F1ngering that he had his ring on, he was a bit assured nothing could happen. He had acquired the ring from one jazzman in their village. A very potent ring he had used on some fools who wanted to fight him. It wouldn’t be good to explain what happened to them, he thought. Let this people experience it.
Though he was completely assured about his charm. He didn’t take into consideration how prepared his assailants were. They might just be some robbers who had not been fortified.
He adjust where he sat, drawing his ghana-must-go more friendlier to entice them the more, perhaps, he had some good money in it.
The two seated at the back drew out the knife they had kept handy and in no time, they pointed it to his head.
“Hey guy, no try any rubbish or you die for here” one of them said.
The three others who sat on the front all stood and face backwards. One of them pointing the grey pistol at him.
“If you love your life, better cooperate”
“We fit waste your life now now and nothing fit happen. No body go fit save you” another threatened.
He didn’t say anything than stare at the three at his front. his hands were raised and he was trying to figure out what move to take.
One of the gang members took his sack, scattering all the clothes in it and throwing them out of the sack.
“You never see anything inside?” The two at the back asked as they saw it was getting to the last pieces of clothes in the ghana-must-go. “Which kind weyrey bag this one carry na?”
“Omo guy, this bag dry like stockfish o”
“Hey!, wey the money wey you carry and your phone?. Where you hide them?”
He didn’t say anything, he just kept mute and stare like zombie.
Kpoia! The guy at the back landed him a deafening slap “you no fit talk? Abi God wan punish your papa?”
“I swear bros, I no get any money with me” he replied not even showing a sign the slap was hot and it hurt him.
The moment he said he swore. He had in the usual process of swearing, putting a finger in his mouth and raising up into space, – kissed the ring on his fingers with his tongue.
He swiped gently, touching the guy who landed him a slap as though he wanted to explain to the guy he was telling the truth and he could search him if he wanted. The guy was nowhere to be found.
His partners were surprised how he had disappeared into space but the moment the one that stood beside him looked down to the chair, he shouted.
“Broda Jamiu! Arh! Broda Jamiu ti di ijakpa o (Jamiu had turn into a tortoise)”
“Hei!!” The three at the front row plus the two at the front exclaimed very surprised and disturbed.
“Tortoise ke?” One of them asked still surprised.
David just started laughing. This people don’t know who they are dealing with.
The one who held the pistol shot at him twice but nothing happened. Not even a blood stain.
“Oodainshi!!” David said wiping at the his shirt.
“Hei!” The guy who shot the bullet exclaimed. His eyes wide open. “This one na another thing o.
David stood up and swiped at him and on the ground was another tortoise.
“Bros abeggi, no vex. Na play we been dey play the others started begging”
The driver immediately packed the vehicle at the under-bridge ahead. He was about running away when David commanded him to halt and he did without restraint. His charm was working again. `Lagos go hear am o,’ he thought boastful.
“Oya, who sabi shoot again among una?”
“Abeg broda, we just dey learn!. We no be thief.”
“You no be thief and you come dey rob me, your own don good today.” He said getting down the bus. “Now, make una start to off una clothe one by one”
“Bros, abeg, no turn us to tortoise. Abeg you with your mama and papa. We get pikin for house.”
“Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha, na yam una go turn to make una no worry! Tortiose still better. By the time I turn una to yam and sell una for market, una go know say no be everybody wey una meet una go dey rob.”
The driver approached holding a cutlass to attack David unaware, he was slapped with the backhand that contained the ring. He turned imbecile once.
“Eeebl lee le le” saliva were drooling off the side of his mouth.
“Hei! Bros abeg u in the name of God. Please no vex, we go give you all the money wey we get” the two still remaining to be turned yam pleaded. Bringing out the bundled money with them – 100k in two places.
“Oya drop the money and pack that sack well well” he commanded.
This time the two tortiose started talking.
“Bros eh! Abeg o”
“No vex !. We no go try am again”
David couldn’t stop laughing hearing the two tortoise speak. He collected his bag; said some incantations to the ring and asked that the two still standing get sand on their palms and blow it at them.
“Dem go change.” He said “For una life, if una try this rubbish with me again. Una go remain tortoise forever.” He said walking away from the scene as the two went about looking for sand.
“Bros, never go o! Abeg, I get mama for house o. Tortoise no fit find food for them o. Eh!. Tortoise wey stingy!”
“Broda, abeg my wife just born. My life don finish! Wetin my wife and pikin go chop? Who go find food for them? Eh God o! Broda abeg come back o”
But David had completely gone out of sight. The two returned with the sand and did as were told. Immediately their partners transformed. They took to their heels leaving the bus behind.
Bang! Bang!! Bang!!! He knocked on the door of the gate he had been addressed to. He brought out the paper on his hands to confirm he had not misread the address and disturbing other peoples’ peace.
He was correct and kept knocking till his father appeared in the dark to open the gate for him.
“Why you come late?. Na this time u suppose dey enter?. If to say them this vigilante catch you, you for sweep the whole neighbourhood till morning” he said opening the gate for his son to come in.
“No vex papa, things go rough small” he explained as he was being led into the room.
It was just a room his parents lived in. Mat was spread on the floor where his mother lay. Different bags/sacks of clothes were the other things in the room – with a yellow bulb hung in the ceiling and a ceiling fan that was dusty, – evident the last time it was cleaned, was uncertain.
“Welcome my son!” She said rising up and collecting the ghana-must-go he carried. “Shey go-slow no too much?”
“This Lagos dey one kind one kind” he said feeling bad he had left his precious village where he was seen as a lord. Where he was highly respected amongst his peers. `i hope say this mumu place go give me those respect,’ he thought.
“No vex my son. No worry, you go still sabi how everything dey go” she persuaded and set before him, the plate of corn meal (`Eewo’ as popular called in their language) and watery soup made with chunk of titus fish.
“Thank you mama” he said looking at his father and asked “shey you dey okay, papa?”
“I dey try. E just be say, I no know how we go take manage as you don come now”
“Paapa David!!!” His wife called “no worry yourself. David no be small pikin again. Him go find work do as him dey go school. I go tell Arizona make e find boat for am” she added and one would have seen it was all his mother’s idea that he should come to Lagos.
“Papa, hear am as mama don talk am o” he tried to comfort his father.
He removed his ring and washed his hands in the bowl his mother had placed beside his long legs. Took the plate of soup on his left palm and started eating.
“Arizona dey go one school like that for Osborne. Be like say na Waheed or so be the school name” she informed. Gazed into space, thinking pensively and nodded “ehn Ehn! I remember. Na Wahab be the school na”
David couldn’t speak again. He was absolutely engrossed in the meal he was eating. He ate fast and swallowed hard as if he had not eaten for a week. He ate as though he were being pursued.
“Na next two month dem dey resume, so you dey go start SS1 for there. Arizona go help you with work and una fit dey go school together” she explained.
“Woh! Me wan sleep” his father said and yawned “I go go fish by 6 in the morning” he added and lay on the bare floor, – the only space left in the jam-packed room.
“Make u sleep near your mama for the mat” he spoke his last and dose off some few minutes later.
His mother talked at length before sleep took her away. He rose up, removed his shirt and lay on the mat beside her.
“I just pray say make this place give me better thing” and closed his eyes.
He thought at length at his encounter that evening. He couldn’t tell his parents cause that would make them worried – what sort of being their son had turn into.
“Wahab or Waheed, here I come”
To Be Continued….