ABSOLUTE TRUTH

This is an adoption and adaptation of R.K Narayan’s ‘Like the Sun’, and it is dedicated to my Supermost Reader Yemee whose birthday is today; Hard Voices wish you a great year ahead.

We welcome everyone else to an amazing new year. Let’s have fun here and hereafter.

I woke up with a nagging fear inside the locker of my left chest. I didn’t have a nightmare, I had slept peaceful as a forty year old man could sleep; yet that cold pin in my heart continued to pierce me. There was no board meeting today and the MD hadn’t summoned me, why the fear? I didn’t spend the whole morning pondering over an orphan fear.I made for the bathroom.

My wife was in the kitchen singing, and her rough voice drifted into the bathroom and I smiled. I stopped mid-smile. Today was the day I set aside to tell absolute truth. When I set this day out, five month ago I didn’t know today would ever come, this soon even. This world is a cushion of euphemism as raw truth hurts, so men in order to navigate this planet without fistfights have resolved to un-blemish truth, to remove the thorns in it and serve it with mercy. You visit your mother-in-law and she serves you black amala that glues on your teeth and lips, with vegetable soup that demoralises your appetite. While nursing your ordeal she comes into the dining and asks, ‘Hope you like my food?’ No bishop worthy of his sceptre would say the truth.

So in a moment of enlightened recklessness, I had chosen today as the Absolute Truth Day, the day I would damn the consequence and tell the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth. So help me God. But it wouldn’t be an easy walk, the fear in my heart so real I could almost smell it, attested to that. ‘Honey, hurry up so you won’t be late,’ my wife called. I hurried on with my bath.

I sat on the dining and my wife settled opposite me. ‘The kids,’ she said, ‘I miss them so much.’ I hid a grimace. Those children were little demons, there was never a moment of peace when they were around; it was a major relief when my sister’s brother and his wife took them to spend some days with them. My brother-in-law already had four kids, now adding my two young goats to them would turn his house into a crazy circus. I pitied the poor man.

‘Don’t you miss the kids?’ my wife was asking. I nearly dropped the cup of steaming tea in my hand. I grunted, better to say nothing than lie. My wife eyed me. ‘You don’t miss your children?’ I sighed. ‘Hell, no, I don’t miss them one bit; I wish they could stay with their uncle for ten years.’

My wife’s lips parted with shock. ‘Oh no, oh no.’ She rose to her feet and ran into the bedroom, crying. The bread in my mouth turned into a bile. My wife would never forgive me and I hadn’t even spent an hour of this Truth day. I thought of staying home for the rest of the day, but I wouldn’t miss work without grave cause. The Personnel Manager was retiring at the end of the year and I had two eyes on his job. Absenteeism wouldn’t help my course. Moreover the whole exercise would be defeated if I abstained from associating with people. And with my wife already thus offended I daren’t think of staying home.

There was a newspaper stand opposite my apartment. A mild crowd always converged around the table, arguing politics, cursing and abusing each other. Today the crowd was larger andcivil, sombre even. I shut my car door and crossed the road, overcome by stony curiosity. The whole newspapers carried the story of the death of a former head of state. People stood in groups of threes and fours discussing in hushed voice the void the former head of state had left. ‘Nigeria has lost a great patriot,’ someone said.

‘Nonsense,’ I said aloud. ‘Who is a great patriot, this criminal who emptied our treasury and enriched himself as much as he impoverished Nigerians?’ I shook my head. ‘I wish he died sooner.’

‘You don’t speak evil against the dead,’ another said. ‘The late general did his best for Nigeria.’

I laughed. ‘Indeed, he did his best! He died in a foreign hospital, right? He was in power for eight years how come he didn’t build one hospital in Nigeria?’ I didn’t wait for their answer.

I got to work late but thankfully the MD’s car wasn’t in his parking lot. I got into my office and quickly attended to my mails. Then I thought it was time to go into the field to hunt for customers. On a second thought however, I decided against it. No one would excel in our business telling absolute truth. Ours, like most business, thrived on looking at the bright sides, sidestepping the flawed pages and deemphasizing demerits to an irrelevance low. No, Absolute Truth Days are no business days, I wouldn’t venture out. I brought out my workbook and began to draw marketing plans to be unleashed on the public on a less truthful day.

Towards noon I received a phone call from the MD, requesting my presence in his office. The MD was in his sixties, small but full of life with a social spirit. Once in a while we went to the club and drank beer like peers. I was happy to be consulted by the MD. With the post of PM soon to be vacated, being friendly with the MD was a helping hand. In the MD’s office with him was a young man in blazers whom MD introduced to me as Tony, the literary editor of Sun Newspaper. ‘Tony is going to publish my poem in his newspaper but I am shy,’ the MD said smiling from ear to ear like a schoolgirl in love.

‘Yes,’ Tony agreed, ‘MD is a great poet.’ I didn’t know that. I had seen a few of MD’s poems and they struck me as very bad and anti-creative.

‘Show him the poem,’ MD said. ‘Tony I need your opinion; I know you are a literary man, tell me if the poem is good enough to be published, be frank.’

