It’s a slap in the face
But I needed it
I am awake now
Will shoot to remain so

I was cuddled before
By family and friends
I let myself subsist
On pity and fear

I promise from herein on
I will do my best and leave the rest
Will face my fears
And live this life

It’s a slap on the face
But I needed it
Instead of being angry
I fell more in love

Karma always wins. No exceptions.

These Karma “quotes” are from a story I wrote recently. The story may never see the light of day. But my sister (Yetty) who has read it put one of the quotes up on FB, so I decided I might as well put all the Karma quotes from the story up as a blog entry.
And no, the story isn’t titled “Karma” 🙂

  1. Karma always wins. No exceptions.
  2. Karma is an avalanche you didn’t see or feel coming until it hits you.
  3. The problem with Karma is that you can’t tell in what currency she wants repayment, or for how long, or when, or where.
  4. Karma, just like murder, has no statutes of limitation.
  5. Karma is like a spring loaded door you pushed open and forgot about. It’s going to hit you in the face on its return.
  6. Karma is like throwing sh*t at a typhoon fan and hoping someone else takes the hit. You can’t get out of the way fast enough even if you tried.
  7. Karma is in no hurry. It’s like a father watching a son misbehave in public and thinking of the rod waiting at home just inside the front door.

  8. Karma is the sadistic guard on the night shift. Coming round every once in a while to brain you with a truncheon just because of the way you look.
  9. Karma crosses a bridge, and burns it to the ground. There is no going back.
  10. Karma takes no prisoners.
  11. An eye for an eye makes Karma’s day.
  12. Karma can watch you struggle all the way to the top of Everest then trip you up on the very last step. That’s how she rolls, and it’s a long way down.
  13. Karma’s got a direct line to each person. We dial her number by our actions. It may take a while for her to show up, but you can bet your future on it, she will.

  14. Karma always wins. No exceptions. (rinse, repeat)

The Lone Walker

The lone walker

I met a man
Spotting a tan
Sitting by the quay
Looking at the bay

I sat by him
Didn’t say a word
Solace in silence
Or maybe it was shyness

He said he died yesterday
This was the new him
I couldn’t tell the difference
Could I decipher by inference

Was the new him
Better than the old him
Would the new him
Slay the ghost of the old him

No answer was forthcoming
Maybe he was brainstorming
Then I saw his reflection in the beam
He was me and I was him!

Redemption (part 1 of 3)



“Oh. Everyone has a past. Definitely. Take Tunde here for example. He’s always the perfect gentleman. He never talks about his past. He’s almost never angry. What’s his sexual preference, do you know? We think we know him but do we really? He could be an assassin for all we know. Maybe his day job is just a front. Or maybe he’s a cape crusader at night. Anything is possible.”

“You can kill. But can you make alive?”

I smiled. Or I tried to anyway. But it didn’t go past my visage. As usual my chest constricted and I could barely breathe.
“Excuse me a minute”. I said getting up.
“You see. He’s running away as usual.”

I turned and smiled again. Shook my index finger at Wura as I continued walking. I needed to get some fresh air.

I stood outside on the water front. I let the breeze from the sea wash over me. It was so long ago. But the look in her eyes has haunted me every night since that night.

“You can kill. But can you make alive?”

My past is clouded in mystery. As it should be. Anything else and I wouldn’t be here. Among friends. Having dinner. In a quiet restaurant.

I sold my soul for $30,000. I have spent the last 5 years and several times that amount trying to get it back.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Five years ago.

“Why are you always watching C&I?” Bola asked for the umpteenth time. I gave my usual response.
“Easy. I want to be ready. I may need to commit the perfect crime someday. At least I will know to avoid all the dumb things people do.”
“Hmmmn. You know there’s no perfect crime. It’s only the police haven’t found the evidence. Sooner or later they always get their man – or woman.”
“Not true.” I countered. “There are lots of perfect crimes out there that are actually unsolvable. Have you read the “assassin’s handbook” for example?”
“Some chap actually followed one of the outlines in it, but he didn’t execute it perfectly and ended up being caught.” I went on.
“What. Are you serious right now?”
“Nah. Just yanking your chain. Let’s go grab some dinner.” I said, changing the subject.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Hey bro. How’s it hanging?” That’s “One eye”. Contrary to the convoluted “gangster-ish” story he tells on how he “lost” his eye, he was actually born without the eye.
“Hey! Don’t leave me hanging bruv!” I was distracted. Money issues. He had his hand out in a “high five” gesture.
“Sorry” I said meeting him half way.
“You are looking down bruv. Fancy a little something something?”
“Something something” is any one of several illegal substances he’s “retailing” at any given time. He’s always offering me a taste, but I was smarter than that. If I was going to get hooked on anything, it better be money.
“Thanks bro. You know me. I get high on the smell of mint greens. ”
“Yeah. Which is why you should come work for me.”

