flat 22 (6)

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Uju came closer to me as she gave me a hug – this she usually does anytime she is in my apartment and wants to retire to her room for the night. I accepted her embrace warmly and she pressed on tightly till I could feel her soft bosom on my chest; I felt a pinch of guilt that someone other than Ebo could make me feel this calm after a long day. Well this could not be infidelity; it would be rude to rebuff a lady that has gone through so much. Her fragile but firm body was a thing to behold. I contemplated where to drop my hands – if I placed them on her back, how would I balance this affection without compromise?

Uju was all the while very warm as one of her hands caressed the length of my back while the other was on my chest. While I was still struggling with the warmth of her embrace and the confusion in my head as to the morality of such pleasure, she gave me a kiss – It was short, blissful and purposeful and I was terribly in torment. Since I met Ebo no one has ever made me feel this way. It was dark, but I saw the light from her soul through her eyes. She rubbed my lips with her thumb, kissed me and caressed my lips.

“Okey no worry, everything go soon settle down, dem go soon allow us enter compound, bad as e bad tomorrow we go…”

‘Grin grin’ my phone started buzzing. I picked it up and it was Ebo.

“Sorry dear I am on my way, I was trying to make sure everything was settled, before I started coming”

“OK love, you know it is past 10, I am getting tired” she yawned, “I was thinking we could you know, play before I go to bed”.

You see play for Ebo implied many things depending on who she was talking to. When Ebo uses the ‘play’ word in a conversation with me, she is trying to spend some alone time with me. She wants to curdle, kiss and sometimes wants me to fondle with her breast. We never had sex as we are both Christians but something tells me that this may not be for long. It is at moments like this I thank God that I didn’t have a house befitting enough for Ebo to feel at home in. Though she pretends that my room in FLAT 22 wasn’t an issue, I know she only tries not to be a burden; you know, make me comfortable as much as she can.

“Okey are you there? Hello…”

“Yes dear, I’d love to play too” I smiled,

She giggled “bad pastor, you are so spoilt”

“Hahahahahaha! Who spoilt me?”

“Ha me am innocent ooo”

“Indeed”, I responded

Uju feeling a bit jealous, started kissing me on my cheek in an attempt to distract me.

“Hello babe, let me call you back” I said, pretending to be vigilant.

“Uju, please stop it, I am in a serious relationship, don’t you know it is wrong for me to be with you like this?”

I took her hand from my back and placed it by her side as we were side by side at this point, leaning against the table with our bum as support. Uju was silent, she took her phone and purse from the table and walked into the street.

It took almost twenty minutes to walk from Toyin street in Oworoh to Queens street in Gbagada, Kofo estate. I saw Ebo waiting at the gate for me as I approached,

“Babe what are you doing outside?” I inquired

“Waiting for you genius” as she tugged my head and wrapped her arms around my neck kissing like her life depended on it. And when she finally did let go, she said, “I love you baby”.

“I love you too, let’s go inside before people start wondering what this homeless guy and chief Kofo’s daughter are doing on the street.” We laughed, making our way to the kofo’s residence.

“Babe your indomie is already cold by now, do you still want to eat?”

“No” I responded, “I ate some fries already”

“Oh really?” she said smiling: “I actually don’t have your indomie anymore, I gave it to uncle Kasa – referring to their gateman; I was worried that it would be too cold for you by the time you got here so I gave it to him”

“Oh I see” I said, smiling at her and holding her firmly by the crest of her waist line just before the bum. I took in her smell, God she was beautiful. Her night dress was a see-through gown but she was wearing a tank top and a bump short.

“Babyyyy, are you even hearing me at all?” she giggled as she tried to take my hands off, knowing where I was going with it behind her.

“Stop joor” she reprimanded with a glee.

“How do you want me to listen when you are so… oh my gosh”

“Hahahahaha!” she laughed, “silly boy, no playing tonight, daddy is upstairs. Come let me show you to Tunde’s room; you can stay there but make sure you leave very early tomorrow.”

