This one was about Poverty Reduction (another one, you might yawn). Yep. It was sponsored by the World Bank and you can be sure it’d be well attended as all WB conferences are. I worked hard (depending on your point of view) on my paper. To tell the truth it was basically a cut and paste job. I use the latest Dell Dual-Processor Pentium IV Notebook. It is so thin and puny you will think that you are imagining things: it certainly weigh less than your old mobile phone. The speed, mama miya: a true speedmonster!
My notebook, naturally, came with all the bells, all the whistles plus all the uniforms and everything in between. I logged into my private network and hacked into my old files, plagiarized those of other colleagues, and checked the Internet to give it a more polished, international and sophisticated look. I ran the lot through my trusty word-processor (not forgetting to search and replace conflicting names, dates and places), milled it through my reliable spreadsheet program and by the time it passed through my faithful (it never lets me down) Presentation program and, wow, you will never believe that I was capable of producing such a masterpiece. Such is the power of modern technology. After saving my latest magnum opus on the hard and pen drive, I burned it into a CD-RW and, for added security, ftped it to my website. Think I am paranoia? Just old silly carefulness, I’d say.
Mein Frau crowned my toil with a gargantuan meal – a masterpiece on its own. Describing it will only make you salivate like a starved dobberman, so why bother?
Kotoka airport was, as usual, bustling with activities. There were plain men milling around and beautiful women were everywhere; sauntering the way only African women know how to saunter.
“Good afternoon.” I said, and handed my ticket to the beautiful, petit woman wo-manning (I cooked that word up for this piece) the counter.
She gave me a sterile look, beamed a no-nothing smile in my direction and proceeded to tapped into her keyboards. After which rituals she peeled a boarding pass from the printer and gave it to me. I thanked her and she replied with another so-so smile.
You surely know how very easy it is to locate the bar in any airport, don’t you now? Next time you are traveling, try to check out the place that has the highest concentration of human per square foot or whatever measurement you are using. For some psychopathological reason I am yet to fathom, airport bars are always easily the most densely spot. I hope that the CIA and the other terrorist organizations do not figure that out soon
I, very naturally, gravitated to the bar. There were plenty of good-looking nibbles around. I said hello to the bar tender and he said hello to me, and I ordered a mini banquet with two jugs of criminally cold Bubra. I lugged my feast (it has enough calories and cholesterol to give a dietician heart attack) and established myself at a comfortable corner. I settled down and started doing justice to my calorific jumbo snack.
Many people were openly gaping at me the way you gape at creepy creatures that crept out of some rocks. I never knew why some people couldn’t mind their own business, do you? Some skeletal girls, their apushkeleke dresses revealing as much as it covers, were actually giggling and pointing in my direction. A youngish girl went as far as dragooning her hapless mother to come and witness my mammoth meal. The woman tried vainly not to look too flabbergasted.
I ignored one and all and stuffed myself with my princely snack down to the last morsel. I gulped the cold beer to help sluice it down the guts. I downed two more jugs of Bubra before I felt my body was sufficiently nourished to join the rest of humanity. I strolled to the bar and down some XP Cognac to smoother the rough edges of the beer taste. The brandy had a twangy taste, but I had no problem losing it. You don’t know what a twangy taste is, do you? Never mind, neither do I.
I lumbered to the hall where a giant TV was showing some American movie. Plenty guns, plenty car-chasing and I actually saw a sex scene. I swear to it. But I was too discombobulated to pay attention to any movie. I made myself comfortable and before long yours truly was sleeping happily. It couldn’t have been happy for my fellow travelers because when I opened my eyes, the nearest fellow to me was sitting about twenty meters away. My snoring and vibration must have sent all and sundry ascatter.
An announcement was made and from what I could gather from the false Yankee accent of the announcer, my flight has been delayed. The plane is expected to land in two hours. Give or take a turn-around time of one hour; that means I have another three hours to kill. What is a man to do, and women and children too? Gravity took me to, where else(?), the bar. I lost more (who is counting) beer in my mouth and polished the taste off with more XP Cognac.
Fighting both alcohol and gravity, I wobbled back to my seat. If you have never wobbled in your life you will not have an inkling of what I am saying. But I managed it, thank ye gods for small mercies. Fellow passengers who apparently did not want to get to their destinations with punctured eardrums gave me wide berth. I was soon slumbering away like there is not tomorrow.
Another announcer from the same processed voice informed to the effect that according to the latest info, the plane has again been delayed for another two hours. Holy smoke! How many hours are actually in a day? Twenty-four, right? So, if the airline loses four (five, counting the turn around time) on every flight, how on earth could they expect to make a profit? Are you not glad that you are not in the airline business, I know that I am.
