Category Archives: Food For Thought

REDEMPTION part 2

I know Anu said not to look for her, but in his one thing, I can’t respect her wishes.


It hasn’t been easy, and I have spent a lot in time and finances, but I know where she is now. Or where she will be by 5:45pm tonight.

The thing is, after she left me, Anu went back to her old ways, standing in street corners and getting picked by strange men. I always went after her but somehow, someway, just as I got there, she’d be gone.

But I never gave up.

Even now, I’m still after her. The thing is, life is hard as a prostitute. It’s no easy life, the life they lead. And Anu found a terrible vice which she clung to with the desperation of a man drowning. Drugs.

 And now she’s in serious debt to the biggest drug pusher in this country. His real name, nobody knows, or perhaps those who know would  rather not attract his attention by showing it.

Irregardless, he’s known as ‘the dark one.’ People whisper it and look at you sideways if you ask about him. Those who offend him have a habit of going missing. Government officials, policemen, even soldiers.

Mysterious deaths trail his rise to power and his location is rarely ever known beforehand. He simply pops up somewhere and vanishes again.

But today, I know where he’ll be. At exactly 5:45pm.

And that brings me to the reason why I’m been chaffeured into the seediest part of town in a taxi.

There’s a small hotel not to far away, named ‘birds of paradise’ and that’s where I need to be by 5:45pm sharp.

The taxi pulls up and I alight. Quickly I pay the driver and glance at my rolex- 5:42pm. I’m just in time. Quickly I cross the street and enter into the building.

It’s dimly lit, with smoke clouding the ceiling, everywhere is hazy and strobe lights are flashing. It’s not the kind of place I would frequent, but I’m a man on a mission and as such, I’ll do what has to be done.

Anu is in trouble. Big trouble. Her supplier works for the dark one, and she owed him a whole lot of money. So he told his boss what happened and then he came for her. He licked Anu off the streets and initially planned to do away with her. But then he had an idea and decided to have an auction instead. So he’s​going to sell her off to the highest bidder.

She’s a pretty woman, well versed in pleasuring men. For any of the crime lords that show up, she’ll be a good catch. All they have to do is simply bid high enough.

I have also come to bid.

Just as I get a seat, a bright light comes on and Anu walks onstage. As she walks towards us, seated in a ring at the end of the stage, the spotlight follows, showing everything. My breath catches in my throat and I have to struggle a bit to breathe again.

That’s my wife, dressed in nothing but a short dress and makeup. The dress is tight and clingy and it’s obvious she’s not wearing anything underneath. Her hair is all made up to look pretty but her eyes tell the truth. Even from way over there I can see the pain in them. She knows what she has gotten into.

Someone comes on stage after her. He’s of medium height, a vague dark shadow only distinguishable by being darker than the other shadows that form the background.

“Gentlemen, this is the moment we have all been waiting for. I’m giving out this young, delectable sweetheart for a price. But only if it’s reasonable. If you want her, then let your money speak for you.”

There’s abiut thirty seconds of silence while the men take it in. Then a voice rings out.

“I’m willing to pay fifty thousand naira.”

Quickly I speak up “One hundred thousand naira”

“Two hundred!” Someone from the back.

Soon the price goes up to a million and gradually people drop off till I’m left with the gentleman from the back. He shouts “I’ll pay one million, five hundred thousand naira for her.”

Fairly desperate, I reply “I’ll pay three million naira for her and I’ll pay now!” The room goes quiet. We don’t know exactly how much she owes him, but we all know it can’t be that much.

I hear whispers

“He’s mad. Three million for a woman?”

“I hear she’s even a prostitute. I could get another one on the street for far less.”

“Yes, but you can’t keep her can you? This one is for keeps.”

“Why does he want her so bad? He’s not even one of us.”

“She means something to him, I can tell.”

There’s a satisfied chuckle and then the dark one speaks up for the first time since he made the introduction

“Any other offers?” I hold my breath. No one talks. 

