​TRIBELESS…

TRIBELESS…

Once upon a time, long before Nigeria, Ghana, Sweden or Australia came to be; the world was a collection of kingdoms and empires. The black man had gold, natural resources and magic in abundance; magic so good it just had to be coined, BLACK MAGIC. Trade and business transactions read –

The Benin kingdom needs to purchase A THOUSAND HORSES from Arabian merchants’

Yes, trade and transactions ran that far. As did the population, one man equaled numerous wives and children, the numbers have always been there. SURVIVAL, the top priority of every kingdom, every community, every hamlet, group, homestead, clan, you name it. Slaves were of EVERY RACE AND COLOR, SKIN COLOR.

Once upon a time, as the search for POWER grew stronger, curiosity fed knowledge and GREED won. Today we are ‘COUNTRIES’, our tribal identifications take second place. The day Nigeria and the rest of the world embraced ‘Civilization’, we became TRIBELESS.
So, rather than DIVIDE TO RULE, we should act ‘Civilized’ and DO WHAT IS RIGHT. Not because a southerner has been there for too long it’s time for the North to take over POWER; But because Umar is a more qualified candidate than Segun. It is time for the struggle of the most dominant/better tribe to END. We are all distinct, different and unique so how can you even think of competing. IT IS POINTLESS

Discoveries have shown, there’s more strength in a pride of 50 lions than in separate prides of 10. Dear Nigerian youth, we have the numbers. OUR STRENGTH IS IN OUR NUMBERS. It is time to show the stuff that we are made of. Enough of all the cacophony, IT IS TIME TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT, IT IS TIME TO MAKE THINGS RIGHT. NotTooYoungToRun!!!

Yours Faithfully,
A tired Nigerian Youth.
Nwanyi’Ocha

THE DANCING THIEF #4

CHAPTER 4

Ama-Hausa, the central area of Hausa speaking people in Owerri town, is at its regular as Ezeama’s feet get off the tricycle ‘keke-napep’ and step on to its ever busy roads. Gold merchants from different corners of the market approach him in a rush; “Enyi, you wan buy gold?” (Translates- ‘My friend do you want to buy gold?’) A tall dark merchant with a huge gold tooth asks, “You wan buy dollars?” asks another, simultaneously. He ignores them and walks straight into one of the shops in the market. 2 traders exchange pleasantries with him at the door, they usher him in and get down to business. Ezeama produces the necklace from his inner shorts and sends the entire shop into a semi-freeze. “Why the necklace cut? Na so you buy am?” one of the two merchants demands an answer from Ezeama and he begins to stutter. “Na my mama wey get am. Na for her hand e cut and she dey hospital. We need money so she say make I come sell. You go buy abi you no buy make I go another place”… after some 10 minutes of deliberations, the merchants decide to trade. They weigh the necklace on the scale to derive its value. Tiny beads of sweat cover Ezeama’s forehead, “what are they checking again?” He has no clue what’s going on and they can tell…

*****

“This madness has to end. I wish someone can just go and assassinate all the old politicians make all of us start afresh…” a bitter youth speaks up from the back of the hospital reception; the breaking news on the television reveals a Python just swallowed some major government funds, Forty (40) million based on the reports and testimonies of a government staff. “Since when did snakes start swallowing money? Next thing we know, animals will be richer than us” he says. Mild laughter erupts among some of the people in the waiting area of the hospital’s reception. “Enough is enough!” Just then, Ezeama walks in and heads straight to the reception desk. “Nurse! Nurse! Where is my mother?!” he asks, frantically. “Hey young man, bring your voice down, this is a hospital please…” one of the nurses scolds. Turns out his mother had been moved to the ‘General ward’ down the hall way along with the other beds arranged haphazardly. With tears in his eyes, he makes the deposit of (N50, 000) Fifty thousand Naira. “This is all I could raise, it should cover the cost of the operation.” The nurse accepts the payment from him and swings into action, sluggishly. “Madam please hurry!” Ezeama tries to hurry her.

