I halted my gulf car to check on something. He, a guy in his late twenties approached me, shivering from the early morning burnings. He conceded he had only taken four sticks of long cheap cigarettes as early as 7am. I pressed on and he disclosed he was actually mourning for the lost of some wraps of Igbo by a merchant who would always give him from the excesses; but for today nothing would come his way. Yet, his eyes said yes….
“Those in the clutches and grips of igbo are too many, but I tell God since it is like this, let us be!”
I nodded to his psalms and shook his hand. He widened his eyes and beheld a fellow. “Yeah! Ana m ata ata, na-elo elo” I slanged in vernacular meaning “I am a grandmaster in the marijuana smoking. I chew and swallow raw too” He clapped for me and beeped, “Nwanne idi ok!”
“Yes, I am a fellowed fellow; but on a good day like that that was actually not so good, I went to see my doctor. Or I didn’t know how or from where I came to him. All the same, the diagnosis (x-tray) showed the chambers of my heart as dark as hell. Charred!
He couldn’t hide his fears as he pointed at the body of my car and exclaimed, “That is as black as thissss naaa?” I said yes, even more. “That is to say that mine is blacked and burnt too?” he feared.
“Death.” I said, “that spelt death.”
He momentarily forgot he was asking for some dough to catch a junk breakfast. The doctor showed me a normal heart and told me to go home. No prescription!
“Why???” he hurriedly queried.
“He told me to smoke more if I want to die soon; but I should not fail to stop by the hospital gate and pick my measurement from the casket makers for convenience”
“Jeeeeeesos!” he shouted, his eyes dilating and wobbling feverishly around the wet smokes in their pathetic sockets.
“Ma broda, he only say eat more fruits, good food and drink enough water through his shoulder as he left me as if I were already in the mortuary”. He shrugged out some spells and stared.
Oh, I really forgot to ask for his name. However, I dug and brought out two green notes with the head of Sir Ahmadu Bello and gave him. He looked straight into my eyes, knelt down and looked to the heavens, “God if I don’t follow the advice of this man, just kill me please.” He then turned to the guy at the passenger’s side and told him to thank me for him. For, I also told him I was useless, hopeless and lifeless when I was smoking. I told him he can try quitting by taking lesser dosages while he observes his reactions and then stop, or just die like that.
I watched him go resolvedly as I told my friend that I do not know how Igbo really looks like; but that was why I had to stop smoking it!
You do not look down on people, unless you want to pull them up. Indeed, “I eat your language, I speak your food, This is how I dress, For I am you.”
Remember beloved, that tobacco smokers are liable to die young!