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Archive for the ‘SHORT STORY’ Category

So i decided to gather my short stories published in various journals and sites over time..to put them together in a page. Some of the sites no longer exist and sadly those stories are gone…

Here are those i found. Those included in my 2012 collection The Funeral Did not End have been marked.

Confessions in AFREADA | February 2016

On the Hot Seat in African Writer | January 2010 (TFDNE)

Samia in Thrice Fiction & Parresia Blog | December 2018

Will you hug me again in Brittle Paper | March 2016

The Lunch on Good Friday in Maple Tree Literary Supplement | August 2010 (TFDNE)

The Lunch on Good Friday (Audio) in Pixelhose | September 2013

Dodan Barracks in Nigerians Talk Lit Mag | June 2012

JAMB in Nigerians Talk Lit Mag | November 2013

Epiphanies in ITCH Creative Journal | February 2016

Death on Gimbiya Street in Saraba | February 2010 (TFDNE)

Guilt Trip in Saraba | February 2013 (TFDNE)

The Assembly of the Former Heads in Kalahari Review | December 2014

Tunji’s Proposal in StoryTime | July 2009 (TFDNE)

My Ex in StoryTime | August 2009 (TFDNE)

Call Room in StoryTime | August 2011 (TFDNE)

Memories of Doctor Death in Prick of the Spindle | March 2013

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samia1My story #Samia is published in the latest edition of Thrice Fiction magazine. The magazine is filled with stories, art, and a few surprises from a variety of talented contributors  and is published three times a year. Best part, its FREE.

#Samia is the story about Samia Yusuf Omar a Somali athlete who died in the Mediterranean trying to cross to Europe to find safety and coaching in Europe.

For more on Samia Yusuf Omar, click here

Read my story online or download a copy to enjoy  from the link below. See Pages 23- 36.

http://www.thricefiction.com/

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So friends, I have a new story “Will you hug me again?” just published on Brittle Paper, the African literary e-zine of repute dedicated to reinventing African fiction and literary culture.

There’s been quite some interesting feedback from readers. Generally It would appear the story resonates…well,I cant be so sure. Why don’t you find out for yourself and share through the comment section, what you think.

Click here to read. Enjoy!

 

 

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anthologySo i contributed a story, “Campfire Night” to a collection of 13 stories titled; Gossamer: Valentine Stories, 2016 . The stories are about love, lust, friendship, relationships and sexuality told in that uniquely African way.

The entire collection is available for free download. Its a special gift to you and that special person this Valentine.

Click to Download

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My short story JAMB was recently published in the November edition of NigeriansTalk Literary Magazine.

JAMB is the acronym for the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board the examination body responsible for organising entrance exams into tertiary institutions in Nigeria. The very exam the board organises is quite commonly referred to by the name of the board itself, JAMB. This story which most Nigerian readers will relate to and which is sure to evoke some nostalgia is about a girls experience preparing for the exam. See excerpts;

You are peering at the fading lines of the old Economics notebook. You know it is not the lines of the note written in your hand writing that is fading. It is your eyes that seem to be failing, losing the battle to sleep, fading. You’ve been doing this for some time, back and forth, pacing between dream and reality, forcefully jerking back to consciousness each time like a car nursing a weak carburetor. This realization worries you the way the knowledge of an impending trouble does, like when in your younger years you waited in fear for the return of your father home knowing you will get caned for not performing well in school. Jamb was only a month away and even though in your mind you preferred to count in weeks, preferring the false comfort of saying four weeks to the more threatening one month, you cannot deny the increased throbbing in the left of your chest each time you thought about it.

Read full story HERE

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My Short story “Dodan Barracks” was recently published in the Literary  section of popular Nigerian site NigeriansTalk. See excerpts

The first time I knew that a government could suddenly change, I was eight years old. Father climbed on a wooden stool one morning and took down the framed picture of the President that hung next to that of him and Mum on their wedding day. The glass covering the picture was dusty and there were cobwebs…Read More 

And yes, leave a comment or drop me a note here to let me know what you think. Thank you!

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The Junta

soldiersThe convoy that came to arrest me was of six cars, two siren blaring police saloon cars, two jeeps and two open trucks carrying a countless number of armed soldiers. It was about 2.00pm. I was at the office, hurrying to finish up the draft of an article for my blog site. Nonso’s birthday party was for 4.00pm and I had not yet bought his present. They stormed into the room, heavy boot soles against the concrete floor, guns, tear gas, walkie-talkie and all, like in the movies.

