James Hadley Chase vs. Mario Puzo

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I’m currently on vacation and I had reason to visit my library. Guess what I unearthed? Don James Hadley Chase’ books. I can’t begin to explain what role JHC played in my reading habit.

I wasn’t always a reading freak. I hated books. School literature bored me to death. One faithful day in Junior Secondary School,  a friend gave me a “pamphlet” novel with the title The Vulture is a Patient Bird by James Hadley Chase.  I was amazed how intriguing and interesting I found the book. That was the beginning of my voyage into crime/thriller/detective novels.  I enjoyed the book so much that I started hunting for other JHC’s books. And over the years,  I have read quite a handful of his books.

Having enjoyed JHC books, I ventured into – or should I say, I was introduced to Mario Puzo’s The Godfather. And boy! Did I enjoy another work of literature!

Till date, I still think both writers are my favourite crime writers. There’s been this debate amongst my circle of “literature friends” who between James Hadley Chase and Mario Puzo is better. Many have voted against JHC just because his books are usually small. I don’t think this is a good criteria for judging the writer. In fact, if anything,  the fact that he tells  fascinating plots in such few pages should be a credit to him. The suspense in JHC books is always riveting to say the least. I have only been disappointed by just one of JHC and that was “Knock Knock! Who’s there”. There was no twist to the end of that book, which is a stand out characteristic of every JHC’s work. It ended like a typical Nollywood ‘blockbuster’ – you expected the end.

Well, I have also been disappointed by one of Mario Puzo’s works too. And that was the book “The Last Don”. I know you might have a different opinion, but that book didn’t go down too well with me. Maybe it’s because it was his next work I read after The Godfather. Maybe I was expecting so much more after the treat I got from The Godfather. Humans are quite insatiable, I tell you!

Whew! Which of the two authors is your favourite?

My Romantic Rules of Engagement for a hitch-free World Cup Season.

My love,

It is with great pleasure and a deep sense of responsibility that I write you this letter. I trust your night was awesome. I am sorry I could not make it home last night. I could say that I was working overnight in the office, but you would know I am lying. I was re-scheduling my diary for the next one month. That brings me to why I am writing this heart-felt letter.

As you already know, the World Cup starts today. Yes, the one I have been talking about in the last few weeks. Baby, isn’t this exciting?! The World Cup actually starts today! Whew! So I have written down a few understandings you and I will have during this period. I know you love me and you’ll do anything for me, right? Remember how I stood by you and endured you during the BBA last year? Yeah baby. This is my BBA and I expect you to stand by me. You will stand by me, baby. Right? Right.
So, here we go:

dv18190401. If you call my line twice and I don’t pick, don’t call it the third time. I am not dead. I am watching a game. And oh, don’t expect me to return your call immediately. I am watching a game. If you call me the third time, baby, I will block your number. I love you.

2. If I don’t return home on time or if I don’t return home at all, no baby, I have not been kidnapped. I am watching a game at a sports bar or I must have crashed at a friend’s place after watching the game. Please don’t ping me incessantly, asking if I’m safe. I will delete you with love.

3. We can’t attend any parties or events on Saturdays. My Saturdays have been fully booked. I will be working overtime at my friends’ place. Don’t call my friends to confirm. They have my instruction to block your number.

4. If I return home on time, the only chats we’ll be having will be football-related. No, don’t tell me what the Landlady did. Or what your boss said to you at work. Unless he said something about football. Baby, you know the world has been clamouring for gender equality? I have come to agree with these clamours. During the next one month, you can take charge of everything in this house – fix whatever is broken, give the house a make-over, pay the bills, empty the trash can, arrange for Baba Tobi to come and fix the plumbing works, take your car to the mechanic workshop…and mine too, do the garden etc etc. Don’t discuss with me before taking any decision. I love you and I know you can handle stuff by yourself.

 

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5. The sitting room and its ‘hereditaments’ belong to me for the next one month. I have ordered for a new TV to be placed in the bedroom. Baby, you can have it all to yourself. I love you that much. Just don’t tamper with the sitting room TV or the DSTV decorder/remote. If you must visit me in the sitting room, kindly enter and leave without a hush, like the proverbial thief in the night. I must not hear your footsteps. I mean it.

6. No. Your friends can’t come visiting during that period. Unless they are male friends, then they have my blessings. And when they come, they’ll be restricted to the sitting room. If I sight a female friend walk into the compound, I will accidentally feed Bruno, our dog with beans and dry gin and I will thereafter, accidentally release him. And he will accidentally bite her.

 

food

7. This will be our food roster for the next one month:

Breakfast: Any food you decide to prepare.
Lunch: Don’t worry, bae. I’ll be fine.
Dinner: See Lunch above.

