The Drunken Prophet

The Drunken Prophet

The first time papa prophesied, it was about mama’s accident. He had been drunk and stunk like one dunked in a pool of alcohol. He told her not to step outside that day after he came back from the shack where he wasted the remnants of his life.

Mama had waved him away, then she had gone on to fry akara at the stand near the road. Thirty minutes, later, she was rushed to the hospital; a car had lost its brake and crashed mama’s stand, bathing mama in hot oil.

The second time papa prophesized, he was drunk too, and our landlord pounded on our frontdoor demanding for rent. Papa told not to leave his home else misfortune befalls him. The landlord, headstrong, disobeyed papa. He was struck down by Mama Ijeoma’s wheel barrow full of foods. Not only did the landlord suffer burns from her cooler of hot stew, he paid for every drop of food. Papa beat his chest and praised himself for being the new generation messenger Isaiah.

Everyone in our compound started to believe papa, not because they liked him, but because they were afraid of death and misfortune. Papa became respected, he became famous. People paid to listen to his early morning drunken dances. He would sing about when he was a ‘young bobo’ and then he would relay prophetic messages from God.

Then papa remembered me. He woke me early one morning to tell of a vision of richness, but it would be about injustice. I listened with half an ear while toads croaked from our backyard.

“Nkem, are even listening to what I am saying?” he asked.

I ignored his words.

“You are going to get a valuable job.”

“Ok, papa.”

“But that job will cause you trouble.”

“So, what do you advise me to do?”

“I don’t know for now, just wait till I have taken my kai-kai. God will give the answer.”

Papa didn’t give the answer.

Weeks later, I got the INEC job for voter’s registration. I worked zealously. In our ward, I was the only one who worked till 5:00pm, while others left at 4:00pm. People praised me, some gave me small tokens. The exercise lasted two weeks, and I was paid a staggering sum of fifty-eight thousand naira.

I applied for the one-week correction exercise. On the day the list came out, I was shocked by the horror I saw. My name is Nkem Agnes Chukwualuka. But I saw on the list, “Nkem A chukwu, Agnes Chukwualuka, Nkem Agnes, and Chukwu Nkem. These were all coined from my name and I confronted the Electoral Officer, (the EO), of these fraud. The woman blatantly asked me to pick any of the names, that the rest was for her candidates. She did same with many other names, over a hundred, and you were to pick a name for half the pay. I had no option. I needed the money desperately.

Then I got a proposal from her. She would help us get the ‘main’ job, the voting proper. We would be paid if we brought the ballot boxes to a secret place for a governorship aspirant. She gave us cheques of one hundred thousand naira each as incentive. I was ecstatic! I didn’t care if the election was rigged. It was the norm in the country, and only a miracle would stop it.

But I was shaken when I got home and papa finally gave me the answer.

“Be that miracle,” he said. And I watched as he walked away, to the shack, to soak himself in alcohol.


32 thoughts on “The Drunken Prophet” by Ukamaka Olisakwe (@ukamaka)

  1. just some little typos..
    “Nkem, are even listening to what I am saying?” he asked.

    all in all, this is a very lovely piece.
    i enjoyed it.

    1. Thanks, Posh. We all need an editor, abi? Thanks for ‘enjoying’ it….

  2. An aspect of this story didn’t really work for me…I can’t really place my finger on it yet. I’ll come back for it though.

    1. Raymond! Raymond! Raymond! How many times i call you? A cho kwam!

  3. Nice story…..BE THE MIRACLE……Word…

    1. Thanks, Lancaster….Yes, it is the message i wanted to pass…Thanks for ‘getting’ it..

  4. Sweet! I love the internal rhymes of the first paragraph. I love especially how the names were split– very hilarious.

    Good one!

    1. The ‘unk, unk,” thing, abi…I noticed it after i even sent out the piece..Thanks for reading..

  5. This is fantastic. I loved it. When I started, I was trying to figure out where the theme of the contest would present itself but by the end, I was convinced. Well done. This is a winning piece.

    1. I wanted something different from the normal..and i laughed after i wrote this…and i made sure to send the message at the end…i still dey laugh ooo

  6. And yes, your message was passed well. I do not agree with your choice of using rhymes in the early lines.. You should have continued in the pattern you started with.. I see that used ‘prophesied’ in a paragraph, and ‘prophesized’ in another, getting me wonder… To end it all, I enjoyed the story.

