SATURDAY ROSE THORNS – 5 MORE RULES FOR WRITING NUMBERS

rooo 3Rule 1.   Write decimals in figures. Put a zero in front of a decimal unless the decimal itself begins with a zero.

Examples:       The plant grew 0.79 of a foot in one year.

The plant grew only .07 of a foot this year because of the drought.

Rule 2.   With numbers that have decimal points, use a comma only when the number has five or more digits before the decimal point. Place the comma in front of the third digit to the left of the decimal point. When writing out such numbers, use the comma where it would appear in the figure format. Use the word and where the decimal point appears in the figure format.

Examples:         $15,768.13: Fifteen thousand, seven hundred sixty-eight dollars and thirteen cents

$1054.21: One thousand fifty-four dollars and twenty-one cents

Note: If the number has no decimal point, authorities disagree on whether to begin using the comma with four-digit numbers or to begin using the comma with five-digit numbers. When writing out these numbers, I recommend using the comma where it appears in the numerical form.

1,054 schools OR 1054 schools: one thousand, fifty-four schools OR one thousand fifty-four schools

12,154 schools: twelve thousand, one hundred fifty-four schools

Rule 3.   The following examples apply when using dates:

Examples:       The meeting is scheduled for June 30.

The meeting is scheduled for the 30th of June.

We have had tricks played on us on April 1.

The 1st of April puts some people on edge.

Rule 4.   When expressing decades, you may spell them out and lowercase them.

Example:        During the eighties and nineties, the U.S. economy grew.

Rule 5.   If you wish to express decades using incomplete numerals, put an apostrophe before the incomplete numeral but not between the year and the s.

Correct:          During the ’80s and ’90s, the U.S. economy grew.

Incorrect:       During the ’80’s and ’90’s, the U.S. economy grew.

 

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FRIDAY CHOCOLATE TREAT: AFOMA

AfomaAfoma was born unfortunate. At a young age, her mother sold her to a man renowned to run a brothel. Afoma didn’t have much of a chance in life. By the time she was eighteen, she averaged ten to twenty men in a month. That is a hard life in any culture.

Afoma has a strong character and is not a willing howbeit lawful captive in my True Dream novel, Even the Lawful Captive. She lives in a cocoon filled with filth, but holds her head up. Her self-esteem is nothing to write home about, but she yearns for knowledge and goes after it whenever she can.

Afoma has an exterior profile that protects her from getting hurt. She’s tough, mean, and has no loves.

Though the sizzling Chika Ike has played many roles on the sweet and soft side of life, I do believe she can pull off an Afoma role if this book were to end up in a movie.

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Read Even the Lawful Captive, A True Dream novel by Sinmisola Ogúnyinka. Find the book online on amazon, smashwords, iBooks, and other leading online bookstores!

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PROVOCATION – LESSONS ON STEADFASTNESS

52 ways cover stripHe was the last person I imagined I would run into. He’d left town and been away for over five years. Kingsley.

I ran into him on one of those days when the drizzling rain refused to stop. I was standing at a very odd junction after checking on my car which I had left at the mechanic’s for servicing.

When he stopped for me, I couldn’t recognize him. I didn’t know the car and the driver was strange to me. Then he got out. I was shocked to see him. His typically clean-shaven face was bearded and he had put on some weight. No doubt, marriage must have been fair to him.

“Kingsley!” I exclaimed. “I didn’t recognize you. What are you doing in town?”

“I came for a friend’s wedding. Come on, let me drop you off before we both get soaked. Where are you going?” he asked.

“My house. The same old one,” I said.

“So how’s it been with you?”

“Good. I thank God. How’s your wife and kids or is it kid?”

“My wife is good. We don’t have any kids yet.”

“By choice?” I don’t know why I pressed or what business it was of mine. “Don’t tell me you’re storing up treasures for them before they come.”