“Three million it is then. Sold. Please come with me.” I release the breath I’ve been holding and follow him. He leads me into a small room. Then he sits and offers me a seat. There’s better lighting here, and I can see him clearly. He’s nothing spectacular, an easily forgotten face. Just one among thousands, but this man has the one thing I want most in this world.

He extracts a pack of cigars from his suit pocket. He offers me one. I decline. I don’t smoke. The door opens and Anu comes in followed by a thug.

“Here it is” says the drug pusher. “Now make good on your bid.”

“Can I have an account number?”

“Of course. Tade?”

The thug gives me a piece of paper. Quickly, I get my phone out and make the transfer. A few seconds later, a phone beeps. The thug produces a small phone, looks at the message and nods.

Oga the alert just came in.”

The dark one nods and says “You can have her.”

Fifteen minutes later, I’m flagging down a taxi.

A year later…

 It hasn’t been easy. I had to check Anu into a rehabilitation center. She cried everytime for a whole week and her eyes were red each time I came to visit. Soon she was clean and drug free. I also had her checked and treated for a few STDs. Luckily enough she didn’t catch anything that couldn’t be gotten rid off.

When she was through with everything, she looked like her old self again. And I asked her if she would  mind coming back to me.

On hearing that I intended to still keep her as a wife, she fell to my feet and cried a whole lot, begging for forgiveness. I was moved to tears too and soon joined her on the floor where we hugged and cried and hugged some more.

But a last, she’s back home, once again in charge of her business- I had someone manage it in her absence and proud mother to my two wonderful kids.

REDEMPTION part 1

Do you know how it is when you really, really love someone who doesn’t love you in return?

Someone who doesn’t care?

Let me try to explain it to you. It’s something terrible. They hurt you, but it really doesn’t matter, because it’s them.

Its like gripping a sharp knife, and it’s cutting you to the bone, and you can see it, feel it, feel the blood trickling down your wrist, your arm. But you cannot let go, because losing them is a fate worse than death.
Anuoluwapo.

When I met Anu for the first time, it wasn’t really the best of first impressions. I was driving past the red light district a few blocks from my house- a necessary evil, the only other alternative being to take the long, arduous road that trailed the back of the estate, an extra 35 minutes of driving, not to mention the fuel consumed.

Some of us who owned property in the estate had picked offence at prostitution taking up residence at our front door and time and time again, we petitioned the government to have them do something about it.

We kept getting the same answer

“We’re working on it.”

But then, the girls weren’t too forward about what they did, they didn’t call out to customers or build brothels nearby.

They just stood outside, striking seductive poses in skimpy clothes, waiting patiently for business. When someone interested came by, he’d pull up to his pick, they’d bargain through a lowered window and when a deal is struck, she would get in and drive off.

Being a busy person, I often return home by 7 or 8 in the evening, just in time to witness the start of the skin business. 

On that day as always, I drove slowly past, careful to dodge the people milling about and picking girls up when I saw a girl sitting on her own in a corner. Unlike the others, she wasn’t up and about. For some reason, that drew me like light draws a moth.

I pulled up and killed the engine. 

“Hi. Why are you on your own?”

“Nothing. I just like it here. Do you want a girl for the night?”

“No. Not really.”

“Oh.” She sounded so disappointed, I felt I had to make it up to her someway. So I checked the glove compartment and gave her a small bundle of cash. She collected it and counted it then turned to me with a big smile

“Ten thousand naira? That’s a lot! Thank you.” Then she turned coy, eyeing me from under lowered lashes as she hid the money in her bra

“Are you sure you don’t want some company? I can make it worth your while you know. I’m really good. Everyone says that.”

I smiled and handed her a business card and a pen.

“How about you write your number here and I’ll call you if I need you.”

She gladly took the pen and scribbled her number across the back of the card. From somewhere, she produced a stick of gum and started chewing it.

“Call me.”

“I will.”

Over the space of two years, I got to know Anu as more than a walking fleshlight. We talked a lot over the phone, and she often confided in me. Busy as I am, I always have a listening ear for people I call friends. Anu’s case was no different.

