“but Man you sabi run oh, see as you tear race when those guys dey pursue you for bush yesterday” I said the next morning as we sat outside. “after, Nigeria go dey say dem dey look for person wey go run for Olympics, when person like you wey go win gold medal dey here” Brainbox teased and we laughed.
“Flow make we go smoke Igboh for Paapa place na” Man said few minutes later. “dis kin early morning wey nothing don enter our mouth nahim we go go smoke?” I queried. “nahim dey good pass na, so that your brain wey sleep yesterday night go wake up, and ur brain go sharp well well” Man lectured.
The Igbohlistic nature of Man was becoming worrisome. Yes, Flow also smoked, but Man was “The Chimney”. This could not be likened to the saying; “Kettle calling Pot black”, it was more of; “Plate calling Pot black”.
My grandmum once told me that; “whatever a young Man wakes up in the morning thinking, that thing would either Make him or Mar him”.
Few minutes later, I, Man and Tupac were on our way to Paapa’s place.
We were involved in a roof raising argument about the football match we watched the previous night as we walked to Paapa’s place.
We got to Paapa’s place and met Ade smoking alone.
“so Ade you dey reach here!!” I said shaking hands with him. “i dey reach here oh, na only by dis time i dey get chance to enter here before i go work” Ade informed.
I smoked with so much Joy that day because i was happy i had being making big time profit in my Jewelleries business lately, thanks to Florence.
Within a twinkle of an eye Man had finished smoking the wrap of weed he held, so he said; “where Paapa dey na? make him come give us more igboh”.
I wouldn’t blame him for finishing the wrap of weed so fast, the weed was tasty. Maybe it was because we smoked it before breakfast.
One thing was certain, we would eat a mountain of Eba for breakfast, as we were inviting hunger.
What made me vowed never to Smoke weed before breakfast was a bitter experience that happened when i was in school.
I smoked excess weed one morning and hunger came knocking. My stomach started singing songs of praise, the worms in my stomach started dancing brake dance.
If that was all, it would had been great, my eyes spun like a Big wheel. I was seeing things.
I was so hungry that i saw Sand as Garri. I saw myself walking on Garri. I saw Everybody walking on Garri. That meant that the Cosmos was abundantly blessed with Garri.
Were it not for my room mate that bought me something to eat, i would had munched a handfull of Sand thinking it was a handfull of Garri.
“Flow take dis money, go knock for Paapa door, buy more Igboh come, e be like say him and him wife dey do Jangolova inside room” Man said offering me money.
“where you dey go?” Man asked me. “I dey go where you say make i go na” I replied. “Smoke that Igboh wey dey ur hand finish na” Man said. “guy, i go carry am go like dat jor” I replied. “people go see you say you dey smoke Igboh oh, no fall ur hand oh” Man warned.
I thought what he was saying was rubbish, so i left holding the wrap of weed. Not just holding it, but smoking it also.
I knocked at Paapa’s door severally and there was no response. I seemed to me that there was nobody in the room.
So i continued smoking my wrap of weed in the compound.
“so you smoke!!” I heard someone said. I turned back swiftly, and i saw nobody, i looked left, and i saw nobody, i looked right, still i saw nobody.
“who talk that thing?” I asked myself.
“So you smoke?” I heard again. Since there was nobody around me, i concluded it was the voice an Angel.
“I swear, i no go ever smoke again, Angel abeg forgive me” I replied the Angel looking up to the sky.
“so you smoke! I will tell the Pastor” The voice repeated.
Nobody told me to run.
I ran as if my life depended on my running.
I ran to an extent and stopped abruptly.
I stopped because it had dawned on me that i wasn’t speaking to an Angel, i was speaking to Gabriella.
Gabriella, the lady in our church choir.
I recalled that Gabriella had once shown me her room.
Her room was opposite Paapa’s room.
It dawned on me instantly that she wanted to scare me a bit by speaking to me through the Window.
She was the Angel. Angel Gabriella.
“Tega you don come back from station?” Man asked as we got home. What i couldn’t tell was if Man actually asked that question or his younger brother Igboh.
because Man had told us while we were smoking that Igboh was his best friend and brother.
“u see me for here, u dey ask me weda i don come, no i never come, na my spirit nahim dey ur front so” Tega said what i wanted saying.
That morning was special. Why it was special was because we ate fried rice and Chicken, sponsored and prepared by Pkc.
As Pkc dished the food, my prayer was for either Pkc or Baba Jay not to be paired with me.
