Monday, 4 December 2017

The Earthworm Story

I was born to this earth, a worm. A brown spineless earth worm. And right from when I knew myself, I hated it. I hated that I was an earthworm. I even hated that I had to hate myself. It was perplexing.
For a long time, I remember always asking God why he had to make me an earthworm. God had a way of being humourously wicked, didn’t he? I couldn’t see, I couldn’t hear, I couldn’t talk and I very much couldn’t smell either. I only had a sense of feeling.
Now I asked God why he would create some others with five complete senses and just leave people like me with one miserable sense. The sense of feeling. What did I need it for anyway? I asked God to trade that sense of mine with sight, that I would appreciate it more.
He didn’t. I wasn’t even sure he heard me. I was not sure he cared about me. He had no reason to, anyway. He had a lot more creatures who could help him do a million more things than I could for him, so he did not have any cause to care about me or even to consider listening to me.
Why, he was God and I was what? I didn’t even have a name. I did not have a proper place in the society. I was not one of God’s already numerous children. Nobody cared about me.
Except maybe those biologists and agricultural science teachers who told their pupils that I was good for the soil.
Now I cannot tell you when I realized that I was not a normal earthworm and that I knew more things and was capable of thinking more things that my regular earth friends and how it is, that I came to know all these things I know–but there are things that I realized early on about my race.
For one thing, we were useless. The only good we were supposed to do was for the soil, and one day, while thinking about it. I realized that even that soil that we helped so well could still do very well without us.
We weren’t even as useful as chickens and fishes who at least had an important role when it came to human beings. Rather we were used as bait for fish.
“God” I said “Like, really. Is that the best you could do for us? Bait for fish?”
And like all the other times, he did not answer me. It pained me to think that he had never heard me speak–which to tell you the truth–was a big possibility , since I was not human and was not a christian either.
“I would have served you, God” I told him. “But you made me an earthworm. That was your loss. You should have known God, you should have known. You should have known being a worm was no good for me.” And he knew. He was God, he was all knowing. It was why I considered him as a wicked God. I hated him. I hated him for making me a worm.
I also treadled on the possibility that God had just being funny when he made me smart. He was using his sense of humour. His dark humour. He made me able to think. Why hadn’t he just allowed me to be like the other earthworms, at least I would not have been this miserable. It was torture. It must have been worse than hell, I concluded.
But then, I did change my mind one day when I wasn’t overly angry, when I thought of the fact that even though everywhere was dark and quiet in my world, I was not burning hot and no one was torturing me. If I had eyes, or tear glands at least I would have cried. This was torture enough. The only difference between my life and hell was that I was not burning.
And this, was the gospel truth.
For days at a time, I tried to understand life. I tried to think from God’s side of things, as sensible thinkers did do. I tried to think outside the box.
Yes, God had a purpose for earthworms. We did play a major path in soil fertility. Right from the fact that our burrowing through the soil created space for air and our partial digestion made the soil richer in nutrients.
But as I saw it, that was the purpose of the lowly earthworm. I was different. I could think for one thing and that would be a waste of so much of the potential I had. God was truly wicked, I thought.
I then looked at a big picture that told me that there were already so many human beings and that I played a big role in the ecosystem, generally. But just like the fact that one human being would not suddenly make the world come to an end, I thought the same for myself.
Earthworms in general, contributed to the ecosystem, but no one would notice or even mind my death. I had heard the stories from earthworms who had miraculously survived going too close to humans: they always sought out to dry them up. With a white poison that dried our kind up. I told them it was called salt and they just sensed at me and continued their talk.
Dullards.
And everything seemed to boil back done to the fact that I was smart. I suspected I had an IQ of about a hundred, which was much considering that I thought my brothers had IQ’s of five and below. I would have been a smart human being, I concluded.
