ROOFTOP SURPRISE (7)

“Who the hell gets called Iniquity?”

“Me.”

“Why?”

“Some people thought it was befitting. Maybe you’ll have another name for me when you know me. Everyone does.”

“You must be something man.  And why didn’t you pray with your family?”

“I am not a Muslim.”

“You are not?”

“I attended a Christian boarding school and got converted. Because I am different, the church boys called me that. I understand the Christians like the word.”

“And your father is an Alfa?”

“He has no choice. I went to the school on Scholarship.”

“And you live together? From what we know, no Muslim would live with an infidel under the same roof. Much less his child!”

“Hey, what’s your stress? Are you always so talkative?”

Irikefe looked at Castro and Castro shrugged. Iniquity glanced at his watch again.

“Your name Iniquity. Cool,” Castro said. The look in his eyes told he had found a new hero.

“Hey do you know where I can buy kpoof?”

“You use?” Castro said with light entering his eyes.”

“Why do you think I’m called Iniquity?” he said dismissively and glanced at his watch again. Then a little boy ran like a cheetah from the compound and jumped into his arms. He tickled the toddler who had only pampers on and it laughed and displayed half a dozen teeth.

“Meet my son fellas.”

“What? You have a son?”

“I don’t shoot blanks!”

“Just wow!” Castro said.

“What I brought back from school. The Alfa adores him.”

“You mean your father is happy you are a father too?”

“I learnt from him. Have you seen his children?”

“Wow!”

“Hey, don’t change the topic. Where can I get stuff?”

“E dey happen here na…We have one really cool dude here. Wasiu. You see the first door by your right? Just knock and give him your prescription.”

“Hmmm. Nice. I’m gonna like you Castro, he said and glanced at Irikefe before bouncing away, pulling his son by the hand.

“Mehn Iniquity is cool. The guy just give person belle like say him dey go toilet. Chai some people lucky o! My ugly papa for don kill me.”

“Why don’t you bring out your dick and kuku start wanking?” Irikefe spat. He did not like Iniquity. He did not like competition.

“I don’t think he is going to enjoy this compound,” Irikefe said.

“And why not? Because he is cooler than you?” Castro said.

Just then, Papa Efe howled his name and he ran over. Castro stayed close to him.

“Why you never open shop since?”

“Which shop Papa?”

“Your shop!”

“Papa, Josiah has packed. I am not going to teach myself carpentry.”

“Foolish boy. Come.”

Papa Efe went ahead of him. They met the shop wide open. There was a cutting table and a saw and some planks and plywood.

“I buy these ones for you make you take start life. I no wan see you the waka up and down again.”

“But Papa I don’t know the work yet.”

“You be apprentice for three years. Make you do the one wey you sabi. I been don tell you when you wan go train animal say you go take over this shop. Na today e dey start.” Papa Efe said and walked away.

Castro heard everything. Iniquity was also within earshot.

As Irikefe stood wondering what to do Iniquity moved closer and said “You are a carpenter? Like seriously that is what you do? At your age?”

Irikefe opened his mouth to speak but nothing came out. Iniquity turned to Castro and said “And you? Are you a shoe maker?”

“Me? Never! I am a politician.”

“Now that is interesting.”

“I founded my own political party. Katakata Progressive Party.”

“What sort of guys do we have here? A carpenter and a dreamer?”

“Dreamer?Not me. Watch out during the next local council election. I am running for councillor.’

“Oh my! Iniquity said and scratched his head.

“And you, what do you do?” Castro said.

“I’m a rapper. I will take over from Zaki Adze. You heard a funky mallam rap?”

“Will sure love to, bro.”

“Okay cool. First go and find me Wasiu. That door you directed me to is locked.”

“I know where to find him. I’ll be right back,” Castro said and ran down Katakata Street as if pursued.

Iniquity stared at Irikefe and then at his hand and began to laugh hard. Irikefe looked at himself and realized he was holding a saw. He threw it down as if it was a snake.

Iniquity held his stomach and walked back into the compound.

**********************************************************************

She looked at him and immediately understood. But there was nothing she could do about it. What was important was that Achike just ignored her when he was not supposed to.

Evae continued to the kitchen, separated stones and chaff from her beans, filled the pot with water, placed it on the stove and returned to her room. No one would call her attention to it for about one and a half hours. She made sure the heat was turned low. She met him still standing there. He had stood there for twenty minutes. As she passed Ndifreke said, “I want to see you Evae.”

“What about?”

“Can I come to your room?”

Evae thought about it and then said “yes.”

Ndifreke waited for her to settle in and then he followed. He was disappointed to see that she had tied a wrapper round her waist. She looked serious where she sat in a chair.

“Evae…” He began.

“Now listen Ndifreke” she said matter-of-factly. “You are a good man but i think you are also stupid.”

“Evae you are the one” he said and went on his knees.

“Don’t be silly.”

“I saw everything. Achike does not want you.”

“You don’t know that.”

“He didn’t even answer your greeting.”

“And so your point is…”

“Take me Evae. Everything that has happened, happened for a reason. I have just learnt that no two people are destined for each other. People can find themselves under different circumstances. I have found you. God knows why what is happening between Achike and you is happening. It may be so that we could be together.”

