I had always been a good “Tamoher”. Tamoh was in born because i grew up in the ghetto.
But that day Tamoh failed me. Or would i say i failed Tamoh.
I clung to the truck with my right hand and held the Fruit juice with my left hand.
All of a sudden, the Fruit Juice fell from my hand to the ground, and the content exploded on the road. “Flow you don pour our Five alive for ground, u don f”uck up” Brainbox yelled at me.
“i don f”uck up true true oh” I said.
Little did i know that worse problem was yet to come.
The truck driver was moving at a very high speed that i was wondering if he was drunk.
Don’t drink and drive, they say. But legend has it that if you smoke weed, you would drive as fast as if you were on a F1 race Championship. You could even win the Championship if u wish. If only the F1 race athletes knew about “igboh”, they would take like five wraps to increase their l’ibido before the start of every race.
The truck driver was driving that fast because he was a student of Paapa weed secondary school, Nekede, Owerri. I had seen him there before. Maybe he went for early morning “weedioly” lecture before hiting the road. Just maybe.
We got close to a pot hole, yet he drove faster. I was dead frightened. The truck galloped as it reached the pot hole, sending a discordant tune down my brain. Not only that.
My hands failed me.
I lost my grib.
A car was moving at a high speed behind us.
I heard my heart almost burst my solar plexus open.
I was gonna die, or so i tot.
“Am coming home Lord” i said in my mind.
In my mind’s eyes, i saw myself in heaven.
All these were unfolding within split seconds.
Within split seconds also, Brainbox skillfully grabbed me by my T-shirt and pulled me back. I was saved by the bell.
I was saved by Brainbox.
The same Brainbox i almost poisoned with Urine.
He grabbed me with so much Dexterity i must say. Little wonder he told me while we were at Umunkoto that he had worked as a bus Conductor in Lagos before he got admission into the University, i never believed him then.
But I could now believe.
I found back my grib, as i managed to clung to the truck, even though i was as fidgety as Baba jay the Epilepsy victim.
“oga driver take am easy oh, na human beings dey here, no be goat” Man yelled at the driver.
“na me carry una enter my motor? Who tell una to hang there?” the driver responded.
“naso person dey die oh” i said to myself, as i saw that my T-shirt was torn.
Better for me to the n”aked than for me to be gone.
“because dead body no dey mix rice and beans”
No Mama Calabar that day. We ate at home, so we weren’t hungry, or so i tot.
No Ike Nwoke also. Were were full of strength, or so i tot.
The work for that day was different.
We were to clear the bushes that were grown around the partially erected building of the Filling Station to be.
Madam Ifeoma ordered us to clear the bushy area because we would be casting the outside concrete soon.
She agreed to pay us 2500naira each for the job, and she left to return later when we might had completed the job.
So it was more of a collective task than an individual task.
“but na cheating oh, some people sabi clear grass pass some people na” I tot.
People like me were expert in clearing bushes, be it Field or Forest. Cutlass was a tool my right hand loved so much.
I was an expert in the game.
An expert because i grew up in a Barrack surrounded by bushes. Bush Clearing was what i started practising as young as age 10.
As we continued clearing, i saw Brainbox was fumbling with his cutlass. Infact he was practically quarrelling with his cutlass. Like they say; “bad workman always quarrels with his tool”. He was indeed a bad workman.
As we were half way through, suddenly, i saw something moved in the bush just close to me.
I tot it was a snake, so i withdrew.
I continued cutting, and it moved again, bringing out its u’gly head. I instantly realized it was a snake. A huge green snake.
“make una come see snake oh” i cried out.
My fellow labourers came closer to see that the Snake had gone hiding.
“e don run” i said. Before i finished saying that, it came out again.
Igbakwambo and Ochagbuorie ran away very fast stumbling in the process . I too ran, but not too far from sight. Brainbox was nowhere to be found, he had disappeared. I could recall he had told me he hated Snakes.
But Man still stood there.
He stood there speaking what sounded like Hausa.
Was Hausa Language the Language of Snakes? So i tot.
