In Ignorant Bliss

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Amalgamation Day

The day – it was said – dawned with expectation. One so effervescent it could be breathed in. Yes, the sentiments that lined the airwaves were said to portend so much promise that many would not have minded were the world to come to an end at its dusk.

As it stood, all the rudimentary requirements for the merger of the formerly unitary entities into a federation had been met. All the blood commitments had been executed without a hitch, too. As well, the verbal entreaties were carried out without a blab whatsoever. For once, all the soothsayers reached an unanimous conclusion of felicity. Thus, as the day dawned, the medicine men were at the ready to do that for which they had slept in the woods for weeks on end. Indeed, the new town-to-be had every reason to be agog like never before.

As things stood, all that remained was for the zero hour to strike for the knot of the union to be tied up at the head of the Great River that bequeathed it its name. Association with it also guaranteed that the new town will be born with an assured bait of everlasting peace.

As the zero hour arrived, you easily sensed it on the face of the assemblage in the town-to-be’s newly acquired square. All the paraphernalia of the new union were on display. The to-be-unified institutions of authority each occupied its allotted space in the big circle of humanity that surrounded the bonding spot.

The men from the three legs of the tripod sat together as if it has been so ordained from creation. The women, for very obvious reasons, sat on the other side, a little removed from the raised altar that the men faced directly. All the age grades in the land sat next to each other, according to their constituent ages. The children literally sat at the base of the pyramid scarcely restrained from their crave to play games despite the magnitude of the occasion.

Dance troupes of different affiliations stood at the ready outside the circle, waiting to be called to action; to show all the assembled what they had spent the better part of the last three weeks perfecting in secret. While the female groups busied themselves ululating and throwing their legs as high as they were allowed by society in exultation, their male counterparts kept their calm in wait for the appointed time.

But not the war dancers; they could not be dictated to. They pranced about best they could, advertising sinews and muscles. The songs that accompanied these shows of manhood were unmusical to say the least. Sang at cross tones between baritone and soprano, they left a sour taste in the ears like what they mongered. None could have restrained them from their Utopian hell than the pulsating roll of the craven-deep grandfather wooden gong that resounded from its hearth at the heart of the nearby market the union would bequeath the confederating states thereafter.

Hearkening as one indivisible whole, all eyes rushed to the epicenter of the gathering where the final rituals were about commencing. The core sacrifices that cemented the union had of course been offered the previous night away from the eyes of all but a few of the chosen heads of clans that make up the union. What was left to be observed were merely the ceremonials that even the weak-hearts about could tolerate without a puke. In the main, it involved just the savage slaughter of a few domestic animals whose blood will be collected in a vat for the broth that will be passed around as Holy Communion. Representatives of each of the federating units would step forward, take a sip and take his people’s share to them.

Only then would the fanfare aspect be said to have started. First to take the arena by storm were who else but the war dancers. They ran into the space in a formation devoid of file, brandishing their crude implements of war. Though the confederation was forged as a recipe to inter-tribal war among the constituents, their neighbors needed to be sounded a warning note less they took them for granted. After an unfettered exhibition of their imaginary powers, the war dancers retreated to lay in wait for their real responsibilities.

Hot on their heels came the troupe formed by the latest age grade in the town. First the instrumentalists entered and started up, then the dancers followed in disciplined queues. Comprising all that came of age from the three arms of the union, their sheer strength of number attracted a long round of applause from the crowd. Tutored for the occasion by teachers from a town on the banks of the distant Omambara River, their agility and poise stood the crowd on tiptoes. Their endless interchange of styles climaxed as the entire body of them built a human pyramid from the tip of which one emerged to execute a triple somersault, landing on either feet at the last drop of their intoxicating beat. They subsequently left the arena in the twinkle of an eye.

The applause that accompanied their exit hung for an inestimable length of time, rising and falling in waves around the circle of admirers. All agreed it was equal in intensity to the very performance that had triggered it.

By the time the female groups took the stage, the various refreshments assembled for the occasion started making the rounds. Prominent in the avalanche were mounds of pounded yam and bowls of the many soups with which they would be passed through the assembled gullets. A sweeping view revealed the bitter-leaf variety sitting still in its pot beside its elastic okro neighbor that flaunted its slimy potentialities even it its comatose state. There were also heaps of roasted yams. The mighty sizes they command put to shame those who still believed that big tubers were beyond roasting. They were arraigned side by side with the enigmatic stew of palm oil, green leaves and pepper in which they will be dipped when the curtain falls.

In a different section of the ground, jars of the town’s favorite tipple stood lined out; those from the palm oil tree to the right, those from the raffia palm to the left. Eyes marveled to behold their number, wondering whether they could all be emptied in this lifetime. And they would have been more; but for a strict rule of qualification that saw many a tapper turned back with their brews for not making the strict mark set.

By the end of the day, it was time for the various eyes with which the town saw to show off their skills. This time around most of the tipples had been transferred from their containers to human stomachs to good effect and things happened at frenzied paces. The first group had hardly exited with their baskets of water than their enemies in the mock battle released bees from their rear ends that put the crowd to flight. In the ensuing melee their opponents filled the space with smoke that drove away the bees for all to return. As announced to the enchantment of the crowd, it was only a tip of a mountain high iceberg.

The night eclipsed with a bacchanal that led to a bizarre turn of events not contained in the official account. The priests and priestesses that offered the final sacrifices became so intoxicated that the topped themselves in clerical concubinage. In their inebriate state one of them who was of a doubtful parentage posited that in one of his many spiritual tours he had come upon a land where it blessed the people with plenitude. Which could have held true had they resorted to just having carnal knowledge of themselves. In the orgy that had ensued they had resorted not only to its oral and anal varieties but same sex liaisons. One uplifted priestess was said to have fellated all the priests present in a stupendous show of the strength of her buccal-cavity.

Till date, it is believed by some purists in the land that some of these activities carried out later that night on Amalgamation Day only served to imbue the entity with the iniquity it has continued to manifest since antiquity.

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