“All art must be used to glorify God. All art should not be appreciated for its own sake but must be used to glorify the existence of God. If the art has been used to glorify something else outside, that art is dirty. Our God that made all the forms of art cannot be glorified through all the art that he has made.
If the art can heal or make all right or empower a people it should be curtailed because well…nobody should be empowered besides God. Who are we? We are nothing na.
Why are you even talking about this life, this flesh? There is nothing good in it. This world doesn’t matter. It is the afterlife that is the real shit. Damn all these mortals to hell. All these things are vanity. What matters is whether you get to heaven or not. In fact, if hating a set of people doesn’t stop you from going to heaven, hate on. How can you be accepting people who think differently because they did not grow up where you grew up? What is wrong with you sef? Do you not know that condoning the things they do can reduce the size of the mansion you will get in the afterlife?
As long as you believe, you have the currency to move God, who are you loving again? What is the use of Love when you have Faith?
Offerings are important. I mean what is the use of showing up if you do not have offering? Just make the offering thing very classy ni. Put heavy importance on it oh, fancy envelopes and all. Let people even walk around and put offering sef. You know how people like vanity, Anyone caught sitting down, the fire of guilt will just burn him and next time he will have plenty offering to give for all the four rounds of offering.
Establish a constant income base. Brother, it is all economy. Get the rich people to show up well. I mean, if you do not have successful people around you, you do not have the light of God na. With God, all you do is win win win. Plus, you think poor people like poor people?
These and many more I shall write in the next Epistle.
Stay safe brother.”
I got my things and left the house when everyone was sleeping because I could not handle the thing that was going on amongst all of us. I had a last glance at Chink who slept the way a person would in a coffin but his legs formed a kind of P where the sole of one’s foot mashed against the side of a knee. Chink was this well-muscled person that I met at a party. He had a lot of meat under his skin but his body rounded at the edges. Underneath his black shirt you could see the gentle contours or was I a little bit too drunk. For me alcohol makes men look a little less beautiful when it blurs things. I like hard lines and sharp jaws, and torsos that look like they were caught with a HDR camera. Chink came over holding two drinks, light green with cherry floating in each one.
He says hold these.
I say no I will not hold these.
He says please I need to take this to a girl I have been eyeing and it would look tardy if I have untied shoe laces
I laugh and say okay
And then I take the drink from him. Somehow it feels light. Glasses usually have this heaviness of breakability about them. He ties his shoe laces slowly and like a child would.
He says thank you and collects one glass from me. That is when I see it.
I say so I am the girl you do not want to look tardy for. That is a very nice way to start but I do not drink.
He frowns and then collects a glass and downs in in one gulp and the downs the other one in another gulp and turns away muttering that he had just wasted a good glass of chupacabra.
What is chupacabra? He is too far gone for me to ask. I keep seeing him out of the corner of my eye as he flies from place to place vivacious and dancing about the room like some kind of floating thread. I soon forget about as lots of boys come to give me drinks I will not drink. One guy walks to me dressed in this black jacket folded to the elbows and speaks in a quiet voice. He is so cool when he says hello and then stands beside me for a while, nodding his head to the music. Lean, not tall, average, for a guy and from the pocket of his jacket he produces a jar, those kinds they put mayonnaise in with a pale brown fluid and begins to drink.
He says apple juice. Want some?
I say I do not want.
He says your loss and then proceeds to drink from the jar again in his fingers cup around. There is something relaxing about him, like, an absence of the pressure guys exude when they meet a woman. I didn’t even know when he had moved close enough to speak in my ear.
He says I am not one for parties and I know you are not one for these things too. It is like you just want to be around some form of madness that deviates from all the things normal that you know.
It is not a pickup line but I want to hear more
I say that is the worst pickup line I have heard.
He shrugs and says I can do worse.
His breath actually smells like apple.
I say can I have some of that. It smells healthy
He gives the jar to me without any expression. He reminds me of someone. He reminds me of Chink. They have the same air of self-assuredness that even the most self-absorbed of people would notice. This is Spliff and while Spliff and I stay side by side for a long time, Chink comes to join us.
He says to Spliff I have been looking for you. Let us go home.
Spliff says no I am not going home yet. I want to stay with my new friend.
Chink says but the two of you look like enemies. I can tell that you know nothing about her. The two of you are not even talking to each other.
Spliff says we use telepathy
I say yeah, what is your deal, hunk?
Chink peers at me from his small eyes and says the name is Chink and Spliff is my friend not yours.
Spliff snickers and says what is yours.
I say Marita.
Chink says let us take you home
Me I say no, I want to go to my home
Spliff says Chink was talking about your home
Chink says we would walk you
Spliff says he is too tired
I say there is no need to escort me home. I do not want to leave yet.
