Fall 2021 Issue

Messenger of God

The sleep I am do for this stupid bed is what make this small doctor talk to me like I am small boy. Walahi, thank God here no be street. If to say here is street and she open her mouth like this, I for slap her face that make-up cover, I swear.

She is standing near me inside her doctor coat. As I look her hand, I no see even one dirty finger, I know she no fit do any work apart from this doctor work. Clean-clean fingers!

“You have to speak out. Speak up dear,” she say to me and draw the “dear” with the under of her tongue like she learn English from inside her mother stomach.

“Do you know who I am?”

I nod and say yes.

“Who am I?”


She send ward attendant to call Faro that was sleep on mat in the hospital corridor.

“Yes ma, yes ma,” the attendant answer even though he look like he can born her five times. He run out inside his blue uniform that look like the one I wear when I was lock in Jos prison the time they catch me with gun when election crisis happen.

Faro follow him back and is stretching his hand up-up to be waking well from sleep. I look his trouser zip and see his thing stand small. Maybe he was have dream of one of his girls because he like woman very well. He spend all his money on prostitutes that wear short skirts and stand in West of Mines street for night to be selling their body. Maybe he like doctor small already, because he like all type of womans, but I know he cannot pay her because she have plenty money and she is not prostitute.

“Who is he to you?” She look at him. He put his hand to cover his zip so that doctor will not see it.

“My friend,” I say

“Are you sure?”

“He is my aboki.”

“Do you know where you are?”

“Hospital,” I say with small vex in my tongue.

“What time of the day is it?”

Sun is stand outside and sending light inside the ward in the glass window for my bedside. How she is expecting I should not know it is morning? I keep quiet.

“Are you seeing something that is disturbing you and you want to tell me about?”

I no answer.

“Do you hear voices in your head, Habila?”

I no talk because I am sad in my heart for how this doctor is do me like small boy that is still drinking his mother breast. She think I am a wawa and I have mad, but me, as I am like this, I no foolish. So I no answer her.

Why I no answer small doctor again is because my name Habila that she call is remind me of what I was see in the night that pass.

I see it clear-clear. First, I see me and Baba in Ungwan Dutsuna where we go to make blast of the big stone under of the well that we was dig. Is me that drill the hole inside the well-rock and then I put the dynamite inside. After that I come out and collect the long detonating cord from Baba and put fire on it. He was teach me how to blast rock. The cord burn finish to the inside of the well where the dynamite is, but it no blow.

“Why it did not blow?” I ask Baba. He say is like my connection inside the well have small wahala. He enter inside the well and I hear strong shake for ground and then BOOOM!

Immediately, Baba come out pieces-pieces with dust, blood, stones, and smoke. I wake up sharp and breathing fast-fast with sweat all over me, for my back and inside of my trouser. I no fit sleep again.

Small Doctor is continue her talk but she change from call me Habila to call me Ronaldo because my friend Faro is call me like that and ask me to answer her. She think that because of that I will answer her? She lie, walahi. Only guys that I am call my guysis are calling me Ronaldo. My chest is burning very well with anger. She know why my guysis call me Ronaldo? She no even know how I dribble all the players in the field on the day of screening that one white coach is come to find players to fly out. She no know how they choose me but I no go because Alhaji Illiya pay money for his boy to go instead of me. Tears run down on my face as I am remember this.

“Tell me whatever it is you’re feeling, anything at all,” she say and look inside the blue folder that she hold close to her chest. I no talk. I only look the folder and the badge for the pocket in front of her doctor coat. The badge make me confuse. The colour is green and what is on it is one standing stick that have wing like bird, at the to. This is strong medicine, I think. A snake is coil round-round it and the head is come down pass the wing. The head of the snake is look me, like it want to bite me. The tongue is long and red and ugly. Hospital doctors and native doctors are the same, I swear, because of the things they are use.

