Heading: Brighter Star
A night before the death of teacher Nwachukwu, the old man boarded a flight back to the love garden with only Murphy who was the pilot. Usually, the chopper landed on the basketball court. Teacher refused to go down until the blades stopped rotating and the noise died down. Only then did they hear the crickets with other creepy insects chirping continuously at the nearby forest. Murphy became scared thereby meeting up with his teacher who had not made a move out of the court.
“Teacher, why did you bring me back here?” he whispered.
The man surged forward without replying. Murphy had no choice but to follow him. Once again, he stopped at the entrance of the house, turned and looked up in the sky. Murphy followed the direction of his eyes to see nothing but the stars.
“What do you see, Murphy?” Nwachukwu’s voice sounded deep and scary to any unfamiliar ear in the forest.
“Stars” the young boy replied.
“What do they say?”
“Say?” Murphy brought his eyes down to his teacher. “The last time I checked, teacher, stars don’t speak.” he added.
“It’s true but what showed the three wise men the location of the birth of Jesus Christ?”
“What bowed down to Joseph in the dream?”
“Sun, moon and stars”
“Good. Abraham had no child at his old age but he saw his children and descendant each night. What was that?”
“The stars.” Murphy replied again, still didn’t know what his teacher was trying to substantiate.
“Why stars?” Teacher looked down at him.
“I guess because God told him his children will be like the stars.”
“What does star represent now?”
“Do human beings talk?”
Murphy became astonished when he understood teacher’s analysis which is; if stars represent humans and humans talk, that means stars talk too!! Goosebumps pumped out through his skin. Nwachukwu could feel it from his expression. Therefore he continued.
“The stars may be scattered in the sky but each or combination of some tells you something. But the question is; do you understand the language of the stars?” he began to cough atrociously, bending down and covering his mouth.
Murphy held him. “Teacher, are you okay?”
Nwachukwu released his hand from his mouth to see blood.
“Teacher, you’re sick. Let me take you to the hospital!” Murphy threshed to hold him tight.
“Let’s sit there” Nwachukwu pointed at a seat beside the basketball court.
Like a Abraham and Isaac, walking up to the mountain, so as Murphy and Nwachukwu walked to the seat. Teacher looked up and continued again.
“In the olden days, men see the future through stars. But now, because of several abysmal taboos, no one can do that again except few. Before you became the president, I’ve always seen you as one of the stars.” he pointed at a bright star. “That’s you over there. You are surrounded by other stars which could be your siblings and citizens. But there’s a star brighter than yours at a different place.” Teacher pointed at it.
“Who could that be?” Murphy asked.
“That is someone who is more clever than you are. He is separated from you coz he’s against you. I believe you know what that means.”
Murphy stood up, staring at the star, but suddenly looked down at teacher. “Who is he or she? Is it Ella, Dave, or…”
“I have been trying to fine the answer to that question but I couldn’t. I don’t know who he or she is.” Teacher interrupted him……
‘Silence In the White House’ is a good phrase to qualify the quiet atmospheric room temperature observed after teacher Murphy taught and revealed the evil plans of Mr Odili. The tears that rolled down his eyes for the death of teacher Nwachukwu was priceless coz it was through his knowledge and efforts made him who he was.
However, Vivian admired his intelligence thereby falling for him the more. She couldn’t believe herself, falling in love with Murphy. “All this while… why must it be now?” she asked herself.
Nonetheless, as Mr Odili waited for his judgment, sheriff walked in with her men. After much oblige to the president, she began to handcuff Mr Odili.
“You’re under arest for attempting murder. You have the right to remain silent or anything you say will be used against you in the court of law.” She pushed him away along with the assassin.
Yet, Murphy said nothing, staring at others including his fellow orphans. “You may all go now.” he instructed.
“You don’t need to say it twice, teacher.” Bolaji briskly surged towards the exit followed by others. Obi, once again, became the first to meet Murphy and hugged him.
“Be safe.” he said on his shoulder.
Murphy patted his back. “Thanks.” He watched as others began to leave without saying good bye, not because they had issues but because they were only obeying his commands. Just at the door, Murphy called on Vivian. The girl turned immediately.
“I’ll like to speak with you alone.” He said.
