Archive | September 2012

Tricia’s Nightmare – Episode 1

We begin Tricia’s Nightmare today. Enjoy.

Please click on the image to the side to like the page on fb of my (troublesome) friend Biggie, who is having fantastic sales of everything called Oja Ara at GET Arena. After liking the page, simply answer the question “What is Tunde Leye’s temperament?” on the page and Biggie will be giving two lucky people 5,000Naira vouchers to buy anything at the event. That’s TL giveaway. And yes, HOPE Y’ALL ARE COUNTING DOWN TO GOLDEN SANDS!! OCTOBER 15 IS THE DATE!  Read the prologue and how to reserve copies for yourself here if you haven’t. And get your LASTMA uniform while at it 😀  https://tlsplace.wordpress.com/2012/09/24/golden-sands-prologue/

Now, to our story. Ifeanyi, get the BP drugs ready! Oh, and yes, please tweet about it with the hashtag #TriciasNightmare  Gracias

Tricia Abah was in trouble, big trouble. It had taken her two years of dedicated hunting to find a job and when she did find one, she had become truly desperate. Gone were her lofty dreams of the oil companies. She had eventual settled for an advertising agency, a far cry from the geophysics she had studied. But then, after two years, such finery didn’t matter anymore.

When she moved to Lagos to start her job, her aunt helped her get a temporary accommodation with Bruno, a male friend of hers. Somehow, the months had rolled on each other, and she had been in the house for three months. He was married, but his family was in the UK. He spent most of his time in UK but had a 3bedroom flat in Lagos which was empty whenever he was away. She had gladly moved into the luxurious flat on James Robertson, Surulere. It was mutually beneficial, she took care of the house while he was away, and she had free comfy accommodation in return. Out of instinct, one of the first things she did was to change the lock to the door of her room. That was her saving grace. On that night, she woke up with a start from her sleep, her head thumping. It took her moments to realize the thumping was not inside her head but on her door.

Startled, she tried to remain quiet, assuming robbers were in the house. Then she heard a familiar voice shout from the other side

“Open this door now”.

It was Bruno. “Uncle Bruno, is anything the matter?” she asked, wondering what could be so urgent that he had woken her up like this. She tried to sniff to see if she could smell any burning. Nothing.

In a quieter voice, Bruno spoke “You’ve been living in my house for three months now, at no cost. You should at least make me happy once in a while”.

She was puzzled, as the Warri girl part of her flashed a light bulb in her head. She didn’t want to believe that was what he was demanding for. It couldn’t be. He had been the perfect host and senior brother for months now. He continued shouting “You think I don’t know about you bringing boys to spend the night when I’m away? If you can give it to them, all the more reason I should eat of it. Open this door now; I didn’t even know you changed the lock.”

He didn’t sound like the Bruno she knew. He spoke with a drawl and his polished UK accent had given was to his native Bini accent. He was back to his raw form. She guessed he had been drinking heavily.

“Uncle Bruno, it’s not like that,” she tried to reason with him. “No man has slept here since I moved in; I won’t disrespect you like that.”

“Shut up!!! And open this door now and give me some.”

She knew she was in deep trouble. She checked the time. It was just 2AM and she was alone in this flat with a man who was bent on breaking the door down and raping her. She looked around the room for anything she could defend herself with. She quickly picked the phone and called Aunty Ivie. The phone rang out. She was probably asleep and would not answer her calls. She composed a text message and sent to her mum and Aunty Ivie. The banging on the door kept getting louder. She raced to the window to see if she could get out that way, even though she knew it was an effort in futility. Most Lagos buildings have iron burglary proofs to keep buglars out. This kept her in now.

“Didn’t Ivie tell you?” he barked from outside?

“Tell me what?” she equally shouted her response, the panic evident in her voice now.

She waited for his response. She got deathly silence in return. After she had waited for half an hour and there was no response, and her door remained intact, her nerves totally frayed as she imagined what was going on behind the door and how long it would hold out. She armed herself with the mop handle and locked herself in the toilet, sitting on the edge of the toilet bowl.

