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City of Banjul
Saturday, September 26, 2020

Everybody Quiet

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Such characters added flavour to our mix and often offered what amounted to free gollywood entertainment in our little town by their curious actions and wayward ways. But above everyone else, our common townsfolk liked to watch the famous Everybody Quiet display his legendary skills of speech and choice regarding just what would happen in the future when Dr Gumbogi Nyawuleng grew so old and tired that he would have no option but to fall by the wayside and allow time to march on. Gumbogi Nyawuleng, of course, was not one to contemplate such an unpleasant eventuality ever. As far as he was concerned, it was on to Berlin forever more!

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His real name was Dwarf DaGiraffe, but if you came to our little town and asked for Dwarf DaGiraffe, people will immediately know that you are not from those parts. They will tell you hey, he is not called that anymore. You must be a stranger in town. It’s Everybody Quiet you looking for. If you were lucky, they would tell you how he got that name. But generally speaking, they kept that quiet, for Dwarf DaGiraffe did not like people talking about his past, or any past at all, especially when it came to matters of one and the other, for there were always references to things that were none of people’s business even if they totally affected people’s lives.

Much like Gumbogi Nyawuleng however, Everybody Quiet (a.k.a. Dwarf DaGiraffe) was a very learned fellow, no doubt about that. Everyone in our little town acknowledged the great depth of his learning and recognised the great facility with which he espoused his various theories and swam in the deep blue sea of knowledge like a fish puffing up the water once in a while, diving this way and that, and often jumping sky high and plunging back in with admirable dexterity. He reminded us of the great whale in Moby Dick as he swam alongside the ship of life, talking quietly to the crew. He made it known to everyone that he, Everybody Quiet, was an invincible guy whose word was gold and whose sight was silver. And we all knew that he was not bluffing because he took all the time he needed to put things straight and chart just the course that the world must follow in order to understand the dangers of the past, avoid all future dangers, and march on to the great promised land of perfect peace and abiding glory where everybody was quiet and lived happily ever after. On to Berlin! he would often shriek, thrusting his fist into the air and licking the air with his tongue in the manner of those great orators of history who moved mountains with their words and stopped hurricanes with a wave of the hand.

Truth be told, Everybody Quiet (a.k.a. Dwarf DaGiraffe) was a learned fellow of no mean credentials. He held a Bachelor of Tights Degree in Loosehead Studies from Quarrel University, a Master of Snorts Degree in Pushaside Techniques from Bottleneck University, and a doctorate in Advanced Dislike Erasing Techniques from the world famous University of No Study. He also held a string of advanced graduate and postgraduate certificates from universities as diverse as Chuut College, the University of Rural Dreamland, and Fahasu Community College. When he got especially motivated in one of his interesting presentations, Everybody Quiet wasted no time in outlining all his academic qualifications from these great colleges and universities and reminding his audience that he knew what he was talking about and that he understood his topic more than anyone else in the world, even his former lecturers and professors who introduced him to the world of advanced academia in the first place, not to mention impudent and ignorant upstarts who pretended to be wise. He particularly disliked our great man of steel, the incomparable Dr Gumbogi Nyawuleng and would call him such uncomplimentary names as windbag, flatface, mayonnaise mouth and empty-barrel-make-more-noise. As far as Everybody Quiet was concerned, Gumbogi Nyawuleng was nothing but an ignorant fraud, an elephant on mosquito legs who did not even know where his plastic mouth was located on his wooden face. He liked to call him Njugub, the bat who thought he was a dragon! And Mbota, the froggy who thought he could jump higher than anybody else in the world. He even called him Yappagi and Mbeh, the sheep who thought he was a horse! 

Everybody Quiet (a.k.a. Dwarf DaGiraffe) claimed to be an expert in more fields than we can possibly list in a single narrative of this scope and length. He claimed to be an expert in such diverse fields as heehaw techniques, political pumping, the principles of pretense, academic cycling, musing dynamics, advanced growling, scientific choosing, air bending, time stopping, and future mending among many other incredible skills. His academic claims were often so overwhelming that we all loudly groaned and cleared our throats in order to hear him more clearly. We often begged him to slow down a bit so that we could catch up and not miss a word of the great wisdom he so generously imparted free of charge. But our learned Everybody Quiet would pay no heed to our groans and our noisy coughs and would just hurtle straight ahead at hundred miles per hour, leaving us slower folks way back as he proceeded furiously forward into an endless future of knowledge and wisdom. “No talk, no talk, everybody quiet!” he would shriek in ecstatic excitement, which is how he got his famous moniker. But we must not let him hear us say the word!!

“Why do you think I am who I am?” he would often ask when he was in the mood. “It’s because I know better than everyone else what’s best for the world. And that’s not just metaphorically speaking. It’s real, it’s real,” he would say, his large head bobbing like a ball of dark foam on the sea of life. “I see with my comet eyes what no other eyes can see! And when I tell you I know what’s best I don’t expect you to question my choice because it’s real, it’s real,” he would gravely add, wearing his metaphorical look and letting his cheeks tremble, bubble and burst as a way of showing just how serious he was. “Some of you doubt my skills and question my calculations. But I must tell you that I have been up and down the high wall of knowledge and I don’t care what anybody says,” he would stress, furiously wagging his forefinger. “They say Everybody Quiet is this and Everybody Quiet is that. But I have dived into the deep sea of experience. I have encountered killer sharks in the ocean of wisdom and I have defeated them all! So if I tell you I know best what’s best for the world you should not question my wisdom. I won’t argue with little folks and I won’t tell you to put your hands into the fire or to walk down a snaky road. But if you disagree with me you will have to pay ‘cos it’s real, it’s real! Take my advice and all will be well,” he would loudly admonish, a forbidding look on his generous face, which reminded our common townsfolk of a painted wood carving they saw somewhere at the tourist market. “You are well advised to remember what my great ancestor Aros Tittle said: what thorns surround thorns surround.”

At that point, we all would loudly groan and noisily clear our throats and strain our ears, hoping that Everybody Quiet would slow down just a tiny wee little bit and let us take a deep breath and soak it all in before he proceeded with his jaw-dropping, brain-soaking exposition. But Everybody Quiet was never one to be stopped by groans, noisy coughs or strained ears. He would merely heave an angry sigh and plunge headlong into the depths of advanced knowledge while we less endowed folks just held our mouths and loudly wondered just how he knew so much that was so unknowable; how he was so certain of the absolutely uncertain! Some of us thought that Everybody Quiet (a.k.a. Dwarf DaGiraffe) was a loose cannon ball zooming across the sky of life and that someday, he was bound to land in the forbidding desert of total disillusionment. Dr Gumbogi Nyawuleng would be thrilled at that particular eventuality because then he would have no impudent rival to call him rat or Gejja, the dry fish who thought he was a cow and challenged the buffalo to a butting contest.

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