I turn my head to one side, and tears fall from of my eyes to the white hospital pillow. She keep the folder on a cabinet for the end of the bed near my leg, and she come closer to me. I am sad more because this doctor think that weakness is what make me to cry. She remove tissue inside her purse and rub it on my face and say, “Sorry my dear, you have to be strong.”

Me I am strong, she no have to tell me. I very strong but my problem pass my power. It is remind me that is because of me Baba die.

“Have you been taking your medicine the way I said you should?” She ask me.

I nod small.

She smile, “good.”

But for true talk, I no take all the medicine like she say.

Her smile make the burn in my chest to reduce, like ice water is enter me. Her teeth are small-small and beautiful like God use sandpaper to polish them smooth-smooth.

“Any new complaints? Anything you want to tell me?” she ask, and lift the up of my eyelids. My eyes have been yellow very well.

“The jaundice is still progressing. Any bad dreams?”

My stomach pain me for the sharp pain that chook me inside. How is this doctor know that I dream bad dream, even though what I see of baba blasting rock is real pass ordinary dream. But how this doctor know that I see something make me think she is witch. It must to be so, or the medicine that she give Faro to be giving me is what cause the dream and she want hear me talk it.

“No bad dream,” I say, “I no dream any dream,”

She look me with eyes that suspect my lie but say, “okay, let me know when you do.”

She take her doctor thing for neck that be like fat earpiece and put on my chest on the left side where I have big scar from the fight I was fight with Kaura, in the street, over who will be having power of selling wee-wee, rochi, dizzy, and other kwaya for Rosha area. He nearly chook me the knife for inside my heart, but I dodge and get the scar. But me I knack him with wood for head and he fall flat.

“Heart doctors and liver doctors will also be seeing you, alongside us, the psychiatry team,” she say, after she hear my heart.

By her saying ‘us’ I know that she mean the doctors that treat mad-mad people even if I no know what sakatry be, but me I no mad. I am not madding at all at all.

If not for Faro that bring me here last week I for no be in this hospital. Faro say that me was want use hunger and kill myself. That I no eat for two weeks and because of that I was fall of fainting in the street corner where I am preach.

How was I become preacher?

I remember well-well. One evening my only sister, Faridah, that I am train for University to learn book, she come my room with tears and tell me that the University say she no be their student. That her admission is fake, and that the man I pay bribe to give her admission was cheat us.

As I was hear it, my head was swelling confusion and firing hot-hot. I then gather Faro and my other guysis in my room to be discussing how to attack the man and burning down the University. Faro is fear of lock in prison and because of that my guysis too say let me forget it and put her in handwork learning. But me I no agree for defeat without fighting first. And because me is dealer of wee-wee and kwaya, I was lock myself inside room for four days to be smoking plenty of wee-wee and swallowing plenty kwaya to be gathering strength for my mission. It is in the smoke that cover my room that I was see Prophet Muhammadu with the prayer thing that the catholic people for my compound have, rozari or rosry, I think is what they are call it. I also see Yesu with tasbih. They are floating in the smoke, wearing black-black jellabiya, two of them, and they was speak the-same-the-same thing together for the same time.

“Your mind black and heavy for inside, Habila. The kill you is planning to kill is to be stop, and what you is to be doing is servant of God. You will be preach for the street and telling people that what us, Yesu Christi and Prophet Muhammadu, is wanting is for the church and the mosque goers to be pray in one place. They are to be throwing their prayer beads away, for they is man-made things. You must to fast for hundred days without food but only wee-wee and kwaya as you’re to be do this work for God.”

Faro was not believe when I say that I am now messenger of God. But his not-belief of me was not stop me fast, smoke wee-wee, swallowing ecstasy and trips and preaching for street. Then one day I wake up, and I am finding myself here.

Doctor Small is here again, after I no see her for one week and now she ask me if I am still messenger of God. I no know again, because the vision that I was see is not come to me again.

“Do you still believe you’re God’s messenger? When last did you see the son of God and the Prophet?”

