Mafia Wars: Don Pembruzzio vs Don Budgettini (Episode 2)

Godfather

(Continued from here).

 

Oshinuzzi was confused. They knew the family budget had indeed been sabotaged by the one of the mafia families but Pembruzzio must have had a meeting with the moles in his absence if he’d narrowed it down already. It was worrying enough that he had that meeting without his consigliere. It was worse that they’d fingered the elusive Don Budgettini.

 

No one knew what Don Budgettini looked like. Some even said he was an urban legend, a myth perpetuated by the Budgettini family, who the families usually only heard from once a year. They turned into ghost workers once the family books had been agreed upon.

 

Now he was in a dilemma. He wasn’t quite sure just how to contact Don Budgettini, much less bring him before Don Pembruzzio. He thought about who to ask for help.  He could ask Benny ‘TV’ Bruzzo, even though he was not really in Don Pembruzzio’s good books. He had taken to publicly requesting the Godfather to congratulate new Dons from the smaller families.  This annoyed the Godfather but Benny knew virtually everybody, from his days running the family’s TV business. There was also Delezzi Momodicci the journalist who recently broke the story of Dezi Esposito. And Don Pembruzzio didn’t seem to mind him too much.

 

His thoughts were interrupted by the telephone. It was Don Bolazzi del Jagabando. “Is Don Pembruzzio there?” he asked frantically. “Have you seen the security feed from Warehouse Three?” Don del Jagabando was rarely ever ruffled, so this was not a good sign.

 

Oshinuzzi promised to check it out and hung up. He reached for the remote control and switched on the video from Warehouse Three. The live feed had nothing going on, so he took the feed back one hour, to see 2 Capos talking to each other. One was Capo Adewoletti, who took care of the family’s medical supplies, the other was Capo Tundando, the family’s hardware guy – Tundando ‘The Mechanic’, because of his knack for fixing things.

 

“Those cock-a-roach rats!” Adewoletti said, cursing. “Those frigging cockamamie rats! I tell them we have to hit the mattresses and make sure we come good with the medical accounts. The rats literally – and I mean literally – ripped up the mattresses and stuffed and padded the accounts with them. What’s worse, they did after we’d wrapped up what I was going to give to the Godfather. Those old goddamn rats.”

 

“Hmmm. These rats. I’m more concerned about the age of their ideas and not so much their age.” said Tundano, in his usual cryptic way. “So how do we fix it?”

 

“I’m gonna go public. Tell the entire family that wasn’t what I put together. Send them the real version.”

 

“Don’t you want to run that by Don Pembruzzio first? You know, we don’t want him to end up with even more pasta on his face. Word is, he wants to see Don Budgettinni over this mess. Now you say it was rats too?”

 

Manache!!” Oshinuzzi hadn’t heard Pembruzzio come back into the room and was doubly taken aback to hear him swear. “These testa di cazzo are going to kill me!” But he quickly regained his composure. He had decided what he would do.

 

“Oshinuzzi. Prepare yourself. I am going away on vacation. I need a break.”

 

“But Godfather, we haven’t yet fixed the accounts. Do you think Don Budgettini is also responsible for the rats? And who should I see first? Don Budgettini or the rats?”

 

“That is now your problem, Acting Godfather. I’ll be back in a week’s time.”

 

Mafia Wars: Don Pembruzzio vs. Don Budgettini

Godfather

Don Pembruzzio wiped his forehead in exasperation. He knew when he put himself forward to be the new Godfather that he would be in for a rough ride but perhaps even he had underestimated the challenge ahead.

 

When he chose to delay the appointment of his caporegimes for 6 months so that he could whip the troops into shape, he knew there were whispers that he was leaving his flanks exposed. But sometimes, to make thin-crust pizza you have to slice a few chorizzos and grate a few people in their mozzarellas. If this was what it would take to sanitise the family, then so be it.

 

He looked up again at his consigliare, Oshinuzzi, who was telling him that another storm was brewing over the family finances. It was true that the Capos had come in only a few weeks before they had to make accounts but these were supposed to be elite Capos, who’d spent a long time in the business. Instead of accounts to turn the family business around, what they’d come up with was a fiasco.

 

“So you say we can get away with arranging a communion for the accounts?” he asked Oshinuzzi.

 

“Well, yeah, though I would really advise a confirmation; but fuhgedaboutit, we can do a communion.”

 

“Yeah, puhgedaboutit. Bazzabing bazzaboom.”

 

So, on the day all the families from the 36 districts were gathered to look at the accounts, there was no trace of it anywhere. Flash drives had been cleaned, emails hacked, offices raided. It was like all the numbers guys and bookies had been on vacation for the previous 3 months.

 

There was pandemonium but Don Pembruzzio told everyone to be calm, that it would be fixed.

 

“Get me Udomaggia”, he whispered to Oshinuzzi. Udomaggia was a capo and was Pembruzzio’s numbers guy. “We need to get zis right, once and po all.”