But really, that is not what I want because I do not know what I am doing anymore. You will think that it was something in the apple juice. I am beginning to wonder who I like the most, Chink or Spliff. The two of them talk as if I am not amongst them in this affectionate way that resembles when Greg whispers into my ear during foreplay. I begin to think that the two of them are lovers, that Spliff is the one with the bigger penis and Chink chomps down on it night after night. Chink is a tender buttery personality and Spliff is the one that says the mean things but depending on the subject, Spliff can be heavily defensive and sound like someone close to tears. Chink really knows how to get under Spliff’s seemingly thick skin. Spliff’s apathy seems to melt when Chink decides that Spliff is no good at chemistry
Spliff says better remember I have kicked ass at science fairs.
Chink laughs and says Spliff stop thinking of former glories.
And they never make me the centre of the conversation because the two of them are in love with themselves and yes they rope me into the talks but it is as if they have known me for three years or I am just an assistant. I feel so comfortable amongst them. We get to my house and once I am opening my door, Spliff and Chink already have their backs turned and are going home without a second glance.
I lean by my door and think for a while with my dysfunctional faculties.
Chink, Spliff, Wait up!
Basically, the three of us fucked at their house and I do not remember how we go to that point. Neither Chink nor Spliff is homosexual. They wouldn’t even take me together or take my ass and through the fuck Chink and Spliff kept making jokes. Spliff would watch Chink take me and then begin to criticize Chink’s thrusts and say they are like a girl’s while Chink during his turn would get ticked off and tell Spliff to pick a rhythm.
They were too absorbed in themselves to realize that I was enjoying it. And the two of the them collapsed into sleep at the same time. Spliff was making breakfast when I woke up. I got my things and left the house.
“We come to this world with knowledge of it’s infinite abundance but School amongst other things painfully brainwashes us into believing in scarcity and advises…no…forces us into heavily investing in scarcity and then leaves us to discover solutions to ridding scarcity.”
“Mumu…there is no scarcity. It has never been a problem. So you will die never solving scarcity. It never existed in the first place. It is one of those mind generated realities that isn’t reality.”
“You are having a nightmare. Wake up!!!”
The egg roll fell down twice; once because it rolled out of the glass case it was put in and again because the seams of the cellophane bag gave way. The egg roll was going to be my lunch and we consume a lot of cellophane bags, do we not?
I chew a celery stalk as I write this. The stalk has been soaked in a bottle of Zobo for half a day and then rolled in honey. Sweetness never gets into the insides of the stalk. Celery is one very insecure plant. My face feels itchy as I had just shaved.
The barbing salon had a couple of tailors sharing house so beneath the low hum of a clipper, needles stab through fabric and wheels roll. The boy who cut my hair did a wonderful job and while he was shaving my moustache, I wondered if I could kiss him. I had asked him to clone his hairstyle on my head. A high punk, square cut. His mate wore a nice jacket I complimented him on.
“You sef, you no get customer relationship. Instead make you dash am the jacket so that hin go come back. You dey tell am thank you.”
“I go give am na.”
I immediately thought that he was intelligent. He made further jokes about finding the location of the ghost methylated spirits where mined from. I thought it would be a good thing to think about. A woman had come in earlier to ask for change. She had a five hundred naira note and a desperate expression. We no get. With all the change the ruling party promised, we have no money to even make change. The couple of hundreds I had held close to my chest for two days is what I parted with as payment for my hair.
And then I visited the next shop to buy some sugar. Packaged sugar lined the shelves in myriads because bags of sugar were among banned import goods. It was at this shop that I saw the egg rolls displayed. They were coated with fried dough that hardened and made for terrible texture. I had thought to myself,
“I should make some eggs roll by the weekend.”
Calculating the cost of the ingredients, I enter a keke riding along the nearest market. I forget about egg rolling and remember that I am supposed to buy some meat and ground egusi. I know that I will gain a novel idea in the market and buy something that is not on my mental list. Goat meat could have been the novel item but money dey yab man sometimes. My meat guy happened to be absent today and I bought from his boss. Before his boss sold to me, he weighed the large cuts of beef on his table.
“Eighteen kay gee,” he struggles with the next one, murmuring that it should exceed twenty kilograms. “Ya wuce twenty,” he announces. I lean and see that the needle has gone a full circle and a small arc on the scale. When he manages to take the meat down, I buy just a little and tell him goodbye. I hope my meat guy will be there the next time I come around.
I buy some Egusi and then I smell kulikuli. Ground, romatic and as bright brown as the healthy spice should be. I buy it but there is the problem of change. I stand under the sun. There were two women and while one looks for my change, the other woman says something about me holding all the goods in my hand.
