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Ajiri watched as Q arrived from work. His heart skipped a beat as she sauntered into the BFQ compound carrying a lot of shopping bags. Obviously, she was just returning from the market. He stood from his seat and walked … Continue reading
Oga teacher looked left and right as he peeped out of room seven. Although it was early morning he had to make sure no one was in sight. He looked around again as he stepped out of the room. He … Continue reading
Ladies and gentlemen,
Sorry for my long absence, it’s been due to one issue or the other. I really apologize for that. Now I am back with an explosive comedy-blog. The first season will run for 13weeks starting from today. The same story will be available on http://www.obajeun.com as the same time. Feel free to leave your comments. Looking forward to having them.
So I welcome you to the BIAFRA HEADQUARTERS or Biafra HQ or BFQ for short. It is called Biafra headquarters because it was so named by the owner, a wiry old Ibo man who was an advocate of Biafra republic during the civil war. Baba Biafra, like he was called at work then, had the foresight to gather his payoff from his not-so-lucrative railway job and build a twelve-room face-me-I-slap-you bungalow. He built the bungalow before returning to his homeland in the charcoal darkened city called Enugu. Now a caretaker (not living in the house) managed the house and remitted the rents into his account.
The BFQ building looked like the low-cost government project built in the 80s, despite that it was built in the mid-70s. It was situated around the not-so-noisy area of Ososami in Oke Ado. The BFQ is a fenced compound, with twelve rooms facing each other in sixes. The kitchens, toilets and bathrooms were located at the back of the house – detached from the main bungalow.
The kitchens, six twelve by fifteen rooms lined the left side of the backyard while the bathrooms and toilets, three each, lined the right side. The compound, despite its low cost look, was maintained by a rotational sweeping system developed and followed by the occupants of the house. The toilets and bathrooms were washed by a hired person as no one wanted to stoop as low as washing the toilets for the others. Since no one wanted to do the washing everyone steadfastly paid for the services of the wash-woman.
All rooms in the main building except rooms six, eleven and twelve were occupied. I would rather not introduce the occupants but would allow you meet them as the story unfolds. The BFQ compound was a fenced one, with one of the gates totally removed from its hinges. The damaged gate rested on the wall closest to the compound’s entrance. The other gate still hung on its hinges, but as it hung there it looked more like tatters adorning lunatic’s physique.
A shed stood in front of the compound. The shed, a popular one for the residents of the streets, was owned by one of the occupants of the BFQ – Mama Enah. In the evenings, the area would light up and people of all age and work would gather at the shed to swap stories and drink the sharply concocted herbs, soaked in dry gin or locally made whiskey called, paraga.
She was never in the shortage of customers. Neither was her stall short of rumors and stories flying around. If you needed to hear the latest stories ranging from who slept with who, to what was happening on the streets, be sure to stop by Mama Enah’s stall. You would never be disappointed.
Let us do a quick roll call of the occupants of the house:
Room 1 Baba Latifu, Mama Latifu, LatifuBaba Latifu – Retired Security man at an eatery. Diehard drunkard. Lives with wife and son, Latifu. Mama Latifu sells firewood and roast corn at Ojurin Alesinloye. Latifu, mechanic Adeoyo mech village.
Room 2 Oga TeacherOriginal name: Sunday. Soft spoken, easy going but has a penchant for women with big buttocks. Unclear why such an intelligent man lives poor.
Room 3 Quin LiOriginal Name – Ngozika but called Q by friends. New Occupant at the BFQ. Her Friend, Norah (Rm 7) helped her acquire the room. Hairdresser. Confused. Loves good things of life but handicapped by her religion. A critic and a hypocrite.
Room 4 AjiriOriginal Name Ladi. Works at Sumal. Formerly a street thug in Lagos before being ejected by a stronger opposition team. Heavy Hemp smoker.
Room 5 WemimoNew occupant at the BFQ. Polytechnic Student. Scammer. Beautiful. Intelligent. Loves Aristo.
Room7 NorahStudent, former student, whichever you can call it. Business centre operator. Writing UME for the 8th time. Unintelligent but sharp minded.
