A A Adedeji

The Ebullition in Alaari

THE EBULLITION IN ALAARI

© A A Adedeji 1

A A Adedeji
CRAZY IT WAS!

The Ebullition in Alaari

. . . ver y exci t ed. He wa s r a i sin g up h i s han ds,
dem on st r a t in g wi t h h i s h ea d, dodgi n g, a tt a cking a s i f i n a foot ba l l m a t ch. Sudden l y h e sm a sh ed th e sn a ke l ea th er br i efca s e; h e wa s ca r r yi n g, on th e Just i c e Abuu ba ’s fa c e. Wa a m p! “Oh ! I a m sor r y judg e. But ca n ’t you s ee ?” N ow t h e da z ed ol d m a n, wh o wa s bu s y m oppi n g -up hi s n ose wi t h a n han dker chi ef i n vest i ga t i n g i f t h er e wa s a n y t r a ce of bl ood, qui ckl y d a sh ed off t o t h e ot h er si de of t h e r oom , br a ci n g h im sel f a wa y fr om a n oth er bl ow fr om “t h i s m a d Ba a l e a n d h i s cr azy t ech n ol og y. ” T h e fe w t wi n kl es of t h e fl yi n g ‘st a r s’ ar e n ow va n i sh in g, an d th e ol d m a n ca n se e fa i n t l y. He woul d s oon a djust t o t h e r oom l i gh t th e soon est or . . . “Oh ye s. Cr az y i s i t ?” T h e Ba a l e a sked, r ea ding t h e judge’s m i n d. T h er e wa s n o a n swer but a si l l y n od fr om t h e judge. “Cr a z y, ” W obbi a l a m en t ed. “An ot h er cr az y, en em y of t e ch n ol og y, ” h e m urm ur ed. T a l king a l oud h e sa i d. “O. K. , i f you sa y s o Just i ce Abuu ba , pl ea se h a ve your sea t h er e” .

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© A A Adedeji (2008) Published by the arrangement with Episteme Books, E98, Emirs road, Ilorin, Nigeria Email: aadeoladeji@yahoo.com Tel.: 0803 377 4616

All rights reserved. All characters are found in the SF dictionary of the Ebullition in Alaari

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The Ebullition in Alaari

THE EBULLITION IN ALAARI
A A Adedeji

PRINTED IN NIGERIA 3-12-12
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It is in you my mind that I measure time To all the deceased relations who contributed to our positive lives To all those who care To those good minds that read and corrected the draft of this book Ogesogun Samentino

Beyond 3122012

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CHAPTER ONE
The Heaven and the Eart h were j oi ned togethe r as one uni t of creati on befo re the y were cl oven asunder

T h e Sun wa s a t i t s pea k, sen di n g i t s gl or i ous gol den r a ys up on t h e ea r t h. It wa s di ssi pa t i n g a bur n in g h ea t th a t wa s c ool i n g down i t s own bod y. E ver yt h i n g wa s qui et . T h e wor l d wa s, i n a fl a sh ed st i l ln ess, en t er in g in t o a n oth er er a - a sta ge of

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c on fusi on , th e Heg el i a n S yn th esi s. Ye s, t h er e wa s st i l ln ess i n deed. Th e cl ouds a st on i sh ed an d th e bi r ds of t h e a i r st oppi n g in th e m i dst of t h e ir fl i gh t . An d l ooki n g up t owa r ds t h e ea rth , wa l king pe opl e of t h e st r eet s h a d ra i sed t h eir l egs i n posi t i on an d th e y di d n ot m ove. T h e t im e st oppe d. “An d a s I wa s sa yi n g be for e we wer e r udel y i nt err upt ed, ” con t in ued Sa m Kot t o, wh o wa s fur i ous a t Li a a di a n d sen din g h im out of t h e cl a ss for di st ur bin g h i s l ess on . Li a a di , th e youn gest a m on g h i s cl a ssm a t es a n d a n ot -ver y- br i gh t l a d, ca n cr ea t e, a t wi l l , an un bel i e va bl e s c en e by sn a t chin g th i s or th a t fr om on e m a t e or t h e ot h er so a s t o di st r a ct t h eir a t t en ti on s. Li a a di wa s f on d of t a ppi n g on th e ea rr in g of a n un l ucky gi r l si t t in g in fr on t of h i m wi t h a sh ar p edge of h i s wooden r ul er or h e m ay si m pl y h i t on hi s m ah ogan y de sk. As Li a a di h ea r d th e ‘k o. . . k o. . . k o. . . k o’ soun d of l on g st r i des, h e wa s sur e h i s ph ysi cs t ea ch er wa s de fi n i t el y g oi n g t o t h eir cl a ssr oom , so h e qui ckl y r a n out of a jun i or cl a ss, wh i ch had n o t ea ch er , a s th e wh ol e st ud en t s h a ve ju st bee n ba ck fr om a sh or t br ea k, an d wh er e h e wa s h ara ssi n g th e inn ocen t jun i or ch a ps. He r an st r a i ght t o t h e ot h er si de of t h e cl a ssr oom a nd jum ped a cr oba t i ca l l y i n t hr ough a wi n dow. He qui ckl y d ock ed un der th e ch a ir s an d t a bl es a nd cr a wl ed si l en t l y i n t o hi s sea t , a wa i t in g th e t ea ch er . T oda y, Li a a di , a fi ft e en yea r -ol d boy wi t h t hin , l on g li m bs t ha t m a de h im ta l l er than

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a n ybod y el s e i n h i s cl a ss di d an ext ra n a ught in ess. He push ed d own a pi l e of st a cke d books, wh i ch h e h a d ear l i er arran ged on h i s desk be for e t h e c om m en cem en t of t h e ph ysi cs l es s on. Sa m wh o wa s wr i t i n g on th e gr een boa r d l ooke d a t th e boy be wi l der ed. Fe w st uden t s wh o wer e t oo fr i gh t en ed by t h i s sudd en m a dn ess, jum ped u p fr om t h ei r sea t s an d n ea rl y jum ped out of t h e ir ski n s, wh il e som e wer e gr innin g h yst er i ca l l y. Sa m , vi si bl y a n n oyed for t h i s unr ul y a ct , or der ed Li a a di out of t h e cl a ssr oom . “G o out of t hi s cl a ss i m m edi at el y, ” Th e t ea ch er , poi n ting t owa r ds t h e sch ool foot ba l l pi t ch , com m a n ded Li a a di t o st ar t upr oot i n g ek an gr a ss th at i s wi l dly gr owi n g i n th e pi t ch , “an d go a h ea d wi th tha t wor k un ti l furth er n ot i ce, ” h e r oar ed. “N ow l et t h er e be a per fe ct pea c e, ” Sa m sn a pped a t th e cl a ss, st i l l ann oyed. “O bs er va t i on i s a ver y ess en t i a l in gr edi en t in Spa ce, Sci en ce a n d T echn ol og y. ” Sa m Sa i d. “Si n ce t i m e i m m em or i a l, m an h a s foun d h im se l f fa c e t o fa c e wi t h ba si c t r ut h th at : thr ough i na t t ent i on , pr econ c ept i on , ca r el essn es s or sh e er st upi di t y, ” Sa m ’s voi c e h a s st a r t ed t o r i se. “ He ca nn ot see, obser ve, un der st an d or r ecogn i z e. ” T h er e wa s a n a bsol ut e si l en c e. Al l th e st udent s a ppea r ed t o be pa yi n g a bs ol ut e a t t en t i on t o hi m . “T h er e h a ve be en t i m es wh en m an ha s don e ver y wel l , of c our se, wi t h c om pl et e t h in gs - such a s t h e r em ar ka bl y a c cur a t e a n d ski l l ful bui l di n g of t h e Gr ea t P yr a m i d of Ki n g Ch eop s i n a n ci en t E gyp t ;

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t h e un der wa t er bui l di n g off t h e c oa st of i sl a n ds of Bi m i n i an d An dr os i n Ba ha m a s an d m an y m or e wh i l e h e i s bl i n dl y over l ooki n g th e fa ct t h a t th e c om pl et e t h i n gs an d in deed t h e si m pl est t h ings a r e, by t h eir n at ur e, a l l ar oun d us, h er e in Ala ari . Ar oun d you, ” h e st r essed. N ow, Sa m wa s l ooki ng fr om on e st ud en t t o t h e ot h er a s i f ea ch st ude nt sh oul d pr ovi de a n i n st an t sol ut i on t o t h ose c om pl et e a n d si m pl est t h i n gs h e wa s t a l ki ng a bout . Som e st ud en t s wer e n oddi n g in a ppr ova l . Ot h er s wer e si m pl y gr i nn in g st upi dl y a n d n ever t oo sur e wh et h er or n ot t h ey un der st ood t h e ‘ser m on ’. Th e y a l l n odd ed t h ei r h ea ds , l i ke a gam a l i z ar ds an d r a i sed th eir ch est s an d h ea ds al l t oget h er . “An d e ven , ” con t in ued Sa m . “A si m pl e d e vi c e ca n be sh a ped by a si x - yea r -ol d ki d fr om a pi ece of st on e, cl a y or wood. Y es, a pi e c e of woo d, wood, ” Sa m r epea t ed wi t h a dr y sm i l e. He sa i d fur t h er th at wood ca n be m a de in t o a t wo- bl a de d pr opel l er , an d th e poor t hin g m oun t ed on a sh aft or a pi n an d pr obi n g fur t h er, th e pr opel l er ca n be m a de t o spi n fr eel y i n th e wi n d. “O f c our se, t h i s a ct i on woul d s eem t o be t h e ki n d of di sc over y t h a t coul d ha ve been m a de som e t h ousa n d…” Som e bod y a t t h e ba ck r ow c ough ed sa r ca st i ca l l y, dr a wi n g h i s soun d i n a pecul i ar wa y. E ver ybod y gi ggl ed. Sa m l ooked a t t h e st uden t s in st upor . “…T h ousa n d yea r s a go, ” h e sa i d. An d wi t h out pa yi n g an y a t t en ti on t o fe w st ud en t s m ur m uring

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som e wh er e a t th e m i ddl e r ow, Sa m con t i n ued. “To spi n tha t sh a ft an d cr ea t e a wi n d ---, ” He m ove d t o t h e h a n gin g boa r d a n d dr ew on i t a woode n sh a ft ca rr yi n g a pr opel l er . “ But , si r, ” a thin soun d r an g fr om th e cl a ssr oom wa l k wa y, “h ow ca n on e spi n t ha t on th e boa r d?” T h er e wa s a n er upti on of l a ugh t er fr om t h e st uden t s a s th ey a l l r ecogn i z ed th e voi c e of Li a a di . T h e t ea ch er wa l ked br i skl y t owa r ds t h e cl a ssr oom m a in door t o c on fr on t t h e in tr uder. It wa s t h e boy, Li a a di . He h a s t h inn ed out h i s voc a l soun d t o c on fu se t h e t ea ch er an d h e h a s bee n peepi n g t hr ough an open in g bet we en t h e wi n dow fr a m e a n d i t s pan el , t o se e wh a t wa s g oi n g on in t h e cl a ssr oom . L ooki n g dir ect l y a t h i m , Sa m ba r ked. “Ha ve I a sked you t o c om e h er e? An d wh a t t h e h el l ar e you d oi n g ar oun d h er e? You sh oul d st a y t h er e, ” h e poi n t ed t owa r ds th e sch ool pi t ch , “Be t h er e un ti l you a r e t ol d ot h er wi se. ” “Y es, si r rrr. ” An swer ed Li a a di br i skl y a n d l eft t h e ar ea . St a n din g by t h e door , Sam wa t ch ed th e boy t o t h e sch ool pi t ch be for e h e c oul d wa l k ed sl owl y ba ck i n t o t h e cl a ssr oom . He r ol l ed h i s e ye s t o c on tr ol hi s an ger. Th en h e con t in ued, “Im m er se t h e th in g in wa t er an d en vi sa ge pum ps a n d pr opul si on . Th ese s e em ed t o be n or m al , obvi ous a n d sel f- expl a i n in g st eps t o fol l ow, yet for h un dr eds of yea r s n o wh i t t l in g boy t ook t h em .

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But on e, cur i ous, pr i m i ti ve, l oca l boy wh ose e yes wer e ca ugh t by a t wi st ed l ea f spi nn in g fr eel y on a spi der we b, t ook n ot i c e. ” Sa m wa s pa ci n g up a n d down i n t h e fr on t of t h e cl a ss. Aft er fe w m i n ut es of d oi n g th e pa cin g, Sam wa l ked i n t o t h e r ows of h i s st uden t s’ ch a ir s and l ock er s, l ooki n g fr om on e fa ce t o t h e ot h e r, sea r ch in g. At th i s t im e of Sa m ’s pa ci n g, Jeej e O or uo r a i sed up h er h an d poin t in g h er fi n ger s upwa r d t o a sk a quest i on . Sa m gest ur ed h i s han d a t h er t o ex er ci se pa t i en ce. He t h en wa l ked sl owl y t o t h e fr on t of t h e cl a ss an d con t in ued. “An ot h er exa m pl e of h um an st upi di t y i s t h e c on vi ct i on tha t : l ook, a l l th ese si m pl e t hin gs you a r e just ba byi n g a t h a ve n ow or si n ce bee n obs er ved a n d, in fa ct , put t o u se a n d a l l th eir pr in ci pl es un der st ood. (I kn ow t h a t th i s i s not t r ue. ) No r i ght t hin kin g fel l ows sh oul d bel i e ve t ha t . “T h er e ar e i n n a t ur e n um er ous obs er va t i on s yet t o be m a de a n d you m a y be on e a m on g ot h er s to di sc over t h em . “ Ha d i t be en th a t on e of t h e h un dr eds of our n om a ds, sh eph er ds wh o on c oun t l ess de wy m or nin gs wer e i n th e pr esen ce of ea r l y sun l i ght a n d dr ops of wa t er ca pt ur ed on c obwe bs -h ol e d l ea ves, l ook on ce t h r ough a dewdr op pr oba bl y a t t h e rin g of t h e l ea ves, t h e m i cr os c ope, t h e pr opel l er , th e e yegl a sse s . . .” h e used h i s l eft t h um b t o push up e yegl a ss es wh i ch wa s a l m ost a t

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t h e t i p of h i s n ose. He c on t in ued, “a n d m an y m or e woul d h a ve been in ven t ed som e t h ousa n d yea r s ea r l i er. “An y qu est i on ?” h e fi n a l l y ca l l ed. “Oh yes, I r em em ber Ms. Oor uo wa n t ed t o sa y s om et h in g.” Sh e r ose up a n d st ood er ect . J ee j e, a m oder a t el y bui l t gi r l, l ook ed fe w ye a r s youn ger t han her four t een yea r s of a ge. Sh e i s br i gh t an d on e for t h e best st uden t s i n h er cl a ss. Beca us e of h er cool h ea dedn ess a n d com posur e, sh e wa s m a de t h e h ea d girl un ti l th e en d of t h e sch ool ses si on . “T h an k you si r , ” Sh e sa i d, “Not a quest i on r ea l l y si r , but a n obser va t i on wh i ch I coul d n ot r el a t e t o som et h in g usua l. ” Sa m c ock ed h i s h ea d t o t h e l e ft gi vi n g t h e i m pr essi on of a r a pt a t t en t i on ; h e wa s a l wa ys r ea dy a n d h a ppy t o a n swer quest i on s fr om hi s st uden t s. “Yes, I’l l t a ke tha t .” Je ej e c on t i n ued, “Wh en ever I i n t en ded t o st a n d up fr om a ch a ir, just a s I di d n ow, I obs er ved t h a t I coul d n ot do t h a t succ ess ful l y wi t h out l ea n ing for wa r d or pul l i n g m y fe et ba ck un der m y ch a i r. I won der . ” Sa m wa l ked cr ook - ba ck ed t o t h e n ext wi n dow a t h i s r i gh t si de. He ga z ed t hr ough th e wi n dow a s i f t o c on sul t som e i n vi si bl e n ot e book. He l a ugh ed to h im sel f. N ow t a l kin g t o h im sel f sa yi n g, Fai l ure ? Ye s. A s a t rai ne d t e ac he r I shoul d have done be t te r t h an t hat . I shoul d have re me mbe red t hat c hari t y be gi ns at home and I shoul d ha v e gi v e n a hand -re ac he d e x ample of obse rv at i on.

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Al oud h e sa i d. “Th an k you Mi ss O or uo. ” Now h e fa ced t h e cl a ss. “Ca n som e bod y h el p t o a n s wer t ha t quest i on ?” He t h r ew ba ck t h e que st i on t o t h e r est of t h e cl a ss. Al l th e st uden t s pull ed out t h eir n ecks i m a gin e a set of ost r i ch es c om i n g out t o t a ke sun shin e - wh i l e s om e wer e ga z i n g down ei t h er to a n em pt y fl oor or desk. S om e c our a geou s on es wer e m um bl i n g th in gs tha t n obod y c oul d un der stan d. It wa s a ser i ous a n d funn y sc en e. T h en sudden l y t h er e wa s pea ce; e ver yt h i n g wa s qui et a s a gra ve ya r d “Oka y, Oka y, ” Sa m br ok e t h e da r k si l en ce t h at en gul fed a l l t h e youn g soul s i n th e cl a ss. “It i s n ot ea s y a n d n ot even possi bl e t o st a n d up fr om a sea t wi t h out sh i ft i n g a par t of your bod y. T hi s you h a ve t o d o i n or der t o br i n g a n ew ba s e un der your c en tr e of gr a vi t y. T h e ver t i ca l l i n e thr ough your c en tr e of gr a vi t y fa l l s wi t h in th a t ba se a nd you a r e a t r est . ” He i l l ust r at ed t hi s ph en om en on on t h e gr een boa r d, an d th en sa i d. “S o, you ca nn ot get up unt i l you h a ve ch an ged your cen t er of gr a vi t y. “As you a l l kn ow t h a t for ce of gr a vi t y i s t h e for ce of a t t ra ct i on bet we en t wo obj ect s esp eci a l l y t ha t on e wh i ch a ttr a ct s you t owa r ds t h e cen t er of our ea r th” . An obl on g-fa c ed youn g m a l e st uden t , fr om th e m i ddl e of t h e cl a ss, st ood up a n d a sked. “Coul d t ha t th in g be a fus ed c or e t h a t h oused t h e m ol e cul es of ea r th qua ke a n d er upt s wh en e ver i t

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pl ea ses ?” T h e obl on g -fa c ed s ea r ch ed t h e e ye s of h i s m a t es for a ppl a u se for h i s h er oi c quest i on . Un for t un at el y, s om e t er m i n ol ogi es, wh et h er r i gh t or wr on g, di d n ot at tr a ct an y ova t i on fr om t h e r est of t h e st uden t s. Ma n y of t h em di d n ot un der stan d th e quest i on ei t h er . Th e expa n ded l ips of t h e obl on g -fa c ed, wh i ch wer e m ea n t for a h er oi c sm i l e, t urn ed st i ff a n d m oved n o m or e. He st ood t h er e l ooki n g da z ed an d st upi d. Sa m l ook ed a t th e r est of t h e cl a ss, wi den ed h i s e ye s, spr ea d h i s han ds an d shr ugged. Th e wh ol e cl a ss bur st i n t o an un en din g l a ugh t er . Th e obl on g fa c ed st uden t t urn ed h i s h ea d an d l ook ed d own sl uggi sh l y a t h i s sea t , ma kin g sur e h i s cha ir wa s st i l l th er e be for e h e sa t down . Wi t h out wa st i n g m uch t im e a ga in, th e ph ysi c s t ea ch er , Sa m , con t in ued t o expl a i n th at : i f t he pr im a l col ossa l a t om h a d n ot fi ssi on ed, a s i n the ‘Bi g Ba n g’ t h eor y, t o for m di sper sed un i t s of un i ver ses, t h e fl ow of l i fe woul dn ’t ha ve be e n ea s y. Al l t h in gs woul d h a ve been r i gi d. Hum an bei n gs, an i ma l, bi r ds, wa t er , wi n d, a ir an d all woul d h a ve be en l i ke tr ees i n th i s plan et - E arth . Som e bod y cr i ed. “Si r , wh o ca us ed t h e Bi g Ba n g? God ? Uh -h ?” Sa m fi xed h i s bi g e ye s a t t h e boy t h en sa i d. “L et m e sa y t h a t th i s wa s pur el y a n a t ura l ph en om en on. An d I a sk you t o t el l us wh o or wh a t m a kes t h e ea r t h qua ke? G od? An ywa y t o sa y t h e l ea st , h er e i s n ever a th eol ogi ca l ga r den but a ph ysi cs cl a s s. ”

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“T h an k you si r , ” th e y a l l e ch oed a n d cl a pped t h eir han ds in uni son . “St i l l on obs er va t i on , ” Sa m sm i l ed. “E a ch on e of you wi l l m i cr osc op e h i s or h er own obs er va t i on by c on st r uct i n g a m i cr os c ope - a n in st r um en t for m a kin g sm al l obj ect s a ppea r l ar ger - for ju st a fe w Na a r i. “E a ch of you wi l l obt a i n an em pt y t i n of p ea k m i l k or an y si m i l a r obj e ct , cut t hr ee si des of a squa r e, r i gh t, l eft a n d t op, i . e. by t h e si de of t h e t in a n d ben d t h e t a b t h us for wa r d a n d in wa r d,” h e i l l ustr a t ed a gain on th e ch al k boa r d. He c on t in ued. “S o, you m a ke a n an gl e 45 0 wi t h t h e sur fa ce of t h e t i n . Th en cut a pi e ce of ca r dboa rd pa per or sl i ce of gl a ss a n d fi x i t t o r est i n si de t h e t in un der th e h ol e. You wi l l a l l do t h a t in th e n ext cl a ss. We a r e cl osi n g for t oda y. “An d be for e I for get , you’l l put a dr op of wa t er i n th e h ol e you’ ve m a de. N ot e t h a t usin g gl yc er in i n pl a ce of wa t er wi l l r educe e va p or a t i on .” A st uden t m urm ur ed.

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CHAPTER TWO
M agi c i s probabl y one of the ol dest and m ost powerful ways of bi ndi ng one’ s devi l i nto a uni ty

He woke up l a t e a n d wa s un a bl e t o sl eep ea r l y a nd wh en fi n a l l y h e sl ept , h e h a d a n i gh tm ar e t ha t m a de h i m gr oa n a l oud. We e we, wh o wa s i n a soun d sl eep, wa s a wa ken ed by t h e s oun d t ha t Wobbi a m a de. S h e

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r ose a n d sa t up on t h e bed l ooki n g dr ops y. Ga z i ng down a t h er h usba n d, wh o wa s dr en ch ed i n hi s s wea t , sh e sh ook h er h ea d pi t i ful l y. A n i gh tm ar e! Wor ki n g qui et l y, sh e r em oved h er c over cl ot h a n d got out of t h e bed. Sh e t h en put off t h e bedsi de cl ock a l a r m set be for e t h e y wen t t o sl ee p a n d l ai d ba ck t o sl e ep. Wobbi a h i ssed a s h e wok e up a ft er a fe w m in ut es l a t er “T ha t godfor sa ken t hin g n eeds r epa ir s. ” T h e ven t i l a t or wa s t h e ol d m od el t ype. Wh en ever i t i s put on , it m a kes a h el l of Hu m. . . Uhnnn. . . . . k rrroooo. . . oooo depen di n g on h ow i t feel s. Ha l f c on sci ou sl y, W obbi a sa i d. “An d, I a m n ot goi n g t o bot h er m ys el f r epa i r in g th a t ven t i wh a t ever , ven a t ur e or wh a t ever th e h el l it i s ca l l ed. ” Wa ki n g up fi n al l y a n d put t in g on a sh irt , h e dem an ded. “I t h in k I n eed a cup of bl a c k c offe e t o pr ot e ct m y l i fe fr om a sudden h ea rt fa i l ur e. Na we t i n, I t h in k tha t thin g i s a l wa ys ‘h a ppy’ wh en ever you h a ve a n i gh t mar e and ‘feel s’ j ea l ou s wh en ever you a r e h a vi n g a ni ce, h ea ven l y sl eep. It woul d ‘cr y’ out l oud wa ki ng you up. Up. ” Fr om th e ot h er si de of t h e bed ca m e t h e voi c e of We e we. “Wh a t ar e you ba bbl i n g a bout dea r ?” “I sa i d, I a m n ot goi n g t o i n st a l l an y st upi d, un com pr om i si n g ga dget in th i s h ouse a ga i n - eve n

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i f I c oul dn ’t get th i s on e r epa ir ed, ” Wobbi a c on fi r m ed. Weewe, whose neck was now fully stuck out of the bed cover, shook her head again and said. “Man, if you have been beaten by whatever I don’t know, why can’t you go and. . . But its just 3:45 hours now, and you are waking up so early.” It was more of a statement than question. At fi r st , Wobbi a kept m ut e for m in ut es a nd wh en h e fi n a l l y bur st out h e sa i d. “T h at i s exa ct l y wh a t I am t a l kin g a bout , ” h e l a ugh ed scor n ful l y. “E ver ybod y i s c on fu s ed i n t hi s h ouse. I m ea n h er e in Idoh o, in th i s t own Al a ar i. Car s h oot i n g, t ra in ‘ba r kin g’, in dustr ia l pol l ut i on in deed. E ver y t hin g i s upsi de-down you wi l l sa y. Oh ! Awwh f” He m oved s wi ft l y, pu sh ed op en th e t oi l et door a n d di sa ppear ed. Wee we wa s wa t ch i n g h er h usba n d’s dr am a and sh ook h er h ea d in sym pa t h y. An d a ft er fe w m in ut es, sh e r a i sed up h er pi ll ow, t ook out h er l i t t l e wr i st wa t ch a n d ch ecked for t i m e. It wa s pa st si x h our s a lr ea dy. “Oh m e, ” sh e com pl a i n ed. “T h e wa l l cl ock h a s st opp ed wor ki n g or wh a t i s goi ng on i n th i s h ouse. I m ea n i n th i s t own , ” Sh e m urm ur ed t h e l a st t wo wor ds. Sh e t h en dr a gged h er sel f t o a l ow st ool ca r r yi n g a st an din g wa t er c yl i n der , fi l l ed h er cup wi t h wa t er an d dr a in ed down t hr ough h er esoph a gus. Sh e con sum ed t hree gl a sses of su ch . Wh en sh e fi n i sh ed sh e bel ch ed a n d fel t good. T h i s wa s usua l l y t h e fi r st t hin g sh e m ust do i m m edi a t el y sh e woke up fr om bed - a

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m or nin g r out in e. Aft er dr in kin g, sh e wen t st r a i ght t o t h e ba t hr oom a n d di d h er r egul ar t oi l et r y. Wh en th e c oupl e ca m e ba ck t o t h e bedr oom , Wobbi a a nn oun ced t h at h e m a y pr oba bl y c om e ba ck h om e l a t e t oda y. “I a m cr os si n g down to Sobbi i m m edi a t el y a ft er wor k. ” He sa i d wi t h out l ooki n g a t h i s wi fe. But t h er e wa s n o r esp on se fr om We e we. “Y ou h ea r ?” “ Hea r wh at ?” “Ar e you on e of t h os e? T h ose wh o a n swer quest i on s wi t h quest i on s, eh ? Now h e st ol e a l ook a t h er. “E h , darl in g! Wha t do you t h i n k a bout t h at ?” sh e a sked wi t h out l ooki n g at h im . “I sa i d I wi l l com e h om e l a t e t oda y, ” h e m an a ged t o sa y fi n a l l y. “Just gi ve m e a ca l l wh en you r ea ch th er e. Uh uh ?” “Oh . . . oh . . . . oh ! So you h ear d m e wel l t h en. Oh ye s, I ‘l l r in g you. ” Wobbi a sa i d fi n a l l y. Aft er h e got dr essed, h e ca m e cl os er t o h i s wi fe, ga ve h er a peck on h er r i ght ch eek, h e wen t out of t h e r oom a n d wa l ked t h r ough th e h a l l wa y. O n r ea ch in g Jee je’ s d oor , h e t a pped l i ght l y on t h e door th en fol l owed wi t h a ca l l , “Hel l o D ea r !” “Y es da d” Jee je ech oed ba ck a t h er fa t h er ’s ca l l . Her fa t h er th en pl a ced h i s br i efca s e by t h e door an d wa l k pa ss t o h i s st udy r oom wh i ch wa s n ext t o Jee je’ s r oom .

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Je ej e, wh o h a d a l r ea dy g ot pr epa r ed for sch ool , ca m e out of h er r oom , pi cked up t h e br i efca s e, a n d m oved sl owl y out of t h e h ous e. Wh en Je e je r ea ch ed t h e ca r, Awa ye, sh e pl a ced d own t h e br i efca s e a n d t urn ed th e kn ob of t h e ca r door. “Wh y wa s t h e ca r l eft out si d e t h e gar age over ni gh t ? Jee j e a sked h er sel f. Wel l h er busi n ess wa s t o pl a ce t h e br i efca se i n i t s usua l pl a ce and wa i t for h er fa th er . Sh e di d just th a t. Si t t in g qui et l y on th e sea t n ext t o t h e dr i ver ’s a n d wa i t in g for h er fa t h er , sh e wa s a dm i rin g her i m m edi a t e vi ci n i t y, wh er e sh e gr e w up i n t h e l ast four t een yea r s. Sh e wa s i n t hi s h a ppy m ood wh e n h er fa t h er ca m e down t o j oi n h er in th e car . “G ood m or n in g da d.” “G ood m or n in g dea r. ” Je ej e m oved cl oser t o h er fa t h er , sni ffi n g t h e fa m i l i ar fr a gran ce fr om h er fa th er , sh e curl ed her l eft h a n d ar oun d hi s n eck a n d wh i sper ed, a lm ost pl uggin g h er l i ps in si de h er fa th er ’s ear . “And wh er e a r e you h ea di n g t o wi t h th at h ea vy ca se da d? I’ve n ever fel t i t so h ea vy. ” “An d?” “An d! Wel l t h er e i s n ot hin g t o th a t, ” sh e sa i d. “I a m just a skin g. M y cur i osi t y. ” “In qui si t i ven ess, ” h e cor r ect ed. Sh e wi n ked a t h im . “I fe el l i ke fol l owi n g you, s we et da dd y. ” “O. K. n ext ti m e, dear , wh en you a r e fr ee. Al l i s r i gh t ?”

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“It i s fi n e wi t h m e da d. N ext c on ven i en t t i m e,” sh e a gr eed. T h e ca r st opped by t h e ga t e of h er col l eg e Al ukko Sen i or Se c on da r y Sch ool . Sh e op en ed t h e ca r door an d st epped out , sh e t h en t urn ed ba ck a n d ben t down n ow l ooki n g a t h er fa th er thr ough t h e ca r wi n dow, sh e a sked. “W e‘l l g o wi t h m um a l so?” Wobbi a n odd ed. “ Uh , uh, ” He wa ved t o h i s da ught er , star t ed th e ca r an d dr ove a wa y. Je e je r em a in ed in t h e sa m e posi t i on wa vi n g a t h i m un ti l t h e ca r a scen ded t h e A -U3-t r a ck a n d sped off. T h en , sh e wa l ked fa st t o h er cl a ssr oom . Wobbi a dr ove st r a i gh t t o h i s ch a m ber s. At l a st , h e succ eed ed a ft er t hr ee yea r s t o s et t l e d own a s a pr i va t e pr a ct i ci n g la wyer . In fa ct , h e wor ked wi t h t h e Oja a ba Hi gh Cour t for ful l si xt e en yea r s a ft er h e h a d gr a dua t ed fr om La w Un i ver si t y a t La m m bu. T h e pa y wa s fa i r l y g ood; a t l ea st h e wa s c on t en t ed wi t h i t. He wa s a bl e, fr om t h e m on th l y sa l a r y, t o sa ve en ough m on e y a n d got m arr i ed t o Wee we Ch uuma . Th a t wa s a ft er t wo g ood yea r s of c or r ect ser vi c e. He l a t er di scover ed t ha t th e supposed fa t sa l ar y wa sn ’t fa t a ft er a l l even t h ough Wee we wa s a n Assi st a n t Secr et a r y i n th e Min i str y of fi n ance i n Ala ar i. In l ess t h an a yea r Je ej e wi l l si t for her fi n a l exa m ina t i on, an d th e exa m in at i on ma t er ial s m a y l i kel y dr a i n th e pock et of h er par en t s to n ot hin gn ess. T h e c or r ect m on e y wa s n ot just t h e r e esp eci a l l y for W obbi a . He g ot cl i en t r ar el y a nd

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wh en h e got on e, i t woul d be a n ot h in g -t o-wr i t eh om e-a bout cl i en t . At t i m es n on e in t wo m on t h s. Yes. Y ou bl a m e t h em . Peopl e a r e wor ki n g out t hin gs out ca r eful l y, t h i s t i m e a r oun d. E ver yb od y e ven t h e s o-ca l l ed l a y a bout , j anduk u, ar ea boys or of ot obe, seem ed t o be r unn in g a wa y fr om a n yt h in g th a t ma y dr a g th em t o ja i l . T h e t r oubl em a ker s c oul d n ot e ven h i t t h eir t ar gets. How m uch m or e of g et t i n g th e c or r ect i n gr edi ent s i n th eir pot s of s oup. So t h e y r es ol ved t o t a ke i t ea s y. T h e y g o s ol o. Im a gin e som e gu ys, on e fa i t h ful da y, wa l ki ng just n ea r a ba n k - a n y ba n k a t a l l - ca rr yi n g, in t h eir h an dba gs or pocket s, a m a gi ca l m on ey dr a wer , bul u, an d th e m on ey i n th e ba n k va ult s di sa ppea r ed, l ea vi n g th e a ccoun t a nt an d bank m an a ger con foun ded wi t h un pl ea san t sur pri ses. It wa s t h e m ost sh ocki n g m om en t of t h ei r l i ves, n ot un der stan din g th e wa y a n d m ann er th e m on e y h ad di sa ppea r ed. Th e offi c er s si m pl y wen t n ut s. Tha t da y wa s a g ood da y for a n y pa s ser -by t o un der stan d h ow wea k a n d ‘fr a gi l e’ th e peopl e s’ m in ds ar e. An d by t h e st a r s! I f a p ol i c e d og h a ppen ed t o sn i ff r i h gta wa y on t h e t ri ckst er s a n d th en subj ect ed t h em t o a t h or ough sea r ch , th e pol i ce m i gh t be l uck y en ough t o pi ck out a box of m a t ch es c on t a in in g on e or t wo pi ec es of ci ga r but t s or a n y ot h er n on sen se. Of c our se t h e m on ey woul dn ’t be foun d on t h em . Th ese t yp es of ch ar a ct er s wer e a l wa ys i n a gr oup of t wos or

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t hr ees. Un bea t a bl e you’d sa y. Besi de s, e ver ybod y wa s a s el f-a c cl a i m ed l a wyer . Th er efor e, ‘ de fen d your sel f’ wa s t h e n ew or der or so i t seem ed. Wobbi a pi ck ed on e or t wo t h in gs fr om h i s offi c e a n d h ea ded for t h e door . As h e r ea ch ed th e door of t h e offi c e h e st opp ed, t urn ed r oun d an d wa l ked ba ck i n t o t h e offi c e. T h e offi ce wa s st i l l t h e sa m e i n thr ee yea r s. A spa r sel y fur n i sh ed cu bi cl e of 3 m et r es by 3 m et r es, con t a in in g a bi g book sh el f st a n ding ‘l a z i l y’ a t on e en d of t h e r oom , a wor n -out exe cut i ve ch a i r an d a ta bl e. As h e t ur n ed ba ck t owa r ds t h e door , h i s e ye s ca ugh t th e vi si t or ’s ch a ir , a wr i t e-off i n deed. T h e ch a ir ’s foa m wa s sh owi n g i t s ‘t eet h ’ i n di ffer e nt pl a ces a n d a cl i en t , wh o wa s vi si t i n g th e ch a m ber for t h e fi r st t i m e, woul d l i kel y m i ss a h ea r t be a t on si ght in g th i s par ti cul ar cha ir . Wobbi a sh ook h i s h ea d an d ta l ked h on est l y t o h im sel f. T h in gs m ust just ch an ge for th e bet t e r. “Ca n ’t be goi n g on l i ke th i s? Ah, n o. ” He wen t out i n t o th e l ar ge pa ssa ge wh er e hi s se cr et a r y, a qua dran t –n osed youn g wom a n of 28 yea r s ol d wa s h a vi n g a n a p. He just r ush ed pa ssed h er , an d ca m e out of t h e m a in bui l ding wh i ch wa s si t ua t ed a t th e t a il en d of t h e ci t y. In a sna i l -li ke m ot i on , Wobbi a m ove sl owl y t o t h e ca r , sl i pped i nt o i t a n d sl a mm ed t h e ca r door. He st a r t ed t h e en gin e an d dr ove st r a i ght in th e di r ect i on of S obbi . He des c en ded A -Ll -t r a ck, cl i m bed A- U2 -t r a ck an d r a ced off.

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Al a ar i i s a l ar ge ca pi t a l ci t y of La r r i di str i ct. An y vi si t or , fr om a n ot h er pl a ce wh o st udi ed t h e m et r opol i s wi t h i n t er est , coul d s ee t h a t t h e bui l di n gs ar e a l l of t h e sa m e h ei gh t, fl a t t oppe d, a rran ged i n ran dom squa r es, r ect an gl es, ci r cul ar a n d even t r ian gl es. Most of t h e bui l di n gs’ wa l l s wer e m a de of bl ock s m a n ufa ct ur ed fr om t h e m i xt ur e of l a t er i t e, a sh an d cem en t . An d h an ging st r eet s a r e na m ed in Ar ea -Un os-t r a ck wh i l e t h e fe w l ower st r eet s a r e n a m ed in Ar ea -Ln os-t r a ck. T h e spa ces bet ween t h e bui l din gs ar e par k -l ike a r ea s. T h er e ar e fl yi n g veh i cl es da r t in g in a ll di r ect i on s, but t h e seem i n g con fusi on wa s a ppar en t an d n ot r ea l. In fa ct ea ch cl a ss a n d ea c h di r ect i on h a s i t s own l e vel . Fl yi n g veh i cl es des cen di n g t owa r ds a n i m m en se bui l di n g just out si d e t h e ci t y pr oper a n d som e l a n din g upon it s own r oof ex c ept t h e com m er ci a l plan es, wh i ch ca n lan d on an y d ock s n ea r by. Wobbi a c oul dn ’t even a ffor d a h el i copt er of h i s own . So h e wa s a l wa ys ca r eful wi t h h i s four - yea r ol d ca r , Awa ye. But t oda y, h e wa s dr i vi ng ca r el essl y, un -t h ought ful l y. T h i s ca r el ess dr i vi ng h a s ca ugh t th e a tt en t i on of a pa t r ol -c opt er t ha t h a s im m edi a t el y da sh ed up t owa r ds h i m fr om a n oth er dir ect i on , wa rn in g th e dri ver to c on cen t ra t e on dri vi n g. Wobbi a se em e d un con cer n ed. “Ma ybe I g ot t o t a ke m y bl es se d t i m e n ext t im e, ” h e m urm ur ed.

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Aft er fe w m i n ut es of dr i vi n g, h e deci ded t o st op, s o h e got a sm a l l par kin g spa ce a n d st opped t h e ca r en gin e. He g ot out of t h e A wa ye a nd wor ked m a je st i ca l l y t o a pa ci n g pol i cem a n. “G ood da y offi c er , ” Wobbi a gr eet ed t h e cop. “G ood da y si r , ” th e pol i c e offi cer ga ve h i m a t ra di t i ona l sa l ut e. Th e youn g pol i ce, a g e r a n ging bet we en 22 a n d 25, h a d on a n ea t uni for m of da rk gr een , com bed Ki j i ppa c ot t on -st uff, wi t h a sca r let r ed l ea t h er bel t . Hi s m et a l ca p wa s t h e sh a pe of a n egg cut l on gi t udina l l y i n t o t wo h a l ves. He wa s a t ypi ca l Al a a ri pol i ce. “Ca n l h el p you si r ?” T h e cop m oved cl oser t o Wobbi a . “C oul d you pl ea se di r e ct m e t o l a n e 5, a cul -desa c t r a ct ? I g ot m y spe ed r edu ced a n d my di r ect i ve c om pa ss wh i ch l set t o go wi t h th e spee d wa s a l so i m pa ir ed. So l ca n ’t st op a t n um ber 5 of l an e 5 sir . ” “Oh I see, ’’ t h e youn g pol i ce offi c er n odded. “T h i s wa y pl ea s e. ” He m ot i on ed by h a n d and Wobbi a fol l owed cl os el y beh i n d th e pol i cem a n . As t h e y wa l k ed a l on g a wi de c on cr et e r oa d, Wobbi a sa i d t o h i m sel f: Gone we re t he day s, whe n t he se son s and daught e r of E v e we re s o unc ul t ure d and, i n f ac t, unc out h. That wa s t he e ra of dark ne ss i n t he pol ic e f orc e of t he Larri . B y t he n t he re wa s no prope r e duc at i on o r ade quat e t rai ni ng, if y ou ask me , t he y we re most undi sc i pl i ne d off i ce rs and we re v e ry e rrat i c , ac t ual l y a c ase of anarc hy. The y had no re spe c t

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f or pe opl e t he y we re pai d t o se rv e , and of t e n g ot mad unne c e ssari l y and ev e n shot down i nnoc e nt c i t i ze ns t he y we re t rai ne d and pai d t o prote ct . The y e v e n k i ll e d c hi l dre n. We l l , pe opl e re f use d to gi v e honour or re spe c t t o t he m. Today , t he y we re be t t e r t rai ne d, e duc at e d and we l l pai d t o se rve . No w. . . ” “Ah . . . ah ! Yes. Her e i s l a n e 5. An d h a ve a n i ce t i m e si r, ” st oppi n g Wobbi a ’s i n t erna l dia l ogue, t h e cop sm i l ed a n d ga ve a sa l ut e. “Ah , th ank you ver y m uch offi c er . ” Wobbi a r epl i ed. He t h en t urn ed a n d fol l owed a sm a l l r oa d of a sph a l t c on cr et e sl a bs a s be en di r ect ed. N ow st a n din g on a spot , h e wa s wa t ch i n g th e pol i ce offi c er a s h e wa s m a t ch in g on sm art l y. An d n ot fa r a wa y fr om t h e ma in r oa d st ood t h e on l y bui l di n g in t h e ar ea , a m a ssi ve bui l di ng, wh i ch wa s get t i n g bi gger a s Wobbi a m oved cl ose t o i t . He m oved fa st er t owa r ds t h e bui l di ng n egl ect i n g th e ‘bi g -e ven t ’ an d wa l ked st r a i gh t to t h e ma in door . On r ea ch in g th e bi g, pl a st i ci z ed i rok o door , h e st epped si l en t l y on t h e ca l l -m at th at wa s spr ea d on th e thr esh ol d of t h e door , th e door sn a pped op en . Fina l l y h e en t er ed th e bui l din g thr ough th e m a ssi ve d oor th a t l ed t o a bi g h a ll . St a n din g i n th e ha l l wa s a gi a n t , fl a t con cr et e sl a b, on wh i ch a wooden boa r d wa s h an ged. He r e Wobbi a ch eck ed on t h e n ot i ced - boa r d for t h e In st i t ut e of Ma n . It si t ua t es on t h e gr oun d fl oor. Wi t h a si gh of r el i ef, h e m oved sl owl y t o t h e n ext

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m a t in th e bui l di n g a par tm en t. Aft er fe w kn oc ks a t th e door , th e door gl i ded open . St a n din g in th e wooden fr a m e of t h e door , wa s a r oun d, squar e, sh or t m an of a bout 2. 2 m et r es t al l a n d l ooked a r oun d 95 yea r s of a ge. T h e st r a n gel ooki n g man wa s wea r in g a l on g dandogo, em br oi d er ed r oun d th e n eck; pr oba bl y t h i s i s hi s h ouse wea r . No ca p. N o sl i pp er s. No cr os s a r ound h i s n eck or r osa r y i n h an d. “G ood da y, si r , ” Wobbi a n odded, st r et ch ed hi s h an d an d sh ook t h e ot h er m an ’s han d. “I supp ose you a r e E e. . . e. . . em , Dr . Ossa z za ?” Wobbi a a sked, sm i l in g. “E l egr ri , Ossa z z ua E l egrr i. You a r e wel c om e. Ca n I be of a n y h el p t o you ?” He st r et ch ed hi s h an d for wa r d. “T h a t ’s ri gh t Dr. E l egrr i. I’m Wobbi a O or uo. ” He sm i l ed a ga in an d sh ook h a n d wi t h Dr E l egrr i . “T h i s wa y pl ea s e, ” wa vi n g hi s h an d, Dr . El egrri st epped a si d e cr ea t i n g wa y for Wobbi a t o m ove i n si de th e h ouse. Gl i din g on l y on t oes, Dr E l egrr i l ed Wobbi a t hr ough a sma l l pa ssa ge t o a l a r ger r oom t h a t a ppea r ed m or e l i ke a m useum wi t h a h i gh dom ed r oof t h an a l i vin g r oom . N o bul b or fl u or es c e nt t ube s c oul d be se en a n ywh er e. T h e wa l l s we r e sel f-i l l um in a t ed a s t h ey wer e i n gl oss y pa i n ts, sor t of, a n d r ecei ved sun r a ys fr om t h e l a r ge dom e a bove. Pl a st i c m od el s of st r a n ge bea st s, m a n y a r t i fa ct s t oo m a n y t o s e e, i den t i fy a n d na m e, wh en on e

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se es t h em a t th e fi r st t i m e. Th e l i fe spa n of a r ace wa s pr oba bl y i m pr ovi s ed h er e. Wobbi a l ooked e ver ywh er e i n a ma z em en t, ful l y i n vol ved a n d n ear l y for got h i s fi r st n am e. T o hi s ul t i ma t e sur pr i se, th er e wa s n ot h in g l i ke ope le or c owr i es, for di vi n at i on , h an gin g on th e wa l l or bel ow t h e cei l i n g, pot s for c on c oct i on or k onjo dec or a t ed wi t h marri wo or an y ot h er junk, sh owi n g th at th i s man i s a jujui st , m et a - or a woph ysi ci st or na m e i t. Aft er bot h m en , of di ffer en t r ea lm s of exi st en ce, g ot s ea t ed, Dr . El egrr i pr essed a s or t of i nt er com a n d in a fe w se c on ds em er ged, t hr ough a n a dja cen t door , a sm a l l gir l of a bout 8 ye a r s ol d wh o l ook ed a m er ma i d, ver y bea ut i ful a n d cut e wi t h sm a l l fl a t n ose a n d ext r em el y l a r ge e yes. S h e en t er ed t h e si t t in g r oom , bowed a l i t t l e, cur t si ed t o E l egr r i an d h i s vi si t or , an d th en focus ed on t h e doct or a wa i t i n g an in str uct i on . L ooki n g at Wobbi a di r ect i on , “Wh at do I ser ve you ? C ol a n ut ?” Dr E l egrri a sked a n d wi t h out a l l owi n g W obbi a t o a n swer a n y of t h e t wo quest i on s, h e t urn ed h i s h ea d an d ann oun ced t o t h e l i t tl e gi r l, wh om h e r efer r ed t o a s ‘Ad ol a ’. “ Br in g a ca l a ba sh of c ol a n ut s t oget h er wi t h a bot t l e of A jji a - t h e ol d est h ot dr i n ks, ogogoro, in La rr i di st ri ct . ” He ch uckl ed. Wobbi a a l s o sm i l ed. “T h an k you, si r . I’ll joi n you. ” Now, t a l kin g t o h im sel f. Si nc e t hat ogogoro t hi ng wi l l be i nv ol ve d, I’l l sure l y be obli ge d t o go

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f or c ol anut s ev e n if y ou don’t k now whe t he r I l i k e c ol anut s or not. He ga ve a qui ck, si l l y gr in . Fi n al l y, Adda , a s sh e i s fon dl y ca l l ed, br ough t t h e or der an d l eft t h e r oom . Aft er br i ef i n t r oduct i on s exch a n ged bet ween t h e t wo m en , Wobbi a st a t ed t h e r ea son s of h i s un expect ed vi si t . Ossa z z ua di dn ’t gi ve a di r ect r e sp on se t o Wobbi a ’s bl a h -bl a h, so Ossa z z ua t h ough t or so i t se em ed t o h i m tha t , Wobbi a i s l i ke a l l ot h er m en, wh o wa n t s j uj u for power . Th e y c om e wi t h out pr i or n ot i ce be ca use t h e y a r e a l wa ys i n a h urry. T h ey s eem ed n ot t o h a ve a s ol i d pr epl a n of t h e ir a ct i on s. He sh ook h i s h ea d in pi t y, pi cked t h e Aj ji a bot t l e, a n d ch ecked t h e c on t en t s be for e h e r efi l l ed bot h h i s an d Wobbi a ’s cups. Wobbi a , wi t h t h an ks a gain , t ook a l on g gul p fr om i t , an d bel ch ed i n pur e sa t i sfa ct i on th at : th e A j j i a woul d fi gh t t o st upor , th e m ost st ubbor n ger m s an d vi r uses t h a t ar e st i l l fl owi n g i n hi s bl ood. Wi t h Ajji a , a dr in k di sti l l ed fr om pa l m wi n e, on e fea r s n o ger m s, vi r uses or wh a t ever you ca l l i t. “Oh I s ee, ” Dr . E l egr ri an swer ed a t l a st . “I a l wa ys r esen t i t wh en peopl e sp ea k of spi r i t ua l i sm in a sor t of sn eer i n g an d un pl ea sa nt m ann er. E ver y m a n in h i s wor l d i s a spir it ua l i st , i f h e i s n ot a m a t er ia l i st ” He pa used a n d pi cked up h i s ogogoro cup, si pped a l i t t l e in t o h i s dr i ed es oph a gus, h e r a pped on .

