You Are On Your Own

You Are On Your Own

 Dear editor, kindly correct that article with the false headline, ‘Mad Man Rapes Senator’s Wife in Public’. I have interviewed the suspect and here is the truth:

Until a week ago, Ikenna thought his lot in life was a rarity. As far as he was concerned, it was only a matter of time before Nigeria and the rest of the world would give him a standing ovation, demand his impressive autographs, take long notes and flash a million shots of him with their still and motion cameras. See, these thoughts held him up until he nearly fell headlong into a gutter as he gawked at a beautiful lady last week. Worse, the lady continued on her way as if nothing had happened. Why, he thought he was news because with a PhD degree in English and a handsome thirty-eight-year-old face, he was only able to become a menial laborer!

Ikenna said to me: “after I caught myself and rubbed my toe where a stone had drawn blood, I realized I had been a fool of the highest order. I began to wonder why I should keep my chin up even when I was but the scum of the earth. Beside me was a plank that weighed about a hundred kilograms. My immediate assignment was to carry it on my head from where it lay to a cluster of sawing machines at the far end of a vast mill, a hundred meters away! The reward for that single task was twenty naira, which was equivalent to four half-liter bags of pure water. There were five planks waiting for me. On busy days, I made an average of five hundred naira before nightfall. I took hold of the plank at one end of its long frame and raised it up. Then I carefully worked my hands to its center and placed my headgear which was strapped to my head onto it. I gave a snort as I heaved the heavy plank from off the ground and balanced its weight upon me. My stomach made a low rumble for hunger. As I moved with short painful steps, I called myself a fool again and began to sob. Strangely, my impressive PhD degree was not good enough to make me a lecturer or anything else that was honourable for me. I had searched unsuccessfully for a job with my first degree and when I was through with my second degree, I had searched for a job with it until I realized I needed a third degree. But, as I sit here in this police cell today, I know now that the fault is not in my stars but in me for not having excellent connections. How did I come to know this?

Dear editor, a week ago as Ikenna carried that plank and sobbed, the lady walked ahead of him, her pair of slightly-curved legs sashaying away from him to the sawing machine as if on a catwalk. She had come to buy wood for her new house in Lagos. A man was standing beside her Avalon car. See, before that fateful moment when Ikenna hurt his foot, she had kissed the man. A fellow drudger had whispered to Ikenna that the man was a senator!

Ikenna continued, “As I threw the plank upon a collection of its kind, she gave the sawyer my wage and made to move away. Reporter, do you know that a long time ago I had held that face and kissed it again and again? We had just graduated from Independence University with first-class BA degrees in English. We had high dreams of getting married. I showered her with love; made sure I was committed to her goals and gave her ample attention. But one day this same man had stopped his Mercedes V-Boot car by my one-room apartment. He had walked into my room and took her away with words that flowed from his tongue like sugar. She made me believe he was her cousin until the truth dawned on me. She never came back.”

Editor, as soon as Ikenna dropped the plank, he rushed to the lady and held her hand, asking her if she did not recognize him. She screamed and tried to beat him off, making as if she did not know him. Then she slapped him. Ikenna gave her many mad returns.

He was in a daze when the police took him away.

Thank you, editor.

33 thoughts on “You Are On Your Own” by jeff unaegbu (@jeffunaegbu)

  1. A very nice and touching story.

    1. Thanks, Jaywriter.

  2. This is very good Jeff.I can see that you are mastering the art of flash fiction now.More grease. Please try your hands at the Commonwealth Short story competition.with stuff this good, it will be worthwhile to try. Just go to the website and check out the guidelines foe writing cos its a story for radio.

    Still struggling to come up with something, seems my muse chose to depart at the wrongest of times.

    Well done!!!

    1. @Lawal, this is a very good info. which you have given to me na! I just hope my muse will not shy away too oh! Radio na different matter. Thanks for the comment. You rock!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  3. Jeff, I like the way you weaved this story into a kind of reportage rather than the conventional straightforward prose. Thats very innovative, might try it myself.
    But then, does it occur to you that the style needs a whole lot of concentration for one to get the message? It seems stand-offish and without passion. You have a story, yes, and you told it in a unique way, better, but could you look through it again to see how you could make it less cumbersome? Just thinking, I might be wrong though…
    You wrote from a second person and referenced the plot from a first person without breaching the rules of writing; herein lies the brilliance of this style. Good work, Jeff.

