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The Ugly Duckling

The Ugly Duckling

Aside the new building that had sprang up in place of the mud house that housed his family, the old neighborhood had not experienced any significant changes. The road was still as dusty as always and Castle du Assiam as they called back in the days still sat on top of the hill casting a menacing shadow on the other houses at the foot of the hill. The new paint work made it stand out like the clean shaven head of a big headed child. Memories began to trickle down Kuuku’s mind and all he could let out was a chuckle. As the taxi wiggled itself up the hill like a pepper worm, it’s body began to vibrate due to the bass from the music blurring out of the house. He remembered how he and his seven other siblings in their old but new dresses will line up at the gate of the Assiams during festive seasons to receive gifts of sweets, biscuits and squash from Mrs. Assiam. He had always admired that woman and it was going to be great seeing her again. He just was not sure if she was going to make him out. As kids he remembered always being the bone of contention between Sika and her friends. There were times he even got ganged up on and beaten by her elder brother Jones and his friends just for being around her. One time it got so bad that, his Mother made him promise to stay away from any of the Assiams after he got home with a torn uniform and had two missing front teeth. Up till date he still remembered what she said that night as she nursed his wounds. ‘Kuu, when the lizard and its cousin the gecko decided to have a party a butterfly must avoid attending it no matter how enticing the invite is.’ Secretly he still maintained the friendship with Sika till she left for the UK after primary six and that was eighteen years ago. When he received a friend request from her two years ago on Facebook, he was not sure whether it was actually her. Even after accepting her friend request it would take him another two months to respond to messages she had sent and that was when their friendship rekindled. Over the next year they skyped almost every day with each other, and exchanged tons of messages via whatsapp. It was as though they were trying to cover lost grounds. Gradually his emotions began to gravitate towards love and so he told her how he felt about her. When she told him she couldn’t be with him, he felt sad but grateful that they were still very good friends. Deep in his heart he wished that things would change between them and was willing to be patient for this to happen. Two days ago, he received a phone call from an unknown local number and it was Sika. She said she had just arrived in Ghana and was inviting him for a party at her father’s house that weekend.

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Truth be told Kuuku was not sure whether he was doing the right thing or not. Going to this party meant opening closets he was not ready to open yet but as fate would have it Sika had insisted that he come at all cost because she had something important to tell him. Just as he got out of the taxi a saloon car speed towards him and nearly rammed him into the gate. Then a head pops out from the driver’s side and hauls cusses at him ‘idiot do you think this is your bedroom’. As the car drove past him into the house, Kuuku realized it was Max, the guy who was madly in love with Sika when they were kids. Indeed nothing had changed about his attitude. Smiling coyly to himself Kuuku entered the house and after scanning through the crowd walked to an empty table and sat down. A waiter walked up to him and asked what he cared for. Then a sweet voice gave a response from behind him

‘A mixture of Orange juice and pineapple juice spiced with a shot of vodka will do’ replied Sika to the waiter who was taking Kuuku’s order.

Smiling, Kuuku got up from his chair and hugged her knocking a few glasses off the table. He pulls away from the hug, looks at her from head to toe, signals her to do a three sixty turn and hugs her passionately again

‘God you look so stunning girl. Now I’ve realize how much I have missed you’ he whispered into her ears

Sika was lost in her own world in his arms. He smelled really nice and looked more handsome than she had imagined. Indeed this was the right time to be in his arms. Just then the music went off cutting and blurring out of the speakers was Max’s voice.

‘Ladies and gentlemen, Can we now have a speech from the lady of the moment my lovely wife Sika. Sika where are you? We are waiting.’

Wife? Wow! Reality has a way of handing rude awakening to the dreamy ones Kuuku thought to himself. Now everything was making sense. Embarrassed by Max’s attitude, Sika wished the ground would open its mouth and swallow her. What would Kuuku think of her now? As the crowd turned towards her and started clapping, Max rushed to her side and virtually dragged her to the microphone stand. With the microphone now in her hand she looked towards where Kuuku was standing, but he was no longer there. Her heart sunk and her feet began to wobble.

‘Errrm, Ladies and Gentlemen thanks for honoring my invitation. To set the records straight Max is my ex-husband who I think has had a little too much to drink. With that out of the way, Let’s have fun. DJ let the music play.’

Sika dropped the microphone and dashed towards the gate screaming

‘Kuuku! Kuu! Kuuku! Wait! Don’t goooooo…’

Just as she got to the gate she saw a taxi speed off. Overwhelmed by what had happened she broke down in tears. Now she has lost the one true love of her life thanks to Max. Just then she felt a tap on her shoulder she turned and it was Max. She felt like tearing him into pieces and scattering it at the four corners of the earth so that no one could piece him together. There are indeed some devils in one’s life that stick like a shadow.

