Everyone calls me the village rascal. Me? I’m not bothered. I can’t care less what anyone thinks about me. Okay. Perhaps that statement isn’t completely true. There is one person whose opinion actually matters to me. That one person is my brother, Oluwadamilola.
It’s funny, seeing us together, you wouldn’t know he’s my brother. He’s a direct opposite of everything I am. While I’m short and muscular, he’s tall and lanky. I’m as black as the bottom of a clay pot used to the searing heat of a charcoal fire, he’s fair complexioned. I’m loud and aggressive. He’s quiet and peaceful. I can start an argument in an empty room, he detests raised voices.
Someone’s at the door. I lift my head up, listening to make sure it’s my door. The sound comes again, and this time, I’m sure. I move to open it. Standing there is Okon, childhood friend and fellow riff-raff.
“Akin, let’s go to madam Smooth’s bar.” His face splits in a wide grin. The thought of alcohol is the only thing that makes Okon smile. The only thing. I swear the boy is even more useless than I am. And that’s a terrible thing. But then, I also happen to have a deep seated respect for a cold, sweating bottle of ’33’ export lager and so I fetch my shirt and pull it on. Snagging the flip-flops from the backyard, I’m ready to go.
We make our merry way to madam Smooth’s, for a bottle or two and a pinch of trouble and excitement.
An hour and a half later…
Things are a bit blurry. Bottles litter the top of the table where I’m seated. Some of them are rolling about, spilling drops of alcohol on the dusty floor. There’s a small plate containing catfish bones which are all that’s remaining of the peppersoup we ordered a while back. At this point,I’ve had enough of stuffing myself. A bit of trouble would be nice, you know, I can use the exercise.
Something tickles my nostrils and I turn to see a lady swish her way past. She’s wearing a shimmering black gown that just calls me. And calls me. And calls me.
I take a deep breath, inhaling and enjoying the heady feminine perfume that follows her passage like froth in the wake of a fast ship.
Suddenly someone steps in, rudely blocking my view of that nice-
“Keep your eyes in your head, filthy cow.”
What? Who is this one?
“Infact, I think you should apologise to my girl for staring at her like that.” The bar goes quiet, drunk and half-drunk patrons twisting and turning to get a view of the unfolding drama. But I want no part in it, so I ignore him and grab another bottle from the pile before me. I touch the cold, slender neck to my lips and suck-
The fool slapped me! He slapped me?! That’s unacceptable. Before I even know what I’m doing, my hand shoots out, grabs an empty bottle of lager and my fingers wrap around the neck. Then from there, it travels with its prize to the floor. It’s a hard cement floor, underneath all that dust, and the impact shatters the lower half of the bottle, leaving me with jagged, sharp edges. A weapon. I swing around to face the man, this idiot that dared to slap me.
I see the daring in his eyes, he’s daring me to go ahead. Despite trembling with rage, I finally get ahold of myself and start to turn, to settle so I can continue to drink the precious lager, and then the fool has the effontery to smile.
Without thought, I swing the broken bottle into an arc, one that ends in the soft flesh of his belly.
In some sort of demented slow motion, I watch the broken bottle tear through cloth and flesh, a wide crimson gap opening in it’s wake.
Blood spurts from his torn belly, all over me. All over my hands, my shirt. Marking me as his murderer.
While the heat of anger rapidly cooling, I hear Okon’s voice as though from far away…
“A-A-Akin. What have you done?”
The broken bottle, now soaked and dripping with blood falls from my limp fingers to fall to the ground…
To be continued…