I came closer to hear it wasn’t Hausa, it was an incantation. An incantation to tame the Snake.
“Man u get mind oh” i said.
He paid me no attention but continued his incantation. He even added dancing to it.
The incantation continued for about 10minutes.
And all of a sudden, the Snake came out of the bush and crawled to Man’s leg.
From Man’s leg it advanced to his d”ick area. Was it heading to eat up Man’s third leg? Or was it adding to Man’s Legs to make him have Four legs?
“Man e go chop ur p’rick oh” I said.
Man paid me no attention but continued with incantation.
Or was Man a Native doctor when he was in Sokoto?
The snake came out from the belt area of his trouser and headed for his chest.
Before i knew it, the Snake had twined Man’s stomach and Man held it by the head with his left hand.
The sight made huge goose pimples grew all over my body.
Was i dreaming?
“make una come, e no go bite una” Man said walking towards me.
“make i come wetin? i never wan die” I said as i gathered momentum to run.
As i placed my foot “gear lever” on “gear 5” to take to my heels, something obstructed me and i fell to the ground.
I tried picking myself up but couldn’t.
I managed to turn facing the skies.
Man was getting close. He came even closer and said, “Flow e no go bite you, i don tell am say make e no bite you”.
“Man abeg, anything wey u want i go give you. Abeg no put that snake for my body, Abeg!! Abeg!!” I pleaded. All to no avail.
“brahaanwawakamadamama!!” was the only word my mouth found to pronounce as Man placed the Snake on me.
True to his words, the Snake didn’t bite me. Albeit as it moved round my lower abdomen it sent a sweet s£nsat!on to my brain.
Strange world indeed, you would say. How would a human being God created tame an animal with incantation?
The kind of friends i had were gradually scaring poo out of my a”ss.
Since they say; “show me your friends and i will tell you who you are”. Man was my friend, so was i a Native Doctor?
Soroagwa Place was the place to be.
“Man so you hold snake for your hand. U be babalawo oh” Brainbox said. “na ur Papa be babalawo” Man responded.
“That thing wey i do na small thing, i fit chop razor blade and bottle” Man added.
“u no fit abeg” Brainbox said.
“ok make we set money, 2000naira, if i chop bottle and razor, u go give me 2000naira, but if i no chop am, i go give u 200naira, u gree?” Man said. “i gree, but u go chop am like as person dey chop food oh” Brainbox said. “no wahala” Man agreed.
I was beginning to be scared of Man.
So he had this weird talent, and i never knew.
A magician indeed.
Infact as i stared at him, a Snake stared back at me. I was scared.
In Yoruba Language Nkàn bé means strange things. Things were really strange.
I know by now you would be asking what was the fate of the Snake.
Well, Albeit the Snake was tamed, Man finally killed it. He killed the poor snake, and his reason was that the meat would be used to prepare Snake pepper soup. He said he loved snake pepper soup alot. I promised myself i wouldn’t eat of it, or so i tot.
We left Soroagwa canteen with two things in mind. One was for Man to perform the Magic of chewing the blade and broken bottle, another was for us to get home and prepare the Snake pepper soup for our munching pleasure. The later was what i wouldn’t pertake of, even if i was under duress to do so, or so i tot.
I had eaten Snake meat before but not a tamed Snake. Not a Snake that was tamed to death. I believed there was something fetish about it.
“Flow hold dis nylon make i go buy razor blade wey we go use do that thing” Man said offering me the bag containing the dead Snake.
“hold that thing jor, i no fit hold that r’ubbish” I cursed.
He held it to Nkiru’s shop.
Shortly, he came back with two brand new razor blades and an empty Coca Cola bottle.
We met Snoop alone at home. I explained to Snoop the drama that was about unfolding, and he kept his fingers crossed.
We all watched keenly as Man struck the Coca Cola bottle on the floor. Pieces of broken bottle scattered everywhere and Man gathered them together.
He resumed his “famous” incantation, this time it sounded like Efik.
