Flash fiction

Chopping Board

On the chopping board of life stands sweet and lays sour ‎things. They are chopped, cut, diced and served up delicious with tangy bits. I mused about life as I continued typing my research paper. I could pause my music player to listen to your voice notes. All your voice notes. You see, I love voices, listening to their sultry, cheery or silken smoky tones‎.

On the chopping board of life we all lay here. Either dissected or being prepared to be prodded by tools ie. persons or experiences that bring out ourselves. ‎I pause Ella Fitzgerald infamous sensual jazz ballad, At Last. Then my right fingers play your voice note. While my left palm reached for my cold glass of pink yoghurt. Sweet and sour. Sour strawberry creaminess coat my curling tongue like a French kiss. Sweet, sweetness is your voice. The moment passed like how I missed making your acquaintance about ten times before I did a year ago.

A DJ turn table or photo editing app is what ‎life uses these days. Chopping up beats and mixing pulses of daily life. Cropping and feeding filtered gradients that gradually alter reality’s real. So I listen to Sufjan Stevens’ hollow singing thrown in after your voice like sour yoghurt sipped after chewing sweet, soft chocolate cake bits.

CHOP! the knife slices into the small brown circumference. ‎Like my excitement shorten night’s rest. CROPPED, ‎I now have another taste of life for myself.

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#INSTASTORY: BIBLIOPHAGIST

BIBLIOPHAGIST (n). a person who devours books.

‘I have been one this July babe’, my soft, stubby fingers type in thebookpeddlerng‘s picture comment section. The quick rapt-tap clicking sounds continue. ‘I devour delicious sentences of tantalizing plots for late night snacks’. The clicking sounds halt after a loud stamp of the Send button.

I noticed late night snacking reduced when I read to keep my insomniac mind entertained and drink water with lemon and cucumber slices.

‘Sounds delicious! *wink emoji’, thebookpeddlerng responds.

Continuing hours later with excitement.

‘Babe, they are. I’m currently in New Delhi, last night I was at Melbourne. Each bite takes me on a trip. *lustful sigh. I love books!’

‘That’s amazing! How can anyone not love books’ she rhetorically asks.

HOW? I could list answers but instead I filled the tiny heart shape beside her message with a red click. We bibliophagists hope to inspire none readers while shopping away our fear of running out of books to read.

NNEOBI’S LITTLE ONES

When you meet Nneobi you will see she always has little ones on her.

They add a certain charm to her rather mismatched, curvy, dusty brown appearance. From the beginning of her narrow metal gates that look like stretching feet you see small brown-dark , scrawny, dirty or even semi-naked boys and girls running around gleefully. Often times these little ones silently stoop low under firm hands of their mothers pouring water and rubbing soap lather. If you drive further down some bubbles from the scentless gutter side bath might float to your car window.  Don’t resist the urge to continue driving slowly and stretching your hand out to pop a few bubbles close by. But do not stop there, that is just my Buka customer’s morning routine. You will drive on her dusty, bumpy, pure water littered, uneven street down towards crater-like port holes. I know you’ll say it looked like Eru tried pulling out corruption from Nigeria through the gully like portholes. Don’t say it.

You’ll drive further down Nneobi, skirting around her two murky, chocolate river portholes. They look like breast but the children with shaven heads that wear faded denim skirts and trousers avoid them. You’ll see Nneobi has a green compound painted with ‘artistic’ Mickey Mouse, fruits, Alp-Ha-Be-Ts and numb3r5 to school little ones. You’ll wonder with all the children spilling out, preteens playing in the small shops and stalls paving both sides of the street there could be more children. I’m sure you’ll shake your head when you see the blackboard on the wall calling for volunteers to teach crucial subjects. While lost looking skinny and fat women in ill-fitting skirt suits that resemble those at Staff School decades ago–welcome more rowdy uniformed ‘shouldrens’ into that compound. Drive on without turning to the left street beside the green primary school.

In this stark communal landscape where men can be seen sparsely but always sitting staring probably into futures they missed. You will find new red, tattered green, stained yellow network providers’ umbrellas brightly dotting Nneobi adding a mismatched pointillism effect to the scenery. Don’t bother stopping to buy my airtime at any of those umbrellas. Park at the wooden shop with steps sited on by unclear plastics of sweets, chewing gums, etc. Buy my airtime there. You remember how much right? Right. One you drive a bit forward you’ll see black iron gate with Feni’s sculptures (from her Water Bodies Exhibition we went for) leaning against their stems. Peep the pink duplex inside? That’s my house. To be sure it isn’t Lady Pero’s pink house. There are no bare chest, shrieking children with white 5 ltrs kegs or small buckets milling around the water pump beside its gate. If you are at the water pump still drive further down.

You’ll pass the white bungalow with a placard ‘buy chilled zobo here’. Last time, yesterday evening after work, that I drove pass there I saw two small boys probably packing in clothes.Probably brother because they had matching buba and sokoto, native top and trousers. The taller and older one carried a bench to step on. He still had to stand on his tip toe to reach the wire. It was such a comic sight! I had been parked waiting for change while a burgundy filled Miranda bottle numbed my palm. Laughter almost choked me as the zobo ran down my plumb throat with what the boy was doing. He would remove the pegs, throw them behind him to the floor for the smaller boy and sling the clothes over his skinny shoulder. All with precise seriousness while the younger boy would pick up the pegs from the sand and clip them to his buba’s edge.

Anyway, opposite the white house is a left street, a street on the left. Do you see the artsy black iron gate and Feni’s sculptures? That’s my place. I didn’t ask what you’ll like to eat for breakfast. Or why you are visiting my no-longer-a-site for the first time this early in the day. I know you’ll say I still don’t know how to give directions but whatever. Welcome to Nneobi! Do you know my house has a name? You guessed right!

 

#INSTASTORY: TITLED TEMPTATION

Its funny, the Fine Boys arguing about the match Under the Udala Trees are not as attractive as Modupe who sells me akara to break my fast. I know many girls find reasons to linger at the Igbo man’s provisions container just to catch their attention. Attentions that are lost on betting tickets, replays, player performances and their shouting. handsomeness. Modupe is often a prayer point of mine during my afternoon prayers. I fall into temptation of lustful fantasies everytime she speaks softly to me, adds an extra bean cake to the steamy black nylon or blushes at my compliments. I usually pray for strength to resist her or for her to say she likes me too. My small smile must have widened into a grin as I walked by the fallen udala fruits. Abruptly the fair, lean one in the faded Arsenal jersey calls out to me, ‘fine girl!’ I quicken the pace of the white dunlop slippers. They look off white with the raised dust and setting sun as they carry my feet towards her Aunty’s stall made of a rickety wooden table and a faded MTN umbrella.

END.

#instastory: Do You See?

When I look at this stealth adventurer, treasured tales traveller, bookstagram prop, bookshelf space thief–I wonder if you see what I see.

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I see me finally dropping the sword of action on many areas of my life. The sword I’ve held poised above certain insecurities and action steps the past fortnight.
Do you see the Pirate’s eye? It draws my grandmother’s single breast and left flat surgical stitched cheat to sight. My diva whose fighting breast cancer and is slowly completing the cycle of life.
When I look at the credits of this imagined short film we are read-watching. The credits! The tiny words on orange behind the minion? I think of months ago..before I was cut off from your ‘hey beautiful’ texts.
You might just gaze at this yellow adventuress and just see my humoured disinterest frozen confusingly on an orange beach of memories. Granules of crystalized pleasure and pain from past lovers calling back.
So do you see?

END