Inside Statehouse on Election Night and Beyond
FIRST MESSENGER: Janjangburreh speakest with sanity, as doth their vote. And Banjul Central doth stay its way to our sway. Great Soothsayer arrives soon!
SECOND MESSENGER: I wouldst Brikama swell with green and tilt to our vantage, while Serrekunda stirred by the moment, make toilet use of those fabrics yellow of hell. Missives boding our doom galore afar–in territories that feed the saucy mouths that speak of them.
SAUL BADJIE: A mixture of sweet fortune with ephemeral fear for those to drink who await a tumultuous appointment with change. Mine I commend to the lion-heart that always sits well with valor–for history’s soldiers, I pray, drop not their guard at ill news.
All hail him that is the soothsayer–he that soothes our hearing with honeyed tidings!
SOOTHSAYER: Beware of the number 2! Beware! Two and another two crowned thee on July 22. Yet two with another two, by the lease of providence gave thee 22 years. ‘Tis this two without its twin that manufactures December 2 where thou err in battle as to stab thy own foot.
JAMMEH: Hath Bakau spoken yet?
FIRST MESSENGER: Aye–with more daggers pointing at thy throat. The least a caveat to ears of wisdom.
JAMMEH: Mandinkas they are, yet refractory with the hand that bears the keys to Mile II.
A cry within
Whose wailing I hear that chokes the air with melancholy?
THIRD MESSENGER: Zeinab cries for poison–to devour peril with another. Her highness reached for a guard’s weapon to seize her own breath at the call of despair.
JAMMEH: Ring! O Saul! Ring bells that aren’t alarum, but fiddle to the kindest ears of Adama Barrow–the which reminds of Basiru.
SOOTHSAYER: Barrow begins with a letter that is number two in the alphabet. History didst but send two Barrows against thee, one thou slew 22 years ago. Basiru bore two of those same letters. Beware of number 2!
JAMMEH: Ring the breathing Barrow! And let me concede defeat while yet with wet concrete, carve a rare deceit on the walls of history.
SOOTHSAYER: And thou executes that how when no president, with precedent, ever conceded only to recede?
JAMMEH: A blind man seeks no beauty in a spouse. Within thy very sight I will what pale skins cherish in Western civilization. I shall dangle to Barrow sweet currency in exchange for Zeinab to leave unfettered. The conversation shall bear smiles and banter, and beneath them daggers of venom and masked brutality. Let Zeinab escape in peace.
(Enter another messenger)
MESSENGER: Brikama hath spoken and thenceforth bowed to Barrow. Two more of Banjul, north and south both tilted to Barrow. Thou already lost Bakau.
JAMMEH: Brikama, Banjul, Bakau! Barrow! Why they all start with the number two letter in the alphabet? Sirrah! Particular hath become my breath with that which is 2.
Thousands of APRC supporters in their usual green, with flags and draperies stationed in various locations hoping for APRC early celebrations begin to scatter, fleeing to neighboring villages from the Fonis to Brikama. Thousands of green attire resemble a moving forest.
(Enter a Messenger from Brikama)
MESSENGER: Do I wake or hallucinate to pronounce this? My liege–that men atop heights in Sibanor saw woods marching towards Brikama. These limbs ache with the weight of news too surreal for troubled ears.
SOOTHSAYER: Jammeh shall never vanquish be till Kanilai woods march to Nyambai forest!
MESSENGER: Beseech thee! I saw the woods move!
JAMMEH: Rotten tongue! Cur of the West! Say no more!
MESSENGER: Prithee! Lo!
SOOTHSAYER: Beware of number two!
(Enter another messenger)
MESSENGER: ‘Tis on Fatoumata Tambajang’s tongue to prosecute and prevent Jammeh from leaving for kanilai.
JAMMEH: O Saul! Assemble the army! With the darkest of venom, lay siege on the IEC abode! Like a gaboon viper, shut down the nation’s central nervous system and let the world rave! Let me rise from insanity again, and offend the air with news of a voided election.
JAMMEH: (Aside) Let me tamper with destiny, and sow seeds of discord at this epiphany. Let sprites infect the streets of Banjul with abandon, and fill its air with yelp or blood. Let doom unveil its masterpiece, and undo the Arch that bears two of the numbers asymmetrical with my fair fare. Let Gambia quake to the bowels of the earth, and with it crumble the airport and roads I built.
SAUL BADJIE: Forbid this wailing! Forbid it, my liege!
JAMMEH: (Abstracted) Why doth defeat yield tears, and feat, however swollen seldom piques physiology to evoke flagrant sensations? Why are tears both seen and felt, or even salty with taste, while smiles remain visual to deny the blind? Why doth fortune-telling speak with ambiguity while reality stings with solid assertion?
SOOTHSAYER: Beware of number 2.
JAMMEH: Ignite the army, O Saul! Pronounce them lofty positions to mischief’s greatest appetite. Ye demons of darkness gory, deny me not this instrument of ghastly charge. Gambia I built and Gambia I shall destroy with my last breath. (Phone rings and Saul Badjie puts it on loud speaker)
Is this barrow?
VOICE (Through phone): ‘Tis Alima Sallah. Greetings to the First Lady covetous of title. Alack! She who binds to thee for title shall shun thee for its lack thereof. Headed is she to Potomac for that dwelling’s title as is her wont. My prayers as she sinks to be the last lady Gambia respects. Cheerio!
JAMMEH: I bear not enough ears for sad news.
(Phone rings again and it’s put on speaker)
Hello Alima Darling!
VOICE: Tuti Faal speaks this hour. Greetings to thee and the first lady who is only first where money isn’t second, and last where honor is first!
JAMMEH: Two of my yester consorts witness me fester! Rest no more! Kanilai shall rest no more! Everything that bears two bears witness against Jammeh!
“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts…” William Shakespeare.
Beautiful art Gambiano. I look forward to reading the entire series in book form sometime soon. Thanks a lot for this brilliant and entertaining work.
A good thought, Baba. Only that the internet has eclipsed the book industry today. Besides, finding publishers can be a serious challenge.
Gambiano, this is a book for the Gambian reader, especially our school children. They will both learn about our unfolding history and the fact that Shakespeare does not have or claim monopoly on beautiful drama. I’m sure in the near future, you can find a Gambian publisher for this wonderful work.
You know, you’re giving excellent ideas I never thought of.
Glad you found the suggestions helpful. I look forward to reading the book someday.