E be things
Short story

E be things…

E be things by Adaobi Rachel

Daddy, today when I was on my way to Obudu, I met a young man who is interested in having a relationship with me. The only problem is that he is a youth corper and I know he doesn’t have money. His name is Leo.

But that is not the only interesting thing about today, there were other passengers that got my day interesting, is that the right English statement?

Nnam, I don’t know again. First of all, a chief that boarded alongside with us started a discussion with me about cattle ranch. He asked me if I have been to any, and tried even to persuade me to visit once I got to Obudu.

“Have you been to cattle ranch?” he asked peering into my eyes with so much inquisition.

“Cattle ranch is the first place to visit if you really want to tour Obudu,” he said trying earnestly to make a conversation with me.

I just nodded a couple of times.

“I come from Obudu town, you should try visiting one of the days when you are free. I will show you around,” that was what he said at last.

Nnam, I know you have traveled far and wide so probably you must have visited the Cattle Ranch. He said that the bull’s horn will welcomesl you into the warm embrace of the ranch and that the place looks like Obodo Oyibo.

He sat in front seat because he was angry that the driver was packing too much load into the back seat of the vehicle. Passengers also complained bitterly so eventually the owner of the baggage, a Yoruba woman complied to pay for the entire three seat of the back row. So we were just a total of eight passengers including the driver.

The driver said it was three on a seat due to the instructions given by the federal government regarding the Corona Virus pandemic. But who that one epp? We are already sitting together in an enclosed space with no face mask. So, if Corona wants to transfer, all of us don get am.

I don’t even believe there is corona virus in this country. I know you do believe and you say we should follow instructions but the population is doing the opposite.

The young corper sat beside me, he said he didn’t want to afford the risk of losing me. Such a soft heart.

Dad do you think this is love at first sight?

His friend, Felix, another corper sat beside him. A very fat and fair Igbo woman sat with the Yoruba dark woman at the middle row. There was a slim man sitting with them too. He spoke with greased grammar. He even wore the typical glasses lecturers wear, the only difference is that he wore a native attire. He must be a firm believer of cultures and tradition. Sometimes I do wonder if the two are same.

We left quite late because the driver was nowhere to be found after the bus was fully loaded. Papa, we were sweating like mad because the sun did not want to have pity on us. This is why I always tell you we should go on holidays during uguru period.

Along the way, our tire bursted. So, we had to take a temporal rest as the driver looked for ways to replace it.

I sat with my new guy and his friend on the bench that we found under a mango tree close to the road where the driver had parked. That was when they started talking about weed, premium dick and cheap local girls. Others passengers stood afar off from us.

“Guy e be as e dey, na to smoke weed and get high when we get back because life is short.”

“Smoking is a waste of money, it’s just like throwing your money into flames of fire,” I objected.

“Babe, no reason am like that. Everybody got a reason to get high, some do it because they want to get past a lot of pain, hidden secrets that makes them puke at night.”

“My brother, smokers die young,” I insisted.

“I am not your brother,” he corrected. His friend laughed.

“Rich people that smoke live long, I have researched it,” Felix pointed out.

“Whatever,” I rolled my eyes.

“Babyle, don’t get angry now,” he said as he tickled me and I had no option but to laugh.

“But Obudu people are welcoming,” Felix said, with the intent of continuing the conversation out of boredom.

“Their hospitality is the best, guy,” said Leo.

“Their girls too, guy!”

“O boy, me I no won reason that talk with you, those girls are too cheap abeg. Imagine me using my premium dick on them. God forbid.”

“Na you know. They are just trying to do what other city girls do baba.”

“Our taste is quite different,” Leo clarified.

“So, those girls giving you food and trying to pamper you are cheap, because they don’t ask you for money like city girls makes them cheap eh guy? I need to pee.” With that, he excused himself and let us alone.

“Poor guy, he must have fallen in love with one of the local girls cooking him delicacies. Meanwhile, I like you,” he said as he placed a hand on my shoulders.

I didn’t say anything. I just let him continue talking. After a while, I felt like I had something to say.

“I think it is definitely due to lack of proper girl child education especially because they are locals.”

“That’s understandable,” he said, “But you know that the problem going on now is not from girl child?”

“How?” I raised my brows.

“Calm down, the boy child has become negligent. Most of the evil going on in the world today is caused by men. Armed robbery, rape, blood violence, police wahala, all of them is mostly initiated by untrained immoral men. Na man dey cause wahala. Imagine proper exposure of the boy child. I mean training the boy child the proper way,” he explained.

“I get what you mean, but that is a whole different ball game entirely.”

“I suppose,” he said.

The driver finished replacing the worn out tire and we got inside the bus, Felix refused to speak to the both of us. We were stopped at various checkpoints, and the driver was becoming excessively irritated because he was paying more than he budgeted.

“Banana! Banana!” the Ibo woman called, trying to hail down a banana hawker through the bus window.

“Driver abeg make I buy chop.”

“I don talk say no buy buy till we get to our destination. Time is against us.”

“Abeg sir, I never chop since morning,” she pleaded.

