I finished restoring my masterpiece in time for the finale of the special programme. As usual, Sunday was the D-day and I couldn’t have been happier about the arrangement. For one thing, it afforded me the opportunity of not having my parents around to protest my actions. Not that it would’ve mattered for much because I was particularly intent on my plan and it would really take something monumental than their protests—mild or intense—to stop me.
So, Sunday morning saw me wish mother a “Happy Sunday” which stopped her right in her tracks and elicited a soft gasp plus a look of befuddlement on father’s face. They later learnt the reason behind my unexpected mannerism on their return later in the day which of course was half past too late even though they managed to catch some piece of the action. As soon as they left the house, I moved my contraption to the designated place to achieve the right acoustic exposure I desired. The only snag that could throw a spanner in the wheels of this ‘operation’ was power. Mercifully, NEPA (in their latest reincarnation) uncharacteristically had their head in the wrong place as they took a rain check on living up to their usual infamous reputation of disappointing customers. All was hence set for a showdown—and I had a little Dutch courage for maximum effect.
Service commenced like clockwork at 0830 hours and I winced at the auditory discomfort that was to come until I launch my payback in equally savage fashion. The usual suspects played their customary roles with unbridled enthusiasm. Being a Thanksgiving service, such excitement was to be expected which also suited me. I grimaced through the choral sessions and bided my time till the effervescent pastor mounted the podium to begin his regular action-packed sermon. That, was the cue for the launch. So, I flipped a number of switches and turned the knob for the volume and was met with the reward for all my troubles.
The first sounds came out a bit distorted and I fiddled the sound settings on the front panel to produce something of enough quality which won’t necessarily exert excessive strain on the ears. The unimpressive sound quality—a deliberate act—pleased me immensely. A bit like poetic justice. Gradually, I notched up the volume in a well-rehearsed manoeuvre till I was able to match their volume output. I myself was armed with two veteran speakers—retired but not tired—and since sound quality wasn’t of prime priority, I was prepared to drown ’em out.
Meanwhile, I had diligently sourced the choice of what to play in a manner fitting for the occasion. I thought of employing disruptive music as a personal mockery of their choral ensemble but somehow in my head, it didn’t fit. I tried irking them by putting the sermon of a famous Yoruba Islamic cleric—the kind you mostly hear in Ibadan—on full blast but I didn’t like the idea, too. So I finally settled for something big enough to annoy them which was my aim from the very inception. Nollywood, was the magic word. Having happened upon a compilation courtesy of our Alaba brothers, I edited the scenes to feature vocal scene sequences alone featuring mostly the typical crudely, funny parts from the famous stars. Hint: Odunlade
The revelation must have stunned the pastor enough because at a time, I stopped hearing anything from their side. Within minutes, I heard people at the front gate. I don’t know on whose authority the delegation—that was doing their best to knock down the gate—came, whether on their own volition or on the orders of their spiritual guide. I didn’t mind either. I made a mental note to attend to them after half an hour. Keeping them waiting that long was the least permissible act of clemency I was going to entertain. Some must have left only to come back with more because the forcefulness of the banging slacked off a little only to intensify later.
I lazily made my way to the gate and the murderous look that met my mischievous smile said a million words. I wasn’t even slightly perturbed—courtesy of the little help from my earlier communion with the spirits via the bottle. The man before me had a company of about 50—maybe more as I only remember seeing heads floating about. I may very well have seen angels with ivory horns and diamond beaks and would have remained unfazed! The man spoke as with much obvious displeasure as he could conjure and I listened with as much discernible contempt as I could allow. The velocity at which the words came out of his mouth would make Eminem proud and I soon lost track of his endless threats of eternal damnation. I must have smiled midway through the tirade because the demeanour on the face of my accuser changed to indicate amplified chagrin.
In retrospect, I’m relieved he didn’t attain the enragement level that would spur him to an ill-considered raising of the hand. I do not honestly know if the church would have stood till dusk had that scenario occurred. At the end of his memorable reading of the riot acts—can’t recall if I broke in or not—I opened my mouth and said,
“Oga sir, calm down. This case na ‘do me, I do you’. If I should be made to listen to your every bogus prayers sessions, sermon and admonishments week in week out, then you shouldn’t mind me treating you to some nice ghen ghen sontin’ too, nah. Haba!”
At that, I meticulously shut my gate walked into my room and I don’t think my body hit the bed before it shut down and I slept off. I didn’t wake till 1700 hours to a happy hangover. Dad must’ve been the one to shut down my operation when they arrived from their own church service. They never coherently asked me for an explanation and I never volunteered that piece of information.
But since my retaliation that day, the disturbance has mellowed. The huge annoying overhead megaphone was withdrawn and maybe something happened to those monster speakers, too. I have a feeling they were exchanged for more discreet ones. The whole neighbourhood has me to thank for this civic victory. They never did, though.
Surprisingly, I shared a laugh with dad one day over the whole episode and that was when I got my very first indication that he enjoyed my operation—something he kept from mother for obvious reasons. He told me the members were too embarrassed to raise the issue at the next Landlord/Owners meeting. I also learned—albeit en passant—that some thought he had a hand in the whole fracas.
And mom finally gave up on me.