11 April 2010

Two Bankers by Omale Abdul-jabbar

What they’ve been doing voraciously when alone suddenly came to light.

He sat at a corner near a stack of books adorning a full wall of the pastor’s library. Tensed like a cornered cobra, but no one knew this. The white turtle necked velvet sweater and matching white pants, all complimented by black Fila boots betrayed a rather cocky debonair attitude. They expected him to loose today. The odds were all against him. His name was Danny. He was due to make manager of the Bank in six months.

Then the Bishop. Bishop Ganaka brooked no non-sense in his church. Everyone knew this. Very straight jacketed, he was God’s own very anointed. He sat at his chair in the library. A copy of the Nigerian constitution grew from his hands like Aloe Vera from a vase. There were other two people in the Bishop’s library this terribly cold evening in liberty Boulevard, Jos Plateau State, Nigeria.

The lawyer donned black suit with white label. The doctor, an ash suit. Yet to form a quorum, they sat, each lost in his own thoughts. They waited for Nachris and her mother.

She’s so gorgeous...

Like the best of movie stars that inhabits the most secret, most exotic dream of their fans all over the world, often gleamed from TV screens or fancy magazines. It is the kind of passion that creeps slowly on you and indifferent to any formal acquaintance makes your most intimate friendship. She possessed the kind of beauty that made you suddenly very angry and bewildered, that would ruin your whole day; if you ever saw her on your way to work in the morning. Worse still, you would most routinely suffer your poor head to unravel the mystery behind your dilemma and discern deep into the day, that it was that sighting of Nachris in the morning… Her Caribbean features. Delicate skin like a baby’s buttocks. Her hair. Her eyes. Her perfumes of that rare torment that a ravishing woman leaves on a man upon her wake.

You’d want to die. Because you needed her now like a drug. But you can’t have her.

You pray never to see her again in your life. Never to feel that deflating emptiness again. But there she was. Now she remembers your name, smiles and shakes your hand. You’re very happy. Then very ashamed. You smell your hand all day for that scintillating scent that you know is Nachris. You love and hate her all at once. And you’ll never know which is more.

In DK (Dogon Karfe) where we live in Jos, my friend Adam Ella and I, she was the subject all our conversations. Once we wrote a poem for her:

Not once, not twice, but forever will I love thee...

Days later I saw Adam and inquired how it went and this is what he said: ‘Goddamn that bitch to hell man’. ‘C’mon, what happened? She didn’t like it?’ ‘She liked it all right. How could she not? That was a fantastic work of art!’ ‘So what happened?’ ‘Leave me!’ was all he said.

Nachris had teased: ‘pally you de write poem o!’

We hated her since that day. But did we really?

‘I am sorry we’re late’. They sat down opposite the rest. Her mother was explaining. Their reason: the hazards of peregrination currently occasioned by renewed fuel shortage in the sixth largest oil producing country in the world.

7.45 pm. The Bishop began his sermon. Today, he was judge and arbiter. ‘Now that everyone is here, we can start the meeting’. Start. This was apparently the wrong word. The National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) struck instantly! An ominous silence whipped the Library into something analogous to a sable shroud, final blanket for the dead, comfort for the lonely. They were all obliged to wait for the church generator. As before, everyone to his and her thoughts. The scent they all knew was Nachris lingered in the air, alluring and treacherous, temptation for all men billed to sin against their God - or if you like, an anointing

Danny. This is exactly how it started. That night three years ago in Diamond Bank Jos. That night, so very inauspiciously when we were closing the year’s account, alone in my office, Nachris and I, and NEPA suddenly struck. Having being flirting for weeks with each other, I took a chance and fondled her large succulent breasts and she went straight for my self!

We did it quickly.

In that five, ten minutes before the generator came on. Addicted. We did it everywhere, every time we got the chance alone. Like iron filings, we were drawn together, like John Lennon and Paul McCartney, were perfect together. At the toilet. On the floor. In the kitchen. In the car. On the table. In her home. In my home, we did it!

‘So when was the last time you slept with her? When were you last together as Man and Woman?’ Bishop Ganaka.

‘You mean when the last time I fucked her was?’


‘Well, I do not feel obliged to answer that question right now.’

Mr Danny, are you responsible? Are you wiling to accept responsibility for this outcome?’

And I use to think I loved her! That we loved each other. We probably did...

‘Sister Nachris, what do you have to say to all this now?’

‘He’s a bastard!’

Now she’s up, howling while hurling herself across the room. Pandemonium broke. Quick, like a camera flash, blood now oozed from of Danny’s head, a coke bottle he was drinking from in pieces on the floor. The lawyer, Doctor and Bishop rushed forth to disentangle her hands from his neck.

‘Jesus, Jesus...’repeated Bishop Ganaka.

‘Leave her to kill the bastard, this bigoted dog, for ravaging my daughter, he threatened to have her fired from work, now his dumping her after everything,’ yelled Nachris`s mother.

‘Calm down’, they all chorused to the irate party.

‘Damn! Look at my head?’ Danny asked nobody in particular, raising a hankie to his forehead, ‘she's a bitch! A cruel and wicked temptress, a schemer! You think I’d marry you just like that? That bastard you're carrying could never be mine ...and Nachris, I am very sorry for you.’