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“I a m a spi ri t ua li st , man ! An d wh a t a bout you ?” h e a sked h i s vi si t or a n d wi n ked a t h i m, a n d th en h e r ush ed on . “I a m, beca u se I bel i e ve i n t h e spi r i t. No m a t t er wh a t sh i t you wea r , wh et h er you a r e a Buddh i st , Ca th ol i c, Con fusi on i st , T a oi st , Musl i m , E l e bo, Ol ori sha – n a m e t h em . If you h a ve a n y c on cept i on of spi r i t ua l qua li t y t h a t wi l l n ot per i sh a t th e so ca l l ed ‘dea t h ’, you a r e i n a t r ue sen se a spir i t ua l i st. “L ook, t h e a lt ern a ti ve i s t o be a m a t eri a li st and depen d on l y on t h e th in gs th a t you ca n see, h ear a n d feel . Al t h ough , I r efus e t o j oi n t h e gr oup of si m pl e–fee bl em i n ded i n di vi dua l s i n th e bel i e f of a n an thr opom or phi c god, I h a ve a l wa ys fel t t ha t t h er e wa s s om e s or t of gr ea t cr ea t i ve for c e, i n th e un i ver se - ca l l i t He or Sh e or m or e a ppr opr ia t el y: t h e E a gl e’s E m an at i on (i f you a gr eed wi t h Ca rl os), l i fe for c e or . . . ” h e st opp ed t o br ea t h e a n d swa l l owed a l um p of h i s sa l i va . Thi s m a de hi s bul gi n g Ada m ’s a ppl e m oved up a n d down . “Ca l l i t an yt h in g tha t i s r a th er keepi n g th e wh ol e t h in g n a il ed t oget h er . ” Wobbi a ju st l i st en ed a n d, pr oba bl y, h e wa s n ot r ea l l y i n t er est ed i n a l l th e ja r gon s, th e ol d m a n wa s ba bbl i n g a bout . But h e kept n oddi n g ea ch t i m e t h e doct or l ook ed di r ect l y i n t o h i s e yes, a s i f h e wa s sea r ch in g for an un quest i on a bl e a ppr ova l . “T h er e i s som et h in g in a ll of us t h a t ca n m a ke us wi t n ess our en t i r e bod y, ” Dr . E l egrr i sa id fi r m l y. “Ma n n eeds on l y r e ver t in g t o hi s c om pon en t s. Th e pr obl em a r i ses wi t h m an’s

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a wa r en ess; i t i s h i s a wa r en ess t h a t be c om es en t an gl ed an d con fus ed. ” He pa us ed, dr a in ed hi s cup a n d bel ch ed si l en t l y. Sudden l y h e sa i d. “E h, Wobbi a ! If I ca n ca ll you t h a t , “Yes, ye s. Y ou a r e a ga i n wel c om e si r t o t h e In st i t ut e of Ma n .” Dr . E l egrr i ga z ed dir ect l y a t Wobbi a . T h i s m a de Wobbi a s wa l l owed a bi g l um p of a i r . He ch uckl ed a l i t tl e, an d th en m ur m ur ed a lm ost i na udi bl e wor ds. “Fun n y n a m e i t i s,” i t wa s m or e of st a t em en t th an quest i on . Th en h e r a pped on . “Y ou m a y n ot un der st a n d ful l y n ow. Al l I a sk you i s t o t est your a bi l i t y, s o a s t o se e wh et h er you ca n r ea l l y t a ke up t h e ta sk be for e you. “Her e I a m dea lin g wi t h ‘a ct i on an d r ea ct i on ’. On th e ot h er han d, i f you pr e fer t o t a ke up t h e ‘ca use a n d effect ’ t h in g, th en t a ke i t a s i t i s and n o a l t ern at i ve. Y ou a r e wel c om e t o t h e In st i t ut e of m a n, ” h e con cl uded. “Ma y I kn ow exa ct l y wh a t I sh oul d d o? An d c oul d you expl a i n , con ci sel y, t o m e ?” W obbi a a sked. Dr . El egrr i l ooked puz z l ed. “Oh ! T h a t. ” He r ubbed h i s l on g r obu st fi n ger s on h i s obl on g fa c e. Con t in uin g hi s r ubbi n g, h e sa i d fur t h er. “Wh a t I’m sa yi n g in essen ce i s t h a t, be for e you em ba rk upon such , l et m e sa y, a da n ger ous ven t ur e, a s you a r e un wi t t in gl y a ski n g for , I sh oul d sh ow yo u t wo or m or e a l t ern a t i ves. Y ou wi l l h a ve t i m e en ough t o pi ck l a t er wh a t ever you pr efer a n d pay for wh a t ever r esul t s you h a ve.

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“L ook!” sn a ppin g h i s r i gh t -han d fi n ger s, h e c on t in ued, “It ’s ei t h er you r ever t t o your i n ner sel f a n d wa i t pa ti en tl y for your dest i n y, t h a t i s to sa y wa i t i n g for your t urn in th i s l i fe. T h i s I ca n sh ow you t h e kn ow-h ow ver y wel l i n deed, t h ough i t t a kes t i m e. Oth er wi se, you wi l l be i n pos se ssi on of s om e a l i en bod y. T h i s on t h e a l t erna t i ve i s fa st er t h an th e for m er a n d sur er t oo. Your wi sh i n th i s ca se wi l l sur el y be your s; you wi l l c er t a in l y be i n st a l l ed a s t h e n ext Ba a l e of Al a ar i .” He st opp ed, l ooked up t o t h e c ei l i n g and t h en con t i n ued. “You ca n ei t h er be your own en t ir e devi l or you ca n be your sel f a n d ca rr y a spa r e l oa d of d e vi l s a r oun d you. An d a s I wa s sa yi n g, th e per son al exper i en ce, good or ba d, we bi n d in t o our sel ve s. T h e un l i ved exper i en ce s, t h e r egr et s, th e m i ght -h a ve- be en s, an d th e just es ca ped t h in gs we a l l ca r r y a r oun d our ba cks. But . . . ” h e l ooked up a ga in , wa t ch in g by t h e c or n er of h i s l eft e ye, a n y n ot i cea bl e r ea ct i on fr om W obbi a . Non e…. W e kn ow i t . ” He fi n a l ly sa i d. “Ca n I sa y, ” Wobbi a , t ir ed of l i st en in g t o E l egrr i ’s spea kin g in ‘t on gue’, cut in an d a sked wh et h er th e m uch -cel e br a t ed de vi l ca n r ea lly exer t s a n osm ot i c pr essur e. Dr . E l egrr i si m pl e a n swer wa s: “ I f you sa y s o” a n d h e st ood up an d excused h i m sel f t i pt oei n g to t h e n ext pa ssa ge, bet we en t h e l i vi n g r oom a nd l ar ge wi n dow, pr oba bl y i n t o a n ot h er r oom . He di sa ppea r ed an d ca m e ba ck, t o m eet h i s vi si tor

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a ft er t en m in ut es, wea r in g a si m pl e bubba and sooro t h a t wa s m a de of c om bed c ot t on a br oom ca p a n d l ea th er san da l s. Se ei n g h i s h ost i n a n ew dr ess W obbi a st ood up, t hin kin g: ‘i f th e ch an ge of cl ot h wi l l ha ve a di r ect c on n ect i on wi t h m y r eque st , l et ’s g o a h ea d M r. Ogi rr i -Sh a pa ’ He n i ckn am ed Dr. El egrr i. T h e t wo m en wen t out of t h e l i vin g r oom a nd wa l ked t hr ough th e sa m e pa ssa ge E l egr ri ca m e fr om . Th e doct or wa s l ea di n g, t i pt oei n g eve n wi t h hi s sa n da l s on . Aft er th e y h a d pa ssed t h e t wo door s a l on g th e cor r i dor, th ey st epp ed, t oget h e r, on th e esca l a t or m a t an d r ode up wa r ds. Aft er thr ee m in ut es, th e esca l a t or st opp ed a s Dr. E l egrr i li ft ed h i s l eft foot . Bot h of t h em st eppe d on t h e m a t a t th e t hr esh ol d of a n ot h er bi g d oor, wh i ch open ed i n wa r dl y i n t o a l ar ge r oom . On ent er in g th e r oom , th e wh ol e c ei l i n g li gh t ed up i m m edi a t el y a s O ssa z z ua , wh o wa s n ow l ea di n g, pa ssed by t h e door fr a m e. “E ver yt h in g seem s t o wor k a ut om a t i ca ll y i n t hi s h ouse, eh ” Wobbi a com m en t ed i n a sur pr i se. “Y es. Yes. ” Dr . E l egrri m urm ur ed. T hi s t i m e, th e r oom i l l um ina t ed an d l ook ed sm a l l er than th e fi r st t i m e th e y wer e h er e, wh i ch som eh ow m a de i t cl a ust r oph obi c, t h e fe el i n g of bei n g en gul fed by s om e ki n d of h or r or . Th ough t h er e wa s vi r t ua l l y n ot h i n g in th e r oom . Al l r ound t h e wa l l s, st r et ch in g up t o t h e cei l i n g wa s pa i n t ed i n gl oss y wh i t e. T h e fl oor wa s ca r pet ed wi t h bea ut i ful l y n et t ed, s oft r e ed -m a t . Not h in g m ore.

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It wa s da wn on Wobbi a n ow t h at th e y h a d not on ce been i n th i s par t i cul ar r oom . Dr . E l egrr i st opped i n th e m i ddl e of t h e r oom . Fa ci n g Wobbi a n ow h e a sked, “Wh a t i s our fi rst t er m Mr. Oor uo?” “Fi r st t erm ?” You m ea n th e fe e ?” “Oh yes, you h ea r d m e wel l Si r . An ywa y, we wi l l di scus s t h at a ft er ,” Dr . E l egrr i a ssur ed h im , “a n d I wa n t t o sh ow yo u s om e t h in gs, th in gs tha t wi l l gi ve you t h e i dea of a l l t ha t we wer e t a l king a bout , so t h a t you m a y h a ve a ch oi ce. ” “I a m 100 per cen t r ea dy si r . ” Wobbi a sa i d in exci t em en t . Dr . E l egrr i wa l ked sm a rt l y t o a wa l l fa ci n g Wobbi a . He qui ckl y pr es sed a but t on a n d h er e and t h en a sin gl e wooden bed wi t h an in bu i l t ma t tr ess a n d a r ed vel vet c over , han ged down t o th e fl oor . “Wi l l you pl ea s e l i e d own fl a t on your ba ck h er e Mr . Oor uo, ” a s h e poi n t ed t o t h e bed, “a nd you sh oul d pl ea s e t un e out a n d pour your a ffe ct i on in t o th i s bed, a t l ea st for t h e pur pose of t hi s ex er ci se. N ow bot h of us wi l l cr oss over t o our own wor l d. ” Spr ea din g h i s h an d, Dr. E l egrri sa i d, “St r et ch out t h e best wa y you ca n l i ke you wa n t t o r est . “ Re st !” Wobbi a obe yed t h e d oct or ’s i n st r uct i on t o i t s l a st l et t er. He l a i d fl a t an d st r et ch ed out a s pos si bl e a s h e coul d. “ Re st !” T h e doct or r epea t ed, “An d don ’t tr y…. , don ’t st r ain or you m i ss i t . D o a l l ow our t h ought s

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t o fl ow fr eel y m i n gl in g t oget h er in ra in bow c ol our s of t h e c osm i c a ur a . Let your bel l i es sa g a n d your fi n ger s c om e a pa r t . At th i s poi n t , D r E l egrr i br ough t a sm al l wa t ch out of h i s br ea st pocket a n d ch ecked. He t h en in str uct ed fur t h er: Your pa l m s up. “T r y! N ow, your bod y i s h ea vy, t oo h ea vy for you. You a r e si n kin g fl a t a ga in st soft wood, wh i ch i s i m a gin ed h an ged by st r i n gs. Th en you a r e l et t in g go, sa ggin g down , down , down …. ” Sur pr i sin gl y t o W obbi a , h e fel t h i s bod y h ea vi n ess. Dr E l egrr i voi c e s oun ded m or e di st a nt but won der ful l y cl ea r , r in gin g, “. . . an d r est ing n ow. Oh yes. “Pa i n i s gon e fa st . F ea r i s goi n g a wa y s o t h at h a ppin ess and kn owl edg e of t h in gs ar e over com i n g. Don ’t bl i n k your e yes. T r y, no m a t t er h ow h a rd i t i s. Tr y! “N ow h a n ds up, up, up a n d up a s a fea t h er , up, up. . . . tr y. . . . har d, har d, ye e. . . es a s you ca n Wobbi a . N ow e ver yt h in g i s gon e, s ea , sk y, m oun t a in s, pebbl es, sa n d, n ot hin g r em ain s h er e but you a n d I. So, you h a ve l et g o of your sel f by gi vi n g m e th e con tr ol . Yes, yes, ye e. . . . . es. You a lr ea d y kn ow h ow t o g et t o our wor l d. T a ke m e wi t h you. “In th e begi n nin g i s th e a ct . So a ct !” Th e l a st wor d r an g tr em en dou sl y i n Wobbi a ’s ea r s. Wobbi a l et g o a n d fr e el y t oo. Bot h m en wer e n ow fl yi n g a ct ua l l y l i ke bi r ds.

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“S ee r a in bows a s t h e y spi n r oun d an d r oun d,” Wobbi a sh out ed i n h a ppin ess, poi n t i n g a t th em a n d con t i nued t o m ur m ur, gr a dua l l y h i s voi ce fa ded. It beca m e a n a u di t or y bl ur . As t h e y wen t fur th er down , Wobbi a ’s a t t en t i on wa s ca ugh t by a r ot a t in g sph er e of m a n y c ol our ed l i gh t s. It wa s ver y bea ut i ful . An d i t wa s m or e t han th at . E a ch br i gh t fa cet of t h e t urnin g cr yst a l se em ed t o offer a fl e et i n g gli m pse of a sc en e: som e r ea l st ran ge n ew un i ver se wi t h in n ew wor l d. A gr e y sk y st ood a bove a da r k, st or m y m oun t a in t ha t l ook ed l i ke s om e gi a n t m an go t r ees, h a ving t op of gi ga n t i c pl an t s bush es a l m ost a s th ough ea ch of t h e cr yst a l ’s m i l l i on fa c et s h a d be c om e on e of h i s e yes. “C oul d i t be r ea l ?” Wha t i s thi s Dr . Ogrri -Sha pe d oi n g wi t h m e n ow a n d t h en ?” h e t h ought . Coul d h e a ct ua ll y be se ei n g th e wor ld t h us wh i l e fl yi n g bel ow or a bove i t ?, Ra t h er than t h e arm s an d l egs of a h um an, h e fel t wi n gs, ext ra four sh or t l egs a n d bod y of a bi r d. . . . E a gl e? An ext r a t err estr i a l ani m al ? He wa s a bi r d, ye s. But h e r et a in ed h i s br a in s. T ha t ca l l ous E l egr r i, t h e wi z a r d, th e wi t ch , ha s pr oba bl y t r an sfor m ed h im in t o a m er e bi r d, for wh a t pur pose ? . . . Mon e y a n d power ? Just t o bec om e t h e Ba a l e of Al a a r i . Wh i l e t h e wi n d be ca m e a gen t l e br eez e, a t l ea st t ha t wa s t h e wa y h e fel t , h e wa s n ot fl yi n g a s fa st a s i t bl e w a ga i n st h i m. St ea di l y, i t wa s ca r r yi ng h i s wi n gs un ti l h e dr opped d own l i gh t ly, c on gra t ula t in g hi m sel f for a job wel l don e.

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Sudden l y, a t hr ea d-l i ke pseud op odi um wi t h a jel l y-l i ke bod y t h a t can dr a w i t s en t ir e bod y i n to a c om pa ct m a ss cr a wl ed out of t h e da r k sea s. T hi s a l i en ra i sed up som e pa r t of i t s upper bod y, be nt i t s wh a t -we-m a y-ca l l a h ea d a s i f i n gr eet i n g. It s c om m un i ca ti on wa s di r ect a n d com pr eh en si ve, a s i t h a s star t ed t o t a l k. “I’m fr om a pl a n et of a st a r wh i ch I can poi n t t o you but wh ose n a m e I do n ot kn ow i n your l an gua ge. I’m n ot sur e i f you kn ow bi os ci en ce en ough t o di st i n gui sh th e di ffer en ce bet wee n pr ot oz oa a n d a vi r u s, just a s th e bod y e vol ved far fr om t h e sm a l l er l i fe for m s you ca l l vi r uses. I woul d n ot kn ow your wor ds for t h em . As a m a t ter of fa ct , ” t h e a l i en con t in ued, “m y bod y h a s n o de fi n i t e sh a pe. I’m just l i ke on e of your a m oe ba s. Al t h ough, I’m ver y sm a l l by your own st a n dar ds, but m y bod y c on t a in s a t h ousa n d t i m es a s m any cel l s a s your s. “Si n ce I’m s o sm a l l a n d fl i m s y i n st r uct ur e, ” h e r a pped on , “I fr equen t l y fi n d i t a wk wa r d a nd som et i m e da n ger ous t o t r a vel a n d wor k by m ys el f, a n d I h a ve for m ed a h a bi t of r i di n g l ar ger cr ea t ur es - t wi n nin g in si de t h eir bod y, i f you l i ke. I’m a l so a bl e t o d o t h a t wi t h out h ar min g th em , si n ce I ca n a djust m y sh a pes t o t h e a va i l a bl e spa ce, i n t h ei r bodi e s. I ca n e ven m a ke m ys e l f use ful by d est r oyi n g di sea ses, ger m s an d ot her un wel c om e or gan i sm s. Mor eover , I di r ect t h eir l i fe- for c e t o sui t t h ei r pur pose, wh i l e m y h ost en joys bet t er h ea lth th an ot h er wi se m i gh t . Th e

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st r an ge cr ea t ur e dr ew i t s t hr ea dl i ke bod y t og et h er a ga in . As W obbi a wa n t ed t o t a l k, h e fel t a bi g l um p in h i s thr oa t an d h e coul dn ’t t a l k. He wa s t oo a fr a i d t o sh out or ta l k. T h e st r an ge an i ma l con t i n ued. “Yes. T wi n n ing i s n ot poss essi on pl ea se. An d sin ce I do n ot h ing t o h a rm m y h ost , s o wh en e ver you n eed m e, you ca n h el p m e t o h el p your sel f, ” i t t a l ked on , “Ju st go n ea r a r i ver , or sea , bur y your t oe s i n t h e sa nd wh i l e l yi n g on your st om a ch . As su ch , I ca n op er a t e wi t h out em er gin g at al l t o th e sur fa ce. Fi n al l y m y t er m i s th at you a r e n ot per m it t ed to use such p ower , a s you wi l l r ec ei ve fr om m e, for your own sel fi sh en d, but for ot h er com m on fol ks of t h e r a ce. ” It c on cl uded a n d just va n i sh ed i nto t hin air just a s i t ca m e. St a n din g com for t a bl y, a t Wobbi a ’s r i gh t -h and si de, wa s Dr . E l egrr i in th e sa m e for m a s h e wa s. T h e doct or ga ve h i m a wi n k an d m ot i on ed h i m to fl y on . Sudden l y, W obbi a wi n gs st a r t ed t o s wi ng vol un t ar i l y a s be for e. T h e t wo m en l ea pt i n t o t h e a tm osph er e a n d wen t down a l m ost t o t h e sur fa c e. T h e a ir wa s br ea t h a bl e, i t s com posi t i on bei n g ver y si m i l ar to t ha t of Al a a r i ’s, but wi t h h i gh er ca r bon di oxi de. It s pr essur e wa s s om e wh a t h i gh, but n ot t oo un bea r a bl e. Th e t em per a t ur e wa s sl i ght l y h i gher t han 30 0 C. Th i s n ew wor l d’s gr oun d wa s a l m ost h i dden by a r an k gr owt h of t h i ck, ext r a gr een l ike m oun t a in s.

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Sudden l y, W obbi a foun d h i m sel f l a n din g upon on e of t h e gl a ss m oun t ain s- a t l ea st it wa s s ol i d a n d coul d t a ke h i s own wei gh t . St a n din g a t on e en d of t h e m oun t ain r i se wa s a s ym m et r i ca l l y a n d won der ful l y bui l t ba oba b-l i ke t r ee wi t h i t s pecul i a r for m , i t s br an ches i nt er l ocki n g, an d h a vin g br oa d, dar k -gr een l ea ve s. No si n gl e pa l m tr ee. In deed n o pal m -, but fer n t r ees, t ower i n g n ot l es s t h a n on e h un dr ed m et res i nt o t h e a i r wer e t ot a l l y, un l i ke t h e for est h e h ad e ver s een . Un exp ect edl y, s om et h in g ca m e out sl owl y fr om t h e si de of a l on el y i rok o-l i ke t r ee. “Irok o t r ee?” W obbi a m ur m ur ed. He c oul d st i l l r em em ber ver y wel l t h a t i rok o i s n ot a n or dinary t r ee - a sa cr ed t r ee i n deed – but a n a bode of i wi n and j i nni. Th e cr ea t ur e’s four h uge squa t l egs suppor t ed a h um an -l i ke bod y, of a t l ea st for ty m et r es l on g - just l i ke t h e gi ga n ti c en i gm a ti c sph in x. Th e bod y i s pur s y a n d un gain l y. At t h e en d of a l on g, si n uous n eck i s a sm al l goa t h ead t ha t seem ed t o be c om p os ed of ca r ni vor ou s m out h a n d yel l ow st a i n ed t eet h. Wobbi a ga sp ed i n h or r or. “Doct or ! D oct or !” h e ca l l ed. He n ea r l y pa ss ed out of pur e fr i ght . “Who kn ows i f t h er e c oul d be dea t h in th i s n ew wor l d a n y wa y?” He a sked h i m sel f t h e quest i on . “ Hel l o fol k!” t h e a n i m al -m an ta l ked in Wobbi a ’s t on gue an d h i s pecul i ar wa y of t a l ki n g. “D on ’t be sur pri sed t h at I kn ow your l an gua ge, eh . Don ’t you un der st a n d t el epa t h y or t h e

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r el a t i on sh i p bet we en spa c e a n d t i m e or t h e four th di m en si on ? Ah I see. “Y ou a r e t h e fr e er t ype but i n deed, bl i n d, dul l, dea f a n d st upi d an d n ot h in g fr om a r a ce s o l ow, i n sca l e, t h a t it wi l l be t h ousa n ds of yea r s be for e you wi l l r i se e ven a bove dea t h . An d sex. ” He ch uckl ed sc or n ful l y. “It i s n ot hin g in fa ct . If I a m n ot m i st a ken, th er e ar e des cen da n t s of ol d es ot er i c wa r l or ds of t h e a n ci en t T -lan d in La a ri di st r i ct . Th ey d o n ot bel i e ve t h a t dea t h i s i n evi t a bl e. Ha ve you e ver h ea r d a bout t h em ? D o you kn ow t h em ?” He a sk ed a n d t or e open hi s m out h t o sh ow t h os e set of yel l ow ‘di gg er s’ of m or e t han th ousa n ds. Wobbi a t ur n ed h i s h ea d t o kn ow i f t h er e i s a n yt h in g Dr. E l egrr i coul d d o t o sa ve t h i s si t ua t i on . In fa ct , h e cr oa k ed si l en t l y a n d wi n ked se cr et l y, a l l in th e na m e of ca l l i n g your a t t en ti on Doct or t o sa ve us fr om t h i s m on st er . But a l l wa s i n va in a s Dr . El egrr i wa s on l y pa yi n g a r apt a t t en ti on t o th e an im al -m an. “I kn ow you a r e da mn t oo st upi d t o kn ow. Y ou se e, dum p h ea ds, th ese pe opl e ba n a l i sh dea th. T h ey d espi s e a n d m ea sur e th ei r h ei ght s wi t h dea t h . It i s for bi dden t h er e t o ca r r y a c or pse t o i t s gr a ve. Mer e i n ca n t a ti on s I sa y fr om t h es e p e op l e of T -l a n d, in fa ct th ei r el der s, h a ve t o r eci t e, t h en t h ey or der a st on e d ea d bod y t o ‘r i se a n d go h om e’ or wh er e i t woul d l i ke t o g o, a n d th e dea d woul d obe y. Mor e t h an th a t, i f a n a t i ve ha d di ed of wh a t hi s peopl e m a y bel i e ve wa s due t o

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unn at ur a l ca use, ” h e expl a i n ed fur th er . He sa i d fur t h er tha t , such dea d per s on ca n be ca l l ed ba c k t o l i fe, s o t h a t h e ca n con t i n ue l i vi n g unt i l th e ca use of h i s dea t h i s kn own . Th i s th ey d o wi t h fe w l ea ves a n d som e i n ca nt a t i on s – Ye ngouu, and a ft er t h a t, h e ca n n ow di e or di sa ppea r i f h e s o ch oos es. M ost a d ept s d on ’t di e; t h e y di sa pp e ar fr om t h e sur fa c e of your wor l d, wh i l e fun era l a rran gem en t s ar e st i l l goi n g on . Th i s i s a fea t of gr ea tn ess, you wi l l sa y, t o pr ove vi ct or y over t h e so- ca l l ed dea t h . He open ed t h a t obs cen e ca vi t y of a m out h, ya wn ed a n d t urn ed h i s at t ent i on t o Dr. El egrr i and sa i d. “T o m y sur pri se a n d del i gh t you h a ve de vel op ed n a scen t qual i t y ver y r em a r ka bl y dur ing t hi s sh or t t im e I ca m e a cr oss bot h of you. K ee p on goi n g a s you h a ve been doi n g, m y ki n sman . Be so ki n d t o h el p t h i s m an. ” He l ook ed si d e wa ys a t Wobbi a wh o wa s a bi t ca l m er n o w. “An d i f h e n eed ed m e, ” t h e a n im a l -man i n str uct ed E l egrr i fur th er , “I pr om i se t o offer h im wh a t ever h e wi sh es. Bye!” h e di sa ppea r ed into t hin air . T hr ough out th i s or dea l , Wobbi a di dn ’t kn ow wh et h er h e wa s a n n oyed, beca us e of a l l t h e a bus es t h a t fool i sh an i ma l thr ew on h i s ra ce, or h e wa s h a ppy si m pl y be ca us e h e se em ed t o h a ve got t h e r i gh t an swer t o h i s quest . Dr . E l egrri ga ve W obbi a a sl i gh t t a p on hi s sh oul der . Wobbi a foun d hi m sel f l yi n g down , in t h e sa m e posi t i on of t h e m ain bowl of t h e

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In st i t ut e of Ma n , wa t ch i n g Dr. E l egrr i a s i f t h e wh ol e epi s od e h a s just st a rt ed. He wa s s wea t i ng n ow a n d coul dn ’t bel i e ve wh a t h a s h a ppen ed. He st ood up qui et l y fr om t h e bed a n d st ar t ed t owa r ds t h e door . At t h i s jun ct ur e, Dr. E l egrri fol l owe d h i s vi si t or t o t h e el e va t or . Aft er th e y ca m e out of t h e el e va t or box, t h e y wen t st r a i gh t t o t h e l i vi ng r oom . Wobbi a r e fus ed a n offer of food by t h e d oct or , but i n st ea d h e a sked for ogogoro. Th i s wa s offer ed h im . Aft er som e m i n ut es of si l en c e, Dr . E l egrr i ga ve a l i t tl e sm i l e. “Ca n you r em em ber wh a t h a ppen ed t o us Mr . Oor uo?” “I ca n ’t r em em ber an yt h i n g, ” h e li ed fi r m l y. “Y ou wi l l sur el y r em em ber Dr . El egrr i a ssur ed h im . An d n ow h e r em em ber ed t h e br i efca s e i n si de t h e Awa ye. He dr ew i n m or e ogogoro “I a m sor r y Doc. I don ’t m ean t o offen d you, ” wi pi n g hi s fa c e wi t h bot h pa l m s, h e sa i d. “I r em em ber n ow. Y es, a n y wa y I m ust g o n ow. But wh a t i s your fe e ?” He s eem ed c om posed n ow. “I m ea n h ow m uch do I offer for th at thin g?” “Mr . Errr . . . . err Oor uo! Y ou wi l l d o wel l i f you k e ep ca l m f or a da y or t wo. I m ea n sl eep on i t t oda y. T om or r ow i s a n ot h er da y. O. K. ?” T h e doct or r os e fr om h i s ch a ir an d Wobbi a di d t h e sa m e. Th e t wo m en sh ook h a n ds an d Wobbi a l eft t h e In st it ut e.

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CHAPTER THREE
Psychom etry

“ Hel l o da r l i n g!” Wee we’ s voi c e r a n g a s t h e l i vi n g-r oom d oor s wun g op en . “ Hel l o d ea r ! You di dn ’t gi ve t h e ph on e ca l l a ga in . You r ea l l y k e pt m e wa i t in g. I wa s a l m ost l a t e for th e Al a a ri Wom en ’s Gr oup (A WG) qua r t er l y m eet i n g.

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Na n aa ph on ed r em in din g m e. I e ven for got i t wa s t oda y, r ea l l y. ” Sh e se em ed s om eh ow i n h i gh spiri t t oda y. “Wh y a r e you l ooki n g a t m e l i ke t h a t ? Li ke a burn t kobo c oi n , jut bl an k. So wh a t h a ppen ed?” Wi t h out wa i t i n g for an an swer sh e dr opped h ea vi l y i n t o th e thr ee-s et t e e ch a ir an d fl un g th e sm a l l , bl a ck pl a st i c ba g sh e wa s ca r r yi n g on t h e soft -l ea t h er ca r pet . “N o pr obl em s pl ea s e, ” Wobbi a m ur m ur ed. “T h en ,” sn a ppin g an d fl exi n g h er fi n ger s sh e sa i d, “If t h er e wa s n o pr obl em t h en gi ve m e a cup of a c ol d pa l m i . Pl ea se. ” Sh e pl ea ded l ooki n g a t h i s h usba n d. “I bet t er get on e or t wo cups for m ys el f t oo. ” Com i n g a l i ve, Wobbi a st ood up a n d wa l ke d sl owl y t o t h e ki t ch en. Aft er a few m i n ut es th e pa l mi wa s r ea dy. “Y ea h ! It ta st es s o g ood, ” We e we c om m en t ed, bea m i n g. “An d h ow wa s AW G t oda y?” “N ot h in g in par t i cul ar . T oda y we c on cl uded t h at l a st di scussi on I t ol d you we h a d st a rt ed s om e si x m on th s a go. You r em em ber ?” Her h usba n d pl a ced d own t h e s ec on d cup of t h e c ol d pa l m i an d a sked. “Wh i ch on e a ga in ?” “Oh dum m y!” sh e st r et ch ed h er thin bod y del i ca t el y. Sh e wa s n ow t i r ed. Sh e cover ed hi s op en ed m out h an d ya wn ed l on g en ough t o r em ind h er sel f t h a t sh e n eeds a c om pl et e r est . “I kn ow you d on ’t r em em ber so oft en . You wr i t e t oo m uch on pa per s Mr . La wyer . Tr y t o wr i t e

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pl en t y on for eh ea d a n d i f oc cupi ed du e t o t oo m uch th in kin g, th en wr i t e on your l e ft pa l m i n st ea d of u si n g your pen on pa per s. Uh ?” s h e a dvi sed. “Oh th a t. Now I ca n r em em ber , ” h e li ed. “So, wh a t wa s t h e con cl usi on , ” h e em pt i ed th e cup. Now t h a t vi r t ual l y e ver ybod y i s educa t ed, i n cl udin g th e yet , a n un bor n ba by a n d n ow t h a t t h e ar ch a i c, th e in st i t ut i on a li z ed bel i e fs a r e fa di n g a wa y r a pi dl y; n ow t h a t food i s m a i nly pr ovi ded by t h e gover n m en t an d r a ti on ed yea r ly t o i n di vi dua l fa m il i es be ca us e of n on -a va i l a bi l i ty of l a n d for i n di vi dua l t o fa r m an d a s you t oo sh oul d kn ow, we h a ve c on cl uded t h a t ea ch fa m i ly m ust n ot ha ve m or e t h an thr ee ch i l dr en an d…” “An d wh y t hr ee a n d h ow?” “L et m e fi n i sh pl ea se, ” sh e con t in ued. “T h eol ogi ca l er a i s gon e, da r k tra di t i ona l bel i e f i s for got t en . So t h i s i s t h e per i od of spa c e, sci en c e a n d t ech n ol og y. O ver popul a t i on i s ea t ing us a l l up. We a r e sur el y ba r ga inin g for expl osi on i n th e n ear est fut ur e. T h er e a r e an ti -foet us h er bs r i gh t h er e in our s oi l . T h e h er bs a r e z er o-h a r m ful t oo, n o si de e ffect . An d si n ce t h e s ci en ce a nd t ech n ol og y su bje ct s a r e m a de com pul sor y i n bot h pr im ar y a n d sec on da r y sch ool , we a r e sur e of pr oduci n g a t l ea st si x m i l li on h er ba l i st s on yea r ly ba si s. M or e over , we wa n t Al a ar i gover n m ent to bet t er de vel op pl a st ogr a in s, pl a st ot a in a s wel l a s pl a st osa n t ei n in fa ct gen er a l pl a st on utri t i ous foods t o

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suppl em en t th e yea r l y t h in g. Un der stan d m i st er ?” “Fi n e, Ma da m . Un der st an d. . o. . . . o, ” Wobbi a a nn oun ced. “Th er e i s som et h in g ver y i m por t an t I wa n t t o di scu ss wi t h you. J ee j e wi l l be ba ck i n an h our , so we bet t er h urr y up or go up -st a i r s, ” “ Uh , uh . Wha t ’s up?” Wobbi a m oved cl os er t o h er an d sa i d. “You s ee, I wa n t t o be t h e n ext Ba a l e of t h i s t own . I am a fr a i d; I’ve s et up a ca m pa i gn com m i t t ee l a st we ek. N o, I ju st i n for m ed W om bi l i kki t o a r r ange for t h a t. So, h e ph on ed m e t h i s m or n in g tha t t hin gs h a ve st a r t ed i n earn est . I kn ow qui t e we l l t ha t th e gr oup wi l l d o t h ei r be st . But a s you t oo kn ow ver y wel l , I dou bt i f t h a t a l on e wi l l h old wa t er . An d a s you a l so kn ow t h e er a of r i ggin g or br i bi n g t h e Afoye j e i s pa s sed. In fa ct e ver y a t om of t h e A foye j e a ct i on s t o i n st a l l Agi ddi a s t h e Ba a l e of Al a a r i i s pr om in en t, especi a l l y si n ce I a m just g oi n g i n a s an ot h er con t est a n t. An d i f you wi l l l i ke t o kn ow, t h er e ar e t h e so ca l l ed Afoba je ?” “Y ou m ea n th e Afoye j e ?” cu t i n Wee we. “In t hi s c on t en t n o Si r ! T h ese a r e t h e m on e yba gs k ol orosi -e ni a, th e bf anna-mut aani i I c al l t he m. On e kol or osi m a y sp on s or your ca m pa i gn in i t s t ot a l i t y. N on e of t h em d o t h i s t o h el p you but for som e t h in g in r et urn . Thi s i s th e n ew but si l l y or der ” He sa i d t h e l a st st at em en t in a t on e of r egr et a n d l ooked a t h i s wi fe for som et h in g t o sa y. N o si n gl e wor d but a bl i n k -l ess l on g ga z e fr om h er.

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“S o, I vi si t ed S obbi a n d I m et on e Dr . E l egrr i at h i s In st it ut e, “Th e In st i t ut e of Ma n , wh er e you fi n d n obod y el se but a n a ut om a t i c ever yt h i n g and sm a l l m er ma i d. Of c our se, pl us th e doct or . ” “ Uh , uh ,” sh e sa i d a ga in. Yes. T h e doct or put m e t o a s or t of t h er a py or t est . W el l , wh i ch ever l a n gua ge h e used. He a ske d m e t o go ba ck t om or r ow, ” sa i d Wobbi a . Now W e e we que st i on ed. “I s h e a jujui st , vood ooi st , pr i est or wh at ?” “O f c our se n ot , ” scr a t ch in g hi s h ea d and l ooki n g t hr ough th e opp osi t e wi n dow h e sa i d. “Wh a t do you t h i n k? Th e m an t ol d m e, h e i s a spi r i t ua l i st or som et h i n g, sa i d h e i s sci en t i fi c i n h i s dea lin gs, tha t h e doesn ’t dea l wi th al l th ose n on sen si ca l m yst i ca l t h in gs of t h e pa st . An d a t l ea st . . . . . ” “Wh i ch pa st ar e you t a l ki n g a bout ? Wh i ch m yst i ca l ?” Hi s wi fe quer i ed. “Wa i t a m i n ut e dea r ! Wa a a a ai t i ii i j are ! Al l ow m e t o di e a na t ur a l dea th be for e you bu r y m e, pl ea se. Uh ? I sa y a t l ea st be for e you r a p m e up wi t h your ch a in s of que st i on s, pl ea se Uh ? I sa y a t l ea st dur in g th e t est , t h er e wa s n ot h i n g l i ke h oly wa t er , c on c oct i on , agbo or h a l l ucin a ti on l ea ve s or som et h in g el se. In fa ct no ext r a sen sor y per spect i ve or E SP. E ver yt h in g wa s cl ea n -cut . Se e. ” He d em on st r a t ed wi t h bot h han ds. “E xt r a per spe- wet i n ?” a sked We e we.

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He l ook ed a t t h e wi fe i nn oc en t l y a n d for a ver y l on g t i m e be for e h e a n s wer ed, “I d on ’t r ea lly kn ow. ” He si m pl y sa i d. “Just l i e d own a n d gi ve your sel f g ood ox ygen . T hi s i s wh a t th e ol d m an a sked of m e” He sa i d fi r m l y. “Y ou m ea n r educi n g th e in t a ke of ox yg en for deep er m edi t a ti on . An d you don ’t th in k th a t’s da n ger ous? It s oun ded a s i f you wer e m a de t o g o out of your ph ysi ca l bod y, a st r a l tra vel or som e da n ger ous t h in g l i ke tha t , eh ” Wee we fr own ed. “Da n ger ous or wh a t di d you sa y? N o, n o. N ot a t a l l . You do t h i s a ll al on e, al l a l on e, ” h e li ed. “T h en go on , just go a h ea d.” sh e l ook ed t i r ed. Wobbi a c on t in ued. “N ot on l y t h a t th er e wi l l be wea l t h , a tr em en dous wea l t h I sa y, a n d e ver yt h ing a s wi sh ed. ” At t hi s jun ct ur e Wee we ga z ed up a t h er h usba nd a n d sa i d. “T hi s wi l l be fa n t a st i c i f you sa y s o. ” Sh e bea m ed wi t h a m i xed a ur a fl owi n g gra ce ful l y out of h er . “An d at l ea st we wi l l h a ve a ca us e t o m ove out of t h i s dun geon a n d st op l i vi n g l i ke c ockr oa ch es or wh a t h a ve you. A bi ?” “C ockr oa ch es k e ? Wh y t h a t ? Y ou m ea n ra t s,” Wobbi a t r i ed t o c or r ect h er . He expl a i n ed fur t her t ha t : In th e h i st or y of t h i s pl a n et , n o speci es h a s been m or e su c ce ss ful t h an th e c ockr oa c h. Beca us e, a cc or di n g t o h im , i t i s th e m ost m ech a ni st i c of a l l l i vi n g cr ea t ur es. No l i fe for m i s super i or t o i t . It i s oft en foun d i n th e ki t ch en. E ven m an a s th e ul t i ma t e ver m i n i s n ot a s

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i n defa t i ga bl e a s c ockr oa ch es, wh i ch ar e ca pa bl e of out l a st i n g th e un i ver se. Y ou s ee. ” He op en ed h i s pa l m s an d la ugh ed wh ol e-h ea r t edl y. Aft er t h e ‘ser m on ’ h a s en ded, Wee we st ood up, pi cked up h er ba g a n d sai d, “Yea h . I a m just t oo t i r ed n ow. But Mr . Le ct ur er , you h a ve n ot t ol d m e you a r e s o a dva n ced i n Me ch a ni cs, or Bi om e ch an i cs. Never t h el ess I don ’t wa n t t o l i ve l i ke a c ockr oa ch , even i f i t wa s m or e m ech a n i sti c t han err . . . Hen r y F or d. ” By n ow sh e wa s cl i m bi n g up t h e st a ir s sl owl y. At a bout t wo st e ps t o t h e l a n din g, sh e t urn ed an d a sked h er h usba nd wh et h er or n ot h e wi l l be c om i n g up t o r est . He n odded. *** Di nn er wa s set . T h e n ew pl a st o- be e f st a ke t ook a m in ut e t o g et pr epa r ed. Wh i t e a n d soft wel l poun ded ya m , sok orra, t og et h er wi t h gr een i sh wh i t e e gusi , a ri c h veget a bl e s oup, wa s s er ve d wi t h i t. T h er e wa s n o t i m e t o wa st e. Cl e ver a s e ver , Je ej e woul d h a ve s om et h in g int er est i n g t o sa y, esp eci a l l y s om e r i ddl es an d al wa ys i n th in gs such a s m a th em a t i cs or sci en ce i n gen er a l . T oda y? N o, sh e pr efer r ed in vol vi n g h er fa th er in a c on ver sa t i on . Ma ma wa s a l wa ys t oo t ough or r ath er t oo s er i ous wi t h h er . Sh e kn ew sh e l ove d h er a s a m oth er . But m ot h er a l wa ys r a pped on h er: “You kn ow, ” a s sh e a l wa ys a c cus ed m y

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fa t h er of sp oi l i n g m e. “Sh e i s a gi r l t o be gr own t o a ful l l a d y i n t h e n ear est fut ur e. Sh e ha s t o be ser i ous a bout e ver yt h in g, ” an d a l l th e cr a ps. Sh e shr ugged. T h er e wa s a n a bs ol ut e qui et n ess i n t h e dinn ing r oom . Ha n ds an d m out h s wer e n ow i n sessi on . “Da dd y!” Je e je ca l l ed a n d l ooki n g di r ect l y i n t o h er pl at e. “ How wa s your tr i p t oda y?” Sh e a sked. “Fi n e t han k you, a n d h ow a bout your l esson s t oda y?” “Mi s er a bl e, ” wa s h er a n swer t o h er fa t h er ’s quest i on . We e we cut i n . “An d wh y?” Fi xi n g h er gaz e a t h er m ot h er ’s pl a t e sh e sa i d. “T h er e wa s t ha t st upi d t echn i ca l t ea ch er wh o. . .” “Wh o wh a t ? Your t ea ch er ? St upi d you sa i d? Ah . . . ah. ” h er fa th er l ooked up a t h er da ugh t er. Mout h a ga ped. He wa s n ot sur e wh a t n ext t o do, wh et h er t o do a wa y wi t h th e ba l l of sok or r a, wh i ch h e ha s used a l on g t i m e squeez i n g, or to s wa l l ow i t d own wi t h out l ubr i ca t in g i t wi t h th e soup. He wa s t oo sh ock ed t o h ea r th at wor d ‘st upi d’ fr om h i s da ugh t er . Wel l , pr oba bl y t h e r e wa s s om et h in g t o i t . At l a st , h e swa l l owed t h e un l ucky ba l l , dr yl y. An d of c our se, h e fol l owe d t h e ba l l wi t h pl ent y of wa t er a n d i mm edi a t ely st r uggl ed for a n ew ba l l . L ooki n g sur pr i sin gl y a t h er fa t h er ’s a ct i on , sh e kn ew sh e h a s offen ded h i m . “Oh , I am sor r y da d, m um ; I m ean th e t ea ch er kn ows t oo m uch a nd

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beca m e st upi d. You se e, t oda y h e t ol d us t h at th e Si r i an s. You kn ow t h em da d?” “ Ra p on , r a p on m y d ea r l i t t l e gir l. ” Of c our se, h e n ever h ear d a bout t h em . Never ca m e a cr oss a n yt h in g per ta in in g t o t h em . Ask h im th e pri ma l a n cest or s of h i s r a ce or t h e tr ue or i gin of Al a a ri or even hi s an cest or s t o t h e 3 r d gen er at i on ; h e woul dn ’t sur el y be ca t eg or i ca l a bout i t . T oo ba d. “A wwh ff! Wh a t a bout you m um , you kn ow t h em ?” We e we just gr inn ed, sh ook h er h ea d and m um bl ed som e m um bo- jum bo t h in g. “Wh a t do you sa y m um ?” N o r epl y fr om h er m ot h er . Jeej e, wh o wa s n ow l ooki n g fr om m um t o da d an d vi c e ver sa sa i d. “Oh m e! Y ou s e e t h e Si r i an s wer e t h e i n ha bi t a nt s of t h e st a r Si ri us. T h ey h a d out gr own a t om i c en er gy bi l l en i a be for e n ow. S om eh ow, we l ea rn t th at th e y h a d t a pped t h e for ce of t h ei r Sun , such th at ea ch sta t i on on ea ch pl an et suppl i ed en ough power m or e for m i da bl e t han th e t ot a l out put of our wor l d’s gen er a t or s. ” Sh e st opp ed, cut a l um p of sok orra, di pped t h e i rr egul ar ba l l in soup a n d ca r eful l y, si l en t ly s wa l l owed t h e t h in g down t o i t s d est i n a t i on. On e ca nn ot r ea l l y h ea r i t s m om en t um a s i t fi n a lly c ol l i ded wi t h th e pr evi ous l um ps. Her m ot h er r ea djust ed h er si t t in g an d a sked. “An d, eh ! Wha t wa s so st upi d a bout t ha t ?” Je ej e fr own ed . “ N o m a m a . Not th a t. Wha t I am sa yi n g i s t h i s; th e t ea ch er wa s t r yi n g t o dr a g us ba ck wa r d. He sa i d som e bod y, E z eki el , t h e son of

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Buz i or som e bod y sa w a vi si on of s om e l i vi ng cr ea t ur es wi t h a wh eel on th e gr oun d besi de ea c h cr ea t ur e wi t h i t s four fa c es. T h e fa c es spa r ked l i ke ch r ys ol i t e. An d, h ea ven ! T h e wh e el s m ove d a s th e cr ea t ur es m oved i n th e sa m e di r ect i on . He sa i d th e cr ea t ur es h a d wi n gs wi th wh i ch th e y fl e w a n d th e r est , bl a h bl ah . I ca n ’t r em em ber e ver yt h i n g a gain . It wa s t err i bl e” “T h e t ea ch er sai d we sh oul d fi n d out m or e a bout t hi s even in th e ol d scr i pt ur e an d tha t we sh oul d wr i t e a sh ort n ot e on i t. An d sa y wh a t we t h ink a bout i t , ” sh e st opped t a l ki n g n ow a n d con t i n ued ea t i n g. Wobbi a pul l ed, t o h im sel f, a cer a m i c bowl of cl ea n wa t er an d wa sh ed h i s han ds in it . As h e wa s dr yi n g up h i s h an ds wi t h a na pkin h e l ooked up a t h i s da ugh t er sa yi n g, “Th er e i s n ot hin g fr ustr a ting i n an yt h in g you’ ve ju st sa i d, m y d ea r . But i f yo u woul d r efu se t o a n swer your t ea ch er ’s quest i on s a bout your E z eki el , sa y, i n exa m s, wel l d ea r ! It woul d be m or e fr ust r a tin g th en than n ow. Per i od . ” He st ood up an d m oved sl owl y t o t h e st a ir ca se. *** Wobbi a sl ept off i m m edi a t el y a ft er doct or E l egrr i ’s r ecom m en ded ex er ci se a s t h e l a st thing i n bed. An ot h er fa n ta s y? T h i s t i m e ar oun d it ha s got a bi g cl a us e. A n i gh tm ar e fol l owed. He sa w h im sel f sl i ci n g hi s on l y bel oved da ugh t er , Jeej e.