 

Udomaggia called a quick meeting of the bookies and let them know in no unclear terms that Don Pembruzzio was not pleased. They all went to work, hammering out new accounts, which went out to  Don Pembruzzio, Oshinuzzi and all the families.

 

He thought he had done a good job and was therefore very surprised when his phone rang. It was the Consigliere.

 

“Udomaggia” he began, curtly.

 

“Oshinuzzi.” he answered.

 

“Yeah, the Godfather wants to see you pronto.”

 

“I’m at dinner with my family and…”

 

“Pronto.” And he hung up.

 

It was a trembling Udomaggia that knocked Don Pembruzzio’s door less than 30 minutes later.

 

“Capo Udomaggia, iz zis yooah work product? Did you supervise every step of it?”

 

“Yes, Godfather.”

 

“So how did zese items remain in it unchanged?”

 

“Really!” said Oshinuzzi, his shock visible. “How did these things escape the gaze of a legal eagle?”

 

“I…I…changed…it…it… was changed, godfather. Please, Godfather. I did not fail you.”

 

Don Pembruzzio looked intently at Udomaggia for what seemed to the latter like an eternity.

 

Udomaggia shot Oshinuzzi a pleading glance. Finally, Don Pembruzzio broke the silence, holding out his ring for Udomaggia to kiss.

 

“I believe you. I know for a fact that you were sabotaged. And I know who did it. And I am about to deal with him.”

 

Don Pembruzzio beckoned to Oshinuzzi. “Get me Don Budgettini, right now.”

The Age of Gambrach: That Demon Missingstopheles

Missing2

It was the best of times and it was the worst of times in Twilistia. The social medianites had long clamoured for the rule of the law of Twilistia to grant the power to take back portions of their twords that filled them with regret. The gods of Twilistia in their benevolence and wisdom thought it wiser to bless them with a decadecalogue instead.

But all was well in spite of this, for the people were enthralled that the spirit of Egbami had been unleashed upon the land, and the rulers were working out their salvation from the Deliverance Squad Squadron and Gambrach with fear and trembling.

And yea, did month succeed unto month, until it was time for Gambrach to deliver the kingdom’s coinage to the people. Behold, Gambrach appeared unto them, letting them know in an abridged manner, how the kingdom would find and spend its coin.

And the Lovengers proclaimed, “This is by far the bestest coinage of all ages! All hail Gambrach!” Lo, did the people look forward to the particulario specificato of the coinage, but alas there was none. Indeed was there neither word from the scribes of Gambrach, Gar-Bar and FemCallamitus.

But there were two men in the land Stanctibus and Sean Corleone, of a civic society called CoinIt, who came to be possessed of a parchment, of which they were verily convinced was the parchment particulario specificato of the kingdom’s coinage. And they spread the parchment abroad that all men might see. And yea, did all men see but lo, were not all men pleased with what they saw.

And a rumbling began amongst the people, with many denouncing the parchment from CoinIt. “This coinage is afflicted with tuberculosis – verily, say we unto the Apicureans that it is a coinage of tubers!” And yea, did they hash and tag it in all over Twilistia. And in Onyenkuzistan, it was protested that the coinage had no mention of a second bridge over troubled waters.

But word came from the quill of Gar-Bar and FemCallamitus, urging the people to be calm. “Fret ye not, O ye people. Why ragest thou like heathens? Why imaginest thou a vain thing? The Wailers of Padipalia have set themselves together and taken counsel against Gambrach, whom ye have anointed. But he that sitteth in Aboo-Jar, shall yet laugh. So take ye heed, and let heed be therefore taken, that any parchment which be not in circulation is not the parchment from Gambrach!”

And the Lovengers assembled against Sean Corleone and Stanctibus. “Yaaarrr”, they screecched, “ye peddlers of heresies! Ye apothecaries of falsehoods!” But Sean and Stanctibus were steadfast.

In this time, tales spread even further about Darth Soukey and his bullion. And lo was there no one that was someone in the reign of Gejoshaphat that was not said to have benefitted from Soukey’s benevolence. Soukey prayed the court for release temporarium and lo, did the Deliverance Squad Squadron put him back in chains. And a second time the judge freed him, and yet again was he prevented from departing the prisons.

Lo, did another tagging of hashes break out. Some tagged the hash of the tyranny of Gambrach, others, saluting his virility, tagged a hash urging him to fire on. And Twilistia was agog.

Metusalah, the oldest surviving member of the disintegrating house of Padipalia was also apprehended by the Deliverance Squad Squadron. It was said that he had also been blessed by the bullion of Soukey, 400 million times, and that he had admitted as much. But yet did they refuse to charge him with a crime and they refused to release him. And there in the rivers of babylon, there Metusalah wept and refused to eat when he remembered Zion. But he was very quickly afflicted with and consumed by hunger, and so devoured the parchment upon which he was said to have written of his hand in Darth Soukey’s bullion.

And some were troubled.

