Midnight (25-05-2014)

He had been feeling restless lately. His mind was on many things: his mind was on one thing.
He went to bed pretty early now to see if he could at least get a decent amount of sleep. On days that he had an important or early meeting, he took a sleeping tablet the night before which helped a little. Such a night was this one. He had a meeting with a big prospect tomorrow. If the meeting went well, he could easily make his numbers for the year!

He came awake suddenly. Tapping the face of his phone revealed the time was a minute after 12. He should have been all groggy but for some reason he felt as if he had had a whole night’s sleep. His throat felt patched so he made his way from the bedroom across the sitting/dinning room to the kitchen. He didn’t bother to put on any lights on the way since he was quite familiar with the layout of the apartment.

He opened the fridge door and stood there looking at the Content. He tried to decide on whether to take a soft-drink or water. The soft-drink might keep him awake due to the sugar and caffeine content so he went with the water.
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She wasn’t much of a drinker. But she liked a little drink now and again – especially after a very stressful day. This was one of those days. All she wanted to do was take a shower, jump into bed, and wind down with a cup in her hand and her favourite romance soap on the TV. She must have been more tired than she suspected because all she was able to manage was the bath before she hopped into bed and straight into a dreamless sleep.

She couldn’t be sure why she was suddenly awake. There was a soft glow coming from the screen of her phone. The source could be anything. Probably WhatsApp. She couldn’t avoid “him”. She could of course block him but that would be obvious. Besides she did like him but just as a friend – why does life have to be so complicated – it would have been great if she felt “something” for him.

She laid there in the dark thinking of him with her hand covering the face of the phone. He was a nice guy. Maybe too nice. Never seems to get angry at anything. Not so much emotional display until he ambushed her with the question.
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He took the bottle of water out of the fridge and got a clean cup from the set on the kitchen counter. He made his way to the dining table and sat down on one of the chairs. He decided to switch on one of the lights so as not to make a mess while pouring the water into the cup. He returned to his seat and had finished filling up the cup when he realized he wasn’t alone. There seated right across from him was a man he didn’t recognize. He would have guessed the age as being approximately the same as his. Somewhere deep in his mind, he knew alarm bells should have started ringing, but yet he felt not even the slightest inclination towards fight or flight. It was peace that he felt. In fact he felt so peaceful, it amazed him.

“Who are you?”, he asked.
“Who do you think I am?” He responded with a smile.
There was a shimmering to him. A certain lack of solidness.
Only one thought that came to his mind: “An angel”. He said it more as a statement and less as a question.
The other man smiled.
“Where or whom do you think I am from?” The angel asked.
“God.” He said.
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She finally rolled out of bed unto her feet. The little fridge in her room hummed slightly. She opened the door and light flooded the room. A few little bottles stared back at her.

Well. She might as well take something. She selected a small half empty bottle and closed the door of the fridge. But the room didn’t go dark. Right there on the single seat at her dressing table sat someone. Her first inclination was to scream as loudly as she could. But there was something comforting about the person. Besides she looked like a woman. It was the soft glow from her that made the room light enough to see. A little smile played on her lips.

“Who are you?”, she asked.
“I am a messenger of the living God. Baah! That sounds too officious. I am an angel.”
“Don’t be afraid. Come. Sit on your bed. Let’s talk.” The angel said.
“I am not afraid”, she responded as she made her way cautiously to the bed.
“Great” the angel said.
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“Great” the angel said.
And went on almost immediately. “Can you remember the last thing you prayed about before falling asleep?”
His questions had that “one must answer” quality to them.
He tried to think. His brain was now fully awake.
“Ah!” He said. “I prayed for my family.”
“But was that the very last prayer you said?”
He fidgeted a little in his seat. That was sort of personal. Maybe a little embarrassing even. And he really hadn’t remembered until the angel pressed further.
But the angel had an expectant look on his face.
“I , … , I prayed for her.”
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They both sat facing each other: the angel and her. Like a couple of good friends about to indulge in some juicy piece of gossip. Somewhere at the back of her mind, a thought briefly intruded on the present: “This is ludicrous” but just as quickly faded away.

She glanced briefly at her phone.

“Do you want to check that? It’s a WhatsApp message. It’s from him” said the angel.
She could guess at the content. Usually some variation on “How was your day” but she checked it all the same. All the message said was “Hi”.
“Now.” The angel said. “You like him. A lot in fact. He just doesn’t make your heart go racing like a wild horse across the open prairie. Right?”
“Yes”. She responded. A little smile on her lips at the angel’s turn of words.
“Also. You are not so sure about him. You think he has got secrets”.
She nodded.
“Yes he has. Just like all humans. The totality of what you get is not just what you see.”
“Don’t worry. His secrets are not heinous or deal breakers. In fact most of them are completely harmless. Even bothering on the ridiculous.”
Both of them laughed silently.
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“Yes indeed. That was the very last piece of prayer you said. And God was listening as usual.” said the angel.
He doesn’t usually get involved in these things beyond a certain extent, but in this case there are other things hanging in the balance. I know you don’t understand fully, but trust me, it’s the truth.
“She has said no”. He said it with a flatness that betrayed his composure.
“Yes I know. But this time you must fight. You must not just go quietly into that good night. You must remain in whatever capacity possible. Be her friend if that’s what she wants. Be there if she calls.”
“She doesn’t.” He said.
“Be patient. I know you think of yourself as a patient person but really you are not much more patient than other people.”
“She will call” said the angel.
“She will call” he repeated after the angel. His expression gave nothing away. But the angel could see right through him, that his stomach was churning.
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“He is a keeper”. The angel said. “Like his father before him. And his father’s father before his father.”
“If you want a keeper, give it a chance. I know you think of him as a friend right now. There is nothing wrong with that. But before you look elsewhere, when you are ready, give it a chance.”
“I know literally what you are thinking. People such as him are not always exciting in the beginning. But trust me, when the time comes, he will upend your world. Your friends will wonder how it happened. I have said too much already.” said the angel.
“If you absolutely can’t think of him as anything other than a friend, then make your decisions accordingly. Follow your heart as you have always done. You are a strong woman.” concluded the angel.
“Complicated much.” She said with a wry smile.
“Complicated much.” The angel said in response.
Then she started to fade. And the room started to get darker.
“Wait a minute!” she wasn’t sure what or why so she blurted out the only thing that came to her mind “What’s your name?”
“It doesn’t matter what you call me. Even the genie in the bottle is fine.” She said with a smile, eyeing the little bottle in her hand.
Then she was gone.
She put the bottle down on the bedside table, turned on her side. She wasn’t sure she would be able to sleep any more till morning, but in a few minutes, she was fast asleep.
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They sat there quietly. For some reason there was no awkwardness in the silence.
“What now?” He finally asked.
“I return to where I came from, and you go to bed.” The angel said with a smile.
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25-05-2014 – 5:05am (That “special” person who might read this story and who is not moved by words should pay attention to the date it was written: Over a year ago. The person will know 🙂