Gradually we became close. And one day, I asked her out on a date. She agreed. By 5pm that evening, she alighted from an okada (a commercial motorcyclist) in front of the eatery I invited her to.

She was dressed in a very, very, short dress. So short in fact, it covered almost nothing. Quickly I gave her my suit to wear. She gave me a dubious look and I coughed softly

“It’s cold inside.”

“Oh. Okay. Thank for the suit then.”

It indeed was cold inside, but it wasn’t the real reason for me giving her the suit. As she followed me to our table, men turned to stare at her. They were almost drooling.

But we had a quiet uneventful dinner. Time, as it is wont to do, flew from us. Before you could say Jack, it was late and she had to go.

I offered to drop her off. When she got into my car, she took off my suit and started to unzip her gown and loosen the clips binding her hair.

“What are you doing, Anu?”

“I’m getting ready. Aren’t you planning to have sex with me? I’ve done it in cars before, you don’t have to worry about me. Just adjust the seat so you can-”

My hand wrapped around hers shut her up. Leaning forward to look directly into her eyes, I said slowly

“Anu, I’m not planning to sleep with you. I mean it.”

“Why are you so nice to me then?”

The question hit me like a runaway train. Different thoughts and emotions swam in my head and I stuttered.

“I, I think I’m in love with you.”

“Harold. You’re a business mogul, a respectable person. What would you want with me?” Her voice broke.

“I’m just a common whore.”

That night I took her home and we talked for a long, long period. She finally admitted to loving me but quashing it, because she felt nothing productive would come out of such. I assured her that she was worth a lot to me.

Anu is a person. A beautiful person. She has been through so much, and she’s a bit jaded and distrusting of people but deep inside, she’s sweet and caring and in her own way, better than a lot of the girls that walk around with their heads up in the clouds like they’re not as human as the rest of us.

Gradually we started dating. We eventually got married. A small quiet court wedding. My friends raised hell over my decision, some honestly thought I had gone mad. Even now they think it was insane of me to have done what I did. But I’ll do it all again if I had the chance.

Anu moved into my house and became my wife. I changed her wardrobe and got rid of the skimpy clothes, remainders of a past that no longer bound her. I bought her jewellery and dinner gowns. I bought shoes and sandals from Italy and Paris.

Nothing was too expensive. Then one day she told me she was pregnant. I almost died of joy. When she put to bed, it was the most beautiful baby ever. A chubby little angel. I named him Oluwagbemileke. or as we called him around the house, Leke.

Four years after Leke, Anu got pregnant again. When she announced it, I was so ecstatic I kissed her right there on the kitchen counter. 

“Daddy, why are you using your mouth to touch mummy’s mouth?”

That brought us back to earth real quick.  I ‘discovered’ a box of biscuits and soon distracted the boy. A few months later, Oluwafunmilomotodarabi was born.

It was all nice and dandy, a picture perfect family. Anu had a thriving business as a makeup artist and my business was going good and strong.

Then one day I got back from home and met a note on the bed.

Harold.

Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. But I can’t continue this life we’re living. 

I need excitement. Thus marriage is nice, but its boring. I need to feel like a woman again. I’m leaving. I’m not right for you.

There are a lot of other women out there, respectable women. Go after one of them and settle down.

Please don’t try to find me.”

ALONE?

Remi has a simple, easily predictable lifestyle. 

As a working class woman, the  official closing time from work is 5pm. So once it’s 5 on the dot, she’s done for the day, and thats it.

  With about 15 minutes needed to pack her things together and get to the parking lot, she’s always out of the company building by 5:15pm.

She immediately turns right, and driving at a constant speed of 50kph, it takes her 20 minutes to get home. Exactly 20 minutes.

Everyday.

And then she pulls into the driveway, gets her house keys and walks up to the porch, house keys in her left hand. By 5:37pm on workdays, she’s to be found in front of her house, unlocking the door and slipping inside.

She doesn’t go anywhere on weekends, except when she has to replenish her store of foodstuff and that occurs every third weekend, during the market days.

