Fiction

Pronged Alternatives: A Short Story by Segun Akinyode

The first item his eyes stabbed when he slipped into the pitch-dark room was a calabash bowl containing finely cut pieces of Indian Spinach; he emptied the vegetable into a sack, which he had extracted from his hip pocket. Some cloves of onion lying in a basket, a box of matches, some balls of local seasoning and, four large pieces of okra, soon joined the collection of condiments in the sack.

A wad of naira tucked between the pages of an encyclopedia peeped at him. As he bent down to pick the currency, he heard footsteps approaching. He hesitated, when it became apparent that the footsteps were approaching the direction of the room he was in, he threw the sack through the window and jumped after it. His neighbor and friend would rave and rage the following morning.

Morning came. His sons asked for breakfast and then transport fare to the school. The former he provided with relish, the latter, still smarting from his inability to add the money to the stolen contents of the bag, he snapped at the boys: ‘you should always manage what you have.’

‘But daddy what do you want us to manage when you have not given us anything?’ the eldest of the three boys asked.

He tried another shot: ‘In that case you should always be grateful for every opportunity. God has made it possible for you to have breakfast. How many of your colleagues have that privilege?’

It was the youngest of the boys, who after some moments of thought, commented that may be God was in the habit of depriving people of what they need.

‘That is not the point’, he snapped. And continued after he had wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, ‘the point is God will not provide you with what he knows will hurt you even if you pray to have that thing.’

‘Oh, yes I now understand,’ the older boy said. ‘What is it that you understand?’ he asked with suspicion.

‘God is selective’, the boy replied

‘We will be late for school if we continue yapping here. Give us our transport fare and let us go’, the youngest boy wailed.

‘God is not selective as you put it’; he said facing the older boy. He turned round and regarded the youngest boy, ‘you are too young to understand this thing we are discussing’.

‘If God is not selective why, as you had argued, would he give certain things to certain people and deprive the others of the same thing when it is obvious that they both need that thing for their survival?’ the oldest boy queried.

‘You don’t argue with God. Nobody can question his wisdom. He is omniscient, omnipresent, omni everything; whatever He wishes he does’; he pontificated. The oldest boy was nodding in affirmation when the older boy asked whether God opposes the quest for knowledge.

‘No, God is always in support of the search for knowledge’, he quickly responded before the youngest boy could voice his opinion. With the air of a zealot, he admonished his children never to doubt the firm involvement ofGod in whatever they do.

‘Daddy, if your point of view is that we should respect God’s prescriptions, have faith in him, because he is all–knowing, all-seeing and that he supports the search for knowledge, why has he not provided you enough money to take care of us? Why has He protected you on your nocturnal..

‘Enough’, he shouted, and scampered out of the room.

Please leave a comment...

*