Truth be told, I went to work in Calabar to get away from it all. To be in a place were life is leisurely, listen to the locals thrillingly mystify me with their singsong encrypted Efik tongue, enjoy their neat town and, well much else – touch nose. Alas I played the lead role in the project I was working in and had no time whatsoever to myself except to sleep. Be that as it may, drama still managed to find its way into my tight schedule right where I was on set. God, why do You have to follow me everywhere I go?
Good week to everyone. It’s about 10am on Wednesday and Nkem my manager is hopping mad at me – to use her Americana lingo – for being late. Yes I know as a business woman she has to do things right on schedule but I at the same have to write about things that are real to me. If it does not connect with me I simply cannot write. I just freeze and remain there with a blank look. Sometimes I go inside my head with a torch looking in every rounded corner of the cavernous space for something to grab and run out to the keyboard with. Sometimes she just doesn’t understand. I love her though; she does look after me very well. You see what I go through for you guys?!! Just kidding; you are the best.
It was in the second week of our work there and we just had about four more days to get to the end of the production. That day had been dedicated to all the hospital scenes in the script and we had found a very good location on the outskirts of the town. It was small but very welcoming. Everywhere had the characteristic neatness, cleanliness and tidiness the Efiks are known for. The staff was very friendly and we soon settled in comfortably to get to work. I was working there with two very notable artists and the news of our coming soon filtered out to the local community and hordes of people came to see us especially one of the other two I will call X, for the benefit of those of you who are familiar with algebra. Most of the adoring fans were kept outside but some, probably those with whom the staff were familiar, managed to wangle their way into the premises. One of them, a young impressionable lady of about eighteen or nineteen, was simply dressed in a tee shirt and a pair of jeans. She wore no makeup and flirted outrageously with X. He, in his typical ebullient manner, was very accommodating and friendly to her and everyone else, whom she saw as competition. After a short while, she got up and left the place and came back with a significantly altered look. She was dressed in a new tee shirt and wore heavy makeup on her face. Her hair was not to be left out of the loop as it was let down to sprawl over her shoulders and she kept twiddling at it as she batted her lashes at him faster than a high speed camera’s shutter. We were to tease X mercilessly after the incident but we little knew the best was yet to come.
We had just finished six scenes and decided to take a break wherein the producer, X and I decided to have something local, something bukaish (roadside restaurants), oh I just love them! Sorry where was I? Ah yes, we sent one of the PAs to order for fried yam and plantain with tomato stew and as soon as it arrived we fell upon it with great gusto after offering a cursory invitation to the people in the reception which was declined. We were licking our chops when two more ladies walked in and wedged themselves between us without much preamble. We looked at one another and looked at them. Sensing their manners might not have been interpreted as cordial, they apologized and asked if they could take a photograph with us while at the same beckoning the still photographer round to come take the picture. We, nonplussed, agreed in the hope that, satisfied they would leave us alone…
Sorry guys but I’m going to have to stop here because this tale will take up a lot more space than usual and I wouldn’t want it to become to tedious for you. Be rest assured that I will complete it next week so in the meantime have a great weekend!