Writings / Drama

And Then I Scream

Chukwuma Okoye

As lights come faintly on a number of actors enter the stage moving rhythmically to a rather chaotic chant. At the end of it they get together on one side of the stage to form a CHORUS.

On the opposite side of the stage there is a poorly furnished bar with empty bottles and tables scattered all over the room. An actor goes from the CHORUS and sits on a tall bar stool and begins to drink from a glass of beer before him. Other parts of the stage go into partial darkness.

CHORUS (chanting spiritedly):

Run men run
Run men run run
From your hate
From your fate
From your nationality
From its irrationality
Run men run

Two actors put on an identical costume (black suit) and disengage from the CHORUS. They run around the stage in a stylized fashion, furtively looking backwards as if they are being pursued. They carry a briefcase each on their right hands and move in rhythm to the chant.


Run men run
Run men run run
Don’t look back
Don’t think back
Your state is on fire
You must race and never tire
Run men run

Run women run
Run women run run
This demon is a-crazy
No, this crazy is a demon
You say it is democracy
Yet it’s worse than monocracy

A talking drum picks up the chant as the two men disappear into the CHORUS. Light now fully comes on the bar. The man sips from his glass with his back to the audience.


Run men run
Run men run run
From the ugly face in the crowd
Narrating its falsehood aloud
Invented victories
Over our escalating miseries
But do not be taken in
He’s a wolf in a sheep’s clothing

The two men run unto the stage in the same fashion as before. They run into the bar, ducking under tables and chairs. The music fades out. The CHORUS moves together to form one unobtrusive scenery. The men now step out surreptitiously. They put aside their briefcases and go solemnly to the bar. A sleepy bartender emerges from the CHORUS and offers each of them a bottle of beer and a glass.

BARTENDER: I have served much better men than you lot on this door to the other side, so do observe some quiet please.

KODO (surprised): Thank you.

KODO looks after the bartender until he disappears behind the counter.

CHIKO: Funny fellow. Such airs.

They settle down to their drinks.

KODO (to the man seated a little away from them): Hello man. Hello! Good evening.

MAN does not respond in any way. KODO and his friend, CHIKO, ignore him and begin to drink their beer. After a while CHIKO begins to stare at MAN ponderously. He nudges KODO who seems lost in his own world. He nudges him yet more violently, almost throwing him off his stool.

KODO (with a start): Oh, what?

CHIKO (nodding conspiratorially in MAN’s direction): Sh! Sh! Sh!

KODO: I said…

CHIKO (pointing at Man): Sh! Sh! Sh!

KODO: Speak man and stop this annoying…

CHIKO (desperately): Sh - Sh!

KODO: You are beginning to get on my nerves, Chiko.

CHIKO: You are already on mine.

KODO: What?

CHIKO: You are already on my nerves.

KODO: Then leave me alone.CHIKO: Sh! don’t shout.

KODO: I’ll shout if I want. What’s the matter…?

CHIKO (hurriedly clasping his hand firmly over KODO’S mouth and pulling him to one corner of the room): Come over here for a while.
(pointing at MAN) Look.

KODO: What?

CHIKO: Look at that man.

KODO: Mhm?

CHIKO: He looks quite familiar to me. I must have seen him somewhere before. I can swear to that.

KODO: Where?

CHIKO: That’s the point; I can’t quite figure out where. But I can swear to that, believe me.

KODO (scrutinizing MAN): You can swear to anything. He looks familiar to me too. Anyway, men of the same needs shop in same market. Perhaps he is a work of art; you know, a reflection of reality: us. Perhaps he’s on the run too. Perhaps it’s not his face but his fate that you recognise.

CHIKO: What exactly are you talking about?

KODO: Nonsense.

CHIKO: Sounds like it.

KODO (thoughtfully): Yes. Maybe he had also taken a large dose of abuse so he got mad and yelled. He got real mad and yelled and yelled. Then he did the only thing sensible in the circumstance for a violated man like him: He took the power into his own hands, and now he is on the run.