Room 8 Halyah & DeleHalyah, Original name Kamoru – Albino, Tailor, Womanizer.Dele – Jack of all trades, master of none. No one knows how he gets his money.
Room 9 Mama EnahOwner of paraga joint in front of the BFQ. Aproko. Mother of 4 children – all females. Temperamental and always spoiling for fight.
Room 10 BoiyiOriginal name: Morufu. Occupation: Agbero at Challenge Motor park. Formerly a high ranking thug at Oshodi motor park before relocating to Ibadan.
Now our story begins:
Q sang as she swept the room. The paint on the walls had eventually dried up. Now she could sweep the room and arrange her belongings. She looked around the room with satisfaction. At least over here she would not have to worry about her mother and her over-possessive attitude. She also would not have to worry about Goddie, the stupid fool her mother felt was the best for her.
She muttered a word of prayer for Norah, her secondary school mate who helped her acquire a room in the compound where she lived. She just could not thank Nora enough. And now she looked forward to meeting every occupant of her new compound. She would organize fellowships and preach to every one of them. She would show the world that it could be a better place if they accepted Jesus into their lives.
She sorted the curtains from her bed sheets and smiled as she threw the bed sheets on the bed. The bed sheets and curtains were made from the same material. ‘To-match’ so it was called.
She paused as a child wailed from outside her room. She stopped to listen as the wails increased instead of reducing. She dropped the curtain she was about to hang on the window sill and opened her door. The wails which had grown a pitch higher came from the room opposite hers. Mama Enah, the woman who owned the paraga stall outside the compound, was the occupant of the room. Q stepped out of her room and walked towards Mama Enah’s room. It was a good time to meet one of the neighbors, or so she thought.
Boiyi trembled as Wemimo placed her order.
“1 bowl of ice cream, I big bowl of popcorn, 2 pieces of chicken laps, 2 pieces of meat pie”
“Anything else?” the waiter asked.
Wemimo shook her head and turned to her new boyfriend.
“Sugar wont you place your order”
Boiyi would rather die than admit that he would have to break the bank to make any additional order. He forced a smile as he said:
“Baby no o! I no dey chop. I get runny stomach. My belle dey worry me no be small. Waiter abeg gi’ me table water. That one don do me.”
They both went to a table where they sat opposite each other. Wemimo ate her food while he drank is water.
“Baby please don’t forget the blackberry you promised to buy for me o.” Wemimo said between mouthfuls of chicken.
“Ehn? Wetin you talk?” Boiyi asked, obviously confused.
Wemimo paused, looked straight into his eyes and sulked up like a kid.
“Baby have you forgotten that you promised that you would buy me a BOLD 4?”
Boiyi could not believe his ears. Blackberry ke? Bold 4! For where? He could not remember when exactly he told her that. He could not remember everything. All he remembered was that he had lied to her so much that he could not remember everything he said again.
“I no remember say I tell you say I go buy you phone o!”
Wemimo pushed her plate away and pretended to be really hurt.
“Baby are you saying I’m lying, are you?”
“Shuo! E reach that one?” He thought to himself. But aloud he said:
“Haba babe, no worry I go buy you the blackberry. You don hear?” He patted her hands across the table.
Wemimo smiled and drew the tray closer again as she said:
“Not just blackberry o; I want the bold 4 white”
Boiyi nodded and plastered a fake smiled, which looked more like a grimace, on his face
“Choi! This babe wan kee me! Walahi if I no do the thing tonight I go rape am. If she try spend my money come run, Walahi I wee show her pepperi.”
When the waiter announced their bill, Boiyi almost fainted. A bill of N4,200 was too heavy for a semi-literate like him. Even after shouting and hustling for passengers as an agbero from morning till evening at the garage, his take home most times was never above five thousand. And now he was about to expend a day’s take home in one sitting. He paid the money and watched as Wemimo munched away while he sat there to watch her eat.