The wonders of God

The wonders of God

You are seated at a car wash. Waiting for your car to be washed.
A little girl of about nine years walks up to you. Looks you dead straight in the eyes and greets you.

“Daddy. Good afternoon.”

“Afternoon.” You replied.

“Daddy. I want you to buy me a sachet of pure water.”

You think. That’s okay. She’s a little girl.

So you ask the lady attendant at the car wash for a sachet of water knowing that they run a side business selling cold drinks from a freezer.

She says she does not have pure water sachets. Only the much more expensive bottled water. Even before you say anything the little girl (still unflinchingly looking you dead in the face. A fact that’s now starting to bother you) says “That’s okay. I don’t want bottled water. Tell her to go and get the water from the food seller manning the kiosk a few meters away.”

You are taken aback at her confidence.

You instruct the lady to go and get the pure water. She apologizes for her  oversight thinking it’s you that wants to drink the water. She returns with the water, and hands it to you. You give it to the little girl.

She stands there just looking at you with the sachet of water in her hand.

Then she says “I have a message for you.”

It’s getting more surreal by the minute.

“I can see you are scared. But don’t be.”

“You are going to give alms to some less fortunate people.”
(Author’s note: generally means beggars)

“You will get three 10 Naira notes. You will then buy three sachets of salt. You will give a salt and a 10 Naira note each to three different beggars. ”

begging1 begging2 begging3

“Are you going to do it?” She asks.

You don’t respond. But you keep looking at her in wonder.

“I see you don’t believe.”

“But you must do it. Then you will see the wonders of God.”

You start to convince yourself that there might be something to this. This strange little girl. So confident. Looking you straight in the eye. She’s not even asking you for anything.

“You are going to do something for me.”

“You are going to give me N2,000. I am going to spend the money. But before I do, I am going to pray on it for 7 days.”

You are taken aback. You have no good response.

“Do it and experience the wonders of God.”

You hesitate. Is this true? Is this really happening?

She says “I know you have two thousand to give me but you are scared. Don’t be scared.”

You start to make excuses within yourself. How much is N2000. After all if you had done what you usually do while waiting for the car to be washed, you would have easily spent more than a thousand Naira: cut your hair for 300. Eat some sweet meats and “intestine” for another three. Have a drink. Wash the car for 700 hundred. So you could just skip all the extras and give the little girl the money.

But at the same time you bulk a little and say “I don’t have two thousand Naira.”

She says “That’s okay. Since you don’t know about it before today. You will give me a thousand Naira.”

You bring out two five hundred Naira notes.

She shakes her head and refuses the money.

You are perplexed.

“No. It must be a single N1,000 Naira note.” she says.

You call the attendant over again and exchange the two five hundred Naira notes for a single one thousand Naira note.

She accepts the money. Repeating what she had earlier said about the fact that she’s going to spend the money, but will pray on it for 7 days before doing so.

“Thank you.” She says looking you straight in the eye with a solemn expression.

She leaves.

You convince yourself you did the right thing.

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You get home and narrates the event to your better half. She laughs at you. Says she didn’t think you were that kind of person to be so easily taken in. She says you “Received a message for a thousand bucks. What message?”

You defend yourself lamely that a thousand Naira is not a lot of money. Besides, what’s the harm in the little thing she’s said you should do. It’s only another 200 Naira. You ask her to help you get three sachets of salt from the market.

The next week during your break you prepare three little plastic bags. Each contains a sachet of salt and a ten Naira note.

You tell your colleague that you need him to go with you to some far away public place where you are unlikely to be recognized. You tell him that you have been told to give alms but he shouldn’t ask for details. You only want him to accompany you in case you get accosted by the police or something “unplanned” happens.

You drove to the place, hand out the three bags as quickly as possible, and head back to the office.



Mission accomplished.

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Fast forward several weeks. You are at a completely different part of town to wash your car at a completely different car wash.

While you wait, you notice a little girl accost a middle aged man with a fancy Toyota Camry salon car who is also seated at the same car wash.

You look closely at the girl. You are almost sure it’s the same girl from your earlier encounter. But may be not. Could it be (you wonder)?