Within minutes of locking herself in, he began to batter the door, the thuds echoing in the deathly silence. It was only moments later that she heard a loud thud that could only mean her door had given way behind his relentless battering. She heard him prowl around the room searching for her, scattering her things and gripped the mop handle tighter as if it would spew bullets if he came in. The fact that she could hear him, but not see him seemed to heighten the terror that she felt. All of a sudden, an eerie calm came over the house, the kind of calm that had an audible quietness. And so she waited. It seemed like a lifetime passed as she waited, but it was a mere two minutes. And then the toilet door creaked open. He came in, dangling a key before her eyes, a drunken glint in his own eyes.

She opened her mouth to scream, but he slapped her hard and she tasted blood. The scream was happened only inside her head, her mouth went numb. Before she could recover, he dragged her into the room and pushed her onto the bed. Dazed, she tried to struggle, but all the shoving had disoriented her. There was really little her petite 5 foot 5 frame could do in the struggle against his bulky 6 feet 1 inch. She fell into the bed like a pack of cards. It was only then she realized he was naked from the waist down. Her flimsy nightgown offered no barriers in his way whatsoever. With a pillow he snuffed out her attempts at screaming and almost suffocated her. She would in fact have been suffocated, except for the fact that it was all over in less than two minutes. He shook and convulsed briefly and then rolled off her. Then without a word, the man that had just shattered her world got up and left the room. She lay, motionless, all manner of bodily fluid all over her, numb from within. A part of her recognized what had happened, while another part tried desperately to block it out. She lay in limbo for only God knows how long. The shrill ringing of her phone shocked her back into reality. Her mum had woken up and had obviously seen her alarming text and called back.

She picked the phone and then the floodgates opened and her tears poured out. Her mum was hysterical

“Hello Tricia”.

The only response was her tears.

“Tricia! What is the problem? Why are you crying?”

Still she only cried, unable to say anything.

“Eduvie!” her mum screamed her native name.

“Mummy,” she screamed, “he raped me!”

“What! Who!” her mum exclaimed.

“Bruno,” she responded, through her tears.

“Ha! Ivie has finished me,” her mum wailed. “So this was her plan, this was what she wanted to do to my daughter. It’s 5 already, you must leave that house today. I’m coming to Lagos now myself with your father. Have you gone to the police?”

“Mama! I have been raped just now! No I haven’t gone to the police.”

“Sorry. I’m sorry. Don’t worry, I will call them myself.” The call cut off and the piercing silence returned.

She checked and realized it was really a little past 5AM now. As if the call had broken some jinx, she picked her phone and sent another sms to her Aunt Ivie. She was the one who introduced her to Bruno.

She then used her phone to take pictures of herself in bed, and then pictures of her door, and her scattered room. She took a cotton bud and took a swab of his semen on her body and sealed it in the cotton bud pack as she had seen them do on CSI. Anything might eventually come in handy. She would make sure the bastard paid in full for what he had done to her. Then she called the police and reported the incident.

A little over an hour later there was a barrage of knocks on the front door, and she knew it was the police. Sure enough, the voice called out “It’s the police, open the door.” She sprang from her bed, and raced to the door. She didn’t bother to clean up or get dressed at all. She got to the front door and unlocked it quickly. The police had been wise enough to send a team of three, with one woman in it, and she seemed to be the superior officer. “Is he still in the house?” the woman asked, obvious scorn in her voice when she said he? Tricia nodded, glad that finally, she was not alone in the house with him. The moment she turned to lead them into the house, she let out a gasp. In her hurry to open the door, she had missed it. Now as she turned, she realized she was in real trouble. At the entrance to his room, Bruno lay on the floor, a knife sticking out of his chest. He was dead.

follow on twitter @tundeleye

Advertisements

Dance of the Ants

Nothing is better than a self-correcting system. The previously posted Reader’s Corner, Of Wives and Robbers has been removed. I appreciate that tlsplacers commented quickly and pointed out its similarity to a series on DSTV – NEW DIRECTION: MAMA PUT. I took this up with M’ade who sent it in and she explained that she wrote the story based on a conversation with a friend and wasn’t aware that it was based on a program her friend had watched on TV. So, I have taken that post down. In its place, I give you something I wrote called Dance of the Ants. Please enjoy it and once again, thanks for quickly pointing the issue out. And there’ll be a GIVEAWAY around Dance of the Ants, so read well, and spread word about it. Thanks

TL.