You see, Remi’s life is quite nice and cozy, comforting in it’s consistency. So today, like every other workday, she’s at the door by 5:37pm, just turning the lock when she hears a rustle. She doesn’t pay it much attention, infact she doesn’t pay it any attention. She knows the neighbours have a pet of some sort, and it’s most likely the animal was slinking about in the decorative shrubbery. Nothing to bother about. How much damage could it do?

It’s at that precise moment that she feels the touch of something cold and heavy in her side. Involuntarily, she is rooted to the spot, quaking with fear. Her eyes travel slowly downwards and she finds a gun pressed nicely to her waist. Like it wants to give her a big hug. Muzzle-first.

Shielded between her lithe frame and the stranger holding it, the gun isn’t obvious to anyone nearby, and besides, she hadn’t gone to any trouble trying to establish any level of camaraderie with her neighbors.

They wouldn’t even notice if she went missing. The thought hits her like a brick between the eyes. Unbidden, a hot tear makes it’s way out and trickles down her cheek.

The stranger holding a gun to her side orders her with a rough voice:

“Lock the door and come with me, no funny business now. I don’t want to have to do anything stupid.”

Docile, fearful, she obeys, twisting the key in the lock and hearing the sharp ‘click’ as the tumblers slip back into place, the door once again, locked.

With that sound, all hope abandons her.

She’s walking quietly towards her car, destination unknown when she sees her new neighbor wave to her. He’s a handsome, muscular young man, about the same grade with her. Sometimes he waved to her when he saw her over the shrubbery. Often he’d shout a greeting. But she’s​ never replied a greeting before, and not replying one now wouldn’t be anything new. She prays fervently in her heart that he notices something out of the ordinary. That he calls her back. Anything.

But nothing happens. She’s in front of her car now. When suddenly she hears

“Hello sir, do I know you?” She turns quickly. It’s her neighbor and he’s talking to the stranger.

“No sir, you don’t. I’m Remi’s brother, and I need to take her back home.”

“Back home? She lives here.”

“I mean ‘home’ home. Our mum is sick and she’s been wanting to see Remi for so long. It’s been a while since they’ve spoken. So I’m taking her home to see mummy.”

Time passes as her neighbor considers this tale. Meanwhile Remi is firmly chanting in her head- Please don’t believe him, please don’t believe him, please don’t believe him, please don’t believe-

The neighbor nods, apparently satisfied. So the stranger steers her away from safety. Her eyes widen.

Suddenly, like a cat, he pounces at the stranger and knocks him down, slamming his hand once, twice to the ground. He loses his hold of the weapon. Then his head follows, with one heavy hit against the pavement, the stranger is unconscious.

“Call 911. Do it quick woman, before he comes around.” Even as he talks, he’s producing something shiny from his pocket. It’s a pair of handcuffs. He snaps them around the strangers wrist.

Task complete, he turns to give Remi a long hard look. 

“I’m Chibuzor by the way, your new neighbor. It would do you a fair bit of good to be more friendly to people in the future.”

Soon the police men arrive and bundle the suspect. Chibuzor exchanges a few words with the officers, they salute him and come for her. A few questions and then it’s all over.

Later that week, she gets the details. The stranger was interrogated and the police are able to get his house address. They get a warrant and go in for a search. His house is covered with photos. Photos of Remi. Leaving her car. Entering her car. Eating at a restaurant. Talking to a guy. The guy’s face is peppered with holes, holes made by something being jabbed into the picture repeatedly. There’s a pencil nearby. The photos are all tagged with time slots. 4pm. 3:13pm. 12pm.

When she sees the picture evidence, she confirms that yes, at that precise time, she was doing just that.

But that’s not even the most disturbing thing. Far from it.

In the bedroom, there’s a full wardrobe of clothes, all her exact size. Shoes too. And underwear. Fancy, lace stuff. The windows are  covered with thick red drapes. There’s scented candles at every point in the room. Small heart-shaped pillows litter the place.