The gentleman gets up and goes to his car. Counts out some money from his gloves box, puts it in an envelope and hands it to the little girl.

Now you are sure it’s the same girl.

She thanks the man and starts to walk away.

You get up and follow her.

She sees you. There is recognition in her eyes.

She takes off. Running as fast as her little legs would carry her.

You take off after her.

The chase is on.

Weaving in and out of the crowded street. Finally you catch her.

Concerned bystanders expressed their concern.

You say it’s nothing serious. She did something wrong at the car wash over there.

You ask her if she recognizes you.

She claims she’s never seen you before in her life.

You ask her why did she run.

She claims it was because she saw you running after her.

You take her back to the car wash. To the older gentleman.

“Sorry to bother you sir. Did this girl give you a message? If yes, I think it’s a scam.”

“You should take your money back.”

The older man is not so sure.

“But she gave me a message for myself and my son.” He says.

“It’s a scam sir.” you insist.

But he is not convinced. Lots of people are superstitious. Easily swayed when it’s related to the spiritual or supernatural. Prefer to err on the side of caution. He says it’s okay. N8,000 Naira is not too much in case she’s “genuine”. You let the girl go.

Your 1,000 Naira pales into insignificance beside his N8,000 Naira.

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Fast forward another couple of weeks and you are back at the original car wash.

A couple of friends are seated near you. One is making fun of the other: “A little boy gave you a message and you part with a thousand Naira!”

You couldn’t help engaging them. You narrate your encounter. A third guy who was also nearby, gets up, goes to his car and brings out a bag of salt! You guess he took the “message” a little too seriously!


This is the latest scam in town. Might be confined to parts of Ogun state for now.

Note that another variation of the “message” is:


“My mum is sick. She’s okay now and back at home. But while she was hospitalized, we borrowed money from loan sharks. We are even ashamed to go back to our church because the church contributed money for us several times during her illness. But we still have a lot to repay.”

The wonders of God.

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(As related by my cousin)

Dealing with God

Dealing with God

It sounds blasphemous right? But there are lots of examples in the bible of people who made deals with God. True, deals are generally made between equals or at least between people who have something (the other party wants) to bargain with. Ideally we have no chips with which to bargain with God. But this shows you how magnanimous God is. Once he gave us free will, He automatically gave us the chips with which we can bargain.
So on some level He has elevated us to be equal to himself. After all, he made us in his own image (“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: “, Genesis 1:26)
Sometimes the deals are initiated by God. At other times by men. Take Abraham for example. God said he needed to relocate to some foreign place and He (God) would bless him (Abraham). Well, that’s a deal right there. Abraham could have refused. He could have decided where he was at that time was the best place to be and not some unknown distant place where he would be among belligerent strangers. He could have exercised his free will contrary to the will of God for him. That wouldn’t have changed the end game: God would just have done the same thing through another individual.
Just to clarify our terms of reference, a deal is an agreement with terms and conditions usually involving an “exchange” of some sort (that’s without looking it up in the dictionary :-).
Fast forward to Lot? God was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. (Genesis 18). But then Abraham politely asked what would happen if he could find fifty righteous men in the city. God said (even though he knew the end already, He decided to humour him) he would spare both cities. Well did it end there? Nope. The gentleman went from that to forty-five to thirty to twenty to ten. If that’s not negotiating (with the purpose of striking a deal), I don’t know what it is!
Let’s skip forward a little to Samuel. His barren mum finally gave God a condition. “Give me a child and I will return him to you!”
(1 Samuel 1, 10-11: And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore. And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.”).
Now notice that she only asked for a child. But upon fulfilling her part of the bargain (the deal) God blessed her with other children. Because he knew despite the fact that she was finally able to live down the stigma associated with her barrenness, she would definitely want children who would grow up with her and who she can show around the community and not have to explain to all and sundry that she indeed had a child who was dedicated to serving God in the temple. So while you should count yourself lucky if a human party completely fulfills their end of a deal, one can see that God will go beyond the terms of the deal to do more and above what He needs to do within the terms of the deal if necessary to satisfy our yearnings especially if it’s in line with the grand design (which of course we are usually too involved in our immediate situations to fully comprehend – not that we are able to anyway – “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55, 8-9).

Let’s skip forward a little, shall we? And we hit one of the greatest deal makers of all time: David. Not only did he get fulfillment of his desires from God in his life time, he managed to secure his lineage as kings forever. Yes, it’s true that God had this planned from the beginning of the world, but it didn’t necessarily have to be via David. He could have easily lost out various times. When Saul was after him, he could have renounced his claim to the throne for safety. When he took Uriah’s wife and had him killed (2 Samuel 11), and Samuel came to chastise him, he could have turned a deaf ear like many kings before and after him. Jesus Christ would still have come to redeem us, he just wouldn’t have come from David’s lineage.
What about Job? He could have cursed God at the height of his despair and died as his friends and wife advised. But he made a deal even if he didn’t think of it that way: he nether cursed God nor questioned him. The ending was that God decided to bless him with much more than he had before his trials and travails.

But we need not constrain ourselves to the Old Testament. What about more recent history a la the New Testament. We can start with that old chap that made a deal with God to live Long enough to see Jesus born. God stayed the hands of time on his behalf. I bet you he still had 20/20 vision when he held Jesus in the temple: all the better to see the child with!

And what about Jesus Christ himself? He could have sold out to the devil when the latter offered him all the riches of the earth (Matthew 4) or chickened out in the garden of gethsemane and saved himself from crucifixion (Mark 14).

So you see, humans such as you and yours truly have been striking deals with God since the beginning of time. So don’t be afraid to follow suit.

