Of Reflections and Twitter Reputations by Tolu Daniel



You had just finished dinner when you noticed them, dinner had been heavy, and it was Garri and Oha soup that you had gotten from the soup kitchen downtown. Your eyes were ridden with sleep; your itinerary for the night was definitely shattered because sleep had taken priority over all others. You allow your mind to wander for a brief moment trying to take sight of the individuals that had just made an entrance into your living room. They didn’t look like anybody you knew, but your mind was too heavy for it to process who they were or what they looked like.

Instinctively you knew you were not supposed to panic, but you just couldn’t because you had mastered the handbook on managing crisis. You made a move for your blunt dining knife, it was important that you armed yourself, your pulse was slowly gaining speed despite the fact that the individuals in your living room didn’t seem to present any imminent danger, but you could never be so sure, you had carelessly left your front door open, all in the frenzy of destroying the sumptuous meal that you had bought.

They were dressed in black overalls, there were three of them and you guessed that they all had casual wears beneath the overalls, so you wondered why they had entered your apartment uninvited. You grabbed your mobile device and quickly updated your status on twitter. “Men garbed in Black ATTIRES just entered my apartment”. You trusted your twitter friends more than the police not that you had any way of reaching the police even if you wanted to; you had over five hundred thousand active followers. Some people defined you as a trouble maker, an angry youth, and an individual that always incites people against the government. But you refuse to bear any of these names; you are simply a blogger that uses the tool called the internet better than most people.

You like to be called a human rights activist despite the fact that most times your activism never leaves the corners of your room or your office; that’s what technology has done to us these days; You could call a person’s bluff simply from behind the steering wheels of your car through your phone but the government still viewed you as threat simply because of the number of people following you; they believed that you had the ability to sell propaganda to the world with your twitter account, the recently concluded #occupyNigeria movement had been a testimony to that and had gone farther than anyone ever thought and in this generation of revolutions, governments are being proactive; they have zero tolerance for twitter activists they say.

Sleep had vanished from your eyes as you stare at your black garbed visitors from the dark corner of your dining area. You wonder if they could not see you but you forgot that the silhouette of the shadows of the concrete slab that demarcated the living room from the dining area was heavy and had cast a shadow on you.

The three of them seemed contented to stand there and stare blindly across the street, turning their backs on you as they did so. It occurred to you that they could have been hiding from something or someone or maybe they were thieves who had been discovered or they were political assassins ‘political assassins? Yekpa’. So you update your twitter page again. “I’m not certain they know that I’m here, but I think they are armed”

You had been very vocal against a new policy that the federal government had just signed like you’ve been very vocal against most of their moves, some folks say that you are part of the opposition party’s tools to destabilize the rule of the incumbent but you say no, that you are simply a part of a new generation of Nigerians that are demanding accountability and good leadership from our leaders; Your reactions to the government’s policies had elicited several responses from the internet world and you have been receiving threatening mentions on your twitter page. So you’ve been extra careful, watching your back at every opportunity. You knew it was just twitter but you also understood that some people took you very seriously. Your word is law to most of your followers anyway; it is not easy to amass the amount of followers that you have amassed in the period with which you started tweeting and now. Five hundred thousand twitter followers listening to whatever you twitted and some of them ‘voltrons’ who are ready to do anything for you; yes, you had such power with you that even some of the people in the seats of authority can only dream of.

Your phone beeps and the red light on your blackberry device starts its extreme blink which meant that you had a notification. You check the notifications and realize that they were replies and mentions; your two tweets had already sparked a debate on twitosphere. Tweeps were at each other’s throats because of you. Theories were postulated, arguments were made for and against the supposed enemies and every second another notification makes your phone vibrate in your hands as its jerking movements make your hand tingle.

Despite yourself you managed a smile, twitter was like that sometimes, people would go crazy over some things whether it concerned them or not; some of them would even start twit-fights that could span several days and could involve scandalous secrets being revealed. You didn’t have time to go over the tweets of your friends in the struggle, you knew Japheth would have tweeted to check on you, he had had several close calls in his time too and he was perceived just as vocal and as troublesome as you. You felt like finding a corner in your room and settling down to read the various comments but the looming danger ahead seemed more real than anything that you have ever encountered not even the allure of twitter could seduce you.

