LUCKY ACCIDENT

“I know where we can get diamonds. And also where we can sell the diamonds.”

Castro whistled.

“Have you been to Bar Beach before?” Iniquity said.

“No. But I’ve been to Elegushi at Lekki.”

“Yeah I know. It’s livelier there. Bar Beach it was that rocked in the 80’s and 90’s.”

“Guy, you won’t tell me you were around in the 80’s and 90’s.”

“I wasn’t but I heard stories.”

“Okay. So what has that got to do with diamonds and being rich?”

“We can get the diamonds at the Bar Beach.”

“Now tell me something.”

“And when we get it, we will go and sell it in Sierra Leone.”

Castro whistled again and said “Sierra Leone! How do we get there?”

“By air or by road.”

“By air means we will enter an airplane?”

“No…we will enter a ferry.”

“Come on man. I just dey ask. No one on Katakata street has entered aeroplane before.”

“The question is, do you want to be the first?”

“Can we go now?”

“Good boy.”

“And the bar beach?”

“That is where there is work.”

“Please let’s start going.”

“The diamonds are the eyes of very big pythons that come out to the shore at night. The pythons are as big as anacondas.”

“God forbid.”

“what did you say?”

“Erm, I mean, so when they come out what do we do?”

“We rob them of their eyes.”

Castro took a long drag of his marijuana and waited a few seconds before he started to exhale. Then he said:

“Bros wetin be the name of this film?”

“I am serious.”

“Okay let’s see…” Castro brought out his phone and tapped Google.

“What are you doing?”

“Asking the oracle according to the Ooni of Ife who said that anyone that uses Google consults Ifa. I am consulting Ifa to see if it is true that any snakes see with diamonds at night. This is 2019.”

“Don’t be stupid. Do you think that there was any chance of this being a source of wealth if it was common knowledge? It is unknown to science. Very many of the rich men you see today got their wealth from something like this. They start a business afterwards as cover up.”

“I see.”

“The work there is to get to the diamonds while the snake is asleep.”

“I see.”

“Others know of this too so we may have competition.”

“Meaning?”

“There will be others trying to get their hands on the diamonds too. Hustling guys like us, juju men who use it for jazz.”

“Okay so you and I, two unarmed boys will go and try to steal diamonds from big snakes at the same time with juju men who would require the diamonds for their jazz?”

“It doesn’t have to be just the two of us. You can bring along your talkative friend.”

“Irikefe?”

“The carpenter.”

“That should work. Afterall, he has always wanted to be rich and has even tried doing yahoo,” Castro mused.

“What did you say?”

“Nothing,” Castro said.

“I think I heard. He has proper ambition then. Get him in.”

Castro thought about it for a while and then said “truthfully Iniquity. I though it is this pant that they are stealing up and down that you want us to also steal. Going to go and steal diamonds from snakes, ehn tori olorun! And in competition with juju men!

“See, Iniquity, let’s steal pant. There was this argument that there are no good pants in Katakata street. But now we have a top model in our compound who now has rich boyfriends. I believe her pant will be worth something.”

“Who is the top model?”

“Maya. She fine die! she just dumped the boy that was screwing her in the compound. Everything about her has changed. She now looks better, dresses better, even smells like the garden of Eden. I can get her pant if I try.” 

“I see.” Iniquity said and extinguished his weed. “Alright. Go and steal your pant. I will go and find real men with guts who are ready for clean money.”

“But you call what we are going to do stealing! It is not any cleaner than stealing pant.”

“At least there is no risk of contracting syphilis touching the under wears of prostitutes.”

“But…”

Iniquity was already gone.