I would not only have coped as a human being, I would have done well–and I was sure there were many people who were human beings who couldn’t say that comfortably.
There was even a time I didn’t eat for three days, just thinking. Trying to calculate, time and space and if there was a possibility that I had just being unlucky. I even considered a Godless earth. Maybe the big bang had caused everything. Maybe it was why, during the distribution of lives I had mistakenly gotten stuck in an earthworm body.
But then, I was too smart to believe that there was no God. There was a God and he had allowed me to be stuck in this miserable, boneless body. I admit to being annoyed. God did not have an excuse. He could have made me a human.
I also thought on with the line of, you never know what you have until you loose it. He wanted me to appreciate humanity. But how? I had never been a human being, and the thought that he would somehow transform me into a human being thrilled me, but I knew he wouldn’t do that. I was not just being realistic about things, I knew it was virtually impossible. God performed miracles. He had once made a donkey talk, but that was where it ended for animals. There was never an animal in history that had been given the chance to be a human being–except in mind numbing fairytales.
Animals, once animals, were always animals. It was a destiny. It was a trap, a hole, we couldn’t get out of.And so on days like this I wept. I wept for myself, for my existence and for the hopelessness of my situation.
I tried one last time to make sense of my situation by saying: “We are all animals aren’t we?”
I couldn’t even fool myself with that. All fingers were not equal. All animals were not equal. There were higher animals with higher brain and physical capabilities (humans) and lower animals with little or no sense and little of physical worth(me)–which was quite fair if you looked at it the right way.
But my case was the laugh of the century. I had higher mental abilities, but I was a slimy, spineless worm. What could have been worse. God could have at least made me a dog, so that those humans would have recognized me and I would have worked with the police.
Why did I know so much If I was just going to be a slimy nobody of a worm. Music artists did sing of being nobody’s before they became famous, I later heard. They should have come to stay in my shoes for just a day, to see what it really meant to be a nobody.
And what I feared was that things would not change. This would be the way it would be till I died a bitter and unfulfilled life. I could not let that happen, so I resorted to the only thing I could do. The last option at my disposal as a worm.
I decided to kill myself. To end this misery that was my life. It was a tough decision but one I had to make.
*
Funny as it may seem, after I made that decision, my life did take an interesting turn for the first time that I can remember. It was the first time I had put myself to do something so difficult.
It was the first challenge I had given myself since I was born.
You see, killing myself was not as easy as it is for you humans, even though there are a lot more attempts on suicide than the actual suicide itself. It makes me wonder if they are not just faking it, begging to be noticed, instead of actually planning to kill themselves.
I did understand, that the reason many human beings attempted suicide was for pity. They wanted others to pity them, and people who had hurt them, to feel sorry for them. It was why they didn’t succeed as something so easy.
Idiots.
I, on the other hand, had no one who could feel pity or feel sorry for me. Certainly not my spineless, brainless counterparts. They would just sense at me, and then burrow deeper into the soil in search of some green leaves to eat. They did not have the capacity to fell pity, to have emotions.
I am ready to admit though, that I was going to go through this because of God himself. I wanted him to see what he had caused. I wanted him to see the waste I was, as a result of his own doing. I wanted him to feel sorry for me and then feel regret for not making me something much better.
Something such as a human being.
But you cannot say this was the main reason I was committing suicide since, I was almost certain, God did not know me, or even know that there was one earthworm on earth, screaming out for help and asking him questions, asking him for simple favours like an exchange of sense and the wish to be something better.
It sounded laughable even that God had listened to me. In fact, if I had gotten a sign that God had heard me even if just once, I was prepared to do away with my suicidal plans and embrace God and hope that he would accept me in heaven where things would be made perfect.
A place where I would be young again, where I would have all the things I wanted. My precious five senses.
But I did not get a sign, so I went on with my plan.
