TWO AS ONE
Iniquity belched and rubbed his small protruding stomach. He had not eaten like that in two years. He enjoyed Igbo and Calabar soups more than the miyan kuka and miyan geda his father swore by. His mother and sister would not make anything else in their house so as not to offend Alfa. Iniquity however always satisfied his cravings whenever he could. This one was even more enjoyable as it was part of a game he was playing with the weird couple. Now he wanted to see how they would be able to avoid him.
Wasiu stayed quiet in a corner of the room and rolled his joint. He did not like what Iniquity made him do. His only vice at Katakata Street was selling and smoking marijuana, which was not really a bad thing because it was a choice he made for himself and those that bought from him did so out of choice. Okay, he had taken advantage of Josephine that one time, but even that was not exactly bad because she ended up screwing his brains out and even wanted more. However, blatantly taking somebody’s full pot of soup was another matter altogether. Hunger or long-throat made people take a scoop here and there when no one was watching, but outrightly denying another any of their own food in an environment where they were all suffering could even be a sin. Wasiu was a criminal but not a sinner. He knew the difference.
‘They can poison us or even drop something on the ground for us and our legs will swell like elephants. These people no get joy. Poor people no get joy. Guy, never again.”
“But I just started with them.”
“Wetin dem do you sef?”
“They are fake. I hate fake people.”
“It is their life na. Wertin come concern you?”
“They are denying me of love that’s why. I have never seen a man as sweet as that Jide before. It is paining me that he is now pretending to be what he is not.”
“Guy wetin you dey talk?”
Iniquity locked eyes with Wasiu for up to a minute and then allowed his eyes to soften. Wasiu recognized the look and sprang to his feet.
“Come, which kind nonsense be this?”
Iniquity stood and moved closer and Wasiu turned to the food drawer and produced a knife.
“Guy, come any closer and I go tear your belle. Oya come dey go.”
“Don’t be silly man. I’m not attracted to you. It often amuses me the way you guys treat men that like men.”
“Guy, I no like this talk. Die am abeg. And don’t you in your life ever look at me like that again.”
Iniquity chuckled and said “So as I was saying. Jide is my type and he is forcing himself on the girl. I’m their nemesis.”
“Why steal their food?’
“Do you know how many sweet relationships have started with fights? Conversations will start. Now they cannot avoid me anymore. There are a thousand ways of killing a rat without spilling blood.”
“Omo. One missing pot of soup in this economy is spilling blood. You go know when you reach compound.”
“And again, this is a distraction I don’t need I have to tell you. Na igbo I dey sell I no be thief and I no dey find trouble. I want to restart my business. I don’t even know how to yet because this place belongs to Chisco and you know say him head no correct. I just wan find way balance after prison.”
“Alright. I won’t ask you the next time.”
“And if you take anything please don’t come here. Chisco will throw me out.”
“All of a sudden you are a good man now ehn?”
“Guy, for this face-me-I-face-you you for find another thing use play no be food. You fit fuck person wife e no go pain am like to thief him food.”
“Jide and the girl won’t feel so.”
‘This is not about Jide and the girl. I can bet you that that their council don siddon for our head already. There are many wondering what they would have done if it were them. There are many sharpening their knives and waiting for us. I no want wahala. I no do again.”
Maya returned from the hospital and sat on the couch in the palour to catch her breath. Clementina came out of the room and sit with her.
“You are home early Sis. Looks like there was no crowd today.”
“There wasn’t o. I don’t know if you people have not noticed that there are fewer pregnant women these days. It seems it is only on Katakata Street people are still making babies.”
“What is it like? The antenatal?”
“Well, they do different things at different stages. Today they took my blood pressure, did a urine dipstick test for what they called proteinuria, did an up and down measurement of my belly, and asked about my general well-being, mental health, and if there was domestic abuse and those sort of things.”
“Mental health and domestic abuse. Like if your husband is beating you?”
“Wo…momma, like I said it’s routine stuff. I’m very fit and very fine as you can see. The only abuse I’m getting is from the big rats in this compound the renovation never got rid of. There wasn’t much to worry anyone about.”
“Shouldn’t you have had your man there with you?”
“I don’t have a man.”
“Sis, please, what has Ndi really done?”
“Not again,” Maya said and rolled her eyes and pretended to slump in her seat.
“Okay,” Clementina said, and remained quiet and continued to watch her sister.