“Well, I’ll like to store up treasures first anyway.” He laughed, “but no, it’s not by choice. We’re ‘believing’ God as you people will say.” His tone took on slight mockery.

I caught my tongue. “Oh I’m sorry.”

“I don’t know what it is with you so-called born again Christians. You claim all the promises, yet, your body is sick on to death.” He stole a glance at me. “I wish I’d stayed with you,” he said suddenly. “At least, you’re not barren like my wife!”

“It wouldn’t have worked and you know it,” I said lightly. He did not say a word more till we got to my house. Poor wife.

The rain had not subsided. He shut the engine and turned to look at me. “May I come in?”

“Weren’t you going somewhere?”

“No where so important that I can’t spare a moment or two for old times’ sake.” His hand came to rest on my knee.

“Emek… Kingsley please. What we had was wrong and…”

“You’re still seeing Emeka right?”

He had no right and I couldn’t let it pass. I had compromised my faith with this guy!

“No. That was just a slip of the tongue and even if I’m seeing him, it really does not concern you, Kingsley. Especially now that you are married…”

“My marriage is on a verge of collapse. I want you. I want you back. I’m sorry for leaving you…”

“Kinsley, you’re past tense. Old news. I was wrong in what I did with you.”

“You regret it? You wanted me as much as I wanted you.”

“It’s true but wrong, and past. Right now I’m doing things that will add value to my life, not things that will destroy me. You’re a married man, and you’re an unbeliever…”

“I married a believer like you. One who even refused to compromise by sleeping with me like you did,” he bit out.

His words hit harder than a slap. “I’m sure she has her regrets. I’m glad I got off when I did. Look, I have no apologies for how things turned out between us but I’m sorry you’re not happy in your marriage. I hope you find God, and joy.” I quickly opened the door. His hand came to rest on my arm. I shrugged it off.

“Wait there.”

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The bitterness in his tone was not lost on me but I was already at my house entrance. I fumbled quickly with the keys and opened the door. I couldn’t wait to be in the safe confines of my house. I couldn’t wait to get away from him.

My heart beat fast. I shut the door behind me and rested my head against it. My heart beat doubly fast. I heard him start the ignition and drive away. It was only then I realized I had been holding my breath!

Kingsley!

Published as 52 Ways to Provoke God. Get your copy here

PROVOCATION – LESSONS ON DILIGENCE

52 ways cover stripUsually, there was an end of year party at work where awards were given to exemplary staff. The regular members of staff were the only eligible people and this had been a company norm that had never been contested.

It was a thing of surprise to me when I was called for a nomination interview. I wasn’t even eligible in the first place. It thrilled me and I answered the questions asked me as well as I could. I was the only non-regular staff that was nominated and I didn’t think I stood much of a chance.

Facing the panel alone was enough reward for me. I faced my employers from all over the world. They spoke freely with me and afterward, I sat with the other nominees for lunch with them. These were people that I’d never seen before not to talk of sitting with in an informal luncheon. I felt like 10 women. It was such fulfillment.

When the result of the award came, I was third on the list. That excited me even more. I had not imagined I would qualify in any way. Though there was no prize attached to the third position, I was pleased. I had worked hard for my company and felt rewarded, especially because I was one among twenty-five regular staff.

At the annual general meeting, the following year, someone proposed that second and third positions of the Staff of the Year Award should be given cash gifts. It was adopted.

A second person suggested that the nominations should not be restricted to regular staff alone but that long term contract employees should be included. Someone noted that had already been done from the last awards so they adopted it. Another person suggested that since the second proposal was being sort of back-dated, the rewards for the second and third positions should also be back-dated.

A few days to Adaora’s birthday, I got the cheque. It was like a dream. I fulfilled my promise to my daughter. Almost five months later, my hard work was once again rewarded by the company when they called me for another interview. Because I had come so close to being their Staff of the Year, they decided to regularize my appointment.