And having spoken (or written) thus, let me put my money where my mouth is by taking a shot at making a deal with God right now. Here goes:

“Dear God,
There are a couple of things I need to discuss with you. I am going to do it sitting down on my bed with my eyes open. I am sure you don’t mind.
Number one, you see, there is this g…”

Just in Case

Just in Case

I like flying. It’s generally safe. Safer than the other means of transport. That safety comes at a premium of course. In addition, when things go wrong, they often do so spectacularly. One can generally stop a car given the right conditions (for example), but one can’t decide mid-air to alight from a malfunctioning plane.
So, once the pilot starts the run down the runway for take-off, I say a little prayer that goes something like “Dear God, forgive me all my sins. See us to our destination safely. But if this should be my last flight, let it end quickly and accept me into your heaven. Amen.” After that prayer, I am completely at peace and ready to enjoy the flight.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be boarding an estimated 8 separate flights. That’s a lot of opportunity to find one’s self knocking on heaven’s door. So in preparation (I have done something less elaborate before), I am sending a mail to myself though addressed to my “sibs”. I will then send them via Whatsapp/SMS a cryptic but easily decrypted code for my password and instructions to read the mail in case “just in case” becomes “in fact.”

The text of the mail is below (heavily redacted 🙂

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Hi redacted/redacted/redacted/redacted (my siblings),

This mail is just in case something unplanned happens – such as any of the flights I will be taking in the next couple of weeks falls out of the sky – God forbid, but still – sh*t happens and time and chance happens to us all.

As much as possible, all “papers” should be in my room.

Unfinished Business

1. Approx. redacted Naira paid to redacted for redacted (contact my friend redacted for details). Balance of redacted remaining for a total of redacted Naira.
Requires another redacted Naira to perfect it (redacted for the redacted, redacted for the redacted, redacted for redacted – the redacted.

Credit: (10 items under here – guess I haven’t done too badly – thank God – last 2 items are “dodgy” investments)


Creditors 🙂

1. Owe redacted  over redacted Naira. I paid roughly redacted for redacted. Then check my redacted bank account (both current/savings) for several transfers to redacted redacted bank account to figure out the total I have paid. redacted originally borrowed me redacted Naira.

Debtors 🙂


There are probably a few I can’t remember!

People to say sorry to on my behalf

1. redacted – She is special. I didn’t do enough to make her “(redacted)” me. “Complicated much” – “Whoosh!” (those are some of her words I find intriguing). Send her a cake, a card and a single rose on her birthday: July (redacted). redacted can organize it. Cake must be from redacted.

2. redacted

3. redacted – should have done much more

4. redacted – should have done much more

People to say thank you to on my behalf (8 people listed)

1. Same lady in the previous section
2. ideally everybody or anybody who knows me
3. redacted
4. redacted
5. redacted
6. redacted
7. redacted
8. redacted
9. redacted

People to give the evil look to on my behalf

– thankfully none

Bank Accounts (with account types)

1. redacted
2. redacted
3. redacted
4. redacted  for redacted

Other matters

– get Mummie to finish reviewing the 2 books (short stories and poems) then print them. Don’t put my picture anywhere on them. But for the cover you can find some painting by myself or a couple of those Daddy’s watercolor paintings (should be in the room if I haven’t lost them)


Tunde Itayemi

Nothing New

Nothing New

People give all sorts of reasons why God no longer literarily speaks (I mean audible to the human ear) to anyone. None of those reasons have ever really satisfied me.
There must be a way to cause this to happen again.
“We” shall quest for it – but not like for the holy grail or the aqua vitae or the philosopher’s stone. “We” shall quest for it in the quiet places first. “We” shall find it. Then “we” shall find it again in the public places.
After all, there is nothing new under the Sun.

How big is your faith?

How big is your faith?

If as Jesus said (Luke 17:6 paraphrased, Matthew 17:20), you only need to have faith as small as a mustard seed to command mountains to move (should apply to healing as well), then there is real trouble!
Most pastors/churches just want you to worship in their churches or attend some event they are holding and “hope” you will get “your” healing. That’s leaving it completely to chance. (And if a couple of people out of several thousands do get healed, going by the way it is celebrated, it would have required an all-week party in Jesus’ time to celebrate the several people that got healed during similar gatherings. Unfortunately, even the few Pastors who seem to actively cause people to receive their healing have so much controversy surrounding them, it’s probably wise to keep a reasonable distance. There were no controversies surrounding the healing Jesus and the apostles performed – they were “self-evident”.)

Whereas in fact, during the time of Jesus and the Apostles, it was an “active ministry” – Jesus (and the Apostles) went out to actively heal people or people who approached them got healed.

So does it mean just as the rest of us, our pastors’ faith are not even as big as a small mustard seed?

