Brother I don tayah oh! My waist dey pain me!” I complained one night at the hangout.
“really! Your waist ehennnnn!” Brother Wale said, “your waist will stop paining you when there will be no school fees for you next term”
“but Brother I have tried na! I am tired!” Smoke from the fire attacked my eyes.
“you are tired ehnnnn! Do you know how much we have made today?”
“no! I don’t know!”
“we have made just two hundred naira!” He informed.
“Ahaann! It’s a lie!”
“How dare you call me a liar? How dare you?” He stood up.
“Me? Did I call you a liar?”
“Then what did you just say?” He raised his voice.
“I talk say me I be liar!” I confessed.
But why brother Wale! We sold at worst two thousand naira that night I was sure. Deep down I knew Brother Wale’s best friend Brother Igboh would take a greater percentage of the night’s sale.
“Brother Where are you going to?” I asked.
“Why are you asking me?” He queried.
“Because I am my brother’s keeper!” I answered.
“Brothers keeper! The only thing you should keep right now is that bean cake on fire!” He walked out.
I knew he was going to – he was going to visit his best friend Brother Igboh. It was this same brother Igboh that made him carried a generator on his head to the market preaching the gospel – Gospel according to Igboh I suppose.
It was a bright Saturday afternoon and Brother Wale had just returned from Brother Igboh’s house situated by the bush part where Igboh kwenu the seller stayed.
“I have head ache!” He complained, “get me water!”
In the kitchen, Maami asked me if Brother Wale was back from his friend’s place, I said yes.
“here is the cup of water!” I offered.
“thank you! Have you eaten?” He asked.
“Yes I have! Your own food is in the kitchen!” I said, “brother there something I want to tell you oh!”
“SB my man!! what is it?” At such time he was very caring.
“ehnn, My school sandal is old, I want another one!”
“ok! How much will it cost to buy another one?”
“one thousand naira sir!” I answered.
“okay I will give you the money tomorrow!” He promised, but he and I knew the promise was prompted by the brother Igboh in him.
“thank you brother Wale!”
As I bent down to pick the cup to return it to the kitchen, Brother Wale stood up and ooh my world! I thought he wanted to land an award winning knock on my head; the kind they call “konk” in pidgin.
That wasn’t what he stood up to do; he stood up and walked towards Baba Bisi’s I-Pass-My-Neighbour generator, he put it off, picked a nearby board, placed the board on his head and next the generator was on his head with the board as the base.
“Brother Wale! Is everything okay?” I shouted.
“You be m’umu oh, your brother don dey mad you dey here dey ask whether everything is okay!” I thought someone whispered to me.
“E fit be say na the water wey you give am nahim cause am oh!” The voice sounded like Yemi’s.
“How water go make person mad?” I spoke out.
“water and Igboh na madness oh!” The voice must sure be devil’s.
“Maami! Maami! Maami!” I ran into the kitchen.
As I and Maami ran in search of where brother Wale and the generator might be, we met Yellow on our way.
“Your Brother stand for near market dey preach to the market women oh!” Yellow said, “him dey n’aked, all the small children dey laugh am!”
“How you take know say him dey n’aked?” I needed to know.
“person wey no wear any cloth no be n’akedness be that?”
“so why you no give am clothe make him wear na?” I queried.
“I get clothe? so na this my boxers I go pull give am abi? So that me sef go dey n’aked abi?” Yellow said, “but sha all the clothe wey them take cover him body, him dey troway them!”
I thought my mother stood hearing all what my friend Yellow said, but as I looked left, I saw that she was nowhere to be found.
“Maami wait for me!” I chased after her.
“So Brother Wale don let everybody see him n’akedness after him don hide am make I no see am? Me wey be him brother? Today I must see that him na’kedness wey him don dey hide from me since” I was lost in my thought.
All of a sudden I collided with something and another something poured me.
“you no dey look where you dey go?” Mama Luku the palm oil seller said.
“Sorry Ma!” I saw that I had been baptized with palm oil.
“you must pay for my oyel oh!” She held my shirt.
“I go pay!” I empty promised.
“oya bring the money!” Mr. Macho was so quick to punch me to the jaw. He had appeared from nowhere.
“Yeah my mouth oooh! Brother Luku wetin I do you?” I cried.
“Bring the money for the oyel now!” He thundered.
“I no get am here! E dey house!”
“you no get am here abi!” Brother Luku let out another punch that spun my head like a big wheel.
Then I was on ground, and I was dumb too.
“get up come fight me na!” Brother Luku was the Heavy weight Champion the neighbourhood boosted of.
As I lied on the ground I recalled I had an outstanding beef with Brother Luku for plucking Mangoes from the mango tree in front of their compound without his permission.
“I am sorry!” I managed to say.
“Sorry for yourself!” He tapped my head and i heard them left.
For Forty minutes I was lying on the ground like the man beaten by thieves in Jericho’s road in the parable of the Good Samaritan yet there was no Samaritan to come help me up.
Children surrounded me and laughed. “na una papa una dey laugh!” I cursed.
When I got home Maami was shocked and she personally gave me a clean bath promising to pay for the palm oil I poured. When I asked her where Brother Wale was and she told me he had been admitted in the hospital I smiled again.
I smiled because my “best friend” wasn’t mad after all.
“take this thing! Wale said you should take it home for him!” Brother Emeka handed over a parcel to me as I closed business for that night.
I could feel from touching the parcel that what was inside was nothing but Brother Igbon
Anifowoshe a community close to Badagry is not the conventional close-to-city community you know. The community has it all; all professions, all kinds of characters. There was some that said their calling was to smoke weed morning-afternoon-night; Brother Wale was part of such people.
