Lacaseroil

I had just returned home from visiting a friend that stayed a street away. Toke could not hide her excitement at the sight of me. She didn’t expect to see me that early plus I chose not to give her any notice of my visit. I was somewhat glad that no one else was at home. At least I am going to have a couple of hours respite to myself, I mused. You can’t imagine the kind of drama that unfolds when it’s a full house. Mum would be busy screaming the name of my younger siblings every now and then in order to get them run errands. Tola, my elder sister will never stop bumping into my room to share a random gist with me. Her energy for rumour mongering was so much that I gave her the name have you heard. However, all these distractions could not be compared to the noise pollution that my dad calls music.

My dad is about the only ancient one that has a record player in the whole of Ibadan. Nothing you say to make him get rid of the junk box ever filters through his ears. You children of nowadays never appreciate the value of antiquity, he would preach. When he finally inserts his Yussuf Olatunji collections into the box, you’ll feel like breaking it into pieces; draggy and almost melancholic tunes permeates the airways. How a man of with his level of education and exposure can seem to appreciate depression-inducing songs never cease to amaze me.

Since the god of respite chose to smile on me by chasing my peeps out of the house, I decided to make the best out of their absence. The rate at which the worms in my belly devoured my breakfast was epic. As at 12 noon, I was already having hunger pangs. Although Toke pleaded with me to eat rice at her place, I was too shy to do so. Therefore, my first point of call upon getting home was the kitchen- man must wack. I went straight to the pot on the cooker and opened it. The aroma that unleashed itself on me was irresistible.  It was a sumptuous meal of jollof rice- not concoction. God knows I had had more than a fair share of that stuff on campus: a sachet of onga seasoner, half a pint of groundnut oil or palm oil as the case may be, a sprinkle of salt, some cups of unwashed rice and food is ready.

I dished myself a sizeable quantity of the delicacy and sat on one of the kitchen stools to devour it. I was too hungry to behave urbanely by using the dining room. In a matter of five minutes, there was no single grain of rice left in the plate. Having appeased the deity of my belly, I made for my room to get some rest. Just as I was about to exit the kitchen, my eyes fell on a cute bottle sitting on the top of the deep freezer. It was a bottle of lacasera with its content almost intact. Whoever left it there must have been in a hurry and taken a sip or two before leaving abandoning it.  All that mattered now was that a bottle of nice liquid was searching for a belly that would relieve it of its aquatic burden. That belly happens to be mine, I said aloud. The hunger that dealt with me as I stepped into the kitchen must have blinded me from seeing it in the first place. Better late than never.

I moved towards the freezer with delight. Mine or not, I was going to down the content and then face the consequence of my action later. However, I sincerely wished it wasn’t my sister’s or all hell would be let loosed on me. Opening the bottle cap, I grabbed the bottle and took a huge gulp. I felt something was not right the moment the liquid began its journey down my oral cavity. What I poured into my mouth didn’t taste anything like lacasera. Rather, it was the repulsive taste of groundnut oil. I raced towards the washing zinc and spewed out what was left of the liquid in my mouth.

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The First Day Of Resumption


It was the first day of resumption, just after the third-term break. A whole month of consistent dedication to fun and playing  pranks had disappeared into thin air. The excitement I felt about getting back to school couldn’t be unrivalled. The thought of seemingly endless hours of listening to the good news as declared by my teachers; serving punishments and dealing with brain-draining assignments made me more than ready to resume my academic duties.

Having had breakfast and collected my pocket money for the day, I left the comfort of my father’s house with my mum’s routine words of wisdom: Remember the son of who you are…A good name is better than gold… Mothers and their troubles, I sighed. They never get tired of telling you what and what not to do.

Rather than going towards the main road where I get a bus to school, I decided to take the narrow and bushy path. After all, narrow is the way… The motive behind my decision was very simple. Smart folks won’t spend money on fare when they can simply save it by working a couple of kilometres to school. First, there were lots of goodies to buy which only my pocket money could’t afford. Second, by taking a walk, I end up getting to school to time rather than on time. Why should I get to school early only to end up sweeping the class or running unfruitful errands for teachers. Most importantly, I get to exercise myself, burn excess calories and keep fit. Wisdom, the scripture says, is profitable to direct.

As soon as I was a mile away from my school premises, I began to apply finishing touches on my outlook. I pulled out my sparkling white pair of socks and put them on. A couple of hours was all it needed to turn brown anyway. Then came the turn of the overall of a school jacket. But for the severe punishment melted out to students who don’t wear them, I won’t even consider taking it out of my wardrobe. It was just too thick and big for my liken. After I was sure that I was physically set, I approached my school with confidence.

