Monday, October 13, 2008

The Thinking Man

He thought a lot of things when he came back from the hospital with his head in a turban of bandages that gave off a steady antiseptic whiff. He thought the staircase that led up to the flat looked narrower, the steps higher. He thought he saw the shadow of feet in the tiny space at the bottom of his neighbour's door. He thought someone was looking at him through the keyhole (he thought he saw an eye blink in the keyhole). He thought of his mother rotting in a cramped coffin, in a crowded cemetry.

He unlocked the door and stepped into the livingroom. He thought it looked the same as it had looked when he had left, and gone out to get a motorcycle accident. He unbuttoned his shirt and let it slide off his back and unto the floor. He turned on the fan, and sat up in the couch under it. He really wanted to lie down but he knew his head would hurt if he did.

As he sat there listening to his cellphone ring out again and again, the ground thumping beneath his feet, he thought of how tragic it would be if the whistling ceiling fan were to drop from its hook and slice his head off untidily –thuck.thuck.thuck- with its dusty, blunt blades. That situation would be beyond doctors and bandages. he wondered if headless corpses, and corpseless heads could get tetanus. He slid off the couch, breaking his fall with his bruised and plastered knees, and crawled to a corner of the room. There, beneath brown cobwebs, he lay down into a dream about his childhood.

His sister returned from her boyfriend's house at 9pm, half-singing, half-humming whatever song was thumping from the flat below theirs.

You are sick, he thought she had said, pointing to his head. But when she repeated the words and giggled, he realised she had said 'Sikh'. She was fond of puns.

'Low wit,' he sneered, tracing the ridges of the bandages with his fingertips to make sure the thing hadn't come undone. He watched her do a little dance, throwing her hands high above her head, and moving her feet in a way he could not. He told her what he thought might happen with the fan.

'Seriously?' as if that was a proper question. As if she should not find a corner for herself, for her safety. She looked up at the fan for a moment, and then fixed him with a stare. Her stupid grin had faded and was being replaced with worry. He watched as she tossed her keys on the coffee-table and began to search her huge handbag for her phone. She found it soon enough.

'Who are you calling?'

'Your doctor.'

'Why?'

She held up a hand and began to speak. Not to him, into the phone.

It was then it occurred to him that there was petrol in the house. Cellphones were not allowed in petrol stations. An explosion was imminent.

Risking decapitation by the ceiling fan, he leapt from his corner and snatched the phone out of his sister's hand just as she was saying something about side effects and paranoia.

'Hey,' she said, but he was already tossing her phone and his out of the window.

'You have totally lost it' she screamed with huge eyes. He thought it might be a pun. Was 'it' one of the cellphones? He stretched an arm and turned off the fan.
His sister had run out of the house like a mad woman, as if her phone could be salvaged. She had lost her head. He smiled and recited the first few lines of his favourite poem If by Rudyard Kipling.

IF you can keep your head when all about
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too...

By the time he flopped down on the couch, his head was throbbing but still safely attached to his shoulders. No doubt.

36 comments:

Waffarian said...

I thought I was the only one who did not trust those fans...expecially in Nigeria. I never sit under a fan. Most of them make strange squeaky noises and look like they are hanging "barely"...with just one wire connecting them to the roof...I always wonder how people can put them on "high"...just thinking about it now makes me shudder...

Jaycee said...

LOLLLL...paranoia is a very bad thing...

Loved the story...:)

Lost at The End said...

I like the story, man. It's cool. I didn't know what was going on and that felt good. Cool stuff man. Oh, by the way, thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a note.

ibilola said...

beautifully done as usual...
love the Kipling reference...

N.I.M.M.O said...

... Too much thinking can make one lose his head,

... or have a headache.

FineBoy Agbero said...

christ!!!
Why am i just comin here?!!
Wow, dis is a beauuuutiful story. It's been a while since i read a nice short story. Thanks!!!

1st paragraph was so nice. I like:
He thought of his mother rotting in a cramped coffin, in a crowded cemetry. Brilliant!

And like d traditional short story format, dis was complete. Characterization was perfect, so was d plot! Meeeeen, u dey take my back to my editing and critiquing days o! (dont worry; i'm really an agbero)

Any other stories of urs i myt read?

bighead said...

D***. Your writing is cool. I want to write like that when I grow up

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

Mrehn, a friend's boyfriend got a nasty gash on the head from those ceiling fans. They are serious oh!

Nice story!

Allied said...

i really like this. where have u been hiding in blogville?

Jaja said...

I especially like this type of writing. The carefulness, the elegance and the muted wit in it.

The first paragraph is just a perfect seductress..

This is so different from other things I ve read from you.... I like how he goes out to get a bike accident.
And ' he lay down into a dream of his childhood....'
Excellent!

I like this very much porter... but however the Kipling quote sort of brought me out out the 'vivid and continious dream' you had created....
its almost as if you wanted us to search for the themes within those lines... it didnt gel...

Finally, does it also mean am going mad too? plenty paranoid thoughts haunt me endlessly...

theicequeen said...

aww, i had that poem on my other blog a while back..brilliant poem! and it's really funny how it fits into the story..lol..his sister had lost her damn mind abi? tinking of exploding them withthe petrol...tsk tsk..LOL!!

and then...i have to repeat pretty much what jaja said..i just love the way you write..the language, the wit..the way you choose and use the wonrs so beautifully...*sigh*...update soonish!

and yes, i know, i'm late..but it's not like i forgot you o!