Long ago, in the land called Dark, ants lived in anthills. There were various colonies of ants and each lived in their own anthills. There were dark ants, light ants, green ants and yellow ants. There were big ants, small ants, desert ants and waterside ants. To the ants in each anthill, their anthill and the other few around was the full extent of the world. They interacted, fought together, exchanged gifts and died within the scope of this world. Most were ruled by TYR-ants.

One day, the ants saw a strange creature in their midst. It could do many things they couldn’t do. It could fly, it communicated differently, and it had different food and armor like nothing they had never seen. The ants called them the Green Ones. They would later learn that their real name was Grasshoppers. It stayed with them briefly, only to return with a couple more after a while. The ants were wary of the newcomers, but they were too scattered to do anything about them. Anthill by anthill, the grasshoppers conquered the ants, until the whole of Dark was under the control of the Hoppers. The hoppers imposed a harsh rule on the ants, construing the ants to cultivating their own kinds of foods and ensuring that the ants worked all day and returned most of what they got to the Hoppers, keeping little for themselves. In time, the ants began to eat what the Hoppers ate and even began to paint themselves green like the Hoppers were green.

They ruled some of the anthills through the TYR-ants that already existed but in some, created a new class of SYCHOPH-ants to help them administer the rest of the ants. The rest of the ants were classed as PEASE-ants, treated harshly by the Hoppers and even more harshly by the TYR-ants and the SYCHOPH-ants who began to see themselves as better than the PEASE-ants due to the few privileges they were given by the Hoppers. This, of course was the intention of the Hoppers. The Hoppers grouped the anthills together for their convenience, and called them Tenements. They were little concerned about the makeup of the ant population in the anthills before grouping them.

As time passed, some of the SYCHOPH-ants and a few lucky PEASE-ants travelled to the land of the Hoppers and saw that the Hoppers were really like the ants in many ways. They came back and began to agitate against the Hoppers’ rule. They asked them to leave the Tenements and let ants rule ants. After the Hoppers had taken all they could, they were ready to leave. However, in order to select a leader for the Tenement, they organized a Dance. Ants who wanted to lead were to come to The Clearing. Then they were to get as many ants as wanted them to lead to dance behind them. The ants that displaced the most greenery in the surroundings would be announced as winner. They were to repeat this every 4moons to select a new leader.

Quickly, the SYCHOPH-ants and the TYR-ants took over the process, appealing to ants on the basis of loyalty to anthills. The dance was rowdy and the Hoppers didn’t care much about it anyways. They just announced their most faithful SYCHOPH-ants and TYR-ants as the leaders, ensuring they still had a hold over the ants even after leaving. And then they left.

Of course the Tenements were shaky. Everyone was still aligned with his anthill and so each of the leaders began to divert what was meant for all the ants to themselves and their anthills. Gradually, the SYCHOPH-ants and the TYR-ants evolved into a new set of classes, the ELEPH-ants and the GI-ants. These ants ate so much of what was produced; they grew bigger than the other ants in great proportion, and influenced everything, from sharing resources to the series of Dances. They basically occupied the niche that had been left vacant by the departure of the Hoppers.

After a while, the SOLDIER-ants and MILIT-ants got restless. They wanted to “liberate” the PEASE-ant from the choking hold of their leaders. They murdered the leaders of the ELEPH-ants and GI-ants and took power to themselves. They suspended Dances. They initially tried to do things right, and take care of the PEASE-ants. The joy of the PEASE-ants knew no bounds. In time however, they realized that it was easy to take power by the force of arms, but keeping it required much more than that. They began to fraternize with the ELEPH-ants and the GI-ants, and with pressure from the Hoppers, they transformed into ELEPH-ants and GI-ants themselves. And so the cycle continued, in every Tenement in the land called Dark

Flora – 8th Petal – Collective Beauty

The eight installment of the Flora series is here. Hope it inspires someone. TL

Each flower is uniquely beautiful in its own right. But the pinnacle of the flower’s beauty and of the tree bearing them can only be appreciated when we look at all the flowers on the tree together. Few things are as beautiful as a flowering tree with its flowers in full bloom. I was watching one of Jet Li’s movies the other day and one of the scenes was set in a red flower pavilion. The beauty of that collection of flowers was breathtaking. Flowers recognize that even though they may be individually beautiful and unique, they become extraordinary when they are collective.

