A Short Stroll From Freedom

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This post is dedicated to a beautiful young ma’am who introduced me to some serious contents on the blogosphere. Picture a chocolate-y African Cinderella Ma’amrella with a diastema just the way we, no erm. . . I, like it.

O ye of salacious mind, hold it right there! Bleach thy thoughts (with hypo) and drink some holy water.

She’s married, with a cute little girl. A friend I call fairy godmother 🙂

• • •

They have been at it for a long time before now. A group of young guys living in the detached face-me-I-slap-you building with me in the remote area of the suburb. Sighting them early in the morning would only make you want to curse all their fellow immigrants from the neighbouring country, go back to bed and then wake up again. They were never up to any good.

From missing phones of neighbours slack enough to leave their doors unlocked to noisy screams from Julie over the victim’s disappearing pants and underwears spread in the enclosed backyard. Pots would go AWOL from burning stoves along with the cooking content, window nets would tear overnight, fuel tanks would dry up like some sort of spirits drink petrol. Lots of other unsavoury acts we had to put up with since our shouts and accusations yielded no result.

They were never caught but we didn’t need evidence to prove them guilty. Most of the times the pots would reappear at the owner’s door early in the morning after a day or two of journeying. They always never miss their owners. Julie would rant and say yee-paripa curses, but she always knew her properties already belong to their female folks. In two hours, power would’ve changed hands.

Over time it all stopped. It wouldn’t have stopped if we had continued with our complains without adapting. No one leaves their doors open anymore, even if the destination is just the general bathroom in the backyard the room must be sealed shut. Air tight. Mama Akpan learnt quickly and started cooking in her room. Julie no longer spread her delicate lingeries in the open and I made it a serious duty to drag in my generator every night before it even cools. Other tenants followed suit.

We had barely known peace for a week before they came out of their shell. It started with indoor carousing. They would gather and leave the building some minutes to midnight and then surreptitiously return into their rooms before dawn. Church vigil doesn’t seem like something they fancy so it wasn’t long before we concluded that their ministry has moved to the permanent site.

Tranquillity returned to the building but at the expense of the entire neighbourhood’s rest. Goats started missing. Sheep suffered more. Parked motorcycles began to “relocate” in soundless manners. Cars lost tyres. Properties changed hands. Shops were burgled.

Suspicion soared. Accusing fingers were pointed but we did nothing. No confrontations or reporting at the police station, we only joined the nagging statistics. After all, we were not at the receiving end anymore.

Dear Brother Obinna from Aba thought otherwise. Never you try the fury of an Ibo brother robbed when he had just returned from market. You know what they say about ekwensu pouring sand sand for someone’s well soaked garri? If you don’t believe me you’re better off not knowing.

I was in my room seeing a season of my favourite movie when the power holding company did their thing, snuffing the life out of my television just when a villain was about loosing his head. I gave a long hiss capable of turning a normal pregnancy to breech and then said some swear words anyone would easily mistake for german. Only God can make PHCN workers live long in Nigeria.

With the heat escalating at each passing second I welcomed the idea of a walk. I changed into a nice three quarter trouser and a t-shirt with my expensive spectacles as usual to add the required effect. You never can tell who you’ll run into, especially the sashaying species of the feminine nomenclature.

The street was deserted but I didn’t give it much thought, I was busy skimming and scanning, bouncing like I just signed an endorsement deal with Mitchelin tyres. A black hilux appeared from nowhere and pulled up just beside me. I saw the familiar faces of some hard guys of the neighbourhood turn sober like they just tested positive for HIV.

It happened so fast it’s hard to remember the details even now. I think someone carrying a gun rudely told me to hop into the van and I was rambling about me knowing my civil rights as a bona fide citizen of — , then a thunderous slap that cut my sentence short and broke my glasses. Earth was immediately without form. . . and odikwa terribly void! Darkness was upon the face of the deep; but the spirit of God was nowhere to be found.

Obinna had reported the burglary at his shop to the police, hence the raid to get suspects. The raid I gallantly bounced into.

My journey to the station still befuddles me, but nothing can erase the two nights I spent in the cell. Two days of no freedom. A concerned fellow tenant, Mr Salako, took his quality time before coming to my rescue on the third day. I don’t blame him. Whoever started the “police is your friend” line must have definitely been taking cheap unadulterated urea-fertilizer cultivated weed, or something worse.

The mosquitoes there were so cool, calm and collected. I kid you not. Very big and safety conscious too. They’ll test your blood first (perhaps for any disease) and then insert their power drill that siphons blood at 0.25pint per second. Multiplied by our numbers crammed in the cell, that’s some serious barrels of blood per night.

The heat, stuffy atmosphere caused by poor ventilation, and my contribution to the gaseous releases thanks to my beans-ey last meal all culminated to a micro-warming—a subset of global warming—just enough to brood chicks.

Though I blamed myself for taking that stroll when I should have stayed put in my room, I blamed myself more for keeping mute when I should have reported them or done something to stop those guys. I called it a harmless silence, indifference. . . but it was my bold step away from freedom.

I am @jossef69 on twitter.

Happy birthday to a wordsmith, @Walt_Shakes.

Adewoyin Joseph A.
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2 thoughts on “A Short Stroll From Freedom

    Yemie said:
    June 2, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    LMAO! Senor Joe, you’re several shades of unbelievability and incredibility! This is insane! Still reeling with laughter from the aftermath of reading this piece. Communal living and its attendant wahalas!

    Wow! That you had to be detained for 48 hrs just for ‘wandering’ is crazy! We’ve lost faith in our police force and I guess that’s why folks are reluctant to make reports at the station and thus, jungle justice has taken centre stage. People take the laws into their hands becoming police, lawyer, judge, jury and executioner. Its disconcerting! *sighs*

    Lovely piece this is and I mustn’t fail to mention your opening paragraph. Thanks sooo much, I’m deeply humbled and grateful. Its an honour knowing you, Sir! You’re the Man and You Rock Pieces! Lolz

    Like

      Adewoyin Joseph responded:
      June 2, 2014 at 9:29 pm

      LOL. True talk. . .but police is still our your friend o!

      Should be thanking you. You’re the ma’am. 🙂

      Like

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