But the trouble broke the banks when news reached the people from the senatii, that the parchment particulario specificato of Gambrach was missing. There was neither paper copy, nor tablet copy, nor mental copy, nor any version whatsoever available for debate. Of all the engravers of the senatii, their scribes and manservants and handmaidens, all and sundry, not one could find the parchment, those nassholes.

“Where went they?” the people demanded. “Hath Gambrach accepted that his coinage was indeed tuberculosed?”

“Never!” came the reply from Gar-Bar, “a man in my position wouldst know and as far as I know, I know that I know not if or if not Gambrach hath withdrawn the coinage. And a man in my position wouldst know!”

And all at once, the people knew the answer. The perpetrator was amongst them and had always been with them. The perpetrator has made many things that were be as if they were not, in their history. The perpetrator had made 2.8 billion bullion disappear, of which the late bard Fellanimus Kutinski had sung, “It finisheth not! It finisheth not!! It finisheth not!!!”

The perpetrator had made 20 bullion disappear from the coffers of Daisy-Annie.

The perpetrator had made gargantuan ocean-faring vessels and aerial probing devices vanish without a trace.

The name of the perpetrator was well-beknownst of the people. It was the evil spirit, Missingstopheles.

 

 

 

 

The Vigilant Citizen’s Guide to Jumping Bail

bail

There’s a little confusion on the matter of bail and how it works (or is supposed to work), so I’m going to do my civic duty and try to break it down.

What is Bail?

It’s the process in which a person who’s been arrested for a crime or whose prosecution has started secures temporary released from the custody of the state on the condition that the person attends court or the police station as frequently as the authorities may require.

Why Bail?

Because of the presumption, in the adversarial system of justice that we practice (where burden of proof of crime is on the accuser), that everyone is innocent until charged and proven guilty.

Bail 5

Is Every Offence Bailable?

No. The respective laws that create offences and applicable punishments typically spell out whether or not a suspect is entitled to apply for bail. Generally, until recently, virtually all offences apart from those attracting capital punishment (the death penalty) were bailable. The world has grown a lot more complex now, so terrorism suspects can also be kept in custody until their trials have been concluded.

What are the General Conditions of Bail?

Typically, the court will require the accused person to produce a surety, who signs a bond with the court undertaking that they will personally see to it that the accused person is present in court whenever required (i.e. during any trial or hearing dates). Depending on the severity of the offence, the surety required ranges from the general responsible member of a suspect’s family to civil servants of a particular level or higher, sometimes with the additional condition of landed property in juicy real estate locations. Typically, the worse your suspected crime, the richer and more well-heeled your surety has to be.

The surety’s bond typically also has them undertaking to forfeit a certain sum of money to the courts in the event that the suspect jumps bail.

Bail 3

You Mean Suspects Jump Bail?

Hell, yeah! Alams jumped bail in London, back in the day. People jump bail all the time. Prison is terrifying.

What Happens Then?

The surety forfeits the amount of money stated in the bond; has to pay it to the government, as the court orders. And unless it can be established that the surety connived with the accused and was an accomplice in the accused person’s flight, that’s it.

Is GMB Justifiably Scared that Dasuki May Jump Bail?

Of course. A member of the “northern aristocracy” with everything to lose? A seemingly open and shut case against him? Yes, it is a real possibility. Especially with the court granting him permission to go abroad for a medical examination. Like abroad, mehn!

Does This Justify Refusal To Obey Court Orders?

By no means, whatsoever! In a democracy, court orders are to be obeyed first of all and then the judge may subsequently be approached to vary the order, or a higher court to quash it.

NB. I’m guessing here, but I believe the FGN’s tactic with Dasuki has been to re-arrest him on fresh charges at the point of his making bail. It’s dodgy-ish, but cunny man die, cunny man bury am! I say dodgy-ish because it would be highly irregular and patently illegal to simply refuse to let him go or to re-arrest him on the same charges for which he has secured bail.

Is There Middle Ground?

I think so. Obviously, the bail conditions for an extremely wealthy and well-connected person like the erstwhile NSA are nothing but a slap on the wrist. Let’s call a spade a spade. No matter the amount his surety is required to post, he is capable of finding the person. The surety is however unlikely to wield enough influence over him to keep him in the country or compel his attendance at court dates.

So what can be done?

I think the courts should set bail terms as stringent as possible. So maybe Dasuki has to deposit all his property deeds with the court as a further condition or that the DSS implants a microchip in his jaw or that he pay for 3 DSS agents (or more!) to be in his entourage at all times. Something so costly that he would simply have to stay to try to prove his innocence.

 

And there you have it.

The Age of Gambrach: Gates of Darth Soukey

dan

 

In the days of the first coming of Gambrach lived another man from the tribe of Gunn called Anakin Soukey. Soukey was of the camp of Ibbad Morsi and when the day of Gambrach’s dethronement by Ibbad Morsi came, Soukey was the man of Gunn who led Gambrach away from the palace. Ibbad Morsi banished Gambrach from the land and it was written that Gambrach kept this in his heart against Soukey, the face of his truncation.

