Tales By Moonlight

TALES BY MOONLIGHT: A true-life story about a night fright showed me who was boss...

Gbam! Gbam!! Gbam!!! Ha!! The enemy was at the door. "Oga open your door!!" A voice yelled out. I cringed. Their voices were low outside but dangerously menacing. Their footsteps outside my window sounded like my grandmother crunching the bones of her favorite fried chicken with her wobbly dentition, soft and scrunched. The first feeling was one of intense fright. (You sef you no go fear? Mtchhheeww). Anyway, I asked myself, was I at death's door at last? I still lay flat on the ground behind the sofa in my bedroom with my wife trembling like a leaf and speaking in tongues with what sounded suspiciously like the native Himalayan language. (But I couldn't be too sure). Sometimes she swears at me in Indian, and aside from brief stints with zee world and Bollywood movies on our TV set, she hasn't ever been to India. (Yeah, I married a weirdo. Go figure).

Anyway, I digress... The fright suddenly began to pass and calm overcame me and I began to relieve the best moments of my life. I let them unfold before my inner eye like an endless panoramic display. I thought firstly of my mumbling wife beside me, now whispering something like ma-ke-la-ba-so-ka-mu-za over and over again. I made a mental note to check her for brain shock if we ever got through the ordeal. I thought of my lovely parents, my relatives, and friends, especially those owing me money. I thought of the things I would have liked to do that I could not do now, one of such is to kiss Miss Shaffy Bello, one of Nigeria's leading actresses and my lifetime crush. I thought of my moments of triumph(like when Tacha was evicted from the Big Brother House for bad behavior), of anger (like when Yakubu Ayegbeni missed that goal for Nigeria in the 2010 world cup), and of defeat like again not getting to kiss Miss Shaffy Bello. Sigh. Things that had seemed so important now looked very childish and inconsequential aside from the kiss of course. I thought of people who I had hurt but to whom I had no time to make up. How I wished mankind had developed telepathy, I would have now made up to them, or rather some of them.

My mechanic excluded though, who I slapped for fixing my fake brake pads. (See this man sha!! ) The man actually cried. I thought about the reaction the morning after. How would they say I died? Some potent sexual performance-enhancing drug may be blamed by my neighbors judging from the nightly racket which comes from my room window. I had deliberately tried to refrain from thinking too deeply of my wife initially, to keep a clear head. Now I thought of her. I visualized her face, her mannerisms, her tenderness, her madness, I felt sad. Now that these marauders were at my door, how would death come? By bullet, I supposed. Or would they cut off my head? These criminals around these parts were always known to be extra brutal. I unconsciously rubbed my neck. I prayed death would be fast and clean. I tried to imagine what the sensation would be like (but I kept thinking of Shaffy Bello), but it was futile, I gave it up. Would we be killed in our room, or marched off execution-style to somewhere outside the premises? If so, do I try to change my clothes? No use appearing in the newspapers in my boxers.

Oh lord!! What am I thinking? Either way, I tried rehearsing how I would behave under either circumstance. There was an even louder knock, and a flower vase that was propped up against the wall fell and shattered with a deafening crash. Were they in? God were they inside? I looked at my wife. Would I ever see her again? It would be a good idea, then, to say farewell. How? I tapped her. She didn't respond. I tapped her again. Still no response. Unbelievably the woman had slept off! Incredible! I nudged her very hard, and in her fright-induced sleep state, she mumbled yet more incoherent phrases in yet another bizarre language. I let her be. To thy tents oh Israel. Finally, I thought I was ready. The luminous dials of my wristwatch said 2:25 am (yes I wear my watch to sleep, it's Rolex... mind your business). Suddenly, there was no sound nor sign of the intruders. Had they been frightened away by the hideously ugly lifesize teddy bear my wife kept in the sitting room or had they assumed the house uninhabited and left? Or were they lying in wait somewhere close by?

A thought occurred to me. I crawled on my tummy guerrilla-style to the bed nearest to the window and looked out. I saw nothing. I did a purely pointless half-moon Summersault onto the bed to get better elevation, and I winced as my yam tuber-looking legs struck the bedpost. I stuck my head out again. Immediately, a flashlight came on, and the beam pointed directly at my face. I died, resurrected, died again, resurrected again, and surely had involuntary bowel movements there and then. The light went off, and a hoarse voice said from the shadows "Oga barrister we don dey knock since. Na we be vigilante. Abeg come lock your car. Your door dey open." Twenty minutes later, they had left, the car was locked, my boxers and sheets were changed thanks to ... (well you know ), and I gazed down at my wife still sleeping soundly on the floor behind the sofa, and I thought to myself should I wake her or cover her up? Needless to say, my wife woke up with a cold.

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