‘Gosh, please get out of my life. Dear Lord, let this divine representative of stupidity vanish’ she yelled tearfully.

As she walked past him, Max grabbed her arm violently and she flinched in pain, then out of nowhere appeared Kuuku.

‘Charley, let go of her, you are creating a scene’ Kuuku retorted

Sika broke free from Max’s grip and rushed into Kuuku’s arms. Her tears rolled off her beautiful cheeks and hit his chest like pellets from a gun. He could feel a mixture of contradicting emotions emanating from them and somehow felt glad that she indeed had feelings for him that she was no longer willing to hide. Then from nowhere a punch landed squarely on his face from Max. Instinctively he Kuuku also threw a punch in Max’s direction but with Sika stuck in between them, he could not hit the target the way he wanted to. He rushed to Sika’s rescue and virtually picked her from the floor. A small crowd had gathered in front of the house during the scuffle and among them was Mr. Assiam. He signaled Kuuku to bring Sika into the home. As the two love birds walked past him, he smiled. Just then Max made a move towards the house but was stopped by Mr. Assiam.

‘Max, go home! You’ve caused enough mayhem for a night.’ With this said he turned and entered his house.

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Posted by on October 30, 2015 in Fiction

 

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OLD SOLDEIR,THE PUNISHER

OLD SOLDEIR,THE PUNISHER

There was a loud hush across the court room as I stepped into the docket to defend myself. I do not remember that last time I smiled, for life had not given me too many chances to do so but here I was smiling sheepishly to the judge as he asked me whether there was anything I had to say before my sentencing since I had opted for no lawyer to defend me during this trail. Aside politicians, lawyers were the next people I loathed with a passion. How they can insist something is white when we all see is as black and still get away with this baffles me. Moreover the more money you have the more convincing your lawyer is and so someone will steal five fingers of plantain and get sentenced to 5 years in prison whilst our politicians steal our monies and go scot free. And so with a little shivery but firm voice these were my words before the sentencing.

‘Your Honor, I can still feel my hand still vibrating from the slap I gave the Member of Parliament on his face that floored him. For some awkward reason the accompanying pain in my knuckles feels sensational. All the anger that has built up within me over the years found an outlet and indeed it was unfortunate that it had to be his face. I can sense the surprise look on your faces but I think it was just the right time to put him in his place. I am old and may not understand your modern ways of life but I will not sit down any longer and see a small boy in the name of politics literally hang the under pants of his mother on a pole, fly it at full mast at the market place with pride, call his father impotent and expect people like me to clap for him. Nonsensical nonsense!! Your honor, pardon my French expression.

Your honor, I have served this country with my sweat and blood. At age 18 I was drafted into the army to go to fight in the world war. My testicles were pinched hard every week for a month to make sure I had no hernia and I was fit for battle before we were shipped of like a tin of sardines. Lives were lost on our way to India by ship and I saw friends’ dead bodies tossed overboard into the sea without paying them homage.

When we got to India, rumours went round among the Indians that we are cannibals, chop people and have tails So when we went to bathe in the streams, people asked us not to take our pants off in case they would be frightened by our tails. I survived all the derogatory names that came as a result of these rumours. In the Burmese jungle there was something we called tiger leech. It’s very small, very thin. If it gets to your body it sucks your blood and get bigger and bigger. So we used a cigarette end or a match on the under of that thing to take its fangs out. But if you don’t do that, but just pull it off, the fangs will stay within your body, rot in your skin and go bad – very bad.’

If you are in a war you forget everything. There was no time to pray. This jungle war was not a child’s play – it was something very dangerous, I have seen friends and acquaintances die with their intestines gushing out as though we are at an abattoir. I have choked on and somehow lost my sense of smell because of my exposure to the stench of burnt decomposing human flesh and lead that tore ones nose away from the freedom of fresh air. Experiencing war makes you a different person. You leave behind every civilian attitude, every gentle attitude that you ever had. You forgot … everything. After the war, they did not let us come home straight away. They gave us two good months, with money, to go to any part of India. It was something to refresh us, to let us come back to a human being. An action I still up till now do not understand.

Your Honor, when I came back, all the remunerations that were to be paid us were never paid. To make matters worse my wife whom I had married before my enlistment left me for Efo Dzidefo the corn mill operator behind the cathedral because she could not stand my screaming at night due to the nightmares. To make myself employable, I worked as a laborer on farms and paid for numerous private teachers to teach me

I have been called hideous names and hear rumours about myself that I knew nothing of and surprises me like a mouse caught in a trap just because of a bait of roasted fish head yet I have never for once reacted violently towards anyone in this community. But alas, your honor, the actions of the MP over the years has become the blisters on the soles of my feet that had dragged patience off my bed. I have seen governments come and go, I have met minister and MPs from different regimes but honestly speaking, the disrespect of this young man who can be my great grandson not only towards me but towards this entire community stinks like the flatulence of a pregnant woman who has had her fair share of boiled beings with egg and washed it down with a snack of ‘wagashi’ and ‘di na ta’ milkshake. Last election he promised to make sure the local LA school was fixed and stocked with the relevant textbook, he promised to make sure the was a scholarship for brilliant students from this village, he promised to fix the road for us and make sure we had good drinking water if we voted him as our MP. Me I do not trust him oooh because aside all the empty promises all he brought to us solicit for our votes was four bars of key soap. Your honor, four bars of keysoap for a community of four hundred people. After he won the elections, ask him when the last time he came here was or whether we have seen the shadows of his promise?