 

Decades letter, when Gambrach and Gejoshaphat rumbled in Electoralis Federalis, Anakin Soukey was back in the palace, as the king’s adviser on secureness. And in the ides of the second month of the year, on the eve of electoralis, upon the proclamation of Soukey, electoralis was pushed back for half a dozen weeks, in the guise of the secureness of the kingdom being incompatible with it. This perplexed the house of Apicuria, as it was said that they had no more gold doubloons to prosecute electoralis. And in that day, Anakin Soukey flew the kite of Rexus Interregnum, many said, to prolong the reign of Gejosphat. But yea, did electoralis hold and Gambrach declared king in the stead of Gejoshaphat.

 

At his coronation, not to be confused with the Koronation that failed to happen in Gideria, Gambrach said, knowing the rulers to be fearful of him, “Ye needst not be fearful of me. Only be fearful of the consequences of what ye have done.” And in the fullness of time, it came to pass that the government upon the shoulder of Gambrach began to hold the men of Gejoshaphat to account.

 

In those days, fear began to grip the sons of men, heralding what came to be known as the Feast of Passover in Aboo-Jar, the seat of the throne. For many had acquired palatial mansions far beyond their monthly wages could pay for. The Spirit of arrestatum and confiscatum, whose name was Egbami, swept through the city and many fled these homes thinking, ‘if this evil spirit meet me not present here, it shall pass over me.’ Egbami laughed, for it was not just a spirit of physical properties, it also had the power to scrutinise records in the registries of Aboo-Jar. It was said that Egbami also descended upon men and caused them in a fit of apostasy to hand back to the treasury all they had taken. Better, they thought, to be only mildly offensively wealthy than to fall into the hand of Egbami. And the righteous began to fast and pray for Egbami to pass over them.

 

The men of the secret police of the Kingdom, the Deliverance Squad Squadron swept in, and entered the places where Egbami had passed over. First was in the house of he-who-must-not-be-named, so unnamed because his name could only be pronounced only by a chosen few. He was captain of Gejoshaphat’s patrolmen of the ships and seas and waters.

 

Very quickly, in the fullness of time, the Deliverance Squad Squadron also visited Anakin Soukey, accusing him of great, great pecuniary malfeasance. Soukey was a most treasured guest of the Deliverance Squad Squadron, and they treated him to the best of their hospitality, insisting he be their guest forever.

 

“Thou honourest me with thine hospitality”, said Soukey, “but I beg to take my leave. For I am frail and infirm and must consult with my physician who lives far away in Londonia. I promise thee, I shall return.”

 

“Nay”, said the Deliverance Squad Squadron. “Thou art our finest guest ever. Thou tellest tales of such phantasmagorical propensities, of which we are yet in need. Tell us more.”

 

And when Soukey saw that they would not let him go, and that the court could not break his chains, he began to tell. Of how there was once an King’s Adviser on Secureness, not Soukey surely, who was charged with replenishing an armoury but thought it wiser instead to test the bravery of the army. So the bullion went elsewhere.

 

To Dukkie, the owner of the daily news parchment known as Today, whose work premises were attacked by the armies of the Haramites. Dukki requested compensation of Gejoshaphat, though he was not commander of the Haramites and help came from Soukey. Dukkie, confirmed this to the people of the Kingdom saying “This money cannot be forfeited to Egbami. For I lifted mine eyes onto the hills and from thence cometh my help, in the face of Soukey. As it came from Soukey, this help cannot be wrong.” And so he became known as Dukkie Nixon.

 

It also went to RayDar, who beamed images into the crystal balls of all the gazers in the Kingdom. Soukey had given RayDar a big chunk of the bullion just before electoralis. RayDar was in the inner circle of Gejosphaphat and Padipalia for electoralis. RayDar, of whom it had been sung that he was of great candour, of a truth, was held in the jailer’s custody and could find none who would stand in the gap for him, that he might be released.

 

With the greatest, austere, spartan and frugal disposition, the Deliverance Squad Squadron said to Soukey, “Thou tellest not of another Adviser on Kingdom Secureness. Verily, say we unto thee, thou speakest of thine own self. Thou art marked for the dungeons.”

 

And the people gathered and were heavily wounded and mortified by the tales of Anakin Soukey. But he could no longer be called Anakin after the weight of the Revelations. The force of the dark side, if the tales were to be believed, was very strong with him. He was to be known thereafter as Darth Soukey. And these were the Gates of Darth Soukey.

The Age of Gambrach: The Seance of Mikhail Jacksonovic

Glove

And so it came to pass that the people of Oyokolova, who ruled its affairs and were courtesans of King Ajimolov, decided to celebrate the ascension of Shittinski into the council of Gambrach. Shittinski had had a woeful time of it from his interrogation at senatii and was depressed of demeanour, for the people had mocked his answers. Thus, did he determine in his heart, to seize the occasion of the festival of his ascension in Oyokolova, to ameliorate his mood.

