Author Archives: elnathanjohn

About elnathanjohn

Lawyer, critic, writer. Has published a collection of short stories titled "DAYDREAMS ETCETERA". Work and live in Abuja, Nigeria.

A Private Experience


Does the fair lithe man in the lime green shirt know that the gap toothed woman with cowries around her slim neck is attracted to him but hates his shirt? Does the woman know that there is a leaf stuck in her hair? Will the man use it as an excuse to talk to her? Will it work? Does she know that it is an excuse? Does she care if it was an excuse as they end up walking from the crowded wedding reception to the bar inside the hotel because the noise from the live band in the hotel garden makes it impossible to talk without shouting?

Does the bar man wonder why they are ordering the same drinks that are available for free at the wedding? Is the bar man irritated that he is missing the game on the flat screen TV because she is wondering whether to have a Gordon’s Spark or Smirnoff Ice? Is she taking too much time deciding? Does she think of the bar man at all as she takes her time? Is the man irritated? Does he tap his fingers on the table or sit still? Is he nervous? Does he think of the bar man? Would he have ordered Smirnoff Ice if he were alone, or does he do it because she too is having one? Does she appreciate the gesture? Will the bar man think she is crazy if she asks for a straw instead of a glass? Does the bar man curse under his breath because after he has sat down, she has decided to have the glass since he doesn’t have straws? Does the man think of it as he drinks straight from the bottle? Does he take little sips from the slim neck of the bottle or is the bottle nearly half gone after two long gulps? Does she wonder if he is a heavy drinker because of this? Is he a heavy drinker? Does she have anything against heavy drinkers or does she consider it masculine? Is she laughing too much? Too often? Is she laughing, finding his stories funny because the bottle of Smirnoff Ice is almost finished? Are his stories funny and interesting? Is he flirty? Does she like that he is flirty?

Is the bar man carried away? Does he realize that he has been increasing the TV volume a little bit every ten minutes or so? The volume, is it now too loud? Does the bar man realise that the man and woman have stopped talking and are looking at him? Does the bar man turn around and turn down the volume? Will the bar man apologise and say to himself that they had better leave a good tip for all the trouble? When they remember what they were saying when they resume talking, or will he just change the subject?

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This assignment here is to write a story that is centred around an object. Any object. 


You never lock your wardrobe door, hell, you don’t even close the damn thing. One of the hinges is coming loose so there is now a method to closing the door- lift gently, swing slowly from right to left, wait for the click, release- but this is not why you won’t close it. You want to see that which hangs from the yellow plastic hanger in the corner when you lie on the bed; that which has hung limply there since February 18, 2008. You never forget the date you hung it there; you remember it, mark it more religiously than your birthday or the day that wretch of a husband did you the favour of dying in his own vomit- the rumours don’t bother you- that his many drinks were poisoned by the women from the Madam Kosoko’s brothel to teach men who like to ‘fuck and run’ a lesson. Though you would never say it, you thought it was a brilliant thing those women did, for you did not know how much more you could take- the sermons from your mother and his mother on how a good Christian Nigerian women never brings shame by leaving. But this day in February is more important- it is real date of your emancipation.

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WS 2: What Friends Do by Elnathan John


I knew Melanie would leave for the Calabar festival. It didn’t matter that John needed her around.

I would miss mass with the Pope for the Calabar Carnival”, she retorted when John tried to make her feel guilty for planning a trip when he was still recovering from malaria.


Melanie was often irritated by John’s intensity. His being a poet who always discussed poetry didn’t help either.

I thought you loved poetry”, he wailed, when she was finally able to tell him she was getting bored of the constant poetry talk.


Well, I stopped liking it, like I stop liking anything when I’ve had too much of it”, she replied rolling her eyes.

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