Your Brief Bio:
David is a creative writer. He is currently studying Pharmacy at University of Benin.
His first published work of literature is a novelette, titled, "Last Days Of Queen Amina."
He writes for a number of blogs, including his wn blog which he runs part-time.
Tweet-Style Story Summary:
It is the year 2152. Everyone is looking forward to the election day. One party are on the side of promoting technological advancements, while the opposition are against it.
John, however, is thrown into confusion on whtether to choose between meeting a powerful man, his mother, and the love of his life.
The speech, "When Lions Roar," inspires him to go for a decision that would eventually save his relationship.
"Isn't she the most beautiful thing? Am I not the luckiest man?."
John thought to himself as he stared into Alice's eyes. Wrapping his arms around her waist, locking them with his hands in her back. He held her close. Alice wrapped her own arms round his shoulders.
"I love you." John said to her softly.
Alice didn't expect those words. They stunned her. She doesn't react to or like to show emotions. She does feel them, — but she is just really slow at showing them. John knew this. It was, in fact, why he liked her so much. So, at this point, she was thrown in a bit awkward. It was the first time anyone of them would ever reveal the words in the course of their relationship, which has lasted only three weeks yet. Although, John was already feeling he was in love with her before they officially began the relationship. He just thought it would be too early to say the words to her in their first or second week together — most especially not over the phone. Twenty-second century Africans thought it was wise to only say the words after one month into a relationship, anything earlier than that, would be considered unwise. This belief has been around for decades now, and many people follow it. It has become like a doctrine.
He could tell from the look on her face that she was not ready to say the words to him. They came without warning. But John is a spontaneous guy. Many things about him come without any warning signs. Alice liked him very much for his spontaneity and fullness of surprises. It was only that, he had touched a very fragile spot, one that she was very careful with — her emotions. She just stared at him, not knowing what to say.
"You don't have to say anything now, Alice. I love you. This is what I feel right now. You mean a lot to me... And I can confidently say those words to you out of complete trust..." John said, in a bid to put his sweetheart back at ease. He continued, "... I don't expect you to say the same now... You can tell me anytime you feel like it. Two months from now, three years from now, ten years from now..." He closed his eyes, and took a shallow breathe, paused for a moment, opened them, and then went on, "... just whenever you want. I am here, I will always love you..."
When John was done talking, there was silence in the room. Nothing could be heard except the sound of cars driving through the streets, and the sounds of a busy morning coming in through the window of Alice's room.
One man was heard shouting, "Taxi! Taxi!" Then the same voice said again, "Wetin be this!? No, ooo! Artificial Intelligent car!? Mbanu! Abeg, dey go! I no want... Hey, God! See time ooo! Nine o'clock! I done late, where all these human beings wein say them be drivers na!? If na when you no need them, them go dey everywhere!"
It could be assumed that the car drove off, and the man seemingly preferred traditional drivers to Artificial Intelligent vehicles. Maybe because the automatic vehicles were more expensive to board. One couldn't tell the difference between a vehicle controlled by a man and the automatic ones from a distance. This was because they all had the same designs, which was due to the law placed by the government.
Car horns, screeches, curses from angry drivers could be heard, but all faintly through the window, as John and Alice stood in utmost silence. Alice was still astonished, she was yet to say a thing. The whole silence lasted for about a minute. Then she finally let out her own words. She said in a soft tone; "I... I. I. Love. You." She smiled with her face flushing. She closed her eyes and added, "I love you too, John." She opened them to look at John, tilted her head a bit to the right, giving him a shy look.
John looked happy, he produced a humble smile. His dropping by Alice's place had produced an event that would take their relationship to a whole new level. So, He closed his eyes and moved his face closer to hers in attempt to kiss her. She closed her eyes too. Just before their lips could meet, there came a knock at the door. It was James, John's co-worker and fellow party member — John works as a journalist and script writer, and is a loyalist to the Lion-Heart Party of Nigeria, fondly called "The National Roarers" by people.