The banana seller rushed to the window as the driver slowed down, displaying her wares.
“Madam which one? Madam e sweet well.”

“How much you dey sell?”

That is how they started bargaining and she ended up paying three hundred naira. The driver bought too after doing gra gra, and the rest of us. Leo bought for me too, with groundnut.

Daddy, do you know that Police and SARS collected ridiculous amounts on the way saying it was instructions from above? These people do not have conscience, papa. It is paining me. The situation got everyone in the vehicle talking.

“I will advise, if you want to travel chatter a private car, they rarely stop cars at checkpoints,” the slim man advised.

“I think they do,” I objected.

“You no know say private cars means more money? God help you if you are not with your particulars. God also help you that you are not stopped by SARS,” added the Igbo fat woman.

“Police brutality must be put to an end. Just imagine a young guy on a ride with his friends, all sharply dressed driving and cruising,” said Leo.

“O pari!” the Yoruba woman exclaimed.

“What did we do wrong to be born in Nigeria? The way they will drag you out of your car lasan, like say you be criminal, wey fall down from heaven. Sir let me explain, sir let me explain, na so so let me explain go dey come out from your mouth,” Felix said.

Papa, I think Felix is a Yoruba guy.

“E be things,” added Leo

“E be things, my brother.”

“Na so so kata kata we dey face for this country, from Corona to SARS to police. Fear, na hin we dey suffer. Because them carry gun. Make them give us gun too na, make we know what’s up,” the Igbo woman was embittered.

“This corona gave them buoyant opportunity to dry people. It is well,” Chief spoke up, he meant well.

“Na this country we dey na this country we go die for!”

“Exactly, that’s the spirit.”

“In school then, SARS can just barge into your lodge and arrest anybody as long as their arrest is backed by flimsy accusations. They are like mini gods.”

“What do you expect? No experience with them is palatable.”

“I tell you my guy. It is always a horrible something.”

“May God help us and may we help ourselves in this country. If the blacks in America is crying against racism, what do we now call our own? Because this is not racism but extreme extortion from fellow mates. We just need something like a revolution,” the slim man spoke eloquently. I like that about him.

“I tell you!”

“We need people to be angry enough before the brutality will end. For everything that has happened, we should stand on our feet and fight! Let’s remove self pity and get to reality. Nobody, I repeat nobody will carry us in their arms and heal us! We are only going to heal ourselves by ourselves.”

“We should be ranting endsars by now, but is it any business to non-victims? Because that’s exactly what those not affected by the situation will think. Especially so called spirit koko persons. Left to me SARS should be eradicated completely. Deleted. Liquidated!”

“But if they are deployed from their mission, what will they be doing?” Chief questioned, thinking far.

“They should join the police.” That was not what I was expecting the slim man to say.

“Did you say the police task force?”

“Lobatan!! Wahala niyen,” said the Youruba dramatically demonstrating.

“What are you even saying? Do you have sense at all?” Chief was furious.

“Sir, it hasn’t gotten to that,” Leo was already acting as the middle man.

“So, what is the solution because obviously you can’t leave them jobless?”

“And joblessness is the beginning of everything part 2,” Felix chipped in.

We all thought of what to say but there was no response from anyone, the slim man had something to say though.

“Another problem is that we take everything for a joke in this country. A satirical melody. The blood of those they killed is enough to ignite vengeance in the heart of people. But Nigerians, one minute they are so angry, it looks like we can’t take it anymore, the next minute we are cold, like nothing ever happened in the first place. A glorious speech can turn an angry Nigerian cold.”

“Lets imagine the president comes to say, we are working tirelessly to put an end to this tragedy, just imagine it o, what do you think Nigerians will say?”

The Ibo woman laughed so loud. “Katakata!” she exclaimed.

“Just one statement and magic. Puff!!” He made an exaggeration with his lips, “we go back to the beginning, where it all began. Mindlessly brushing aside the sweat and blood lost, nothing was gained eventually. Who lose? Who gain?”

“E be things! E be things o!” We all chorused.

“For this country, e be things!” The Igbo woman was on the verge of crying.

The driver, I think he just listened. He didn’t want anything to distract him as he drove, I believe that’s why he didn’t add to the discussion. Or maybe he already had too much on his plate, because nothing was going to change the fact that his journey was at a loss. He had already paid everything he earned for that day at checkpoints.

Finally, he parked. We had arrived at Obudu at last. We alighted one after the other, taking turns to lift our luggage out of the vehicle.

“Let me help you with yours,” Leo said and I obliged.

This nigga. Na only him know wetin he dey look for but I don’t mind any good looking Samaritan helping out. I should appreciate the effort. Seeing how dark the clouds were becoming, hanging low and promising to send heavy downpours very soon.

He hailed down a taxi. “Where are you going?” he asked.

“The Redeemed Christian Fellowship center or hostel.”

“Oga where una dey go?” the taxi driver asked.

“Where she is going. RCF centre. We are going to the same place,” he answered looking at me. Felix was with us as well.

I am currently on bed trying to sleep amidst everything that my imagination is trying to say.

Goodnight Papi. I am very tired. I love you.

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