CHIKO: Fool. You don’t take power into your own hands and then be on the run. You use and abuse it.

KODO: No you run. It either tows you by the neck or it pushes you from behind. Whichever it is, you never stand or rest. You run.

CHIKO: You are wrong. If I take power into my hands I domesticate it like a dog and make it do my bidding.

KODO: You are very ignorant. Power domesticates you like a dog. Then it forces you to appropriate, regulate or deregulate; to exterminate, exaggerate, masquerade...

CHIKO: There you go again.

KODO: Talking nonsense as usual. I beg your pardon.

CHIKO (drawing him back): Kodo, but hold on for a moment and look carefully. Feel carefully. There is a feeling in the air. It hangs thick in the air. He could be one of them you know. I can feel it.

KODO: One of whom?

CHIKO: You know who. And something tells me we better get out of here.

KODO: Come on Chiko, relax. Do you take it we are going to be on the run for the rest of our lives?


Run run run…

KODO: Away from existence for fear of confrontation with power?


Run run run…

KODO: Away from everyone we see suspecting he must be one of power?


Run run run…

KODO: Away from every feeling and idea we have for fear of power?


Run run run…

KODO: Away from our very identities for fear of extinction by power?

CHORUS (in quick succession):

Run! Run! Run! Run! Run! Run!

KODO: No! If you say YES to that my answer is NO! I take the power into my own hands and I say NO! There is no killer more tortuous than fear. I’ve felt it long enough but now I say it shall possess me no longer. I have known fear my friend.



KODO: …. of death from poverty.



KODO: … of life and its debility.



KODO: … of power and its depravity.



KODO: … of country and its insecurity.

CHORUS (in quick succession):

Fear! Fear! Fear! Fear!


No! I get mad.
And then I get really and truly mad
And then I scream
I’m unable to do anything else
So I take my fate in my own hands
The only thing possible in the circumstance
So now we have money power but we cannot express it for fear of power. So you see, if we continue in fear the only one fear left would be the fear of fear itself. So I say no more fear.

CHIKO: Don’t raise your voice so loud.

KODO (softly): I’ll raise my voice as loud as I wish. I am not going to give in to fear itself.

CHIKO: Are you then going to give yourself up after all those years of living in fear and doing the only thing possible in the circumstance? Are you going to give yourself up because you want to be brave?

KODO (thoughtfully): Who speaks of giving himself up? To exorcise the ailing minds of the lawless lawmakers? To satisfy the cross-disciplinary envy of bosh-talking lawyers who already see themselves as accomplished dramatists: they the heroes and me the villain?

CHIKO: Meaning?

KODO: I’m saying that I’m sick and tired of crawling on my belly like a rodent because of fear. From this moment onwards I stand firm on my two feet.
CHIKO: But think of it: isn’t that what we really have become? Are we not a couple of rodents running for fear of some cannibals? Are you really any better than a hunted rodent?

KODO: No I am not. That is why I say I want to be a man. I’m sick and tired of crawling on all fours. I want to stand on my two feet. That is why we protested in the first place, isn’t it?

CHIKO: It is. But are we now any better than rodents – burrowing and hiding our heads the way we are doing? Think of it. We have protested but has that improved our species?

KODO: Do not torture me with your endless thinking. Let’s simply drink ourselves numb. At least we are free to do that.

CHIKO: Free?

KODO: Yes, free. Come on.

CHIKO (holding him back): Just a moment.

KODO: What? You are thinking again?

CHIKO: Is one ever truly free? This freedom that we all search for; is there a time in one’s life when one can really and truly claim to have found it? Man seems to be pursued right from the cradle to the grave by whatever. Man also seems to be pursued by whomever wherever. Freedom is an absolute utopia, admirable and desirable but clearly unobtainable. One is never free. The very nature of society ensures that.

KODO: I don’t care a shit for “one” - free or enslaved. It’s me I know and I am as free as any can be. Man is only free when he says so. And right now I say so. I am free.

