For The Boy

For The Boy

As the old man pushed away from the bamboo pier, he turned to wave to the two-year-old boy for whom he was making this particular trip to the local government office – two hours down creek.

As he paddled, he took in the scenery. Aside from the seemingly endless mangrove, the odd crane or two that sought for the now elusive fish in the shallows, there was not much to see.

He recalled how plentiful the fish had been in his youth. Back then, this length of creek would be teeming with canoes, the sound of distant seagulls and his paddle meeting the water, would not be the only break to the silence. Back then, the water was clear enough to drink.

These days, the few fish that remained are either floating belly-up in the water, or hidden by the oily slick that covered the creek surface, mangrove roots and branches at tide level.

Disgusted, he spat into the water, mourning the desolation around him. Years of oil spillage had turned the creeks into a graveyard. They had complained but were not heeded. The youths even resorted to arguing with guns, they fought, not to end the pollution, but for a share of oil money.

Change is afoot, so said the politician that addressed them in the Fish Market a few weeks prior.

“For the first time ever, a son of our fathers will seat over our matter. He is not going there just to table our case, but will be the one to decide our fate. He will have the final say, and who says he will not think of his mother’s farmland when he makes that all important decision?” the burly party man had stared them in the eye as he talked, daring anyone to dispute his words.

No one did, so he continued, “you all know that he is a child of destiny, vote for him and he will bring back the fishes, he will clean our rivers and make our farmlands productive again. I tell you, he is one of us and knows our problems. Did he not, like all of us, learn to swim with the fishes before he could walk? Who knows our pain like him, strangers?”

The old man had listened attentively to the party man. Many easily bought the party man’s speech, but for him, the choice was much harder.

Two days before that meeting, his brother’s son had returned from the city with a different argument, equally compelling. “It is true he is one of us, but is he not very much removed from the way things are here. They don’t have to struggle to find fish in the city, you expect him to remember the creeks and what the dying fish portends to you?”

Confusion had reigned supreme in the old man’s head for days. Whom to follow: His hotheaded nephew, not even registered to vote; or the party man, paid for the spit he lost arguing the cause?

By the time he sighted the LGA headquarters, would-be voters had began lining up behind the pier. He stopped paddling and for the fifth time that morning, pulled out a package tightly wrapped in cellophane. He smiled as he unwrapped a voter registration card that bore his smiling visage, name and thumb print. For him, that bit of paper represented a change that might not come in his time, but for the boy waiting for him by the bamboo pier it represented a life better than his.

For the boy, he thought, I hope I make the right choice.



44 thoughts on “For The Boy” by Mazi Nwonwu (@Fredrick-chiagozie-Nwonwu)

  1. Hi Fred, I enjoyed reading your entry. I could feel the pain of the old man at the loss of their livelihood. I guess the bottom line is voting for someone is going to get job done regardless of what family he/she is from.

    1. Mazi Nwonwu (@Fredrick-chiagozie-Nwonwu)

      Yejide, I appreciate the fact that you get the gist. Thanks for passing through and commenting.

  2. I like the way you highlighted, ‘they fought not to end the pollution, but for a share of oil money’. sometimes our motives for what we are doing are not what we project to people. let’s hope with the old man that he is doing the right for the boy which symbolizes the new and young generation. To everyone that has registered to vote, be sure to vote right.

    1. Mazi Nwonwu (@Fredrick-chiagozie-Nwonwu)

      Thanks Ada. Your comment is very much appreciated.

  3. I love the internal conflict the old man had throughout the story. Well told.

    1. Mazi Nwonwu (@Fredrick-chiagozie-Nwonwu)

      Thanks Jaywriter, glad you appreciated the story.

  4. This is d first piece am reading from u, I tink u got it; I could hear his brain churning.

  5. Mazi Nwonwu (@Fredrick-chiagozie-Nwonwu)

    Thanks Village maiden, we try to let the story tell itself. As par my posts, there are dozens of them here, just click on my name and you will find them. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  6. ya ya ya ya…i loved this big time bro @fred….very nice wrap-up you have here…at some point it kinda seemed like you were quarreling with the word AND…OPTING INSTEAD FOR THE COMMA …look:
    Aside from the seemingly endless mangrove,[AND] the odd crane or two that sought for the now elusive fish in the shallows, there was not much to see.

    Back then, this length of creek would be teeming with canoes,[AND, BECAUSE YOU DID NOT LIST ANY OTHER ITEM AFTER THE CANOES] the sound of distant seagulls and his paddle meeting the water, would not be the only break to the silence. Back then,[NO NEED FOR THE COMMA]the water was clear enough to drink.

    The youths even resorted to arguing with guns,[AND] they fought, not to end the pollution, but for a share of oil money

    He will have the final say,[WHY THE COMMA..IF YOU USE IT THE YOU AMY HAVE TO TAKE AWAY THE ‘AND’] and who says he will not think of his mother’s farmland when he makes that all important decision?

    1. Mazi Nwonwu (@Fredrick-chiagozie-Nwonwu)

      Thanks for loving this Xikay. As for the “and” it is as much a stylistic thing as it is an attempt to beat the word count.Thanks for attempting to dissect this.