There’s a sheer nightgown laid on the thick king-size bed in the center of the room. It’s almost transparent, doesn’t really cover anything.

In one of the locked drawers, they​ find a wrap of cocaine and several packs of condoms and lubricant. Several ‘toys’ are there too. Things would have gone real bad for her if she had been taken back there. But she got lucky.

Thanks to a neighbor who just wouldn’t mind his own business.

PAID IN FULL part 1

AKIN

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.

Kpom! Kpom!!

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-

WHAM!

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…

EVIL’S PRICE


Once while we were watching a Nollywood movie, about a particularly wicked yet successful man who derived pleasure from torturing his family and seemed to have no one to confront him, a question came up in my mind.

Sixteen years of age and as inquisitive as they come, I squirmed and shuffled in my seat until I got my Grandpa’s attention.

Dropping the newspaper he was reading into his lap, he adjusted his glasses, cleared his throat and asked.

“What’s bothering you Ahmed?”

“Well grandpa, I have a question.”

“Go ahead.”

“Why do evil people get away with everything?”

“Get away?” He sounded amused. 

“Yes. They just keep being bad and they’re always rich and nobody can tell them anything and-”

“Oh Ahmed, they don’t. They always get what they deserve in the end.”

“Really?”

“Yes. You see, if you’re wicked, you might think you are not going to ever be made to Pat for your wickedness. But you will. Because every evil man must pay the price of evil.”

“Hmmmmmm. Grandpa, what is the price of evil?”

“Truly child, what is the price of evil? It varies, depending on the crime. Let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time, there was a man who had a beautiful daughter. I say he had a beautiful daughter because that was all he had in terms of family. His wife, her mother, died several years ago in the course of childbirth, trying to bring a little sibling into the world for her daughter to play with. Complications arose during the delivery and both mother and child were lost.”

“Eeya. That’s sad.”

“I know. Life isn’t always fair. But back to our story. The man was a business man who always have to travel for his business trips. At first, he tried taking her along. But she was too young.

Then he tried getting nannies. But he didn’t trust them. He felt what she needed was a stable, sweet family. So he married a widow in that town who already had a son. To him it was the lottery in marriage. A wife for him, a mother for his daughter, and a son who would also be her playmate.

At first things were nice and cheerful. But after a few years, things changed. The step-mother became cruel to the girl. She got it into her head that one day the man would die and will off all the inheritance to his daughter. This was compounded by the fact that she was unable to bear the man a child of his own. She had become sterile.

Desperate to not be kicked out with nothing, she sought for means to ensure that her son got the lion’s share of the man’s property, but how was she to go about it? Now listen carefully child, wicked people often have a ‘good reason’ for behaving the way they do. But that’s no excuse.”

“Okay sir.”

“Her first idea was to be cruel to the girl, hoping she wouldn’t be able to take it anymore and she would run away. That way she would be rid of her and her son’s future would be ‘secure’ so anytime the man travelled, she would beat her, order her around and generally make life uncomfortable for her.

But the girl, sweet and mild mannered, persevered. She took the beatings and harshness without complaint. If course when her father returned from his trips, her step-mother was automatically nice to her again. There was no way her father would believe if she reported the true state of things to him, so content in the belief that ‘nothing lasts forever’ she kept quiet and endured it all.
Her only respite was school, and the church.

Time passed and the girl grew into an exceedingly beautiful lady. Then her father decided it was time to partition his property. He had always been away on one trip or the other, he knew the risks and wanted to ensure that if perchance he did not return from any of them, his family would be well-catered for. He told his idea to his wife and after warning her to tell no one, went on another trip. When he returned, he would share his property and settle down. He was wealthy enough, he reasoned and it was finally time to spend some quality time with his family.

As soon as he left, the step-mother became frantic. Despite all her efforts, she was about to lose out on everything!
She thought and thought and thought and lost sleep and weight over the issue.

Finally she made up her mind. She would poison the girl. If she was not alive she couldn’t inherit, could she?