I followed as she dragged me to the unoccupied mini flat. She took a key from her pocket, opened the door and motioned, “after you”. I walked in and lingered by the door even as she handed me the keys and placed her hand on my cheek.

“Are you sure you don’t want to come in? This is so suitable for play” I grinned and reached for her breast.

She moaned, “urghhh.”

Stepping back a bit to free her breast from my grip, she responded with the very lines I was desperately scared of: considering what was already happening inside of me –

“I know dear, but I am so in the mood right now and we have to exert self-control for both our good”.

“Gosh! This is not happening” I struggled not to let those exact words out.

Blowing me a kiss, she walked away with her back and said ‘good night.’

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Flat 22 (5)

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The seat was full, he thought maybe they would make an adjustment for him to sit but an inmate who was looking awkward stood up for him to sit, eyeing him with a territorial look. The type that was a bit disturbing.

“Now put that filth away, we dine at the kings table and we do not eat that” Razor said pointing to his plate.

As he said that, someone slid the plate to the floor. Nicely prepared steaming hot fried rice was served as they had their own cooler and drinks. Shortly after, Razor dropped by and placed his meat in Nurudeen’s plate clearing the food and plate on the floor at the king’s table.

The rest of the week was a bliss for Nurudeen. He no longer slept on the floor in his cell, now a constant bed mate of Razor. When it was harmattan season, he even got to bath with hot water.

One night when the inmates were fast asleep, Nurudeen was also asleep. Soon he was awakened by a touch on his groin. The hand kept moving, from his belly to his butt and back to his shaft. He was scared to speak, but he opened his eyes lightly, wishing it was a dream. He shut his eyes again but the more he shut his eyes wishing away this groping, the more intense it got.

Nurudeen shouted and kicked “stop!”

“Nurudeen”

“Boss” he struggled to respond

“Carry water go bathroom for me make I baff, I dey feel heat”

“Ok sir” Nurudeen replied as he hurriedly went to the bath area looked for a bucket and put some water in it and took it to the bathroom.

“Come join me” was the next thing Nurudeen heard as he was pulled in by the obviously stronger man.

Nurudeen tried to resist but his head was banged against the wall: Nurudeen groaned in pains. With a soap the bigger man moistened his shaft; pulling Nurudeen’s khaki down with one hand as another hand pressed his head against the wall, he defiled the anal hole till there was a glorious exhilaration. Nurudeen slid to the floor of the bathroom not minding the layers of slimy filth that were on it; he sobbed and sobbed.

“You are now my wife, no body go fit try you again” the man said as he began to wash vigorously like the sin was stuck on his skin.

Nurudeen was routinely sodomised and after every act it was like a wall of resistance was broken until he even began to long for it. Every night he cried in his sleep as he was taken over by guilt, he wore a forlorn look often walking around talking to himself.

“Nurudeen Bello…” announced the warden, “…you have a visitor”.

As Nurudeen opened the chief warden’s office he began to cry as he saw his mother seated in the chair looking sad. His mum sprang up and hugged her son tightly

“Haaa okor mi, please dont cry” they both sobbed and held themselves in a warm embrace: mother not minding her son’s stench and son taking the moment in as much as he could.

“Madam no hugging” was what one of the wardens wanted to say but he saw a wave of hand by the chief warden and held back.

Nurudeen went back to the cell reminiscing the conversation between himself and his mom.

“My husband, no let this people scatter your mind oo, you be better pikin. Omo dada, very intelligent, na bad thing happen”.

Nurudeen wanted to tell his mum about everything, but he couldn’t do so as the wardens were present. His thought process was interrupted when Dagger stopped him,

“Come iyawo, where you dey since? Razor wan baf: I don drop him water for am; he dey wait for you” he said this letting out an evil grin.

Nurudeen knelt down in the bath room, took Razor’s penis in hand and then began to stroke gently; sliding the turgid organ in his mouth, he sucked it like he was eating a banana without teeth.

“Urh, urh, yes, yes” moaned Razor.