The party had been in national political power for over ten years, operating an open market system of economy, and fostering technological advancements, especially by making laws that support it.
The major opposition ware the "People's Keepers Party." They are adherents to the old ways; well against the use of robots and automatic tools. They believe in, and promote, the idea that it will take the jobs of people. They will keep pointing out the many hazards caused by these tools. In a television interview with the People's Keeper Party presidential candidate, Dr. Sam Ogbo, he said;
"Since the automatic vehicles were introduced, the number of road accidents have risen. And even our people who still drive manually have complained about the many encounters they have had with these robot vehicles...
"Our forefathers had jobs! Yes, abundant work opportunities! But today, you walk into a company, and the secretary is a computer. We have to change the laws, so that it will benefit us more. To make our environment safer, and to make the people happier...
"Our young people of these days no longer see communicating with their human peers as interesting. Imagine, a young boy or girl will just stay inside the house from morning till night, talking to their artificial Intelligent mobile phones! They don't even see reasons to make friends anymore. The current government has been destroying the country for the past 10 years. If we don't change the power now, it will only be a matter of time before our country will spring into chaos."
This was another election period and everyone were looking towards the election day. The opposition were trying hard to convince the people to change the current government, while the party in power were working hard to let the people see why they should remain in power. John was involved in writing speeches and scripts for political advertisements. He is a very important man to the party, and a very loyal man to the cause — most definitely because he is a tech savvy.
"John, we will be late! You no dey look time!?" James called from behind the door.
The couple was distracted in their brief romantic moment. John didn't want to miss the climax of the moment. So, he kissed Alice anyway and made to leave, releasing his hands from her waist. It was the end of his short visit to Alice's place that morning. He had been away for two weeks and got back the evening before. He was fulfilling his promise of coming to see her before going to the National Auditorium where the presidential debate was to hold.
Alice still had her arms around his shoulders.
"I have to go now. I don't want Senator Goldman Habib to be angry with me. Again." Said John to Alice.
"A lot of people are angry with you. When are you coming back?" She asked.
"I'm not sure, but I doubt it will last till after five in the evening... I'll come back as soon as we're done, then I'll take you somewhere in town and give you a treat you'll never forget." He said, and then he tickled her by the side of her loins. She giggled and pushed backwards, releasing her arms from around his shoulders.
"Well." She said, giving a shrug, "... I'm rolling my eyes."
"Ah! But you aren't as I can see." John responded.
"Keep acting like you don't know what I mean o." Said Alice.
"Erh...n, tell me na, please." Requested John.
"Hmm. That's how you'll run off again to another state for two weeks, and I'll be here waiting for you to come take me out by five o'clock to give me a treat I will never forget" Replied Alice, rolling her eyes.
"Oh! Ahn..." John gnashed his teeth, giving an awkward smile. "Okay, I will surprise you."
"Hmm. Okay oo. I'll be waiting for the surprise..." Alice said, without much expectations. She added, "Anyway, tell Goodman..."
"Senator GO-LD-man. G,O,L,D. Not Goodman." John interrupted.
"Anyone. I'm more concerned about him reading out the speech you wrote than I am about who becomes president. Just tell the man to read the speech well." She said.
John felt pleased.
"When Lions Roar..." Alice said and paused for a moment like she was thinking of the next line, then she continued in a poetic tone, "...the whole world bows. The heavy wind blows, the fate of things are set, the jungle is awed. We are set to lead the nation to higher heights. In Nigeria, everyone is lion. Everyone is king! We roar by what we do; when we sing; when we dance; when we build, in whatever field! We shall excel! For ages, we have been called the giant of Africa. And we have proven it. From the youngest child, to the oldest men and women, we have shown the world what green blood can do. This is the year 2152! We will not go backwards! We are lions, and we will march forward and onward! Let the world hear what it sounds like when lions roar ..." Now she stopped, trying to recall the next sentence, "What comes next now, ehh?" She soliloquized while John was still there looking at her in admiration.
"It's not poetry, though. Madam Shakespeare." He made an attempt to tease her.