Wemimo was a new occupant in his compound – BIAFRA HQ. She moved in less than three weeks before and had always snubbed everyone in the house especially the boys. It took a while for her to notice him and when she did, she had a soft smile which turned his head. Ever since she noticed him he had gone the extra mile to take care of his looks. He stopped his fellow ‘agbero’ friends from visiting him at home. He even went to the extent of reducing his intake of ‘Mama Enah’s paraga’ from ten shots a day to one or two tumblers every evening, to reduce the odor of alcohol on him when she walked past. The only snag was his English. Wemimo spoke with good diction but his was terrible. Times like this was when he regretted ever dropping out of school.
When he zeroed in on Wemimo, he had done it with so much precision that even he was surprised. He had to be ‘sharp’ else he would have lost out to the likes of Ajiri or even the crazy albino in Room eight – Halyah and his friend Dele.
Boiyi snapped out of his thoughts to continue staring at Wemimo as she ate her meal. When he finished his water and he could take it no longer, he excused himself and stepped out of the eatery. He crossed over to the other side of the road, searched for a roast corn seller, bought two.
“Another woman pikin no fit kill another pikin mama. Even me sef na Nokia torchlight I dey use wey I wan buy bb for woman. I don enter am. Na to finish everything remain no” he muttered to himself as he sat down by the roast corn seller to eat the purchased corns.
Ajiri soared on the clouds as the excitement kicked in. He closed his eyes and tapped the right side of his head with his right palm as a part of the smoke found its way out of his nose. He slowly exhaled, delicately rolling the residual smoke over on his tongue before eventually releasing it to diffuse into the air. He took another drag and clucked his tongue, locking the smoke under his tongue.
“Omo! Eleyi make sense gan-an!” He said in his characteristic gruff voice. “Ahhh! Ni bo ni Wasiu to ri eleyi na!”
He held the claro in his hand, taking a forceful drag before extinguishing it. He smacked his lips as he went giddy with uninhibited excitement. He lolled back and forth on his seat, half closing his eyes to capture the last minutes of the fading excitement.
He heard as the door beside his room open. He ran quickly to the door, opened it slightly and peeped out. He was right on the moment. The lady living next door stepped out of her room and walked across the passage to Mama Enah’s door.
The lady moved in three days before and had been cleaning and arranging her room since then. She sang very beautiful and melodious Christian songs every morning. May be she was an ‘SU’ or wasn’t that what they called them?
He watched as she knocked on the door to Mama Enah’s room. His eyes strayed to her behind. It made real sense. She was fair in complexion. Unlike the Albino – Halyah, living in room seven, this babe was like the correct ‘half caste’ that read the news on NTA every night. He felt his loins gather fire and his mind began to stray towards unwanted thoughts.
“Shucks! I must to get this babe by all possible means” He thought to himself.
As Mama Enah unlocked her door Ajiri’s face went from admiration to loathing. The woman who peeped out was nothing short of ugly. She was bare from the shoulders up and had a dirty wrapper adorning a fatty shape from under her armpits down. She held a cord-like whip in her left hand and sweated like she just stepped out of a bakery. Ajiri stared her detestably. The troublesome woman had always had a thing for Ajiri and would not rest until she had safely seen Ajiri in her bed.
Just the past week, she had managed to wriggle into Ajiri’s room under the guise of helping him bring in his clothes before the rain made them wet again. But for his athletic build and the evasive tactics he had developed right from his time at the Oshodi motor park, she would have succeeded in pinning him down to the bed. His room still smelt of her.
He withdrew into his room as Mama Enah noticed him and gave him a toothy smile. He tried to take her off his mind by continuing his ‘jonsing’. That was what he called his hemp smoking. At least it helped calm his nerves days when he had it rough at work.
Mama Enah opened her door with a force that almost blew the door off its hinges. She was a big woman. Huge would describe her more. She had thin lines of stress etched boldly on her face. She tied a wrapper that covered her large bosom but was bare from above her armpits which was where the wrapper stopped. She looked at Q with disdain and harassed her with her eyes.
Her eyes suddenly caught on to Ajiri peeping out of his room. She smiled at him almost forgetting the lady standing in front of her. Her smile faded as Ajiri withdrew into his room, leaving her cold.