That always drew a smile from me. A small timer himself with grandiose pretensions. I knew he had a small team of ten-ish boys running around for him. If I ever got in the game, I definitely had to be at least a step above him, otherwise it wasn’t worth the headache or the danger.

“So what’s cooking?” His comments always come with some reference to his stock in trade.
“Nothing new. Just shooting the breeze.”
“Good. Good. Always nice to see you. You know that right.”
“Yeah. Same here.”
“That sounds so gay bruv!” He burst out laughing. No one can accuse him of being politically correct. I laughed along with him.

For some reason, shortly after I moved into the neighborhood and we met at one of the corner shops, we had it hit off.

“You sure you don’t want anything?”
“Nah. I am good.”
“You don’t look too good bruv.”
“I am okay.”
“Same old same old?”
“Yeah. Same old same old.” I repeated.
“You know the offer still stands. We will be like partners. You know.” Staff to partners I thought. That’s actually an improvement in his “offer”.
“Thanks. But you know I don’t touch the stuff.”
“Yeah. Yeah. You promised your dad on his death bed, right?”

Nothing of the sort happened of course. My dad left my mum before I was old enough to say my first words. But I invented the story on the fly on one of those days he wouldn’t get off my back about the “job offer” and since it worked, I just stuck to it.

“So what are you doing for the extra stuff.”
“Nothing much. You know. A little here and a little there.”

I really didn’t know what I was doing. I just couldn’t decide what to do with my college education. I had lost all my drive. I am no longer sure I ever had it. All the big dreams I had during college seemed to have shriveled up and died painfully.

“You need a little to tide you over bruv? I know you good for it. Not like all these other mofos I have to hunt down. A couple of hundreds till month end? Yeah? Yeah?”
“Yeah”. I said. Ashamed of myself. Hard to remember the first time he loaned me money. Harder still to promise myself again as I always do that this would be the very last time. But I always pay back on time.

“Thanks. Appreciate it. You know if something comes up. I am always up for it.”
“No probs. What do you think of this?” He half pulled out a pistol from his pants.
“Huh? When did you start packing?” I asked.
“Just for the image bruv. Just for the image. The streets are mean but ain’t no one gonna cross your homeboy. But still it’s a good idea to flash it now and then.”

I was thinking I might have to put some distance between him and me. I came to shoot the breeze not get shot.

“I could get you one if you want.”
“Thanks. Don’t really need it.”
“Ain’t you always watching that C&I stuff? Don’t people get shot up all the time?”
“Yeah. Shot. Stabbed. Strangled. It’s all about the imagination. Or the passion.” I said smiling.
“Some dump sh*t happening in this country. Yeah?”
“You could say that.”
“Mostly white folks right? The weird stuff?”

There we go again.

“Nah. All colours bro. No one’s left out.”
“Oh. Ok. I thought I see more whites on there though.”

I let it slide. I didn’t want to encourage the conversation.

“You done some shooting before right?”
“Yes. Better days”. Back in college, I used to go to a close shooting range when I had a little extra cash. But strange enough, I seem to have less cash now that I am out of school. Possibly due to the fact I wasn’t holding down a steady job.
“You know. There’s always word out on the streets from time to time for something something along that line.”
“Huh? Sorry. Something along what line?”
“That line. You know. If you can handle a piece.”
“And the pay is not bad. But it’s not my thing you know. Besides I have got this shindig going on here. I am all set. You know.”

But he had caught my attention.

“Is it some security gig or what?”
“Nah. Not security.”

He leaned in and his pitch went down a notch to a near whisper.

“Bump someone off you know.”

I thought I knew what he was getting at but I looked at him with a questioning look on my face. He nodded slowly with a little smile on his lips.

“Thanks. But no thanks. That’s way above anything I have ever done. And I have done some sh*tty things in my time.” I laughed a little uncomfortably.

He laughed as well.

“You know each person’s got a talent. You just need to discover it. I am sounding like my fifth grade teacher!” He said.
“I remember you were some sort of hot shot right. And you are cool enough. You keep it tight. So, if you change your mind, let me know and I am sure I can hook you up.”

A car pulled up just then. A paying customer. It was getting late anyway so I said goodnight and left for the loneliness of my little apartment.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

As if on cue, one of the programs that came up that night was on a murder for hire plot. Which soon fell apart because the guy couldn’t keep his mouth shut. He was sent away for 120 years with the possibility of parole after at least 80 years. Given that the chap was in his early thirties, it was just as good as a death sentence. Though, even if he had kept his mouth shut, he would still have been caught. He left so much evidence, it would have been only a matter of time. He might have thought he took a page out of the Assassin’s Handbook for the job, what he was far from it. As they say, it’s all about the execution. No pun intended.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

It’s amazing how long you can stretch a couple of tens. Then you get hold of a couple of hundreds and that disappears just as quickly. Early the following month, I was cash-strapped again. I held out for as long as I could. I wasn’t going to hit “one eye” for a loan. But I needed to do something for cash. And thinking about “one eye”, our last conversation came back to my mind.