Fixed on this, early the next morning, after breakfast, she sent both kids out to the next street to visit with their friends. Then she made a sumptuous meal and served it out. First she served a big plate of food and put a sizeable chunk of meat on it. She then sprinkled the powdered poison liberally on it, mixed it till there was no sign, and covering it, put it on the dining table with the girl’s name on a little tag beside it. The poison was odorless, tasteless and virtually untraceable. It was to be the perfect crime.

Then she served her son’s food and her food too. Just as she prepared to call the children back for their lunch, she got a phone call from her friend who was heading of to another state, but decided to drop in and check on her briefly before going.

He gave her the details of his hotel, the room he was staying in and warned her that he had only an hour to spend before leavin his journey was still long and he intended to get there before nightfall.
Wanting to see him, she rushed off, trusting that her plan would work even in her absence.

Tired of playing, it was hot and dry, and they wanted to be back home in time for a particular program, the children left their friends to return home.

Meanwhile, the business deal had closed early, so the father rushed off. He had missed his family and didn’t want to miss another hour he could otherwise spend with them. He started driving home. With a little luck, who knows? He could be home in time for lunch! His stomach rumbled and he chuckled to himself.

The children soon got home. When they saw the meals, they were surprised. Normally the girl was to be given the smaller meal. The boy, who had grown arrogant and fat declared it to be a mistake, and decided the meal with her name on it was actually his.

She protested but being physically stronger, he wrestled the plate from her before she could even have a spoon and wolfed it all down.

Since there was another meal, and it wasn’t little to begin with, she took it and ate it. Then they settled to watch their favorite TV show.

Meanwhile the step-mother was detained unduly where she went. She had liked her friend a lot and alone with him in a hotel room, one thing led to another and she slept with him. Severally. Because of this, she was unable to get home on time.

With an exchange of contact info and a promise to keep in touch, she left, three hours later.

The father got home and met the kids watching TV. He found some food left in the pot and helped himself to it.

Then he joined them in the parlor to watch TV.
When she got home, she was shocked to find her husband around. She asked the children if they had eaten their meals and they replied in the affirmative. She then asked if they are their own meals, and just as the girl was about to reply that they hadn’t, the boy pinched her on the bottom. She yelped and he quickly said that they had.
Content that it had gone smoothly, she went to her room and flushed the antidote to the poison down the drain. Then she threw the bottles away. She didn’t want any thing to link her to what had happened.

Later that night, she heard one of the children moaning softly. Thinking it was the girl, she smiled to herself in the darkness. Come daylight, she would have left the world for her and her son. The path would be clear! Finally!
The next morning, a loud wail woke wife and husband. They rushed to the children’s room and found the girl crying and trying to wake her stepbrother. He was not responding. She cried even harder, screaming his name over and over again.

Shocked at what happened, the step-mother asked the girl again

“Did you eat your own meal yesterday? I mean the meal with your name on it?”

Admist bitter tears, the girl managed to choke out no, that she had been bullied by-

The wicked step-mother put things together in her head- her sin had eaten the poisoned meal!

She made a mad dash for the room before remembering she had flushed the antidote away. From there to the drain to see if there was anything to be salvaged but alas. There was nothing.

Like a zombie she made her way to the children’s room. Her husband who had been watching her with suspicion asked what was wrong. Without thinking, she mumbled.

“He ate the poison. Her poison.”

Shocked, he sent hee ouvof the house and made arrangements to have the body disposed of. He then called the police. The policemen arrived at the same rine the ambulance came in to carry the corpse. She offered no resistance, numb and still in shock. As the medics carried her son out on a stretcher however, with a sheet covering his face it dawned on her that he was dead. Dead and gone. Something in her snapped and she slumped.

Later that day, she gave up the ghost. You see Ahmed, she paid evil’s price.”

Sooner or later, everyone who does evil, pays the price.”

Content with that explanation, I turned to watch the movie with satisfaction. And truly before the movie on the television was over, the wicked man also paid evil’s price.