In that moment when Razor was in ecstatic oblivion, Nurudeen deepened his canine blade into the swollen penis and bit on it as hard as he could. Razor screamed hitting had on Nurudeen, sending jabs to his head- each accompanied with further sinking of Nurudeen’s teeth in his skin.

“Jesus, my god” he said as he suffered in pain, “please, please, ohhhh yaayy!” he groaned.

Nurudeen received the punches, each earning him a swell and a cut on his face but he didn’t let go till Razor’s fragile penis gave way- a part with Razor, the other half in his mouth. Flesh, blood and cum was the taste in Nurudeen’s mouth as he spat and spat.

George Bush was first to arrive at the scene, “wetin you do?”

Nurudeen was quiet, wiping blood from his mouth and spitting. George Bush got some water from the bucket and rinsed Nurudeen, letting him drink and gurgle.

Holding him by the shoulders, he said to him, “oboy if you like yourself, run commot from here, no say pim to anybody”

As Nurudeen was about to leave, Bush held his hand, looked him in the eyes and said, “Jargo, your name na Jargo”.

Flat 22 (4)

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“Na him what?” an officer asked

Nurudeen was confused and scared as the boy began to point in his direction
“He was with them. The guys you are looking for, this is one of them. Earlier today, he bullied me and forcefully collected the money my uncle gave me to give to my mum”.
Three hoodlums had ran into one of the uncompleted buildings Nurudeen was coming from and one of them was dressed like him with a bandana.
“Ahh officer, na lie. Yaay! I no be anybody, abeg” Nurudeen pleaded.
“Shut up!” the officer said as he swept him into the air whit his boots.
Nurudeen landed like a falling beam.
“Officer…” the boy continued hysterically, “…check him pocket you go see knife”.
Immediately the officer did a brief search and brought out a pocket knife. Waving the knife in Nurudeen’s face he said, “so na you dey disturb the neighbourhood abi? Shey na your group be red skulls?”
“Yaaey, Yaeay, Yaeay” Nurudeen started crying. The thought of his mother made him weep even more. What made me come out today? Why did I ‘obtain’ this boy? were thoughts running through his mind. “Officer please I am innocent, I did not do anything, I just went in there to urinate” perhaps he thought that by speaking some good english, the policemen wouldn’t mistake him for a common criminal: but the ride in the back of the pickup was his last ride from freedom as his gaze was blurred by tears, sweat and blood.

“Animal in the court” came the sound of a prisoner heralding the entrance of new inmates to ward 207 of the Ikoyi prison.
“Nurudeen Bello”
“Yes…”
“Go in cell 5.”
Nurudeen shivered not because he was cold but because fear had consumed him; these days he has been in a constant nightmare whether he was awake or asleep and as a result, he slept very faintly. The police detention cell he was kept in before and during the trials were consistently crowded, the stench was unbearable. His new prison cell however seemed less crowded- they were four in the cell and they all had their beds. Nurudeen got in the cell and clung to the bars as the warder went on to apportion new inmates to their various cells. “Come iyawo, abeg comot from there, you dey block breeze” said one of the bulky prisoners occupying the bottom bunk. Nurudeen moved away from the entrance and crawled to the side of one of the bunks. He sat down put his arms around his folded knees and his head on them as he drifted to a short sleep.

Mr. Nurudeen Bello, considering the evidence against you and the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, you are hereby sentenced to

He saw himself falling and falling all of a sudden it began to rain and he woke up, opened his eyes he saw an inmate looking down on him with a cup of water in his hand and a grin on his face
“You don wake up iyawo?”
“Good morning bros, abeg my name na Nurudeen”
‘Hahahahaha and my name na George Bush, my friend carry broom jare, you think say I get your time?” he said tossing a broom at Nurudeen.
Nurudeen took the broom and began to sweep. He then realised that he was alone with this inmate. As he was cleaning the room the bell rang.

