It was a cold Sunday morning, my old man was still in critical conditions at the Military Hospital in Ikoyi. Mum had not gotten up from bed, she had spent the previous day with Dad at the hospital while Timi was in his bedroom listening to Tupac Shakur‘s California hit song on his 4000 watts pro stack sound system. The song had been on repeat since 5 a.m.
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I could literally feel my eardrums popping out as I stepped into the sitting room. I was certain having a train pass through our compound wouldn’t have been as bad as the noise that emanated from my God-forsaken brother’s room.
I had plans to go to church that day and wouldn’t allow anything put me in a foul mood, so I ignored. Timi had not been to church since he left secondary school while mum didn’t attend the same church the other members of the family attended. Mum was an ardent Anglican member since she was born while Dad, Ebun and I were Baptist faithfuls.
I was going to head into my room in preparation for a shower when I heard a terribly loud sound, then the banging continued. It was obvious whoever was at the door had been banging on it before I first heard the loud sound.
I ran to the door to check who the aggrieved soul was, I hesitated for a moment just to confirm who was at the door via the window before opening. Recently Alhaji Kazeem would appear at our door with a revolver in hand asking for Timi and I was always the person who appeared before the weapon carrying looser.
“Where is Oga landlord? This terrorism must stop”
“Miss Nancy calm down!”
“I’m not Miss Nancy young man”
“My name is Nancy or do I look as old as your mama?”
“Okay Nancy, I’m sorry but can you wait till we hold the meeting next week before you begin your rants?”
“Oh I’m now ranting shey! Gosh! Kids of these days have uncouth tongues. Where are your manners young man?”
“With due respect madam, am no kid and I am very well certain you know that”
My argument with Miss Nancy that Sunday morning when some residents were preparing for Church lingered on for a while until my mum had to step out of the house having been awaken by the rancour
“What is going on here?”
“Mama Landlord, please where is your husband?” Surprisingly, Timi who had been drowning his mind and soul in loud hardcore rap in his room somehow managed to leave his room to lend his voice to the unfolding drama
“You are a tenant in this compound and you don’t know my father has been on admission for over a week now?” Timi replied Miss. Nancy, saving mum the trouble
“Admission? Which school admit am at his age?”
“Will you shut that loose mouth of yours?” Timi was furious at Miss. Nancy’s sarcasm. Who wouldn’t be?
Lest I forget, dad and Miss. Nancy were sworn enemies because dad was responsible for her fallout with his younger brother who had been looking for a suitable bride since his wife divorced him. Dad had warned him jokingly in the presence of Miss. Nancy that he was jumping from fry pan to fire by dating Miss. Nancy. The young woman did not take that witty remark lightly because afterwards Uncle Raymond stopped visiting and even stopped picking her calls.
“Good morning ma,” Mr. Lasetta had joined us from his flat not to mediate in the matter on ground but to drive his car out of the parking lot to church. He usually went to Church on Sundays in the company of his three pretty daughters, but this time around it appeared he was alone.
“Good morning Mr. Lasetta, how are your girls?”
“Very fine madam”
Sotonye, Kimberly and Queen Daenerys Targaryen look-alike, Beatrice matched out of their flat just as their dad responded to mum’s query. As usual, the girls were all looking stunning in their various well designed and classy apparels, albeit one person stood out.
Sotonye was dressed in a superbly crafted pleat skirt that exposed her long pretty legs and a boat neck short sleeved stripped top to match
“Yeah I can see that clearly! They always look superb especially on Sundays,” mum was impressed with the girls’ appearances but one person obviously still had an axe to grind with Sotonye
“Lord! See wetin person pikin dey wear go church,” Miss Nancy was at it again.
“Do you have mouth diarrhea or is it that you just like to be noticed?” Mr. Lasetta was on ground to give the saucy lady a piece of his mind
“Mr. Lasetta don’t start something you can’t finish just because I have a soft spot for you”
“Gosh! Some people are shameless to a fault,” obviously, Timi was not done with the old lady yet.