DECISIONS part 3

Location: TVC studios, Lagos, Nigeria

Programme: The Weekend lounge- 8 to 10am, every Saturday

Scratching his head with a ballpoint pen, something totally out of character with the cool calm facade he projected at all times he struggled to come to grips with what he had just heard.
“So you’re saying you guys got together due to an accident?”
The talk show host was dumbfounded. After a minute or two, he noticed his mouth was wide open and did the proper thing by closing it. Then he doodled something on his pad to buy time as he tried to digest the strange tale.

“Yes.” Mr. Quadri chuckled “surprising isn’t it?”

“Most unusual” Mrs. Quadri added and giggled. Looking straight into her eyes, he pinched her on the nose and she snuggled closer to him on the loveseat. With their matching outfits and lovestruck expressions, they looked to the average person for all the world like newlyweds. It would be extremely difficult to know they had been married for over a decade, together through thick and thin, true to their marriage vows, and with an easy-going, laidback approach to issues, the Quadris were quite content with their lot in life. They practically shone with health.

The reason they were on the talk show was because one of their friends, familiar with their “special beginning” had written to his favorite talk show about it as a joke. However the producers picked an interest in the story and the couple received a letter. 

The invitation to the television studio the following week seemed a bit unreal. But then, they were free that weekend. What else were they to do? They accepted.

The studio went for a short commercial break, and the couple were served coffee and chocolate chip cookies- thanks to one of the show’s many sponsors. Left to their own devices on a comfy red couch, the Quadris promptly got lost in each other. 

Took a lot of awkward silence and throat clearing and finally an all out announcement that they were due back on air in 5-4-3… to rouse them and get them to untangle themselves. Then they were live.

The talk show host held a finger to his earpiece, tapped it once- and raised a finger. A call was coming in and he tapped the key to pick the call, and a soft spoken male voice filled the studio.

“Hello, is that the weekend lounge?”

“Yes it is. What is your name sir and where are you calling from?”

“Ahmed, from Ikorodu. I have a question for the couple. May I?”

“Um Mr. Quadri, is that okay?”

“Of course it is” he replied happily, then pinching his wife he asked “Right hon?”

“You’ve been together for a while. It can only be assumed that you’ve gathered much wisdom along the way. Any advice for young singles out there hoping for an ideal mate?”

Mr. Quadri looked at his wife, it was obvious who would answer this one. With a dazzling smile Mrs. Quadri poked her husband in the chest, did something else that made him chuckle, something we could not see and replied

“Of course. Be adventurous and open-minded. You never know what’s around the corner.”

A BUCKETFUL OF REGRET

Drop
noun (plural drops)
“A small mass of liquid just large enough to hold its own weight via surface tension, usually one that falls from a source of liquid.”
The English Dictionary – Android Mobile Version.

image

“Little drops of water, make a mighty ocean.” – Unknown

A drop of water falls from the sky, and falls quite a distance before splashing against a leaf on a tree. It drips down the green, broad surface and coalesces into a drop again, gaining sufficient weight and momentum to obey once more, the law of gravity, falling from the leaf down…

to the head of a playing child.
Tunde is out in the rain again. His parents do not know this, of course, and they might never know, as Time would be sure to clean up all evidence of having disobeyed their instruction. And the neighbours wouldn’t say a thing. Oh no one dared say anything where Tunde is involved. They’d be verbally torn apart!

But we all know it’s wrong to play in the rain. Why, we deliver the warning frequently to children in our care.
“Don’t play outside when it’s raining!”
An instruction often offered with the accompanying pull of an earlobe to emphasise the point. It’s bad. It can cause cold, and pneumonia. It could kill.

Some things are just better together- bread and butter, rice and beef stew, instructions and pulled earlobes- but we digress.
Back to Tunde.

Tunde, that wilful child, knows that soon his parents would return, so he sprints from the tree where he had been playing to the house. Getting in, he towels himself dry. All he has on is his boxer shorts, easily discarded and replaced.

He does just that and picks the clothes he had been wearing before the rain began, clothes folded on the chair in front of the antique television set, and puts them on too.

