October 9, 2019

The Mass Orgy

By Femi Osofisan

 At the Grand sculpted door, he paused and surveyed the cheering crowd.

“I cannot promise you everything you desire,” he announced in a ringing voice. “But if it’s heaven you want, here on earth, I’ll build it for you, with your cooperation! I will rid you of corruption and disease! I will give you freedom without lice or licence! And I’ll ask nothing but your hard savings!”

The crowd surged forward in ecstasy, desperate every one for a touch of the new Messiah.

It was all the Hockey players could do to keep the people at bay, until they started clubbing heads and crippling limbs, especially of the possessed women.

The soon-to-be Everlasting VC drank in this adulation with equal excitement, rocking to and fro on the backs of the human horses.

Then he made a final announcement: “My fellow countrymen, in order that the first true baptism of our College may be well celebrated, we declare tomorrow a public holiday.”

The crowd burst into tears at this unexpected boon. “Ah, ah Messiah!” they sobbed.

Dr Paramole made the best of the occasion. “And the day after tomorrow too!” he added.

“Messiah! Messiah!”

“And the next one!”

“Messiah! Ah, I am dead! Messiah has killed me with joy! ”

“And the day after that!”

The crowd began to sway together like votaries at a revival meeting. “Supreme Messiah! Paramole the Paramount! VC for life!”

“The whole week! The whole of the following week shall be a holiday! For Kolera Kolej! And we order that each worker be granted a loan of two months advance salary for the celebration! The loan shall be repayable over six months.”

The mass orgy rose to a pitch impossible to describe. Waves upon waves of men and women surged forward and were enthusiastically clubbed down by the Hockey players. Groups went into collective frenzy, reeled on the ground, raising clouds of red dust, and were promptly trampled to death. Still the chant rose in the screaming air: “Messiah’!  Paramole the Potent Poison! Reign for life Supreme Messiah!”

And it was at this moment that a different noise was heard. A man and his dog running forward. Berserk.

 Excerpted from Kolera Kolej, a novel, by Femi Osofisan, first published by New Horn Press in 1975. Osofisan, 73 is a poet, dramatist, novelist, essayist and emeritus professor of dramatic arts. He won the 2016 Thalia Prize of the International Association of Theatre Critics and is a top candidate for the Nobel Prize for Literature.

 

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