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The Atonko Paradox – by Qouphy Appiah Obirikorang December 19, 2011

Prologue:

Qouphy’s first test at a satirical dialogue between two middle aged men en route to a place of convenience for the normal ritual of easing one’s bowels. I’mma call them Kofi Yesu and Yaw Abomrik.

 

K Yesu: Bra Yaw, “ye nu ntem”, let’s get going. There’s fire on the mountain.

 

Yaw: Gimme two mins, let me pick the “eburo dua”

 

K Yesu: make sure they are enough, the last time I had to use my handkerchief.

 

Yaw: worry not! Kwaku Ntobro the Zoomlion employed KVIP special assistant will be there selling some old newspapers.

We can use them as “spare”. “3yaa susu di kwadu”, it gives u free bowel.

 

K Yesu: I suspect the palm wine I took last night. I think it’s the cheap type imported from Abidjan. I think they mixed it with gunpowder because of the civil unrest there lately.

 

Yaw: “nkwasiasem”, if it was mixed with gunpowder, there would have been numerous holes in your panty by now from frequent flatulence.

 

[Arrival at Essien’s commissioned special KVIP]

 K Yesu: herh, Kwaku Ntobro, give me 10 pesewas of special cut newspaper. I prefer The Times newspaper. It contains less color and it will not aggravate my “kokobo”.

 

Yaw: give me Ebony Newspaper, it contains a lot of nude pictures and it’s good for a constipated stomach.

 

[Chamber 1 and 2 are empty and both are adjoining. Both men enter a separate “war room”]

 

K Yesu: damn!!! I forgot my Kingsize “jot”. Now I have to endure this stench.

 

Yaw: hahahahahahahahha

 

K Yesu: “aboa funu”, are you laughing at my misfortune?

 

Yaw: no, I just saw something funny in the newspaper.

 

K Yesu: what? Did they put a picture of you in the newspaper? I am sure your picture must have caused havoc, panic and fear.

 

Yaw: at least I have not been restricted from entering any maternity ward in any hospital. There’s an embargo on you.

 

K Yesu: me? Why?

 

Yaw: well, apparently as soon as the newborns set their eyes on you, they die of convulsion, spasm and extreme fear.

The women in labour automatically have forced labour.

 

K Yesu: it appears you are still suffering from dementia.

 

Yaw: the funny article in the newspaper is about a guy complaining of his inability to perform his bedroom chores. Apparently his manhood looks like it was made in China. Very, very small.

 

K Yesu: Well I have one advice for him. He needs to get “ataya”, “esuru wisa”, “hwentea”, “Agya Appiah Aduro Ye “Bitters. Mix all together; let the concoction stand for about a day and then drink. If by 24 hours his “Kwaku azigiza” hasn’t increased ten folds, then he shouldn’t call me K Yesu. He should ask my wife, when I “spark” my “nikanika” it’s like Akosombo Dam has opened a spillway.

 

Yaw: hahahahaha! What advice do you have for one-minute men?

 

K Yesu: tie their “Kwaku little” with “etire bor ahuma”. The poor bastard will last for eternity.

 

Yaw: K Yesu, you are well versed in the art of sexology and other matters. Is that your only field of speciality?

 

K Yesu: “bisa mi asem biaaa”

 

Yaw: a big woman and a slim woman, what’s your choice?

 

K Yesu: “k3si3 50, Kitiwa 50”, why go for the small one when both are the same price?

 

Yaw: Star Beer, Guinness, Alvaro and “apeteshie”, which one is your favorite and least favorite?

 

K Yesu: “apeteshie” is my favourite because it’s cheap and has the same effect as any other liquor. I dislike alvaro because it gives “dwonso yadi3”

 

Yaw: IC Quaye and Mike Ocquaye, who will win most handsome award?

 

K Yesu: none, they both make mirrors crack.

 

Yaw: your favorite tourist destination?

 

K Yesu: Abidjan

 

Yaw: why?

 

K Yesu: Mapouka women…

 

Yaw: but women are not tourist attraction?

 

K Yesu: that’s only if they come from your village. They are seen as gods in your village.

 

Yaw: Your favorite football player.

 

K Yesu: Dada Don Bortey, unsuccessful at landing an international career, successful at stealing international artifacts.

 

Yaw: Favorite politician

 

K Yesu: Tony Aidoo

 

Yaw: why?

 

K Yesu: the only man who is intoxicated in his sober state.

 

Yaw: who is a headmaster’s best pal?

 

K Yesu: bursar and matron. You arrest one, you arrest all.

 

Yaw: How do you call a man who has high affinity for women with big booty?

 

K Yesu: J.A.K

 

Yaw: what’s J.A.K?

 

K Yesu: you want me in jail don’t you?

 

Yaw: who will win a 100m dash? Attah or a crippled tortoise?

 

K Yesu: a legless tortoise will still win anyway.

 

Yaw: how do you call an offspring of a white and black parent? 

 

K Yesu: Jerry

 

Yaw: do you believe the current inflation figure?

 

K Yesu: do you believe in fairy tales?

 

Yaw: favorite pastor?

 

K Yesu: Kristo Asafo, the only pastor who has UB Hair Relaxer.

 

Yaw: Most biased TV program.

 

K Yesu: “mmaa nkomo”, she never talks about skin bleaching and its adverse effect.

 

K Yesu: herh Yaw, pass me the “eburo dua”!!! I’m done!

 

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Day 4 (10 days of fiction): ‘Sup G? – by Poetra Ama Asantewa

When I was little, my dad used to say our house was a potter’s house. And the creator had molded each of us with different elements. My brother was the writer, my sister; singer and I drew.

My brother kept a diary under his wardrobe. I knew I was infringing on his privacy, but once I took a sneak, I couldn’t stop reading. He started one of his entries with the phrase, “troubles don’t come in singles, they come in battalions” I remember 12 year old me scanning through a dictionary trying to find out what battalion meant.

