Last episode on Biafra Headquarters…
Baba Latifu uncorked the first bottle and tilted the contents into his mouth. After a few gulps he emptied the bottle. He returned it into the crate and let out a heavy belch. Then he picked the second bottle and then the third one…..
One hour later Baba Latifu lay sprawled on the ground with 11 bottles scattered around him. He belched heavily again as he snored…..
Enah rinsed her teeth and spat out across the backyard. She was tired – really tired. Her trip the day before sucked the energy out of her, but despite being tiredness she brushed with gusto. She brushed hurriedly for a reason; because she arrived late the previous night she did not get to see her heartthrob and now she could not wait to feel his arms around her again.
When she was in school she missed him so much that she saw him in everything around her. When people laughed she was reminded of his lopsided grins. When they talked they reminded her of his throaty voice. She missed him so badly that she could see in her books were his oblong head. She just was not able to concentrate on her lectures. It even took all her willpower to maintain focus during her exams. Now she was home and would see her lover.
She smiled as she remembered how Ajiri cultivated her garden long before she went to the University. Long before she sat for UME. How she had been made a woman right on her mother’s bed. How the sheets have been stained and she had had to pull the sheets and burn them, lying to her mother that she burnt the sheets because they were threadbare and needed to be replaced.
Same day: Noon.
The room spun round and round in his eyes as he reached his crescendo groaning like a goat whose hind legs got tangled in barbed wires. His eyeballs nearly popped out of their sockets and he vibrated like a ‘chinko’ phone. Gradually the five minutes trip to the skies ended and it was time to return to the earth. Oyin heaved as she also reached her peak.
“Ol boy! I no know say you sweet like this o! Choi! Thank God say I no miss you o! choi!” He repeated as he fanned himself with his hands in the dingy and heat filled ‘Mo-sa fun-e-to’ motel with his chest facing the ceiling.
Oyin smiled setting her dimples deeper. She was too tired to talk. Her voluptuous chest heaved up and down as she sought to take deeper breaths to slow down her breathing. He had ‘shaken’ her up real bad. The last time she was this satisfied was when we was in SS2 and Maliki the apprentice shoe maker had… well, we should not go into details of that, do we?
The hot sun penetrated the dirty and foul smelling curtains, brightening the room more than any 60watts bulb could have done. The woman on the bed beside Dele stylishly shifted away from the rays that formed a perfect arc on his frame. He was tired yet he wanted more. He had never stayed in the boxing ring beyond 3 rounds before – ever, but now he was about to step into the ring for 5th round. He smiled at himself as the reason for the extra-strength dawned on him slowly – Mama Enah! The crazy woman with the potent concoction called Jedi.
He turned on one side of his body and rested his chin on his left palm to stare straight into her eyes. She looked really tired – very tired. As he stared at her, he could not remember which attracted him to her; the ‘Arsenal’ or the ‘Man-U’, all he remembered was the moment he saw her he could not stop thinking about her.
He had gone after her with the precision of a Nacet blade, cutting deep where there could be no remedy. He had enticed her with gifts, recharge cards, chocolates and a lot more. Before long she fell hard – claiming she was not ‘loved’ well by her husband. Gradually he assumed the role of a surrogate husband, listening to her whines whenever her husband travelled on one of his numerous trips. They would sit in front of the house casually and gist while ensuring that any passerby would not suspect anything.
One day she called him on the phone and told him to meet her somewhere for an important business discussion. He rushed there only to discover that it was this shanty but hidden Mo-sa-fun-e-to Motel. Going forward from then, the rest had been history. Every two days they would meet and do the unthinkable. Since both of them had insatiable ‘appetites’ there was no problem for them meeting regularly. The only problem they had was walking past each other in the BFQ passage and pretending not to know each other beyond the good-morning-good afternoon-my-neighbor.
Stylish he drew closer to Oyin again and began to play with her hair. Oyin groaned tiredly but did not stop the intrusion…..
