I was covering this removal service at a funeral home with dignitaries all around. Though there were tears flowing freely, i was concentrated on my work. I had to. I wasn’t trying to, i was just not moved. As i filmed i recalled the numerous occassions i’ve been told that i have a strong heart, a heart of stone, though i don’t accept the latter. There were people there, i noticed, who were obviously exaggerating the anguish. I guess it happens in every funeral but I had never seen it before. We moved on from there to the church and more or less the same scenerios repeated themselves. At the court though, where the casket holding the deceased was draped in the nation’s colors (He was a prominent individual), there was this man who seemed scared of the camera. He threw occasional glances at me and then at the camera, acting like my camera was one of those with hidden firing devices. Too many movies i presumed, or maybe the gathering was just too eerie for him. Or maybe he was aware of all his wrongs. I learnt he is a senator. It ended well for all of us, no one got shot and we were set to go to the hometown of the deceased, some two hours away.
I got a sweet looking car; air conditioning, classical music, and lots of small chops with drinks and sweets. All the stuff to give one indigestion, flatulance and occassional need for the bathroom, any bathroom. But at that moment I didn’t care and I lived like a saudi prince., without the gold. It was a Luxury car ride that i planned to enjoy to the fullest. And I was enjoying it for about thirty minutes into the trip when the car decided to have a flat tire. I didn’t think anything of it, infact i welcomed it. The longer we were on the road the longer this experience would last.
The driver got out the car, got out a pair of gloves, which we all joked about, gloves for changing a tyre, in Africa! It was funny and i too had never seen it until then. The only thing that could ruin the amusement was if there was an earthquake that tore up the Ritcher Scale, or judgment day came upon us, but what he said next was equally jaw-dropping. He said he didn’t have a Jack. We were on the highway in the middle of nowhere with little or no phone reception. The only car on the road. And how the heck did he remember to have a glove without a jack?
“What are the gloves for?” I asked hypothetically. The answer was a resounding silence.
So we had to wait there for the next vehicle going our way. I got back in the car, to my treats. A vehicle will turn up soon and if not soon, well there’s plenty to eat and drink. Some thirty minutes, four motorcycles and two trailers later we had to forfiet the luxury car and hang on to the pickup that pulled over without a jack but with enough space at the open air back. Quickly things turned from Saudi Arabia to Sudan. The sun
smilled beamed down on us as we went past the country side that would have been better appreciated from the inside of a car. We past a school in about a split second. We weren’t that fast, the school was that small. The sign that read ‘school’ seemed to take a longer time to pass by. We past by the Rubber tree plantation where America gets most of its rubber. We crossed a bridge over a river called St John. Now that was wierd for I was expecting a name like Gbangajulu or something african like that. Finally we got to our destination and I had to fix my face that the wind had rearranged during the trip. I was just in time to cover the actual burial. And we moved on from there to a hall where the food was more than the air. Everyone had forgotten why they were there as a mad rush for food began. That part I still haven’t figured out cos it was there in surplus and there was no need for the rush. That still didn’t stop the shoving and name-calling. It showed there and then that people actually came for the food.
People were acting deranged but suddenly subtle as it got to their turn.
All that past and our car got there in one piece. I quickly got in like someone who’d been stuck in a lion’s cage and had found an exit.
We had to stop to help some people going our way. Too many people. So now the car was so packed that this guy had his elbow on my crotch. And just as i got comfy enough to doze off then came a bump i could swear wasn’t there before. It was as if i was viewing the universe in all of its colors. The rest of the trip is a blur.