Writers Space Africa-Rwanda
Fiction Issue 1

The Best Weird Incident of All Time — Patrick Shyaka

The evening before members of the jury would have their final say in the widely covered media story of the century about the woman who supplied ideas, two men from a city three miles away from Kigali—inexplicably— had an idea.

This, if you don’t understand, was a miraculous phenomenon unlike any other. A small country in the east of Africa had been experiencing a mental block never seen before for six months. A mental block that had decided on its own that it would be nice to finally settle somewhere calm, drink tea, and watch the sunset every day for the rest of its life. 

Unfortunately, it had chosen Rwanda as its permanent vacation spot, causing every citizen residing there, either by choice or by birth, to suffer the baffling lack of imagination or creativity.

It started with businesses losing their ability to increase their revenues, then graduates being unable to create spectacular projects that would get them funding, then artists having absolutely no idea what to sing next, and then the whole country running off with no new invention whatsoever. Their minds had collectively turned off.

However, before the two men would get the pleasure to say the words “I have an idea,” which seemed like a taboo, a brown woman with an unknown origin or name had appeared from nowhere two months prior, supplying a surmountable amount of ideas to whoever she’d met along her journey across the country.

The woman always wore black leather boots with high couture pants, a green scarf around her neck, and a designer made tote bag. She was relentless in her walk, stopping only in the presence of people, marching as if late for an important meeting at which the world’s fate would be decided. The meeting would not come for another year.

For the geniuses of the world, it was simply unfathomable how inventions of all sorts were appearing suddenly, one by one, at each moment of the day. In the morning, a man would inexplicably have the urge to run to the bank and return with enough capital to start a vehicle company. And not two hours later, another man would, without reason, storm into the vehicle company’s unfinished office to demand a partnership to use his vehicles as taxis.

It was an insane surge of companies, businesses, artists, and the like—too much for the world to handle. In a period of two weeks, everyone was fulfilled with what they had desired all along. No phone call was about anything else other than bragging and showing off. No one was poor anymore.

It terrified the leaders of the country, and they couldn’t stop it. Every person who entered the bank or suddenly seemed like they were up to something had a full-proof idea that anyone who heard it thought had been meticulously planned for years.

No two people had the same idea. And every idea was, in the eyes of the owner, suited for them.

All local and international news channels covering the unexplained mental block in the country were suddenly headlining this occurrence as the best weird incident of all time, just above the record-shattering news of British people selling their wives in the 19th century.

Only when all seemed to be going great and businesses were booming again, people took some time off to think about what had happened to them. They wandered inside their minds for answers about the origin of the infamous mental block but didn’t get anything to report. Then they tried having other ideas, no matter how banal they would be, but no light bulbs appeared.

This was alarming. How had they discovered all those ideas and plans, but couldn’t have more? What sort of witchcraft was that? The people started voicing their concerns to their leaders on what to do. The leaders took a moment to think, but they had no ideas either.

So the leaders consulted their ministers about the sort of action they should take. The ministers considered this but blanked out. They turned to the senators and deputies in charge of such countrywide duties, and senators quickly checked their vital instructions about what to do about such an issue, but there were none. And the instructions about what to do in the event of discovering that vital instructions were missing, were also missing. 

So, the whole administration wrote a letter to the president, but the president himself had no clue as to what was going on. The president then tried to pick his advisors’ brains on a potential solution, but most of them had quit their jobs since they lacked the competence to deliver what they were employed to do; have ideas.  No amount of interrogation could determine what it was that had happened.

However, on a Friday afternoon, at a bar that happened to host the Minister of Foreign Affairs, one drunk man made an interesting observation that shook everybody. 

“The day I had my amazing idea, I was sitting at a bus station pondering on the fact that I couldn’t provide for my family when suddenly, in walks, a tall brown-skinned woman sat next to me and told me everything would be okay.” He said.

To the irony of her title, the Minister took it personally to handle the now internal affairs after the riveting realisation had surged through the bar, having people’s eyeballs widening and shouting at the similarity of their situations the day they got their ideas.

This realisation caused mass focus groups around the country to discuss their idea day, all leading to the same conclusion.

A brown woman had approached them, comforted them, and walked away. Suddenly, their minds started working again.

Some called it witchcraft, others described her as an angel. The president ordered a country-wide search, turning every corner of major cities upside down. A week later, a judge who had no idea what the actual charges against the woman were, found himself sitting in the same room with her stuttering to ask the question, “Do you plead guilty?”

With 12 million witnesses ready to take the stand, CNN marked this the second-best weird incident of all time, surpassing the infamous news that Picasso was gay. A discovery that topped the reports of British men selling their wives instead of divorcing.

“You understand you are here today facing charges even I can’t seem to understand?” The judge addressed the woman at the beginning of the trial. 

The woman nodded. “Can I just say, I’m really flattered,” she remarked.

The whole crowd grew silent.

With half of the court audience wondering what she had done to them, the trial of the century went on for weeks. Each witness repeated the previous one’s precise words, and none of them stated what exactly they wanted from the woman.