 The Nigerian national team, the Super Eagles had as set of good players but an outstanding team in 1994 and went on to win the African Nations Cup and was voted the second most entertaining team in the FIFA World Cup that same year. Since then, even though we have had great players, we have not had a team. The result climaxed with Nigeria missing out on the 2006 edition of the FIFA World Cup. Remember this: individuals score goals but teams win games. You can score all the goals you want and still be on the loosing side.

 For everything you want to do in life, you will need you AND … To build your family, you need you and your spouse and your children. To build your faith, you and God and His servants to instruct you. To build your career, you and your employers. To build your business, you, your employees and your customers. You may be a star individual, but your achievements will be multiplied when you understand the place of collective beauty in the scheme of things in your life.

Remember that two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. Beauty becomes much more beautiful when collected together.

Finding Hubby – Episode 24

All of us in the room were dumbfounded. My mind raced all over the place trying to grasp an answer. Well, while my mind was racing all over, even as he was on his knee, Gloria began a thorough questioning session

“Are you gay, Femi?”

“Hell no, I heard all about that, and no, I haven’t become gay in Hollywood”

“Are you married, Femi?”

“Never been. Couldn’t quite settle into the American culture that well”

“Are you a woman beater? Do you have a child? Are you terminally ill or impotent?”

“No, No and Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeell No!”

“Are you…”

“I’ll need to think about this,” I interrupted Gloria, my own voice sounding very weak even to me.

“Of course. I’ll give you time to think. You can always reach me through Biola”.

“Who is Biola?” I asked, puzzled

“Your pastor is Biola to me,” he said with a slight chuckle as he finally stood up.

“Oh,” was all I could manage before he was out of the door and I shut it behind him. I turned around and it was just us again, me and my girls.

“So?” It was Toke. I raised my eyebrows and said “So you go first Toke.”

She shrugged her shoulders and responded without missing a breath “there’s nothing to go on about in my case. The man haff not wanna marry again, and I am not a small child so I’m gonna have the baby. And he can go and hug a wet transformer, cos I’m not having him anywhere my child.”

“Toke, are you sure…” Gloria queried. “I couldn’t be more certain,” she responded with a smile and then turned to me with a mischievous look on her face “So, so?”

“All those things Gloria asked him need to be confirmed first before I can even begin to consider”. Within minutes, Toke was on the internet and we had everything before us in black and white on Wikipedia and all the other places on the internet that keep such. No Femi wasn’t married, had never been married and didn’t have any children.

Much as I would like to trust Wikipedia with my future, I’d rather find out the old fashioned way. And unlike Femi, I didn’t try to clear up my mess-up with Hawt Pastor by using my friends. I picked my phone and called him. He seemed to have been waiting for the call, because he picked it on the first ring. His rich voice filled the room as I put him on speaker.

“Hello Oyin,” he said

“I’m really sorry about how…” I began but he cut in and cut me short on that

“It’s okay Oyin, I understand perfectly well how you felt. I take it that Femi has come to you to speak for himself, otherwise you wouldn’t be calling me.”

I suddenly felt very shy “Yes, he just left.” I responded.

“And?” he asked and I actually saw his eyebrow raised in my mind’s eye.

“Can I come and see you?” I asked

“What kind of pastor would it make me if I refused to see one of my own flock?”

“But I’m coming to see you, not as my pastor, but as Femi’s friend,” I stated

“Hmmm,” he mumbled. After a brief pause, he responded “Okay, I’m still in the office.”

With that, I hung up the call and we all jumped into my car (yes, they followed me, as they could not wait at home for gist, aproko that they are) and we were in church in minutes.

Moments later, I was knocking on Hawt Pastor’s office door the second time that day and again, he unhinged the door and opened it himself. “I see you brought the cavalry,” he said with a smile as he saw Toke and Gloria right behind me. Those girls en! “Y’all can come in though, there’s nothing we’ll say in this office that you’ll not be either bb-ing to each other online realtime or download as gist later, so you might as well hear it firsthand”.

