It welled itself round like an edge and sticks closer to the body more than the nape. A curse is like a postage stamp, it follows the accursed wherever he goes. It is a shadow that is there even when people try to deny its existence. Why I believed those that told me that I was cursed with reading was because I was book, and book was me.
I was still under incubation in my mother’s womb reading classic novels when she started regaling me with Uncle Kola. I had heard the name a trillion and one times that I thought everybody on earth was bearing Uncle Kola or a protagonist in Agatha Christy’s And There Were None sequel. Not until I entered the world that I knew better.
After some minutes, my mother came up with another sentence, “That reminded me of my brother, Kola.”
My mother said Uncle Kola was cursed by his Nigerian wife-to-be, Bola, who slaved for him by dropping out of school so she could finance his bill and when he graduated she would go back to school, but he left her to date a Briton. He promised her snow in hell, “If I were to choose between you and eternity, I’d rather choose you a million times. Eternity is too far for my longing. If falling in love with you were like toiling with flames of fire, I wouldn’t mind burning to ashes.” Immediately he told her this, her brain cells were let loose and took a summer trip to Puerto Rico holidaying. She worked herself into coma to send him abroad.
Bola undressed herself at dawn before the first rooster crowed at the front of a tree sprouting at the middle of a T-junction that accepted rituals from all manners of hands; either to bless or curse. She laid hands on her two lamps of the chest and uttered some words to the tree.
“If a ship travels far and wide, it returns to its harbor.” Her lips were as heavy as a stone as she stressed the words where the expletives were like straps of bras. “It is only if I never sweated through my breasts when laboring for you that you will have a place to lay your head. If a snake walks a thousand times on a mountain, it still makes no impact.”
She spat on the ground and waited for it to dry.
Uncle Kola was a valedictorian of his set in his heyday who graduated summa cum laude from the first premier university, Ibadan, from the Department of Law, in Nigeria. A meteoric rise to fame: he won one of the scholarships to study at Yale University in Connecticut to cut them down. It looked like he cooked his law books and he extricated the unnecessary ones that lecturers were sure that he wasn’t in class when they were coming- he was made from the literati. His strands of hair represented a bye-law in the constitutions of the G-8 nations because he knew that to make it big, you need to work for the big countries. He rode from France to Russia as if he was rolling from the edge of his bed to the other. Some white men said he was using juju from Okija shrine to win cases back-to-back because he was the first black man to be inducted into the hall of fame of Phi Beta Kappa of his department.
Success came too fast to him: he graduated ahead of his mates and partnered with a law firm in New York because you haven’t lived until you died in New York. A bankrupt law firm in New York City is still manageable than a flourishing law firm anywhere else; handling the Senate President’s money laundering cannot even withstand it. He made his first million dollars as one of the jurors that investigated the infamous doping scandal of the world cyclist record holder, Lance Armstrong that was handled by United States Anti-Doping Agency, USADA, over his performance-enhancing drugs during his career.
CiNN can make you a star just as it can build you a doom. She wrote concerning Armstrong, ‘The epic downfall of cycling’s star, once idolized icon of millions around the globe, stands out in history of professional sports.’ CiNN can sell you fortune and later rebate misfortune over your head. Armstrong became a tumour in Tour De France and he was removed from the brain of the organizers by those who worked with him. Not only was he removed, he was stripped of his titles; banned, fined and his endorsements were terminated like a teenage unwanted pregnancy prematurely after he had admitted openly to using enhancer in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2013. Uncle Kola started smiling to Bank of America as one of the lawyers that made dead cases not only to come alive, but started living. Downtrodden cases turned cause celebre in his chamber whenever he is defending.
He laid hold on his first mansion in Los Angeles, though it wasn’t a tax friendly zone, his net worth and other litigations could foot the bills. His papa and mama called him.
“Kolawole, do not forget to buy your father and I a new Mercedes Benz to run the street in front of our church members who think nothing good can come out of our Nazareth.”
She was still on phone when her husband snatched the phone from her.
“You speak too much, woman! Send the money I told you for that acre of land so that you can have something to rely on, and your siblings’ fees.” He hung the NITEL phone and did not even pretend he came with his wife.
“You would leave me here and go?” she asked with a stern look that called for camera.
“No, I will go and come for you later,” he was sarcastic.
He was longing for any question to come from her before venting his dissatisfaction on her.