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“N o . . . . n o . . . . n o, n ot t h a t . . . . O. K… Yes… ye s. . . . a lr i gh t . . . . ye s. . . . ” He wok e up i n a fr i ght an d h e wa s st i l l h ear ing t h e ech oes of: Yes. . . . ye s . . . . ye s . . . . . a lr i gh t . . . . . ye s . . . . . a s th e y r an g, cl ea r l y, a s t h e voi c e of a n ea r l y m or nin g cr y of a fa r m - bi r d. He wa s a fr a i d t o sl eep a ga i n . But h e di d. He wok e up i n th e m or nin g in a ba d m ood a n d h e wa s m el a n ch ol i c. He fel t wea k. We e we, wh o wa s just c om i n g out of t h e ki t ch en wi t h t oo gl a sse s of or a n ge jui ce a n d a cup of wa t er , ca l l ed out t o h er h usba n d. “Hel l o da r l ing a n d h ow di d you sl eep ?” Wobbi a l ooked up fr om a pi e ce of pa p er h e wa s gl an ci n g thr ough, “Fi n e, fi n e, t han k you a nd you ?” He qui ckl y a dded. We e we s et down t h e tr a y of t h e l i qui d. “Good dr ea m I t el l you. Fi n e h ouse, pl en t y of je wel r i es, cl ot h es, a l ot of m er r y m a ki n g oh ! pl en t y, pl en ty of e ver yt h i n g. E ven tr oubl e, ” a s sh e a dded t h e l a st sen t en ce, sh e a ct u a l l y l ook ed sa d. On e th in g i s sur e: In or der t o ea t , you h a ve g ot t o be h un gr y. In or der t o l ea rn, you h a ve t o be i gn oran t , of c our se i f you kn ow, you woul d n ot bot h er t o g o t o s ch ool . Yet i gn or a n t i s a sur e c on di t i on of l ea r nin g. An d r ea l l y, pa i n i s a c on di t i on of l i fe. An d sa dn ess c om es a ft er j oy or h ow? It i s na t ur al . Sh e dia l ogued i n t erna l l y. We e we fel t a l um p of sa dn ess gr owi n g in si de h er for r ea son s sh e woul dn ’t un der stan d. Sh e

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sen sed t r oubl e. Aver t in g tr oubl e or dan ger of a ny ki n d r equi r es cool -h ea dedn ess. Sh e m ust wa t ch . “Na y ou sabi . ” W obbi a t h ough t an d r ol l ed out of bed a n d h ea ded t o th e ba t hr oom . We e we a l so j oi n ed h er h usba n d for wa sh in g. Aft er fe w m i n ut es i n th e ba th r oom , th e coupl e ca m e out i n t o t h e a dja c en t wa sh i n g r oom . Som e bod y m ur m ur ed. Wobbi a , wh o wa s n ow sh a vi n g, sudden l y s wi t ch ed off t h e sh a vi n g set t o h ear wh a t Weewe wa s sa yi n g. At t h e sa m e t i n e, We e we s wi t ch ed off h er ha ir -dr yi n g m a ch in e r epea t in g wh a t sh e ha s just sa i d. “I sa y, wh en you get t o t h e ki t ch en , see wh et h er or n ot you n eed food a n d th e t yp e of food yo u n eed t hi s m orn in g. We don ’t h a ve t o wa st e food. ” Wi t h out an swer i n g hi s wi fe, h e r ubbed h i s chin t o fe el a n y l e ft over ha ir . Non e. He pa cked up t h e m a ch in e an d wi th out sa yi n g a wor d, h e wa l ked sl owl y a n d st ra i gh t t o t h e bedr oom . T h er e, fr om i n si de th e dr a wer of a si de-t a bl e, h e t ook out a sm a l l sph er i ca l pla st i c obje ct , wh i ch wa s a t t a ch ed t o a th in si l k thr ea d, a pen dul um . Ha vi n g sa t h im sel f a t t h e edge of t h e bed, h e suspen ded t h e pen dul um usin g h i s r i ght -h an d a s a suppor t over h i s r i gh t th i gh. Th e poor t h in g st ar t ed os ci l l a t ing h or iz on t a ll y a t fi r st for fe w m om en t s, th en i t sl owed d own an d n ow os ci l l a t in g fr om l eft to r i gh t an d r i gh t ba ck t o t h e l eft . He ch a n ged t o t h e l eft t h i gh . Th e sa m e r esul t . He n eed ed n o food

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t hi s m orn in g. Wh at ever food h e t a kes woul dn ’t be use ful for h i s bod y. He m ust fa st on wa t er on l y. “I a m fr e e t h i s m or nin g, ” Wobbi a a n n oun ced t o h i s wi fe wh en sh e ca m e in t o t h e r oom . “ How l uck y you a r e. ” Wee we t ook h i s posi t i on , per for m ed t h e sa m e r i t ual wi t h h er own p er son a l pen dul um . Un li ke h er h usba n d’s ca se, t h e da n gl in g pl a st i c ba l l wa s os ci l l a t in g r oun d and r oun d, n on st op. Sh e un der st ood. Next , sh e pl a ce d a pr epar ed l i st of a ss or t ed food on t h e r i gh t thi gh a n d suspen ded t h e pen dul um on ea ch food. As soon a s sh e wa s on m i l k, th e l eft - a n d r i ght os ci l l a t i on bega n . Th en sh e st opped t h e exer ci s e. “I a m for m i l k th i s m orn in g.” Sh e ann oun ced. He l a ugh ed.

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CHAPTER FOUR
Ri tual s were probabl y i nvented as an ar ti fi ci al extensi on of i nsti nc t. They were i nvented to de tec t and keep al l m utati ons i n a hum an di recti on and to el i m i nate regressi ons toward the ani m al norm . Those who are abl e to go agai nst them coul d survi ve to be hum an and probabl y reprodu ce the next gener ati on. Wi t h tha t t erri bl e n i ght m ar e, Wobbi a n eeded m or e i n for m a t i on fr om t h e doct or wh o a ct ua l l y r ecom m en ded t h e br ea t h in g exer ci se t o h i m . On n o a cc oun t woul d su ch si m pl e t h er a py sh ow som e bod y a p er fe ct wa y of ki l l i n g h i s bel ove d

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on e. A ft er a l l h e di d t h e sa m e ex er ci se wi t h t h e doct or h im sel f. T h en, bot h of t h em wer e i n a n oth er wor l d t o r e cei ve i n for m a t i on a bout t h e wa y t o get h i s wi sh es. Ha s t h e exer ci s e bee n c on tr ol l ed by t h e doct or ? F or wh a t r ea son s? W a s i t t o l et h i m per cei ve wh a t h e, th e doct or wa n t ed h im t o s ee or wh a t ? He c oul d a n swer n on e of t h ese quest i on s. He h a d a l so be en pra ct i ci n g al on e e ver y n i ght wi t h out a n y suc c ess of a vi vi d i m a ge a s th a t of l a st ni gh t . Ma y be on e m or e pr a ct i ce wi l l m a ke a di ffer en ce. But wh a t i f t oda y’ s pr a ct i ce wi l l be m or e t er r i bl e? N o, h e di dn ’t wa nt t o exp er i ence t h e h orr or of a n ot h er n i ght m ar e a s i t h a s bee n on ce. An d supposi n g t hi s t i m e h i s wi fe i s i n vol ved ? N o, th a t woul d be t h e en d of t h e exer ci s e. Oh ye s, t h e en d of e ver yt h i n g h e wa n t ed, even th e so ca l l ed Ba a l e of A l a a ri . Sn a t ch in g h i s br i efca s e, h e r ush ed down th e st eps i n t wo a n d a t t im es t hr ee st ep s i n on e st r i de. He r ea ch ed t h e gr oun d fl oor i n n o t i m e, r ush ed to t h e car gara ge an d sta rt ed th e en gin e. “Oh m y da ugh t er, ” h e th ought a s h e dr ove out t h e ca r of t h e ga r a ge. He h a s for got t en t o wa ke Je ej e up. Wel l , ‘d oe sn ’t m at t er , sh e h a s t o go by t h e sch ool bus or th e m ot h er woul d a rr ange som et h in g for h er , h e a ssur ed h im sel f. He m oved h i s Awa ye for wa r d t o l i n k up wi t h A U2-t r a ck a n d dr ove over th e t own for a bout 15 m in ut es be for e h e fi n a l l y j oi n ed l an e 5. He n ow

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dr ove sl owl y a n d pul l ed up t h e ca r i n th e pa r king a r ea of t h e In st i t ut e of Ma n . He ca m e out a n d l ocked up t h e ca r door s a n d wa l ked br i skl y t o t h e m a in door of t h e In st i t ut e. On r ea ch in g th e m a in door , Wob bi a st epp ed on t h e thr esh ol d ma t by t h e fr on t door , an d be for e t h e door c oul d op en , h er e wa s a sh ar p, h ar d th ud h it t in g th e ba ck of h i s n eck. He jum ped t wo st e ps ba ck wa r d. “Wh a t a h el l i s th at ?” He a sked. He s wi r l ed r oun d swi ft l y a n d fur i ousl y t oo. He n eeded t o un der st an d th e si t ua t i on bet t er so a s t o c on fr on t th e at t a cker . St a n din g a t a bout 25 m et er s a wa y wa s a t h in boy of ei gh t fr own i n g ser i ousl y a t h i s t ar get , and da n gl in g fr om th e boy’s l e ft h a n d wa s a bi g ca t a pul t , t oo bi g for h i m t o m an i pul at e. But he di d m ani pul at e i t succes s ful l y. T h e boy st r et ch ed out h i s ri gh t h an d an d poin t ed h i s fi ve fi n ger s di r ect l y a t W obbi a . W obbi a st ood a ccus ed a n d th e boy sp oke. “N ext t i m e I see you h er e, m i st er , I’ll r i p off your ea r .” Th e boy t ur n ed a t an an gl e 180 degr ees a n d star t ed t o r un. Aft er c over i n g a bout 25 m et er s, h e st opped a n d t urn ed r oun d. Now t h e T i t an i c-boy st ood t a l l , l egs a par t, wa i t i n g. An d a s W obbi a wa s c on t em pl a t in g to m ove t owa r ds h i m , perha ps t h er e woul d be a r ea son for pl a yi n g th at gam e wi t h h i m, th e boy a i m ed an d sh ot a t Wobbi a a ga in but m i sse d. Ha vi n g fa i l ed t o h i t h i s t ar get h e t urn ed an d ran a wa y.

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Wobbi a just st ood t h er e wi t h h i s m out h wi de op en ed. He wa s ver y sur pr i sed a t th e boy’s a ct i on s. An d h e be ca m e r ea l l y sa d. He kn e w qui t e wel l t ha t som e ch i l dr en , especi a l l y a r ound t ha t a ge, kn ow bet t er t han m ost a dul t s. Th at wa s pr oba bl y t h e r ea son wh y h e sudden l y be ca m e sa d. Im a ge of J ee j e a n d h i s dr eam ca m e ba ck t o h i m . Doct or ’s a r gum en t ech oed i n h im : You ca n ei t her be a l l your own d e vi l or you ca n be your sel f a nd ca rr y a spa r e l oa d of d e vi l s a r oun d wi t h you. He wa s fr i gh t en ed a ga in . He r ubbed up h i s bel l y wi t h h i s l eft pa l m t o c ool d own h i s n er ves. He t h en t urn ed sl owl y fr om t h e boy’ s di r ect i on a n d fi n a lly en t er ed th e In st i t ut e. *** “Y ou a r e wel c om e ba ck h er e, Mr . Oor uo. ” “T h an k you, d oct or . ” Now i n th e sa m e li vi n g r oom wh er e h e h a s be en h ost ed, W obbi a wa s offer ed k ol a n ut an d pa lm wi n e, oguro. He gl a dl y a cc ept ed t h em . “S o, di d you pr a ct i ce a ga in l a st n i gh t ?” El egrri br ok e t h e l on g sil en ce a n d a sked. Wobbi a l ooked si d e wa ys a s h e r epl i ed. “Yes, I di d. ” Hi s e ye s c oul d n ot m e et di r ect l y wi t h hi s h ost . Now, t ur nin g h i s h ea d ba ck t o posi t i on , h e n arra t ed, a wk wa r dl y, fe w t h in gs h e c oul d r em em ber i n h i s dr ea m s, an d h e del i ber a t el y l e ft a si de t h e ca se of h i s da ugh t er. He s eem ed n ot t o

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bot h er a bout t h a t n ow. Al l h e wa n t ed wa s p ow er a n d a ll th e good t h in gs of l i fe. At a l l cost . “Wh a t h a ve you d eci d ed t o d o fi n a l l y? I m ea n wh i ch of t h e t wo a r t s woul d you l i ke t o g et i n vol ved wi t h ? I t h in k you un der st an d m e? S o, wh i ch on e do you pr efer Mr. Oor uo?” “Y ou se e d oct or ; m y t i m e i s r unn in g out fa st . I sh oul d l et you kn ow t h a t m y opp on en t i s far a h ea d of m e i n thi s r a ce. Th e opi n i on pol l a ft er l a st deba t e wa s a pr op er kn ockout for m e. Agi ddi m ol a ja wa s 45 p er cen t ah ea d of m e. S o s ee wh a t I m ean . Th e n ext deba t e, ” h e sh ook h i s h ea d, “ wh i ch i s com i n g up in few da ys t i m e, wi l l det er m in e t h e Ba a l e for i wuy e , wh i ch i s com i ng up on Sa t ur da y n ext we ek. ” Hi s voi c e wa s a ct ua l l y sh a ki n g a s i f h e wa s ca rr yi n g a h ea vy l oa d on hi s h ea d. Dr . El egrr i ch ecked h i s wr i st wa t ch . “Al r i gh t, a lr i gh t. Ri gh t. I see. W el l , a s I h a ve t ol d you t h e ot h er t i m e, I a m a spi ri t ua li st , uh ? I don ’t de a l wi t h fa sci n a t i on tha t i s h ypn ot i sm ; or n ecr om a n cy wh i ch is th e com m un i ca t i on wi th dea d; p yr om a n c y t h e c on t r ol of el em en t a l s of a i r; on ei r om a n cy, wh i ch i s th e i nt er pr et a t i on of dr ea m s an d n ei t h er do I dea l wi t h Al ch em y of t h e m i ddl e a ges s o a s t o ch a n ge or d in ar y m et a l s i n to gol d. ” He spr ea d h i s pal m s an d sm i l ed. Aft er a br i ef pa use, h e th en si pped si l en t l y fr om h i s cup of oguro, an d th en con t in ued. “But I dea l wi t h m en t al i sm . Oh yes. T h i s ha s t o d o wi t h m ind a s a ph ysi ca l power , such a s t el epa t hy,

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t el eki n esi s, l e vi t a t i on a n d so on . So wh a t I t r i ed t o d o for you t h e ot h er da y i n t h e bowl of t h i s In st i t ut e wa s t o m a ke you a wa r e of ot h er bei n gs t ha t can gi ve you wh a t ever you d esi r e. It wa s l e ft t o you t o a ct . So a ct n ow! I s ee n ow t h a t you m a y de fi n i t el y n eed a dir ect a t t a ck i n th i s m at t er. T hi s i s beca us e you wa n t t oo m uch a t a go. He pa us ed a n d a wa i t i n g an y r ea ct i on fr om Wobbi a . N on e. He wen t on . “Y ou h a ve t o be pos se ss ed. Yes. Y ou m a y n eed t o g o i n t o coven a nt wi t h E bor r a. Th at wa s t h e ot h er bei n g who i n for m ed you a bout t h e Ut uus a ch i e vem en t s. I h ope you r em em ber ?” Wobbi a cr i ed “Oh gush ! Th a t m on st er ?” “Mr . eh …. eh, Oor uo! Let m e t el l you t h a t you ca n n ot drin k your pa p a n d h a ve i t . An d wh oe ver so wi sh ed t o ea t a n egg un der a r ock sh oul d n ot bot h er a bout t h e bl a de of t h e a xe, g oe s t h e sa yi n g of our el der s. Is tha t n ot it ?” He r a i sed up h i s h ea d an d l ook ed di r e ct l y a t Wobbi a . “Y es I kn ow t h a t ,” Wobbi a r epl i ed. “An d ver y g ood t h en , m y fe e i s 10 m i l l i on Na ari a n d I wa nt i t in ca sh . I don ’t bel i e ve i n ba n king such m on e y. ” Wobbi a wa s n ot sur pr i sed a t th e ch ar ge. In fa ct fr om wh a t pe opl e sa y, s om e vood ooi st s wi l l sur el y ch a r ge doubl e t h a t am oun t for such ven t ur e. An d i f t h e t hin g vi br a t es wel l en ough a s you wa n t it , you m a y en d up pa yi n g a t r egul ar i nt er va l , cer t a in am oun t of m on e y or m a t er ia l s to

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t h e vood ooi st t hr ough out t h e r est of h i s or your own l i fe- wh i ch ever en ds fi r st. He pul l ed out h i s br i efca se wh er e h e kept i t on t h e fl oor besi de h i s ch a i r. “An ywa y, d oct or ! I h a ve s om e ca sh wi t h m e h er e. An d I wi l l pa y yo u 6 m i l l i on Na ar i n ow a n d i f you p er m i t m e a s wel l , the ba l a n ce of 4 m i l l i on Na ar i wi l l be for wa r ded t o you a s s oon a s possi bl e, ” h e pl ea ded. “T h en wh er e i s t h e m on e y a n d h ow s oon i s your ‘soon ’?” a sked Dr . El egrr i. Wobbi a i gn or ed t h e qu est i on ; i n st ea d h e sn a pped op en h i s ca se a n d ca r eful l y em pt i ed t h e ca se be for e h e h an ded Dr. E l egrr i 6 m i l li on Na ari , a l l in 100 den om i na t i on, “Na so we go do am, ” Wobbi a m ur m ur ed in br oken En gl i sh . Dr . E l egrri wh o wa s n ow pa cki n g a wa y t h e bun dl es l ook ed up s wi ft l y a n d a sked Wo bbi a wh a t h e wa s sa yi n g? “Ar e you t a l ki n g t o m e?” “N ot h in g. I wa s on l y c oun t i n g th e m on ey, ” h e sa i d. Th en h e sa i d t o h im sel f. ‘You de y k re i s man , a t t hi s t i m e of St r uct ur a l Aber r a ti on Pr ogr am me, SAP, wh en man i s on l y t r yi n g t o sur vi ve. E ve n t h ough, th er e ar e h i gh t echn ol ogi e s goi n g on in ot h er n a t i on s of t h e wor l d. So you a r e get t i n g al l t hi s m on e y t o t h r ow a r ou n d. Wh y I n o g o t a l k D r. Ogrr i -Sh a pa ?’ Feel i n g n er vou s a n d edgy a s h e wa t ch ed Dr E l egr r i pa cki n g a wa y t h e m on e y, h e qui ckl y cl os ed t h e br i e f-ca s e, pi cked up h i s cu p of oguro a n d dra in ed th e con t en t .

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Fi n al l y, Dr . E l egrr i pa cked t h e l a st bun dl e i n t o a n ea r by sa fe. “O f cour s e, you ca n ’t dea l wi t h such bei n g wi t h out gi vi n g your sel f a s oun d pr ot ect i on a ga in st , even , your sel f. As I h a ve sa i d th e ot h er t i m e, you ca n ei th er be your own devi l or you a r e your sel f a n d ca rr y a spa r e l oa d of d e vi l s a r ound wi t h you. ” E l eg rr i l ook ed at W obbi a quest i on in gl y. “M or e over , an em pt y p ower i s usel ess. I m ea n t ha t you’l l h a ve t o ba ck up t h at power wi t h m on ey a n d pr ot ect i on . So you n e ed t o t h i n k of t h e se cur i t y of your fut ur e t oo, ” h e con cl uded. Wobbi a wa s r est l ess a n d exci t ed a t th e sa m e t i m e. “Wel l , an yt h in g you sa y d oct or . I a m r ea dy, r ea dy I a ssur e you. An yt h in g you sa y. ” “L ook Mr . Oor uo!” sa i d E l egrr i . “It i s n ot wh at I sa y but wh a t you h a ve ch osen t o do. C or r ect ? Wobbi a n odd ed wi t h out l ooki n g i n h i s dir ect i on. “Y ou sh oul d pl ea s e un der st an d tha t I’ve g ot n ot hin g t o ga i n fr om a l l t h ese t h in gs. I a m on ly gi vi n g you t h e wor t h of your m on e y, ” h e sa i d fi r m l y. “Oh , yes, ye s. I un der st an d doct or , ” Wobbi a wa s dr um m in g n er vousl y on h i s t hi gh s wi t h hi s fi n ger s. He sen sed, fr om th e wa y t h e doct or wa s t a l kin g, t ha t h e wa s wa sh i n g off h i s h an ds a s di d by P on t i us Pi l a t e, th e pr ocur a t or an d a gover nm en ta l r epr esen t a t i on of i m per i a l Rom e wh o c on dem n ed t h e Ch ri st t o dea t h , a ct ua lly usi n g wa t er t o wa sh off h i s h an ds of t h e ca se

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pr esen t ed t o h im by t h e Je ws. An ywa y, h e pr on oun ced h i s judgm en t a s th e Chr i st wa s cr uci fi ed. Th e r el a t i on sh i p i s th at Dr . E l egrr i did n ot wa n t t o sh ar e, in an y for m , wh a t ever pun i sh m en t or an y ot h er con sequ en ce t h a t m i ght be fa l l h i m. “Y ou sh oul d be a bl e t o ca rr y t h e br ea st of your own m ot h er ” i s t h e sa yi n g of our pe opl e. An d t ha t wa s exa ct l y wh a t th e doct or i s sa yi n g. Now a ga in, h e r em em ber ed h i s dr ea m . Jee j e. He qui ckl y er a sed t h e m i n d -t ea rin g th ough t an d th at ba d exper i en ce off h i s m i n d. I am al re ady i nt o i t . So what ? Thi s has got not hi ng t o do wi t h any body” He a sked a n d a ssur ed hi m sel f. *** As i t wa s a rr an ged in th e a ft ern oon wh en l a st th ey m et , Wobbi a dr ove i n si l en ce for a bout t e n m in ut es be for e h e st opp ed a n d pa cked h i s car som e wh er e n ear th e ban k of Aa sa r i ver . Dr. E l egrr i wa s a lr ea d y t h er e a s sch edul ed. It wa s da r k a lr ea d y e spe ci a l l y a t t h i s par t of t h e r i ver wh i ch wa s a t t h e out ski r t of t h e t own . E ver yt h ing wa s qui et . T h e gr a ss cut t er s h er e h a ve n ow m ove d t o a n ot h er part of t h e r i ver t o gra z e. Th e usua l cr ea ki n g soun d pr oduced wh en feedi n g on gr ass c oul d n ot be h ea r d. Bot h m en set down t o wor k. Wobbi a put d own t h e m at er i al s th e doct or ha s ea r l i er a sked h im to pr oduce, a s n o on e sh oul d bu y t h os e t h in gs but

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h im sel f. N ow Dr . E l egrr i in str uct ed h i m t o s et down t h e sma l l cl a y p ot , put a dr op of pa l m oi l i n si de i t . Th en , h e t ol d W obbi a t o g o d own i n to t h e r i ver , cup out wa t er wi t h h i s r i gh t h an d and pour i t in t o t h e cl a y p ot . T hi s h e h a s t o do t h ree t i m es – for h ea l th, wea l t h an d power , Dr . E l egrri th en in str uct ed fur t h er . “Now, h ol d your kni fe by your r i gh t han d. Th i s ti m e, cl ose your e ye s a n d th in k of E bor ra an d t a ke a deep br ea t h in g. Do t h i s t hr ee t i m es i n suc c essi on a s I h a ve t a ught you ea r l i er in th e In st i t ut e. So t h ink of p ower , wea l t h an d h ea l th. Open your e yes i m m edi a t el y, l ook i n t o t h e pot a n d str i ke a t any fi gur e wh i ch a ppear s t o you fi r st . Fin al l y, l et m e wa r n you Mr . Oor uo th a t i f you wa i t a secon d be for e you st r i ke i n t o t h e pot , i n fa ct a ver y h ard st r oke, t h e n ext fi gur e you wi l l see i s t h a t of E bor ra . An d h ow woul d you l i ke bei n g st r uck ba ck a t by h i m . Tha t wi l l be your en d m i st er. Un der st a n d? So n o m on ke y t r i ck wi t h i t , ” h e wa r n ed. An un con di t i ona l fea r gr i pped W obbi a . He wa s s wea t i n g pr ofus el y. He wa s r ea l l y sh i ver i n g. Legs a r e sh a kin g, han ds beca m e l i m bed, i woj ol o. He wa s bl i n kin g r a pi dl y. Sh oul d t h e r i t ua l n eces si t a t e i t , i t coul dn ’t ha ve been di ffi cul t t o m ea sur e t h e vi br a t i on of h i s kh a ki t r ouser s. T h e fea r woul d h a ve l i t t l e effe ct on hi m, but for t h e har sh t on e wi t h wh i ch h i s m a st er or t ea ch er r el a yi n g t h e m essa ge. F or on ce h e g ot c on fu sed a n d ca n not

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t hin k str a i ght . “And so wh a t ?” He t h ought , ba n i sh ing h i s fea r . As i n str uct ed by t h e doct or , h e fi na l l y op en ed h i s e ye t o st r i ke t h e pot . He wa n t ed t o fa i n t, but t han ks t o t h e ea r l i er wa rn in g by t h e d oct or , h e woul d h a ve fl ed t h e sc en e E bor r a or n o E bor ra . He wa s sh i ver i n g a gain . Wi th out a s ec on d t h oug ht h e str uck th e i m a ge of h er onl y da ugh t er . Jee je. *** Dr . E l egrri wa s n o m or e i n si ght . No m or e wi t h h im t o sh ar ed t h e a gon y. Ye s. Wh y sh oul d h e sh ar e out of h i s pr edi ca m en t ? He h a d pl a yed h i s pa rt a n d ver y wel l t oo. T h e d oct or h a d wa r n ed h im an d h e h a d a ct ual l y wa sh ed off h i s di rty h an ds, ye s di r t y h a n d s, fr om t hi s a ffa i r . He t hr ew t h e kn i fe a n d th e pot i nt o t h e r i ver a s th e fi na l a ct i on of t h e r i t ual . He r a n qui ckl y t o h i s ca r . As h e open ed t h e ca r ’s door , h e m et th e doct or si t t in g ca l ml y i n th e pa ssen ger ’s sea t . Unr uffl e d. Un per t ur bed. T o W obbi a , e ver yt h i n g wa s s o di m m ed t h at it h a d a fogg y l ook, a n d t h er e wa s a r um bl e of di sc on n ect ed ‘h um an ’ voi c e t h a t som eh ow soun ded n ot t oo h um an but l i ke th e ga bbl i n g of m on st er s. Th e soun d wa s st i l l a s t i n klin g just l i ke a dir t y j ok e. A fogg y j ok e i n deed. ***

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“Y eh . . . eh . . . eh, Da ddy!” a sh ar p cr y fr om a di st a n ce r evi br a t ed i n h er ea r s. Sh e st opped t h e bod y spr a y. T h e soun d sh e h ear d ha s st oppe d a l so. Sh e con t in ued spr a yi n g h e bod y un t i l no si n gl e poi n t wa s l e ft out . The sound at f i rst se e me d f ar but t he e c hoe s we re t oo ne ar, sh e t h ought . Now sh e wa s r ea d y for bed. T oda y, h er h usba nd wa s un usua l l y l a t e. In fa ct sh e wa s t h r ough out t h e e ven i n g wa t ch in g t h eir T . V. Th e pr ogr a mm e on ch ann el 8 wa s h or ri bl e. It wa s t er ri bl e. S h e qui ckl y pi ck ed up t h e r em ot e c on t r ol l er and ch an ged t o ch an ge t o ch ann el 10. Not h ing i nt er est i n g wa s t h er e. It wa s a tr an sport c on tr a ct or com pa n y l ooki n g for an y ea r th gover nm en t or an y i n di vi dua l or gr oup of p e op l e wh o wa n t ed t o t r a n spor t cem en t , wood a n d ot h er bui l di n g m a t er i a l s t o spa ce. “Squa n der m ani a fool s, ” Sh e m ur m ur ed. “Wh en you ca n si m pl y us e t h e r a w m a t eri a l s th er e to er ect bui l di n gs, ” sh e cor r ect ed. Je ej e, wh o wa s c om i n g down t o wa t ch h er fa vour i t e pr ogr am m e – Ng ba -n gba , a wr est l i ng pr ogr am m e on ch ann el 6, m et h er m ot h er just a t t h e ba se of t h e st a i r s. “Ha ve you d on e yo ur h om ewor k Je e je ?” “Y es, m um , ” sh e bea m ed i n sat i sfa ct i on a t h er m ot h er . Jee j e wa s t h e br i ght est i n th e wh ol e of Al a ar i t own s o fa r . Sh e r ecei ved t h e l a st yea r ’s en d of s es si on ’s gol d m eda l pr i ce for l ea din g th e four t h gra de st uden t s in a l l of t h e Al a a ri

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Se c on dar y S ch ool . Her pa r ent s wer e n ot on ly pr oud of h er but l oved h er t h e m or e. Wee we t urn ed t o l ook a t h er da ugh t er ent er in g th e TV r oom , sh e t h ough t; Jee j e i s gr owi n g r ea ll y fa st a n d h ea l th y. Sh e bea m ed i n h a ppin ess. Sh e t ur n ed a n d th en wen t di r ect l y t o t h e ba t hr oom wh er e s h e ba t h ed fi n a l l y for t h e da y. Now, p er fum i n g her bod y sh e h ea r d a t erri bl e cr y fr om wh o-kn owswh er e. It wa s qui t e s om e t i m e si n ce sh e l e ft J e ej e i n t h e T V-r oom , sh e m ust be sl eepi n g by n ow, s h e t h ought . Sh e put a wa y t h e bod y spr a y, put on her n i ght dr ess an d qui et l y l a i d i n bed. Sh e wa s n ot a t ea se. T h a t pr evi ou s s oun d wa s un usua l a t a l a t e h our a s th i s. Sh e ca m e d own fr om bed, put on h er n i ght r obe, a pa ir of s oft h ous e-sl i pper s a n d h ea ded st r a i ght t o kn ock a t Jee j e’s d oor . Th er e wa s no r espon se. Of c our se n ot , sh e woul dn ’t st a y l a t e i n th e T V r oom , but wh o kn ows. Sh e da sh ed d own t o t h e T V-r oom . Je e je wa s n ot t h er e. T h en , sh e r a ced ba ck t o kn ock a t t h e door a ga in . In fa ct a dr op of a t ea spoon on a fl oor ca r pet c oul d wa ke J ee j e u p, n o m a t t er h ow de epl y sh e sl ept . T h i s wa s a kn own fa ct t o h er par en t s. An d th e door wa s l ock e d. We e we wa s c on fu sed be ca use sh e c oul d n ot t hink of h er da ugh t er out si de t h e h ous e a t t h i s t i m e. It h a d n ever h a ppen ed be for e. Sh e wen t ba ck t o t h e bedr oom , op en ed h er wa r dr obe for h er own m a st er pl a st i c-ca r d. Sh e

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t ook t h e ca r d an d wen t t o J e ej e’s d oor a ga in . Sh e sl ot t ed i t i n t o t h e h ol e, t urn ed t h e door h an dl e a n d th e door sl i ded op en . Th e l i gh t in th e r oom wa s st i l l on . Je ej e h a d spr a wl ed a cr oss t h e bed for m in g a si gn of cr os s wi t h th e bed. T h e m a th em a ti cs book sh e wa s r ea di n g l ai d on th e ca r pet n ea r th e be d. T h e bed sh e et wa s st a i n ed wi t h bl ood. Fr es h bl ood wa s st i l l ooz i n g out fr om h er for eh ea d. We e we wa s t oo sh ock t o m ove, but ga ve a l ou d cr y. Sh e c oul dn ’t t ouch h er da ught er , h er on ly da ught er . *** “Oh , I ki l l ed h er doct or . Wi th m y kn i fe. Ye s, I di d i t. ” He put h i s h an ds on h i s fa ce, s obbi n g. “Oh , m an ! St op t h a t ! Wi l l you ? Y ou‘l l s oon be a lr i gh t. An d wh o a ppea r ed fi r st ?” Dr . E l egrri a sked l ooki n g str a i gh t a t h im . “St op t h a t pl ea se. Y ou di dn ’t t el l m e t h e wh ol e godda m n i t ri t ual wi l l en d up th a t wa y, ” h e wa s sh out i n g on t op of h i s voi c e n ow. E l egrr i a sked. “Wh a t ar e you t a l ki n g a bout ? Wi t h out gi vi n g Wobbi a a ch a n ce t o a n s wer h e sa i d. “You d on ’t un der stan d a thin g. How woul d I kn ow t h e fi r st per son t ha t wa s t o a ppea r ? I t hink you h a ve a gr eed t h a t you woul d be your own de vi l . An d l et m e a dd t o t h i s, i f you m i sus e t h e ben efi t s you woul d r ea l iz e due t o t hi s r i t ua l , you a r e n o m or e pr ot ect ed. Be si de t h i s, you wi l l be

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offer i n g a h an dful of pa l m oi l t o E bor ra for t n i ght l y t h r ough out your l i fe i n th i s wor l d. As fr om n ow you a r e fr ee t o m e et E bor ra an yt i m e you r equi r e a n y t h in g ur gen t l y. If n e ed be you ca n per for m thi s l a st ri t ua l, even in your r oom wi t h out a kn i fe, ” Dr. El egrr i con cl uded. Wobbi a di dn ’t even bot h er t o st ea l a gl an ce a t t h e doct or t a l k l ess of n oddi n g t o or an swer ing h i s bl ah bl ah . He just k ept m ut e. ‘Lea ve a m a dman t o t al k, ’ h e sa i d t o hi m sel f. As E l egr ri st opped t h e fa t h er l y a dvi ce, W obbi a st a r t ed th e A wa ye’ s en gin e a n d dr ove on . He st opp ed a t t h e In st i t ut e, Dr . E l egrr i got down a nd st ood wa t ch i n g th e ca r r oa rin g a wa y, h e m urm ur ed. “Poor de vi l , ” He t urn ed a n d t i pt oed t o t h e door of t h e In st i t ut e. *** As h e de sc en ded fr om a U-t r a ck t o l a n e 3 t h a t l ea ds t o t h e ga r a ge h e sa w a cr owd a n d a bl a ck pol i c e c opt er a n d sever a l cops a l l n ea r h i s h ouse. “E don happe n, E . . . e . . . e e e don happe n, ” Wobbi a br ok e t o a m ur m ur ed son g. He a l r ea dy kn ew wh a t h a d ha ppen ed. He dr ove sl owl y i n to t h e gar a ge. Of c our se h e wa s br ea t h in g h ea vi ly n ow. T h e pol i ce offi cer , a cool -l ooki n g guy of a bout 49 wh o wa s a l r ea d y a t a t t en t i on by t h e ga r a ge door , ga ve a sa l ut e a s t h e ga r a ge door s wun g ope n a n d Wobbi a em er ged fr om t h e door .

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“I gues s you‘r e Mr . Oor uo si r ?” Th e cop a sked. “Y es, ca n I h el p you ? W obbi a Asked, wi t h out l ooki n g a t th e pol i c e offi c er . “An y pr obl em s ?” h e qui ckl y a dded. “Di d you m e et h er ? I m ea n your da ugh t er in h er bed. L ook ed l i ke t h er e wa s s om e st r uggl e be for e t h e kil l er st r uck h er down . ” St ruc k he r down . W obbi a fel t wea k i m m edi a t el y. He un der st ood t h e P ol i c e offi c er . He fough t ba ck t h e t ea r s tha t wer e supp os ed t o r ol l down fr om h i s e yes. He di dn ’t an swer t h e pol i c em a n . Th er e wa s n o n eed an swer in g h im . He r ai sed h i s br ows, l ook ed si de wa ys a n d sa i d to h im sel f: “I f you d on ’t kn ow, wh y a r e you suggest i n g i t t o m e ? F ool . Se bi , you sa w m e ju st dr i vi n g in t o th e gara ge n ow, you s on of a bi t ch ” Wi t h out l ooki n g a t th e pol i ce offi c er h e h ea ded st r a i ght t owa r ds th e m a in door of h i s bui l d in g. As h e wa s a bout t o st ep on t h e door m a t , Al oz z Ajj a , t h e pol i ce ch i e f c om i n g down t h e st eps, st oppe d h im wi t h a qui ck sa l ut e. “Oh . I a m sor r y Mr . Oor uo. I h a ve or der ed t h at sh e sh oul d be t a ken t o t h e Al a a r i Gen era l Hospi t a l for a n a ut ops y. In ca se you w oul d l i ke t o se e t h e cor pse si r ?” “I t h in k I’ll do t ha t im m edi a t el y, ” h e t urn ed ba ck fr om t h e door m a t an d h ea ded t owa r ds t h e ga ra ge a ga in. T h e pol i ce ch i e f, wh o wa s fol l owi n g h i m n ow, a nn oun ced th a t th e pol i c e t ea m h a s ch ecked h i s a par t m en t befor e h i s arr i va l .

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“Oga, si r! M ea n wh i l e we’l l l ea ve, i f you d on ’t m in d. Fir st th in g t om orr ow m or n in g h er e. Or do you pr e fer your offi ce for s om e di s cus si on ?” t h e pol i c e ch i ef a sk ed. “M y wi fe pl ea s e ?” It wa s m or e of a qu est i on t han a st a t em ent . “Oh , be for e I for get si r , ” Al oz z sa i d r ubbi n g hi s l on g fi n ger s on h i s ja w, ” Mr s. O or uo fol l owed t h e c or pse t o t h e h ospi t a l, ” h e con fi r m ed.

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CHAPTER FIVE
I n order to m ake a good fi ght, you got to have a new way of surpri si ng peopl e. That way you wi n.

T h e usua l pol i ce i n vest i ga t i on wen t thr ough. T h er e wa s n ot h in g fr om th e r esul t of a ut ops y t o gi ve a n a t om of cl ue of wh o t h e m ur der er i s. No wea p on seen . No fi n ger pr in t, sa y, on th e door or wi n dow or som et h in g th a t coul d r ea l l y i n di ca t e

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t h e ki ll er ’s i dent i t y. An d wh en Dr. Al a wwo ph ot ogr a ph ed t h e cor pse un der an el ect r i c curr ent , t h e fa ded a ur a th at wa s det ect ed by t h e Ki r l ian E ffe ct i n di ca t ed n ot h in g so a s t o sh ow t h e em ot i on a l st at us of t h e cor ps e dur in g th e a tt a ck. T h e wh ol e i dea wa s cl oud y. N ot h i n g. Howe ve r, Dr . La mr uudu fr om th e Depa r t m en t of Her ber ol og y r e c om m en ded t h a t th e bl ood sa m pl e of a n y c or pse sh oul d n ot t a ke l on ger than 4 h our s be for e r ea ch in g hi s depa r tm en t for a cl e ar di a gn osi s. Ot h er wi se r ea di n g thr ough h i s r eport (a ft er h i s Ope le di vi na t i on ) subm i t t ed t o t h e ch ie f m edi ca l offi c er , th e dea th occur r ed thr ough a di a bol i ca l m ea n s. But beca us e of t h e poor di a gn osi s n ot h in g, a bsol ut el y n ot h i n g, coul d be t ra ced t o a l ogi ca l c on cl usi on . *** E ver ybod y, a l m ost e ver ybod y, i n Al aa ri wa s sor ry a bout t h e i n ci den t. Sh e wa s t h e m ost br i l l i ant st uden t of t h e yea r wi t h a gol d m eda l pr i ce to sh ow for i t , fr om t h e Al aa ri ’s Min i str y of E duca t i on . Th e fun er al r i t e wa s br i ef a n d don e wi t h . But t h e a gon y of t h e h ea vy l os s r em a i n ed wi t h th e pa r en t s for a ver y l on g per i od. Let t er s of c on dol en ce p our ed i n t o th e Oor uos e ver y da y. A we ek a ft er th e fun er a l , a l et t er wa s a ddr essed t o We e we i n sul t in g th e O or uos sa yi n g t h at she, t h e sen der coul d sm el l foul -ga m e i n th ei r h om e. “T h e pr obl em i s t h er e a n d th e foul ga m e i s st i n kin g r i gh t th er e in your h om e, de vi l s, ” t h e

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1et t er con cl uded. W obbi a r ea d th e l et t er. “Wel l , ” h e sa i d an d dr opped t h e l et t er on th e t a bl e a n d not bot h er in g put t in g i t ba ck i n t h e en vel op e i n wh i ch i t wa s sen t , l et a l on e sea l in g an d sen din g it ba ck t o t h e sen der . Wha t exa ct l y wa s t h e wr i t er t a l king a bout , Ha ba ! For a n oth er t wo we eks a ft er th e l a st a busi ve l et t er wa s r ec ei ved, n ei t h er Wee we n or her h usba n d ca r ed t o ch eck t h e fa m i l y l et t er box a ny m or e, for t h e fea r of g et t i n g si m i lar l et t er s, wh i ch c oul d c er t a inl y br i n g un due bl ood pr essur e. S o, l et i t be. *** Aft er n oon s fa ded i n t o e ven i n gs an d l i fe ha s r et urn ed ba ck t o n or m al a ga in wi t h th e Oor uos. It wa s ju st t h r ee m on t h s a go wh en Wee we de ci de d t o t a ke i n a gain a ft er th e l on g br ea k. Th e h usba nd wa s on l y h a ppy t o h ea r th a t. An d tha t wa s i t . T h e l a st ca m pa i gn r a l l y or gan i z ed by Mr . Oor uo, wh i ch t ook pl a c e n ea r th e m a in mar ket , wa s a t i t s z en i th a n d thi s Ba a l e ca n di dat e r egur gi t a t ed pr om i ses up on pr om i ses. In dee d, Wobbi a wa s a n or a t or. He m a i nt a in ed th at hi s m an i fest o i n cl uded fr eed om . “ Her e we n eed t ot a l fr eed om , ” h e str essed. He t ol d h i s a udi en ce t h a t: Un qua li fi ed unr eser ved a n d un li m it ed fr e ed om i s n e eded t o or der our l i ve s a s d e em fi t . Such fr e ed om c om e s, n ot i n som e un kn own , i n defi n i t e an d un cer t ain

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fut ur e. It m ust be n ow. An d th i s I m ust gi ve you a l l – th e peopl e of Al a a ri , th e gol den ci t y - i f you vot ed for m e. “E r a di ca ti on of c or r upti on : Power c or r upt i on s, a bs ol ut e p ower a n d a bsol ut e pl ea sur e by t h e pe opl e i n power . Mor e l a ws l ess just i c e. Al l t h ese m ust be t ot a l l y er a di ca t ed i n n o t i m e. Our r evol ut i on a r y st r uggl e wi l l fr ee us a l l t o l i ve t oget h er in pea ce. “T h e bi g Al a a r i -quest i on t or m ent in g us sh a l l be a n yt h in g of t h e pa st . Th e l a w wi l l be e arni ng as y ou wo rk . Th e monk e y de y wo rk baboon de y c hop s yn dr om e wi l l i n n o t i m e, be a t h in g of t h e pa st . An d i t m ust be for g ot t en . As I h a ve sa i d ea r l i er, a l l good t h in gs of l i fe wi l l be m a de possi bl e si m pl y beca us e I sh a l l cer t a inl y pr ovi de t h e ‘r ain ’ t o wa t er your ‘l a n d’. You ca nn ot dr in k fr om a st a gnan t pool wi t h out bei n g si ck, h e sa i d. “T h e cl ea r str ea m fed by a h ea l th y spr in g i s con st a n tly m ovi n g, fi gh t in g obst r uct i on s, ch an gin g and ca usi n g ch an ges. We m ust ch an ge our or i en t a ti on of l i fe. Be ca us e, i f our wa y of l i fe i s n ot ch a l l en ged, i t woul d bec om e st a gn an t . “E duca t i on ; Al r ea dy, i n Al a ar i , educa t i on i s gen er a ll y fr ee for e ver ybod y t o a n y l e vel . T hi s wi l l c on t in ue wi t h h i gh er pr i or i t y i n r esea r ch wor ks. “Ma t er i a l i st i c ca m p wi l l be d e ca m ped. T h e m a t eri a l i st s wh o c on si st ch i efl y of a m ot l e y cr e w of s el f-s eeki n g ca r eer i st s ar e th ose i n fer na l da bbl er s of e ver ybod y p ol i t i cs. T h e expl oi t i ng

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cl a sse s a r e wel l r epr esen t ed. Ph ysi ca l a n d m ora l c owa r ds; Adven t ur ous sc oun dr el s, t r a din g wi t h t h e sa cr ed n a m e of l i ber t y, a r e a l s o t h er e. T h ese h et er ogen eou s i n di vi dua l i st s, th ese cr owd s, c on fus e m a t er i al com for t wi t h pol i t i ca l fr eed om or dem ocr a c y. T h e y wer e a l wa ys foun d in un i for m . Th ese s on s a n d da ugh t er s of a r t i l l eries dem a n d fr eed om a n d ca l l for dem ocr a c y si m pl y beca us e t h e y t h i n k dem ocr a c y ca n be ea si l y spel l ed a n d pr on oun ced, e ven wh en m ar ch in g in t h eir a bod es. An d be ca use t h e y h op e t h a t m at er ia l c om for t wi l l br i n g in cr ea sed e c on om i c pr osp er i ty i n i t s wa gon , pr oba bl y wi t h th eir ba rr el s of guns. In th e fr eed om of t h ei r peopl e a n d for i t s own sa ke, t h e y a r e n ot i n t er est ed. T h ese c om m on pl ace opp or t uni st s a r e just a s wi se a s b ea st s a n d bi r ds. ” He st opp ed, gul ped fr om a cup of m i l k pl a ced on a h i gh st ool besi d e h i m. “Yes, ” h e wen t on , “a s wi s e a s bea st s a n d som e bi r ds t h at for a y for t h eir da i l y br ea d, t a ke car e of t h eir youn g on es, and e ven t ua l l y di e ( veg et a t i vel y) i n t h eir due s ea s on, un sun g. Of c our se, t h e y fl ower for a wh i l e a nd fa ded sl owl y a wa y a t t h e a ppoi n t ed h our , be ca use t h ey l a ck ed t h e r equi r ed m or a l r ect i t ude. We m ust n ot a l l ow t h em t o r egr ow, ” h e ben t down h i s h ead a n d t al ked t o h i s secr et ar y. Aft er a wh il e a ful l cu p of m i l k wa s br ough t r epl a cin g th e em pt y on e. “T h e i n t el l ect ua l ca m p: Th i s gr oup of pe opl e c on si st s of t h e wel l di sci pl i n ed, a rm y of wel l m ea n in g pa tr i ot s. Th e y a r e wel l r ea d a n d we l l

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i n for m ed. Th e y gen ui n el y r equi r e fr eed om for i t s own sa ke. T h i s gr oup i s kn own t o bel i e ve i n t h e e ffi ca c y of t h e h um an m in d, in th e r edi str i but i on of wea l t h for s oci a l ju st i c e a n d a br oga t i on of pol i t i ca l i n ca pa bi l i t y. Fe w, on l y fe w of t h em a r e gr eed y, t h e y fa i l ed woe ful l y wh en a sked t o put to pr a ct i ce wh a t th e y kn ow, beca us e i m m edi a t el y t h ey a r e ca l l ed t o st a t e a ssi gn m en t s, gi ven a ch a uffeur ed h el i c opt er a n d a ll owed t o l i ve i n a ful l y a ut om a t ed h ous e, t h e y m oul d i n t o a pa s t e t h eir va l ua bl e kn owl edge wh i ch t ook t h e m ‘don ke y’ yea r s of sl e epl es s n i gh t s t o a cqui re. Fi n al l y, t h e y wi l l t hr ow t h i s pa st e in t o m ud. Usel ess. Ver y us el e ss t o t h em a n d t o t h e gen er a ti on un bor n . An ot h er fl a w wh i ch bel on gs t o fe w of t h em i s t h ei r un pr epar edn ess t o pa y t h e fr eed om fi gh t er ’s pr i ce. At t h e fi r st si gh t of t h e pol i c e or ot h er l a w-en for c em en t a gen t s, th ey en t er cowa r dl y i n t o t h ei r ‘n et ’, “h e l ooked up a nd down , seei n g th a t peopl e wer e i n ful l a tt en ti on , h e c on t in ued. “Spi r i t ua li st segm en t : Ah . .ah !. Wh en you s e e t h em you wi l l r ec ogn i z e th em i mm edi a t el y. T h ey sh out a l ot , but for n ot hin g r ea l l y. T h ey for get t ha t th e et a pe of da r kn ess i s g on e. T e ch n ol ogy h a s fi n a ll y r epl a ced T h e ol og y. T h e l a t t er a t an gl ed cor d un r esol ved, bl a ck box. T h e for m er i s sci en c e, open a n d r esol ved, a cl ar i fi ca t i on box. T h ese fe w i n di vi dua l s ar e a s st a bl e a s r ock a nd c on ser va t i ve a s r ain wa t er - un ch l or ina t ed. Th ey t hr ea t en h el l fi r e i f you d on ’t a l l ow t h en to

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c on fus e you. Cer t a inl y, t h e y pr e fer sel f a c cl a i m ed gl or y t o st a t e p osi t i on a n d con quer th ei r en em ies wi t h t h e swor d of spi r i t . Th i s i s th e on ly r evol ut i on a r y r ea l i t y, but l ea st su bst a n t i al . We do n ot see i t ; we de vel op i t an d use i t on l y by i n spir at i on . It i s a l a w i n t o i t sel f a n d i t i s wi t h in e ver ybod y. W e on l y n eed t o t a p i t t o l ea d us i nto fr eed om a n d n ot by t h e gl or y of a Pr i est or Im am or Sh an go Hi gh Pr i est . “Y ou a n d I a r e th e si l en t m i ll i on s, you a r e a l l in a l l . Th e ma sses, t h e oppr ess ed, th e dump a ssem bl a ge, t h e t oxi n wa st e t h i s t i m e of u s e ful t ech n ol og y, t h e t i m i d ran k an d fi l e, t h e l ower n at i on a li st s, h uman i t y i n a ggr ega t e, an d th e scu m of t h e s oci et y. Fi gh t ! Fi ght ! Fi ght for your fr eed om a n d ca l l for m e t o l ea d you t o a n un con di t i on al fr eedom , ” h e a dded r a i sin g up hi s h an ds. “F or ei gn pol i ce: L ook a n d st udy wel l t h e st a r s, esp eci a l l y t h e n ea r est on e, Sowul o or our Sun , to us wh i ch r a dia t es fr om wi t h in . E ver y l i vi n g thing i n th i s our wor l d t a ps en er gy fr om i t . So a l s o wi l l I m a ke Al a a r i r a dia t e fr om wi t h i n t o a l l ot h er pa rt s of t h e un i ver se. On l y t h e eg oi st i c, t h e puppet , a ps ych ol ogi ca l i m ba l a n ce Ba a l e wh o wa n t ed t o sh ow off wi l l sa cr i fi c e h i s peopl e t o boost h i s own eg o. Su ch Ba a l e usua l l y di es veget a t i vel y – Un sun g. Beca us e h e m a ke s h i s t own a ccum ul a t e r ubbi sh fr om out si d e. T h an ks for your pa t i en ce, ” h e st opped.

