Iniquity stood in the middle of the room facing the door stark naked with a raging erection. Maimuna, his sister found a wrapper and curled up in a corner of the room sobbing. It was in a rare moment when she was alone in the room after she had just put her son to sleep that Usman barged in and found her. Something had made him angry. He thrashed about in the room for a minute and then his eyes settled on her. He had not touched her since she had her son, their son. It was a promise they had made separately to their mother, the only other person who knew the true paternity of her baby. But sex calmed Iniquity. And entering the room and finding his sister alone after he had just been humiliated for the same reason left him with only one choice.
Alfa found a plank and hit Iniquity on his head. He absorbed the blow as if a lover was caressing his head. Then he howled like a wolf and with his head down, he charged at his father like a bull. The Alfa surprised everyone with his agility as he got out of the way allowing his momentum to carry Iniquity into the watching throng.
Castro was to later say to Irikefe “Imagine say throughout all that thing him prick still dey strong like say na clay them take mold am. Meanwhile, if na normal person, if you just hear footstep when you dey rub yourself like this the thing go just sleep one time!”
“Iniquity no normal na. I been know say something like this go happen soon. But him own sister!”
“Guy, for this face-me-I-face-you na im you dey show this kind surprise? You no know say this place na Soddom and Gomorrah? You no know say this way wey we dey live no be so human being for suppose live? You no hear of Tobi wey been dey put hand inside Maya pant for night because all of them dey sleep for ground together? Abi na their papa wey kuku disvirgin the babe. Plenty others dey do things dey code for this compound. No be under staircase when dem take light Talabi been first dey poilish Akunna wife? Make we pray make we make money so that we go fit comot for here go raise our children for proper environment. All the things wey dey happen for this compound na our living condition dey cause am.”
“Hmm. This mumu boy. So you get small sense like this?” Irikefe teased.
“Guy, sometimes I dey reason things.”
“Na true you talk sha. This living arrangement no pure. If to say that babe dey inside her own room close her door and hin brother get him own room, except devil dey live inside dem that kind thing nor for happen this afternoon.”
“Well, E good say dem don pursue that animal comot for this compound. Since him come back from prison him come worst. Before I dey seem am like one cool mallam as him say him be rapper. But gradually him come lose him head. Maybe na the name Iniquity. You no fit answer that kind name come be normal person.”
“Anyway, you don ready? Make we go see Maya.”
They went upstairs and knocked on Maya’s door.
They shuffled into the palour and sat on the couch. The voice that invited them in had come from the bedroom. They could tell Maya was putting on clothes before joining them.
“Hian. This one that the rascal president and his assistant are visiting me. I hope it is good?” Maya said matter-of-factly.
“Maya you are the only one that still doesn’t show me any respect even after I have become the caretaker and I now go to work. Is it until I become the councilor that you will see that I am no longer the Efe you used to know?”
“A leopard cannot change its spots,” Maya said. “I know for sure that this visit must be about some kind of mischief. Even if I see you in a suit and tie every day, I know you will continue to be a rascal inside.”
Irikefe made to stand up but Castro held him down.
“Guy chill na. You know say Maya na our big Sis. Big sisters are always annoying. Turning to Maya he said “Sis, we are not here for mischief. Something bothers us. Something that should bother you too. We said rather than allow it get to the council of elders and get handled in a way that will bring shame and disgrace we better come here and talk with you.” Castro had never before been so close to Maya. What he normally saw of pregnant women were disfigured faces and large feet with them either spitting into cans or eating something awful. But Maya looked like a bronze statue, regal in her booboo attire and skin so smooth you wondered if the mosquitoes in Katakata Street boycotted their room. It seemed unfair that one person was so beautiful. Castro managed to stay in the moment.
“And what is that?” Maya said.
“Your baby daddy has started fucking your sister,” Irikefe said and scoffed. “Shebi you had moved out but you said that because they buried your umbilical cord here that you must return. Your sister is now sucking the dick you suck. I thought I should let you know.”
Irikefe expected a reaction but Maya remained as cool as a cucumber. She even had a smile playing on the corners of her lips.
“Is that all?” she said.
Irikefe and Castro looked at each other.
“What do you mean by is that all? Is that normal? Are you happy about it?”
“Did you see them fucking?”