The girl said nothing, waiting for others to finally leave. Before Ada left, she winked at her in a way to say: I GUESS HE HAS NOTICED YOU.
Vivian winked back at her with a trace of smile on her face. She wore a black short skirt with black body-hug elastic longsleeve shirt which she tocked in. The shape of her bra could easily be outlined by any eyes. Likewise the outlining of her pant if viewed from behind. On her feet were black hill shoes. It was a perfect outfit for the day’s burial.
However, all had left except teacher Murphy and his personal guards. He waited for Vivian to walk to him like a groom waiting for the bride at the alter. Vivaciously and expectantly, Vivian’s hill shoes echoed the large living room as she squirm to the president, wondering what the private conversation could be. When the sound of the shoes faded, even a blind man could tell that she had stopped before teacher Murphy, twisting her hands and hallucinating for a kiss from him that moment. The eyes contact between both was like that of a new couple, taking a pre-wedding picture.
“What’s it, teacher?” Vivian found her voice.
“Can we talk in my room, please?” Murphy pointed at a door.
“Room?” she narrowed her sight.
“Please.” Murphy added humbly then led the way.
“Is he trying to ask me out? God, that will be a dream comes true.” She thought on her way to the room, sending another interval sound of her high-hill shoes in the air.
She entered into the room, the door closed behind her the same way she stopped behind it without taking another step. She could see Murphy staring at the window like a lost ghost.
“Murphy, is everything okay?” She asked.
He turned from the window. “Interaction brings correction and solution.” he said.
Vivian became confused. “Umm.. Murphy.. I don’t..”
“Vivian” he interrupted her, walking towards her at the same time. “Why do people need someone to talk to sometimes? Why do the westerners have a club where people with bizarre and abymal attitude share their problem?” he stopped before her.
Vivian’s breathing rate began to change. Though she was standing with her fellow teenager but it seems to her she was standing with late teacher Nwachukwu. So the fear of him through Murphy ran down her body coz Murphy’s statements wasn’t ordinary to her anymore.
“Umm.. i guess they share their problems to get it off their chest.” She replied.
“Not only that. It’s also for easier finding of solutions”
“So what are you saying?”
“I want you to be the person I share my thought with.” Murphy replied staring into her eyes.
Vivian, once again began to think. “What is Murphy saying? Is he asking me to marry him.. wait.. maybe he’s asking me out for a dinner date… oh God, what am I thinking? Am I even quivering? What should I say?!”
“I’m asking you to be my personal adviser who can tackle issues with me for easier finding of solutions and I’ll pay you.” Murphy interrupted her thought. “What do you say about that?”
“Eemm.. fine.. fine…” She stuttered and swallowed hard. “No problem.”
“Thanks. Your job begins now” Murphy picked a remote, pressed a button towards an empty wall and a projector containing a drawing of a bright star surrounded by other stars with another brighter star at sixty degree of the screen slowly unfolded from the roof.
“Wow” Vivian took a step forward. “What’s this?” she asked.
Murphy cleared his throat. He vividly narrated to her what late teacher Nwachukwu told him concerning the drawing. “..who do you think is the brighter star that is more clever than me and against me?” he concluded.
Vivian slowly touched the star in quote on the screen of the projector, trying to read meaning from the drawing as a whole.
“Murphy,” she began without looking back at him. “The stars surrounding you are not as bright as yours. And yours is not as bright as the one seperated from us.” She swiftly turned to him. “What’s your intentions to your citizens?” she asked measly.
“For them to reason like me, be like me and…”
“Excellent!” Vivian interrupted. “That means you want their stars to be bright like yours”
“But there’s another star brighter than yours which is also against you. Let’s call it the most clever destroyer.”
“What are you saying, Vivian?” Murphy approached her in confusion.
“You have to quicken your intentions before the brighter star does coz if he or she should influence the citizens before you, everybody’s star will be brighter than yours. Hence you begin to dwindle. If the brighter star should influence the citizens and we know he’s a clever destroyer, everybody will turn against you and you might be impeached as the president.”
“My light will go off totally and darkness will overcome me” Murphy smartly concluded.
Both remain quiet as Murphy did not only exercise his brain but also his legs by walking to and fro in the room. Vivian pitied him when she understood the burden on the young boy’s shoulder.