*****

John drives into the FMC (Federal Medical Center) car park and Chief Mrs. practically rushes out of the car. She rushes into the hospital to find her children sitting at the reception, they look worried. She walks over to them calmly. Nkechi’s eyes are closed and her ears plugged, she rests her head on her brother’s shoulders. The time is 4 p.m.

*****

The children of Umunoha sit around his backyard quiet, they are too sad to speak. “Where is Ezeama?” a strong male voice demands from a distance. The children don’t move, he observes this and stops to calculate his next move carefully; he was not sure how they’d react to the incident. “What is going on?” he begins by asking, Olanna is quick to drop her analysis. “We are at risk, Dede. We do not feel safe anymore. (She sniffs) You gave us a wrong operation! And you were not there to protect us!” the tears in her eyes say it all, the children are scared, stiff scared. Anorue does not like this at all… This can be very very bad for business…

FALSE START 

When assumptions push you
Make you beat the gun.
Shoot sensitive bullets that  miss.
Emotions fly across the room,
Misconceptions, Misrepresentation, Everyone’s Misconstrued
There’s the need for clarity, to clear the air
To show the beauty of a false start.
When handled correctly,
It can be an amazing disaster

                               Nwanyi’Ocha

THE DANCING THIEF 3

“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…”

TICKING BOMB

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?
Hmmmm,
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…
                                 
                                                                                            Nwanyi-ocha 

                                                                                                20/3/2018

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…

THE DANCING THIEF 2.

Ezeama’s legs almost fail him, the thick red earth is extra moist under his feet. He climbs the mango tree ahead in barely 5 seconds and finds himself a nice spot to hide away from the world. He rubs his sweaty palms in anxiety, his sick mother’s face continuously flashing through his mind, “this is for her” he tells himself. The doctors have refused to commence treatment until they get the N 70, 000 deposit; “Stay focused.” He tells himself. He sights Kachi’s red shirt running towards him from a distance, his view on top of the tree is amazing. Just as he prepares to jump down, a strange thing happens. He sights something like a robot, equally moving very fast, towards them. “hmmmm, what is that?” he can’t believe his eyes. Quickly, he climbs down the tree and runs towards Kachi. Kachi sees him coming and doubles up his speed to meet up with Ezeama in quick time. Getting close to each other, Kachi throws the necklace at him and runs into the nearby bush path to catch his breath. Ezeama runs back to the mango tree and maintains his initial position. His instincts tell him to stay put and he listens…

Kachi turns around to run away from some strangers approaching him on top speed. He hears the largely strange but intriguing sound “Vroooommmm, the non-stop vibrations from the ground makes him loose composure. He panics and sprains his left ankle… Still trying to run, Kachi doesn’t realize he’s slowing down until he finds the lights of the white beast shining brightly behind him; the 12 year old is very scared. Nkechi pulls her helmet off and he is stunned. “This lady? No way! I just snatched her necklace for goodness sake!” he thinks to himself. Nkechi decides to ask him some questions, unknown to her, the young man has barely caught his breath. “Where is my gold?” no response. “I’m talking to you”, Kachi lifts his hands in shock. “What’s your name?”, before Nkechi can get a response, the overly excited mob rush at Kachi and begin to land him deadly blows. Nkechi tries to stop them, they shove her out of the way. It’s wild, she has never seen anything like this. “LEAVE HIM ALONE!” she screams at the top of her lungs, they don’t listen to her.

Okechukwu arrives the scene in a semi-monster truck, the toys Chief Dike and his children like to play with are rare and pricey. He rushes towards his beloved sister “IB wassup?” he asks with his usual composure. “Ask them, no get them to leave him alone!” she cries. Okechukwu set to do exactly that. He pulls off his belt and begins to wipe the angry mob drastically. The people feel the wrath of the Louis Vuitton leather on their skin and immediately give way. In a matter of minutes, he scatters the angry mob and rescues the numb Kachi. The teenager is already unconscious. High up the mango tree, Ezeama’s eyes are swollen from shedding too many tears, he takes in every detail of the mass beating Kachi just received “Oh God, obodo egbuola nu Kachi o” (translates- The Community has killed Kachi o) his anger slowly rising “For what kwanu? The necklace of a brat?! People that already have more money they could ever need.” tears drop freely from his face as he watches the entire action. The entire scene is packed, he does not bother to move. The young man is pained…