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

Stepping out of the compound and seeing Maya alighting from an Uber wearing the best of the designs they modeled made Ndifreke even more determined to get away. How could he remain there and face such humiliation? He thought she saw him too, but she too would not be bothered. He faced forward and marched down the street. He looked around to be sure that Chisco was nowhere to be found. This was why his father told him to stay away from women. This was what women did to you. They never stayed in one place or with one man. They got involved with normal people, lunatics, village champions and all. And when an innocent guy like him went in, his life became suddenly at risk! First, it was Maya with the rich Jonjo. With just one careless punch he was now back on the streets hungry. Next, it was Josephine with the muscular hunter who fought with Chimpanzees and hippos in the village, and had now come to town to coexist with humans and did not know the difference between people and wildlife when enraged. He would beg Eno to let him stay for at least a month. He looked at his phone again. Chisco is coming for you. You are a dead man. And right now he is high.”  Abasi mbok!

He looked up and saw Chisco marching towards him and Wasiu running after him.

“Oh, mme kpa!” he said and turned back. But Chisco took five strides and grabbed him by the belt.

“Where you dey go?”

“What is the meaning of this Chisco?”

“You dey ask me?”

“Yes Chisco, I mean, you are harassing me.”

“I dey harass you? I never even harass you finish. Oya, dey go back,” Chisco said and pulled him along. “We dey go back to compound.”

“You can’t. You can’t stop me from going to where I was going.”

“You find me trouble.”

“What did I do?” Ndifreke said.

“When we reach I go tell you.”

“Listen. You have till the count of five to let me go. If not, I will report you for depriving me of my fundamental human right to movement.”

“Dey blow grammar. We go soon know.”

“One, two…”

“They were close to the compound now and in order to avoid drawing attention to themselves, Ndifreke stopped counting and jumped the gutter like nothing was happening and followed Chisco into Wasiu’s room.”

“Ngwa, kneel down.”

“No way!”

Then Chisco landed the first slap. Ndifreke saw stars. Wasiu came in between them and said:

“Mazi. Easy.”

“I no go easy” He was about to land the second slap when Ndifreke knelt down and said:

“Bros abeg. Abeg. Wetin I do?”

“Okay. The grammar don finish for ya mouth abi?”

“Bros abeg.”

“Wetin you been dey do with my nurse?”

“Nothing. Aswear I no do anything.”

“Nothing and your mouth dey ontop her breast?”

“My teeth dey pain me. I dey show am make she tell me the medicine wey I go buy.”

“Eh hen? Okay, wait here.”

Chisco took Wasiu’s hand and stepped out of the room and locked Ndifreke inside.

“Wasiu. Wait here for me.”

He ran up the stairs and barged into the nurse’s room again.

“My Price of Arochukwu! My Ogbu!” Josephine teased. She was in bed reading from her iPad. Chisco did not blame her for anything. Afterall she was in her own room. It was the stupid boy that carried himself there!

“Wetin that boy been dey do here?”

“Which boy?”

“Ndifreke.”

“Oh. Forget about it.”

“I no go forget.”

“Alright. His girlfriend left him and he was looking for somebody to fuck.”

“Onyenwe anyi ebere!” Chisco screeched and flew out of the room.

By this time Wasiu had found a spare key and and let Ndifreke out.

Not knowing where to go, Ndifreke ran upstairs to Maya’s room.

He was just entering the room when Chisco sighted him and ran after him.

Maya had just set her table with her fisherman soup and a specially wrapped fufu she found in a basin on the dining table when Ndifreke ran into the room. She looked up bemused when Chisco barged in after him and knocked her food from the table on to the floor.

“What is going on here? What nonsense is this! For goodness sake Ndi and Achike’s brother! My food!”

“Ngwa, come out!” Chisco said to Ndifreke who had found refuge behind Maya.

“Get out of here. Get out both of you!”

As she screemed Mama Tobi entered the room.

“Mama! Mama! I just came back with special fisherman soup and I took fufu and was about to eat and these two rascals came in here and knocked my food on the ground!”

Mama Tobi rushed to the basin of fufu to check the one that Maya had taken. The alarm on her face was like that of someone who had just stumbled on a mangles corpse.