You can’t sell your soul to anyone

You can’t sell your soul to anyone

There is a falsehood that has been propagated down through the centuries: “that a man can sell his soul to the devil” – this is a lie of the devil (literally). You cannot legally sell what is not yours. A conman may be able to sell another’s property and even get away with it. But you cannot sell what is God’s in the same way: even the devil is not in a position to buy it from you. The devil cannot buy or own a soul. True, a man may make a pact with him such that in exchange for worldly goods and influence, the MAN does (conscious decision) things that would make him certainly destined for hell, but the devil cannot force one into hell, nor can he take someone’s soul from him (by force or otherwise). Where the soul ends up is based solely on the man. So all those stories about the devil showing up at the end of one’s life (look up Mephistopheles for example) to take away someone’s soul to hell is pure B.S.



what was it you said when I wasn’t listening
that made the world stop when i wasn’t watching?
the cicada did not give up its screeching
just because they were singing

who were they that took of the earth
and gave it to the heavens
were they from the north or the south?
from the violent east or the restless west?

the time of slumber is past
but dreams now walk in broad day light
the trees are moving, the trees are walking
how do you discern the drunkard?

shallow wells in the village square
hungry throats in the market place
rotund bellies filled with active worms
scabs, scabs, scabs everywhere

I am a stranger, I am a stranger
I will not stay, no, not tonight
the moon is bloodied by thoughts of tomorrow
when once again sacrifice is made to the gods

gods, gods, little gods, big gods
i have no gods
they have neither given me milk
nor fish, nor succulent breast

works of men, gods of wood
give me a cutlass, give me an axe
let me remake the gods
if I must bow, why not to self?

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

NOTE: if you wonder how much rubbish I can write in under 5 minutes, you need wonder no longer. You have it above. Nasty little thing – disappointment (that is)

Long ago

Long ago

I was tired. So I didn’t go to church. I seem to have reasons every Sunday not to. That’s what I tell myself anyway. Otherwise how can I explain the fact that the baby that was christened the last time I was in church should have started tottering around his parent’s living room now?

“We all know the number 3 has special significance in the bible.”

I wondered what I was doing there: at the fellowship. I think it was boredom at home that pushed me to go to the local fellowship cell meeting at 6PM in the evening when I hadn’t been there for so long. Maybe it was loneliness. Not since she …

I thought for an instant when I showed up that they were going to welcome me as a new member. I could see the surprise on the face of the cell leader. He had called so many times to convince me to come around for the weekly Sunday evening fellowship that he had finally got the message and stopped calling.

I tried to be as inconspicuous as possible, but no such luck. I was invited to sit right at the front beside the cell leader. He seemed to direct most of the discussion on the topic at me.

“Three crosses on Golgotha. Peter denied him three times. Satan tested Jesus three times. The list goes on and on.”

“But today, we are going to bring it home to our level. We won’t be all spiritual about this topic. Someone said the best way to beat temptation is to avoid it, but that is usually not possible. In fact by the time you know about it, you are already being tempted. I have heard some people say if they had been Peter, the fact that Jesus had told them already what would happen would give them the courage to resist denying him. Especially knowing that he was the son of God.” said the cell leader.

“Well. Let me say if Peter had succeeded in not denying Jesus three times before the cock crowed, what would that have made Jesus? ” he continued.

Everybody was thinking it. Despite the fact that it was a reasonable answer to something that didn’t actually happen, I guess a lot of people still consider it blasphemous. You can see the discomfort on their faces and several people fidgeted on their seats. As he was looking at me again, I said “A liar.”

“Correct Bro”. I still don’t  understand why he called everybody “Bro”. I guess it is more friendly and less “spiritual” than “brother this or brother that”

“But of course the Son of God cannot lie. So some people use this scenario as a basis for predestination or pre-ordination. But that is a discussion for another day, but note that the fact that God has given us free will means we are in control of the decisions we make and to a large extent the outcome. ”

“Now who thinks if he or she had been in Peter’s position, he or she would not have denied Jesus? Anyone?”

There were no takers. But secretly I thought I would have been able to damn it all and go for broke: that is, I would not have denied Jesus. The discussion wafted around me. I kept enough presence of mind to answer the questions asked directly of me. I literally thanked God when the fellowship closed with a brief prayer. I was invited to stay for light refreshments afterwards but I had a ready-made excuse: I just couldn’t wait to get away.

“Bro, I will call you during the week. There is a men’s meeting coming up and you should attend. Really.”

What have I got myself into?

The drive home was uneventful. But I couldn’t get the topic of discussion out of my mind.

I must have fallen asleep in front of the TV because I suddenly realized I was looking at “static” on the screen. I got up slowly, and headed to the bathroom. Paid my “water rate”, washed my hands then brushed my teeth, and hurled myself into bed after putting on my pajamas.

“Really Peter. You cocked that one up. But thank God for second chances.” I thought.

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

“Think about it. Bill Gate’s got what – 67 billion dollars mostly in Microsoft shares right? Is that cash? No. Well you could say he could cash most of it out now, but would he ever? Capital No!” I thought I knew him. He looked familiar, but I couldn’t quite place my finger on where or how I knew him. It was a feeling. Like someone you have been talking to over the phone for a couple of years but never met. Also, I was too busy wondering how I came to be dressed up in what looked like a mid-eastern costume. Maybe I was on some movie set?

“Stay with me now. I am trying to tell you something. Now what if, just for a moment, now what if you, yes you, could get the combined wealth of all the 100 men on the Forbes list in gold right now, right here?”

“Just think what you could do with that kind of money!”

“You could get any girl you want!”

“I know, I know. You don’t want just any girl. You want that girl. Story of my life. Remind me to tell you about it sometime. But really, you just think you don’t. But with that kind of money, you could have the last 5 Miss World lined up and attending to your every need! You don’t think you want them right now. I get that. But I assure you, you will change your mind if they are right here smiling at you. Tell you what. Just to sweeten the deal, let’s include Wunmi in the list. Fresh off the boat with a degree to boot. I know you liked those pictures you saw. What if you could meet her in the flesh and she said yes to your every question – even before you asked?”

“OK. OK. You are a brother right? Brothers know how to roll. You could have every luxury car brand out there customized for you! A different car for every day of the year. Not to talk of the bada-bling you can accessorize with that kind of cash!”

