* episode 3*
” There’s nobody here! I tell you nobody!” Mami shouted.
I sat up and looked around the room, Efo ( Bro) Mensah still laid on the bed, I couldn’t tell if he was awake or sleeping as his eyes were shut by the beatings he had gotten the previous day. His face looked worse this morning, whitish pus was oozing out of the left part of his temple. Where is Efo Albert?
The door was kicked open by two mean looking policemen, their eyes scanned the room and landed on me. I got up swiftly, clutching my wrapper to my chest, Mami walked in angrily.
” I told you Northern goats that he is not here! but you wouldn’t listen! ”
” Madam mind the way you talk to us or else….” The shorter of the two walked closer to Mami.
” Or else what? you will killl me? You will rape and kill me in my own house? take a good look at me! am a Ghanian! we don’t take sh*t from anyone!”
Mami moved closer to him as if daring him to lay a finger on her.I stood shivering where i stood, I know how vicious the Northern policemen were, they don’t hesitate to kill. Once they were given orders, they give it their all with only one goal in mind_ to succeed.
” Go away from here! You pigs!” Efo Mensah muttered ” Leave at once”
” Madam be careful…..be very careful ” They turned and walked out of the room.
” Young man why are you standing there like yesu ( Jesus)’ s statue Mami said, Looking at me as if she doesn’t know what i was doing there in the first place. ” Hurry up and go home, you don’t want to be late for school now, do you?”
She walked out not waiting for an answer. I wondered where my brother was, I folded the mat I had slept on and folded the wrapper neatly beside it.
” Efo ( Bro) Mensah, am sorry about yesterday ” I said not looking at him. I was disgusted with myself, at least I could have gone to get help for him.
” Don’t worry about it there’s nothing you could have done to help me. I knew what i was in for when i made the decision to hit the farms of Northerners. He groaned in pain ” Its not just about stealing from them but its about causing them grieve”
” Why do you want to cause them grieve bro?”
Maybe he would tell me about Bella, perharps about the mad man who did those terrible things to her family too. I sat down beside him on the bed gently so as not to cause him any discomfort.
” You are too young for this Kojo, hurry home now, you don’t want to be late for school”
I sighed and got up. Am fifteen years old, am tall almost as tall as my big brother. I am dark skinned and lanky, all the girls in my class have a crush on me but i have eyes only for Ama. At school am a big boy but at home am considered as a baby. Most boys my age had already dropped out of school and they were making cool money as barrow pushers in the market, some were even riding their own commercial bikes while am still being forced to go school and treated like a baby. I bade Mensah goodbye and went out of the room, Mami wasn’t in the compound and i was sure Ama had gone to school so i walked home. On the way, i picked some stones and threw them at lizards or any creature in sight. That is also another game i like to play. I don’t have any close friends so chasing after lizards, going rabbit hunting with my brother, making my brother talk in his sleep and climbing trees are the things i like to do. I also love dancing especially during festivals, i dance because girls loves boys who dance. I practice when am alone, hopefully one day i will be as good as Micheal Jackson.
I got to my street and stopped short in shock at what i saw ahead, i ran faster and stopped in front of my house. Somebody, obviously my father had dumped all of Efo Albert’ s belonging outside. I shooed away the mother hen and her chicks that comfortably settled on the pile of clothes. I gathered his books that were strewn everywhere and put them on the pile of clothes.
” Efo Kojo” A little voice whispered.
” Little Pam who dumped this things here”?
” Npa and Navi ( Auntie) ” She blew her nose noisily on the sleeve of her faded gown.
” What did Nma say? how is she?”
” Nma ( Mother) cried and cried” her voice filled with tears.
” Go and bring me a big bag from my room, don’t let Npa ( Father) see you ”
” Your things are in Nma’ s room, Npa has put a lock on your door. ” She wiped at the tears sneaking out of her eyes.
I sighed. ” Why are you crying?”
” Am hungry, have not eaten since yesterday”
I dropped the books i was picking on the pile of clothes.
” Come i will find something for you to eat”
Albert came to pack his belongings, he moved to Mensah’ s place. Nma called on some elders to plead on his behalf but father was adamant. He chased the elders away, he said he has renounced the whole lot of us. We are free to go and come as we like but we are not to touch anything of his and he is no longer responsible for us. After Nma’ s unceasing pleading he finally agreed to call off the policemen on Albert’ s heels. We were forced to eat from hand to mouth, some days Nma would divide the little food she was able to get between Pam and i .
The money gotten from the anake ( wood) she sold wasn’t enough, is money ever enough? I stopped going to school to help Nma in the farm and to help her carry woods. Albert brings logs of wood too but he drops them outside.
Ever since he left, he hasn’t stepped a foot back into our father’ s compound. Nma goes to see him sometimes and she always returns teary eyes.
” Something is going on with your brother, I get this Ill feelings whenever I see him” Nma said one evening. I have pleaded with him to come back home but he has refused to ”
Things got so bad for us that all we feed on was fresh grounded pepper with only salt in it,no Maggi, and akple( tuwo). I wasn’t surprised when my name was not called at the school assembly, only those who passed their exams were called to go to the next class.
If you don’t hear your name then you know you have failed. Am too big for school anyway.
The delicious meals being prepared by Afine wafts to the room i now share with my mother and Pam every evening. My stomach always growls, my mouth waters too but i always refuse when she calls me to come have some. She’s the enemy. She brought all these upon us, there is no way am eating with my enemy. Sometimes i sneak over to Mensah’ s place to see my brother, I don’t know if he has been going to school, how he is coping but Mensah is getting better. His face is no longer scary looking and his hair was growing back.
One evening i was walking back home when i saw Koku viciously kicking Little Pam like a dog some streets away from mine. Koku is an ugly looking guy with beady eyes, he’s short and has pot belly but the ladies loves him because he is rich, he lives in Nigeria doing only God knows what but nobody cares about your source of wealth as long as you give them some to spend too.
” Leave her alone! What has she done to you? ” I pulled little Pam who was cowering in the sand away from him.
” Shut up boy! is that how to talk to your elders! have you no home training? He said. Omo oshi! ”
I didn’t understand what he meant by his last words but I don’t care.
” How could kick a little girl like that? What has she done to to you!”
” You want to know? You want to know abi? this mangy dog here dared to put her little dirty fingers on my car! the car I just paid good money to wash” He retorted curtly.
I noticed the car then, an old looking blue 504.
” So you were kicking her with your dirty feet because she touched your car?”
” Yes big brother! What can you do? He sneered.
What could i do? It would be foolish of me to take him on. So i held Pam’ s hand and we walked home. That night, while everyone slept, i snuck out of the house. I broke all his glasses and slashed his tires, i even did a little nasty (poo) on his front seat. When the policemen came the next morning, my mother swore i was home asleep all night and they left saying i was just too young to pepertrate such a crime.
to be continud