What I had done was make the essential modifications and improvements on ten of the sixteen stories based on the editor’s assessment you earlier approved of, and made some other necessary amendments with inadequacies in the plot structure, and inconsistencies.
Names, as noticed in AFTER THE FLOOD and its sequel, THE SEARCH FOR MOSES, and some mechanical accuracy issues; this, to a certain extent.
The inputs on the remaining six stories are minimal, mainly because they are noticeably compact enough and any major modifications would do some damage to the stories. The six stories are:
1. Holy Michael
The original plot structure is not tampered with. What I have done however is to add a twist to it. I presented Dr Samuel as battling a personal problem of his own in his mind before Holy Michael comes to his hospital.
He is undecided on carrying out a D&C on a young girl he had impregnated. It would be a dangerous attempt as it is five months into her pregnancy.
He is in a dilemma as he is prepared to do all it takes to keep the secret from his wife and save his reputation. After Oyono and Zacchaeus are arrested, he sees off the DPO in his police vehicle.
When he returns, he meets Holy Michael prophesying while the others are kneeling. After a moment, quite unexpectedly, at least from the point of view of the other characters who regard him as unsympathetic towards ‘charlatans’ like Holy Michael, he also kneels, thinking, perhaps, he will also have an answer to his dilemma.
The idea, I believe, is to emphasize the religiosity of an average Nigerian and of course, the motive for this.
2. The Patient with the French Bible
The changes I have made to this story include the creation of a family for Dr. John Bature. He meets with his daughter before leaving on a familiarization tour of the teaching hospitals.
We realize that he has just made up with his daughter, forgiving her for marrying a foreigner. Importantly, we see how relieved the daughter is by the reconciliation.
I then changed the patient with the French Bible to a man who, unknown to Bature, is discovered to be Rita’s husband. After Dr. John Bature forcefully discharges him from the hospital, he meets with an accident and dies.
On returning home, John Bature, with his family, watches the news of the discharge and the accident on the TV and the story ends with Rita fainting on recognizing his husband’s picture. The idea here is to emphasize the human angle and amplify the moral lesson of the story.
3. After the Flood
The modification I made here is basically at the end of the story. It is just to add an emotional dimension to the story. It happens that the hospital that Kemi is taken to after hitting her head on debris is the same hospital that Tomi, her son is taken to.
The child even cries as he is taken to a ward but her mother, who is incidentally being wheeled by the side of the nurse carrying her son, is completely unconscious and unaware of his presence.
She wakes up a few minutes after Tomi is taken out of the hospital by an unidentified person. This ends the story.
4. The Christmas Gift
It has been established that Udeme believes that Afam would never invite her to Amsterdam. I highlighted the idea that Udeme even believes that he probably has another woman over there.
I then developed James, Udeme’s colleague at work, into a very handsome man, who is loved by everybody, especially women – a kind of every woman’s dream of a perfect partner.
He develops a special interest in Udeme. In the end, feeling so lonely and depressed on Christmas Eve, Udeme cannot resist James’s invitation to attend a Christmas Eve Carnival. One thing leads to the other and James ends up sleeping over at her place.
Unfortunately for her, Afam is the one that wakes them up the following morning, having brought with him all documents to invite Udeme to Amsterdam with him.
He expresses shock and eventually tears up the documents and goes out of Udeme’s life. I suppose the idea, originally, is to have the reader guess what the reactions of each of the characters would be to the development, which is good.
But when I realized that Udeme’s act isn’t compromising enough and Afam’s reaction should be more suggestive, I have taken the chance to conclude the story this way.
5. A Memory of Easter
I have tried to make this story more emotional and didactic. I have introduced a topic; Sacrificiumfor Nkem’s piano performance.
With the meaning of sacrifice, I have tried to draw out a lesson of Easter. This is also realized by Nkem announcing to the congregation: ‘My Daddy told me Sacrificium means when he cannot come to watch me because he is saving a life. My daddy is a doctor. Thank you.’
This, I hope, has also been successful in adding an emotional angle to the story about the way the congregation reacts.
6. Just One Trip
I have tried to introduce an element of surprise to this story. I incriminate the doctor that attends to Sam. He is in league with Mrs. Shotunde Peters alias Madam Yemisi Ojo in drug dealing.
It happens that Dr. Sabada, given as the name of the doctor that Sam is to ask for, turns out to be a fake name. The doctor’s real name is Dr Smart.
He is however given a real name and address of the hospital and a real description of the doctor. This is done to cover the conspirators’ tracks and at the same time to be able to locate the destination of the illegal drug.
7. The Village Doctor
I have created a three-paragraph introduction to this story. In this introduction, we get to know more about the doctor and his work and prepare the readers’ minds to see the reason for Akpan’s landlord to expel him from his house.
This makes him become an unwanted tenant at the doctor’s house. The story, which is based on an unorthodox dental practice, is then seen as a flashback.
8. This Too Shall Pass
The title, THIS TOO SHALL PASS, suggests that Mary has multiple problems, which she overcomes one way or the other, one after the other.
To some extent, I guess this is true and the title may be considered appropriate if it won’t be seen as somehow narrow. But if a better title can be thought of, it would be okay, especially in light of the modifications made. This is a great story with many sides to it.
It is where I had probably made the greatest input, which runs throughout the story. I seized on the good act of Mr. Martins in taking Bayo to the hospital to develop him into a very nice character, rendering valuable assistance to Mary now and then.
He is naturally a good man but Mary misinterprets these acts as a way of expressing his love for her. On her birthday, when Martins arrives, we are privy to her feelings of love for him while Martins, at the same time, wishes that she approve of his desire to marry his secretary.
(Mary witnesses a scene where Martins expresses his love to the secretary but ironically, Mary thinks he is just being nice to her.) Readers do not know how the conflicting expectations play out in the end as the story ends there.
I have made the time set to 1989. This is indicated through Mr. Martins’ expressions of disappointment at such dastardly acts happening at that period in time.
I have consequently changed the value of money involved in the story to reflect the time setting. I may not be completely accurate on the value of the naira then, but I remember that the NYSC allowance at that time was N250 and the projection may be allowed.
9. The Search for Moses
The modifications I’ve made here are majorly towards the end of the story. I explained the theft case that led to Bayo finding himself in prison. In prison, he also develops a feeling of forgiveness for his wife for the loss of their only child.
I hinted that the flood where Tomi was carried away happened on August 31, 1980, in Ibadan. (This was the day on which the Ogunpa flood disaster happened).
In the first story, to which this one is a sequel, the husband is called Bayo Adeyi but he is referred to here as SegunLala, and the wife, called Kemi, is here referred to as Mary.
I have had to change this for consistency, which I believe is necessary, except you have a different opinion on it, sir.
Instead of using Mr. Opobo, his lawyer at home, I created a local lawyer, suggested by Mr. Opobo, for him to avoid the inconveniences of distance. I also concluded to be more emotional with Bayo concluding with a determination to get both his wife and child back.
10. Born in Kano
I have tried to bring home the need for AlhajiYaya to see the mistake he is making in supporting the plan to send away the Southerners.
He has been feeling depressed for a while without any reason he can put a finger on. But the moment he is convinced by the argument of his son and plans to withdraw his support, he feels happy again.
As suggested in the assessment also, I have rephrased some sensitive expressions like, ‘The only good friends I have are southerners …’ ‘They say Hausas are fools …’