Okechukwu lifts Kachi from the ground, the teenager’s body is a mix of colors right now. Red from the blood, brown from the sand and wet from excessive sweating. The teenager looks battered, he is unconscious. Nkechi freaks out. she gets off the bike and starts to yell angrily at the people, “Savage! This is pure savage! No, just look at what they did to a human being now, Oke? No, you just see now! Tell me if this one is not madness?!” she pauses to catch her breath briefly “Okay now, did you get anything from him as you were killing him? The gold sef una no even ask am. Just begin load the poor boy anyhow! For what!” She rebukes them bitterly.

She’s so upset, she continues to rant as Oke loads unconscious Kachi onto the truck. “You beat up a defenseless teenager only to find NOTHING?!” Her light skinned face begins to turn red, she “How do you feel? Just tell me?” She tries to hide a tear. “Na dem dey commit o, no talk like that…” echoes a voice from the crowd; Nkechi ignoresthe remark. Okechukwu walks over to her and grabs her shoulders tightly, “Pull yourself together! Let’s get the young man to the hospital” he whispers in her right ear. “Where’s the nearest hospital?” Nkechi asks loudly, “Med Center, Ukwuoji! 15 minutes from here” comes a voice from the crowd. Another voice cuts in, “Ah, dis one pass Med Center o. This is FMC case, no even worry yasef!” the stout looking young man few steps away from Nkechi speaks. “Na only BP dem sabi check for Med center.” He continues. “Ok so where the FMC come dey?” she asks, impatient. “It’s almost one hour from here” the young man answers. “WHAT!” Nkechi screams “Oke, put this boy on my bike please” She pleads,  “Calm down, How you wan do am?” He asks, “Get into the truck instead.” He orders her. “No.” she refuses, Nkechi, just too stubborn. “I’ll ride along side.” She negotiates, already locking her helmet tight on her head. “Okay. Stay on the phone please. Follow us please so you can show us the FMC.” Okechukwu says calmly to the young man who gave the directions, he helplessly climbs onto the truck. Arguing with Nkechi is not even an option, he places a call to her, she picks up and says nothing. They drive out of the scene and onto the road in quick succession. Nkechi is already punching the address on to her map for directions. Her earpiece plugs are tight in her ears, she turns on the engine giving the ground some mini vibrations as she moves the white B3ast. Okechukwu drives out, his hazard lights on. Nkechi follows closely and places herself beside him, she revs the engine and the pretty B3ast roars; to the excitement of everyone present. “Chai lekwa nu anya, vroom vroom…” one of the onlookers says he’s so excited. Some of them begin to chase after the bike, staring at it in awe and cheering. Everyone is dazzled. Call it the POWER-BIKE EFFECT. “This people should stop. It’s 2018 for goodness sake” she mutters to herself. “Tell that to your father and his friends” Okechukwu replies her from the other end of the phone. She says nothing “God please let this boy live” she prays silently in her heart…

 

The Dancing Thief #1

Clouds of dust rise and fall to the ground as his large feet move to the rhythm of the drums. Stomping and jumping at intervals, the melody from the ogene drives him to the left and the right ends of the field. Thrills and cheers emerge from the crowd as his arm and back, dark and shiny like ivory, shine with sweat as he moves. His feet slam the ground continuously, one foot with the force of 10 men. The masculinity of the strong African male is on full display as Anorue showcases his energetic art. The art of dance. Anorue, the infamous dancer from Umunoha; the delight of the Prince, entertainer to the Bourgies, Children will do anything for him, tourists are attracted by him, visitors look forward to his performances, maidens fight over him. Especially the light-skinned maidens, his renowned ‘spec’…

