EARLY MORNING FUMES (9)

She recognized the hawk for who it was. They both did.

“You!” she said.

“Yes, me.”

“How come I did not know?”

“The problem with evil people is that because they can see what others don’t wish to see they mistake themselves for omniscient.”

“I toyed with you. I even put something in your drink and you took it.”

“I was a normal person. I did not have the energy to waste trying to control the world.”

“So what are you doing here now?”

“Waiting for you.”

“You knew we would come?”

“People like you know no other way.”

“So are you joining us?”

“On the contrary, I was waiting to hand you your quit notice.”

“What do you mean?”

“You are no longer expected out here anymore.”

“And what gives you the right to demand that?”

“I am caretaker.”

“Not up here.”

Immediately the kite said that it found that it could no longer move. Its wings became bound to its body. The smaller kite too was pinned to the position it was. They both struggled but it was to no avail.

“What have you done to us?”

“Show you that I do not leave you with a choice. When I release you, I want you to return to your bodies. The next time you come out of the body you will not return to it.”

“But you can’t do that! Right now we may even be in danger.”

“You will not be facing anything strange to man. Face your danger like everyone else.”

“But we need to know what we are up against.”

“You will not enter another person’s room in this compound in any way other than by walking up to their door and knocking and asking to be let in.”

“We need to know what Mama Tobi is thinking.”

“Ask her in the morning.”

“We stole her money and she now knows.”

“Return it to her then and ask for her forgiveness.”

“We can’t do that.”

“Then wait for the repercussions of your action.”

“That is what we want to know, what the repercussions could be.”

“You will go back to your bodies and stay there.”

“But I can’t stay in that body all the time.  I am an old man. I need to be out of the body regularly.”The small canary cried.

“That is your problem. If in five minutes you are not back in your body, you will never return to it,” the hawk said and flapped away.

The two kites could not leave the rooftop quickly enough.

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The all woke to the sounds of wailing. It was a different voice. Number 225 Katakata Street had not yet been introduced to this one. Neighbors hurried out to see for themselves what it was this time. It was 05:45. Sister Esther had just rounded off her sermon. They met the Alfa hovering menacingly over his wife. She clutched something in her hands and would not reveal it. The Alfa was saying “Na gaya maka ka daina yin wannan abu!”

“What is it this early morning Alfa?”

“Ask her! Let am show you wetin dey him hand!”

The woman now put her hands under her wrapper, turned her face away, and her voice subsided to a whimper.

“What is it Hajiyah?”

She faced the wall. The Alfa bent to struggle with her again but this time the men restrained him.

“She dey smoke cigar! Everyday this woman dey smoke! Benson! Not even St. Moritz or Aspen.”

“Leave me o! Leave me o! I smoke am with your mouth?”

“You dey spoil my pikin Walahi. See Usman! Because of you dem they call am for Iniquity!“”

“When did she start smoking?”

“She always smoke cigar since we dey village for Yobe. Him Papa tell me say him go stop am. Twenty years now e still dey smoke.”

“If your wife don dey smoke for twenty years you suppose don dey used to am.”

“Ubanka!” he said and stormed into the corridor.   

His wife continued to whimper without looking around. Sensing that her husband had left her alone, she stopped and stood and straightened her wrapper. She then produced a cigarette and lighter and lit up before everyone. She dragged a lungful and exhaled through the nostrils walked round the building, and faded into the backyard.

“Wonders shall never end in this world!” someone exclaimed.

“Bia Cosmas, are you counting? Number one, they are shitting everywhere. Number two, nobody dey see road when they are washing themselves to go and pray. Time for prayer nko? Roadblock. Number three. A woman! Mother of ten and grandmother even though she looks like she is twenty years old is smoking Benson and Hedges that is for hardened smokers, and bringing out smoke from her nose like Shina Rambo. I hope you are counting?”

“And the Alfa. I thought they said they were pious religious people? See how this one is attacking his wife! He is supposed to show her love even if she is smoking monkey-tail.”

“Don’t be fooled by the Alfa tag. It is just like every Tom Dick and Harry that are being called Pastor these days. Once you carry a Bible or Quran they tag you a holy man meanwhile you are as wicked as the devil.”

“But this is a problem.”

“It is their problem. In the first place, she came out early to smoke, away from everyone. He could have just let her be. Afterall she was not offending anybody. He chose to attack her.”

“But it is understandable that he is upset.”

“It is not understandable that he beat her. Never hit a woman.”

“Zubi, how will you feel if Mama Willy-willy started smoking?”

“Amadioha will damage her mouth!”

“You see. You people don’t know what the man is facing. How will he be kissing her now?”

“Who told you that mallams kiss?”

“They don’t kiss?”

“They only drink that bura tashi they sell all over the place and nack the nonsense out of their women.”

“But that doesn’t mean that the women should now be smoking. Kiss or no kiss, the smell of tobacco in bed is a turn off.”

“Turn off and they have ten children!”

“Look, the man doesn’t like it. She should stop.”

“Twenty years! He should say what is paining him abeg. He knows she cannot stop now. Maybe the woman did not give him in the night and then he decided to use the smoking as an excuse to attack her.”

“What does he still want after ten children?”

“Have they done their morning prayers yet? Maybe she needs it to clear her head so that her prayers will ascend.”

“Alright that is enough gentlemen. It is a situation we will keep our eyes on. We like our peace here no matter how fleeting.”

“We will summon her to the council and let her explain herself.”

“You want to bring husband and wife matter to the council. Good luck with that.”

“If he has power why doesn’t he go and fight the bandits in his town?”

“The bandits are in Zamfara. He is from Yobe as we just learnt.”