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A da r k si l en ce fol l owed. Ma j or i t y of t h e a udi en ce dr opped t h eir h ea ds th in kin g of t h e pr om i sed fr e ed om . Pe opl e h a ve i n deed bee n depr i ved of fr eed om of expr e ssi on , an d l i vel i h ood for a ver y l on g t i m e by t h e fe w c or r upt and sel fi sh i ndi vi dua l s. An d a t th i s jun ct ur e a youn g wom a n of a bout 45 ye a r s ol d r ush ed for wa rd be for e t h e cr owd. Sh e e ch oed. “F el l ow ci t i z ens, l i ft up your h ea ds a n d I sa y: i t i s n ot fi n i sh ed t il l i t i s fi n i sh ed. An d I sa y e ver ybod y sh oul d r epe a t t hi s m an tra a t l ea st thr ee t i m es i n th e m ornin g of vot i n g. Vot e! An d we sh a l l a l l be fr ee. W e sh a l l wi n . Al m ost a t on ce t h e pl a ce e ch oed : i t i s n ot f i ni she d, fi ni sh. . . . . . . . . e d. . . . . . . . . . i t i s not , it i s, i t i s not. . . T h e cr owd di sper s ed t o a l l di r ect i on s wi t h i t i s, i t i s not . . . ‘ *** At t h e en d of t h e ca m pa i gn th at da y, W obbi a dr ove st r a i gh t t o h i s offi ce. In h i s offi c e, W obbi a qui ckl y i n ser t ed, i nt o h i s r ecor d pl a yer , on e of t h e ca s set t es r ec or ded for h im by on e of h i s a i des dur i n g th e ca m pa i gn. He push ed on th e pl a y but t on . Now h e m oved t o h i s ch a ir an d san k int o i t . He l i st en ed t o h i s voi ce wi t h r a pt a tt en t i on. He c oul dn ’t bel i e ve h e wa s t h e m a n ta l kin g. Hi s voca l soun ds, th e com bi n a t i on of wor ds, wor ds i nt o sen t en ce s wer e cer t a in l y n ot h i s own , a s far

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a s h e wa s c on cer n ed. An d wh en a t h om e W ee we r epl a yed a n d l i st en ed t o t h e ca ss et t es, sh e ga ve si m i l ar com m en t s, espe ci a l l y on th e voca l voi ce spe ech . “But i t wa s ver y br i l l i ant of you da r l in g, ” sh e sa i d fi rm l y. At t h e en d of t h e wh ol e t h in g, Wobbi a wa s i n st al l ed th e 77 t h Ba a l e of Al a a r i. He wi l l r em a in i n power a s l on g a s h e c on t in ues i m pl em en t ing, un fa i l in gl y, a l l th e pr ogr a mm es h e h a d pr om i sed wi t h out a n a buse of offi ce. Her e i n Al a ari , peopl e g o t o p ol l wh en e ver t h e Afoye j e- wh o h a d be en fol l owi n g, wi t h kee n i nt er est s, a Ba a l e’s a ct i vi t i es- a nn oun ced i t to t a ke pl a ce wh en th e posi t i on i s va ca n t. In t er es t e d, but el i gi bl e per s on m a y a ppl y for t h e va ca nt posi t i on of a Ba a l e. Com pl et ed a ppl i ca t i on for m s t o t h a t effe ct , by ea ch c on t est a n t, m ust be r ecei ved a n d fi l ed by A foye j e offi c e wi t h in 3 days of t h e a dver t i sem en t in th e m edi a . Aft er t h e el e ct i on , an y el ect ed Ba a l e wh o a bu se s h i s or her offi c e woul d be r em oved a n d ha ve h i s or her fr eed om of m ovem en t in cl udin g, i f n ece ssa r y, t h e r est of t h e fa m i l y r est r i ct ed t o Al a a r i an d it s subur b. Dur in g th e tr an si t i ona l per i od usua l l y of t en da ys, t h er e wi l l be a n in t eri m bod y c on st i t ut ed by t h e Afoye j e. Howe ver , on l y t wo a ppl i ca t i on s sh a l l be pi cked by ba l l ot . Th i s wi l l be don e open l y. S o, on l y t h ese t wo a spi r a n t s ar e a l l owed t o c on t es t . T h eir na m es publ i ci z ed. T h eir per son a l past r ecor d t h or ough l y ch eck ed a n d m a de kn own

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publ i cl y t oo. An y n or ma l , r espon si bl e ci t i z en of Al a ar i i s al l owed, wi t h in t wen t y four h our s, to op en wh a t ever h e or sh e kn ows i n i m i ca l a bout t h e a spi ran t s. An y a spi r a n t foun d wa n t in g sh a l l be m a de t o fa ce t h e m usi c a cc or di n gl y. T h i s am ount s t o di squa l i fi ca t i on of exc on vi ct s. Such ch ar a ct er s sh oul d n ot even sm el l th e cor r i dor of p ower . And a ppl yi n g a t a l l t o be c om e a Ba a l e i s t a n ta m oun t to t a kin g th e ci t i z en s for gr an t ed. In fa nt such a spi ran t m a y be a sk ed t o l ea ve Al a a r i for i t s subur b a n d r em a in th er e for t h e t ran si t i ona l per i od. An ot h er a spir ant ’s a ppl i ca t i on wi l l be pi cked t o r epl a ce a n ybod y foun d wa n t in g by t h e Afoye j e a n d th e wh ol e pr oc ess r epea t ed.

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CHAPTER SIX
El ectrons do not have l i fe and un -l i fe val ues. Atom s know nothi ng of i nani m ateness. But one or m ore atom s form i nto m ol ecul es. I f li fe began at al l , i t star ted from one m i cro step to a garg antuan l i fe. Every atom has m ental i ty to an exten t of i ts own creati ve com ponent. Each m ol ecul e has m ore. Each new devel opm ent of struc tur e i n evol uti on i s brought abou t by a new em ergence of tha t bui l di ng on a hi gher l evel .

“I woul d l i ke you t o h a n dl e t h e m ini st r y of spa c e, sci en c e a n d t echn ol og y for th e pur pose of i t , ” th e n ew Ba a l e sa i d a s h e wa s pl a ci n g t wo cups on t h e cen t r al ta bl e a n d a djust i n g h i s bod y on h i s ch a ir. He fi l l ed a cup for h i s h ost a n d on e for hi m sel f.

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“Y ou kn ow m y pr i or i t y i n educa t i on – us e ful r esea r ch in a ll a spect s of educa t i on , espe ci a l l y i n spa ce, sci en ce a n d t ech n ol og y. Y ou se e, t h e l a st t i m e I tra vel ed t o Or ra t own for t hr ee da ys on a st a t e vi si t , wel l I woul d l i k e t o t el l you t h a t t h e pe opl e a r e ver y wel l ah ea d of Al a a r i. Oh Yes. Fa r , fa r ah ea d of us. Y ou s ee t h e Or r a ’s t ot a l se wa g e a r e c on ver t ed t o l i qui d a n d dr a in ed t o t h e gr oun d, pr oba bl y t o fer t i l i z e th eir fa rm l an d. I wa s a l s o m a de t o un der st a n d th a t ea ch bui l ding h a s a con ver t er i n th e for m of t h e ol d s ept i c t a n k. How di d t h e y suc c eed ? Fi n d out . An d pr oba bl y we c on ver t our s in t o cooki n g ga s. “An ot h er ar ea wh er e I woul d l i ke you t o l ook i nt o i s th e con st r uct i on of t h e ea r th tr em or - and ea r th qua ke-con t r ol l ed bui l di n gs. I don ’t wa nt a n oth er di sa st er a s we h a d a m on th a go wh i l e, due t o ea r t h in di gest i on a t Kol okk o, a l m ost 5 m i l li on pe opl e wer e di spl a c ed en m a sse. Y ou se e, t h e pr esen t m et h od wh er eby bui l di n g foun da t i on s a r e m a de t o r ol l or sl i de off a bui l di n g a wa y fr om t h e epi c en t er a s a r esul t of c ol l i si on fr om t h e a ffe ct e d bui l di n gs an d even th e n at ur a l pr em on it i on s, l ike bi r ds h oppi n g a bout t h e gr oun d or li z ar ds and si m i l ar r ept i l es fi n din g th ei r wa ys i n t o bui l di ng a n d so on , a r e n ot just en ough . In fa ct t h e y a r e som et i m es n ot a va i l a bl e t o gi ve su ch i n for m a t i on. Rel i a n ce on ge oel ect r i ca l fi el d r ea di n gs i s n ot just en ough . I t h in k you get m y p oi n t s” h e sa nk ba ck i n t o t h e cha ir . “Y es. I un der st an d sir, ” sa i d Oye e.

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“No. Y ou d on ’t get m y p oi n t s m an ,” Th e Ba a l e sa i d. “I m ea n such m eth ods a r e n ot hin g r ea l l y. ” He m oved cl os er t o O ye e a s i f t h a t n earn ess a l on e c oul d fa ci l i t a t e c om pr eh en si on. “Bui l d a h ouse , ” h e wh i sper ed, a s i f wh i sper in g in t o t h e En gin eer’s ea r coul d m a ke t h e poor m an un der stan d hi s poi n t s. “Yes, a h ouse, ” T h e Ba a l e c on t in ued, “t h a t wi l l be a ut o-det e ct i ve by i t sel f, t wen t y t o t wen t y- four h our s be f or e t h e ear th qua ke coul d occur . I h a ve r ea d l a t el y t h a t i t i s bet t er t o pr even t ea r t h qua kes a l t oget h er (by ca usi n g t h em ) t han pr edi ct in g th em . Th i s m a kes sen se t o m e a n ywa y. But fi r st bui l d a h ouse. “Y es si r . I got your poi n t. ” “Fi n e. Do you un der st an d m e wel l n ow?” E n gin eer O ye e Ol om m o, t h e m in i st er -t o-be for t h e spa ce, sci en ce a n d t ech n ol og y, r ose a nd m oved t owa r ds a wor l d gl obe st a n din g a t th e far en d of t h e offi ce. He t h en m ot i on ed t h e Ba a l e t o c om e a r oun d. An d th e Ba a l e di d just tha t . “Y ou s ee your E xcel l en c y, t h i s par t of t h e ea r th ,” poi nt in g t o th e con t i n en t of A fr i ca , “an d t ha t par t ,” n ow p oi n t in g t o t h e N or t h an d Sout h Am er i ca s, “a ct ua l l y m oved a pa r t fr om ea ch ot h er. As you ca n se e t h e sh a pe. An d i f i n ca se you h a ve deci d ed t o m ove t h em t oget h er a ga in, th ey wi l l cer t a in l y fi t i nt o ea ch ot h er. I th in k you get m y poi n t s?” He n odded t o a n swer h i s own quest i on si n ce t h er e wa s n o r espon se t o h i s quest i on . He r a pped on . “Afr i ca m a in ta in s i t s for m er posi t i on

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e ven a ft er t h e sepa r a ti on , t il l t oda y. E ven a ft er t h e so ca l l ed ‘ear th cr a ck’ occur r ed. “Y ou sh oul d r ea l i z e t ha t th e ea r th r ot a t es. It i s st i l l r ot a t in g n ow on i t s or bi t a r oun d th e sun . Yes. In th e begi nn in g wa s th e wor d ‘c on cr et e’. ” Tha t wa s wh en t h e ea r th com pon en t s wer e n a t ur a lly m i xed wi t h wa t er t o for m ‘con cr et e’. T h e con cr et e bei n g m oul d ir on i ca ll y st ood on a ver t ex an d wa s suppor t ed on a n i m a gin ar y ver t i ca l a xi s pa ssing t hr ough th e upper an d l ower ver t ex es. Y ou s e e, t h e fr esh ear th -con cr et e di d n ot cur e t o t im e wh en sudden l y t h e si de of t h e ca l a ba sh m oul d fa ci ng t h e sun cra cked, due t o a n im m edi a t e chan ge in t em per a t ur e, wh i l e a bout 12. 2km out er thi s cr ust wa s su bje ct ed a l so t o a ch a n ge i n t em pera t ure. T h e fi r st bi g cr a ck oc cur r ed h er e. ” O ye e p oi n t ed t o t h e Red s ea s. “ Pa r t of t h e wa t er t ha t wa s supposed t o be us ed by t h e con cr et e t o cur e a nd m a ke i t har d ooz ed out t o for m th e Red s ea s. Wh a t fol l owed a ft er t hi s coul d be gu es sed e ve n by you Si r , “Ma n y fi s sur e cr a cks de vel op ed i n n o t i m e and t hi s even t ua l l y l ed t o sh r in ka ge. Of c our se i t i s kn own fa ct t h at even cem en t c on cr et e does r a pi dl y sh r in k in wa r dl y i f c er t a in con di t i on s we r e n ot m et . E ven t ua l l y; t h e n ext inn er man t l e, som e 1225. 0km fr om t h e sur fa ce, beca m e s ol i d of cr yst a l l i n e m a ss, a l so t h e cor e wh i ch i s t h ought to be l i qui d. Yes, sol i d a s m ost of i t m a y se em , t h e i nt er i or of t h e ea r th i s fa r fr om qui et . Most of t h e m i xin g wa t er ca m e t o t h e sur fa c e. T h i s sam e

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wa t er n ow cur ed, fi n a l l y, t h e con cr et e. Al t h ough be for e wh a t s eem ed t o be t h e ‘ fi n a l cur e’ occur r ed, th e wh ol e cu be sl um ped, th e upper ver t ex r educed t o a l m ost a fl a t t erra in , wh i l e al l t h e edges a n d ot h er ver t exes di sa ppea r ed. T h e r esul t wa s a l m ost a sph er e wi t h a bul ge a r ound t h e equa t or due t o t h e in it i a l sl um p, an d pr oba bl y t h e l on g t i m e cr eepi n g of t h e c on cr et e c on t r i but ed a l so t o t h e bul ge. “Wh a t I wa s t r yi n g t o pr ove t o you si r i s t ha t, wh a t a ct ua l l y h a ppen ed i n Kol okk o wa s n ei t h er an ea r th qua ke n or tr em or per se but a fa ul t , a r ever se fa ul t , of a l a r ge pa r t of t h e m an t l e un der us a s a r esul t of oi l dr il l -a ge in th e pa st . An d I thin k th e h ol e or em pt i n ess h a s n ow be en fi l l ed up un for t una t el y by h ous es, h um an bei n gs, an i mal s a n d so on , ” th e En gin eer m oved sl owl y t o h i s ch a ir an d qui ckl y sa t on i t . Th e sol i d ch a ir ga ve a sur pr i sin g cr ea kin g soun d in a gr eem en t wi th E n gin eer Ol om m o’s t h eor i es. He wa i t ed for t h e Ba a l e t o c om m en t or sa y s om et h i n g. “In deed E n gr . Ol om m o! Th at wa s i t . In fa ct t ha t Kol okk o’s ca s e i s wh a t I woul d n ot l i ke to l i ve t o se e a ga i n . So wh a t do you sa y a ga i n?” T h e Ba a l e a sked. “Wh a t t h ey c oul d h a ve d on e, ” O ye e sa t up st r a i ght . “I m ean th e oi l com pa ni es t ha t we r e per for a t in g ever ywh er e. T h ey c oul d h a ve r el ea se d t h e str a in a ccum ul a t ed a l on g th e fa ul t s of t h e fi el d by l u br i ca t in g th e fa ul t s of t h e pl a n e wi t h i n ject ed fl ui d a n d t h us tr i ggerin g gra dua ll y a

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ser i es of m i n or ea rth qua ke, wh i ch m i gh t h ave pr even t ed t h e occur r en ce of a dest r uct i ve ea r th qua ke. Ra t h er , in our own ca se h er e m or e t r ees m i gh t h a ve been pl a n t ed a l on g th e fa ul t s. T hi s coul d h a ve h el ped t o r epl a c e or a dd m or e to t h e for m a ti on of our cr ude oi l , a ft er s o m a ny yea r s of ch em i ca l a n d possi bl y m e ch an i ca l pr oce ss es, ” h e sa i d. “It i s n ever t oo l a t e. Bet t er l a t e th an n ever . I am sa yi n g t h at such subsi den ce m a y n ot c om e i n t h e n ear est fut ur e. But we sh oul d st a r t pl an tin g tr ees. We sh oul d a l s o r em em ber t ha t th e ea rth in t er i or i s n ot a t r est , a n d we sh oul d un der st an d t ha t a s t h e boi l s c om e out of our bod y t o r egul a t e or get rid of un wa n t ed a ccum ul a t i on, so a l so i s t h e ear th . “I a gr ee wi t h you Mr . . . O. . . O Ol om m o. But l et ’s bui l d t h e h ouse fi r st . Al l ot h er th in gs wi l l fol l ow. Ju st d o t h a t for m e, a t l ea st for t h e pur pose of t ech n ol og y. “Al s o i n m y a g en da i s th e i n cr em en t in food r at i on . Pl a st odi et sh oul d be i m pr oved, ” h e st r essed. He r ubbed h i s t h i ck fi n ger s on h i s ova l sh a ped fa ce. He st ol e a l ook a t t h e bot t l e of pa l m i st a n din g qui et l y on th e fa r corn er of t h e r oom . He m oved cl os er t o t h e bot t l e, pi cked i t a n d wen t to on e of t h e ea s y ch a ir s, dr opped h ea vi l y i n t o i t , fi l l ed h i s cup a n d dr a in ed th e con t en t . An d for t h e n ext 10 m in ut es bot h m en wer e i n t h e wor l d of pa l m i. “N ot on l y t h a t . I h ope you a r e a wa r e t h at on th e 3 r d of n ext m on t h, I th in k we a r e goi n g t o put t h e

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LMFO1 t h a t wa s l a un ch ed 5 yea r s a g o, i n t o fu l l op er a t i on, by t h e i m m edi a t e pa st Ba l e, ” sa i d Wobbi a . “Mon e y si r , ” En gr . Ol om m o sa i d. “M on e y, m on e y, m on e y. Uh ? Wh a t a bout i t ? L ook m a n ! We a r e n ot t a l kin g a bout m on e y but wh a t m on e y ca n pr ovi de. I sa y, t a l k of t e ch n ol ogy m y fr i en d. Th a t i s l i vel y. Oh , n ow, supp osi n g you wa n t t o go t o, sa y, Ma r s a n d com e ba ck i n fe w h our s an d ca n ’t pa y t h e exor bi t a n t fee for t h e spa ce sh i p, an d n ot a ct ua l l y sur e of your sa fet y t o or fr o. S o wh a t do you d o? Ch a n ge your pr ogr am m e or a ba n don t h e i m por tan t tr i p? Th a t i s un thin ka bl e. ” O ye e cut i n . “So wh a t do I do? Y ou t a l ked of sa fet y. How t h e h el l do I kn ow i f t h e ga dget wa s sa fe for use? Besi de t h a t , h ow m uch t h e fl i ght ga dget , t h e AG-bel t or s om et h i n g, wi l l c ost a n i n di vi dua l ? Can we a l l a ffor d i t ? Th at on e i s th e bi g quest i on . We m a y en d up pa yi n g m or e than t h e spa ce-cr a ft . ” “T h a t i s a s far a s you kn ow, m a n. You ha ven ’t gon e t hr ough th e r epor t . I sa y ye s a n d n o t o your quest i on s. No, be ca use i t c ost s n ot h i n g m or e t han 48, 000 Na ar i an d 100% sa fe. Y es, on l y t o fe w m a t eri a l i sti c dum p, st upi d an d en em y of pr ogr es s. T h ese m a t eri a l i sti c i n cl uded our pa st l ea der s, th e t r ea sur e l oot er s. T h ey wer e s el fi sh a n d sel fcen t er ed. Be ca use t h e y h a d en ough m on e y t o t hr ow a wa y, t h e y c oul d a ffor d t o go t o spa c e i n sh i p. Such peopl e di ed veg et a t i ve. T h e y l e ft t h i s

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wor l d l i ke a sn a ke th a t cra wl ed a l on g t h e sur fa ce of a r ock. You ca n ’t tr a ce i t s pa th t o an ywh er e. Va n i sh ed an d n o wor k don e, ” Wobbi a c on cl ude d a l m ost fur i ousl y. “I a m s or r y si r . I‘l l do a n yt h i n g wi t h in m y ca pa ci t y a s your m i ni st er .” O ye e sa i d ca l m l y. An d t a l kin g t o hi m sel f, h e sa i d. B ut I hope y ou won ’t push me around t oo muc h. Do t hi s! Do t hat ! We l l i f y ou do t hat , I‘ll bre ak y our ne ck . A nd i n c ase y ou are t oo t ough f or me t o me l t, t he n I’ll qui t wi t hout gi v i ng y ou a not ic e . Ye s. “Sur e, we’l l d o i t . Ye s. Fl y wh en you l i ke. N o del a y, n o l a t en ess t o wor k, yes ? LM FO1, Li m oOn e i s a lr ea dy wi t h in our r ea ch .” O ye e p oi n t ed up on e fi n ger of h i s r i gh t han d, just l i ke a sch ool boy, a n d sa i d. “Som et h i n g i s bot h er in g m e si r. Th e sa fet y of t h a t LMFO 1, esp eci a l l y wh en we t a l k of wea t h er an d di ffer en ce i n a ir pr essur e a s on e goes up. La n din g on an ot her pl an et , n ew wor l d or s om et h in g, wi t h out c on si der in g som e a sp ect of gr a vi t y or t h in gs l ike t ha t , yes ? An d . . . ” Ba a l e O or uo wa ved up h i s r i gh t h an d, cut t ing i n, “Oh , t ha t or som et h i n g, ever yt h in g or som et h in g, even Ma r s” h e je st ed. “Y ou se e out of your 48, 000 you wi l l obt a i n our ga dget , th e Li moOn e, a n d th e wea t h er pr oof ga r m en t – for a l l wea t h er s. Your si m pl e ga dget i s t a kin g ca r e of up-t hr ust , defl e ct i on an d th e r egul ar cour se,

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l an din g an d so on . N o r ol l i n g, n o pi t ch in g, no ya wn i n g, ” h e sa i d in th e a ffi r m a t i ve. O ye e, n ow l ooki n g down a t h i s fin ger s a sked a n oth er quest i on . “ How a bout fa t p e opl e yo ur E xcel l en c y?” He r a i sed up hi s h ea d, a s i f h e wa s t est i n g th e Ba a l e’s IQ. “L ook –o, d on ’t E xcel l en c y m e E n gr. Oye e. I a m n ot a fl i gh t en gin eer , but fr om wh a t I’ve r ea d, t h er e sh oul d be n o pr obl em of wh et h er you a r e el eph a nt or a m osqui t o. An d fr om th e str uct ura l poi n t of vi e w, t h e d yn a m i c st a bi l i t y, t h e l a w of super posi t i on or ca n cel l a t i on s of for c e a r e a l l a ct i n g. So you a r e n ot t o wor r y or bot h er your s e l f a bout t h em . ” Th e Ba a l e st ood up fr om h i s sea t , wa l ked sl owl y t o a n ea r by dr a wer a n d fr om i t h e br ough t out a pl a st i c ja cket c on t a in in g som e pa per s. “Ye s, h er e you a r e. You ca n go over t h e bun dl e. You wi l l un der st an d bet t er t h e LFOM 1, h e sa i d fin a l l y” “T o m e, e ver yt h i n g soun ded m yst i ca l . A n an obot , of n an o-t ech n ol og y?” He a sked a l m ost i na udi bl y, l ooki n g str a i ght at th e Ba a l e. T h e Ba a l e, ga z in g a t th e en gin eer , ga ve a h ear t y l a ugh t er. “You m a y ca l l i t a n yt h in g, h uman l evi t a t i on i f you l i ke. I t h in k th i s i s far fr om th at . You bel i e ve i n a ll th ose cr a ps?” “Y es, your E xcel l en c y. I kn ow you m a y be sur pr i sed t o h ea r such com m en t fr om m e a s a n en gin eer ; I woul d l i ke you t o n ot e t h a t th er e ar e a l ot of t h i n gs you ca n n ot r ea di l y un der st an d, but just t a ke t h em a s t h e y a r e a n d go d own i n t o a fu l l

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r esea r ch on i t befor e you ca n pr on oun ce out your fi n di n gs. You get m y p oi n t ? “L et m e sa y t h a t, m y own fa t h er wa s ca rr i ed a wa y by a n un seen for ce, Aj ja . T h at fa i th ful da y, h e wa s goi n g on h unt in g n ot fa r a wa y fr om our vi l l a ge. T h e so ca l l ed Aj ja ca m e l i ke a wh i rl wi n d, dan ced som e fe w muj ok an i n fr ont of m y fa t h er befor e h e wa s l e vi t a t ed a n d ca rr i ed a wa y by t h e un seen for ce, ju st l i ke t h a t . My fa t h er r em a in ed th er e for se ven yea r s, seven h our s and se ven sec on ds. An d a t th e l a st sec on d, h e foun d h im sel f i n h i s ol d r oom a s i f wa ki n g up fr om a deep sl um ber . Act ua l l y t h i s LIMO . . . som et h in g” “Y es. LMF O1, ” Th e Ba a l e cor r ect ed. “Y es, t h an k you, L MFO1. I t h in k i t i s a n un seen for ce. Or wh a t do you sa y si r ?” *** Aft er th e t êt e-à -t êt e wi t h En gr . Ol om m o, th e m in i st er, th e Ol ooye of spa ce, sci en ce a nd t ech n ol og y, t h e Ba a l e wa s pi l ot ed h om e i n a n offi ci a l c opt er . On r ea chin g h om e, h e m et h i s wi fe si t t i ng qui et l y i n sobr i et y i n th e l i vi n g r oom . “An yt h ing da rl in g,” h e ca l l ed. We e we l ook ed up, dul l . “I wa s wa i t i n g for you t o t a ke m e t o t h e h ospi t a l . I sh oul d s e e m y d oct or t oda y. “

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“Oh th a t, ” h e sa i d a s h e dr opped a l ea t h er fol d er on t h e sofa . “Pl ea s e gi ve m e a m i n ut e an d I’l l be t hr ough. ” Wobbi a da sh ed t o t h e ki t ch en an d dr a in ed h a l f t h e wa t er in a pl a st i c bot t l e. “O. K. l et ’s be on our pegs, ” sa i d Wobbi a . T h e coupl e ca m e out of t h e h ouse a n d wen t di r ect l y t o t h e ga ra ge. He dr ove t o t h e U-t r a ck t hr ough th e gar a ge. *** In th e cl i n i c, Dr . Arr on i ran a si m pl e t est on We e we, An d a ft er th e t est , Wee we wa s t ol d t o c om e ba ck t o h er offi c e i n t wo we eks t i m e, pr oba bl y for t h e l a st t im e i n th e ser i es of t h e usua l pr en at a l cl i ni ca l ch eckups. “Wh y di d you a n d your h usba n d deci de t o h a ve a gir l a gain ?” Dr. Arr on i a sked We e we. We e we r epl i ed. “T h er e wa s n ot h in g t o i t . We l ost a gir l an d we wa n t ed a gir l in r epl a cem en t . ” “Di d you bel i e ve i n Ogbanj e or som et h in g?” “N o d oct or . Fa r fr om i t a s fa r a s we a r e c on cer n ed, n oth in g of su ch . I just pr e fer a gi r l , a t l ea st for n ow. An ywa y I don ’t bel i e ve i n such cr a p. I th in k such bel i e f i s pur el y sup er st i t i ous. Si ckl e– cel l a n em i a coul d n ot be a t t r i but ed t o t hi s ei t h er, ” sh e con fi r m ed. “ Br i l l ian t you a r e m y d ea r . Si ckl e–c el l ? N o, fa r fr om i t . T h at on e ca n be t a ken ca r e of n owa da ys, e ven r i gh t a wa y fr om t h e wom b i f d et e ct e d

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ea r l i er. Di d I h ear you sa yi n g som et h i n g a bout r ein ca rna t i on ? Li fe-a ft er -dea t h or l i fe–a ft er –l i fe, ka rm a ? Do you bel i e ve i n th in gs l i ke th ese? D r. Arr on i a sked wi t h in t er est . Sh e di mm ed h er l eft e ye, t wi st i n g up h er l i ps. “N ow. S ee i t t h i s wa y. Wh o d oesn ’t kn ow t h at wh en you di e or you l ea ve t h i s ph ysi ca l wor l d, you pa ss t h r ough a ‘door ’ t o t h e ot h er si de of t hi s r ea l m l et us l ook a t i t ot h er wa y a ga i n . Wh en ever you sl e ep, you wer e supp os ed t o dr ea m . Isn ’t it ? Un der n orm a l ci r cum st an ces you sh oul d. An d so, wh en you d o you fi n d your sel f i n an ot h er r ea lm or wor l d en tir el y, just a s you p er cei ve i t , esp eci a l l y i f a t a l l you c oul d r eca l l or r em em ber wh a t ever a ct i on you h a ve p er for m ed a n d th ings you h a ve s een a s you wa k e up. Ca l l t hi s l i fe a ft er -dea t h , i . e., i f i t oc cur s t o you a s such . Th er e i s t h i s str on g bel i e f t h a t peopl e r ei n ca rn at e a ft er dea t h . Man y cl a i m ed t o h a ve m et wi t h such pe opl e pr es en t l y l i vi n g i n th i s wor l d a ga in . Thi s gr oup i s m in ut e in deed. It i s n ot a com m on ph en om en on. ” “S o you a r e a st r on g bel i e ver of l i fe a ft er dea th t h en . ’’ “I f you sa y s o. ” Sh e t h en n arra t ed h er own ca se. Sh e t ol d h er doct or th a t wh en sh e wa s 12 yea r s ol d, sh e h a d a t er r i bl e m a l ar i a fe ver . T h a t wa s wh a t h er par en t s ca l l ed i t . At th a t part i cul ar per i od, e ver y l i t t l e di s c om for t wa s bl a m ed on m a l ari a . Accor di n g t o h er , th er e wa s t h i s youn g m an wh o just wen t wi t h a fr i en d th a t wa s i n vi t ed

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t o a get -t oget h er par t y. T h e youn g m an m et pl enty fr ee, a woof dr in ks. Sin ce h e di dn ’t h a ve t o pa y for t h e dr in k, h e dran k h i m sel f t o n ot h in gn ess. Aft er th e par t y, t h e youn g m an ’s fr i en d wh o drank n or ma l l y wen t t o h i s h ous e qui et l y, but t h e youn g m an sl ept a t th e t hr esh ol d of h i s m a in door . Som e a rm ed r obber s ca m e t o r ob h i s h ous e a n d m et t h e poor soul a t th e door sn orin g. Th e r obber s woke h im up an d th en bea t t h e h el l out of h i m for gi vi n g th em t oo m uch tr oubl e i n dir ect i n g th em to pr oper pl a ces wh er e h e k ept va l ua bl e t h in gs. Dr. Arr on i ch ock ed W e e we wen t on . “T h e fol l owi n g da y, h e wa s n ot feel i n g wel l a t a ll . An d wh en a sked, h e si m pl y c om pl a i n ed of m a l a ri a , yes m a l ari a fever . Now ba ck t o m y or i gi n al st or y. I wa s a ct ua l l y d yi n g e ven a ft er t a ki n g ma l ari a t a bl et s. S o m y fa t h er t ook m e st r a i ght t o a n ea r by h ospi t a l . Wel l I wa s gi ven s om e i n ject i on s. I just pa ssed out a ft er th a t, ” sh e r eca l l ed. “ Uh ” Dr . Arr on i m urm ur ed. “Y es d oct or . Wh a t I sa w wa s m y bod y l yi n g fa c e d own on t h e h ospi t a l bed. I wa s out of m y ph ysi ca l bod y en t i r el y. Fl oa t i n g for a fe w se c on ds, th en I st art ed t o wa l k. I wa l ked t hr ough t h e n ur se wh o wa s pa cki n g up h er ki t con t a ining som e m edi ca l equ i pm en t . I wen t pa ss t h e cl ose d door t o t h e l obby wh er e m y fa t h er wa s pa ci n g up a n d down . He l ook ed wor r i ed an d n er vous. I wa s just won der i n g wh y h e wa s wor r i ed. But I wa s ver y h a ppy. T h er e wa s n o pa in . Not hin g.

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“Sudd en l y, s om e wom a n I h a ve n ever m et be for e ca m e t o m e et m e be for e I c oul d r ea ch my fa t h er . Sh e or der ed m e t o g o ba ck i n t o t h e r oom wh er e m y bod y wa s wa i t i n g for m e. So I t urn ed ba ck fr om t h a t poi n t an d wa l ked ca t -l i ke t o t h a t r oom . Im m edi a t el y I en t er ed i n t o t h e bod y I op en ed m y e ye s t o s ee m e l yi n g i n t h e sa m e be d. Now d oct or , wh a t do you sa y a bout t h a t ? “Pr a ct i ca l exper i en ce, eh ?” Dr . Arr oni , n oddi n g h er h ea d, sa i d. “Won der ful st or y i t wa s. Y es won der ful . I ca n a l so sa y t h a t t h er e a r e, i n such ca se, fl a sh r eca l l ba s ed on a sudden sur ge or l i m it ed ex ci t a t i on of br a in cel l s. T hi s oc cur s m a n y t i m es wi t h out “cl os e ca l l ” exper i en ces wh en on e sudden l y h a s a m em ory r eca l l a t an un expect ed m om en t . Th e t em por ary r est r i ct i on of ci r cul a t i on of ox ygen suppl i ed t o br a in cel l s (su ch a s i n n ear dea th ) i s fol l owed by a r eboun d h yper ei n i a an d an in cr ea se i n t h e st i m ul us t o t h e br a i n ’s m em or y ba n ks, ” sh e st opp ed a n d l ook ed di r ect l y a t We e we wh o si m pl y n odded i n a gr eem en t . “N ow Mr s. Oor uo, s e e you i n t wo we eks t i m e. An d don ’t for get t o m a ssa ge your fe et pr oper l y, 3 t i m es per da y, ea ch ti m e for 10 or m or e m in ut es. T hi s i s bet t er t h an dr ugs. Rel a x wel l . An d good l uck. ” ***

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T hr ee da ys a ft er sh e l a st vi si t ed Dr. Arr on i’s cl i n i c, th e fi r st l a dy ga ve bi r th t o a ba by gi r l a t h om e wi t h th e h el p of h er fr i en d Abba m i . “ How di d you d o i t m y dea r ?” Dr . Arr on i, wh o ca m e i n a ft er th e del i ver y, a sked A bba m i and sm i l ed. Wi t h out wa i t i n g for a n an swer fr om t h e l a dy, sh e wen t st ra i gh t t o t est bot h th e m ot h er and m ot h er ed for on e t h in g an d th e ot h er. Sh e wa s sa t i sfi ed. “V er y g ood, ” di r ect i n g h er wor ds t o Abba m i , “bot h ar e h ea l th y be yon d a r ea son a bl e dou bt m y dea r . ” We e we sl ept off i m m edi a t el y a ft er sh e del i ver ed h er ba by. T h e ba by wa s br ough t t o h er a n d sh e wa s h a pp y t o se e h er ba by. “ Oh ! M y dea r , Abbo!” Sh e na m ed i t r i gh t th er e. Abba m i a n d th e Ba a l e wer e st a yi n g wi t h h er for a n yt h in g sh e n eeded. At t h e en d of t h e da y, s h e wa s a l r ea d y wa l ki n g ar oun d an d wa s e ve n pa rt i ci pa t in g in som e ot h er a ct i vi t i es wi t h her fr i en d wh o wa s n ow a c c om pa n yi n g h er.

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CHAPTER SEVEN
“I n te, ani m e m eus, tem pora m enti or”. I t i s i n you m y m i nd that I m easure ti m e.
- S t . A ugus t i ne (4t h c ent u ry ) i n hi s c onf es s i ons

The under-m i nd i s the anci ent core, hi stori cal l y speaki ng, of the brai n: i ts coun terp ar t exi sted before m an becom e sapi ens. . .
- B ri an A l di s s (i n Rev ol ut i on i n T hi nk i n g)

T h e la st va n, wh i ch carr i ed som e ot h er del i ca t e i t em s, desc en ded t o l a n e 7 a t th e extr em e en d of r ock a r ea of Ba r r i ka Aven ue. T h e va n st opped r i gh t in fr on t of a bi g l i gh t –br own m an si on bel on gi n g t o th e Oor uos. Th in gs wer e pa r ked

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ca r eful l y i n t o t h e bui l di n g. Th e m a n si on c om pr i sed of t wo s e ct i on s: a fl a t -r oofed bui l di ng a n d a pyr a m oca st l e. T h e p yr a m oca st l e wa s j oi n e d t o t h e m a in bui l din g wi t h a ca vi t y wa l l l ea vi n g an expa n si on ga p in bet we en . Gen era l l y, t he m an si on wa s ful l y a ut om a t ed wi t h i t s sepa ra te a ppl i an ces; s el f c on t r ol i n t ern a l mi cr ocl i m a te s yst em ; a ut o- c on tr ol t h erm a l syst em (a si m pl y a djust ed, c oa t ed e k an gr a ss m a t for c ei l i n g; a 10 da y ea r th qua ke si l i con ch i p for eca st er , a t ta ch ed t o a sp eci a l bel l fr om t h e foun da t i on an d m any m or e. Th e m ost in t er est in g el em en t of t he bui l di n g i s th e sel f-i l l um in a t ed pl a st osl eek bl oc k wa l l . Al so t h er e a r e t h e i mm er se, fl a wl ess pa n el s t ha t coul d be t r a n spar en t , tr an sl ucen t , cl oud y, opa que or e ven l um in ous a s t h e wea t h er m ay di ct a t e. Th e out si de door i s l ar ge an d wa s m a de of t h e sa m e m a t er i a l s a s th e wa l l . In th e west er n en d of t h e gr oun d fl oor si t ua t ed a fa m i l y– si z e d s wi m m in g pool . T h e we st -en d wa l l wa s m a de of gl a ss wi t h a door op en i n g t o t h e pl a yi n g gr ound out si d e t h e ma in bui l din g. As W e e we a n d Abba m i st epp ed on t o t h e l i br ar y’ s d oor -m a t , th e door s wun g open wi t h t h e r efl e ct i on of a m ul t i col our ed l i gh t bea m i n g i nto t h e r oom . “ How i s t h a t ?” Abba m i a sked i n sur pr i se. “Just h a ve a l ook a t your m ul t i col our ed bl ou se a n d m y cr ea m col our ed wr a pper , ” Wee we sm i l ed. “Oh , fa nt a st i c!” Abba m i wa s h i gh l y i m pr essed.

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“S o, t om or r ow pl ea se. W e’l l c el e br a t e i t h er e fi n a l l y t on i gh t, ” Wee we c on fi r m ed. “Al r i gh t -o, ” sh e spr ea d h er t wo pa l m s upwa r d, wh i l e We e we sl a pped d own i n t o th em in exh i l ara t i on . *** T wo da ys of l i vi n g i n thi s h ouse, t h in gs had st a r t ed goi n g wr on g. Th e T V wa l l –t o- wa l l s cr ee n wa s m i ssi n g. Th e gol den r in g, wh i ch wa s ca r r yi ng a cr oss s ym bol a n d wh i ch Wobbi a ga ve t o W ee we a s a gi ft dur in g th e 13 t h ann i ver sa r y of t h e ir weddi n g, wa s foun d on W obbi a ’s bedsi d e t a bl e, sm a sh ed an d cr uel l y di s fi gur ed. You n e ed t o s ee t h e squeez ed fa c e of We e we a n d th e pr em a t ur e wr i n kl es sh owi n g on th e for eh ea d of t h e Ba a l e a s a r esul t of t h e sh ock h e r e cei ved fr om t h e ‘wr i n kl ed fa ce’ of t h e r in g. “Ca n ’t you t h in k? Can ’t you se e t h a t th e r ing wa s di st or t ed dur i n g th e arr an gem en t of our fur n i t ur e? T o m e i t l ook ed a s i f a t a bl e’ s l eg or som et h in g wa s m i st a ken l y pl a ced or dr a gged on i t , an d, an d . . . . . ” “D o sh ut up your m out h pl ea se. I t ook t h a t r ing out of i t s ca se t h i s m orn in g Mr. E m m. . . Ru bbe r h ea d. An d th en wh o, for h ea ven ’s sa ke, ha s pl a ced i t on your bedsi d e t a bl e? An d wh a t a bout t h e scr een ? Uh ? Wa s i t a l s o dr a gged dur in g th e t i m e of i n st a l l at i on ?” sh e sn a pped.

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Wobbi a , wh o wa s l ooki n g a t ever yt h in g in h orr or a t th e sa m e t i m e l i st en i n g t o We e we, sh out ed a t h er . “Cr a ck i t up. ” He wa s n ow fur i ous, out r a ged a n d h i s wh ol e bod y wa s pr a ct i ca l l y sh a kin g. He fi x ed h i s e ye s dea dl y a t h er. “N o, i t wa sn ’t li ke hi m. Som et h in g wa s wr on g som e wh er e, ” We e we m ur m ur ed t o h er sel f. S h e di dn ’t l i ke th e dim en si on in wh i ch th in gs ar e r ea ch in g. Sh e kept m ut e. But th er e wa s n o si n gl e l ogi c i n wh a t h er h usba n d wa s sa yi n g. No l ogi c. No c oh er en ce. It wa sn ’t l i ke h i m. Sh e h a s deci de d t o be on wa t ch a n d pr oba bl y t o be ca ut i ou s i n dea l i n g wi t h h i m, fr om n ow on . At t h i s t i m e Abbo cr i ed fr om h er cot . We e we l ooked up a t h er h usba n d an d sa i d. “O. K, O. K. , Mr . No-l ogi c, woul d you g o a n d see wh a t sh e wa n t ed?” sh e sm i l ed fa i n t l y. He sm i l ed ba ck a s i f n ot h in g h a d h a ppen ed. “O. K. , O. K, I’l l t a ke th a t, ” He da sh ed t owa r ds Abbo’ s r oom . We e we wa s st a n din g by t h e wi n dow l ooki n g out si d e wh en sudden l y h e h ea r d Wobbi a ’s voi ce sa yi n g: ‘No wa y. ” Sh e l ook ed ba ck t o s ee h er h usba n d r ush in g in t o th e r oom . “I sa y n o wa y. ” “Wh a t wa s t ha t , m i st er ?” Poi n t i n g a fi n ger t owa r d t h e di r ect i on of A bbo’ s r oom , h e sa i d. “Coul d you bel i e ve t h a t I m et our dea r Abbo si t t i n g down in h er cot . At wh a t a ge?” “ How ol d i s sh e?” “Aski n g m e?”