I tried to forget it, but it wasn’t going to go away easily. It happened gradually but the idea began to appeal to me. How hard could it be? Maybe I would only “do” people that deserve it. I would do my research to make sure. Finally, with a few ones left from the loan, I approached him. I promised myself it’s just to find out what’s out there. We started off with the usual stuff then I tentatively broached the subject.

“You know I have been thinking about the other thing you told me.”
“What thing?”
“The other thing. You know. The job.”
“Oh. Great news bruv. I could always use someone as smart as you are! You can start at any day! What about tomorrow? Great news!”
“No. No. No. Not that job. The “other” job. You know. With the piece.”
“Oh. That. Ok. Cool. Let me get back to you on that. See what’s available.”
“But you sure you wanna do that? It’s much safer working with me.”
“Yes. Let’s just find out what’s out there. You know. Thanks.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A couple of day’s later, he calls to say something was “available.”
“Yo bro. I always deliver.”
He fished out an envelope from his back pack. And a disposable phone.
“Here. There’s a single number stored on the phone. Call it once when you are ready to do the job. There’s 10 large in the envelope. You get 20 once the job is done to the client’s satisfaction.”
“Wow! Wow! Hold on a minute! I didn’t say I wanted a job right now. I just wanted to know what was out there.” I got a little panicky. This was going faster than I expected.
“Wow! Don’t be messing with me boy. This here is the real sh*t. I have told some real people you are the real deal!”
I thought maybe he was joking, but the mean look that had entered his eyes told another story.
“You do this and we good. You f*ck it up and there’s going to be hell to pay.”
“It doesn’t have to be immediate, but client wants it done before the elections.”
That was 8 weeks away.
“How did you get this thing. Aren’t there like professionals for this stuff.” I was still trying to wiggle my way out of it.
“Yeah. I heard the client didn’t want it to look too professional. Not sure what that means though. But you asked for the job and you got it.”
“I didn’t ask for this? I thought you would come back to me with some options. Not a job!”
“Sorry bruv. I don’t roll like that. We do business, we do business. We don’t do business, we don’t do business. But this business right here, bruv, get it done!”
He shoved the large envelope at me again. I had no option but to accept it.
After that he ignored me completely and went about his business.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The envelope sat on my work table for the next two days. I slept, woke up, sat there in the dark, in the sunlight, watching it like something that could bite if I touched it. I wasn’t getting much sleep. On the third day, I finally couldn’t stand it any longer, and so opened it. There were several large pictures of the same woman in different locations and clothing. Obviously taken at different times. There was also a small card with a name typed on it which I assumed was hers. I quickly googled the name on my phone and came up with various articles on her and lots of pictures. Found out she’s the wife of some mid-level politician.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The pictures spent another couple of days on the table while I read up on the lady and her husband. They were obviously quite popular from the shear number of pictures of them on the web. There were probably as many pictures of each of the couple alone as there were of them together.

I started gradually getting myself into the state of mind necessary to “do the deed.”  It wasn’t easy, but the fact that I might meet a grievous end if I failed helped a little. And most politicians are dirty after all. Maybe it’s some business that had gone south.  Or maybe I was being made a patsy to take the fall in case something goes wrong. I couldn’t find any real dirt on either of them. There was some story of some shady deal but it went no where.

By the end of the week I knew I had to make a decision. One option was to pack up and go on the run, but I suspected I was being watched. Maybe it was just paranoia from watching to many crime-themed programs on TV, but I wasn’t ready to take the chance.

I read somewhere that strong people make their decisions quickly and change their mind slowly. I had to be strong or I was going to fall apart. It was now or never. A part of me still didn’t believe I would see it through otherwise I couldn’t understand how I could really be considering actually going through with it. It’s as if somewhere deep in my mind, I believed there would be some sort of “intervention”.

I had the phone in my hand all day and at about 12 midnight I finally got up the nerve to dial the single number in its address book. But first I went walking across a few streets. Even if the phone was going to be tracked, it wasn’t going to lead back to my neighborhood. I had made up my mind to cut the call after a few rings, but someone came on the line immediately.

“Hello. My name is Paul. You are Peter. Now listen carefully”

He proceeded to give me instructions to go to an address where I would find a bag containing instructions and everything I would need for “job”.

“Oh. One last thing. Toss the phone tonight. There’s another phone in the bag.”