He joined them since he couldn’t beat them. Mehn! I missed the old Brother Wale. The old brother Wale was dogged and had a lot of gusto; he would wake up as early as 6am and set for a quest; that quest was to look for a job. He had wanted to work in Television house as a newscaster so his destination point everyday was television and radio houses to submit his CV.
And at the end of the day friendly lights will guide him home after he had stopped over at the bar to drink a bottle or two of the legendary 1759. Then he comes home complaining how graduate-unfriendly Nigeria was; wishing he was the president of the nation.
Well the Brother Wale then could be the president of the world I can affirm, as for the Brother Wale after he met Igboh Kwenu the dealer of weed, he could be the president of only one nation – Igboh nation.
The frustration of not getting a job as a third class graduate made Brother Wale changed from being in the nation of born again christians to being in the nation of weed smokers.
Brother Wale was the choir master in church not because Baami was the pastor but because he loved his maker so much. He was the one that would spank me in the presence of my friends for coming late to church. He was the one that told me to stop hanging out with Debo because he was a gambler and that gamblers are thieves. The same Brother Wale was later a gambler extraordinaire and a maestro in smoking. The street knew his reputation and pedigree.
As I walked down our street towards kpomoh junction where our house was located whistling with pot on my head and bucket containing bean cakes that was left unsold, I heard, “hey you stop there!”
I stopped abruptly and turned to see two police officers doing their job at kpomoh junction.
“Yes you! Come over here!”
“God! I don die today!” Bearing in mind that the parcel Brother Emeka gave to me was in my back pocket.
“Wetin you carry?”
I thought I heard “Garri” in place of “carry”, so I answered saying; “Garri! I no carry Garri oh, na Akara! Na me be SB, Mama Wale pekin! Na we dey sale Akara for junction”
“Common come here!” I saw Officer Tunde our regular customer.
“Seyi Bobo! So naso you go take land for prison for Igboh wey no be your own?” Someone whispered to my ears.
“Sergent! Search him!” Officer Tunde thundered, “na una dey go rob people for their house for night!”
“Bros you no know me? I no be thief oh!” I cried out.
“Shut up! Sergeant! Search him!”
I looked at the deserted street for the last time before I go to jail and tears rolled down my eyes.
“ahaaaan! Why you dey cry na!” The sergeant had finished searching my front pocket, he headed for the back pocket where the weed was.
“What greater love than this, for a man to die for his friends!” That scripture was beginning to make sense at that moment. I was going to jail and I might die there for my brother.
“Oooh Brother Wale!” I cried.
“wetin be this thing!” The sergeant brought out the weed.
“nothing sir!” I answered.
“sir! I think this is Indian head!” The sergeant said.
“Me! Indian head! I am not a ritualist!” I cried out.
“My friend will you shut up!” The sergeant was having a field day tapping my head, “sir this boy carry Indian head! Igboh!”
“Sergeant Edward! How many times will I tell you that it is called Indian hemp and not Indian head?”
“So you carried this Indian hemp with you! Will you lie down!” Officer Tunde cracked his gun like I was a highway robber.
Lying down I felt river flowed from the stick in between my legs. I think I was having a genetic disorder; my d’ick rises to full attention whenever I was under pressure or depressed.
As Officer Tunde stamped his foot on my head I made more water flowed.
“Seyi Bobo see as you dey p’iss for body because of ordinary Police” An evil spirit was speaking to me.
“Why must I always go through hell for brother Wale? Why?” I cried.
“Sergeant open it lets see the type of igboh in it, the type of igboh in it will determine how many years he will spend in prison” Officer Tunde said.
“Make e no be Shita Igboh oh!” I prayed, because I had overheard Brother Wale said Shita weed was the most dangerous from this part of the world. Shita weed was responsible for his close-to-madness experience – I mean the generator experience.
“which kin Igboh be this?” I heard sergeant Edward said after opening the envelope.
“Bring it here!” said Officer Tunde.
Few minutes of silence and I was already seeing myself in KiriKiri Maximum prison serving my term.
“no be Igboh be this na!” I heard Officer Tunde said.
“na C’ocaine, the one wey get leaf!” Our Sergeant Edward said.
“shut up my friend! No dey talk wetin you no know, this na Moringa leaf, the one wey don dry”
“which one be Moringa leaf again na?” I asked myself.
I already saw bullets drilled through my chest for carrying Moringa leaf a more dangerous and prohibited drug than Indian hemp and C’ocaine.
“Young man, stand up!” Officer Tunde commanded.
I closed my eyes, said my last prayer and positioned appropriately to receive the bullets and enter hell.
“Who have this” He walked close to me.
“its for my…………… my……………………… elder brother!” I stammered.
“your elder brother!”
“yes, his name is Wale………………………… Wale Ajibade” I added.
“I like it! I take it too! Can I have it?” He said.
“have it! Yes sir you can have it!” I was glad I wasn’t going to jail.
“it is a very healthy leaf!” Officer Tunde said.
“you can have it sir! I will buy another one for my brother!”
“oooh! You know where they sell it?” He inquired.
“Yes I did!” I killed English.
“ok! You will give me your phone number; I will call you when I need more!”
“okay sir!” I had just bought a phone two weeks ago; inherited I mean; I had just inherited Brother Wale’s “kpalasa” phone.
“And why your trouser wet? You p’iss for body?” The sergeant beamed his light on my trouser.
“no oh! Na sweat! Naso we dey sweat for our family”
And they both laughed………………
“you no go leave this Akara for us?” Sergeant Edward long throated.
“I will of course”
As I entered the house I met with Brother Wale who was munching Yam in the sitting room.
“Did Emeka give you anything to bring home?”