Flash

Iron Love

By Amatesiro Dore 30 July 2013

gorgeousgifts.co.uk

Black and Yellow were best of friends and fiancées of two brothers. They met at the University and had survived sleeping with each other’s boyfriends. They still fought over unpaid loans, and they competed for first to the altar. Aside from listening to each side of the story whenever they fought, the brothers judged not; the ladies would always argue, fight, cry, and reconcile.

They had a friend, tall like Black and curvaceous like Yellow, call her BY. She lived down the street, worked nights at an unknown, and visited the flatmates on Sunday mornings.

When it happened, BY was eating rice at Black and Yellow’s. Black was pressing her clothes, and Yellow was waiting to use the iron.

“Check out this gown,” Black said, “Doesn’t it highlight my skin?”

“Yes, it does,” BY said with a mouthful of rice.

“Imagine it on me, my body will bring out the shape,” Yellow said.

“Yes it would,” BY said and drank water to ease her throat.

“See my pretty long legs,” Black said, “the gown sits comfortably on my knees, right?”

“Yes,” BY said, “yes it does.”

“Can’t I just wear high heels,” Yellow said, “and the gown will be perfect on me.”

“Yes you can,” BY said.

“I hate liars! Please tell us the truth,” Black said, “Who does the gown best fit?”

“Yes, stop manipulating us,” Yellow said, “Who’s the best person to wear the gown.”

“The gown will fit both of you,” BY said, swallowing her rice in peace.

“You must choose oh!” Black said.

“You cannot eat our rice and reserve judgement!” Yellow said.

BY continued to eat the rice in silence, Yellow kicked the spoon from her mouth and Black pressed the hot iron on her back. BY screamed, she hollered from the flat to the hospital. The brothers begged BY not to inform the police, and they negotiated compensation on behalf of the iron ladies. BY went away with the gown and never visited again.

The Sunday after the ironing, the brothers forced Black and Yellow to attend their church. The building was beautiful and the music was great, the Pastor was handsome and the love of God filled their hearts. Black and Yellow ceased their daily quarrels and began inviting their neighbours to church. They quit their jobs and began to work for God in the Church office. They ended their engagements to the brothers because the siblings became jealous of the Pastor. When they went to invite BY to their church, the neighbourhood heard her scream.

“Please leave me alone o! I even prefer when you girls were ironing people,” BY said.

 

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Life on the Mainland

By Amatesiro Dore 23 July 2013

This is how I know I’m on the mainland: the sound of the muezzin at five a.m. from a nearby mosque, the noise from the flight route above the roof, the price of Star (about a hundred naira above pump price).

Lagos State House

Lagos State House

On the Island of the affluent in Lagos, I rarely hear aircrafts buzzing in the sky, except the posh helicopters of the busy rich. The airport and flight noise doesn’t affect the airspace, it devalues the land.

The rich pretend to pray, God is on the mainland, land on the island is too expensive to build too many worship centres. The island was not built for beer. It’s the hub of champagne, spirits, and wine. Beer is for the road, an appetiser, bottled on the mainland.

The mainland is crowded with families. Life on the island has no friends, everything is cash or waka. The roads are expensively tolled, the schools are US Dollars, and a smile might cost some naira. The island expands and the mainland remains the same. Under neon lights, millions of mainland ants trample on the Third Mainland Bridge into the island of dreams. Many die on the bridge, many earn a kobo, and many rob the others. The Island goes to the mainland, only to fly.

Life on the mainland has many tribes. Bad roads and traffic jamborees in Enugu suburbs like Ago-Okota would eventually pursue Omo Igbo to the east. The smart ones live in Yoruba neighbourhoods, like Itire, with Chinese constructed drainage. Sharp guys have moved into Surulere, the Governor’s neighbourhood and the best place to drink. The number of youths in Festac makes one wonder if they ate their parents for dinner. Ketu is a gang of Yoruba women hustling to breathe. Ikorodu can be great if it gets a bridge into the Island. Yaba is the link between books, Aristos, White House, and an infamous psyche ward. Sex is on Allen, tax is a joyride at Alausa. Obanikoro is the name of a man on the Island and a place in the mainland.