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It was a most thrilling time of my life. What I had craved most in the job – job security – was finally mine. It was almost too good to be true, and the remuneration was almost five times what I had earned.

 

Published as 52 Ways to Provoke God. Get your copy here

 

 

TUESDAY ROSE BUSHES – GOD: DEAD OR ALIVE

GodisrealHe wants to prove a point. If you do wish it, you can choose your date of death. God is not immortal, neither is he all-knowing. Man makes his plans and decides his fate, not God.

On his birthday, Bruno decides to take his own life. To prove God is not all-powerful. To prove a man can choose death over life without being frustrated or depressed or mentally ill.

He goes to his physician and does a thorough medical test to prove to the world he is not already dying.

He takes his wife to dinner with his son and daughter, and make love to her afterward, to prove his marriage is sound. Then two hours to the end of the day, while his beautiful family is fast asleep, he goes into his study and makes a speech. He curses his creator, and damns all believers.

He fills a mixture of chemicals thoroughly researched and proven to kill within minutes into a 300ml glass cup. Taken, the volume can kill ten men.

Bruno looks into the glass. “This is it,” he murmurs.

His video camera is trained on him. This epic event must be captured worldwide. Man can choose to live or die.

The recording is programmed to be published on his blog as soon as he is dead. His blog has over fifty thousand followers. They will watch Bruno take over the most feared duty of God.

He smiles and drinks his poison.

This is how he planned it all. He then lay on his couch, and close his eyes. A moment before he loses consciousness, he mutters, “The end.” Just as he had planned it.

He should be dead in ten minutes. The video recording will end and automatically convert into a file posted on his blog.

The End.

The housekeeper will discover him. She cleans the study every morning. She will scream and alert the household. By then, some of his friends would have watched the video but assume it’s a joke. Surely Bruno would not do a thing like this!

Bruno is smart, and successful and rich. He’s a computer programmer and designer so yes, he can pull off such a joke. Besides, it’s April first. Bruno just planned the mother of all foolhardy. His name will be in the news all over the world. The perfect visual effect never seen.

A smile plays on Bruno’s lips at the thought and for a moment, he’s startled. Should something not be happening by now?

He opens his eyes and a wave of nausea overpowers him.

“No. I can’t throw it up. No.”

He clenches his teeth and for a moment the dizzy spell disappears.

And so Bruno struggles with nausea. Surely, someone must have mixed the bottles. But no, it’s not possible. He has to die today, now.  He checks the wall clock and it’s a quarter to midnight. If he doesn’t die in the next fifteen minutes, he’s dead. Surely the post would have been published by now. His silly speech about God not being real. About man’s choice to choose death over life.

This can’t be happening.

The poison has been in his blood for almost an hour.

He stumbles to his desk and looks at the four empty bottles. What on earth? The labels are the same. The poisons are the same. Why is it not working?

He’s tried this on his mother’s lovely cat and she died within minutes. He’d bought two mice and tried the mixture on them too.

And the family dog died two days ago, from this experiment.

“Why am I alive?” He swallows. “I must die.”

Bruno runs to the kitchen, and pukes just in time into the sink. He heaves continuously for another five minutes and slumps to the floor. Okay, he’ll have to stab himself now. But a knife-wound would be so painful.

He drags his face to the kitchen clock and it’s five minutes after midnight. The deal is over.

He bursts into tears. “God, why? Why do you do this to me?”

Even if he dies now, it’s no longer his choice date.

A voice encourages him to go ahead. Oh yesterday was your first choice but today is your second choice. Pick the knife.

But Bruno wants to know why the poison didn’t work. He staggers back into his study, and looks at the bottles. He’s emptied them all so there’s no more to test.

He switches off his video and goes to his bathroom to have a shower.

“Okay, so you’ve won this round God, but I’m gonna get you.”

He slips into bed and his wife snuggles up to him. “Where’ve you been?”

You don’t wanna know. He presses a kiss on her head. “In the study.”

