The Agbero Blog
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Fight, fight and romance
I was chilling with Mufu inside a bus in the garage when the fools came. There were five of them, and though they tried to put up bold faces, I wasn’t fooled.
“Na u be Taju?”
I looked at the fellow speaking and sized him up. His eyes were red from smoking igbo but that one no concern me.
“Who dey find am?”
“Wey the phone wey you collect from my brother?”
I no just talk anything. This one dey follow me talk like that. For inside garage! I slung my shirt over my shoulder and slipped out of the bus. Next thing na:
GBOLA!!!! GBOLA!!! GBOLA-GA!!!
The big stout bottle wey I just finish drink from crash on top the head of three of them. As they fell to the floor screaming, Mufu charged at the remaining two and I reached for the plank that served as the middle seat of the bus. Na so we dey beat them o. Two of us only against five mugus. Blood don flow finish before Agbowo and other NURTW people scatter-land.
“Wetin dey happen? Wetin dey happen? Ki lo n sele?” Na so dem dey ask.
I didn’t answer nobody, men. I was just thirsty for blood, breathing heavy like a diesel generator. I grabbed their leader by the throat and pulled him up.
He quavered as I screamed into his face. “Tell your bastard brother! I want my money. Or else… or else!!!”
Agbowo wrestled him away from my hands. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Rashidi restraining Mufu. Biola and co led the five boys away under the NURTW canopy. Mufu and I followed Agbowo to go explain what the matter was.
Nothing happen o. Nothing. Abi wetin dem wan do? Na pure logic now. A guy swindled me, I requested for my money, he sent thugs after me. Wetin I for do? Agbowo and co blamed the five boys. They were actually some of Jasper’s boys o. Imagine. Jasper controlled the other half of the road and his boys were known for their jeje-ness. Dem no dey fight, no dey harass anybody.
Anyway sha. Dem tell the boys make dem go bring the Yahoo boy or else Japser go hear for the matter. And if Jasper got wind of the whole scam, those boys would probably lose their jobs, or worse still, get blacklisted. Lailai, dem no go ever be agberos again.
Haba na dem know jo.
Fight never finish o. I was working on the afternoon shift when Baba Odeku’s jalopy passed. The car was so ugly and battered that we stopped collecting levies from Baba Odeku. Besides, him no dey get conductor, and na who person wan hold? Baba Odeku was don pass sixty and na to die remain?
The bus behind Baba Odeku’s was the koko. As I rushed to collect the levy, I found that the conductor no dey by the door. I shadow well-well, come go harass driver. The driver pointed to the back, and hiding in the boot, sitting on the engine in one corner was that bastard conductor that was gbemu-ing that day. Iya e!
My stomach was happy. My eyes turned red. I ran to the back of the bus, yanked open the booth and dragged the idiot by the shirt.
He still dey try do bragado. Were! One slap and he fell to his knees. I kneed him in the stomach and he doubled up, groaning and screaming. People stopped to look. Buses slowed down. Passengers gawked. His bus stopped some few metres away and the driver alighted. One Ibo chap wey no sabi talk.
“Wetin the boy do you now? Eh? Abi you don craze?”
It was as if my ears were not functioning. Or didn’t that omo nna just insult me? I raised my head slowly and looked him in the eye. He maintained my gaze. My head swung backwards and I gave him the hardest head butt I had ever delivered in my life. My gorimapa forehead connected with his nose and he joined his conductor on the floor yelling. As his hands covered his nose, it was immediately covered with thick red blood.
“Beat dem well well! Beat dem!”
Ehn? It was the passengers in the bus.
“Yeye man! Oya fight now! Fight with your mate!”
A particular woman had alighted and she was obviously livid with rage. She was as round as a tomato, wide as a pumpkin.
“Yeye man, fight! Na only passengers you sabi harass! Hundred naira bus and you no wan pay agbero, God don catch you!”
Soon, I saw that the fight was slipping out of my hands as more women alighted from the bus to start raining insults on the driver and his conductor. Passers-by were laughing at the two sorry men on the floor and the throng of women insulting them. Newcomers didn’t even know the full story; they probably thought the women had beaten the two men up.
Rashidi burst into my room without knocking.
“How far? You don ready?”
He was sporting a blue Adidas shirt over a pair of jeans and white sneakers.
“Farabale now. I just dey dress up.”
“Omo, quick quick o. Mufu don call o. He say the Carnival don start.”
“No be all-night? Cool down jo.”
It was obvious that Rashidi couldn’t wait. The party don enter him head patapata. Soon sha, I finished up. Ah, come see fine boy! I fit dress o: nice blue shirt with a black blazer over couture jeans and flat-soled sneakers. Omo, no be joke o.
We entered the party around past nine sha. Gbedu was blasting from power speakers. Ehn, Baby do me I do you, Man no go vex. We located Mufu. He was swaying in one corner with a bottle of Gulder. Quick-quick, he got us drinks; I settled for Star while Rashidi joined Mufu in Gulderizing his life.
I was halfway through my drink when I saw Sikira. Oh my God! She was wearing a mini-skirt that exposed her fine legs and a low-cut blouse that showed a generous part of her breasts. Rashidi seemed to have followed my eyes because he suddenly slapped me on the back and started laughing.
I wasn’t functioning properly anymore. Seeing Sikira again after two weeks just dey scatter my brain. Sikira is one pretty girl I’ve been eyeing for quite some time now. She owns the phone kiosk across the street from where the garage is. For the first time in my life, I began to feel what was called love. Sometimes our eyes will meet and we’ll both smile. Sometimes she’d do as if she didn’t even know I was staring at her. It was at times like that that I felt like an idiot. I was always angry at everybody and everything for no just cause.
But tonight, Sikira turned her head and looked straight in my direction. She smiled. My eyes widened. She walked towards me swaying her hips. The whole party seemed to pause. Everything stood still and the only motion was from Sikira. Beer bottles paused halfway to mouths, heads froze at forty-five degrees, mouths hung open. Even the air seemed to stop circulating. But towards me she walked, her hips swaying, her breasts bobbing and her smile ensnaring my soul.
“What’s up, TJ?”
Her voice sounded like the flap of a butterfly’s wings. The whole party took cue and everything started to move again.
I stood up hastily. “Sikira baby! How you dey now?”
“I dey o.” She batted her eyelids. My throat felt dry.
“Em… em… how tonight go be now?”
“Well,” she wrung her hands as spoke, “how you wan make he be?”
I took Sikira by the hand and pulled her gently towards a dark corner. I looked back and winked at Rashidi. He shook his head and smiled. Mufu guffawed.
The party has been going on for ever now, but me, I no notice o. The volume of the speakers sounded distant though wriggling bodies were dancing just a few metres away. Surrounded by Sikira’s juicy body, I was oblivious to everything else. In the wetness of her lips, I lost all thought. The softness of her breasts reminded me that fighting might not be the end of everything. As the darkness grew thicker and the night got colder, Sikira motioned away from the carnival and we both walked in the direction of my house.
Enough galala tonight! The carnival be damned. I don forget how to speak pidgin sef…