 

But the path to maturity had taught me better what battalion was more than an oxford dictionary ever could.

It had been a difficult week. I flunked a paper, I twisted my ankle, my cousin got arrested for being at the wrong place at the wrong time and I had to settle his bail from hard-pressed cash,  I met someone who reminded me so much of my mum and sadness engulfed me like a blanket of cloudy rains. I wanted to sit God down and have a stern chat with him.

 

I had a lot of questions for him and I needed the answers asap. From the obvious whys to the unbelievable ‘‘the fuck’s?” to the distinct “you’re shitting me aren’t you?” To the murky ‘‘for real tho’s?”

 

Me and him needed to have a long chat.

 

My eyes were burning. I’d been staring at the screen for less than 3 hours, but this LCD wanted to show the membranes that line my eyelids who the real boss was. I told myself I was going to shut down in 30 minutes but the machine had ideas of it’s own.

My screen went blank. There was no panic. This had happened before, all I needed to do was restart my machine. I unplugged the charger from the system and replugged it, in an attempt to reboot it. But it wouldn’t start. I tried again; nothing. My heart started racing in an unfamiliar pattern. I replugged it again. That was when I realized each time I plugged the charger in, the charger’s light would go off.

I paused for a minute, hoping the charger had feelings, and was just bored sick so in attempt to rejuvenate its system, its light was playing hide and seek with me.

 

And after 26 frustrating tries, the light would go off as soon as I plugged the charger in. And the laptop still wouldn’t come on. A sinking feeling set in. I knew what this meant. I just didn’t want to accept it. The laptop had somehow overheated, and the power section of the motherboard was frayed.

This was the worst that could happen to the machine. Anything but my motherboard!

 

I turned it upside down and opened the windows, hoping that the day’s breeze carried a potion of magic in them. I tried again afer 10 minutes. Still

 

I decided to get the rest I needed, hopefully, it would work when I woke up.

Pointless mission. I couldn’t sleep to save an ant’s life. After an hour and a half of tossing and turning, I decided to try again.

 

I felt as if I would be asking too much of God if I asked him to resurrect my motherboard to life. You know? He’s not a magician. But I couldn’t help it.

Miracles do exist, don’t they?

The girl who stretches her neck in the exams room said a woman at her church gave a testimony about how God made it possible for her to blend tomatoes when there was no electricity.

So really, resurrecting a mother board shouldn’t be that hard right?

Right….

I plugged it in again. The psychoanalysis I just performed on God must work.

 