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We e we wa s n ow l ooki n g a t h er h usba n d wi th keen i n t er est . Now, t ou ch i n g th e h an d of h er h usba n d l i gh tl y, sh e sa i d fi n a l l y. “ Y ou m a y n eedt o se e Dr . Ch uk -Ol l i t o r ea d t h e a ur a of yo ur h ea d for sa ni t y. You s e e wh a t I m ean ?” “ But , n o. Bel i e ve m e d ea r . I sa w h er , ” Wobbi a c on fi r m ed a gain . We e we c oul dn ’ t h el p th e si t ua t i on , sh e just l a ugh ed sc or n ful l y. “Y ea h . An ot h er cr a p. You a r e goi n g ba n ana m y d ea r h usba n d. “N e ver t h el ess, I a m st i l l sa yi n g wi t h im pun i t y t ha t you sh oul d h a ve your h ea d exa m in ed. It doesn ’t t a ke a for t un e. Your a ur a wi l l just be di a gn osed. I - t h in k - you - sh oul d - d o - just t ha t .” Th e l a st sen t en ce wa s pr on oun ced on e by on e. “ But , I sa w i t . ” He sa t down on th e ca r pet cr oss-l egg ed, dem on st r a tin g Abbo’ s post ur e in h er cot . “Si t t in g li ke th i s. ” We e we ga ve a deep br ea t h . *** Si n ce t h eir arr i va l in thi s h ouse, W obbi a h a s bee n sl eepi n g l a t e i n th e ni gh t . An d yest er da y m or n ing, h e ca m e i n t o t h e bedr oom i n a l on g wh i t e r obe. He wen t str a i ght t o th e st an din g m irr or a t th e c or n er of t h e r oom , l ooked a t h i m sel f a s i f t o a dm ir e wh a t h e put on . He just ca m e fr om t h e p yr a m oca st l e wh er e h e wa s m edi t a t in g.

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He r em oved t h e l on g r obe, wen t t o th e t oi l et a nd fi n a l l y wa sh ed h i s fa ce. Aft er th a t h e dr essed up pr oper l y. He r ea ch ed for h i s bri efca se, we nt r oun d th e bed a n d ga ve a l i gh t ki ss t o h i s sl eepi ng wi fe. He l e ft t h e h ous e a n d dr ove st r a i gh t t o hi s offi c e i n th e pal a ce, a bout 8 Ki l om et r es a wa y. We e we woke up s om e fe w m i n ut es l a t er . Sh e per for m ed t h eir usua l m orn in g ‘r i t es’ a n d th en l eft st r a i gh t for p yr a m oca st l e a r m ed wi t h her per son a l pla st i c ca r d t o open th e ca st l e’s m a in door . Of c our se sh e wa n t ed t o s e e wh a t i s h a ppen in g in tha t pl a ce. Sin ce t h at pla ce wa s op en ed sh e h a s n ot be en oppor t un ed t o en t er th e pl a ce. Sh e wa l ked st r a i gh t t o th e bui l di n g. Wh en sh e en t er ed th e ca st l e a t fi r st sh e sa w n ot hin g un usua l a bout t h e pl a ce fr om t h e l a st t im e sh e wa s g oi n g r oun d wi t h Abba m i . Sh e n ow m oved sl owl y t owa r ds t h e Nor t h ern part of t h e ca st l e. Ha n gi n g on th e West wa l l wa s a Br on z e–h ea d fi gur e of a Ben i n Oba of s om e c en t ur i es a go. On t h e fl oor wa s a bea ut i ful m a t m a de of ea gl e ’s fea t h er, m ea sur in g 1 m et er. Not h in g m or e. Sh e fel t r el i e ved. But s om et h in g str an ge occur r ed to h er. Sh e r em em ber ed n ow. Im m edi a t el y sh e en t er ed i n t o th e ca st l e, a cool br eez e bl e w on h er fa ce a n d a sudden joy over ca m e h er . Sh e ex per i en ced a n i nn er pea ce. Al l fea r gon e. But sh e wa s on c e h er e be for e, and n ot hin g of su ch h a d ever oc cur r ed t o h er .

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Sh e m oved on a n ywa y t o exa m i n e t h e ma t. T h er e wa s n ot h i n g un usual . Sh e t ouch ed t h e Br on z e Hea d Ye s. It wa s t h e sa m e on e W obbi a bough t , in th e m ain Obba Ma r ket som e yea r s ba ck, wh en bot h of t h em vi si t ed t h e pl a ce. T h er e wa s n ot h in g un usua l in i t ei th er . Sh e ga z ed a t t h e m a t for a good m i n ut e. T h en, sh e m oved t owa r ds i t a n d st epped i n t o i t . “Wh y n ot ?” Sh e a sked a l oud. Sudden l y, t h er e wa s a l oud cr y fr om a fa r but seem ed n ea r er th an her h an ds. But sh e r ecogn i z ed i t i m m edi at el y. S h e qui ckl y l e ft t h e ca st l e. Now t a l ki n g t o h er sel f a s sh e wa l ked on : It se e me d t hat t he baby di dn’t want t o be l e f t al one f or a re asonabl e pe ri od of t i me. Wh en sh e r ea ch ed Abbo’s c ot , t h e ba by h a d a lr ea d y st opp ed cr yi n g. Sh e li ft ed i t up. “Y ou a r e gr owi n g fa st er ba by. ” We e we sm i l ed a t h er da ugh t er. Abbo bea m ed a t h er m ot h er a s i f sh e un der st ood h er m oth er ’s joke. Sh e wa s pr oba bl y r ea di n g h er m oth er ’s th ought . We e we m oved t o t h e cl os et , pul l ed t h e dr a wer a n d t ook out t h e pen dul um , si t tin g down on a ch a ir an d by h er l eft h an d Abbo wa s sea t ed on a sm a l l puff, a n d usi n g h er l eft h a n d t o supp or t t h e ba by, sh e susp en ded t h e pl a sti c–ba l l t hing ch ecki n g wh a t Abbo m a y n eed for food. Do a way wi t h t hi ng mama , Abbo s e em ed t o sa y by pu sh i ng t h e pen dul um sm art l y a wa y fr om h er di r ect i on . “Th at i s a poor i dea in deed da rl in g, ” We e we di sa gr eed wi t h h er da ugh t er.

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Usi n g on e h an d, Wee we h el d A bbo’s t wo sm a l l ba l l h an ds t oget h er an d sa i d. “Eh ! Sm ar t girl , I l ea rn t you wer e si t t i n g down a l r ea dy, uh ? I s t h a t t r ue?” Abbo just put a wa y h er sm a l l fa ce, cl osi n g h er e ye s a s i f sa yi n g: Na y ou pe opl e sabi. *** Just i c e A buu ba , wh o wa s wa i t i n g for th e Ba a l e i n t h e r ecept i on r oom , st ood up i m m edi a t el y t h e door fl un g open ed. Bot h m en n odded t o ea c h ot h er , wh i l e t h e Ba a l e l ed t h e wa y t o h i s offi ce t hr ough a l ar ge pa ssa ge. T h e offi c e wa s l i ke a n y or din ar y offi c e exc ept t ha t th er e wa s a l i vi n g m a p, of Al a a r i an d it s subur b, h a n gin g bet ween t h e t wo r i gh t -an gl ed m a ps, an d it wa s a bout 2 m et r es by 1. 5 m et er s i n si z e. T h e Ba a l e c oul d obs er ve t h e a ct i vi t i es g oi ng on fr om on e r em ot e pl a ce t o a n ot h er an d fr om on e bui l di n g t o an oth er . “T h e LMFO1 i s wor kin g fi n e, ” He st opped i n t h e mi ddl e of t h e r oom l ooki n g at th e ma p . “Ca n ’t you s ee ? Se e t h a t wom a n . See, s ee h ow sh e da sh ed off t h e ot h er m an. No c ol l i si on or gosl ow of ye st er yea r s. Fa n ta st i c, ” Ba a l e wa s ca r r i ed a wa y by t h e a ct i vi t i es g oi n g on i n Al aar i t own a n d it s subur b. He wa s m uch exi t ed. He wa s r ai si n g up h i s h an ds, dem on str at in g wi t h h i s h ea d, dodgi n g, at t a ckin g a s i f i n a foot ba l l m a t ch. Sudden l y h e sm a sh ed t h e sna ke l ea t h er br i efca se

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t ha t h e wa s ca r r yi n g, on Just i ce A buu ba ’s fa c e. Wa a m m p! Oh ! I a m sor r y, judge. But ca n ’t you s ee ?” Now, t h e da z ed ol d m a n , wh o wa s bus y m opi ng h i s n ose wi t h an han dker chi ef i n vest i ga t i n g i f t h er e wa s a n y t r a ce of bl ood, qui ckl y da sh ed off t o t h e ot h er si de of t h e r oom , br a ci n g h im se l f a wa y fr om a n ot h er bl ow fr om ‘t h i s m a d Ba a l e and h i s cr a z y t ech n ol og y. ’ “Y es. Cr a z y i s i t ?” T h e Ba a l e a sk ed, r ea di ng t h e Judge’s m in d. But th er e wa s n o an swer . “Cr a z y, ” W obbi a l a m en t ed. “An ot h er cr az y, en em y of t e ch n ol og y, ” h e m urm ur ed. T a l king a l oud, h e sa i d. ” O. K. , i f you sa y s o just i ce Abuu ba , pl ea se h a ve your sea t h er e. ” Just i c e A buu ba wh o wa s ju st c ool i n g down on a ch a ir sai d, “Fr om wh at I h ear d sir, th e Sun wa s a bi g bur n in g ba l l m ovi n g a t a gr ea t er speed i n t h e spa ce. T h e par t or som e cl oud of ga s or dust a bout t h e sun wh i ch br oke a wa y, c ool ed d own a nd for m ed t h e va r i ou s pl a n et s, st a r s an d som e ot h er h ea ven l y bodi e s. Our E a r th, a s we l ea rn t , i s pr oba bl y on e of t h e pl a n et s. It wa s a s ol i d m a ss – a c on cr et e of r ocks, sa n d a n d wa t er , a l l spout out a n d l a t er for m ed t oget h er i n a fl oa t i n g, m oul d of a ca l a ba sh - ki n d, wh i ch wa s a l s o pa r t of t h e m a t eri a l out of t h e sun. Yes our Sun, Sowul o. . .” “Wh i ch Sowul o a r e you t a l ki n g a bout ?” i nt er ject ed t h e Ba a l e. “T h a t ’s th e pr im or di a l n am e for our Sun , si r. An d th a t so m a n y yea r s, pr oba bl y 800 m i l l i on

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yea r s a go, l i vi n g th in gs l i ke th e m osqui t oes we r e i n th e st an din g wa t er. Th ey sa y t h a t wa t er or n ow t h e oc ea n , th e r i ver s, th e br ook s et c. a r e pa rt of t h e con cr et e m i xin g wa t er wh i ch wa s not c om pl et el y m a de us e of be for e t h e m oul d got cr a cked or som et h i n g. Th e l i vi n g th in gs l a ter de vel op ed i n t o fi sh es. T h e fi sh -l i ke th ings de vel op ed i n t o a m ph i bi a n s. Man y of t h es e di e d you kn ow . . . . ” “ How d o I kn ow? Just r a p on i f i t sui t s you t o do so. ” T h e Ba a l e, wh o wa s n ow a dju st i n g hi s sea t , a dvi sed. “As I wa s sa yi n g you kn ow, ” just i ce A buu ba em ph a si z ed on th e l a st t wo wor ds. “Oh gosh ! Just i c e A buuuuu ba ! I sa y r a p on . If you t h i n k I kn ow, t h en wh y a r e you t el l i n g m e a ga in ? Ah, ah ? Just ra p on j oo” “Y es, t h an k you si r . Ma n y of t h es e di ed you se e. Som e fe w t h a t. . .” “Wh i ch fe w?” “Y es, fe w a m ph i bi an s. I m ean th ose wh i ch sur vi ved, de vel op ed i n t o r ept il es such a s l i zar ds, cr oc odi l e s et c. Som e of t h ese r ept i l es t ha t sur vi ved a ft er t h ousa n ds of ye a r s de vel op ed i n to bi r ds an d four -foot ed a n i m al s th at wer e a bl e t o wa l k on t h e t wo h in d l egs an d used t h e t wo l ow er l egs for ot h er th in gs. An d fr om t h e a pes (I wa s m a de t o un der st an d) th e fi r st cr ea t ur e, pr oba bl y t h e Ada m or Mara Pr oc on sul , a ppear ed sa y a bout 25 m i ll i on yea r s a go i n th e Gar den of E den ” . “T h en ,” Ba a l e sa i d.

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“Wh a t I am tr yi n g t o sa y t h en i s th i s: Wh y di dn ’t we r ever t ba ck t o t h e a pe-ki n ds of bei n gs? I a sk. Wh y ca n ’t we jum p, i f p ossi bl e, t h e l a st t hr ee st a ges of e vol ut i on t o be c om e bi r ds? T h e judge bea m ed. “Oh I s ee. I s ee your p oi n t . Tha t ’s r i ght I un der stan d, ” sa i d Ba a l e, wh o wa s s i t t in g str a i ght on t h e edge of h i s ch a ir th en set t l ed ba ck i n t o i t , sh ook h i s h ea d an d l a ugh ed. “W el l en ough of bi r ds or LMF O1, Li m o- on e. Ca n I h a ve m or e i n for m a t i on a bout t h e boy’s ca se ? Rem em ber ? Just i c e A buu ba l ooked fi x edl y a t t h e n et wor k of t h e fl oor ca r pet i n fr on t of h i m . “Your E xcel l en c y, ca n I sa y t h i s i s pur el y wi t h in my jur i sdi ct i on . If th a t i s th e r ea son wh y you h a ve sum m on ed m e h er e si r , i t doesn ’t wor t h i t. By t h e wa y d o I n eed t o t el l you wh a t i s goi n g on in my c our t ?” “N o, n o, n ot a t a l l Just i ce Abuu ba !” T h e Ba a l e dr a gged a wa y h i s fa c e sl owl y fr om Just i ce Abuu ba . St i l l l ooki n g th r ough th e wi n dow h e sa i d. “I th in k you r ea l i z e th at I a m th e Ba a l e of t hi s pl a ce, a n d I am r espon si bl e, s o t o sa y, for a n y t h i n g goi n g on ar oun d m e. Don ’t you t h ink so?” He st ood up, r ea ch ed t h e t wo bot t l e s of c ol d pa l m i an d h an ded on e bot t l e a n d a gl a ss cup t o t h e judge. “Or do I offer you s om et h in g el se ? I sh oul d h a ve a sked you t h a t fi r st , eh !”

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T h e judge, wh o wa s a l r ea d y r unn in g down sa l i va t hr ough h i s oes oph a gus, n odded. “O h. T han k you si r . I pr efer th i s.” Ra i si n g up th e cup of pa l m i for th e Ba a l e t o se e. Aft er ea ch m an ha d a lr ea d y dr ain ed th e con t en t s i n h i s cups, t h e Ba a l e cl ea r ed h i s t hr oa t an d sa id. “Pr oba bl y, I sh oul d gi ve you m y own ver si on of h uman evol ut i on . Acc or din g t o m y m ot h e r: Or un m il a , th e wi se st a m on g t h e God s, sen t O od ua t o t h i s E a rth . At th a t t im e, t h er e wa s on l y wa t er c over i n g th e inn er cr ust of t h e ea r t h. Of c our se t h er e wa s n o si gn of l i fe wh a t soe ver , ” Th e jud ge suck ed fr om t h e cup of pa l m i for a l on gt i me. “Y es. Oodua br ough t soi l , a cock a n d pa lm n ut s. “Y ou s ee . . . Th e a uth ent i c h i st or y i s. . . ” “ Uh , see a ut h en t i c” Th e judge m ur m ur ed. “Wh a t di d you sa y?” “Fi r e on si r” “T h en a ccor di n g t o our own fa sh i on of t h e cr ea t i on , or r ath er l et ’s sa y i n a ddi t i on, Ood ua t hr ew a h an dful of s oi l i n t o t h e wa t er th at beca m e l an d, by fi a t . He t h en r el ea sed t h e c ock wh i ch dug t h e soi l d e ep i n t o t h e gr oun d a n d m a de h ol es. Ha vi n g don e th a t, Oodua pl ant ed th e pa l m n ut s. “It woul d be r eca l l ed t h a t Oodua ca m e wi t h his pe opl e t o t h e cr a dl e of our l a n d, bea r in g our a n cest or s. T h ey del i ver ed our fi r st pa r ent s. Al l ot h er t hin gs fol l owed. An d t ha t wa s i t . T h er e wa s n o r el a t i on sh i p bet we en your a pes, fi sh es or a ni m al s, bea st s of n o g en der s or your bi r ds a nd your so- ca l l ed ‘fi r st m an ’ on ear th . Th er e wa s

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n ot hin g l i ke th e fi r st m an ei th er . Ca ll th em pr im a l An cest or s, ” con cl uded t h e Ba a l e of Al a a r i . Just i c e A buu ba , wh o wa s pa yi n g a g ood a t t en ti on t o t h e Ba a l e’s h um a n h i st or y, sa i d. “T h a t i s fi n e wi t h m e, si r. E ver yt h i n g wa s pos si bl e I a gr eed, ” h e sa i d th e la st wor d i n a past t en se a n d a s fa st a s h e c oul d. He si pped a ga i n fr om h i s cup, bel ch ed a l i t t l e an d sa i d. “Sir , wha t a ct ua l l y, d o you wa n t t o kn ow a bout t h a t ca se?” ch an gin g th e su bje ct . “An d wh a t wa s i t ?” Th e Ba a l e a sked. “W el l , I t hin k th e boy wa s un l uck y s or t of. I t hin k h e wa s m i st a ken l y bul l i ed a n d arr est e d, wh i l e t h e a ct ua l cr i m in a l pecked of f . T h e boy, wh o just ca m e d own t h e h el i copt er t h at br oug ht h im fr om hi s sch ool , wa l ked t o O ja a ba , per ha ps to pi ck on e or t wo t h in gs in th e ma rket . I th in k h e ca m e up h er e t o pa y a vi si t t o h i s par ent s wh en t h e m ob de sc en ded on h im ri gh t th er e i n th e m ar ket . Th e pol i ce offi c er , wh o wa s on patr ol in h i s h el i copt er , sa w t h i s, qui ckl y l a n ded on a n ear by de ck. He di d r es cu e t h e boy fr om bei ng ki l l ed. Wh a t h a s a ct ua ll y h a ppen ed, a ccor di n g to t h e pol i ce r epor t , wa s t ha t th e ot h er guy, I m ean t h e r ea l cr im in al , h a d t ouch ed on e ol d m a n ’s sh irt on t h e ba ck c ol l a r . Th e ol d m a n fel t a sh a r p pain a r oun d h i s wa i st an d sudden l y h e wa sn ’t fe el i ng h i s gen it a l ia a gain . Th e ba l l s wer e g on e. Y ou ca n just i m a gin e t h e sh ock si r . Of c our se, t h e ol d m an r ai sed a n al ar m an d in n o t i m e peopl e h ad ga th er ed, an d a fa i r l y bi g cr owd wa s bui l t up. T h e

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ol d m a n wa s c on fu sed ; h e just gr a bbed t h e n e xt m an beh in d h im . . . ’ T h e Ba a l e l a ugh ed. “I kn ow i t i sn ’t funn y, but . . . but . . . . ” “T h i s wa s a bi g cr owd si r , ” th e judge c on t i n ued. “T h er e wa s c on fusi on . Th e per son wh o wa s gr a bbed st r uggl ed h i m sel f fr e e a n d m yst er i ou sl y di sa ppea r ed in t o th e th in a ir. Th e ol d man gr a bbed s om e bod y el se; Al a s! It wa s t h e boy, Obi ddi m a . Sur e! Th e m an r efus ed t o l et go. Wh at are y ou t al k i ng about ? Look at t hi s ol d man k e . I be g, l e av e me al one . Not I. I wa s j ust passi ng. I j ust c ame do wn f ro m t hat he l i c opt e r and . . . . , wa s a l l t h e son gs O bi ddi m a wa s si n gi n g. Nobod y bel i e ved h i m . “T o sa y t h e l ea st . I d on ’t bel i e ve i n such cr a ps. An d a ct ua ll y i f wh a t you’ ve just sa i d wa s c or r ect , i t wa s i n th ose da ys, t h os e da r k da ys. ” T ha t wa s t h e Ba a l e r efusi n g t o a cc ept t h e i dea of l oosi ng on e gen i t a l. “Cer t a in l y si r , I h a ve r ea d a l ot a bout su ch t hin gs. As we wer e t ol d, i t wa s a wa y of m a ki ng m on e y, s or t of. W e a l s o ga t h er ed fr om a m edi c a l pr a ct i ti on er th a t, so fa r , n o h uman part can m yst er i ous di sa ppea r ju st l i ke th a t. How fa r tha t cl a i m wa s t r ue I ca n ’t sa y. I a m n ot qua l i fi ed t o kn ow. ” “T h an ks for your in for m a t i on . But m y quest i on i s t h i s: h ow woul d you l i ke t o fi x t h e boy, sa y, for m an y yea r s i m pr i son m ent . Yes, I th in k I bet t er pul l off t h e m a squer a de’s m a sk. Th e Ba a l e sa i d.

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“Fi x! N oooo- o! N ot i n h un dr ed yea r s. I woul dn ’t wa n t t o do t h a t even for a ba rr el of pa l m i. I ca n ’t do t h a t sir. Hea ven s for bi d. If we ca n ’t tr a ce t h e m an, th en we wi l l r el ea se t h e boy. Al l e vi den c es sh owed t h a t Obi ddi m a a ct ua l ly boa r ded t h a t copt er . S o wh a t el s e d o we n e e d? Hon est l y, t h er e wa s n ot h in g t o h ol d a ga in st hi m, ” Just i c e Abuu ba sh ook h i s h ea d. T h en , th e Ba a l e wen t for t wo m or e bot t l e s of pa l m i, ser ved t h e judge g en er ousl y a n d sank deep er i n t o t h e ch air . “You d on ’t se em t o un der stan d wh a t we a r e sa yi n g. Do you kn ow t h a t boy i s Agi ddi ’s s on ? Y ou se e t h e fa t h er wa n t ed m e out of t h e Ba a l e r a ce a t a l l cost . He st i l l wa nt s m e dea d e ven n ow. W el l . . . ” h e l ook ed di r ect l y a t t h e judge a n d sh ook h i s h ea d. ‘Do wh a t you a r e t ol d t o d o m a n or you . . . “h e di dn ’t fi n i sh th e sen t en ce. He l ook ed ver y fur i ous. Just i c e A buu ba fel t fr i gh t en ed, beca us e l ooki n g cl osel y a t t h e Ba a l e’s fl i cker i n g col our l ess e ye s, on e m ust be t r ul y t h r own off gua r d. Thi s i s a de v i l i sh son-of -a-bi t c h. Just i ce Abuu ba c on fi r m ed t o h i m sel f. He h a d a gr eed t o ca rr y out t h e Ba a l e’s i n str uct i on s, judi ci ousl y t oo. He h a s bee n over r ul ed by h i s un der -m in d.

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CHAPTER EIGHT
The m outh of the ri ghteou s i s a foundati on of l i fe, but vi ol ence over whel m s the m outh of the wi cked
- K i ng S ol om o n

“I di dn ’t feel your pr esen ce i n th e bed i n th e n i ght . In fa ct , I sl ept off ea r l i er . Di d you c om e ba ck l a t er or wh a t ? An d wh a t di d Dr . Ol l i say ye st er da y a n d . . .” “Oh , Wee we! An d wh a t ?” He st opp ed a ppl yi n g

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t h e a ft er sh a ve a n d sh out ed a ga i n a t h er. “An d I sa y wh a t ?” “Ca n ’t you be r ea son a bl e on ce i n a l i fet i m e?” h e ga ve a dul l l ook st i l l h ol di n g th e c on t a in er of t h e a ft er sh a ve. “Y ou a sked ch a in s of qu est i on s a n d wh i ch on e di d you exp e ct m e t o a n swer fi r st ?” He a sked a n d st ar t ed a ppl yi n g t h e l ot i on a ga in . We e we n ow r ea l i zin g wh a t wa s be com i n g qui et l y m oved cl os er t o h i m , cl a pped h i s sh oul der bl a de a n d sa i d, “I kn ow n ow. But n ext t i m e, you ca n tr y t h i s: An swer t h e l a st quest i on fi r st , th e se c on d, th ir d an d so on i n tha t or der . My d e ar Coc on ut -h ea d h usba n d, on e an d on l y Ba a l e of Al a ar i , sh e jest ed. “Al r i gh t dar lin g wh a t di d th e doct or sa y?” Wobbi a l a ugh ed an d sh ook h i s h ea d. “ He wa s h i m sel f a ps ych i a t ri st ’s ca se, ” Wobbi a r oa r ed wi t h l a ugh t er . He c on t in ued l a ugh in g t il l h e wa s ca ugh t up in a fi t of c ough . Wa t er fl oa t i ng a n d tr i ckl in g down h i s e yes. Aa a h a, h i i ihi , ah -ah h ihi . . . ” h e r oa r ed a ga in. Th en sudden l y, h e st opp ed. T h e fa c e be ca m e dul l . Hi s bod y st a t ed t o sh a ke an d a ct ua l l y sh i ver i n g. Wee we l ooke d bet we en h er h usba n d an d h i s im a ge in th e wa l l m irr or . It wa s a l ook of a gr ea t pi t y. Sh e h ad n ever se en hi m in th i s fi t in th eir 15 yea r s of l i vi n g t oget h er a s h usba n d an d wi fe. “Ar e you a l r i ght ?” sh e sa i d a s sh e wa s gen t l y pa t t in g h i s upper ba ck. “Ar e you a l r i gh t ?”

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Wh en th e fi t su bsi d ed a l i t t l e, Wobbi a pa ck ed h i s sh a vi n g ki t sl owl y a n d h ea ded t owa r ds t h e door . An d Wee we, wr a pped i n a bi g t owe l , fol l owed h er h usba n d t o t h e bedr oom a s qui et l y a s pos si bl e, si n gin g: Ar e you a l r i gh t. …? Sudden ly, Wobbi a st opp ed a t t h e door , l ook ed a t h i s wi fe a n d com m en t ed. “Met h i n ks th at Dr . Ch uk -Oll i sh oul d c on sul t Dr .E l egrr i. He wi l l sur el y g et a c om pl et e cur e fr om h i s psych os om a t i c i l l n ess, ” Wobbi a sa i d sc or n ful l y. T hi s t im e h e wa s l ooki n g ser i ous Hi s wi fe, wh o wa s ju st fum bl i n g wi t h h er t owel t ha t wa s fa st sl um pi n g down h er kn ees, m ove d a ga in cl oser t o h er h usba n d, fa ced h i m di r ect ly a n d a sked. “An d wha t wa s th a t ?” Wobbi a st a r t ed t o r oar a ga in . We e we l ook ed i n a ma z em ent an d sa i d. “You wel l so?” “Wh o? I?” Wobbi a r esum ed c om bi n g h i s h ea d. “Usua l l y, ” pa t t in g th e l eft si de of h i s h ea d, h e con t in ued. “Y est er da y t h a t doct or l e ft h i s offi ce d oor op e n. So I di dn ’t ha ve t o wa i t l on g be for e I st epp ed i n to h i s offi ce. D o you kn ow wh a t t h e m an wa s doi n g? Uh -uh -uh ?” He a sked a n d open ed h i s e ye s wi d er n ow. “Y es. I wi l l t el l you. Y our m an wa s usi n g th e en d of h i s ci ga r pi pe, wh i ch h e h el d wi t h bot h h an ds, t o t a p on an ol d t yp e wr i t er . You kn ow t h a t t ype you t a p wi t h your fi n ger s. Th e 20 t h cen t ury m odel . S o wh en I ca m e i n h e l ook ed up br i efl y,

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n odded t o t h e ol d r a ffi a ch a ir in fr on t o f h i s ta bl e, for m e t o si t on . You s e e, h e wa s on t ha t t ype wr i t er , in th a t gr ot esque m a nn er for a bout fi ve m i n ut es or so. T h en h e st opped, r evol ved i n h i s ch a ir an d fa ced m e. ” W obbi a sh ook h i s eg g l i ke h ea d in pit y. “An d I don ’t kn ow h ow h e di d i t , oh E dumar e!” He c on t in ued t h e st or y. “Y ou kn ow wh a t ? T h e m an ga z ed a t m e for a bout four m in ut es wi t h out bl i n kin g. Cr az y, i t s oun ds. How h e c oul d c op e I don ’t kn ow. N ot on l y t h e st upi d l ooki n g, m y d ea r, h e si m pl y p oi n t ed a t th e door for m y exi t . I t hink you a r e sa t i sfi ed n ow, ” h e ch uckl ed. W ee we st a r t ed t o l a ugh t oo. “T h a t wa s won der ful l y a wful . But wh y?” sh e a sked i n con fu si on . “Aski n g m e? I t h in k you sh oul d g o t h er e your sel f a n d a sked h i m th at quest i on . I t el l yo u dea r , you pu sh ed m e t h er e. An d you s ee, wh a t e v er you t h i n k m i gh t h a ve gon e wr on g wi t h m e, your own h usba n d, wer en ’t a s ser i ous a s t o g o a n d see t ha t bug wa st i n g our t im e, m on ey a n d en er gy. An d i f you bel i e ved I beh a ved s om eh ow a ft er se ei n g th a t doct or ’s beh a vi our ye st er da y, t h en h e ca used i t . ” He l a m en t ed. “M y que st i on i s t hi s: wh y di d h e beh a ve t o you i n such a mann er ? Th e wh ol e Ba a l e of Al a a r i . Did h e r ea l iz e t ha t ? Di d you sa y s om et h i n g irri t a ting be for e you fi n a l l y ba n ged th e door on h i m or som et h in g?” “ How d o you m ea n by i r r it a tin g or ba n gin g th e door ? An ywa y I di dn ’t ha ve t o sa y a n yt h ing

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be for e or a ft er th a t. He sh owed m e t h e wa y out a n d I wa l ked out . I don ’t th in k I wa s i n t er est ed i n kn owi n g t h e r ea son s for beh a vi n g so un cul t ur ed. He wa s ju st cr a z y t h a t ’s a l l. ” Hi s l a st wor d wa s pr on oun ced i n a coa r se s oun d. “O. K, O. K, O. K, a t l ea st you h a ve a n swer ed m y quest i on s i n th e or der I wa n t ed t h em , ” Wee we l ooked sa d a n d m or ose. Now sh e r eca l l ed t h e pr evi ou s week or der . Th e i n ci dent oc cur r ed on T uesda y l a st we ek. T h e wea t h er wa s fi n e; sk y wa s cl ea r , bl ue a n d ful l of h ea ven l y l i fe. In fa ct a per son wi t h h i s wh ol e s el f c oul d c oun t and r ecei ve bl es si n gs fr om t h e fa l l i n g cosm i c de w. E ver yt h i n g wa s qui et . La t er i n th e da ys, W ee we wen t for a h or se r i de put tin g on an a ir -tr a pped est oc ot t on over a l l an d a yel l ow c ol or ed h el m et . We e we h a d a wh i t e h el m et m a de of t h e sa m e m a t eri a l a s th e over a l l. T h e t wo wom en , Al a ar i fi r st La d y a n d h er fr i en d, Abba m i a l so wea r i n g a sim pl e out fi t of a pa ir of t r ous er s a n d a spor t sh irt , r ode a s fa r a s t h e n orth ern ba n k of Aa sa Ri ver . We e we’s wh i t e, h ea vy h or se t h a t wa s l ea di n g t h e par t y st oppe d dea d a t a spot . Wee we pa t t ed h er t o c on t in ue t h e j our n ey, si n ce t h e y h a ve n ot d eci d ed t o st op t h e r e for a r est or som et h i n g. Th e h or ses r e fus ed t o budg e. T h e t wo h or se s t ur n ed t h eir h ea d s ba cki n g a wa y fr om t h e ver y sp ot . Sur el y, t h er e m ust be a n in vi si bl e t h in g t o n a ked e yes, wh i ch m a de t h ei r h or ses beh a ve t h i s

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wa y. Bot h l a di es m i gh t ha ve sa i d t o t h em sel ve s. T h ey jum p ed d own , fr om t h e h or ses a l m ost si m ul t an eousl y. W e e we wa l ked fa st er t o t h at spot a ga in , wh i l e Abba m i fol l owed cl osel y beh i n d h er, l ea vi n g th e h or ses a t posi t i on . T h ey l ooked, sea r ch ed, fum bl ed wi t h ever y gr a ss an d st on e th e y wer e a bl e t o l a y t h ei r h ands upon . Not h in g r ea l l y. *** At a bout 16 h our s t h a t da y wh en Wee we wa s st i l l out r i din g, th e Ba a l e de ci ded t o g o for s wi m m ing a t th e fa m i l y’s p ool . As h e h a s just put off h i s r obe a n d l e ft wi t h a swi m m i n g pan t, h e h ear d a h ea vy fa l l . Th e soun d obvi ousl y ca m e fr om t h e di r ect i on of A bbo’s r oom , a n a dja cen t r oom t o a n arr ow pa ssa ge l ea di n g t o t h e m a in door of t h e s wi m m in g pool . He de ci ded t o ch eck h er , fi rst t hin g be for e r et ir in g in t o th e wa t er . Wi t h out put t in g up h i s r obe a ga i n , h e wa l ked fa st t o t h e ba by’s r oom wh i ch wa s l e ft op en . St il l st a n din g by t h e door , h e l ook ed r oun d th e r oom . E ver yt h i n g wa s i n t a ct, th e h ea vy ch est of dr a wer s, th e cot . But t h e ba by wa s n o wh er e t o be foun d. T h e cot wa s em pt y. “Oh , Hea ven !” m urm ur ed t h e Ba a l e. Wobbi a m oved qui ckl y fr om t h e d oor a nd wa l ked t o t h e c ot . As h e wa s m ovi n g t o t h e c ot , t h e ba by r esur fa c ed r i gh t in si de h er cot . Ma y be

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h i s br ain wa s pl a yi n g hi m a tr i ck. He m ust be get t i n g ol d, yes. But h i s ea gl e-l i ke e ye s wer e st i l l i n or der . In fa ct h e h a s n ever a n y n ega t i ve m edi ca l r epor t a bout h i s e yes. N ot h in g of such Now, t h e Ba a l e ben t down a n d a djust ed t h e t hi ck adi re sh eet t o c over som e pa r t of t h e ba by’s n a ked bod y. He l ook ed a r oun d, sur ve yed t h e r oom a ga in . Not h in g wa s un usua l a bout t h e r oom . Sa t i sfi ed, h e t h en m oved t o t h e door t o l ea ve. And be for e h e pa ssed t h ough th e door op en in gs h e ga ve a n ot h er l ook a t t h e r oom a n d fi n a l l y t h e c ot . T h e ba by wa s n ot t h er e. E ven t h e adi re wa s n ow m i ssi n g. He focus ed h i s e ye s wel l . N ot h i n g so fa r . Th e out si de wa s fi n e, s o t h e r oom i s br i ght . “T h i s ca n ’t be t r ue, ” h e m ur m ur ed. He wa s i n t ha t posi t i on for a n ot h er t wo m i n ut es be for e h e pr oce ed ed t o t h e cot a ga in . It wa s a s be for e, i nt a ct . Th e r esur fa ci n g tr i ck h a s oc cur r ed a ga in. E ver yt h i n g wa s i n ta ct just a s h e l eft t h e cot . He pr oce ed ed a ga i n t o t h e door , gl an ced ba ck a t t h e cot . No ba by a n d n ow, n o cot . Wobbi a r epea t ed t h i s off-a n d-on pr oce ss for m or e t han t en t i m es. Th er e wa s n o di ffer en ce . E ven t h ough h e h a d n ot h in g on ot h er th an un der pa nt , h e wa s s wea t i n g pr ofu sel y. He n ow d eci d e d t o kn ow t h e r oot of t h i s dr a ma , so h e m ust i n vest i ga t e fur th er . He n eed s t o ch a n ge h is t a ct i cs. Her e a n d th er e, h e ba ck -wa l k ed t o t he m i ddl e of t h e r oom a n d st ood t h er e. T h en , he t urn ed r oun d sudden l y t o t h e c ot . Th er e wa s n o ch an ge. Th en h e c on cl uded t h a t t h e evi l , dem on

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or wh a t ever i t wa s, m ust be by t h e door . He wa s sur e t ha t th e off-a n d-on ga m e oc cur r ed on l y wh e n h e r ea ch ed th e door an d pr oba bl y t h e a ct of t urn in g t o l ook a t th e c ot wa s on e of t he fa ct or s a ffe ct i n g th e gam e. Now t h a t h e ha d br ough t th e ful l -l en gth m irr or fr om t h e m a st er bedr oom a n d pla ced i t n ear th e door , h e coul d ga z e a t i t fr om t h e posi t i on of t h e c ot a n d m ovi n g in th a t m ann er t o th e door un ti l h e ca m e out of t h e r oom , n ot hin g wi l l pr oba bl y h a ppen , h e th ough t . But h e wa s wr on g. Th i s ti me, h e wa s feel i n g a t err i bl e h ea da ch e an d very n er vous. He c oul dn ’t possi bl y t h i n k r i gh t a gain . Pi cki n g up c our a ge h e wa l ked ba ck, e ye s bul gi n g l i ke tha t of Konk o, th e kin g of fr ogs, t o t h e cot . T h e m an l ook ed t ough n ow. But n ot h ing h a s ch an ged a n ywa y. Fr ust r a t ed a s e ver , h e deci d ed t o r em a in in th a t r oom for a wh il e. He ca n ’t go out wi t h out get t i n g a cl ue t o t h i s pr obl em . “T h i s i s a pr obl em . Yes, ” He m ur m ur ed. It wa s n ever a n orm a l ph en om en on for a ba by t o be pl a yi n g h i de-an d-seek ga m e i n h er cot . Not i n h un dr eds of yea r s. He sa t d own on t h e par quet fl oor fa r a wa y fr om t h e door , of c our se, beca u se h e woul dn ’t l i ke t o di sa ppea r in t o t h in a ir h im sel f. “T h a t door ? N o. I woul dn ’t tr y i t for bi l l i on s of Na a r i, ” h e l a ugh ed cr ookedl y t o h i m sel f. Al l h e wa n t ed n ow i s t o h a ve a l ook at his fa ce i n th e m ir r or; pr oba bl y h e h a d gr own t wo t i m es ol der . But t h e fea r of s eei n g a n i m a ge of

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som et h in g el se r est r a in ed h im fr om doi n g so. L et i t be. He r em a i n ed in th at posi t i on un t i l h e h ea rd r umm a gin g of pl a st i cs, pa per ba gs i n t h e ma st er bedr oom , ‘It m ust be h i s wi fe, h e th ough t. He r os e up gen t l y t i pt oed t o t h e door . On r ea ch in g th e door , h e sna t ch ed th e st a n ding m irr or , st ol e a l ook a t t h e cot a n d of c our se t h e wh ol e t h in g wa s m i ssin g a gain . At l a st h e wa s sur e of s om et h in g t o t el l h i s wi fe or el se s h e woul dn ’t bel i e ve h i m an d, even t ua l l y, sh e wi l l t a l k h im in t o m eet i n g, or pr oba bl y r em a i n wi th Dr . Ol li for a da y or t wo. How ca n you t el l pe op l e t ha t th e Ba a l e i s i n t h e ps ych i a tr i c cl i n i c? “ But I a m n ot si ck, ” h e sa i d a l oud. An d t h in kin g al oud n ow, h e sa i d. “I’m n ot goi n g th er e an ywa y. If We e we wa s s o st upi d n ot t o s e e i t t h at wa y, wel l I ca nn ot h el p i t a n d wa i t a m i n ut e! Wh a t wi l l pr even t t h a t Dr . Ol l i fr om m en t i on in g t o a fr i end h i s secr et vi si t t o h i s cl i n i c, i n th e n ear est fut ur e? How m a n y of t h em n owa da ys ca n a bi de by suc h m edi ca l et h i cs i n a t i gh t -cor n er si t ua ti on . Th e fi r st m a d Ba a l e of Al a a ri . Aha ! No wa y. ” He h el d t h e mirr or wi t h bot h h an ds, th e door sl i ded op en a n d h e fi n a l l y jum p ed, l i ke a fr og, i nt o t h e ma st er bedr oom . “Oh , dea r m e! Wh y d o you h a ve t o jum p l i k e t ha t ? Oh gosh ! Wh a t, . In h el l , ar e you d oi n g wi t h t ha t mirr or in your h an ds?” Wee we wa s sur pr i sed a n d poi n t in g a t hi m sh e sa i d “An d wi th on l y a

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br i ef on ? Ch in eke n n a ! You sm el l of s wea t . Wh a t ’s wr on g?” Her voi c e wa s r i si n g. Pl a ci n g a fi n ger ver t i ca l l y on h i s m out h . “Sh i i i i , ” h e or der ed Wee we t o keep qui t e. We e we fr own ed que st i on i n gl y. “G o a h ea d, t el l m e s om et h i n g, do t el l m e h ow you fe el ol d boy, ” sh e sa i d sar ca st i ca l l y. “Just g o i n th er e, ” h e l ook ed a t th e door l ea di ng t o A bbo’s r oom an d wi n ked. “See t h in gs for your sel f a n d i f you l i ke, com e ba ck h er e and n arra t e your st or y, ” h e wh i sper ed.

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CHAPTER NINE
Transm ut at i on

“ Be ep, be ep beep… ep, ” a sm a l l set by h i s be d soun ded. Dr . E l egrr i r ubbed a n d open ed h i s e yes t o r ea d th e m essa ge on th e scr een : AAFIN MIL E ONE – INST IT UT ION OF MA N. Dr . E l egrri push ed M35 but t on on th e con tr ol pan el .

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“Y es. Wh o i s t h er e?” T h e m essa ge di sa ppea r ed a n d an ot h er on e r ea ds: ME E T ME AAFIN M1 11. 30 BAALE . At 11. 30 on th e dot Dr. El egrr i wa s ush er ed in . “T h i s wa y pl ea se, t h e Ba a l e l ed h im t o a ch air i n fr on t of h i s ta bl e. Aft er set t l i n g down on t h eir ch air s, th e Ba a l e sum m on ed on e of h i s secr et a r i es i nt o h i s offi ce a n d a sked h im t o a rr an ge for t wo cups a n d t wo bot t l e of pa l m i . In n o t im e, bot h wer e ser ved a n d th e Secr et a r y l eft t h em a l on e. “N ow, l ook d oct or ! Th ough you h a ve l e ft m e a n d E bor ra t o our sel ves i n a wa y. An d I t h in k I h a ve be en sa cr i fi ci n g t o hi m dul y. I c on t a ct ed h im , som e fe w da ys ba ck, a bout n ot i cea bl e ch an ges i n m y beh a vi our . “I kn ow i t . I kn ow s om et h in g wa s wr on g som e wh er e, a bout t h at ? You se e. Wel l ! I wa s se ei n g som e un usua l t h in gs. Pl ea se sa y som et h in g.” T h e th ir d cup of pa l m i wa s on t h e wa y. Dr . E l egrr i, pl a ced t h e cup on t h e t a bl e a n d r efi l l ed i t . No m or e, n o l ess. “Ye s, Mr . Ba a l e, wh a t do you wa n t m e t o sa y? An yt h in g? Ru bbi s h ? Som et h in g t o r el i eve your fea r ?” He l ook ed a wa y fr om t h e t a bl e, ga zin g at th e Al aar i m a p and en joyi n g t h e da i l y a ct i vi t i es g oi n g on i n t h e t own. At a j oi n t , h e wa t ch ed i n h orr or th e wa y a youn g boy of 26 wa s m a l t r ea t ed by t h r ee boys a n d a girl – a ll of t h em wi t hin th e sa m e a ges

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r an ge of 24 t o 28 . On e of t h e boys pl a c ed a l ong n ai l of a bout 12 c en t i m et r es on th e m i ddl e of t h e vi ct i m ’s h ea d wh i l e th e gir l wa s h am m erin g down t h e n ai l . “Oh ! Do som et h in g pl ea se t o sa ve t hi s boy, ” sh out ed Dr . E l egrri . “Wh a t !” sh out ed t h e Ba a l e. T h er e i s n o n eed t o pa ni c, doct or . Th e In spect or of p ol i c e i s a l so wa t ch i n g thi s. Look!” t h e Ba a l e p oi n t ed a t th e m a p. Th e pol i c e t ea m wa s t h er e be for e t h e l a st 3 cen t i m et r es c oul d be dr i ven i n t o i t s l a st dest i n a t i on. Th e boys a n d th e gi r l wer e a l l a rr est ed a n d th e boy wa s gi ven a fi r st –a id t r ea tm en t by t h e pol i c e doct or s. “Di sgust i n g i t wa s. I a m ha ppy t h e y wer e a l l a rr est ed, ” Dr . El egrr i com m en t ed. Aft er fe w se c on ds of si l en c e, h e sa i d: L ook, Mr . Ba a l e, I don ’t h a ve t o t el l you e ver yt h i n g, per t ain in g to E bor ra . But i f you d o your a ssi gn m en t wel l a nd pr oba bl y su bm i t t h em r egul ar l y, you wi l l be a lr i gh t. But r em em ber t ha t bl ood y m on e y r equi res bl ood y bu si n ess t o i n cr ea se. I t hin k you get m y poi n t ? You a t t a in ed your power , n ot pur ely t hr ough th e peopl e’s wi sh , but t hr ough a bl ood y c oer ci on , by you. It wa sn ’t n at ur a l ! So, t o k ee p you sa n e you r equi r e bl ood. O f c our se n ot a ni m al ’s bl ood a s you sh oul d un der st an d. Ba a l e wa s n ow s wea t i n g n ow. C er t a inl y t h e c ool pa l m i wa s n ot l i kel y g en er a t in g such h ea t in hi s st om a ch t o wa r r ant such swea t . “ But , but , you sa i d I ca n be sa cr i fi ci n g t o E bor ra wi t h out usin g Kn i fe or som et h i n g. ”

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“Or som et h i n g, or n ot hin g, or wh a t ? Do you n eed t o be t ol d e ver yt h in g? I t h in k you a r e a wa r e of t h a t. Do I n eed t o t el l you a l l ? “O . K, doct or . T ake i t thi s wa y. Wh y wa s i t th at t h e la st t im e I t a l ked wi t h E bor r a, h e wa s un a bl e t o t el l m e wh a t an d wh a t n ot t o do i n or der to keep l i fe g oi n g on wel l ?” “T h a t i s wh er e you g o wr on g. You a r e m or e i nt el l i gen t th an an y ot h er bei n gs th a t ar e not h om osa pi en s. Th ose a l i en s or dem on or wh a t ever you ca l l t h em m ust com pl y wi t h your or der . But , i n th eir own t er m s. Not e t h a t. Th e y a r e a l wa ys i n a sor t of c on t r a ct wi th you wh en ever you c on t act t h em for a h el p. An y br ea ch of su ch c on t ra ct ca n on l y l a n d you i n pr obl em . An d I h ope t h i s i s t h e l a st t i m e you wi l l sum m on m e or a sk m e for a ny expl a n at i on a bout t h i s ma t t er . “Dr. E l egrr i sa i d in fi n a l i t y “O. K. , O. K. , I un der stan d n ow. ” T h ey sh ook h an ds an d Dr. El egrr i l eft . *** “Y es, i s t ha t . . . i s th a t Air vi ce–Ma r sh a l Duur u? “Y es, your E xcel l en c y. ” “S ee m e h er e ri gh t n ow. ” “O. K. si r , I am on m y wa y. ” “Ca pt a in !” Air Vi ce-Ma r sha l Duur u wa s t a l king t o h i s sh i p ca pt a in . He put on h i s ca p a nd i n str uct ed fur t h er. “Se e t h a t th in gs ar e in or der dur in g m y a bsen ce. Oga wa n t s m e in a m om en t .