We shuffled into his office like a file of schoolgirls and sat opposite his desk. This time, he went around to his own chair and sat facing us and then addressing me, he asked “so?”

Glo and I looked at Toke and laughed cos he just stole her line. “What?” he asked. “That’s Toke’s way of asking for gist,” I responded. “Ah,” he chuckled, “great minds think alike”

*cough cough* that was me.

“Femi proposed to me, and while I should be happy, I feel more of concern. I have a thousand and one reasons to be skeptical, and frankly, after my Yomi experience, I don’t even want to consider anyone except I know all there is to know about that person. Femi’s time in America is a black box to me, and his actions the last time we saw tells me he is a different person from the Femi I dated. So, pastor, I have a few questions for you.”

“Go ahead…” he responded

“First the basics. Any baggage? Is he or was he married? Does he have any kids? Any legal issues? Any reason, ulterior to desperately want to marry me?”

He clasped his hands and looked at me seriously for the first time that evening “He’s my friend and you are my church member. If I knew anything of that nature, I would have made sure Femi could never reach you a second time. Just so you know, after what he did the last time, we had a serious falling out. I’ve been friends with Femi for 27 years and it was the first time we quarreled that seriously. Because I felt he used the fact that you guys met again through me to win your trust so quickly and I don’t let my members be treated that way. We didn’t talk for over three months.”

He paused and walked over to his fridge “my manners, I didn’t offer you any drinks.”

I slapped him inside my head, which kind of interruption was that. Abi did I say I was thirsty ni. He took his time to bring the drinks and serve us and then went back to his seat. By this time I was literarily clawing my thigh but I kept a calm face in order not to fall hand.

“He called me around your wedding time and after apologizing to me and all, he began to continually ask if I could help him set a meeting up again. He was very disappointed when I told him you were getting married but he did not rest it. He almost came into Nigeria around that time to, in his words, fight for your hand. I firmly told him not to, since you had decided to marry Yomi.”

I let my mind roll to what would have happened if Femi had appeared at that time. I would probably have rubbed Yomi all over his face really. It was a good thing he hadn’t come.

He continued “I didn’t tell him the story of how the wedding went until about two weeks ago. When he heard you were still single, this time he didn’t bother to tell me he was coming. He simply appeared in my house. And it took him a week of convincing me he really is serious before I reached out to you. So in my opinion, and with how well I know Femi, he has never been more serious about anything.”

When he finished speaking, the room was quiet and all the eyes, including Toke and Glo where now firmly on me.

I only hesitated a moment. “Yes,” I said, as a smile rose from inside me and spread across my face. “Yes, I will marry Femi”.

And everyone in the room jumped for joy.

We did not get married immediately. Femi had been gone for years and I knew he would have changed, and I guessed he still carried the image of me of back then in his head, I have changed too. About three months later, Oyin Clegg became Oyin Omotosho in a very small, private ceremony. Hawt Pastor joined us and the only dramatics was from my mama. She dance pass me that day sef.

And as things happen, we didn’t know that the “so?” joke of the day had started something. But start something it did. Hawt Pastor and Toke are dating! Yes. There’s drama around that though, but it’s not in Finding Hubby. Suffice to say that church members and elders did not take kindly to the fact that their pastor was courting a pregnant woman.

Gloria eventually relocated to UK. She thought it was the best thing for her to do since the pressures to marry were less there. She tells me she will eventually adopt a kid and she seems pretty happy.

All in all, I learnt that everything good will indeed come.

Thanks for reading and enjoying Finding Hubby for the past 6 months. It’s been a joy to write this series. A new series,  Tricia’s Nightmare starts next Monday and you can be sure that it will keep your Mondays as exciting as the delectable Oyin Clegg (sorry Tosh) has. Now, since Oyin’s story ends today, I decided to post a snippet of Golden Sand for you today. Golden Sands would become available for sale on Monday October 15. Do not sleep on a bicycle. Plan to buy. And I’ll be somewhere close to you to read from Golden Sands, sign (and sell) books and discuss your thougts on Oyin Clegg. Once again, thank you, arigato!