“My daughter! Did you eat it?”

“Mama I said they knocked it on the floor. Look!”

Mama Tobi ran to where Ndifreke was and gave him a hug. All the others stopped and looked at Mama Tobi in confusion. Josephine entered the room as well and held Chisco’s hand.

“Ogbu! What are you doing? I was only joking! You didn’t even look at my face!”

“Can somebody tell me what the fuck is going on here!” Maya screeched.

“Nothing. There is only a big understanding” Josephine said and dragged Chisco away.

“My son!” Mama Tobi said to Ndifreke and then released her grip on him. She was perspiring profusely.

Ndifreke opened his mouth but nothing came out. He! Mama Tobi’s son! Then Mama Tobi suddenly realised herself and then went and took a broom and parker and first swept the fufu away before she returned with a piece of cloth and small water in a bucket and cleaned the soup. She was not even concerned about the assortment of proteins on the floor. She was mumbling a prayer as she cleaned.

Maya and Ndifreke, still confused continued to watch her.

“Maya. Is that how you want to welcome your friend? Is that how to treat a man?”

Maya placed a hand on her temple and sat on the chair.

“I think I should go now,” Ndifreke said.

“No o! Don’t go. I believe you came here for a reason. I will go out now. Let me put on the fan and close the door. Don’t worry about the soup I will come and clean the rest later.”

Without looking up Maya said “The soup on the cupboard is yours Mama. Please both of you, leave.”

Mama Tobi looked at Ndifreke and mouthed “stay” without speaking out and then stepped out.

After two minutes of silence Maya said “I thought they said she was cured?”

“I thought so too.” Ndifreke said “I should go.”

Yes you should” Maya said and stood. She wanted close the door after him. Instead Ndifreke turned and held her and pressed his body into hers.

Maya fought him for a while and then softened and melted into his arms. It felt so different.

“Please baby. Please come back to me,” He said.

“No, I can’t Ndi.”

“Yes you can.”

“Not after everything. Not after what I have done.”

“What did you do?”

“I would never tell you. But I did say if I ever did anything like that I would not come near you again.”

“Is it that bad?”

“Yes it is Ndi. I’m sorry. But you can’t have me anymore.”

“Oh Maya. Where did it go wrong?”

“I don’t know.”

“But…”

“Please leave. I beg you Ndi. Leave.”

“Okay, I don’t care what you did. I accept it because I caused it. I should have accepted and loved your mother. She is a lovely woman. Look at her today.”

“Today only tells me she has not been fully cured. That was not my mother. She may come back and pour hot water on you. Please leave.”

“What about us?”

“There is no us. Not as things stand.”

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

Outside, the council of Elders without Achike and Ndifreke were talking.

“They said Atiku employed a US lobbyist to lobby the white house so that he would be recognized as the President of Nigeria.”

“That man is not giving up. Now that is a warrior. Not like Jonathan.”

“Please leave Jona alone.”

“Abdulsami Abubakar and his peace committee did not even finish suggesting it Jona had picked up the phone and gave up his mandate. But Atiku, even if Ahmadu Bello comes back from the dead to tell him to congratulate Buhari he would not.”

“And you think that is a good thing?”

“The election was rigged.”

“Both parties rigged. One only out-rigged the other. We know how our elections be.”

“But who told him he wold be recognized as President just like that.”

“PDP has come out to deny it. They said they did not pay any lobbyist.”

“Before nko? When it did not work.”

“They are at the tribunal anyway. They still insist Buhari does not have a certificate.”

“But Festus Keyemo came and said he does not need one to be president.”

“Is it not ironic? But to be a common cashier these days you need MSC. But to be president you don’t need WAEC.”

“In their own counter accusation, they said Atiku is from Cameroon.”

“Is it not Nnamdi Kanu that started that one? The same person that said Buhari was from Sudan!”