CHIKO: Would you claim to be free now? This very minute? I admit you are free to go and drink your beer but is that what freedom is all about? Is that all we have laboured for all this while? And are you truly drinking that beer in freedom? For instance, is this where you wish to be? Are you doing what you planned to do? Are you not a hopeless reed in a tidal wave? Are you not...?

KODO: Chiko Boy, stop thinking. The problem with you is that you think too much and you talk too much. You are an accursed philosopher dislocated in profession. Think-talk think–talk is all you do. You are enslaved by your brain, and you give me a headache with your endless questions. It’s the hour… the minute… yes, the very second that really counts. Believe me, no one, not even Power himself, is free and happy all life through. And just this minute, this very second, I feel free and happy. So just shut up and stop spoiling my game for me. We wanted the power of money and now we have the money, so…

CHIKO: Now I believe we should simply have taken the money and left power alone.

KODO: The two are one. Money is power and power is money. That is all.

CHIKO: But isn’t it just an illusion?

KODO: What is “just an illusion”?

CHIKO: I mean our state. Before we opted to take power into our own hands, as you put it, we were not at peace with society and ourselves. We were running a race for survival against all odds. So we got mad. We got really and truly mad. And then we screamed and yelled to no avail. So we upped and took power into our hands – the only thing possible in the circumstance, you said. So now we have power but our fears remain. Our race for survival against all odds continues. So I ask, isn’t it just an illusion? Are we really not back where we started?

KODO: No we are not!

CHIKO: Yes we are. It’s as if we never even started.

KODO: No we are not. I will certainly not exchange my present condition with my previous one. Before we took power into our own hands, death - disgraceful, lonely, and agonising death - stared us in the face with absolute inevitability. But now we have escaped that fate.

CHIKO: That is not very certain.

KODO: Well, it was very certain, now it’s not very certain. Isn’t that enough difference?

CHIKO: If you put it that way. But think of it still…

KODO: No, I shall not. And you must stop thinking. You give me a headache with your endless thinking.

CHIKO (pointing alarmingly at MAN): Look!

KODO (visibly startled and ready to run): What! I can’t see a thing.

CHIKO: He moved! I saw him turn around and sneak a look at us. He looked at us!

KODO: He really did?

CHIKO: I swear to that, believe me.

KODO: You can swear to anything so I don’t believe you.

CHIKO: But he really did.

KODO: Well, that is only natural in the circumstance. Let him look at us. I hope you do not want me to break down and cry just because a man exercised his eyes. In any case, we’ve been looking at him for quite some time now, so he is welcome to take one look back. In fact, I believe we do owe him more than just a look. Come on now let’s pay him some. Come on.

CHIKO: What do you mean by that?

KODO: Just what I said, “pay him some!”

CHIKO: You want to be recognised? By now our faces must be on every T.V. screen and newspaper page. Do you want to be recognised?

KODO: There are no TVs. and newspapers in these parts. We have left them behind. Now go and ask him to look at us for two minutes. Yes, that should be enough. Don’t you think so? Now go on.

CHIKO: Why don’t you ask him yourself? I’ll simply stay back and watch.

KODO: Perhaps you are afraid?

CHIKO: Afraid of him? How could you ask such a stupid question? Afraid of him that I do not know? Look man, I have exhausted my fear on everything and everyone I ever knew and respected: politician, policeman, lawyer, order, soldier, wealth, food, time, game, hysteria, life, God, the devil himself… Just about everything in this country. I have none to spare on somebody I do not know. I can ask him anything I want, anytime I want.

KODO: Well then, I’m waiting for you.

CHIKO: If I want.

KODO: Oh, come on Chiko.

CHIKO: Yes. I don’t want to.

KODO: Very well Chiko, watch me go.

KODO moves stealthily towards MAN, with CHIKO following cautiously behind. As KODO reaches out to touch him, MAN turns around smoothly and stares straight into KODO’s eyes. KODO and CHIKO freeze in fear. MAN and KODO stare at each other awhile. MAN’s face is totally devoid of expression.