"I will recite it the way I want... You are a great writer. They're lucky to have you on their team." She said to him.
John gave a sheepish smile, bit his lips and looked down for a while. He raised up his head and said;
"I'm the one who is lucky to have you." Said John, to Alice.
"That's undebatable. You're more than lucky to have me, John." She smiled at him.
"John, you dey look time so!?" Called out James again from behind the door.
"Mtsh. This guy." He said, moved towards Alice and gave her a peck on her forehead. "Catch you later."
"Ya, in two weeks time..." Alice responded.
John just laughed as he approached the door to leave. Opening it, he saw James with disdain riding across his eyes, which were fixed on John.
"How far!? Let's start going, make we no late." Said John, to James, pretending he did not notice the look on the face of his co-worker who had been waiting. John strode past James, and began to make his way down the stairs.
"Look at the time, already ten minutes past nine! And we are supposed to be there before ten!" James said, following John closely behind.
"I'm sorry I took that long. We haven't seen in two weeks, you didn't expect our meeting to be in just two minutes, did you?" Replied John.
"None of my business. But if you people were going to do something like that, then you should have waited until night, at least..." James implied.
A young woman, somewhat in her mid-twenties, was making her way up the stairs. John and James met her on the way.
"Goo-mor'ing." She said.
"Mor'n," said James.
"Eh, g'mo'n," followed John almost immediately.
She passed them.
"What do you mean, James?" John inquired.
"You know na." James said, and winked at John.
"Wow! What goes on in your head, man!? Nothing happened... And it's until marriage, eh! No be everybody be like you." John responded.
"Hmm... Okay." Said James. He asked; "I overheard her reciting a part from the speech. You showed it to her?"
"Yes, I did. She is a Lawyer. I wanted her to help me edit it. And she's my girlfriend, which means I would have shown it to her if she wasn't going to help me edit it anyway."
"Na woman you dey call girlfriend, so."
"Okay, woman-friend. Shey that sounds better in your ears?"
"Na wa o! Is this where love has taken you to? What if she sells us out by showing those Keepers people the speech?"
"She wouldn't do that. She doesn't care about politics. Besides, I trust her."
They reached the end of the stair case, entering into the ground lobby of the building. They moved to the door and then out of the building right into the street. It was a middle-class environment, with street cameras that were hung on poles. The road was tarred and without potholes or gallops. No gutters could be seen by the side of it, as the drainage system was underground.
On one of the poles on the street, anti-robot activists have glued a poster saying, "AUTOMATIC MACHINES MUST GO! GOD IS AGAINST THEM!" John walked to the place and tore out the poster. He looked round the street, then on the wall of one OKORO AND SONS TECH SHOP was a graffiti saying, "SIGNS OF THE END TIME! 666 IS NEAR! ABANDON TECHNOLOGY OF GO TO HELL!" He shook his head, and made his way back to where his car was, and entered into it. James had been waiting.
"Why can't people just be progressive?" John was baffled.
"You have time to think about it." James replied him.
"How long before we get to the theater?" Asked John.
"Thirty minutes, or less." James responded.
"Place the command na, make I open my phone." Said John.
James pushed the ON button by the control screen on the car. The screen turned on. An automated message came up saying;
"Welcome to Chuka Transport service. Kindly input your National Identification Number."
There was a pop-up box on the screen with a keypad just below it to select the numbers to input. James inputted his identification number.
"Checking I-D," said the computer, and a loading sign appeared on the screen. "Are you James Adebayo Soyinka?" Asked the computer.
On the screen was another pop-up displaying YES and NO options.
James touched yes on the screen.
"Kindly type in your receipt number to confirm that you have paid for this service."
James obliged, dipping his hand into his pocket to bring out a small card and typed on the screen a nine digit code written on the card, and touched enter on the screen.
"Confirmed. Thank you, Mr. Soyinka, for using our service. Now select your location and how fast you want to get there." Appearing on the screen were a number of options to select from, and James began to navigate through the options to select his destination and how fast he wanted to get there. It was now nine twenty-six in the morning.
