Little things can get a young Nigerian man killed oh.
It can actually be anything; ranging from the avoidable to the fated. But what kills a young man most times is ignorance, for the things which lures him, not the one which he knows nothing. There I was struck down with cold and cough. Sneezing my life away in particles of mucus and coughing aloud deafening sounds, only synonymous to a broken-down I Pass My Neighbour generator. I cared little about the people who existed around me in whatever colour but my failed health which had forestalled some meaningful engagements. I only thought about the possibility of healing, and where it was coming from, God or whiskey.
I thought I had overcome all ailments. But can anyone overcome anything in Nigeria, maybe in dreams.
My late great-grandfather was a funny man. While I earned killing cold with whiskey from my Ethiopian friend, the beautiful Ms Asefa, I also learned another trick from my great-grandfather. The man lived long ago and died while I was in my second year in Junior Secondary School. He was a well-thought man, of principles, vast in local contents and wit. His usual seat was a bench, cushioned with locally weaved mat, closer to the front window in my Dad’s old mud house in the Luubara community, where he watched, on daily basis, the world spinning itself to stupor around him. Dae Duudee was the name we called him. He was a friendly old man by my standard of poor judgement but very mischievous also. He could send you to run an errand for him and accuse you of misconduct.
Dae Duudee never trusted anyone, not even his aged daughter; my grandmother, Wanaalee. She underwent scrutiny countless times. My great-grandfather was such an old man. He once sent me to buy him tobacco. I bought him the brown substance wrapped in a torn nylon pack. But before he tasted it he invited me to sniff a portion which he held up with a shaky forefinger. He told me he wanted to be sure there was no poison in it. Imagine the old man! My Mum caught him that day and I was set free. May his gentle, yet witty soul rest in perfect peace!
Dae Duudee, my late great-grandfather was not just old and funny but crazy also. He was not going to beat you around when he could grab your wrist and watch you shout for help. He would not hit you with his especially carved walking-stick which I am sure housed his ancestors and personal god. At 100, he would cook his meals in a rusted enamel pot, stir it and watch over it. He had a bent posture when standing. And that was how he navigated his way around. There was magically no impediment with his sight or olfaction. I would watch him fan the flames of the coal inside the local stove and watch it heat up. He would then spread his both palms over the black pot and close his eyes as the heat sent lust-signals down his spines. He was an interesting character. I wish I still had him around.
Maybe all old men are funny or mine was an exception. Old men are really hilarious when they try to live in our time. I had issues making him understand the present world from when he was a youth. I guess the old people find young men like me irritating, especially because I do not seem to understand them to the optimum. One moment they are adults, the other time, they are acting like kids. My great-grand old man would advice me to chew bitter-kola when I had a cough. He once told me to avoid too much bathing. He said the latter washes away a man’s spirit. I never knew what he meant but I knew he never had his bath as periodic as I did. Talking about the cough, he would ask me to go under the bitter-kola tree to pick pods instead of buying. He had some sense of management too. Then the pods, ripe, would be cut open and dried in the sun or above the cooking-place. The dried seeds would later be eaten for cough. The nut is actually bitter. Maybe that is how it earned its prestigious name.
So on a particular present day I was struggling with a face, chewing the bitter nut for my cough and recalling the days of my great-grandfather when a text came into my phone. My girlfriend had sent it. She wanted a talk. When I see such messages I know instinctively that I am in deep shit. Either my excesses have caught up with me or God had decided to let me into the hands of the Philistines. I could not really control the feeling that followed. I replied the short message that there would be a talk. When it was evening I decided to engage in a mobile-chat to find out what the talk was all about. She insisted we met in person. I insisted we chatted since we may not see each other sooner because of our engagements.
Nigerian men are sick people. We are never perfect at doing anything, which is why we die more. I did not learn much from Dae Duudee, about women, just some bloody philosophy about herbs and nuts. I am a bigger fool also, for if I turned at ten women in a day, admiring their slim but exquisitely nice legs my girlfriend would see it in my eyes when she meets me. If I wished for some evil with any woman with a robust buttocks who crosses my path, that is death. She would question if I had become a surveillance camera or I was practicing something I learnt in my English class. I usually tell her the latter. And you can predict the reaction.
So I was on the phone chatting with her and the questions started pouring. She asked about the girls she had seen on my phone. She had once requested to go through my phone. You could not imagine the thoughts that ran through my mind that day. I wanted to act like a fictitious character I had read in a book, who at a request to use his mobile phone by his spouse, formatted his memory card. I swallowed as much saliva any brave man would and gave her the bloody phone. And when she could not access the locked phone she accused me of changing the password and some foul play. I had not changed anything. I guess she had typed the wrong characters for what existed. But when I was persuaded to unlock the phone myself I did and the result was a war.
There were semi naked ladies, some I had met online and had been rewarded with sexy photographs of them, either posing in a swimming pool or in class, office or wherever. She asked me for their names and what they were doing on my phone. I told her how I had joined the Jehovah’s Witnesses and how the ladies were the people who I preached to. It was a cheap lie. But I told her the truth also; they were admirers, those who liked me from Facebook or wherever. And I could not chase them away, they had sent their photos to me because they felt I needed to see some great thighs, smiles, pose or whatever they were expressing or exposing. The day ended up bad. She requested for an apology letter. I am yet to write any.
Rule number one to Nigerian men; do not keep another woman’s photograph where another woman who is emotionally attached to you would see it for you may get killed.
Written By Vincent Nwilo