I tottered to the counter; my petit friend has been replaced by a more formidable, very massive woman with the bosom and the countenance that can rival that of a Makola Mammy. I struggled to remain vertical and gazed into her pretty face.
“I bought my ticket…” I began my story but she was too exasperated to be interest in stories, especially inebriated ones.
“Sorry, sir (the sir part drips with disgust), what did you say we could do for you?”
I lunged forward unsteadily and had to grab the sturdy counter in order to steady myself. “I was telling you that I bought my ticket…”
Again she cut me short rudely, “I thought every passenger was supposed to buy their tickets. They do it everyday, sir (added as an afterthought).
“I paid for it.” I said and belched contentedly. Enough of ethanol must have invaded her nostril for she had to sneeze hard. She gave me a look that spelt murder.
“Wonders of wonders,” she yawned. “And what made you believe that the other passengers didn’t pay for theirs?”
“I paid for it.” I ruminated and gazed at her computer screen as though seeking divination from the flickering characters. “Would you be a good lass and try to wake up a decent something for a hungry man? I am famished.”
Her large eyes roamed over my large belly and she stifled a chuckle.” Not by the look of things.” Her tone bridled with sarcasm
“We are not being sassy, or sardonic with me, are we now?” I lamented.
“No, sir (this time it sounded genuine). I am not on diet myself. But by the look of things, I will not advise for the ingestion anything lest we burst an artery or two. We certainly will not like that, would we now?”
“I am not asking for advice, but for something to bite into. Do you really believe that we can still travel today?” I inquired.
“It depends on a lot of imponderables like for instance: atmospheric conditions, the state of the elements, the vagaries of nature, the countenances of the gods, the Sahel cross-winds, the ocean currents billowing from the Atlantic Ocean and a host of other mysterious and mystical powers that determine such things like our flying or not. It really is beyond our control, as you can well see.”
“Yeah, I can well see. But how do the other airlines manage to keep flying. Don’t they have their own imponderables to grapple with?”
“I am not their spokeswoman!” She deadpanned.
“Do we get vouchers for hotels?” I asked.
“What,” she cried, “do you want to bankrupt us?”
“Where do you expect us to sleep?”
“We always advise passengers to make their own sleeping arrangements.”
“Good advice. Only no one remember to tell me.”
“You didn’t ask.” She said without blinking.
“Another imponderable! How could I ask when I didn’t know that you were going to jettison me at Kotoka? Anyhow, how about that drink?”
“Care for a Diet Cola? That corpulent carcass you chariot around can definitely use it” She said this with a mighty laugh. She is really sassy.
“Get out of there.” I shouted and put my legs into motion - direction BAR. I have babbled enough already: time to give some nourishment to the body, especially in the drink department.
The bar was manned by a kind looking elderly man with a friendly Ewe face. I smiled at him and he smiled at me and I ordered more Bubra. He left his chore of polishing glasses and strolled up to me. “Don’t you think that we have had enough for today?” He winked conspiratorially and regarded me as you’d a mentally disadvantaged relative.
“You motto there says, ‘we serve to please,’ why don’t you put that into practice and get a thirsty man something for a parched throat?”
“Parched throat,” he groaned. “Take the advice of an elderly brotherly and go home to your woman.”
“I missed my plane!” I moaned mournfully.
“Definitely not the end of the civilized world as we know it. You can catch another plane tomorrow.”
“Ok, just one for the road.”
He laughed. “For the road? Not on your life. Another ounce and you will be airborne. You have already put enough ethanol away to fly a Concorde. Another drop of liquor and you are bound to self-combust. We don’t want that on my conscience, do we now?”
“I want to see the manager.” I demanded.
“I am the manager.”
You will never believe how enterprising you could get if you really needed a booster the way I did. I located another bar where the tenders do not preach ethic, philosophy and morality. I plastered myself with lubricants and shoved a wad of currency into the hands of the bartenders and asked for him to get a taxi for me. His tip must have had a sudden liftoff for he shot out like a bullet and bulldozed his way to carry out my command. He helped parked me into the car and thanked me profusely. I felt asleep before the car door was closed. I awoke to the sound of bonnet being slammed.
“Are we there?” I inquired.
“No, sir. Car stopped. But we for almost there.” He replied ungrammatically.
I swayed, trying hard to maintain both balance and momentum. I tottered to the bed and the man got up. The weapon of mass destruction with which he has been pummeling my (assenting) wife has shrunk back in fear. My vision clouded and nasty thoughts paraded my brain. I threw a savage roundhouse which missed the adulterer by a kilometer. The weight of the blow caused me to lose my balance. The effort sapped my smashed power. I fell like a downed log and didn’t wake up until several hours later.