Coconut Rush

18. Coconut Rush
We all have dreams, old or young, rich or poor; there is something we yearn for. That something we assume will make our lives perfect. Usually, it doesn’t.
I had a dream, a dream which I couldn’t tell anyone about. My dream was anathema to the well-established notion of children being slaves to parents. It was to live a chore-free life. But no, this is not about that dream, I had one other dream;
My friend “Hazard” lived right opposite me. In Hazard’s house stood a coconut tree, it bore the biggest fruits, even bigger than Hazard’s head (he had the biggest head amongst the kids in the neighbourhood). Not to shame him but it was huge. The ultimate dream was to eat the fruits of this coconut tree.
This dream sounded easy enough to bring to fruition, but no, it wasn’t as easy as climbing the tree to get some of the fruits. You see, Hazard had an older brother Abakan, who harvested and sold the coconuts, therein lay the problem. You are probably thinking;
                                “Why doesn’t he just buy a coconut from Abakan?”
For the simple reason that Abakan didn’t plant the tree. Nope, I wouldn’t let him reap where he didn’t sow. What kind of person denies even his own brother fruits from a tree that grows in the house they both live in? ABAKAN!
So, nope I wouldn’t pay for it. But then a way had to be found. I thought long and hard on this and finally came up with a plan, it was brilliant in its simplicity. Wait for everyone to go to work and then go get the coconuts.
On the day of reckoning, I feigned illness and Hazard did the same. I stayed in bed till a little before midday and then headed over to Hazard’s. He was waiting for me underneath the tree with all that we needed;  a cutlass to cut them off the tree and a basket to put them in. Hazard wasted no time at all, he immediately scaled up the tree and started throwing down the coconuts. You should have seen me, not even Adam was this happy when he saw Eve. My joy was short lived though. After just five coconuts it stopped dropping and I saw Hazard making to come down, I was about asking him why when I saw Abakan coming out of his room. I immediately took off, not even waiting to help Hazard come down.
Abakan had been in his room all along, he had never gone to work. The sounds from the falling coconuts had woken him up. He had come out clad in just his boxers. Hazard climbed back up when he saw Abakan at the foot of the tree. I had also paused at the gate when I had heard no footsteps behind me. Standing there, I thought about our situation. Hazard couldn’t come down because of Abakan, Abakan couldn’t leave because I was at the gate and would come for the coconuts soon as he left. And I also couldn’t leave because hey, coconuts. We were locked like that for almost a half hour. Imagine being poised like that with Hazard slipping ever so gently down the tree.
It was then that Hazard signaled me to look outside. I peered cautiously and lo and behold, coming up the road was Eleanor, Abakan’s crush. Not just him, every young man in the neighbourhood had eyes for her. I knew this was my chance. Hazard’s house had short walls, the kind you can see over. When she was almost at the house, I shouted;
    “SISTER ELEANOR! SISTER ELEANOR!”
I turned back to make a face at Abakan, that’s when I realized my error, he was almost on me. He had moved whilst I was distracted. In shock, I couldn’t do anything, but then I heard the sweetest sound;
                        RRRRPP!
That was Abakan’s boxers, his sudden movement had ripped the bottom open. It was an old pair you see. Now I was even more scared, all I could see was Abakan’s dangling genitals. I knew I was going to get it then, and then the second miracle;
             “Abakan, is that you?”
This was Eleanor, she had heard her name and had moved closer. You should have seen Abakan, contorting to hide his groin, but it was too late. What was left of his boxers only ripped further.  Hazard used that distraction to get down then, making straight for the wall. That jolted me out of my shock and I quickly turned and made a beeline for my gate.
I got straight into bed and stayed there till my Mum came back from work. Hazard joined me. Later in the evening, we went back to Hazard’s with him. I wish I could tell you that we found the coconuts and that Abakan was so embarrassed he didn’t come out for a week. But no that didn’t happen. The spiteful businessman had taken the coconuts we had plucked and had had the tree cut down. He even told on us to our parents. I walk funny now.

And you know the cherry on top of the cake; after that day I began seeing him and Eleanor hanging around dark places together. Talk about life not being fair.

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SHANPAWPAW – a hard guy’s tale.

