doctor’s surgery. somewhere in gaborone. mid morning. when lights come on, a pregnant woman, ms. chilisa, in obvious pains is sitting facing a nigerian doctor who is busy scribbling something. on stage left there is an examination bed. beside the bed is a sink and materials for cleansing. tucked in a corner, between the sink and very close to the examination bed, is a human skeleton with a united nations’ flag stuck in its mouth. there is a small cassette player on the table from which “perambulator” by fela anikulapo-kuti, the late nigerian afro-jazz musician, plays at an almost inaudible level.

ms chilisa       

(shifting uncomfortably in her seat)

ah! doctor, i’m dead. (pauses to shift from side to side) this morning as i was lifting a bucket, i felt a sharp pain in my back. doctor, i think i have lumbago. (grunts and shifts again) and doctor, as i was having my bath, i felt a lump in my left breast. doctor, i have breast cancer. (shifts. sighs) and since morning, doctor, whenever i swallow anything, i feel a sharp pain in my throat. doctor, i have tonsillitis.

dr. musa

so, is this why you came to see me – (consults file) ms chilisa?

ms chilisa     

no, doctor. i have haemorrhoids.

dr. musa 

how do you know you have haemorrhoids?

ms chilisa      

because i’m itching, i feel pain and i can’t sit properly.

dr. musa

 oh! when did this start?

ms chilisa       

three days ago. (grunts)

dr. musa 

(scribbling)

i see. did you eat anything solid? like burodi? (doctor pronounces bread as burodi)

ms chilisa       

(confused) burodi?

dr. musa 

yes. burodi, burodi.

ms chilisa       

(guessing)

you mean bread, doctor.      

dr. musa 

yes. burodi.

ms chilisa      

yes. (shifts from side to side) on friday. (sighs)

dr. musa 

(scribbling)

well, ms chilisa, it must be the burodi. by the way, what did your gynae say?

ms chilisa      

i’ve not seen him.

dr. musa 

oh! and how old is your fregnancy? (pronounces ‘pregnancy’ as ‘fregnancy’)

ms chilisa       

(touching her belly)

seven months.

dr. musa 

(scribbling) are you constipated?

ms chilisa       

(pauses to shift her position before answering)

not really. yes.

dr. musa

(scribbling)

well, that is common in your condition. are you stooling prequently? i mean, is your tummy running? (pronounces ‘frequently’ as ‘prequently’)

ms chilisa       

no.

dr. musa

(scribbling)

well, ms chilisa, i’ll frescribe a mild suffository for – (pronounces ‘prescribe’ as ‘frescribe’ and ‘suppository’ as ‘suffository’)

ms chilisa      

(vehemently)

i don’t want a suffo -suffo – i don’t want tablets.

dr. musa

there is no need to be scared. i’m only frescribing anusol. it won’t –

ms chilisa       

i don’t want anusol, i want an operation.

dr. musa

a what?

ms chilisa      

operation. i don’t want any suffo – anything.

dr. musa

but i can’t recommend an oferation in your condition.

the cassette player stops playing. 

ms chilisa       

well, that’s what i want. it’s not your anus, so –

dr. musa

what do you mean?

ms chilisa       

you’re not the one who is feeling the pain, that’s why you want to give me tablets instead of an operation.

doctor changes the cassette. soon, music floats in. doctor starts moving his head to the rhythm of the music. ms chilisa looks at him, confused. 

ms chilisa       

what kind of music is that?

dr. musa

it’s pela. (pronounces ‘fela’ as ‘pela’)

ms chilisa       

what is pela?

dr. musa

(slightly increasing the volume of the music)

he is, or rather was one of the most fofular musician from my country.

ms chilisa      

your country? so, you’re not motswana?

dr. musa

i’m not. i am a nigerian. from sokoto state. (moves his head to the beat of the music)

ms chilisa       

(jumps up with unbelievable agility)

modimo! a what? nigerian? no wonder you want to kill me by prescribing tablets instead of operation. (starts backing away in fright) if you’re looking for somebody to kill, go and do it in nigeria where you have surplus people.

dr. musa

lakuli! what’s wrong with me being a nigerian?

ms chilisa       

(backs away)

everything! how am i sure you didn’t forge your certificate?

dr. musa

haba! come on. why would i want to do that?

ms chilisa       

(now by the door)

are you asking me? i don’t know. you’re the nigerian.

dr. musa

well, this is the best i can frescribe por you, in your condition. you’re pree to seek the ofinion of another doctor.

ms chilisa       

(feels for the door knob)

exactly! i will do that. i won’t take the tablets. i want an operation. and i will get a motswana doctor to do it for me.

dr. musa

then why did you come to me in the first place?

ms chilisa       

because i thought you were a motswana doctor. (she yanks the door open and storms out)

dr. musa

kai! daniska!

 

lights fade slowly to blackout.