At some point, the judge ordered that no more witnesses be called and that the prosecuting team proceed right to the point and demand whatever they were demanding from the woman.

The accusing side consulted each other for a minute. They then spent the next minute simply staring at each other.

“Your honour, can we take some time to think about that?” The prosecuting lawyer inquired.

After an hour of back and forth murmurs between him and the whole crowd gathered in the room, their favour was granted and sometime became a month.

When it was time for the trial to continue, the lawyer requested to hear from the defendant before announcing their exigencies. It’s safe to say they were hoping to get something out of her confessions to charge her. The woman took the stand.

“Are you a witch?” The lawyer started her questions off.

“No, I’m not,” the woman answered.

“Would you qualify yourself as a magician then?”

“What? No, I’m neither. I only de–,” she was interrupted by the lawyer, who ordered that she only answer yes or no.

“What did you do to all these people gathered here today?” Asked the lawyer, changing her previous statement.

“I didn’t do anything to you people,” insisted the woman, “I merely reminded them not to stop worrying so much. To stop stressing.”

The room grew silent. The audience exchanged long glances. For a brisk moment, everyone forgot they were in a courtroom.

“And how did you know it would work, let alone that it was the problem?” The lawyer asked again. “You must have been the one who caused it, right? That’s the only explanation we can deduce,” 

Before the woman could answer, two men burst through the courtroom doors–-sweating and out of breath–urging the trial to be terminated. Three policemen grabbed them by their shoulders forcing them out, however, the open court doors allowed media presenters who’d been denied entry to ellipse in. The crowd went wild.

“She is innocent, your honour!” One of the two men shouted. The judge was so overwhelmed with the noise and disturbance to the point even his gavel was no use. The judge stared at the woman and her back to him.

The police were having a hard time containing the noise and movement. Due to a lot of pressure, they started to beat every person moving or remotely standing.

In what people would call a stupid action that would change the course of the whole day, one camera operator got hit by a policeman in the back by accident. In return, the camera operator threw his tripod at the policeman, which turned the whole news coverage into the authorities attacking news reporters, fumes being thrown in the crowd, a sudden protest taking place inside the courtroom, and the media claiming a weird and unpredicted fight in the streets of Kigali between armed forces and the broadcasting voices of the people.

An incident so weird that no other incident in the history of man-kind even came close to it. An incident in which not just one country would be involved, but the entire world in a matter of Live Feeds would have to sit down and produce strong ideas to solve this problem.

An incident, needless to say, made everyone forget that a small country in the middle of Africa had, for six months, lost its ability to produce ideas of any sort, that no one would ever know what caused it or how to solve it, and that the only person who could have provided a major indication of its origin had disappeared out of thin air.

In the evening, when members of the jury were supposed to have a final say in the trial against the woman who supplied ideas but chose instead to throw stones and pens at the police; the judge, the woman, and the two men who had had an idea the night before found themselves in a half-destroyed courtroom alone, staring at each other.

“I guess there’s no point disputing you two about what you’ve done to my courtroom and the rest of the world,” the judge said to the two men, “but why did you do it?” 

“Last night, while contemplating the moon and the stars, we both had the same thought,” said one of the two men. “What if we had brought this to ourselves? What if, in some ways, we had chosen not to have ideas?”

The judge was baffled. “And?” he inquired for more information. 

“Well, we were about to figure that out when suddenly we wondered how we’d even had a thought in the first place. And that’s when we realised that having ideas was not hard at all. We were just going about it the wrong way.”

The first man stood up and jumped close to the woman who was preparing to leave. She was as calm as she had been through the trial period. Unfazed. Like someone who knew something others didn’t. 

“You knew this all along, didn’t you?” Asked the man to the woman. 

“You knew all we needed to do was—,” he said before being interrupted by the woman.

“None of that matters now,” contended the woman, “Something inexplicable caused a mental block, so naturally, something inexplicable had to happen to free everyone again.” 

The people who had looked closely at this story of the century unfold and fold again noticed that, for some reason, the mental block had had a change of heart about its retirement plan and had to put it to a halt.

Unfortunately, no one was looking closely.

“You know they are going to call you to the meeting that will determine the fate of the world, right?” The judge declared this to the woman as she walked through the many fragments of the court window. “They will need answers.”

The woman turned towards the judge, and the two men then looked around the room and let out a sigh. “Why did the news name it the best incident when none of it was any good to anyone?” The woman asked.

They said they had no clue.

Featured image by Ali Khalil via Pexels

About the Contributor

Patrick Shyaka is a Rwandan author of “I Will Get Drunk: An Idealistic Visual of a Mental Health Endgame”, a creative writer and visual artist. His fictional and non-fictional works appear in popular magazines such as Lolwe, Brittle Paper, The Kalahari Review and elsewhere.

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Olga June 5, 2023 at 3:13 pm

You take literature to another level, this beginning is beautiful.

Cyusa June 7, 2023 at 11:36 am

That’s a good one


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