“Look here Nuru, come make we go chop, na dining bell be that”
Nurudeen went to take his meal and at the large dining area; inmates queued to collect their food and he took his. As he was going, someone slid his foot on his path and he tripped, spilling his food on the floor; some inmates began to laugh. As he stood up, he was given a broom to clean.
The next day, during the general labour period, someone called him and asked him to clean his portion. Nurudeen didn’t want to do it but he thought otherwise as he saw the sinister look on the face of his oppressor and knew that the consequences for refusal will be terrible. Getting by was difficult, he thought of his mum, he remembered the day he was arrested and what happened. “Smalley why you dey cry?” he was jostled out of his memory by a voice and he quickly ran his khakis across his face and stood up
“I no dey cry” he responded “I, I, I no dey cry” as phlegm gathered in his throat and he tried hard to swallow.
“Look here Nuru, life hard but you be man, no let this place change you” he said raising Nurudeen’s face by his chin, “you hear me so” he added emphatically.
The rest of the inmates in Nurudeen’s cell were sleeping except George Bush’s neighbour. The Ikoyi prison served special meal to its prisoners every Sunday, this initiative was sponsored by the Anglican Church. So every Sunday, two cows are killed to feed the inmates but even at that, the meals served to the prisoners were still very appalling with almost a cube-like piece of meat to each inmate.

As Nurudeen sat down to eat his food, a lanky looking inmate walked to him, “where you, you never pay your tax”
Before Nurudeen could form a response, the inmate dipped his hand into his plate and took the meat tossing it straight to his mouth.
“This thing wey una dey do no good ehh” said an observing inmate who was sitting from across Nurudeen’s table.
‘Everything alright epa?” said a warden as he approached the table.
The inmate placed his hand on the shoulders of the warden, “everything is ok ajuwaya” chewing as he walked away.
The next day at bath time Nurudeen stepped in the bathroom to have a bath when the lanky inmate took his bucket of water and said, “Dagger wan shit”
“But, but…’
“But wetin? You wan die abi?”
“Drop the water, if you need to use the toilet, go and fetch your own water” the whole bathroom went silent.
“You say wetin?”
“You heard me”

Nurudeen was a bit surprised as the quiet roomie, George Bush’s neighbour spoke. Dagger dropped the water heavily to the ground and the bucket broke. He walked slowly with menacing intent as he tried to grab his challenger’s neck but his action landed him a head butt and he fell to the floor holding his bleeding nose. There was continuous pounding on Dagger’s head and stomach till he had no resistance left in him.
Inmates formed a circle and were shouting “Razor! Razor!”
A scene of hard naked men over a helpless victim on a slimy wet floor was not what would have made Nurudeen’s day some six months ago, but right now he was excited. Someone tried to grab Razor away from the bleeding Dagger but it was no use. Razor eventually stood up gaining his balance, gave one final kick and spat on his victim.
“Now make una hear me, any of una wey try this boy again go know how far.”
“And as for you…” looking down at Dagger, “…you go dey give am your meat everyday wen dey serve meat till I say otherwise, you hear me?” he said as he tried to kick Razor but the wardens rushed him and dragged him away.
It is common place that when inmates go out of hand and there is a scene of the nature just witnessed, the prison would be on lockdown and the fomenters of the brawl would be thrown in the shoo (solitary confinement)- at least this is a description in the movies of the consequences of a brawl.

But this was not the case at the Ikoyi prison or was it because it was Razor? Was it because even the shoo as a result of overcrowding, is also housing none shoo candidates?
At dinner, Nurudeen took his meal and as he was going to sit, he saw Razor, and decided to go show some appreciation.
“Thank you for earlier sir, you saved me” he said as he held his food in his hand.
“Oh don’t worry” Razor responded with a wave of hand.
Nurudeen was about turning when he heard, “Oh take your sit, come join us”

Flat 22 (3)..

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“Nurudeen! Nurudeen!”

“Ma”

“Where you? You don go sell the agidi wey I tie put for tray?”

“Mama, I no see am”

“This pikin, you dey crase abi? You no know say na wetin I go use take feed you till that your useless papa go fit get sense go work?”