“By the order of the Commander in Chief, you are under arrest” The short one with two tribal marks running vertically on either sides of his nose, the commanding officer by my assessment pronounced. They hand cuffed me and led me out into the February sun.

The Junta had been in power for exactly one year. That morning, a year ago when they ceased power, my bed side radio had been tuned to Radio Nigeria, its permanent location and I was in the kitchen fixing an early breakfast when Ifeoma called out from the room sounding both excited and agitated

“Darling, there’s been a coup!”

“A coup?” I asked rushing into the room two mugs of hot water in hand.

“Yes a coup. Listen”

It was 7.00am normal time for the AM news. To have martial music playing at that time meant just one thing: a coup. She was right. The music continued for a while before a voice with an unmistakable northern accent came on air.

“Good morning Nigerians. I Major Ibrahim Bature of the Nigerian Army, on behalf of my colleagues wish to inform you that we have taken over the leadership and control of the Federal Military Government of Nigeria …”

Another Major! I thought as I dropped the mugs gently on the side stool and replaced Ifeoma who had risen and was making for the bathroom, on the bed. My eyes followed her until she disappeared through the bathroom doors. It was now two days past the expected delivery date and the anxiety was high. My attention then went back to the radio.

Later that day, the baby came; a boy and I named him Nonso. It was his first birthday and I was being arrested by the Government that had seized power on the day he was born.

Being an internet blogger was my crime. The Junta had initially given the impression that they supported the freedom of the press and when after six months there was still no clear transition timetable as they had promised, I joined the growing band of citizen journalists, demanding on be half of the people, a return to civil rule, a duty The Junta clearly didn’t think I had a right to.

“So this is where you stay and write rubbish about gofment?” The commanding officer remarked as he led me out to one of the jeeps, amazed I could imagine at how shabby the office looked.

I made an incomprehensible sound with my throat and continued walking. He stopped just at the door to one of the jeeps, looked me over, and shook his head in unsolicited pity before opening the door for me.

“This is what you get for making trouble with gofment” he jeered exposing his brown set of teethes.

“No” I disagreed. “This is what happens when criminals find themselves in power”.

He stared back blankly either not having heard well or not having understood. I didn’t wait to confirm, I got into the car and the sirens came on.

Pix credit; BBC.

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I am getting bald

Sylva Nze Ifedigbo

I am getting bald! Chei!!!. The reality first struck me as I shaved my rough jaw at the barber’s two days ago. The barber’s aproko mirror had made the revelation. Oh, how I hate mirrors. I don’t own one. My visitors after grumbling their displeasure about it always made do with the shiny surface of a CD plate or my laptop cam coder. Fine people don’t need mirrors, I always argue. We already knew how good we looked.

On this day, the poke-nosing mirror in the barbers shop decided to carry out an assignment no one asked it to. Oh, how I hate that mirror! It did some good job though. It first showed me my soft dark lips made more inviting by the strip of mustache just above it. The barber had just shaped the mustache out and hey I was feeling like Prince Hakeem…Coming to America, remember?

Then, there was my not too pointed and not too flat nose, which sat there like the creation of a master sculptor. Nobody has my kind of nose in this world. Oh! My special nose. I have doubled checked on my parents and I am convinced neither of them gave me that. With my nose, Obama might just have garnered the primary requirements for being described as ‘Handsome.’ You just didn’t read that. Oh, my special nose!!

Did I ever mention to you that I had sexy eyes? Well, now you know. The barber’s mirror confirmed it. I am not just bragging. Eyes that tell a million tales. Oh, how many dames have I scored with those eyes. The spectacle in the eyes is their ability to modify in diameter depending on the occasion. Those eyes started having medicated eye lenses over them since primary four. Now, I hide them from public view with big dark glasses. The celebrity kind. Wouldn’t want to cause a stir in public you know, with chics starring and walking into gutters. Believe me, it has happened before. But even with them glasses on, I still cause the stir. Ever seen Sean Combs, I mean the American record producer and rap artist, also known as Puffy, Puff Daddy, and P. Diddy? He looks kind of like me when I am on those glasses.

