(2 weeks before present day)
“Oga teacher! Yeeee Mo gbe o! Mo daran!….” Norah screamed on top of her voice as she found oga teacher on top of another woman. When she looked closer she discovered who the woman was – Qui
Oga teacher scrambled to his feet and lunged for Norah, trying to cover her mouth with his palms but Norah shrugged free and let out another yell.
“Haa! I don die o! Q! I go kill you today.” She jumped on Quin, still struggling to cover her nakedness on the bed, and made for her throat with only one thought to kill her.
“You dey craze. Na only you dem do good thing for?” said Quin as she fought back ferociously. She clawed and pulled at Norah’s hair with equal rage and passion. She pushed Norah so hard that she lost her balance and fell off her chest…….
….. Norah woke with a start, shaking like a leaf…
She yawned as she tried to recollect where she was. She looked around and would have gotten confused but for the shirt she saw hanging from the window sill; Oga teacher’s shirt. She was in his room. Oga teacher was still in school but she was in his room awaiting his return.
Her dream; yes, her dream was nothing but an afternoon dream.
Yes, an afternoon dream.
(1 week before present day)
Boiyi walked into the uncompleted building wondering what kind of business Musiliu could have called him for. He wondered why Musiliu could not have called for the meeting in an open space. Had Musiliu not been a very close friend and brother he would not have honored the meeting. Time, for Boiyi, was money and every minute spent away from the Motor Park was like money jetting away on an aircraft.
The building was quiet and empty. The only sign of life within the building came from the grasses that grew from the cracks on the unplastered walls. The building sounded hollow and eerie as he called Musiliu’s name repeatedly on the top of his voice. Something about the place seemed unnatural. It gave him the creeps. He looked around and suddenly he started to itch in unmentionable places. He made a dash for the entrance/exit only to bump into someone. The impact bounced him back and he fell flat on his back.
Overcoming his surprise as quickly as it came he jumped to his feet, his eyes darting around as he looked for another way to escape but that was also cut out as four more people jumped into the room from separate windows blocking all possible exits. His mind filled up with dread as he stared at them. They were all tall, hefty, muscular and wicked looking. They all looked like retired weight lifters. His mind started dancing around as he tried to figure who he must have crossed his path to set him up.
One of the men came closer to him and slapped him hard across the face. The weight of the slap lifted him off the ground and he flew across the room only to land in front of another man, who kicked him right back into the centre of the room. So far no words had been spoken. Just one slap and one kick was need enough for Boiyi to raise his voice and scream like a mad woman whose baby was just snatched.
“Yeee! Eti mi o! Kini mo se? Broda ejo kini mo se?” He pleaded as another slap landed across his face from behind, temporarily blinding him.
Then the beating started.
A loaded cabstar truck drove into Biafra Republic with a loud noise. It stopped right in front of the entrance. Two people descended from the passenger side of the truck – a man and a woman. While the man headed for the back of the truck with the driver who had also alighted, the woman dangled a single key as she walked into the passage of BFQ.
The man, Kris, walked out of the compound towards Mama Enah’s shed.
“Good afternoon Madam”
Mama Enah recognized him immediately. “Good afternoon brother.”
“Yes ma. I hope say you still remember me”
“Haba how I no go know you. Shebi na you oga caretaker carry come last week come show house”
“Yes ma, I be the one” Kris said, beaming with smiles.
“Una don move come?”
“Welcome o!” Mama Enah stood from her stool and walked out of the shed towards the gate entrance with Kris. “Choi! This one wey una move come for inside hot sun, your wife nko?”
“She don go open door inside. Abi wetin man go do?” Kris said. Suddenly he stopped and said “Abeg make I quick quick take I shot before my wife comot for inside room” He winked conspiratorially and smiled again.
Mama Enah got the message, smiled and led the way back to her shed.
“My name na Kris” The new occupant said between mouthful of ‘paraga’.
“Hmm Mr. Kris. Me I be Mama Enah. Na me own this shed and this area.” She threw hands out to emphasize the entire street. “If una need anything make I know I go helep una arrange am” She smiled showing her brown teeth.
“OK Mama Enah. Thank you o! Make I go inside now, I go see you later. Thank you o”
“Ehen, no problem Mr. Kris, greet your wife o!”
Ajiri hissed as he rued his missed chance.
He could not believe that he missed out ‘scoring’ with Quin the previous night. He could not believe he had let her walk away freely the previous night. As he laid on his bed that morning he wondered what must have gotten into him. He wondered why she would also have toyed with his emotions and when his mind was set she let him down swiftly – sharply.
They had been friends for four weeks and things had gone smoothly between them. He closed his eyes as he remembered their lunch together. Quin was a good cook; she had prepared Chinese rice and sauce with prawns. The food had been really enjoyable despite that he spent the rest of the afternoon fighting his zipper every fifteen minutes on the latrine. He had learnt a lot about her during that first lunch. He could call it their first lunch together despite it not being official.
