2 days later,………
The place was crowded with various vehicles; unused car engines; used engine-oil sprawled the ground, making the sand very dark and dirty, – some were in container.
The bang! Bang! Bang! Hitting of cars, made the environment very noisy, – plus the scrape! Scrape! Scraping of car bodies.
Little children played with sand. Fowls went about their businesses, scraping the floor with their web-toes, picking with their beak whatever they found and moved to another spot. Some J0yst!ck fought with each other cause of a female amongst them while others just pursued each other for the fun of it.
Lizards waited patiently near walls and holes ants crawled in and out of, so they could feed on them. On roofs were white aves perching, diving off and some picking at their web toes. As someone approached one of the building in the wide compound, some hens flew, racing away from the spot they stood hunting.
The young man who wore somewhat white-turned-brown shirt halted at the door of the first shop-house in the compound. His shirt tattered at both armpits and the neck, now very stretchy – you would think it had been worn by someone very fat, the slacks had increased. Brown jeans hung on his waist. Both the jeans and shirt were dirty, stains of engine oil, stamps of hands and palm-oil appealed both. It depicted his profession.
“Mama Izu, I wan buy Limca and 2 pure water” he said sighting her on the bench beside the door.
“Shey change dey your hand?” She asked. Standing up from the bench.
“I get change, na 100naira dey my hand, I go buy two Limca and 10naira pure water. You go fit get change na!” He said handing the bottle he brought to her.
“I go bring another bottle once them finish to drink one. Na only one bottle I see!”
“Wey money for deposit? I no dey gree make my bottle stay outside o” she collected bottle he brought, placing it in the empty crates arranged outside.
“You no even know customer”
“If I start to dey know customer anyhow with my bottles, I for no fit sell minerals again” she mocked what he was trying to say.
Rather than going inside to bring the drinks for the intending buyer, she called out to her son who had been sleeping since he finished eating since 1pm.
“I’zuuuu!”She stressed the first letter like every Igbo woman would do but got no reply.
“I’zuuuuu!” Again she called but no reply.
“Welcome sir,” the guy who stood puzzled at how this woman’s son slept so deeply and couldn’t hear his name welcomed pappy Izu.
“Ifeanyi!. Ife—an—yi!!!” The fair man, his pot-belly showing beneath the monkey shirt he wore on jeans – called out in his typical Igbo man accent.
“Pappy Izu, how you dey na?” The guy said. Izu’s dad sat beside his wife who welcomed him with some Igbo greetings.
“I dey! How your oga na?”
“Him dey! Na him I come buy Limca for. Him get visitor self but Izu no wan answer me since!”
“You no go quick hurry am now, make your Oga no wipe that your head with kpako as him do yesterday when you come back late from the market wey him send you” Izu’s dad made joke, removing his legs from the rubber cover-palm he wore. He stretched the legs out, crossing them and requesting water. “Ba te’n miri.”
She stood up going inside the room. Izu lay on the floor, snoring heavily. He had set the middle table on the bed cause there was no space at all in their shop-house apartment. There was a big freezer at a corner of the room. A 5ft bed occupied three-quarter space of the room with just a cupboard at its side – different things littered the top.
On the wall was nailed a platform shelf where loads were place on it; ghana-must-goes, bowl containing plates and spoons, etc.
She removed Ebube’s school bag and some clothes on the freezer, opened the freezer to get pappy Izu’s water and at the same time attend to Sulu (Ifeanyi) who came to buy Limca and water for his boss. But to her surprise no Limca or Goldspot were in the freezer. She didn’t say anything but took the Eva water bottle outside with a cup for pappy Izu. Then went back inside to wake Izu.
“Abeg mammy Izu! Answer me” Sulu called out impatiently.
She slapped his pap-like butt0ckz up to 3 times to wake him but he didn’t wake up. Rather, he changed guards, increased gear -placing a leg on the bed and the other was used to kick some used cups and plates that stood on the floor away.
“I(e)zu, which kind sleep be this” she sent continuous slaps of both hands on him that woke him up once.
“Hmmmm! Ma!, I don wake” he finally said, stretching his hands and legs, – yawning loudly.