The UMUNOHA square is lit with activities; buyers and sellers interact loudly but not loud enough to drown the music and cheers coming from the crowd. The festivities are so much that Nkechi’s screams did not seem to make any difference until 4 young men emerged and begun to chase down an unknown person. The hot pursuit sends bottles crashing to the ground and pandemonium engulfs the entire west wing of the square and like wild fire, it spreads fast…

She tries to massage the ragged edges of his finger nails on her right cleavage, it is visibly red now and swelling but she’s too worried to care about that right now. “The more you rub it, the more it swells Nne. Wepu aka?” (Translates- ‘best take your hands off’) Her stepmother advises her and she stops rubbing her cleavage almost immediately. “This cannot happen to me please. I can’t lose that necklace…” is all her mind cries out. “Hai! white gold!!, 24Karat!!!” The value of the precious white gold is all that seems to matters to Aunty Ogbenyealu at this point. She intends to get the attention of more people and tries to lurch forward in the direction of the curious crowd; Chief Mrs.’s left hand holds her back. “Chai! Can you imagine? This thing dey pain me fa… Can you just imagine these people aunty?” Aunty Ogbenyealu complains bitterly in her defense… “No this is rubbish now….Haba!” Madam Kano is her alias, one she attributes to her ‘vast’ knowledge of the Hausa language.

Anorue stares in the opposite direction to find more than half of the crowd’s attention off him and on Aunty Ogbenyealu. Swiftly, Nkechi sets off in the direction of the pursuit. Chief Mrs., her stepmother, places both hands on her head, her face shows fear; “Let somebody hold her o… Okechukwu! Oke!!!” Her screams come quite late as the engine of the matte white elegant B3AST, BMW S1000RR power bike, revs like a pretty Beast. The earth on and around it trembles and all the village children cheer in excitement. Nkechi’s left hand turns ‘her brother’s’ power bike on while her right hand handles the matte white helmet with the number 46 designed on either side. Expertly, she rides out of the Square and on to the bush path through which she saw the thief escape. Leaves and tree branches adorn the path on the left and on the right, heavy adrenaline surges through her veins, all she can think of? Her mother’s necklace…. The entire square chases tirelessly behind her; determined to get to the end of the matter… Anorue is amazed. “Who is that?”, his jaw drops slowly…

Nb: Shadé is a compilation of short stories. The story of Shadé was wrapped up last week. The Dancing Thief is a New story. I hope you enjoy it…😎

Shadé #10

#10

“Dust to dust, ashes to ashes…” Bishop Coker echoes as he places the ash with the sign of the cross on Aunty Nji’s forehead and those of her children. Thanks to Bòdé; one of them is missing. Sadé follows them behind closely, sober, like everyone else at St Michael’s parish, Osun state. It is the beginning of Lent.

“Hopefully we get the order not to fast this year too Biko”, Uncle Ràntí jokes in the car on their way back home. “Sadé, any update?” He asks. Sadé turns around to give him a blank stare, “No Sir!” She replies. “Well; make my guy talk make we know. I get many people wen I need forgive this year. Actual fasting fit help me, true….” he says and feigns innocence. The entire car erupts in laughter.

Pa James asks “Who is this your guy Ràntí?”, “The Pope Sir” Uncle Ràntí replies. “Something dey do you!” Pa James replies. The driver turns the wheel when Richard’s text message appears on Uncle Ràntí’s phone. He takes a look, the text reads “Bros dis kitchen na die o, multiple aromas. D feast too sure, plus dia is Loud ina d place…” He smiles to himself. Nji stretches her neck to look at her husband’s phone.  “What is Loud Ràntí?” she asks, unsure. He gives her a funny stare. “It’s a cocktail baby. Made of ice…” he lies. “Meaning?” She probes further. “Meaning it’s chilled…” he winks at her, she’s not having it but she lets it go…

****

“From dust, we were created, to dust shall we return…” says the Reverend. Family members of Young Sam take turns to pour some red sand onto the brown casket in the ground. On the fence of the compound, the obituary announcement on the walls outside reading, “Painful exit...”