There was no backing out now. I was committed. Still felt unreal.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

First thing next day I caught a couple of buses across town. I had an old jalopy but apart from the fact that it might not make it across town and back, it was probably wise not to go in my own personal car. Too obvious. Especially given that the destination was not part of my regular haunt.
The bag was left behind some nondescript abandoned building. I looked around but it appeared I was alone. But that didn’t preclude the possibility of someone watching me through a pair of binoculars from some distant location.
There were leather gloves, a phone, a pair of dark glasses, a mask, another envelope and a few other items I couldn’t make out from the cursory look. I zipped it back up and made my way back to the closest bus stop.
An hour and a half later, I was safely back in my apartment.
I went through the bag again and laid out the items one by one slowly on my bed. The gun felt cold to the touch. But it felt familiar at the same time. There was a couple of boxes of ammo as well. I opened the envelope  and there were more pictures. And three typed sheets of paper. I read through quickly.  It contained her itinerary. Just the stuff she repeats daily. There was even some suggestion on the best place to get the job done. She goes for a jog through a park every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday very early in the morning. Alone. Sunday was recommended due to reduced “foot” traffic in the park. The plan was there fully fleshed out. It was as if whoever it was just needed someone to actually pull the trigger. That’s all.
Sunday was just a couple of days away.  I didn’t think I was ready mentally to carry out the job. Saturday I didn’t leave the house. Sunday morning found me awake. I pictured her jogging through that park in my mind. I have to walk the park during the week. Get a feel for the lay of the land. I still didn’t really think I was going to go through with it.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I had made the trip twice by the following weekend. No cameras were obvious. And some sections can be quite deserted even on a week day. I went to the park very late on Saturday night. Found some very dense shrubbery and settled down for the night. It was a little chilly despite the fact that I can come prepared.
I didn’t quite sleep. More like dozing off and on. I was too on edge from the anticipation of what lay before me.
I was up fully by 5AM on the Sunday morning. Checked the gun, put the mask on over my head but not all the way down in case someone comes calling. I made my way carefully to the section I had selected. Pulled down the mask fully and waited.
I didn’t have to wait long. Like clockwork I could see her coming up the track through gaps in the vegetation. I stepped unto the road when she was a few meters to my hiding point. She screeched to a halt with her hands raised in front of her.
I had the gun pointed at her chest.
“Mister. I am not sure what you want. I have no money on me. But my car is not too far away. I have some money in it.”
I ground my teeth. I needed to do it before she talked me out of it. I squeezed the trigger and let off a shot. It’s been a while and I didn’t compensate for the “kick” enough. The shot went wide off the mark and tore through her side. She groaned and went down quickly. My blood was pumping so loudly I could hear it in my ears. And I could feel a vein throbbing on the side of my head. I stood over her with the gun pointing down but a little off to the side to avoid the back spatter I expected from the next shot.
“Mister” she groaned. “Please don’t kill me. I have a husband and two kids.”
I didn’t say anything, I was starting to waiver. I needed to finish the job. My finger was on the trigger but I couldn’t press it.
She said a few other things but I didn’t really hear her.
But her final words cut me off guard. I am not sure if I would have pulled the trigger if she had spoken a split second earlier. But my finger was already in motion when she said with a look in her eyes that knew the end had come “You can kill. But can you make alive“. The next second the bullet was in her heart and she was completely still. I looked down on the work of my hand. She was really dead. It had been too easy. The adrenaline was still gushing through my system. But no time to lose. I needed to get far away from the park and dispose of everything related to my presence there.
One last check to ensure she was dead and I broke into a slow jog. I had selected the route I would take out of the park on one of my earlier trips. It was a little used track that exited the park unto a quiet side street. I took off my shirt and tied it around my waist, took a face-cap out of my pocket and sat it backwards in my head. I slowed to a walk with a little jaunt in my steps with some difficulty.
The plan was to get as far away from the park as much as possible before boarding a bus.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Back home, the adrenaline rush carried me through the rest of the plan I had outlined before I had started out the previous day. Strip off everything that had to do with the job. All went into a big plastic container. Soak everything in a strong bleach for two hours. Dry. Take a scissors to all the items of clothing – trousers, jacket, t-shirt, face-cap, briefs, gloves, socks. Cut them up into 5 pieces. Each piece went into a separate plastic bag – one of five. Break up the gun. Take a heated large kitchen knife to the shoes and cut into five parts each. Tie up each plastic bag and put everything in one medium sized duffel bag. By the time I was done, it was almost night which suited me perfectly. The final bit was the journey across to the next city on a ferry and a phone call. I made the call just before boarding the boat. I was to expect the receiver to say “Wrong number” to which I would respond “Sorry. Goodbye” if I had completed the job. If otherwise, I was to say “My mistake” and hang up.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