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“ Rel a x for sur vi va l , si r, ” a dvi sed t h e Ca pt ain “O. K. , than ks. Not m y wor ds but of Va l l ej o’ s fr om n a t ur e? Yes. ” He r ush ed out of h i s offi c e, a n d bel t ed up t h e A. G-bel t a s h e wa l ked a l on g th e bui l di n g’s wa l kwa y. Be for e h e t ook off fi n a l l y, h e r em em ber ed h i s ca pt a in ’s wa rn in g a ga in. “RE LA X FO R S URVIVA L. ” He t ook si x d eep, e ven br ea t h in gs c on cen t ra t ing on th e a ir com i n g thr ough h i s n ose a n d fi l l in g hi s l un gs. Th e a i r wa s c ool a n d th e ri bs cr a ckl i n g, th e di a phr a gm expan din g. He wa s n ow sa t i sfi e d, c on t en t ed wi t h i t . He fel t r el a xed qui t e a lr i ght , but h e st i l l fel t t h e usua l t i n klin g a t th e ba ck of h i s l eft si de, h i s wa y of s en si n g a ba ffl ed i dea or occur r en ce. What c oul d t hat suppose t o be , h e a sked h i m sel f. T h e t in klin g r esum ed wi t h n ot a bl e m ovem en t s i n ea ch cel l of h i s skin . Wel l ! He i gn or ed t h e si gn . “RE LAX F O R S URVI VA L, ” t h e wor ds k e pt on rin gin g in h i s ear s. He kept on fl yi n g. Aft er t wo m i n ut es of fl yi n g h e dr opped d own l i gh t l y a t t h e ma in door of t h e Ba a l e’s vi l l a . He push ed op en t h e door a n d wen t st r ai gh t t o t h e Ba a l e’s offi c e. “G ood da y si r . ” He ga ve a qui ck sa l ut e. “Y es. M y a bl e Ma r sha l ! Pl ea se ha ve your sea t . ” “T h an ks. ” He m oved t o a n ear by ch a ir . “Pa l m i or . . . ” For t h e n ext fi ve t o si x m i n ut es, th e Ba a l e wa s un usua l l y r umm a gin g em pt y pa per on h i s ta bl e.

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“ RE LAX FO R S URVIVA L” h e, a l so, r em em ber ed Va l l e j o. S o, h e di d a qui ck fi ve r oun ds of deep br ea t h es. “Yes, yes, m y dea r . ” He r el a xed ba ck i n h i s ch a ir fi xin g hi s ga z e at th e Ma r sh a l, r ea din g hi m. Th en h e l ooked a wa y. “I t h in k, ” t urnin g h i s h ea d t o fa c e Duur u a gain h e con t i n ued. “We h a ve t o ca l l off t h e on goi ng r esea r ch pr ogr am m e em ba r ked upon by yo ur offi c er s. Ye s. T h er e i s n o p oi n t . . . , or wh a t do you sa y? Y ou s ee, t h er e i s n o poi n t wa st ing r even ues on t h at Ol oor u pl a n et . Th e y ca n c on t in ue h er e ba s ed on fe w obser va t i on s t h ey m i gh t ha ve ga t h er ed up th er e. “I a l so l ea r n t fr om Akka Ba a , Ol oye for m in ing a n d m a t er i a l r esour ces, t h a t h um an an d m at er ia l r esour ce s n ec es sa r y for such pr ogr a mm e a r e a va i l a bl e r i gh t h er e in Ala ar i. ” “ But , si r. ” Mar sha l Duur u sai d. “I thin k we a r e a lr ea d y on t h e l a st par t of t h e r esea r ch a nd I see n o n eed wi t h dr a wi n g n ow. Our offi c er s a r e d oi ng r el a t i vel y fi n e, t al kin g fr om th e l a st r epor t s obt a i n ed fr om Ol oor u a n d wh i ch I ha ve di g est e d wel l ; you wi l l l ove t o h ea r th i s: About 87 per ce nt of our offi cer s de vel op ed s om e ki n d of ski n er upt i on s an d a ccor di n g t o t h e r epor t , i t wa s ver y pa in ful i n deed. Th i s er upti on s ym pt om s on t h e vi ct i m s r an ges bet we en h ea da ch e, h i gh bl ood pr essur e, h ea d bur st , an d m an y ot h er dea dl y a nd dr ea dful un det ect ed s ym pt om s. T h e a ffe ct ed offi c er s wer e l ea n an d wea k. But a pa t i en t con sum ed m or e food r a t i on th an th e fe w

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h ea l th y on es. So, t h e t ea m doct or i sol a t ed t h e pa t i en t s in th e we st er n h em i sph er e of Ol oor u t o, pr oba bl y, sa ve t h e ot h er s fr om c on t a ct i n g th e un kn own di sea se. In fa ct , a bout 25 offi c er s had di ed due t o t h i s ph ant om di sea se, a n d . . . ” “Uh . . . uh . . . uh, Oosa a l a for bi d ba d t h in gs. Ka i , ka i, ka i . Is th a t wh a t you sa i d I wi l l l ove t o h ear ? No, I wi l l l ove t o h a t e i t an ywa y? ” “N o si r . Funn y en ough si r, th e la bor a t or y a na l ysi s fr om t h e m edi ca l t est s di d n ot sh ow a ny a n om a li es i n an y pa t i en t for th at . . . . ” “T h i s ma de i t wor se t o h ea r .” Th e Ba a l e cut i n. “Si r , wh a t h a ppen ed wa s th a t on e of t h e pa t i en t s, wh o wer e fe el i n g th ir st y, wok e up i n t h e m i ddl e of t h e n i gh t , ur ina t ed i n hi s cup a n d dran k t h e wh ol e ur in e, just l i ke tha t , gbungbun so i t soun ded. T h en , th e si ck offi c er wen t ba ck t o sl eep. A ft er a bout t wo h our s, h e woke up, pa sse d a n d dr an k th e wa st e pr oduct a ga i n, th en l ai d ba ck t o sl e ep. In th e m or nin g th e t ea m doct or, Dr . Adool , foun d out t h a t hi s t em per a t ur e wa s n or ma l com pa r ed t o ot h er s. An d in fa ct fe w of t h e ski n er upt i on s wer e cl osed up. At fi r st , th e pa t i en t wa s a fr a i d t o t el l an ybod y, for th e fea r of r ecei vi n g an y c on dem n at i on , wh i ch m i ght pr oba bl y a ffect h i s pr ogr ess t owa r ds qui ck r ecover y, a n d wh en h e coul d n o l on ger keep t hi s i dea i n hi s h ear t h e la t er h e n arr at ed t o t h e doct or h ow h e di d i t. “An d a s I r ea d in th e r epor t sir , Adool sa i d th at t h e pa t i en t sh oul d ‘pl ea se l i e d own a bi t s o t h a t I

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ca n r un som e t e st s on you, a ga i n . ’ Yes t h a t wa s wh a t h e di d. He ga ve t h e si ck m a n th or ough exa m i na t i on s an d foun d out a ct ua l l y t h a t th e t em per a t ur e wa s n or m a l an d th e bl ood pr es su r e h a d dr opped di sca r din g th e i dea t ha t , pr oba bl y t h e sudden dr op in t em per at ur e a n d th e bl ood pr essur e ca n ca use a n i nt ern al er upt i on of t h e bod y a s wel l . If t h at i s n ot t h e ca se, h ow t h en can on e t a ke a si ck p er son , wh o dr a n k h i s ur ine, ser i ousl y? Wel l , ” Ma r sh al Duur u ch uckl ed. “Dr . Adool a ct ua l l y wa s c on fus ed, ” Ma r sh al Duur u con t in ued. “He or der ed t h e i sol a t i on of t hi s pa rt i cul ar pa ti en t in an oth er l oca t i on for a cl ose d m on i t or in g. “F ol l owi n g h i s i n st in ct , th e pa t i en t deci ded t o t a ke a l l t h e ur in e h e wa s pa ssi n g out , a l m ost a t r egul ar in t er va l s, usi n g som e of i t a s ba l m t o r ub a n d soot h e h i s ski n er upt i on. Wh i l e th r ee m or e pa t i en t s di ed wi t h in t wo we eks, t h e ur i n e– t h er a py pa t i en t won th e duel over th e ’m on st er ’ di sea se - t h e un kn own . Yes, t h e pat i en t woul d en ga ge h i m sel f i n a 20 -m in ut e exer ci se, fol l owi n g t h e ur in e th er a py. An d im m edi a t el y a ft er t h e exer ci s e, h e woul d c ol l e ct t h e wa r m per spir a ti on i n a cl ea n cup a n d drin k i t . Th at , in fa ct , di d t h e fi n a l h ea l in g. ” “An d wh a t di d Dr . Adool do?” “Y our gues s i s a s g ood a s m i n e, si r. Th e doct or a ct ua l l y or der ed t h e ot h er s t o fol l ow sui t . And t ha t di d th e ma gi c. ”

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T h e Ba a l e dr opped, on h i s t a bl e, h i s t wo h an ds t ha t wer e h an gin g l oos el y i n h i s ch est an d sa i d. “Y es, s e e t h e sh a r ks. See h ow r a di an t th eir bodi e s a r e. T h e y gi ve t h ei r wa st e pr odu ct ba ck t o t h eir bod y wi t h out expul si on . An d pr oba bl y t h e on l y r ea son wh y a h e-goa t or ra m pr efer t o t a ke bot h t h eir urin e a n d th a t of t h ei r pa rtn er. ” L ooki n g dir ect l y a t Duur u an d r ubbi n g h i s l eft h an d fi n ger s, h e sa i d fur th er . “M y a bl e Ma r sh al ! Wh a t ha s th a t got t o do wi t h th e offi c er s’ wi t h dra wa l fr om t ha t pl a ce ba ck h om e, a n ywa y? An d perha ps, th e Ol oor u di sea se ca n be l e ft beh in d in Ol oor u. ” “I di sa gr ee, si r . M y r ea son i s t ha t : on e, th e y h a ve di sc over ed t h e cur e for th e di sea se a n d t wo, t h e h ea l th y offi c er s wer e a l so or der ed t o un dert a ke t h e ur in e th er a py - ea r l y m or ning exer ci s e, t h en l at e e ven i n g ur in e be for e g oi n g to bed. Th i s wa s n ot on l y t o ke ep t h em im m un e a ga in st an y p os si bl e a t t a ck by t h e un kn own di sea se, but a l so ke epi n g th em fi t . “S o, wh a t I am sa yi n g i n essen ce si r , i s th a t n o si n gl e offi cer ca n carr y d own t h e di sea se t o t hi s E ar th . An d h ow a r e we sur e, th e t or m en ting di sea se h a s n ot been t r an sfer r ed down t o Ol oor u fr om Al a a r i h er e. Th e ger m s c oul d be d or m an t in us h er e on ea r th on l y t o be a wa ken ed by t h e ec ol ogi ca l a t m osph er e th er e. Mor eover , th e t ea m doct or i s m a kin g sur e th a t ea ch an d ever y on e of t h e offi c er s i s ful l y i n vol ved i n th e s o ca l l ed t h er a py. ”

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“Oh , dea r m e, m a kin g sur e, m a kin g sur e, m a kin g sur e . . . ar e th e y z om bi e s? Mu st Ad ool h a ve t o m a ke sur e, sur e of wh a t ? Never t h el ess, t ha t doesn ’t an swer m y que st i on . M y que st i on wa s t ha t : Wh y sh oul d m y pr ede c ess or s em ba r ked on such wh i t e el eph an t pr ogra m m e, wh i l e pl en t y of i vor y t usks a r e r ot t in g a wa y h er e in Al aar i . Yes? We ca n m a ke use of our r esour ce s h er e. Ful l y t oo. T h ey a r e ch ea per, r ea di l y a va i l a bl e. We d on ’t h a ve t o be jum pi n g t o e ver y g odda mn pl an et espe ci a l l y n ow t h a t we h a ve AG- LMF O 1, wh en we ca n r ea ch our dest i na t i on in an y fi el d of spa ce a n d t echn ol og y h er e. “ Be si des, wh a t a bout se cur i t y? S o wi t h out a n y fur t h er del a y, ca l l t h em ba ck t o Al a a r i ! I, we n ee d t h em . How m a n y a r e t h ey? I m ea n th e h ea lthy on es. How m a n y?” Ai r Vi ce–Ma r sha l Duur u an swer ed ca r eful l y but r el uct an t l y. “W e h a ve 126 offi c er s i n t h e pr ogr am m e t i ll t oda y, ” h e sa i d t o h im sel f. Mr. man, t hey are al l we l l , Dumpy . Now d oi n g a si m pl e a d di ti on , th e Ba a l e sa i d si l en t l y: ‘T h a t i s i t . On e pl us t wo pl us si x i s equa l t o n in e. Yeah , cor r ect n um ber . ’ Wha t ever t ha t m a y i m pl y by Dr . E l egrr i. Th en al oud h e sa i d. “Ma ke sur e, m y a bl e Ma r sh al , th ey a l l c om e t oget h er i n on e spa c e sh i p. Al so for se cur i ty pur pose” T h e Ba a l e qui ckl y a sked a s a n a ft er – t h ought . “At wh a t t i m e t om orr ow?”

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T hi s t i m e ar oun d, th e a bl e Ma r sh al coun t ed t h e per for a t ed h ol es of t h e cei l i n g t i l es ch ewed hi s l ower l i p an d a t l a st h e sa i d. “9. 00 hr s sir, ” “Fi n e. ” Ba a l e Oor uo sa i d. T h e 126 offi c er s (i n cl udin g th e pi l ot in g cr ew), a s wel l a s t h e spa c e sh i p c on ve yi n g t h em to Al a ar i , ch arr ed t o n ot h in gn ess. T h e t ea m doct or , wh o st a ye d beh in d t o s e e t hr ough som e l a bor a t or y t est s h e h a d set up ea r l i er, arr i ved Al a a r i t wo da ys a ft er th e in ci den t , i n LMFO1. T h e on l y sur vi vor . Hen ce, i n Al a ari , an ode a bout t h e sur vi va l of t h e t ea m doct or r un s th us: Pe re ni t ’e we i y e y e A l o’y e ni ti Pe re gun Pi ri I’e ye ok o ‘j i A ki ba ok unrun ey e l ’ori i te Ge ge ge l ’owu al ant ak un l f uy e Ot a ki ik u, ot a k i i ’run Kok ok o l ’ara ot a‘l e An d for th e dea d offi c er , 126 of t h em , th e wh ol e Al a ar i m ourn ed in a gon y.

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CHAPTER TEN
I f you do not understand the chem i cal process tha t took pl ace i n the decom posi ti on of garbage, j ust sm el l i t.

At t wi l i gh t , h e r ush ed down t h e p yr a m oca st l e. Rea ch i n g th e out si de d oor , h e push ed i t open h urr i edl y a n d st um bl ed a t t h e door a s h e st r uck h i s ri gh t ba r efoot over t h e r a ffi a m a t a t t h e t hr esh ol d. He wa s on a l l four . He st r uggl ed up,

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gl an ced ba ck a t t h e fl oor , t urn ed qui ckl y a ga i n a n d l on g str i ded t o t h e i n n er ca st l e, m ur m uring som e obsc en i t i es t o h im sel f. Now, fa ci n g t h e di r ect i on of sun set , h e r a i sed h i s h an ds sl owl y, m et h odi ca l l y, cupp ed h i s pa l m t o fa ce t h e di r ect i on of t h e sun set , h e ch an t ed: A A . . . A l a a m o o o o, A A A l a a m o o o o, A A A l aaamoooo . . . . . . ooooo. . . . . . . . A l amo to m’ori k i i i j e k ’ori o f o, Mo ni ori mi k o pe , k i A l amo ba mi t un ori mi mo ooo. A A A l aaamoooo t un ori mi mo t un ori mi moooo . . . . ooooo! He r em a in ed in th at posi t i on for se ver a l m inut es. He t h en l ower ed h i s h an ds an d l et th em h an g l oos el y by h i s si de s. “A l amo t un ori mi mo . . . . ” h e ke pt on ch a nt in g r epea t edl y. T h i s wa s d on e for a bout ei gh t m in ut es. He en ded t h e exer ci se. It wor ked fa st er t han ever . T hi s t im e, h e l eft t h e p yr a m oca st l e qui ckl y a n d push ed t h e door cl os ed beh i n d hi m . For th e t im e bei n g h e for got a bout t h e god, Al a m o, wh o m oul ds m a n ’s h ea d, ha s r ebui l t an d r em oul d ed hi s h ea d, an d n ow c or r ect i n g h i s m ent a l i m ba l an ces. T h e ch an tin g sh oul d n or ma l l y en d t h er e i n th e ca st l e wh er e a l l th e n eces sa r y c or r ect i on s or r e m oul di n g m i gh t h a ve been don e. *** Al a ar i an d h er subur b wer e un usua l l y dul l , st a l em a t e. E ver yt h i n g l ook ed un n at ur a l l y cl oud y. No ex ci t em en t gen er a l l y a n d n ot h in g t o wr i t e

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h om e a bout . Fr own i n g an d dr y fa c es a r e e ver ywh er e. Un set t l ed m i n ds. Pede st r i an s we r e l i ke wa l ki n g car ca sses - t h e con t em pt uous h um an bodi e s. S om e wer e wa l ki n g ca t l i ke, st eppi ng gi n ger l y on t h e gr oun d a s i f i t woul d er upt un der t h em . For t h e fl yer s, t h ough t h ey wer e n ot c ol l i di ng wi t h ea ch ot h er , i t seem ed a s i f t h e y wer e m ovi ng i n ran dom ch a os. In thi s ca se a l l m a tt er s seem e d t o be i l l usi on , sol i di t y i s i l l usi on , e ven h uman bei n gs ar e, but sur pr i sin gl y ch a os i s r ea l . Mor e over wh a t a ct can be m or e t r ul y ch a ot i c t han vi ct or y t h r ough sui ci de? Ra i n st ar t ed sudden l y, dr iz z lin g. Som e fl yer s wh o wer e n ot ha vi n g a t ta ch ed, fol di n g r ain ba rr ier t o t h ei r LMFO1- bel t e ven t ua l l y l a n ded in an em pt y spa c e a l on g t h e U-t r a cks. Som e p ede st r i an s wh o wer e n ot i n ra in coa t s j ogg ed sa dl y, t og et h er wi t h t h e l an ded fl yer s, t o a n y n ea r by Pa r k’s c om m on -r oom , wa i t i n g th er e for th e ra in t o st op. “Oh , m e! Of c our se n ot , ” h e cl osed h i s e ye s, pl a ced h i s l eft h a n d on h i s h ea d an d t a l kin g to h im sel f h e sa i d, “Oh n o, of c our se n ot , r ain ba r ri er i s a s i m por tan t a s ever . Ar e som e pe op l e fool i sh ?” h e a sked a l oud. He l a t er beca m e s o bor ed, bor ed t o h el l . Cer t a in l y, t h er e wa s n ot h in g fa sci n a t in g or i nt er est i n g in t own t oda y. N ot h i n g t o wr i t e h om e a bout . Vi r t ua l l y a l l th e e ven t s of t oda y m a de you si ck. Yes. Y ou wa n t t o se e pe opl e i n m ul t i col our ed, fi n e r a di a t in g a ura s. Ha pp y. You

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wa n t t o se e ch i l dr en pla yi n g h a ppi l y wi t h ea ch ot h er . You wa n t t o see bot h m en an d wom e n, l i t t l e or bi g, in th eir fi n e cl ot h es. Of c our se, i f t h er e wa s a n yt h in g th at coul d m a ke you c om pl et el y l oos e a g ood a ppet i t e, fa st er t h an you ca n cop e wi t h , i t i s wh en your m a p scr e en i s r evea l i n g, t o you, a youn g boy of t wel ve dr a wi ng out , wi t h a l on g st i ck, a wr et ch ed r ot t en ba n ana fr om a ga r ba ge ca n . Wh a t on ear th do you ca l l t ha t ? Ba l a n cin g th eir di et or wh a t ? Pover t y! Pover t y! P over t y! !! Wh a t ar e you l ooki n g for in t h e mi st of pl en t y? T h e r a in wa s even t ua l l y st opp ed. Pe opl e t r oop ed out i n t en s, h un dr eds an d th ousa n ds. Man y wa l ke d h ea ds down ; s om e dr ove t h ei r ca r s m in dl essl y a l on g t h e st r eet s a n d ca r in g l ess a bout t h e pede st r i an s. Fl yer s wer e fl yi n g i n fl uffy m a ss a ga in . Th er e i s t h i s bel i e f i n Al a a ri th a t : If I wa l k t a l l, I h a ve c on fi d en ce i n m ysel f a n d m y h ea d i s r ai sed h i gh. Th en, I a m ha ppy, a n d gl or y be t o m y Ba a l e; ot h er wi s e, m y Ba a l e sh oul d bow out of offi c e h on our a bl y. B ut why shoul d I v ac at e my posi t i on as t he B aal e of A l aari ? What have I done , war rant i ng suc h proposi t i ons? I hav e n’t done any t hi ng wrong. You se e , I produc e d, f or my pe ople , the basi c t hi ngs of l if e : Communic at i on i s good; t ransport at i on i s supe rb. Food, y e s f ood? B ut why shoul d pe opl e t ak e pl e asure i n pi ck i ng re mnant s f rom t he rubbi sh bi ns, whe n f ood i s be i ng produc e d l i ke no -man’s busi ne ss? A re t he y

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prot e st i ng? For what re ason s are t he y prot e st i ng? She l t e r f or pe ople has be e n t ak e n we l l c are d of . In addi t i on, t he re i s t hat saf e t y t hi ng i n e very house agai nst t re mor, an e art hquak e or what ha v e y ou. So now what e l se ? Ba a l e wa s sa t i s fi ed wi t h th i s i nt ern a l dia l ogue of s el f-pr a i se. Sel f-pr a i se i s n ot pr a i se but eg ot i sm of t h e fi r st or der . As h e wa s t h in kin g al l t h ese a l oud, h i s e ye s ca ugh t th e r ed l i ght fl a sh ing i n a sm a ll m et r e box on h i s t a bl e. T h e box i n di ca t or wa s p oi n t in g a t LT 5. He pr essed l i gh t ly on on e of t h e n um er ous but t on s on a pan el – th e pa n el ca rr yi n g th e box. A si d e-s cr een sh owe d: LT 5-4, wh er e 4 in di ca t ed th e n um ber of a publ i c bui l di n g. Th en , h e pi cked up t h e r ec ei ver a nd set t l ed ba ck i n h i s ch a ir. He l i st en ed i n t ot a l di sbel i e f. He wa s ba ffl ed. He qui et l y r epl a ced t h e r ecei ver . Ba a l e r em a i n ed gl ued t o h i s ch a i r for m in ut es. R E LA X FOR SUR VIVA L! He t ol d h i m sel f. An d h e di d just th a t. *** Sa m Kot t on dr ove h i s four - yea r Ja ppa l ei sur el y. He wa s ver y ca r e ful . Sa m Kot t on a l an ky, t a l l , da r k m an of 62 wa s a p opul a r ph ysi cs t ea ch er a t Al ukko Se c on da r y S ch ool . He l i ked t o sh ow g ood exa m pl es n ot on l y t o h i s st uden t s but a l so to e ver ybod y h e ca m e a cr oss. “ D on ’t you kn ow I a m a n i m port an t bei n g? I do h ope you r ea l i z e th a t I

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a m a t ea ch er . I m ust sh ow g ood beh a vi our a l a t t i t udes for pe opl e t o em ul a t e, ” h e woul d sa y, wi t h a pri de, t o h i s fr i en ds. Sa m h a d n ever been ca ugh t dr i vi n g ca r el essl y. He wa s n ever s een or m et i n a n ugl y pl a ce- a pl a ce, wh i ch th e soci et y h a s cl a ssi fi ed a s ugl y. H e l i ved a n exem pl a r y l i fe. T o cr own i t a l l, h e wa s c on t en t ed wi t h h i m sel f. In an ot h er dim en si on , Sam wa s n i ckn am ed ‘cr a z y d on ’. Th i s wa s pr oba bl y be ca us e h e wa s i n corr i gi bl e. Th e on l y supp osed fl a w of h i s wa s t ha t h e fol l owed, t o i t s l a st l et t er , a n y i dea h e bel i e ved i s r i gh t in h i s m in d, even i f su ch i dea wa s g en er a l l y t a ken a s wr on g. Th e sa yi n g: i f e v e ry body i s wrong t he n e v e ry body i s ri ght i s not t r ue wi t h Sa m . All th e sa m e, h e woul d n e ver di scus s such gen er al i dea wi t h an ybod y t h er ea ft er . He woul d si m pl y sa y. “T i m e wi l l t el l . ” E ven t ua l l y h e woul d be pr oved ver y r i gh t. He pa cked h i s Ja ppa in th e n ext spa ce a n d ca m e out of h i s ca r . He cl osed t h e ca r ’s d oor and wa l ked br i skl y t o t h e en tr an ce door of S ok ki Hot el , a fi ve st a r h ot el i n Ba rr i ka ar ea . Th e door sl i dded op en a s h e push ed i t in, h e en t er ed and h ea ded st r a i ght t o t h e r est a uran t wh i ch wa s vi r t ua l l y em pt y. He h a d ch osen t h e r i gh t t i m e for t hi s oc ca si on . Akki gbe Aa l a ca m e i n a ft er t hr ee m i n ut es of Sa m ’s a rr i va l . Th e t wo m en ex ch a n ged pl ea sa n tr i es.

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T h ey i m m edi a t el y or der ed for food. F or Sa m , it wa s a bowl of ak pu m a t ch ed wi t h dr a w ogbono soup m a de of bee f a n d sm oked fi sh , r ed pa l m oi l , bi t t er l ea ve s, ug wu l ea ves a n d som e okr a . Bot t l e of pa l m i wa s a l s o s er ved. Akki gbe wen t for spe ci a l Al a ar i r i ce, wh i ch wa s dr ess ed wi t h t om a t o st e w a n d a l ot of gr een l ea fy veg et a bl e s, m arr ow a n d fr esh obok un fi sh . He wa s a l so s er ve d a bot t l e of pa l m i . E a ch m an ’s pl a t e of food wa s a l m ost em pt y, be for e ea ch on e of t h em c oul d fi n a l l y r a i se up hi s h ea d t o l ook a t t h e ot h er , an d tr yi n g t o d et e ct a ny r ea din ess for c on ver sa t i on . It wa s Sa m wh o t a l ked fi r st . “How fa r ha ve you g on e a bout t h e a r t i cle, m i st er ?” He l ook ed d own a t hi s pl a t e an d pi cked up th e l a st ba l l of ak pu. Akki gbe push ed a si de t h e em pt y pl a t e. “Oh I h a ve c om pl et ed t h a t on e. An d by t h e wa y, d o yo u h a ve m or e i n for m a t i on for m e?” He a sk ed Sa m a n d th en pour ed a gl a ss of t h e m i l ky- c ol our ed pa l m i for h im sel f. He dr a i n ed th e r em a ining dr ops. A si l en t t h ud of bel ch i n g for ced i t s el f out of h i s a ga pe m out h . Sa m l ook ed a t h im an d sa i d. “Uh . . . uh f. ” He t h en pour ed hi m sel f a ful l who- se nd-y ou cup of pa l m i. He t r i ed t o wa ve off a t i n y fl y, wh i ch had t r i ed un succe ss ful l y t o t a st e fr om Akki gbe’s cu p, a n d n ow t o h i s. Akki gbe wa s a dr in k -a s-you-p our dr in ker , so fl i e s c oul dn ’t h a ve a ch a n ce of t a st i ng fr om h i s cup.

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“S er vi c e!” Sa m ca l l ed. T h e wel l -t r a in ed ea r s of t h e wa i t er ha d pi cked Sa m ’s ca l l . He l ooked i n t h e dir ect i on of t h e ca l l . Sa m th en si gn al ed for a pa per di sc t o c over h i s pa lm i cup. Mean wh i l e h e pl a ced h i s l eft pa l m on th e cup of pa l m i pr even t i n g th e h un gr y fl y fr om pol l ut i n g hi s dr in k. “T h in gs a r e m ovi n g on pr et t y si l l y wi t h our m an . You r em em ber ed that boy’s ca s e? E m …E e…. em, Agi ddi ’s son . I m ean Obi ddi ma . You s e e, t ha t just i ce A buu ba c oul d n o l on ger keep h i s m ind in pea ce a n ym or e a ft er h e t ook t h a t i ll deci si on , ph ant om judgm en t i f you l i k e. S o, h e bl e w out t o s om e bod y el se a n d tha t som ebod y bl e w i t t o a n ot h er per son an d so on , unt i l you a nd I coul d h ea r i t. An ywa y, h e pa ssed a ver di ct and ja i l ed t h e poor boy for 12 yea r s, 12 good yea r s for an offen ce h e ha d n ot com m i t t ed. “ But I sh oul d sa y, fr om a r el i a bl e s our c e, t h at Just i c e Abuu ba di d i t un der pr essur e fr om t h e Ba a l e, wh o wa n t ed t o s e e h i s p ol i t i ca l opp on e nt pun i sh ed. But for r ea son s n obod y ca n t el l . You a r e a lr ea dy wh a t you a r e, a Ba a l e, s o wh a t el se d o you wa n t ? Wh at ? I a sk.” Akki gbe a n swer ed, a ssur in g Sa m tha t wh at Ba a l e wa n t ed wa s n ot h i n g but a r efl e ct i on of fea r, h atr ed, an d par an oi a , coupl ed wi t h m en ta l i m ba l an ce. “ He i s a pa t i en t of ps ych os om a t i c di sea se you kn ow. He sa w Agi ddi a s a bi g t hr ea t t h en an d n ot t o h i s cr i ppl ed gover nm en t or som et h in g a s we ca n see. ” h e sa i d.

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“Y ou s e e, Mr . Aa l a ! I don ’t un der st an d, but I l ea rn t tha t i t wa s n ot t h e fi r st t i m e h e ha d coer ce d t h e ol d m a n a gain st hi s wi sh . Per h a ps, th e jud ge h a s been thr ea t en ed or som et h in g l i ke tha t . Don ’t you t h in k so? Akki gbe di dn ’t an swer but n odded. “I t h in k, ” Sam wen t on, “th a t th e ol d man sh oul dn ’t ha ve t h r own hi s gown an d r espe ct a bl e wi g t o t h e d ogs. He r ea l l y di sh on our ed h i s va l ua bl e a n d m uch a ccl a i m ed pr ofessi on , t h e l ast h ope for you a n d m e an d post er i t y. But h e di d. ” Sa m con cl uded sa dl y. “T h a t ’s ba d, a n ywa y, wh oe ver a gr eed t o s t ea l wh en a sked t o do s o, on l y obe ye d h i s inn er ca l l. ” Si gn al in g t o t h e wa i t er , Akki gbe r a i sed up h i s l e ft h an d th at wa s m a de in t o an irr egul ar ba l l . Aft er a bout t wo m i n ut es, th e wa i t er ca m e wi t h a bi g wh i t e col a n ut , in a sa ucer . He pl a ced i t i n fr on t of Akki g be a n d wen t a wa y. Akki gbe br oke t h e c ol a n ut int o t wo h a l ve s pl a ced t h em ba ck i n t h e sa uc er . Sa m pi cked on e h al f. Mun ch in g par t of h i s por t i on of t h e n ut h e sa i d. “N ow t el l m e, wh a t do you expe ct t h e ol d m an to do wi t h t ha t in san e Ba a l e? N ow, se e I h ea r d ot h er t hin g al so, fr om a r el i a bl e s our ce t oo, t o be pr eci se fr om on e of t h e pa l a ce h ous ek eep e r s wh om I’ ve pa i d wel l for i n for m a ti on , any i n for m a t i on a t a l l, th at our man wa s l a st see n ph ysi ca l l y t wo m on th s a go in th e pa l a ce. ” “Wh a t !” Sa m r et or t ed a s i f h e wa s t h e on e a ccus ed.

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“I don ’t m ean h i s offi c e. I m ean h e wa s n ot pa ssi n g ni gh t s a t a l l in h i s r esi den t i al bl ock wi t h wi fe a n d da ugh t er. ” “D on ’t m en t i on i t a ga in. ” “Y ou m ea n I sh oul d m en t i on i t .” Akki gbe l a ugh ed. “It wa s st r an ge Sam . , i sn ’t i t ?” Sam sh ook h i s h ea d. “Ri de on . ” “T h an k you. ” He cr ush ed l i t t l e por t i on of t h e n ut. “Th e m an wa s doi n g i t , an ywa y, out of a soun d a n d gen uin e a dvi c e fr om h i s wi fe or som et h in g el se I don ’t kn ow. “Fi n e. I l ea rnt th at wh en ever h e set h i s e yes on h i s da ugh t er, wel l you kn ow t h e r est . He cr ush ed a n oth er por ti on of t h e n ut . Now sh owi n g t h e r em a in der t o h i s fr i en d, h e sa i d. “I a m t a kin g thi s h om e wi t h m e. Fi r st th in g t om or r ow m or n in g, ” h e m urm ur ed th e l a st sent en ce. Sa m a djust ed h i s s ea t . He sa t st r a i ght n ow a n d m a de a si gn t o th e wa i t er t o br i n g t wo bi g pi ec es of c ol a n ut s. Now fa ci n g h i s fr i en ds h e sa i d. “Yes. Usua l l y I t a ke t wo pi ec es i n e ver y da yl i gh t . On e a t 7 h our s, th a t i s a ft er br ea kfa st , an d on e a ft er di nn er . Th i s i s t o i m m un iz e m e a ga in st fut ur e h i gh -bl ood pr essur e, h yper t en si on or e ven m inor h ea da ch es. Th i s h a s been r ecom m en ded t o m e by eh …. eh, l et m e sa y, a good Sa m a r i tan . I n ow c om e t o r ea l i z e t ha t h a vin g th at man a s our Ba al e wi l l n ot on l y gi ve h yp er t en si on , psych osi s or wh a t ha ve you, a s a n ea r l y m or n in g pa p t o e ver y ci t i z en of t h i s t own , but m a n y p e opl e wi l l be s e nt pr em a t ur el y t o h ea ven of n o r et urn , yes, oru n

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are mabo. I t el l you. S o, i t i s bet t er t o t a ke t hi s n ut in a cor r ect dose t h an get t in g th e Ba a l e’s dos e. Sur e, I pr efer t h i s. ” Sa m sa i d, sh owi n g t h e n ut. Akki gbe l a ugh ed. “I th in k I wi l l fol l ow sui t . ” “Pl ea s e d o!” Sa m ch uckl ed, l ook ed di r ect l y a t Akki gbe. “Ye s a l l th ese t hin gs r em in ded m e of on e si l l y Ba a l e” . “Wh a t h a ppen ed, ” Akki gbe a sked. Sa m ch uckl ed a ga in . “You s e e i n th a t Ci t y, Ni ggo Ci t y i n Al ph a kin gdom - a col l a pse d ki n gdom it wa s. ” “In wh i ch D yn a st y wa s t h a t ?” Akki gbe i nt er ject ed a ga in . “T h a t wa s exa ct l y t h e t h ir d dyn a st y i n t h e yea r 6003 An n u Mun g (AM) a s 4000 BC equa l s 1 A M. You kn ow t h a t. ” Akki gbe n odded. “Y es, go a h ea d m y fr i en d. ” Sa m ga ve t h e a cc oun t of t h e t r yi n g per i od of Ni ggo. An Agba a wo, th e wi s e m an got di spl ea sed wi t h Obba sur a jo, t h e Ba a l e of Ni ggo. He t h en sum m on ed a n em er gen cy m e et i n g of h i s m on ks. An d wh en a l l th e m on ks wer e pr es en t , He a sk e d: Who among y ou woul d de v i se an a ppropri at e re sponse t o t he B aal e of Ni ggo, who i s mi sl e adi ng t he ci t i ze ns by hi s nume rous si ns t hat make hi s c up of i ni quit y f ul l be f ore our anc e st ors? “ He a sked t h e m on ks?” “Y es, h e di d. ” An swer ed Sa m . “T h e wi se m an a sked fur t h er t ha t : Wh o a m on g you wi l l go a nd per sua de t h e Ba a l e i n t o a fool h a r dy ba t t l e a t

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Buka ssi ? “I f you m ust kn ow, ” Sa m sai d. “Buka ssi wa s a sp ot of t r ou bl e bet ween t wo et h n i c gr oups – our Ni ggo and Ca m orra , our im m edi at e n ei gh bour . ” So n a rr at in g th e st or e y fur t h er, Sa m sai d on e of t h e m on ks, wh o qui ckl y un der st ood t h e sen se of h um our pl a yi n g by t h e Ag ba a wo, ga ve h i s pr om i se t o t h e wi se m a n an d th e m ona st er y t h a t h e wi l l go a n d l or e h i m in t o th at fool i sh ba t t l e. “A cc or di n g t o t h e st or y, ” Sa m sa i d t h at wh en Agba a wo a sk ed t h e m on k h ow wa s h e g oi n g to l or e t h e st upi d Ba a l e i n t o t h e ba t t l e, wh en surr oun din g th e Ba a l e a r e t h e h on or a bl e ch i e fs a n d i j oy e of bot h l ower a n d upper h ouses, h i s n um er ous wi ves a n d t h e ha l f-n a ked con cu bi n es, ak odas a n d a l l th e guar ds, dongari i s an d al l ot h er s of wh a t ever des cr i pt i on s. They are al l t he re wi t h hi m no w. Ag ba a wo wa r n ed th e m on k, wh o boa st ed t hr ough h i s pr owe ss a n d cr a ft in ess, a s h e i s kn own a m on g ot h er s, tha t h e woul d bec om e a l yi n g spi ri t in th e m out h of O bba sur a jo. “ Uh . . . uh ”. Akki gbe c ough ed. T h e m on k wa s r em i n ded by t h e Ag ba a wo t h at t h e m ost pr uden t a dvi ser i s wi t h h im n ow a n d t h e m an woul d di ssua de h i m fr om fol l y. A h! I k now Obba suraj o we l l e nough; he i s a man of e x c e e di ng hubri s. R e me mbe r si nc e he has be e n i n powe r, he has be e n dri nki ng f rom t he c up of v ani t y bre we d by wome n of unde r worl d. He l i st e ne d only t o t he c ounse l of hi s hard he art and prai se s of hi s pal ac e c ourt i e rs as we l l as h i s

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ot he r f ore i gn t e rrori st B aal e. The monk assure d t he wi se man. So be i t . Go ahe ad and be a l y i ng spi ri t i n t he mout h of Obbasu raj o. Agba a wo c om m a n ded t h e m on k. Th e fol l owi n g we ek t h e Ba a l e beca m e a c on t a gi ous l i ar . He l i ed t o t h e p e opl e of Ni ggo un ti l on e da y t h e t r uth pr eva i l ed a n d h e e ven t ua l l y c om m i t t ed sui ci de for h e wa s un a bl e t o wi t h st a nd th e peopl e’ s wr a t h. “ How?” Akki gbe a sked Sa m . “T hr ough st a t e in cessa n t st r i kes, a buses fr om m edi a l i ke your s a n d n egl ect fr om t h e m em ber s of h i s ca bi n et . An d th e man di ed. “Y es you t el l your st or y wel l . O ri y e so.” Akki gbe sa i d. “An d h ow I wi sh we h a d a wa y wi t h th i s good- for -n ot hin g ani m al of Ba a l e. ” “N ow, be for e we di ver t ed our a t t ent i on in t o som et h in g el se, you sa i d . . . . . ” “I sa i d our m an wa s i n exi l e. I t h in k you un der stan d wh a t I h a ve sa i d ea r l i er . Per s on a l l y, I bel i e ve h i s wi fe di d gi ve t h e a dvi ce. Wh o el s e?” “Y ea h ! Th a t i s an ot h er m ess i n h er own pa r t.” Sa i d Sa m. “An d. . . . . . ” “An d wh a t do you t h in k? I bel i e ve i t wa s a ca s e of i n sa n it y. Pur e m a dn ess. S or t of un soun d m i nd. Som et i m es, I l ea r n t h e sl ep t i n h i s p yr a m oca st l e. Al l in th e na m e of r unn in g a wa y fr om t h at girl , t ha t ’s h i s da ugh t er. “A bbo you m ea n ,” Sam r em in ded h i m. “But t hi s i s unh ear d of. A cur se. ”

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T h e t wo m en obs er ved s om e m i n ut es of si l en ce. Akki gbe br ok e t h e si l en ce a ga i n. “In som e yea r s ba ck t h a t wa s be for e our m a n be ca m e Ba a l e. I t hin k i t wa s dur in g th e h ea t of ca m pa i gn; th er e wa s t h i s youn gst er – a boy. I ca n ’t r eca l l hi s n am e pr oper l y n ow. Al bba s, s om et h i n g l i ke th at . T h e boy l i ved wi t h h i s par ent s in a bout t hree bl ock s a wa y fr om t h e I n st i t ut e of Ma n . He h a s been obs er vi n g or sor t of t a i l in g Wobbi a fr equen t i n g th e In st it ut e of Ma n , an d deci ded t o kn ow m or e a bout h i m . “T h er e wa s on e t i m e, dur in g on e of W obbi a ’s fr equen t vi si t s t o t h e In st i t ut e, th e boy h ad ca t a pul t ed h im an d str i ct l y wa r n ed Wobbi a t o st a y cl ea r of t h a t ar ea . Cer ta in l y, t h e l i t t l e boy di d fol l ow W obbi a a n d Dr. E l egrr i t o on e pa r t i cul ar spot a l on g t h e ba n k of Aa sa Ri ver . “Th e boy, wh o wa s h i din g on a tr ee a t a st on e thr ow fr om t h e t wo m en , t ook en ough pa t i en ce t o s e e t o t h e l a st a ct of a pr i mi t i ve r it ua l bei n g con duct ed by W obbi a in a cc or da n ce wi t h th e d oct or ’s i n st r uct i on s. So, wh en I even t ua l l y t r a cked down t h e boy t o t a l k, m an , h e di d t a l k. Accor di n g t o h i m, i t wa s a ser i ous, obs cen e t h in g of a pr i mi t i ve r i t ual tha t t ook pl a c e t h a t fa i th ful n i gh t . It i nv ol ve d t hi ngs l i k e a pot , pal m oi l and a k nif e . I t el l y ou and I c an t el l y ou more . I ov e rhe ard part of t hei r di sc ussi on, t h e boy sa i d. I a sked h i m t o t el l m e m or e. He wa s h a pp y t o t el l t h e st or y. You n e ed t o se e h i m . He t h en n arra t ed fur t h er tha t : Fin al l y D r. E l egrr i ga ve W obbi a s om e s or t of i n st r uct i on or

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ki n d of wa r n in g, th a t Wobbi a sh oul d n ot wa s t e t i m e i n str i kin g an y fi r st fi gur e t h a t a ppear t o h im or som e sh i t l i ke tha t . “T h e fun n i est pa r t wa s t h a t wh en I vi si t ed Dr . Al a wwo for i n vest i ga t i n g th e t i m e of J ee j e ’s dea t h , I wa s per pl exed t o s ee t h e c oi n ci den c e i n t h e t i m e of J e ej e’s dea t h a n d th e a ct ua l t im e wh en t h e t wo m en wer e per for m i n g th e bl ood y r i t ual . T h e ti m e t al l i ed . . . ” “ But wa i t a m in u t e. I don ’t seem t o un der st a nd a n yt h in g a ga in. Di d t h e boy t el l you wh y h e wa s sp yi n g on th em ? If I m a y a sk, ” Sa m sai d. Akki gbe sa i d, “As I t ol d you, t h e boy sh owed h i s i mm edi a t e di sl i ke t o W obbi a . I don ’t kn ow r ea l l y, I m ust c on fess. But bel i e ve m e, s om e ch i l dr en ar e bor n ps ych i cs. S om e ca n r ea d h uman a ura t o t h e cor e. An d be ca us e t h e y a r e n ot yet m a t ur ed or som eh ow i n n ocen t , such ch i l dr en c oul dn ’t h i de th eir em ot i on s. I sa y i f su ch kids wer e l e ft a l on e t o ex er ci se wh a t t h e y kn ow, i . e. t h eir inn er ur ges, I t el l you t h e y woul d r eve a l t hin gs, Perh a ps th e boy wa s ju st i n qui si t i ve or som et h in g. He sa i d fur t h er tha t wh en la st h e sa w Wobbi a em er gi n g fr om t h e In st i t ut e of Ma n , e ve n a ft er h e h a d been wa r n ed on ce by t h e boy t o desi st fr om fr equen t in g tha t ar ea , h e h a s deci ded t o ke ep vi gi l . ‘So, t h a t sa m e even in g, ’ th e boy n arra t ed, An d I sa w D r. E l e grri c omi ng out of t he Inst i t ut e and t he n de ci de d t o f ol l ow hi m. Thi s was pure l y out of she e r c uri ousi ty , a ccor di n g t o h im . An d sin ce t h e spot ch osen for th e r i t ua l wa s not

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fa r fr om t h e In st i t ut e, I bel i e ve t h a t wa s t h e r ea son for Dr . E l egrr i goin g on foot . T h er e c oul d be a n y ot h er r ea son s t h a t n obod y ca n t el l . An ywa y t h e boy fol l owed t h e doct or . “T h e boy wa s a bl e t o dodg e wel l , so a s n ot t o be se en , wh en ever Dr . E l egrri st opped t o l ook a r ound a s i f h e wa s s en si n g tha t som e bod y wa s t a i l ing h im . It t ook l e ss t h a n seven m in ut es wh en Wobbi a em er ged j oi n i n g th e doct or . ‘So I qui ckl y d odge d beh in d a ca ssi a t r ee. An d wh en I sa w t h a t th e t wo m en wer e a bs ol ved i n th ei r di scussi on , I r a ced ba ck t o a n ot h er ca ssi a t r ee a n d I cl i m bed i t si l en t l y. It wa s wi n d y a n d get t i n g dar k, so t h ey di dn ’t ta ke n ot i ce of m y m ovem en t . I sa w i t a l l, ’ t h e boy sa i d. Sa m si m pl y sh ook h i s h ea d in ut t er sur pr i se, h e sa i d. “Fr om wh a t you h a ve sa i d a bout t h e c oi n ci den ce i n th e t im e of Je e j e’s dea t h an d th e t i m e of r i t ua l , wh at possi bl e c on n ect i on s ca n you m a ke out of t h i s? If I m a y a sk. ” Akki gbe a n swer ed t h a t th e ca se wa s t h a t of a wi t ch cr i ed ye st er da y a n d a ch i l d dyi n g t oda y. Sa m l ook ed a t th e fl oor st upi dl y. Sudden l y, h e r ai sed up h i s h ea d an d a ct ual l y t h r ew h i s h ead ba ck, t h e ba ck of h i s h ea d a l m ost h i t t in g hi s upper ba ck. “Da m n i t a l l. Th i s i s m or e s er i ous t han I th ough t ,” h e sa i d. “Y es. It i s, ” con fi r m ed Akki gbe. Sa m a sked wh et h er h e c oul d g et h ol d of a c op y of t h e ar t i cl e th e fi st t hin g th e fol l owi n g da y.