HARD GUY
A guy who is unafraid of a fight and/or can take loads of physical punishment and drink.
Shanpawpaw.

17. SHANPAWPAW
I kept tossing and turning, sleep was being elusive. The constant hum of Mr. Amponsah’s generator wasn’t helping. It was an old thing, every fifteen minutes or so it would backfire, making an odd noise. Most residents had gotten used to it and just ignored it. Constant pleading with him to turn it off at midnight had fallen on deaf ears.
“Blame your government not me”, that was his favorite saying. As if the government had bought him the generator.
“Ewurade m’awu!” (Lord I’m dead)
“Ewurade m’awu!” (Lord I’m dead)
“Ewurade m’awu!” (Lord I’m dead)
I was the first to come out, my dad followed suit not long after. Seeing Mr. Amponsah, one would think his house was on fire. The old man kept dashing up and down the street. But no, the house was all right from where we stood. Other neighbours had joined us now. My dad approached him then, he said nothing: he just pointed to his generator, or should I say “ghetto blaster”.
Everyone broke into laughter, it genuinely was funny. Mr. Amponsah’s reaction wasn’t helping too. An enterprising thief had sneaked into his compound, made off with his generator and replaced it with a recorder just by his window. What fascinated me most was how loud the recorder was. The thief had even gotten all the backfire and gunshot noises, he really meant business. I couldn’t help but wonder when he had come to record the noise. The sound quality meant he had to have been really close to the generator.
The laughter seemed to have annoyed Mr. Amponsah, who cast an angry look around and without another word stormed into his house, slamming the door after him.
This wasn’t the first time a thief had shown such ingenuity. It wasn’t even the most ridiculous. That went to Shanpawpaw. Shanpawpaw was a notorious thief, junkie, handyman and general nuisance in the neighborhood. We all knew him and just ignored him, his crimes (if they could be called crimes) usually failed woefully. They were more annoyance than criminal. Let’s take his latest offense for instance.
For safety, most of the houses in the neighbourhood had their gas cylinders outside. Auntie Lameley, a food vendor was no different. She had three cylinders which she kept in a metal cage behind her kitchen. At dawn 3 days ago, I had gone out to pee when I saw Shanpawpaw in Auntie Lameley’s compound. Only a short hedge separated our place from hers.
He had managed to pick the padlock to the cage and had already carted two of the cylinders to the wall. The third one is what was connected to the stove, he had saved that for last. Right as he unhooked the regulator from the cylinder, I saw the kitchen lights come on. He froze then, he slowly put the regulator back. The clicking sound of the regulator must have sounded like thunder in his ears, from where I stood, I could see him go pale. Whoever had entered the kitchen, oblivious to what was happening outside, turned off the lights and left. Quickly, Shanpawpaw unhooked the regulator and carried off the last cylinder.
Now, he was at the wall with three cylinders, I was very interested in how he intended carrying all three away. As if he had read my mind, he deftly raised the first two cylinders and put them on the wall. The third one had some gas in it and took him a while, but he still managed it. With that done, he took a couple of steps back and made a mad dash at the wall.
I was holding my breath then, I half expected him to punch through the wall, his speed was that impressive. Well, he outdid my expectations. Getting to the wall, he put in a greater burst of speed. For you to know how impressive this was, you should know Shanpawpaw had started his mad dash not more than 4 meters from the gate.
With the great burst of speed he lept, he flew more like, and with his left hand grabbed hold of the top of the wall. That’s where it all went wrong, attempting to scale the wall like a high jumper, his hand slid along the wall and tipped over a cylinder, the one with gas in it.
Shanpawpaw fell back into the compound and the cylinder right on top of him. I saw him grimace and bite his lower lip. Shanpawpaw is a “hard guy”, he wouldn’t cry out, besides, that would be raising the alarm. Before he could get up, the other cylinders fell on him too. This time around he screamed, to be fair to him, one of the last two clipped his ankle bone, and that thing really hurts.
Shanpawpaw was rolling on the ground holding on to his ankle. His scream had woken up his would be victims and a couple of their neighbour’s, my dad included.
This is the point where I started screaming (it wouldn’t do to have seen a thief and not raise the alarm);
“THIEF!”
“THIEF!”
Hearing that, the neighbour’s rushed towards my voice. Shanpawpaw wasn’t yet done, from whence he gathered the strength, I don’t know. But he managed to scurry up and grab two of the cylinders and jumped over the wall. Yup, he lept clean over it.
The neighbour’s arrived then, with stupefaction I pointed at Shanpawpaw’s disappearing ing back. He wasn’t even limping. And oh, the cylinders he made off with, one had the gas.