“Mama Nurudeen na you be useless person: wetin sef? Your own don too much”

“Not again” Nurudeen said as he snuck out of the compound into the streets, he was tired of his parents always nagging. The Adewales weren’t the most indigent in the neighbourhood. However, something about surviving life is the willingness to fight but Ojo Adewale the supposed head of the Adewales had given up a long time ago. As a result, Nurudeen who used to be the brightest boy in St. Andrew’s Grammar School was now a notorious school thug.

“Hmm, where will I go to now?” He thought as he took out his bandana and tied it on his head.

He took his pocket knife: nothing too serious just a big size nail cutter that had some blades. His mum usually used it to peel orange.  On his way he saw a young lad rolling the rim of a bicycle with a stick; the rim rolled over Nurudeen’s feet and the little boy continued moving, not noticing what had happened.

Spashhh! Came the sound of a resounding slap.

“You dey crase?” Nurudeen said holding the boy to his throat and giving him another blow.

Before the kid could realise what he had done Nurudeen had cleared him off his feet. At that point the money in his pocket fell off to the floor. Nurudeen quickly grabbed the notes gave the kid one last kick in his belly and took to his heels laughing as the kid was cried and groaned in pains.

Gbam gbam gbam! The sound on the door was loud and resounding

“Who be that?” A voice from inside inquired

‘Animal come open your door’ was Nurudeen’s response with an accompanied laughter and a grin. Sunday came out carrying his shirt on his shoulder, looking a bit flush and sweaty too.

“Madman why you wan break my door?”

“Hahahaha. Yeye” Nurudeen said as he brought out his loot, slapping it twice on his palm

“See jackpot” he added.

“Oboy gimme five” Sunday said raising his hand for a handshake but Nrudeen rebuffed his pleasantry.

“Commot there, sheybe na now you notice me? Abeg gimme chance” shoving Sunday out of the door way in an attempt to gain entrance in.

“Slow down nigga” Sunday said

“Oboy wetin na?” Nurudeen tried harder to get him off the way but Sunday was stronger and he prevailed against him.

Feeling defeated, Nurudeen looked down and noticed that Sunday’s fly was open.

He looked up and smiled, “Guy your post office open oo” he gave him a revealing wink with a smirk and continued:

“Baaastaaaarrrrd! shey u dey do rough play with Agnes, make him mama catch you first” they both laughed.

“Sunny, who be that?” was the call from inside

“Babe I dey come” motioning to Nurudeen, they set out into the street

“No tey ooo” the voice from inside responded.

Sunday put his arms over Nurudeen, ruffling him up as they went their way.

“Today, you go must site” Sunday said as he put his thumb and index finger together to his lips blowing imaginary smoke.

Nurudeen looked worried: his hands were shaking as Sunday gave him the smoking joint, puffing some thick smoke with edgy essence into the air. He took it in, thought about what could happen for a minute, recalled what Sunday had told him earlier, “this thing go scatter your brain, as in e go make you reason life wella, all your problem go vanish, dem go disappear…”

“And no forget…” Sunday said as he came closer to him, putting one arm on Nurudeen’s shoulder and the other hand on his groin “…this thing go dey fire.” He then gave out a laughter.

Nurudeen put the joint in his mouth, took a draw, puffed out smoke and started coughing. He felt light and a sudden calm came over him. And just like Adam knew good and evil after eating the forbidden fruit, Nurudeen knew things at a rate so much so that his body couldn’t cope with his mind: he kept hearing sounds of laughter, his vision was blur, he was hearing voices- voices from with out and within, he even thought he was floating. Suddenly he felt a vigorous shake and heard his name

“Nurudeen! Nurudeen!”

“Yes?” He managed to mutter an answer

“I dey go shit. No move o. I dey come”

“OK” he said and fell into a temporary slumber.

About an hour later, he woke up discovering he was alone and unable to have full recall of what had transpired. He got up from the floor and started heading home hurriedly; he decided to increase his pace and started running.

