Travail of Class

The setting sun for long has always been the call to work for most fishermen; you see it is better to attack your enemies when they are less prepared. If you engage Henry in a discussion and he said he is just forty years old, I swear on angry graves that you will argue that. I mean with the wrinkles and weariness engraved on his between yellow and brown skin you will contend for a minimum of sixty years for him. 


Henry was born to a family with records of the legendary catch had followed suit with his father who died when he was twelve. Apart from fishing, he was one of the secession armies after the independent no need to tell you they lost. Henry at ten lost his mother to malaria or maybe something more than that, but everyone keeps saying it is just malaria.

 
Thirty years of hard labour had left Henrys’ bone with weakness but also with a wife and two children. Forgetting how Efe would open her laps and allow her big warm breast to heat him up after cold nights on the sea, Henry is always grateful that his wife is in support of his career. Efe goes around the town hawking the fishes Henry couldn’t sell at the port.


The sun was rising fast and except Henry wants to have a capsized boat, he should stop fishing and return home with his fortune. Just one more casting of the net and let see what that brings.


Something was troubling the net and Henry knew it was another catch. He struggled to try to pull the net. Finally, he could see the fish proving so arrogant. It was a fish that will weigh two hundred and fifty kilograms which will be his biggest catch in the last two weeks. He struck the fish and it became calm as he sails back to land.


Unlike identifying a rapist or terrorist, it is not difficult to know a fisherman or fish seller. The nose tells you and if you are good at it, you can tell what type of fish smells on them. Henry need not find who to sell his catch of the day too, she was already waiting with the money and Henry also was lucky to get to land early before she could buy from another fisherman. 


Henry smelled of dead tuna as he finally walks home, it is ten o’clock already and his breakfast sure must be waiting on the old table in the middle of the two rooms he lived.


Henry did not try to brush his teeth or take his bath, smelling of rotten fish, he sat on the floor and carefully lift the balls of Eba to his mouth. He finished the mountain in no time washing his hand in the same plate he ate from, belching; he could do nothing but roll on his back and sleep his tiredness away. 


At this hour of the day, Efe would have gone to sell fishes from her husband previous catch. Doing this, she hawks through almost every street of the town and she is quite popular amidst housewives and bachelors who dared to cook themselves. She does this with a special kind of interest even though she always wanted to start knitting again, but having children in school means one have another priority.


The smell of dead fish is not friendly and even worse is the smell of dead fishes on someone who had sweat profusely under the sun. If you are not careful enough, you might throw up the little food you ate. 


The sun had begun to set and Efe still has fishes to sell. She knew it would be hard to get a buyer but also she needs to sale the fishes else they will get rotten.


The setting sun met Henry with a newspaper on a rocking chair, sitting outside his house he was eager to see the sunset then he can go to the Congress of fishermen and sellers dinner scheduled for later in the day. Nothing is new in the newspaper Henry was reading, he had read it over eighty times already and his father bought it years ago. 


The newspaper seems to be the connection between Henry and his parent; they had appeared on the daily newspaper as the family who caught four sharks in two days. Only on this paper can he see himself with his parent and he never fails to talk about how it felt that day when the media people came around.


The sun had set and Henry immediately returned the newspaper to the box where it belongs, his oldest daughter was just coming back from the playground when he was about to leave.
Daddy, you smell, will you not take your bath?
He had found it unimportant to change his clothe off even after the bath.


I am a fisherman and am going to a gathering of fishermen, but if you insist, I will go back inside.


Efe was on her way back when she met another member of the Congress. She definitely forgot the dinner had started a few minutes ago. Going home from here is really a journey, but going straight to the dinner is just some few meters walk. Efe, walk tiredly to the event centre. She dropped her basket at the entrance and seats herself beside some of her friends.


Like her husband, she was startled to see people dress like bankers but that didn’t make her feel any less and none of her friends complained that she stinks. The event is not starting at the announced time and Efe was lost in her reasoning trying to find a balance between the fishermen and their dresses today. 


She knew so well that many of them didn’t have this cloth yesterday, and she will argue that they can’t buy such expensive cloth. She was more amazed when she saw her husband in a leather shoe he hasn’t tried on in the past two years. 


It was the lady that sells fish to the restaurant on the island that first complained that Efe should go out and clean herself up, then the number increases and soon it seems the whole hall wanted her out. She couldn’t count the number of her supporters as she was being led outside by one of the securities. 


If not for the long road she has to walk, Efe would have gone home right away, not returning but having skipped her lunch for having a free stomach for the dinner that comes up after the election, she knew she has to get back into the hall and eat. That can only happen if she could change her clothe and clean off the sweat and smell. 


Efe quickly went through her list of friend cross-checking which one stays close by. After thirty minutes the remembered Aminat who had just moved to a street down the road some days ago. Efe immediately hurried to Aminat house and even though she wasn’t expected, she was given all she needed and more, but that was after she explained all that happened. 


In no time, Efe was back at the door in a green gown and matching shoe and a handbag. The security almost before she stepped into the hall rushed at her to help her to a seat. I believe they thought it was one of the fish exporters, they treated her kindly. 


Efe had tried to find a seat where she sat earlier but the seat was occupied by someone else. There at the heart of the hall, Efe was standing lost with no seat but unknowingly to her, the Congress before she entered had just requested anyone who wanted to replace the dead congress leader to stand up and no one was willing to.


To the Congress, they saw a lady who wants to be the Congress leader without any opponent, for Efe, she came back to a hall without a seat for her.


The Congress had no other choice than to make her the leader but Efe must always dress like she did today, at least whenever she had to appear as the Congress leader.

James Not’in is a creative artist lost in the process of exploring existing and nonexistent forms of expressing creativity. Interested in exploring the innings of power and class in relation to creative art and it expression, he explore beyond his major form of expression with is textual to other forms with includes performance. He is available on twitter @eclipsepoet

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