SHORT STORIES

THE CEO OF SUCCESS IS THE LORD’S CLOTHINGS

A. Igoni Barrett gives us a glimpse of what he is working on, and it is a doozy.

Raw data from the novel now hurtling towards completion:

He talked nonstop as he led FW around the shop and guided him to the best bargains. Long monologues about Nigeria, about the meaning of man’s existence as discovered through his experiences, and then questions about FW, whispered questions, eager questions, assertions phrased as questions. Where was FW from, did he watch football, wasn’t Nigeria messed up, was he SN’s boyfriend, wouldn’t he hurry up and start a family? His own daughter was seven years old, she was his life and her education was his passion, and already she spoke English better than her father. (‘Forget that CK shirt, no be original—take T.M. Lewin. I dey sell each one for six thousand but if you buy five I go give you everything for twenty-five.’) He was a self-made man, his parents had lost everything in the civil war and so he had to give up school to learn a trade, but nothing spoil, he was successful as you can see, he was the owner of this shop and another in Yaba, and he was widely travelled, he used to visit London every year for summer sales but he had recently stopped, partly because it was cheaper to shop in Dubai and import from China and order on Amazon, but also because those oyibo people dey knack English like sey nah only them sabe de language. (‘That jeans nah your own, dem make am for you, nah your size finish. Take am for two thousand three.’) But FW was different, he spoke pidgin like a Lagos bobo, and even though his skin was white and his bia-bia was red and his eyes were green his heart without a doubt was black. Abi no be so?

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