"Enjoy your ride, sir. Do not forget to review our service."
The car began to move. John's mobile finished booting. Then it spoke.
"Security question: What would you call a Bee that worships a Leaf?"
"A believer." John responded.
"Your mobile is now unlocked. Welcome, John Ovie. How are you today?" It spoke.
"Seriously, John!? A Pun!? Wow!" Said James.
"You know, right now, I would rather be in a conversation with my AI than with you." John said to James.
"Okay, let's see who's worse. Go on." James dared John.
Pressing a button on his mobile and bringing it close to his mouth, John spoke to the microphone;
"I am fine."
"You didn't have to bring me close to your mouth, John. I am not Alice asking for a kiss."
It wasn't James that spoke, it was the artificial intelligence programmed to John's mobile. It had been with John for 3 years. Artificial Intelligence programmed for people were created n such a way that they could interact with the person like a fellow human being would. They could study a person's activities and then communicate with them as a like-mind. They could also sense heat, sound, heart beats and breathing irregularities, such that if a person was in trouble, it would dial an emergency number and call for help to the person's location.
"Shut up, Bob."
"You were scheduled to see Alice at eight-thirty this morning. The presidential debate begins at ten o'clock. You are to visit your mom right after the the debate..."
"Damn! I forgot!" John exclaimed. "I totally forgot and told Alice I'll be seeing her immediately after the debate. Didn't even remember my meeting with mom!"
"You forgot your meeting with the woman who carried you for nine months, because of a girl? Wow. Just wow." Bob said.
"Shut up, what do you know? You're just a computer program." John attacked.
"Just? Well, John. I am a five hundred gigabyte system. I could be one terabyte now, but no, I'm not! Because you're too lazy to take me for a upgrade. There's no exam in this world that I cannot sit for, and get a one hundred percent score. Now tell me how many times you sat for your promotional exam before you passed it?" Bob teased John.
"Shut up. Without me, you'd be nothing. Wow, can't believe I'm arguing with an A,I, one I bought with my money!" John responded.
"No, John. Without you, I'd be with another owner, probably someone richer, because you could only afford me because it was black Friday, and my price was fifty percent off, John! I was half my worth! And you still borrowed money to buy me! You're pathetic! I noticed how you were wasting your life with me as your only friend. I automatically entered a search query, and brought a result to your news feed. My calculations were correct and you applied for it. You want to know what the search term was? BEST JOB IN THE CITY FOR A YOUNG MAN WHO'S WASTING HIS LIFE WITH AN A.I.. And without me you wouldn't even had been with Alice. You would still be as single as the Pope!"
"Oh, yeah! I'm you helped me win Alice because you manned up to help me talk to her, uh?"
"No. But I suggested to you the words to talk to and text her. And you're yet to give a review about me."
"Wow, John that's bad." James cut in.
"Come, mind your business." John blasted James.
"Relax, abeg, that's nothing. These AI's are somewhat an extension of us. Our behavior and all. Yours is even good to you. There is a reason I don't put on mine in public. But somehow, they have helped us go beyond our potentials, like yours found you a job. You should give a review about it. To increase it's company's rank." James tried to explain to John.
John understood. He logged on to the review website and began to write a review about Bob, his AI.
"Many times an ass-hole, but fun to be with all the time. A very reliable companion." John sent his review.
"Wow, John. But you should have elaborated on how I have upgraded you life. Tell them about Alice, and the job, it would improve my ranking as an A,I." Bob said.
"Bob, switch mobile to basic mode till six in the evening." John made a command.
"John, do you really want to shut me off till 6?" Bob asked for a confirmation.
"Yes." John replied.
"Suit yourself, asshole. Ha! Ha! Ha!" Bob said, and went offline.
"Damn, this thing always gets the last laugh!" Said John.
In basic mode, John could only make calls and receive text messages. Communication with AI was turned off, and the owner would be in grave danger in cases of emergency.
