By Sarah Oyedo
What hath night to do with sleep? ~ John Milton
The toilet bowl had not been washed for days. He could tell as he directed his flashlight on the ceramic of the bowl. It was ridden with brownish stains and big green flies hovered over its surface. Igbinoba directed his yellowed, spluttering piss into the murky waters and leaned against the wall, waiting for relief. It didn’t come. Instead, short sharp pains shot from his groin region to his brain causing him to grit his teeth in agony. He knew it even as much as he denied it; his prostrate was back.
After a few minutes, he gave up trying to relieve himself and walked back into the darkened room and to his bed. But he couldn’t go back to sleep. Laide was snoring heavily, the sound ricocheting around the room and grating on his nerves. He looked at her plump, half clad, sweaty body in disgust. Such a fat, lazy woman. Couldn’t wash and keep the house clean. All she knew was to eat and breed her brats all over the place.
She was once beautiful, he thought sadly. The daughter of a witch doctor he and his friends had sought out in Ijebu-Ode to buy powerful medicine to win the local elections in their community. When he returned from his sojourn with her, his brothers thought he had gone mad. A Westerner! They cried. Uncouth people who were known to be promiscuous and shat in bushes. But he heard none of it as he was dazzled by her nubile beauty. She was slender as corn stalk with skin as smooth as freshly ground tobacco and shone like the evening moon. So he chased his wife and grown children out and married her. Now here he was after 17yrs, trapped with a woman who repulsed him and too broke and sterile to marry another.
His phone buzzed angrily cutting through his reverie and his wife’s snoring. A glance confirmed it was the vice-president of the local youth organization who was also the head of the vigilante group calling. Given the time of the call, past 2am, he knew instinctively something was wrong.
Uwadiae’s voice came clear through the phone; there was a robbery going on the fourth street. He was rounding up the boys to go storm the place and wanted to ask him if he wanted to come. Igbinoba felt hot rage sweep through him. Just the month before, he held a meeting as chief community leader with all the touts, thugs and cult leaders. There had been a raging war within some parties which caused series of robberies to span the area, shattering the peace to smithereens.
People had begun to move out in droves and sales took a nosedive. So he pleaded with the warring parties and together they came to an agreement to cease any form of hostilities in his territory of JIjar. Or so he thought, because barely a month after, the miscreants were back. He affirmed he was coming on his motorcycle with his nephew. Loud creaking sounds greeted his wake as he heaved his frame from the frail bed. Jostling his flowing sleep wrapper up, he moved with an agility that buried his size and age to rouse Odion in the other room instructing him to get dressed quickly and meet him outside with a machete.
The 19-yr-old blinked rapidly in sleep and askance but Igbinoba was providing no more information. He left quickly for his tools room. These rich educated people, he thought snidely as he retrieved his shotgun. Prancing about in their clean cars and polished English. They looked down on him, even the young university students. He was just an overweight middle-aged man, after all, as they come to pay their monthly security dues. He could see the disdain in their eyes as he collected their greasy bills; the unmasked question of how he, albeit his fierce looks, can protect the community, how he can protect them.
They thought they were doing him a favor, gifting him the money he so desperately needed. Yet now, he looked at them. Cowering before a few small boys with guns. And here he was to the rescue. He raised his head and cackled dryly, mirthlessly. Further checks confirmed the gun was in good shape and ready to be used. He rubbed the gun fondly and stepped out into the dark. What a good day for a thief to die.
Read also: #Unforgettable: Breached (Ep 3)
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