Royal Baby

by Nnaemeka Oruh

The early morning mist still shrouded the street. As usual, PHCN had struck so the street of Jesus Avenue was still dark as Uncle Sam made his way to the junction to wait for early morning cabs. He was dressed
in threadbare chinos trousers held tightly to his big belly by a brown, cracked belt. Underneath his armpit was a black polythene bag that held a spare shirt and trousers and most importantly, the GIFT.

His mind was dead set on his mission. The frogs croaking all along the street sounded too distant to him. He made his way to the junction, shivering slightly from the early morning cold. He smiled happily to
himself as he remembered his mission.

“I have to hurry and see him,” he said out loud to himself.

At the junction, cabs seemed to have conspired to delay him. He waited for close to forty-five minutes before an unpainted Mazda 626 pulled up.

“Oga, where you dey go?” The kolanut chewing cab driver asked. Doused in ogogoro, he seemed a little unstable even at that wee hour of the morning.

“Airport” Uncle Sam responded.

“Na 3,000 naira o” the driver said.

“Ok, make we dey go” Uncle Sam replied and jumped into the car.

He was not in the mood to bargain. His mission was far more important to
be disrupted by mundane things like money. In his trousers pocket, he
had Ten Thousand Naira, which represents all his savings for months as a
security man.

“I can afford to pay him 3,000 naira,” he thought. “7,000 will pay for my flight to London”

It was while he was at Anayo’s bar drinking palm wine and scanning the numerous newspapers Anayo always kept at the bar that he first heard the news. Justus, the civil servant who smells like he rubs palm kernel oil first broke the news to them. After that, everywhere Uncle Sam went to that day and even all through the week, people were saying nothing else. It was the news that engulfed the entire country to the extent that even the fight by the shameless lawmakers was forgotten. Even, nobody remembered that schools have been locked up because teachers were on strike. Even, the raging battle between the sage professor and the market-woman First Lady was forgotten. It was like Christ had been born.

That was when Uncle Sam realised that he has to go on this mission. He has
to go and pay homage, and offer his gift of uda seeds so that mother and child will eat yam pepper soup made of uda seeds. This birth was not an ordinary birth. It was the birth of the royal baby; the saviour of the
world. It was the birth that would open up all paths to success and Uncle Sam was not one to fail to ingratiate himself to the star that will light up the world. He had missed several opportunities in life and this is not one he would miss.

Little stars exploded all over Uncle Sam’s face. He could not grasp immediately if that meant he had been translated into the spirit realm. Then in his state of semi consciousness, could feel the prod of cold steel in his ribs.

“Wetin you hold there?” A voice asked, roughly tearing at his polythene bag.

Uncle Sam could not answer. He realised that the stars he saw resulted from the ramming of gun butt on his head. The drunk driver was not finished yet. He had parked by the roadside and was now forcefully searching Uncle Sam.

Uncle Sam resisted. He would not allow this miscreant take away his flight fare to London. He has to see the royal baby. He tried to fight back, to protect his mission, but got more beatings until he passed out.

When he came to, he was lying beside the road, his torn polythene bag a short distance from him. His cloths had been torn, eyes swollen and blood all over his face. Then he remembered; the mission! In frenzy, he checked his trousers pocket for his flight fare.
It was gone.

“Oh God! Why why why!” He cried. From little sobs, he became hysterical and started weeping loudly.

It was daylight already and people had started moving about their businesses. Some stopped to ask what happened and why he was weeping hysterically. Others merely drove past, indifferent.

No matter each person’s views, there was nothing funny about a bloodied up grown man weeping hysterically in public, and complaining to whoever cared to listen that they robbed him of the 10,000 naira he wanted to use to fly to London to see the royal baby.

Livin’ my life a legend immortalized in pictures! Fast cars and jewels…

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