He widely opened his eyes, with his eyeball bulging. He looked more like Awó. Awó in Ibo means Ópòló in Yoruba, which means Frog in English(i no know wetin e mean for Hausa oh).
He also opened his mouth like a Frog. Suddenly he inserted the pieces of broken bottle into his mouth. And he started chewing. I waited to see blood gushing, i waited in vain.
I caught cold instantly on hearing the sound his chewing made. I had seen such magic only on Tv. I was seeing it live and direct.
He unwraped the two razor blade and resumed another round of incantation. This time it sounded like Chinese. It seemed to every task there was a particular incantation for it.
Suddenly, he garnished the broken bottle he was chewing with the two razor blades and continued chewing.
I almost peed on my p’ant. “this boy na original babalawo oh, shey him go swallow am?” I asked myself.
“i don swallow am” He answered my question.
“where my money? Flow give me my money?” Man suddenly said.
I was with the bet, and since the did had been done, i gave him his 4000naira. He was worth it, even more.
Brainbox’s mouth was ajar, he was surprised at how Man munched and swollowed the bottle and blade, and he was also surprised at how he had lost 2000naira, little or nothing was left of his pay for that day.
Was what just happened a talent or was it fetish? was what i asked myself.
What would happen to Man’s digestive system? was what i also asked myself.
“Man wey dey reason!!” Snoop suddenly cheered. “Man wey dey reason! Man wey dey reason!!” we gave a roof raising cheer and a standing ovation to Man wey dey chop bottle.
Legend has it that the bone of a Snake is poisonous and deadly.
Yet the meat was very delicious.
Legend also has it that Snake skin when dried and grinded would add a superb highness to Igboh. The mixture was an excellent elixir. An elixir i had tasted just once. And i promised not to taste again.
“Flow come follow me arrange the Snake na” Man yelled from the kitchen. “i no well” I replied.
Truely, i wasn’t feeling fine, i had caught Parkinson’s disease, not only because i withnessed a magic, but also because the fellow that performed the magic was my b0s0m friend. A friend that slept on the same bed with me, ate from the same plate with me, and even worked as a kponkponist with me.
It was Man’s turn to cook that day, so after he prepared the Snake pepper soup, he informed us he had seperated part of the meat he would add to the food he would cook later.
It was time to eat the Snake pepper soup.
I promised myself i wouldn’t eat, but the Aroma made me thought twice.
“The thing sweet oh, Flow come taste am na” Snoop said to me. I went to the Kitchen, took a spoon and joined them.
It was indeed delicious. As i gulped the soup, i heard the worms in my stomach singing songs of praise. I was really famished. “Man wetin we go chop dis night?” I asked. “na Egusi soup oh” Man responded.
Power was restored. Since our sound system was faulty, and our Dvd also was faulty, we had no choice but to watch NTA 9pm news on Tv, although the reception wasn’t clear enough, we continued watching as the patriotic Nigerians we were.
As we were watching a news report on the men in the “red chambers” Snoop said, “guy, dem dis senators, dem be thief oh”. “na today you know? U no know say the money wey dem dey pay only one senator for Nigeria pass the money wey dem dey pay American president” I informed. “ehenn? If na like that, watch out for me for the next election, Brainbox for senate house, Mbaise for senate house” Brainbox teased. “na your type?” Snoop said to him.
We were still discussing politics when Baba jay walked in. Baba jay the “dandiest”. He had a very poor dress sense, i must say. Infact if there was Mr shabby pageant, Baba jay would sure emerge the winner.
“where u dey come from na?” Snoop asked Baba jay. “i dey come from church, weekly service” Baba jay replied. “u dey come from church, nahim ur cloth be like the cloth wey i dey use do kponkpon work, shey dog no bark for u for road?” I dared not say that, unless i wanted the Opopo incident to repeat itself.
“wetin una dey cook?” Baba jay asked. “na Egusi soup, Egusi soup and chicken” I told a lie.
Chicken indeed, Snake chicken.
“una be correct guys” Baba jay said.
25minutes later, Man dished out the food and we ate.
My prayer was that none of us would manifest as a Snake that Night.