“What do you mean? Are you saying that we are lying?”
“I said do you have any evidence of what you are saying?”
“Maya are you serious right now? Like, you and I were born here. Are you telling me that we need photographic or video evidence to prove when two people are fucking in this compound?”
Maya looked away.
“Anyway, do with the information what you please. I have seen so many scandals in this compound that when I think I have seen it all, somebody climbs his sister in broad daylight with the door open and another keeps the sister of another who is pregnant for him in his room for two days and two nights and I am supposed to believe they are doing fellowship. E don do. I don tire. Y’all just fix yourselves. Castro, make we dey go.”
“Yes. Good idea.” Maya said. “It never killed anybody to mind their own business,” she said as they turned their backs.
“Guy wetin you think? Castro said to Irikefe when they were outside.
“She no well na. I no know why I even waste my time. You been don already talk am. Babe wey him papa fuck and him brother dey touch. Wetin come be for him boyfriend to dey nack him sister? Na family affair.”
“Maybe she doesn’t want to give you the satisfaction of rattling her. She no just like you. I can bet you she is fuming inside. I go dey watch.”
“That family is cursed is all I can say.”
“So he left here and went in and raped his sister,” Funbi said.
“From what I gather it wasn’t rape. He is the father of her child.”
“He must have desired your ass so badly that when he didn’t get it he risked everything to have his release,” Funbi said.
“He is the father of Alfa’s two grandchildren. He brought one from secondary school and made one with his sister.”
“Didn’t you hear what I said?”
“I do not wish to respond. I cannot defend myself. I cannot be angry with you. I still say thank you. If you had decided to live out your fantasy then I’d have been gone.”
Funbi shook her head and sighed.
“You have never looked at me the way you looked at him. Heck, no man has ever looked at me like that!”
“I’m sorry. It was a moment of weakness. Even recovering addicts relapse and gets back on track. In my case, I never wished to. It was unexpected. I won’t give such room again. Having you ensures that.”
“Would you have fucked him, even in my presence?”
“It would have been a threesome with you involved. It was your idea originally remember.”
“You didn’t answer my question. I said would you have fucked him or let him fuck you or whatever the fuck is your procedure when you fuck your kind?”
“So who would have fucked who?”
“Please babe, don’t do this to me.”
“Answer me or I will go inside and gather my things and you would never see me again.”
Jide heaved a deep sigh and said, “I would have let him. I receive more than I give.”
“Funbi please…” he said and shifted closer to her on the couch but she stretched out her hands to wedge him, “It’s okay. I just wanted to know.”
“Do you understand that I was only tempted and weak and my body wanted it but my heart is still with you and wants to change?”
She could not look at him. But after two full minutes of silence, she reached out and gathered his face in her palms and searched his eyes. She saw that he was telling the truth.
“I say thank you again,” Jide breathed.
“Come here baby,” she said and took him in a deep embrace. They stayed there long enough for him to get the cue and start to caress her but he did not do so. Months of tutoring gone, she thought. Then she began to rub his bare back through his t-shirt, fondled his nipples, and reached for his penis.
“Do you know why I was asking those questions?” Funbi said.
“Because I’m going to buy a strap-on dick and fuck that demon out of your ass myself!”
He chuckled and said “You don’t need to do that. Nothing goes in there again, ever.”
“Then don’t ever let me remind you when it’s an occasion to ravish me. Hell Jide, after what happened, do I need to tell you to tear off my clothes right now and show me you really want to change?”
“Oh no honey. Definitely not.”
He was not ready. He could not get himself to be. So he closed his eyes and remembered Iniquity. Then suddenly he felt life rushing into his groin. Then he made a silent prayer. Lord, I only need the thought of him to do what I have to do now. But please Lord, erase this from my mind and help me to desire a woman as I want to. To love this woman who has been so kind to me. I will never think about him again after today. And as his father has now disowned and sent him out of his house, may our paths nor that of any that would elicit such feelings ever cross again.
The sudden surge of his penis pleased Funbi. She was sorry for him but she understood. He was a strong man. If ever anyone was going to win this battle it was Jide, and she was going to be there to see him do it.
Maya remained where she sat for the visit of Irikefe and Castro until the curtain parted and Clementina walked in. She stopped in front of her elder sister and genuflected before entering the room. Maya sighed and watched the door that Clementina had just gone through. Moments later, she reemerged with a change of clothes, went over to Maya, hugged her, and began to sob.