“Why you never buy the Limca and Goldspot for fridge wey I give you money for” she asked looking at his closed eyes, his face patterned with marks the ground he slept had plastered on it.
“I,…..I,……chai!” He regained complete consciousness. His eyes opened staring intently at his mother.
“Yes!, why you never buy am?” She asked again.
He couldn’t say anything again. He remembered how he had used the money to bribe the policeman at the hotel he took Theresa to. He became angry remembering Theresa’s name at all. He never wanted to think about her again. She had left afterall to the abroad she said she was going to live and never come back.
She had not even left her contacts or anything but he wasn’t concerned. Even if they contacted each other through phone calls , – never meant she wouldn’t be dating all those oyinbo boys. `i for no even bribe that police self. I for let am carry us go cell. I wonder how she go take talk say she dey travel when we both dey inside cell’ he thought and rose up from the ground.
“I go give you the money. I lost am! No vex mummy” he said squeezing his face together, his mouth pointed out like a female hairstyle (shuku).
She didn’t say anything leaving his presence.
“No Limca again, Sulu. Go mama Yomi shop abeg,” she told her customer who grumbled and left her presence.
“Izu never buy the minerals wey I don give am money since 4days now” she reported him to his father.
“Izu!” He called out not letting his wife explain any further “bia ne ba!”
He came out in his tight fitted boxers and white singlet standing before his parents, – face still showing someone who felt he was being disturbed “Siiirrrr!”
“Can you explain to me why you haven’t bought the drinks your mother ask you to buy, even with the money she gave you” he switched to english.
Pappy Izu unlike his son was a bit knowledgeable in the english language. He had gone to school in the village, studied up to the secondary school level and had stopped due to lack of funds. He had however got a job with Sharp through connection and had been working there since 4yrs now, – after leaving his spare-part business.
“I lost the money” he said in Igbo.
“You lost it or spent it?” He replied asking him also switching to Igbo “be specific.”
He didn’t reply but stood staring into the ground like someone who wanted to study the earth for the benefit it could aid to bail him out of his father’s questioning.
“Okay! Since you can’t reply, go and fetch me water to bathe. We shall visit someone this evening who could help us get buying these drinks on discounts from their depot”
He went and pick a bucket to fetch the water as his father stared at him leaving. His thought was that, Izu was gradually getting stubborn and before he got completely out of hands, he needed to caution him.
He picked his phone, the first Samsung model phone and rang someone up.
“Hello, na me Izu papa,” he said and listened as the receiver greeted him and asked his purpose for placing the call.
“I want to inform you I’m bringing that my son I told you about this evening. You need to check him out” he said.
“Ok, I’ll expect you Sir” the receiver said and ended the call. Pappy Izu’s phone beeping!.
They got down from the bus at the Bonny Camp under-bridge walking some few distance forward.
Someone appeared from the dark putting on mufti, Izu not knowing the man’s profession but thought him to be the man whom his father had said would introduce them to buy from the minerals depot.
“Good evening Sir” he greeted.
“Evening boy.” He tapped Izu on the shoulder and faced his father “Welcome sir”
“Thank you my brother”. He replied “Izu wey the money your mother give you to buy drinks?”
Izu looked surprised and at the same time confused. What his father was driving at bringing up the issue of the money they had settled, was oblivious to him.
“Wooooh! Paapa, I don tell you say I loss the money. Why you come dey ask again na?
“Hey young man! Is that how to talk to your father?” The unknown man asked not really surprised about Izu’s behaviour since he had already been told about it. Izu was starting to grow wings at 19 and spoke anyhow to his parents.
“See, guy, mind your business o!. Who call your yeye mouth to this matter?” He snapped angrily.
“Oh, I see!. You shall learn how to address people today“ he said making Izu more surprised.
“F**K you and whatever you are. God go punish you!” He cursed.
“Boys!!!” The unknown man called out and there came 5 men crossing from under the bridge dressed in army uniform and another set of 5 approached from the Bonny Camp gate.
Before Izu could remember he was at the front of the Army Barracks, he had been grabbed by the unknown man on the waist. He was cleared off his feet by a swipe of the man’s boot.
“Goodbye Lieutenant” his father said and went off.
To Be Continued….