Saturday, July 2, 2016


The melancholy feeling princess left in me lingered on like a haunting shadow, the teary feeling of guilt engulfed me as my whole thought revolved around her last words to me.“I wish what i told mama was true.”Worse of all i have this
whole new life, new expensive clothes, A huge amount in a bank account but i can’t even help papa with itPapa had come home last night looking worn out, tired and his usual blankness.Dumping his weight on his usual chair in the sitting room he let out a huge sigh, a disturbing worry written all over his face.“Papa good evening” i greeted“Good evening nwam, how are you? ” he asked weakly leaning heavily against the chair trying to work his face into an indifferent one“am fine papa, you look worried what is wrong? ” i asked looking into his face as if to find my answers there.Mama came out from the bedroom, curiosity writtenall over her as her eyes beamed on papa. “Dim (my husband) welcome” mama threw at him and papa nodded in reply.“what is wrong dim, you don’t look well at all” mamacame again sitting near papa on the chair.Papa sighed again, his eyes were unsure but they were sad..“It’s Agbo” He breathed out..“Agbo kwa?” mama quacked..My eyes flew up and i winced a bit because i know ifit’s Agbo then it surely has to do with money. He was a known lender in the neighbourhood, known for his staunch “Always on date” habit.Agbo would not spare you a day more to the dead line he gave you or your collateral is gone for good and his interest is way up there. Only the truly desperate always ran to him for help.He had once had a dealing with papa when mama nnukwu (Grand ma) was critically ill,the hospital demanded for 80,000 before they could lay a finger on her.Could remember papa selling a new stereo CD player he bought back then but most of the things he sold didn’t do raising the money justice.He had to run to Agbo for help and had placed our Diesel engine mama used as a grinding machine ascollateral.His voice still barked into my mind as he rang on and on about how he suffers to get his money that he lends to jobless people like papa.Yes that was how he put it “Do you know how i suffer to get the money i lend jobless people like you?”He rained at papa who was just looking on likea chick separated from it’s mother.That was the day our Diesel Engine became history, Mama had blamed papa why he didn’t sell the diesel engine in the first place but selling the diesel was a last option because mama’s grinding business then contributed immensely to the family’s sustenance.Papa had thought he could raise the money before the dead line but the rest is history..“Papa what did Agbo do this time?” I asked without wasting a second, an unsure anger growing deep within. I don’t know why but the mention of Agbo’s name in relation to papa’s present mood got me real angry.“Nwam by tomorrow my workshop will be his” Papa said closed his eyes and leaned back to the chair.” What?” Mama and i said in unison.“Yes, when Johny was preparing for school i used the money to buy all the necessary things they said we should buy, i paid half but haven’t been able to come up with half” Papa said.“He came to my workshop today with some workersto measure how he was going to tear it down to erect something else on the spot” His sadness grew and mama’s face went long.“Papa how much is that?” I asked, Papa’s eyes werestill closed in a lost manner but could see them twitching through the lid skin.“Dim you could have told me and we could have used that #7,000 we used for Miracles school registration fee to pay up” Mama said wearing a long face now.“Papa how much is the money?” I asked again with a growing anger, part of it against papa for ignoring the first and he never told me he had to borrow money for my school provisions.“Nnaa don’t worry yourself over it” He said.“Papa can you just tell me how much it is” I retortedin a naked voice that didn’t hide my feelings.“It’s was 20,000 and i paid 11,000” Papa said“So it’s remaining 9,000 now?” I came again“No nwam, the interest accumulated made it 14,000” papa replied looking at me with a rather surprised face as how i was showing a kind of keen interest on the amount.“So for just ordinary #14…. thousa…” I hissed cutting my self short half way through saying “Thousand” my emotions were taking the much of itmore so because this money papa is been insulted for what was just so meager, even the taxi i used to come home was half that amount.“Ok papa i have heard” I turned to leave.“Johny i hope you won’t go fight with anybody, i cansee you are angry” Mama said .I looked at her and then papa, smiled at them and shook my head in a “No” gesture.“No mama i won’t” i said then walked out.“Ebuka” I called into the phone immediately Ebuka picked up which was just after i walked out of the house.“Sky how far na” Ebuka said.“Ebus am not fine abeg i go gist you later, contact Dave please you guys should come to my place tomorrow” I sang into the phone impatiently.“Sky wetin deh sup?”“Nothing just make sure you are here please” I retorted almost in an angry tone.“Ok we go show though this people no give me chance oo but we go show no kwams..but you go pay our cab fare oo” He said.“Yes i will pay for to and fro just show abeg…” I ended the call.The night was a plain torture for me, i turned and sighed all through with an angry but yet hurting heart.I had all this huge amount of money in an account and papa was insulted for just 14,000 naira.I was awake until the last crow of the c---s in the wee dawn of the day.Chilly harmattan cold was slowly creeping as we were approaching the first quarter of November.Papa prepared for work with a gloomy face and a blank eyes, mama had to force him to eat before going.Am sure he knew the workshop would not be his by evening..