Maya stayed still. She was not going to be the one to speak first. When she got herself together, Clementina said, “It was so good Sis. I didn’t know anything like that was possible.”
Maya maintained her silence. When she was completely calm, Clementina pealed herself away from her sister and sat facing her.
“I know I stayed too long. I couldn’t leave him.”
Maya continued to study her sister. She was so innocent, she thought. If only life was so straightforward.
“I can see you are happy now.”
“Yes, yes. I am the happiest girl in the world. Thank you, sis.”
“Is he happy?”
Clementina thought for a while and then said, “He should be. He could not stop. Surely, you don’t go that many times and agree for me to stay that long if you are not liking it. But there was a bit of sadness about him. Could be because he is confused about us.”
Maya nodded and said, “Did you use protection?”
“Erm, he gave me postinor 2.”
Maya shook her head. That was a new one. Two pregnant sisters indeed would have been something.
“Insist on condoms always. Whether with him or with anyone else. You are too young to start any kind of pills.”
“Okay Sis,” Clementina said. They were silent for a while and then she said, “You are not jealous Sis?”
“Why should I be?”
“Isn’t it obvious?”
“Is that what you want?”
“No. It’s just that…You know, apart from the fact that he is, you know, who he is or was to you, you are also like my mum now. You should feel somehow.”
“I don’t have the energy for drama. You said it was what you wanted. I told you I would give you anything you wanted. I’d rather know what you are doing and whom you are doing it with than not know at all. That’s the only way I can protect you.”
“Okay Sis,” she said and threw her hands over Maya’s neck.
Maya remained still.
Clementina had not noticed that Maya did not call her momma that day.
Ndifreke emerged from the room and went to the frontage to receive some fresh air. When he heard Willy-willy’s drumming he knew he had been busted. While Irikefe was known for somehow getting to know everything that happened in the compound, the little children, principally Willy-willy and a small gang he commanded were the town criers. They were the ones that amplified Jide and Funbi, they were the ones that saw Iniquity make away with the soup pot, and they were the ones now who had noticed that Clementina slept in his room for two nights. Their song was simple but the drumming was heretic. You would stop and listen for the sheer menace it conveyed. It was what Irikefe called masquerade music. Where the children learnt those kinds of combinations Ndifreke had no idea. But whenever you heard that drumming in Number 225 Katakata Street, you knew you were about to glean something new.
Who is the commander of the girls on Katakata Street?
Does his name start with A? No!
Does it start with B? No!
Does it start with C? No!
Does it start with N? Yesssss!!!!!!!!!!
Does he know the difference between mother and daughter? No!
Sister and sister? Not at all!
Let us clap for our senior uncle that his name starts with N!
Then the insane drumming would continue while the non-participating children would collapse in fits of laughter and adults who understood would stifle smiles. If Mr Zubi were around, he would remove his slippers and fling them in their direction, and mouth Ewu Gambia while he too struggled with a smile. Only this time instead of smiles, Ndifreke saw sneers. It seemed to him that this time they did not consider him a hero.
What had he become?
He went back into his room, locked the door, and crept into bed. When he had just reached puberty and all through his teen years, he had imagined that if he had enough sex that all his problems would go away. It was all he thought about and dreamt about. Now he had grown up, somewhat comfortable and having all the sex he dreamt of but now feeling as though he would be better off six feet under. He had not opened for business for two days. And even as he had become an object of ridicule he still wanted more. He cried himself to sleep, and then he had a dream.
He saw two birds on a rooftop. The birds were talking.
“Ndifreke’s people are not happy with me.”
“Because he seems to be making a headway in life.”
“Yes, I thought so too. He is now reading Think and Grow Rich and The Secret.”
“If he likes, let him read Sleep and Grow Rich. Nothing happens for you until you have disentangled yourself from our grip. I’m expecting his people soon; together we will tighten the ropes again and pin him down…”
“We will turn his attention towards women. It will be his only preoccupation. It would be fun if he impregnates another person. It is what his people want. It is what we will ensure. He will die between the legs of a woman.”
He woke up with a start, went on his knees, and prayed. Every night for the next five days, he had the same dream.
TO BE CONTINUED.