8. You will support any team I support. We have always had things in common, right? It must remain that way this next 30 days. If you scream the name of a team I don’t support, even by mistake, you are moving out of the house. I am not joking.

sad black guy

9. If my team loses and I feel bad, you must feel bad with me. If I laugh, you must laugh with me. If I’m pissed at a Ref, you must be pissed at that Ref. Anything short of this, then the house-keeping money for next month will be short too. And our planned vacation to Dubai during the hols will be cancelled indefinitely. Baby, don’t test me.

productivity-sticky-notes

10. I bought a sticker note and a pen. This will be our mode of communicating during the next 30 days whenever I’m not at work. Tell/ask me whatever you want to on the sticker notes. However, you are only restricted to use one page per day. And I reserve the right to reply in whatever manner, language or abbreviation I want. If I write “K” it means “K” and “end of that discussion.” If I write “No” it means “think of another option and execute it without involving me any further.” If I write “LMFAO” and I keep the straightest of faces, baby, ni tori Olorun, joor keep away from me for at least two days.

Baby, I hope the foregoing is sufficient to ensure we have a smooth relationship this next 30 days. You know I have listening ears? So, I am open to any reservations you may have about any of the foregoing terms and conditions.

Kindly document your reservations in the box below.

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Love,
Harold.

Scarred

worryWill I die a painful death

Or will I die a peaceful one

Death is certain

This, I know

But will I die a painful death

Or will I die a peaceful one.

 

 

Will I get run over by a moving train

Or will I die in my sleep

Will I get crushed by a site crane

Or will I drown as I swim

 

Will I get hit by a bus

Driven by a man with a drink

Or will I get shot in the head

By a lunatic with Al Qaeda link

 

Will I die of a sickness without cure

Or will I die of a broken heart

Will I die in a collapsed building

Or will I die in a plane crash

 

Will I die drowning in wealth

As I choke on Newton’s apple

Or will I die atop wretchedness

As I scramble for Lazarus’ crumbs

 

Will I die from electrocution

My body, still like a man at peace

Or will I die from gas explosion

My body, well, there’s no peace in this

 

Will I die a painful death

Or will I die a peaceful one

Death is certain

This, I know

But will I die a painful death

Or will I die a peaceful one.

****************************

 

Twitter: @haroldwrites

Facebook:  facebook.com/haroldwrites

Enwongo Cleopas: I will pronounce your name —Lupita Nyong’o

So my sister  Lupi won an Oscar the other night and people have been buzzing my line ever since, wishing me well and saying how much they knew my family would make it in this life. Huh? My twitter mentions, facebook wall, emails, whatsapp etc have all been flooded with goodwill messages. *flips short hair* Well, thank you, thank you and thank you. God has been so good to my family. You see, we started from the bottom, now we are going to dine with the Obamas in space. You know, while we were still struggling,  I remember my cousin, Drake telling me that it was only a matter a time. My nephew, Kevin Hart organised a deliverance session for the family sometime in the summer of 2007. R. Kelly was the officiating minister. I remember Papa R. Kelly kissing me and telling me I should just believe. He kept kissing my palms….

Anyway,  that’s all history now. My family is now international…….

While trying to scale over my Facebook fence today, I saw this wonderful post from my other sister, Enwongo Cleopas: “I will pronounce your name —Lupita Nyong’o”. So I decided to share it with you. Read and tell me what you think.

I will pronounce your name —Lupita Nyong’o

I never heard about this name until last year.
I was curious to find out about this name.
And then I watched “12 years A Slave” and instantly appreciated it so much. (The same way I did with the movie “The Help”)
I appreciated Lupita’s touching role.
I read about her a little bit more.

And in a space of four (4) months this name is speedingly becoming One that my children will reckon with as a force in History.
I am not obsessed with this name.
But I cannot help but smile whenever I hear it pronounced.
I have this intense pride about this name.
This name encourages and motivates me in a way I cannot explain.
And I glad that I am in the generation that birthed this Great Lady ‘Lupita Nyong’o.
And I am grateful to God for this Wonderful creation of His.
I will pronounce your name, again and again.

********************

You can visit Miss Enwongo’s Facebook wall here: https://www.facebook.com/enwongo.cleopas

 

Sex and the Sixty

black-love-oldThey say life begins at forty. But mine was officially over by then. My name is Osaro Oghenekevbe. I used to be the campus dude who knew what’s up during my hay days – my nicky “Double O” could attest to that. I could tell the taste of a woman from the curl of her lips, or the colour of her lipstick. I knew how to turn every girl on – until I met my wife. If someone had actually told me I would get married in this life, I would have wished to swallow a bag of nails instead. But here I am, married to the woman of my nightmare – Ogene. Actually, I wouldn’t really say I married her. My mom did – when I turned forty and she felt my life was heading for the doldrums. Not only was Ogene a minus facially, she was too local to be my wife. I mean a girl from the village? The gods forbid! And not only was she also short, she was actually a midget! I thought they said thunder never struck at the same place twice. But with Ogene, it struck more than thrice. She was just bad luck, and the cause of my present predicament. I married her because my mom threatened if I didn’t, she would beat her flaccid breasts for me.