And on the day of the festival, King Ajimolov was present, and shared the table with Shittinski. Shittinski himself was bedecked in the finest finery he could muster. Robes of coral blue and aquamarine green, ornately complemented with sequinned gloves on each hand. Yea, was his swag complete, for he reminded the people of the late legend of music and dance, Mikhail Jacksonovic, and all thought Shittinski would, before the festival ended, do the walk of the moon and grab his crotch in full glare of the assembly. But it was not to be. Thus the reason for the englovenment of the hands of Shittinski were a mystery.

It was the season of mysteries in the land, as in that time, Dinobetes Mellitus, member of the senatii, brought his brethren a matter of urgency. “Behold, brethren, the sacred abacus of the kingdom has been compromised by those against our progress, these people of Dembitter. How thinkest they, of Dembitter, that they shouldst be possessed of 25 billion of our precious shekels in one day!?!” And there was a rumbling in the land against Dembitter. But it was quickly quelled, for Dembitter had sealed a parchment with the usurers of the land and none of it was illegal. The effect of the insertion by Dinobetes Mellitus of himself into the matter was akin to a sugar-infused hyperactivity.

And in those days, following the successful ascension of King Rotamachus to the council of Gambrach, Momodeen, his griot, let it be known that he had had word from Daisy-Annie. She had granted him audience, and the permission to interrogate her. But Momodeen did not delve into his conversations with Daisy. Nay. Instead, he composed a ditty unto himself, describing the obstacles traversed before he was beholden of Daisy-Annie. He slayed a few dragons, stole the golden fleece, beheaded the kraken, had tea with Percy Jackson and finally, found himself before Daisy-Annie. But Daisy-Annie was changed. She was locked in fierce battle with an affliction but she found strength to refute the allegations that Momodeen brought from the kingdoms to her. For his travails, however, the name of Momodeen was changed, to Momodyssius, for he had fulfilled a quest.

Yet was there still unrest in the land. The people were short of black oil, as that which Gambrach produced from his body for a time had run out. Lo, were the people incapable of locomotion via their chariots and yea could they not power their electric candles. And the Wailers cried out, “Why be there no black oil! This was not what Apicuria promised!” And the Lovengers replied “Wail thou as thou must, it is of no use, for Gejoshaphat is gone forever.”

[…To be continued…]

The Lion, The Itch and The Wardrobe (or Cabinet, Whatever)

Roaring-Lions-Wallpaper-03

And it came to pass that Abushola unlooked his unlooking of the list of the members of Gambrach’s council and in accordance with the laws of the land presented them to senatii for verification, jestyculation and approval. Of the number which the senatii considered for approval, there was old King Fasholam of Gideria, old King Jekfa of Ekitilopia, Ancient of Days Ah-Oudu and fellow Ancient of Days Lah-Yi. They were quick to find favour in the eyes of the senatii and didst verily and expeditiously receive its approval.

Of their number was another man, Shittinski of Oyokolova, a man of the laws of man, as well as the laws of the beyond. Shittinski was particularly shit during his interrogation by the senatii. Whereas, the Kingdom practised a system of secularis, nevertheless Shittinski  proclaimed his inclination, if left to him, to pay clergy to implement moralatio in the Kingdom. And when asked about the pestilence that flieth by day and night in North Easteros, Shittinski declared loudly, “Shit!! Why asketh thou me this question of great fright and trepidation? Know ye not that I wish not to fall under their sword and be eternally cut off from my family whom I love so dearly? Yea, shall I hold my tongue.”

And lo, did the voice of the people of Twilistia rise against Shittinski, and the people of Social Mediana against his councilisation. “Wherefore be this the fruit of Gambrach’s quest of four months? We will not have him!” But the word of FemCallamitus had gone forth before the verificato senatii, proclaiming, “These are the beloved of Gambrach. Doubt ye not their competence, for as verily as the fulness of time is upon us, so say I to thee that these men of the council have all it takes.”

Also of their number was old King Rotamachus of Rivisinia, who had ruled for 2 quadrannia. Like Abushola, he casteth himself on exile from Padipalia and pledged fealty to the house of Apicuria, and deployeth all manner of fortification for Gambrach during electoralis. In his stead in Rivisinia ruled King Wi-Kay of Padipalia. Rotamachus had sought to bring Rivisinia into Apicuria but Wi-Kay contended mightily with him and wrested the kingdom away from his grasp. However, Rotamachus was favoured of the house of Apicuria and Gambrach desired his presence in the council.

The Rivisinian members of the senatii were disenamoured of Rotamachus, for they felt he had betrayed them (which indeed he may have) and, according to the rules of senatii as announced by Dinus Melitus, Rotamachus needed the blessing of 2 of the Rivisinian members. It looketh not good for him.

Yet, in those days came a voice from the wilderness, declaring the way of Rotamachus. It was the voice of Momodeen, praise singer to the wealthiest people in the Kingdom. Momodeen loved the fineries of the rich and was the chief chronicler of the stupendity of their wealth. Momodeen had himself sought to rule over the Kingdom in quadrannia past but, lo, was his vote for himself his solitary vote cast in his village; wherefore was the song of electoralis written by StarrusSolidus the Bard, “One Man One Vote”.