Dele stepped out of the kitchen feeling very angry, he was sure that whoever was doing this was doing it intentionally because for the third time in a row someone had gone into his part of the kitchen and abducted all the pieces of meat in his pot of soup and the soup itself – all the 11 pieces.
How the person was able to open his cupboard in the kitchen was still a mystery to him – a cupboard that was under lock and key! #surprised smiley#. The most painful part was that he had arrived home really hungry. He had gone ahead to boil rice for lunch and after the rice was ready to be served he had opened the cupboard, brought out the pot of soup without opening it and placed it on the stove to warm. When he dished his rice and wanted to add stew was when the kasala busted.
He could not believe his eyes as he stared into the pot. The contents had disappeared. Whoever did it had replaced the contents with water, which was why he never suspected that there was nothing in the pot. Angrily he tipped the pot and the contents spilled on the ground. He took his anger out on the pot as he kicked it out of the kitchen. In his anger he carelessly placed his hand on the metallic top of the stove and got his palm seriously scorched.
His anger turned to pains as he exclaimed “Yeow” pulling back his palm. Too late; he carried a blistered palm. As he sat him the kitchen eating his rice with only pure water and no stew he cursed repeatedly:
“Walahi; aiye eni to se eleyi maa baje ni! Ahan ki lo de gan na? Se mo se enibody ni?” He vowed to take his revenge on whoever did this to him as he forcefully swallowed scoops upon scoops of white rice.
Halyah rushed into the room like a man chased by a thousand daemons, startling Dele who sat at a corner nursing his scorched palm. Before he could shut the door someone stuck a foot between the door and the doorframe, preventing him from doing so. The door opened with a heavy shove that threw Halyah off his feet.
As the door swung open, the bulky frame of Mama Amarachi stepped into the room, chasing out every sensible smell in the room with her fresh-fish body odor. She made straight for Halyah, hooking his throat in her right hand and she threatened to deal him a blow with her left.
“You talk say you no dey collect pregnancy abi? When you dey do the thing e dey sweet you. I go show you today say I be correct Ibo woman”
Halyah could not respond. He struggled to breathe despite the hand that gradually reduced his air intake.
Dele momentarily forgot his pains as the look on Mama Amarachi’s face threatened thunder. He watched as Halyah struggled to breathe and knew that with the rate at which his eyeballs kept gorging out by the second he would not last another minute being held in that position.
He made for the Mama Amarachi’s hand, yanking it off his friend’s throat.
“Wetin sef, you wan kill am? If you kill am who go marry your daughter? Kilode gan-an shey your pikin go marry dead body ni?”
Mama Amarachi turned the full glare of her anger towards Dele.
“Ehen na una dey gather for am abi? Una give am belle finish una no wan take am abi? Today today, one of us must to die o!” she lunged for Dele, but he dodged to one side, making her lose her balance as she fell heavily on the ground.
She screamed and in anger called out at Amarachi who stood by the entrance all the while, bag in hand, watching as her mother displayed in the room. She felt really ashamed.
“Amarachi, you see your life. See wetin you do me. See wetin the stupid boy wey impregnate you do me.” She rose from the floor as she continued “See ehn, you don reach where you go dey stay for life o! if I see you for my house I go kill you go meet your papa for heaven”
With that she stepped out of the room, pushing Amarachi, who had been crying all the while, out of the way roughly.
The silence in the room was deafening. Amarachi crumpled to the floor in tears; Halyah still nursed his bruised throat, unable to say a word. Dele looked from Halyah to Amarachi and back to Halyah. The stupid boy looked like he had just had an encounter with the devil himself. Dele walked towards the door, pulled in the-still-crying Amarachi and closed the door after her. Amarachi was their – no! Point of correction – Halyah’s problem now and he had to manage it.
Ajiri dashed back into the latrine as Enah stepped into the backyard. Too late; Enah saw him before he could close the latrine door.