She mumbles, “Hmm, a new program on the way?”

Tears gather in his eyes. He knows. He realizes now. “This one will blow the minds of the world, baby.”

She leans on her elbow. “Tell me about it.”

Bruno can’t help this. “God is real. I just met him in the study.” He bursts into tears.

 

 

MONDAY CHOCOLATE MELTDOWN – ELATED

coco5 croppedLillian screamed once more. The white Mercedes Benz CLS 350 sat where her old 2011 C class used to be. She never imagined she could have a love for cars like this, and Clarence was a die-hard Benz lover.

“The king of cars,” he said once.

She trailed her fingers along the chassis of the car. “This can’t be happening. Clarence!” She jumped on his neck and kissed it.

“It is baby. 2015 all new. Only the best for Mrs. Lillian Clarence Obiora.” He winked. “People are going to walk up to you on the streets and ask for your autograph on this one.”

Lillian pressed her body into him. If only she could do more. Give him more.

Clarence pushed her back and stared into her eyes. “I have an assignment for you, darling. It’s time to make our second baby.”

Lillian frowned. For almost three years, all she had were exquisite toys, which more than took care of her urges but did nothing for her emotional needs.

“You’re going back to Iyke for another baby.” Clarence gave her one of those chilly smiles that left his eyes cold and dark.

She swallowed. Iyke again? Bring it on.

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PROVOCATION – LESSONS ON TRUST

52 ways cover stripI had totally forgotten the promise I made before Adaora reminded me. It was her seventh birthday. I had promised her I would do a party for her in her school but then forgot all about it as soon as I made the promise. I didn’t mean to hurt her. I thought I would use my Christmas bonus to finance the January event but other unexpected expenses came up. Besides, I refused to ask Emeka for the amount needed for two reasons.

One, it was my promise to my daughter. Two, the fire at the Grocer’s razed everything to the ground. I assumed Emeka was going to take up the cost of setting up a new business for Ekaette. That completely took him out of the question.

Here I found myself so broke I could not even buy Adaora a birthday gift not to talk of throwing her a party. I tried to explain to her.

She said, “I know you’ll do the party for me, Mummy. If you won’t you’ll have said so from the beginning.” She smiled engagingly. I was dumbfounded.

“I don’t have enough money for a party now, but I promise I will get you a beautiful gift,” I said carefully, trying not to make other promises I would not keep. She smiled and shook her head.

I didn’t know she was taking me by my first promise until I overheard a conversation she had with one of our neighbours’ five year old son.

Adaora said, “My birthday is on January 28. My mom is going to have a party for me in school.”

“Will she have another party for you in the house so I can come?” the boy asked.

“No. She only promised me the one at school.”

“My mummy too will do a party for me in my school,” the boy said boldly.

“Make sure your mummy promises you first or else she won’t do it,” Adaora warned.

“Did your mummy promise you?”

“Yes! That’s why I know she will do it.”

“What will you take to school?”

“I don’t know yet. She said she doesn’t have money but she will buy me a gift. Maybe she will buy sweet and biscuit,” Adaora said dreamily, “And cake! I will beg her to buy cake too.”

“Will you give me?”

“Yes! I will tell her to keep some for you.”

“Hey hey hey!” the boy jumped up and down excitedly.

I turned away and sighed. The girl couldn’t even understand the lack of money excuse. Her birthday was ten days away and she was already telling others, and so confidently too. I could use part of my salary but that would mean we won’t eat in February!

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I had not prepared for this expense at all. I had so many commitments that I’d pushed to this month. Then a thought hit me: Adaora had more faith in me than I had in God. She was so sure I would keep my promise to her. How I wish I could lean so heavily on God.

I decided to write a list of things that would do for the party. At least she now understood I didn’t have much money to spare. It was good. She wasn’t expecting anything elaborate.

Published as 52 Ways to Provoke God. Get your copy here