LOKO (Part I)This is the first part and introduction to a series of posts about this young man called LOKO. His story will be posted here on ‘Afrimash‘ every seven (7) days until the end of the story. It's a short story; so fasten your seatbelt as we delve into the world of LOKO – how he changed his own life, hurt his family and the community around him.
He was a palpable and an integral part of the community. If a stranger came to Dagbolu, he would discover Loko in less than two days as an indubitable thread in the community’s fabric. Tall and strongly built, he walked shirtless with measured slowness bearing his frame with boldness and something akin to a sense of narcissism. In between his fingers was a piece of charcoal which was never lacking. And it was easy to know a place where Loko had taken a pause from his mundane wanderings – there were scribbles on the wall which he left behind as a memento of the moments spent in every place. The handwriting was beautiful but the letters were rather written in great hurry. And although each word was real and certain, there usually was no point of focus in the compositions or maybe if the compositions made any sense at all, such was beyond the scope and capacity of the normal mind.
His written letters almost fall into perfect straight lines like a school teacher’s. Indeed a school teacher they said he was and the very elementary school where he had taught pupils arithmetic lessons some nineteen years back was where he had now found a place of abode, albeit at the bottom of the stairwell to one of the abandoned classrooms. It was remarkable that Loko never stopped writing and the seriousness thrown behind the act could well be a statement that the usually dated writing was a mission with an important purpose.
The other day I was riding home with Abraham after work, we saw him crouched before a fire by the road, roasting corn and keeping warm. It had just rained and I figured he hadn’t been lucky to escape. His head lolled backwards, the hair, twinned and tangled over time, was now several matted locks burdened with many seasons of dirt. The sight of him provokes spontaneous questions. I was always impelled to ask “through what slow, terrible process of degeneration does the mind go till it would finally crash and sink into such rottenness? Or to what taut pressure was it subjected till it snapped and slipped through its bounds?”
His eyes on most days switched from dank and void to being excited and full of life. With the dank looks it was as if a blanket of moroseness donned his face and when excited, his looks tended towards being hateful. His cheeks were sunken and the skin on them had grown heavily hirsute according those eyes a permanent haunting expression that reached indefatigably for the world from somewhere deeper than their sockets. This look of misery was like a dirty heavy curtain draped upon an original fineness to obscure it and as the curtain operated unchecked, gaining continual ground, it was now even striving to totally obliterate that fineness altogether. But no matter how hard the curtain strived, with one patient look, it was still possible to see through the dirty and thick fabric that Loko had been a fine man.
At times, he could be soliloquizing and laughing uproariously to an inner joke he was sharing with unseen companies, and it was at such a time that he was given more to his violent tendencies. He resisted vehemently anything seen that as much as tried to intrude into that high moment.
From the corners of my eyes I saw Abraham laughing. When I turned a questioning look on him he said, “I remember the day “that mad man” chased me.” He jutted his chin in Loko’s direction.
Next Part in the Series – Loko:
Loko (Part II): The Day Loko Chased Abraham