KODO (stuttering): Ehm… Oga, ehm we… I am Kodo and this here is my good friend and colleague, Chiko Boy. We, that is, my friend and I, we wonder if you could… if we could get to know each other better considering the fate of our being here together and headed in what appears to be the same fate ...

MAN turns back to his previous position and deftly refills his glass of beer. KODO stares at him in anger and puzzlement. After a while he begins to laugh. CHIKO sneaks away further to the side and beckons on KODO with a look of panic in his eyes.

CHIKO (pulling KODO closer): Did you see his eyes?

KODO: I saw the whole of him so how could I not have seen his eyes?

CHIKO: You know, well…

KODO (impatiently): I saw his eyes as clearly as I see yours now. So stop that madness and say what you want to say – if you have anything to say.

CHIKO: Did you see the look in his eyes then?

KODO: What look in his eyes?

CHIKO: He has a… I don’t know. There’s something about his eyes which I find uncanny. It has the fearful colour of power. Not one who has been on the receiving end, like the two of us, but one on the giving end.

KODO: Relax man. Can’t you see the man is both deaf and dumb? Perhaps he only tried to communicate with his eyes. I once knew a deaf and dumb man who was also paralysed. He could communicate clearly with his eyes. He once told me that it is a scientific art that demands deep concentration. I told him then that…

CHIKO: I just don’t like his eyes, period. Perhaps it would have been better if the man was simply blind rather than deaf and dumb. Or he could have had all three for all I care.

KODO: Come on Chiko, be fair man. In this scarcity of everything under the sun how could you afford to be so generous as to wish on one single man three major maladies when most of us are yet to get any? Besides, does not the term quota system mean anything to you? Resource control…

CHIKO: Uh, look at you, ignoramus. If there is one thing in this world we have in abundance it is malady. Political, social, moral, economic, juridical… We have it in all shapes and sizes. So I very well can afford to let the man have three or four more. And don’t kid yourself that you don’t have any yourself. The entire nation is maladied in mind and body. In fact, the nation is malady itself. So no one can claim to be free of it.

KODO: Ok, maybe you are right. Do you want his opinion on this? Come on ask him.

CHIKO: I’m not asking him anything. Did you not say that the man could be deaf and dumb?

KODO: Simple.

CHIKO: What is simple?

KODO: Sign language. Simple.

CHIKO: What?

KODO: Sign language. You communicate with the deaf and dumb through sign language. Simple.

CHIKO: Sign language? Perhaps it is your own malady is very simple: madness.

KODO: I know what I’m talking about.

CHIKO: Sign language indeed. Get serious man, this is no time for games.

KODO: Enough of this aimless babble then. We came here to hide away and feel free; to put the coma before the full stop to our lives. Come on now.

KODO drags a reluctant CHIKO back to the counter and they both take their positions as before. They sip their drinks.

KODO: Perhaps our friend here wouldn’t mind buying us a drink or accepting one from us. Come on now, ask him.

CHIKO: Oh no! Why do you always want me to go first in everything? Do I look like a lady to you?

KODO: Well, if you do not want to I’ll go on and take the pleasure of asking him myself.

CHIKO: Go ahead and take that pleasure. It’s obvious that you are the only one mad enough for that. I’ll stay behind and spectate your madness.

KODO goes to MAN, taps him gently on the shoulder and, as MAN turns, he nervously begins to make some ridiculous incoherent signs with his arms in tune with the chanting of the CHORUS.


Ah, Kpii, sii, vii, qui!
Nyii, rii, wii, nii, oo!
Mii, mii, wii, zii, chii!
Vii, wii, fii, ghii, ziim.

There is a sharp silence accentuated by everyone’s frozen posture. MAN has an absolutely blank expression on his face. Finally he turns around and pours himself another drink.