The smoke spot was an area of uncompleted buildings: he was enjoying the jumps from window to window as he grew in consciousness. The last jump that got him into the street was met by a team of men carrying guns.

“Stop there!” One of them said as the other shut into the air.

Nurudeen was paralysed as he knelt down and raised his hands up.

As one of the men approached him, he saw that he was wearing a black beret with a logo of guns and at that point, Nurudeen thought to explain himself

“Officer I no do anything”

He got a resounding slap from the mopol.

‘Sir, it appears that we have one of the suspects’ the mopol said dragging him to the side of the building on the street corner where some people were seated on the floor.

Nurudeen was about to sit when his eyes met with the kid he bullied and took some money from earlier on.

“Sir, it’s him! It’s him! Na him!”

FLAT 22 (2)…

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TWO

I took my phone to see what the time was; it had registered 7 missed calls – five from Uju, two from Ebo. I was meant to be with Ebo later today; oh Ebo, what a lady! She is the complete rhythm of my heartbeat. When we started back at NYSC camp, Ebo was a ruddy damsel, full of innocence and the customary naivety common amongst graduates of private universities especially those found in the west. She had a longing for God, she still has and her blind trust for people was both attractive and a thing of concern. I felt the need to defend her and in camp I called her my daughter, now she performs an alternate role in my life. The first time I saw her was at the camp well. We woke up early to get water and while I was going back with my fetch I met her sobbing as she panted in frantic sobs “who took my water …?”

“Hahahahahaha! Otondo! She just dey come abi?” I heard some man-o-war respond.
The light from her torch reflected on my face, I kicked a stone and lost my balance.
She started to apologize, “so sorry, I am very sorry, did your water pour? Are you alright?”
I tried to put on a smile as I responded, “no, not at all but I almost lost my water though. And yes, I’m alright.” How are you? Have you seen your water?
“No”, she cleaned her nose with the sleeve of her pajamas.
“It’s not the water that is even paining me now sef, it is the bucket. This is the third bucket I am buying in 6 days.” She said these, pointing the torch to the ground as she looked into the grass as though the bucket could be buried underneath.
“Errrmm I have an idea”, I said to her as she continued in her search rather hysterically. “Why not use my water, I would sort myself out?”
“Oh no please, I wouldn’t let you do that”
“Yes you would and you can keep the bucket” I said and turned my back on her and proceeded to the main lodge were I stayed.
I heard her try to call after me.

“Line by line” the bus conductor said, I was juggled out of reminiscing by a jab of the elbow by the lady sitting beside me,
“Oga your money”
“Oh sorry, how much?”
“200 naira” she answered.
I pulled my wallet and handed her the only 200 naira note left in it. I hissed at the desperate emptiness of my wallet and knew I needed to see Ebo.

“Iyanoworoh” shouted the conductor, “owah” chorused the passengers alighting. “Excuse me ma, I have to come down.” “Oh, ok” she said as she adjusted and I tried to squeeze through without rubbing her breast but her smile at me as I tried to do the pious alight was troubling.

The walk from the pedestrian bridge to Toyjn street was busy. Traders selling all kinds of merchandise from those selling pirated CDs to the mallams selling oranges, sugar canes and water melons. As I descended down the pedestrian bridge trying to maneuver the barrier separating the walkway from the highway, my tommy growled in an attempt to remind me that all I have had to eat was the meat pie and coffee I was given at the interview. As my hunger senses were heightened by the lady frying buns at one of the shanti kitchens, I savored the aroma and walked on salivating. Toyin street was very disruptive, I saw two police vans leaving the street filled with some faces that were familiar. I thought I saw Joe in one of the vans. I was going to keep looking but I got a call from Ebo.

“Hello”
“Hello dear, I have been calling all day, how did it go?”
“So sorry dear, the interview was grueling”
“Awwww sorry baby, have you had anything to eat?”

“Okey! Okey!” I turned around as I saw Uju grabbing my arm. I normally would have rebuked her but I saw the look of fear in her eyes as she dragged me into a nearby kiosk. “Police, police” she continued as she tried to go under a table.