Now that it is time for another election he rides in his big car into this community that breastfed him into who he is, choking us with clouds of dust and comes blinking like a malfunctioning disco watch to solicit for votes.

Your honor if you are working very hard to look after a lean man who says he is a sickling and this man begins to win snoring contests against the plump you at night, then something is wrong somewhere. I do not regret slapping him. At age 88 there are quite a number of thing I regret in life but not slapping the idiot. In fact, If I get the chance again I will slap him or any other politician that takes the citizenry for granted. I am tired of all this nonsense and so your honor If you will sentence me make sure it is to death because at least there I will have my piece of mind.’

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2014 in Fiction

 

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The man Komla Dumor and Friendship.

The man Komla Dumor and Friendship.

I’m one of those who feels disgusted at how people flood their timelines of Facebook and other social media avenues with tributes to famous people who have passed away. You can actually read through the lines that since others are doing it the also want to do it and most lack that convincing tone that the person really had a certain sort of influence on their lives.And so I will like to state categorically that this is not a tribute to Komla Dumor but more of a celebration of his life and one of the basic things he valued in life that runs across all the tributes pouring forth from people he was really close to. FRIENDSHIP.

I will not for once pretend to be an expert on Komla Dumor because I never met the man in my life. Indeed his death is now sinking in. The best I’ve come to meeting him is watching him on my TV screen or listen to his voice on radio. In so many ways his voice always reminded me of my late father ‘s voice in spite of the fact that they are both Komla. Though my father’s voice was not as rich as his, the mere fact that they both still had that uniqu unadulterated Ghanaian tone despite their exploits outside Ghana when they spoke was something I really admired.

In my decades on earth, I have lost people who are very dear to me. I have seen very close friends and relative got through real tough times and I have been down that road on several occasions. Yet I have risen up and seen people rise because of the people they surrounded themselves with.  It is said that you know your true friends when misfortune knocks you flat on the floor and in most cases this is very true.One thing I have learnt through the tributes that are pouring forth for Komla Dumor is that he is someone who valued friendship. Just reading some of the tributes or even listening to them reflect how much of a loss his demise is to those who knew him personally.

Reading Francis Doku .Anny Osabutey, Kwame Gyan, Manasseh, Maama AB’s tributes about Komla and listening to Doreen, Sahmens, Jimmy Quist, Herbert Mensah, Kojo Oppong among others makes me realize that unless you get to know someone do not stand on the sidelines and conclude that the person is arrogant or, egocentric.Get to know the person and then you can decide on what perception to hold on to. Truth be told, I’ve had that same experiences in life and the one that stands out for my was during my latter days in Nafti when, a friend Stella told me that before we became friends she saw me to be very arrogant, too knowing and egocentric. Indeed people do have these perceptions about others and trust me, I always come to the defense of my friends or people I really know when people express these perceptions about them.

The least we can do is to celebrate our friends in life before we die or they die.  Just this Saturday as I sat down with some friends reflecting on Komla’s demise, I told them that we need to keep those who we care about close to our heart and remind them every now and then of how much they mean to us. We need to respect each other and our choices despite the differences in them, learn to forgive and let go, fight our battles fairly, be graceful and grateful in our victories and love like it’s the last time you’d have the opportunity to. Komla was just human like anyone of us and might have had his other side but his death has actually projected the side of him people who were close to him really loved. My wish however was all these should have been done when he was here with us.Indeed I do have very little friends but I know my friends can attest to the fact that I do hold friendship in high esteem, unfortunately this once cost me a love relationship when the lady told me I took friendship too seriously.

I do not know how Komla has impacted on your life but the question you should be asking yourself right now is, will those who claim to be your friends have something to bring a beaming smile that will rival the sun to their faces as they grieve on your demise? How true are you with the persons you call your friends? What kind of perception do they have about you, based on your relationship with them? The era of keeping silent and waiting for someone to pass away before we celebrate the person must cease and as we also wait for our turn to die, let each and everyone of us do some critical retrospect of our individual lives and those we affect and make sure our candles are burning right.

RIP Komla Afeke Dumor.

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2014 in ARTICLES

 

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