“I remember one of my many lovely Lagos nights,” Nwanyi-ocha speaks, elegant as always, “I watched an African lady perform her spoken-word piece in French. And when she was finished, she received an astounding round of applause. This piece is inspired by that night. It’s a blend of Pidgin English and proper English, and it’s titled TICKING BOMB. Enjoy…”
Urhobo people say; When Bros put him brokos for ground, Small pikin go take am play. That is to say, if you no give yourself sense, nobody go respect you.
Wetin dey work you? You no wise?!
If you remain there, this boy fit just delete you,
And nothing go happen!
Those were James’s exact words to Lucy,
Two days to the day wey body totori her pass.
Two days to the day wen she no know say she dey go.
Two days to the day wen Lucy, 16 year-old Lucy, die!
Una neva notice am?
You neva notice say nowadays children dey do things wen adults dey do?
For dis age wey we dey, sixteen (16) years pikin go clear your doubt,
You go believe.
Fifteen years boy dey boldly tell you say he need 30million…
You see say trouble don dey?
Fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, teen, teen, teen,
But dem dey do things, and we dey watch.
What you do not want, you do not watch.
Domestic violence in teenage relationships,
Nobody dey even send.
Dis world dey spoil, and we dey watch am.
You see this, tick, tick-tick, tick-tick-tick, tick,
It’s a ticking bomb,
And we are sitting on it.
Make e no go blow o…
There has to be something that we can do…
Her pretty smile, is her major selling point; or so she thinks. Nwanyi-ocha’s performance of her piece ‘Ticking bomb’, to the thrill of Chief Dike and his friends on that fateful night replays in Nkechi’s ears. A night Nkechi would forever remember.
Nkechi throws her head back in thought. She listens to the recording of the poem on her phone over and over again, because she always thought the lady was imagining things. Only this time, she really understands what the young lady was trying to say that night at the Dike’s Annual family celebrations. Her friends always referred to it as the “Grand Groove” or “GG”. Chief Dike and his friends would hand interesting envelopes to every attendee whom they feel like ‘blessing’. Her late mother would frown at it all the time. And she would always wonder why…
Chief Mrs. Dike is frantic, how could her children bring an entire festival to a standstill? This kind attention, this is the first of its kind. “Drive this car nowwww, John!” she says hitting the driver’s head rest continuously. “Mummy it’s na the road, this road no be speeding road. Na hills and valleys we dey face so ma.” John responds. “My friend, will you move this car for me and stop talking rubbish” Aunty Ogbenyealu cuts in from the behind, she rolls her eyes at him. Chief Mrs. Looks out the window, quiet, the boy is actually saying the truth. This road is horrible, and now it’s stopping her from getting to her children in time… Hmmm, she has to discuss this with Chief later tonight. “Every December we travel down here, how come I never noticed it?” She asks, lost in thought. Trust Aunty Ogbenyealu to always have a reply, “Ha-ha-ha-ha, aunty you are funny o. How will you feel it? If not that we are in a rush, na siren for dey blow for front na. You no go fit feel am…” she says. Chief Mrs. Shuts her up with an icy stare, Aunty Ogbeneyealu comes up with a trick question; “Have you been able to reach any of them yet?” she manages to stutter through it and John lets out a soft laugh, but releases a soft chuckle. The entire Prado jeep becomes quiet, except for the melodious high-life tunes John loves to play, Yellow sisi siddon for corner, put him hand for jawwww, wetin dey cause am, money palaver?…. “Money palava, Na so e be o.” John sings along…
“IB.” Okechukwu says her name as he taps her left shoulder. She snaps out of her thoughts rather calmly. Gently pulls out her ear-piece. “What are they saying?” she asks “He’s in coma…” he says. Nkechi heaves a deep sigh. “He’s on oxygen right now even.” He continues, “Multiple injuries, internal and external.” “Kai, does he look like he’ll make it?” Nkechi asks, deeply concerned. Okechukwu is not sure if he should tell it to her the way the doctor said it, “It’s a 55-45 percent chance. 45 percent chance he’ll make it, (55-60) fifty five to sixty per cent chance he might not” He nicely adds an extra 5 percent, to Kachi’s chances of staying alive.
“Ama-Hausa, Ama-Hausa. E na aga?” (Translates- Hausa-community, are you going?) Ezeama’s heart beat increases as he gets on the keke-napep (tricycle), but he maintains his composure. He is willing to damn all consequences. “There’s no way Kachi can survive that beating.” He thinks to himself. He is on his way to Ama-Hausa. Ama-Hausa the den of the Hausa traders in Owerri, the haven of Jewelers, the bureau de change republic. Ezeama’s only focus, saving his dying mother…