“Are you happy momma?” Maya said.
“Of course. Why do you ask?”
Maya continued to watch her little sister. Poor girl, she thought. She deserved a lot more.
“You are looking at me like that again,” Clementina said.
Maya eased back into her seat, looked away, and said, “I think I have failed you.”
“You have done nothing of the sort. You are doing your best for me and I can see that.”
“I want you to have the life I did not have. The happiness I did not have.”
“I am happy Sis. Believe me. I am old enough to understand that you are only my sister. I don’t know why you behave like my grandmother.”
“If you want anything, anything I can do all you need to do is to tell me.”
“Alright,” Clementina said. After a moment’s hesitation, she said
“Are you sure Sis?”
“There’s something I want Sis.”
Without looking at her or changing her expression, Maya said, “Tell me.”
“Promise you will do it.”
“I will do it if it is within my power.”
“I want Ndi.”
“What?” Maya said and now turned to face her sister.
“I want you to get back with him. You are giving me the affection meant for him and he is a good man. The closest thing to a brother I have.”
“We have Joseph now.”
“When last did you see him since he met the nurse? Besides I’ve known Ndi since I was a child.”
“I’m not good for Ndi. Not anymore.”
“What do you mean by that Sis?”
“You will not understand.”
“He should be a part of this family. You don’t even let him come near.”
Maya studied her younger sister. Clementina could not maintain eye contact with her.
“You have a crush on him momma.”
“You shared Jonjo with me. Now you want Ndi too.”
“You only want to wear my old clothes. You want the things I have.”
“Sis please stop. Ndi is a good man. He is the father of your baby after all.”
“It’s fine. I cannot stop you if it will make you happy. If being me will make you happy, then be me.”
Clementina opened her mouth to speak but nothing came out. Was she so easy to read?
“I did enjoy Jonjo Sis,” she said, twiddling the hem of her gown.
“I’m not really a child in that sense. Not anymore.”
“I can’t date any of these dirty small boys.”
“I can understand why.”
“And I am nothing of my age.”
“I can see that.”
“I’m sorry Sis. It is betrayal isn’t it?”
“I am not selfish. We have seen two sisters marry the same man before and people who don’t understand think they are mad. Nothing comes close to the love I feel for you. This family is all I have. You and Tobi. There is nothing I wouldn’t give you both and there is nothing I cannot share with you.”
Clementina stood up and hugged her elder sister.
“I just worry that you shouldn’t be doing this yet.”
“Sis, if you didn’t know me you’d think I’m twenty-five. I’ve already had sex and I see that I want more of it. My body is driving me mad. They say I stay too long in the bathroom but do you know why?”
“You stay there to touch yourself.”
“I want to cum every day. I didn’t do this to myself Sis. If God wanted me to be a child, he would have given me the body of a child and not allowed me to feel the way I feel. The worst is the catcalls and all the perverts in the compound wanting me. I want to choose who I will give myself to while I can. I would hate to be hooked on Castro or his father or Mama Cowbell’s husband. Sis, they all want to sleep with me and I can’t keep them off much longer because I want it too.”
They heard the commotion downstairs and stopped talking and went to the balcony. They stood and watched as two young women and a police officer rescued a girl from Irikefe’s room.
“See how sad Ndi looks,” Clementina said. “We should be comforting him Sis. He needs us now.”
“I’ll make him come upstairs.”
Ndifreke sat up and looked at Clementina. She slept like a baby but she was everything but.
He hissed and gathered his clothes. What next now he thought.
Clementina facing the wall stretched her left hand and felt the space beside her for him. It was empty. She started up and turned. He was seated on a stool and looking at her.
“Ndi” she cooed.
“Come back to bed.”
“I ehm, I’d rather not.”
“Shhhh” She said with a finger over her lips, climbed down from the bed, and approached him. He wanted to look away from her nakedness but he could not. How was he going to explain such raw sex appeal on a fifteen-year-old?
“I know what you’re thinking,” she said, and sat astride him and watched him struggle to keep his mouth closed as her big breasts and bulging nipples assaulted his face. She could feel a bulge emerging under her, and with nowhere to hide his face, she fed a nipple into his mouth when he opened it to say something.
“Do I look like a child Ndi?”
He murmured something and began to suck.
“Do you think this is wrong?”
He murmured again and gathered the cheeks of her bottom in both hands as she began to rock him.
