Saturday, June 09, 2007


Once, years ago, I was an usher in a neighbourhood church. At a vigil, one night, a pastor walked up to me. “ ’papi, I can smell alcohol, someone’s drunk here”. Sharp nose, I thought, because there were at least a hundred people, but ’papi investigated.

I walked down the aisles, looking for misbehaviour, trying to catch a scent. I’m like a bloodhound in these matters, picked a keen sense of smell from the mater, which can be problematic when you’re with people who do not agree with the finer points of hygiene. The few times I’ve been ill, every smell is amplified, even scented soaps are horrible to inhale.

Back to my sipping saint… So I walked down the aisles, wondering, and like all human beings, trying to use physical appearances to pick a wrong-doer. I saw a man, small and wizened who looked to me like what a drunkard should, sat next to him and waited for the waft of barley to hit me…but nothing. He just sat, unmoving, looking at proceedings like an inspector. After a while, I moved on, puzzled, and then returned to my seat on the front row.

It was time to praise God and the songs began to roll, typical Pentecostal, “throw your cares to the wind” style. Then I noticed him. Moses. A short fair slim young man in his early twenties who stayed around the area and lent a hand at church events. Every time a new song was raised, he’d clamber past two rows of seats and their occupants, yelling his approval, “yayyyyyyyy!”, and then commence dancing a furious jig right in front of the pulpit. In "spiritual" places, exuberance like this is common place and can blend with other innocent expressions of joy, but there was something here, slightly out of place. At the end of each song, he’d return to his seat and then start the entire proceedings again,

After the 3rd yell from Moses, I walked up to him and said, “Come with me”. He did. Some ushers followed too.

’papi: Moses, you’re drunk.

Moses: Me!!!? Me?!!

’papi: I can smell “it” on you.

Other Ushers: Yes, you smell of alcohol

Moses: (Relenting and hazy-eyed, he lapsed into the 3rd-person as if he was trying to cut a deal for being an informer): Ok, what if someone went to a party and he drank somet’in… Just one bottle of wine. Will you say that person is drunk?

Other Ushers: One bottle? And you came to this vigil after?

’papi: Go home, Moses.

(A reluctant Moses complied and all was well)

The last time I heard of Moses, many years ago, I was told he had climbed an electricity pole to effect corrections as unauthorised people do here. Unfortunately for him, power was restored while he was holding the wrong wire, and he was thrown across half the road and broke a leg… but look at the positive side, his running sinuses must have cleared up.

Moses is well now. What brought him to mind? There is a much older Moses in my neighbourhood who fiddles with power transformers in the middle of the night and climbs poles all over the area, causing chaos. He’s also perpetually drunk. A real delirium tremens candidate. Sometimes I wish, he’d get tossed across the length of two streets.


Refinedone said...


"The few times I’ve been ill, every smell is amplified, even scented soaps are horrible to inhale" ...Now imagine having to suffer that condition for close to 9months :)

Unknown said...

Funny post. That was "anointing" by the bottle, definitely not spiritual. LOL at you wishing he was thrown across 2 streets. Don't blame him, blame PHCN who gives him an opportunity to be such a nuisance.

Mamarita said...

Poor guy....Back to religion, I think Jesus would have offered the man coffee and lots of water to wash down the alcohol, who knew why he came to the vigil after drowning his sorrows in alcohol. Another reason why I hate church:) Whatever happened to welcoming sinners ;) Then again yall were following orders eh

laspapi said...

@ Refinedone- I think women go through the most extraordinary things.

@ tayo- if I had my way, tayo, every nepa official would be thrown across two streets.

@ mamarita- Jesus would have told the man to go to bed, 'rita. He went on a binge, not to drown his sorrows, o. He wssnt a stranger in need of solace, he was a regular church worker who had (a bottle) too many.

Diva-sta said...

Lolz poor dude...@ least he didnt PURPOSSEFULLI come to the church drunk..he obviously overindulged

Idemili said...

Hahaha! You meanie!

Meanwhile, this is a cop out. Where is 'Girl Whisperer?'

laspapi said...

I know, diva-sta. We sent him home before he could hurt himself.

@ idemili- G Whisperer posted now. How are you, goddess?

Eyin'ju Oluwa said...

LMAO!!! I was scared he died after the electric shock, chei. Lmao, he's so funny. I love dancing in church, but i do mine at the back hehehe. Please tell the new Moses to lay off electric poles, why do people do such crazy things...

Idemili said...

I am fine, my prince. Just bemoaning my phonelessness - and considering sacrificing my soul to a big financial company, that has come calling, on the altar of my dreams. I need money. The hell with the Caine Prize, etc.

laspapi said...

omosewa, this is Nigeria, anything can happen. People scaling poles, waking up at 2am to find people perched on electricity poles like garden gnomes....

@ idemili- "sacrificing your soul". That's so very well put. I made a choice for the things I love, there've been many hungry nights but the pleasures are indescribeable. "The road not taken"...This is the time Robert Frost will have new meaning to you.