CHIKO: Perhaps he is blind too

KODO: Perhaps, but it’s not likely. It seems to me that he can see his bottle and his glass very clearly. And look at the way he directs the glass straight to his lips. Mark you: not his eyes, nor his ears. Straight to his lips. The man is certainly far from blind.

CHIKO: Or maybe you are illiterate.

KODO: What?

CHIKO: I mean maybe you can neither read nor write sign language.

KODO: That’s not true. If only you knew how long it took me to learn what I just said to him in signs.

CHIKO: What did you say to him?

KODO prepares to repeat the signs.

CHIKO: Oh no no no! Please don’t do that again.

KODO: Why not?

CHIKO: Because once is enough! I can’t stand more than once of your kinematics madness.

KODO: Okay, if you insist. If only you understood what I just said in signs. Anyway, he can keep his offer. We have more than enough money for ourselves, don’t we?

CHIKO: Don’t ask me, you should know.

KODO: Yes we do.

MAN begins to stare at KODO sternly. KODO sees him and becomes uncomfortable.

KODO: Oga, why are you staring at me like that? Find something else to waste your deaf and dumb interest on.

MAN continues to stare at KODO. KODO slams his palm on the counter but MAN does not move his gaze. KODO looks around desperately and points in the direction of an abstract painting on the wall. Both MAN and CHIKO focus their attention on it.

KODO: Bastard! And here you are getting yourself thoroughly plastered. I wonder why anyone in your condition would bother to waste a beer on himself.

MAN turns away from the picture and refills his glass. CHIKO remains enthralled by the picture. He walks over stealthily for a closer look.

KODO: Where are you going?

CHIKO (beckoning on KODO): Over here!

KODO (going over): What is it?

CHIKO: This picture. Now that is one thing I can swear to. I have seen this picture on this wall before.

KODO: We have all seen everything on life’s wall before. Nothing is new. You are going to die young and mad, thinking the way you do. Why can’t you let something pass you by without allowing it to tickle your insanity? Leave the picture alone.

CHIKO: This is strange. Really and truly strange. I certainly don’t like the vibration I get from this picture. I simply don’t like it at all. It must have been in a nightmare – a powermare. But why in God’s name would a human hand paint such a miserable thing as this? Are there no more flowers, people and still life to paint? This does not speak of the beauty of nature but its ugliness.

KODO: That is your problem. Is art supposed to speak only of the beauty of nature? Don’t you know that art has been complicit with some of the world’s greatest horrors?
CHIKO: You have a morbid insensitivity to art. Art is divine. It is the only thing that is beautiful and true. Keats…

KODO: Ok, please don’t go on. I forget your confounded adulation of poetry. In any case, leave that painting alone if you find it disturbing. Personally I wouldn’t let such a thing bother me at all. When you think and look deeply into things, you see a lot of sights and you get strange feelings. Life is full of them: vagrant mysteries and strange feelings searching for homes. My philosophy is never let a thing bother you until it has actually bothered you. Simple. Take that and you are at peace with your universe.

CHIKO (vehemently): But we have been here before – both of us.

KODO: Exactly. We have been in this world before – both of us. Perhaps this is your tenth or fifteenth time. Just relax and forget all about it. Come on, let’s do something more interesting.

CHIKO: In this place nothing can be interesting. I want to run away from here immediately. That’s the only thing I want to do. I want to disappear.

KODO (cunningly): Now where do you want to go?

CHIKO: Anywhere at all. I just want to evaporate.

KODO: You know as well as I do that there’s no place safe in this country for us to condense in any more. There has never been a place safe for us to live in, in the first place.

CHIKO: This country may never have been safe for us to live in, but it certainly has done more than offer us a safe place to die in. In fact, you are safe to die anywhere at all, and rot and decay in solitude on the numerous motor ways, or in the company of the multitude in the mortuary. But I want to run away from life, not die.


Everywhere is safe to die in today
So you should never want to run away.

CHIKO (pleading):

But I don’t want to die in a safe place
I want to leave without a trace
With no children and no wife
To simply vanish from life.