And this; my eyebrows. Wonder brows. Amazing sight. The eight wonder of the modern world. Never carved by any razor blade, yet so perfectly curved. Bushy patch of jet black hair, that runs in semi circular fashion over both eyes and rendezvous at my nose ridge. Are you shocked? Yeah, indeed my eyebrows meet. Even the barber was impressed or was it appalled? What ever, just know that you will not find too many of my kind even on Google earth. Special me.

Then the yeye barber’s mirror spoilt every thing. The next thing it revealed was a long stretch of hairless skin. This can’t all be my forehead I wondered. Jeez!!! What is happening?. The place looked like a deserted patch of land ravaged by desertification. What I was seeing was the Kalahari not my head. Not the remaining part of my fine boy face. This mirror must be playing a trick.

Where did all the hair go to? Oh God, I am dead. As I looked at it, I could swear the hair had retreated by at least close to an inch especially at the edges. So I was going to end up looking like Daddy after all? Ewu Chi m oo! Gregor Mendel’s law in action…for my head? Na wah oh! This was what my classmates in vet school would have called a case of “frontal alopecia.” And just imagine, I was planning to keep an afro like Wole Soyinka when I am forty and see it turn grey as I approach seventy. Pipe dream!!

But wait a second. Bald is good. Yeah. Bald is cool. Bald is beautiful. Bald is sexy. Most successful men I know are bald. I think it confers some kind of manliness. Cool, manly me. Isn’t that something to cheer about? Check this out: cool, manly, fine boy Sylva. Complete picture. Perfect picture. Are the ladies listening?

What am I saying? Life is not a perfect walk. Nothing is perfect. Perfect is nothing. Things happen along the line. Things we wish were just dreams. Things we wish we could change. Things we can’t change. But in most cases we fail to see the beauty in those things. We pitch ourselves against ourselves. We struggle to make it perfect. We end up hating ourselves. We fail.

I imagine me at forty. Not with the Soyinka brand afro. On my extremely cool low cut. A fitting designer suit hanging down perfectly. I would look into a mirror and remember this first day the barber’s mirror showed me a glimpse of the future me. I would smile. Fine bald daddy Sylva. No regrets. Thank Goodness I am bald. And oh, did I mention I am going shopping for a room mirror? I need to keep track of this hair retreat process.

Sylva Nze Ifedigbo

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Sylva Nze Ifedigbo

“Fiii Diii Fiii”!!!, The voice of the speaker boomed on the loudspeaker. The excited crowd responded. Clenched fists waved in the air.

“Fii Dii Fiii” !!!, Musa opened his mouth and closed it. He has been shouting the same response all day. It was now afternoon. The sun was hot over head. Its rays struck the heads of the people in the crowd and the tarmac beneath their feet. Musa used his palm to wipe away the sweat from his face. The party leaders in the podium had a roof over them. Musa felt the heat from the tarmac burn through the thin layer of his old bathroom slippers. His heel was in direct contact with the tarmac.

“Fiii Diii Fiii”!!!, Musa didn’t open his mouth at all this time. Much of his kaftan was soaked. He had no singlet on, so the kaftan held to his skin. It was all he had on him when he was invited to join the bus. His palm ran across his face again. Not sure of what to do with the stream of sweat he collected this time, he rubbed it on his kaftan. The crowd was packed thick. Shoulder to shoulder. Groin to buttocks. The crowed cheered in excitement. Musa wasn’t sure what it was about. The only words of English he was familiar with were the monetary denominations. He had only just learnt a new one,”fawer”, the response to the call from the podium.

The speaker on the podium started singing. He glided from side to side like someone high on brukutu. Musa listened. He could only make out the Fiii Diii Fiii that occurred intermittently in the song. He felt lost. He was aware that much of those cheering around him were also lost. But they still cheered. He looked at the two persons closest to him. One was waving a white face-cap with the party symbol high in the air and making a sharp sound in his throat. It was the kind women from in his village made in celebration of a happy event. The other who was dressed in a cloth lined with the design of the party symbol was bouncing on two feet, screaming aloud like some one who just won a wrestling match. Musa tried to share the excitement. He couldn’t. His heel hurt like fresh pepper in the eyes. His kaftan was like a second skin.