Freda and Ada stand behind with 4 other members of staff to represent the rest of the Hotel management and staff. Young Sam died a month earlier, in his sleep. He had raped Freda later that day. She cried to Ada when she narrated the story so Ada chose to take laws into her own hands. My Chi will handle him for us. Don’t worry yourself…” those were Ada’s words to Freda, she can never forget. Now, Freda looks at Ada’s face for any trace of happiness or sadness, she gets nothing…

On their way back, she sits next to Ada on the bus. After some time, she gathers her mind to ask her “Ada, did you have a hand in this?” Ada looks away. “Certain people deserve judgment not mercy…” she says and smiles softly. Freda begins to sweat, seriously. Fear was written all over her face…

****

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. From dust we are made, to dust shall we return….” Bishop Coker’s voice lingers on in Sadé’s head. She sits on the rock staring out into the garden. Aunty Nji walks up to her, clad in black from head to toe; “How do you feel? You’re the only one here wearing all white?” She asks. Sadé turns around sharply; Aunty Nji’s voice brings her back to the estate. She smiles to reply to her, “Aunty, I’m special like that. Wearing black is a taboo for me.” Aunty Nji continues, her eyes are serious, “The Lord God created them all you know, colors and left hands alike…”.”I trust you!” Sadé agrees to avoid further arguments and debates. “How are you doing Aunty? How are you holding up?” Sadé asks, tender. Aunty Nji claps her hands together slowly “Hmmmm. Well, I do miss my daughter if that is what you mean. However, knowing that Ràntí killed him is justice enough for me so it helps.” Sadé nods with a smile “I understand what you mean Aunty?” Just then, one of the caterers walks up to Aunty Nji, she attacks him with a question before he gets to her “YES?! ANY PROBLEM?” “Yes, ma.” He stutters. She shakes her head and walks away from Sadé to attend to the situation. Sadé looks into the stream again, it is peaceful and quiet. “I must come for a swim later tonight.” She mutters to herself…

 

THE END

Shadé #9

#9

“I always knew you were the one Sadé. From the moment I first laid eyes on this your Chinese face. I knew it was not any of the other 9. It just had to be you… my nemesis” Bòdé speaks slowly. He drifts away and she knows it. She lifts his head up to take in all his words and Sadé finds herself in a dilemma. She is clueless. Believing this one is a waste of time… “Move away from him Sadé.” Uncle Ràntí’s voice seeps through her ears; Sadé is not in a good place. She rises from her kneeling position and her rage decides to break free; it bursts through her like a ticking time bomb. Tree branches in her path bellow under her feet. One step at a time, she crushes them in her stride. She picks up a huge stone with two hands and walks back to Bòdé. She stands over his body, looks down on him and lifts the stone high above her head. Fear and shock is written all over Bòdé’s face; ‘o boy’ She go fit?’ He thinks to himself.  Uncle Ràntí stands beside Sadé to calm her down but it is a little too late. She lands the stone, hard and unexpected on Bòdé. All Sadé can see is red… like a smoothie maker, she smashes his head some more. She cannot stop. Uncle Ràntí looks away from the bloody sight. He cannot believe his eyes.

“ENOUGH!” Nina yells. The groove reverberates…

****

Young Sam walks into the hotel lobby looking like a joker. He is clad in a red suit and cream color shoes. His blue Ankara bow tie extends to his mid-chest region. Ada stands to acknowledge his presence at the front desk. His eyes look over her body repeatedly. “So where were you some days ago?” He asks. Ada stands straight, confident and polite “I was at work, sir. I clocked out at the regular time” She replies. She maintains eye contact with him, he does not like that. “I have told you time without number when you want to greet me or talk to me, do not look into my eyes.” He scolds. “Where should I look sir?” she asks. Young Sam is insulted by her boldness but decides to handle it at another time. “I will deal with you later, I’m not sure I have time for this now.” He says. On his way to managers’ office, he bumps into Freda. “How are you?” He asks. Freda replies, reluctant, “I’m fine Sir.” He looks over her behind lustfully. “Let me see you in my office at lunch” He commands. Freda does not understand but she nods to say yes…