Everywhere is safe to die in today
So you should never want to run away.


There’s room enough in the capital
Though there’s none left in the hospital
Where more lives are lost than saved
And more brains are left depraved


Everywhere is safe to die in your country
You should never be in a hurry

CHIKO (passionately):

But I don’t want to die in my country
And I am not in any kind of hurry
I want to disappear
I want to vanish from here.


Everywhere is safe to die in your country
You should never be in a hurry.


Yes, there are the ever-ready streets
Where you can be shot taking an evening stroll
Or even going to school
And then be dismissed as an armed robber
Or else a bullet simply strays into your skull
For not being stingy with the truth.


Everywhere is safe to die in today
So you should never want to run away
Any way and any how is the way to die today.
Just go on and die anywhere you may.

CHIKO (terrified):

I don’t want to die anywhere at all!
I don’t want to die anyhow!
I’m not a rodent!
I’m not a rodent!

KODO: But I told you, did I not?


You are safe to die here and die there and die everywhere
Die here!
Die there!
Die everywhere!

CHIKO falls progressively with each word from the CHORUS until he collapses on the floor in a posture of death. In the process MAN changes, with the assistance of the CHORUS, into a flamboyant national dress. He carries a contraption before him to signify a TV screen. The orchestra plays the first phrase of what sounds like an anthem.

MAN (clears his throat): Ehm… Good evening fellow country men and women. This ever vigilant, purposeful, responsive, humane and responsible democracy has yet unearthed a conspiracy by a bunch of disgruntled persons to disrupt the peace and security of the nation by illegally conspiring with outside forces to engineer a disturbance of the peace. To discredit and misconstrue the deep consciousness, sense of responsibility and responsiveness of this administration to the hues and yearnings of you fellow country men and women, these trouble shooters now litter our quiet streets with their dead bodies to create the erroneous impression to the imperialist world that this administration is deaf to their social and economic woes. They take special delight in exaggerating minor ethnic conflicts, experimental military exercises and accidents, and petrol pipe accidents. They turn our beautiful landscape into mortuaries. Our dustbins and gutters into open graves. A state of emergency is hereby declared. The democratic freedom to die anywhere in the country is hereby abrogated.

CHIKO (jumping up):

How could he?
Why should he?
What right has he?
I say what moral right has he
To smack a child and bid him silent?
I’m going insane
I’m going mad
I want to die now.


No way!

CHIKO (collapses in tears): I say I want to die.


No way!

MAN (now in the costume of a judge): The court hereby finds the accused not guilty as charged. It is the opinion of this court that the accused acted under psychic disorder; that at the time the offence was committed the accused could not truly be described as being totally in possession of his faculties. Therefore, it is the judgement of this court that the accused be discharged and acquitted on grounds of insanity. He is to be remanded in a psychiatric home until such a time when he is declared completely rehabilitated.

CHIKO (protesting): No your Honour, I’m in possession of no one’s faculties but my own. I’m perfectly sane. I’m not mad at all. I did not kill myself only because I trusted in the fairness of the court. I deserve to be hung by the neck until dead. I plead for justice. I do not want to live. Please your honour, give me justice.

Silence. MAN ignores his plea.

Give me justice! Why should I live? How can I live? There is nothing more to live for. I have no job. My wife is gone. I have finally sent my children to heaven. So what is there to live for? I wanted to live but they would not let me. Now I do not want to live yet they want to force me.

KODO steals his way to the CHORUS and soon emerges in a flamboyant ‘national’ dress. The light flashes on and off signalling a flashback.

KODO: Look Mr. Man, I am too busy to attend to you. Just get out of my office!

CHIKO: Please sir, have compassion on me. Do not kill me like this. If you retrench me you would have as good as slit my throat with a sharp knife. I do not want to die. Please let me continue to work for you. Let me continue to live. I promise I’d work even harder.