Giving up, he began to make his way out of the crowd. He needed a drink he thought. When he was invited along with his fellow kola nut hawkers on their way to the market that morning to come and fill up the bus, he had not imagined this was what it was all about. They said they were taking them to Abuja, to see the President. That the President was organizing a big gathering for Talakawa’s like him. That the President would dole out money to those that came. At first he had ignored the man making the invitation, but then the prospects of a free ride to that big city; Abuja was too hard to ignore and then of course, the money. He signed up.

First one Alhaji, with a big car came to address them. Words went round the recruited crowd that he was a big man in Abuja. He was one of those people that ate breakfast with the President daily. Some one called him a Cenetah. A police man walked behind him carrying his bag. His well starched babariga swept the floor. Musa recognized the man. During the last elections, his face had been everywhere. Those coloured posters doted the streets. Musa had not seen him since then. The man promised all gathered plenty money if they made the trip.

Then, they were asked to queue up. Crispy one thousand naira bills were doled out to each person. All the Kola nut Musa had in his wheelbarrow didn’t come up to that figure. He became more convinced that he made the right decision. What was more, the cenetah had promised that more would come. The President in Abuja was a very generous man.

Then they tutored them. When they heard “Fiii Diii Fiii”, they were to shout “Fawer”. That was all they were required to do. It sounded so easy. The cenetah had promised that the louder they shouted, the happier they would make the president and of course, the more money they would receive. They had boarded the buses for the long trip from kaura Namoda to Abuja, the prospects of making easy money high on their minds.

Musa elbowed his way out and joined the stream of other supporters like him who were equally now tired of shouting “Fawer”. He was yet to have breakfast. He walked to the nearest pure water hawker and bought two sachets. One rained down his head. The other went to quench his thirst. As he made to walk away, he remembered his heel and bought a third. Only four hundred and thirty was left of the one thousand naira. He wondered when the second installment the cenetah had promised will come. They had been shouting fawer all day.

Under a little shade, Musa gathered his two old slippers together and sat on them. This was not the Talakawa gathering he had looked forward to. It was a rally for the rich. The party leaders like the cenetah drove big cars. Their robes swept the streets as the walked. Musa and the others had just been recruited to spice it up. The realization irked him. He fished out a piece of kola nut, the last he had on him, and threw it into his mouth. His bowl moved in anticipation of some food. His teeth bit at the kolanut. His coloured molars went to work.

What am I doing here? He asked himself. All round the rally ground were big buildings. Massive walls of concrete. His mind briefly flashed at his mud hot in Kaura Namoda and he remembered he was yet to re-thatch the roof. The rains were already around. Ah! He should have been doing that now he thought. Then something else occurred to him, his donkey. He had rushed off to Abuja without making arrangements for her feeding. How would he cope without that donkey?. Great fear arose in him. Images of his donkey blurred his vision. I must get to my donkey he said to himself.

He rose up, shuffled his feet into the slippers and began to walk towards the entrance of the rally ground. In the distance he could hear the continued chorus; “Fiii Diii Fiii”….”Fawer”. It grew fainter as he walked away. That didn’t matter now. He needed to get to his donkey. He needed to get to her before she died of hunger. He couldn’t survive the farming season without her. How would he convey the millet home from the farm?. He could see her in his sight beckoning. He walked faster. He almost ran. In his delirium, it didn’t occur to him that Kaura Namoda was over five hours away by car.

Sylva Nze Ifedigbo.

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UBA’s ATM Machine

Sylva Nze Ifedigbo

I had used that ATM machine a couple of times in the past. UBA had no branch in Kubwa, a satellite town in Abuja but the presence of two ATM machines at the popular Ignobis Hotel sort of gave we, their customers some relief. Parting with extra N100 each time I used another banks ATM wasn’t quite funny. So I usually trekked all the way to Ignobis, by-passing Fin bank and Oceanic, to withdraw from my meager finances at the UBA ATM machine.

I arrived Ignobis this afternoon particularly very broke. Dinner at Little Villaije, the new eatery close to my place the night before had taken up every kobo in my wallet. I needed to get into Abuja town, a distance of about 25km to continue my job hunt. I needed to eat. I walked into Ignobis like someone being chased by a beast. I approached the two money “vomiting” machines and fished out my wallet to produce my card.

