Then he continued. “And you that pastor! He saw you stranded and lifted you to your destination, 4am. Did you not accuse him of the unthinkable? At 4 am! You see why it’s difficult being a good Samaritan! My dear mourners, this pastor was stranded on a lonely road for two hours. From 2am. And Togbe bought him home. He should have passed you by to work on himself before your rescue. Shame on us, killers!” And he went on and on. He told mourners that they should not treat people kindly only when they knew their value. That was just before the first blast!
Of all the funeral guests, there was this middle aged man in a cowboy’s costume who got everybody’s attention for being too conspicuous, patronizing and vociferous with his acts. A cop walked up to him in the middle of the service and told him to the face to clean his act but he cared not a hoot. He was fully dressed a cowboy. His mock sheriff’s badge read: American Country Association, Texas. And his name tag also said: William Corrington Montgomery. He made everybody believe he was sent down by the American Country Music Association to mourn as well as cover the funeral of their foremost Ghanaian fun, Togbe. Knowing how much Togbe loved the genre, they could not doubt him. Togbe indeed played country music for the national broadcaster in his heyday.
He spoke Spanish through an interpreter. When all was over, he was found to be an imposter but the law could not deal with him. Earlier, he incurred the furry of mourners when he had scared the young son of Togbe who thought this Montgomery man was his father. The seven year old boy swore heaven and earth the Black American cowboy of a man was his father and wanted to go to him, and that gave him the scare of his life. The boy was not perturbed. He still stood his ground. The Black American was forgiven eventually though.
The Black American wore a cream 10-gallon with leather strips to cup his black-and-red plain, double-breasted-pocket long sleeves, and which were partly covered by his cowboy vest. The epaulet of his shirt was a delight. He wore two scarves, both with polka dots of equal sizes. The blue-white polka was tied at his bridge while the red and white one hovered round his nape. His lasso and pistol strap were distributed each to a thigh. He tucked his cigarette tight ash-blue jeans into his long brown cowboy shoes which boasted overpopulated shiny buckles, bangles, badges and stars. Interestingly, his movement caused no jingles. He seemed to have a penchant for taking shots of every movement. He set three cameras on individual tripod stands which were doing the video coverage for him but still had three cameras for taking still photos. The people immediately found a name for him: they named him after his cowboy shoes which Ghanaians called “Santiago”. So they now called the man Santiago, dwarfing William Corrington Montgomery, his real name.
“Boom!” went the blast. It was so sudden. When the rumpus was over, half the mourners had lost interest in the funeral service, especially a funeral service at which a young man took interest in pointing out to people their mistakes, making them feel they murdered a man killed by a gas explosion. The funeral ground was depopulated and almost the same numbers now added to those in drinking bars, homes, and under sheds.
It was a power surge that blew up the tuner amplifier used for the public address system. It was later discovered that the diaphragm of the 24-in speaker was jagged at the eaves. That was resolved and a new set was brought in.
As if that was not enough, Rambo and his team struck. A team of masked police officers came to take the casket holding the charred mortal remains of Togbe away. They intimated that the corpse was not Togbe’s. A few past Commonwealth Hall Association members who referred to themselves as VANDALS and who held allegiance to the deceased looked on helplessly for a first time. In fact, everyone was confused. Some cried the more while others cursed. Many were those who blamed themselves for attending the funeral.
But one thing, they all donated generously to the endowment fund set up by Togbe’s family, a fund whose proceeds should be used to educate Togbe’s children. The pastor of the local church who organized the funeral interestingly said such donations must be shared with the church, but the preacher disagreed with him.
…….to be continued