Kwasi Sakabo tells a fellow chop bar patron – “Ask your watch”

“This too shall pass,” I reassured myself after making justice to a meal of banana and roasted peanuts on a public bench. I had not been able to secure a permanent job then, and was subsisting on my girlfriend Yaa Mary, until she decided she’d had enough of me and threw me out. I guess I was economical with my manhood and was depriving YaaMary of one the thing she loved most. “If I wasn’t bringing any money home, and was unable to meet her nightly needs, then obviously I was of no use to her. She went ahead and dumped me! “I shall overcome” I said it so loud that passers by turned to look at me with suspicion. I started planning for shelter and dinner. I had no worry for clothing yet, because I was smart enough to grab my back pack before Mary slammed the door shut right in my face. Papa Sakabo had always advised to dress to attract, and I had followed that religiously, irrespective of my financial situation.Where is the nearest local chop bar?I asked myself, for where there is a chop bar, there’s food for Sakabo, I reflected with a smile as I remembered an episode. In those good, good old days, back in my native country, I faced a similar situation, and walked into a chopbar. I ordered kokonte (a.k.a. face-the-wall; lapiwa; opolatsa), with no meat. “Opanin” the woman asked me, “how much meat?” she asked to the hearing of other folks waiting to be served. “I don’t eat meat becauseI am a vegetarian” I replied with equal loudness and anger. It wasn’t her business to ask me that, I seeped inside me. “Just add some okra to the kokonte,” I told her. “Do you want “awura afua? It’s free” she persisted. “Maame, I just told you what I wanted, I said with a raised voice.“I am sorry, I am concerned that you might go deaf without meat” she said apologetically. I got my order and went straight to face the wall.Another man came in with fufuo and assortment of fish and bush meat. I prayed it was contaminated with Ebola – all that meat !!! I took a quick glance at his heap and felt jealous and angry. Fufuo was my choice, but the price was too steep for my pocket, hence the “abeteɛ.”He set his food next to mine, and then got up again. I instantlyscooped some of his meat and fish and buried it under my kokonte. He came back with a bottle of salt in his hand. The moment he sat down, he recognized his heap had been tam-pered with. Between balls of the kokonte, I espied the man looking straight at me belligerently, but he couldn’t accuse me for two reasons.First, he heard it loud and clear that Iwas a vegetarian, and second he couldn’t see any meat or fish on myfood. I slowed down on the rate I was swallowing my food, otherwise I would expose the bounty hiddendown under. A third man joined us with much more fish and meat liberally spread on whatever was under. He threw his tie on his shoulders and rolled his sleeves. He paused on an impulse, took a look at my Timex wristwatch and asked me “What’s the time?” I pointed to the pile in his bowl and replied “Ask your fish and meat! I feigned anger and added “I am tired of you people. If you have moneyfor such meal, why don’t you have money for a basic need as a watch,”as I took my bowl of kokonte and left the table to the far end of the room. That was the opportunity I was waiting for. I quickly untangled the acquired fish and meat from under the kokonte and devoured it as quickly as I could. I could not tell exactly the sort of conversation the two men were engaged in, but they occasionally craned their necks towards my lonely table. With this reflective experience, I got off the public bench and headed into a subway station. Bronx is where I may find a chop bar, and hopefullysome food. I would think of a shelter later.

Kwasi Sakabo is a sequel that must be followed to be understood.

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Posted by on Nov 16 2014. Filed under Artcultainment. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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