“Murphy?” She called romantically with a low voice.
Murphy stopped and stared at her lips for her to proceed.
“I’ll advice you to leave the president seat to secure your own life.” She said.
“Nothing will make me leave the seat” he aggressively pointed at the projector. “Whosoever that brighter hoodlum is, I must find out and show him or her that I will always, I repeat, always be one step ahead of his or her clever plans whenever he or she strikes!!” he boasted.
Vivian remained quiet. “Is okay. I’m always… I mean we’re always behind you. Let me go home and change.” he surged towards the door.
“Vivian” Murphy called her. “You must not discuss whatever we deliberate here with anyone, not even Ella and co.”
“Yes, teacher.” Vivian finally left.
At the residence of late Mr Yinka, Ada’s father, the compound was quiet. Only the wife, Ada and Stephen lived there. The young boy Stephen walked down a staircase, following a tantalizing aroma of a food from the kitchen. He wore a short and singlet. He walked to the kitchen to see Ada as the enhancer of the aroma. He tickled her from behind. The girl nearly flung away the big spoon in her hand.
“Hey, Stephen!” she exclaimed with a trace of smile. “Don’t try that again otherwise I’ll use this spoon on your head.”
“It will make the food more delicious” he stood beside her. “The last time I checked you grew up with only a man, your teacher. So how come you know how to make this delicious food”
“Teacher once took us, the girls to a chef who taught us how to cook and he paid her.” Ada replied.
“Wow. Please, make the food much, my girlfriend is coming.”
“Stephanie?” she looked at him.
“When she comes, she should make another for both of you. This is for mum and I alone.”
“What do you mean?”
Just then, the door bell sounded and Ada rushed out. She opened it to see Vivian.
“Babe, how did it go? Did Murphy ask you out?” she asked, leading her to a cushion where they sat down.
“No, he wanted me to be his personal adviser.” Vivian replied sadly.
“Oh.. it’s a good one though. Being around him always will make him develop feelings for you. Don’t you think?”
“He will be looking at you as if he’s interested in you but you won’t know that another thing is in his mind.” She lamented while Ada laughed out hard.
“Ada” Vivian faced her. “In as much as I want him to notice my love for him, I also want him alive.”
“What do you mean?” Ada adjusted like an amebo.
“Murphy is into a deadly.. I mean… you saw what happened after the burial. People want him dead!”
Ada held her hand. “Murphy will be fine.” she assured her.
Bolaji and other remaining men could be seen on their usual long rectangular table. They knew that Mr Odili wouldn’t implicate them in order to find a way to get him out of jail.
“How can we get Odili out from the police? Or are we to set another trap for that small boy?” One of them called Amandi threw the question in the air.
“Are you crazy?” Bolaji shrieked. “We can’t defeat that small boy unless we get another small boy like him.”
Others began to murmur at his statement while he continued.
“Before, it is said that what an elder sees, sitting down, if a child climbs the highest mountain, he won’t see it. Now, reverse is the case: what a child sees, sitting down, if an elder climbs on his walking stick, he will still be blind oh”
They giggled at his statement.
“But which child could be more clever than that boy?” Another asked. They needed to find out.
The Sun went down the next day. Daniella stays under one roof with Dave, Judith, Vivian and Obi. They preferred to live like a family that way. Only Cynthia and Ada stays at their family homes, and Murphy at the white house.
Darkness had covered the sky, Daniella carried a car to Cynthia’s. Of course she greeted Mr and Mrs Cliff before taking Cynthia along with her with the excuse that they were going to club. How would the parents know that it was a lesbian club they were heading to?
Nevertheless, Cynthia entered into the club house hand to hand with Daniella. The colour of their skin changed to the colour of different dim of light found inside the building. No single male was found there except the Disk Joker (DJ). Some girls were almost naked, intoxicated by hard drugs. Cynthia could see some girls kissing and romancing at a corner. Ella smiled happily at them.
They left the dancing floor to a bar where they seated, drinking and discussing, at the same time, feeding their eyes.
“Do you like it?” Ella asked her trying to make her voice heard over the sound of the music.
“Like what?” Cynthia returned the question.
“I mean this place?”
She looked around once again. “Yes, I like it.” She replied.
Both smiled and continued drinking. Like a flip of finger, the drink began to shark them.