The SMS (Part IV) – by Francis Doku December 15, 2011

Filed under: Fiction — Ghanaman @ 6:10 pm
Tags: , , ,

While Jacob was talking on the phone with his wife the policeman took the key of the vehicle from Akomea and moved further away from the car. After he had cut the line, Jacob opened the car door, got down and walked to the policeman who held his clipboard and was thinking about stopping another vehicle.
“Boss can I talk to you please?” he asked the policeman when he got close enough.
“What about? That you encouraged the young man to drive without a driving licence?” the policeman snapped back.
“Well, sir, pardon me but I didn’t encourage him, I didn’t even know he didn’t have a lic…”
“Well then that is stupid ignorance,” the policeman told him.
“Excuse me sir, what do you mean?”
“I mean that if an elderly man like you sits in a car with this young man for him to drive you and you didn’t check if he had a driving licence or not then you have shown gross stupidity and ignorance.”
“Sir I concede that I may have shown ignorance by not asking for his licence but I am definitely not stupid,” Jacob tried to explain. “In addition to that the young man has a licence but forgot to pick it when he was leaving home.”
“Okay then that makes my work even easier,” said the policeman. “I am going to keep this vehicle with me, he can go home and bring his licence and I will give him the keys. If he comes here and he doesn’t meet me and the car he can come over to the Madina Police Station. If by the close of today he doesn’t present the licence we shall process him for court tomorrow. Deal?”
“But the law says a person has to produce his licence in forty-eight hours…”
“That law was made probably when my father was in class one. Do you know how many cars were in Ghana at the time? Or do you know the population of Ghana at the time? We have a directive to arrest those who drive without their licence and let them present it and take their cars,” he explained.
“Are you suggesting that the law is obsolete?” Jacob asked.
“I am suggesting that the law is absolutely obsolete and it would not help the course of policing. No wonder we have so many accidents on the road these days.”
“So why don’t you advocate for it to be changed.”
“That is not my job, you have parliament to do that. In any case I am keeping the key so you can go now because I have work to do. Stop a cab and go with it.”
“Please sir, please I beg you I am late for a very important meeting and I need to be on my way right now I am going far that is why I didn’t come in a cab. It’s a matter of life and death. I am begging you,” Jacob pleaded. “Can I see you, please?”
“Am I invisible now?”
“I didn’t mean it in that way. Wanted to know if I could offer you lunch,” he clarified.
“I don’t think you can cook better than my wife,” the police man teased.
“What I mean, sir, is that can I give you something so you can let us go so I can make it in time for my meeting?”
“Do I sense that you are trying to bribe me? Have you heard of the name Rose Atinga Bio?”
“No…yes…I mean I am not trying to bribe you, but I have heard the name,” he struggled to explain. “This is just from a brother to another brother, please.”
The policeman’s superior, an inspector, standing a few metres away beckoned him over. He told Jacob he would be back and left to where the inspector was standing.
“Constable, what’s the matter over there?” the inspector asked in Twi.
“Is it not this guy who allowed this fitter or welder boy to drive him without a licence and now he is talking a lot of legalities.”
“And what are you doing with them?”
“I told him he would have to leave the key and the car and present the licence at the station today or would be processed for court tomorrow.”
“Process for court tomorrow? I think you people have still not understood this job,” the inspector blurted. “What will you get from that?”
“Well sir I thought the directive issued by the Regional Commander said…”
“I know what the regional commander said. You can go perfectly with that and let your children go to the DA JSS or you can think wisely and ensure that you educate them at the best schools and I will say this for the very last time. I am almost due for pension,” the inspector advised.
“So what do I do,” the befuddled rookie asked.
“Use your head my son. Does he seem to be in a hurry?”
“Yes, he said he had to get to a very important meeting.”
“Good. That means he won’t have much time to delay and so would not go into extensive negotiation.”
“He offered to give me something.”
“He is not in the position to determine what he wants to give, you determine that.”
“So?”
“So let him know how much he would pay at the court and get half of that…he is coming towards us go and meet him.”
The constable walked towards Jacob and met him halfway through.
“My superior was insisting that I keep the key. But I told him you were in a hurry and that you seem to be a jolly good fellow.
“That’s very kind of you. Thank you,” Jacob offered.
“What did you say you had for me,” the corporal enquired.
“I have GH50.00 to buy you lunch,” Jacob told him.
“Massa do you think we are joking here?”
“How do you mean, sir?”
“I mean you have no idea what it would cost the young man for driving without a licence and how much it would cost you for aiding and abetting should this case go to court, do you?”
“So how much do I have to give you officer?” Jacob asked almost pleadingly. “I am in a hurry to make it to the meeting, please.”
“You know what let’s not drag this matter, you are likely to pay a minimum of GHC600 at the court so just give me half of that and go your…
“GHC300?!!” screamed?
“Stop shouting. Yes GHC300 and I will even write a note for him to use till he gets his licence.”
“But that’s too much officer. Please come down.”
“Well, you probably would like to go to court. Do you have a lawyer?”
“My wife is a lawyer but let’s not get into that…”
“So you can come with her.”
“Let’s not get into that. You know what all the money I have on me now is GHC200 please take it so I go. Please don’t say anything again, just take it.”
Jacob went to the car looked for his jacket and inserted his hand into the inside pocket and brought out a wad of cash. He surreptitiously counted GHC200 from the stash. The police man was standing right behind him when he turned. He handed the money to him and took the key and a note he had written on a folded piece of paper.
The police constable walked to his inspector to let him know what had happened.
“I have really drained the guy,” he announced.
“How much did you get from him?” the inspector asked.
“I got GHC200 from him.”
“That’s not bad for a Monday afternoon. You are beginning to learn that in the police service you make your own fortune or you retire a pauper.”
“I will remember that.”
Meanwhile, Jacob handed the key to Akomea whereupon they both entered the vehicle. Akomea inserted the key and kicked the vehicle to life.
Akomea tried to apologize “Massa, I am really so…”
“Please Akomea don’t talk now, okay?” Jacob cut him. He took a look at his watch and the time read 1:48.
Akomea drove to the junction and took the right turn went straight and took the turn at the Accra Training College to Madina Estates through Madina Social Welfare towards Ashaley and then took the left turn that led to Adenta Housing.
He took the right turn at the main road towards the old Adenta Barrier and veered to the left on the Y shaped junction towards Oyarifa. A few metres after the Pantang junction Jacob thought he smelt something coming from the engine.
“Do you smell something?” he asked Akomea.
“Yes I do, I think…” before Akomea could finish talking they heard a mild noise then the vehicle slowed down for a few metres and came to a screeching stop. The engine died in the middle of the road.
“What’s that?” Jacob screamed at Akomea.
“I don’t know,” the younger man said as he kept turning the key to try to kick start the engine.
“Blistering blue balling barnacles! What am I to do now?” Jacob said to no one in particular.
“We may have to push it to the side and take a look at what the problem could be,” Akomea suggested.
Jacob was beside himself with grief, despair and surprise. “How do we do it?” he managed to ask.
“I will put the gear at neutral and then we can push it to the side of the road,” he said.
Akomea moved the gear to neutral. Jacob got down and went to the back of the vehicle. Akomea got down and stood by the side of the vehicle with one hand on the opened door and the other on the steering wheel to control it. Thankfully the vehicle was on a little hill hence after a little nudge it moved. Akomea controlled it till they were on the side then he asked Jacob to stop pushing and stepping on the breaks he brought it to a stop.
He pulled the bonnet opening lever from the front of the vehicle, closed the door and went to the front. He lifted the bonnet cover and hooked it. He brought his nose closer to the engine to smell what could be the problem.
Jacob who had moved to join Akomea at the front asked him what the problem was. “I don’t know yet,” Akomea said. He pulled the engine oil gauge, cleaned with a rag he was holding and inserted it back and pulled it out again only to realize that there was not a drop of oil on it! He put it back and pulled it out again. Same result.
“We have run out of engine oil,” Akomea declared and it sounded to Jacob like his death sentence had just been announced.
“We cannot run out of engine oil by this time Akomea,” Jacob said very calmly.
“I need to go get some engine oil,” Akomea said.
“We are in the middle of nowhere,” Jacob seems to have given up.
“There is a Shell station at the barrier where we just came from. I will stop a cab, hop in and go get some oil, please,” said the younger man who realised that he ought to take charge as Jacob had given up entirely.
“Okay. How much will you need?” Jacob asked meekly.
“I think GHC20 will do for both the oil and the taxi fare,” he said.
Jacob put his hand in his trouser pocket, brought out two GHC10 notes and gave them to Akomea.
“I will be back soon,” Akomea told Jacob as he crossed the road to the opposite side to hail a cab.
Jacob saw some shrubs a few metres away that had provided some modicum level of shade. He walked towards the shade and luckily he saw a small brick lying in the shade and sat on it facing the main road. He took another look at his watch and it was 2:30pm.
He thought about how he was going to get to the house, pick the phone, delete the message, put the phone back, get to the office to have the meeting with the CEO, go pick his wife and get back home. “This would be one of the longest days in my life,” he soliloquized.
One thing that would complicate issues is when he gets home to meet his daughter and the house help. Either one of them would end up telling his wife that he came home during the day. “That must be avoided and the reason I need to get home now.”