“How old are you Ndi?”

He did not expect that question. But he answered all the same. “Twenty-four.”

“What can you say you have achieved in life?”

“Erm, what do you mean Evae?”

“Growing up, what did you wish to achieve at twenty-four?”

“What has that got to do with what we are talking about?”

“Everything.”

“I wanted to be an Engineer. But life threw me in another direction.”

“Being an Engineer is not an achievement. What did you hope to achieve?”

“Like what Evae?”

“Everything! A career! A house! A car! A name! Anything for goodness sake! What is it about you Calabar boys that the moment you realize you can have an erection you think the next thing you must have is a woman?”

“Excuse me?”

“If you spent as much time as you spend running after Maya or whomever else in building a career or a business, you would have achieved quite much by now and guess what, your girlfriend’s head would not be turned by another who can give her what she needs.”

“Are you insulting me now Evae?”

“I am saying you have misplaced priorities Ndi. This is not a story book. This is real life. You attacked the man that has made it possible for you to put food on the table these months. I heard your story when I first came here. You are nobody. What you need now is to dust yourself and go out there and get a life.”

“My mates are married with children.”

“What an achievement. Marriage and children.”

“But aren’t you running after Achike who would not even glance at you?”

“The difference between me and you is that I will get him, and when I do, I don’t need to worry about where my next meal will come from. But you, right now you are not even in the same league with Maya because you are jobless. And if she thinks like I do, I don’t want a man I will be cooking for when all he brings to the table is dick. Go and find work young man.”

“You call me young man, how old are you?”

“If I told you you won’t believe. But I’m sure you can see that you are not talking to a child.”

“You are still the daughter of a homosexual rapist.”

“Thank you. Now get lost.”

*********************************************************************

Evae stretched out in bed. She had waited all evening for this moment. She had to do this. She thought about Achike and immediately she appeared in his room. She stood and watched him sleep. Then she went and stood over him and concentrated on his mind and immediately the event of that afternoon began to unfold again before her. Achike, before he left the room geared himself up for a confrontation with Evae. He had thought about every possible scenario and had his plans. He had planned to kick at her if she had attempted the kneeling drama of the previous day. He had planned to slap her if she touched him. He had planned to shout at her if she greeted him. But she did greet him and he did not shout. When he entered the room he had this conversation with his brother

“Nna Chisco. I saw that gal. I thought I would shout at her but I couldn’t.”

“Why brother?”

“I have never seen a more beautiful gal Agu.”

“Then take her back. Even though I get one worry.”

“What is it?”

“I see her dey come out of Ndifreke room that morning we return.”

“You see!” Ooooo why didn’t you allow me to cut off her head!”

“But as I see the way she came to you, the way she ready make you cut her head, the way she tell the elders say na you bring am come back, bro, I come dey think say maybe she go borrow matches.”

“Matches by five o’clock in the morning! That boy that doesn’t waste time to impregnate girls!”

“Bro I get doubt. But true true, she fine, chai…obere mma!”

“Chisco. That man used that girl destroy me. I can kill her.”

“E be like say true true she repent. She dey here by herself just because of you. Only God know whether she don chop. I go go visit am so dat I go ask am whether she dey alright.”

“Bia, it seems you want me to use the cutlass on your neck.”

“Hahaha brother. If you want her, forgive her. At least hear wetin she wan talk. When she talk finish give am cutlass make she swear say she no fuck the calabar boy. After dat, bro, make you accept the answer to your prayer wey God don give you.”

“But her father…”

“Na her papa be dat. She say she don leave them. Remember wetin happen before her papa enter de room.”

And so that was what Achike thought about before going to bed. Evae noticed that he was even still in the state of arousal.

Evae smiled and touched her heart. She turned to Chisco where he slept on the floor like a drunk palace guard and smiled at him too. Now that she knew that there was hope with Achike, she decided to go up to the roof to work out how she would help Mama Tobi.

She thought about the rooftop and landed there in the form of a canary. She did not expect to see a green hawk there already.

“Welcome” the hawk said.” I have been waiting for you.”

“I recognize you,” the canary said.

“Yes. That is because I want you to.”

“My father could not work you out.”

“That is because your father does not know everything.”

“My father is powerful.”

“Not as much as he thinks.”

“Why reveal yourself to me?”

“I know your intention. But you cannot do what you have to do by yourself.”

“You want to help me?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“Your father will destroy you if you attempt anything on your own.”

“Why does that bother you?”

“I am caretaker here. I am only doing my job.”

In the flesh, she would have run to him and given him a hug.

“I know what you are thinking but it is not necessary.”

“Is it possible for us to be good as witch and wizard?”

“It is all a matter of choice.”

“Okay. So let us go. This is the right time. The ones I want to meet gather at this time,” the canary said.

“No. You come with me. You don’t have to meet those ones anymore,” the hawk said.

TO BE CONTINUED.

A TIME FOR EVERYTHING (6)

April 3, 2019

WHOLE AGAIN (8)

April 3, 2019