They call themselves the three wise men from the East. They are from the East: Ifeanyi from Imo, Obinna from Abia, Emeka from Ebonyi.
It was Christmas day, the clock was striking 10 am and Sunny was starving. He lay on the bed in a room he shared with two other students, roommates who had gone home for Christmas. His home was faraway, he had no money to travel there nor an expectation of getting anything from his people. Going home would have been a waste of time and resources, so he stayed back in school to starve. And he was really starving.
There are three ways starvation work on people. To some, it bites hard, so hard it renders their body weak and nearly useless. To others, it makes restless, angry and frustrated to the point of doing anything, anything at all, to get a bite. For some, still, it attacks in the head and weaken their reasoning. Sunny belonged to this latter category. Hllis radio set was by his bed, the Christmas carol on it sounded like jumble from a distance land and the laughter and talk of the presenters aired like clashes of numerous metals. At a point, it appeared they spoke in Korean. They didn’t. Hunger is a powerful devil.
The radio station was having a phone-in programme for people to call in and say something nice about Christmas. Sunny dialled the radio station with the airtime he had been reserving for an emergency. This was no emergency but Sunny saw it as a serious one. For him, Mary had not even conceived let alone give birth. Today is no Christmas.
“Hello, good morning,” the presenter said.
“This Christmas is somehow,’ Sunny and the legion said. The legion of hunger taking residence in him.
The presenter laughed encouragingly. “Why do you say that, bro?”
“I am starving so Jesus doesn’t exist to me.”
The presenter gasped. She had always read a Facebook philosopher advise people not to let the devil use them. Now, she was talking to someone the devil was misusing. Her first thought was to end the call with the excuse of “we had to let him go, can’t really get him” but her guest in the studio signalled her to let the call be.
“Please may we know who we’re speaking with and where you are calling from.”
“It’s not important. Jesus doesn’t exist. I am starving.”
The radio guest, a pastor probably, took over. “So Jesus doesn’t exist because you are starving?”
“He doesn’t exist. Mary, the virgin birth, wise men from the East, all are myth.”
“It’s OK,” the presenter had heard enough.
“Tell us where you are and we’ll have someone bring you food right away,” the guest said quickly.
“No,” Sunny said. “God is omnipotent, you teach. Let him send someone to locate me and give me. I am starving.”
“Fair enough,” the pastor said. “Tell us exactly what you want to eat and if there be a God you will have exactly that in a matter of minutes.” Sunny hesitated. “Come on, brother, say it. We have to settle this once and for all today.”
“Well, I need white rice with stew, salad, chicken and juice.”
“OK. You will get them. Call us back when you get the food.”
“This is serious.” The presenter ended the call.
“Some people cannot see Jesus until they are fed. Hunger is a powerful hindrance….”
Sunny, consumed by hunger, succumbed to the strong hands of slumber. He was woken by knock on the door. “Who?” Sunny called.
“We,” said a voice.
“Who is ‘we’?”
“We, the three wise men from the East.”
Emeka came in with a tray of plates of rice and stew. Obinna came in with a tray of juice. Ifeanyi came in with a tray of plates of salad and chicken.
Sunny began to cry.