 

10 Day of Fiction: Day 2 – “The Book of Acts ½ (By McFrankline), by Poetra Ama Asantewa

Filed under: Fiction — Ghanaman @ 6:05 pm
Tags: , ,

Kacharo’s eyes wandered up and down the narrow twisting lanes of Kaneshie, ignoring the hubbub of people streaming past him incessantly. It had rained last night, and the parts of the street with potholes had already been churned to mud by the crowd, but muddy streets were nothing new to him.

None of the streets in his village was paved.

Shops and traders littered every corner of the main Street, with stalls and stands covered with goods, everything from plantain chips, to clothes, to cooking pots and door knobs. The sheer number of them was so overwhelming that, no one had ever bothered to try counting. Order judged itself according to every trader’s personal principles, and justice was meted out in accordance to the wrath incurred. Noise making was at its peak, and the ear-splitting cries of hawkers promoting their wares could be heard a mile away. Everyone seemed to be in competition to prove who was louder and though they made a righteous effort, none of them proved a point better than Kacharo’s Microphone.

This particular microphone, which he had fondly nicknamed “Pickpocket”, was

the most thoughtful investment Kacharo had ever made in his entire life. Before he received his “calling”, he used to rent it out to Pastors and public speakers each day at an exorbitant rate, which ensured he and his family, remained well-fed during the entire lifespan of that business venture.

Unfortunately for him, most of his customer’s had discovered along the way that his charges were inordinate, and so the monopoly he held had slowly slipped out of his grasp until he finally quit the business in order to salvage what remained of his reputation.

Life had not been easy for Kacharo during that brief period of unemployment. His house had been gutted down by a raging wildfire, his first son had drowned at sea, his wife left him and worst of all, the outrageous medical bills from his mysterious illness. Psychotic Depression. This particular illness had not been easy on Kacharo’s psyche and it had finally gotten to a point where he was

contemplating suicide. And then the miraculous occurred.

An Angel of the lord had appeared to Kacharo one night and told him his trials had been a punishment from the lord for the way he had exploited the men of God who had needed his help when his business was still lucrative, and this form of persecution would continue until Kacharo reformed and joined the ministry of God. And then the Angel departed from his presence.

Kacharo tilted the microphone slightly to ease the tension in his shoulders. His elevated platform gave him a view of the marketplace that was almost perfect, and though it was crowded, he could spot the movement of almost every living thing in a fifty-metre radius. He hadn’t planned any sermon for today, but he was hoping the good Lord in Heaven would grant him a message even as he opened his mouth to preach. The Lord rarely did that, but you never knew when His abundant mercies were going to surprise you. For now he would just continue to rant a few well-known scriptures and give his best human interpretation of them.

A quick movement to the left had caught his eye and Kacharo let his attention drift away for a fraction of a second. He had trained himself for so long that he had acquired the ability to separate his mind into two compartments at the same time, one that allowed him to to preach inattentively while the other was engrossed in the private thoughts. This way, he never let his emotions interrupt the work of God. It was no easy feat, and had he not been so meticulous in his training, he would have gone completely mad from the effort it took to maintain that state. So in simple terms, anything that could

make Kacharo’s attention drift even for merest fraction of a second, really pierced him deep down his soul.

It was a just a little boy running around in a red and white stripped school uniform. The colour of the uniform his little Tombolo had worn when he was still alive. Memories flooded before his eyes, right back to the day at the beach, and it took an exhausting amount of willpower to wrench his mind away from that particular scene. Tombolo was dead and gone, he still had his little diamond, Koliko, to worry about. She had been sacked for non-payment of her school fees and she was the only reason he was toiling under this scorching sun. He will remain strong for her, He will not shatter like some brittle piece of glass. The Lord gives and the Lord takes. The Lord will Provide.

The noise from the crowd hit Kacharo like a sandstorm as he snapped out of his little reverie.

He scanned the street wearily and noticed quite a number of people were standing near his platform.

In those few minutes he had been distracted by the forbidden memories, the compartment of his mind allocated to preaching had been semi-consciously discoursing scriptures from the Book Of Revelations, while his voice had acquired a passionate tinge to its edge. The effect had been quite dramatic and several people had stopped to observe the Man of God.

This was the moment Kacharo had been waiting for. The Lord had finally provided a message, and he would deliver it in its true and unpolluted form. Praise the Lord, for he is good and his mercies endure forever. The Lord will Provide for me. The Lord will Provide for Koliko. He reached out his hand and started praying.

Another quick movement in the crowd caught his attention again, and though he did not falter this time, his mind quickly registered the whole occurrence. A young man dressed plainly in a red t-shirt with khaki trousers had bumped hardly into a decent looking gentlemen, and both of them had exchanged venomous glares. Or that was how it looked like to any unobservant bystander. But definitely not Nathan Kacharo, incidents like this rarely escaped his hawk-like eyes. For in that very instance bodily contact had occurred between both young men, no one except Kacharo had seen the one in the Red T-Shirt slide his hand into the other one’s pocket and quickly withdraw his wallet. It was a sleek, nimble move, delivered with the proficiency of a master pickpocket. Things like this happened everyday in the market square, and it this wasn’t the first time he had witnessed such an event, but this particular one had intrigued him by far.

The young man who had been robbed, peeled his eyes away from his assailant, cursing silently while rubbing his shoulder. He walked to the roadside and made a furious gesture at a taxi, in what would have been regarded as a half-hearted attempt to flag it. Kacharo had seen enough. He cleared his throat loudly in the microphone and pointed his hands at the young man.

“Praise the Lord” he shouted loudly into the microphone “For he has just granted me the ability to see into the non-existent. I just received a revelation from the Lord, somebody say Hallelujah”

Barely a handful of people muttered hallelujah in response, but Kacharo didn’t despair.

“Gentleman. Gentleman in the black shirt” A woman standing a few metres away from the young man tapped him and pointed in the direction of the preacher.

