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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
The conversation Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Taiwo Emmanuel Olusola, Nigeria Jan 22, 2009
Globalization , Education , Labour Rights   Short Stories
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Professor: The land is flooded; The land is flooded; The land is flooded.
Let the inhabitants seek rags, Mop the flood that engulfs to the knees; Squeeze it back into the flood.

Tenant: Professor, that is stupid, outlandish.

Prof.: It is the folly of life, my dear. And those that bestow upon it the nomenclature…

Tenant: What do you mean? What nomenclature?

Prof.: The nomenclature of ignorance in this part of the world… of injustice, corruption, poverty, religious verbosity with no equivalent mentality;
Ignoramuses who claim to have mopped the national tiles, Leaving behind trails and stamps of quagmire;
And ignoramuses who admire such stamps as if they were a design of desire painted by the solitary Mona Lisa.
They make promises that clog our demented brains, promises that vapourise with no trace of having been made.
They claim to have solved the problems, yet the problems remain staring into our eyes like hypnotised owls. Folly. It is all deception.

Tenant: But professor, things are becoming better. At least we are not dying of starvation.

Prof.: Who says?

Tenant: At least I have eaten this morning, and I already have my lunch on the stove. I am sure you have also eaten.

Prof.: How can you be so sure? Nitwit!

Tenant: Prof. that is insensitive!

Prof.: A colleague of mine once said, “Assumption is the lowest level of knowledge.”
I am not a dog. It is only a dog that wags its tail at the sight
Of the saliva soaked crumbs dropped by its stingy master.
The bones you call food look whitish,
Like those Isaiah -or was it Hezekiah or Ezekiel. I am not a religious person- found in the valley of dry bones.
Who would ever believe it once had flesh? Who would ever believe it was once in a pot of soup?
Your master; the leader has so licked it white that to think it was once fleshy is impossible.

Tenant: Now I understand: The economy is indeed fleshy, but it is voraciously munched by the greedy masters and the followers are made to settle for the bones. I see our folly; our naivety- the naivety that made us sell our mobile phones To purchase a faulty microchip. Now we can no longer talk and be heard. But Prof., don’t you still think the bone is gradually gathering back its flesh in the new dispensation?

Prof.: Beware of the man you see everywhere. When dusk steps in for inspection, you will discover that he has not done anything. Yes, the bone is gathering flesh, but only for those who can run fast enough to grab the baton of affluence. Not for feeble men like us.

Tenant: I don’t concur, Professor. It is for those who can outwit the witty: Make him part with his money while you part with the exchangeable.

Prof.: If it is about wit I guess I shouldn’t be here.

Tenant: Maybe professorship is not equivalent to wit, Professor.

Prof.: Watch your tongue, you dimwitted homo sapiens.

Tenant: That is very insensitive, Professor.

Wife: Where is that 3P man- the proud, poor Professor? Where are you? I know. You are here talking away the remaining non-valuable period of your life. Aren’t we going to eat this morning? It is already 12 noon.

Prof.: Oh, weak gender! Why have you come to torment me so? When men are talking women melt into thin air. Compress, woman! Compress!

Wife: You will see who will compress now! By the time I tear you into pieces… Give us money for food!

Prof.: You know quite well we have not been paid for some months, woman. Moreover, the ASUU* has been on strike for two months. Where do you want me to get money from?
Or friend, can you…

Tenant: Oh! I see. Ok, wait. I think I have some money in my room… Here you are. This is one thousand naira. What are these?

Prof.: They are my books. Each goes for five hundred naira. If you can sell the two, you have one thousand naira.
That should do for the weekend.

Wife: Let me go to the market before you rub your poverty rubs off on me. (Throws the book at him and storms off.)

Tenant: Professor, books…

Prof.: Yes, books. I have a library full of them.
Books worth thousands of naira. Nobody is buying them.
Nobody is reading. Ignorance pervades the land.
This lecturing job… may God help us!

Tenant: But Prof., can’t you do something else?

Prof.: Impossible! I love lecturing. It makes me feel like the custodian of knowledge.

Tenant: That is to say that you won’t always be happy doing what you like doing.
However, you don’t have a choice but to be happy doing it because you like doing it.

Prof.: Hmmh… That is the only sound and sensible thing you have said since morning.

Tenant: That is subtly insensitive, Professor. Oh my God! (He remembers the food he put on the stove.) My food! (He dashes off.)

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Writer Profile
Taiwo Emmanuel Olusola

I am a creative writer, a poet and a performer (of poetry). I am the author of NAKED SONGS, a collection of poems that centres on relationships. I am a graduate in Mass Communications. I presently work as a freelance editor and proof reader.

At present, I have edited over 30 bestselling books. I am the founder of PEN AND INK WORLD, a publishing outfit.
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