Written by: Ogu Chinedu
‘Cell B’ was no pleasant place, not for a criminal and definitely not for an innocent like johnson. It was filthy. It was dark. It was dusty, with cobwebs at every curve and an overpowering stench of poo just by a never opened iron window. As if the sore state of the room was not enough, the inmates were nothing to write home about. Definitely not recommended as roommates.
They were not many, as one would have imagined. From the voices johnson could decipher, he could make out six individuals, from the slaps he had received from sunset up till the first light, he could make out four hardened fellows, and from the wailing and pleas, he could make out two weaklings. Johnson himself was of-course one of the two weaklings, and the sixth individual. What pained him most was not the slaps or lack of sleep, it was how he ended up in that place. The events leading up to his rough-handling by the police was laughable at-least to anyone that heard the story, even though the wounds on his body wouldn’t permit him that leisure.
Just two days ago he had left his house around 6pm to buy roasted corn at the end of his street. Since it was very close he had worn only a three-quarter trouser and a shirt hung over his shoulder. It was just a stroll, besides, he had a very flat chest, it was nothing to entice anyone with. He needed the fresh air. The girl selling the roasted corn was still in her teenage years, small breasts and all of that. If he were to put an age to it, he’d say thirteen. It didn’t stop the customer after him from wooing the little girl though, by the time he was swinging his black nylon out of the place, the little girl was typing her number into the young mans mobile phone.
“Get that man!”.
Johnson stopped in his tracks. A group of young men flew past him armed with matchetes. They weren’t really getting any ‘man’. They just ran down the street like locusts going after the Egyptians in the bible. By the time he had pulled himself together enough to move, another voice stopped him.
“hey!, that boy on three-quarters stop there!”.
Johnson stopped. He was furious. Why would anyone try to play pranks after what had just happened? Whoever it was that was making that comment, surely, he must know that after incidents like this, the police usually came around for ‘mop up’ operations. He was ready to give whoever said that thing a piece of his mind. For full effect, he turned around in a swirl.
“you dey craze? You no know say…” And then he stopped his speech right there. Johnson could not believe it. The police! The fucking police!! He had just insulted the Nigerian police!!!. To make things worse, the once bubbling street was empty, deserted, as empty as Jerusalem during Nebuchadnezzar reign.
“wetin you just talk now?”. The police man asked flashing his torchlight into johnson’s eyes. Two others joined him.
“im follow for those thieves shebi?” One of them asked the torchbearer.
“yes na, and im be like say na their strong man self”. He replied.
Johnson opened his mouth to talk only to feel his backside hit the hard muddy road.
“if i hear pim!”.
Just then, a black hilux appeared behind them.
“put am for motor”. The driver ordered. His fate was sealed.
Crackles from a nearby fire filled the noiseless night. Now and then the flames sparked as if it was stoked by an unseen being. Tolu drew her sweat shirt tighter to her body as she watched the fire with keen interest. There was nothing to watch really, it wasn’t like the melting plastic bottles in the fire was fighting with the red hot ashes. There was just nothing else to do, Nepa had taken their birthright and mosquitoes had invaded her room in the absence of light so she had done the only rational thing left. Pick the bench, sit outside the gate and wait for neighbours to come out and keep her company.
Ofcourse there is always the option of luring them out, but tolu was a lady who found joy in being sought after. She enjoyed it, whether she was being chased after by male admirers, or female colleagues who need her help, she always made it a point to soak it all in. She cast a glance at the fire which had died down and was slowly going off in smokes. flapping her wrapper between her legs, tolu fought back the urge to yawn and then clapped her hand on her lap in a futile attempt to kill a mosquitoe.
“pino-pino kee way?” asked a figure as it emerged from the darkness that covered the street.
Something sparked in the fire and for a moment tolu could see the persons face.
“this one wey you dey come back by this time…”
“wetin dey knack?” He asked as the back light to his mobile phone came alive, beaming its light on his face. Tolu smiled to herself.
Njide and this his fine boy face sef. She loved handsome men, they always make her weak.
“seven don knack” she replied.
“na true o! Sha, make i just drop these things, i go join you now-now”
He opened the gate and then turned back.
“johnson don come back?”
“i never see am”
“nawa o” he hissed as he gently banged the gate behind him.
‘Fine Buoy Rich Pimples’ is an online novella written by Ogu Chinedu. ©All rights reserved.