“A group even came out the other day and gave him twenty one days to return to Cameroon and aplogise to Nigerians.”

“But how can they prove all this? A man that had been the number two citizen of this country and won an election as Governor of a State in Nigeria?”

“Nnamdi Kanu said he has a Cameroonian tribal tattoo on his buttocks. So let him open his nyash let us see.”

“That guy is high on something. He should go and face the shame of being caught in bed with a woman.”

“That was his wife so there is no shame in it. Even if it wasn’t, he should not nack because he is fighting for Biafra?”

“But he keeps saying everyone is a foreigner.”

“He also denied his own Nigerianness and that of his kinsmen. That is what he is all about – anti-Nigeria!”

“You know, despite Onnoghen’s resignation, they still want to convict him.”

“We don’t know for sure. His lawyers have been brilliant. They said he did not admit to committing any crime. That he forgot to declare his assets. Forgetfulness is not a crime in Law.”

“Chai. Lawyers sha! They can lie and confuse.”

“We will see how that goes. By the time we meet again, judgment would have been delivered.”

“Meanwhile Omotola is fighting the Presidency. She said we are living in hell and one Bashir Ahmed that sleeps in a garage in Aso rock came and indirectly called her a prostitute.”

“That is not what he said. He said that those that earned clean money felt differently from Omotola.”

“Eh hen? what does that mean? That she does not earn clean money! What do men think the moment they see successful women with big nyash?”

“That they are using their assets to get the dividends of democracy.”

“Gbam!”

“But that is insulting. We can see how successful she has been as an artist. And she is a wife and mother. We ought to show more respect.”

“So are you saying she has not misused her nyash in all the years of her acting?”

“Na you sabi. The crux of the matter is that we are in a shit hole country and the sooner we accept that the better for everyone.”

“Did you hear of the female judge that was arrested in the court premises over bribery by the EFCC? She ran to the judge for protection in court when she heard that EFCC had arrived and that one denied her.”

“Justice ofili-Ajumogobia. They want to show by force that Onnoghen’s travails is not politically motivated. But this woman is also from the south south. They should go after northern judges as well.”

“The present acting chief justice has thirty two children. According to Reno Omokri, he should tell us how he feeds all of them. No salary in this country can feed thirty two children.”

“Abeg make dem go rest. Barcelona completed the job on Man U. There was never any doubt.”

“Bloody Chelsea fans. Speak also of the Liverpool beating you received. Liverpool showing that they mean business.”

“Man City will drop points against Tottenham and/or Manchester United in the league. As unfortunate as it sounds, Liverpool look like they will be champions.”

As they spoke, Ndifreke left Maya’s room and returned to the safety of his and locked the door. Mama Tobi was shaking like a leaf during harmattan. Chisco was still angry and did not want to take it out on Josephine so he returned to Wasiu’s room. Iniquity made up his mind to avoid Castro and Irikefe. Castro went to look for Irikefe to let him know what was afoot with Iniquity. Jaded and confused, Maya stepped out to go to the bathroom and saw that Josephine’s door was open. She went inside.

“Nurse.”

“Please call me Jo. I can’t say it enough.”

“What happened there?”

“The boys were only fooling around. Nothing  you should worry about.”

“Were they fighting over you?”

“Me, nope. Who dash monkey?”

“You are not any monkey. You are hotter than us all.”

“I will exchange my hotness for your beauty any day.”

Maya heaved a deep sigh.

“What happened Maya? How did you change so unceremoniously?”

“I don’t know Josephine. I can’t explain it.”

“Your man is heartbroken.”

“I know.”

“He can’t help himself. Someone needs to rein him in. Only you can.”

“No I can’t.”

“What happened Maya?”

Maya heaved another sigh and then tears welled up in her eyes.

Josephine went closer and held her and she began to cry.

TO BE CONTINUED.

THE PERFECT MEAL

April 17, 2019

AN EXPERIENCE

April 17, 2019