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Story written by LarrySun…

Pa Jimoh was really dead. There was no doubt whatsoever about that, for he truly and undeniably died from half a thousand stings and a broken vertebrae. He knew about his own death? Of course he did. How could it ever be otherwise? Because Pa Jimoh died a virgin, there was really not wet eye for his funeral. The reason behind his decided celibacy would forever remain a mystery even to the most seasoned of all detectives alive today.

Now, the mention of Pa Jimoh’s funeral brings the magic of the pen back to the first line of the immediate paragraph before this. Pa Jimoh was really dead. This must be distinctly assimilated or there would be nothing of consequence to fathom from the extraordinary sequence of events that succeeded his demise. And when a man dies and is still refused the peacefulness of a grave, then most people will agree that there is something still amiss with the world, as it has always been.

Jimoh, being the last of his race, was of no known family member to claim his corpse, let alone rewarding him with a befitting burial. It was only the kind indegenes of Ogbomosho that took it upon themselves to plant the loner, but they refused to do it without a coffin available. It was part of their culture in the remotest part of the village not to bury any corpse in the soil without first locking it in a casket. But the only coffin-maker they knew had his shop in the city, which was many kilometres away from the village. Having no other known maker of coffins, the village elders gathered together their resources and employed the service of Saka, a gifted coffin-maker. These elders exhibited their generosity over the tapper’s corpse to a commendable degree. If they’d allowed themselves the pleasure of considering Pa Jimoh’s manners in his life they wouldn’t have made any step at burying him; they’d rather have watched the corpse rot and become meat for fowls of both air and land, for Pa Jimoh was known to be tight-fisted in his life; a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old man. He was a well from which no bucket had ever fetched a generous water. No beggar who knew him implored of him to bestow a trifle, no children asked him what it was o’clock, no man or woman in the village ever once in all his life inquired the way to such and such a place, of Pa Jimoh. Even the blind men appeared to recognize him; for when they sensed him coming ahead, they would tap their canes and make their ways to their doorways. It almost seemed as though whenever it came to situations pertaining Jimoh, they revelled in their affliction. Some of them would console themselves by saying, ‘No eye at all is better than an evil eye!’

But even Jimoh himself did not give a trifle care to this obvious neglect; it was the very thing he liked, and he always defended himself by preaching about how he was the oldest inhabitant of the village at seventy-five, and that every other villager should always accord him the respect for an elder. Although he always emphasized how he was a year older than any other old man in the village, everybody knew that he was never an hour richer. And to have such an evil-embodiment die in the village without the benefit of a burial might spell misfortune for the growing generation of the village.

Saka worked round the clock to make a presentable coffin for Pa Jimoh, and when the work was ready the next day, Saka was impressed at his own achievement; because he’d never, until now, completed a casket in a single day. It was as though the spirit of the dead palm-wine tapper urged him to hasten up. He knew quite well that his client would likewise be duly impressed at the rapidity with which he completed the work. He also knew that the villagers could not wait to inter Jimoh and get it done with. But in the modern world, there was always Murphy’s Law that could not be avoided. And in this case at hand, everything worked together to make sure that the coffin built for Jimoh did not arrive Ogbomosho in time.

To Be Continued…

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