“You do not ask for leather. You would look like someone with a feather brain,” she says in Hausa and laughs. She had let the words out of her mouth before thinking. I decide that I do not really mind. We finally get some change. And with the women, we talk about how the president has caused the vanishing of all change into his pocket. I leave after a minute, everything in a black cellophane bag when I board another keke taking me back home.
Home is very far from the entrance into the estate I live in and I had to drive a car to the gates and park it at the lot. I had started the car before I remembered that my brakes failed this morning. Hand on the emergency brake, I keep the needle between twenty and thirty towards home.
Hungry now, I have been dancing all morning to all the old songs I could download and then found myself deeply reminiscing. In fact, I would have been touching my phone ll day if I hadn’t done throwback music Thursday. And I surmised that,
Music is a time machine. I can be my six year old self and I can live in 2007. Shuffle the next track and I am a frustrated university sophomore with serious insecurity. Music is impartial; It doesn’t know good or bad. It slaps me with the memories I want and do not want. (whether it is me ecstatic about recording my first song or lying on the carpet because my girlfriend sent me a breakup text after leaving about 5 months of calls unanswered), music makes a river flow backwards. I cried to Imogen Heap’s Half Life and cartwheeled around the house with Avril Lavigne’s Rock and Roll all in one morning. I did not know how much I missed my old music.
I travel through time by pressing the play button.
There was a time I wanted so badly to push my writing forward so I started this blog. Someone rejected me and one thing led to another. There was a time I wrote so much that I couldn’t even feel pain. There was a time I raptured. That time. That time.
It was closely followed by a period where I produced nothing literary. I was cooking. I was feeding my body instead of my mind. The mind is a child. Break the heart and there is no way he can go to. The body becomes a dysfunctional orphanage instead of a home.
At that time, I was barely aware of living.
I have sure passed through some stages.
And after all the stages, I am at box one, starting over again.
There was a time I had it all and it fell apart and everything was taken from me.
I still feel like killing myself. Sometimes, I know how fickle and dispensable I am. That I could disappear and the world would not even stop to readjust to my presence. I am a a flea riding on the back of a universe.
A burden is lessened really. I do not have a civic duty to present so I can skip off and just…go and be wild for myself.
I feel free. But I want to be needed. I want to be petty again. I was petty when I had everything. Now, I am no longer petty and I cannot even have one thing.
Or rather, one thing is not enough to make me feel complete. I want none of it, yet I can have it all without feeling complete.
I think I am a scared scarred human who wears the costume of a God and gets off the musty smell of the thick covering.
I feel a decay inside. I feel an anger and I sense a human inside who has no idea what is going on.
Someone is inside begging to be loved by anyone and I’d be damned if I let anyone get to him.
The air about the night that whipped my face continuously.
It was dangerously cold and I believed I was going to come down with flu eventually. I was standing on a wooden foot bridge that hung over a thin but fairly deep creek at the park. Mist sprayed me as the water stole the heat away from the air.
The eerie red glow from my digital wristwatch told me that it was half past three, an ungodly hour that shouldn’t find me awake but here I was, a long way from home, standing, watching, waiting.
I am not a normal, I know that now.
It took me a long time to agree to that and it was because I realized I was very much like them.
Who are they?
I don’t have a name for them yet but I can tell you this, they are very powerful people.
They claimed that they aren’t human mutations or sorcerers but that they are descendants of the people who had unlocked a hidden potential in the human body.
They claimed they were hunted because they were different and that they had gone into hiding after the battle that brought about the Dark Ages, the battle that dwindled their numbers, the battle they lost.
Only they could fight a battle so great and after what seeing they could, seeing what I could do around them. I believed their stories but I didn’t trust them just yet.
Something rustled the grasses from my left but I had felt it before I perceived it with any of my five senses.
It was a person, it was Marshal and we were supposed to be taking this night watch together.
He was late.
Marshal was a short Arab boy with a round chubby face who knew a lot of junk about rap music. He was one of the most fluid people I knew, fluid in knowledge and fluid in interacting with people, very much like the abnormal thing he could do.
He could manipulate water.
Yes! Those people I was telling you about. They have what you would call superpowers.
I frowned as he came close enough for me to see the smile on his face, I had been here cold and freezing for half an hour and he was strolling over with a bag slung over his shoulder while he smiled.
“Dude chill out,” he punched me lightly on the arm. My arm felt cold and I brushed off a cake of ice he left there. He really wanted to chill me out.
“I have school tomorrow. So when I feel like the sacrifice I am making is being taken for granted. I get irritated.” I replied, mustering as much venom as I could.
“Don’t get angry at me. I asked you to ditch that school and come aboard with us but you refused. We’d love to have you over.”
I had refused to stay in their boarding house where a woman was hosting all of them.