FRENCH KISS

16. FRENCH KISS
In life, there are some things you just can’t make head or tail of. For me it was French, I never could keep even the simplest words in my head. It just wasn’t for me, any attempt to study this mystery of a language gave me a monster of a headache. I did all I could to avoid French. I hated French like how some other kids hated vegetables.
My French teacher was my dad’s friend and he felt that meant he should pay extra attention to me (curse the friendship of men). This attention wasn’t in the form of extra tuition, he had rather get me more acquainted with his cane. I didn’t get the man, it wasn’t like the cane didn’t know me already. To make it worse, he would scream at me, the French words which made no sense to me as he caned me. This man known as MONSIEUR AKANKUDE, was the devil, you cant convince me otherwise. We had him last period on Friday and First Period on Monday.
It was a Friday and I was dreading French period. We had Ga just before French, madame Atswei was fun. I should have been enjoying this class, but thoughts of what Monsieur Akakunde had said on monday killed all the joy in me. We were all supposed to recite paragraphs from the French textbook we used. It didn’t help that I had some time during the term sold mine to buy fanyogo. I smiled as I thought about the fanyogo, French soon made my mood heavy again. I didn’t bother learning the paragraphs because I just couldn’t.
Oyiwaladon Ts))l)! (Thank you, Teacher)
This brought me out of my reverie, I craned my neck to see if Monsieur Akakunde was at the door. The devil was a punctual one. He didn’t give you the chance to skip his class. But no, he wasn’t there. I quickly gathered my books and still no Monsieur. I was halfway to the door when the upper primary girls’ prefect entered. I stopped then, I had had a run in with her before, she had reported me for being late. I was never late, I had only gone out to buy donuts. This girl wouldn’t believe me and had reported me to Akakunde who had earnestly introduced me to his cane. After Akakunde was done with the standard four lashes for being late, she had innocently remarked that I had tried to lie my way out of punishment. Akakunde had reintroduced me three more times. I didn’t like her.
Seeing her there, I turned back and walked dejectedly back to my seat. She was a heavyset girl but surprisingly managed to mince to the front of the class.
“There is a staff meeting, and Monsieur asked me to look after you kids till he got back.”
Her tone irked me no end. She was only in class six, we were in class four. She was just a year or two older than us, at most three. She really was full of herself. Being done with the announcement, she moved to the left end of the blackboard where the teacher’s desk was located and sat down. Propping her feet on top of the desk.
My eyes widened at that, she really was bold. If I didn’t hate her so much, I would probably have been crushing on her (I like my women bold you know). I was caught between wishing for Monsieur to appear and not to appear. My hatred for her won through and I found myself wishing Monsieur would appear at that very moment. You know that saying; “be careful what you wish for”. I really should have considered that, as my luck would have it, Monsieur entered and didn’t even spare her a glance. He made straight for the front of the class.
He had one of our French textbooks in hand, this was a man who taught without referring to books. Ever since I sold mine, I have been having this premonition of him finding out. And this nightmare of mine always started with him standing in front of the class with a book in hand. It will be an understatement to say I was frightened. I had already peed a little.
Kofi
Ofosuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu
ENNIN!
I was expecting it, but I still started. I looked around and realized everyone was laughing. Madame Atswei was still teaching, I had dozed off it seemed. A slow stupid grin appeared on my face, it was only a dream after all. I happened to glance outside then, from afar I could see Monsieur headed to my class, he had a book in his hand. CURSE THE FRIENDSHIP OF MEN.

Clash of the Fose Brethren..

Clash Of the Fose Brethren.png
Every Sunday morning, without fail I go to Adum. Rain or shine I do. It is not to worship or for any religious function. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Christian. I observe the sabbath and all, but on Sunday mornings; I observe a whole different kind of sabbath. I go to buy fose [secondhand clothing]. 