Just as I stepped into the citadel of knowledge, I saw Paul, the timekeeper,  grab the bell and made his way to the school field to ring it for morning assembly. Paul’s parent could’t have been more precise with the choice of name for their son. Just like the biblical Paul, many were his afflictions. The principal never spared him for any error committed in his bid to perform his duty. If he rang the bell a minute before or after the set time, he got five stokes of the whip. There was a day he got punished for ringing the bell for two minutes non-stop.

I had barely dropped my bag on my chair when the bell finally went off. There wasn’t a moment left to say hi to my classmates. Everyone, except I, was in a hurry to get to the school assembly and join the Indian file. Woe betides anyone who gets there a minute after the principal shows his face. As for those who were foolhardy enough to come late to school, only Harry Porter’s magic wand could rescue them from their certain travail.

Jumoke, the assembly prefect, climbed unto the podium to usher the students into God’s presence with praise. As predicted, the song good morning Jesus good morning Lord… was the first song that came out of her high soprano voice- more of sonorous than melodious . The whole assembly took her cue and switched seamlessly from one song to another. How we come to agree, albeit unconsciously, to the sequence and common selection of songs never cease to amaze me.

As soon as we were done praising and worshiping, uncle David, our never-smiling accounting teacher took the podium to share the word of God with us. Now, not only was he the tallest teacher- about 4 foot 5, he was also the most pious. The students call him uncle woe art thou because of his tendency to pass harsh judgements and make everyone but him feel guilty. Anyway, Uncle David exhorted with a message titled: The Blank Cheque. Your life is a blank cheque, he said. God has given you the choice to fill it with whatever you desire. Your speech, thoughts and actions determine what you write on it, which will consequently make or mar youCool, I mused as I began to imagine been given a real blank cheque and asked to write whatever amount I desire on it.

Then came the great moment we all awaited- the entrance of the senior man. At the mention of whose name you must receive brain. The name Soje (principal of my prestigious college) carried a message of warning to any self-respecting student. I knew of a JSS2 student who peed on his pants just because he was told the principal wanted to see him in his office. The poor boy literally dragged himself  the man’s office only to be informed that he had been nominated to represent the school in a spelling competition.

Such was the awe and authority our principal commanded. You can then imagine the atmospheric condition of our minds when we saw him approaching the podium. Seeing that he wore a smart-looking native attire, we relaxed our minds a little. Today seems to be a good day for us, I whispered to Josh. You can’t be too sure, he replied. We students had a way of projecting his mood based on his dress sense. If he happened to make it an all-cooperate affair, he was not in a good mood and we were ultimately not safe. However, if it was one of those days he woke on the right side of his bed, he wore a casual outfit.

He let out his usual opening greetings: good morning students, to which we all chorused good morning sir. Afterwards, he stood silently for a minute. Meanwhile during his routine one long minute of silence, he would carry out a survey of the entire assembly in search of any unscrupulous element: students with dirty pair of socks or those without their jackets on. Interestingly, nobody fell into his trap that morning. Being made a culprit on the first day of resumption isn’t a good omen for one’s blank cheque.

He formally welcomed us back to school; enquired about our stay at home and expressed positive thoughts about the activities of the new term. While he was delivering his monologue, a fierce battle was going on within me. My digestive system was having issues processing the meal of beans I had taken as breakfast. I began to regret the fact that I didn’t take it with some garri. That combination had a way of delivering me from indigestion.

Things got worse when I started to feel an awkward sensation along the region where you let out stuff into the air. I had the urge to fart! Obviously, the problem was not farting since my excretory system was well conditioned to carry out such assignment. The problem was the kind of sound the farting will produce: either a loud or a silent one. I’ll be lucky if it emerged like a still small sound that draws no attention or be damned if it made a public announcement.

Unable to control my urge any longer, I put my soul into the hand of the good Lord and let it out. Alas! It came out with a trumpet sound and pierced the silence created by principal’s speech. The unique sound brought about a sporadic burst of laughter, first from those close by then to the entire assembly. The laughter from the students made my principal abruptly stop whatever he was saying. An abomination just happened.

Silence! He bellowed. That single word of command brought the assembly to order. Should a pin have dropped there and then, everyone would hear the sound loud and clear. Now, can someone tell me what brought about the burst of laughter, he enquired. Or maybe I’ve been sounding like a clown all along. Obviously, he didn’t hear the sound that caused the excitement. All eyes were now fixed on me. You wouldn’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that I was the culprit. I felt a chill run down my spine as he fixed his gaze on me. All hell was about to be let loosed.