As predicted on the weather channel, there was a light shower as we crossed the bay on the ferry. Visibility was reduced and only a few people were out on the upper deck of the boat. I dropped the barrel of the gun quietly into the water when we were half way across. Followed by one of the small plastic bags.
Once on dry land on the other side, I went walking through side streets completely randomly. Every couple of streets, I would randomly empty the content of a plastic bag into a trash can, followed by the plastic bag itself. I was reducing the chances that the same garbage truck will collect all five trash cans. Finally, the duffel bag went into a trash can and the pair of gloves I had on went into another.
There was nothing now linking me to the “job” as far as I could tell. I was in the most danger immediately after I had shot her and disposing of everything as I had done now. A weariness I couldn’t fathom descended on me and it was all I could do to find a bus stop. I was going to take the long route back by road.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“You can kill. But can you make alive?”

I came awake soaked in sweat. I had been dreaming about the lady. She was holding a cross in one hand and my gun in the other. I woke up as she fired the gun. I had been too tired to think by the time I got home and had just crawled into bed. Now I was hungry and the full thought of what I had done during the day took over my mind. I wandered into the tiny sitting room that doubled as the kitchen on one end and immediately noticed the small brown envelope at the front door. I knew what it was. I opened it, brought out the money, and burnt the envelope immediately on the gas cooker.  I looked in the fridge but didn’t really have an appetite though I was hungry. The thought struck me that she would never eat or look into a fridge again. Never.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I avoided “One eye” for the next couple of weeks and strangely he never reached out to me either. I assume he was the one that dropped off the cash. But I stopped functioning on many levels. I spent most days trawling the Internet for news. The police weren’t making much headway and were appealing to the public for assistance. Meanwhile the popularity of the husband had skyrocketed mostly due to public sympathy and he was expected to win at the polls. He played the distraught husband of course. If I was thinking he might have engineered the whole thing, then I was sure the police were considering going down a similar track. But he had a solid alibi and there was absolutely no evidence.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Not sure why it bothered me so much. Did she say “make a life” or “make alive”? Do they even mean different things?
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I have spent the last five years trying to make up for what I “did”.
For some reason, that single act reset my life. Suddenly I was back from the brink. I got a job. Worked hard at it. Promotions followed. Rented a small but cozy apartment in another part of town. Everything was going relatively well. On the outside at least. I still got very little sleep.

Then I found God. Or I tried. I had heard the bell of the basilica toll almost every Sunday but never really paid any attention to it. But that morning I was wide awake and nothing on my mind except the dream. I got up, got dressed and flagged down a taxi.

I sat at the back all through the service. I felt completely out of place. I waited until the place was almost empty.  Then went and sat close to the confession booth. A little later, it was my turn.

“In the name of the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.” said the voice of the priest from the other side of the divide.

“Bless me father for I have sinned.”
“Bless you my son.”
“I have never come for a confession. I am not even Catholic. I don’t know how this works. I just remember that statement from some TV program I have seen.”
“Are you a Christian?”
“I think so. Yes father.”
“Do you believe in the Christian God?”
“Yes father.”
“Do you believe Jesus Christ is his son and the messiah?”
“Yes father.”
“Are you truly sorry for your sins?”
“I think so father.”
“You may not be Catholic but we are all followers of Christ. If you are truly sorry, you may go ahead and confess your sins.”
“I …. ” I faltered.
“Go on son. God knows and sees everything.”
“I … I killed someone several years ago.”
“I was lost. I did it for the money.”
“And you are truly sorry about it now?”
“Yes father.”
“Since when?”
“Since when what father?”
“Since when did you become truly sorry for this grievous sin?”
“Shortly after father.”
“What have you done about it?”
“Nothing father. But I have had no peace. I get this weird dream almost every night. She comes for me. I have thought about giving myself up to the police.”
“But you haven’t?”
“I don’t think I will like being incarcerated that much father. I also suspect I won’t last much in there once the people that paid me learn that I have given myself up.”
“True son.”
“But I think it might give the family closure.” I said. “If I give myself up.”
“I suspect that you are right, you will be dead rather quickly. It would be a waste. There is much positive things that you can do with your life.”
“Very few people actually want closure. They confuse revenge with closure. But even when they do get the revenge, it doesn’t bring any lasting satisfaction either. Especially when the sentence is anything short of a death sentence, even at that, the hate continues to consume them until the sentence is actually carried out. Which may take several years.” He said.
“Have you thought of doing penance in some other ways?”
“Not really father.”
“You could give of your time to various charity causes.”
“Yes father.”
“Being a public figure, she’s certain to have supported some charities. Find out which ones and include those as well.”
“Yes father.”
“You can also check on the Internet. There are many charities out there. Also on this church’s website as well.”
“Yes father.”
“God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church, may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
“May the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of all the saints, whatever good you do and suffering you endure, heal your sins, help you to grow in holiness, and reward you with eternal life. Go in peace.”
“Thank you, Father.”