You approached the sitting room in slower steps, careful not to arouse suspicion but they didn’t move, they didn’t even look back not once. “Who are you?” you shouted as highly as you could, your voice vibrated as you spoke and you realized for the first time that night that you were scared but these men didn’t move, they ignored you. You remember the knife that you had picked up earlier; the little knife, though blunt gave you a renewed sense of power, something like what you normally would feel as an anonymous writer that has insulted the government but nobody had a clue as to his real identity; there were a few speculations as to who you really were but no one has yet cornered you to answer that question hence you could continue your day job without the risk of a sack or a query.

The other night, you had your nephews over to the house, they were young rascals of seven and eight respectively and they had turned your sitting room to a battle arena as they shot imaginary guns at each other. You and your sister had screamed out your lungs to stop them but you had been unable to get them to calm down not even once it must have been because among the many treats you gave them was three cones of ice cream which has been known to contain a lot of sugar and sugar was their poison. They had left the house in the afternoon while you had gone to work, your sister had tried to put your things back in place but she had done a lousy job of it because as you moved you tripped a stool that was placed almost directly opposite where the men stood.

You fell head first and had to use your hands to protect yourself from hitting the floor with your fore head as the stool and the little stainless candle holder on it clattered on your marble floored sitting room. You were scared, your heart must have been in your mouth as you raised your head and noticed that the men had simply vanished, you looked to your right and to your left, all you saw was a torch rolling away under your big sofa and just beside it three action figures standing side by side just like the three men that had entered your apartment. You were still scared not sure what to think or what not to think. Rationality had disappeared from your mind after the fall. You had been fooled because your mind wanted to be fooled so badly; you wanted to be chased by commando looking guys that you completely forgot that your nephews were playing the reflection game only last night and you were the one that started it by setting the torch to face a particular angle in the wall while you made an impression of a barking dog and a bird using the shadows of your hands. So your nephews took it a notch higher by setting their action figures and placing the torch behind it to create an impression of three armed looking men.

You were still on the floor when reason finally found you and you felt like kicking yourself; you gathered yourself and stood up and locked your front door, picked up your blackberry and updated your status again. “False Alarm, imagination overdrive.”

You made your way to your bedroom which was stark dark, the initial fatigue that had been drained by the adrenalin pumped in anticipation of an exciting event came back in full force and you threw yourself on your bed without removing the bed cover. Your blackberry beeped and you checked your notification to see many mentions and notice the number of curses people were raining on you for getting them excited over nothing. You didn’t care what any of them really had to say, you were too tired, you told yourself that you would make a statement tomorrow about what happened.

You flung your phone away in frustration as your eyes made for a closing; but it starts ringing almost immediately it leaves your hand. You wanted to ignore the call but the phone kept ringing; you fumble around your bed but still couldn’t find the phone, so you went for your switch since you knew where it was offhandedly. As you switched the lights on, Lo and Behold, the three men that you thought were creations of your nephews’ prank were staring at you with guns that were far from toys.



Photocredits: www.shutterstock,com

2 thoughts on “Of Reflections and Twitter Reputations by Tolu Daniel” by Tolu Daniel (@toludaniel)

  1. wow! nowhere to run to, how would he tweet back? who would even respond this time? I love the twist as the scene unfolded, this is splendid, nice one! c’est interessant.

  2. This is an amazing writeup!This is an issue that sooner or later had to be looked into;global slavery.There seemed to be a constant dash between past and present tense in this writeup which made it confusing.For me i’d say presenting this in a present form,keeps the suspense real and raw!There was a lot of diversions from the main issue.Paragraph 4 was overstressed and paragraph 7 was clustered!The part about your nephew and sister that involved you going on about ice creams and sugar was out of place.Paragraph 12 was unclear.i don’t know what action figures are and i still don’t get a clear picture of the games your cousins were playing.Words that are not english words,should be put in quotes,to draw attention to them!Altogether it was beautiful,keep it up!
    I would really love to give a word-for-word critique on this,but i’m new here and i don’t know if that’s allowed.
    Send me a message though,for critiques on any work.Would love to get busy!

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