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“There is always a way out, you don’t need to give yourself cardiac arrest over a matter as minor as an ant.”

“Kay, you know what? The last time I came here in company with Bala, I bought four bottles and Bala three. Midway into the merriment, this hawkish babe came and started packing the bottles in piecemeal. While leaving, I paid N800, covering four bottles, while our friend paid N600 for three. Now, see the embarrassment; she is saying I didn’t pay for one bottle.”

“You see, Charles, if you can adopt my style, you wouldn’t have any problem as per settling your bill. Now, once you know you want to shell yourself with upwards of three, four bottles, just ask that an empty carton be given you, which must be put near you or under your table. That’s the destination of all your fallen heroes from the table. Then, let’s see who will dispute your bill.”

“Ah, thank you my dearly beloved, experienced drunk. You can see now that I’m going to pay for an un-executed project. She has dispossessed me by making me pay for an unconsumed bottle of beer.”

“You will do well to heed my advice and you won’t have to technically dispossess yourself. Again, stop being hysterical over such things. We are in the era of cardiac arrest. See what happened to a governor in-the-waiting, who in the heat of excitement, was arrested by ‘cardiac’. In moments, he was stone dead.”

“Hmmm, may the Lord help us. How were they able to determine quickly that he had heart attack. Nigerians like fire-brigade diagnosis or autopsy. If it had happened in any of these western countries, a thorough examination would have been conducted on him, by many medics.”

“Charlso, let’s just pray for the repose of the man’s soul, he’s been buried. You know this is Nigeria. But my worry really is that, since the governorship election he contested was inconclusive, there is going to be a supplementary election between the dead and the living.”

“There you come again, Kay. Let them give us steaming hot assorted meat, a plate each, because this beer is criminally cold. That would just be our variant of Ikogosi Ekiti warm spring. This time, it will be where hot pepper- soup meets with cold beer. (Laughs, alone).”

“Please, be serious for once, you have derailed from the burning national issue on the table. What happens to the Kogi governorship election?”

“Well, while I’m not a lawyer, I’m not also a liar. The truth of the matter is that, the Supreme Court once declared that it is a political party, and not the candidate that owns electoral contest. So, just as you said, a dead man will certainly contest against the living. So if the deceased is ‘lucky’ to win in the supplementary election, his living deputy steps in as governor while their party, the APC, gets the latter a deputy. Chikena!”

“Terrible scenario! But remember that in this situation, a winner has not emerged. And the constitution is silent on a situation like this and it will require the Supreme Court to decide.”

“Well, let them decide. And I wonder why the Supreme Court cannot also decide that there should be no fuel crisis again in the country, at least since it seems the government is incapable of taking that decision.”

“Charles, funny Charles. You see, what we can decide here is how to apply the native intelligence to survive in this country. You don’t need the Supreme Court. If there is no fuel and your resources are not enough to buy the product in the black market, just park your vehicle in the garage. If the cost of living, arising from the biting effect of the fuel shortage is becoming unbearable, scale down on your social spending, to keep alive.”

“Ok, meaning that, if you have been shelling four, five bottles in three nights within a week before, reduce them to one, two bottles per week. Or if you have been taking fish pepper-soup, assorted meat, nkwobi, isi-ewu and cow tail, revert everything to ponmo?”

“But things are even worse now. Haven’t you heard of the killer ponmo in town? We never can tell if a long ponmo that has sucked pepper in the broth of a bubbly stew can afterwards precipitate stomach pain and lead to death. So what do we eat?”

“Then, we probably proceed on hunger strike. Or aren’t we lucky to be revellers? Those who are running for dear life, in different war zones across the world, if they get ponmo to eat, will they not go and do thanksgiving?”

“My brother, let’s take a bottle each for the road. We cannot but thank God for our lives, even as we drink our beer with ponmo in the fuel scarcity era, without having to run helter-skelter, for fear of attack.”

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