READ GOLDEN SANDS PROLOGUE HERE!!! https://tlsplace.wordpress.com/2012/09/24/golden-sands-prologue/

follow on twitter @tundeleye

Golden Sands – Prologue

Once again, thank you for reading Finding Hubby. Here’s a snippet of what to expect from Golden Sands. I would like first and foremost tlsplace readers to get the books before anyone. Between today and Monday 1st of October, please send an email to ajileyeb@gmail.com if you would like to formally indicate interest in having a book reserved for you. The email should include the following details.

  • Full Name
  • Location (Country and State)

Golden Sands is due to be out on Monday 15th of October. E-copies will be available on Amazon.com for purchase for the esteemed readers outside Nigeria. I would announce how to get it in your city in Nigeria as time goes on.

AND REMEMBER TO COME BACK NEXT MONDAY TO READ TRICIA’S NIGHTMARE!!! Enjoy the snippet.

PROLOGUE

July 07 2001, 16:55hrs

The black SUV raised a cloud of dust as it sped into the village. All the villagers had gathered, curious to see where it was going. It was early evening and the sun was just setting in the horizon, a huge red giant on the landscape. Their sun parched skins under tight turbans and flowing kaftans were the color of the fine desert sand. The village was barely more than a line of brick-walled houses on both sides of a dust road in the desert. The SUV had dark tinted windscreens which hid the occupants from sight and everyone watched curiously to see where it would stop. They didn’t have to wait long, as it soon pulled up beside the largest house in the village. The owner of the house was one whom the villagers did not interact with. He was a foreigner, and he lived alone in his big house. Rumor had it that he had beaten his wife to death. He had once been working for a powerful politician, but had since fallen out of favor and retired to this village rather than go home. As the car parked, the main door of the house opened and he came out to the low mud gateway to see what this intrusion into his quiet life was. He didn’t get visitors and he really didn’t want any. The strength of his gait did not indicate his sixty something years in any way; he was tall and broad, and had a menacing scowl on his face. As he got to the gateway, the backdoor of the car opened and a young lady stepped out. A momentary look of shock passed across his face; then it gave way to anger. “So the runaway finally returns”, he said, spitting. He continued “the disgrace that could not stay in her husband’s house.” The young lady took measured strides towards him, her brown eyes holding a deep hatred that no words could describe. The villagers had by now gathered at a distance to watch the spectacle before them as it unfolded. He raised his voice in anger, expecting her to cower in terror as she used to “and you think coming here with a car you prostituted yourself for will impress me?” She now stood before him, a small figure before his imposing frame. He raised his hands to hit her as he spat “your place is still on your knees before your father!”

Her movement was like a flash, he couldn’t even see it. All he felt was a sharp pain shoot from his belly to the roots of his brains and he clamped his eyes shut. When he opened his eyes, he was on his knees before her, and she now looked down at him for the first time in their lives. He looked at her eyes and it was only then that he saw what they held – the fear they had always held for him was now replaced with a burning hatred. Now the fear crept into him and gripped his heart. He began “surely you will not do anything to hurt your father. Let’s go inside and talk things over as family should.” He began to get up but in another blur, she hit him again and the sharp pain forced him back on his knees. The villagers did not dare move any closer to the scene. She reached into her jacket pocket, took out a picture of a woman that looked like an older version of her and held it before his eyes. The moment he saw the picture, he began to tremble, knowing what she had come to do. Resigned to his fate, he steeled himself and quelled the trembling in his hands. He raised his head and then looked at her defiantly and spat on the picture. In one movement, she hit him in the throat, cutting off his air supply. As he gasped for air, she hit him across the face and he swung around. A third hit on the back of his neck and it snapped. He was dead before he hit the floor.

Almost simultaneously, two huge men with submachine guns stepped out of the car and the villagers quickly took cover. She took her time to walk to the car and then spoke to one of them. “Burn it”, she said, pointing to the body.

Reader’s Corner – TV Palava

Been unable to post on all my devices all day. MTN BB and Etisalat Modem. O ga. Finally sha, bb is working now, so I’ll post something I wrote a while ago. Hope it brightens your day. I’ll post from a reader once my internet access tools behave.