“Wait, do you think the phone card runs on water? That was what you did last month that you busied him with your useless list … buy me Americana pants, buy me London earrings, Indian hair and Paris necklace; don’t forget to buy the designers that First Lady uses. If not that I snatched the phone from your mouth, you’d told him to buy you Singapore okra and Ohio bitter leaves to see if they taste like our local ones.” She hissed like dragging a worn-out shoe on the ground and flagged down a taxi to take her home. When a woman does all the make-up to kill, the man she tries to slay is very close by.
Few years after, Kola was reinvigorated into a subpoena by some religious fanatics who said Mr President supported gay marriage because the First Lady was a supposed tranny, despite the fact it was a joke from the controversial Joan Rivers who purported it was a way of getting people to talk. News had it that she appeared to have a large penis in her pants. Her shoulders are wide, and her face very, very masculine. A video of hers undergoing systemic chemotherapy circulated YouTube like Bobrisky’s. Uncle Kola handled the case strenuously and Mr President had no depression in the White House from Americans compared to the rude shock of Africans libeling him Anti-Christ. Hell has no rage compared to heaven’s snow.
CiNN reporter had the caption on that glorious morning on Good Morning, America. “The news that Mr President is a gay has finally been jettisoned by the Supreme Court of the United States as case that lacked legal merit. It rubbishes it as a waste of mind.”
For the case thrown in garbage of meaningless cases, he became a topnotch lawyer in America as the first immigrant who could likely wear the wig left behind by Alexander Hamilton, a heavyweight in the courtroom. Any trial he wasn’t on bench was tagged a minor trial. It was likened to setting a detective story outside New York; it can look like a detective story, but never a detective story as rightly believed by Yorkers which made Uncle Kola a Yorker. He became a household name. Anyone who’d never known him was like an American who grew up in New York but did not know where Liberty Statue was. He knew a dead case better than g-string pants on Amazon. He tumbled records as the first black man to win 40 major legal trials without losing any which made his name to enter Guinness World Records as Cola.
All these while, the curse laid on Uncle Kola was lacing the straps on its sneakers by Nike to lay hold on him. But from Bola’s point, it seemed the curse was doodling on its way to Washington D.C. due to the monuments there. This time, she went with alligator pepper, a bone that was snatched from a dog’s mouth and a piece of rag. She applied the pepper on her tongue.
“Kola’s fowl has broken my egg, and I must in turn spill its milk on the floor. If a fowl uses its hand to build a hut at dawn, it uses its legs to destroy it at dusk. A bone succeeds meat, and a rag is the end of a cloth. These are things I want Kola to end with.” She sent her words through the mothers who slept in the morning but were always agile at midnight.
Before the curse trailed him from the City of Ibadan to New York, he handled divorce cases for Hollywood stars and NBA players who took divorce for another vanilla ice-cream in California. Nothing much happened that day; it was a slight row over a senator’s case between him and his boss. He said he would check out of America and set up his chamber in Nigeria, a land flowing with naira and crude oil.
During a trial of a Wisconsin senator who was charged with pedophilia, his boss told him to drop the case and allow the man stand down from the House before he would be served papers. He repudiated the idea. A piece of news on Wall Street Journal was hotter than fire on any other review. Serve it like it’s hot is the jargon. It would be stale news and it wouldn’t be burning like The Bourne Supremacy or Bill Clinton’s sexual affair with Monica Lewinsky and others in 1998 that shut down the White House.
Senator Ted Tucker was a happily married man with three beautiful princesses. He appeared in corporate dress with his blue eyes and lanky body that attracted something good to the society. He had donated all a philanthropist could donate except his kidney which made him the highest serving senator of a Hispanic descent. He’d been assured of his life; insured his house, guaranteed his seat in the next election but he’d got no protective from the curvature of female bodies: he fell for them like snow and drooled on their cleavages after a dosage of romance. The art of passion inflames his vitals; then like a bird fluttering straight into the net either a Stratosphere Hotel for a WWW Championship of four legs on bed. Sophocles loved boys as much Euripides loved women but Tucker’s love for high school girls was a screamer of a rating. He liked them intact and succulent. He’d slept with more high school girls in his first tenure than changing his pants. From spring to summer, he never lacked the company of teenage virgins.
But his three daughters ages 18, 21 and 23 were still virgins. He never mollycoddled any of them. Whereas high school girls in California had given out their virginity away at takeaway prices like wedding gowns at Kleinfold Bridal. Tucker’s daughters were ratiocinators and his mansion became their nunnery.
Her first daughter told a crush who asked for a date, “I’d rather be another Mary, than your chick. I would kiss a Pomeranian dog before considering you in the pecking order.”
