Happy Times in Bolonbanku – excerpt 2

By Saul Saidykhan

Acson Maan wore severely faded military-style khaki pants, and Chinese-made green sneakers made of loin-cloth. This is his organization’s de-facto uniform. Not for the first time that day, Acson Maan raised his arms, and tried to smell his sweaty armpits through the visibly soaked T-shirt he was wearing. He allowed that his armpits do not smell very good, but he is sure they’re not as bad-smelling as his wife always makes them out to be. Anyhow, he considers himself a man’s man, a stalwart in Bolonbanku’s revolutionary war, something the woman doesn’t know anything about. Being neat and tidy is for she-men anyway, which he is not. So, he sat back and tried to compose himself. He knows this is a moment that requires clear thinking. What he does or says in that critical time could be the difference between life and death for him.

He pulled out a packet of Camellia cigarettes and a small box of matches from the left side-pocket of his pants. He took out a cigarette and lit it. As he like to tell his associates, he Acson Maan thinks best when he is sucking on a cigarette and breathing it out nasally like a chimney. At least that’s what he believes. True to that belief, he took a deep puff on the cigarette, and breathed out a small string of smoke which slowly wafted towards the ceiling filling the cramped little office with pungent tobacco smell. Unperturbed by the foul smell, though he had to blink severally to minimize the amount of smoke getting into his eyes, he sat back and tried to recall what he had done the past several weeks that might have irked the Big Man enough to snob him – something that would be a sign of his almost certain impending doom.

He held the lit cigarette by his side and stared at the ceiling trying to think hard about what he and his team did lately, or where they’ve been both on and off assignments. He reckoned if he is really doomed, it could not have been due to something he had done or neglected to do singly. That is because there is hardly anything he did individually anymore outside of the basic biological functions of the human body. Because everywhere he goes nowadays, or everything he does, is in the company of his True-Green colleagues. He has not had any real life outside of the True-Green organization for over a decade at this point. Such is how consuming his True-Green work is. As such, he is sure his offense, if he has committed one, is work-related. There has to be something he did or failed to do as the supervisor of his team during an assignment that has irked the Great Aewaajah, who no doubt must have been informed of the infraction by one of he Acson Maan’s Boyes. He figures he better come up with an excuse good enough to exculpate, if not exonerate himself against whatever accusations his enemies may try to bring against him. But first, he needs a firm grasp of the details of all the assignments he supervised lately. That way, in case he is interrogated, he’ll be able to tell a straight and convincing story – not that that is normally of any use if the Big Man really wants one taken out of circulation. He puffed on his lit cigarette a few more times and tried to recollect the recent past work history of his team mentally.

He and his team have almost always been very busy since their creation, but especially in the past several months because of all the active internal saboteurs, and enemies of Bolonbanku that are out to destroy the country, and its image. As they, the Youth Wing of the BPDP are the first line of defense against such enemies, they are required to be vigilant at all times. Also, because they compete with the more formal Bolonbanku Intelligence Bureau for the Big Man’s ears, it is in their best interests to always prove their worth to The Big Man. To do that, they have to find not just the apparent enemies of the state, but the potential ones as well. Also, it is to them that the task of providing cover for the State falls where it is required for the State to not leave any fingerprints. Since they do not exist as a formal organization, the official line is they are merely a civic association without any State connection. It matters not that everyone knows that position to be untrue.

Anyhow, Acson Maan thought back to the recent high-profile assignments he and his team were given. He is sure he and his team handled all of those assignments very adequately. Or maybe, he is wrong in that belief. What confused him is that his team was given several Well-Done Commendations by none other than The Big Man himself after their Operations, which at the time suggested to him that his team must have executed their orders as expected. Yet only a few weeks after their last Commendation, here he is apparently being snob by The Big Man for reasons he cannot fathom.

So, with glazed eyes stuck on a single spot on the ceiling of his small office, he set out to recall the details of all their recent assignments individually – what their orders were, and how they had executed each one. He figured maybe, there were important details he had overlooked that The Big Man was told about. He wondered who among his Boyes is the snitch, not that it really matters who is. His decade in the organization has taught him that his line of work is fraught with danger from both within and without. It’s a dog eat dog world where any sort of true loyalty among colleagues is at best fleeting.