“All for the limited edition, limited offer of just saying I am the king of all there is. Don’t you think that is a bargain?”

“I know what you are thinking. What if the world ended right now? What if there is an earthquake and you die? What if the big man decides to drop down for the second coming right now? Are you going to live your life a collection of what ifs that may never happen. Even J.C. says not to worry about tomorrow, today has enough evil etc, etc. Well, let me tell you. Ain’t no earthquake going to happen in the city of God! And chill, smart boy like yourself know there are more people who haven’t heard the good news than you can shake a fistful of gold dust at. Besides, you could recite Psalm 51 in a minute and be home for dinner before the trumpet sounds. But in the meantime, get the cash while it is good for the getting!”

“Say it with me now. All I need to do is say I am the big boss man!”

“OK. You don’t believe me. Let me show you how we roll.”

In front of me appeared possibly the most beautiful women I have ever seen either in the flesh or on the big screen. Their smile was enchanting. It seems all they wanted to do was serve me. But they kept just out of reach. Besides them was stacked so many gold bars, they blocked my view of the valley beyond.

“See what I am talking about. Besides how do you intend to get out of this place?”

I wasn’t sure how I got there in the first place. It looked like miles and miles of desert in all directions.

“But check out that ride over there. Isn’t it just bad! That’s not Chrome on that baby bro.” I wondered where I had heard that “bro” before.

“That is Platinum. That car is got so much armor going on, a nuclear missile couldn’t scratch its fender. ”

“All you have to say is I am the big boss man and you have hit the jackpot baby!”

I licked my lips. Despite myself, I liked what I was hearing. I looked up guiltily at the sky. It was still clear. One couldn’t wish for a better day to be alive. Maybe I can beat this guy at his game. But it would be tricky. What if I said what he wanted without actually saying it. That wouldn’t be a sin right? But the question is how to say it without actually saying it.

“You mean I get all these if I say you are the big boss man.”

“Trying to trick me boy? Trying to be smart eh? I have been at this game before you were an embryo! Didn’t the good book tell you that out of the heart proceed all wicked things? Don’t you know it is not what you say that matters but what is in your heart?”

“Wrong answer padre. Here is your reward!”

Instantly I was at the top of a mountain looking down. I could see the world laid out like a vast map built of Lego parts. Looking down! I realized I was upside down! Something was dangling me by my left leg over the precipice of a very steep drop! I kicked madly with my free right leg and started to scream, but to no avail. Whatever had me by my ankle had a vice-like grip.

“See you in hell!” he said. I was free!

I hurtled down at break-neck speed. The ground getting ever so closer. I screamed all the way down. I could hear him all the way down taunting me. My face made contact with the ground! I could feel the dirt in my mouth. I am dead.

I was still l screaming when I came awake. I was gnawing on the sideboard of the bed. I sputtered and spit out the wood. My heart was beating so wildly I thought I had died and gone to hell. But the AC was going full blast and the sweat cooling rapidly on my skin as my heart rate slowed down to normal gave me a chill. I rubbed my hands over my arms and felt the goose pimples.

I sat back on the bed. I looked at the time. It was 2 O’clock. I don’t think I would be able to sleep again. That felt so real I could have sworn I was there. What was I going to do till the morning?

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

“Wow! I didn’t think you had it in you. Forty days and forty nights! Just like the Israelite in the wilderness right? Well, it is over now. I am sure you are very hungry! And thirsty!”

The hunger was OK. It was the thirst that was threatening to drive me mad. I didn’t want a cup of water. I wanted a Jerry can! Or two!

“Luck you. See those water jars over there. ” There was a row of about 10 huge earthen jars right there in front of me in the desert.

“Just like the wedding in Canaan hey? I must tell you that wine was exquisite. I have never tasted anything like it before and since. The real Jesus juice!  You cheated Mon Homme! You don’t have to tell me the secret. We both know you used grapes from heaven to make that wine. ”

“But that is in the past. The future begins now.  Help yourself. Why die of thirst in the midst of plenty!”

It was all I could do to get to the first of the jars. I pried open the lead and dipped my cupped hands in and took a mouthful. It was very sweet wine! It did nothing for my thirst and I knew if I drank too much of it, it would just worsen my situation.

“Not wine! I need water!”

I went quickly from one jar to another. Same content. One more jar left, though I wasn’t expecting anything different. My despair and desperation was obvious.

“Wait. Wait. Look. If you can change water to wine, how difficult can it be to change wine to water?”

“You know you want to.” He laughed out loud.

I opened the last jar and was not disappointed: it was full of the same sweet wine.

He rubbed his hands together. “Why have power if you can’t use it? What is the purpose then? If you can’t enjoy it a little? Don’t you think you deserve some slack after your 40-day sojourn in the wilderness? Even the Israelite had manna and water.”

“Wine is after all not good for the king so the good book says. That should encourage you to do what you need to do. There is no way you are going to make it to the city of God in your condition. Talking about wine. Why are some of your devotees so hard-assed about it? All that nonsense talk of non-alcoholic wine. When we both know it was about 10% proof and wine was a stable in those days. It is mentioned at least 235 times in the bible. Believe me I counted. Yeah. I know. Too much free time. What is  a man to do?”
“Wine. Wine. Wine. In the good book. Almost always along the advice to enjoy oneself. Along with bread, honey and milk. And talking of time, my minions are on a roll convincing men of the implausibility of your actually being the son of God not to talk of the second coming being something that would really happen. In fact, we have achieved the “perpetual motion” of unbelief and sin if one could call it that. We don’t even need to do anything anymore. Men are so busy putting up laws that aid and abet our purpose and killing themselves that we just sit back, relax and have a Saturday evening out eating pop-corn and watching them: one continuous sinful movie of blood, sin and gore!”

