The Game: a short story.

They had been playing the traditional game of Ayo under the sycamore tree across my lodge for as long as I could remember.

Every morning, am roused by the grumblings of a lad whose duty it was to clean the surroundings of the compound and underneath the tree.

When going to the village school, they greeted me amidst banter and gossip about my tribe and my mission in their village.

“Oga Kopa, go well!” some would wish me on my way out

“Oga Kopa, Hungry dey o. Make dem give us something for store?” Others patronize me when I return.

I am a corps member serving as a teacher in a local community in Delta State. I had lived in peace with the petulant people of this community by knowing my bounds and showing them theirs.

Legend has it that most madmen in the community were inflicted with the disease from their sojourn in my native land. But, they never thought to harm me as a result of this; they are a town notorious for having at least a madman in each family, because in most cases my people were justified.

Today, I am going to part take in their game and learn one or two things from their tribe. I am no novice at the game, a fact none in the gang knows which makes them to consistently lure me to participate. Gambling is a social phenomenon here, of course.

After sixteen rounds, I take my winnings and give it to Mudiagha, a son of one of the most useless lot of the gang. I make to leave but am hail down by praises; the village champion is around to avenge them of the wrongs. All they want is a slice of the government allowance I earn.

He comes to seat in front of me, smiling toothily. I smile too. He offers two 25-litres keg of strong palm-wine and the rule of the game changes. We are to take a cup at every touch of the seeds. I laugh, at such petty gimmick to make tipsy and lose the game, if only they knew my background.

To bring fun to the game, for every cup I take, I point it to an individual saying

“It is you that drank this” to which everyone hurls laughter my way

This continues until the fourth round with the village champion and he could hardly lift a finger for he was grossly drunk, he falls and snores away.

I look around in despair; the spectators are all flung in different directions with heavy snoring making a symphony of orchestra in the neighborhood. I stand and stroll to my lodge feeling the strains of twenty victories in my veins.

Don’t be fooled!

Don’t be fooled by the veils of laughter and hides of hugs; life itself is not worth the sentiment. All we see are a shadow of what ought to be; a fleeting flash in a pan, our moments are.
Don’t be mocked by the crying hues of the market, nor carried away by the stern looks on the labourers’ face. That too, will not wipe away; but a fate shares the Plebian and the Patrician. The question is always about when and how.
You may, content your will in this simple tale: living is a dossier of births and deaths. To some we record many, others just a handful of them. But, of our ultimate end, who shall render the dirge or the eulogy is left to chance as a dice.