****

She resurfaces and the entire groove is charged. Sadé tries to calm her spirits but it is too late. Uncle Ràntí’s eyes tell her to stay down but her blood boils uncontrollably; she cannot seem to contain herself. She looks down to find her white dress covered in thick blood; what have I done? She asks herself. She had no idea how far her anger grew like that…

She scolds Sadé “What has come over you Àdùkè mi. You cannot comport yourself?  You had to allow him access to you so easily like that?” Sadé fires back “So now because you feel you know me, you’re thinking you’ve earned the right to play the mother?” Sadé loses every ounce of self-control and lashes out “You were there when this one (points at Bòdé’s lifeless body) killed my ma and you could not warn her? Of what use are you then, really? She always spoke so highly of you yet you allow her own son to take her life? You allowed him to put her husband in a state of total confusion, her children, thrown apart… Where were you?! When my own brother raped me repeatedly, every night for weeks. Why did you watch me endure nights of horror? Yet you claim to love me?” Sadé sneers. “If nobody is going to ask you questions, I will ask you…” She warns Sadé softly “young lady, watch your tone when you talk to me.” Sadé rebukes her “No level!  Forget it, forget your level. I can’t stand you just so you know!”  Her countenance changes from calm to blazing hot. Her eyes give her away. She yells and the earth reverberates in response to her cry. The water rises slowly and her lower body gets exposed to the entire groove slowly. Sadé’s palms begin to sweat profusely, her tongue is suddenly tied… Swiftly, she raises herself high above the pool and hits her tail on the surface of the water, sending Sadé and everyone else farther into the groove…

What happens?

What happens when you build a tower over your heart?

Selfishly guarding yourself with Shaka’s shield.

You bad, so you no wan cry,

How you go do?

For the first time in 365 days and some months,

You meet someone who makes you feel some type of way

After much locking up; waving the celibacy flag,

How I for do?

Suddenly I am confused, different emotions clashing…

But I am rusty from many days of ‘staying home’, na wa!

Today, We sit closely and I cannot help myself.

How I for do?

So I begin to talk, going on and on like a chatterbox,

He leaves and he does not turn to say goodbye.

What have I done? Why I no just lock up?

Then I ask myself. “Shebi you don Kuku gree

Your husband is on his way.”

But how I for do?

Shadé #8

#8

Bòdé stares at her as he has just seen a ghost. Sadé has never seen him look so stiff and scared in all the time that she has come to know him. She takes advantage of the distraction to push Bòdé off from her. Uncle Ràntí unzips the brown pouch and empties the contents onto the white earth beneath their feet. She catches a glimpse of Saint Black’s dagger, it lands against Uncle Ràntí’s feet, she is pleased.

Uncle Ràntí picks it up and Bòdé breaks a sweat, trembling “Wha-How are you even alive? I thought I finished you off…” Bòdé fires at him. Sadé’s jaw drops. Uncle Ràntí smiles; “You thought wrong my boy.” “I am not your boy!” Bòdé refutes. Uncle Ràntí stands slowly to display the scars on his chest and left side; he continues to speak “Clearly… You should have ripped my heart out that night when you had the chance. That is the only way to stop a man like me.” Sadé is confused. Bòdé shakes his head slowly as if to ward off a bad thought. “This is not right. It’s impossible. I watched you die.” He says and Sadé’s patience wears thin. “What night?” She asks. “The night he killed Mummy Betty.” Uncle Ràntí replies. Sadé goes cold, she does not understand what she just heard. She turns to question Bòdé. She looks him dead in the eye “Is this true?” She asks, unsure of what to believe. Bòdé senses the rage and fury in her eyes and drops his head in mock shame. “Look at me when I’m talking to you young man…” Sadé whispers. Her rage builds slowly. Bòdé looks at her, “if you can believe that, you can believe anything…” he says. Quietly, she scrutinizes him for a moment. “Hmmm, you know what is funny?” She asks, rhetoric; “your eyes say one thing but your words say another. Tell me the truth Bòdé Brown; is any of this true?”

