost gagged at the smell of rotten fish that had dissolved into something slippery and mushy.

On the gas cooker was a pot I was almost sure had leftover cooked rice in it. I took off the lid and was confronted by a smelly slurry of something – the grains were no longer discernible – just a slowly flowing smelly white mess. Then there was the plastic bowl holding the leftover mixture of garri, milk and groundnut someone had left in the fridge for several days. The milk had of course cuddled, it smelled bad but not as bad as some of the earlier stuff I had encountered. Then there was the egusi soup and a separate bowl of stew that was more or less a waste of money because nobody ate it. They had been OK until the previous day or so when there had been no electricity (as always) and we hadn’t really put on the generator long enough to keep the stuff in the fridge cold. I was loathe to throw them away. I opened the egusi bowl first and sniffed at it. Couldn’t really make out any off smell, but it looked as if some of the fat had congealed unto one side of the bowl and thinking of the fact that it had spent a day or so sitting in a warm fridge, I guess it would be a dodgy affair to eat any of it, so into the waste it went. The soup was next. Still looked OK, but I was almost sure I could perceive from the odour that it was slightly off. So it followed the egusi into the waste as well.

I still cannot understand how people cannot finish a 50CL pure water sachet. That’s the stuff of booby-traps over here. Half sachets litter the whole house and even in the fridge: “keep your laptops and receipts off the tables or they are bound to get a dunking”

I emptied several half sachet of pure water into the pots that needed soaking. Managed to go through the plates, several plastic bowls, practically all the cutlery in the house and most of the cups as well. Well, the kitchen was looking decidedly better. I had offered the cousin’s visitor dinner: “Sorry for keeping you. Work and Lagos traffic. There is egusi soup and maybe you can make eba”. He gratefully agreed (he had been travelling all day and had to then wait for me some ice cream outlet for probably three hours or so). Note that this was freshly made equsi soup (separate from the one I had thrown in the waste) from a nice little homely restaurant in Ikoyi called BC Gardens. In fact, Nneka showed up with who I guess must be the love interest (some other artiste I believe) while I was there with the cousin. The place is in the home of the late Ben Enwonwu (a renowned artist). There is also an arts gallery there that you can peruse before or after your meal. It’s not so large but some interesting artworks were on display. Check out a couple of them below.

IMG_8986 IMG_8987
The picture above reminds me of someone I know very well. Who can guess? 🙂

So now the kitchen was looking somewhat respectable, I thought I had better put some water on to boil for the eba (garri stirred into hot water). Tried all four cooking points a couple of times – nothing. Bent low and sniffed at them with the gas knob turned on, no smell. Hmmn. Went outside and adjusted the control on the top of the gas cylinder thinking OK, maybe just this once, someone had decided to turn it off. Went back in and tried to light the points again. Nothing. Ok. This is getting serious. Went back outside again and lifted the cylinder. It was as light as a feather.

Went back in. To the fellow’s room and told him about my dilemma. “Em. Sorry. There is soup but unfortunately no gas. I have never tried boiling water with a microwave though. Maybe you could soak garri along with the soup?”

The fellow said not to worry. That he would eat the following day. He was almost asleep when I went into the room anyway so I guess he probably was just too tired to bother.

Went back out. Tidied up some more in the kitchen. Went to my room, took a shower, got the last can of malt from the fridge and settled down to watch the last quarter of a movie titled “Coherence.”

Which finally leads me to my encounter with the mouse.

I had almost stepped on the little critter in the dark (note that I had seen him around the house several times). There was some frantic squeaking and so I put on the light in the kitchen.

There he was sitting on his haunches, looking up at me, his mustache quivering violently and his two paws together. I wasn’t sure if I was dreaming because he jabbed one finger in my direction and a sequence of squeaks of different length streamed out. Well, I couldn’t help laughing for the life of me. I didn’t speak “mouse” or “rat” but I could picture the thing going on:

“Big bruv. Watch where you place those over-sized feet would ya?”
“How about a little something something for the little fella?”
“Oh? It’s like that eh? It’s like that?”
“There you are throwing good food away and I ask you for just a morsel and you stand there laughing at me huh?”
“You fur-less son of a gun!”
“So that’s how it be? That’s how you wanna play it?”
“You stingy hairless son of a whatever you are!”

After that it turned its back on me, raised up its tail and dropped one solitary scat (dropping). It then turned around again, looked at me balefully and said “Take that you! It’s on bruv! I tell you, it’s really on!”

And since I am not one to back out of a challenge (obviously when size is in my favour), I responded with “Bring it on bruv! Any time, any day!” and with that we both turned our backs and went our different ways.


But I am so gonna get that rat!

16-Oct-2014 (10:34PM)

The very first ghost

The very first ghost

This story is (not) true. This is probably the most ridiculous ghost story ever written. But still, it is how the first ghost came to be.
The ghost himself (or itself since in all reality Ghosts can not procreate but then since they still have their personalities and history, I guess it’s ok to ascribe sexuality to them).

Long long ago there was a relatively quiet man that died when he was middle aged. Which is really equivalent to people living to their eighties now if you consider that people died relatively early in those days due to a host of factors from disease to war.
This man died and was buried by his relatives in the village’s big burial ground.