Akinkunmi, he called me by name surname. Yes sir, I responded timidly. Step forward, he ordered. I made my way from the rear to the front of the assembly, just a couple of yards from the principal. He went straight to the point by asking me what exactly did you do? Although the question elicited a simple answer, I just couldn’t find the voice to explain myself. In a quivering voice, I replied I -I- I farted, sir. The assembly shook with another round of laughter. For a short tormenting moment, he gave me a sympathetic look and shook his head. You never cease to amaze me, you know? Your urge to fart was so strong you couldn’t control it. He then ordered me to sit on the bare floor and face the entire assembly.We’ll decide what to do about your case later, he added. As i lowered my buttocks to the floor with my legs erect, another fresh burst of laughter rose from the assembly. This time, it wasn’t as a result of any sound i made but from a revelation they saw. Their attention was focused on something inbetween my legs. Baffled, i looked down to see what the thing was. I discovered, to my greatest humiliation,  that the part of my trouser-between my thighs-was torn…

Image credit: Shutterstock 

©ayansolaibukun

Tortoise and his father-in-law

Once upon a time, during a period of great famine, tortoise followed his father-in-law to his farm at dawn. His father -in-law, being an industrious man had managed to keep his farm alive despite the famine. Having taking tortoise round the famine, he decided it was time for them to embark on their homeward journey. They had not worked more than a mile from the farm when tortoise suddenly declared that he forgot his snuffbox at the farm. He asked his father-in-law to keep going while he runs back to fetch it.

Knowing the tortoise for who is – a lazy and cunny soul- his father-in-law sensed that he had plans to do mischief on his farm. He therefore decided to return to the farm in order to see what tortoise was up to. True to his instinct, he met the trickster at work. Brother tortoise was busy uprooting tubers of yam. In fact, he had already plucked a basket full of oranges that he hid in a corner of the farm. The dog cannot but return to its vomit, he thought. He couldn’t come to understand how one man can be so greedy even after his needs have been met.

As tortoise was engrossed in his shady business, he was oblivious of the presence of his father-in-law. So walking on his toes, with a rope in his hand, his father-in-law moved towards him and in one deft movement pounced on him. Tortoise, who never anticipated the move, was caught off-guard. Before he could say Jack Robinson, he had already been tied . All through that short scuffle, he still didn’t know who the predator was. Such was the agility and precision at which his father-in-law carried out his mission of apprehension.

Upon the realisation of who his captor was, tortoise gave up the struggle and resulted to pleading for mercy. He began to tell his in-law how that the power from his father’s house was responsible for his actions; how he was still under the spell Gbogun the palm wine tapper cast on him the day he stole from him. The old crook never took responsibility for his crime

All of tortoise’s entreaties fell on his in-law’s deaf ears. He had had enough of his mischiefs. Just the other day, he had been made to pay for a debt tortoise owed the village head, having stood as his guarantor. He was still yet to recover from the loss he suffered when tortoise burnt down half his yam barn due to his epic carelessness. No longer would tortoise go scot free, he resolved.
Determined to make a public example of him, he dragged him to a tree that was closest to the common footpath and tied him to it such that everyone that passed by could see and mock him. He thereafter abandoned him and re-embarked on his homeward journey.

Just as his in-law wanted it, people, who on their way to their various farms, saw tortoise tied up were surprised at the sight. They asked him what he did to have deserved such a demeaning punishment and he replied accordingly. That serves you right, they all said. You’ll learn to be responsible and stop constituting a nuisance. They however hoped that his in-law would not leave him there for long and continued their journey.

It was therefore very annoying and unbelievable when the same set of people who saw him tied up in the morning met him in the same condition on their way back home in the evening. Do you mean your in-law hasn’t released you since morning, they asked him?  No, he hasn’t was the response that came from an exhausted Tortoise. The response got these passers-by furious at tortoise father-in-law. Thank God man isn’t God, our lives would have been miserable. How else does he want you to pay for your crime? If he could treat his in-law this badly, then his heart must be made of steel. That man is just an unforgiving soul… These and more were the ways they expressed their displeasure at his in-law’s conduct.

So it happened that the passers-by mocked tortoise on their way to the farm and heavily berated his in-law on their way back home. Alo ni tahun, abo ni tana e (although the selfish [tortoise] gets reprimanded at dawn, his in-law gets his share of the blame at dusk).

Image credit: Wikipedia 

©ayansolaibukun

Feyikemi

Feyikemi was the sort of lady you will like to describe as a maverick-always taking her decisions and actions in solitude. For her, the slogan of the English premiership club-Liverpool: “you’ll never walk alone” must mean next to nothing. She was a lady of not too many words; ever thoughtful and never cheerful. There were some who thought she had some speech impediment and therefore was scared to make a public disgrace of herself.

