With Aicha There was a very small country called The Great Gambo. Great Gambo was nice and warm, the sea waves cuddled with the shores and the palm trees swayed like dancers to the music. There was music everywhere in Great Gambo, when the ladies walked down the streets their hips swayed to the rhythm of the drums. Everyone smiled, even the poorest, but the largest smiles were on the faces of the Toppers. The Toppers were both male and female, they gathered in and around a large beautiful house called the Large House. The happiest of them all, Mr Top-Top, had a big smile that only competed with the size of his belly. No one had such a round and nice belly as Mr Top-Top, it was like a pregnant watermelon. The Toppers and Mr Top-Top met every day, or almost every day, or sometimes not at all but they were happy anyway. When anyone of them wanted to take a ride to see if the citizens of Great Gambo were still smiling they took the nice cars they had from the large country far, far away. This country was so large no one could travel from one end of it to the other without having a very large packed lunch with them. I mean a veeeeery large lunch, like lunches for a whole week at least. No one knew because no one had so much food, at least not in Great Gambo, at least not those who lived far away from the Large House. Mr Top-Top wanted everyone in Great Gambo to be smiling, he wanted them to shout hooray every time they saw him. Mr Top-Top was a kind man, he wanted everyone to like him but not all did. This made Mr Top-Top cross or even angry sometimes. When Mr Top-Top was angry he lost his appetite. Mrs Top-Top made the most delicious food for him, but he turned his face away from it and got a tantrum instead. This made Mrs Top-Top angry! She spoke to her sister and they tried to find out what was wrong with Mr Top-Top and what they could do to make it better again. The two ladies thought about the problem for a while and suddenly Mrs Top-Top found out that maybe it would be good for Mr Top-Top to get out from the Large House for a while. He might get his appetite back if he got some fresh air. Said and done, the two ladies told Mr Top-Top to wear a nice T-shirt with his name on, so if they would lose him out of sight someone else would know who he is and return him to the ladies. Very wise ladies indeed! Mr Top-Top’s driver came with the dark and shiny car, the ladies and Mr Top-Top got in and off they went. They decided to visit the fish market, fish is good for the health so that should also be good for Mr Top-Top’s appetite they thought. Oh dear!!! Oh dear, oh dear! The smell! Mr Top-Top had jumped out from the car, happy to see some new people who could cheer when they saw him, but he couldn’t stand the smell. Everything smelled fish, even the hands of the ladies at the market. Mr Top-Top jumped in to the car again and was complaining all the way home about the smell of fish. It was time for lunch at the Large House but the appetite had got lost somewhere at the market. Mr Top-Top was in a very bad mood the rest of the day, he refused to speak to anyone, he didn’t even answer his phone even though Mr Very Important from Far, Far Away was calling. No one entered Mr Top-Top’s chambers, they were afraid to get a slipper thrown in the head. His wife, who was a very wise woman, knew that it was better to leave him alone until he had calmed down. In the meantime she tried to figure out a new plan for the coming day. Mrs Top-Top loved her husband, even if he tried her patience almost every day, so she wanted to cheer him up and make him smile again. She spoke to her sister and together they found out a new plan for the next day. Next morning came, the birds were singing, the lizards found nice and warm spots on the walls of the Large House. These lizards were larger than normal lizards, they lived in the Large House after all so we couldn’t have some tiny lizards there, could we? Mrs Top-Top stood outside the bedroom door, listening to her husband snoring. He sounded like a chainsaw trying to cut down a baobab tree, you can imagine the hard work, can’t you? At last Mrs Top-Top decided that it was about time her husband woke up to perform his ablution, pray and have some breakfast. She thought that beginning the new day with prayer would make Mr Top-Top in a better mood. Said and done, Mrs Top-Top opened the door to her husband’s bedroom and tiptoed over to his bed. The room was dark and very warm, Mr Top-Top only wore a bed sheet over him and it moved slowly up and down as his belly rose and sank with his snoring. Mrs Top-Top sat down on the bedside and whispered to her husband that it was time to wake up. The snoring was too loud so he couldn’t hear her. Mrs Top-Top tried a little louder, but still the snoring was louder than her voice. Mrs Top-Top filled her lungs with air and shouted the loudest she was able to: ”Wakey, wakey, darling!” At the same second as she was shouting Mr. Top-Top had stopped snoring, he jumped up from his pillow and looked at his wife as if she was completely crazy. Mrs Top-Top fell down from the bedside by the surprise, Mr Top-Top crawled over to the bedside