In Ignorant Bliss

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The Last Straw

Unlike the rest of the host of the mad of both sexes that populate Hometown, when Omenikoro’s lightness of head was yet young, there was a shared consensus among the people that he would yet be sane again. Though none before had been known to have attempted to fish from the revered womb of the Great River, all tempted to believe that the gods of the land would be kind enough to restore him to remain a living warning to the rest.

It was when his state of affairs lingered on longer than even the anger of the gods that his immediate family started thinking up an interventionist move. Of course, there was nowhere else to take him to but Emenka’s. They did not want him taken to the numerous other journey men who dabbled into the cure of all manner or ailment for the endearments. It was well known in Hometown that anyone whose madness surpassed Emenka’s roots and herbs would carry the sickness to the grave.

Like was easily recalled, Omenikoro was taken to Emenka’s on a market day. Slowly it had become Omenikoro’s habit to wander to the market from his unknown hideout and disrupt its activities and withdraw in a guerrilla like never before seen in the town. Some young men were thus arranged who lay in wait,waylaid him en route and bundled him to the only psychiatric clinic in the land that had the implied ability to quieten him. Though it had taken a handful to subdue him, they knew that was all they needed do as no mad man, no matter the condition, entered the place without trepidation.

As soon as he was brought into the expansive courtyard, the young men made to retreat, their job done. But they couldn’t for then did the patient begin to make trouble anew. When Emenka noticed his continued restiveness, he went into his inner chambers for the cure all of all manner of exuberant madness. He soon emerged with a few dried-up leaves that he progressed to mash up between the palms of his either hand. After some time he threw the contents of his palms into his mouth, masticating them to the hum of sobering incantations, perhaps. At the nick of time, he spat the entire contents of his mouth – the dried-up leaves mixed in a fair share of saliva – on Omenikoro’s face.

True to expectation, the mad hatter quietened down to a vegetable, casting a morose look at all the assembled like he used to before his inopportune adventure to the Great River. The reassured medicine man of the head then looked his patient over for the first time, gauging him with fixed eyes that appeared to see beyond his physical being to unearth the demons that possess him in their strangle hold.

“So how does it make you want to do?” the medicine man asked his latest patient in a truculent voice that portrayed that the question was not meant for the docile man who stared back at him morose to give an answer to.

“I say how is it that you people make hi –”

Emenka was hardly through with the unanswered repeat question when Omenikoro gave his own stored reply. Unknown to all, he had been busy mustering all the saliva he could from his ducts, storing same in his mute mouth for the most opportune time. In a flash he spat the slimy mess on the face of the surprised healer.

Thanking his stars the young men had stayed back after all, the surprised healer ordered that they took him to the backyard where he was pilloried to a fortified mud wall seldom used by the medicine man.

“He will stay here to take his medications till his head cooled down a bit,” he informed the young men as they helped him tie him up properly. After some effort by all, his legs and hands were - one after the other - both passed through hole notched at different heights of the heavy walls of the rather crude contraption. Next they appendages were then tied up so tight from the other side that he could neither move nor adjust them.

The overtly pleased medicine man then went ahead to apply whatever medicines he deemed fit for the stubborn patient all over him. At the end of the session he then excused his helpers and retired to his outhouse to await other patients.

It was no news to the young men that had helped to rein him in when the news broke the next morning that Omenikoro had in a stupendous show of strength overnight, pushed the pillory over and made out off the medicine man’s yard to return to his roaming duties forever.

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