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“Y es. ” Akki gbe r ose a n d ca rr i ed h i s bl a ck br i efca s e, a n d a t th e sa m e t i m e Sa m pi cked h i s bun ch of k e ys t h a t wa s l yi n g on t h e di nn in g ta bl e. T h e t wo m en st ood up, wa l ked sl owl y t owa r ds t h e door an d wa l ked out si de i n a fi l e. As ea ch m an a ppr oa ch ed h i s car , Akki gbe r em em ber ed n ow t h at h e wa s ca rr yi n g a cop y of t h e ar ti cl e. He ca l l ed on Sa m Kot t on . Sa m who wa s n ow op en i n g hi s ca r ’s door l ooked ba ck i n t h e dir ect i on of t h e ca l l . He cl os ed h i s ca r ’s door a n d wa l ked ba ck t o m eet h i m. “Y es. It just st r uck m y m i n d th a t I am ca rr yi n g a cop y of t h a t ar t i cl e wi t h m e h er e. So, h er e you a r e. You ca n ha ve t h i s a n d go over t h em. ” Akki gbe h an ded h im a bun dl e of pa per s. “Oh , good. T h an ks. An d i f t h er e i s a n yt h in g you m a y l i kel y wa n t m e t o d o i n t h i s m at t er, I a m a l wa ys a va i l a bl e t h er e, ” Sa m poi nt ed a fi n ger to t h e dir ect i on of h i s h ouse. Akki gbe ext en ded h i s h an d; th e t wo m en sh ook h an ds an d di sper sed t o di ffer en t dir ect i on s. *** T h e food wa s good. T h e food wa s g ood. T h e pa l m i wa s r e fr esh in g a n d h e wa s sa t i s fi ed wi t h t h e t êt e-à -t êt e h e h a d wi t h th e on e an d only ‘Cr az y d on ’. T hi s i s a man wh o kn ows h ow t o d ea l wi t h e ver ybod y a n d ever yt h in g h e ca m e a cr oss. He i s ver y i n t el l i gen t. A di sci pl i n ar i an of t h e fi r st

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or der . He i s h on est t oo a n d st r i ct . He c oul d r em em ber t h e fi r st da y h e m et Sa m i n h i s offi c e. T ha t da y, h e a ct ua l l y wen t t o Al ukko Se c on dary Sch ool t o pl ea d wi t h th e Sci en ce Ma st er of hi s son , Bi l l a l , t o i n cl ude a l l sci en ce su bje ct s i n hi s c our se. T h i s wa s beca us e; h e wa n t ed Bi l l a l to st ud y P et r ol eum E n gin eer in g. Sa m sh ook h i s h ea d. “No, n o, n o. ‘Ca n ’t be p ossi bl e. You s e e, h i s pa st r epor t wa s n ot a l l t h a t en cour a gin g. Hi s ph ysi cs wa s l es s t h an a ver a ge. I t ook t h em in ph ysi cs you kn ow. T h e ch em i st r y wa s ju st fa i r. ” He c oul d st i l l r em em ber t h e wa y Sa m wa s t a l ki ng a n d sh a kin g hi s l on g h ea d, l eft a n d ri gh t . Now Akki gbe wa s t h in kin g h ow best h e c oul d t urn t hi s n ega t i ve m ovem en t of Sa m ’s h ea d t o posi t i ve by n oddi n g in a gr eem en t . “ But . . . ” Akki gbe bega n t o t a l k. “Wh a t el se woul d you l i ke t o kn ow Mr . Err . . . . . . . er , Aa la , Sam cut in be for e Akki gbe c oul d r epea t a n oth er ‘but ’, Sa m con t i n ued. “Look M r. Aa l a , wh y d on ’t you a dvi c e t h i s boy t o st udy j our na l i sm l i ke you ? S ee, h e i s good i n l an gua ges a n d al l . Sa m fur th er sa i d t ha t sin ce h e wa s n ot a ca r eer m a st er, h e woul dn ’t h a ve m uch t o offe r, but r a t h er a dvi sed t h e boy t o s ee Mr s. F om bba t , t h e ca r eer Mi st r ess. At t h i s jun ct ur e t h e t wo m e n wer e l ooki n g dir ect l y i n t o ea ch oth er ’s e ye s. Sudden l y, Sa m K ot t on t urn ed h i s h ea d a wa y a nd l ooki n g out si de t h r ough a wi n dow. He ch uckl e d, t h en t urn ed hi s h ea d ba ck t o p osi t i on a n d sa i d. “Al r i gh t , a lri gh t , do a s you a r e t ol d Mr . Aa l a . I

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t el l you, i t i s n ot a dvi sa bl e for a n y pa r en t or gua r di an t o for ce h i s ch i l d or wa r d t o pur sue a ny c our se of st ud y esp e ci a l l y wi t h poor r esul t for t ha t m a tt er . It i s wor se wh en th e ba se i s wea k. “Pl ea s e, ” h e pl ea ded. “L ea ve e ver yt h in g in th e ca r e of Mr s. F om bba t . Sh e kn ows bet t er , ” and ext en ded h i s r i ght h an d for Akki gbe t o sh a ke. An d tha t wa s th e en d of t h e con ven t i on . Akki gbe r os e fr om t h e ch a i r sh ook Sa m ’s h an d, wh i l e Sa m r egr et t ed l et t in g th e Ch i ef E di t or l ea ve h i s offi c e wi t h out a sma l l pi ece of c ol a n ut . “Oh , n ever m i n d. Next t i m e wi l l do, ” Aa l a sa i d a n d l a ugh ed. An in cor r i gi bl e h e i s, but st ri ct . T ha t ’s Sa m. But Mr s. A yyi sh a Fom bba t wa s c on vi n ced t h at Bi l l a l coul d m a ke i t in a ll sci en ce su bje ct s, n ot wi t h st a ndin g h i s per for m a n ce in ch em i str y a nd ph ysi cs. Apa r t fr om h i s good r esul t i n bi ol og y a n d m a th em at i cs, t h e boy wa s wi l l i n g. Th a t wa s wh a t ma t t er ed m ost . So Bi l l a l wa s, ful l y, a dm i t t ed t o t h e sci en ce cl a ss e s. Th er e wa s n o obje ct i on fr om Sa m ei t h er . T hr ee we eks a ft er Akki gbe ’s vi si t , bot h m en m et a ga in a t Barr i ka Publ i c S wi m m in g Pool a nd t h ey exch a n ged pl ea san tr i es. “T h an ks for ever yt h in g Sam , ” Akki gbe sa i d. Sa m l ooked i n sur pr i se. “N ot I. Rem em ber I sa i d th e ca r eer t ea ch er kn ows bet t er an d sh e i s oft en r i gh t. ” T h ey be ca m e fr i en ds.

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T oda y, Akki g be a l s o l ea r n t a li t tl e a bout t h i s de vi l i sh ser va nt of Lu ci fer – th e Ba a l e of Al a a ri . B ut t hi s t i me, h e th ough t, A l aari i s i n t rouble . A nd i f c are i s not t ak e n we shal l al l di e of hunge r, di se ase , pe rse c ut i on, drug abuse , drugs addi c t i on, j uve ni le de li nque ncy , and f e ar – f ear of e ve ry t hi ng t hat ex i st i n t hi s worl d. He sh ook h i s h ea d. He i s n ow dr i vi n g sl owl y, a l m ost , bel ow 100 km /h. Now, th in kin g a l oud, “T h i s j ek oj ek o Ba a l e m ust be st opp ed. I sa y t h i s t i m e a r oun d thi s s on of a bi t ch wi l l n ot es ca pe m y wr a t h. Yes, by t h e t i m e I fi n i sh wi t h h im ; by t h e t i m e th i s art i cl e i s r ea d a l l over Al a ar i, th e m a sses, t h e down t r odden , an d th e scum of our soci et y wi l l d eci d e wh a t t o d o wi t h th e i di ot . And t ha t wi l l sur el y be t h e fa l l of t h e Va m pir e’s E m pir e” . Now t h e sp eed om et er wa s r ea di n g 175 km /h and r i sin g fur th er . “Oh , E dum ar e! I m ust wa t ch it . ” He cr i ed. Now, h e m ust g o st r a i gh t h om e, h a ve a c ol d ba t h an d r est for t h e da y. Sudden l y, h e r em em ber ed h e m ust pa y a vi si t t o t h a t boy, Al a – ba or wh a t e ver h i s na m e i s. Funny , I c an’t si mpl y re me mbe r hi s name . He a ct ua l l y wa n t ed a c om pl et e i n ve st i ga t i on a bout t h e m yst er i ou s dea t h of J e ej e. He woul d l i k e t h e boy t o sh ow h i m th e exa ct p oi n t wh er e t h e un kin d r it ua l t ook pl a c e a t t ha t fa t eful n i gh t. Pr oba bl y h e c oul d l a y h i s h ands on on e or t wo obj e ct s – pe bbl e, spe cks or som et h in g. An d fi r st t h in g t om or r ow h e wi l l t a ke

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t h e obj ect s t o Dr . Al a wwo t o ph ot ogr a ph and a na l yz e t h e per pet r a t or s’ a ura s a t th e exa ct t i m e of t h a t fa i t h ful da y, s o t h a t ever ybod y ca n wa t c h, on th e scr een , th e devi l i sh r it ua l. Yes. T h a t i s th e on l y wa y t h e per pet r at or can be exp os ed. Sui n g th em t o c our t wi t h out a pr a ct i ca l pr oof? N o . . . . n o, on e wi l l en d up ea t i n g sh it in Ga ssa Pr i son ya r d or . . . Akki gbe wa s un a bl e t o br i n g h i s inn er di a l ogues t o a r ea son a bl e c on cl usi on , wh en sudden l y h i s ca r ’s h or i z on ta l vi ew m i rr or r efl e ct ed t h e i m age of a h el i c opt er wh i ch wa s r ovi n g a t a h ei gh t m or e t han si x m et r es a bove h i m. He ch e cked h i s spee d a ga in . It wa s O. K. , a bout 100 km /h . An d sur el y, h e wa s n ot over speedi n g or goi n g bel ow t h e st i pul a t ed speed of 65 km / h . Fr i gh t en ed, h e l ooked a ga i n int o t h e m i rr or, th e h el i copt er wa s n ot t h e usua l bl a ck -col our ed pol i ce t ype. T h i s wa s r ed i n col our . So wh a t coul d t h a t m ea n ? Som e cr a z y r i der s of c our s e. No pr i va t e ‘c opt er h a s a r i gh t t o fl y s o l ow wh i l e i n m ot i on, esp eci a l l y, i n th e h ear t of t h e t own , un l ess on l an din g. Th i s, even , sh oul d be d on e m et h odi ca l l y, st r a i gh t down . Thi s inn er di a l ogue a ga in en ded a br uptl y a s t h e c opt er sur ged a h ead of h i s ca r . Th e copt er n ow st a r t ed h over i n g l ower st i l l on a sp ot a t a bout t en m et r es a wa y i n fon t of h im ; “ He y! Y ou m a d dog, banza. Bl ow i t off!’ Akki gbe wa ved h i s r i gh t si de of h i s ca r . Th e

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bul l et ca ugh t th e n ea r by p ede st r i an ’s sl a b a l on g t h e r oa d. Now h e un der st an ds. Som ebod y wa s pl a yi n g a da n ger ous ga m e wi t h h im . T h e ‘copt er r ose up t o a bout 10 m et r es h i gh, t urn ed an d m oved i n t h e dir ect i on of t h e ca r. T h er e wa s a ba n g on t h e ca r ’s r oof. Akki g be be nt down sudd en l y a s i f by s o d oi n g t h e bul l et woul d n ot r ea ch hi m, i f e ven t ua l l y i t pi er ced t h r ough t h e r oof. He qui ckl y sn a t ch ed up th e sm a l l ca r -ph on e pa n el , h i s han d tr em bl in g. 444, h e ca ll ed and wa i t ed. He t h en put th e car in t o a h i gh speed. T h e ca r r a ced on . As h e t urn ed t o go d own t o t h e n ear est L-t r a ck, a cr oa ked voi c e ca m e on t h e ph on e. “T hi s i s Agbon Qua r t er s. Yes ca n I . . . . . ” a bul l et st uck h i m on h i s for eh ea d. An d a s h e wa s bowi n g down t o th e ca r ’s st eer in g an ot her bul l et h i t hi m r i gh t a t th e ba ck of h i s l eft ea r . “Wh o i s t h er e? Wh o i s t h er e? Ca n I h el p you ? Hel l o, h el l o . . . .” In spect or Osa offor hi sse d, l ooki n g a t th e h an dl e of t h e ph on e. “An ot h er vi ct i m . ” T h ey wer e a l wa ys d ea d be for e you c oul d pi ck a wor d fr om t h em , ” h e m ur m ur ed t o h im se l f a n d r epl a ced t h e t el eph on e pa n el i nt o i t s pl a ce sa dl y. At t h e ot h er en d, Akki gbe h a d cr um bl ed on t h e ca r st eer i n g. Th e ca r r a ced on i n defi n i t el y. At l a st t h e ca r ca m e t o a ben d. Her e i t st r uck a t t h e di ver si on p ol es, t oppl ed over a n d cra sh -l an ded. T h e car an d th e dea d oc cupa n t bur st in t o a r oa ring fl a m e.

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At th e sa m e t i m e, th e Ba a l e wh o wa s si t t i ng qui et l y a t t h e edge of h i s t a bl e wa t ch i n g th e wh ol e epi s od e bl a n ked t h e m a p’s scr een an d sank ba ck i n h i s cha ir . A mi ssi on a ccom pl i sh ed.

Sa m push ed t h e but t on of t h e r ever se g ea r . Pa n icst r i cken , he wa s wa t ch i n g, fr om t h e vi e w m irr or , i f t h er e wa s a n y ca r or som et h in g else c om i n g a ft er h im . Non e. He c over ed t h e n ext 5 m in ut es in m ot i on of a dea dl y r ever s e, be for e h e c oul d t urn t o th e n ext L-t ra ck. An d fi n al l y, h e put th e ca r on th e pr oper l an e. He di d s om e br ea t h in g exer ci se t o r el a x. He sh ook h i s h ead se ver a l ti m es t o gi ve h i s br a in a fi n a l set t l em e nt for a qui ck sol ut i on t o th e curr ent pr obl em . He dr ove st r a i gh t h om e. Wh a t wer e t h e t wo h e ft y gu ys d oi n g n ea r hi s h ouse. T h e guys l ook ed fi er c e en ough , an d th ey m a y n ot per m i t a sa l ut e fr om a n y p ol i t e ci t i z en be for e t h e y put h ol es i n h i s bod y. Ne ver t h el ess, t h er e wa s n obod y a t h om e. Hi s on l y da ugh t er, wh o wa s l i vi n g wi t h t h em , got m arr i ed som e fe w da ys a n d sh e i s n ow i n Aggia pl an et , wi t h her h usba n d, for h on eym oon . An d h i s wi fe wa s supposed t o a r r i ve Al a a r i in t wo week s t i m e. S h e wa s a wa y i n Al a ppa Di st in ct a t t en din g a sa n dwi ch c our se i n Busi n ess Ma na gem en t. “W el l , so m a y i t be, A se . ” Sam sh out ed a s h e pr on oun ced t h e la st wor d, m ean in g Am en .

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He bel i e ved h e h a d t a ken a ri gh t deci si on by put t in g hi s ca r i n a r ever se m ot i on . But t h e bi g quest i on i s thi s: Wh er e wa s h e h ea di n g t o? T h e guys wi l l de fi n i t el y be c om i n g a ft er h im n ow, r ea ch in g hi m an d put t in g h ol es i n h i s bod y. He sh ook off t h e ba d t h ough t . It wi l l n ever h a ppen . He ch an ge th e ca r gear an d r a ced on un ti l h e r ea ch ed th e T -jun ct i on , on e l ea di n g t o K ol okk o a n d th e ot h er on e a t ri gh t l ea din g t o r a il wa y st a t i on , h e s wa yed t h e ca r t o t h e l e ft a n d h ea ded t owa r ds Kol okk o a n d sped off. T oda y, h e d oesn ’t r egr et pa yi n g t h at l ar ge a m oun t of m on e y t o pur ch a se Ja ppa . He peda l e d on i n cr ea si n g th e speed. An d i mm edi a t el y h e j oi n ed t h e C-U1-t r a ck, l ea di n g t o Idi ppe, a ‘c opt er pa ssed a t a gr ea t speed a bove h i m . He ducked h i s h ea d an d t urn ed th e st eer i n g t o t h e ext r em e r i gh t of t h e r oa d, th e ca r hi t th e si de – ba r ri er an d boun c ed ba ck t o a l m ost t h e cen t er of t h e r oa d. T hi s t im e a fl yer wa s fl yi n g i n h i s dir ect i on . “Oh , E dumar e! Wh o i s t h i s a ga in, ” h e m urm ur ed. He qui ckl y di r ect ed t h e ca r t o th e pa th a n d sped off t a ki n g h i s t i m e n ot t o dr i ve t h e c ar i nt o a di t ch of wa t er or str i ke i t a t an an th il l . Aft er c over i n g a bout 12 ki l om et r es, t h e l eft , ba ck si de of t h e ca r suddenl y wen t down . Wel l , t h e t yr e got pun ct ur ed by s om e sh ar p obje ct a nd de fl a t ed i n n o t i m e. Sa m qui ckl y push ed down a sm a l l kn ob i n th e ca r ’s da sh boa r d, an d th e ext ra

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t yr e wa s l ower ed, t ouch i n g th e gr oun d. Th e c ar got l e vel ed up i m m edi a t el y a n d Sam dr ove on . He dr ove for a n oth er seven good m i n ut es be for e h e gl an ced ba ck, m a kin g sur e n obod y wa s c om i ng beh in d. Th er e wa s n o ca r , n o ‘c opt er . It seem e d t h e ki l l er s ha ve l ost h i m. He st opp ed t h e ca r t ook si x l on g even br ea t h in gs in succe ssi on . He r el a xed a ga in an d th en a sked h im sel f. “ An d wh a t n ext ?”

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CHAPTER ELEVEN
Out of the Absol ute al l thi ngs ari se, and i nto the Absol ute al l thi ngs m ust di ssol ve

Sh e sa i d th a t i t wa s qui t e possi bl e for a h um an’s bod y t o h ea l ver y qui ckl y a n d t h or ough l y t oo. If for an y r ea s on you cut your s el f wi t h a kn i fe, you‘l l h ea l even t ua l l y, un l ess th e cut i s a fa t a l on e. Ne w c el l s a r e gr owi n g a l l th e t i m e.

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“ But , t a ke i t fr om m e t h a t you ca n de vel op on e st ep fur th er . How?” Sh e a sked a s i f sh e expe ct e d a n y of h er fr i en ds t o a n swer t ha t quest i on . Sh e c on t in ued t o sa y t h a t , on e get h ea l ed s o qui ckl y i f on e de vel ops t h e a bi l i t y t o r egen er a t e. Th i s i s beca us e epi t h el i a l cel l s r egen era t e, con st an t l y i n h uman s. An d tha t h uman t i ssues r egen er a t e a ft er h ea vy exer ci s e, i t i s li t era l l y t or n a par t , on l y t o gr ow ba ck st r on ger an d bi gger . Sh e sa i d fur t h er tha t in such a ca se i f you st a rt h ea vy exer ci s e n ow, for in st an ce, th er e i s no t el l i n g h ow st r on g you c oul d be c om e. Sh e t a ug ht h er fri en ds t o: st a n d er ect , h an ds h an gin g a t bot h si des; on e h an d i s ra i sed sl owl y, st r et ch ing upwa r ds r ea ch in g th e sh y; t h e h an d i s l ower ed wh i l e t h e ot h er h an d i s r a i sed a n d str et ch ing, r ea ch in g th e sk y a bove. T h i s, sh e sa i d, coul d be r epea t ed si x or m or e t i m es. St a n d er ect a ga in, st r et ch in g bot h h an ds for wa r d a s m uch a s pos si bl e, t r y st i l l t o r ea ch for wa r d. Rep ea t se ver a l t i m es. St a n d er ect , spr ea din g your a r m s si de wa ys. S wi n g th e ar m s h or iz on t al l y. Rep ea t se ver a l t i m es. “ By a l l m ea n s, you sh oul d t r y t o exer ci s e your l i m bs, esp e ci a l l y your a rm s an d th e h an ds. Th ey a r e ver y i m p or t an t – an a sset i n th e ps ych i c de vel opm en t . Th ey a r e t h e sh i el ds t o pr even t evi l a n d th e y a r e a l so t ool s t o dr a w, i n t o your bei n g, t h e use ful a n d n ece ssa r y en er gy. I m ea n , use t h e m pr ofi t a bl y. You sh oul d l ea rn h ow t o u se t h em on ly for good. ” Sh e t ol d t h em , in st r uct in g fur th er , sh e

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sa i d t ha t on e ca n m a ke use of h i s or h er eyes t o dr a w, in t o h i s or h er bei n g, th e n ecessa r y en er gy on e n eeded. Sh e l ook ed a t h er youn g fr i en ds on e by on e, r ea din g th em . Sh e fel t t h e cool n es s of a n i nn er pea ce r a di at in g fr om th ei r inn ocen t bl ood. Her fr i en ds a r e st i l l youn g, fr esh ju st l i ke h er sel f. T h ey a r e n ot yet p ol l ut ed by a n y wor l dl y di r ty t r i cks; r el i gi on s; in st i t ut i on al i z ed wi t ch cr a ft ; vood oo; i dol wor sh i pin g. Sh e cl os ed h er e ye s: my bl ood i s warme r i n i t s i nnoc e nce and ric he r i n i t s goodne ss . Her m or nin g man tr a a gain st a ll odds. Sh e open ed h er e ye s. In fa ct , sh e d eci d ed t o t ea ch t h em a l ot of t hin gs; t o a wa k en a n d t o exh i l a ra t e i n th em , th eir dor m an t power , so t h a t th e y ca n be us e ful n ot on l y t o t h em sel ves but t o a l l l i vi n g bei n gs. And m ost i m por t an t l y, t o us e t h ei r inn er power s i n pr ot ect i n g th em sel ves a ga i n st a ll odds. Sh e a sked h er fr i en ds t o st a n d up. So, t h e y di d obedi en t l y. Sh e sa i d sin ce th e y a r e t o em ba r k on t h e h an d-str et ch in g exer ci se sh e t a ught th em ea r l i er, for a per i od of si xt e en good da ys a n d no br ea k, sh e h a s n ow de ci ded t o t ea ch t h em h ow t o use t h ei r e yes t o dr a w i n en er gy. Now, sh e m oved cl os er t o t h em a nd dem on st r a t ed by wi den i n g h er e ye s a n d thr owi ng h er h ea d ba ck wa r d sl owl y, si m ul t an eousl y a s i f sh e wa s dr a wi n g i n an in vi n ci bl e l i ght en er gy. Sh e m oved d own h er h ea d, cl osi n g h er e yes sl owl y, si m ul t an eousl y a n d m et h odi ca l l y t oo, a s i f

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sh e wa s pu sh in g out di sea s e, fea r , despa i r. Sh e t ol d t h em t o fa c e t h e di r ect i on of t h e sunr i se in t h e m orn in g an d th e m oon r i se i n th e e ven i n g for t ha t pur pose. We e we, wh o wa s gl a n ci n g thr ough th e wi n dow of A bbo’ s bedr oom , wa t ch in g h er da ugh t er’s dem on st r a t i on an d pr ea ch in g or in str uct i on t o her fr i en ds, just sh ook h er h ea d. Un bel i e va bl e! Wh o t a ugh t a si x- yea r -ol d ch i l d a l l th ese cr a ckp ot s? An d th e wa y h er fr i en d wer e fol l owi n g her obedi en t l y, fa i t h ful l y a n d r espe ct ful l y wa s un bel i e va bl e t oo. Im m edi a t el y t h e gi r l fi n i sh ed t h e wh a t ever - youca n -ca l l ‘Psych i c De vel opm en t ’ or ‘Ps ych i c S e l f De fen ce’ se ssi on , sh e di sm i ssed t h em . But wa i t a m in ut e, coul d i t be p ossi bl e t h a t som e pe op l e wer e bor n ps ych i c? Or a gr a dual devel opm en t ? An d wh a t does i t m ea n t o sa y t h a t l i fe sh oul dn ’t ch an ge t oo r a pi dl y? How fa st i s evol ut i on ? Per h a ps a yea r i s m or e th an a l i fet i m e t o m any ki n ds of a n i m al s, wh i l e s e ven t y ye a r s i s a n h our i n th e l i fet i m e of a dogon-y aro t r ee. C oul d i t be t r ue t h en th a t a m on key ba by ca n l ea rn, wi t h in a fe w m on th s, wh a t th e h uman ba by wi l l t a ke a c on si der a bl y l on g t i m e t o a s si m i l a t e – un der th e sa m e c on di t i on s? T h e h um an l earn s t o t a l k a nd t h e m on ke y wa s h opel es sl y out di st a n ced. Bu t , wh o t a ugh t Abbo a l l t h ese t h in gs. Wa s th er e a n yon e i n h er (Wee we’s) fa m i l y wh o wa s ps ych i c? Or i n Oor uo’s l i n e? Da n ger and a dver si t y, t h e y sa y, m a t ur e m an a t an ear l y a g e.

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By wh i ch dan ger ? Whi ch a dver si t y i n Abbo’s ca se ? As sh e t urn ed t o go, sh e fel t a cr am p in h er l egs. Sh e m oved qui ckl y t o A bbo’s bed a n d sa t down by i t s edg e. A ft er s om et i m e sh e fe l t r el i eved. A s sh e st ood up t o g o, Abbo jum pe d i nt o h er r oom pl a yful l y. “ Hi m um m y!” “ Hel l o da r l in g!” Sh e l ook ed a t h er da ugh t er and sm i l ed. “An d. . . Wh er e h a ve you be en ?” Wee we a sked a n d sa t ba ck on t h e bed, pr et en di n g a s i f sh e di dn ’t kn ow. Abbo m oved cl os er t o her m ot h er , pi cked h er r i ght h an d an d st ar t ed pl a yi ng wi t h t h e fi n ger s. We e we us ed t h e l e ft h an d t o pu l l h er da ugh t er cl oser t o h er sel f sa yi n g. “Ye s. You di dn ’t an swer m y que st i on , l i tt l e gir l. ” Abbo si m pl y l a ugh ed a n d sa i d. “I wa s i n th e ga r den wi t h th e ki ds. ” Sh e sa i d pul l i n g a wa y fr om h er m ot h er an d st ar t ed t o r em ove h er san dal s. Ki ds! We e we c oul dn ’t bel i e ve h er ea r s. Th i s i s pr oba bl y c on fi r m in g h er ear l i er suspi ci on a bout bei n g bor n psych i c or s om et h i n g of t h a t n a t ur e. A ki d ca l l in g h er ma t es ki ds wa s sh owi n g a si gn of supr em a c y - eg oi st i c ? Wh a t n am e c oul d on e ca l l t ha t ? Sh e wa s c on vi n ced be yon d a r ea son a bl e dou bt t h at Abbo kn ows s om et h in g. We e we st ood up. “O. K. da r l in g, woul d you pr epar e your sel f for dinn er .” Abbo n odded a n d a sked. “Mum m y! Wh en wi l l da dd y c om e ba ck h om e?” Sh e l ooked i n t o h er m ot h er ’s e yes. W e e we l ook ed sl owl y a wa y.

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“T om or r ow, da r l in g.” Sen si n g un cer t a int y fr om h er m ot h er ’s voi ce, sh e m oved cl oser a ga i n t o h er a n d sa i d. “Wh en wi l l th e t om or r ow en d?” We e we pi ck ed t wo pa i r s of h er da ugh t er ’s sch ool un i for m in cl udin g un der wea r . Sh e wen t out i nt o t h e sm a ll cor ri dor an d cl os ed t h e door gen t ly beh in d h er. *** T hi s i s ver y un usua l i n ear l y Jul y, wh en t h e r ain sh oul d l a st for h our s. T h e Met e or ol ogi c a l Depa r t m ent h a s m essed up a ga i n . Th e fa r m ers, wh o h a ve ea r l i er a ppl i ed th e m an ur e-l i ke t a bl et s fol l owi n g th e la t e n i gh t for eca st by t h e depa r t m en t th a t, th er e wi l l be a h ea vy r a in fa l l fr om a r oun d 6. 00 h our s t o 9. 00 h our s wi t h a br eak of t hr ee h our s a ft er , wh i l e th e sec on d sessi on of t h e r a in wi l l l a st for a bout a n h our , we r e di sa ppoi n t ed. Th e for eca st wa sn ’t a ccur a t e. On e fa r m er wh o c oun t ed s o m uch on t oda y’ s r ain fa l l t o m oi st en h i s ta bl et s a ct ua l l y wen t m ad. T h e fa rm er si m pl y wen t in t o h i s r oom a n d br ought out a l ea t h er sca bba r d. In si de i t wa s a bi gh ea ded cut l a ss. He dr e w out t h e wel l -oi l ed cut l a ss a nd ch eck ed i t s sh a r pn ess. He t h en dr ove i t ba ck i n to t h e sca bba r d, sa t i sfi ed. A ft er ch an gin g hi s cl ot h es, h e wen t h urr i edl y t o h i s wa i t i n g Ja ppa a n d dr ove t h e ca r st ra i gh t t o t h e so- ca l l ed Met e or ol ogi ca l Depa r t m en t.

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Asc en di n g th e st a ir s l ea di n g t o t h e fl oor h ost i ng t h e Depa r tm en t, h e m et a youn g m an goin g down t h e st a ir s. “Coul d you pl ea s e sh ow m e t h e Di r ect or ’s offi c e?” He a sked t h e youn g m an. “Oh ! T ha t wa y pl ea s e. Fi r st do or by t h e r i gh t a s you wa l k fur t h er down , you ca n ’t m i ss it sir. ” Fol l owi n g h i s an im a l in t uit i on , th e youn g m an scr ut i ni z ed th e m an th or ough l y. He wa s r i ght . Th e m an wa s wea r i n g a pair of r ubber -boot s, wh i ch wa s m ea n t for th e bush . Mr . Bush in deed. An d a s t h e fa r m er r a i sed h i s l eft a r m up, th e sl ee ve of h i s gbari ye sh ir t sl i dded down hi s sh oul der , r evea l i n g a wi d e-m out h ed k e m be t r ouser s an d a sca bba r d. “Oh ! I for get t o sa y t h a t th e Dir ect or i s out of t own , si r. An d i f th er e i s an y ur gen t m essa ge for t h e Depa r tm en t you ca n pl ea se go t o t h e l a st door. T ha t i s th e gen er a l offi c e, si r . As I guess si r , th e Assi st a n t Dir ect or a l so i s a wa y. S o you ca n m eet wi t h th e guys t h er e. Wi th out wa i t i n g for a wor d fr om t h e str an ger, h e r ush ed down th e st eps, t a kin g th em in t wo a t a st r i de a n d l ea vi n g th e m an gl ued i nt o t ha t posi t i on . Aft er h e ha d wa i t ed i n th a t posi t i on for a bout four m i n ut es t h e fa r m er t urn ed, a s i f a r et h in k or a n a ft er th ough t, st epped d own a n d wen t out of t h e bui l din g. T h e youn g ch a p, wh o wa s h i din g an d wa t ch ing t h e m an fr om th e ba ck of a bi g ca r t on pl a ced n ear t h e en d of t h e ver a n da , ma de sur e h e sa w t h e fi n a l exi t of t h e m a n fr om t h e bui l din g. Aft er t h e

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fa r m er h a d dr i ven off, t h e youn g m an l eft hi s h i din g cor n er an d pr oc eed ed on h i s wa y. He m urm ur ed. ‘Uh , uh ! Som e cr a z y fa r m er. ’

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CHAPTER TWELVE
W i thi n every m an, there i s a certai n hi dden substance, dorm an t and rust y. I t m ust be l ocated, tapped i f m an m ust save hi m sel f and use i t as a bette r weapon than any m achi ne. He m ust l ook i nward and fi nd the pri m i ti ve i n him sel f.

T h e ra in st ar t ed h ea vi l y a s ea r l y a s 6. 00 h our s. Da r kn ess wa s va n i sh in g a s th e cl oud m oved t o t h e west er n part of t h e t own . T h e wi n d ca m e, sca t t er i n g th e cl oud t o a l l di r ect i on s. Th e t or r ent of t h e r ain beca m e l ow. An d in n o t im e i t ha s

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st opp ed. We e we h a d deci ded t o a ba n don th e m eet i n g of t h e Al a ari wom en ’s Gr oup t ha t sh e wa s supp ose d t o ch a ir . Sh e ph on ed Mr s. Ba a deji , h er deput y, t o ca rr y on on h er beh a l f. Sh e sen t a c op y of h er spe ech t o h er . It wa s t h en sh e a ir ph on ed Dr. Arr on i tha t sh e m a y be vi si t i n g h im in an h our t i m e. T h e doct or wa s pl ea sed t o m e et i n g h er. Wee we wa s l uck y be ca us e i t wa s t h e un expect e d ce ssa t i on of t h e r a in th at m a de Dr. Arr on i deci ded t o g o t o h er offi ce i n st ea d of h er fa r m . Th e doct or wa s supp os ed t o r em a i n at h om e un ti l th e br ea k t i m e for t h e m or n in g r a in, a s for e ca st ed by t h e Met e or ol ogi ca l Depa r t m en t. *** We e we gl a n ced out t hr ough th e wi n dow a n d saw t ha t th er e wa s st i l l pl en t y of l i gh t in th e sk y. S h e put e ver yt h i n g in pla ce, a n d th en ch ecked h er wa t ch . Good! Sh e st i l l got ful l 55 m in ut es be for e h er m eet i n g wi t h Dr . Arr on i a t Idoh o. Th en, sh e deci d ed t o m a ke pa rt of h er jour n ey by fe et . Sh e s et out , m a ki n g h er wa y t hr ough D -L3t ra ck. Som e wh er e a l on g th e st r eet , sh e st oppe d h er car , foun d a par kin g spa ce a n d pul l ed up t h er e. Sh e h a s deci ded t o wi n dow- sh op for fe w m in ut es. An d a s sh e t urn ed t o pr oc eed a l on g th e st r eet sh ops, sh e sa w a m an gr inn in g a wkwa r dl y a t h er.

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T h e man wa s in h i s l a t e si xt i es, th in. Hi s sm a l l h ea d, i f you c oul d ca l l t h a t a h ea d, suppor t ed by a t hi ck n eck, h a d ha l f of t h e fa ce c over ed by a fl a t n ose wi t h t wo wi d e, pi pe-l i ke h ol l ows. W ee we h a d n ot on l y been fr i gh t en ed a t th e gr ot esq ue a ppea r an ce of t h e bei n g be for e h er , sh e wa s a t t h e sa m e t i m e fur i ou s a t t h e wa y t h e m a n wa s gr inn in g a t h er a s i f h e kn ew h er . Such a dir ty, r a ga m uffi n , sh a bbi l y cl ot h ed wi t h a t a t t er ed coa t , soi l ed wool en tr ouser s i n a fl i p -out . He gr i nn ed a ga in, a ga in an d a ga in, dr i vi ng h om e h i s poi n t a s h e gr eet ed W e e we. “G ood da y m a dam . ” He wa s n ow l ea n in g on h i s wa l king st i ck. W ee we sa w t h a t th e m an wa s a ct ua l l y st a n din g on h i s on l y g ood r i gh t l eg. Th e l eft l e g wa s h an gin g l oosel y b y t h e a i d of h i s wa l ki ng st i ck. “G ood da y t o you, ” a n swer ed We e we. As sh e t urn ed t o go, t h e r a ga m uffi n of a m a n sa i d, “I a m sur e M om , you a r e t h e Al a a ri an Fir st La d y. ” It wa s m or e of st a t em en t th a t a quest i on . Befor e t h e Fi r st La d y c oul d a n swer or t a ke a n esca p e st e p, t h e funn y m a n a dded. An d I l earn t you a r e supposed t o be i n AWG m eet i n g n ow. But se e t h e i dea Mom . You a r e r i gh t h er e wi t h m e.” He ch uckl ed st upi dl y. At th i s jun ct ur e, Wee we wa l ked qui ckl y a wa y fr om t h e m an. Thi s wa s t oo m uch for h er. A di sgr a ce of t h e fi r st or der. As sh e pa s sed t h e n ext jun ct i on , n ear th e en d of D- U4-t r a ck, a youn g n ur se ca m e out of t h e

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Al a ar i -3 h ospi t a l , si t ua t ed at th e th ir d fl oor of a n ol d bui l di n g. Com in g t owa r d t h e n ur se wa s a n ol d m a n , an ot h er n er vous wr eck, wh o wor e a da rk fl owi n g gown an d ha d a l on g gol d ch ain wi t h a m eda l l i on dan gl in g h el pl essl y a r oun d h i s n eck. On m eet in g th e n ur se, th e m an push ed th e c oupl e of bi l l s h e h a d h el d t i gh t l y i n hi s h an d into t h e n ur se’s r i gh t h an d an d a t th e sa m e t im e r ecei vi n g a 5 -m i ll i gr am bot t l e of t h e bl ood m ea nt for use i n a m on e ym a ki n g ri t ual . At fi r st , We e we fel t a s i f t o ca l l a p ol i ce, a r r est t h e t wo, but sh e d eci d ed a ga i n st th a t. An ywa y t h e t wo cr i m in a l s h a d va n i sh ed i n t o di ffer e nt di r ect i on s. Now sh e fel t t h e cl oud of gui l t en vel op ed h er . Sh e r em em ber ed J ee j e a ga i n. Sh e r em em ber ed vi vi dl y t h e r ol e sh e pl a yed i n h er dea th . Th a t day Wobbi a a sk ed h er t o r epl a ce t h e ol d m i rr or wi t h a n ew on e h e br ough t i n . Sh e di d r epl a ce t h e ol d m irr or wi t h a n ew on e. T h e sa m e ni gh t be for e Je ej e wa s foun d dea d in h er own bed, sh e dr ea mt , sa w h er sel f st a n din g, h ol din g a cl a y l a m p, fi t i la, c on t a in in g pa l m -oi l , wh il e h er h usba n d wa s sl a ugh t er in g h er da ugh t er. Her h usba n d, a ft er ki l lin g Jee je, di pped t h e kn i fe i n t o t h e oi l be for e h e t h r ew t h e kn i fe a nd t h e fi t i l a in t o th e n ea r by r i ver . It wa s a t err i bl e dr ea m . Sh e h a d narr a t ed h er dr eam t o h i m. But h er h usba n d h a d a ssur ed h er th a t i t wa s jus t a dr ea m l i ke an y ot h er . A n ordi nary dre am out of c onf usi on, an i ll usi on . Th a t ’s wh at h e ca l l ed i t.

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But wh en a dr ea m kept on oc cur r in g a l m ost e ver y n i gh t for t wo c on se cut i ve week s, sh e kn ew t h er e wa s s om et h in g a bout t ha t of wh i ch sh e di dn ’t kn ow. Sh e deci d ed a ga i n st con sul t in g a di vi n er , adi f a, for fea r of t el l i n g h er wh a t sh e woul dn ’t l i ke t o l i ve t o r em em ber . Her h usba nd ki l l ed th ei r da ugh t er an d sh e ga ve a h el pin g h and. Per i od. Sh e m oved n ea r a n ear by bl ock, op en i n g h er h an dba g qui ckl y t ook out a n ea t han dker chi ef a nd wi p ed off t h e cl ea n , bi t t er t ear s a ccum ul a t in g in h er e yes a n d bl ocki n g h er vi si on . Th e Ba a l e’s wi fe. S om e m a dm an h a d just r ec ogn i z ed h er fe w m in ut es a go. How ea s y p e opl e, i n fa ct bus ybodi es, ca n r ec ogn i z e you by m er el y s e ei ng you on T el l y a n d occa si on a l l y i n t h e n ewspa per s. “Y es, I sa w h er a l on g th e st r eet cr yi n g a n d a bl a h -bl a h -bl ah . . .. ” Som e cr a z y gu ys woul d sa y. Wh en sh e ch ecked h er wr i st wa t ch , sh e foun d t ha t sh e st i l l got a ful l 12 min ut es t o m eet D r. Arr on i . Sh e wa l ked on . An d a ft er wa l ki n g for fe w se c on ds, sh e th en t urn ed l eft a n d n ow m ovi n g up t o D- U5-t r a ck. Sh e wa l ked for a n ot h er three m in ut es a n d spot t ed a wel l -dr essed wom a n of a bout 28 c om i n g t owa r ds h er, t al kin g l oudl y t o h er sel f. T h e wom a n ’s m on ol ogu e, wh i ch wa s a ct ua l l y fl owi n g out un ch eck ed, n on st op, wa s fu l l of obs cen i t i es. An d wh en sh e ca m e n ear Wee we, sh e si z ed We e we up, l ook ed a wa y s wi ft l y a nd c on t in ued h er ra p -t at -ra p. Wee we sh ook h er h ea d.

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As sh e wa l ked on , sh e sa w a man of a bout 42 yea r s ol d, t a l l , sli m , ha ir wel l pa t t ed, l ea di n g a ba n d of si x ot h er s a n d pl a yi n g i f uj uj u m usi c. Sh e m oved cl oser t o t h e ba n dl ea der an d t ossed a si n gl e coi n of 100 Na a r i in t o a sl i gh t l y op en ed box pl a ced by h i s r i gh t foot . T hin gs ha ve ch an ged. A wel l -or ga n iz ed ba n d l i ke t h i s c oul d n ot be foun d i n an op en fi el d, a s t hi s on e pl a yi n g for t h e publ i c. T h ese da ys, i n a cer em on y, su ch a s bi r t h da y, fun er a l an d wh a t h a ve you, pe opl e woul d be da n ci n g, gyr a t ing, sh a kin g th eir bodi es, ben di n g down , r i sin g up, t hr owi n g up th eir h an ds. Ah ! Thin gs h a ve r ea l ly ch an ged. Perh a ps, for th e bet t er . Sh e wa l ked on a n d a wa y fr om t h e ba n d, en joyi n g t h e l yr i cs a s far a s i t l a st ed. Sh e wa l ked for a n ot h er t wo m i n ut es. Th e t i m e h a s r ea l l y g on e. S o sh e de ci ded t o g o by a i r . Sh e t h en pr essed on t h e kn ob a t t h e r i ght si de of t h e AG- bel t h i dden un der h er wr a pper . Sh e r ose u p l i gh t l y a n d a ft er a t t a in in g som e r ea son a bl e h ei gh t , sh e l evel ed up a n d h ea ded t o Idoh o. *** At Dr . Arr oni ’s offi c e We e we n arr a t ed h er st or y. Dr . Arr on i m oved for wa r d i n h er ch air and sa t up st r a i gh t. ” I th in k we sh a l l ch eck your wom b. But I t h in k, judgin g fr om th e l ast pr egnan c y you h a d, it i s ver y i m possi bl e t o h a ve such ser i es of m i sca r r ia ges. E e… em , we l l

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a n yt h in g coul d go wr on g a t an y t i m e. As I us e t o sa y, we a r e just l ea rn in g, we d on ’t kn ow i t a l l . In your own ca se h owe ver , I doubt i f you sh oul d en coun t er an y pr obl em wh a t soe ver . Th en sh e st ood up fr om h er ch a ir, wa l ked r oun d h er big t a bl e t o a bi g gl a ss c on t a in er wh i ch wa s st a n ding a t th e fa r en d of t h e offi ce. “C om e t h i s wa y m y dea r . ” Dr . Arr oni m ot i on ed h er t o a bed wi t h h ar d m a ttr ess a t t h e si de of t h e gl a ss c on t a in er. As We e we wa s l yi n g down on t h e bed t h e d oct or wen t t o t h e offi c e en t r an ce door a n d bol t ed i t . ” Sh e a ssur ed Wee we. “T h i s i s a on e m an oper a t i on. ” Aft er fe w m i n ut es of obs er va t i on , th e doct or fr own ed a t wh a t sh e sa w i n Wee we’s wom b. Se ver a l cowr i es em bedd ed r i gh t in th e c en t er of h er wom b. In cr edi bl e! “Y ou ca n st an d an d dr ess up pl ea se. ” We e we st ood out of bed a n d put on h er cl ot h es. “W el l m y dea r , ” sh e bega n , a ft er bot h of t h em sa t th em sel ves i n th ei r ch air s. “Th i s wor l d i s fu l l of m yst er i es. T h er e ar e l ot s i n n a t ur e tha t sci ence ca n n ot unr a vel . Or , h ow ca n on e expl a i n th e ca se of a wom a n wh o ga ve bi r t h t o a l on g, m a t ur ed sn a ke. Yes sh e di d i t succes s ful l y. Sh e st opp ed a n d g az ed a t Wee we for a r ea ct i on. Non e. “I t h in k you ca n coun t your s el f l uck y Mr s. Oor uo, for det ect i n g th em ear li er , ot h er wi se. . . ” a si l en ce, …“Ne ver t h el ess we sh a l l ha ve t o per for m an oper a t i on on you t o r em ove s om e of t h ose fun n y for ei gn bodi e s i n your wom bs.

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Fi r st La dy l ook ed be wi l d er ed a t h er doct or . “An d wh a t do you sa y?” sh e a sk ed t h e d oct or . Wi t h out gi vi n g a chan ce for h er t o an swer , sh e a sked m or e qu est i on s. “ Wh a t for ei gn bodi es ? How di d th e y fi n d th ei r wa y t h er e? How . . . . . ? Dr . Arr on i r ose fr om h er ch air wa l ked br i skl y t o a fi l e ca bi n et a t h er ba ck. Sh e open ed t h e ca bi n et a n d br ough t a bl a ck fi l e ja cket c on t a in in g fe w pa per s. “Ye s. I sa i d you h a ve s om e for ei gn bodi es em bedd ed r i ght in si de your wom b. T h a t may pr oba bl y h a ve s om et h i n g t o do wi t h you, ye s. I sa y” “ How d o you m ea n ‘wi t h you’?” “L ook Mr s. Oor uo! T h i s i s a ct ua l l y n ot h i ng ser i ous, N ot h in g seri ous i n th e sen se t h at th e n am e you gi ve t o a di sea se or i l ln ess i s n ot a l l t ha t i m port an t, but h ow oft en i t occur s a n d wh a t da m a ges i t m a y l i kel y ca us e or m i gh t h ave ca used. Get m y p oi n t ?” Be ca use sh e wa s n ot i nt er est ed i n an y r epl y fr om We e we, sh e r a pped on . “ Ha vi n g kn owl edge of a di s ea se i s h a l f t h e cur e. T a ke i t fr om m e t h a t n obod y ca n ever get cur ed i n t h e pr esen ce of fea r . An d I sa y i f you wa n t a part of your bod y t o r egr ow t h en get a sa l am an der to i n ject you, I m ea n i t . An d un l ess you gr ow a bove t ha t n um ber on e en em y of m a n , fea r , you a r e l i kel y t o en d up n ot h el pin g your sel f. “Wh a t I am sa yi n g in essen ce i s t h a t n ow i n your own ca se t h er e i s n oth in g t o fea r . ” “ But fea r it sel f. ” We e we sa i d.

