Brand of Cain, Episode 1

        By Larry Sun

Richard Philip was angry—angry with life, angry with self, angry with everything and everyone. He was a graduate without a job. He could not imagine himself lacking in job afterhaving graduated from the higher institution about a year ago. The ink was barely dry on the certificates of some people when they had started working. Even those with the worst qualifications and grades could be seen knotting ties around their necks and heading for offices.

Although Richard was not the very studious type in school, he still managed to end up with a good result because he had a higher intelligence quotient and assimilation gift than many of his classmates. But unfortunately, he had personally seen university life as a four-year vacation from the realities of life. His judgement on the discouraging value of higher education reflected this belief. He had also seen it as a long part of some other people’s life which was studded with parties, dates, escapades, affairs, unexplained absences, threats of expulsion, and an endless parade of yearning for the opposite sex that seemed to be the order of the days. He was generous in addition; he loaned out his lecture notes to truant classmates, coached some of them on the courses they’d missed, covered up the absence of many of his roommates, until he finally got through these four years to acquire a Bachelor’s degree. He didn’t show up for graduation, he had taken off to look for jobs even before finishing school. But his certificate was mailed to him.
He was a twenty-sevenyearold man of average height with close-cropped black hair, dressed in a blue and white striped long-sleeved shirt, a pair of black trousers and shoes. He was quite beautifully structured, and he possessed the appearance of a man most ladies would fantasize about. As a baby Richard had been so pretty that people thought he was a girl. He had no friend or relative except his mother who was the only woman he had grown to love and respect. When he was in his first year in the University of Nigeria, he had been sexually abused by a gang of girls. It wasn’t in the least a satisfying romantic image; five ladies had taken turns on him as they rode him aggressively, and when they were done he had splattered on the hard floor as if he had been hurled in front of a locomotive in motion. He had always wanted to keep himself till that honeymoon night, but he unfortunately lost that pride to a cluster of university hookers. He had narrowly escaped being infected with HIV; it was that moment when the last lady was about to climb over him that someone had flashed his torch from far off. The ladies had scrambled off laughing to themselves, and mocking that sixth lady who had not been successful with her attempt to do the hot guy. That last lady had just gotten infected with the human immunodeficiency virus two days previously. Since that moment Richard had always been afraid of being alone in the midst of ladies, he didn’t know how lucky he was beforehand. Many seemed to show much interest in him, but he had refused to allow the handshake reach anywhere close to the elbow. Now, what he was really interested in was to get himself a good job, which he never got.
Noise was everywhere, and Richard hated noise. The decibel rate of that room was enough to make a corpse complain. The Cyber–Café was full of people seriously engaged in internet scams. Richard was there particularly to check any available job on the internet—he’d gone to almost all imaginable companies in the city of Lagos but he always ended up emptyhanded and frustrated.
Sitting next to him in the sordid cyber-café with a computer was a gum-chewing boy of about fifteen years old who was not interested in anything being displayed on the monitor screen but pornography.
On another computer at his other side was a big—maybe six feet three or four—giant with long curly hair and a beard. He wore a bandana around his big head. And a gold earring was hanging on his left ear-lobe. He looked like a pirate. A gold chain around his neck so thick you could look up a bicycle with it. Richard wasn’t exactly a small man but sitting next to this large thug made him feel like a midget. Another man farther beside that Great Wall of China beside him was a short, dark and young man with tinted white hair which was frizzled out from his head and formed a halo over him, as if he had just stuck a finger in an electric socket; he was looking much like a cartoon character than a human being. He needed a shave, and some little trim of his grotesque goatee. His clothes were rumpled and wrinkled; they hung loose on him like shapeless rags. It was the man’s goatee that annoyed Richard most about him. He believed men should either be clean shaven; like himself, moustached or wear full beards. Another noisy group of five men were standing at one corner, debating loudly on professional football matches.
One boy jumped up suddenly and bellowed at the top of his voice, his raucous laughter catching the attention of everybody around, “Maga don pay!” He began dancing like someone who had just received Chloroquine injections in both his bottom cheeks.
I better get out of this sanitarium before I become insane myself, Richard decided. He logged off the system and got out of the café just when the boy’s fellow scammers were congratulating him on his luck.
Catch the next episode next week Monday

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