“Excuse me but I don’t have time for -”

“Young man, listen to me” Kacharo cut him off “The Lord has just revealed to me that you were recently robbed of your wallet. Please make sure I’m wrong before you set foot in that taxi”

The young man look confused and angry at the same time. He was late for an appointment and this village prankster had chosen this particular moment to infuse some drama into his life. He reached into back pocket for the wallet, and almost immediately, the look of anger vanished from his face, leaving only confusion.

“Praise the Lord, O citizens of Ghana, For the Lord is good and his mercies endure forever” The preacher’s loud voice carried over the din of crowd “The Lord will not allow any evil to befall his people. The Lord protects and guides his flock. He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the end of your problems, somebody shout hallelujah”

This time, the response was much louder as more people had suddenly taken interest in the ongoing proceedings. Some market women were pointing unabashedly at the young man, ignoring their wares for the sake of mere gossip, while the street hawkers zipped in and out of the crowd, trying to cash in some quick sales. To any slightly curious person in the vicinity, that kind of congregation was very beguiling.

“Don’t despair young man, all is not lost” Kacharo continued “The Lord has just revealed to me, where the thief is hiding. Praise the Lord, young man, for the Lord has been merciful unto you.”

“The thief was the gentleman that bumped into you a few minutes ago, and he is lurking right behind that green kiosk” Kacharo added, pointing at a green kiosk, a few metres away. “I would advice you not to assault him, but rather bring him before the Lord for prayers. Vengeance belongs to the Lord.”

The young man turned eagerly in the direction the man of God had pointed and ran over. The taxi driver got down from his car and accompanied him as he moved towards the kiosk. When they got the kiosk, they split and circled it until they found the thief hiding in the rear. A few seconds later the thief was pulled out and backhanded hardly across the cheek. The taxi driver in an unexplained fit of rage pounced on him and started hitting him mercilessly until the wallet dropped from his shirt. With the brief distraction that had come with the discovery of the stolen wallet, the thief had managed to shove his assailant backwards and disappeared behind the next building. The taxi driver gave pursuit, crying out loudly that a thief was in the vicinity. The young man picked up his wallet and checked the contents carefully. When he was satisfied with what he had seen, he walked back to the platform and had began to stutter thanks to Kacharo when he was cut short.

“It’s not me you should be thanking, because I have no power of my own” Kacharo said, reaching for his bible “It’s the lord God Almighty who delivered you from the snare of the fowler. The lord has also revealed to me that you have been jobless this past few months, but he wants me to tell you that all

your troubles are finally over. When you arrive at the bank later this afternoon for that interview, you will be handed your heart’s desire”

The young man looked stunned. How had the man of God known he was searching for a job? He stood gazing at the preacher for a very long time, and then took his wallet and emptied the entire contents into an offering bowl at the foot of the platform. This man had already saved him once.

What was the big deal in showing a bit of gratitude?

Kacharo now had the full attention of the crowd, and it wasn’t a chance he was going to allow go waste just like that. The Lord had given him an extra-ordinary brain, and he would be a fool to be 

modest about it. He would put the brain God had given him to good use, and would glorify his name.

The God of Kacharo will not put Koliko to shame. The Lord will Provide…

 

Chocolate Barbie – by Kuukua D Yomekpe October 8, 2011

Chocolate Barbie

“Kafui!”  Grandmother yelled from the living room. 

“Yes Ma!   I’m coming!”  She responded with a little bit too much emphasis on the last word. 

“Wo nua no wo hen?”

“I think my sister went to Selassie’s to rehearse for the church play,” Kafui said. 

“Are you sure?”  Grandmother asked.  “ARE you sure?”  She probed as if looking for a sign that Kafui would crack under more pressure.  “Did she say when she would be back?  She should not have been gone this long!” 

“But Ma, she left barely thirty minutes ago!”

“Are you being insolent?” 

“No Ma, but she really did just leave.” 

“Hmmm…Yoo!  Bebia wSa kε shε bia, onwhε  no ho yei!  Ma Snfa nyinsen mba fie ha o!”  Kafui rolled her eyes subtly as she listened to Grandmother’s usual rant about boys and pregnancy as if these were a teenager’s greatest downfall.  Perhaps it was her experience since she raised three children and two-grandchildren single-handedly. 

Anyway, today Kafui hoped she was right about her sister’s whereabouts.  Enyo often confided in her when she needed to go out and meet up with her boyfriend, but tonight she had plainly said, “Selassie and I have some work to do.  I’ll be back.”  There was no hint of illicit behavior, at least none that Kafui could detect.  Kafui wondered if her sister had stopped trusting her. 

She decided to return to her French homework, but before that she thought she’d read a few chapters of her latest illegal copy of Mills & Boon that one of her mates had slipped her in class. She had devised a way of doing so stealthily because if Grandmother discovered her reading these, not only would she be grounded and the book seized, but also her teacher would know about their practice.  By then her mate’s parents would have to be brought into the equation.  The adults made sure that such inappropriate reading material was kept from the hands of these “innocent” adolescents.  She smirked as she thought of this, but the smirk was replaced by a smile at the thought that she and her mates had managed to pass five copies so far this school year.  In any case, she knew she couldn’t afford this drama so she always kept the books hidden in pages of whatever textbook she was using at the moment.  In between the turn of the pages, even as she kept up with the drama of unrequited love, her thoughts kept returning to her sister.

            In the meantime, Enyo had arrived at Selassie’s and the two of them were getting ready to leave for their rendezvous.  Selassie had also told her mother that she and Enyo had work to do, never quite explaining what that “work” was.  Her mother trusted them because she felt that Enyo was a good influence on Selassie. 