“I thought so,” she said and closed her eyes, and began to moan. She felt him lift her up and fidget with his zippers. Then he gingerly guided her upon his stiffness drawing a gasp from her. He filled her up completely. Not even Jonjo managed that. It was a feeling like none she ever knew. She still had to prove to him that she was not a child. So she took charge and began the rudimentary upward and downward movement over his shaft.
“Call my name,” Clementina said.
“Tina. My darling Tina.”
“No. Call me Maya.”
“Yes, hun. I am Maya and Maya is me.”
Irikefe stood at the gate entrance to Alhaji Sirika’s office and waited. It was 10 in the morning already and the Alhaji had not still arrived. But he would not be deterred. Not that he had work to go to or anything meaningful to do. The Alhaji was his only hope. Patience was something he had in abundance.
Why Alhaji Sirika choose to have an office in dense Mushin puzzled Irikefe. However when he reflected some more, he concluded that Alhaji Sirika was a local champion who could only intimidate his tenants with his archaic four-wheel drive and weighty lace agbadas. Out there in the larger society, was just another old Lagosian who had managed to grab land and build houses in earlier times, and then had a side hustle that helped him leave his house from day to day. Not that there was anything wrong with that. Leaving Katakata Street to Mushin just reminded him that the world was much more than the chaos he grew up in. Maybe what he needed was to leave the place altogether.
Alhaji Sirika’s four-wheel-drive finally appeared. Suraju his driver jumped down and went and opened the gate by himself and then went back into the jeep and drove into the compound.
Alhaji Sirika frowned when he saw Irikefe.
“Good morning Alhaji,” he said and prostrated flat on the cold concrete.
“What do you want here? How did you know this place?”
“Alhaji I am Irikefe. Born, bred and buttered in Katakata Street. I know everything.”
Alhaji Sirika shook his head and headed for his office. It was actually a warehouse, like two large shops collapsed together. Printing machines and rolls of assorted paper were strewn all over the place. There was a cubicle in the far right corner with a desk and chairs that served as the Alhaji’s office.
“Alhaji everything they said about me are lies!”
“That is not the impression I got.”
“Of course, that is not the impression they would give you sir. They hate me in that compound because ever since I became the caretaker I have not allowed them to keep doing nonsense.”
“Yes na Alhaji. Have you heard of any witches there anymore?”
“Have you heard of anybody who has refused to pay their rent?”
“No rent is due yet. Everyone paid one year’s rent following the renovation.”
“Okay true but I can assure you that nobody will owe you for one day once their rent is due. Trust me on this Alhaji. They will not see where they will baff or shit until you get your money I promise you, sir. Please give me back the job.”
“It might be too late. I told Zubi to do it in the meantime.”
“In the meantime. That meantime is over now sir. Tell him you have reconsidered me.”
“But why should I do that? Your father’s head is still intact in the grave and you have already started raping small girls on his bed. That is irresponsible. If you were my son I would discipline you likewise.”
“Alhaji it is a lie. The girl was a friend. Friends have misunderstandings and busybody people now carried the thing on their heads. Alhaji do you think that in the Nigeria of today that if I had done that I would still be walking the street? Those lazy old men do not like my energy and want to continue doing the things they were doing that is why they want me out of the way. As you said, they will all leave one day but number 225 is my home. No one will be more loyal to you than me. Please take me back Alhaji.”
Alhaji Sirika thought for a while and said, “What are you even doing for me?”
“Alhaji now you are talking. See, sir, I can do anything you want.” Bringing his voice down a notch, he said, “I know that big men like you do rituals to achieve things. If you want somebody for ritual, I can even give you. That Alfa has ten useless children he cannot train. I can give you five from there if you want. And if it is an adult…I can give you Castro. The idiot is useless to his father and to me.”
Alhaji Sirika collapsed in his chair like a buffalo and guffawed. The boy was interesting.
“I am impressed even though you are talking nonsense. Why don’t you come and work here for me? If you stand on the road with this your sharp mouth, you can corner a lot of business for me. You can also have the caretaker job back but I will take one room from you. I already have a tenant for the second room.”
“I will pay you twenty thousand a month as my canvasser. I will put corporate sales chief on your ID card for prestige. Plus your ten thousand as the caretaker. You see, you are now a big man.”
It was fair enough. What did he need two rooms for in truth? He had come to get one job back and he was leaving with two!