They reached the venue, and stepped down from their vehicle. It was now five minutes before ten o'clock. They went backstage to meet Senator Goldman Habib.
"John! James. Welcome." Said Habib, as he was delighted to see John. "I have been going over the speech you wrote. You hit the nail in the head, son. You know what? I have something for you. After this speech, I will take you somewhere to pick anything you want. You are just wonderful!"
John bowed his head in humility and said;
"Thank you, sir. It's my pleasure working with you, sir!"
Senator Habib smiled and turned to the campaign manager who was calling for his attention. He was called to approach the stage since the program was to start. He would be the first to give his speech. James had found his way to the department where he was to work. John looked for a place to stay backstage to observe everything from there.
He was now bothered that he would have to chose between the senator, his mother and Alice. He knew surely that a meeting with anyone of them after the debate wouldn't last at least four hours. The Senator would be leaving town the following day, so he could only meet him that day, and did not want to disrespect him by turning his offer down — the senator is a powerful man.
He had been promising his mother a visit for the past one and a half month and promised to visit her that day after the program. He totally forgot about this, and he promised Alice also that he would give her a treat at the same time.
He did not want to tell his mother he was choosing something other than her. He did not want the senator to see him as disrespect for turning down an hangout session. And above all, he did not want Alice to see him as a taking their relationship as a joke, after running off unexpectedly to another state without giving her prior notice shortly into their relationship and staying there for two weeks, only to come back, and then call off their date again.
He didn't know what to do. He just stood there. He was snapped out of his thought by the sounding round of applause from the audience as the senator was called up stage.
"The Goldman!" Some screamed in group.
"The man for the people!" One man screamed out loud.
"Three gbosa for the national roarer!" One man with a loud voice said from the front. John recognized him. He was in charge of mobilization. The others became silent on hearing his voice, and after he finished, they followed;
"Gbosa! Gbosa! Gbosa!"
"Lion-Heart has come to stay!" Some people screamed.
The opposition party in their numbers just sat were they were. They did not clap. They just sat, not responding to the Lion-Heart supporters because of the rules guiding the debate.
Then, Goldman signalled the hailing crowd to be calm. When the air was in order, he began his speech. John paid close attention. Now, he was feeling proud of himself, because he trusted the senator to deliver a great speech — the one he had written.
Everyone was sure Goldman would win. John was confident he would win. But Alice would tell him, "it's not over until the fat lady sings."
The speeches were to come first, followed by questions from delegates, and the debate between candidates.
"Lions rule the jungle. The choice of a Lion is the choice of the jungle. Life is a jungle,and everyone in it is a lion. Yes, you are a lion in your jungle. When you, Lions, roar, life should bend. Your choice is what matters. When Lions roar, everything obeys!
"The lion doesn't let anyone decide for him. He decides like the King he is. No matter how tough the situation is, he goes with his heart. The Lion-Heart. And that is what this Party stands for. Not for ourselves, but for you. For your decisions. For your freedom. For progress..."
At this point, John was already inspired by his own words, although coming out through the lips of another man. He recalled his mother ones told him that the difference between a boy and a man; is that a boy remains in confusion over what to choose for fear of consequences, while a man makes his decisions without fear of the consequences. He knew he had to be a man and just decide who to attend to between the senator, his mother and Alice.
He took steps backwards, and went afar from the stage. Took his phone out of his pocket and dialed Alice's number;
"Hey, John. I'm watching the speech. He's not doing as well as I expected, but it's still manageable."
"He is not you... You're better at it, I agree."
"Thank you. I am blushing." She giggled over the phone. "How are you, honey?"
"I'm fine. I just want you to do something for me."
"What?" She asked.
"Prepare your best wear. Because I'm going to be giving you an evening you will never forget. I swear."
She was silent. She knew he was serious at this point. If there was one thing she admired about John, it was his character to stick to his words whenever he said, "I swear." With that she was rest assured he wasn't going to stand her up this time, and the thoughts running through her head, suggesting that he was taking their relationship as a joke, waned.