Mama Lolo saw the taxi enter the street from her vantage position in front of her house on Berkley Street. When one heard a name like Berkley Street, you would expect some very upscale neighborhood. But this Berkley was far from upscale. All the houses were face me I face you apartments in one of the off-route parts of Ebute Metta. The houses themselves were old, colonial style houses with smaller modern houses and shops built in between them. Most of the women were involved in petty trading right in front of their houses, the children went to the public school around the corner barefoot and the men were anything from danfo drivers to okada riders and those kinds of work. Taxis simply did not come into the street regularly. This was why Mama Lolo was curious to see who it was that had taken a cab home today. Maybe it was someone who had lost their way. She braced up to be asked for directions. So she was more surprised when the taxi pulled up in front of her and the large figure of her husband stepped out of it. In all their twenty five years of marriage, her husband had taken a taxi only twice that she could remember. So she was so surprised she didn’t react.

“Wetin swallow your tongue, you nor go greet person?” Trust her husband to remind her she was acting silly. “Who die wey you carry taxi?” she retorted. “Hold your side abeg. Where Otega and Efe, make dem come carry this load enter house.” She went into the house shouting their names at the top of her lungs. The taxi man honked impatiently to get his attention “Oga, pay my money and commot your load for ground now, make I fit dey go. Time na money o.” Papa Lolo turned on him vehemently “Thunder fire you two times. Put wetin for floor? Dem buy this kain thing for your lineage? Abegi, wait make my pikin come carry am commot.” The taxi man shot him a measured glance “Oga you harsh o”. He knew better than say more than that. Papa Lolo was six feet tall and built like a bear with a pot belly. If provoked, he was sure to dole out a good sized beating to the driver. And knowing how Berkley Street was, they could also seize his taxi if he angered the people here too much.

Mama Lolo emerged with two tall teenagers in nothing but boxers shorts. They resembled their father and descended on the back seat of the taxi roughly. The whistles they let out brought their mother to their side in a jiffy. “Ayagaya! Na flatscreen be this o, plus Startimes. Papa you too much.” Efe said. “Omo, this one na correct. Suffry carry am o, Efe”. As they brought it out, a small crowd of neighbors had gathered to look on as Papa Lolo’s family unveiled their new acquisition. He smiled as if some paparazzi photographers were snapping away and beamed with the smiles of a victorious politician. Mama Lolo too would not be left out as she commandeered her children, making way for them to carry the precious TV through the crowd, strutting in front of them. Papa Lolo made a show of paying the taxi driver and dismissing him. The driver was all too glad to leave the gathering crowd. Shouts of “Mayor, we must wash am o, you must declare for the boys o”, rented the air. He was prepared for them. “Mama Caro, give the boys one bottle each.” Cheers arose from the crowd and he made for the opening to the house entrance. One bottle indeed. He had told Mama Caro earlier that if she gave anyone drink, she would bear the cost herself. When he got inside, his boys were already setting the TV up on the wall in the parlor. They were one of the few families that could afford two rooms in the house; one was used as the parlor and another as the bedroom. He was a driver in a bank and so he fared better than most of the neighbors. But with four children to feed, clothe and school, even his better pay didn’t reflect. His wife was waiting to drill him; he could feel her eyes as he entered. Women. And she was strutting like a peacock just now o. “Papa Lolo, where you see money buy all these things?” He responded, “Find me water first, weather hot.” When she returned with the water, he continued “Na all those things wey you go carry am, pay small small for four months. Na only bankers dem dey do am for, so na my oga account I dey use.” “Okay o”, she said, sitting on the well worn chair. “Okay wetin?” he sensed her saying something he was not picking up. “Okay nothing jo”.

He decided to leave her. “Oya, take money, go buy things to cook better banga soup. We go launch the TV for night when family don complete with better food.” Turning to the children, he instructed “if that TV break, I go break you join, so make una do am suffry. No on am when una finish, na me go launch am for night when we wan chop. Una hear?” the two boys nodded their heads. As the children went about setting up the TV, Papa Lolo retired into the bedroom to rest.

