FBRP: EPISODE THREE(III)
Written by: Ogu chinedu
life they say, is often filled with bright colors. it is even believed that at its lowest ebb, it is never darker than grey. yet, as johnson walked away from the eguru police station that morning, he wondered why all he could see was black. Dark, pitch and silent black. the kind that held no hope of light.
It was fifteen minutes past the ten o’clock hour when johnson weakly flagged down a taxi some blocks away from the eguru police station. It was the sixth taxi he had flagged since he stepped foot on free soil, but the first that had actually stopped. After a few hassles about the price, the taxi driver had grudgingly agreed to a few hundred naira. By the time the rickety yellow vehicle dropped him at the dusty entrance to the street, it was just five minutes to eleven o’clock. The street was deserted and a fierce harmattan breeze was at its full force. Johnson sighed and spat at the sight of a wet rag obviously fresh from being used on a fish tray, flies were already having a feast on it. This cursed street again! he thought to himself. As he approached the black gate that stood in front of number 7, he noticed a freshly printed paper pasted on the gate with what appeared to be leftover eba. If you have not paid your rent for next year, better prepare my money or prepare to pack out of my house. signed Landlord. Johnson let out a wry smile and banged the gate behind him. joker! big time joker!
Later that evening, just at the time the sun started its painless journey to find its bed, a loud knock woke johnson from his own slumber.
“person no dey this house?”
The voice behind the words sounded familiar, but it did not sound like a voice he wanted to hear. Johnson quietly crept up from his bed and peeped through the hole-infested curtain. Njide! the debt collector. A million thoughts flew through his head. What could Njide possibly want? surely he must have heard that ‘fine buoy’ had been incarcerated in the poor man’s hotel and had therefore come to collect his money before someone killed him for good. In these streets, it was money before neighbors, or brothers, or whatever. Money first!
“my friend open this door jhor!”
Johnson unconsciously unlocked the latch that held the wooden door.
“can i help you?” There was something smooth about johnson’s voice.
“see this one o!, only few days wey you sleep for cell you don dey speak phune?”
“what is it jhor? why were you trying to pull down my door?” Johnson asked.
No quicker had the words left his lips did he realize his error in diplomacy. After all, he was the debtor, Njide was the debtee, in other words, it was like a child asking his mother for an extra meat, whatever the words used to convince, it was used in a low tune.
“abi u dey hungry?” Johnson added, feigning a smile. but the mistake was already made, and Njide capitalized on it.
“oh, ok eh, i don become hungry man now eh? i don dey bang down your door?. no problem. you see that my money? you go vomit am today.”
And so the fight started, the spectators gathered, the ever open gate was generously closed by a good Samaritan to prevent retreat on either sides, and one of the tenants stepped in as the official referee. Had it not been for the late intervention by Tolu, and the dizziness in johnson’s eyes, the casualties would definitely have been more than the four broken fingers, a shattered lip, a dislocated hip and the ‘divided’ door. That night, while everyone slept in the comfort of their mosquito-infested dark rooms, Johnson slept on the corridor to his room turning in pain, and wondering what people meant when they say life is like a watery pot of beans.
That was reggae blues by harrysong featuring iyanya, kcee, and a host of other artists, that song brings the time in the studio right now to nine o’clock, we will now be joining our news room for the highlights of the news at nine…A kick at what was left of the door brought johnson’s traveling eyes to Tolu as she stood with her frame directly blocking the early morning sun. He let out a yawn, and foolishly tried to stretch.
“chei! Njide don finish me!” Johnson cried as he felt a sharp pain around his waist. Tolu smiled and bent over, dropping what she carried.
“where your tissue dey?” she asked. Johnson pointed to the edge of the bed. She rolled out two cuts and handed to him.
“clean blood wey dey your pimple”. Ah! yes, the pimples. how could he forget the precious little devils.
“no problem”. Pause.
” wetin even cause the fight sef?” she asked curiously as she sat on the bed.
“i dey owe am”
“two thousand naira”.
Tolu was silent, she didn’t shout or show any sign of surprise, she just sat there with her mouth agape, and a blank expression on her face.
“thank you for the food” johnson said after a while and rested his head on the bed. Tolu simply nodded, stood up and walked out of the room.
And those were the news highlights for the nine o’clock hour, join us at ten for the news at ten o’clock. meanwhile, here’s Godwin by korede bello…
Please note that the use of the local parlance (Nigerian pidgin English) in this series is an INTENTIONAL act to pass on the story in the most original way possible. other works on this blog which do not necessitate such heavy use will appear in pure English form where possible.
All rights reserved. This work is protected by local and international copyright laws. No part of this publication is to be copied in any form without express permission from the writer or Chinekubiz™.