Rotamachus found such favour in the sight of Momodeen that Momodeen entered the town square in Social Mediana, declaring “All hail Rotamachus, first of his name, Lion of the World, Slayer of the Stone Men, Vanquisher of the foes of Apicuria, Sacrificial lamb of the electoralis passover, good in every goddam way! Lion of lions! With a big, sexy, furry mane to boot!”

And many followed Momodeen, chanting “All hail our beloved, indomitable Lion.” Others cried, “What manner of the kissing of the buttocks is this?” And opinion swang between the 2 camps. Just like a gaddem pendulum.

But Abushola and the senatii unlooked Lion Rotamachus. And they unlooked again. And thrice did they unlook him for verificato. And yet, “I stand by the Lion, even though he devoureth me!” remained the refrain of Momodeen and those who followed him.

And behold, in that time was yet another voice heard in Social Mediana, of the Prophetess Sar, pronouncing the Beatitudes of Coitus.

“Blessed are they who coit not though they be married in tradition but not before the spirit, but wait to coit after marriage in the temple, for they shall inherit paradise.”

Hmmm, thought the Social Medianites. And she continued.

“Blessed are they who when the itch to coit comes upon them, coit and love without the lubrication of lingerie, for this is a fetish and is displeasing to the spirit.”

And behold, did the people of Twilistia begin to gather to hear her sermon on the mount. There was a gentle grumbling, but the people listened on.

“Blessed are they who seek not inspiration to coit from images of others indulging in coitus, for this is a perversion.”

“And blessed are they, who when they itch for coitus do not coit by manner of mouth and genitals, for this is a also perversion in the sight of the spirit. For the mouth is meant only for mastication and not mastu…”

The people of Twilistia could bear it no longer and interjected “Where findeth thou these scriptures?” “And obu gini your consain with how I coit my coit?”

And lo did the rumbling rage and rage and increase in intensity until the Prophetess Sar returned. “Peace, be still yo”, she said, “thou misconstrueth my words. Played thou not ‘Simon Says’ whenst thou wert babes? Knoweth ye not that my words be not my words unless they be ending with ‘Sar Says’? Tut, tut!”

Ahhhh, came the realisation to the Twilistines.

Meanwhile, in this time also, word came from afar of Daisy-Annie. She was ill…

The List of Gerontocrates

Geronto

When Gambrach ascended to the throne of the Kingdom, it was the expectation of the people, in accordance with the custom and law of the land, that he would appoint a Council of State to assist him in the discharge of his duties. Verily, verily, due to the fervency and freneticity of the promises and postulations of the followers of Gambrach in electoralis federalis, the earnest expectation of the Kingdom was that the Councillors would be announced the day after Gambrach was crowned. But it was not so.

Gambrach voyaged to Americanawonda and it was there he bared his mind to the four ends of the earth in his first epistle. “Regard ye the Smaugic desolation of our land and the havoc wreaked as was wreaked by the hands of Padipalia. Consider how much building we must do, and that my name be not Bob. It is manifest to me that those that shall serve in the Council with me must be men of honour. I beseech thee, o ye peoples, that thou wouldst spare me until the end of September to declare my Council.”

“Trentus Septembus have you requested,” responded the people, “and until Trentus Septembus shall we leave you be.” And the first day of October became known as Green Day, because the people agreed to wake Gambrach up when September ended.

In due course, Tword reached the people that Gambrach had ordered proboscis extra magnificat on those he desired to appoint and that to his immense disappointment (which was only exceeded in immensality by his sadness) only 3 were found to be of virtue. Virtue, like its cousin Chill, had long since departed. And yet, heard the people nothing from Gambrach himself, not until he was bequestioned by the 24 of Francinia, upon which he excused the delay with the response, “Trentus Septembus is not yet upon us, and what are Councillors but clanging cymbals, after all is said and done?”

Finally, Green Day’s Eve came, and anxiety descended upon the people for Gambrach was yet unfulfilled of his promise. And Abushola, Wardsen of the Senatii, recently temporarily reprieved of Conductivitis, summoned and dismissed the senatii without any consideration of the Council of Gambrach. And yea, just as the sun was about to set on Green Day’s Eve, did the tword of Abushola go out, “Lend me your ears, oh people, I can confirm that I have received a scroll from Gambrach containing the list of the upright he has chosen to preside with him in his Council. But, for the benefit of the gratuitous high drama we are enacting and as this is the hometown of Nollywoodinia, yea shall I unlook the scroll for 4 days. You know, just because I can.”

And the spirit of speculatio descended upon the people of Social Mediana for Green Day had come but was there yet no Council. But across the padipalian-apicurean divide, there was a kumbayanic expression of hope, for Gambrach had spoken of great change. But very quickly, the time came for Abushola to break the seal upon the parchment and pronounce the names of Gambrach’s Councillors in senatii. Thus was the seal broken and the list read and all over the land there was the loud sound of air escaping from a balloon. Gambrach’s councilors were more a whiff of old socks than a breath of fresh air.