I went to the toilet to pee, and when i returned, i found out that everyone was eating with their partners. They were eating in twos. “where my own na” I asked, “come and join us, our plate of rice is meant for three persons” Pkc said beckoning that i come join them.
Guess who his partner was?
Baba jay. The ravenous and gluttonous Baba jay.
Baba jay, Pkc a.k.a let the mountain go down, and Flow.
At that moment, my prayer was for God to give me the speed go beyond five spoons.
“i no dey like dis kin thing oh” I murmured. The other guys laughed at my predicament.
The plate of rice had already gone half way when i took my first spoon.
I thought of the best way to make the ravenous beasts i was eating with slow down, but i couldn’t just figure how best to do so.
I even thought of preaching to Pkc. But i thought otherwise, because, where would I begin? Genesis or Revelation?
Baba jay wasn’t even chewing the rice, he just swallowed it. My situation could be likened to a rat eating with two Elephants. And to make matters worse, i was famished courtesy of brother Igboh.
“Baba jay take am easy na” I said. That fell on deaf ears, he even increased his pace.
I felt like crying.
“na today wey we dey chop rice and Chicken nahim una wan do me like dis, e no go work for una” I encouraged myself.
“Pkc e no good oh, see as una dey rush” I complained. Pkc replied me with a smile but still continue eating hastily.
Round one was over, Pkc went into the kitchen to dish the second plates. And i tried to figure how i would outsmart the two Elephants i was eating with.
An idea dropped. An outlandish idea.
When I was much younger, say about 15, when eating rice or any other food from the same plate with my seniors, I would put on a round neck T-shirt.
The T-shirt must never be white, and i always wore a singlet inside. The singlet too must never be white. Black was perfect. Infact i had a special black singlet and a black T-shirt for this mischief.
The mischief was to notice when the person I was eating with looks away. When the person looks away, I quickly drag one of the pieces of meat, open the neck of the T-shirt I wore, and throw the meat inside. It would hurt, but like they say: “no pain, no gain”. And when the person asked where the other meat was, I would deny ever taking the meat, afterall he/she never saw me munched any meat. I would also blame it on the person that dished the food for not dishing the complete pieces of meat. (i don dey teach una bad thing abi?).
I must warn, never you try this with Ogbono soup.
The day i tried it with Ogbono soup, i met my waterloo.
Saying the meat i stole from the hot Ogbono soup peeled off my skin is an understatement, my intestine almost came out through the opening the meat created in my stomach. I was caught when i screemed as a result of the unbearable pain.
“wetin make you dey wear my sweater na?” Tega queried as he saw me putting on his black sweater.
“i wan comot, if we chop finish i go comot” I replied.
“but heat dey na, why you go wear black sweater for this hot weather?” Brainbox said.
“guy e be like say i no well oh, cold dey catch me when heat dey catch una” I replied.
They never knew i was up to mischief.
Mischief to outsmart the two ravenous devils i was eating with.
I looked from Baba jay to Pkc, and back to Baba jay, I continued the process trying to figure out the right time to steal one of the mighty pieces of meat with all dexterity.
The time was ripe, so I quickly grabbed one of the pieces of meat, opened the neck of the Sweater i wore, and threw it in. I did all these within a split second.
Just when i thought nobody saw me stole the meat, two persons saw me. Not Pkc and Baba jay, but Snoop and Brainbox.
I winked at both of them signaling them not to say a word. Brainbox winked back at me signaling; “my share dey oh”.
I thanked my stars that the meat was not piping hot, it was partially hot. Had it being piping hot, i would had stomached the pain, because the enjoyment of later munching such mighty meat would definately be stronger than the pain.
Evil grows with time, they say. As we continued eating, i thought of stealing another piece of meat. But what would i say if i was asked how three pieces of meat suddenly turned to one. Because i knew i would be the prime suspect. I would simply say, “make una stop rough play oh, una just dey cheat me since with rush-rush, una don chop una meat, una wan share my own with me”.
Suddenly, i grabbed the second piece of meat with the speed of light, and threw it into my meat reservoir. Just one person saw me steal the meat this time around. That one person was the ever observant Brainbox. He winked at me and i smiled in return.
Suddenly Baba jay said, “where two of the meat dey na” giving me a gaze of suspicion. “make una stop rough play oh, una just dey cheat me since with rush-rush, una don chop una meat, una wan share my own with me” I boldly said.
They both stared at each other amazed and surprised at how two pieces of meat suddenly developed wings and flew without them noticing.
“I no go gree for una lai lai, Pkc even you that is a pastor, you want to cheat? God is watching you oh” I accused Pkc. “but i am sure i dished three pieces of meat, how come just one is left?” Pkc asked the air. “Angel Anu don come carry two of meat” I almost answered.
