Thursday, 28 February 2013



The time is 6pm, in a worn out block of flats housing various struggling business offices in the Ikeja district of Lagos. It’s New Years Eve and everyone seemed to be rounding up the day’s work and preparing for various mid-night church services that would usher in the New Year. Mamman Mambilla was in his one room office apartment, a large bottle of Alomo Bitters drink on his table and a pack of London menthol cigarettes, with just two sticks left. “Oh, how depressing,” Mamman said to himself as he sipped his drink and struggled to light his cigarette.

“I, Mamman Mambilla, the only son of a well decorated Nigerian State security officer, sitting here in this wasted space I call my office, waiting for my first client after over two years of venturing out on my own. Lord, what was I thinking?”

Mamman continued with his lamentations until he heard a knock on his door, he quickly tucked his drink into the table drawer and put off the cigarette.
“Wait, I’m coming,” Mamman brought out a can spray and began spraying the entire room until he noticed the scent was different as he was gazed at the can, “Oh shit, insecticide? Where did I keep the airfreshner?”

The knock continued, this time with a more aggressive tone, “I’m coming,” Mamman yelled as he made for the door with different thoughts going through his mind, “who could this be? My first client? , my ex-girlfriend? , the landlord?” as he opened the door, he saw his worst nightmare.

“Daddy? What are you doing here, in my office on New Year’s Eve? Don’t you have a retirement party to attend later this evening? Shouldn’t you be –“
“Enough with the blabbering questions young man,” said Joe Mambilla as he walks into his son’s office looking round the entire place, shaking his head in disappointment.  “Please don’t start, dad,” said Mamman, “it’s New Years Eve and I’d rather hear positive stuff today, not your usual bashing, ok?”  Mamman continued, “But seriously, your retirement party is a couple of hours away, why are you here? Since when did you have time for your ‘unworthy’ son?”

Joe Mambilla dragged himself a seat and sat down facing his son Mamman who paced about the room. “Were you not planning to attend my retirement party?” Joe asked sarcastically.
“You didn’t invite me sir, I heard it over the news’, Mamman said. 
Joe cleaned off some dust off his sleeves suggesting that his seat was dirty but he still sat on it. “You are my only surviving next of kin, my only child yet you refuse to identify with me, despite all I’ve done for you?”
“Oh dad, please not again,” Mamman became agitated, scratching his head as he continued receiving his fathers’ admonition.

Now Joe got up from his seat as he continued scolding his thirty four year old son, “I will not keep quiet and watch you fade into oblivion. I spent thirty five years in the secret service working my life away just to provide for you and your mother, may God bless her soul. Ever since her death, I  pampered you, gave you everything you needed but all you were interest in was reading action comics, watching James bond movies, playing video games and chasing after women. Fine, I figured that since you were the adventurous type, the military would be your best bet, I enrolled you with the Nigerian defense academy but you dropped out and I didn’t even get to know until several years after. Now you’ve taken your perverted passion to a ridiculous extreme, you now call yourself a professional private detective? IDIOT!” 

Joe burst out into a sadistic laughter as he mocked his son’s career path, “Now tell me Mamman, how many clients have you had since you started your so called Msquare detective agency? Talk now, how many? This is NIGERIA young man, if people here need such services, they’ll rather hire a witch doctor to solve their mystery cases, not a confused young lad like you. This place looks like shit; YOU look like shit, and what’s that smell? You seem to be smoking some cheap cigarettes, my goodness, or are you smoking mosquito coils?”

Mamman sat and looked straight at his father, “Daddy, have you finished? You really sound like a broken record and as usual I have nothing to say to you. I have always wanted to be a Detective-” Joe cuts in, “but I tried to get you a job at the Nigeria Defense and Security Service yet you refused.” Mamman leaned back on his seat as if trying to break the back of the chair, “Ohooo, daddy, there’s no way I would have accepted a job at the NDSS, I mean, you are a living legend over there, knowing I’m your son, everyone would have had unrealistic expectations from me, it would have been terrible besides I prefer being on my own.”

Joe stared at Mamman for about ten seconds, saying nothing until finally breaking his own silence, “My son, you are a hopeless case. Look, will I see you tonight at my retirement dinner party? After all, it’s taking place here in Lagos so you have no reason not to be there.”  

Mamman, replying in a sulky voice, “I’ll try to be there Dad, but please do not expect me, if you see me, fine, if you don’t, well....”

(Thanks A-Maz)

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