“Where was I?”

“Yes. Yes. Yes. Wine is good. Wine is not good.  Enjoy your wine. Wine is not fit for kings. Wine is not for princes. A little wine for your many infirmities. Make up your mind would you!”
“Well, no one ever said that about water. So go right ahead and change the wine to water and have a good long refreshing drink!”

“OK. OK. I know what you are thinking. Thou shall not live by bread alone. I agree with you completely. But nowhere did the good book mention water. What are you waiting for? You know you want to do it. Just go ahead and will it. I can see it in your eyes. Don’t be a blushing bride now. It is only you and I here. And I won’t judge you. I promise.”

I was shaking from the thirst. I was close to being delirious. The Sun beat down mercilessly. Maybe he was right. A little water would help me resist any temptation he may have up his sleeves to tempt me with. But then maybe not. Maybe this was the ultimate temptation in progress already? If I just think it and don’t say the words, does it count? I stared into the depths of the wine-filled jar and my eyes swam. I grabbed hold of the lip of the jar with such force I thought it would crumble under my fingers but I could feel from the smoothness that it had been fired to a rock-hard consistency.

Suddenly I could see all the way down to the bottom of the jar. The wine was no longer wine. It was water! I dipped in my hand and sucked hungrily at the content of my cupped hand. It was so cool it could have come from a refrigerator.

“Gotcha!”  he screamed with glee behind me. I felt myself upended into the jar head first. I tried to struggle but it was no use. He was too quick. I was drowning in less than 5 feet of water.

I came up gasping for air. I was in the sea! Fortunately, there was a plank floating past. The seas was so rough, the plank almost brained me in my attempt to get on top of it. Lightning flashed across the sky. It was dark. The sea raged. The rain came down with such force it stung my face, my arms and my back.

“Don’t look so shocked. That is what we call a storm in these here parts.” I couldn’t see him. But he was there. His voice came from above; from around; from within. “I am everywhere!” he laughed.

“But not to worry. You are the original storm trooper right? Just command it to stop if it is getting on your nerves. You are not scared are you?”

The waves were 100 feet high. It was all I could do to hold on to the plank. I was drinking the salty water every few minutes whenever a wave broke over my head.

“Or you could walk on the water if stopping the storm needles your need not to interfere with the grand scheme of things: the grand design. How about it? I have seen magicians do a similar trick, but I have to hand it to you, no one comes close to your showmanship. I could almost not believe my eyes that day so long ago. You doing the moonwalk on water. And believe me, I have seen it all.”

“What’s one more sin. Do it already!” he yelled over the thunder from the lightning renting the skies.

“You are going to die if you don’t!”

I realized I was in more trouble than I could handle.

A gigantic wall of water rose up in front of me and blocked out the sky. Here is why I die I thought. Heaven or hell? I got pulled under and dragged this way and that, but then I was up again and the rains beat down like heaven was weeping? Weeping?

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

Weeping? Water on my face? I must have drifted off. I didn’t realize I had left the windows open. I could see the lightning and hear the subsequent thunder. The wind was blowing the rain into the room and I was almost drenched. I got up and dashed over to the window slamming it shut. The bedding was soaked.

My second pair of pajamas was in the wash so I put on a dry pair of briefs. I dragged the mattress off the bed and put it on the floor. I went over to the wardrobe and brought out the Duvet. I spread it on the bed’s frame. It won’t be comfortable but at least it was dry. I didn’t expect I would get any sleep before morning anyway. But it was still too dark to do anything else.

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

“What insolence! Speaking back to the high priest like that!” it was the slap that brought me to full consciousness. I tasted blood on my lips. I could not keep from blinking my left eye continuously, something was trickling into it and it made me very uncomfortable. Probably blood. My head hurt. A lot.

The man who had slapped me looked ready to repeat the action. I cringed.

There was a crowd. Their laughter was one continuous taunt. “Safe yourself, Son of God!” they yelled. Then they burst out laughing. The crowd moved in on me. Poking me in every conceivable part of my body. I twisted every which way in reaction. Some of the jabs were merely ticklish, but several were really painful. The spite was palpable in the air. I felt as if I was suffocating. My body felt as it had been stretched and passed through a ringer. Every inch was on fire from the pain.

I realized they thought I was Jesus. I could hear the shouts of “crucify him” emanating from the crowd. It started low then built up into one continuous chant. “Crucify him!” they screamed!

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! How could I be there? Their cloths didn’t look like anything I had seen before. And I was in something similar but it was in tatters and soaked through with blood.

In my bewilderment, only one thing came to mind. I needed to get out of there! I needed to make them understand that I was not Jesus!

“But I am not Jesus!” I screamed as I was dragged across the courtyard of the high priest’s compound.

“Well, why didn’t you say so since? You had your chance. You refused to answer the high priest. Sorry, Barabbas disappeared like the wind once we released him. Though I don’t think it would have made a difference even if he was here. The pardon is already granted and there is no reversing it. But not to worry, knowing him, he will soon be back where he rightly belongs! Unfortunately for you, we have to hang someone or forfeit our own lives. We go to the hill! Let us string him up!”

The crowd roared its satisfaction!