Acson Maan flashed back to the many important assigments he had supervised in the recent past. In one recent case, some important political prisoners -including one of his former bosses, who were chained together and manacled, were being relocated from one prison to another. The vehicle carrying the high-profile prisoners flipped over and somersaulted several times. Though chained and manacled, the high valued prisoners who are all of genius-criminal mind, managed to emerge from the wreckage unscathed. And using their criminal intelligence, they were able to make a clean break while all their dozen armed guards were indisposed due to the accident. Every loyal Bolonbanku citizen knows this is what happened because both Bolonbanku Radio and TV stations disseminated the story for a whole week afterwards soliciting public help in locating and apprehending the escaped dangerous criminals.

Yet one foolish man in a small-town name Tonya-Kunda took it upon himself to tell his fellow idlers and saboteurs that the prisoner story relayed on official Bolonbanku media is bogus. The man claimed that the prisoners were killed by the State, and that the official story as broadcast in the media was merely a cover-up. How galling! How did he come up with something like that?

Anyhow, after he Acson Maan and his team had had their first session with the foolish man, not only did he recant his accusation against the State, he behaved so well that by the time they threw him out of their building, he was calling every single one of his Boyes “Baaba.” That’s how persuasive the BPDP Youth Wingers can be in a one on one interaction with trouble makers. Unfortunately, they could not hold their second session with the foolish man because he died on them only a few hours after their initial interaction. His official cause of death is malaria, a fact confirmed by none other than Dr. Nmakalang Long of the famous Queens Hospital. This goes to show the sort of people that oppose Bolonbanku State: they’re weaklings in both mind and body. The foolish Tonya-Kunda man died on them even before they were done orienting him the Patriotic way. That was four weeks ago.

Then, there was the case of the mouthy woman from Sere Dougou, who like the Tonya-Kunda fellow, went around contradicting an official State story as if she knows more than the State about what actually happens in Bolonbanku. The story she butted in relates to an incident in which over a dozen young agent provocateurs were shot by Bolonbanku’s Patriotic forces in self-defense. The youngsters were foolish enough to allow themselves to be used by enemies of Bolonbanku’s progress. The youngsters were supplied with crude weapons by State enemies and egged on to attack State forces with far more superior firepower. In the ensuing battles, over a dozen of them were killed while not a single Bolonbanku soldier suffered a scratch. None other than Karaa Pokpok, the Great Aewaajah’s longtime deputy, went on national radio and TV to tell the whole world the true story. Just the way it happened. But won’t you know it, an attention-starved woman in Sere Dougou went about town making up stories that the kids were unarmed and merely protesting peacefully when State agents confronted them and started assaulting them violently culminating in the shooting death of dozens of teenagers.

Again, Acson Maan and his Boyes jumped into action to teach the mouthy woman when not to open her mouth – an important lesson on Patriotism. No one is allowed to sow seeds of discord and harmony that are bound to threaten the peace in Bolonbanku. Most Bolonbanku women know their place, but there is a small minority like the Sere Dougou one who because they’re married to weak men who give them inadequate attention, are not content with wearing the pants in their husbands’ households but like to do the same on Bolonbanku national stage.  However, the True-Greens have their special methods of satisfying the attention-graving of such women. Which is exactly what they did to the mouthy Sere Dougou woman. By the time they threw her out of their building, she could barely stand straight due to the overdose of attention they gave her to compensate for the long term Real-Man-attention deficiency she suffers from. That was less than three weeks ago.

Then there was the case of the prophet wanna-be preacher who was the toughest one they’ve had to handle in a long time because of the difficulty in gaining access to him. All patriotic Bolonbankus know that Aewaajah could formally declare himself a god if he so chooses because he is as powerful as any god. But because of his benevolence and humility, he has allowed Bolonbankus to follow whatever other god they want. Yet this one man refused to stop throwing shades at The Great One. Until Acson Maan and his team went to work on him. By the time, they were done, he willingly confessed on video that the god he worships is false, and Aewajah is the true god! That was only two weeks ago.

In each of the foregoing cases, to show his appreciation, the Big Man had sent Acson Maan and his team a big box of foreign goodies, a large monetary bonus to share among themselves, and a mature bull to slaughter and celebrate for a job well done. On each of those festive occasions, they were assigned extra cars from The Big Man’s personal fleet to ferry them and their companions to Bolonbanku’s premier recreational resort. Which is why Acson Maan is really confused by the sudden turn of events – his seeming snob by the Great Man.

Culled from www.mantankara.com


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