“Are you…?” she want to continue, but I loud my voice and stop her.

“No,” I say.

“No? No what?”

“I no be messenger,” I say, so that I can be leaving this hospital ward. Yesterday I was see the patient that sleep two beds away from me die-dead. Death have been jumping one-one bed to be carrying patients. First one is the man for bed nine, the one with blood inside plastic bag hanging above his head, that go. Then the man for bed seven, who have tube for chest to be remove what look like boiled rice water. Then the man for bed five, who is thin, like sugar cane, that I was hear nurses call him HIV-man. Me, I am in bed three, and if death is to be returning, it is me that it will carry and be going.

“Are you sure?’ she ask very well.

I vex for the too much questions she is ask, but I keep face normal, let them not call me mad.

“Yes, I sure!”

I was hearing her tell Faro before, that if my sense is not come back to normal they will transfer me from the male medical ward to proper mad-people ward after the liver and heart doctor they are finish see me. I no want to go there.

She is then ask, “did you ever feel your body jerking?”

I no know what jerking is, but from her showing of shaking of body strong-strong, I nod my head “yes well-well.”

I was think I will die from it. I was fear, whether is evil spirit that catch me, walahi.

“Yes, my body shake very strong.”

She say is because of the wash they are wash my blood that clear the wee-wee and kwaya from my body. That I am having withdrawal symptoms and I am to be strong and never take any high again. I nod, but I no tell her that I was ask Faro to put small wee-wee for the food that he is bringing for me.

The next week she come again and look inside my eyes and say the yellow that my eyes was do, is reduce very well. I nod because even Faro was say it. She hear my heart with her doctor earpiece and say “you’re improving.”

I am not want her to finish hearing my heart because the scent of her perfume is sweeting my nose. I draw and hold the scent in my nose. There is orange and mango and sweet-sweet flower in the perfume. It make me happy to smell something different from the smell of vomit and drugs that full in the ward.

“If you take your medicine faithfully, you’ll soon be out of here. Don’t you want to go home?”

“I want.”

She smile, “good, that’s what we all want. Your system was loaded with so much substances. Now that you know the danger of abusing drugs, will you go back to it?”

I no like this way of her talking to me like I be small boy. I no answer her.

I was tell her before that is only mechanic work I am do, but is lie because I was never even finish learn work when I carry customer jeep and go party with it. Oga pursue me from the work when I come back with the bumper and headlight break-break. I no mention my wee-wee dealer job to her when she ask me the kind of work I am doing.

“Will you go back to it?” she ask again.

“No, I no go go back,” I say.

“Good, because your body might not survive more substance abuse. It’s a matter of life and death. To live or die is your choice.”

I nod, even though I no agree, because only God have power to choose who will live or die. I want to ask her that what of babies who are not smoke, but die? What of old Babas that are smoke and still live long? But I no open my mouth, because I no want her to think I no well for head.

“Hopefully next week you’ll be out of here. Continue taking your medicine, please.”

My room that I am share with Faro is black like is night. I open the curtain that cover the small window and light enter. Faro stand by the door to be telling my compound people that I am need to sleep, that they should come later for greet-visit even though most of them are not care about me. They just want to see if I am having mad behavior. My mattress is stand against the wall. Faro is the one who was carry it from floor to avoid it from wetting from water that come from under the floor. Faro have not sleep in the room since my admission. He was sleep in hospital corridor on mat. I throw the mattress flat and fall on top it. I see on the stool in the corner of the room the Holy Quran that I am keep on top Holy Bible. Both two of them are open-open.

Faro lock door and he come inside and sit on the bed.

“Messenger of God,” he joke with me as his hand point the Holy books on the stool.

We laugh.

“Dan Iska, is you that make me messenger of God? Bastard,” I say.

“Wee-wee is make you messenger of God.”

“And you, wee-wee is make you messenger of Satan,” I say.

He laugh and go to the white paint bucket that we are keep wee-wee. He fetch one milk tin of it and carry rizla papers and start to wrap.