    1. @Engineer, I was wrestling with the new type of writing so much so that all my concentration went into the struggle taht I might have poured off the normal human touch you sensed. The sobbing spell in Ikenna, the PhD holder was my attempt to even the odds. E be like say the thing no click oh!

      Thanks for the big up up ups!

  4. @jeff, THIS IS HILARIOUS!!! well done.
    i did note just like engineer that you had us hooked by the crotch to stay focused…but you were brilliant in it all.
    what i dont agree with is a PHD holder carrying planks…dem swear for am?

    1. @Xijay, thanks. I dey feel you.
      Nna men, many many things dey happen for Naija oh! PhD holder fit dey carry plank oh! Meanwhile, this is fiction anyways where the cow can jump over the moon, the little dog can laugh and the plate will run away with the spoon!!

      All in all, catch five for your comment na.

  5. The last line tore me up!!! HAHAHAHAHA!!! He gave her many mad returns!!! Hehehe.
    I like this. Nice one!

    1. @Raymond, hahahahahahaha. Make I follow you laugh small. The thing be as im get oh!

      1. That’s what I call an epic punch-line!

  6. Flash at its best; and the italized part already got me gagging before the main story. You’ve got a nice story

    1. @Writefight, thumps up for your comment. Giving me broad smiles here!

  7. This is a brilliant piece, Jeff. I am impressed by its uniqueness. Well done!

    1. @Scopeman, thank you so very much. I’m just trying to enter those unknown places oh!

  8. Poor guy. Lol. I like the idea of introducing the story as a letter to the editor. Nice.

    1. @Uche, thanks man. Much appreciated.

  9. gaskiya, Jeff ka yi kokari de wannan

    1. U don carry come now! Meaning? Make I speak my own?

    2. @Xijay, abun din ya yi muni wuya fa! Ama da alheri allah, na yi fahinta che wa zen yia yi shi. Ikon Allah ne fa!

      @Raymond, shoot thing jare. Make we blow dey go!

  10. Poor guy. One misfortune after another. Dem swear for am? Lol.

  11. The thing get as im be oh! Things happen.

  12. A bit windy-bendy but I guess it’s the writing style. I was intrigued to see how it ended…needs tweaking in parts but all-in-all good one!

    1. Yes, Doubleexpresso, thank you very much.
      Windy-bendy? I guess you mean the change of POVs? An experiment in more than one POV (Point of View) in one flash story is actually what I was trying to achieve. In this case, first person singular, and, second-person singular, and, third-person singular were all utilised. And I am still moping that it was understood at all!! Hahahaha! Well, windy-bendy. LOL. The tweaking suggestion you gave, I believe, is to reduce the windy perception you got. Well, new ways of writing generally have that kind of strange perception they throw on us, including the writer. But I will keep on experimenting to see if I could cast that windy thing away. Amen.

  13. permit me to ask this:

    He had walked into my room and took her away with words that flowed from his tongue like sugar.

    the above statement…dont you think the TOOK should have been TAKEN?

    just pondering and wondering

    1. beautiful contribution. Thanks.

  14. Lol…poor guy,his degrees in English should send that message to his block head’she’s now Mrs Senator”
    Nice story

  15. Yes oh! Emotion carried him away from his Degrees oh!

  16. Damn.

    I didn’t see the humor till i spotted the line ‘I gave her many mad returns’.

    Damn. Laughed my way out of a bad day.

    Thank you so much for this; Jeff. You write very well.

  17. Oh thanks Seun. The man really exploded. Hehehehe.

  18. Hmm, me na archive finder o! I enjoyed this one Jeff. Really enjoyed myself. The style is innovative as mentioned earlier…Loved the flow but it was the story that got me. Really deep and a reminder of the realities of life. Life anagaga (whatever that means…;) )
    A year later, the story’s essence still speaks. When next are you posting for us on NS man? Got something coming out soon for us…watch out…S’

  19. @Su’eddie Agema, Thanks great man! You sure dug deep to get this out again! Life anagaga (Yes oh, Life goes on)! Will post something soon. Tap me when yours is out. God is the Supermaster!

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