We Write Songs (a short story)

wwsWe write sweet songs here. Business isn’t moving as it should; most singers believe they are the best songwriters. Nobody wants to pay to get a good song. But we write songs here. Still.

Songwriting is all I can do. I know this ‘cause I have tried other things. School was some bad joke; it doesn’t even get me laughing. I finished with a grade point average of 1.2 out of 5 –till date I cannot tell where that places me –after two extra years. Folks had given up already.

‘Oh, you still dey school?’

When I said yes, it was usually with a low tone, a bowed head and eyes averting everything but the floor. It still didn’t stop them from asking the next time just to taunt me. Wicked souls.

Finally, I finished. Phew! Service was out of the question since I had passed the age limit. Work should naturally come next, but who hires a dullard? I branched out: tailoring, hairdressing, modelling (a person has to feel confident, even with a protruding paunch and a moon-walking hairline), teaching. There are other things I have tried to do, but teaching was my last try-out. I ran when the head teacher said it was ‘absolutely voluntary’. I haven’t looked back since.

I have scribbled song lines down before. I was in secondary school at the time, and rap was a new invention. With rap, I made meaningless melodies that got people dancing. Growing up killed my vibe. Till three months ago when Okon my cousin took me out for drinks. Now don’t get me wrong, I can go myself. It’s only that a man can only go as far as his pocket leads him. But I digress.

‘Okon, I hear sey you wan marry.’

‘My brother, na so o. She said yes.’

‘Wait. That your Yoruba girlfriend from back in the day?’

‘Yes o. I’m the happiest man.’

I had a green smile on as I looked him over. Okon is three years younger than I am, and he drives his own car. How sick is that?

‘We suppose wash am o. You must wash am for me Okey.’

‘No worries, bro. Make we go bar.’

We were at the bar when Okon told me what he did for a living.

‘I thought you worked in a bank.’

‘Oh, that was a long time ago,’ he said with a borrowed accent. ‘I own my studio now. I produce artistes.’

There. The light bulb. I left that bar with ideas in my head.

I started on my parent’s corridor. I had a chalkboard on which I wrote the words:


It attracted a neighbor’s house help in the first week. That one with impractical dreams and colossal hips. She thought I owned a studio where she could get recorded and promptly walked when I told her the truth. I think I heard her swear as she swayed her behind to my pointed glare. I made sure to swear back. It’s been three months, and one of my written songs has been sold. He is a drug dealer with a croaky voice. I suspect he purchased it for someone. His son, probably. It is none of my business.

If in another two months, I make no significant development in this business, I shall proceed to greener lands. Barbing? Maybe petty trading. Or I might just dust my boots, head to Okon’s studio and sing my heart out. Who knows how much stardom lies behind those walls?

But for now, I write… We write sweet songs. Me, I , Myself. All three of us. Come, buy.