  7. i like the way you took your readers into the mind of the main character

    1. Mazi Nwonwu (@Fredrick-chiagozie-Nwonwu)

      Thanks Idoko. much love man.

  8. Oga Fred! You do this thing well. Like Idoko Said You have a way of getting the reader into the mind of your characters.
    Nice job!

    1. Mazi Nwonwu (@Fredrick-chiagozie-Nwonwu)

      Thanks Remi, You no as e bi na, we go just dey try to tell am our way.

  9. WOW!!! What an exquisitely-told story! Very thought-provoking themes too! Yes, themes. Cos you’ve addressed many issues in this work. Your excellent power of description & rich diction cannot be denied. It is virtually a penned-painting. I also noticed some interesting things about this story: (i) the link between two generations, (ii) the journey into the character’s mind as he journeys across the river, & (iii) his hope even in the midst of hopelessness. Thank you for sharing this sir. It clearly deserves $150; in fact, I no go mind if I carry second now. *winks* Please critique my own entry, THE NEO-JUJU http://www.naijastories.com/2011/03/the-neo-juju-4

  10. Mazi Nwonwu (@Fredrick-chiagozie-Nwonwu)

    Thank you for your wonderful comments Koboko. You flatter me and I am at loss for words. Thanks again. Will definitely check out out your offering again and comment this time. More blessing.

  11. Now, I feel confused just like the old man…. Nice story…It’s surely an award-contending piece

    1. Mazi Nwonwu (@Fredrick-chiagozie-Nwonwu)

      Don’t know why you are confused bro, anyway, thanks for the high the high praise.

  12. @Fred Nwonwu, I’m with the rest on this too… Reminds me of Mortal Kombat, ‘finish him’!!! U killed it.

  13. Mazi Nwonwu (@Fredrick-chiagozie-Nwonwu)

    Thanks 4ran6, APPRECIATE THE LOVE O!

  14. @4RAN6, MORTAL COMBAT KUMA?….@FRED, YOU’RE THE MAN JWOR…

    1. Yeah, I do ganes a lot… frm Family Com, Sega, Dreamcast, PS1, PS2, X-Box to PS3… No b 2day!

      1. I meant computer games…

    2. @xikay, It’s spelt kombat on the game…

      1. No mind Xikay, d only Kombat wey him sabi dey poetic in nature. Hehehe…

  15. These days, the few fish that remained are [WERE] either floating belly-up in the water…
    At least that is what I think. I ditto Xikay in a way. however, this is a very strong story. I loved the imagery, and the wistfulness of the old man…

  16. Ol boy’ you tell better story for here o. If only we could all eb like this resolute old man…..

    Well done!!!

  17. ME NA FOOTBALL, MARIO BROSS AND MONOPOLY WITH CHESS I DEY WITH

    1. Wen we go play PS3 soccer na? My paddy go teach u how to play chess and monopoly.

      1. @xikay @4ran6 my guys

        Me I started from left-and-right, brick game, voltrex, the one knob games played on tv, game wizard, nitendo gameboy, ‘ending man'(8 bit)’ sega mega drive(16 bit), end 64 or nitendo(64 bit) and the new ones now.

        Haven’t been won in about 6 years, Scrabble. No girl has ever won me in scrabble. Maybe I haven’t really played with good ones.

        I’m a huge gamefrick. So so good people don’t mind me spelling ‘freak’ ‘frick’.

        1. LOLZ… What is it with writers and games?

  18. MAYBE AT THE NEXT NS MEET WE’LL SEE WHO’S BRAGGING

    1. Hahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!! Me I know say all of una go collect bragging rights on top my head oh!!!!

      1. No be bragging oh. Just send me to any Scrabble genius and hear the story later.

  19. @JAYWRITER, REALLY….HMMM FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR BOY, BORN OR UNBORN,….I’LL NOT TRASH YOU TOO MUCH…CHESS I MEAN

    1. @xikay if na chess, I no get mouth. But if it’s scrabble with a minute playing time on Oxford and Chambers dictionaries, then bring the best. First to finish Final Fantasy or Resident Evil or Metal Gear or Dino Crisis or any other mature adventure, then send in anyone that can do it in less than 12 hours. Winning Eleven state champ from 16 till about 18. But don’t soccer now very much. Next NS meetup, we surely gonna royal rumble.

  20. several aspects of Nigerian politics were represented here. Well done Fred.

    1. Mazi Nwonwu (@Fredrick-chiagozie-Nwonwu)

      Thanks scopeman, just wanted to get it all in for a rounded story.

  21. Fred, this is simply brilliant. I really am short of words; I know an award winning entry when I see one. This is it!

    1. Mazi Nwonwu (@Fredrick-chiagozie-Nwonwu)

      Thanks man. Appreciate the love. Hope others buy it too.

  22. Believe it or not bro, I voted for you. Even the judges have rated this amazing entry their numero uno. Well-deserved choice too! I just hope the NaijaStories’ voters’ll do the same. *winks* Congrats no matter what!

  23. @Fred.You are a seasoned writer,I didn’t care much for the story,I was just carried away by your art.
    @Jaywriter,I used to be a scrabble champion until a certain 9 year old girl trashed my life. I vowed never to play Scrabble again. I for finish you.

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