“How takest it 4 months to gather these names?” many asked, bewildered.

Very quickly, the Lovengers assembled and responded. “While this list of councilors is a list of Gerontocrates” they began, “nonetheless, Gambrach is the best list compiler the universe has ever seen, because in spite of it Gejoshaphat was not an option for us.”

And while all this transpired, word came to Twilistia that far away across the oceans in Jandinia, Gejospahat’s councilor for black oil had been apprehended by the kingdom’s soldiers. Her name was Daisy-Annie and she was very fair of face. Many said it was about to become a hard knock life for her…

Cracking Digital Music in Nigeria: The COSON Summit

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this piece are totally personal to me, in my personal capacity as someone who has had a keen professional interest in the development of the copyright administration system in Nigeria for over 10 years.

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The Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) just concluded the hosting of a summit on digital music distribution, licensing and consumption. The 2-day event was tagged “The Nigerian Digital Music Summit” and its theme was “Establishing the Basic Rules of Engagement in the Digital Environment”. It was attended by industry practitioners, lawyers and also had resource people from countries with more mature copyright systems, such as Norway, Finland and South Africa. At the end of the summit, a communiqué was published, outlining the various things the community wanted to see in place.

The summit was timely for a couple of reasons – this year, for the very first time, it was reported that revenues from digital exploitation surpassed sales from physical. Revenue from streaming is quickly bridging the gap with revenues from downloads, with some companies actually reporting higher income from streaming than downloads. Streaming is the future, as I have previously written, and the time to begin to lay the groundwork for the Nigerian music industry to fully partake of it, was at least 3 years ago.

THE TELCOS ARE EVIL CORP.

Moving quickly to the substance of the proceedings, the gathering very quickly turned on the telcos, accusing them of benefitting unfairly from the music they exploited, mostly via Caller Ring Back Tones (CRBTs – the songs you hear playing when you give someone a call). And it was understandable. For an industry that has risen from piracy-ridden ashes to becoming arguably the leading hub in Africa and a major contributor to GDP post-rebasing, CRBTs were the content producer’s goldmine for sometime. Network saturation, in terms of subscribers and availability of CRBTs now means there are lots more mouths contending for the same pot of beans and individual revenues are declining somewhat.

In the middle of all this however, is the [unsavoury] fact that the telcos retain anywhere between 60 and 80% of the income generated from CRBTs. The remaining 20-40% is then shared between the Value Added Service (“VAS”) Company and the artist/or record label, with of course an even smaller share for the artist if they are signed to a label. With the bulk of their earnings coming from either corporate endorsements (but we can’t all be Don Jazzy, Phyno, Wizkid or Olamide) and CRBTs, the industry is probably justified to demand a larger cut.

Tellingly, however, very little attention was paid to streaming in spite of the efforts of CAPASSO CEO, Nothando Migogo, to stress that the time to focus on it was now i.e. before bandwidth and data costs stop being issues.

The industry should be worried about streaming because each of the four telcos in Nigeria now operates a music streaming service – MTN Music+, Airtel Wynk, Etisalat Cloud9 and Globacom’s Music App. If these telcos have held on to the lion share of the revenue with CRBTs, what’s going to happen with streaming revenue from their services? For other music streaming services, the most efficient way to take payments from subscribers and purchasers is via their airtime. However, when the telcos convert airtime to cash to pay for a transaction, they typically retain about 70% of it, leaving only 30% to be shared between the stand-alone streaming service and the artist/label. Perhaps the even more pressing issue is that the aim of the telcos in starting these services, in my opinion, is to sell data, as voice revenues have peaked globally – data is the new frontier. It’s the same reason some of them are getting into video on demand, etc. In other words, data sales are the real target, the real pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for the telcos, and these guys don’t share data revenue (larger than music download or streaming subscription revenue) with anyone.

BUT EVERYONE LOVES THE FREE DOWNLOAD SITES

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Perhaps it’s even more striking that an industry that wants to earn serious digital revenues made no reference to the industry practices that cannibalise the larger portion of digital earnings, particularly the way nearly everyone offers vast amounts of music for free downloads. What will the incentive be for consumers to buy albums when 70% has previously been released for free. If one also considers the fact that the industry is globally now more singles-driven than albums (iTunes killed the album), this is effectively a limiter on potential earnings, if all singles are given away. The CRBT gravy-train won’t last forever and it isn’t even really working for those who need it to, who have neither the eye-watering performance fees or the juicy telco endorsement deals. Will those ones dare cross the picket line against their benefactors?

ENTERTAINMENT DEVICE LEVY?

Another interesting issue that came up was the Private Copy Levy. This is basically a surcharge on all mobile phones, tablets, PCs, storage devices, etc. to compensate musicians for the revenues they lose when we email or Bluetooth music to each other. I would be very interested to see how our analogue National Assembly would treat this sort of legislation.

