By Uzor Maxim Uzoatu
I am the missing link between ape and man. I am two steps ahead of the apes and one step short of man. Inside my big head lives the last word on man, the apes and original sin. In a word, I am the world.
I may not have a human face or brain or heart, but I am a cardinal fact, unlike the throng of apes who parade the streets thinking they are human beings, believing that there is no more to being human than being called Charles or Chandra or Mahmud.
The game is up! The missing link is here. And, pray, who does not know that there is a wanted icon in Science and History – the being to authenticate – or, give the lie to – human existence? For, what right has any blighter to bear the high title of ‘Man’ when he doesn’t know how, if ever, he got over the science-ordained and biology-broadcast stage between being an ape and becoming a man?
Well, this greatest puzzle in life is going to be settled once and for all, by me, and I have gone deep into my soul for all the facts. Through my words of unalterable truth, the apes and monkeys masquerading as human beings will rediscover themselves and recover their tails: and put them back where they rightly belong – the cleft of their rump.
I have a long history. For umpteen centuries, millions of discoverers have searched for me, digging up miles and kilos of earth soil, looking for fossils and bones, when in fact I am here, on this earth, with red blood corpuscles doing the jig dance of life inside my veins. Not even their microscopes could see me, yet, I am as big as a gorilla and twice as visible and noisy. I remember a certain Mr Serendipity Pathfinder, inventing all sorts of microscopes and telescopes in the search for me: old clown, old crazy clown, he ended up in a sanatorium in a far-out land, blind as a wall.
The Leakey blokes have become legendary for wandering all over the place gathering skulls. Funny matter: whoever told them the missing link is a skull? From Greenland to Antarctica sundry scientists have fallen over each other in the bid to discover me, looking down every cranny and all holes; but failing to apprehend me they have conspired to relegate me to the realm of myth. In this age of science, they fall back to fables of bangs and fossils to explain away their origin. Well, intellectual laziness has never been in short supply in the esoteric occult wonderland of the apes. The more ambitious of these fellows trump up figments of their collective hallucination: like the flashy, jumped up German evolutionist Ernst Haeckel, who woke up one day, cried ‘Eureka’ and named what he didn’t see Pithecanthropus Alalus.
Haeckel never set eyes on me but I am the only object of his search. At any rate, how am I “the ape man without speech” when I can outtalk the BBC and Voice of America put together? Of course, I am not arguing that Haeckel did not discover something; he ought instead to have foreshadowed the resurrection of Michael Jackson in Nigeria as my twin brother. Hapless Haeckel, his kinsman Hitler did not reign long enough to ram this fairy-tale down the abundantly bribable throats of what passes as written history. One shudders that Hitler could so easily have expunged me from the pages.
I have suffered. Buffeted by ideology and theology and other nightmarish orgies besides, my existence has been an abiding struggle. I have borne the toxic dread and missiles of a bomb-happy civilization. Living on the frontline as I do, I took the heat and the fire, so that the nuclear hawks could revel in a cold war. I ought to be a marvel of science but have been reduced to a pawn of politics and punditry. The sum of all my fears used to be the bomb. But along came Gorbachev and Fukuyama who put ideology and History on a new shelf – Fiction. Now anything – ideas, beings and whole empires – can disappear without a hint. Once upon a Soviet Union, so the story starts… I don’t want to be thus obliterated. Better to go via the boom of atomic bombshell than the whimper of the Fiction Bomb.
The language of life has since become fiction. And when fiction takes over science, the missing link can jolly well become an endangered species. What it all boils down to is that I have to write my life, before I am turned into fable.
Opening excerpt from the prologue of the writer’s novel The Missing Link, published by Abibiman Publishing, UK. Uzoatu is a Nigerian poet, journalist and author. The 1989 Distinguished Visitor is currently a director with Borodoro Publishing