I started trawling the net for various charity causes and signing up for them. Initially I signed up to too many of them and could not cope with the demands on my time. So I started paring down one by one. Now I am fully committed and active in five which is still quite a lot, but I am not complaining. I am alive. She’s not.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I went back in to the restaurant.
“Oh. He’s back. The man that came down from heaven.” Wura is always on my case. Bayo says it means she’s actually “interested” but I am not. She’s quite good looking and has a good personality. But I haven’t actually been involved with anyone before. Tried a few times, nothing stuck.
“Game. Game. Game. Guy got no game.” That’s Loki. Actually his real name is Akin. But he’s the pain in my a*s in the group. So I nicknamed him Loki.
Rather than start something and not be able to “close” it, I have toed the straight, safe and narrow of not even trying anymore.

There was once a lady. The few before her pale into insignificance. I have not had any interest in anyone else after her. I thought I did everything right. I did everything wrong. I wanted it all. She wanted it not. Wonder how she’s doing. There’s no saint anywhere.

But she was the one.

“Guys. I have to go. Long day tomorrow.”
“It’s Saturday night. What do you have planned for tomorrow. It’s too early for that now?!” That was Wura.
“Early to church. Then off to the “One Good Meal” center. I am on duty the whole day tomorrow. Hungry people don’t care about late outings on Saturday nights.” I half joked.
“How do you find time for anything else between all the various charity programs you are involved with?”
“You will be surprised at how many things you can fit into 24 hours if you really put your mind to it.”
“Yeah. If you don’t have a life.” Loki burst out laughing.
I pursed my lips and shook my head at him.
I moved around the table. Hugs for the ladies, pats on the back or handshakes for the guys. A crew of 12. We call ourselves “the disciples”. We have never decided on what or who we were disciples of or to.
“Good night guys.”

“You can kill. But can you make alive.”

I walk out into the night. It was nice weather. I decided to walk a few blocks before flagging down a taxi. A few years ago I would have been looking over my shoulder every few steps, but I stopped doing that after a while. I think I just stopped caring.
“One eye” had met a violent end a couple of months or so after the job. I only spoke to him once during that period. He had been his usual self and said his contact was happy with the job. It had been a busy day for him so I was happy to move on quickly. I wanted to put some distance between myself and everything related to what I had done anyway. I hadn’t been getting much sleep. Almost every night, the same dream over and over again. I have never got used to it. I got into the habit of making sure I worked myself almost to death before hitting the sack. That way, even after I come awake after the dream, I am still able to fall asleep afterwards. Too tired to stay awake.

I had moved out shortly after the job, and it took a while before the news that “one eye” had chewed a couple of bullets got to me. I could say he was a good guy, but that wouldn’t be true. But I was sad all the same. The word on the street was that it was a gang related hit, but I wasn’t completely sure. What if “they” were cleaning up? Tying up loose ends? I was fearful for several weeks, switching my routines, always looking behind when out on the streets, keeping to public places, etc. But nothing ever happened.

I ended up walking All the way home. I was completely tired by the time I entered my apartment. I just crawled into bed thinking “she would come again” but for some reason, I was missing the usual anxiety at the thought.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

We were on the deck of the boat. The weather was nice and the wind whipped her dress and her hair around her. We were standing almost shoulder to shoulder. There was no gun and the cross floated on a chain behind her neck. She said something but I couldn’t make it out over the noise of the wind. She smiled and pointed to something on the horizon. I strained to see what it was, but I couldn’t. I shouted to her that I couldn’t see anything, she just smiled back and shrugged her shoulders. Then she faded away right before my eyes.
I woke up and realized something had changed. I rolled over and went back to sleep with a smile on my face. She was welcome to drop by any time now, but I doubted I would ever see her again. I did kill. But I think she has made alive a soul: mine.

9:00PM (15-05-15 @ SWE Bar)
For “The One who will always be the One.”

Honest Dave and the Princess

Honest Dave and the Princess

There was once a man. We shall call him honest Dave. He lived all alone on the top of a hill and he was very lonely.
One sunny day, honest Dave thought he should check if he had any new neighbors.
So he brought out his binoculars.
To his surprise, on the hill across the valley was a big red heart!
So honest Dave thought he had better go and check it out.

When he got near the top of the other hill, he found out that the heart belonged to a fierce but beautiful princess.
And round the heart was a fence that was about waist high.

Honest Dave thought for a moment and decided that such a beautiful heart must belong to a lovely person no matter how fierce they pretended to be. So he decided he must touch the heart.
But what was he going to do about the fence?