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

I must have blacked out because when I came to, I was lying down with my back to the ground looking up at a huge man standing over me. I tried to move but could not. I had been tied to a cross with heavy ropes across my forearms. I felt a pinch in my left palm. I looked over and watched in horror as a man kneeling down balanced a huge nail about 10 inches in length and as thick as a finger in the palm of my hand. He was trying to find a “good” spot. Silence descended on the crowd. I looked up in the direction in which the faces I could see were pointed expectantly. The huge man had hefted a big iron-headed mallet in his hands. He brought it up over his head, and held it there for a moment. I heard several people in the crowd gasp. Then the mallet descended like a ton of bricks! The pain of the nail going into my hand was unbearable. I saw the end exit the back of the wooden beam to which my hand was tied. I started screaming . The crowds scream mingled with mine. But they weren’t screaming from pain. They were screaming from pleasure!

I came awake. I had got my hand trapped in one of the curled springs in the bed and the sharp end had scoured my palm. There was some blood but not a lot. I was trying not to get it on the Duvet when the cock crowed?

But that is not possible! But it crowed again. Twice.

I was living in a concrete jungle. I could bet my last Naira that there was no living animal except maybe cats and dogs anywhere in my immediate neighborhood. Any chicken around was lifeless, plucked, cleaned and frozen solid. I am on the 7th floor of a serviced apartment building. There could be no cockerels around.

My computer’s screen was flashing in the dark. The “crowing” sound came from the digital software alarm installed on my laptop. I couldn’t honestly remember if or when I had changed the alarm’s sound to the crow of a cockerel. But more surprising was the fact that the alarm had stopped after the second “ring”, when usually I had to get up from the bed and shut it down as it never stops by itself once it starts. It just blinked silently in the dark.

The Sun was starting to rise.

I closed the laptop’s lid and sat there immobile in the dark. I don’t now for how long. I thought of Peter and Jesus. Then Peter. Then Heaven. Then Hell. How easy it was to get it all wrong.

I picked up my phone from the bedside table. I dialed the cell leader’s number. It rang repeatedly but no answer from the other end. It was quite early but not that early. Most people should be up and about by now. If only to beat the traffic going into the Island. It was after all a workday: the first working day of the new week.

I pressed the re-dial button. This time I got through after the third ring.

“Hello Sir. Sorry to bother you so early. When is that men’s meeting again?” I asked the cell leader over the phone.

“Bro, let me get back to you in a couple of hours.” The line went dead so quickly I didn’t even get a chance to say anything further. I could almost “see” him turn over and fall back asleep.

Maybe if I called once more. That will make it three times. Maybe I will get the answer I want: on the third call.

I pressed the re-dial button.



– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Update (09/06/2013): I think most of what an FB contact said (below) after reading the story (above) may be true. I lost my muse (my lame excuse for the uninteresting stuff I have been writing). I promise to try harder to “change” – it hasn’t been easy – but the best I can do is continue to try (I think?)

“Ur story is too long and boring. Same story, unarranged . No wonder your stories don’t provoke discussion or argument.
Though you can write but you are not dynamic in your style of writing.
That makes it boring and very unstructured.
It lacks that sense of humour you have. And your writing shows how stubborn you are and that you lack change.
And don’t respond to change.”

Be Still

Be Still

“Tunde tell God about your problem and listen to His still small voice. He will guide u aright.” so the SMS says.

I know you pray but will it pay?
I have strained hard.
But I haven’t heard.
Did I ever?
Or was I just clever?
Commune with thine heart upon thy bed

Yesterday I was lost in a dark place
A journey with no aim found me at the cantonment
“Halt!” said the soldier at the gates
I had trespassed. And I was ready for my recompense.

“Stay. Talk with us.
To war tomorrow we go.
Who knows if we will be back or not.
Maybe yours will be the last friendly face we’ll see.
Tell us your name and we will tell you ours.
Per chance we meet again, then not as strangers but as friends.”

So I tarried with them
And took their minds of their troubles by telling them mine
“We will gladly trade places with you friend
But we are committed and we must go
Do not think less of us if we say fear is our bedmate
We will still do our duty to man and country

And so we were till the Sun came up
And the stars went to bed
I made my way wearily home
But home is not a structure planted in the ground made from bricks and mortar
But there I went all the same

And the years went by
And I grew in age and in girth
Life got better then worse then better

On a day as strange as today
I found myself once again where I should not be
“Halt!” said the soldier at the gates
I had trespassed. And I was not ready for my recompense.

With a torch in my face and the deep black at my back
I could not see past my nose
But I heard a familiar voice
And a name sprang to mind
I whispered it lest I was wrong
But it carried all the same on that still night air

“Speak up man. Was it a name that escaped your lips?
Or would you rather lose your teeth.”
“I used to know a soldier. Perhaps it is you. A friend he was on the night he went to war.”
“It is I indeed friend. Many years have passed but nothing changes.”

I remember we met on a night just like this
Before we went to war
You look worse for wear
But who am I to talk?
Have I gained in rank or in wealth?
Or is it the gray that I hide under die or the fat that forms my second belt?
Yet I am here and many are not.
For of those you met that strange night only I remain.

I have not mourned for them.
Maybe I waited for you: for one who knew where we went and how we felt.
Will you tarry and listen to me?
I will tell you about fear and foes
About guns and ghouls
About death. Ye. Mostly about death.

So I tarried again in that place so strange.
And he told me how death came and starred in the faces of men
And took their breaths away
Some went in the rain that refused to stop
And some went in great pain
But to no one was it gain
And mourning those who were no longer with us
We passed the night with a thousand shades

And so we were till the Sun came up
And the stars went to bed
I made my way wearily home
But home is not a structure planted in the ground made from bricks and mortar
But there I went all the same

18-11-2012? (updated 6:35am 02/Mar/2013)