Bòdé realizes he has been cornered and decides to manipulate the situation. “Instead of asking me that stupid question, find out from Mr. Perfect here what was really going on between him and mother. Ask him why she always spent more time with him than I, her own son! Ask him!” Sadé’s eyes turn red slowly…

****

Richmond pulls out a gold ATM card from his wallet and separates the white powder on the table into 4 slim lines. He does this with an incredibly high degree of focus. Gently, he pulls up the tiny straw from beside the table and sniffs the first 2 lines simultaneously. He gives the lines a break for a minute and throws his neck back. After a while, he lights up his golden pipe and settles into the thick clouds of smoke that he puffs out from his mouth. After 3 puffs, he takes a sip from the bottle of water beside him.

Unconsciously, he looks back to find Pa James standing by the bathroom door, staring at him. Lost for words, he sits still. He has no idea what to do. Pa James walks up to him with tears stained eyes “Evening Dad” He manages to ask rather boldly. So bold, Pa James is forced to provide him with an answer. He is also confused; “Hi. I can’t sleep.” He announces and strides into Mummy Betty’s bathroom to join Richmond; for the first time since her death. He looks around, he is pleased to find it clean and neatly arranged. He sits by the table beside Richmond, “Does this help you forget?” He points to the white lines. Richmond smirks in response “No sir.” He hands him the pipe “This does…” Pa James motions for the pipe and Richmond hands it to him. He points at the lighter and lights up the pipe. Pa James helps himself to a long drag. He coughs aloud. Richmond hands him the bottle of water. “Easy Dad, this one is not snuff o. This is loud…” Richmond says. Pa James begins to cough…

Pa James takes time to relax before he speaks “These children. What is loud about this?” Richmond smiles “Daddy don’t worry, you will soon find out…” Pointing to the lines, Pa James asks “And this one? At least, I know the name. If it does not help you forget, what then does it do for you?” Richmond keeps a straight face “How do you think I’m able to remain confident after you’ve caught me in such a compromising position Dad?” He replies. Pa James burst out laughing. Richmond is not sure whether to join in on the laugh or not so he decides to leave it at a semi-broad smile…

****

Nina shows up to save the day. Swish goes the wind as her boomerang sweeps past them. It hits Uncle Ràntí’s hands and returns with Saint Black’s dagger stuck to it. Sadé’s eyes follow the boomerang to the top of the trees and she notices Nina there adorned in a white ensemble. Uncle Ràntí’s crushes all of Bòdé’s tiny bottles with his feet. Bòdé’s eyes blazed in anger. He begins towards Uncle Ràntí and Sadé stops him in his tracks. A strange calmness in her voice; “You are pathetic. Do you know that? How do you even sleep at night?” She asks. He does not respond. Her tone changes to a somewhat harsh textured one. “Why did you do it?” She asks. “To punish Father.” Bòdé replies. “To punish them both. Look, I am not sorry I did it. It felt okay for them to send me away from home at age 9. Continents away, and with Aunty Margaret?” He says her name with so much disgust. “You have no idea how lonely those 12 years of my life were. No one does! Then I get back and I find my mum is always with you!?” he points at Uncle Ràntí. “You are MAD!” Sadé exclaims and Bòdé turns to face her… “What did you just say to me?” He asks. She replies almost immediately “I say YOU ARE MAD Bòdé. IN-S-A-N-E!!!” Bòdé grabs her by her neck and lifts her up, she does not fight back. He gives her neck a tight squeeze and speaks to her “And you are not? No, actually you’re not. You are delusional. I always knew you were trouble that was why I raped you. I wanted to stain you but now that I see you in this white dress, all I want to do is kill you…” The 9mm goes off once more, this time it’s not fired in the air. Sadé feels Bòdé’s grip loosen and she notices the bloodstains on her white dress. Uncle Ràntí fires 2 more times and Bòdé drops slowly to the ground…