Margaret Daniel was her name and camouflaged as a principal, she was the one gathering all of them, for their own protection, she said but I know it is because powerful adolescents like us need to be watched and controlled, and the fact that I was the only one not forced to stay in the house annoyed the rest of them, and disturbed me.
Was I really that unimportant? Or important? I don’t know.
Marshal produced a bag of chips from the bag and began crunching away. I was too cramped from thinking to accept some.
“Relax man,” he said with an almost genuine Jamaican accent. “I know some of the kids are giving you a tough time because you have some special privileges and you are just new but when you come live with us, they will see the differently.”
He offered me a drink. I reneged. He frowned.
“Don’t be in a hurry to prove yourself though. You could make a mistake,” he warned.
That meant I could get killed in the line of duty.
Over the weeks, I had heard them tell each other tales of battle where they had honed their abilities. I felt dull and useless being unable to move fast and fight the things we were supposed to fight as good as everyone else could fight..
These kids lived on the edge, engaging in battles that could end their lives but no matter the adventure or the thrill; I didn’t want any of it.
The only reason I was stuck with them was because they had saved me from a misshapen creature and once I learnt how to use my own powers to defend myself, I was going to leave.
The others would really hate me then and Marshal, my old elementary school classmate would see a third side of me,
The side that didn’t give a care.
“So, you know anything about what we are watching out for?” I asked him.
He swallowed before speaking.
“Not exactly. The night guards of this park have reported a large thing thundering along this creek three nights in a row. This creek is too small to even paddle a canoe in talk less about a boat.”
“So you think it is not a speed boat, you think it is one of it?” I was already used to this.
He nodded again, chewing. “And who else to deal with a thing of water than a god of water.”
Self-acclaimed god, I huff to myself.
“So, if you are powerful enough to slice this thing to bits, why am I here? I’m not even near as strong enough to be your back up.”
My own ability was weak. I could copy another person’s ability only if he was within a hundred meters in any direction. The range was increased slowly, foot by foot while I practised painfully day by day.
The theory was that; my qi could imitate the properties of any person’s qi on contact and I could do whatever that person could do as long as the person was within range.
Qi is the term for life force or life breath and contrary to science, it was actually a resident energy in the human body. This breed of super humans had studied qi and learned how to control it, even converting it to other forms of energy.
Marshal could control water that he had put his qi into and even its physical properties. Since he was here, I could do that but not at his level. The boy was magic.
Right now, a ball of water floated towards us. Marshall had already injected his life force into the water earlier on.
The sly fox,
“This is like training for you, to enhance your abilities with water.”
The ball of water hung above our heads just off the wooden railings of the bridge,
It looked silver, bright and peaceful. It attracted me. I felt a part of me, unseen yet, yearning to touch it as it drifted closer to me.
I poked a finger into the orb of clear liquid and allowed my life flow into it, visualizing faint light fill the sphere of liquid.
My whole being came alive for I could see the water in a new light. I could hear its resident micro-organisms slide over one another creating a harmonic melody that was different from anything I had heard. I could smell the life in it, taste it’s insipid nature as if my whole body was tongue and moreover, I felt like water itself, powerful but latent, fluid but dangerous.
I decided that won’t waste a drop of this fluid joy that abounds around us.
Then the orb fell apart.
“Don’t get caught up in how deliciously you can sense it. Own it. It has yielded to you ever since you your qi into it. Your qi and the water are now one, control them.”
I was sweating in the cold from the rush of feelings that the water had evoked. Euphoria was a small word for this.
I went down the foot bridge to the side of the creek and tried to dip my hand into the water to run my qi into it so I could own it when a large wave rippled across. The water was disturbed and I could sense a turbulence coming.
I shot a glance at Marshal.
“Something is coming,”
Just then, it came in sight and it actually looked like a huge speeding boat from far off.
Marshal was emptying his second bag of chips, calmly and coolly.
“Are you not going move? We might get attacked.” I was asking him. Torches were flashing far off as the guards made away. Margaret had told them to stay away.
“Oh! Sure! That is the plan. I am going to move away. What you do not know id that this is your training lesson. You are going to get attacked.Fight wisely. I’m outta here.”
“Whoa! It is our watch you are going nowhere.” I began to advance towards him, threateningly.
“Less talk, more hands-on job approach. That thing will impact the bridge in a few seconds. Don’t let it wreck this bridge, people like this bridge.”
With that, he vaulted over the bridge, landing into the water without a splash.
I didn’t see him swim away. Marshal was gone and he’d left me to deal with a possible murder machine.
There was no way I was going to make it out of the bridge before impact and jumping into the water to run away from a water riding assassin was far down the bottom of my wish list.
I closed my eyes and began to follow what I had learned.
As Lied by Shammah