More conscious obscenities continued to waft out of their mouths. Nachris and her mother. And now, Nachris, in tears ‘I loved you Danny, I loved you, you promised you would never leave me, why are you doing this? Why are you abandoning me now? ...And our baby! God! Our poor innocent baby!’

9.45 pm. They all departed. Bishop Ganaka is alone in his study, pondering and praying for the sins of the world. ‘Satan you are a liar! You have fallen and will forever be put to shame’ he prayed fervently, but his legal mind rumbled simultaneously through the fray.

10.50pm. The Doctor sat at dinner with his wife and daughter narrating the dramatic cum theatrical ensemble of the day, especially the denouement. ‘He denied being responsible. She broke his head right there in the Bishop’s Library. The meeting came to nothing. He refused a DNA test and...’

‘Well Oche do you think he was guilty? Would she go to the police?’ His wife asked him.

‘He signed a disclaimer. He wants nothing to do with it.’

‘Hmmm, men!’

‘Excuse me?’

‘Daddy that man is a bad man!’ Their daughter.

‘Shhhh! Eat your dinner Onyeche,’ both parents hushed their child.

11.30 pm. Back in his chambers on 35 Tafawa Balewa Road, the lawyer, going over and tidying up a case file for court the next day, rummaged through the incident at the church. ‘He’s probably guilty’. But what the hell? He signed the disclaimer. Legally, he’s exonerated’.

11.50 pm. Nachris lay in her mother’s arms, like a baby, like she used to do a long time ago. She was crying softly.

‘He’ll never go scott free. I promise. I promise. I am a Tarok woman. He’ll regret the day he met me.’

‘It’s Ok, It’s OK.’ her mother consoled her. Yet she remembered everything. How the sweet syrupy affair started. The hot burning passion that consumed them in the end. She also remembered so many things that led to her current state that she wasn’t telling anyone.

1.00pm. Danny lay on his bed. All the lights dim, except the glowing plastic stars from the immaculate white wall opposite the bed, spelling out the name:

‘N.d.i.d.i A.m.a.k.a’

The name pleased him much. The glow of the stars was the precise glow in his heart. This was the choice he had made. The chosen one.

Slowly, he lit a cigarette and inhaled deeply. It is settled then, he thought. But the name, scent and sophistication, all the essence and magic that was Nachris will always anguish him forever. And the child? Could it really be his? He declined to think about it.

Time. That ever-present factor in the life of mortals, time would succeed where the Bishop has failed. Time would be the true judge and arbiter. And this story will rest here for now until that moment when Nachris` baby will sever the sacroiliac with his or her first birth cry. And I, I shall wake each morning with the same prayer on my lips. Lord, guide me to find and fulfil my destiny. And if I fail, let my destiny find and fulfil me... Like the symbolism of freeing a long caged canary, I take a deep breath and let go of my long secret passionate obsession, knowing now that Nachris will never bear my name!

Two Bankers was written by Omale Abdul-Jabbar and is an excerpt from his forthcoming collection 'Love is a Knife'.

Copyright © Omale Abdul-Jabbar 2010.

Omale Allen Abdul-Jabbar, born at 58 Jericho Road Otukpo Benue State, on the 31st March 1971, is son to Alhaji Jibril Omale Amedu from Ojakpama-Adoka, NPN Chairman Otukpo LGA under the Shagari regime.

Omale schooled at St Francis Primary Otukpo (`77-`82), Mount Saint Micheal`s Aliade under the benevolent principal David Danlami Dodo and the radical catholic priest Father Francis Blair (`82-`87) and obtained B.A English Linguistics\M.A Law & Diplomacy degrees from the University of Jos (`92-97 & 2000-2002) respectively. He is thankfully married to Rahmah-Allah and blessed with two enchanting daughters of "light and grace" Imani-Ajumayi and Medina-Ojodubimi.

Omale goes by the pen name "Mmaasa Masai" or "Masaihead" and writes poetry, novels, drama and essays. He is Ex- Chairman Association of Nigerian Authors, Plateau State chapter and currently PRO-North ANA National.

His works have been published in Water Testaments, AWF Cavalcade, New Gong Short Stories, Weekly Trust Newspaper, Fifty Nigerian Poets, Margin and These! Magazine online, The Ker Review, Blackbiro online, ANA Review, Farafina online, Munyori Poetry journal, Africanwriter.com, and Camouflage amongst others.

Omale is influenced by the works of Toni Kan, Helon Habila, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Ben Okri, Isabel Allende, Margaret Artwood, Pablo, Neruda, Maik Nwosu, Toyin-Adewale-Gabriel and David Njoku.

Omale was a finalist in Poetry.com 2002 for the poem ‘’Love Affair’’ subsequently published in the anthology Letters from the Soul.

He is currently a planning officer with the National Commission for Colleges of Education, Abuja and current chairman of its labour union. CONTACT: masaihead@yahoo.com or 08033509447


Somuso said...

Nice story. Says so much with so little...good job and good luck to Omale Allen Abdul-Jabbar

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