    1. Idoko, the rhymes just happened on me ooo.. i am not even a poet to start thinking of rhymes…

      But, it was fun nowww…where is your sense of humour, abeg?

      Thanks for reading and enjoying the story…

  7. I know you have it in you Ukamaka, and i will keep saying it. This is a wonderful, wonderful story. I like how you were able to work the theme of the cmpetition into it at the end of the story.

    This is a winning piece, and I hope it does win.

    Well done!!!

    1. Lawal, anytime i read you response, i have this heady feeling like that you get after gulping a gallon of palmwine and you boast of becoming a legend…. You make me feel like i can become one, and i really appreciate it.

      Thank you for believing in me, and i hope that one day, i will proudly say the Lawal Opeyemi Isaac believed in Moi!

      1. At this rate that you write, that day will sure come come and I’ll be proud to be associated with you too.

  8. A good story the ended with three powerful words. Enjoyed reading it.

    1. Thanks, Jay. They are truly powerful…Reminded me of the JFK’s patriotic call in the 60’s.

  9. Disregard my earlier comment. I think, in retrospect, that U did a very good job with this, given that it is not a Love-triangle, hehehehe…My apologies. I think what made me feel that I did nto really get the story was the way the story kinda broke up in the middle, with the conversation. However, I think it links the two parts well. Strong message too.
    P.S. I promise not to read again while feeling sleepy. Hehehe.
    Good job, once again.

    1. Thank God you sleepy headed! Asi kwam!

      Apologies accepted!

    2. Thank God you were sleepy headed! Asi kwam!

      Apologies accepted!

    3. @raymond, was going to ask u if u were sleeping before…
      @amaka,welldone again

  10. @ukamaka, yeah you are a very good story teller…in this one, you kinda lost steam at the end…
    your tenses are very cool and tight…i loved it

    The second time papa prophesized [PROPHESIED], he was drunk too, and our landlord pounded on our frontdoor [DOOR] demanding for rent. Papa told not to leave his home else misfortune befalls him.
    [THE FIRST CLAUSE- the first time papa prophesied DOES NOT LINK WITH THE LAST CLAUSE and our landlord…..door…WHY?
    FIRST, DID YOUR FATHER PROPHESY AFTER THE LANDLORD POUNDED ON THE DOOR OF AFTER? IF AFTER, THEN THE SENTENCE SHOULD HAVE READ the second time Papa prophesied, he was drunk too. Our landlord had pounded on our door demanding for rent AND Papa had told him…..him.

    He was struck down by Mama Ijeoma’s wheel barrow full of foods. Not only did the landlord suffer burns from her cooler of hot stew, he paid for every drop of food.[YOU COULD HAVE SAID THIS IN ANOTHER WAY…STRUCK DOWN BY A WHEELBARROW? THEN EVERY ‘DROP’ OF FOOD?…LIQUID FOOD?]

    1. Xikay, Xikay.. I am beginning to see you as my personal editor.. We need to cut a deal, dont you think? *winks*

      I really like the way you analyse my works.. and i truly appreciate..

      I can see the errors through your microscope now… Thanks a million…I’m editing or my personal collection..

  11. I like how you eventually introduced the theme into the piece, the word count limitation almost hindered you from driving home your point, but you pulled it off somehow. Well done and good luck.

    1. Thanks, Scopeman….You say the 600-word limit dey stress person… But i try sha..

      Thanks for viewing and reading..

  12. “Be the Miracle” Wow! Those three words are magical! Great message for all stakeholders in our election process &voters alike! However, I’d have prefered it if the landlord had met a more creative fate besides “burns” again. Yet I appreciate how the drunkard’s daughter could get her fingers burnt in the illegal ballot box deal at INEC. Very clever of you dear. *winks*

    1. Thanks Koboko…I needed to pass across my own preacher word… Thanks for reading and liking..

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

    I recognise the osuofia character, the one played very well by klint in a movie whose name is jumbled with that of a thousand others in my head. That character, though perpetually drunk, still manages to tell the truth as he sees it, and yes, he does prophesy sometime. Loved what you did with your piece.Kudos.

    1. Thanks, Fred….Thanks for loving it!


  15. I hope so…Thanks a lot

  16. This is a clever piece, my friend. You missed out a few words like in the 3rd paragraph, line three. I like the punchy ending. Good luck.

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