Thursday, February 28, 2008


Please read this as you listen to what's playing in the sounbyte - Kirk Whalum's - If Only For One Night

He looked at his watch
It was time
He stood up and roared to his men ‘Make we dey go’
His gang of not so merry men put down their bottles of ogogoro and staggered to their feet
Eyes red from intoxication
Feet unsteady
They picked up the tools of their trade
Metal rods, sticks, burlap sacks and a lone locally crafted pistol
And headed out

He led his men out of the slums called home
Onto the street
Across the empty field that was used to kick a ball around
To while away the time
Marching with single minded purpose
He led his men
Across the road
And they got onto the median
And began to walk slowly down it
Heading to the middle of the 3rd mainland bridge

Traffic was at its prime
Cars at a stand still
No one going anywhere
Bumper to bumper the cars were
Drivers resigned to the fact that this would not end anytime soon
Some with their windows rolled down
Wiped their faces as the heat made sweat drip down their faces
Executives asleep in the back of their cushy cars
After a hard day at work
Their drivers sitting upright in their white shirts and ties
Some drivers oblivious to the traffic
Courtesy of the music they were singing to
Some oblivious because of the company they had
Some drivers seemed lost in thought
Contemplating life and obligations
Everyone headed home

His band of un-merry men slowed down right at the middle of the bridge
Jumped onto the road
And it began

Windows rapped on
Some smashed
‘Bring your phone’
‘Bring your bag’
‘Give me all your money’
‘Open your boot’
‘I go fire ya head here my friend’
‘Move it morrafoker’

Some of the men laughed as they assaulted the innocent
Some said nothing
He walked in between the lanes
Weaving between the cars
Keeping his eyes on his men
And on the opposite lane
And on the passengers in the cars

He heard a guttural scream behind him
He turned around
For he had warned his men
No un-necessary violence
Smash and grab
Scare and petrify
But hurt no-one

He walked slowly back to the cause of the noise
A Toyota Corolla
Driver’s door open
A woman struggling with one of his men
In a dark suit
And bare feet
‘Please my phone’
‘Don’t take my phone’
‘Take my car, take it all but not my phone’

He heard his man
The one that the woman had locked in her grip saying
‘I go wound this woman’
‘You dey craze’
He stopped and said
‘Madam, I suggest you leave him alone’
‘Please my phone’

He looked at the woman as she let his man go
He was used to people being intimidated by him
6 feet 3 inches of solid muscle
Every inch of him as dark as coal tar
And at this time of night
He knew that the only features people would be able to see
Were the white of his eyes and his teeth
His voice scared even his mother

This woman didn’t seem to notice him
So focused on her phone
Oblivious to the kicks and slaps
She had tears streaming down her face
He noticed that in addition to the tears
She was crying
No. She was weeping
Making gut wrenching sounds as she screamed ‘my phone’

‘Let me have her phone’
They stopped struggling – his man and the woman
He sneered at her
‘All this noise and wahala over an ordinary Nokia 2210’
‘You want to die over this phone’
All the while she stared at the phone in his hand
Saying over and over ‘please, please, please, please’

‘Get into your car now’
He said in a tone that brooked no argument
He turned to his man
Threw the phone in the burlap sack
And they walked away
He heard the woman scream again but did not turn round

His men hurried along
For the window of opportunity was closing
Traffic was beginning to move

For an inexplicable reason
He turned around
While cars had started to move slowly
The woman was sitting on the bridge
In her dark suit and bare feet
Crying hysterically
Her car door still open

He walked back to her
‘Madam, get up and enter your car’
She seemed not to hear him
‘Did anyone hurt you?’
She looked at him then
And the look of pain and agony on his face made him take a step back
Yet she said nothing
Just continued to cry
‘Madam you can buy another phone. Even a better one’

She whimpered and said something
He didn’t hear
She said words again
‘You have taken my life’
For some reason, he could not move
He just stared at her

She pulled herself up
Into a kneeling position
Held onto his knee and looked up at him
‘I got married 6 months ago
My husband died last month
All I have left of him are the text messages he sent to me on that phone
Not on the SIM card
But on that phone
Please give me my phone’

He looked at her
‘The reason I can still breathe is because of those messages
He pulled himself free from her grasp
Turned his back on her
And walked away

She was numb
Unable to move
Over 200 text messages
That the love of her life had sent to her

Since he died, she spent hours re-reading those messages
Oblivious to funeral arrangements
Friends, relatives, in-laws
She went to bed cradling her phone
And selecting the messages to put her to bed
Because those messages were for her
He talked to her even though he was gone with those messages
Gone now
Everything she had of him

She looked up and it was the man
Holding a bag
‘Which one is your phone?’
Not stopping to think
She pointed at the phone at the top of the pile
He reached for it and handed it to her
‘Thank you’
He turned his back and walked away

*Inspired by my love for text messages, the movie P.S I love you, driving home on 3rd mainland bridge and the stories of these petty thieves which thankfully are not as common anymore*

Have a great weekend.


Nyemoni said...

Awwww...........Heart wrenching! Uzo you write wonder you're called a thinking blogger! have a great weekend!

Anonymous said...

form a weddingvogue fan!!
makes me feel sad. but makes me happy she got her phone back...
i know the value of text messages, wrote all my husband's text messages down in 2 huge diaries, because i couldnt bear to delete them until there was no space on my phone-so i wld write it down before deleting it.
six years of being with the hubs, 2months of being married to him and those text messages from 2002still make my day!!!

doll said...

Hey Uzo....nicely written...made me imagine wearing her shoes...i have a thing for text messages, i have 3085 on my phone rite now, havent deleted any from ny boyfriend since i bought the phone last year, i even have a special folder where i keep the really intoxicating ones. so i can imagine.

Haved urself a good weekend

Naija Chickito said...

You write beautifully. I'm not really a keeper of text messages, but I loved the story nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

Wow....the 'story' really makes you think about several things such as the things to hold dear and close to your heart (including your mobile phones, hehe!!!). As uncharacteristic the 'story' might seem, it was really well put together.

Five Thumbs Up!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I know how much you love text messages. Its an obsession with you. Trigger fingers.

This is amazing. Sad, uplifting and quite well written. I keep telling you to pack up this your corporate ladder climbing and get into the arts full time. Afterall with your pedigree, it will not be much of a suprise to anyone. Dont i remember something about your godfather being a famous playwright?

Great stuff. See you tomorrow and i am sending you a text message to ask about all the competition taking you away from me.


Sam said...

Its official. I love you. Give me your phone number so i can send you as many text messages as you want. You will even beg me to stop.

Afrobabe said...

wow...babe, you should write have been denying us..

Some of them are human and only do it out of neccesity..the ones that came to my house didn't hurt anybody after they got money....

I have no hatred for them..yes I still shake at night when I remember but at least they were kind, some even left sim cards on the table.

Afrobabe said...

I have been coming to ur blog...alot, yet I feel like I just discovered it...still wowing...there is hope for mankind.

darkelcee said...

whao, u got water out of my eyes.

this is really strong.
Have great weekend

Sara said...

Great post as usual...

Anonymous said...

well written...that was a captivating story

Daddy's Girl said...

Beautifully written Uzo - looking forward to more pieces like this.

Anonymous said...

Nicely done. As for Kirk Whalum, you should have a listen to his album, 'The Gospel According to Jazz'.

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