“Ajiri I know you are there. i saw you enter there just now. You better answer before I break this door”
Rumpling sounds like someone pulling up his trousers;
Ajiri opened the door slowly and stepped out of the latrine with the speed of a tortoise. His eyes darted around as he looked at everything except into her eyes.
“Ajiri, what have I done? Why have you been avoiding me?”
“Ajiri, all the time in school I kept thinking about you. I could not concentrate on my studies. I looked forward to the end of semester with longing just to be reunited with you. Now that I’m home you avoid me like a plague”
The silence this time around was not because he did not want to talk, it was because Enah had ‘dabaru-ed’ his head with some of her ‘english-es’ again.
When Enah waited for him to talk and he did not, she busted into tears and made for the passage. Ajiri wanted to run after her, he wanted to draw her close and wipe her tears but he could not, his feet stuck to the ground. He was in very deep trouble and he knew it.
His legs grew weak as he looked for a nearby stool to sit on. He was about to sit down when he heard Mama Enah’s voice as it boomed across the passage.
“Enah. Wetin do you? Why you dey cry”
Ajiri could not hear Enah’s response but his legs suddenly grew wings as he heard her mother’s legs thundering towards the backyard. His head turned both ways as he looked around for calvary; he found one – the latrine. He dashed into it stepping on the jumbo pack he had left there earlier.
Oga Teacher heaved a sigh of relief as Norah stepped out of his room. Had she not stepped out at that moment, he might have died of exhaustion. His lower waist ached like crazy. Even his ‘brokos’ was raw from persistent usage beyond elastic limit. Had she not stepped out to receive an important call she had been expecting for hours, his Hooke’s law of elasticity would have been exceeded.
Who was to blame if not him.
‘Him wey not dey see big yansh comot face’.
Within the past few months Norah had imposed herself fully on him. She made his meals, did his laundry and ran his errands. She was past caring if anyone noticed. She had even succeeded in ‘chasing’ 4 of his girlfriends. Of them all the most painful was Cynthia. Cynthia the beautiful Uromi babe he had been dating for more than a year.
Norah was extra jealous. She raised her eyebrow at any call he received that was more than 2 minutes. She asked stupid questions and almost beat his younger sister the day she came to visit, thinking she was a girlfriend. He told himself that he needed to find a way to drop her before she became too hard to manage.
He tried to stand from bed but felt a slight muscle strain inside his left thigh. He stretched the leg trying to ease the pains; instead his movement tripled the pains. He screamed silently as the pain increased again. Muscle pull, choi!
Gradually the pains began to subside and sanity returned to his medulla oblongata. He stood to put on his trousers before Norah returned to demand for another marathon of lovemaking. As he stuck his right leg into the right leg of the trouser Norah stepped in again. she cocked her head to one side and looked at him in askance:
“Baby why are you putting on your trousers…..”
“Eeeoww!!” His mind screamed as Norah drew nearer and started to play with his hairy chest.
“What is it sef?” Oyin retorted as she stormed out of the room with her handbag leaving Kris wondering what had come over her.
Something was wrong and he knew that. His wife had never been like this. This attitude only started two weeks into their stay at the Biafra HQ – their new home. She became secretive all of a sudden and became very wary of his presence especially when she received calls from a particular person – an unknown person.
He began to get suspicious about 3 weeks back when he caught her saying ‘I love you too’ to someone on the other end of the call. She had quickly cut the call and assumed her aloof look. When he tried confronting her about who the person was, she had only responded that it was one of her female paddies.
These days he could get nothing out of her. She would return late and give excuses of traffic congestions, church programs and others. Now that he had decided to confront her she had given him attitude.
He also stepped out of the room and headed for Mama Enah’s shed. Less than a week ago he had sat with Baba Latifu in the front verandah and they had discussed generally about women and their numerous behaviors. He had categorically said that any woman who keeps late nights, give excuses, excuses herself to receive calls and suddenly becomes secretive is definitely cheating on her spouse. Could he have been proverbially passing a message across to him?
