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Date Created:22 Dec 2014

Last Modified:13 Feb 2017

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He walked into his house and his kids ran up to meet him. His
first born slammed into him and held him tight. He swept his daughter off her
feet and held her in his arms. His wife smiled sweetly as she gracefully walked
towards him. Her low blouse revealed part of her cleavage. A flame of
excitement burnt through his body.

“Honey, I missed you,” she said, giving him a full kiss on
his mouth.

“I missed you too, baby.” He murmured, taking in the sweet
fragrance about her.

“Let daddy rest, children,” she said, tearing them off him.
They protested, kicking and fighting off but she was too strong for them.

He sat back in the sofa and breathed in deeply, a smile
spreading across his lips. Now this was the life he had always dreamt of; that
he had always wanted.


“He stays alone. He has always been alone.” Father Gibson
said, bringing down his glass hard onto the metallic table, sending off a loud,
resonating bang.

Samson winced and gnashed his teeth. He hated loud noises.
They easily irked him. His left hand began to shake; he held it steady with his
right and fought to remain composed. Father Gibson gave him a worried look, but
proceeded with the discussion as if he was already accustomed to his peculiar

“We need to help him, Samson.”

“He appears to be doing just fine.”

“No, Samson,” Father Gibson said firmly. “He is not alright.”

Samson raised a brow. “He has a job; he comes to church; he
doesn’t commit crime—how can that not be alright?”

Father Gibson lowered his head and said in a whisper, “I
visited him last weekend… and he was talking to himself.”

Samson chuckled. “Sure, that’s weird. I talk to myself all
the time.”

“No that kind of talking. I was with him in the room and he
was talking to an imaginary person.”

Samson’s brow rose higher. “Is that so?”

“Yes. It was very disturbing to say the least.”

“You said he stays alone; that he has always been alone. He
could inevitably develop one or two imaginary friends.”

“In a child, yes, that is acceptable; but a grown man having
imaginary friends? That is sick.”

“So what you are saying is that he is mentally sick?”

“Yes; but it might be more than that. It might be a spiritual

“Is that so?”

“Yes. He needs prayers.”

Samson chuckled again. “Pardon me, Gibson. You always have a
knack for attaching spiritual significance to every problem. This might just be
a man suffering from loneliness and talking to himself is probably the only way
he copes. All he probably needs is to see a psychiatrist, they give him a
couple of pills to dull his hyper imagination, and presto! He’s back to normal.”

Father Gibson stroked his grey beard. “That may be so. But
this is a different, believe me.”

“Fine,” he acquiesced reluctantly, “I will go with you this

Father Gibson’s eyes glowed and he smiled broadly. “Thanks

“But only on one condition.”

“What’s that?”

“Play squash with me after that.”

Father Gibson smiled more broadly. Samson found his smile rather
odd: broad and stretching across the entire length of his face, It reminded him
of his estranged father, whom he hadn’t seen for years.

“It’s a deal,” Father Gibson said.

They shook hands and got to their feet.

“See you Saturday, Father.”

“Aye, Samson.”

They went their separate ways.

Samson opened the door of his range rover. He got inside and
placed his hands on the wheel. He smiled. This is the life he had always


It was a brilliantly bright Saturday morning—so brilliantly
bright Samson had to put on his sunglasses. He wore a white trousers and a
white T-shirt with black stripes (but it could easily have been a black T-shirt
with white stripes).

He depressed a button and his car chirped like a raucous wild

“We are here,” Father Gibson said, appearing from the other
side of the car. Remarkably, he was also wearing sunglasses.

Samson began to laugh. He laughed so hard tears streaked down
his face.

“What,” Father Gibson said smiling broadly, “I can’t also
wear sunglasses?”

“I didn’t say that,” Samson said, taking off his glasses,
wiping away the tears from the edge of his eyes. “You just look so… so bad

“Oh, but I am!”

They stood before a low, rusty gate—so low they could easily
have stepped over it with minimal effort. Samson wondered what the use was for a
gate when the rest of the yard had literally no hedge or fence around it; but
only a few shrubs in a few places. They could easily have used any other route;
but Father Gibson, always a stickler for etiquette insisted that they go
through the gate.

The place looked abandoned. The stony path that led to the
house was overridden with shrubs and weeds. There were dogs droppings dotted
inconveniently all over the path. Samson, always squeamish, trod affectedly.

“You are right, he might have a problem,” he said in a quiet

Father Gibson grunted solemnly.  He breathed in deeply and tapped on the door
of the small house at the end of the path. It made a dull, hollow sound, like
wood that was soaked with water. Being a rainy season, this occurrence did not
really surprise Samson.

Samson inspected the small house closely. He had a surreal feeling
of familiarity, like he had been here before. Despite the bad, unkempt
surroundings, the house itself was rather neat. It had a fresh paint of white
coat, making it stand out in surprising contrast to its gloomy surrounding. It
almost appeared like something you would see in the midst of a nightmare—that oasis
of hope to which you would run when being pursued by the monsters lurking in
your subconscious.

The squeaking of a door interrupted his thoughts and Samson
found himself staring at a young man with sparkling eyes. He was surprisingly
full of life and energy.

“Samson, Father Gibson !” He cried in such triumph that the
duo was slightly surprised. “Welcome to my humble abode.”

“Hello Jackson!” Father Gibson said. “Thanks a lot.”

“Hi,” Samson said in a rather servile voice.

