My last desire on earth is to write a befitting suicide note. All my life I have called myself a writer but I have never written anything worth sharing. Everything I laid my hands on got cursed; my cursed pen could only fetch me rejection slips from every notable print houses on earth.But this suicide note will be different. I would write it with my blood. No one will reject it. I won’t be here anyway.

Dear Rosa, I begin. No, I won’t address this to my wife; she isn’t dear anyway. I will address my suicide note to the general public. To whom it may concern.

To Whom It May Concern, by the time you read this note I am gone, out of this miserable world. I am gone to take my place in paradise. This earth is hell but shame, see how much you toil and suffer just to remain on it to toil and suffer. If you are wise you will end it like I am ending it now. But not everyone has my bright insight.

Everything I owe now belongs to Rosa and her kids. I bet none of those kids are mine. I met Rosa in a beer parlour and she gave birth to little bottles of beer. Whenever I left town, she would take one bottle to our bedroom. Now she wants me to believe that her four bastards are mine. Haha, I am no fool. I didn’t care for kids because I never wanted to bring children into this world to suffer. But I wouldn’t want to be called an impotent, infertile man so I kept my mouth shut and let Rosa parade her bastards as my kids.

I leave everything to Rosa and the kids. Generous me.Thoughtful me. As the kid-bastards are not of age, I leave everything under your care, Rosa. You have inherited this apartment; all you need do is pay the rent which is four months overdue. You can also have the car; it is presently parked in Abu’s Mechanic’s garage; I owe him thirty-five thousand naira for the last repair on the car, a chicken change which you will soon settle and reclaim the car. You will also inherit my business. And my debts. I owe Diamond Bank six million naira and Guaranty Trust 4.5 million. The staff hasn’t been paid for eight months. You settle them. You may have to retrench and get more loans. I don’t mean to make suggestions, and you have always been the wiser spouse. I leave everything to your discretion.

Let the Salvation Army have my clothes. They are not exactly new, five years old at newest. But they can’t complain; beggars have no choice. Wait, before the SA comes, the kids should check if there is anything they could keep from my wardrobe. Or, why don’t they just stay out of my wardrobe; all their lifetime they have been stealing money in my wardrobe, they may as well leave the clothes for the SA. I don’t want my children—foster children, bastards!—scrambling with beggars for my things. After all, they already have my surname. What else do they need?

I donate my books to the Township Library. The librarian will sell them and the ones he leaves will be stolen by urchins who will sell them to the women who will use them to tie akara. No one will ever read them. But let them go to the library. As for my manuscripts, burn them. Rosa, burn everything.I had invested so much time and resources into them, but as no one is interested in modern fiction, let it go as burnt offering unto the lord.

As for my laptop, anyone can keep it, anyone who knows the password that is. Let it be my little puzzle. I have spent so much educating kids I didn’t father; let them use their brain for once. If no one can decipher the password let the computer remain on my desk, let it remind you people of me. As for my shaving kits, bury them with me. If the next world isn’t as cool as I think, I cut my throat.

Pastor Toby, I am sorry about the money I pledged the Harvest Committee. I couldn’t pay it. But it wasn’t my fault, I didn’t ask you to make me Chairman of the Occasion. I pledged what I pledged to cover my shame. I never intended to redeem it. If I had money I would put it in my business not give it to you pastor so you could perform pilgrimage to Jerusalem, send your children to expensive private universities and buy jewellery for your wife. Greedy man. You drive four cars and my one car is quartered in the mechanic garage for months and you expect me to give you one million. (smiles). You too want to buy a jet, I see. No hard feelings, man but it is God I am owing not you; but if you wish you may sue me on His behalf. I won’t be here when you do.

Chief Barnabas, I am sorry you lost the money you invested in my company. It wasn’t my fault that business went bad when you came. It is not my fault that you carry bad luck with you. Were you not a politician? What are you doing in business? You contested for governor, you lost in the primary; you went to a mushroom party to contest the general election and scored 276 votes—out of three million votes cast. You contested for senator, you were clobbered; you contested for House of Reps, you were raped. Then you tried the Chairmanship of your political party and got humiliated. Chief the Honourable, it’s like bad luck runs in your family. I know that even if you contest the office of President-General of your village progressive union you will lose. Why then did you expect to win in my company? Two million naira is nothing compared to the tens of million you lost printing monkey posters, campaigning for stupid offices. But did you really lose everything? I know all you were doing with my secretary behind my back. I hope she was enough compensation for the money you lost—you know, we offered diverse services. Thanks for your patronage. Come again.

