The Lecher — 7

The Lecher — 7

ACT IV

[Back at the king’s palace.  It is obvious that the atmosphere is tense.  The setting is still the same as before.  AMAN, MEBI and ZUKU with their SERVANTS are seen on stage, all dressed in black sackcloth tied to their waists.  SOM later storms in with his SERVANT, also dressed in the same fashion.  AMAN sits beside ZUKU, while SOM sits beside MEBI.  They all stamp their feet in frustration, whispering to themselves inaudibly.  Then, one of the king’s SERVANTS enters from the inner room, ringing a bell and carrying the statue.  The prominent seniors stand up. This SERVANT is also dressed in black sackcloth tied to his waist.  He takes the statue to the apron of the stage and places it there, still ringing the bell.  Then, the king enters from the inner room.  His black sackcloth tied to his waist is decorated with feathers.  He sits on the throne.]

KEN
You may all sit.  [All sit.  He whispers to his SERVANT, who nods and exits to the inner room.  SOM flexes his knuckles agitatedly.] This is a most distressful moment for Ujah, but Som, calm your nerves.

SOM
Nobody has heard of such an offence as rape, and nobody has ever committed such an offence.

[Shortly, the SERVANT returns.  After a moment, two SERVANTS enter bringing in HEELAS who is tied with ropes at his wrists.  His belt and shoes are removed and his shirt unbuttoned.  As he is pushed forward, others show resentment at the sight of him.]

KEN
Servant!  [The SERVANT with the bell comes forward.] Summon Eku at once to this palace!  [SERVANT exits.]

HEELAS
I – I apologize greatly for the unceremony here today.  I never thought that this little umbrage could cause so much gravamen …

MEBI
Be silent, you gaolbird!!!  Every Ujahian is very much Levin-brand at how everything went totally anti when this news was unceremoniously broadcasted.

SOM
Better mind what you say here, young man, because I can be very much animal when I want to.  [MEBI tries to calm him.]

KEN
Now, young man, who are you?

HEELAS
Well, I may not be a friend, but I do not have to be an enemy.

SOM
[angrily stands up] Listen here, young man!  Your life is very, very much on the ebb, so do not start playing on words for us here.

HEELAS
And listen here, old man!  I have been like this since enfance, so if you want to fight me, why not bring out your Excalibur against me?  Come on!  Come on!!  Incite me!  Incite me!!

SOM
How dare you speak back to me, you blasphemer!  [charges at him but MEBI and AMAN restrain him.  HEELAS remains aloof.]

KEN
Calm down, Som.

[SOM snaps his fingers and sits down.  Then, the SERVANT enters with EKU and returns back to his position as bell-bearer.  EKU bows.]

EKU
You sent for me, O king.

KEN
Yes!  I heard that you know this young man.  [points to HEELAS.]

EKU
Yes, O king.  He is my good friend.  We came back together from Tripoli.

KEN
[nods] Did you hear of the crime he just committed?

EKU
I was with my wife, O king.  I was rejoicing that I was finally a father and I wanted to share this happiness with someone when I heard wailing and crying everywhere.  Someone almost tore away my white garment.  Then, it was rumoured to me.  Because I am a man not easily moved by rumours, I did not quite believe it.  Then, your servant came to my abode and told me to change, along with my wife.

KEN
That is true.  Now, what is this man named?

EKU
Heelas, O king.

KEN
Good.  Your friend here has committed the worst offence ever known in the history of Ujah.  Som’s wife was raped by him.

EKU
[taken aback] I was rumoured that the wife of Senior Som was raped, but I never knew it could be him that raped her.

KEN
And you know what the ultimate penalty is.

EKU
[sadly] Yes.

KEN
Death!

HEELAS
Death?  But you cannot just kill me like that.  You haven’t even judged me yet.

ZUKU
Not at all.  We will not kill you.  The lions will.  You will have to go, stranger or no.  Imagine!!  You are about to join the stiffs, and you still have that mouth to talk back.  You baffle me, stranger.

HEELAS
I am not a stranger.

AMAN
[angrily] You still have that audacity to speak?

KEN
Young man, do you know where you are?

HEELAS
Oh yes, I certainly do.  I am in the midst of men who are so powerful and not strong, men who fly to heights withering, with broken wings.

EKU
Shut up, Heelas!  That was the tongue of Horace.

SOM
[angrily] Let us geld him, O king, so that he shall never have that spirit to commit the offence again.