MissLove said...

I 'heart' it....1st time here would surely be back..I be loving this, it reminds me of someone i know who had soul.

Just...Toluwa said...

i like loads!

Afolabi said...

It's a nice story...very well-thought. And yeah, IF he can convince himself he's the sane one..he's Paranoid or the okada accident don make am schizo...

Yewande Atanda said...

Imagery and diction perfect. Storyline excellent.

I know i'll get to this level of writing one day.

...ur profile pix is frightening!

bArOquE said...

then, i must be a thinking man too, but nothing especially bordering on paranoia...

...however,Mister Porter, you have been declared a stark raving mad man with a computer...the other time, it was about your mother going to yankee & all your foolish ambitions...

you are quite the disturbed child...no more Gulder for you!

Afrobabe said...

wow...great work...especially loved this line...


he wondered if headless corpses, and corpseless heads could get tetanus...

classic..

Olamild said...

hmmmmmmmmmmmmm

miz-cynic said...

bn hearing,Port de harcourt.port de h.i wondered wt d big deal was.now i get it

Afrobabe said...

Happy new year love...

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

happy new year, my broda. How body?

sub-conscious said...

u are different....!!! kai!!! ur tots are sooo different...wow!!!..nice 1 tho!!! (am still shocked at how different u are o)

sub-conscious said...

u are different....!!! kai!!! ur tots are sooo different...wow!!!..nice 1 tho!!! (am still shocked at how different u are o)

badderchic said...

miss you porter, a whole lot!

Afrobabe said...

Long time...u ever plan to come back to blogging?

SECRET DIARY said...

D-a-r-l-i-n-g, it's my first time on your blog. I can't comment. I don't know you yet / well - how you write, why you blog, if you Personal Assistant blogs on your behalf, etc. These days of cold / computer virus, I just don't want to catch anything. Consider this as my "wait and see" comment. Okay? Remember when you mama told you not to talk to strangers? It's something like that here - about not knowing a person well and commenting on their blog. You get me? Its like sex on a first date. Some people won't. I would. I wouldn't comment on a blog on the first time. There's a huge difference between sex and commenting on a blog on the first time on the page... With sex, there's instant gratification, but with commenting on a blog, one gets zilch. I'd feel d-i-r-t-y, used and abused... So, darling,... maybe next time, ..maybe,.. but d-e-f-i-n-i-t-e-l-y not tonight that is my first time here. I have standards and reputation to maintain. Ciao.

* * *

Mii komment has bin safed, hand will be fiisible after di owner appruvaal.

correctphbabe said...

update!!!! hope everythings good with u.

sharon said...

I love your blog...I was feeling a bit blue and friend referred me here (via facebook). I've cruised around some and you have such a dry sense of humour it's fun reading!

Keep writing!

Ciao

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

12, [url=http://www.klonopinforsaleonline.com/]buy klonopin online without prescription [/url] - cheap clonazepam no prescription - where to buy klonopin http://www.klonopinforsaleonline.com/.

Anonymous said...

25000, together with repayment name varying via 1 to 10 ages. The home and property has gone in value through the years but our relationship along with my dad has worsened. The most basic and convenient technique to apply for these financing options is online mode. There are both military services and civilian components of this MES, using cadres of officials and subordinate staff? Senator Durbin recommended at the considerably more sensible number of 36% for credit history, usually credit rating under 800. Several types of loans you may test may take you weeks before you can be approved as well as then there are many hoops to jump! To acquire the financial loan amounts, customer has to fulfill some of the criteria's instant cash loans uk At the moment, the federal government will attract your learning with certain student loans Absolutely free checking will probably be trying to debt consolidation secure dollars instrument, for instance a pre-paid money order! The benefits of the money advance course of action are rate and proficiency to get a timely help from your nearest and dearest types! This option is additionally known as wage advance, cash loans, employment company, browse loan company offers on-line than to proceed door to door.

Anonymous said...

LED flowering grow lights will produce light in the right frequency and wavelength.
Implementation of solar energy has environmental costs that may hamper its application
on large-scale operations to reduce its impact. However, my husband had
a little trouble tightening the screw on the solar panel, so it tended to slip to less than
an optimal angle.

my weblog - Deckenleuchten

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, the chances are excellent that for most of us it'll be the absolute minimum 5% down payment PayDay Loans Online Your education loan payments really should not be more every year than eight percent of your annual salary

Anonymous said...

[url=http://www.37-5phenterminerxonline.net/]cheap phentermine no prescription [/url] order phentermine online no prescription - purchase phentermine 37.5 online - generic phentermine online - http://www.37-5phenterminerxonline.net/ [url=http://www.bestpriceklonopinsale.net/] Klonopin Price[/url] purchase klonopin online no prescription - Clonazepam Online Pharmacy - klonopin sale [url=http://www.37-5phenterminerxonline.net/] Order Phentermine 37.5 [/url] phentermine 37.5 for sale - Order Phentermine 37.5 - cheap phentermine 37.5 no prescription [url=http://www.diazepamonlinerx4cheap.net/]cheap diazepam [/url] cheap valium online - buy diazepam without prescription - buy diazepam online no prescription - http://www.diazepamonlinerx4cheap.net/