Joshua my best friend. A friend indeed. Thanks for saving my marriage. When I learnt of Rosa’s home and away games, I came to you and you introduced me to student-prostitution. A very expensive gamble. These amateur whores have a hand or two in the fall of my business empire. Joe, you saved my marriage and destroyed my business. But I have one advice for you, play safe. You say you hate condoms, and that the girls are clean. Haha, my brother, it’s raining heavily, better wear raincoat. I won’t like Uju your wife to catch a cold from you. And continue to smoke, never stop until cancer catches up with you, idiot.

One more thing, Joe. I want you to help Rosa give me a decent burial. You were my best man in my wedding, be my last man in my funeral. Bury me in the sitting room of my unfinished building in my hometown. I know I wasn’t a popular chap while I was alive but you will get enough mourners if you cook enough rice and share enough liquor. Joe, I want twenty-one gun salutation. Real guns please; I don’t want any hunter near my burial ground. I am a civilised man. I am a Ph.D holder for God’s sake. Give me a doctoral funeral.

It’s like I have few words for my father. Hey Old Paddy, are you still stuffing dirt into your nostrils? That may be overlooked but how is it that at seventy-three you have taken a bride, a girl old enough to be your granddaughter. I thought you loved mama. You guys were married for forty-six years and less than two years after her demise you remarried. At seventy-three! I heard your bride is pregnant, not your child of course. But traditionally, as you paid her dowry, she is carrying your baby. You have already birth seven children—and as if this basketball team isn’t enough you want to raise a football team, at your age; you have to bring a whore home for able-bodied jobless men to impregnate. Your children are not faring badly; they send you money regularly, but rather than buy food and drugs—and snuff—you want to disgrace us by raising bastards. Like me. Like son, like father. You will say I haven’t sent you one naira in nine years, but I am giving you a million naira advice, old man, drive that girl away and die like a gentle old man. But you are a stubborn man. The palm-wine you tapped for thirty-three years must have entered your head, you can’t see reason. I am gone papa, at least let it be on record that I warned you.

To my brothers and sisters, goodbye. If not that mama is a good Christian I would have said you people are not my blood (shrugs). We are blood it seems but we are no friends. You guys are too selfish, conceited, petty and jealous to be my friends. It was always competition, competition, competition; whenever we met you checked to see who wore the most expensive clothes, who drove the biggest car. I never had time for your stupid comparisons. That is why Edwin will be my only friend among you people; he saw the folly in you early and fled the country. He has been in the US or Canada for fifteen years, far from your ungodly presence. It’s rumoured that he is in jail but what does it matter, as long as he is far from evil.

I will also take myself away from your expensive rags. But unlike Edwin, I will leave this woeful world entirely. I know my funeral will provide you all with the opportunity to gather and compete, and check whose children are in better universities, whose business exploits public pockets more. I know you will say I took the coward’s way out. Martin will say that if no one did. Martin the fake intellectual. Twenty-three years in the university and he can’t even manage a doctorate degree. He will sit in a dreary office, glasses on his nose, pretending to read, but really waiting for his student-girlfriends. Let my burial provide you all with the opportunity to size up your ego. I don’t care, but do remember that I am the most educated of the family.

I can go on and on, but my suicide note is a short story, I wish it were a novel. I am going to miss this wide, vain world. And I know a lot of people will miss me. I am not a bad person really; circumstances might have hardened me but I am conscientious. I give alms to genuine beggars and I once visited a motherless babies’ homes. I love my family and I leave them all I have. All I ask for is that I be given a decent burial and a little obituary announcement on the radio. He died after a brief thoughtless—or cowardice? No, he died after a brief powerful insight. Bury me well. Rosa, this is the only thing I ask. Joe will help you. But I think I left enough wealth to bury me.

One last thing: for those I forgot to insult, please forgive me. I will make it up to you in the next world.

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