How to Kill a Short Story


“gold crop
sink[s] ungathered.”
Watermaid ii – Christopher Okigbo

The unconscious speaks to you, that stuff most of you writers call inspiration. It speaks clearly in a subtle voice. What makes it so important is that it gives you an idea for a dope-ass story. It even goes further to give you like three dope-ass opening paragraphs. But there is a problem. You are in a place where you cannot write, (you hardly take a book and pen with you here, just your phone) you cannot also type on your phone, your church is yet to imbibe such techie culture. Your church even has carefully appointed stone-cold faced ushers (the church’s version of club bouncers, the only difference being that these ones stay inside) who kill that thought of typing off your mind.

But it would be unfair, if not unethical, to kill off this dope-ass story. So you recite the paragraphs, in your mind, again and again and again. Soon you stop, probably because the pastor is preaching about something you like, maybe something about immorality, like fornication or adultery sliced open into spicy pieces; or a near-miss-from-death story; or a rags-to-riches story, a touching story about a poor man becoming super rich and stuffs like that. The rags-to-riches story, or whatever the pastor is preaching about, inspires you so much that you forget about the prodding unconscious. ‘I will write about it as soon as I get home’, you tell yourself.

You come out of church spiritually refreshed and you type across all the social media you belong to, ‘service wz xo on point!!!’ together with the right smileys, a show-off picture and appropriate hashtag(s) where necessary.

On getting home, after moving immutable hills of pounded yam and drying up stagnant rivers of egusi, along with its aquatic life, sleep saunters towards you on a red carpet invitation. You try to recite those three paragraphs, but you were only able to recite two, the third one now hazy. ‘When I wake up, I will type the story,’ you say.

Before sleeping you make a decision to briefly reply pings and comments. Then that girl, you have been chyking for a while now on bbm, pings you: ‘hi. nice dp. i love’. (Which guy would sleep after receiving such?) After hours of extensive social media participation, during which you got to know more about her, during which you engaged in fiery political arguments about the upcoming elections on twitter, you finally switch off your phone and went to bed when a curious follower asked, ‘So why was service so on point?’ By then the contents of the day’s sermon had been long expunged from your memory.

*

Your laptop displays a blank white screen, except for ‘A Short Story’ typed in bold. The cursor blinks, winks, teasing your sudden amnesia. It is night time when all is serene and quiet, except for the occasional olode’s whistle, best time for writing they say. For the past two hours you have been trying to remember those three dope-ass opening paragraphs, but nothing comes, only the idea of the story remains, and without those three paragraphs you cannot execute the story. You have been pleading with the unconscious but s/he is far gone, somewhere at the lowest bottom of your mind fast asleep.

In order not to waste this precious night, you type ‘How to Kill’ in front of the ‘a Short Story,’ all in bold…

8 comments

  1. tomi Fatokun · August 2, 2014

    This is wonderful Gbolahan.

  2. highwaylaw2013 · August 2, 2014

    Hehehehe… I can relate. Splendid.

  3. teebabz · August 2, 2014

    That’s a recurrent feature of my life spelt out in black and white right there. I totally can relate.

    • badmusace · August 2, 2014

      Haha! Yeah. Remember your ‘soldier story’?

      • teebabz · August 2, 2014

        LOOL. You remembered! I’m putting it up asap. Or what I remember of the incident anyway.

      • badmusace · August 2, 2014

        Lol Ok man

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