KODO: Are you stupid? Don’t I have a right to cut down on my staff especially now that the economy is bad? I am not making any profit. I cannot afford to import raw materials anymore with our currency which is no more valuable than saw dust. Surely you are not stupid. Do you not see? Do you not feel? Do you not hear the news?

CHORUS: Do you not see, Mr. Man?

KODO: I do – if you do not. I see it as clearly as I see you. The economy is bad. I see my children to whom I promised a car each as soon as they gained admission into higher institutions. I see them now go about in any of my other cars while other people’s children cruise around in their own personal cars. I see them and I feel like crying. I have broken promise to my children. I feel like weeping. Do you not feel?

CHORUS: Do you not feel, Mr. Man; do you not feel?

KODO: I do – if you do not. I feel it as clearly as I feel you. The economy is hopeless. I feel it when I see my dream of joining the multi-billion-dollar club collapsing with impunity. What expansion has there been in this establishment in the past year? None! Yet I felt that by now I would have had about fifteen other branches. But no! I have been made to shut down two banks by that lunatic of a boy. Do you not hear the news?

CHORUS: Do you not hear, Mr. Man; do you not hear the news?

KODO: I do – if you do not. I hear it as clearly as I hear you. The economy is in shambles. I hear it when I turn on the radio every morning: I wake up with the news. When I turn off the television every night, I sleep with it. So what do you expect me to do? The Presidential divination is endless sacrifice. I have taken that celestial prescription like the patriotic citizen that I am. So why do you complain if you find yourself a victim? You are simply my sacrificial lamb. Or do you not know that in every sacrifice there must be a victim?

CHIKO: But sir, have pity on me. If you have to sacrifice anybody at all why does it have to be me? I have not once done anything out of place since I began to work for you. I have been most diligent and honest. I know many of my colleagues who have been utterly lazy, incompetent and dishonest but are still in the establishment, simply because I have no one to plead on my behalf.

KODO: Oh, so you do have some sense after all? Why then are you bothering me here?

CHIKO (imploring on his knees): Please sir, have mercy on me. I am as good as dead. I have six children at home crying for food this very second; and a sick wife lying at home and dying because I cannot afford to pay her hospital bill or buy drugs for her.

KODO is indifferent.
All right sir, do not pity me anymore for I am already beyond pity. I am already a dead man. However, look upon my family. Surely you cannot afford to let my children and my sick wife die.

KODO: Are you insane? Are they my children and my wife? I have my own children to look after and my own wives too. And yet I have not denied you peace on their behalf. So take your miserable sight out of my presence!

CHIKO: If you send me away now you would have as good as killed my sick wife and my six hungry children. In the name of God I plead with you to let them live. Cut down my salary, double my duty; do anything to me but do not kill my family. Please let them live.

KODO: You disgust me. Take your plea to the government. I am not the one playing solitaire with our natural resources. I am only his praise singer. Get out!

CHIKO (holding unto his ankle): Please sir, do not kill my lovely children and their humble mother.

KODO (kicking him on the chest): There. Now you leave me alone. (Pointing at Man) Go to him.

CHIKO (to Man): So you see, your Honour? I wanted to live; desperately I desired to live, but they wouldn’t let me. They refused to let me live even for the sake of my little children and my wife. So I rose up and I left with a dead heart. Killing my wife was not difficult at all, but not my three children. After it all I did not have enough strength of will left in me to kill myself. So I came for justice. Surely I deserve to die. Justice is that I should be hung by the neck until I am dead, your Honour. Do not let me live. I am not insane. I am saner than any one in this court. Give me justice!

MAN (hitting the gavel on the table): Take this man away.

About The Author


Chukwuma Okoye teaches African Theatre and Dance/Choreography in the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Ibadan, Nigeria. He has written a number of plays, most of which have been performed at the Arts Theatre of the University of Ibadan. His only published play We the Beast won the ANA Drama Prize in 1991. He has also published a collection of stories entitled The Paradox of Being. He is currently a Newton International Research Fellow, Department of English, University of Leeds.

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