By Yami Bamgboye
‘Today is our aniversary, Fhil’.
‘Yeah, I know.You really don’t have a good nose to smell what I’m cooking, do you? Fhil shot back.
‘Hmm, maybe it’s because it smells bad. My nose is allergic to bad smell’, Sera said and they both laughed.
Fhil looked at her with so much love in his eyes ‘I found a place, it’s so perfect for the anniversary’.
‘Awww, please tell me where it is’, she said invitingly.
‘Hey baby, my little secret. I can only say it’s not like the usual places’.
‘We’re just few hours away you know. I’m closimg early today’.
‘Of course you have to. In fact, you had better’.
‘Yes ma’am. Love you’.
‘Love you more’, was the whisper he heard as he rushed out adjusting his tie.
Osman had sat staring at nothing. He was never too much of the sociable type not even now that life was completely dreary. He already lost his will to live and fight. He couldn’t stop thinking about losing his job, the futile attempts in securing another, the bills to pay and what next to do. Having a successful career was all he wanted.
‘That’s all gone, it’s over’, he thought.
As he paced around in circles, he reached for his belt and dashed out to nowhere in particular.
Nkenga’s letter of admission into the university had brought so much joy to the Benchis. It was their glimmer of hope. As stipulated in the letter, an initial ten thousand naira had to be paid for acceptance within a short time to move to the next stage of completion.
Papa Nkenga was very determined to raise the money at all cost. He knew he could within the allotted time frame if his palm wine business sustained the token it raked in on the average everyday. While the countdown continued, his business flopped. His wife was only able to raise an insignificant chunk in support. She was a petty trader and her articles altogether did not worth ten thousand naira.
But on this day, Papa Nkenga had the money. He had been to friends and was lucky to get help. He put a call through to his wife on his way home. She wouldn’t stop thanking God and could hardly wait for him to return.
‘Pip, pip, ppppppiiiiiiiiiiippppp!!!’
‘Were, se o ni ku ro lo na a bi eti iya e di ni?’
‘Woooosss oun tu da… #1000, #500 ma wo le o’, another guy from a distance yelled beside a loading bus.
‘Driver!! Oya, your moto don full’.
The haggard creature puffed a smoke or more. His right hand held on to his falling knicker while he hopped in. A moment later, he did a caricature of a pilot’s welcome address.
‘Abeg, talk your bus stop quick before I reach oh’.
‘Oga… abeg face dat side mek ciga no enta my mout’, the passenger beside him jerked.
He looked at her deridingly and started the engine.
After a long silence, the driver suddenly shouted ‘Yeeee’. No one gave the noise a thought. They must have considered it the influence of Bangar, the gin he had just emptied from a sachet.
Of course no one dared to ask what that meant this time. The message sank deep down. As Fhil, Papa Nkenga and others responded to their fears in diverse ways: praying, crying and whatnot, Osman was so indifferent. This was the moment. He always knew it was over. A little swerving here, a little swerving there and the next thing was gboooooommm!!! gbaaaaaaa!!! Smoke and darkness covered them all. Osman coughed…he was in heaven until noises and shouts of good Samaritans filtered through his ears and thought he heard ‘This one is still alive’.
By Yami Bamgboye