My absence on the blog has fetched me several names in the past, but none has been more solid than the one I got some weeks ago.
He must have seen me in his dream or something. I’ll bet he woke up and decided to drag out the object of his nightmare. BBM helped him do that. I’ll call him Brutus.
Brutus: You eh? Na wah to you!
I was waiting for my garri to elevate to the benchmark at the time.
Me: Sir, what I do??
Brutus: You have backslid.
Just like that! Read the rest of this entry »
Gingerly, he approached the figure, wrapping his hand around the neckline to loosen the little knot that held the mini-gown in place. I had no idea what a gown like that is called, but I was certain it should be something not so expensive though seemingly fancy, judging from the way it fitted around the firm curves on the feminine shape. Even as it dropped through the slightly protruding waist down to the feet that put an end to the fair long legs, revealing the pesky pair of mounds on the trimmed porcelain skin, he never seemed to be distracted for a second.
I sat, squeezed to the window side of a creaking 18-seater bus finding its way in the traffic congestion, watching the stranger undress the mannequin. It was about 30 minutes to the 20th hour; the end of the day’s work for some and the beginning for others. I belonged to the former category, the road-side cloth merchant and his mannequins gallantly occupied the latter.
The bus dragged briefly towards the 11.82km bridge. I knew it was the beginning of another 2hours–characterized by rough à la distress driving, cusses and attendant spits, honks and bashes–even before the bus came to a halt, the persistent gridlock remaining the factor.
A bucket of many bottled drinks sped by, and I looked out the window to confirm or discard the sorcery I just saw. For a person of really brief height, I didn’t expect the hawker to be so nimble-toed even with the conglomeration of drinks he balanced on his head. Others of his ilk had gala, plantain chips of countless brands, cashew nuts and several other consumables clutched to their sides; all meandering through the congestion trying to sell their wares. I shook my head in pity as I watched one of the hawkers almost get squeezed between two buses while he rushed to get payment for what he just sold a passenger.
“There is a Junior and/or a wife at home, a sister or brother in school, or a mama in the village depending on them… and so they hustle with their every fiber.” An elderly who seemed to have been watching me all the while said. I knew she wasn’t any off from the truth.
A couple of hours, countless hisses and serious body aches later, the third gear of the bus finally became useful. Perhaps from the reprieve brought about by the draught into the moving bus, the occupants of the seat behind me began to discuss what awaited them at their destination, the crux of the discuss being their grievances with the wage they get at work, and how the foreign owners of the factory they work in maltreat them like a flock of quarantined pigs.
I got home a few minutes to 11pm with a smile on my face; PHCN decided to put a little something in our bulbs. I settled in quickly and refreshed to get some sleep, for the alarm would do its job by 4:20AM the following day irrespective of how I feel. I remembered a joke a colleague made about the episode introductions of a movie I was seeing (he thought it would be cool to have the prologue in pidgin) and I decided to indulge myself briefly.
The player came to live as my then recumbent self began the pidgin prologue:
“My name na Oliver Queen
After five years for ogbonge hell
Na so I waka con’ home with only one goal…”
PHCN didn’t allow me save my city. They took the light.
Ironically, I wasn’t pained. They take power more than they give it and we all know. It’s bad, but I’m somehow used to it already. As I rolled over to sleep I flashed to a headline I saw on CNN a few days earlier:
D.C hit by power outage.
I would guess many Americans were in panic throughout the blackout. In some climes, blackout mostly precedes bad things, say terrorism, a headless horseman with a big axe roaming the streets, or simply the beginning of the apocalypse.
The same blackout an average warm-tempered Yoruba/Ibo/Hausa man (trust me, you don’t want to read the hot-tempered man’s version; I don’t want to write it too) would roll his eyes over and say “awon dìndìnrìn”/”mcheew, iti boribo!”/”kai! Shege!” became breaking news in some other place.
And then I did a conscious recap of my day.
Ours is a country of stoic and hard working people; we strive and hurdle regardless of the barriers and hardship, ironically with a smile bearing countenance. But it doesn’t mean we don’t want things to be better.
Maybe I wouldn’t have spent so much time in traffic if there were functioning alternative means of transport or route. Maybe there won’t be a horde of hawkers on the road at the risk of being crushed if power is regular to the point of making some other business ventures profitable. Maybe the factory workers would have ceased being garri-and-groundnut-driven robots in the sight of their bosses–slave masters–if there were other opportunities for them. Lots and tons of several other maybes!
Maybe I wouldn’t have had reasons to write this.
I am @jossef69 on twitter
Would you like to share this?
Let your friends read too.