Otega stepped into the long corridor that ran the length of the house, with the rooms on both sides. This part of the house was usually hot, as some of the tenants cooked their meals in the space right in front of the houses. Almost as soon as he entered the corridor, two boys about his age joined him in the corridor. The shorter one spoke first “See as you dey carry hand. Na flatscreen we never see before?” Pushing Otega’s shoulder downwards, the other added “drop your hand jor. See this monkey o, Benji” Otega made faces at them “Jealousy! Una go green o.” The shorter one let out a whistle, turning to the other “Taju, see this one o. Show am wetin we get.” Taju rummaged through the black nylon bag he was holding and produced a PS3. Now he and Benji made the faces at Otega “shebi you go dey watch only your TV as we dey enjoy our game.” Otega became conciliatory “Una no dey try. Make we”, he clasped his hands together “synergize. Your game plus my TV. Toh bad gaan be that o.” as they were talking they didn’t notice his elder sister enter the corridor from outside the house and walk up to them. She had heard all about the TV before entering the house. “Lolo, how now?” Taju greeted, obviously love struck. Lolo ignored her younger brother’s friend and addressed him “How far? Have you people tried the TV?” Otega switched to proper English with his sister, “No we have not. Papa said we shouldn’t until he turns it on at night.” “Oh, okay”, she said as she went past them towards the room to greet her dad. Taju’s eyes followed her all the way, till Benji pulled his lips laughing “Otega, keep your sister from this boy o, he don die for body as you see am so”. Taju retorted, obviously irritated “Na bad thing to like person? She fit like me like that o, make she dey form because I be her brother padi”. “For your inner mind,” Otega retorted, waving a finger at him. His mother’s shrill voice calling out to him pierced the hallway. “We go arrange the runnings for the game tomorrow.” He shook his friends and then raced towards the back of the house to answer his mum. If she called him again, he would get a scolding in the minimum when he got there for “counting her voice”.

The family gathered around the steaming bowl of eba and banga soup set on the center table. Thankfully, PHCN had been kind enough to humor the family by giving them power today, so they didn’t have to run their “I better pass my neighbor” generator. Mama Lolo had prayed a lengthy prayer thanking the good Lord for everything, and dwelling specially on the TV and Startimes. It had taken a growl from Papa Lolo to get her to round the prayers off lest they all die of hunger and awaken in heaven. Now, as they settled to eat, he turned the TV on and then the Startimes and tuned into the movie channel. They had bought soft drinks and the family was talking excitedly over the meal whilst enjoying the movie showing on TV. Suddenly, about twenty minutes into the meal, without warning the voltage dropped until the bulb in the living room was barely bright enough to see. Otega shot up from his sit as he raced towards the switch of the TV. “Off the TV, off am sharp sharp”, Papa Lolo shouted. But even as Otega got to the switch, the voltage shot up and the bulb became extremely bright. He was too late. There was a loud explosion and then the smell of burning wires and smoke. When the smoke cleared, the TV was powered down and the wall beside it and its socket was burnt black. Papa Lolo was up on his feet “My TV, my flatscreen, oh my God, Nepa don finish me”, he mumbled. Then he crumpled to the floor and lost consciousness. Mama Lolo’s scream attracted the neighbors and they came running in.

Flora – Seventh Petal – Individuality

Every single flower has its own individual beauty. Even though the tree has thousands of flowers, each flower is unique. Though there are features that generalize the flowers on each tree such as color, shape, size and scent, each flower is slightly different from the next. It is these minute differences in the flowers that generate the bigger differences in the tree that comes from the flower.

 The beautiful thing is that each flower is original. It does not try to be like the next flower. We can take a cue from the individuality of the flower. While there are features that are general to us as human beings or members of a distinct tribe, race or nationality, each one of us is a unique individual. There are special minute things about us that make larger differences in the things we do and the way we do them. So as to portray ingenuity and originality, God himself has not made any two humans the same. Even Siamese twins do not carry the same genetic material and thumbprints.

 People should understand their persons. Teachers and parents need to recognize the individuality of the young ones in their care. We need to encourage people to be the best of themselves that there can be, not imitators of someone else that can only leave them confused and frustrated.

 I do not say we should not look up to people. What I say is that we should not try to become the people we look up to. We can learn from them, learn of them and learn with them. We should only let their lives inspire us to live our own lives and be our own person to the fullest.

follow on twitter @tundeleye