“Hello are you there”
“Sorry babe let me call you back” I ended the call.

“What is it Uju?”
She looked left and right as if scanning for an undercover sniper. She spoke in hush tone, “police dey around, dem dey catch people for compound”. This was not the kind of stress I was up for after a long day.
“Wetin happen Uju?” I placed my hand on her shoulder as I tried to calm her from her paranoia. “Calm down, Oya tell me wetin happen”. She managed to talk still looking left and right and in hush tones,
“Na Jargo; e be like say him kill person, abi dem kill person for him room”
“What!”
“Shhh” she covered my mouth because my exclamation was too loud for her comfort.
“Abeg Wetin… You want make dem come catch us for here?”
“Oya wen this one happen?”
“I no know but e be like say na this morning dem for see the body for Ramat street”
“So how that one take concern us abi Jago?”
“Blood full for Jargo room and kondo dey for the room and blood dey on top the kondo”
I put my hand on my head.
“You no go fit sleep for compound today. Me, I dey go my friend house I just dey look incase police fit show”
“But I see dem dey go as I dey come”
“Ehhh na, dem don pack our compound people go but some of them when no wear uniform dey patrol the area”.
“Abeg I dey go” she said as she came closer putting her arms around me like I needed the comfort I initially gave her “sorry erhh, you my compound husband you don chop so? If no be say na this yeye police, I for cook better onugbu soup for you”
I smiled as I tried pulling away from her grip.
“Wait for me, I dey come” she disappeared into the street.
I retrieved my phone and called Ebo.

“Hello dear, sorry I was distracted, something came up”
“Really I heard someone on the background, who was it?” she asked trying to appear as casual as possible
“Oh that was Uju, she was telling me that my compound was raided by the police, in short I saw them being carted away as I was entering my street”
“Are you kidding me? What happened? Are you ok…? My God!” She was getting upset
“I am alright darling, I am just famished and I can’t sleep in the compound tonight as the cops are still combing the area”
“Oh, so sorry dear. What are you going to do now? Where are you going to sleep?”
As we were talking Uju came in bubbling with a nylon wrap, she placed it on the table. The scent of fried potatoes filled the air.

‘I don’t know” she paused for a while
“Come chop” said Uju as she taunted me with a stick of potato, waving it across my nose and slowly placing it in her mouth. A car’s light reflected across her face and I saw her teasing me with her smile.
“Okay you know what? Why not come over? I would try and fix you indomie, you hear?”
“Yes dear, thank you, love you”
“Love you too dear”
I put my phone in my pocket as I dipped my hand in the nylon and took about four potatoes at once, chewed and swallowed them like my life depended on it. The potatoes were spicy and sweet. As I ate, I started coughing and Uju brought out a sachet of pure water, tore it out with her teeth and handed it to me. She also gave me a rub on my back as I drank; I felt refreshed. She took out a piece of meat – kidney I guess, handed it to me almost feeding me, “take”. I took it from her arms and ate it.
“See, this one you no happy say I dey feed you, that your girlfriend dey try for you like me sef?”
I smiled and chewed, savoring it all the way.

 

FLAT 22 (1)

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“Madam I fit get pure water?” The heat from the lagos sun was biting into the shiny blue suit I was wearing. I didn’t have time to ponder on the enormity of fashion crime I had committed and was still committing. I didn’t even know why the lady on the panel was particular about my outfit.

“What’s your personal wardrobe style” she asked. I didn’t know I was been spoken to. I expected to be asked to sit or was I the one to ask them if I could sit? The other lady chuckled her laughter. I was confused. I didn’t know when I uttered “original Italian”. The label of my suit was still on. This was Dede’s wedding suit. He picked out the shiny blue. He is particularly eccentric and his reason for leaving the label on was because he wanted people to know the worth of the suit.