“When I look at Murphy do you know who I see?” Cynthia asked nodding to the beat.
“Teacher Nwachukwu, right?” Daniella replied.
“Yes, that boy has really changed and advanced in thinking.”
“You’re making me feel jealous.” Ella confessed.
“Hey, c’mon!” Cynthia tapped her amusingly.
They returned to the dance floor with eyes and head full of alcohol then began to waltz according to the beat. Ella held her shoulders while she held her waist, both staring at each other. They wore the same colour of short gown that glitters like gold.
“I love you so much” Daniella confessed again.
Cynthia smiled. “I love you too, Ella” she replied then both began to kiss each other……….
On the other hand, inside the white house, Murphy walked into his personal office to see an envelope left for him by his Secretary. He stared at it for a while then opened it. He couldn’t believe what he saw. Quickly, he located his room where he also summoned Vivian.
“Murphy, what again this time?” Vivian asked him.
“I saw this on my office table.” he threw the paper to her. “Before we ask the Secretary how it came, first let’s decode the message.” he added.
Vivian read the content of the paper thus:
“The taste of a coconut is determined by the taste of the liquid inside.
She looked up at Murphy. “It’s a proverb from someone named Portmanteau” she said.
“What does that mean?”
“Honestly, I have no idea, Murphy.”
The boy flung the paper from her, staring at the proverb like a statue in order to decode the meaning.
Vivian walked closer to him with a lower voice. “Could it be from the brighter star?” she asked.
Murphy kept quiet, still staring at the proverb. “The liquid determines the taste of… coco… Portmanteau…?” he paused then grabbed the remote once again. Therefore the projector displaying the images of the stars rolled down again.
“This is more than a proverb, Vivian.” he pointed at the projector. “I am the liquid while the stars surrounding me are the coconut. That means for the people surrounding me to be tasteful, I must be tasteful first. That’s the meaning of the proverb: The taste of a coconut is determined by the taste of the liquid inside. But this is a bad proverb. It’s negative!!” Murphy began to rub his head haphazardly.
“I still don’t understand. What do you mean by it’s negative?” Vivian was still looking very confused.
Murphy quickly walked back to the projector like a teacher who is about to clarify a student. “If the liquid determines the taste of the coconut, that is to say what affects the nut is from inside. If the liquid goes bad, the nut goes bad too.”
“But you said you have good intentions for the citizens. You cannot go bad, can you?”
“I’m not alone. Have you forgotten we all joined hands to bring revolution to this country? Therefore we are like role models to others. So, if the liquid go bad, it’s not necessarily mean I’m the only one going bad. It can come from any of us and those persons are Ella and Cynthia.”
“Ella? Cynthia? How do you know?” Vivian widened her eyes.
Swiftly, Murphy showed her the name that came with the proverb saying, “Portmanteau is not someone’s name.”
“What is it?”
“It’s a French word that joins two words which are: Woman and Romance. Like two women making out sexually.”
“lesblans?” Vivian looked up at him.
“Exactly! The lesbians are Ella and Cynthia which are now the bad liquid from inside of us that will spoil the coconut. They will ruin everything!!”
“Wait wait wait” Vivian stretched her hand. “How do you even know that the two are lesbians?” she asked.
“That’s a story for another day coz they don’t even know that I know.”
“Then we need to know where they are with immediate effect! God!!” Vivian pulled out her phone.
“Its already late.”
Murphy threw away the paper saying, “No one can cleverly write the proverb if not the brighter sun and he does not only know what I know, he has also caught Ella and Cynthia in the act. If he or she makes it public, we’re gone!” he concluded.
“So, what do we do now?” Vivian asked calmly, still admiring the boys cleverness, falling for him more and more.
Meanwhile, Murphy had not gotten himself, angrily parading around the room. He stopped at the window once again only to feel a soft hand on his shoulder. He looked back to see Vivian as the owner of the hand, so both stared at each other. Vivians voice trailed out like an aggression medicine.
“The writer of the proverb may be smart, but the decoder of such proverb which is you, is smarter. Murphy, you’re the most amazing person I have ever seen. So I ask again; what do we do now?” she slowly released her hand from his shoulder……
TO BE CONTINUED
Heading: Brighter Star