No, I can’t go on any other day. Sundays are when they break bulk. They cut open all the many many bales of discarded white man goodies. Whatever you want, they’ve got it. One thing though, I am not the only one who knows this.

 Once upon a time, I thought I was. I found out the hard way. Thinking I was the only one, I got complacent and started going a bit late. I started missing out on the good stuff. A quick questioning of the sellers revealed other guys had been coming too, earlier than me it seems. I started going even earlier. They started coming earlier still. I started sleeping there.. [Just kidding]. I bribed the sellers to call me when they set off for work. They had done same. So we started meeting, and that’s where it gets interesting.

I might not have mentioned it earlier, but I’m a business man. The clothes I buy are for sale, not for me. I do wear a couple, but usually I sell them. It turns out these guys were also into the same kind of business. They were undercutting me everywhere. With my customers, my suppliers even my middlemen chale. I will go see my clients and they will tell me they’ve bought shirts already. It wasn’t just that, they seemed to know my every move.
Gradually, I had stopped being the go to guy on campus. My rep was at stake. A confrontation was needed. To do that I had to prepare. I tried all avenues open to me, but nothing seemed to work.

 Meeting my rivals at the supply point was my only solution. I meet them and beat them to all the choicest goodies. Show my supremacy. That was the only option open to me now. It seemed they had the same idea. Word had gone round that I was looking for them. In trying to find them, I had made myself quite an inconvenience. Giving out free goods, badmouthing them, hell! I even told a couple of guys where to get the goods themselves. Let’s just say, they wanted to end it as much as I did. So meet we did.

They had come prepared. Checking them all out, I realized only one was really a threat. He was dressed for the occasion.

 *Any veteran university boy who goes to the fose line knows the outfit to wear;

1. A baseball cap with the brim folded to hide your features. Passers-by who know you shouldn’t be able to recognize you. No one should know the source of the goods [this code I had already broken, war is war]. Keep them guessing.

2. A tank top so you can try on whatever you wear without having to take off what you are wearing. The suppliers should never know you are selling [they will increase the prices]. Trying it on throws them off and helps you know how good the product is.

3. A pair of shorts. That is what all the sellers wear. You fit in better and give the impression that you are one of them. They lower prices then. Optionally, you can wear sweat pants. It is also accepted.

4. A pair of black bathroom slippers [chalewote]. This is to prevent anyone in your hostel who sees you leaving thinking you are going to town [hide your sources remember]. Wear anything nice and a kokonsa girl out to pray will see you and tell others. This starts a chain of questioning. We don’t want that.

5. Finally, a backpack. You need something in which to put the goods. Also it gives the illusion of you not going far. Backpacks are commonplace on campus.*

This guy who was a threat, he had nailed the fose seeking gear down pat. Except for one thing, he carried a duffel bag instead of a back pack. That annoyed me even more. A duffel bag meant he knew he was going to get a lot of stuff, that was proof of his efficiency. It also meant, he didn’t care about the secrecy of the business. Anyone seen carrying a duffel bag at dawn arouses suspicion. All he cared about was getting as many goodies as he could.

 I didn’t let my annoyance show though. I knew they were checking me out too and knew to be wary. To prepare for this encounter, I had on my  dopest fose seeking gear.

My tank top was cut with a really deep V. Sweatpants were a size too small and didn’t get to my ankles even. Had on a bucket hat, casting a nice ambient shadow on my face, making me look like a ninja turtle. Backpack was a vivid red and new [really huge too]. To round off the look, my chalewote’s were real old. It felt like I was walking with my bare feet. And oh, I had on really thick socks. Black ones.

 I knew I was making an impression on them. To impress them even more, I started hailing the various suppliers by name. Letting them [the wannabe usurpers] know I go way back with them [the suppliers]. It worked. They started moving out of my way, all but the duffel bag fellow. He stood his ground. I intentionally bumped into him. The intention was to bowl him over, didn’t work. But I had made my point, nothing will stand in my way today.

With the strutting around done, we all took our positions around the sellers. The atmosphere was tense. This is what we had all been waiting for. All the others could sense the tension between duffel bag and I. They had all managed to convene on one side, leaving duffel bag and I on the other side.

