Naija was in a frenzy.
This was her date with history, this Christmas one of her sons would fulfil his promise: to turn rustic Naija into a modern wonderland that would make Hollywood look like ancient Ndiorumbe!
The maker of the promise was no ordinary son. He had travelled the world and had seen money and made money.
It was in the course of his travels that he took his Chinese-sounding name: Chan Dum.
Many preferred to call him Deity of Money. He was myth made real.
All he needed to do to make mountains of money was write a simple letter to a white man: from good old airmail to fax and now email.
He had written several letters and he now had more money than the famous banks of Switzerland.
Not even the most famous Professor of Arithmetic flown in from Akata could count his money. One rugged mathematician from Umuchu counted the money from sun-up to sun-down every day until his jaw shattered to pieces with the vain effort.
The counted money was so infinitesimal to Chan Dum that he tossed the lot into the Uchu river.
In a word, Chan Dum was much too much!
One certain thing Chan Dum’s wealth did was brew a hot and passionate jealousy in the hearts of white men.
What with their women abandoning their husbands and whiteness for the dark polygamous lair of Chan Dum!
This way, Chan Dum was no longer safe in the land of the whites.
He was therefore compelled to beat a retreat to his homeland of Naija.
Even so the news flew wild and fast that the white men were desirous of coming down to Naija to snuff life out of Chan Dum and airbrush him from history.
Chan Dum instantly brokered a deal with his people: they had to build for him an impenetrable fortress while he would use his wealth to turn Naija into a modern wonder never seen before in all history.
Half of the land of Naija was given over to the building of Chan Dum’s fortress.
Never had the people of Naija been so united in pursuing a common cause. Girls and boys, women and men, all fetched water and molded bricks; they cast iron and forged metal. Stones were glued together as fortification. Broken bottles and barbed wire were ranged at the top of the fence.
In the end everybody was satisfied that the fortress would not only be impenetrable to the feared white invaders but also to the people of Naija who had built it.
There was no way any Naija quisling could thus betray the chosen son.
It was at high noon that Chan Dum made one last appearance among his people before withdrawing for good into the fortress.
“I would have loved to spend my entire lifetime among you my beloved people,” Chan Dum said, acknowledging the rapturous cheers of the people. “But the white colonizers won’t let us be…”
“Why can’t the white slave-masters leave us alone?” asked the solicitous general attorney, gnashing his brownish teeth with fury.
“They have been struck raving mad by the fact that I beat them in their own game.” Chan Dum stroked his goatee and adjusted the folds of his voluminous green-and-white agbada.
A buxom young lady looked in rapt admiration at Chan Dum and asked: “How did you do it, Deity of Money?”
“I wrote them letters and I made their money,” Chan Dum answered. “African genius is the white man’s madness.”
Chan Dum threw wads of dollars, euros and pound sterling into the air, screaming: “White men can’t write.”
“How do you mean the owners of English language cannot write?” a voice asked.
“It’s one thing to speak English and another matter entirely to write it.” Chan Dum laughed, flashing milk-white teeth.
“Chan Dum! Deity of Money! Dollar Kingpin!” The praise songs reached the sky.
“I just write in English and money comes,” Chan Dum lectured. “White men write as a form of masturbation while Africans write for cash.”
“Nonsense!” cried a baritone voice that seized the square with its magic spell.
Everybody turned to look at the owner of the voice.
It was the voice of Pita the Pressman.
“Chan Dum, you can’t write anything!” Pita the Pressman said, pointing at Chan Dum. “You have just been paid handsomely by some dubious Europeans to transport toxic waste to Africa!”
“Take that madman away!” cried Chan Dum, almost jumping on puny Pita the Pressman.
Pita the Pressman was swiftly arrested and thrown into a dungeon.
“Pita the Pressman is fake news!” Chan Dum hollered and forced a smile. “I can’t thank you enough, my good people, for building me a place of escape from the white invaders.”
He paused for effect, casting a furtive look at the fortress. “How I would have cherished to be with you all my people to the end of time! It is a great pity that I have to withdraw now because we are dealing here with life and death. You have fulfilled your own part of the bargain. Now it is my own turn to give you the goodies. Today is Naija’s day of destiny. Enjoy!”
With the words dancing in the air Chan Dum withdrew into the fortress.
Naija wallowed in merriment until a sharp horn blast and vehicular roar stopped them dead.
The trailer that appeared in Naija was longer and wider than a cathedral.
It was with a flourish that the Jagaban of Naija removed the sprawling airmail-patterned tarpaulin covering the trailer, thus exposing the gargantuan container on the board of the trailer.
After some furious minutes the rear of the container was knocked off.
The sons and daughters of Naija watched with mouths agape as the dark waste issuing from the container formed a very intimidating mountain capped by one bottle of beer – and a stamped but open envelope containing no letter.