Anu is not the Yoruba name that is shortened from Anuolowa. It is Ibo, and it means Meat.
“make una no play rough play with me oh, dis meat wey dey for plate na my own, una don chop una own, i go cause Kata Kata here oh” I threatened and i heard Brainbox giggled.
Kata Kata is the baptizmal name for Wahala. And Wahala could be interpreted to mean Nsogbu in Ibo Language.
“why are you putting on a sweater?” Pkc asked. “Pkc that one no concern you, na meat wahala we dey talk here, no be sweater” I replied.
I noticed that Baba jay was contantly staring at my pregnant stomach. Pregnant with non-identical twins. Two pieces of meat named Anu1 and Anu2.
“okay we go swear with Bible, anybody wey chop the meat go get Malaria and Typhoid” Baba jay suggested.
I knew that if we swear with the Bible, I would not only catch Malaria and Typhoid, i would also catch Epilepsy, so i said, “Pkc do u support swearing with the Bible? You are a pastor oh. God is against our swearing with the Holy book oh”. “Never!! we are never going to swear with the Bible” Pkc said. “Flow eat this meat, I and Baba jay will share the meat i left in the pot for MOG” Pkc concluded.
I smiled again.
As i munched the meat they left in the plate for me, i felt my twins kicking. It seemed i was about delivering.
Brainbox was staring at me with his face reading: “Flow where my share na?”.
I stood up carefully in other for me not to have a miscarriage of my pregnancy. And i handed over what was left of the meat i was munching to Brainbox. That was his share.
“Flow comot dis sweater na, see as you dey sweat” Tega said. If he knew what was in the Sweater, he wouldn’t had said that. “I like am like that, leave am for me, E concern you” I replied him. Brainbox and Snoop laughed out loud, because they knew what was in between the sweater and my stomach
I hurriedly walked to the hospital to give birth to the twins in my stomach.
“Flow make we go Ade salon, i wan go ask am how many of the necklace wey him don sell, u know say since i give am the Necklace i never collect any money for him hand” Man said the following evening as we sat outside.
“make we go, i wan barb my hair sef” Brainbox said. “me i wan sell one phone for Ade” Bigie said.
I, Man, Brainbox and Bigie were off to Ade’s barber’s shop. What we never knew was that someone would be arrested by the Police that evening. An arrest i saw coming.
“I know say Ade go don sell plenty necklace for me” Man Joyously said as we walked towards Ade’s shop.
“Bigie where the phone wey you wan sell for Ade?” I asked Bigie. “see am here” He brought out a fine Camera phone that i guessed could be worth 25k.
“Bad boy!! where you thief this one from na?” Man said, “you dey mad, na ur papa be thief, u don ever catch me dey thief before?” Bigie replied.
Come to think of it, Bigie said the truth, he had never been caught red handed before. He was as swift as the wind. That goes a long way to explain the Pidgin English adage that says: “all of us dey take meat for our Mama pot, but na person wey dem catch nahim be thief”.
We got to Ade’s Barber’s Shop to meet the shop scanty, “Ade why ur shop dey like dis na, you wan travel?” Bigie asked. “no oh, i no wan travel, only say things hard, market bad” Ade complained. “ehnn, i bring market come for you sef, na dis phone, i wan sell am” Bigie handed the phone over to Ade. Ade looked keenly at the phone and asked, “How much?”. “okay Bring 17k” Bigie said, “na 13k i go give you for this phone” Ade replied. “okay just add 1k wey i go use buy beer for my guys” Bigie concluded.
Ade collected the phone, put it into his pocket and said, “wait make i barb dis person finish, i go pay you half of the money for the phone”.
“Me and Flow sef wan barb oh” Brainbox informed Ade.
“Ade how far? How many necklace you don sell?” Man asked. “i never sell anything oh, the necklace no dey move market, i go give you back sef” Ade replied. As Ade said that, i saw that Man’s formerly joyous look suddenly turned pale. As if he just drank a cup of urine.
Soon, it was Brainbox’s turn to have his hair cut. Althrough, i noticed Brainbox eyes were focused at Ade’s Money drawer that was partially open.
Next, it was my turn to have my hair cut. As i sat down and Ade started cutting my hair, i took a glimpse at the open drawer to see that Money was flowing like a river in it. Little wonder Brainbox constantly focused at the drawer. But i knew no matter how long Brainbox admired the money, he dared not try stealing them, unless he wanted the fetishistic Ade to turn him to a Goat or a tuber of Yam.