The Sun News

The King and the subject

By Nwokedi Nwokedi

SUBJECT

(A bit louder) I am hungry!!

KING

Pray! Pray! Pray for your leaders and be patient (Drinks the whole pepper soup from the plate and beings to smack his lips).

SUBJECT

I am hungry ooo!! Oga, I am dying ooo!!!

KING

Patience… I honestly understand your suffering, I also understand the colours and shape of your hunger, but you must have patience, maximum patience.

SUBJECT

(Shouting) Your Highness, give me food; give me water; I am hungry; I am thirsty.

KING

Patience… You will eat, but be patient and be prayerful. Pray for your leaders as the Holy Book instructs you to always do. Pray for your leaders (Opens another bottle of champagne and begins to hurriedly drink straight from the bottle) Patience! Patience!! Patience!!!

SUBJECT

(Suddenly summons all the energy and anger in him and rises up to the shock and surprise of the king) Your Highness, enough is enough…

KING

Did you just shout on me? Who gave you the temerity and the effrontery to stand up? Who gave you the authority and audacity to stop being patient?

SUBJECT

(Angrily kicks at the table) Your Highness, do you know that there is a time for a man’s cup of patience to be empty; there is also a time for that same cup of patience to be half; there is another time for that same particular cup of patience to be full and, finally, there is a time for that specific cup to be over filled and, then, it begins to spill and run over. Your Highness, my cup of patience is overfilled and it is spilling and running over. Your Highness, I will no longer have patience while you eat alone (He begins to furiously scoop meat from the pepper soup into his mouth).

KING

What… What are you doing? Have you gone mad?

SUBJECT

According to Esiaba Irobi, the late cerebral playwright, who lived in exile in Nigeria till he died, “there is madness in all of us” (Opens a bottle of champagne and begins to drink straight from the bottle).

KING

This is preposterous, this is sheer thievery

SUBJECT

There is a thief in all of us (Greedily grabs a chicken lap and begins to hungrily chew it, then opens a plate of jollof rice and begins to eat from it).

KING

Oh no! This cannot be, I must be dreaming, my special chicken and jollof rice imported from Kentucky, my French and Italian exotic champagne, No… No… I must be dreaming.

SUBJECT

Keep on dreaming, sir.

KING

(Greatly enraged, grabs the subject and begins to push him away from the food and wines). Get out, get out, you incurable idiot, everlasting pig, get out (He is stopped in his tracks by an angry voices coming in from outside. The voices are singing a song).

       All we are saying

       No more patience

      All we are saying

      No more patience

KING

(Releases the subject) What is that? Who are those people singing?

SUBJECTS

Your subjects… My fellow subjects (Continues to drink the champagne nonchalantly).

KING

(The song gets louder and nearer) My subjects? What do they want?

SUBJECT

Their share (The song reaches crescendo).

KING

Their share? How?  No, no, this is not possible. I told them to be patient (The song comes up again).Patience! (He begins to run away) Patience!! Patience!!! (The song continues to go higher and higher while the king runs away shouting patience! Patience!! Patience!!!).

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Editor, Online: Ikenna Emewu
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