Fiction

THE LIFE IN CALABAR – AN INCONSEQUENTIAL SHORT STORY

I drove out of the airport at about 7:15 pm local time on Sunday and was mindful not to cause any delays in the exit lane from the parking lot. The parking receipt had slipped through the space between the driver’s seat and the fancy hand rest. I struggled to squeeze my fat fingers through to where the coloured paper rested while keeping the car in motion since from the rearview mirror there was a convoy of government officials trailing. I was driving a rental car, a small mini sedan which I often drove home from the airport instead of taking the light rail into town and hissing at every stop of the 45 minutes journey. Luckily, my dear friend Esther was manning the final exit gate and she simply waved me on and reminded me “Bros Bee, I’m still waiting for the trip oh!”. “I will call you”, I shouted in response. Call her fire! Ever since I met her at a restaurant in town and told her of my weekend getaway with my wife and friends to Creek Town holiday resort, she has bugged me severally to take her family along the next time I went.

The 1km road from the airport terminates at the ‘Welcome to Calabar’ roundabout, a massive landmark which unites three major expressways leading to the major districts in the City of Calabar. Beautifully constructed and well maintained, I usually take a deep breath when I get to drive around it to remind myself why I love this town. At nights, the dancing streams of water shot from powerful nozzles are coloured by underground lights and quite spectacular to behold. The water acrobatics from the concentric pools move with the rhythm of the local Efik percussions. At Christmas, tourists are usually treated to some elaborate water displays while driving into the city.
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PLEASE READ THIS LETTER – DEJOBBED, BEWIFED, AND MUCH CHILDRENISED

As my pseudonym reveals, all things Calabar excites me. I literally go digging historical documentation to find something about my beloved city. Being a city that has a visible coloration of colonial foray, I literally drool over stories of the days when Efik men paraded themselves as the official mediators between the White man and black man.

I first came across this letter on an amazing group on Facebook called Nigeria Nostalgia. As hilarious as it seems, it opened a window into the years when the English language was separating the men from the boys in our colonial society. I recently came across it again while reading through other letters on the website called Letter of Note, and thought I should share the actual letter and also repost the transcript for those who might not be able to read the actual letter.

The letter was written in 1929 by a guy called Asuquo Okon Inyang to a government official in protest of his dismissal from work for laziness. His choice of words are quite hilarious, and I wonder if these words were actually permissible at the time.
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LEAVE YOUR KIDS ALONE!

I once lived in a part of New Jersey called North Bergen. It was quite European by design in most parts and was obviously an escape for all who had a phobia for the clutter of New York City. Most people, including me, worked in the City and the morning and evening commute was a social phenomenon to be observed. I liked it though. I was constantly drawn to the evening and weekends of the North Bergen life, which I have come to appreciate as a microcosm of big City conurbations.

Some evenings and weekends, I go jogging or biking in the park and derive my motivation from the older populations who display such pleasure at keeping fit than a fledgling male such as this writer. After combusting the calories I will usually sit on one of the park benches, earphones in place to pump some good low notes, and begin my careful observation on one of the highways of human activity. In doing this, I was particularly drawn to kids who were at the park training at one sport or the other, in particular Baseball and Soccer. Standing and sitting at the sidelines were several parents watching carefully over their wards.

During my many evening trips home from work, I had passively noticed that the parks were always bubbling with people exercising and parents who had brought their kids for after school training in their chosen sport. These are the baseball moms and soccer moms that wield so much influence in typical American sociocultural and political life. I recalled this from my park observatory and moved my attention to the several parents who were screaming and cheering from the sidelines and I thought how beautiful it was to see parents who are so involved in the lives of their children, something we scarcely see in this part of the world.
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