Well. Since he was there already, he thought he might as well try and see if there was any gate in it whereby he might go in.
But as he tried each link in the fence, he noticed the fence getting taller and taller. Soon it was as high as honest Dave’s chest.
Honest Dave knew that if he continued testing the fence, it would grow so high, the heart would no longer be visible from his hilltop house across the valley. And that would make honest Dave sad.

So honest Dave went back down the valley and up to his house on top of the hill. But every few days, he would go across the valley and standing just outside the fence, he would say a few kindly words to the heart.

To honest Dave’s pleasant surprise, the fence went back down to its original height. Which pleased honest Dave a lot.

Though what honest Dave wanted most in the world was for a gate to open in the fence so he could touch the heart, he was content for the moment to have such a wonderful neighbor.

And that is the end of our story.

27/05/2014. 2:28am

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

PS: the story above is written in the style of “Tales by moonlight” always narrated by an Aunt or Uncle (or in some similar program, maybe a village grandma or grandpa). I didn’t quite start it the proper way e.g., “Children gather round. Would you like to hear a story …” But I think I ended it properly with “And that is the end of our story”

“There is nothing new under the sun.
The eyes it was meant for, saw it yesterday.
It is true, says this one, till eternity.”
(And that’s a code worthy of the Templars 🙂



It was a brisk day outside the class. I would have given anything to be out there right now. To allow the wind crawl under the edges of my jacket and get me to give a shudder. Then another. That feeling that says “I am alive!”

I will soon be, but first I needed to complete this test. I look back at the question paper in front of me. “Write 2 full pages on the psychology of crowds.”
I could see the instructor way up in front. He seemed lost in his own world. There was a low hum in the class. Something more than the heater that kept the room slightly warm.
I could do without the extra heat as I could feel my head overheating from my thoughts.

I have botched it up again. Just as before. How many times. Three or four? Too few considering how long I have been around.

Today I have no interest in crowds. I almost wanted to rip the question paper in two and walk out of the room. But then what? Spend the rest of the day thinking. I need to get away from my head. I stay because this is something to do to have a respite from thinking about her – about what might have been. But I botched it up. Again.

“An hour more.” The instructor said from the front.

The rumble and mumble in the room grew slightly louder. It was as if he had woken up the students who then decided to shuffle their feet, shift in their seats and nudge their desks.
What’s an hour to me? I still have the rest of the day to think. And then the whole of tomorrow. And the day after.

The maddening crowd. Wasn’t that Shakespeare. Or Hardy.

I look outside the window again. A guy had stopped under a tree not far off. He had a dog on a leash. Big dog. It looked well groomed. Maybe the dog felt my gaze, because it turned round and met it. It bared its teeth and started growling. I didn’t break eye contact. The growl became an uncomfortable but low bark every few seconds. Can it sense the religious-like quiet of a test hall? It’s owner decided to move off. He didn’t even give me a look.
A man with a dog.

I have never had a dog. I have thought of getting one in the past. But never got round to it.
I have been told it’s a “chick-magnet”: a guy with a dog. I wasn’t looking to attract a thousand ladies. Just keep one, and keep her happy, and keep her close, that would have done for me. Do you ever see dogs in crowds? Maybe not. Or maybe it’s the police dogs to control the crowd?

There must be many guys with dogs out there.

I don’t know why I couldn’t get the dog out of my mind.
I needed to write a 2-pager on the psychology of crowds. But it seems I can’t see the crowd for the dog: the dog and the man. The wind seemed to have picked up outside. Then a light drizzle started. The man and his dog hurried past in the same direction they had appeared from initially. The dog looked briefly in my direction. I thought I saw recognition in its eyes, but it was went out of view almost immediately.

It was as if the man with the dog was the advance guard of a troop or crowd. Because shortly after people started streaming past. Most with their heads bowed low and leaning forward against the drizzle. Only one or two carried umbrellas. I guess the weather prediction for the day had failed them.

I tapped my pen on the edge of the table. What do I care for crowds. Does a crowd of thoughts in one head behave like a human crowd? Or an animal crowd running on instinct and maybe fear? All heading in one direction towards some precipice?

I looked outside again because I heard a bark that almost sounded familiar. The man and the dog were under the tree outside the window again. The dog was looking at me. Just looking. No hint of the hostility demonstrated earlier.

“Thirty minutes left.”

Maybe I should make an attempt to write something down. I just couldn’t think of anything else.
The dog and the man and the girl.
The dog and the man.
The dog and the man on a roof?
Where had that come from?
I shook my head.
Actually it was the man and the 3 legged dog on a roof.
I remember now. It was from a movie I had seen. I couldn’t for the life of me remember the title. But it opened with a man and a 3 legged dog on a roof. Far above the madening crowd. It was at night. And he had lost everything. He was angry with God, or maybe he had given up on God and wanted to end it all. Did a lightening strike him and the dog?

