Irikefe sat on a stool in the small lobby near the bathroom. Compound members queuing to have their bath noticed him in the unusual position and began to whisper amongst themselves. He did not greet anybody. When they greeted him he did not respond. He began to hum Olamide’s Kana and produced a Complete Sports Newspaper from his back pocket. The sight of a man humming to a rap track and reading a newspaper at the same time is the closest thing to lunacy you will see; for he kept bobbing his head to the beats he alone could hear, while also looking at the colourful pages in front of him as though he could see his future inside them.
Everyone about could tell that there was something amiss. Irikefe was in prime drama mode, and it did not take long for it to unfold.
Funbi sauntered into the backyard and stopped short when he saw Irikefe seated on the stool. Her first thought was to go back into the corridor as she could tell that he was buoyed for trouble. But she needed to pee, and she did not have any reason to run away from him.
“Hey, husband snatcher!” He said and stood up.
“Excuse me?” Funbi said lifting an eyebrow.
“Husband snatcher! Yes, that is what I called you. Or are you not?”
“Are you okay?” Funbi gasped.
“Abeg leave English! See how dirty this backyard is. The toilets and bathrooms have not been washed for one week and it is your turn to wash them!”
Funbi turned to go back inside but Irikefe, having anticipated the move moved in between her and the doorway back into the corridor.
“When you dey fuck you no know say you go go toilet go wash nyash? Who go clean the toilet for you? Who is your slave in this compound?”
Funbi covered her face with her palms.
“Aunty this morning you go wash this bathroom, toilet and the entire backyard. If you no fit, go and call that asshole to come and do it for you.”
The raucous laughter and whistling from onlookers drew more people out from their rooms. Jide arrived at the scene and found Funbi looking like a squirrel in the midst of hunters.
“What is happening here?” Jide said and gathered Funbi in his arms. She buried her face in his chest and started to cry.
“Please take me inside,” she said.
“Sinners! Irikefe spat. “Citizens of Soddom and Gomorrah!”
“Hold it man,” Jide said. “What has entered you?”
“Oga you and your concubine should come and wash the bathroom jare!”
“You must be out of your mind! We washed last week!.
“Look at the roster! It is your turn still.”
“You changed the roster. Why did you do that?”
“See me see problem o! Are you the one that will tell me how to do my work?”
“It is unfair. It looks like victimization and you know why you are doing it. You will not like the outcome of this if you do not let us go. Now.”
“You cannot intimidate me! Charge and bail lawyer!”
“You have one second to get out of the way, or you will see what this charge and bail lawyer can do.”
“So is that why you sent your wife away? So you can fuck your sister?”
“Fuck off, man!”
“Oh I forget. She is not your sister. It was just another lie. So what was the game you were playing? Tell me.”
“Out of the way!”
“Or what? Will you rape me too?”
Jide glared at Irikefe and wanted to charge at him but Funbi held him back.
“Let’s go. He isn’t worth it,” she said.
“You will leave this compound! We have seen everything in this compound but nothing like you!”
“I’ll be waiting to see you evict me,” Jide said and let Funbi towards their room.
Irikefe continued to bark after them.
“You evil man! You think you can deceive me with your baby face? You raped a man, tortured your wife and sent her away and turned to the next available female! After that, I’m sure it will be children you will attack. You are worse than Agbonyibo! You will leave this compound! Both of you!”
Jide entered the room and closed the door and continued to hold Funbi.
“I’m sorry darling,” he said.
“It’s not your fault. I should never have gotten close to him.”
“It’s not your fault either. At least you now know you made the right choice.”
Irikefe sat teary-eyed in front of Mr. Cosmas. Ndifreke, Castro and his father were there too in the self-contain.
“Why did you do it Efe?” Mr. Zubi said.
“I was angry. I had to do something.”
“But that was way overboard. The man is a lawyer. He could make life uncomfortable for you.”
“Then I will report him for raping a man in this compound.”
“You have no proof of that.”
“Inspector Akpan is still in the police. I will track him down. Even if he denies it I will tell them to look at his asshole. There is no way it would have healed by now.”