***
As smart as I was, planning my death was difficult. As I said earlier, it is much easier to plan death as a human being. You can get a gun and shoot yourself in the head. Which is what I would have done where I a human being and needed to kill myself for any reason.
You could slit your two wrists and bleed to death. You could jump off a federal building, or any high enough building. You could eat shaving powder, or take an over dose of sleeping pills. You could hang yourself. You could carbon dioxide yourself with a generator or your car in your garage. You could drive off a cliff. You could drown yourself, you could jump in front of a train, and so many other things.
It was just too easy as a human being. As an earthworm, I could not do any of these. My only shot was at drying myself up, and since I could not see to careful situate myself where human beings would notice me–preferably in a bathroom, I only had one other choice: To leave my swamp in search of dry grounds and hot sun.
I perceived a long time ago, that I lived with my mates, in a swampy porthole. A very large porthole, that got larger, each time, rain fell since the path was not tarred. It was wet most of the time, and it was blissful and cool, during the rainy period.
However, it did get a little hard to burrow through during the dry season. as the surfaces were almost always clumpy, dry and hard. During a lot of my…I can’t call them walks, since I don’t have legs…crawls, around the swamp, I did meet an area that tapered into total dryness and heat. I tagged there as the end of home. I lived right in the middle of the swamp that grew bigger and smaller as the weather predicted and knew that it was no bigger than twenty five feet, give or take a feet.
Which meant I had a journey of about twelve feet to the other inhabitable side. The side where I would burn under the heat and dry up. I would dry up and die, and hopefully, God would be sorry.
At the back of my head, a voice kept taunting me: You are wasting your time. God has more things to worry about than you. He doesn’t even know you exist. You are not even grateful that you are smart enough to know the difference between good and evil. You are complaining. You are no different from a human being. You will never be satisfied. If you know what is good for you, you will scrap this plan and live your already comfortable life.
I did not listen to the voice. I went on with my plan.
I believed the plan was fool proof. I chose a time I had studied, so that I was not expecting any rainfall and I also made sure that I left just before the sun became hottest, so that my death would be as quick and as painless as possible, since pain was one inescapable factor in this suicide plan.
I went over the plan in my head, over and over again. I made sure I was consistent with my timing and the weather. I did not want anything to go wrong, so that I suddenly developed cold feet and decided not to go on with the plan again, since it had failed once.
I did not write a suicide note, because I did not have hands and did not have a biro and a paper, and even worse, my peers could not see, talk less of read.
I felt utterly alone as I had always felt, alienated in a world where no one came close to my excellent intellectuals. I was sure they would not miss me. They never missed anyone. I had initially planned not to tell anyone about it, but there was this urge too, that made me do it.
It was a load I had to get off my chest. So one day, before I finally left the swamp, I bumped into the worm I believed could have had an IQ of maybe five. I sensed him as really dull though. He had been burrowing for new holes. I had stared at him for a long while before I said:
“I’m leaving”
He stopped burrowing for a while and then I wondered disgustedly if I had told him this, so that he would somehow dissuade me from going on with my plans, make me see a light, a picture I had been missing all along. One that would make me stay and enjoy life at it seemed. I felt the sudden urge to leave immediately, but I stayed and wondered what sense he would make out of it all.
He sensed at me for a long while before saying: “OK” and went back to his burrowing of the soil.
I was hurt. Maybe he had not understood me properly. Maybe he had thought I was just leaving my holes in search of new grounds, or was leaving where I was lying right there and then. So I took time to explain it to him.
“I mean, I’m leaving for good. I’m never coming back. I want to kill myself. I’m tired of life.”
He sensed at me the second time, and I myself could sense him frowning. He said: “You heard me the first time when I said ok, didn’t you?”
I shifted the day of my suicide to the next day. I was not needed in that community, it was obvious. It was better, I died sooner.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Screech - Earphone Horror