They had steadily built a friendship that metamorphosed into an unspoken relationship. It has been a quiet and secret one, because both never wanted other neighbors to find out about it, although he was not sure if Mama Enah knew. The woman always looked as if she knew everything. Honestly it was safe to assume she did, with all the stories that made her stall their base. The relationship was a sweet one that did not transcend beyond occasional meal together in Quin’s room mostly evenings, when she returned from work. After two weeks the first making out occurred; it was neither planned nor unplanned, it just happened one very long and cold night after watching a romantic Nollywood movie. Quin in her romantic-movie-aftermath mood had snuggled closer to Ajiri to ward off the cold but ended up kissing his hemp-stained lips instead and before you could say John Doe – his hands were already groping his way around.
Making out from that point had been easy, but it never went beyond that. Anytime he wanted to ‘advance beyond reasonable doubts’ she would sit up and look as if he wanted to commit the most heinous of all crimes. Last night was worse; when he tried, as usual, to do an excursion he was boldly rebuffed. Worst of all was that Quin picked her bible and started to preach to him.
“Shuo! Babe wey just make out??!!!” He was surprised!! Really surprised!! And while he was fighting his needs she was busy ranting off words of the Bible which when entered his right ear they didn’t even wait to settle in his brain before running out of the left. He had gone to bed that night needier than before. Ajiri hissed as the dull ache of his need once again rose to the surface.
And to spoil the whole show ever since he had started to assume Quin was his girlfriend, although not official, he had stopped looking for other ‘oloshos’. Now he had to do something before his testosterone ran him mad.
To calm his urge he needed someone. The only option he had was his Oloshos. He would have to go get one fast but first he needed some cups of Mama Enah’s paraga. He rose from his bed, picked a shirt from his cloth hanger and stepped out of the room.
The Boiyi who stepped out of his room and headed for the toilet was a pitiful one. He was in a very sorry state. He limped on one foot and held a crutch under one arm. He wheezed with pain as he dragged his body to the toilet. After a few steps he paused to catch his breath. He still wondered what he could have done to deserve the beating. The people who beat him just did, without saying a word. When they were sure he had had ‘enough’ they left him half dead and badly battered in the uncompleted building and that was the last he knew. The next time he opened his eyes, he was in Oke-Ado hospital.
He reached out his hand as his right ear itched but he quickly dropped his hand and the effort caused him to wince. Apart from the slits for the eyes and round holes for ears and the opening for the mouth, his head was totally wrapped in bandages. With his ‘Jalamia’ he could easily have passed for a mid-eastern but for his complexion.
He tried to quicken his pace and the urge to ‘poopoo’ hooke’ him more. How he would get his trousers off was another issue but he worried himself more with getting to the toilet first.
Despite his pains he vowed in his mind to get to the root of whoever did this to him. He was initially angry at the fact that Musiliu had set him up to be beaten but when Musiliu had blatantly denied ever calling him he knew that the whole thing smelt of a huge set-up. Musiliu had promised him that he would help him get to the root of the matter. Even Boiyi himself will not rest until he knew who did it. He would know the person, whether by hook or crook, and he would surely take his pound of flesh.
Unknown to him, while still deeply sunk into his thoughts, his crutch had already pinned a part of his ‘Jalamia’ to the ground, as he tried to lift the leg on the side of the crutch he slid, lost balance and momentarily hung off the ground before crashing heavily to the ground.
‘Yeeee!” He yelped as the pain registered in his brain. The pain was so much that a fully grown man bursted into tears and wept like a baby.
Boiyi’s scream got to Wemimo in her room and she rushed out. She found him sprawled on the ground like a cat with a torn thigh. She rushed to him in mock pity.
“Awww baby pele.” She crooned and she lifted him upright by his waist.
Boiyi could not respond, he continued weeping, silently cursing whoever had done this to him.
“Aye eni to se eleyi fun mi ma baje da nu ni”
“Ahh baby ma sepe mo now, epe o daa o!”
Wemimo left him as soon as he regained his footing. He thanked her, unable to hide his embarrassment at crying, and walked off in the direction of the backyard.
As soon as Boiyi was out of sight she bursted into laughter, holding her sides as the laughter rocked her deep.
“Idiot! Mumu! Oloshi! You just dey start. By the time I finish with you ehn, you will know me better” she hissed and headed back to her room.
Boiyi was not sure if he heard right, but he was sure he heard someone laugh. And the laughter sounded like Wemimo’s but the pain he felt as he kept on walking was enough to occupy his mind. A few steps further he could not remember if anyone had laughed or it was his mind playing silly tricks on him.
Ajiri sat down on one of the benches in Mama Enah’s shop. He brought out a pack of cigarette, pulled out a stick and lit it. He smiled at Mama Enah who had been watching his every move.
“Mama Enah Mama Enah” Ajiri hailed “How far now?”
No response. She just kept on watching him.
“Mama Enah, my body no too dey ok jare. How you be?”
No response still, only a slight look of irritation on Mama Enah’s face.
“You no dey answer me abi? Shey na because of wetin you follow me talk last week abi?”
No response still.
“Ok I go give you answer today today, that one do you?”
Wide grin from Mama Enah.
“Ehen na now you dey talk. Since all these while wey I dey talk wey you no answer me.” Then she became very benevolent “Oya wetin you want?”
After the sixth cup of paraga, Ajiri was too drunk to have noticed the liquid mixture Mama Enah brought out from under the table on which she did her mixtures. While he was busy ranting of on the situation of the nation she added a portion of the liquid to his seventh cup and passed the cup to him.
Na so kasala bust o…