"Na work o."
"Ehya! How work na?"
"Fine. Abeg find any feem there give me make I go watch. This weekend I wuhn take am rest better rest small."
Chai! Oga, Oga! No wahala. See this one. I never watch am, but you go like am."
You remember? That was your conversation with Jude, the film vendor. When he handed you the film, you made a face, both because of what he said and because of the fact that the film had no title written on the film jacket despite the variegated design of the jacket. All pictures and no words. But you believed Jude because you have always believed Jude. His recommendations have never failed to thrill you. You acquiesced in his judgement and plunged the item into your laptop bag and bade Jude adieu.
It had been a long day at work. Your boss had buried you in paper work and was celebrating your funeral over some bottles of wine with some shareholders, from the contract your effort had won the company.
Your street was dark. It was always dark, except for Ette's dim flicker of light that swayed in the gentle night breeze over his rubbers of black market fuel and bottles of engine oil. You hailed him and paid for four litres which he gave you in a spare jerrycan he has always been giving you fuel in. You thanked him and sauntered into the darkness. Close to your house was a wooden structure with three or four figures singing languidly accompanied by the jittering of the tambourine over a dizzy candle flame.
You entered your compound and went straight to filling up your generator. It stuttered into life after a few dragging. Your changeover is always on generator and so your house became illuminated at once. You entered inside and kicked off your shoes.
You slotted in your CD plate into the DVD player and poured yourself a glass of juice and sat back on your arm chair with a loaf of Nibbles Bread.
The film began at nothing. No title. No cast. No crew. No producer. No director. You remember? You were more confused than you were shocked. The film began with a blackout. You began to doubt if Jude gave you a good stuff. You waited. Blackout. Five minutes later, still blackout. Worst of all, there was no background sound to help you conclude that it was a film not properly dubbed. You heaved a sigh, then hissed, then rose to turn off the damn thing. Just when you got up, a scene comes on. You paused at your position. In that scene, there was a man of about 50 struggling a cup of water with a child about the age of 10 by the riverside. You didn't understand what you were seeing and didn't know when you voiced: "What nonsense is this! Can't he jump into the river and drink as much as he can? Or why didn't he come with his own cup? Or what is wrong with his hands? Or yet, how satisfied can he get from taking the child's!" Myriads of questions spewed from your mouth and you sat back in indignation.
Another scene unfolded. Here, you saw the urban centre cast against the rural area. You see a man of about 45, telling an older man of about 70, probably his father; haggard and tattered by hunger and age -- years of being hungry, that God had called him to the city to begin a church. That God had seriously warned him in his sleep about the end time and how He was already embarking on the journey of the second coming, and that he had to take evangelism primarily. You shook your head over an able-bodied man abandoning farmlands and his aged father to go to the city. To do what! You screamed. So, people in the village do not need evangelism, or they are not needed in heaven? The rage climbed to your head and you didn't know how to dispel it other than pouring yourself a glass of juice to wash down the bread that was already halfway gone into your stomach.
In the urban centre, a huge cathedral took the scene. You saw people trooping in in beautiful attires. You saw a maimed man by the gate, chased away countless times by the protocol officials, returning on his skateboard begging for alms. No one gives him anything.
Inside the auditorium, you see people singing and clapping and dancing and dropping money into a huge basket that was at the front of the church. You saw a pastor mounting the pulpit and calling out on the congregants to bring forth their tithes to God. You saw people move in drove to offer unto God. You poured yourself some more juice and gave a sarcastic laugh that resonated in your stomach, upsetting the innards and triggering a burp. Which God are they giving to? You shook your head. Was that not God outside begging them, that they were driving away? You scoffed!
PLEASE READ PART ONE(2) HERE
Before then, you had seen almost everyone carrying mobile phone chargers instead of their Bibles into the church. You had almost contemplated the reason for that, then it dawned on you why the film began with a blackout.
..to be continued..
-- Utibe Hanson