“The man played us. Can’t you see? He used us to get rid of his wife and the next moment he is with Funbi!”
“Well yes, it’s somehow but it should not bother you this much.”
“My man is in love with the girl,” Castro offered.
“He even went to home to sell…”
“Shut up, man!” Irikefe shot at Castro.
Castro kept quiet and continued to stare at Irikefe like the others were doing.
“How is it possible Mr. Cosmas? The man said he was gay!”
“I wouldn’t know. The evidence now is that he isn’t. At least not completely.”
“He needs to explain!”
“I don’t think so. It is his life.”
“He used me to get rid of his wife. So I need to know what the fuck he is doing.”
“Mind your language Irikefe.”
“If I remember correctly, it was his wife that came to you and you did what you believed was right. He didn’t even want her to go.”
“He always did. He manipulated us. Drove his wife to seek outside help so people will not say that it was his call for her to go. Mr Cosmas, he started sleeping with his wife’s friend or his sister or whatever that girl is the same day!”
“Still, it is his private life. I was involved in the whole thing as well and I did what I believed was right at the time by counselling him. If he deceived us, karma awaits him. That goes without saying.”
“Erm Cosmas I never thought I will say this but I agree with Efe there,” Mr Zubi said. “It is a worrisome development. We can’t allow neighbours or even our children seeing this to get confused. Yes, it is not our business but you know how we live here. What if his wife finds out and gets jealous and comes here and hurts both of them? There could even be collateral damage involving just any innocent person about at the time. So the young man has compromised our safety if you look at it broadly. So he needs to explain.”
“I see what you mean.” Mr Cosmas said. “So what do you suggest?”
“We call him in and let him tell us how he became straight overnight and his relationship with this girl.”
“I miss my father,” Irikefe said unexpectedly and flicked tears from his eyes.
“I didn’t even mourn him. The day he went, she stormed into my life. I didn’t think anything could make me care nothing about my father that had just died. This girl did. And then next moment she is fucking her friend’s husband after leading me on!”
“Erm, Irikefe please don’t make me remind you again to choose your words carefully. You can make your point without speaking the F word.”
“Sorry sir but I am pained.”
“I see that.”
“Will Papa Efe come back? I mean, reincarnate? You promised to talk about it.”
“It is appointed unto man to die once, after that the judgement. That is a Bible passage I know well,” Ndifreke said.
“You’re wrong Ndifreke. Today is not the day to talk about the contradictions in the Bible and some of the statements of Apostle Paul widely believed to have authored the book of Hebrews where that quote is from. One day I will talk about that Apostle and his writings. But I will set the records straight regarding this subject of reincarnation.
“The Bible is the one book that would have put all the controversy to rest because the Jews of the time of Christ did know about reincarnation and had it detailed in their scriptures until the Second Council of Constantinople (A.D. 553) and the Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325) when it was expunged from the Bible. It did not suit the purpose at the time for people to know that earthly death was not final and that people could have another chance at earthly life to redeem their past misdeeds. Church leaders also feared that reincarnation as a Christian doctrine undermined the need for Christ’s redemptive sacrifice, and contradicted the doctrine of the mass ‘resurrection of the dead’ on the last day, which by the way was a foreign concept originating from ancient Persia.
“But let’s stick with Biblical evidence of reincarnation with one example, as those that tried to remove everything about it failed with this one.
“In Malachi 4:5 the Lord said, “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes.”
“In announcing the birth of John the Baptist in Luke 1:13,17, the angel said to his father “do not be afraid, Zechariah; your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John…And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah…to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
As a confirmation in Matt 17:12-13 Christ said, “But I tell you, ELIJAH HAS ALREADY COME, and they did not recognize him… Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.”
“Tell me, if that is not reincarnation, what is?
“Mainstream Islam also has the same problem. But sects such as the Ghulat Shia and the Druzes believe in reincarnation. Little wonder they are not so prominent.
“This, however, is what you should know, something the more advanced Eastern religions have known for the most part.