Jackson reached out and grasped his hand. He shook it vigorously,
so vigorously that Samson felt as if his shoulder was going to be yanked off.

“Come in come in—what a lovely surprise!”

Samson was massaging his arm as he walked into the house.

Inside, it was surprisingly dark, and the air was dump, and
was mingled of the smell of medicines.

“Take a seat,” Jackson’s cheerful voice said.

“Thanks, Jackson,” Father Gibson responded. Samson granted in

Samson thankfully sank into the seat. It was unusually
comfortable. He breathed in deeply. An image flashed in his mind: he seated on
the sofa back home, his wife and kids surrounding him. He smiled to himself.

“Want would you love to drink?”

“Anything,” Father Gibson responded.

“Even a coke?”


Samson also nodded.

“Amanda!” Jackson called. “Bring out the drinks.”

There was a ruffle of feet from the kitchen and a few seconds
later, a young woman emerged with a tray of coke bottles biscuits. She gingerly
placed the tray on the little table before them. She picked up one of the coke
bottles and handed it to Samson; and then picked up the other and handed it to
Father Gibson.

“Please enjoy yourselves,” she said in a sweet, resonating
voice that left Samson nearly breathless.

“Thanks,” they granted simultaneously.

“You are welcome,” she said and then retreated back into the

“Wow,” Samson said his voice a whisper. “She is very beautiful.”

He stared at Jackson from the corner of his eyes. He was
grinning proudly. “Thanks.”

He stared down at his coke and almost jumped out of his skin.
His name was clearly labeled on it:

“Share a
Coke with Samson”

He stared at Father Gibson with bewilderment. His name was
also on his bottle of coke. He shrugged back at him.

Samson shook his head. Father Gibson always had a knack for
humour. Him and Jackson must have agreed upon this eons ago.

“So, Jackson, tell us about your work.”

Jackson’s eyes shined brighter; they literally glowed.

“I love my job! I am a software engineer!”

Samson’s heart skipped a beat. He couldn’t have heard right. “Pardon?
Did you say software engineer?”

“Yes, that is what I said, sir.”

“Oh my God! What a lovely surprise! I am also a software

“You don’t say!”

“I say! How come I didn’t know about this?” He stared at
Father Gibson. He had a dark look about him that seemed to say ‘what on Earth
are you doing?’

Samson frowned. Father Gibson had definitely lost his marbles
because this Jackson he said had a very strong mental condition was alright. He
looked away and focused on Jackson, and between the two of them a very
interesting conversation issued.

They talked about the things that they both loved, and realized
that they were more alike than they could ever have imagined. During this discussion,
Father Gibson was literally ignored, but Samson didn’t really care. If he
couldn’t participate, that was his problem.


“Good bye!” Jackson waved as they walked away.

Samson waved back frantically.

“I don’t get it,” He told father Gibson as they approached
the car. “There is absolutely nothing wrong with him.”

Father Gibson was solemnly quiet.

“Father, what is wrong with him? Why did you lie to me?” He
sounded annoyed. “Jackson is a very nice guy. You are the one with the problem—always
looking for errors in other people. Spiritual problem indeed! And what was that
about him staying alone?”

Father Gibson remained quiet, not saying a word, his eyes to
the ground. He pulled out his sunglasses and ventured to wear them.

“Talk to me, dumb it!” Samson said, getting annoyed, ripping
the sunglasses out of his hands and tossing them away.

Father Gibson sighed. “The problem is not him. The problem is

“What!” Samson was utterly shocked.

“None of this is real.”

“What are you talking about?”

“You know what I am talking about.”

“No I don’t. You are insane!”

“Stop denying it for once and accept it, Jackson!”

Samson’s jaw dropped open. “Why did you call me Jackson?”

Father Gibson sighed heavily. Presently, he said: “Because
Samson is not real. Samson has never been real. This world you see—it’s not
real. You made it all up!”

Samson shook his head. “Now I am convinced that you are mad.”

“Am I?  Deep down, you
know I am not. Take a harder look around you. Does any of it look real to you?”

Samson frowned and looked around him at the bright world.
What on earth could possibly be unreal about this world? He looked upwards at
the blue sky. Suddenly, he saw a tiny black cloud. He squinted as he
tried to make sense of it. It began to grow before his very eyes—bigger and
bigger till the whole sky was covered; and the world became engrossed in a
thick misty darkness.

“What is happening father?”

But he couldn’t see Father Gibson anymore. Despair gripping
him, he sunk to his knees, wrapping his arms around him.

“Open your eyes, Jackson,” he heard Father Gibson’s voice. It
sounded far away.

He slowly opened them and looked around. He was in a dark,
dingy little room with no window. There was a bed in one corner of the room. He
was kneeling on the floor, and standing above him was Father Gibson.

“Jackson, you are going to be alright,” he said slowly in a voice
that sounded like a deep whisper.

Samson was too shocked to say anything. Tears slowly trickled
down his face and splattered to the floor, and the realization hit him like a
hard knock into the face. He felt his heart rend apart like a rotten piece of

“What is your name?” Father Gibson asked.

“My name is Jackson,” he said, his left hand beginning to

“Good,” Father Gibson said. “You will be alright soon.”

He touched Jackson’s head, stroked it, and then slowly walked
towards the door.

“Father,” he began with a slight smile. “Let’s go and play

He found himself talking to an empty room.

He began to sob, and the words of Father Gibson echoed
hauntingly in his mind: “He stays alone. He has always been alone.”




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