We have been married for about twenty-five years now – or thereabout. I can’t really figure our anniversary date. You wouldn’t if you were in my shoes. So you can guess my age. Yes, late sixties. Our first night together was a total disaster! One look at her nakedness and I lost my libido – FOREVER! Come on, don’t laugh. I mean it. Can you imagine making love to a midget? Ah-ha! My man became like my aged mothers breast, forever. So, for like twenty-five years, I didn’t know what it felt like to have s…

My doctors have recommended a whole lot of bullshit. Forgive my language. (It’s only an expression of my agitation.) To get my grooves back on since I turned forty, I have done things real sane people wouldn’t. I have been on therapy, gone to the church, mosque and recently, the herbalists. I have drunk concoctions in the name of natural herbs and I have starved myself to death-points in the name of dry fasts!

Today, all that is about to become history. A friend just recommended a rare treatment – a visit to a call-girl. I throttle into the brothel on three feet with a paper in hand. It was my ticket to youthfulness. Written on the paper is the name of my mistress – Ibukun. I ask everyone I see for her room and they direct me further. The hall smells of burnt tobacco and strong ale. Screams of ecstasy and mortal fulfilments ooze out of the dark, filthy rooms by my side. The sully hallway, with paraphernalia ranging from pails with dirty water to shoes of both hosts and clients, looks like a coven. Clients stand by doors waiting for their turns. The red-yellow bulb above my head blinks erratically.

I finally get to my room. Luckily for me, there is no client waiting. My aged hand shakes uncontrollably as I knock on the door. An angelic voice invites me in. I brush my hair (if only I still have a strand on) with my rough palm, dust my shirt and move into the dark room.

“Undress and close your eyes,” the sweet voice commands in the dark.

Excitedly, I obey. My imagination grows wild. I expect my miracle.

“But wait,” I say. “I like to do it with the lights on.”

“No problem, papa,” Ibukun says as she saunters to the switchboard.

*Click***Click** The lights go on as I open my eyes to see my saviour. And what?!! Standing before me is who? Ogene?!!! My Ogene?!! What? How? What prank is this? My midget wife on G-string? In a brothel?

Another look at her thick, muscular nakedness, my heart takes a long pause…and restarts. And I know I am going to have a cardiac arrest!!!

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If you love this story, then I have a special package for you. Stalk me on twitter @haroldwrites to receive your package or like my facebook page at Facebook.com/HaroldWrites

Photo credit: Atlanta Black Star

*This is a republication of an old post.

KOKO JESUS

images2.jpgIF JESUS WERE TO BE BORN TODAY…

As reported by Double Oh Seven Senior Correspondent (Koko Newspaper)

Recently, a video flick was posted by a thirteen-year old Israeli boy on YouTube. The flick is claimed to be the video of the much anticipated birth of The Messiah in a manger as prophesied by the Jewish Prophets of about six thousand years ago. If this video is anything to go by, then faithful of the Jewish sect – The Brethren (which presently is almost in every country of the world) are in for happy times as this, they believe will shut their doubters. However, when confronted with the said birth of the messiah, the Secretary to the President of the United States on Foreign Affairs, Ms. Hilary Lipton retorted, “Listen to yourself. How can the Messiah be born in a manger of all places? For crying out loud, this (America) is God’s own country! Where else would God choose to drop his son than here?” When asked by pressmen if the United States Government was not concerned the Israelis may recruit the boy into their military as the prophets of old prophesied he would be capable of many things ( like making a nuclear weapon?), the Secretary replied, “If the story of the boy’s birth is true…. then the U.S definitely won’t sit back. Yes, we are concerned. Umm, all I can say now is that we’ve got the best scientists in the world, so we will really consider cloning our own messiah. What can’t our scientists do?”

Meanwhile, members of the religious Jewish Sect in the West African country of Nigeria are in a mood of frenzy about the news. The President, Goodluck Nathaniel is a senior member of the sect. Just last week, he appeared on the American T.V Station, Cable News Network (CNN) declaring that the self-acclaimed ‘Giant of Africa’ is considering making the baby a crib for a present. Hear him, “It is not going to be just any crib. It is going to be the world’s biggest crib. The Ministry of Interior Decoration have contacted some of the world’s finest construction firms and we are going to make a crib as big as the World Trade Centre of blessed Memory.” This news is coming on the heels of the country’s failed attempt to make the world’s biggest cake at its fiftieth Anniversary, but the President is not perturbed. “We know we made a mistake, but this time, we shall get it right!” he enthused.