Irikefe prostrated again before the Alhaji.
“Come and start work tomorrow.”
“Okay Alhaji. God bless you Alhaji.”
A skinny nurse picked up Achike’s two legs and raised them high for blood to flow back to his brain. It was when he felt his scrotum dislodged onto his inner thigh that he flickered his eyes open. The good thing about fainting in a hospital was that there were people there in abundance who knew what to do.
“Brother na Akunna I dey see wey dey do this kind thing.”
“Sharrap there!” Achike muttered groggily. Why didn’t they allow him to enjoy even one minute of oblivion?
Then Eyonyam spoke.
“My in-law. Wetin do you?”
It was good old Eyonyam. Achike even had the presence of mind to notice that her hips did not diminish despite her time in coma.
He turned to Chisco. “Bia, nwanne, i ji n’aka ihe i nuru?”
“Brother I be small boy? I know wetin I hear and see.”
Achike stood up and regarded his mother-in-law. He was grateful that she was alive and looked well. Chisco was many things but he was also a human being capable of an error. But he could only act on what he saw. That was Eyonyam hale and hearty even though emaciated. He could not have asked for a better gift for his wife and infant son that Sunday afternoon.
“What do you think?” Chisco said to his spirit guide.
“She was temporarily possessed. The woman was as good as dead. Floating in the beyond for that long would have made anything possible. We know Mama Akunna is very much around and would want to show herself every now and again. It is left for us all to be careful.”
“Can a woman’s spirit possess a man?”
“Yes. But she knows only how to live as a woman so would very likely look for an available weak woman. But being so desperate to return you all have to be careful.”
“How do we warn everyone?” Chisco said.
“There’s no way. What I suggest is that when next you sit in that your council you ask Mr Cosmas leading questions. Questions that would make him give answers that you want everyone to hear.”
“So what that man says is correct?”
“More often than not.”
“Is he some kind of entity? Surely you should know this.”
“No. He is a human being who has applied himself. Everybody could if they were serious. It is only sad that you people don’t listen to him. Don’t wait until you lose your life to do so. I wish I had taken him more seriously when I was alive.”
Chisco agreed but did not plan to go to Mr Cosmas for anything. He was going to learn everything he wanted to know by himself. But it was when they got home and Eyonyam called him to one side and said “My in-law, I wan start business, I want to dey sell ogogoro,” that Chisco knew it was time to seek out Mr Cosmas.
“Guy abeg hear me out.”
“Castro, I am done with you. You see as you nearly ruin my life?”
“No be so na. The whole thing na misunderstanding.”
“Well, see what your misunderstanding has caused. We are no longer friends. Oya bye-bye.”
“My papa don say make I go replace you for Josiah shop. Me, Castro, aspiring honourable of the 7th Assembly, carpenter!”
“Serves you right.”
“Help me, my guy.”
“How I go help you even if I wanted to?’
“Give Josiah quit notice. Shey you are now back to being caretaker?”
“Your head no correct.”
“I get hot gist. Big breaking news.”
“Will you help me?’
“But that is not easy to do na…I fit find you work outside. I don see plenty opportunities as I don dey comot. Na for you to find way convince your papa say you no need to be carpenter. Oya tell me, wetin happen.”
“Ndifreke dey fuck Maya sister.”
“Welkum tarantekum kambiaso imerantus!” Irikefe screeched.
“Nor be secretary she be?”
“My small brother say na even that day wey him sack us dem start. Hin say Ndifreke enter room, small time, Clementina follow am. Dem dey there till evening before Bros come comot go buy pepper soup and bread and coke for dem to chop. She come sleep there until morning.”
“Keske la bamba sakakaroko!”
“Guy I shock. Him fes give Maya belle. I never too dey sure about him and Nurse Jo. Achike wife been don sleep for hin room one night. Make we no even talk about aunty Lizzy. Now na Clementina. But just because we play small play hin disgrace us like that,” Chisco mused.
“Bros Freke wey I don dey cover him nyash since him come from village!” Irikefe offered. “Guy, this one no be gist wey we go just hear to enjoy. I hear say the pikin still be fifteen or sixteen, even though I no know wetin come push her nyash and breast comot like dat already. But you see, we no do anything dem come put our name for Twitter and our man come treat us like say we be Baba Ijesha. Now na our turn to show am say who fes do no dey know wetin dey wait for am for front.”
TO BE CONTINUED