“Papa please don’t worry about Agbo, he will not disturb you today..” I said as he was about heading out.Papa sighed and nodded then whispered to mama “Children, they don’t really understand” Am not surehe knew i heard that.I sat outside the yard all morning waiting for Dave and Ebuka impatiently, calling Ebuka every 10 seconds.“Ebus where una deh na” i would call into the mouthpiece..“Bia sky free me, we are on our way naa” He would reply..“Sky your food is cold, it has been untouched since morning” Mama called out to me.I checked the time, it was 10am and breakfast has been ready since 8……“Mama am coming biko” I replied.10:36am, a yellow coal city taxi with black stripes parked in front of our yard, I jolted up knowing fully well it was Ebuka and Dave, you rarely see anyone coming to this neighbourhood on a taxi if i have ever seen that before.“Sky sheey you know you too deh disturb” Dave blurted out on getting down from the taxi..“Idiot shut up joor” I joked out smiling as we hugged ..Mama was happy seeing two more of my friends visit us, she had to cook yam pottage as fast as shecould insisting they must eat something.We all ate and the business of the day was a go.In the golden crispy harmattan sunny afternoon we headed out with the taxi that Ebuka had asked to wait surely that was to his own advantage as his money would be much more ..“Sky abeg where we deh go?” Ebuka asked after i had directed the taxi man the direction of the destination.“One man like that insulted my dad for ordinary 14,000 naira, i have never seen papa as scared and as sad as he was like yesterday” I said waking up the anger i had since yesterday.“So we are going to pay him a visit?” Dave asked“Yes and teach him how to be polite in dealing with others, he is not the first person to make a few change..” I said ..Ebuka was quiet as usual his eyes were lost and amsure he was just taking everything in, in his usual manner. the taxi man’s eyes flew at us every now and then through the rear-view mirror.We went to the bank and i withdrew #80,000 and then headed towards Agbo’s place.We got down in front of his house, a haggard looking bungalow with brown roofs, old fashioned was a promotion.Mama had once said he was too stingy to even repair his house talk more build a new one.The brown gate squeaked open as we pushed it revealing an even colder atmosphere than a cemetery.The compound was silent and seemed nobody was there, the rumour that he left his wife and children inthe village while he stayed in the township didn’t seem like a rumour to me anymore.“Who is there?” a squeaky voice barked from inside the house, the house had two doors- One was big and bold at the side with a corridor, the other was inwhat we could term the front also with a corridor . we didn’t know which exactly to go to or which the voice came from.“I said who is that gate?” He said again in thick Igbodialect.“Its me sir” I replied“You, who?” He barked out as the same time the door of the side corridor slide open and a short tiny man with a long goatee stepped out tying only a wrapper and an old brown looking singlet- Am sure they had seen better days.“ehheee young man what is it, who are you?” He said looking at us with an unwanted look.We walked to the front of the corridor..“Good morning sir” We each greeted.“Eheee ehee enough of the good morning, i asked who are you?” He blared out with all alacrity like he wanted us to just say what we wanted and get the hell out.“Ok sir, i am the son of Mr Willaims” I said pointing at my chest.“Williams? . . Which williams biko?” He asked.“The one who owns a workshop in Omaba” I said pointing towards the direction of Omaba hoping he gets the drift.“Ooh ooh yes i remember, you call that a workshop?” He chuckled to himself.“well young man did he give you the money to bringfor me because as you can see i am about getting ready to claim that workshop because your father istoo jobless to pay me” He said grinning ..Dave and Ebuka looked at me ..“Sir he doesn’t know am here” I said..“Oooh then your father couldn’t get the money and you are here to beg for him, i don’t entertain beggars if that’s what you came here to do” He saidagain still wearing that grin.“Shut up” i blurted out unable to take it anymore.“What did you say?” He asked surprised looking from Dave on the right side to Ebuka on the left and me on the middle..“Young man what did you say?” He asked again.“I said shut up or you want me to add Old fool?” i said in all seriousness looking directly into his face.“I can see you are a mannerless boy, i don’t have time for idiots this morning” He said making to go back into his house.“Now listen to me you witless old man, i came here to pay you every dime you lend papa” i said openingmy hands and Dave put a wad of #1000 naira notes in 20 crispy pieces into my palm..“You see, this is 20,000 naira and am sure papa is only owing 14,000. but i am sure you need the remaining money to at least change your singlet. Here take this rubbish” I extended my hand with themoney.“what?” He blurted out eyes peeled in disbelief.I threw the money down on his feet ” Now listen to me you old fool, if i ever see your legs in that workshop be it today or any day i will make your life miserable for you and the little kobos you think you have” My fingers were pointing shakily at him with atotal adrenaline sway battering my whole self.“Thats not all, if you ever say ‘Jobless man’ again with your mouth in reference to papa, we will make sure you get a full lesson on that branch of human existence” Dave chipped in lending a waka into the speech.“And this is what you call a house? I think you are the jobless one” Ebuka said in his usual calm bossyway.We turned and went out of the compound with him standing in the background, unmoving and mouth agape like the statue of liberty and the pieces of naira notes spread through his corridor....continues
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