F.U.B.U.

Perhaps a final impression is on a comment made by the panellist on the need to develop homegrown solutions to our problems. Yes, benchmarks can be drawn against global best practice, but ultimately the mature systems matured because they developed relatively organically and catered to the needs of their locale, not necessarily pidgeon-holing themselves into systems others had developed. I think it’s important to take local peculiarities into account, to get the system that works best for us.

All said, COSON is doing very important work and deserves commendation for how far its come in the past few years. As long as it becomes clearer how it distributes revenues it collects, and as it increasingly delivers value to the industry, the benefits to will be immense.

The Age of Gambrach: Wahala Morghulis

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In the 9th month of the first year of King Gambrach, the prophecy of Wahala Morghulis pronounced by Shiwajun came to pass. Abushola ascended to the seat that the Apicurians had reserved for Lar-Wan, but in the first Centjoury of Gambrach the senatii adjourned for vacation more than to sit over the affairs of the kingdom.

And yea, in that time did a cry go out against Abushola that whilst he was King of the lesser kingdom of Kwarapotamia, did he on a dozen and one occasions declare falsely of his property before the Tribunal Conductivitis. And lo, did the Warden of Conductivitis bring charges against Abushola (whose name they sought to change to Ananias – his wife had almost been Saphiratised herself) which wouldst unseat him as Warden of the senatii.

“Shiwajun persecuteth me”, cried Abushola Ananias, “rise up ye people of the Kingdom against this impunity!” But the people were divided – those of Apicuria professing that this was age of Gambrach where none was sacred; those of Padipalia describing it as a barbaric trial by ordeal, the people of the Fence long since having dispersed.

And Gambrach unlooked it all.

But yet could Gambrach not fully unlook that which he sought to unlook, because for the first Centjoury of his rule, had he not yet appointed a Council. This troubleth the people and they cried, “Oh Gambrach, thou former man of Gunn, now beautiful hero of the Lovengers, whenst will thou appoint a Council to govern with thee in accordance with the laws of our land?” And Gambrach responded through his Chief Scribe, Fem Callamitus, “Like the sweetened taste of aged wine over the effluxion of days, thou wouldst know in the fullness of time.”

It was said that Gambrach was sore in anguish, for he longed for his Council to be filled with only upstanding men. And he had searched high and lo, far and near for Councillors and only found 3. But of his smaller wider council, had he made appointments but mostly men from the northern kingdoms. And when it was asked why he marginalised the rest of the kingdom so, he answered, “I wouldst be a fake guy, if I compensateth not my ride or die homies.” Pressed further, on separate occasion, Gambrach remarked that members of the Council were only as useful clanging cymbals at any rate.

And thus did it bewilder many that the palace of Gambrach wouldst contend with Abushola Ananias, for the approval of the senatii was required for the appointment of the council. But there was a measure of reprieve when Gambrach spake that which he had kept in his heart, that the fullness of time and the end of the 9th month were one and the same. So the people sat in anticipation.

And in that time also was there a King in Oshunlonica by the name of Ogbenysius. Ogbenysius was famed for being ascetic and frugal in his ways. Yea, was he famed for subduing the raging beast Coasterbussium and riding in triumphantly into the town square. But Oshunlonica became bankrupt under Ogbenysius and he was unable to pay state workers their wages.

In fact, many of the lesser kingdoms under Gambrach had depleted coffers and were unable to pay their workers’ wages. And lo, did they petition Gambrach for interventi bailoutfundi. And Gambrach was moved to answer them with compassion. But not all were satisfied.

Still in this time, the people of Gideria looked unto Ambsalom, successor to Fasholam, favoured of Shiwajun, to assuage the menace of falling oxcarts and carriages and cratered pathways. Lo, for 2 weeks in Gideria, was there a daily gridlock and passage to and from the gidiopolis was greatly enstrangled. But Ambsalom was neither seen nor heard.

And yea, was a word raised against Fasholam, alleging his fame was a mere façade and he was as ordinary a king as his peers had been. Fasholam responded with a proverb about wrestling with swine and being covered in mud. Who are the swine? Shiwajun and Ambsalom? Or others whom Fem Callamitus didst christen the wailers who wail about wailing?

All this had gone on and continued during the first Centjoury and the next few days, leading into the festival of Ram. The festival of Ram was holy time of prayer and thus didst Abushola Ananias return from his travails at Conductivitis to his kinsmen in Kwarapotamia to offer prayers. Lo, was there a stirring amongst his kin and twas written of them that they chanted “Thief, Thief” and threw transparent gourds of water at him and the kings guard had to whisk Abushola Ananias away. Abusholam, through his scribe BanksAMakeAmDance, ascribed the disruption to workers being disgruntled at Kwarapotamia being in the same condition as Ogbenysius’s Oshunlonica.

Far away, from whence he also observed the festival of Ram, Shiwajun chuckled again to himself. Wahala Magnum Morghulis, he said.