This is where it gets tricky. Most novices make the mistake of trying to spot a good buy and going for it. The trick is to gather them in handfuls and check them out when the scuffling dies down. Also, you don’t dive in as soon as they spread them out. You wait for the others to rush in and toss it up. You are better able to gauge where the good stuff are.

So while the novices charged in as soon as the sellers spread them out. Duffel bag, me and a couple of other veterans just scoped it out. Then duffel bag vanished. Man, he was a sight to behold. He was everywhere at once. I couldn’t keep track of him. His movements were economical, none were wasted. Each move was part of an intricate dance with the fose. He had his bag wide open, slung over his shoulder. Picking up the fose in handfuls, he threw them without looking into his duffel bag. He never missed, each throw was a three pointer. Jordan would have been jealous. Never seen anyone show such skill.

For a couple of seconds I stared and admired, until one of the novices bumped into me, shocking me out of my reverie. Shocked into action, I had time to spare for no one. I got to picking. A little while later, the pickings were done, and everyone was soon sorting out their bunch. Duffel bag had the largest bunch. I came in second, not a close second mind you. Yeah, he was that good. He had some of the choicest stuff too. He was all smiles as he approached the sellers. He haggled real well too. With still more smiles he reached for his wallet. Suddenly the smiles vanished. He just kept patting himself. Rummaging through the bag, casting glances around. It seemed he had lost his wallet. The look on his face was priceless. It was a cross between fear and confusion. the whole tough guy facade was gone. You could tell he couldn’t understand what was happening.

The sellers, suspecting foul play on his end had started issuing threats. Poor duffel bag. He had actually teared up. No one made a move to help him.

 So with a beaming face, I stepped up to the sellers and offered to buy his bunch. They being all about the money, sold it to me without a second thought. Like I knew they would.

A QUICK RECAP
You do remember when I said I bumped into him earlier. The time we were all strutting around. Well, I picked his wallet then. Why leave the results to chance? I knew I wouldn’t be suspected too. Every true veteran knows to hide their wallet when they come buying. During the scuffle, pickpockets jump in and use that opportunity to work. He would just assume he had fallen victim to them. Besides it was his own fault. He was cocky enough to put his wallet in his breast pocket. Hiding it would have cost him nothing.

Having paid for the stuff and being done packing. I walked up to him and with a smile handed over his wallet, saying to him; “Next week wati”.
With a dumbfounded look, he watched me walk away.

Before you judge me remember: “All is fair in love and warfare”, and business is warfare. MUHAHAHAHAHA.

Sprite in the Glass Shadow.

sprite-in-the-glass-shadow

It’s usually unavoidable. As a kid, no scratch that, as a child living with your parents, you’ll never get the choicest bit of meat. Dad won’t have it, mum won’t allow it. I would have been cool if it was restricted to just meat, but no. Every edible thing must be included. Milo was more coveted than the holy grail, milk was treated like mum was the cow. And drinks, let’s not even start with those.
Suffice to say, everything was rationed, 1983 all over again. That is, until visitors came calling. It was at this time that the parents tried to show how good and generous they were. When they served these visitors with drinks, we sometimes were served too. But it was subject to the visitors having come with kids of their own. The kids couldn’t sit with the adults and had to hang out with us kids. Since the kids had to be served, we were invariably served too. Pure gold those moments.
It goes without saying that, we kids had to find ways to enjoy these goodies too. We could only take it for so long, what is good for the goose, is equally good for the gander.
In my bid to enjoy the goodies, I employed the only weapon I had: childish ingenuity. Though not always yielding the desired results, it was still something. One particular incident stands out in my memory.
I was about 10 years old, I lived with an uncle and aunt. I had taken up this habit of stealing a bite or a sip of whatever was in the fridge. There was this particular day that we had some visitors. They came with no kids so I knew I wasn’t going to get anything.
 
As usual I was sent to go buy some drinks with which they were going to be served. I got Malta Guinness and Sprite. After handing over the drinks, I loitered around hoping the visitors wouldn’t drink it all. I had my eye on the Sprite especially, the woman visitor had that and she wasn’t drinking it at all. She just kept taking sips, each sip was a knife to my heart. I braced myself and took it like a man. Eventually, they were done and had to leave.
 