Maybe that was me. But I had no 3 legged dog. I haven’t lost everything, but I have lost the one thing that mattered most. Does that mean the same thing? Does the one important thing represent everything? But that movie had a happy ending for the chap. He got his job back, got the girl, got his groove back.

But I remember there was a twist in the tale. Some friend of his who had thumbed his nose at him and who had it all together at the beginning of the movie had lost everything by the end and was standing on the same roof with only the 3-legged dog for company.
Was I the guy at the beginning or the end of the movie? Closer to the chap at the end. But of course, I have never had it all together, so I couldn’t claim to have lost everything. But if the one thing that mattered the most represented everything, then I guess I have lost it all. Maybe my senses as well.

But still up there on the roof, he was definitely not part of the maddening crowd below. Rushing who knows where. One in movement. One in thought. Going some place.

I couldn’t be bothered about the psychology of crowds. I think I will write instead about the psychology of the individual with a crowd of thoughts. I outlined the 2-pager in my head. There had to be a beginning, a middle, and an ending. I will start with the cause. Love, attraction, call it what you will. That’s why I am here in my head. Trying but not succeeding. Trying to get away. Then there is the dog. And the man. And the maddening crowd of thoughts. There is no closure. None that I can think of. I will end the paper as I started it: abruptly.

“10 minutes more. Please tidy up. I will be going round on the dot to collect your booklets. You can of course bring it to me if you are done.”
A few students get up. Some scribbled even faster in their answer booklets.
I got up, took the few steps to the front of the class and handed over my booklet.
I made eye contact with the instructor.
“Hello Mr. Ayodele.”
“Hello sir.”
I made my way back up to my seat. He had told us to wait a little after the test for some information he had to pass along concerning the rest of the semester.
The instructor was scanning through the content of a booklet. I was sure it was mine. He shook his head as he read through quickly.
“That’s A-grade stuff right here sir. A-grade stuff.” He said glancing up briefly in my direction.
I don’t care. I was far above the maddening crowd. But the crowd of thoughts in my head was maddening.

A crowd of thoughts about her.

(May 8th, 2015. 8:30AM)

The Gasometer

Eyes wide open at the Gasometer

Last day in Oberhausen. I didn’t feel it was appropriate not to experience something of the culture (no malls and restaurants don’t count). So despite the fact that I had a train to catch to another city, I felt I had to at least make an attempt. I checked out but then left my luggage with the hotel (“I will be back in an hour”).
The closest destination I could think of was the Gasometer which was quite visible from lots of places I had been to around the hotel and the office.
I crossed the road and headed in the general direction. It was a little farther than I had suspected. I looked at the time. I had an appointment in another city and wasn’t even sure how regular the trains ran in that direction on a Saturday. I decided it was worth the risk. Unfortunately I had to go through in a hurry. I don’t mind spending a whole day in a good museum, but I had a train to catch. Even at that I must have spent about close to 3 hours there. Normally I would read the story/description attached to any picture/sculpture I am interested in and try to imagine what life was like then or even imagine myself “into” the scene: like a witness to the conversation.
Took some pictures. Below.
The museum itself was in a converted cylindrical steel structure.
For those up to the challenge, there is a long series of flights up the outside to the top at 110 meters where you can see the whole city laid out below. See pics below. There is a lift for the less adventurous or less fit.
You can then enter the building and chill out at the amphitheater at the base on cushions while watching a choreographed display of black and white light patterns running up the inside of the tower all the way to the top – set to some relaxing music.
110 meters above is my target destination. “Stairways to Heaven.”
Is that a submarine?
IMG_1046 IMG_1049 IMG_1050
110.45m above ground level.
IMG_1052 IMG_1056 IMG_1063
Took a lift back down(on the inside of the vertical steel structure, so you can look down at the people seated or reclining or standing in the amphitheater-like space with the cushions where you seat to watch the light display)
Below that level are the two bottom levels where the paintings and sculptures are exhibited.
IMG_1076 IMG_1077 IMG_1078 IMG_1079 IMG_1080 IMG_1081 IMG_1082 IMG_1084 IMG_1085
Medusa of course.
And the Mona Lisa (A copy. The original is in the Louvre Museum in Paris)
And because we are always “representing” (something from the Benin Kingdom)
Massive painting under glass on the floor.
IMG_1094 IMG_1095 IMG_1097 IMG_1098 IMG_1100
God creating the world.
Jesus (under a shroud in the tomb)
It was worth every penny of the 9 Euros I paid. I think couple or group tickets might be cheaper but I didn’t check.
Outside for the even more adventurous, you can sign up for some tree climbing.
The Gasometer website is at: