25 Feb

Toks Goes to The West Country (Actually Beyond)

So there I sat on the coach. I arrived at the station in the nick of time and the only seats available were towards the back, a few rows away from the bathroom. I scanned the area and quickly noticed that it was packed with students which was little wonder as my destination was a university town. I looked forward to 3 1/2 hours of uninterrupted reading. I’m excited about my book. The front cover has a handsome man and a pretty woman, they make a great couple. I think it’ll be a good book. The story line seems good. It was then I noticed him:

The coach is full of students but why is there an older, bearded gentleman on it?  He is Asian and fits “The Profile”. I start to get nervous as he gets up for the umpteenth time to use the bathroom. Why on earth do you need the bathroom so early, we only just left. He is wearing a long puffer jacket, at first I wonder why he has to be the only one wearing a long coat, then I notice we are all wearing one but then everyone’s is short. Okay mine is long but no, it isn’t puffed. I start to type texts to dear friends and family to inform them of my impending demise. I type faster as I noticed another man a couple of rows in front staring suspiciously at the bearded man as he returns to his seat. The minute this man sits down a younger Asian man gets up and goes to the bathroom. Five Minutes later I turn to look at the bathroom to see if smoke has started bellowing out from beneath the door. It hasn’t- yet. In the meantime I start to wonder what role I’ll play. I would like to be the hero. The one who tackled him to the ground. Or the one who was bold enough to voice her suspicions to the coach driver, but not the mug who blew a false alarm now labelled racist or Islamist (that’s what it should be called).

I try to settle into my book. It is promising, but too many characters are being introduced and in rapid succession. I think the author should not have used names that are too similar like Melba and Shelby, it’s a struggle to keep up and I hope it’s a good read. It’s all I have with me- reading Success Magazine(which I brought for back-up) sometimes gives me the feeling of being at work.

Would I sell my story to The Sunday Times? Of course, I have no plans to die (not that you plan these things- except you favor euthanasia). I wonder how much they’ll pay as the hero who stopped the bomb from going off?  But what if I don’t make it? I’m jolted back to reality as a smartly dressed man with red hair rushes towards the bathroom. He doesn’t make it and pukes right in front of the door. Ugh!! He finishes puking and stands upright looking around like a complete idiot. About now everyone is busy covering their noses. I fight the urge to tell him he needs to wipe a bit of puke stuck to his goatee. And I win, urge slowly retreats. The guy now has to walk the length of the coach to “report” himself to the driver. Wine is indeed a mocker. He says to you; “here, just a little more, so what if you get drunk? (moron)”

We make an unscheduled stop at a bus garage to have the coach cleaned. It was at this point that I had nothing but praise for the British Transport system. I remember years ago when my cousin Gbemi and I had to walk miles back home from Hyde Park. It was new year’s eve (I think) and buses were few and far between. We finally caught bus 32, only to have an inebriated passenger spill out the contents of his stomach. We were all bundled off the bus and told the bus was “no longer in service” and we walked all the way home.

As I get back in line to get back on the coach, I silently pray that I don’t end up near the bathroom or near the drunk. I think everyone is praying along with me- for their own sakes. Thankfully I don’t. But I end up right behind the younger Asian man who was in the bathroom for 10 minutes. He starts talking excitedly to the young lady beside him. I hear Jesus Christ. I hear Church. Before long I realise he is sharing the gospel of our Lord Jesus with her.

I look at my book, and now know where the adage comes from…

Thank you for reading, do come back!

11 Feb

My Hedgehog Story- Circa 1984

Thanks to Ijeoma and Ebun who inspired this post!

What would I do without my friends? There are parts of my life that I’ve completely forgotten about like the fact that I wrote short stories at school. I remember when dad told me he would publish my stories, I was ecstatic, oh the thought of seeing my name in print! Which by the way is the reason we sell personalised children’s everything from artwork to bibs, toy boxes and beds all with your child’s name on it at PP. Ahem! I gave dad my first story in no time, he explained that having four words per line would look really, really short when it was typed up. The fact that I filled two A4 pages made no difference with my giant handwriting.