“Wetin he dey look for? Why he dey peep?” She thought to herself. Then like a light bulb coming up, she caught on to the answer. He was admiring the lady standing in front of her. It hit her like cold water thrown in her face. Instantly she disliked the lady – the husband snatcher in front of her.
“Ehen, wetin you want who send you come. Wetin you need?” She asked
Q was confused. She hesitated, not knowing which question to answer first. She buckled up and stood straight.
“Good evening ma. My name is Quin. I am your neighbor. I want…”
“You wan borrow money ni? Abi wetin you want?” Mama Enah cut in?
Q hesitated again. Before she could talk, Mama Enah continued:
“You wan snash am abi? You wan collect my man abi! If you near am, Osanobua o! I go comot your eyes give bingo comot. Ashawo!” She hissed and closed the door on Q’s face.
Q was shocked. She stood there unmoving. She was not acquainted with that kind of attitude. She immediately created a dislike for the woman called Mama Enah. She made a U-turn and headed for her room.
“That was one less acquaintance to make” She muttered to herself as she opened the door to her room.
“Wetin sef? I talk say I no dey house, I dey Abuja. I go give you your kishi if I come back next week” He cut of the phone and he laughed at his ingenuity. Now he had one more week to enjoy before he started to think about repaying Oga Mopol money. Dele had the ten thousand on him at that moment. He could have paid back if he wanted to but he had a date with Susan, the hair dressing apprentice living on the next street, that evening and paying such a debt would be disastrous. It would also affect his plans for the rest of the week. He made up his mind to use the money on Susan and get cash to pay Oga Mopol when he ‘returned from Abuja next week’.
He was inside room eight, the room he shared with his friend Halyah the tailor. They had been childhood friends and had arrived Ibadan together from Ilawe in search of the Golden Fleece. The room was sparsely furnished but tasteful enough to fool a new comer. Most of the things in the room belonged to a friend who was yet to secure an accommodation and was squatting with another friend. Since the owner was not ready to move the properties yet they decided to beautify their room with the stuffs. At least it would serve as a reference point for them, Halyah and him, when they lie about what they owned and how much they had in the bank.
His thoughts were rudely interrupted as someone knocked on the door.
“Who be that?” he asked.
“Susan” the knocker answered.
Dele jumped up quickly and opened the door. He smiled as a lady who was hugely over-made up stepped in. She looked out of place in the Akposhe body hug she forced her shape into. Color mismatch might be the order of the day but hers was more of a color match-miss. She wore a tight skirt that threatened to bust open with enormity of the hips she packed into them. To be honest, the cloth was already coming apart at the seams. On her legs were ‘konko’ shoes her grandmother must have left for her mother who in turn transferred it to her. All those never bothered Dele, as he hugged and planted a wet kiss on her lips, a kiss which obviously disgusted the lady. She shrugged Dele off and she stepped further into the room.
“So you nefa ready abi? Whish kain tin be this sef?
“Abeg no vex. Oya make I quick quick dress make we dey go” Dele said as he moved towards the cloth rack on the far corner of the room.
“Where you dey carry me go sef?” Susan asked falsely sweetly, smiling to reveal her very brown agbo stained teeth.
“No worry, my luf. I go show you say money no be problem”
“Where now, Oya tell me” she poked further as she rubbed Dele’s shiny bald head.
Dele smiled with the satisfaction of a man who just finished a big mound of pounded yam and efo riro.
“Baaaaaby Choi! You sabi wind my head. Oya no worry I dey carry you go chop correct Nkwobi and drink better Smirnoff” He responded.
Susan jumped up gleefully and embraced Dele, who took advantage of the opportunity to rest his head on the large bossom forcefully fitted into the Akposhe top. A knock on the door interrupted him.
“Who be that?” he asked, obviously very irritated with the intrusion.
The voice answered:
“Dele, Na Oga Mopol. I know say you dey house. I don hear your voice o! Just come give me my money now now before I take leg comot this door for him frame o…
(See you next week Friday; rejoinders are welcome)