With the wet boxer shorts hidden, the muddy foot prints cleaned up and his skin and hair toweled dry, Tunde looks like he was never out in the rain. No one saw him play, no one at all, just you and I, and we wouldn’t snitch on him now, would we?

We wouldn’t. He’s such a beautiful child and we don’t want him spanked. He would squeeze his face and cry and that would be so so sad to see. So we let him be, like everyone else does. And when we see the wet boxer shorts and know that the warning has been disobeyed, we chuckle and shake our heads.  Children, always thinking they’re smarter than you. Yet we do nothing about it. Just chuckle, that’s all.

Tunde is a plump dark-skinned, angel-faced twelve year old, with a sweet singing voice, a beautiful smile and such pretty dimples, he has an absolute disregard for rules and instructions-
He is a spoilt child.

Fast forward two years later, even more wilful and set in his ways, Tunde is the adorable deviant.

Tall and skinny in the way of teenagers, he is still our Tunde, and we know him.
Now he breaks even more rules. And he is not alone. He sneaks out of school to play football. We know, yet we turn a blind eye. He is but a child… we were also a bit naughty at that age weren’t we? He will grow out of it.

One day at school, he is caught with the rest of his gang, passing a cigar around. We are shocked. Scandalised.

Goodness! We never thought he would go that far! But at least it’s just one cigar. It could have been worse! So we suspend him for a week and let him back in. He’s so smart, so bright, surely anything more would be just plain wickedness. Wouldn’t it?

When Tunde starts dating, we still don’t talk even though we know he’s far too young. We reason he needs the freedom to explore, so we pretend not to notice his increased demands for money. We don’t notice he now sags.
We also don’t notice the way his lips turn black or the nicotine stain on his fingers.
We were “sleeping” that day when he stumbled into the house, as drunk as a skunk, and we were there to give him aspirin the next morning so he can get over his “headache”…

We give him everything he desires and defend him, even when Chiamaka, the girl down the street comes with her mum to point fingers.
They accuse our Tunde of having impregnated Chiamaka, they cry and wail, and of course Tunde denies it.
He didn’t do it.

Because we want to, we believe him. We sic the dogs on hem and rid ourselves of their nuisance.
How dare they blame our Tunde?
Our sweet little boy? Surely he can’t be responsible. Everyone knows Chiamaka is loose, she hops from boy to boy, and after leaving us, we hear her loudly claiming another boy down the street as the father.

So we rest and smile, our fears assuaged, ignoring that nagging little voice that reminds us that Tunde and Chiamaka were very “close” we did catch them kissing the other day did we not? There might be some truth to her claim and- Firmly we tell the voice to shut up. All is well.

More years flow down, like sand in the hourglass of our lives. Tunde has grown. We cannot discern any actual, considerable source of income, but we get lavish gifts from Tunde all the time. Who cares?

The boy is rich now, and he is our child and we love him. So we collect his gifts and pray he prospers in his “business”
Which we know neither head nor tail of.
He is our Tunde after all, he can do no wrong.
And then it happens.
Police come knocking
They arrest Tunde
He’s an armed robber, they claim
He has caused loss of lives and property
We can’t do anything to stop them
They take him to court
He is found guilty
Condemned to die by the firing squad…

We weep, cry and lament. Where did we go wrong? We trained him well! We loved him. We taught him good morals. We took care of him. Sent him to the best schools around. Never let him suffer a day of hunger. What he asked for, we gave. Why did this happen?
But we forgot.

We did not spank him when situation warranted it.
“Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.” – Proverbs 22 vs 15

We did not let anyone have a say in his upbringing.
“A couple can give birth to a child, but it takes a village to raise him.” – African Proverb.

We failed.
This is a cautionary tale. Raise your children well. Don’t make another “Tunde”

The name Tunde is quite popular among the Yoruba speaking people of Nigeria, West Africa. This is in no way an inferred slight on anyone named Tunde or nearing any variation of this name. This is a work of fiction

©Laolu_Olowo 2016