I always thought postmen were exclusively intelligent, especially about their job; the delicate sorting of numbers on envelopes, the addresses and the safe deliveries of mails. But I was wrong. I had made a conclusion straight from my bedroom. Pathetic!
Pa Ikhide, one of Nigeria’s free-willed columnists with the 234next newspaper, promised me a copy of Teju Cole’s ‘debut’ book of fiction, Open City. And he promised to send it in weeks. I was happy. I was going to be with one humorist that has emerged out of Nigeria in recent times. Even if Teju Cole is too American to be called a Nigerian, I still call him a Nigerian because his characters are usually rooted in Nigeria’s affairs, and they are restless people obsessed with the organized world out there.
I had fallen in love with the book “Everyday is for the Thief” since early 2010, a book that had been ignored by the international community through Random House, Mr. Cole’s latest publisher. Cassava Republic can go hang itself – I guess would be the latest slogan of RH. And my copy of that well received book has a lot of stories behind it too. One of the most beautiful women in my life had given it to me on my 23rd birthday. (Awareness to you all. Know my preference of gift) That could be saved for another day. I told a couple of people about the arrival of Open City – the latest famous yellow cover, after Chimamanda’s, and they were eager to read with me when it arrived. We waited, patiently wishing every aeroplane that flew over our roof had a copy of Open City in it for us. And wait lingered and lingered, even while Pa Ikhide told me that the book had been sent as promised.
It got really delayed due to reasons I didn’t uncover on time.
One good day within this week, I left the office for the house. And when I returned the next day, I discovered that a postman had dropped information about the arrival of a package for me. I knew it would be the package from Pa Ikhide so I called the telephone number that was written below the statement. The voice sounded quirky. I prayed the guy wasn’t gay. I have a lot of things against gays. They have been terrorizing my life. And I cannot tell their attraction to me. I am not handsome. I am a broke-ass Nigerian. I am also skinny and I am boring at all time. So what keep bringing their attention on me?
The voice was male. He told me he had travelled out of town. He left his job on a week day for a trip, thereby delaying my package. I forgave him. At least the package had arrived Nigeria,safely. But I was dumb. I thought that was all I would get. When nightfall arrived my house like a beautiful Hausa lady with an all-endowed backside, with eyes sexy like the costumes of the Duchess of Cambridge, I slept to forget about the worries of the well awaited book. And I dreamt about the personality of Teju; a not too tall young man in his prime, brilliant and smart, I chatted with him. We conversed about the deplorable state of the Nigerian and African system. We sorryed the women in Syria for their plights and I asked some questions about his first book, “Everyday is for the Thief” his muse and his rant and the summary of his life and maybe the women in his life too.
His reply were so interesting I requested he relocated to Port Harcourt. I thanked him for writing such a brilliant book “Everyday is for the Thief” a book that serves to correct politicians that advertise almost-completed projects on CNN just to create unnecessary awareness. And those that have sold the artefacts in our museums to buy favors from ‘European investors’ also. Bloody bastards! Teju and I smiled and I told him I was working on same project, although mine was going to be on a lighter scale. He nodded and tapped my head. Teju told me he would read my manuscript when it was ready. He also told me he needed to catch up other engagements. He left and I woke up.
The next day I dialled the phone number of the postman and asked for his names. He told me ‘Henry’. I told him I was coming to his office. He told me he would be there in 30minutes. I told him to make it so I would be happy. He dropped the line. I got a taxi, ignored other passengers as usual –even the ladies. In minutes, I got to the building that houses the Post Office. I was redirected to another office and I met him. Mr. Henry, fair in complexion, bad teeth etc, and his accent announces that he is of the Ogoni extraction. He smiled as I told him I was the one that had been calling him for a package from the US. He pulled out a package in a sizeable envelop and showed it to me. I reached out to collect it but he withdrew it.
I tried to find out why he did so and he smiled mischievously. He told me I needed to give him ‘something’. Something? How come no one told me about the ‘something’ until I was in his office? How come the note he sent me didn’t have the notice of the ‘something’? He held the package firmly like it was designed with his miserable hand. I tried to get my package but he insisted I gave him the ‘something’. I had heard stories about postmen requesting for ‘something’ but I waved it. When I knew that I wasn’t getting anywhere close to convincing him I asked for his home town. After sceptical steps from his corrupt mind I discovered he was from same local government areas as me. I spoke my dialect to him. In shock he replied. But he didn’t mind either.
I begged him like he was a god deciding my fate in a court of law. After several minutes, I realized he was not doing the right thing and I was patronizing his ill request by not stating my stand. Armed with anger, rage and fury, I took my package from his desk and walked out of his mail-filled office. He watched as I took every step out of the premises of the Post Office. He didn’t do his home work properly. He messed up. He met the wrong guy. And he sure had a bad day. I didn’t give him no ‘something’ and I walked to my whole new world with a copy of Teju Cole’s Open City. Thanks to Pa Ikhide Ikheloa. And a well cased, framed, designed middle finger to Mr. Henry, the shitty postman.