Previously on 88,000 Acres of Bad Shit.

Dr. Artemina’s report came two hours after mother and Nneka had left. Artemina had found me in a sombre mood. She looked gorgeous, but I was more interested in knowing what she wore behind that white coat of hers. My mind wondered in different dimensions. I was to be discharged in a matter of hours. So I tried my best to salvage whichever little time I had left. I didn’t want to dwell on the earlier events that I had encountered.

Artemina pulled a seat close to my hospital bed. Besides my report, she held a book. She tried breaking the ice.

Artemina: You fancy reading when you’re not slaving your lungs away in smoke?

Akala: Yes, I do read a lot but as you can tell I haven’t gotten the hang of it this previous week because of my state.

Artemina: Such a waste. I thought perhaps that our chi was aligned, regarding that I’m more of a book lover.

Akala: At times your words make me look daft.

Artemina: Tell me something interesting that might pique my interest.

Akala: I’m sure you’d want to know what’s going on in my head.

Artemina: It’s quite a surprise that I haven’t found you smoking.

Akala: (ignoring her) Many years ago a farmer in a small town had the misfortune of owing a large amount of money to a moneylender. The moneylender at that time didn’t have quite the looks and lots of women addressed him as ugly the bald. Ugly the bald fancied the farmer’s beautiful daughter. He tried all means to woo the beautiful lass but to no avail.

Artemina: Did ugly the bald continue to pursue the daughter after his numerous failed attempts?

Akala: He proposed a bargain to the farmer. He said he would waive the farmer’s debt if he would let him marry his daughter.

Artemina: And how did the farmer respond?

Akala: Both the farmer and his daughter were shocked and horrified by the proposal.

Artemina: What were the conditions of the proposal?

Akala: Ugly the bald told them that he would put a black pebble and a white pebble into an empty bag. The girl would then have to pick one pebble from the bag. If she picked the black pebble, then she would have to become Mrs. Ugly the bald and her father’s debt would have been forgiven.

Artemina: And what if she picked the white pebble?

Akala: She would not become Mrs. Ugly the bald and her father’s debt would be forgiven regardless. If she refused to pick any pebble though, her father would be thrown into jail.

Artemina: It’s a tough situation.

Akala: So It happened that they were standing on a pebble strewn path in the farmer’s garden. As they talked, ugly the bald bent over and picked the two pebbles. As he picked them up, the sharp-eyed girl noticed that baldy had picked up two black pebbles and put them into the bag. He then asked her to pick her pebble from the bag. What would you have done if you were the farmer’s daughter, doctor?

Artemina: Well careful analysis would produce three possibilities.

1) The girl should refuse to take a pebble.

2) The girl should have shown that there were two black pebbles in the bag and expose baldy as a cheat and fraud.

3) She could pick a black pebble and sacrifice herself in order to save her father from debt and imprisonment.

Akala: What would you do doctor, if you were the girl in the story?

Artemina: If I was the girl in the story, I would put my hand in the bag and picked a pebble without looking, then pretend to fumble abit so that I could drop it onto the pebble-strewn path. It would then be unclear which pebble it was because it would be mixed with other pebbles.

Akala: Yeah, and how would that help the situation? Wouldn’t you now have to do the process all over again?

Artemina: Not at all. We would now check the pebble that was in the bag that I had not picked from. Since the remaining pebble would still be black, we would all assume that I had picked a white pebble. That would put Ugly the bald into a tight spot because he wouldn’t dare to admit his dishonesty. The girl would change what seemed an impossible situation to an advantageous one.

Akala: Wow nice…..that’s smart.

Artemina: Akala, every situation has a silver lining. The moment you can spot the difference between lateral thinking and logical thinking, you wouldn’t have to hide away anymore.

Akala: I think I’m ready to go home.

I was eager to go home, not going home to Nneka or to listen to mother’s shenanigans. I’d try to understand and see things from a logical view, perhaps all these fights and wars could be averted.

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