Growing up Kafui and Enyo were not allowed to have their hair relaxed. When Enyo told Selassie that she wanted to try it before the semester ended, Selassie encouraged her, and finally got her to acquiesce to getting it done.  They decided that after class one day, the two of them would go to Selassie’s first cousin’s house to get the job done.  The real problem with this act was that, relaxed hair could not be easily returned to its natural state, and Grandmother was bound to notice the very next day. At the moment of making the decision, Enyo, at sixteen, felt legally justified to do with her hair as she pleased. 

As they walked over to the house, Enyo began to ponder the real significance of the act she was about to take.  Sure, it would feel good to not deal with kinky hair—the weekly washing and combing out followed by hours of twisting and squirming under Grandmother’s fingers.  It would also be nice to have hair that fingers could run through all the way without getting caught in a knot of kinky curls.  She would look just like those white girls on TV tossing their hair ever so delicately.  Somehow, she also had the impression that this new look would make her more popular in school.  There was so much riding on this decision!  On the other hand the consequences like the irreversible nature of having a relaxer, the burnt scalp (oh she had heard stories!), and Grandmother’s reaction at her outright disobedience plagued her.  For Grandmother, everything was an affront to her personally, not to mention the family name.  God forbid, anyone did anything for his or her own benefit with no intention of tarnishing the family name!  Unconsciously, she began to drag a bit behind Selassie.  Selassie, whose mother had allowed her to relax her hair at twelve, caught this change in my mood.  She put her hand in Enyo’s and quickened her pace. 

“Ko ko ko.  Knock Knock.”  Selassi’s cousin came to the door and after the usual greetings and hugs, Selassie explained to her cousin that Enyo was fast losing her resolve so they needed to hurry on with it and continue to assure her it would be perfect! 

Selassie helped her cousin set up the kitchen with the hair relaxer crème, the combs, and some Vaseline mixed with pure Shea butter for those unavoidable scalp burns.  Enyo had finally gotten excited about the process, and began helping Selassie partition her hair by holding down portions while Selassie wrapped rubber bands around them.  Selassie rubbed the concoction of Vaseline and Shea butter around Enyo’s ears, neck, and temple. Her cousin came over and began slathering the crème in the partitions that Enyo and Selassie had made earlier, each from bottom to top.  Once the whole can was gone, Selassie’s cousin began combing the crème through taking care not to touch the scalp.    She began to feel the itch and then the burn, just as they had described it to her.  She carefully to swiped the comb and began agitating her scalp to soothe the itch.  Snatching the comb, Selassie stared Enyo down as she sat sullenly in her seat. 

Eventually after what seemed like an hour, but in reality was only twenty minutes, Selassie’s cousin took Enyo to the sink and helped rinse out the relaxer.  She put some conditioner in and then allowed the scalp some rest.  She then walked her to the mirror, showed her the new hair and helped her comb it through.  She couldn’t help but smile at the look in the mirror.  Now she really looked like a Barbie doll…except she was brown.  Enyo shrugged off that feeling and turned around to see her hair fall down past her shoulder blades. They had said the relaxer had the ability to straighten out the kinks and lengthen the hair!  Up until this moment, she had not believed it.  Selassie called to her saying that it was time to go.  Her heart began to beat faster.  Now that the scalp burns were out of the way, she had to contend with the reality of returning home.

As they walked home, Selassie reasoned with her.  Grandmother could do Enyo no harm physically.  The hair looked fabulous; Grandmother might actually want to give Kafui a relaxer too so she would spend less time grooming hair every weekend.  She was not buying it.  Enyo was lost in my thoughts when Selassie gasped.  Enyo looked up.  There was Grandmother.  She was waving her flashlight wildly about with one hand and dragging Kafui with the other.  She began yelling and reprimanding Enyo for staying out too late.  She noticed Selassie and sent her home right away saying her mother was worried sick about her whereabouts.  We later learned that this was a lie.  Grandmother was more furious after Selassie left and she gave Enyo a lecture, not much unlike the usual.  She dragged Kafui and Enyo behind her as she stomped towards home, Kafui looking forlorn because she had gone through her own mini hell when Grandmother had finally lost patience and gone in search of Enyo.  Once inside the walls of the compound, she grabbed the cane she kept for such occasions, and gave Enyo fifteen lashes.  With each one, she winced but refused to cry. 

Enyo had gotten what she wanted.  Grandmother could not take that away from her.  Her hair was like Barbie.  She would have all the boys gazing at her, and the girls dying to touch it, in school tomorrow.  This thought, that everyone at school would be envious of her, kept her from crying out.  When Grandmother felt satisfied, she sent them both to their rooms. Safely inside, Enyo unwrapped the scarf on her head and showed Kafui the hair she had acquired in a matter of an hour.  Of course, Kafui was amazed.  So would the kids are school, tomorrow. 

Enyo fell asleep dreaming about the new day.  She tossed a lot trying to find a comfortable spot because her legs and back stung from the lashes.  She knew that Grandmother wasn’t done.  She had punished her for being out late.  Tomorrow, she would deal with the actual change in hair texture, but for now, she had gotten what she had dreamed about for years.  Barbie-doll hair! Never mind that this doll was brown!

 

About the Author


Kuukua Dzigbordi Yomekpe was born and raised in Ghana, immigrating to the United States at age 19. Her essays, “All Because of a Name” and “Immigrants in a Foreign Land” are published in African Women Writing Resistance. Her Masters thesis, “The Audacity to Remain Single: The Single Black Woman and the Black Church,” won the 2010 Marcella Althaus-Reid Award at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley. She is proud to be an African woman and believes in equality for all peoples, especially women. She is currently a candidate for the MFA in Writing and Consciousness in San Francisco. She loves to cook, and choreographs African and liturgical dance forms. She blogs at: ewurabasempe.wordpress.com.

