BabaBy Baba Galleh Jallow

Hashtag Momla Rekati was flabbergasted. He was totally flummoxed and besides himself with a combination of rage, worry and confusion that threatened to blow his pear-shaped head into a thousand small pieces. For a long time he gazed at his latest depiction as Mr. Anonymous. No eyes, no nose, no mouth, no ears and no face! The blankness made him feel as if he did not exist; as if he was merely an invisible presence that could neither see, nor talk or hear. Several times, he reached up and touched his face and pinched his ears just to make sure that he was indeed there. But this did little to lower the devastating sense of apprehension and paranoia he felt. The cartoonists had effectively wiped him off the face of the earth; they had rendered him blind, deaf, dumb and faceless; a mere non-presence in the airs of our little town, and this troubled Hashtag Momla to no end. What on earth was he to do? He felt like beating up everyone in our little town, and especially at Minimal Farms Unlimited; but this, of course, was absolutely not an option.

For days on end Hashtag Momla floated around like a zombie. He just could not get over the reality that the cartoonists had written him off as a nonentity. Every so often, he would lock himself behind closed doors and stare at Mr. Anonymous. He would peer at the cartoon and screw his eyes to see if they were real. He would touch his nose and run his fingers over where the cartoon’s mouth should have been. He would flick his ears with a finger to see if they were real. And he would run his palm over his face to see if it was really there. Why oh why should they portray him as an eyeless, noseless, mouthless, earless, faceless nobody? Yet, Mr. Anonymous was unmistakably his very own self. Of that he was totally certain. No one else had that particular pear-shaped head. And no one else habitually held the signature cow tail and dry fish in their hands. He had to find a way of dealing with the immense nothingness that threatened to swallow him into an endless void. He wondered if he even had a brain with which to think anymore. And as if to confirm his suspicions, a new version of Mr. Anonymous appeared in the newspapers of our little town, sending Hashtag Momla into such a frantic frenzy of crippling paranoia that he swooned yet again and funny noises escaped his body and sent our common townsfolk holding their mouths and loudly exclaiming what was that! Eh? Who ever saw the like?

Like the first Mr. Anonymous, the new Mr. Anonymous cartoon had no face either. He had no eyes, no ears, no nose and no mouth. But more seriously, his neck was now nowhere to be found! His pear-shaped head floated over his balloon torso like a large fruit hanging from nowhere, even though he still held his cow tail in one hand and his dry fish in the other. This cartoon particularly troubled Hashtag Momla because well, they were saying that he had now lost his very head and was now condemned to live with a floating head hovering over his body like an unidentified flying object and his large neckless torso fumbling about all by itself. How then could he eat, or talk, or turn his head if he wanted to? Why were they messing with his mind like this? Who ever heard of a body without a head or a head floated around without a body? These thoughts were just too frightening to entertain and Hashtag Momla struggled hard just to keep breathing. To convince himself that this was just a cartoon, he now tied a large leather belt around his neck and let it dangle down his chest, tugging at it once in a while just to make sure he was not what they said he was.

Yet, Mr. Anonymous was as real as real could ever be. There was no doubt that it was Hashtag Momla himself because he was saying just the kinds of things Hashtag Momla liked to say. Things like “I will never allow anyone to ever monopolize me again! If they think they can monopolize me they can go to hell.” One cartoon had him saying “I tell you that I am the greatest doctor ever to breathe the airs of this world because I can cure the most incurable diseases in the world.” Another had him saying “Hey, if you think you can come here and tell me about human rights and rule of law, then you must have lost your head.” And even more seriously, these words were all coming out from another part of his body, since he now had no mouth with which to talk. It was a strange spectacle to Hashtag Momla, and one that prevented him from having any sleep and that, when he managed to doze off, always gave him the worst nightmares and sent him screaming awake in the middle of the nights.

In his utter frustration and mind-dissolving rage, Hashtag Momla now decreed that newspapers and freedom of expression were totally banned from Minimal Farms Unlimited. Anyone caught holding a newspaper or expressing their personal opinion within the four walls of Minimal Farms would be sent six feet deep into the bowels of the earth. It now became a crime to even whisper at Minimal Farms Unlimited because, Hashtag Momla claimed, “people try to whisper funny things about me and try to say that I have lost my head. They whisper about funny cartoon characters that have no eyes, no nose, no mouth, no ears, no face and no head. And they cast funny glances at me. If I catch anyone whispering any funny things about me, they will go six feet deep. Wounded before warning!” Rumors in particular were absolutely not allowed in Minimal Farms Unlimited because, Hashtag Momla said, “some people are spreading false and vicious rumors about me, saying that I have no face, no eyes, no nose, no mouth, no ears, no face and no neck and that I now speak through another part of my body. Honk, honk, honk, anyone caught spreading such vicious rumors will go ten feet deep!”

It seemed, however, that Hashtag Momla’s cartoon troubles were just beginning. For the very next day, a new cartoon character appeared in all the newspapers of our little town in which he was now depicted as Invisible Dude.

Ends

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