SCREECH (EARPHONE HORROR) 

by Amurawaiye Adeyinka and Ikenna Osi

February 2008 

The music playing in his head was off tune. Yes, it was recognizable but it wasn’t right. It was high pitched and screechy. He removed his earphones from his ear. These earphones had a problem. It wasn’t new to him, so he went to his room and lay down to sleep. 

He visualized the movie characters in his head. His roommate must have started watching a film, if not he would still be deeply asleep by now. He stirred in his bed, as some character in the film screamed out in anger. Damn! His speakers were loud. Now he was pissed off. He subconsciously muttered a plea: 

“Dude, reduce the volume, its loud.” 
No response. 
He said it again and then his roommate replied: 
“Do you want me to put the volume on zero?” 

Later that day, he was in a friend’s room. His friend was listening to some music with an iPod. He stood at the far end of the room, yet he could hear the music playing. He couldn’t fathom why his iPod earphones were this loud…yes they were loud but he could hear the song so harshly. Forever, by Chris Brown. It seemed like the music came from the walls, and not the earphones. It surrounded him like a black veil of sweet confusion that arises from astonished ignorance. 

He left the room to get off the feeling. 
Silence, that was better. 

The next morning, he was in his school’s library, trying gently to get the weird happenings of the day before out of his head. He began reading an advanced book on Quantum Mechanics, hoping to get jaded and eventually fall to sleep. 

Just as the book started having effect, right there in the library, someone turned on some music. Quite secular. Very loud. Shayo, by Durella. The sound was deafening. He turned around. No one in the library seemed to notice. His heart skipped a beat, no way! They weren’t going to tell him they weren’t hearing that! At least someone else too must have turned... 
No one. 
Not a single soul had turned except him. Everyone just moved around like continuous space-time. He turned round again trying to look for the perpetrator. He had to be somewhere close with his laptop...what audacity! But he didn’t find anyone with a laptop around him. His heart skipped three beats and started pounding now. No, he wasn’t running. He wasn’t hearing things. This was not from his head. He stood up very shakily in fear. No, he had to find this guy. He had to convince himself he wasn’t mad. The music was as loud as ever. He tapped the person to his left: 

“Can’t you hear the music playing?” 
The person answered, quite startled: 
“No?” 

He moved from his seat very clumsily, making silly scraping noises with his table and chair. About three people stirred from their work. What? And they didn’t move when the music started? He walked swiftly around the library looking for the person. Some students were using laptops, but none of them had any music playing. He was nervy as he moved back to his seat. 

Just then, the music got little louder. He reflexed to the music source. He almost collapsed at what he saw. He shook his head, rejecting the things his eyes were telling him he was seeing. 

He carried his books and left the library in a haste, still shaking his head and denying the facts it was presenting to him...he had seen a guy with earphones! How possible was that? This wasn’t happening. He was going to sleep now and get the whole thing out of his head. 

He passed by a girl using earphones. It was as clear as digital. It was one of those songs Keri Hilson could have sung; he just didn’t know which one. His calming agitation took a herculean leap; his heart almost coming out of his nose. It was real. It was happening. He was going fanatical, and it was earphones that were making him so. He had suddenly (or overtime) developed an acute hearing for earphones and speakers alike. He passed by five people with earphones on his way back to his room. He recognized some of the music. He was new to some but they all seemed louder. 

The intensity of the sounds increased in a geometric progression. He realized in shock by the time he reached his hostel, that he could hardly pick up a distinct earphone sound. He looked around in panic; his pulse rate sky shooting. He didn’t feel the sweat tricking down his side, his heavy breathing, the booming in his ribcage initiated by his heart. There was not a person in sight using earphones but he was going insane with the music and movies, oh his favorite song, Love Stoned by Justin Timberlake, then…then…he couldn’t pick out the rest. 

He moved closer to his hostel. The different sounds were now like noise produced on a Sunday market; only it was a music and film Sunday market with each sales man displaying his wares by blasting his own type of music; creating a liberally nepotistic array of ear-splitting jargon. It was almost constant now, but it couldn’t be called music anymore. It was more like loud rushing water. Plenty humming bees. Jolly big shiny green flies. Clumsy chickens in a poultry farm. A noisy lecture room. A cricket ridden bush. A standing ovation. The wind blowing trees; and metal scraping metal all at the same time. The closer he moved to his room, the more unbearable it became. 

Now the whole thing was out of tune, spinning in the limbo version of cloud seven. Many colours. Many sounds. Uncontrollable rush. Pain. Severity. Gnashing of teeth. Demons. Many demons. More demons. The earphone demons. Pitch black. Void in forced screeching. Bursting screeching. Fork scraping metal. Many forks on metal. The sounds were searing into his mind, and very soon it would rupture, like a rind of lemon slicing through his timeline. Sour tasting sounds. Intense sourness. More demons. More torture. 

The devil himself.