It’s just a click away ↓
To read the first episode of the story, please click HERE
* * * * *
After the successful mission of carting away some things in bags, and in the process killing us softly, they left the building. We waited for a few minutes and then followed suit. It was like World War Z; everyone scrammed at different directions to safety.
The ATMs and walls were already thoroughly perforated and there were no security men to maintain order; they must have done the bolting first. Order can only be maintained when there’s at least an existing trace amount of order in the first place. I was so clueless I didn’t know what’s next to do. . . but something told me exactly what to do. It sort of commanded me.
Noise soared again, louder than in the previous episode. The fleeing robbers were confronted by policemen some far away distance from the bank and a fresh shooting spree ensued. Gunshots sang bass, tenor, and lots of terror. I was more confused as my reflexes betrayed me. I ducked and covered my head with my hands, as if they were made of Kevlar.
In my crooked position I saw a big man well fitted right under a low saloon car but I wasn’t mused, only God knows how he made it there. Someone fled past me at full throttle. Right before my eyes a man speeding on a bike crashed; he was hit by a bullet not really meant for him and that was all.
Immediately, fresh shots of adrenalin invaded my bloodstream. Apart from the fatal force of bullets, the accompanying sound in open air was capable of deregularizing menstruation or inducing a purge. A friend confirmed the former, I did the latter. Without further thinking I tarzan-ed into a very deep gutter legendary for its horrible smell, slimy viscous rubbish and flies the size of kolanut. Who cares? This was the same gutter I couldn’t even cross on my way to the bank.
Although I’d hit my leg in the course of my stunt, I felt nothing. Truly, superhuman abilities develop in the face of crisis. The slimy inconvenience rose to my ankle but I didn’t feel it a bit, neither did the nauseating smell get to me. Apparently my brain had prioritized, survival in this current danger ranked highest, other conflicting senses died.
Somewhere in between the bank and my present location I must have lost my shoes. I couldn’t even fathom where the Phantom phone I got two days earlier was. My wallet was AWOL too. These were the leasts of my worries though, safety is all that matters.
I was in this state for almost half an hour or more, wading through the thickness and crawling under culverts the entire time. A few others joined and trailed behind me. I felt them but I didn’t look back to count or say hello. I must have covered what seemed like half a kilometre sub-surface, sometimes near submerged, doing the path-finding and clearing my way with the only available tool—my hand.
Finally, I got through and crawled out. The fresh clean air at the surface almost knocked me out but reality held me in place. I surfaced at a market and it was all scattered, literally. Fresh red peppers ventured into meat stalls, palm oil connived with vegetable oil in a flowing spree, vegetables padded the ground for onions to roll over, containers upturned and freed their contents, grinding machines continued attrition with no one to put them off. . . everywhere was in a mess. I was mussed myself. The market was deserted, its occupants in a hurried journey of later return.
Kelechi later told me she said Psalm 23 for nothing short of twenty-one times while she was in the bathroom. She was soapy the whole time. Her heavy pregnant sister became energetic after the first round of repeated shots. Third trimester is just a term, energy and agility findeth all.
Who would’ve thought that the 116kg—if not more—Mr Kunle could climb the kind of fence he climbed? Who would’ve thought Mama Chisom would scurry away from her dear provisions store leaving everything? The same woman who won’t sell a tin of rubbish on credit. She later claimed she did it for her child’s sake, but she left Chisom behind in the first place. Weird.
Who would’ve thought I could be stoic enough to withstand odours at least forty-two times stronger and more pungent than Pa Jones’ (name changed) ground-tearing
fart releases? Who would’ve thought my claustrophobic self could fit conveniently in gutters and culverts? And My Vivian in prospect. Chai! Who would’ve thought I’d let her go, just like that? Painful!
I did the ordinarily un-ordinary. The possibly impossible things. But I know why. They were necessary.
Bullets. Fear. Survival. . . and the magical connections.
There is one funny yoruba statement I’ve heard several times on the street: Amugbo l’oko aje, which means that a marijuana smoker is a witch’s boss. In my opinion, nothing can be more real.
In some local communities, there usually are some set of old women generally tagged witches, not because they have visible wings or because they’ve been caught drinking blood, cooking viscerals. . . but because their “impacts”—yes, impacts—have been felt in one way or the other.
Forget Harry Potter kind of witchcraft/wizardry, these witches don’t need a broomstick to fly. Long thing! They just lift up and reach Mach4 before you can pronounce the ‘M’. Awesome aerotechnology right? In such communities, they are generally avoided as well as respected, from afar of course. . . except you have a better technology.
Now, let me introduce you to another personality.
