“My ex? Which ex?”
“Sade. At least that’s what she called herself. She called last night before I came to Galaxy. She said you were cheating on him. But you’ve told me you didn’t have a girlfriend. I know you are not a liar.”
“She’s dead.” Badoo said, and opened the door. He had his white towel around his waist. “Sade is dead Bunmi.”
“I was speaking with a prank caller?”
“How did she sound?”
“She definitely didn’t sound dead. She was natural, a bit jovial I guess, she said she was not angry with me because she knew I didn’t know about the two of you. She had this voice like that 21st century singer with the same name as a strong alcoholic drink made from wine.”
“That’s my ex! That’s Sade! That’s her voice!”
A frown creased her forehead. “Badoo, why are you looking like this? Are you okay?”
“Bunmi I know it’s hard to believe, but please bear with me. The woman who called you, she’s dead. She was my ex. I went to her funeral. I saw her lowered into the ground.”
If he had known Mr Falajiki was planning this he would have tried to dissuade him. He got a call from the boss’ office before he got his thumb on the blinking red punctuality button beside the missile-proof door. He hurried upstairs. It could be an emergency. He did not knock before he entered. He stared at the documents as if they were pieces of hot akara. Mr Falajiki avoided his eyes.
“You recommended me for psychiatric evaluation?”
“Badoo, it’s procedure.”
“I am not crazy sir.”
“That is what all crazy people say when they start losing it. Look, I’m not saying you are crazy. I mean, you looked perfectly normal despite getting calls from a dead woman for over two years. I wouldn’t have imagined something like that had been happening to you if you had not told me. This is a procedure I have to follow through based on my responsibility. I just want to be sure I get this right so that it would not be an issue if a police officer goes gaga and goes on a shooting spree. They would ask why I didn’t recommend a test when I saw signs. I don’t want to be the detective who didn’t detect the shit under his nose.”
“Shit under his nose?”
“Badoo, all I’m saying is: the document is here now. The deed is done. We have to be sure you are sane. Besides, it is a normal thing in the force. Oh, isn’t this your fourth year in the force?”
“I am not insane sir!”
It was a busy four hours for the man who was thought capable of proving Badoo’s sanity or insanity. Dr Masango Masango would ask twelve routine questions from the notes in his manila file. From the twelve he would be guided by his eloquence. We are talking about a man who has been doing this for two decades now. The bespectacled doctor would listen, and try to understand, and nod intelligently; even smile empathically.
The doctor would sometimes narrow his eyes and ask his patient with mock hesitation. “How does that make you feel?”
Badoo had his mind made up before he walked through the narrow corridor that ended in Dr Masango’s cave-like private consulting room. He had decided to be honest, to say what was on his mind, to present the facts. Three people heard this voice on the phone; the only one who was not sure had thought it sounded like Sade’s voice. He was sure of his sanity. The presence of fear does not imply a failure of faith. He knew this for sure.
He wanted to be himself; he did not want to think too much about the questions and his answers.
“Do you think you should be faithful to Sade?” The doctor asked.
Badoo knew his type. To catch a monkey, isn’t it wiser to act like a monkey? “I was faithful to her.” He said calmly.
“In other words you don’t really believe she’s the one making these calls. Because obviously, quite understandably, you don’t see the need to be faithful to her now.”
“Is that a question?”
“It would help me to know if you believe she’s the one making the calls,” Masango Masango said, showing his teeth, yellow as a dog’s.
“She’s the one making the calls sir. Three people heard a voice on the phone. My mother asked if she had a sister. My friend said my ex called. Same voice. This may be hard to understand with reason but there are things beyond the bounds of reason. Many real things—”
Dr Masango Masango interrupts. “Which friend said your ex called?”
“And when you mean things beyond the bounds of reason, what do you mean?”
Badoo folded his arms. “I believe in God. I believe in a supernatural world. I believe there are things we cant see with our eyes. I mean, the fact that you cant see an amoeba or protozoan unless under a microscope does not mean they do not exist.”
“In other words you believe in angels, ghosts, demons, spirits.”
“Yorubas talk about akudaayas and anjonus and eboras. Sir, don’t you love your wife? How do you prove love? How do you prove unity? How do you prove fear? There are things we see that make us know these things are real. But we don’t see these real things as objects with our naked eyes.”
“Badoo, I’m impressed by your grasp of issues. I love my wife. Thank you. It seems to me that you think love is beyond the bounds of reason?”
“Sir, you must have heard about that king who claimed to be the king of kings. The one who made people disappear a few years ago and said he was coming to take over global government. Why would he die for humanity if he really was a king? Maybe he is. Thing is, love makes people unreasonable.”
“You believe Jesus is coming again?”
“Dr Masango Masango, it doesn’t matter what I believe. What is, is what is. Are you not tired sir? I mean, you must have many patients waiting. Can I call myself that? Am I a patient?”
“No Badoo. You are not a patient. We are just having a conversation.”
Dr Masango Masango had to end the consultation when a narrow-faced, slim-nosed, fat-lipped woman who would immediately bring a fish to mind walked in with a basket covered with a white napkin and said she had come with the doctor’s food.
She could be his wife; she could be helping him, or maybe they were helping each other. But there was definitely something intimate about her manner.
On his way to Mr. Falakiji’s office, Badoo avoided the open space that linked his boss’ office to the psychiatrist’s consulting room, in an attempt to keep his examination a secret. When he arrived at Mr Falajiki’s office, he saw him standing up and shaking hands with two men one after the other. Two men in white agbadas, with black suitcases, and the confident solemnness of the powerful. A bearded one and a bald one.
Badoo knew them.
“Good afternoon sir.” He did not wait for their responses. All he needed was their attention. “Please you can’t leave now.”
“Who are you?” The bearded one glanced at Mr Falajiki and at the not-so-confident man telling him he cant leave now.
“Never mind sir,” Mr Falajiki interrupted, embarrassed by the audacity of his subordinate. “I’m sure he doesn’t mean that.”
“Please sir I want to make my submission.”
Mr Falajiki couldn’t help the scowl on his face. “You cant make a submission Badoo. Your sanity is in question.”
“My sanity is in question. But it doesn’t mean I’m insane. The federal government is spending an insane amount of money on the importation of law enforcement robots when men and women have over the years proved capable. It is my duty to speak for the force. Until the results prove me insane I have a right to be heard as sane.”
The bald one placed his suitcase on the table, nodded at his partner, and glanced at his watch which had been covered by the sleeves of his agbada.
The bearded man placed his suitcase down too, ready to sit and listen. “He’s right.” The bearded one said to Mr Falajiki. “It is our duty to hear everyone on this matter.”
Badoo got home when the sun was like an orange in the western sky. His mum had on her Ankara apron, an adire baseball hat, and dark sunshades. She was in the garden, holding an aluminum watering can and humming while she tended her flowers.
Badoo’s mother did not even look up when he said “Eku ile.” She had heard him talk about the absurdity of having dark shades on in the evening. She was not willing to hear it again this evening.
She would never know that her son had been with a psychiatric doctor for more than three hours. She would probably never know about post-death Sade, and Bunmi Affi, and the official scrutiny, and all the cloudy experience he had been going through. The fact that he was still living with his Mum at age 31 does not mean he should bother the old woman about the details of his life.
Read Episode 1 HERE
TO BE CONTINUED…NEXT MONDAY: NOVEMBER 28.
About the Author:
Feyisayo Anjorin is a writer, an actor, and a director; his writings has appeared in Litro, 365 tomorrows, Bella Naija, and Fiction On the Web. He plays the character “Cassius” on Mnet Africa’s flagship TV soap “Tinsel.”