Saturday, December 21, 2013


Just found this 'story' which I wrote about seven years ago...

I wonder why I can’t remember the details of my dreams. I spend a good part of the night dreaming, yet when I roll over lazily at dawn, all I can recall are scant, hardly coherent highlights of epic battles, utopian lands, daring feats, taboo sexual encounters, pain and death. It’s not just me. Sim and Salamatu, the non-identical twins I met in a bus last month, say they experience exactly the same thing in addition to three of my friends and my uncle’s daughter. For me this confirmation has given this experience the status of universality; it has become gospel truth. People don’t remember the details of their dreams.

Regrettably, I’m not a poet or writer. Perhaps these brief flashes would have constituted what they like to call inspiration. Writers! They confound me with their conceit and consistent attempts at making us readers feel like idiots. They think they know everything. I think the only people worse than writers are lawyers. Heaven knows I can never be a lawyer. I can’t imagine me standing in some Stygian robe and silly wig, lying through my teeth to let some criminal off the hook or to frustrate the payment of an acknowledged debt. I wonder if lawyers get to sleep at night. Old Uncle Yakub says that they die with their tongues stuck out to the left and their necks twisted. Nemesis, he calls it. He spits to the floor when he talks about them. I’ve not seen a lawyer’s corpse before but somewhere in my heart I wish it was true. Lawyers must have evil minds. I heard a preacher once say that if the devil were on trial, you’d find a whole city of lawyers struggling to defend him. They’re destined for hell.

For me politicians are better. Koko, Uncle Yakub’s last daughter hates politicians. I don’t argue but I say that I prefer their comic lies and deceit to what lawyers do. At least once in a while we are entertained by their drama. When they are caught doing something scandalous they make press statements that are even more ridiculous than the scandal itself. At least we can get to laugh sometimes. No one ever laughs at what lawyers do.

Unfortunately, my girlfriend Adika just became a lawyer, though she doesn’t act like one. Perhaps it’s too early to tell. I still love her but I’ll be watching her very closely with my bags packed and ready, just in case. There’s no telling when the cancer will become malignant.

My friend Husna on the other hand, is a charming, svelte, lab technician. I love her but in a different, refreshing way. I don’t have to try to please her or always be on time and I can tell her things I cannot tell Adika. She is kindhearted and caring. Sometimes, even though she loves her job, she wishes she were a nurse. It’s not too late, I tell her.

I am ambivalent toward being a radiologist at the x-ray centre of the General Hospital. Sometimes when my assistants have to be away, I operate the x-ray machine myself. Chest x-rays are the most frequent. I get to see pretty, turgid breasts, large breasts, sagged breasts, tiny breasts, hairy chests, muscular chests, bony chests, inflamed chests and more. I cannot appear to be visibly fascinated or irritated and I try not to look at their faces. The females especially are already too embarrassed having to take off their clothes. I recall a teenage girl who cried because she had to take off her clothes. Too bad we don’t have females in the x-ray centre, I told her.

For three days, I have had to do the x-rays by myself in addition to writing the reports. One of my two assistants had a serious case of pile. The other came down with chicken pox. Poor lads. So I get to see all the broken bones and bare torsos.

Today, I will work overtime at least two hours. I need the extra pay for new car tires. My tires are pretty worn out. I guess I will stop for a beer or two on my way home and a little later, I’ll see Adika. Perhaps I’ll get her some apples. She is totally in love with apples. If she upsets me, which she has been doing lately, I’ll leave and go to Husna’s place. Husna never upsets me. I don’t worry about having to buy her gifts or pleasing her. We just talk and laugh and play. Sometimes we stay up so late, I have to sleep over at her place. The neighbors think I am her boyfriend. To be honest, sometimes I wish I were. It doesn’t bother her. Few things ever bother her. She always has an extra blanket for me to use on the couch. She never used to let Ibrahim, her last boyfriend, or any of her previous boyfriends sleep over at her place. I remember Ibrahim got angry about it and they quarreled. A few days later, she broke up with him. I have seen four boyfriends come and go. She was always very strict with them and they couldn’t stand it for long because they all didn’t understand her. So, they either go away or she chases them away. Husna reminds me of the prayer that Orlando taught me. May we not end up befriending our wives and marrying our girlfriends. I laugh whenever I remember.

I need to get Husna something special after I change my tires. She’s my best friend and even though I don’t tell her, I’m sure she knows. Every year she gives me a nice ceramic figurine to mark the day we became friends. The last time I checked I had nine figurines. Next month she’ll add one more. She wants us to have a small party for our tenth anniversary. I laugh. Whoever throws a party for a friendship anniversary, I ask her. We could be the first, she says.

My mother has been getting on my nerves these days. I wish we didn’t have to live in the same town. If my father was not ill and I could get a transfer, I just might have considered moving. I have been trying not to quarrel with her since the last altercation we had. She had been constantly reminding me of how old I was and how badly people think of deliberate bachelors. I made it clear that I wasn’t going to discuss it and she got upset. I should’ve left before the quarrel started. Now each time she has a message for me she sends this young girl who by my estimation is barely twenty. I know my mother like the hunger in my stomach. She wants to set me up. It would have been discourteous for me to embarrass the girl so I instructed the receptionist always to take whatever message she might have for me. I don’t even want to know her name. Apart from the fact that I think the girl is too young, I could never like anybody who shares even the remotest similarity with my mother. I figure that if my mother likes her they must have something in common. That would be a tragedy of gargantuan proportions. I do not share my father’s resilient genes so I will tread lightly and not hurt myself.

At the end of the day, I’ll be dog tired and so I might dream. Perhaps I’ll dream of Adika or of Husna; of Adika with Husna’s face or vice versa; of the Lebanese lady I x-rayed today with pretty breasts or of flying which scares me; of sex or of beating up a lawyer; of death or of not showing up for my own wedding. Whatever it is though, I know I’ll wake up tomorrow searching my head in vain for all the lost details.

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You fit vex, bet abeg no curse me. You hear?