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Friday, December 30, 2011

SLAM DUNK

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Mister Kay frowned, his steps faltering as his stomach let out another yelp. When it went quiet again he moved on, trying to keep his trademark bounce in place. He approached a woman selling akara and fried yams by the roadside moments later, and the orchestra started up in his tummy again as saliva filled his mouth. The pieces of fried yam were perfect in their shapelessness; white and wonderful. He could hear the brown balls of akara calling out, ‘Mister Kay, Mister Kay’. He took his wallet out of his pocket and carefully counted all the money there for the umpteenth time that morning, like counting the notes would somehow make them multiply. He put the wallet back in his pocket. He had just enough money to take him to his destination. As he passed the yams and ignored the calls of the akara he cursed Mrs. Kay and the stupid strike she had embarked upon from last night. No food and no sex till further notice; and for an offence he didn’t even know he had committed! Women.

He was the first passenger on the bus to Obalende, and a little while after he’d got on a man entered and sat beside him. He was holding a cob of boiled corn, and as the yellow grains disappeared into his mouth Mister Kay’s stomach started again. The corn man threw a sharp glance at Mister Kay and shifted slightly away, scrunching up his nose in anticipation of the smell. If he hadn’t been too busy pretending not to have heard the sound Mister Kay might have told Corn Man not to worry, that he hadn’t farted, that it was just hunger. All the way to Obalende Corn Man kept eating, one cob after the other, all from a bag he had slung across his shoulder which looked like it contained an endless supply. Thankfully, the bus to Yaba didn’t have any corn-, or any other food, eating passengers. Mister Kay managed his saliva, consoling himself with the thought that by the time he was coming back he would have money, and he would buy anything his stomach desired and silence the voices there. Mrs. Kay could go to hell with her cooking. As for the sex, there were other ways.

Mister Kay got down at Sabo Bus Stop and walked down Chapel Road. He reached number eleven, went to flat two and rang the bell. The house girl opened the door and stepped aside, allowing him to enter.

“Mister Kay, welcome sir.”

“Ehen, thank you, Yetunde,” he grunted.

Yetunde turned and walked down the corridor and towards to the dining room, leaving Mister Kay to follow. Normally, he would admire the view of Yetunde’s buttocks as they jiggled underneath her skirt, but this time he could only be bothered to take a glance at them. They passed a mirror in the hall and Mister Kay noticed that his usually red eyes were even more bloodshot today. As they walked further into the house Mister Kay could smell fried eggs. He licked his lips. They entered into the dining room and Mister Kay saw his student eating at the table. He was right about the eggs; breakfast was bread and fried eggs. Yetunde went into the kitchen, leaving him to go past the dining room and into the living room, where Madam was. As he went he stopped to pat his student’s head with forced fondness.

“Ah-ah, Destiny, you cannot greet again because you are eating?”

“Good morning, Uncle Kay,” Destiny managed to sputter through the bread and egg mixture rolling around in her mouth.

Non, non. En Francais.”

“Oh. Bonjour, Monsieur Kay.”

Bien, bien,” Mister Kay said, patting her head again, his eyes drifting of their own accord to the breakfast spread. Bread. Eggs. Sausages. Bournvita. Cereal. Butter. Milk. Pancakes. He licked his lips again, just in time to catch the dollop of spit that had been sliding out through his open mouth.

“Mister Kay. In here, please,” Destiny’s mother called from inside the living room.

Mister Kay walked in, and even before he could sit the onslaught began.

“Mister Kay, I am not at all pleased with my daughter’s progress.”

“Madam, what do you…”

“What am I even saying, what progress? It’s been a month now yet all she knows how to say is ‘bonjour’ and ‘bon soir’. Is that what I pay you for? ‘Bonjour’ and ‘bon soir’?”

“Ah-ah, madam. She is making progress now. Don’t you…”

“I must warn you, Mister Kay,” Madam said, taking off her glasses to better enable her pierce him with her eyes. “I don’t play with my money. When I pay for something I want to get my money’s worth, every single time. No exceptions! If I do not hear my daughter speaking French like a Parisian, and soon, you will not be getting paid a single kobo. Mark my word, Mister Kay, because I will not say this again. I am running out of patience.”

Madam put her glasses back on and turned back to the women’s magazine on her lap. Mister Kay stood there, shifting his weight from foot to foot, waiting for her to present the envelope. He had pegged her for one of those people that always gave money in envelopes.

