Adam and Eve lost it when they ate the forbidden fruit. Now the tree of life, in the garden of Eden, is being guided by a Cherubim with a flaming sword. I guess, getting to eat of this tree is now an impossibility. So we can all forget about becoming immortal this way.
It was on the Island of Patmos that John saw God and was commanded to write the book of Revelation. It was here in Den Haag that I saw Andrew Carnegie and he taught me how to buy immortality, though he didn’t ask me to share the lesson.
I had arrived here not by planning but by destiny, my itinerary has nothing in it concerning the city of peace and justice. Growing up, I had always fancied Prince Bola Ajibola. Remember him? He made putting on a bow tie cool and a fashion statement. I admire him for a different reason, his brilliance. It was this that earned him a seat as a Judge of the International Court of Justice. So on noting that the city, where he dispensed justice, was a mere stone throw away from me, I altered my travel plans to visit it.
Early this morning, I set out for the Peace Palace. This is the most important building in the world perhaps, but definitely it is in this city. The amiable lady at the reception desk had handed me the audio guide and I made my way through the exhibits on display. I took a seat, directly opposite the replica of the $1.5m cheque issued by Andrew Carnegie for the building of the palace. Somehow I felt a need to wipe my face and it was on doing so that I saw Carnegie. Our conversation?
Andrew: Hey young fella, you made it here at last. I have been waiting for you ever since your Dad made mention of you to me?
Me: You know my Dad? How come?
Andrew: Long story but let me just say he is so proud of you. He told me of your ambitions and sought my help to guide you.
Me: Really? He never stayed long enough to know my ambitions and isn’t it now a bit late for you to guide me?
Andrew: Nothing in life is too late, you will understand with time but I guess you are on a quest here, yeah?
Me: True sir. I am mesmerized by your acts of generosity. Wao, what moved you to donate that huge…..
Andrew: [Cutting in] No, no, no young man. Don’t join them in making the same mistake. It was an investment. I am an investor. That was what I lived and died doing.
Me: Now you are confusing me the more, you gave them $1.5m as donation to build this place.
Andrew: I invested $1.5m in people. It was my way of buying the future cheaply.
Me: Cheaply? You call $1.5m in 1904 cheap? That is like giving away $400m today!
Andrew: O boy, by making that meagre payment, I have my name resounded to every soul that steps here. If not for that token, I would have long been forgotten but I bought immortality for $1 5m. Do you remember what Christ said about the woman with the Alabaster oil? Expensive right? She bought immortality with that action. She is long dead but because of that deed, Jesus said wherever the gospel is preached she will be remembered.
In my case, I also got more. Dividends. When the world talks peace they have to mention me forever. Why? Because I was also smart in my generosity. As a condition for the money, I asked them to maintain a library here. Think about it, why didn’t I ask for my statue to be mailed and placed at the entrance?
You see, because of this library millions of legal luminaries and brilliant statesmen, like your friend Bola Ajibola, have had to write or say my name in their works when referencing materials that are made available for their use here. It’s the cheapest amount anyone can spend on advertising mate. Tell me, isn’t that why you stepped in here today?
Me: But you are long dead, how are you then here?
Andrew: [Laughing uncontrollably] How can I be dead? I can’t even get to sleep! My spirit is constantly being aroused each time my name gets mentioned. I had intended to be somewhere else but right there in your room yesterday when you made an appointment to be here, you called me up by writing my name next to the Peace Palace. Before you leave, let me tell you something more. The man who dies rich, dies disgraced. Take some tine to think about this but now, wipe your eyes again.
Me: [I wiped my eyes only to find myself sitting alone on the bench in the information centre with the copy of the cheque still in front of me ]
It’s all been a trance, one in which I learnt that immortality is available for sale.
Are you interested in buying?