“Me chie onu there! How dare you talk to me about shamelessness. You that left all the girls in this life and chose to sleep with the young wife of your father’s tenant. Because of you now that man carries a gun around, tiptoeing through the compound like zorro. Yesterday he scared the living daylights out of my son.”
“Talking about Alhaji Kazeem, Mrs. Jimoh please what are we doing about this matter,” Mr. Lasetta interjected. “The man can’t keep carrying a gun around. We have kids in this compound. My daughters are now scared to leave the house for fear that he may come out of his apartment with his revolver in hand. He killed a bush rat yesterday, tomorrow it could be someone’s child”
“God forbid!” I said.
“Ermm, we will address the matter at our monthly meeting next week. Hopefully my husband would have been discharged by then.”
“Madam, we can’t wait till then. Someone should go talk to him. At least you have grown up sons who can address the matter,” Mr. Lasetta objected.
“I already told my first son to talk to him 2 days ago or Timilehin didn’t you go to Alhaji Kazeem’s apartment as promised?”
“Who? Dem no born am well to go there? Abi you’ve forgotten that it is because of him he carries a revolver around. The moment he sets eyes on him, your son will be history,” Miss. Nancy voiced.
“No, I am not sure that’s the reason he has been carrying a gun around,” mum countered.
“Oh, be lieing to yourself there”
“Nancy, you don’t know that for sure. He’s been paranoid since his wife left him”
“Since his wife left him you said? I’m not sure you have the full gist Mr. Lasetta. Hajia Fadiga did not leave Alhaji Kazeem, the man chased her from the house for infidelity. In fact, he caught her in bed with this He-goat,” Miss. Nancy concluded, pointing to Timi
“You, na who go kill you you dey find,” Timi tried to keep his cool amid Miss. Nancy’s taunting.
“Who are those disturbing my peace this early Sunday morning when you all should be in church?” Alhaji Kazeem had stormed out of his flat in annoyance. He was armed with his revolver yet again. Mr. Lasetta immediately urged his girls to get into the car while Miss. Nancy had withdrawn to a safe place.
Myself and Mama froze to the spots we were. We were directly in front of him, so invariably we were at his mercy. “All these Christians sef, I honestly don’t understand the God you are actually serving because that God must really be an accommodating God and maybe spineless too.”
“Alhaji Kazeem that’s blasphemy,” Mr. Lasetta was furious at his comments but the ex-force man ignored him.
“Yes! finally I’ve gotten this snitch! Don’t move!” Timi had been trying to open the door to our flat all along on sighting his nemesis. Albeit, it seemed someone had locked it. Now it was too late to make a run for it. Alhaji Kazeem was already heading towards him as he walked past my mum. He aimed his gun at Timi who was scared to his marrows.
“Where have you been all along? Did you go looking for your whore? You guys have been meeting in your usual spot right?” Timi could not utter a word. “Answer me!” Timi froze in fear. Then as if on impulse, Alhaji shifted his focus from Timi to a familiar face behind him who had sneaked into the compound unnoticed. She was as beautiful as ever and the innocence in her eyes shone brightly around like a diamond in the sky. She was sober
“Honey! Please put that down!”
To everyone’s surprise, Alhaji Kazeem lowered his gun and placed it on the ground briskly. He walked cautiously towards the pretty Fulani lady who had saved the day.
“Alhaji, I miss you, ” I’m sure I wasn’t the only one that could tell that statement was a lie!
“Oh my yarinya, I miss you too!”
They held on to each other as Alhaji Kazeem drew her to a warm embrace
“Na now I know say true true this man be no well since him wife comot. Abi na jazz? Chinenkeeeeeeeeee!” Miss. Nancy could not hold back the shock
Hajia Fadiga was back for good!
Bad Market continues next week…