The President isn’t the only one planning to welcome the Messiah. All around the Western African country, posters, fliers and billboards have been circulated and erected with the inscription, “Bomboi Jesu…9ja loves you!” The President’s wife is reported to be organising a high delegation of women groups to visit the child, all dressed in customised Ankara with the inscription, “Messiah, 9ja’s first Lady loves you. Na U b d Koko!” In the Neighbouring country of Ghana, President Jacob Zuma-Rock has hinted what should be expected of them. “We are sending the boy and his mother five hundred million cedis (C500,000,000). I mean FIVE HUNDRED MILLION CEDIS.” Some few years back, that amount would be five hundred naira (N500), Nigerian currency.

Citizens of Britain are not taking reports of the birth of The Messiah in Israel likely. Some don’t even believe it’s true. “How can it be?” a Londoner replied when faced with the issue. “The prophets of old claimed The Messiah will be from the house of David, right? But the only David who is making the waves right now is David Beckham but Becks says there has been no new born in his lineage. Or could the prophets have meant David Luiz of Chelsea instead?”

In Russia, the story is spreading like wild fire. Usmarov, the world’s richest man was featured in this month’s issue of Forbes Magazine. The multi-billion dollar rich oil mogul revealed he is aware of the birth. “I have heard of it,” he said in an Exclusive interview. “And I think its great news for the world. I mean, we have waited for it for like how long? – Six thousand years? Geez, that’s like forever! I am just happy it is happening during my time. I could invest in that area, who knows?” The wealthy billionaire however, didn’t reveal how he intends to invest in the boy’s birth. “It is top business secret,” he said.

The Entertainment world is not unaware of the hype. Top Hollywood celebrities, Brat Pit and Angel Jolie are conspiring to adopt the baby. “The world knows how much we love babies,” Jolie said in a press briefing before boarding a plane for Israel. “But this is not just about adopting another baby. This baby was born in the most unpleasant of places and circumstances. A manger? How is the mother fairing? So you see, We are not just going to adopt another baby. We are going to save a life, to help a family in need and above all, to save the world.”

Hollywood award-winning director, James Cameronia revealed he is really considering doing a movie on the birth of the boy. “Only this time, he will not be born in a manger,” he said on channel E! “No one will buy such movie. You know, people want action. In my movie, he will be born in a casino…We are considering casting Matt Daemon as his father and Halle Berry as his mom…..Umm, don’t let me tell you the movie even before it goes on set. Just hold your breath. You will love it.”

Back in the West African country of Nigeria, some Nollywood producers are having the same idea. One of them, Fred Atama tells us a little bit of what to expect. “I think we will either use Aki or Pawpaw to play the part of the baby Messiah. Those boys are a bundle of talent and either of them will play the role just fine.”

*This is a an old post. I have been too busy recently to breathe, not to talk of writing anything….By the way, this story has already been published in DEGREE360 MAGAZINE and on http://www.naijastories.com by Yours Faithfully. Read, share same and follow me on twitter @haroldwrites . Gracias!

Twisted

questions-aheadAkpanobong looked up at the sky, dollops of sweat trickling down his grimy face. The huge ball of the sun flared and burnt wildly, with circles of hues appearing around it. Akpanobong shook his head gently. He had no wristwatch but with the sun burning so brightly, he was certain it was past mid-day already. It had been a long time since he had decent food – since any member of his family had decent food – and he was certain today was going to be no exception. Before leaving the house earlier in the day, he had promised his aged mother and little sister that he was going to return home before midday with lunch. His stroke-stricken mother who was confined to a wheel chair only nodded wearily. His little sister heaved. It was not the first time Akpanobong would be leaving home with such promise. It had become a tradition and the two members of his family expected the same speech every morning.

Akpanobong who was now sitting by a gutter along Osongama road shook his head again. This was not the life he had wanted – a life where his family’s next meal was down to fate. Ever since he lost his father on his sixteenth birthday some three years ago, the mantle of fatherhood rested on Akpanobong’s little head. He had had to do every menial job out there – from lifting blocks at building sites to picking items from dump sites for sale to recyclers. But today, he had gone round the whole Itiam Etoi village in search of any menial work, yet no luck was forthcoming. Even the dump sites usually scattered all over the village seemed to have been cleared, no thanks to the Operation Keep Akwa Ibom Clean (OKAC) initiated by the Akpabio led government in Akwa Ibom state.

“Unam ikot!” Akpanobong cursed the Governor under his breath. He could not understand why every state policy, initiative or scheme seemed to be targeted at him. The other time, as soon as he purchased an old enang ukwak to join in the ala alog business, the Governor placed a ban on enang ukwak riders; then he decided to get a keke on loan so he could ply transportation business along Wellington Bassey road – a road which led to the State House and other prime areas in the State, but the Governor made a policy restricting the movement of keke drivers in the area. Now, he was into picking recyclable items from waste sites and the Governor thought it necessary to Continue reading