The Ramselling Truthangel of Zambaputu

On a divine errand, the Truthangel happened to pass through the Zambaputu emirate council where he paused at a Sharia court in full session. As he watched, a thief who had stolen a loaf of bread was convicted and his right hand was chopped off.

Truthangel rose in a towering rage, ‘You chochop off the hand of the thief in truth, but wherefore the sentencing hand? Wherefore the witnessing and the accusing hand? Wherefore this travesty, this hypocrisy, whereby the big thief sentences the small thief while other thieves applaud? Hear me therefore as I swear by all that is worthy and holy, that in one week I shall return on the fiat of the Most High and if you have not all served justice to the guilty, I, Truthangel shall search the hearts of the faithful, but instead of a fist I shall chochop off a head!’

So saying, Truthangel left in a flurry of robes and clouds of rage.

The incident sparked a revival in the emirate council of Zambaputu as outward holiness began to coincide with inner holiness. The realisation that an angel was on his way who would judge not just their words but their thoughts, who would listen not just to a witness of flesh-and-blood but interrogate also the witness of a guilty memory, weighed heavily on the faithful and people began to arrive in court, hauled in by their consciences.

But that week passed… and another… and another… and Truthangel did not return. That Sallah, as the people readied to celebrate the feast, word spread about the uncanny resemblance of a ramseller at Ruguba junction to Truthangel. A crowd quickly gathered around him. ‘Are you Truthangel?’ they asked, and he shook his head dumbly, trembling with fear. The resemblance was striking though, from the imperious nose to the angelic halo of hair.

‘Say “I shall chop off a head”,’ commanded the Khadi.

The ramseller (who as you have probably guessed, was also an amateur actor conscripted by Chuma Nwokolo to play the Truthangel) whispered the damning words.

‘Louder,’ roared the khadi.

‘I shall chochop off a head,’ stammered the ramseller miserably, whereupon the people of Zambaputu realised that they had been 419ed, and the crowd became a mob.

‘Seize him! Seize him!’ screamed the alkali, stretching a blunt and bandaged hand at the ramseller as he took to his heels, but – having submitted to the exacting justice of their consciences those past weeks – there were no hands left in that mob, indeed in the whole of Zambaputu emirate, to grab him with.

About Chuma Nwokolo

Chuma Nwokolo, author, advocate. Born 1963, in Jos, Nigeria.