Despite the foregoing, the ignition of a thick wrap of the “wonder weed” on the lips of a ganja-man, followed by some consistent deep down inhalations are all it would take to change the situation around. That thing gives them (weed men) the ability to go into night mode even by day, slap supposed witch senseless, give her a warm forced hard-reboot, and then forget the straight “night flight” and imminent blood sucking.
It just makes them do things that are seemingly impossible, irrational, risky. . . or insane.
So do bullets.
When a colleague heard the joke about a [bloody] civilian and a Mopol sometimes back he never knew fate was already cooking something up for him as well, big time. The said civilian was told by the man in uniform to get into their SUV during a raid but he refused, until that just one (one is very enough, two would be disastrous) once-in-a-lifetime-pooah-sounding strong slap hit him where it mattered most. Trust force men na. It was said that he complied straight up and then claimed that some unknown voices brought a new command “enter” at both infrasound and ultrasound levels.
His ordeal took a different shape. He narrates:
On this beautiful morning, the weather was great just like every other perfect days. I’d planned to visit a friend in the next town. I felt the need to have some cash on me so I made my way to the bank. Typical of many banks in the town, two of the three ATMs were on leave, displaying messages I hate reading. I was really annoyed. The thought of staying on the long queue alone could cause an abortion so I decided to move into the banking hall.
The frown on my face disappeared—by evaporation or sublimation I couldn’t tell—when I saw this voluptuous figure eight-ish young miss. All my worries fled and an euphoria took over as I began a soft melodious whistle in a glaring moue. She was in a tight fitting denim and a light shirt revealing enough of her anterior
resource endowment, plus a spectacles that made her just perfect. Our eyes met and I briefly smiled, but she simply looked away.
I’m a good looking dude, the type that dresses to kill always, even when my destination is the loo. As you would expect, I like ladies; pretty ladies that can make one want to stop being a Reverend father and get married immediately, or think of divorce if married, also immediately. This lady (let’s call her Vivian) was a typical example so I advanced to do my duty of knowing her. Before I could finish my first sentence in my best available accent, she curtly replied in a rather better accent, “Don’t bother chap, it’s not happening”.
I shook within, trying my best not to mouth the “Hoin! Kilode?!” that was all over my mind. This girl is rude, but I’d like to get to the nude, among other things. Her response was silencing but I didn’t. I can’t. I reloaded and almost released, then it happened.
Apparently some persons had loaded something strong. Something stronger.
Just like in the movies, the glass windows and doors came down crashing, bulbs exploding, and the noise, deafening. The building shook like it would implode. I could faintly hear the sound of dropping shells and the shouts and screams of fleeing customers but my heart beat sounded louder. Nobody told me to lose the height and go down very low. Sweet Vivie had already beaten me to it regardless of the high heels. Her reflexes are definitely well fed.
“Everybody down” rented the air. I was already down. “Don’t make me lose my temper” followed. Ogini kwa? You won’t lose this temper o. L’oruko Jesu you won’t. Vivian, the girl I thought was likely Beyoncé’s cousin and incapable of anything local mumbled “Mogbe!” (“I’m doomed”). At that point I knew doom was really somewhere close.
Ironically, in the midst of the ordeal, funny things were happening. But the mirth won’t come. Fear is cruel brethren! Sweat beads trickled down my body even as the AC blew cold breeze, I suppose fear and heat are related in a way. Then and there I realised how culturally diverse we are. Different languages and corresponding numerous exclamations and names of God poured concurrently. “Chimo!” joined “Osanobua!”, “Jehovah!”, “Jcheesox!” and “Allahu!” followed. My very own “Jesu!” was resounding.
A man at a corner was speaking something I couldn’t understand, it was very foreign. I dare not raise my head to know who he was but he was obviously shaking, peeing too perhaps. A few seconds passed before I made out the verse turned mantra: I shall not die but live to declare the glory of God.
I tapped into his anointing but my mouth didn’t move (my mind did), not after he was silenced by the butt of a gun. Silence reigned. No one had to write names of noise-makers, the sound from the clash of two titans—a head and a butt—was enough. True he didn’t die, but I’m certain he won’t live very perfectly either to declare anything within the next few days that followed.
Vivian was scared senseless. She was already all over me, oblivious of the fact that her softness was entirely on the same guy she just “shush-ed”. Maybe she knew, but at that point it didn’t matter. Strange. On a very good day I should be feeling it and enjoying myself, but I was just numb. Very numb. Her spectacles was mysteriously about eight feet away, close to a woman who hugged her bag like it was her saviour. The woman had lost her wrapper in the process but she wasn’t missing it I’m sure, she probably didn’t even notice.
Minutes seemed like hours. Seconds took longer to count. Moments later it was over.
So we thought.
The story continues. . .
Happy birthday to Adewoyin Tolulope.
Wishing you the best Sis.