On going to see them off, my uncle asked me to go clean up where they had sat. I got to it with all speed. And would you believe it, the Sprite had just been poured into the glass and was seemingly untouched. You should have seen the smile on my face. My ship had really come in. Just before I could get to it though, my aunt came in and asked me to put the glass of Sprite in the fridge. She stood there waiting for me to do just that. My ship hadn’t really come in it seemed.
 
This wasn’t fair, whatever was left was rightfully mine. In my head I had earned it, watching the woman visitor not know what to do with the sprite had been pure agony. But then my aunt was an adult and I was barely a ten-year old child. Reluctantly, I did as she told and went to hide in the next room waiting for her to vacate the living room. She took her sweet time about it though. First, she watched some t.v, after which she napped. She was a really light sleeper, there was no sneaking past her, experience had taught me that. She woke up a couple of hours later and watched some more tv. Thankfully a commercial break came up and she left to go get some water.
As soon as she was out of the room, I made a mad dash to the fridge. It was a beautiful run I tell you, one for the Olympics. My aunt’s favorite show was on, I had just enough time to gulp down the sprite. I opened the fridge, and the  glass of Sprite was sitting there respectfully waiting for me. It was batting eyelids and all. 
 
With relish I grabbed hold of it and threw it all down my throat. 
          
 “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”
 
 
That was me, my throat was burning. My uncle and aunt came rushing into the kitchen. They found me kneeling on the floor, coughing repeatedly with the glass lying by me. Upon seeing the glass my aunt broke into laughter while my uncle broke out in sweat.
You see, my uncle had a drinking habit. My aunt hated it. My uncle not wanting to get caught, usually poured the spirit (akpeteshie) and bitters into glasses and put them in the fridge. My uncle kept his drinking water in glasses in the fridge too, good camouflage if you ask me. The akpeteshie looked just like the Sprite to my 10 year old’s eyes.
 
My aunt had swapped them, the Sprite with the akpeteshie to teach my uncle a lesson. Unfortunately, I got the lesson instead, I had gone to class earlier than my uncle that day. It wasn’t an enjoyable class..
 
All who wonder why I’m a teetotaler, you know now. And oh, my uncle didn’t quit, he got smarter.
 
 
 
 

Visa to Heaven

visa-to-heaven-ii
Most Ghanaians have aspirations of traveling abroad, if not to stay then to raise their pedigree. In Ghana being a returnee is synonymous with being wealthy. “There is nothing more satisfying than working as a fat person’s pubic hair waxer and coming back home to live like a king. They praise you without knowing what you did.” Before all these materialise though, you need a passport. Herein lies the problem.
Getting a passport in Ghana is much more difficult than applying for a Visa. It’s probably much more difficult than finding a virgin in a brothel. The system has been set up to frustrate  you. A visit to any of the passport offices will bear me out. The excuses the workers are ready to give are mind-boggling. On a recent quest to buy passport forms, I had the audacity, yes audacity to ask when it would be due. The look on the woman’s face screamed that at me. Apparently she couldn’t understand why I thought I would get it anytime this decade. I hadn’t paid any other money besides the price of the forms. No “processing fee” had been forthcoming. She finished by giving me the excuse that the equipment used to produce the passports had all broken down. The one being used now had been purchased solely for the use of government workers. It’s surprising but the puffed up poppin jays have their own machines. For them to be able to use that machine for mine, I had to pay a “processing fee”.
I didn’t give up though, the following week, I went there at dawn to submit my forms. I thought to beat the mad rush come morning, I had been told only 200 forms could be processed in a day. That wasn’t to be though, there was quite the crowd when I got there, easily a hundred people. I wasn’t perturbed, I said a quick prayer and joined the queue. The 200 people mark hadn’t been reached yet.
This was sometime in February, the weather was as cold as could be. Strangers were hugging each other for warmth. Those who had thought to bring blankets were bundled up in it. A man with a blanket that morning was like Dangote to the women present. There were no washrooms available, the blankets could act as screens if need be.
We endured till morning. There had been no quitters, all who made it this far knew what they wanted. With the appearance of the sun, all who had been laying about resumed their positions in the queue. No sooner had we done this than a scuffle broke up front. The man in the front of the queue wanted to stand right behind the entrance door. A worker who had come not too long ago was asking him to stand behind this rock that was lying there. The rock represented someone he said. Frontman was having none of that.
He accosted rockman over invaded territory. The other denied being an invader. Frontman, who by the way is just an inch short of being a midget, grabs hold of Rockman’s rock and throws it into the street. Rockman gets pissed and grabs hold of Frontman by the collar and raises him. Frontman kicks out. Kick catches Rockman in the groin. He let’s go of Frontman. Instead of running, Frontman decides to tackle Rockman who had doubled over because of the kick to the groin. Rockman catches the movement and quickly dashes to the side. He evades Frontman in the process and uses Frontman’s own momentum to throw him into the street.
 