“The Federal Government has banned all mining activities there. Even the foreigners granted licenses have been asked to leave. With nothing to fight for, there should be calm now.”

“But that Abuja protest pain Baba o. See all the robust Twitter statements.”

“Have they sent in the forces yet? Their operation PUFF-ADDER or Puff Daddy better start soon.”

“The problem with these operations is that it soon becomes a military occupation. Before you know it, the soldiers will themselves begin to mine the gold and impregnate the women.”

“Meanwhile, they are dragging senator Adeleke up and down after his tribunal victory. Can you believe that in 1981 the man only sat for English in WAEC. Recently, in 2017 he enrolled for NECO in a secondary school. Only that he forgot to go to the exam hall. Two examiners came and testified that they did not see him writing the exam. The case may not even get to the Appeal court the way it is looking.”

“But does Buhari have WAEC? Why don’t they leave the man alone? At least he can dance.”

“When I did not see him doing any dancing after the tribunal victory I knew something was amiss. The man too no get confidence.”

“Una see how Regina Daniels went and married her grandfather’s age mate for money. Who will come and say that that is love now?”

“That is modern love. Show me the money.”

“They say it is her own mother that arranged the whole show.”

“Before nko? And she got a mansion for her trouble.”

“But is that not corruption? Why would Buhari allow it to happen?”

“Has he finished stopping his people that marry twelve year olds? At least she is seventeen.”

“No, eighteen.”

“It’s actually nineteen.”

“Someone said she has been sixteen for four years.”

“Well whatever the case, like that shameless Etinosa that opened her rotten body for the world to see said, the man honoured her by making her a sixth wife; which is better than being a side chick.”

“That is gospel according to Mammon.”

“Then one day in the future she will be giving pep talk and telling smaller girls how hardworking she has been. Like Mercy Aigbe.”

“Meanwhile male celebrities are driving Uber like Thin Tall Tony.”

“Gentlemen, it is early morning. It is Alfa and his wife that brought us out. I don’t know about you people but I want to go and complete my sleep,” Mr Zubi said.

“Me too. But guys, please let’s say a prayer for Manchester United. They play Barcelona tonight and Chris Smalling will be in the team to face Messi.”

“Lord save them”

“Amen.”

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Mama Tobi looked around the forest and shivered. Did she need to come this far? The baba assured her that she did. They got to the shrine. It was pretty much as they were in the movies. Different carvings of the ugliest deities hanging everywhere. No red cloths but brown ones that were previously while, either covering pots or with calabashes on top. There were dummies of humans hanging from the trees around. The sounds of fauna far away was prominent. It was dreadful. But it was where she wanted to be.

The baba, slight in built, wearing only a carton coloured combat shorts, light complexioned with surprising pleasant manners went about his work. Mama Tobi had already briefed him of her mission. So while she sat and waited he played his oracle and did his research. Then he faced her and spoke.

“So what do you want to happen now?”

“I want my money, whatever is left of it and I want them both to be disgraced.”

“And you say they are witches.”

“I am sure of that Baba.”

“Then it will not be easy.”

“It has to be Baba. I was told that if anyone could do it, then it was you.”

“So you want revenge.”

“Yes Baba.”

“You don’t want to leave the revenge for your God?”

“I don’t know where He was when they impoverished and disgraced me. I have always taken care of myself.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes Baba.”

“Can you enter their rooms?”

“That will be difficult.”

“Can you give them something to eat?”

“Even more difficult.”

“And you don’t have anything that belongs to them?”

“No Baba.”

The Baba shook his head and made some incantations.

“But I will try to enter their room. I may even be lucky to see their food.”

“Alright, I will give you something to put in their food. If you cannot do that, I will give you another to place on their sleeping bed or mat. If you cannot do that I will give you one you can place on the floor for them to step on or go over. Of the three things, you should be able to do one. Each will produce a different reaction but ultimately you will get your money and they will be disgraced as you have requested of the gods.”

“Thank you Baba.”

“But be careful. You cannot make a mistake. The wrong person cannot touch the food or sleep on the bed or step over what you will place for them.”

“I will try Baba.”

“It is all up to you.”

“Okay Baba.”

“When are you going back?”

“I am leaving for the motor park from here. I have no time to waste.”

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Chisco was happy for his brother. He knew that Achike was an unhappy man because he was unmarried, and he was unmarried because he had not found the kind of woman he wanted. And the kind of woman he wanted did not happen every day. He was not surprised when he came to the compound and found out that he had propositioned both Maya and Josephine. Those were the kind of women his brother wanted. It surprised him however, that Achike was involved with Maya’s mother. But then, he could guess why that happened. He would have gone after the daughter and been ensnared by the mother. Whatever it could have been, Chisco was happy that it was now in the past and Achike now had Evae. They all knew she was mysterious and loose when she was with her parents. But she returned a different person and it was pleasing to see. As a brother, he would help check him and his sometimes unbearable behaviors that could be a turn off; even though he knew that if it was love, then everything would take care of itself. It surprised Chisco what love could do to men. Look at him now. Slowly Josephine had become everything for him. It did not seem so in the beginning but now, he could not breathe without her. Seeing Evae and Achike made him even more aware of Josephine in his life. He would tell her his brother’s story and see her reaction; especially given that Achike was once interested in her.  

Chisco was feeling good when he reached the nurse’s door. Feeling entitled, he turned the doorknob and entered without knocking. What he found was Ndifreke’s in Josephine’s arms. She actually had his head on her breasts and was petting him.

TO BE CONTINUED. 

WHOLE AGAIN (8)

April 10, 2019

THE PERFECT MEAL (10)

April 10, 2019