“Really, interesting” was what I got. I knew I was being treated to a torture of sarcasm but I took it in good faith. Bros Joe the only progressive guy in flat 22 didn’t fail to lecture me on the dos and donts of interviews. “No matter what always smile at them” he said. And smile I did.

The rest of the interview was like a rush of Abuja harmattan breeze. It came and went quick. I wanted to faint. No more like open the ground and let it swallow me. “Joe is an idiot walia” “who be idiot…? Abeg Oga take your water”

“Sorry ma, thank you ma” I said as I handed her 10 Naira note.

grand pa’s word on capacity

In those days before my father was born, when my grandfather was still a teenage boy, these events took place while he was yet an adult and it stuck. My grand pa grew up not knowing his father and mother -my great grand parents. So he was adopted at a young age…..

Odiniya was a spoilt child, chiefly because he was the only son from his mother’s side. His mother was overprotective of Odiniya, this maternal indulgence quickly turned Odiniya into a hopeless, unproductive misfit. Mama Odiniya wouldn’t let Odiniya join the other male children in the family chores because she felt Odiniya’s step brothers were callously cruel and would harm him. Understandably, she couldn’t bear to loose Odiniya to diabolic acts of house hold wickedness so she did all of Odiniya’s chores. In those days, the young males were given portions of farm land to cultivate by their fathers and after a set time, the father rewards the son with a hut, a wife, a male and female goat and another small portion of farmland for him to begin life with fending for himself and his new bride. So it wasn’t out of place for Odiniya’s mother to be perturbed because Odiniya has been skiped 3 times since he came of age on the issue of marriage. He wasn’t the youngest male of the Ekele’s clan, yet every known male was married save Odiniya. One day mama Odiniya decided to confront papa Odiniya on the matter. When the matter was brought before papa Odiniya, he told mama Odiniya to give him six months to give an appropriate response to her request.
goatman
Life in the Ekele Compound continued normally. One day, papa Odiniya came back from a journey and handed Odiniya a goat. He left instructions for Odiniya to care for the goat. As always, Odiniya’s mother was the one feeding the goat and giving it water. Soonest she took ill and couldn’t continue to fend for the goat. Due to malnutrition, and disease, the goat died. Weeks went on and papa Odiniya asked about the goat. Odiniya couldn’t give proper accounts or where about on the welfare of the goat. Like nothing happened papa Odiniya didn’t sweat it, he went on a second trip and on his return he brought back another goat and handed it to Odiniya, asking him to care for it.

Like the first one, Odiniya didn’t fend for the goat. Yes he fed it, and gave it water as he saw fit but he didn’t cater for its safety/security so the goat wandered astray. There was a popular village thief then who kept strayed animals, he was 3 huts away from the Ekele’s compound. As before, papa Odiniya asked for the  second goat and Odiniya lamented on how he fed the goat a night before but couldn’t find it the next day. Papa Odiniya was a man of influence so it wasn’t had for him to set up a search crew and off they went to the village thief’s compound, the number of goat he had were more than what he reported to the village vigilante. So the onus was for Odiniya to identify the goat when all the goats in the thief’s compound were paraded before him, but Odiniya couldn’t even identity his goat. Gentle papa Odiniya took the loss in good fate. Or at least that is what he seemingly portrayed,

Mama Odiniya got better, she recouped and at the set time she waited for a response to her earlier posed query, but non came forth. So she went to ask for the response from papa Odiniya, papa Odiniya looked her dead in the eye and said, “that son of yours is not ready for marriage and I doubt if he would ever be”. Odiniya’s mother burst into fits of spasmic tears. While she was wailing and about to cause a scene papa Odiniya grabbed her by the arm and in one swift spin said, “woman get a grip. If he cannot be responsible for a goat how can he carter for a woman  let alone her offspring”.  Yes Odiniya was biologically mature to copulate but he wasn’t emotionally competent to handle the various vicissitudes of  a woman. He was biologically mature to father a child, but he wasn’t mentally ready to parent one.

village

Well Odiniya went on to marry against the wise counsel of his father but just as the goats left him, none of his wives stayed, and Odiniya died single.