The research that rated Washington D.C. teenagers to have access to pregnancy like a right to living lost its grip over them because they wouldn’t use condoms. A Prince of Wales had quoted an encyclopedia to convince the timidest of Tucker’s daughters for a one night stand or employed Harry Kellar to decapitate her body with magic and handed it over to him. If not that way, forget it and let it remain a phantasmagoria.
* * * * *
Wright, Esq., wasn’t only the barrister to boss Uncle Kola; he was the only person who had the closest point below him but graduated before him to set up his own law firm. They met not only in the office, but also in books they read too: they spoke similar jargons. Only that one knew how, when, and where to manipulate like Jennifer in Rage of Angels.
“No, I am not dropping this case.” Uncle Kola retorted.
“The case here lacks legal merit. No foolproof to nail the coffin of this case,” said Wright.
When you are a celebrity, people attack you with outrageous lies. Even after the death of Michael Jackson, people still attack him of sleeping with their infamous missus.
“Wright, I’ve won more people over during trials than Pablo Casals had done through his cello touring White House to perform before John F. Kennedy.”
“I’ve never lost any pedophile trial, the day I lose I check out of this country.” Uncle Kola was feisty.
Wright laid his palm on a law book, he said, “If all the criminal cases in your country were prosecuted professionally, those pairs of legs in skirts and trousers sauntering the street of Abuja had waned off like fig trees.” Wright bewailed the stunning corruption in Africa tiptoeing the government shenanigans in diverse styles.
Uncle Kola cackled.
“Had there been a better place than hell, I’d told Tucker to go to hell. But since there is no better place than hell, Tucker can have a rollercoaster to hell.” He banged the table. “F**k him!”
Wright cooled his breath, “Cola, it isn’t that you don’t pursue some legal cases, but when the winners are lower than the losers, you roll with the losers.” He extenuated.
“Meaning? Sweep the case under the Grand Oak tree so that Wisconsin can continue to celebrate that she still has a rep in the House.”
In a phalanx of Lying Politicians: Liars in American Politics by Ranker, Wright was supposed to be behind Cory Booker as a complement for his immeasurable contribution to American Bar.
Wright turned to Shakespeare for better explanation, “There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
“To willful men, the injuries that they themselves procure must be their schoolmasters,” Kola responded.
Addlepated, Wright raked his brain to see what else to utter but right words were beyond Wright’s lips. What Uncle Kola wanted was to be off the radar of law firms in Chicago and Los Angeles. His column on Universal Press Syndicate is a monthly publication tagged Colarified is acclaimed niceties by legal pundits. It made lawyers’ hair stand on end; many could only wish for that wide readership.
“A senator in America is a god to those he represents, they serve him like punishment.” Wright stabbed him at the back and his temple dropped like that of a rottweiler.
“Tucker should not rot in prison; no museum in Alabama would like to preserve his memory. Instead he should serve a million year jail term so that he can serve as a template to senescence who might want to give pedophile a kiss someday.”
A delay in justice is like cancer of the breast, if it is not taken off at the right time, it will destroy wherever it is found.
He packed his files the next day and told Wright, “You shall be both plaintiff and judge of your own cause. Farewell! Thou are too dear for my possessing.”
Though I am not naturally honest, I’m so by chance.
Fin de siècle!
Uncle Kola only lasted two years in Nigeria before he ran bankrupt. His magnum opus came as he landed in Nigeria to handle two major cases in Oyo State one of which was involving a governor that was impeached for his deputy to take over. The case was settled at the High Court in Yemetu as his impeachment lacked merit. From there on, he began to deflate like a balloon that was pinched with needle slowly. He first of all developed penchant for afro music and spent his fortunes on music by Fela Kuti; then a flair for Mercedes Benz; he changed cars like Walk Oxford shoes.
The curse was not done with him yet; saying that he became a pauper was an act of generousity. His chambers did not only lack major cases in the midst of political brouhahas that enveloped Nigeria before the international viewers, his chamber finally became a score-board for angry fans to write the scores of Premiership and Championship games. Manchester City vs Arsenal 8:2; Arsene Wenger should resign with immediate alacrity. Holes in the building became a confinement for rodents; a boardroom to have a caliphate of how to attack national resources at time when the owners were unscrupulous.
About the Author
Adeyemo Oluwadurotimi hails from Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. He is a tutor by day but romances his pen at dusk. He is a graduate of Languages and Linguistics from the University of Jos where he is currently running his master’s program in Literature-in-English.
He is a novelist and short story writer whose work has appeared on Kalahari Review. His debutant, Tales of Two Ghosts, where two great ghosts are granted breaks to visit their former home countries. The novel is an e-book on www.morebook.shop, bambooks and Amazon.