Everything on the mainland is made in Ilupeju, Ogba, Isolo, Agidigbin, and Oregun; Agbara is not on the mainland, it’s in Ogun State, like Mowe and Ibafo. Everything on the Island is imported from the mainland ports of Apapa and Tin Can. The sound of Mazamaza and Okokomaiko can cure madness. Homes in Idi-Araba are waiting to collapse, thank God for LUTH; Igbobi’s orthopaedics is not too far away. There is a Lagos State University campus in every mainland corner; the main campus and a military cantonment are at Ojo.

Musicians from Mushin and Ajegunle have monopolised the sympathy of poverty, while Egbe and Ikotun get no pity. If eyes are closed in Agege and Iddo when a train passes, one can pretend to be in Grand Central Station. Gbagada always pretends to be on the Island, Oworonshoki can’t get away with such a lie. Ogudu GRA insists on being distinct from a conjoined Ojota, while Amuwo-Odofin calls itself Festac Extension. Iju and Ojodu are villages hyped by estate agents. Ebute Metta is an old Yoruba phrase: a place of three shores; a decaying dream of British colonialism and Brazilian architecture.

Most of the residents of Magodo and Omole are landlords. Maryland is not a saint and Anthony is not a village. Igando and Ipaja are playing catching up with the state government. Ikeja is the official capital of Lagos. The State House in on the Island, the Island is the real capital of Lagos. Lagos deserves a special status in the Constitution.

On the Island, money has relatives. Ikoyi and Victoria are twin sisters, posh from birth and wrinkled with age. Lekki is a distant cousin, taxing and full of fraudulent schemes. VGC and Eleko are wealthy uncles, isolated from others and always overseas. Nicon and Parkview are the pretty nieces with feigned American and British accents. Oniru and Elegushi are the nephews from the village, who recently found wealth and arrogance. Ajah is the stepsister giving birth to children she can’t feed. Jakande and Igbo-Efon are broke in-laws, hardworking but always in need. Ibeju-Lekki and Epe are the jilted aunts, feeding on promises and searching for suitors. Obalende is the lost brother without a mind, thought to be dead. Eko, Idumota, and Marina are triplets of royal descent, with trade on their minds, money on their backs, and power between their legs. Maroko is the baby that was aborted at midterm. Makoko is the dirty bastard that wouldn’t disappear. Eko Atlantic City has recently left the incubator, hoping to survive. Many other siblings are just occupying space and causing traffic jams on the Island of the rich.

This is how I know I’m on the Island: service attendants begging for money, Lastma officials lurking behind traffic lights, Dunhill Switch is everywhere, and I can’t get into a club.

 

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A Good Story

Struggling Writer A.M Boyle's

Struggling Writer
A.M Boyle’s

By Amatesiro Dore
16 July 2013

Tesiro crashed his car while working on an essay about the Lagos State Traffic Law, then Lastma towed his pretty ride away; his runaway cook moved his laptop while he was plotting a short story about theft; he had to explain himself at the Maroko Police Station after writing about a falsely accused friend. Tesiro stopped writing: because bad stories were the best and they were infiltrating his life. A good story was no story, creative fiction requires conflict and resolution: “there must be something at stake”.

So Tesiro sat at home trying to write a good bad story, learning how to earn from the writing dream, and hoping that the dream doesn’t kill him before publishing. He counted the months his car had spent at the mechanic’s, and he wrote different ways God was going to kill the mechanic for manipulating his pocket. He continued to write his debut novel and other short stories, but he became paranoid about leaving the house, scared that his art would invade his life and knock him dead on the road.