 

The Secondary School Life – by Samuel Boateng September 22, 2011

Filed under: Fiction — Ghanaman @ 6:43 pm
Tags: , , ,

The engine chugged softly as the car slowed down by the sidewalk. My eyes flashed quickly to the majestic white and black buildings my uncle had ever so fondly described. “Here we are.” sighed my father. I got out and opened the boot of the car, took out my chop box and trunk. Father and I headed off to the school’s administration block and had me registered as a freshman of the Anglican Senior High School. He then bade me farewell after seeing my dormitory and left me to sort my things. We were seven freshmen, so far in the huge dormitory of the Howard Carter House. We exchanged occasional glances which sent across mixed feelings that new comers of a school normally have.

Since it was our first day there, it wasn’t much of a day. We had breakfast with the rest of the school. The older boys and girls in Form 2 and Form 3 gave us looks that were not so hard for us to read. “Welcome to servitude, bullying, punishments and a whole lot more right here at ANGLISCO.” The rest of the freshmen and I sat at a table together with our House Prefect who was to orient us little by little. Food was fairly good and so on. Our House Prefect introduced himself to us as Kofi Lawson. He shared a joke about him being considered for the prefect’s position just because he had LAW in his name. Imagine that!

Normally, on the first day of school you might want to check out the school and see the facilities available such as the washrooms, laboratories, sport fields and swimming pool, if the school had one. We visited the laboratories first and looked around at the equipment and apparatus. We were joined by freshman girls from the Adelaide Asiamah House. Then, we visited the sports fields and looked around. My, my! What a park! The school could have hosted the Nations’ Cup and generated some profit! Our last stop before the dormitories was the washrooms. It was there that the boys and girls had to split up. The girls’ washrooms were at their side of the school which was east of the school. Overall, the washrooms were not that bad, I mean how do you expect the washroom of a senior high school to look like? It was neat and you could sit on the seats and attend to nature’s calls unlike most schools where, going to ease yourself was like attending kung-fu or yoga meditation classes. You would have to stand bending your knees and balancing yourself over the toilet bowl at the same time keeping watch over your bottom from the huge patrolling flies!

Soon we were settled and got to know each other. I found myself a companion who was called Jonathan Darko. He was from a school somewhere in Accra and gained admission along with a friend of his from junior high school named Caleb Kotei. They complained that my name was too common and “had no taste” and that if they visited my hometown in Kumasi they would find not less than 50 Kwame Mensas!

 

We were just starting to feel at home and loosening up when the seniors arrived from wherever they had been. They gave us a saucy welcome and started to check out our chop boxes. You couldn’t say no and act all protective because that would surely spell doom for your freshman years in the school. We obediently opened our chop boxes and let them pry into our private properties. A senior would occasionally take something out, be it a canned sardine or some biscuits and inspect it as if it had been stolen, then tell the unfortunate student that he was “borrowing” it for some hours. Of course, anybody who had his item taken would know that the senior was taking it for good. I was one of the unfortunate students. Two seniors “borrowed” a can of sardines and two tins of milk respectively. I was not bothered in the least because I had more than enough to last me the first term, and a can of sardines and two tins of milk would not raise inflation costs in my edible provisions…. To be continued

About the Author

Samuel Boateng is a Junior High School graduate of the St. Bernadette Soubirous School in Dansoman, Accra. He likes to read, write, draw and use the computer. He hopes to become an investor, part-time artist and author. 

 

My Twenty-One Changing Seasons (an extract) – by Rodney Nkrumah-Boateng September 18, 2011

Filed under: Fiction — Ghanaman @ 10:13 pm
Tags: , ,

In this forthcoming novel set in the 1980s in Ghana, ‘My Twenty-One Changing Seasons’, Gideon, who has just completed his ‘A’ Levels, looks back on his seven years in boarding school. The book is planned to be published by summer 2012.  Below is an extract, which recounts his day with the seniors.

                                                              *******

Monday afternoon looked like the scene of an invasion as the senior students descended on campus. We were terrified, of course-we had all heard stories of how a form one student’s life could be made very miserable. We cowered by our window, where we had a clear view of the foyer and car park. Car after car arrived on campus and disgorged the students- from gleaming Mercedes Benzes, BMWs, ordinary Toyotas or Datsuns to rented taxis for those whose families had no car to their name. But wave after wave came and we wondered whether there would ever be an end. Campus was noisy as old friends greeted each other with the boisterousness that teenage students are known for. Of course there was no parent in sight-after all, these were no novices.

By four pm all of the form one boys in my dormitory were kneeling down in the form five room upstairs, and I am sure a similar exercise was being repeated in the other five houses.  We had not committed any offences but for the simple one of being new boys.  The seniors sat or lay on their beds and interviewed us, firing humiliating questions from all angles.

‘Hey you, yes, thick lips. How many times does your father fuck your mother in a week?’

‘Kwaku Nsemfo. What kind bush name be dat?’

‘You chop pussy before?’

‘You from Tiwa? Where in the name of Jesus is that? Do you guys have water and electricity there, and how do you get there? By canoe?’

‘My God, your face no fine koraa. Your mother must cry every day’

‘Do you have any beautiful sisters I could marry?’

‘Who did you inherit your ugly, mango-shaped head from?’

And on and on the stupid questions went. Senior James Fynn, otherwise known as Joe Capito, seemed to be in charge of the pack of baying hyenas in the room. I will never forget that face and name for as long as I shall live.  He is forever seared into my memory. His questions always elicited laughter from the other seniors, however stupid or banal it sounded. He had the annoying habit of constantly picking his nose and then sticking his finger in his mouth. His voice was high pitched like the shrill of a football referee’s whistle. Tall and lanky as a pole with eyes like a cat, he had a sinister smile that sent a chill right down your spine, for you could tell that the smile was simply a preamble to some dastardly comment or act rather than any act of warmth or affection towards a fellow human being. I avoided those icy eyes.  He was perched on the edge of his bed, his long legs dangling and swaying like weeping willows in the breeze.