All this had taken place within a short spate of time. Onlookers rushed to separate them both. Frontman, instead of being thankful, screamed to be released so he could teach Rockman a lesson. He might be small, but anger lent him strength. It took quite a number of us to hold him back.
 
Wanting peace to prevail, I ventured up front and tried to calm frontman. I told him one more person ahead of him wouldn’t make any difference. He would still get in, we would all get in I said. It took a while but he eventually calmed down and accepted my logic.
Soon, it was just a half hour to time for them to start operations. We all perked up considerably. It was within our reach, what we had been waiting for.
A couple of minutes to the start of business and a bus pulled up. Rockman came to the bus. He looked at us and explained that the stone represented the bus in the queue. We didn’t understand at first, not until the people started filing out of the bus. They all went to stand at the front. There were over fifty of them. Frontman just turned and smiled at me. A more patronizing smile you will never see.
Let’s just say I still don’t have a passport.

Nomenclature: suicidal vegetarian guinea fowl.

11. Nomenclature- Suicidal Cabbagian Guinea Fowl

I have always wondered if  there is a difference between nicknames and guy names. Guy names are the names you get tagged with when you mess up, and nicknames are well.. nicknames. During my time in high school and Uni, I heard nicknames that well, the owners must have been on something when they chose them. It wasn’t the names themselves that baffled, it was more the circumstances leading to their creation.

Let’s take my dad’s friend for instance, the man’s nickname was “plain face”. I asked my dad why and he goes like: “can’t you see he has a plain face”. This explanation would have had nothing remarkable to it if not for the fact that my dad ran his hand over his face as he said “plain face”. This is nothing compared to this though.

In my first year of uni, my roommate had this girlfriend called “gunshot”. She earned that name in Secondary school. How? Asleep during a morning class, she farted. Someone screamed: “gunshot!” and the name stuck.

A friend from Prempeh college was also called Akon. Why? Not because he looked like the singer, but because he looked like a guinea fowl (akonf3m). To make the name easier to pronounce, they shortened it to Akon [such consideration for our non-twi speaking friends]. Another example was this guy called cabbage. The reason is exactly what you are thinking, because he looked like a cabbage. You wouldn’t notice the resemblance, but as soon as it was pointed out to you, you begin to wonder how you missed it.

These names, though given to ridicule, usually take on a life of their own and end up being used as expressions of affection. Some people become so enamored with their nicknames that it overshadows their names. Causing them untold embarrassments later on.

This Stephen guy in my neighborhood for instance, the guy started affecting an accent. To make fun of him, we all took to calling him Stefan. He assumed it was in appreciation of the “good english” he spoke. so what did he do? In registering for the NOV/DEC exams, the “DONUT” used Stefan. It so happened that he didn’t do so well in his WASSCE and needed the NOV/DEC results too, to enter university. Different names he was told, so not possible. He took to calling himself Stevo after that. Being such good friends, we followed suit.

Another friend was called suicide. How he got that name, no one knows. While visiting his kid sister who was in senior high school, her friends started hailing him. One of the teachers hearing the students shouting Suicide! Suicide! assumed something was wrong and rushed to go call the headmaster. The teacher, out of breath when he finally found the headmaster just said: “suicide!”. The headmaster also, on hearing ‘suicide’, assumed the worst and  called for a quick inspection of the various dorms [this raises the issue of how gullible SHS teachers are. To be discussed another day]. The search proved futile as there was no corpse to be found. While the inspection was going on, the entire student body had been assembled in the assembly hall.

The long and short of it was, my friend had to explain things to them. Standing in front of a multitude of teenagers and saying you are called suicide and why. You can’t do that and not sound stupid.