“You are spirit and have existed for hundreds if not thousands of years. The earth is the school where you come to develop and mature. Upon maturity, you return to the eternal gardens from where you came in the first place. But one earth life is never enough for this maturing. So you get to return to earth, the school of life as often as necessary. With each earth life, you strive upward until you mature and have no need to come back. As stated in the unblemished Revelation of John for those who have the understanding, “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out…Rev3:12.”
“So to answer your question young friend: Papa Efe will reincarnate if he is not yet mature to return to the Glorious Heights. There is also life and activities in the beyond he could be undertaking depending on his spiritual standing. Reincarnation is God’s grace for us. Consider yourself blessed if you get the chance to come back here because it is easier to mature on earth than in any other plane.
“Does the opportunity to reincarnate mean we should trifle away our time on earth knowing we will have another chance? Certainly not. Live each day as if it is your last. There are no guarantees that your next life will be easier than this one. There are millions of souls out there waiting for an opportunity to reincarnate. It is a jostle. And most importantly, we don’t have that much time left before this earth as we know it ceases to exist. So make hay while the sun shines. Strive upwards with all your strength. Now. Today.
“No discourse on reincarnation is complete without mentioning karma. Because you must reap what you sow, retribution for past actions hits you at the completion of a cycle sometimes in a different earth life from when you sowed the seed. That is the explanation of why bad things happen to good people and vice versa. It is them reaping what they sowed, and it does not matter whether or not they remember whence. ”
“But why can’t we remember our past lives? It would have made things so much easier.” Ndifreke said.
“Right now you don’t remember all the details of your life from your childhood or even five years ago so how much more a previous life? There are however gifted people, mostly children of a particular age who remember their past lives and have led investigators to previous addresses and families with pinpoint accuracy. A scientist named Dr Ian Stevenson dedicated the majority of his career to finding evidence of reincarnation and spoke to hundreds of individuals like that. Unfortunately, the science community which he was a part of like most of us chose not to listen because of fear. But I say to you, wake up! Seek the truth and as The Master promised, the truth shall set you free!”
Jide Falomo entered the room and found the men all seated and waiting. No one except Mr. Cosmas made eye contact with him. Irikefe stood up from where he sat and went and leaned on the wall in the furthest corner of the room.
Mr Zubi spoke first.
“We saw the drama this morning and I wish to apologise to you on Irikefe’s behalf.”
“Thank you sir.”
“However, as you know, we practice communal living here and it has worked for us for the most part. You will be wasting your time if you use expressions like ‘mind your business’ because it doesn’t happen here. What you are doing with the young lady living with you has left us confused and gives us cause for concern. We just want to be sure that your wife will not turn up here one day with acid and pour it on somebody. Bad things never shy away from this compound so whenever we see the potential we cry out ahead of time.”
“You said you are homosexual. Please address that. I want to hear that part,” Irikefe said.
Jide sighed and said “Good morning gentlemen. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t respond to this. Communal living or not, I do not have to explain what I do in my bedroom to anyone. But I owe my very life to this room so I will tell you what you want to know.
“Funbi is my lover now and again I apologise that you got to know the way you did. Yes, I was born homosexual or so I thought. Mr Cosmas here changed my perspective and I made a choice to go the right way and I have. It is not something you will hear often but I am living proof that it can happen. Today in a video call we told my wife that we are together and she has no problem with it. You do know that I’m not the father of her baby and a man came here to fetch her the day she left. She is with him now. Funbi happened at the right time and I have found restoration through her. No one will get hurt I promise you that sir.”
“You found salvation in Funbi’s pussy. See how he twisted your gospel Mr. Cosmas. I’m leaving,” Irikefe said and made for the door.
Jide stood up and held him by the wrist.
“I understand how you feel and maybe I should apologise to you because Funbi did tell me she liked you and would have said yes if I did not need her more. I needed her man. lemme buy you a beer.”
“I’m not that cheap.” Irikefe quipped.
That brought smiles to the faces of the other men in the room.
“Alright, plus suya. We could be buddies. We can’t undo what’s done.”
Castro stood and nudged Irikefe by the side. Ndifreke managed to catch his eyes and winked at him.