He complained to an Elder Writer about his art-into-reality dilemma. He was advised to write about dating Jennifer Lawrence, earning billions more than J.K Rowling, and reading his novels in fan filled stadiums (moderated by Oprah). But who would publish such a piece of happiness? Who would buy such a boring fulfilment? Who was awarded for writing portions of heaven? How can one write a good story?

Days after my November birthday, I received a call from a masculine voice of Scandinavian descent.
“Am I speaking to Amatesiro Dore,” he said.
“Yes, this is Tesiro,” I answered.
“My name is Aslak Sira. I’m a member of the Swedish Royal Academy of Arts. Congratulations, you’ve been awarded the Dynamite Prize for Literature.”

I rose from the bed and tiptoed out of our room without waking Jennifer. I went into my Eko Atlantic City library and added another sentence to my good story:

“And Amatesiro Dore was read for eternity, he remained in print forever, and the language of his works lived happily ever after.”

I went back to bed and asked Jennifer if she wanted to sleep with a Dynamite Laureate.
“Is he also my husband and Forbes’ Richest Man?” she said, and I nodded a yes.
We had exhausted many rounds of Dynamite lovemaking when I got a call I couldn’t ignore.

“Hello Oprah,” I answered.

 

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Sisi

Sisi

Sisi of that Year

by Amatesiro Dore 9 July 2013

I passed the kitchen and I saw a black feather hen brooding in the pantry. I continued to the living room, to check if North Korea had bombed the South, CNN said no. I must have slept off, hours disappeared. I went into the kitchen and I saw the chicken in the pot, plucked clean of black feathers, juicy and scented, seasoned by water and fire. Who invited this chicken to dinner? Was she brooding over her worldviews or praying to the God of the Chickens when she was wrenched from the ground, her throat shaved and a blade severed her neck, then she was soaked in boiling water and plucked naked of her black plumage. And I remembered Sisi.

The chicken was the reason for the season. She came home five days to Christmas. She lived under the staircase and was a lot of fun. I gave her what I thought she liked, all the things I liked, fried rice, cornflakes, meat, plantain, and I changed her water: I kept it clean and shit free. I cleaned her mess and I spoke to her. I went in search of worms, but I didn’t find any. At first she had a fascinating temper, she flared up when I came close, and she had a lot to say, she nagged from dawn to dusk. By the second day, she began to brood. She wasn’t thinking “why the chicken crossed the road,” she wasn’t stupid. There was this dark knowledge in her eyes, even when she slept, her eyes remained open. On the third day I had to instigate her, Sisi had adopted siddon look. She stopped eating the meals I shared with her: Sisi was depressed. Her attitude was rubbing off on me, so I went upstairs to watch Tom & Jerry. Sisi and I stopped being friends and I left her alone. It is wrong to force friendship on anybody.

On Christmas morning I woke up very excited. I never thought I needed a Christmas tree, mistletoe, or snow for a perfect morning, I wasn’t stupid. Sisi knew: she caused commotion when they came to get her. She was taken to the back balcony and I prayed for her. And the deed was done, there was no drama. Once, a headless Sisi ran away before she could be dipped into boiling water, dripping blood until she collapsed from exhaustion. The Sisi of that year had a gentle persona. Many Sisi lived under the staircase and died in the back balcony but I never forgot that Sisi, her silence was forever.

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11 thoughts on “Flash

  1. Wow! I love the personification… There is a sympathy drawn when I set eyes upon the last two lines. ‘… but I never forgot that Sisi. Her silence was forever.’

  2. Sisi of That Year remains my favourite. And the Lagos Mainland tale was wow. Did you really have to write that about Yaba, though? But seriously, you are gooood and that’s an understatement.

  3. Sisi of That Year remains my favourite. And the Lagos Mainland tale… Did u really have to say that about Yaba? But seriously, you are gooood, and that’s an understatement.

  4. who is this Dora? her write-ups fascinates me. she writes in accordance with the rules of modern African literature. well done

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