“You may go now,” Madam said, after looking up moments later to find Mister Kay still there.

“Em, Madam… my money for the first month, Ma.”

Madam peered over the rims of her glasses at him.

“Mister Kay, what do you think the worth of the word ‘bonjour’ is in naira.”

“I… Madam, it is…”

“When you figure it out let me know. That will be your payment for the month. Meanwhile, you’re on probation for the next few weeks, in case you didn’t figure that one out. No improvement and you’re gone,” she looked down at her magazine, and then back up at Mister Kay. “Oh, and don’t forget that there are lessons tomorrow. Four p.m. as usual. Don’t be late.”

Mister Kay stood there until he became convinced he had become invisible. Then he shuffled out and into the dining room. As he came up behind Destiny and the breakfast spread he swooped down on the table and snatched up a slice of bread from her plate. And in one swift motion he folded the bread in half and dipped it into her cup of Bournvita. He lifted the dripping bread into his mouth and took the whole slice in at once, not breaking his stride to the corridor that would lead him out of the house. Not turning to see the horror on his student’s face.

N.B.: This is loosely based on a true life story. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

THE COILS THAT BIND AGAIN

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Just when I think I’ve gotten over him he shows up on my doorstep and proves again that I am a liar. I am rushing out of my apartment, keys and a thermos mug of coffee in hand, when I see him lounging against the wall beside my door. I freeze as our eyes meet. He sees into me and I can tell. He’s always had that x-ray vision. I turn around and lock my door. I am running late.

All through the day at work I manage to act normal, get through my tasks. But he is there, lounging against the wall of my heart, saying nothing, his smile knowing. Because he knows, just like I know, that it is far from over. He is making it happen again, just because he can.

Five p.m. comes around reluctantly, like a coy smile; and when it does I flee from the office and speed home in my car. I get to my apartment door and he is there, like he hasn’t moved all day. I put my key in the lock and turn my wrist, not looking at him. I open the door, walk in, close it behind me. In the living room I step out of my shoes and leave them lying there. I keep walking towards my bedroom as I reach behind me and undo my zipper. My dress slides down my body and lands in a pool of black on the floor. As I enter the bedroom I hear the front door close and the lock click into place.

It’s on. Again. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

KIDS AND CONSUMER ADVERTISING

This week because I don't have any writing to post I thought I'd switch things up and share this video I found quite interesting. I think it has information that parents and would-be parents especially need to be aware of. Basically:
Consuming Kids throws desperately needed light on the practices of a relentless multi-billion dollar marketing machine that now sells kids and their parents everything from junk food and violent video games to bogus educational products and the family car. Drawing on the insights of health care professionals, children’s advocates, and industry insiders, the film focuses on the explosive growth of child marketing in the wake of deregulation, showing how youth marketers have used the latest advances in psychology, anthropology, and neuroscience to transform American children into one of the most powerful and profitable consumer demographics in the world. Consuming Kids pushes back against the wholesale commercialization of childhood, raising urgent questions about the ethics of children’s marketing and its impact on the health and well-being of kids.
 So enjoy. And if you find it useful, share.

Monday, December 5, 2011

REPLAY

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You come to the place beside her, where you used to lie. You see the depression his body made when he got up this morning, the smile he left on her face. You see the bedside table, and that the picture of you and her smiling, the sea breeze blowing her weave in your face, is no longer there. She’s taken the abstract painting you loved and had bought for a small fortune off the living room wall. You wonder what she did with it. You haven’t seen her ring, and the pale patch of skin on her finger has started to blend in with the rest of her hand. You ask yourself why she took it off so soon.

You know she can now turn on the big generator on her own; she did it two nights ago. You should be happy. You used to grumble each time she asked you to go turn it on when you were here. She moans and stretches, his smile still on her face, and you notice she’s wearing the last gift you’d given her: the black negligee. You know that even as the satin caresses her skin it is not you she’s thinking of. She opens her eyes and bounces out of bed, humming that tune, and you know she’s happy.

You tell yourself you’re happy that she’s happy. You're happy that, five years after you passed, she can hum "I’m Alive" again. Happy that she got rid of that painting she’d always hated. That she can smile that way again. That now she can turn on the big generator. That she and the world moved on. Without you.
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