I immediately noticed there was something different about the machines. They both were now singing. It was the popular UBA television advert song. Something that sounded like “Wise men bank with UBA….”. I was fascinated. Not because an ATM Machine was producing sound, but because a UBA ATM machine was producing sound. Who said my good old bank wasn’t getting in on the groove?.

Then just as I wanted to slot in my card, I noticed the motion picture on the machines screen. It was an advert of one of their many packages. Wow!!. I stood back and watched. A man’s car breaks down in the middle of the road; his friend drives past with a healthier car. The children in the healthier car wave at those in those in the broken down car who are hiding in shame. Man with the sickly car is in front of a computer screen applying for a UBA loan package. The man drives a brand new car home and his wife and kids rush out and give him a rousing welcome. It looked so simple.

I smiled and pushed in my card eager to pick my little change and go. The hunger was biting. It was 12.07pm and I was yet to have breakfast.

My fingers punched in the pin numbers. I selected all I needed to and then the usual “wait as your transaction is processing” was announced. I stole a look around. At a guest and a lady, his girl friend by my assessment just arriving the hotel. The lady clung to the man, like her very existence depended on him. The thought of what she was really clinging to, his money, amused me. I shifted my eyes to the cars parked at the other end of the hotel; I could recognize a Nissan Xterra, a Honda Baby boy and a Peugeot 504 saloon. The latter reminded me of my Fathers’ old jalopy which he had refused to discard close to twenty five years after. My attention returned back to the ATM.

I couldn’t believe what I saw, “Your Financial Institution is unavailable”. This had happened to me a couple of times in the past when i used a card on a different banks ATM, never when I was using a card from the same bank. I inserted a UBA card into a UBA ATM which was alive with so much music and video a while ago, and was being told my financial institution which was UBA was unavailable. It didn’t make sense. I ended the transaction and re-inserted the card. The hunger was biting. Time was running.

This time, after the “wait” announcement, it took close to five minutes, during which time I was almost concluding that the machine had swallowed my card for keeps before it came alive again. My relief was immeasurable. I couldn’t add the troubles of going to a UBA branch in town to complain that one of their ATM machines in Kubwa had eaten my card. It would have taken perhaps a whole week to retrieve my card after long grammar and “please help me” pleas. In any case, I didn’t even have the money that would take me into town to lay the complain. I was happy the card was still safe.

But then the message on the machine’s screen was heartbreaking “Temporarily Unable to dispense cash”. I almost exclaimed aloud in pain. I punched the side of the machine twice in subdued fury. “What sort of nonsense in this?” I asked to no person in particular.

Someone however volunteered a response. A passer by, a girl dressed in the hotels’ waitress uniform. She must have noticed my anguish as she walked by.

“That machine no dey work of oh”

I turned in the direction of the voice, my ears seeking to hear more.

“Since how many days now, e no dey pay any body. E be like say money no dey inside”

I made a sound with my throat that roughly translated in words to “is that so”

A dizzying feeling came over me. Perhaps just to confirm what I had been told. I slotted the card in once more. I knew was running the risk of not only leaving without any cash, but also without my card.

After another long wait, the machine pushed out my card with the message “Out of service”. Reacting would have been unnecessary. I gratefully picked my card and walked out, my head in the clouds.

Down the road from Ignobis, I was forced to eat the humble pie. I walked up to another ATM machine (not UBA). I needed the money badly. I knew no one who could give me a raise. Summoning courage, I slotted in the card. This particular machine wasn’t singing. Between my slotting in the card and collecting the money, I must have said a million Hail Marys. The money graciously came out. I was happy to part with the extra hundred naira charge.

I mentioned the incidence to a friend later that day. He took time to gist me of his own travails. For three weeks now, he has been battling to get a refund of an amount he never withdrew. He had used an Intercontinental bank card in a UBA machine. The card came out without the cash, but his account was duly debited for the said amount. Between UBA, Interswitch and Intercontinental bank, his ten thousand naira went missing. I began to feel lucky after listening to his sadder tale.

So many other such sad tales abound. I hate to say the technology is ahead of us. But the troubles we go through due to poor maintenance and inefficiency of the IT department of these banks are overwhelming. It feels cool to walk up to an ATM and in less than two minutes you have your money. But it sure feels different when they tell you one of their many stories. You begin to yearn for the good old days of queuing inside the bank, a pass book in hand.

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