The burial was low key, he was mourned for a month or two and people went on with their lives as should be: it’s just the cycle of life. Time heals all wounds and brings forgetfulness.
But while this man was alive he had a particular cousin that could talk the hairs off a live dog. For some strange reason, while the deadman lived, he had been the only one that seemed able to abide the other fellow’s nonstop chatter. The truth was that because he was a blacksmith which was more or less solitary work, he had not objected to the chatter-mouth cousin’s nonstop talking while he worked. The fellow appeared to require no responses and they seem to have arrived at some arrangement that suited both parties to the relieve of all the other people in the little village.

The talker somehow acquired news and scandals happening in the little village so people didn’t mind going to the blacksmith’s workshop to listen to him for a while before moving on. This probably benefited the blacksmith a little because with more foot traffic came additional business.

Well, after the blacksmith died, the cousin was the most miserable of all. He himself couldn’t have explained why he missed the blacksmith so much, but the truth was that it was the acceptance of the blacksmith he missed. He had a place to go and practice his “art” with at least one human being who at least didn’t seem to mind his nonstop talking even though he secretly believed the blacksmith wasn’t really listening to him (which in reality was the case).

So after a couple of weeks of wandering around the little village and being chased out of every house and shop when the occupants could no longer stand him, he wandered across the village cemetery and decided he might as well pay a visit to the grave of his recently departed cousin – the blacksmith. Well, he soon made himself comfortable and started talking at the headstone which had a bust of the blacksmith as if he were actually addressing the real person. He went on all day and only went home when the moon came out.
The following day he tried a few places and after he got the boot, he headed to the cemetery.
By the end of the week, he didn’t even bother with the townsfolk anymore, he just headed straight to the cemetery where he talked and talked and talked.

Now it is common knowledge that the dead have no awareness of anything. Which is true. Death is like a permanent sleep.
Well. The blacksmith might have been asleep but at some level the continuous droning of his live cousin six feet on top started filtering into his subconscious if you can call it that.
He literarily started turning in his grave. In reality, it was his ghost that started turning since the body was mostly decomposed. After several weeks of this semiconscious discomfort he suddenly became aware. The first thing he heard of course was his cousin’s voice. The man had succeeded in disconnecting the cord that binds the ghost to the deceased’s body.
The ghost who could no longer sleep found itself drifting to the surface where he of course found his cousin holding his one-man play of unlimited words. Not fully realizing his state, he tapped the cousin on the shoulder and the latter literarily fell off the grave. But after seeing that it did not appear that the ghost would hurt him, he was soon welcoming the dead cousin on his return from the dead.
The ghost wasn’t impressed.
“You know. If this goes on much longer I am going to have to find another grave. Your continuous chattering is wearing on my nerves”
The cousin was shocked and hurt.
“I thought you didn’t mind!”
“Well. Then I didn’t. I had other things to distract me. My job for example. But here, all I can do is wait for judgement day so I can have everlasting peace at last ”
“When is that?” He asked the dead man.
“No idea. Just go away and do no wrong.”
“I do no wrong already.”
“Good for you. Now go away and you are all set!”
“But I don’t have anyone to talk to in the whole village! You are my only friend!”
“Well. I wouldn’t exactly say we are friends. Relatives yes, but friends might be stretching the truth a little.”
But after a while the ghost relented and agreed to a visit of a few hours everyday. He considered that it couldn’t be too bad and it was something to do besides sleeping perpetually especially now that he was awake. He had looked in a few of the other graves and the occupants were still fast asleep and he was loathe to wake them up.

The arrangement seemed to work out well for the two of them. Everything went well for quite some time at least from the point of view of the ghost. But then over time the live cousin started to get dissatisfied with the allocated time. He still wanted to talk whereas the ghost kept time like a clockwork. One day after such a session, the live cousin he a little bit away and sat on another gravestone while grumbling to himself. It suddenly hit him that he could very well repeat the same steps he did with his cousin on any one of the hundreds of graves in the cemetery.

He thought he would have better luck with the recently deceased so he hunted around for a fresh grave. Soon he was seated and chatting away to whoever was “down” there.
The ghost soon noticed the cousin wasn’t as eager as before to hang around once his time was up.
It wasn’t long before he “woke” up the occupant of the new grave.
He of course told his new “friend” about his dead cousin. When he showed up the next day, he found the two of them hanging out together. He in effect had the same amount of time with them as he had when it was only his cousin. He decided to cast his net wider. Soon he was visiting about five graves per day.

But same as there is a grumpy in every seven dwarfs, there was at least one grumpy occupant of a grave in the cemetery. He took offense at being woken up. He complained about it to all the other ghosts who were up before him. He complained loudly over and over whether or not anyone was listening. He was going at it one such night when a couple of people happened to be passing by. When they came face to face with him and saw his transparent form, they ran away screaming. He was perplexed at first but then he repeated it a few more times and got very similar results. That became his past time and his disposition soon improved.

Time passed and the cousin grew old and was buried in the same cemetery. His friends soon came to wake him up. Apparently ghosts can’t wake up unless someone or another ghosts wakes them up.

To end this long winded story, the grumpy ghost soon introduced his favorite past times to the others and in the absence of anything better to do, more and more ghosts started scaring people. Over time, the reason for scaring people got lost and now ghosts just do it.

Note: I don’t believe in ghosts.