The Retirement of J.P. Kolawole


It was while I attempted to do the deed that I got shot in the back. Not to say that I was  blameworthy for any of the incidences that happened, after all, aren’t we all guilty of some misdemeanour? Such was the tale of the forgotten man with the grossly grizzled face and twisted smile. He was the stuff of every horribly malevolent nightmare.

Enter bent man, very visibly old. He has a half bottle of whiskey in one hand, a gun in the other. He looks pleased. He sees a lady staring out a window.


Hello Sade, you were the last person I thought I’d see before retiring finally.


(turning to face him, a little smile on her face)

You don’t say, Mr Kolawole! I suppose your farewell ceremony only requires a party of one, or?


Well that’s one way to put it, considering I’d exhausted all other options- I’m almost left with none but the best sounding one- and truth be told, it’s beginning to lose its savour.


(shrugging slightly)

Well I’ll be damned if I’m surprised. You did know how to pick your choices, didn’t you? Always the smartest one around, never one for second guessing or any such nonsense. Pray, say to me what your intent is, with the bottle and the barrel.


(a mischievous twinkle in his eyes)

Aye, your eyes miss little, don’t they? Or much- or nothing at all. Then again you were always one quick one. What-



Stop flitting and fluttering about like a jaded hummingbird, and answer the question. What are-


(cuts in with slight amusement)

Ah yes, I forgot, you’re an impatient flame- eager to blaze bright and big, rather more immediately than a slow methodical burn. But wait, I was just getting there. It’s for my farewell speech. You know, the talk people give just before they-


(more irritated)

Of course I know what a farewell speech is. But the employment of glass and steel is lost on me still. What be they for?


(trying again for amusement but falling flat)

Well they be for… Ah, I suppose I’ll come straight to you. I intend to end my life.


(blankly staring)


(head bowed, voice low)

Well… That’s as straight as straits with you. But don’t just stand there like upright wax. Say something.


(still blankly staring)


(feels laughter welling, but manages to rein it in)

You’re not going to keep moping at me are you? A fellow’s about done on final curtain call. Surely you’re going to at least ask why…


Every madness has its own method and reason. Of method, I’m certain. Of reason, I can only imagine.


Hence, why?




(with a resigned sigh)

Aye, even I, am lost on that too. I’m only certain I ought to, but not why. I’d hoped reason would someway find me before methods were done me in the madness…

(goes off on a train)

I was sat me on my thoughts the day the impulse came, like a message carried on far winds, sure and true like the memory of my first name- or ever I happened to forget, but that’s another tale- with a definiteness that shook me from my wandering daydreams to harsh May afternoon sun. As loudly as that cursed rooster at dawn-rise was the command- it sounded more like, than a mere whim- saying…

Arise, grab your bottle,
Acquaint your fingers with your gun,
For you have come to the end of your string-
Bid yourself farewell…

… Like a piece of dirty, mediocre poetry. So off I went in search- well the bottle was immediate, as I’d got a fresh one to turn after the one had done- of cork and trigger. Ah! Well then, here we are.



Indeed. But have you no reason to stay awake, say a day or two? Surely you have something dear to miss, or to miss you…?


Aww, someone feels sorry for me, or is it pity? Sorriness and pity? Do you so cherish my existence to keep a few moments more of me? I thought you tired of tired old James. Surely you’re pleased and eager to see me out.



If you are fishing for sympathy, I assure you you shall not have it, you miserable old shoe. What would I, that you stayed or went? Shall I be bothered with a lost kerchief, or a hanging thread? Will a faint wisp whisper words of welcoming thoughts to anchor? You may split for all you care- I care not!



Ah, the truth surfaces, you have welcome thoughts of me, enough to keep them like the remembrance of a taunting name, or a forgotten taste. You do not want me to go, and I know it. Or you want me to go, and the guilt kills you already, for you’ve already sent me off in your mind.


(now a mixed bag of emotions)

I, I… Perhaps you are right. I do not want you to go. But you have maddened me all these years. Yours will be a welcome exit, truth be said, and I shan’t fib. But still…




(voice breaking)

Still I… I

(with a childlike manner, fingers twined in fingers)

I do not want you to go…


(secretly relieved)

You don’t want me offing out, you don’t. So I was right, wasn’t I? You do regard me well dear enough you keep me awake. Another truth- I sought a reason to stay, and you may have just given me one. As is said,

What is stronger than love?

I assume you love me,

Aye, that too could stop sleep



If indeed, such one were loved,
If indeed I did you love”

(more quietly)

But I do not.



Sorry I didn’t catch that.


Could you fetch the thingamajig on the mantle piece?


(back turned, eyes suddenly wide. everything goes black softly, and music plays from somewhere in his memory. he turns to her)

As I feared, as I feared.


(caressing a revolver)

I had saved this round nigh five years. I saw this day- nay, I drew this day. You slept like a cursed log, and I whispered softly to your dreams- designed you to desire your demise, your retirement. And here we are, at the end of your farewell. So long, now.


(faint smile)

As I feared. Aye, as I feared. Yet here we are. A rather ordinary ending, not quite what I imagined. Pray, suffer me a drink? Let the picture be complete… Please, let the picture be complete.


What was supposed to happen never did in the end. What happened instead was a juxtaposition of crazy minds and smart running mouths going off like taps with damaged stoppers. What mattered was that he got what he wanted; some retirement it was. It will never be forgot.

Categories Fiction, Poetry, Short StoriesTags , , , ,

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