HEELAS
Then, I shall be stoic throughout the whole procedure.

EKU
[sternly] Heelas!

HEELAS
O king, when I die, will I be buried in a sepulchre confettied?  I was known to have rich bones, you know.

MEBI
Did you not hear what Senior Zuku said?  The lions will kill you.  There will be no trace of you.  I am sure you are uncircumcised.

HEELAS
Do you blame me for my uncircumcision?  I insist that I am not a stranger.  How many times will I tell Ujahian women that I am not a stranger?

KEN
You do not seem to know that you are tabled here, young man.  In actual fact, you did meet those ladies individually, the ones you attempted to marry at once.

HEELAS
How else could I get attention?  I go by the adage: Eat well.  Sleep deeply, for tomorrow comes and it is all yours.  I am a freedomite, O king, free to do anything I want.  What could I do?  I could not wait for a woman to look at me.  Men do not do that in Tripoli.  We go to the women and they submit to us.

AMAN
That was your tradition over there.  You are in Ujah and you are a foreigner.

HEELAS
I insist that I am not.

ZUKU
[amazed] Why are you so stubborn like this?

SOM
Don’t worry.  When he is tired, he will let his tongue rest.

HEELAS
Eku, I told you before. Look around you now. I told you that whites can easily get stained, so easily. But you wouldn’t listen. And now, black has been forced upon all of you. Humph! [spits out] Everyone wearing white, white, white. Kai!  Do you think you all are angels, eh? White has always invited trouble, always. Please, let us admit it to ourselves that black suits us best, very best, I tell you, so that if a stain comes, it will mingle, hm? [laughs dreamily] Here in Ujah, I have seen bewitchers with invitingly fragrant udders, captivators with sweet-sucking teats.  Your women are questresses, every single one of them.  Even the ones I picked are enough to make a brothel, with this man’s wife as their leader.  [points to SOM.]

[Everyone displays shock.  SOM gets up and charges at him, but he is restrained by AMANMEBI confronts HEELAS, grabs him by the jaw and places his fists near it.]

KEN
Let the stranger be!

[Reluctantly, he leaves him and returns to his seat.]

ZUKU
[shakes his head] Do you have any idea what we will do to you?

HEELAS
You are busy telling me what you will do to me.  What about what your fathers did to my fathers?  [Everyone displays shock.] Yes!  Your fathers did worse.  I will be killed by the lions, but death is better than what your fathers did to mine.  Yours made mine outcasts!!

EKU
Heelas, please, say no more!

HEELAS
You cannot restrain my tongue, Eku.  What did I know then?  I was just a child, learning my very first steps and very first words.  I could remember the proud look on my father’s face when he saw me.  Then, the Ujahian warriors stormed into our abode and took us away, my mother, my father and I, and sailed us to Tripoli on fishing boats.  I grew up in Tripoli, grew up with vengeance in my mind and hatred in my heart.  My parents died on the way.  Sharks dined on their corpses.  I never thought that I had a chance to implement my vengeance and hatred until I met Eku.

ZUKU
Was that the reason why you came here?

HEELAS
My father told me stories about his fathers.  They were all the slaves of your fathers.  I am the son of an outcast but I am a man who values an age-long friendship very much.  [turns to EKU.]

[EKU turns his back to him, visibly boiling in anger.]

KEN
Servants, take him outside.  Tell Seroh, Ekeh and Fox to whip him publicly.  Then, take him to the prison of ashes.  He has just a few minutes to spend there before he goes to the lions.

[The SERVANTS take HEELAS away.]

EKU
May I take my leave, O king?  I am not feeling well for the moment.  Afterwards, I intend to pay my friend a last visit in the prison of ashes.

KEN
Your visit is granted.

[EKU storms away angrily.  After a moment, all exit from the stage, starting from the king and his SERVANT and ending with MEBI and his SERVANT.]

To be concluded…

Get a load of thishttp://www.sentinelnigeria.org/issue2/emmanuella-nduonofit  ;)



5 thoughts on “The Lecher — 7” by Emmanuella Nduonofit (@Emmanuella-Nduonofit)

  1. @emmanuella…this is turning to a real mess for my guy Heelas, next part

  2. @emmanuella…WOW this is turning to a real mess for my guy Heelas, next part please

  3. Emmanuella, you have an award winning play here. I hope you know that?

  4. The theatre girl.

  5. e don be for Heelas, more please…

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