My heart sank as I collected the paper from Tony. ‘Let me take the poem home and report to you tomorrow,’ I pleaded. MD shook his head. ‘I need your opinion now. I want to be done with this poem palaver today.’ I looked at the poem—it was utter worthless. I looked at MD’s old expectant face and I felt like a murderer. I would have paid a hefty fine than do what I was about to do. But there was no going back, I had subscribed to a course—absolute truth, and absolute truth I would tell.

‘This poem is an insult to art,’ I said. MD caught his breath. I faced the editor.

‘Publishing this will devalue your newspaper.’ The MD collapsed on his execute chair. I rose to my feet.

‘You have seen my other poems,’ MD’s voice was husky, ‘any hope for me?’

I shook my head. ‘Forget writing poems, you have no talent for letters.’ I had to summon all my courage not to run out of the office.

In my office, I drew at my tie which had become unduly tight. The air conditioning was on but I was sweating. Truth, truth, truth, terrorist truth. Now there was no question about me getting the Personnel Manager’s job, and I would never expect any favours from the MD; it would be a miracle if he didn’t victimise me. I sighed. And my wife might never forgive me. God, just a day of telling absolute truth! And this was supposed to be an annual event. If I did this few more times, I could end up selling second-hand ladies’ shoes in Gboko.

Tweets to @Oke4chukwu

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30 thoughts on “ABSOLUTE TRUTH

  1. kelvin

    Its funny but I feel pity for him though.
    Telling the truth is not easy, we might end up hurting people.
    Wonderful write up once again. More ink to your pain.
    Ehen! Is it good to tell the truth at all time? Like 100%.

    Like

    • HARD VOICES

      Thanks Man Kelvin, you have a way of swimming to my shore when I most need a ship to sail. Keep supporting me, I might never be able to really thank you, but who knows. Lols.

      I appreciate 100%

      Like

  2. Adeleke Julianah

    Laughing so hard I ended up coughing!!! Kai kingsley, telling the truth na murder o! This is wonderful, please keep it up. And thanks a lot for opening the year with such rib cracker! Lols…

    Like

  3. topazo

    Lol…truth, the hardest gift to give…encased in a vessel of hurt.
    However this man’s problem is not telling the truth but his tactlessness. The truth can be said in much more civil way and less hurtful ways…
    Happy birthday to super fan Yemie!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Adeleke Julianah

    Sis. Yemie, I’m angry right now o! *Red Face* U didn’t tell me yesterday was ur buffdai, why now? *pouting seriously* Happy Belated Birthday to Ma No. 1 Sis! May all the Blessings that came with this year be Urs In Jesus’ Name

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yemie

      Holy Rigatoni Jules! I totally didn’t mean to make thee angry! I’m sooo sorry, I am! Forgive and bear with ma hang-ups will you now?! Pretty please with chocolatey ice cream and a red, ripened juicy cherry atop??? *bunny eyes* LMAO!

      Thanks a gazillion for the tidings and goodwill sweetness, am absolutely humbled and grateful to you! God bless and keep you sweets, keep on rocking! Mwah! *laughing*

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Yemie

    Oh shoot! Like a lightning bolt from outta the blues, something stinks and it aint fish! Plus, by the smell of things, such a hideous stench I must add, this antagonist kwo protagnist ‘truth unleashing and spewing’ dude sounds sooo much like a guy I know oh so well, by golly! Well then Kingsley, there goes your dream of making PM! Down the drain too I must add and as regards wifey dearest, no more good times if you know what I mean! Aint no friggin’ ways will you be getting nought, in a very, VERY long time! Like the truth aint bitter enough and you had to go ‘garnish’ it some more with vinegar and arsenic servings on the side! Who does that?! Yeah, you Kingsley, YOU! Brash, blunt, crazy you! ROTFLMAO!

    Keep this up Humour Merchant and I’d have an heart attack! I practically leaped into a tailspin of hysterics, laughing and crying simultaneously! That guy’s such a grouch and this piece… a more than worthy dedication for my special day! You totally blew me away to smithereens, didn’t see this coming at all! LMAO!

    Thank you sooo much Kingsley for honoring me thus, I feel mighty special and am floating in mid-air! Gliding right along! You really did bring this, it gets me like crazy, you have absolutely no idea! Soar on up bwoi, keep on rocking our world of funny! MWAH! *hugs* LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    • HARD VOICES

      I am honoured to see you gushing over this common thing. Seriously, you deserve better Yemee. And what’s that you saying about a heart attack. Madam, my hand no dey am o.

      And how dare you say the fella sounds like me. *Off to call police*

      Liked by 1 person

  6. linus akut

    is this work a mirror of the human society, or is it advocating for the kind of society depicted in the story?..I like the comic attempt of this story.But,I feel Kingsley is cruel to his character Tony for creating such complications for him,in the name of so called ‘truth’.lol..nice one

    Like

  7. Seyi

    Hahahahahahahhahahahahaha….soooooo funny!!!!u should be a comedian,it will suit you….on a serious note,i do wonder if telling absolute truth is worth it,it sure brings trouble,but as xtians*being religious nw*that is the command,though in this world of ours,how easy is that?

    Like

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