to see where his wife had gone, Mrs Top-Top tried to stand up at the same moment as her husband’s head came out over the bedside and the accident was done! Both heads crashed in to each other, Mr Top-Top’s nose was smashed and began to bleed like a fountain, Mrs Top-Top got a bang in her head and fainted. What a beginning of a new day! Not even prayers could help them both at that moment, both of them were laying helpless – he on the bed and she on the floor. As Mr Top-Top had such a bad temper the day before no staff dared to even go near his room until lunchtime so the unfortunate couple was left to their fate. Mrs Top-Top’s sister had become worried, she had been waiting for the Great Couple to get ready for the surprise planned by the ladies the day before. The sister paced back and forth out side the Great Bedroom and finally she gathered courage enough to knock on the door. She didn’t get an answer so she knocked again. This time she could hear a troubled voice say: ”Come in, come in for goodness sake!” The sister opened the door very carefully, she didn’t dare to look directly at the Great Bed as she took some steps in to the room. ”For heaven’s sake, come in and don’t stand there like a statue!” It was Mr Top-Top’s voice she heard but when she finally looked at him she didn’t recognize him. His face was covered in blood and his nose was the size of a gigantic tomato. The sister just stood there and stared at Mr Top-Top, her mouth opened and closed like the mouth of a fish in a fish tank. ”What are you staring at, woman?” Mr Top-Top obviously didn’t like how she was sharing at him. ”Haven’t you seen a man in his bed before?” The Great Sister kept on staring as she tried to say something but she had lost her voice completely. Suddenly she saw her sister, Mrs Top-Top laying on the floor, still unconscious. The Great Sister rushed to look after Mrs Top-Too, she tried to lift the lady up from the floor and shake some life into her. Mr Top-Top was furious as he was laying in his bed. ”You must help me first, I am Mr Top-Top so I am more important than your sister!” Mr Top-Top tried to look dignified as he lay there in his bed, but it’s not easy to look dignified if you are a naked man covered with only a bed sheet. The Great Sister ignored the whining man completely, she was fully occupied with helping Mrs Top-Top who tried to say something. Poor Mrs Top-Top, she had a large swelling on her head where it had collided with her husband’s nose. Her sister didn’t really know what to do. There she was in a bedroom that wasn’t hers, with a naked, bloody Mr Top-Top hidden under a bed sheet and his wife laying on the floor with a large swelling in the head and bloodstains all over her face from the broken nose of her husband. What would people think if they entered the room? The Great Sister had to find a solution quickly, otherwise she might be in trouble if someone would come in and misinterpret the situation completely . Suddenly the Great Sister got an idea! She had heard that in the US people had just recently celebrated something they call Halloween. She didn’t know exactly what that was, only that people in the US thought it was a lot of fun and they dressed up to look like monsters, ghosts, mummies and such. The surprise she had planned together with Mrs Top-Top was spoiled anyway so the Great Sister found out a better idea. Mr and Mrs Top-Top didn’t have any Halloween costumes, and no makeup but that wasn’t needed as they already looked scary enough. Mrs Top-Top wore a long black dress, her hair was messy – looked more or less like a bird’s nest. Her head had a bump and the blood splatter in her face was perfect. Mr Top-Top had a crazy look in the eye, a face covered in blood and a broken, swollen nose the size of a large tomato. All he needed to do was to wrap his body in the bed sheet and he would look like a cross between a monster and a mummy. The Great Sister called the driver to come to the Large House and the scary couple went on the tour of their life. Everywhere they came people were first waving and shouting hooray until they saw what the couple looked like. Now the people began to scream in horror and ran like they had never run before. Inside the shiny black car, Mr and Mrs Top-Top were laughing so hard that their bellies ached. When they were too tired because of all the exhaustion and laughter they went back home to the Large House. Mr Top-Top had got his appetite back, he was happy, his wife was happy, the Great Sister was happy, everyone was happy and that was the end of a long and exhausting day. It was a day they would never forget and even the lizards on the walls spoke about it for weeks after. The peace was back in Great Gambo, people were smiling, hips were swaying to the music and the sound of the waves was like a lullaby for the people. The story ended as it began, in peace and tranquility in the Great Gambo.]]>
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By Muhammed Lamin Drammeh Since I was born, nobody had ever identified himself to me as my father. Not even a picture of him had...
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