Anyway, my favourite author as a child was Enid Blyton. This was before I moved on to Pacesetters and Mills & Boon. I am pretty confident that I read every Enid Blyton book ever printed. It was like disappearing into a world only imaginable. It was there that I learned about pixies and goblins, animals that made sensible, well thought out decisions and toys that conversed. And weird creatures like hedgehogs. I believed Enid Blyton’s definition of world only existed in the western world, in other words, in oyiboland. The knowledge caused me to implore my toys to talk to me- the rule was that toys didn’t speak when humans were present. I begged them to let me into their inner circle as I wouldn’t tell. And you can stop laughing because if I had the know-how to send my idea to Hollywood, I’ll be laughing at the upcoming release of Toy Story  3. I digress, sorry. So when friends in boarding house discovered this strange animal with spikes all over, I was over the moon! I explained that it was a hedgehog and they lived in the “woods”, a vicinity only present in the west. We don’t call it woods in Africa, it’s simply the bush. And in case you didn’t know, it isn’t called the jungle either, it’s the forest.

The hedgehog was a baby one so it was easy to carry; its spikes were still soft. I spoke to it and told it not to worry as we’ll be going home the following day. I couldn’t wait to break the awesome news to my younger brother, we shared the same fascination. Thankfully it was the end of term. I was excited for more reasons than one. Mum’s cooking, freedom from prison jail school, access to TV, wearing anything other than our tired green uniforms.

I don’t remember if the hedgehog ate; I think I dug up some worms for it as I was convinced whatever it lived on in the “woods” would not be available to me. There was no Google to check- it was 198something ya’ll! That night I locked him up in my wardrobe and went to sleep. Imagine my horror when I awoke in the morning to find him floating face down in my bucket of water! So “we” mourned him and I insisted “we” have a memorial for him by bathing with the “water of death” sorry guys! You know who you are!

Thank you so much for reading and getting (yet another) glimpse into my childhood 🙂

 

06 Feb

Rumours & Urban Legends

Back in the DayRumours Album Sleeve

Nigerians are the world leaders when it comes to spreading rumours. Here are a few I recall;

The Sound of Music

That Gretel, the little girl died during the making of sound of Music 2. They were all jumping from the plane with parachutes and her’s failed to open.  Gretel is alive and well, living  in LA and is resuming her acting career after a long break studying. Plus there was no Sound of Music 2. Maybe it got cancelled after she died?

Bonney M

That the man was married to the lead singer, the one with braids was his sister and the fourth one was really a man who performed a sex-change operation to become a woman.

Heavy D

That he jumped from the 2nd floor of a building, and he died. Heavy D has since gone on to release more albums and is still recording. When Heavy D released his non-posthumous album, a follow up rumour said he realised his enemies thought he died so his new album had a rap on it that said “no, I’m alive”. We got our own thang!!!

Yar Adua

That the Nigerian president was dead.

Mariam Babangida

Now dead for what seems to be the second time in the space of weeks.

Bush Baby

I fell for this one hook, line and sinker. Boarding school. 1983 to 1988. Aparently a midget with a rolled up mat and a kerosene lantern walking around. If you could get a hold of that mat you’ll be wealthy for the rest of your life, but you could get killed or transformed into one of them in the process. I feared for my life during night prep, refusing to sit near the window. And it was no small commotion if someone got up too noisily from their seat as it was taken as a sign that a bush baby had been spotted. Time to flee.

Bongos Ikwe

That he had an affair with former president Bababgida’s wife- Mariam, they had a son and the song Marianna was really about her. Said son mysteriously died during her reign as first lady.

Ola Ray, Thriller

That she was Nigerian, her real name is Olanrewaju and she dated Michael Jackson. Didn’t she have a secret child for him as well?

Evelyn King

Also Nigerian, can’t you see her lips?

Rafael Cameron

That he was Nigerian, his real name is Rafiu Kamoru. The music video we loved so much was shot in Port Harcourt.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUE91I70lG8]

Lawrence Anini

Our very own infamous superhero. That he would drop a naira note, do a spin and pick it up again all while driving at 200mph. Lawrence Anini was feared as the most notorious armed robber in Benin. Then there was Shina Rambo.

That Nigerians are the happiest, most generous and most vibrant group of people you’ll ever meet. Actually, that’s no rumour, lol!

I know there are more but I can’t recall…Thanks for stopping by!