What baffled him most was who she could be going out with. She no longer had his time. Last time he tried to ‘touch’ her he had been given the definition of all the names in his family. Despite the ‘konji’ that gripped him that night he had gone to bed empty – dry.
Mama Enah’s stall was empty when he got there. He looked around but could not ascertain if she was around to sell him some shots of paraga. The sun was directly overhead as he looked up and down the scanty street; it was always empty around this time on Sunday. People were either in church or in the safe confines of their houses. He shaded his eyes with his palm as he attempted to fathom which direction Oyin must have taken.
He headed back for the BFQ double disappointed. No idea where Oyin could have passed and no one in Mama Enah’s stall to sell him paraga. He headed back for the compound to change into something better. He would head for Iya nla along ringroad, she sure would have opened by now.
He met Osarheme by the entrance into the compound. Osa, as she was popular called, was Mama Enah’s apprentice, she was new in the compound and stayed with her boss – Mama Enah. Osa, a girl of no more than 20years had been brought from the village to stay with Mama Enah where she would learn the rudiments of business before returning to the village. She apprenticed down the street with a hairdresser during the week and during the weekends she apprenticed with Mama Enah her aunt.
Anytime she walked past she caused stares, oohs and aahs. Not even the fact that she was not educated deterred men from following her. These days business boomed for Mama Enah because of her. Men trooped in, especially during weekends, to have a cup or two. Mama Enah noticed this and exploited it to no end. At least she made sure that on weekends, when business really smiled, she would give her 1,000 for her upkeep. Kris was one of the men that had always admired her from a distance. So many times at night he would fantasize about her and wished he could do something about it.
That afternoon his eyes neared popped out of their sockets as he watched with unbridled interest the twin pawpaw hanging from her chest, the two ‘things’ hanging from her chest.
“Jesus Christ!” He screamed silently as he controlled his desire to grab them roughly.
Osa nearly bumped into him before she knew he was standing there. in her characteristic shy nature she smiled and greeted him;
Osa: Ahhh Oga Kris, guraftunoon o! I no see you before abeg no vex.
Kris: Hey Osa, how you be.
His eyes shuttled between her face and their initial point of focus. His brain was having trouble functioning well.
Kris: Na from una stall I dey come o! Nobody dey there.
Osa: No vex oga na me dey there, I quick quick go carry something from inside.
She shoved her hands in his direction as if to show him the tray she carried.
Osa: You wan buy something?
Kris: Yes jare; I wan 2 tumblers of para.
Osa: Oya make I come sell am for you.
Kris moved aside, allowing her pass him by then he followed her. He gripped his groin as he watched the something that followed her behind. If the attack was massive, the defense was colossal.
His mind started his mental calculation. Oyin – not in. Mama Enah – Not in. BFQ – almost empty. He ordered for three cups of paraga and told her to take two for herself. She thanked him and downed her own two cups in two gulps. He took his time to drink his while he watched her action slow down as a result of the drink she took. It was obvious that she was not too familiar with the drink.
He looked around as he planned his next move. At least Oyin his useless wife had gone on one of her random paparazzi again….
Kris: Osa, I’m through.
Kris: I no carry money comot for room o!
Osa: No problem, you fit give me later sah.
Kris: Ahh No o! You wan make Mama Enah kill you abi.
Drowsy smile from Osareme.
Kris: You know wetin go happen ehn, follow me make I kukuma give you the money.
Yawn from Osareme.
Osa: Ok oga Kris. Make I follow you quick quick go collect am before I go sleep. E be like say that this thing dey make person sleep.
They both stepped out of the shed and head for the house, Osa in front of Kris. Kris could not believe is luck. He smiled as the ‘konji’ began to spread to his legs.
(See you next week; feedback and comments are welcome)
WONDERING WHAT HAPPENED TO BABA LATIFU AND HIS DRUNKEN SELF? DON’T MISS THE NEXT EPISODE
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