“Alright,” Irikefe said. “Did you say she said she liked me?”
“Yes, she said so.”
“That’s some consolation” he hissed.
“All right gentlemen. If we now understand ourselves better I guess we can go on to our various businesses,” Mr Zubi said.
“Speaking of which, lawyer Jide, I need to register a company to start a modelling agency. Can you help with that?”
“Sure. Let’s talk outside.”
Eyonyam sat and rocked the baby in silence while she thought. Mr. Kingsley was everything she wanted physically, but she wanted more. She wanted him on the rooftop with her. Tonight was the night.
When the baby slept, she took it to the cotbed in the bedroom where its parents slept. Whenever she did that Evae knew that her mother was going out for the night. She hissed and faced the wall.
Eyonyam placed the baby in the cot and went back to her place on the floor of the parlour. She lay supine and closed her eyes. It would have been easier if he ate her food. She would have put the thing in his soup and he would eat and arrive on the rooftop so fast he would think he was dreaming. But feeding him in that compound would not be easy. Someone would see and tell Sister Esther. She would resort to the next best method of having sex with him in his dream.
Sister Esther lay on her side and turned her back to him and waited for the big hug from behind and the grinding of his groin to her backside. After about twenty minutes she shifted closer to him and noticed that he shifted back until he was lying on the edge of the bed. Sure now that he did not want to have contact with her, Sister Esther decided to remain in that position until he fell asleep and fell on the floor and broke his head. She knew why he was avoiding her. She had found beads on their bed when she returned from the market earlier that day. She knew the one whose waist beads had snapped. They had not been able to remove all the evidence. While she contemplated how to deal with the problem she heard Mr. Kingsley begin to moan.
She had heard him call Eyonyam in his sleep before that night. It was fleeting and he had changed his sleeping position and continued to snore. This time, however, his body was in full sex mode. His waist moved as if he was thrusting into a woman, he was smacking his lips as if he was kissing or sucking at a body part.
Sister Esther reached under the bed and produced a bottle of anointing oil and jumped down from the bed and opened the bottle over Mr. Kingsley’s head.
“I command you in the name of Jesus to leave him alone! Leave him alone! Leave him alone! Leave him alone!”
She continued to pour the oil on him until he jumped awake.
“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.I will say of the Lord, He is our refuge and our fortress: Our God; in him will we trust! Surely he shall deliver us from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence! I plead the precious blood of Jesus over this household! The blood shed on the Cross of Calvary deliver us! Be gone Satan! Be gone evil one!”
Mr. Kingsley without being prompted plopped on his knees and said “Amen.”
Eyonyam woke with a start. She was covered in perspiration. That was a narrow escape for her. Sister Esther was back in her element. She would do well to forget about Mr. Kingsley for the time being. But having desired it, she knew she would not know joy until she found someone to be with in the flesh and also take along with her to the rooftop whenever she wanted. Life was losing meaning for her by the day as she only did babysitting for her daughter. She needed a substitute for Mr. Kingsley. She needed one that same night.
She brought out her phone and checked the time. It was 1:30 am. He only lived down the street. He would come if she asked him to. So she dialled his number. Chisco answered like he had been awake expecting the call.
“You never sleep?”
“I no fit sleep. I dey think about you.”
“Why you no sleep here?”
“I no want make my brother pursue me before I comot for him house.”
“So you no want me again?”
“I want you pass the corn and ube wey don dey hungry me since last year.”
“I say come now.”
“Dem don lock una yard door.”
“I go open the door keep for you.”
“You for come here. I go wait for you for outside. If I come dia, my broda and him wife fit wake up see us.”
“Nothing go make your broda and him wife wake up till day break.”
“Okay I dey come.”
“Come quick before my thing dry.”
Nothing go make your broda and him wife wake up till day break. Chisco thought about those words and felt a tug at his heart as he pulled on a pair of combat shorts. Why did she say the things she said?
Come quick before my thing dry. Then he remembered how the thing felt as he fingered it that one time.
Chisco forgot all about her quirkiness and headed out to number 225 Katakata Street in the middle of the night.
TO BE CONTINUED.