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“Y ou a r e r i ght . Fea r i s fa i l ur e. Fea r of d ea t h i s t h e begi nn in g of sl a ver y, ” Doct or Arr on i sa i d. Not h i n g seem ed ver y cl ea r t o We e we a n ym or e. Sh e just l i st en ed i n sur pr i se, an d th en sh e a ske d. ” Wh a t coul d t ha t m ea n. Wh a t fea r ?” “Ps ych ol ogi ca l fea r of c our se. T h e fea r of a ski n g your sel f que st i on s, t h e unn eces sa ry quest i on s. An d unt i l th e for ei gn bodi es a r e r em oved, I ca nn ot a ct ua l l y sa y m uch for n ow, your E xcel l en c y. We e we sh ook h er h ea d an d sai d. “I th in k, doct or , I’ ve t h e r i gh t t o kn ow t h e t yp es of for ei gn bodi e s wh i ch I am carr yi n g ar oun d. Don ’t I” ? “Y es, yes, you d o. Bel i e ve m e dea r , kn owi n g t h e so ca l l ed for ei gn bodi e s m a y n ot pr oba bl y d o you a n y g ood for n ow. Wh a t i s i m port an t n ow i s t o get t h em r em ov ed a t on ce. Mor e over I don ’t wa n t you t o t r i gger off t h a t dorm an t fea r tha t op en ed your bod y t o a cc om m oda t e t h ese for ei gn t hin gs. Pl ea se t r ust your doct or a t l ea st on ce a n d, wa i t a n d see wh a t coul d be d on e. But dr i n k your ur in e, h ot a n d pur e. Fa st wi t h i t for da ys a nd dr in k a l ot of wa t er . Be ki n d t o a n y fr ui t s a nd c on sum e a s m uch a s possi bl e. “Pl ea s e, l et ’s m e et h er e on th e . . .” sh e pi cked h er sma l l el ect r on i c set , open ed a n d scr i bbl ed i n i t . “Yes, 24 t h of t h i s m on t h, ” sh e t urn ed t o W ee we a n d a sked, “Is th a t a lr i ght ?” We e we n odded. We e we just l i st en ed. F or a n ot h er thr ee m i n ut es, a ft er t h e doct or ’s l a st in str uct i on , sh e wa s ju st

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ga z in g a t th e t er ra z z o fl oor . For t h e fi r st t i m e in h er li fe sh e wa s i n t ot a l con fusi on . But sudd en l y sh e s eem ed a bs or bed wi t h a l l th e i ni t i al fea r an d con fusi on . Sh e la ugh ed n er vou sl y l ooki n g dir ect l y a t th e doct or . Sh e st ood t o g o. “T h an k you, d oct or . ” T h e doct or a l so r os e fr om h er cha ir . Sh e al so sm i l ed a t Wee we for h er un der stan din g. T h ey sh ook h an ds. “Y ou a r e wel c om e. ” *** Pe opl e st i l l h a ve t h e bel i e f t h a t wh en a pr egn ant wom a n wa n der s in th e h ot a ft er n oon or l a t e, dark n i ght , sh e ma y pr oba bl y get h er n or ma l foet us r epl a ced by a wa n der in g, un seen bei n g, borj angul u or i wi n. Su ch bei n g c oul d be a j ok e r, wh o wa n t ed t o pl a y pr a n ks wi t h a h uman bei n g; c oul d be s om e e me re , wh o wa n t ed t o pun i sh som e h uman fa m i l y by pl a yi n g h i de-an d-seek ga m e wi t h t h e fa m i l y; c oul d be s om e m on st er pl ant ed in th e wom b, by s om e de vi l i sh in di vi dua l s - wi t ch es, wi z a r d, vood ooi st , r el i gi on i st, abori sa et c. Ot h er wi se, wh a t a r e th e for ei gn bodi es em bedde d i n h er wom b? Wh o, i n t h e n am es of a l l t h e st a rs, put t h em th er e? Oh E dum ar e! How fa st ca n t h ose quest i on s be a n swer ed? “O. K, e ver ybod y h an ds up, ” Abbo ech oed t h e l a st sen t en ce. Wee we m oved qui ckl y t o a n ear by t hi ck fl ower , som e fe w m et r es a wa y fr om wh e r e

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t h e ki ds wer e r ecei vi n g th eir l ess on s by A bbo, t h e t ea ch er . “Y ou sh oul d r em a in in th a t posi t i on for a bout t hr ee m i n ut es, wh i l e your e ye s a r e fi xed i n t h e di r ect i on of t h e Sun . Sh e c om m a n ded t h em to dr a w in , usin g th eir eyes a s pr evi ousl y t a ugh t, th e sun ’s en er gy a n d dra w out t h e ba d i n fl uen ces out of t h ei r bod y i n th e sa m e wa y. T h e y wer e t o r epea t th e dr a w-i n -dr a w-out ex er ci se for ei gh t or m or e m in ut es. “Y ou sh oul d r em em ber t ha t th er e ar e n ece ssa r y m in er al s in th e soi l s dr a wn by t h e r oot s of pl a n ts. But t h e l i gh t th a t i s used i n th e pr oc es s of ph ot os yn t h esi s c om e fr om t h e Sun , som e m i l l i on Ki l om et r es a cr os s our spa c e. E ven so, si n ce i t t a kes l i ght on l y a bout ei gh t m in ut es t o r ea ch th e t r ees or pl a n t s fr om th e Sun , th e l i gh t ma y r ea c h t h e l ea ves 96 m et r es a bove t h e gr oun d, we l l be for e a n i on t h at st a rt ed a t t h e sa m e t i m e, fr om t h e soi l s, coul d r ea ch it . ” Aft er th e a na l og y, sh e t ol d t h em t o cl os e t h eir e ye s a n d use t h ei r sen se of i m a gin a ti on t o br ing down , sl owl y, t h e a ccum ul a t ed l i gh t in th eir cupped h an ds, up t o t h ei r sh oul der s. Th en , th ey sh oul d l ower t h ei r h an ds sl owl y, en vel opi n g t h eir bod y wi t h t h e l i gh t . “Th i s i s n o m or e t h an or di nar y l i gh t n ow, ” Abbo c on fi r m ed fur th er tha t th i s i s n ow a for c e bur n in g off t h e r em ain in g ba d i dea s, spr ea ding, expa n din g out wa r d. Th en, sudden l y t h e y we r e i n str uct ed t o c ol l ect t h e bur n in g fi r e by r a i sin g up

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t h eir cupped h an ds upwa r ds. On r ea chin g up a bove t h ei r h ea ds th ey sh oul d t oss ba ck, a t t h e Sun , th e ba l l of fi r e. Or t h ey m a y si m pl y cl ose t h eir eyes a n d im a gin e th e fi r e spr ea ding expa n din g, th en con ver gi n g t owa r ds t h e Su n, a bs or bi n g i t. “N ow, your han ds down sl owl y. Rem a i n in th at posi t i on for a s l on g a s you wi sh , i n si de th a t fa i nt c ol or ed, fi n e l i ght . Assur e your sel f of h a ppin ess, l ove, su cc es s. Be sur e t ha t you kn ow. Th i s i s beca us e you kn ow; t h i s i s be ca us e you a r e fr e e, fr ee fr om a n y for m of e vi l , di sea s e, ba d l uc k e. t . c. ” Sh e st opp ed a n d di sm i ssed t h em , a s usua l , un ti l th e ti m e th ey m e et a ga in . We e we m ur m ur ed. ” Oh , m e!” an d be for e t h e ki ds coul d sp ot h er h i dden pl a ce, sh e jum ped out t o t h e con cr et e pa vem en t s l ea di n g t o h er m ain door an d wa l ked fa st er , l i ke dan cin g k ok omo.

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CHAPTER THIRTEEN
Cause and effec t as I see for m ysel f j ust don’ t exi st. One event fol l ows another bec ause even ts are j ust as i ndest ructi ve i n space -ti m e as we have m atter and ene rgy.

T hi s i s i n deed wor r i som e d oct or . He i s d yi n g sl owl y. He woke up ea r l y ye st er da y m ur m uring your na m e. I tr i ed t o c om pr eh en d wh a t h e wa s sa yi n g a ft er t ha t , but fa i l ed. So, I d eci d ed t o fi nd out m or e fr om you. ”

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“I h ope I h a ve a n y sa t i s fa ct or y expl a n a t i on t o t ha t .” Dr . E l egrr i sa i d. We e we wa s l ooki n g down a t h er h an ds. “I bet you h a ve doct or . ” T h e doct or wh o wa s si n ki n g fur th er, r el a xing m or e i n h i s ch a ir sa i d. “An d I’m sur e I d on ’t kn ow a n yt h i n g a bout t h a t, m a dam .” T h er e wa s a l on g, deep si l en ce i n t h e si t t ing r oom . Nobod y s eem ed t o r espe ct t h e fe el i n gs of t h e ot h er . Th er e wa s a defi n ed t en si on r i sing i n si de ea ch per son . An d wi t h tha t t yp e of a cut off a n swer fr om Dr . E l egrri an d th e don ’t -bot h er -mysoul a t t i t ude of h i s, by si n ki n g deeper i n t o hi s ch a ir . Uh , uh, th e tr oubl e h a s just st ar t ed. An d for Dr . El egrr i th e quest i on wa s: ho w dare y ou wo man c ome he re t o bot he r me si mpl y be c ause one mad f e l l ow murmu re d my name i n a mal ari a-i nf e c te d sl e e p? Of c ourse , unl e ss t he mi nd-de ge ne rat e d i di ot put ‘Dr. ’ be f ore my nam e , t he re wa s no way t hi s i pa npa l a d i dd i woma n c oul d hav e k nown whom t o di st urb. A nd e v e n i f he di d add my v al uable ti t l e t o my good name, t hat doe sn’t pre v e nt me f rom de ny i ng e ve ry t hi ng. Oh, sure I c an st il l bol df ac e t he woman’ s i de a. So h e di d just t ha t . In a funn y m a nn er , Dr . E l egrr i t urn ed h i s h ea d a n d fi xed h i s e ye s a t th e for eh ea d of W ee we. T h er e wa s a sh a r p pa in wa nt in g t o spl i t h er h ea d i nt o pi ec es. Thi s i s t he ti me t o go. Th in kin g al oud n ow. The re i s no poi nt si t t i ng do wn wi t h t hi s ol d

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wi t c h i nf l ic t i ng ot he r f ore i gn bodie s i nt o he r brai ns, pol l ut i ng t he m. Sh e r ose t o g o. “T h an ks a l ot Doct or . I t h in k I sh oul d l ea ve n ow. ” Now t a l ki n g si l ent l y t o h er sel f, sh e sa i d. A nd no t hank s t o y ou f or re f usi ng t o c oope rat e wi t h me , ol d f ool ! Dr . El egrr i al so r os e t o h i s fe et sl owl y for a t i m e t ha t sh oul d h a ve t a ken a sn ai l t o c over a di st a n ce of 5 m et r es. “Y ou a r e wel c om e, your E xcel l en c y” . He sa w h er t o th e door be for e h e t urn ed an d wen t ba ck t o t h e r oom . Mur m ur in g a s h e en t er ed hi s r oom , sa yi n g, “O f c our se you a r e n ot wel c om e La d y Ipanpal adi ddi .” We e we wen t st ra i gh t t o th e pa l a ce. Rec en t l y, i t seem ed h er h usba n d’s offi c e wa s t h e on l y a pl a ce on e ca n r ecei ve n or m a l an swe r s t o r ea s on a bl e qu est i on s t hr own t o h i m . Sh e m ust go t h er e r i gh t a wa y. T h e y sh oul d si t down a nd t a l k r ea l l y. On e ca n ’t just ke ep on r unn in g a wa y fr om h i s ch i l d. An d, m or eover , sh e doesn ’t l i ke c om i n g t o t h e pa l a ce on l y t o m a ke l ove t o h i m , wh en a ct ua l l y t h e y sh oul d oft en be t oget h er un der n or ma l or a bn orm a l con di t i on s. T h eir l ovem a ki n g wa s n ot l i ke be for e, esp eci a l l y be for e h e be ca m e t h e Ba a l e. T h a t wa s a bsur d. Sh e wa s n ot r ec ei vi n g pr oper a t t en t i on s in h i s offi ce ei t h er . As on e st a rt s t o go on wi t h h im i n con ver sa t i on , on e woul d pr oba bl y be cut off by on e vi si t or or th e ot h er . It ma de on e fe el un wa n t ed, an d . . .

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T hi s c oul d h a ve be en n or m a l, i f a l l ot h er t hin gs wer e n or m a l. Sh e wa s fed up. In th e Ba a l e’s offi c e, t h e wh ol e c on ver sa t i on bet we en t h e Ba a l e a n d th e Fi r st La d y wa s cut off by wh a t a ppea r ed to be a dest r uct i ve dem on st r a t i on a l on g a lm ost a l l t h e m a jor st r eet s i n Al a ari . T h e wh ol e ci t y wa s i n r a m pa ge. It a ppear ed, n ot r ea l l y a ppea r ed but i n r ea l i t y, t h at th e sout h ern pa rt of t h e t own wa s m ost l y i n a m ess wi t h Sa m Kot t on in fr on t of t h e dem on st ra t in g st udents, m ost l y fr om Al ukk o S e c on dar y S ch ool , i n cl uding som e un kn own fa ce s. Di st i n ct l y, ea ch st ude nt dr essed i n h i s or h er sch ool un i for m wi t h a r ed ba n d ar oun d h i s h ea d, ca rr yi n g a la ser -gun . Th ey l ooked fi er ce, wa r ri or -l i ke. Th er e wer e bon fi r es e ver ywh er e. *** “Wh o i s i t ?” Ma da m Koffor a n or koffo i n sh ort , st epped out of h er ba t t ub a s sh e h ea r d a l i ght t a ppin g on th e ba t hr oom door . It wa s Abbo. “Ok, I a m wi t h you i n a m om ent m y dea r . ” Sh e wr a pped a l a r ge t owel a r oun d h er . It doesn ’t m a t t er m uch, even t h ough sh e di dn’t en joy t oda y’s r el a xa t i on ba t h t o i t s fi n a l l ap. An ywa y sh e a l wa ys l i ke s A bbo’s c om pa ny wh en e ver sh e i s wi t h h er . Sh e does t h i n gs bet t er a n d fe el s h a ppi er. An d sh e oft en r ecei ved pl ea sa nt m essa ge s fr om h er da ught er l i vi n g on th e m oon.

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T h er e wa s on e t i m e sh e won 200 000 Na ar i, 1st pr iz e i n Am osuu L ot t er y 093. It h a ppen ed t h at sh e bough t thr ee l ot t er y t i cket s h om e. An d be for e s h e set t l ed down t o fi l l t h e t i cket s; Wee we br oug ht Abbo, for h er, t o l ook a ft er . Th en sh e l eft for pa l a ce. T h e Fi r st La d y pr efer r ed keepi n g h er da ught er wi t h Ma da m Koffo wh en e ver sh e h a s a n ur gent ma t t er t o a tt en d t o. T ha t da y, a ft er We e we had l eft , Abbo sp ot t ed t h e t i cket s l yi n g on t h e l ar ge cen t r e t a bl e i n th e si t tin g r oom . Sh e m oved cl os er t o t h e t a bl e, pi cked t h e l a st on e a n d wh en Ma da m Koffo j oi n ed h er in th e si t t in g r oom , h e h an ded i t t o h er . Ma da m Koffo h a s t h en deci ded t o pl a y on l y t h at t i cket . Sh e l a t er sen t in th e t i cket a n d for got a bout i t . T wo we eks a ft er , wh i l e t a kin g th eir br ea kfa st , t h er e wa s a kn ock on t h e door . Abbo l ooked a t h er n ann y, h er fr i en d, for a n y r ea ct i on. Ma da m Koffo wi n ked. T h en, Abbo st ood up a nd wen t t o op en th e door . Sh e r ecei ved a n en vel ope a n d h an ded i t t o t h e Ma da m . Ma da m Koffo op en ed t h e en vel ope a n d pul l ed out a ba n k ch eck of 200, 000. 00 Na a ri . Sh e st ood up, m oved r oun d t h e dinnin g ta bl e t o A bbo, Sh e h ogged Abbo h a ppi l y. Now i t wa s cl ea r t o h er th a t th i s gir l ’s pr esen ce br ough t h er good l ucks. N ow l i st en i n g t o Wee we on h er a ir ph on e set , sh e wa s t ol d t o l et A bbo r em a in wi t h h er an d a wa i t fur th er in str uct i on s. “I t hin k you a r e a wa r e of wh a t i s goi n g on in t own a t th e m om en t . Pl ea se a wa i t fur t h er in st r uct i on s. ”

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We e we c on cl uded. Sh e cut off t h e ph on e lin e. By t hi s t i m e, a l m ost a l l l oca t i on s i n Al a ari we r e a fl a m ed wi t h pr ot est by t h e i r a t e ci t i z en s. Pe op l e wer e fed up wi t h th e Ba a l e’s ca l l ous a nd c on cei t ed a t t i t ude t owa r ds th em . A m ob of a n gr y m en an d wom en l ed by t h e yout h of di ffer en t a ges, wer e m ovi n g l i ke m il l i on s of h un gr y l ocust s s ea r ch in g for fa r m s pr oduce t o feed up on . Th e d em on st r at or s wer e ch an t in g in Fr an t i sek Za vr el ’s voi c e: Thou whose hand c rushe s al l t hi ngs gre at , Thou, who c onde mns t o de at h, Yout h and spi ri t , but not base c ri me , Whose e y e l i nge rs wi t h de l i ght on t he t orme nt s of t he i nnoce nt , t he t ri umphs of rouge s a nd murde re rs, who re s, on t he f l i ppe ry . Of c ri mi nal pol i t ic i ans, on t he de ns Of al l unassai l able gangst e rs, l o! My f ai t h: B e t hou damne d … T h e an gr y pr ot est er s wer e n ow m ovi n g t owa r ds t h e pa l a ce. Th e Fi r st La d y a n d h er h usba nd beca m e st i ff. Al l t h e l i vi n g cel l s of t h ei r bodi es wer e sum m ar i l y dea d, pa ra l yz ed du e t o fea r . Th e fea r of d ea t h . An d r ea l l y t h i s wa s begi n nin g of sl a ver y. Fi r st La dy t a l ked fi r st , in r am bl e a n d sh a ky voi c e. “Wh a … Wh a -t - d-o w- e d-o n ow?” T h e Ba a l e wa s t oo s ca r ed t o m ove. E ye s op en ed wi d e, l i ps t i gh t an d dr y. He c oul d n ot ut t er a

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wor d. T i m e wa s r unn in g out . Th e y h a ve g ot t o d o som et h in g an d fa st . Sudden l y, wi t h a jer k of h i s bod y, t h e Ba a l e m ust er ed up c our a ge a n d ca m e ba ck t o l i fe. He r ea ch ed for h i s pock et a i r ph on e–pan el l yi n g on t h e ta bl e. He push ed t h e n ece ssa r y bu t t on s and t a l ked ra pi dl y. ” … wh er e a r e t h ey? Wh o d o yo u sa y?. . . Th e ki l l er s?. . . Oh I m ean th e Na t i ona l Gua r ds. Oh m y…? P ower l ess or wh a t do you… ” He a ct ua l l y t hr ew a wa y t h e ph on e set wi t h out t hin kin g t wi ce. He m ot i on ed h i s wi fe t o on e c or n er of t h e e sca p e sh a ft , wh i ch l ed t o t h e r ooft op. T a ki n g th e un der gr oun d esca pe r out e wi l l cer t a in l y be sui ci da l , be ca us e t h e t wo out l et s st i l l op en ed i n t o Al a ar i t own . It t ook t h e Ba a l e l e ss t han th ir t y se c on ds t o sn a p op en t h e a l um in um door . He push ed up Wee we fi r st an d han ded h er a spa r e Li m o-On e. T h ough , Wee we ca m e t o t h e pa l a ce wi t h h er ‘copt er . T h e Ba a l e j oi n ed h i s wi fe wh o wa s a l r ea d y wa i t i n g in th e cen t er of t h e r eces sed c on cr et e r oof. Aft er t en min ut es of fl i gh t a t a speed of 3000 Km / h, th ey h a ve d eci d ed t o l a n d on t op of a n ear by m oun t a in . Alr ea dy t h e y h a d l ost t h eir sen se of di r ect i on . “S o, wh a t do you sa y we d o?” T h i s t im e, i t wa s t h e Ba a l e wh o a sked t h e quest i on th a t ha d bee n a sked i n th e pa l a ce by t h e Fi r st La dy. “W el l , we m ust go ba ck a ft er som e r est . I t a ke i t th at , you wa n t ed us t o h a ve a r est som e wh er e,

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c ool down a n d th in k ri gh t l y of wh a t t o do. Isn ’t i t ?’ T h e Ba a l e n odded i n con sen t . Fi r st La d y a sk ed h er h usba n d, wh o wa s a wa y i n a n in fi ni t e r ea l m , “Wh er e wer e your so ca l l ed ‘r i ot er s’ ki l l er ’? Sh e t urn ed h er h ea d fa ci n g her h usba n d for an an swer . Fi r st th e Ba a l e l ook ed a wa y, t h en t urn ed hi s obl on g h ea d sudden l y gi vi n g h er wi fe a c ol d, sa d l ook be for e h e c oul d a n swer c ol dl y sa yi n g t ha t “t h e y wer e n o wh er e. “ But I th in k. . . ” “T h in k wh a t ?” Wee we cut i n . “Look! I t h i nk t ha t peopl e h a ve been push ed t o a dea d -en d. So, n at ur a l l y t h e y sh oul d r ea ct t h a t wa y. Y ou s e e, I don ’t r ea l l y kn ow, for sur e a l l t h ese a ccu sa t i on s l evel ed a ga i n st you p er t a in in g t orm en t s and m ur der s. Mur der s of . . . e eh m . . . th e E dit or -in Ch i ef, eeh m . . . eeh m air offi c er s or s om et h ing l i ke t h a t. Can you d e fen d your sel f a ga i n st t h ese cr i m ina l offen se s, a t l ea st for m e? Ye s. D o i t for m e, I a m your wi fe a n d you sh oul d n ot h i de a n yt h in g fr om m e. Yes, do i t for m e. Wi ll you’ ?” Of c our se, t h er e wa s n o r espon se fr om h er h usba n d. “T h en , you wa n t m e t o t a ke your si l en ce for c on sen t . Yes? T h en wh a t on ear th coul d h a ve l ed you t o t h a t ?” Now, sh e bel i e ved t h e st or y. He ki l l ed h er da ught er , Jee je. A fl a sh i m a ge of J ee j e, l yi ng dea d i n h er bed, ca m e ba ck t o h er .

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Re fl e ct i n g a l so, Jee je ’s i m a ge ca m e t o W obbi a ’s m in d. He sa w J ee j e st a n din g in fr on t of h im , poi n t in g a fi r e-ca rr yi n g fi n ger a t h im . Hi s bod y wa s feel i n g th e h ea t , th e pa in, th e un en ding t or t ur e th a t i s m a kin g h i m m a d, t or m ent in g h im . T h e pa in wa s t oo m uch , un bea r a bl e. He t r i ed to ca l l We e we for h el p. He c oul d n ot do i t . He l ooked a t We e we. Her m out h wa s open i n g and cl osi n g, sa yi n g som et h in g h e coul d n ot h ear . He sa w on l y t h e m ovem en t of W ee we’ s l i ps. But wh a t h e sa w n ow s ca r ed h im , th e a ppar it i on of h er dea d da ught er h a s ch an ged t o Abbo, a n d th e t wo fa n gs st i cki n g out of h er m out h wer e da r k -r ed, suggest i n g dea t h. “Oh , h el p m e, h el p!” Th e Ba a l e cr i ed. But n o on e h ea r d h im . Now s e eki n g for r efug e fr om hi s wi fe, h e t r i ed t o m ove cl os er t o h er . He c oul dn ’t m ove. T hi s t i m e Wee we got c on fus ed; sh e h a d be en t a l kin g t o h er h usba n d wi t h out a n y r esp on se fr om h im . Th e Ba a l e wa s s wea t i n g an d sh i ver i n g a t th e sa m e t i m e. An d a s sh e wa n t ed t o t ouch h im , h e ca m e ba ck t o h i m sel f i n a l oud voi ce: . . . A. . . l a . . .m oooo. An d th at wa s i t . “Ar e you a l r i ght ?” Wee we a sk ed, fa n n in g h im wi t h h er fol d ed h ea dgea r , e ruk an-ge l e, t he many an-Dank pal i . Aft er h a l f an d h our, h e wa s ful l y h i m sel f. J ee j e or A bbo or a n y on e of t h e t wo wa s g on e, va n i sh ed i nt o t h in a ir.

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Now i n a deep t h ough t, Wee we de ci ded t o d o e ver yt h i n g in h er ca pa ci t y t o h el p h er h usba nd. Sh e st i l l l oved h er h usba n d. Th e quest i on of l ea vi n g h im t o fa c e h i s a gon y a n d pr edi ca m ent a l on e does n ot a r i se a n d woul dn ’t be fa i r . Sh e m ust h el p h im . An d un l ess sh e fi n ds a l a st i ng sol ut i on t o t h i s pr obl em , sh e a n d Abbo m a y be i n da n ger in th e n ea r est fut ur e. “Ok, Ok, da r l in g, ” Wee we ch a n ged ‘gea r ’. “Let us ca m p h er e t on i gh t an d see i f t h in gs wi l l be a lr i gh t by t om or r ow. I a m g oi n g t o i n st r uct Ma da m Koffo a bout m y da ugh t er. Now fa ci n g th e di r ect i on of t h e sun , sh e c oul d ea si l y gu ess wh e r e t h ey wer e. T h e y wer e cer t a in l y n ot fa r fr om Al a ppa di str i ct . Now sh e r em em ber ed, th i s pl ace i s n ot fa r fr om Ba dda n. Aft er som e m i n ut es of c on ver si n g wi t h Ma dam Koffo on t h e a i r -ph on e, sh e t urn ed t o h er h usba n d. “T h e gi rl i s a lr i ght , ” sh e ann oun ced t o h er h usba n d. Of c our se h e di dn ’t an swer . Da ugh t er or n o da ugh t er , h e woul dn ’t ca r e a h oot . Aft er t h e ba d exper i en ce h e h a s just en c oun t er ed wi t h t h e so- ca l l ed da ugh t er s. An ywa y, W e e we di dn ’t expe ct a n y r epl y or r ea ct i on ei th er fr om h im . T h e coupl e l a t er sea r ch ed th e a r ea an d foun d a sm a l l en cl osur e wh er e t h e y h a ve de ci ded t o p ut up for t h e n i ght . La t er, Wee we ex cus ed h er se l f for a wa l k ar oun d t o see i f sh e c oul d g et som et h in g t o h el p th em for an yt h i n g, an yt h i n g a t a l l . “I‘l l be ba ck. ” Sh e t ol d h er h usba n d.

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Sh e wa l ked d own t h e m oun t a in t owa r ds t h e di r ect i on of t h e Sun , wh i ch wa s a t th e r i gh t side of t h ei r ca m psi t e. As sh e wa l ked fur t h er down for a bout fi ve m i n ut es, sh e r ea ch ed t h e bot t om l e vel of t h e m oun t a i n, th en t urn ed l eft a n d t h en en t er ed i nt o a t hi ck bush wh er e sh e c ol l ect ed s om e fa m i l i ar l ea ves a n d fr ui t . Aft er m ovi n g down for a n ot h er fi ve t o si x m in ut es, sh e r ea ch ed a spot wh er e sh e fel t a c ol d wi n d bl owi n g a t h er fa ce. T h i s wa s sugge st i n g to h er th a t, sh e wa s get t i n g n ear t o a r i ver or br ook. E xci t ed, sh e wa l ked on fa st er . An d sh e wa s r i ght , t h er e wa s a n arr ow r i ver fl owi n g a l on g th e ba se of t h e m oun t ain . Fi ft y - F or t y n in e - for t y ei gh t - . . . thr ee - . . . t wo - . . . on e, W ee we c oun t ed i n a m edi t a ti on m ood, an d th en kn el t down besi d e t h e cl ea n, fl owi n g ri ver . Di ppin g down h er h an d sl owl y i n to t h e fl owi n g wa t er , sh e fel t i t s wa r m curr ent sen di n g i t s effe ct s i n t o h er bei n g i n a deep er exh i l ara t i on . Sh e fel t good, cupped out a h an dful of i t . It wa s cl ea n . Sh e t h en dr an k fr om i t , and st a r t ed tr a cin g h er wa y ba ck t o h er h usba n d wi t h t h e l ea ves a n d fr ui t s. Wa t er ! Tha t , sh e coul d n ot h el p ca rr y t o h i m . But som e fr esh , col d veg et a bl e l ea ves a n d th e jui c e fr om t h e fr ui t s woul d c ool down h i s dr y es oph a gus. On r ea ch in g th e ca m psi t e, sh e pul l ed out t wo l on g thr ea ds fr om h er h ea dgea r, h an dpi cked t wo m oder a t e si z ed p e bbl es, sh e n ow m a de t wo pen dul um s an d h an ded on e t o h er h usba n d. Th ey

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set out on bu si n ess. Al l t h e fr ui t s wer e edi bl e a nd n eeded, a n d onl y fe w l ea ve s wer e di sca r ded, t h ey wer e m or e t han en ough. Aft er di nn er , th e y wa l ked d own t o t h e r i ver for a l i t tl e wa sh , dr an k fr om t h e wa t er an d l a ter r etr ea t ed t o t h eir ca m p.

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CHAPTER FOURTEEN
Change has rarel y eve r changed thi ngs . . . Perhaps i t i s not true that hi st ory rep eats i t sel f. I t i s onl y that m an rem ai ns the sam e.
- Wal t er S orr el l

“F el l ow Ci t i z en , ” th e Cha ir man of A foye je cr oa ked, t h en cl ea r ed h i s ph l egm -la den thr oa t . “Ci t i z en s. Th i s i s th e voi ce of Pa Bur rah a , th e A gba Afoye j e, t a l kin g on beh a l f of m y c ol l ea gue s. It i s wi t h a h ea vy h ea r t th at I com e

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be for e you a t hi s m om en t. We ar e qui t e a wa r e of your gr i eva n ces, per t a in in g t o t h e in di vi dua l’s wel l bei n g, a s t h e i l l ustr i ous son s a n d da ugh t er s of t h i s gr ea t ci t y. I a m th er efor e a ppea l i n g t o a l l of you t o be ca l m an d pa ti en t for our l ast deci si on . I a ssur e you, t h er efor e, th a t we a r e in ful l c on t r ol of t h i s si t ua t i on. By t h e en d of t h e da y, pr eci sel y a t 20. 00h , th e Ak owe A foye j e wi l l a ddr ess th e ci t y. T han k you a l l . ” By n ow t h e Al a a ri m a p, in Ba a l e’s offi c e i s r efl e ct i n g n ew a n d h ope ful a t m osph er e. E xce pt fe w se cur i t y a gen t s, wh o wer e gl a n cing occa si on a l l y a t t h e peopl e a s t h e y wer e ke epi ng a wa y t h ei r wea pon s. In n o t i m e, th e st r eet s we r e t ot a l l y de ser t ed. T h e dem on st r a t or s fl e w ba c k h om e so a s t o h ea r wh at th e Afoye j e woul d sa y. T h e voi ce of Ag ba A foye j e wa s n ot just a n or di nar y voi c e; i t wa s t h e voi c e of a n el der , a m oder a t or , an ea gl e’s c om m a n d th a t h a s t or ch ed wi t h s oot h in g effect s i n t h e i nn er -cor e of a ny h ar dh ear t ed per son . Th e voi c e br ough t a c om pl e t e a ssur an ce t o ea ch l i st en er. T hi s h ull a ba l oo wa s n ot a c om m on oc cur r en ce i n Al aar i . It occur r ed h er e a bout t h r ee c en t uries a go. S o, t h i s gen er a ti on wa s n ot u sed t o t h i s t ype of a n upr oar . Th e y wer e n ot br ough t up i n thi s wa y. T h e y on l y r ea d i t in book s. But s om et h in g i s sur e: ch an ges in an yt h i n g h a ve r ar el y e ver ch an ged an yt h i n g in m an, beca us e m a n r em a in s t h e sa m e. Never t h el ess t h i s upr oa r wa s a bl ow, a c oup d’ et a t , a t ra ged y t h a t r ocked t h e m i n d of t h e

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pe opl e of Al a ar i . Yes, a cc or din g t o De St a el , t ra ged y i s si m pl e but c om ed y i s c om pl ex, be ca use c om ed y t ouch es h um an l i fe i n fa r m or e pl a ces t han tra ged y. How i t a l l st a r t ed; wh a t m a de i t possi bl e; wh o st a r t ed it ? Wh o or ga n iz ed i t ? Nobod y c oul d t el l . It ca m e a n d wen t a wa y, ju st l i ke t h a t . Onl y i t obe yed t h e l a w of n a t ur e. Coul d i t be t r ue t h en , a ccor di n g t o t h e T h eor y of S oci a l En tr op y of Ma r kowi t z , th at upon occa si on s, i t i s n ecessa r y t o i n t r oduce t r ue r an domn ess i n t o our a ct i on s wh en opp osi n g a n exi t i n g or der ? But i t i s a l so t r ue th a t th e pr obl e m wi t h r an dom n ess, by de fi n i t i on , cann ot be pl ann ed. Hum a n em ot i on h owe ver i s a Ran dom Fa ct or . It m a y be sa i d t h er efor e t h at t o ser ve t he i nt er est s of on e’s own en docr i n e s yst em i s t o ser ve ch a os. *** “I wonda i f we un der st an d wet i n we di d t oda y. Al l of we p e opl e. ” An ol d m an , wh o wa s pu sh ing op en th e m ain door of h i s a par t m en t and r ushing t o en t er in si de, wa s di r ect i n g hi s spee ch t o hi s i m m edi a t e n ei gh bour a t th e en d of t h e pa ssa ge. T h e n ei gh bour , a youn g m an wh o l ook ed l i ke a h ara ssed h yen a , i nak i, ogumaagana, r a pa ci ous, pr eda t or y i n a ppea ran ce, di dn ’t r espon d t o t h e ol d m a n ’s r em ar k, but m a de a fa ce a n d sh owe d t h e ol d m a n th e fa n n ed -fi n ger s of h i s r i gh t palm

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sh owi n g a si gn of a bus e a n d sen din g th e ol d m a n ba ck t o h i s m ot h er , uuwan’k a, wh er ever sh e m a y be, t o go t o h el l . Aft er th i s dr a ma , h yen a -m an qui ckl y r ush ed i n t o h i s own a par t m en t an d sl a mm ed t h e door cl os e d. Wa a a m m p. Se ei n g th i s pr a ct i ca l ma dn ess ex er ci sed by h i s n ei gh bour , t h e ol d m a n jum ped i n t o h i s a pa rt m ent t oo. Aft er th e door wa s cl os ed beh i n d h im , h e ga z ed ba ck a t t h e door a ga i n an d m ur m ur ed. “ We t i n ha’pe n t o r’am?” He sh r ugged, an d th en wa l ked sl owl y t o h i s si t t in g r oom st i l l m ur m ur ing. “P e opl e’s h ea d n o c or r ect a ga in -o. I swea r . We t in ha’pe n t o r’am, mad pe rson. ” Wh en th e el der l y m a n r ea ch ed t h e n ear est sofa i n hi s r oom , h e st opp ed a n d r em oved h i s pock et l a ser gun, wh i ch h e h a d carr i ed t o t h e dem on st r a t i on fi el d. He pl a c ed i t on th e sofa , sh ook h i s h ea d an d h i ssed. Now st a n din g a nd l ooki n g a t th e gun , h e wa s deep i n i nn er di a l ogue a ski n g h i m sel f s om e quest i on s such a s: wh y, on ea r th, sh oul d peop l e be a l l owed t o ca r r y a wea p on , i f i t on l y m ea n s usi n g it t o ki l l or em ba rr a ss fel l ow h um an bei ngs a n d n ot t o de fen d on es el f a ga i n st even t ua l i t i es? De fen din g or pr ot ect i n g on esel f c oul d be subj ect ed t o t h e a r gum ent . Perh a ps, on e ca n de fen d on esel f a t t h e fa c e of l i fe-a n d-dea th and pr oba bl y n ot of l i fe-i n -dea t h. Li fe a n d dea t h a s wh en som e a r e bei n g con fr on t ed by on e or m or e usur per s, in or der t o gi ve out h i s bi r th ri gh t , or

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r ob h i m of h i s fr eed om , in th at ca se de fen se i s just i fi a bl e. A s t h e h i st or y h a d i t , carr yi n g a l i ght wea p on by ea ch a dul t ci t i z en i n Al aar i ha s bee n si gn ed in t o l a w, t o for est a l l wh a t h a d h a ppen ed som e t wo cen t ur i es a go, wh en th e th en jun tas, wh o t h ough t tha t bei n g in poss essi on of gun s and a rt i l l er i es wa s a n a dva n t a ge for t h em , poppi ng i nt o power a s usur per s (pol i t i ca l arm ed r obber s ), wh en e ver t h ey wa n t ed. It i s n ow t r ue t ha t since t h e in cept i on of on e-m a n -on e-gun in Al a ari (wh i ch wa s used t o be a den of z om bi e s) t h ings h a ve ch an ged. Th e usur per s kn owi n g th e ci t i z en s ca n fi gh t ba ck h a ve c owed i n t o t h ei r own den . So t h e sa yi n g of our el der s, tha t : pa lm tr ee l i ves i n t h e bush , ha s a t la st pr eva i l ed. B ut we shoul d re me mbe r, th e in t ern al dia l ogue c on t in ued, t hat ordi nary bull e t -gun was approv e d t o be c arri e d by e ac h adult by t he n. A bul l et -gun i f use d t o ki l l an i nnoce nt pe rson c an be e asil y i de nt i fi e d and t he use r prose c ut e d ac c ordi ngly . B ut , what of j uj u-gun? Th e ol d m an sh ook h i s h ea d. A n ol d Te c hnol ogy i n Al aari . He c oul d st i l l r em em ber vi vi dl y a s i f i t wa s just ye st er da y, h i s fa t h er a pr ofes s or of M ose s ol og y a t t h e Al aa ri Un i ver si t y 002, in ven t ed a pen -gun or wh a t th e i gn or an t on es t a gged ‘juju -gun ’. Th i s i s beca us e a pen -gun r equir es fe w c om m a n ding wor ds, som e ja r gon s pr on oun ced t o r ea ct i va t e t h e per m an ent ch em i ca l com poun d, i n si de a ca se, wh i ch sen ds th e t erri bl e, dea dl y l a ser ra ys t o i t s dest i n a t i on. But t h e quest i on i s: Wh y a r e we st i l l

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ca rr yi n g t h ese t h i n gs? We h a ve r ea l i z ed t h e m a in obje ct i ve for wh i ch it wa s m a de. P erh a ps, on e sh oul d n ot over r ul e a Ga la ct i c Wa r, wh i ch may n ot be ea si l y won by r el yi n g on l y on our st an dby a rm y, i f c on fr on t ed. So, h er e l i es th e i dea . ” T h e ol d m a n shr ugged a n d wa l ked a wa y t o h i s ba t hr oom . *** “I t h in k I’ve t ol d you, we ju st h a ve t o fi n d our wa y out of t h i s pl a ce a s s oon a s pos si bl e. Besi de s, we m ust get t o our da ugh t er a s fa st a s we c oul d, ” Wee we sa i d. Non e of t h em t a l ked a ga i n for m in ut es. Wobbi a br ok e t h e si l en ce a n d sa i d. “Oh , I’ve m ess ed up your l i fe W e e we, for gi ve m e. I kn ow I’ ve fa i l ed i n m y en dea vour . I’ve di sa pp oi n t ed you a n d our da ught er . I thin k by n ow you m i ght h ave di sc over ed s om et h i n g a bout t h e d ea t h of J e ej e , ” h e l ooked d own a t t h e gr oun d for fe w s ec on ds. “Y es, I ki l l ed h er . ” He st a r t ed t o s ob a n d fi n a lly bl e w up i n a l oud cr y. He wept for g ood si x m i n ut es. T h en, th e cr y subsi ded. He t h en r ea ch ed i n hi s pocket a n d t ook out a l ar ge h an dker ch i ef t o m op h i s e yes. We e we, wh o wa s wa t ch i n g h er h usba n d in pi t y, m oved cl os er t o h i m . Sh e t h en sa t a t hi s si de, dr ew h i s h ea d an d pla ced i t deep er i n h er ch est . Sh e fel t t h e sa t i sfa ct i on of c ol dn es s of h i s bod y. Sh e st r oke W obbi a ’s h ea d l i ke a spoi l t ch i ld.

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E xper i en cin g a ph ysi ca l r ea rr an gem en t of h er E E G, Wee we’s br a in s a l ph a par t i cl es, for m ing i nt o a st ra i gh t l in e. Th e par t i cl es wer e m a de to focus i n for m in g h er i ma ge, wh i ch wa s n ow st a n din g a bove t h em , soot h i n g an d r ea ssur ing t h em . Sh a kin g h er h ea d l i gh t l y, sh e ca m e ba ck t o h er ph ysi ca l sel f. Sh e l ook ed down a t h er h usba nd wh o wa s n ow ca l m an d alr ea d y sl e epi n g. Aft er som e s e c on ds, We e we dr opped d own h er h ea d an d sl ept off i n th at posi t i on . *** It t ook Ma da m Koffor a n an d Abbo l es s t h an t en m in ut es, fr om Koffo’ s a pa r tm en t, t o l oca t e t h e sl eepi n g c oupl e. Bot h of t h em woke up a t t h e soun d of a t h ud by t h e t wo l a n din g fl yer s. “I t h in k you sh oul d l ea ve n ow. Y ou h a ve be en exi l ed fr om Al a a r i t own . Th i s ha s been a nn oun ced by t h e A foye j e ye st er da y n i ght . I h op e yo u r em em ber a l l t h e c on di t i on s a ssoci a t ed wi t h t h eir a ct i on s. An d I a m sur e you’l l t a ke i t a s i t i s?” Ma da m Koffo a sked, l ooki n g dir ect l y a t Wobbi a . T h e for m er Ba a l e of Al a a r i n odded. “S o I m ust l ea ve. Oh dea r ! Be for e I for get , ” sh e fum bl ed i n t o h er r ea r pocket , br ough t out a sm a l l obj e ct h an ded i t t o We e we. We e we t ook i t , cl osed h er e ye s, op en ed i t , cl os ed h er han d t i gh tly a t th e obj ect , spr ea d h er h an ds an d h ugged Ma dam Koffo. It wa s a pr ot ot yp e of h er ba t t er ed gol de n

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r in g, wh i ch ha d be en si n ce di s ca r ded! Ma da m Koffo wr a pped h er h an ds ar oun d Wee we. T h ey r em a i n ed gl ued t oget h er , h uggin g, for m in ut es. La t er , Wee we r el ea s ed K offo a n d wa l ked sl owl y t o A bbo, wh o wa s st a n din g n ot fa r a wa y fr om Ma da m Koffo. Sh e st r et ch ed h er h an d, st oppi ng h er m ot h er fr om st eppi n g fur th er an d sh owi n g th e gol den h ea d of Shango, g od of fi r e, bl owi n g out FIRE . St i l l str et ch in g h er han ds, sh e sa w a bi g wh i t e sl a t e on t h e ch est of h er da ugh t er wi t h th e wr i t t en wor ds: I ha ve c om e t o br i n g fir e How I wi sh i t wer e a lr ea d y k i n dl ed I br in g n ot hin g but di vi si on Fa t h er a ga in st son Son a ga in st fa th er Da ugh t er a ga in st . . . We e we cl os ed h er e ye s, t ook t wo st ep s ba ck wa r d a n d st opped for a fe w se c on ds, t h en t ook a n ot h er thr ee st eps si de wa ys a s i f sh e wa s un der h a ll uci na t i on of a kin d or un der h ypn ot i sm . Abbo sa i d. “Y es m a m a , I th in k I sh oul d l et you a n d da ddy go on your e ver l a st in g jour n ey n ow. I wi l l r em a in wi t h m a da m Koffo t i l l . . . We e we, n ow i n a ful l con sci ousn es s, ga z ed at h er da ugh t er ’s br i de. Sh e wa n t ed t o m ove a nd t ouch a n d h ol d h er da ugh t er in h er han ds a ga in.

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No. Sh e c oul d n ot d o i t . T h en Abbo wa l ke d sl owl y t owa r ds h er fa th er, sm il in g. “An d I for gi ve you da d. ” Sh e t urn ed ba ck fr om h er h usba n d wh i l e h e wa s st i l l n oddi n g h i s h ea d. No m or e a fr a i d of A bbo. As A bbo wa s wa l ki n g t o j oi n Ma da m Koffo, We e we r an t o h er da ugh t er an d h ugged her t i gh t l y, t ea r s r unn in g down h er ch eek, wet t i ng Abbo’ s dr ess. St i l l cr yi n g a s sh e wa ved t o t h e t wo fl yer s wh o wer e n ow h ea di n g t owa r ds Al a ar i , th e Gol de n Ci t y. T h e coupl e l a t er t urn ed an d fa ced t h e Sout h . Ch an ge h a s r ar el y e ver ch an ged t hin gs but t h e m an r em ain s th e sa m e.

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T h e for ce beh i n d h um an pr ogr ess i s t h e i dea , wh i ch l ed t o t ech n ol og y. Id ea s a r e ch ea p, e ve n cr a z y on es. It s eem s t h er e i s n o su ch t hin g a s an or i gi na l i dea . As cl a i m ed by R. A La ffer t y, a l l i dea s fl oa t a r oun d a s a kin d of ps ych i c pu bl i c pr oper t y, ju st a s t h e char ged a ir car in g sounds (GSM) a n d l i gh t ar e fl oa t i n g un t i l on e fi n a lly set t l es on you. T h i s m a y s oun d m yst i ca l , but we kn ow i t i s th e tr uth . Ac c or din g t o P oh l , m ost pr obl em s h a ve gr am ma t i ca l sol ut i on s. An d beca us e of a l i m i t ed t el epa t h i c l in ka ge, th a t a l l ows ea ch per son ’s ski l l t o be c om e e ver ybod y’ s a s a n i m port an t i dea , th er e wa s t h i s n ot i on of t r an spor t in g peopl e fr om t hi s E ar th t o ot h er wor l ds wh i ch or i gin a t ed in sci ence fi ct i on s om e t h ousa n ds of yea r s a g o un t i l som e bod y a ct ed i t out . On ce we h a ve t h e sci en t i fi c m od el , we ca n go a h ea d, put th e n eces sa r y m a t er i al s a r oun d th e m odel a n d i t bec om es r ea l . T hi s i s n ot t o sa y t h a t sci en ce fi ct i on n ovel s a r e books wh er e a n ybod y ca n l ea rn sci en ce. An y fi ct i on n ovel i s i n busi n ess of m a i nt a in in g r ea l ity or even i l l usi on . Th i s i s n ot a l so t o sa y on e ca nn ot l ook de epl y a t s om e sugg est i on s, t r y a nd m a ke th em wor k. In som e ca s es, a n esca pe fr om a n i mm ed i a t e pr essur e - e c on om y a n d cr i si s - pr ovi d ed by m yt h fa n t a sy or ot h er fi ct i on s i s a n esca pe t o a

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se c on dar y or a n ot h er wor l d, an d we ca n see be yon d our cr i si s t o di sc over t h e dea r est fr esh n ess deep d own t hin gs. In a wa y t h e A fr i ca n s l a ck t en a ci t y a n d t h ey a r e t oo m uch i n a h urr y for wh a t on l y t h e y we r e br ough t -up t o wor sh i p – ma t er ia l s. Wh er e di d t h e c oupl e, W ee we a n d Wobbi a , g o fr om h er e? We wi l l l ea rn m or e in th e II n d Gen esi s

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A A Adedeji
TH E AUTH O R

The Ebullition in Alaari

A A Adedeji, a Civil Engineer and Science Fic tio n writer, lectures in th e U niversity o f Ilorin , Nigeria . His p hilosophy/a ttitude : You are virtu oso, a vir tuoso o f your own pain. To ha te is to halt, if you love you live. Stop cursing the darkness, jus t light a candle

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A A Adedeji

THE EBULLITION IN ALAARI

The Ebullition in Alaari

…banishing his fear. As instructed by Dr Elegrri, he finally opened his eye s to strike the pot. He wanted to faint, but thanks to the earlier warning by the doctor, he would have fled the scene Eborra or no Eborra. He was shivering again. Without a second thought he struck the image of her only daughter. Jeeje.

“You and I are the s ile nt millions , y ou are all in a ll. The masses , the oppressed, the dump assemblage , the tox in waste at this t ime of useful technology, the t imid rank a nd f ile , t he lower nationa lists, huma nity in aggre gate, and the scum of the soc iety. Fight! Fight! Fight for your freedom and ca ll for me to lead you to an unconditiona l free dom,” he added ra ising up his hands. “Bui ld a house, Yes, a house,” The Baale continued, “that will be auto-detective by itself, twenty to twenty-fou r hou rs before the earthquake cou ld occu r. I have read lat ely that it is better to p revent earthquakes altogether (by cau sing them) than p redi cting them. This makes sense to me anyway. But fi rst build a hou se.
Cou l d i t b e t r u e t h e n, a cc or d i n g t o t h e Th e or y of S oc i a l En t r op y of M a r ko wi t z, t h a t u p on oc c a s i on s , i t i s n e c e s s a r y t o i nt r od u c e t r u e r a n d omn e s s i nt o ou r a c t i on s wh e n op p os i n g a n e x i ti n g or d e r ? B ut it i s al s o t r u e t h a t t h e p r ob l e m wi t h r a n d omn e s s , b y d e fi n it i on , c a n n ot b e p l a n n e d . H u ma n e mot i on203we ve r i s a Ra n d om F a ct or . ho

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