My friend called me from Dallas last night and asked “Are you watching the trial of Derek Chauvin?”

I said no.

She continued, saying, “One must be careful not to spend too much time listening to the ongoing trial of the former police officer accused of murdering George Floyd, or you will become an expert in forensic pathology.”

“I don’t stand that risk,” I said.

“Unfortunately,” she replied, “I am becoming an expert in forensic pathology.”

“Really?” I asked. I was painting. I can paint and talk. It’s only writing I can’t do while talking.

“You doubt me?” She asked. “Ask me any question pertaining to choking leading to death.”

“Such as?” I asked.

She said, “For instance, you may ask, ‘For how long can a person remain conscious after experiencing oxygen deprivation to the brain?’”

“You know that?”

“Yes,” she replied. “All the experts are unanimous in their answer: just eight seconds.”

“Ask me another question,” she pressed.

“I don’t know,” I said, trying to pay attention to my painting. “Give me a hint.”

She sighed. “For instance,” she said, “’ for how long can a person survive after suffering oxygen deprivation to the brain?’”

“The witnesses have testified to that?” I asked.

“Sure,” she remarked. “All the experts are unanimous in their answer: just six minutes. After six minutes the person dies. All the cells of the brain simply starve to death. Do you know the carotid artery?”

“No,” I said.

“That’s the artery that supplies blood to the brain,” she said, as a matter of fact. “It must not be blocked or you die.”

“I really am not interested in these details,” I announced to her.

“You are very boring, prof,” she sighed again. “Can you believe that well after George Floyd lost consciousness, Chauvin continued to kneel on his neck! For five minutes Floyd continued to kneel on his neck until he died.”

I said nothing.

“You have no interest in morbid anatomy, I see,” she said.

“Not true,” I complained. “My interest in morbid anatomy is much larger than that.”

“What do you mean?”

“Answer these morbid questions as a Nigerian,” I said.

“Throw them at me.”

“For how long have Nigerian politicians been kneeling on the neck of Nigeria?” I asked her.

“I don’t know,” she said, haltingly.

“For more than sixty years,” I said.

I continued. “For how long have the politicians been kneeling on Nigeria’s neck AFTER she lost consciousness?”

“Did Nigeria lose consciousness?”

“Stupid question”, I retorted. “For how long did Nigeria retain consciousness after politicians kept kneeling on her carotid artery?” I asked her.

“I don’t know,” she said. “You can’t quantify such an….”

I cut her off before she could complete the sentence.

“For how long did Nigeria remain alive after her politicians continued to deprive her of oxygen?”

“Your questions are stupid, prof,” she said. “Is Nigeria still not alive?”

“For how long can Nigeria live after….”

Her phone went dead.

I laughed and returned to my painting.

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