THRICE Fiction Apr. 2014 - Page 20

kind of witchcraft. With a man — like me — around you, which rat fit miss road show face for the house when bush meat de hungry some people. The babe looked gorgeous in a hat and spoke with the unmistakable accent that came with contact with Oyibo the British Ones not the American Ones. After her, there were two other testimonies that had to do with success with visa interviews. One of them, Baba Dee had been my paddy and I linked him to the guy who was to arrange Oluwole bank statement and marriage certificate for him. The embassy had to be sure he had a regular income in the country with a wife and children to guarantee his willing return. If not for his testimony, I wouldn’t have known he succeeded. He didn’t tell me. You see life! The one which brought down the roof was of a couple of whom the lady had the SS genotype and a confirmed patient but had gone ahead to wed her AS heartthrob against better counsel if not judgment. She waved the result of the test confirming she had become AA after being prayed for by Daddy and drinking anointed oil. All her symptoms had disappeared and her red blood cell count was at an all time high. People screamed from the pews and others walked out to sow to it. On my row, argument burst as the brother who sat two chairs away said something about fake testifiers who were out for “Notice Me” to please Daddy Bishop and Mummy. “How d’you mean?” challenged the lady in between us. “It’s not scientifically possible.” “Was walking on water scientifically possible?” “But that was Jesus Christ.” “What of parting the Red Sea.” It was from an elderly man seated on the preceding row turning on his seat backwards. “Well, …..” smiled Doubting Thomas finding himself outnumbered. I prevaricated inside having initially shared DT’s opinions but being not so sure anymore. Moreover, the opposition looked distinguished. Seeing how I leaned forward right ways with interest in the talk, the buffer lady sought to drag me out: “Imagine what he said,” she started. “You mean that lady can come out to fake a healing just to please somebody?” I gently nodded my agreement. “You know what it means to suffer sickle cell — the pains, the crises?” She wasn’t done. “Yes,” I volunteered, “she even put on weight.” “That’s what I’m saying — it shows.” “Very well,” I concurred. By then it was just the two of us carrying on. The storm raised by SS to AA had blown over and two other testifiers who I didn’t listen to in the aftermath of the storm had brought the session to a close. The choir prepared to deliver its special number to usher in the sermon. As they rose, shades of green suffused the TV screens on the gallery. I had an unhindered view to the alter but depended on the screens for close-ups. The camera panned the choir frontlines and I ticked off: Bunmi, Nike, Tina, Ify, Florence. Blessing was missing. There was no knowing if she was around but didn’t robe for the service or she travelled. Fishing out my BB, I pinged her: No de fuk up, babe. Wia u de? She didn’t reply and the phone returned to 18 my pocket. The choir did a special number. Then came the moment I had been waiting for. All my senses were primed for the day’s message. Will it provide good enough materials for tonight? Daddy stepped onto the alter with his ipad. “Praise the Lord!” “Alleluia,” thundered the congregation. “That ‘alleluia’ is that of a malaria patient. If you know that you don’t have malaria, Praise the Lord!” “Alle – lu – yaaaa!!” “Shout it let me hear you.” “Alle – lu – yaaaaaaaa!!!” I didn’t join. Anybody who didn’t hear that first one will need to visit an ENT specialist. There won’t be any difference even if I did it with my eyes and nose and ears too. “Stand up and tell your neighbour on the right: ‘You’re in for an earthquake today.” Has the National Emergency Mgt Agency been informed? The church broke into a hearty babble. I turned to my lady neighbour on the right to repeat the line. She was turned rightwards too while the guy to my left was pitching the line to me. “Say it again: ‘You’re in for an earthquake today!’” We continued. “Now turn to the person on your left and say it: ‘You’re in for an earthquake today!’” I turned to the brother to my left. He was rattling off to his left hand neighbour. My right hand sister was on me. “Walk to seven people and tell them: ‘God is going to visit you today with a miracle.’” How am I sure? The pews scattered like a stepped-upon line of soldier ants. I went through the motions pumping palms here and there. Before I picked my way through the haphazard traffic to where I’d be in the natural line of contact with First Lady, the temporary jigsaw had fallen into place with order restored. Big fuk-up. I made my way back to my seat, unable to feel her hand today. On the alter, Daddy settled down to the business of the day. The topic was Work in Progress. I reached for my wallet. Rummaging its compartments, I chanced upon a piece of paper and unfurled. It was the counterfoil of my last electricity bill. The back was clear and I scribbled away. The root passa