“You go soon get your own messenger calling ai,” I say and throw to him lighter that is on the floor near the bed where my head is rest on pillow.

“God forbid. My head strong pass your own,” he catch the lighter. He roll it, light it, and pass for me.

I no collect.

He laugh, “somebody is fear fear.”

My nose is enjoy the smell of it. My head is doing empty-empty. I want to smoke it but I remember what small doctor is say: “it’s a matter of life and death. To live or die is your choice,”

If not because the old-old doctors of heart and liver that was also see me say that I was almost die, I for no trust what small doctor say. What is small girl like her know about life? About death?

Faro is rolling another one as the one in his mouth is shorting finish.

He wrap again and smoke. My mind tell me something is bad because for our way from the hospital Faro was keep wanting to tell me something but he refuse to talk. He is usually not smoke more than two wraps for one sitting unless something bad happen; but now he is smoke three tins already. I start to sweat of worry on my nose.

“Faro, say what you’re want to say since and stop smoke plenty-plenty like this,”

He look me with eyes that is red and have water. My mind run fast to be thinking many things.

“Kai, Faro talk!” I shout.

He breathe long air and his chest is rise and fall slow.

“Is Faridah…,” he start.

I stop to breathe and remember that she is not visit me in hospital because Faro was say the University call her back to write exam.

“They are remove her again from the University?” I ask, not liking how he is talk slow for my heart to be beating fast-fast.

He keep quiet.

“Kai Faro, talk now!”

He put hand over eyes to be wiping tears. I sit up.

“Faro! don’t be quieting for me!” I touch his shoulder.

He start to talk loud and fast, like tap that was block before, but now water is flow plenty.

“She have go, man. She have go.”

I no understand him. I was think he tell Faridah that he want her for love but she refuse because he is ordinary wee-wee dealer and her is liking university boys that have book for their head. Even me is want book-knowing boyfriend for her.

“Faridah have die,” he shake his head “ta rasu.”

My eyes open well to see his face but smoke cover him. I want to see his eyes whether they are close small-small, because when wee-wee is enter him brain well, he close his eyes half and say rubbish. First time he smoke wee-wee, he was ask me whether virgins are have biscuit bone for breast that is make it stand.

Smoke clear from his face, his eyes they are open well. He swallow kwaya that he carry beside the bucket of wee-wee.

He continue, “The day you faint, news come to Faridah that madness have take you go. She was cry confuse and enter road and car…”

For this point, I no hear him again, but he continue to talk. When I am understanding what he is saying, I am now hear that my mother too was fall faint of hypertension when she hear I was mad and Faridah is die-dead. My mother is now sleep sick for primary health center.

“I was no fit tell you for the hospital because you was not feel fine for inside your head. That news, if you was hear in hospital, it will make your head to scatter finish,” Faro say with cry for his mouth.

Tears fall one-one from my eyes and wet the mattress. I was not seeing anything but smoke. The room is quiet. I am not fit to be thinking anything.

He pass me kwaya and I swallow. He then put the burning wee-wee for my hand. I draw long and blow. Draw. Blow. Draw. Blow.

After some time, I start to hear papers opening “spkrrrr-spkrrrr” in the room like dry leaves for inside wind. I also start to see. What enter my eyes is the Bible and the Quran rising small for air side by side and opening fast-fast, and voice for inside them come out. I no talk. I put my ear to hear what the voice is say but as I am wait for the voice to talk again, the smoke rise up well-well and enter my nose, my eyes, my ears and everywhere become quiet and black like world is finish.

Haruna Solomon Binkam

Haruna Solomon Binkam is a writer and poet from Jos, Nigeria. He was a finalist of the Vancouver Manuscript Intensive Fellowship and recipient of the Bada Murya Fellowship. His works have appeared or are forthcoming in Narrative landscape, Afreecan Read, Carousel, and Nantygreens. He finds fireflies fascinating

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