‘Hey you, funny ears, what is your name?’ A set of keys landed on my ears with the precision of a guided missile almost as soon as the question was asked. I yelped both in pain and surprise. In primary school I was nicknamed ‘adanko’ meaning rabbit, because of my protruding ears. Of course I hated it. Laughter erupted in the room as soon as the keys clanged against my ears. I am sure I saw a couple of my mates trying to suppress a snigger.

‘Senior, please I am Gideon Asomaning’, I replied meekly.

‘Asomaning’ He rolled my name over his tongue for a minute or two over whilst scratching a rather ugly pimple located on his left cheek. Then his face seemed to light up as if in recognition.

‘Is your father that ugly minister for urban regeneration? You look like him, rabbit ears and all.’

 ‘No, senior. My father is a mining engineer.’ It always gave me great pride to reveal my father’s profession

‘Foolish goat, so what? Is my father a village blacksmith?’ clearly the question was meant to be rhetorical, for he did not wait for a reply, neither did I dare offer one.

‘So you are a mine boy. Which one?’

‘Tarkwa, senior’

‘Your father is a gold thief. How many bars of gold are hidden under his bed?’

‘None, senior.’ I swallowed hard, affronted that this guy had the nerve to besmirch my father that way. But who was I to talk?

 ‘Come here’, he beckoned with his right index finger.  I rose to make my way to him as ordered. The room went quiet.

Who asked you to get up?’ he barked at me. ‘Crawl to me’

I looked at him, not believing what I had just heard and rooted to the spot as if my feet had been nailed to the hard cement floor. There was a good six feet or so between us, and the floor was rather pock-marked.  Within a split second, a hard cover Collins Advanced   English Dictionary was flying in my direction from his bed with the speed of a bullet. The missile narrowly missed my head and slammed against the wall on the other side of the room with such force that the back cover came off. In a flash I was back on my knees and crawling towards Senior Capito with great alacrity.

‘Open your mouth wide and close your eyes’. His left forefinger was stuck in his nostril, scraping, exploring and excavating, and that sinister smile played on his lips. I did not need a second invitation and had no idea what to expect.  My lower lip trembled, and I steeled myself for whatever this evil senior had decided to visit on me, wondering why he had singled me out for whatever he had in mind.

I drew a sharp intake of breath when I felt the forefinger of Joe Capito firmly lodged on my tongue and realized that this was his filthy finger when I felt some foreign matter in my mouth. My eyes flew open immediately and my body recoiled in disgust.  Joe Capito’s finger remained firmly lodged in my mouth, pressing down hard on my tongue. My lower lip trembled vigorously and my mouth began to fill with saliva.

‘Get up. If you are man like me with pubic hair and solid balls and who has fucked more pussies than I have, spit it out and let me see’, he challenged, fixing me with a stare that could melt seventy-seven demons.  Well, my closest experience of sex had been a sloppy, messy fumble back in primary school with Oparebea one hot sunny afternoon after extra classes, so technically I was still a virgin. However, even though I did of course have a solid pair of balls between my legs, I did not dare rise to the challenge, neither could I of course muster the nerve to swallow. I rose slowly and stared at him. As I came up his finger dislodged itself from my mouth. I knew boarding school life entailed some bullying and was prepared to take it in my stride, but this was madness.

‘Close that big smelly mouth of yours’. His shrill voice permeated my eardrums.

With great effort, I managed to bring my lips pressed together, but prevented my tongue from touching any other part of my mouth. At this point all the other seniors started laughing- a raucous laughter that reverberated beyond the dormitory walls.  Only Capito remained impassive, as if he was wondering what on earth the fuss was about. My fellow form one students, all still on their knees,  kept their eyes glued to the floor. They could clearly feel my pain, for they must have realized it could have been any of them. None of them dared laugh even if they wanted to, for that would surely have been an invitation to have something worse dished out to him.

My throat seized up and I felt as if a big lump of charcoal had been placed in its narrow confines. I blinked rapidly, forcing myself not to show any weakness and thereby give this idiot any pleasure. In my head, I rained curses on him as I stood there thoroughly humiliated. I invoked madness and disease and blindness on him. In my impotent rage, I wished he would die a slow painful death and that his rotting flesh would be picked clean by vultures and dogs and hyenas.  

Then, almost as soon as these torrential thoughts crashed through my mind with great intensity and my soul blazed with anger, I felt a tidal wave of shame wash over me for wishing these things on a fellow human being. I asked God for forgiveness. I had been brought up to believe fervently in the Lord’s Prayer: And forgive us our trespasses even as we forgive those who trespass against us.

 

It was at this point that the dam in my soul broke and the tears began to flow silently like hot lava down my cheeks- salty tears of pain at the humiliation that I had suffered, tears of frustration that I was unable to do anything about this or question why I had been singled out, and finally tears of guilt that I had allowed this senior to push me to the point where I had developed impure thoughts and had sinned against my God in the process. These three rivers of tears joined hands and flowed freely as one unto my white shirt.

Eventually we were released, and I headed straight to my trunk to grab my toothpaste and brush. I spent the next half hour or so vigorously scrubbing my mouth, until my gums were flooded with blood. Then I rinsed it with some dettol, like the victim of a horrendous rape who seeks to wash away with soap and water the disgusting ordeal she has just been subjected to, for I had just been violated in a like manner. And yet I continued to feel dirty, and for the next few days, eating or drinking was a horrendous experience. Whenever I did, I felt I was swallowing the filth from Capito’s nose.

 About the Author

Rodney Nkrumah-Boateng holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Ghana and postgraduate qualifications in law from City University and The College of Law, both in London, UK. He currently lives in Accra, where he runs Walworth Consulting, a specialist UK immigration consultancy.

He has two books to his credit. His first book, Ghana at 50: A Trip down Memory Lane, was published in April 2007 to mark the 50th anniversary of Ghana’s independence. Abrokyir Nkomo:Reflections of a Ghanaian Immigrant, was published in June 2009. He is currently working on his first novel, My Twenty-One Changing Seasons. He can be reached at rodboat@yahoo.com