Despite all these uncomely attributes, one thing was indisputably interesting about her and that was her physical appearance. My people, that girl fine no be small: long and pointed nose: oval-shaped face; light and clean skin; immaculate and well-cut set of teeth, etc. You will like to see her for yourself to appreciate the level of beauty being described. No wonder guys won’t stop hovering around her like birds, hoping to court her favour or get her to be their friends. The good news is that they always come back with a bad news. That girl is a no-go area, they will say. Looks can be deceiving.

Emeka’s experience with her happens to be the most hilarious yet pitiable. One fateful evening, just outside the faculty library, Feyi was descending a wet and slippery staircase with both hands clutching a heavy set of books (it just finished raining). All of a sudden, she missed a step, lost her balance and landed on the tiles. Emeka who “unfortunately” happened to be close-by ran to her and and made an effort to lift her up. She instantly rebuffed his kind gesture, fixed a piercing and irritated look at him and screamed did I ask for your help? from thence henceforth, we nicknamed Emeka “the unfortunate good Samaritan”.

How a loner like her ended up settling for a course dominated by guys was still a mystery to many. Electrical-electronic engineering (elect-elect) was her course of study at Unizol. In a class of 80 students, she was one out of 10 females. When the class splits into study groups, she will isolate herself and choose to study on her own! During Prof. Kokori’s group work, she showed up once out of five times the group met. Even when she came, she only did so to fulfill her financial obligation. She had all the  textbooks yet performed poorly. It was only by a stroke of luck that she passed Mech 205 – the easiest course for that particular semester. Why not check-out the tutorial the class arranged for tomorrow? We are going to be treating relevant past questions, Dipo, the class governor would enquire. Thanks, I’ll be just fine was her usually response.

Like the sages say, there is no smoke without fire. Every action is birthed from a response or reaction to something. Feyikemi didn’t make up one fine morning and decided to lead that kind of life. She was only a victim of various unpleasant circumstances which mostly arose from the home front. 

Growing up, the lovely Feyi was used to episodes of ugly family dramas. Many a night, her father,  who was an alcoholic, would come home and descend on his wife and beat her to a pulp. She had to be rushed to the hospital on different occasions after suffering severe injuries from her husband’s beating. To make matters worse, the man never takes responsibility for his children’s welfare – from school fee to feeding. It was therefore solely the load of Mama Peju, Feyikemi’s mum, to carry.

Right in the middle of this crisis, Mama Peju suffered a terrible blow to her trust-base. A woman she saw as her best frined chose to do the unbelievable. For a long time, they’ve been pulling funds together in order to establish a small business venture. Due to the trust she had in her, she didn’t see any objection to keeping their common contribution in her friends account. Mama Peju woke up one morning only to discover that her supposed friend had grown wings and went off the radar.

As if that wasn’t enough, two of Feyi’s elder sister had suffered from a heartbreak. The men in their lives just came to a sudden realization that they couldn’t continue with the relationship after many years of professed love and show of commitment.

All of these separate circumstances had sowed a seed in Feyikemi’s heart. It was that of bitterness and distrust. She had come to believe in the wrong opinions of no one can be trusted or all men are the same. So upon gaining admission to the university, she determined to lead a solitary life.

Although a Christian, she felt it difficult to admit the fact that she was going in the wrong direction. She keeps struggling in her spirit with the truth of God’s word. Yes, she knew strife, wrath and hatred were works of the flesh yet chose to maintain her status quo. Scriptures like Eph 4: 31 or Heb 12:15 didn’t make much sense to her. So much damage had been done to her emotional life and it affected other areas.

However, things took a positive turn for her the day she eventually accepted Toke’s invitation to a special program in her fellowship. It took Toke a great deal of persuasion and subtle coercion to get her to agree to come.
The venue for the program was at one of the schools conference room. It was a cool Wednesday evening in August. The first thing that caught her attention was the sitting arrangement – u-shaped with a chair in front. Once they were done with the preliminaries of opening prayers and praise and worship, the moderator sat on the chair upfront and intimated his audience about the nature of the meeting. People were encouraged to come forward to share their experiences/challenges and how they handled and overcame them. Feyi was shocked to discover that whatever she considered to be her challenge was a mere child’s play when compared to those she listened to. She came to realize how people made strength out of their weakness and rose above their challenges.

She broke down in tears and called on God to heal her heart and make her capable of loving and believing the best of/in people. She opened up to Toke who herself was a caring and committed believer. Toke extended a hand of friendship to her; encouraged her and helped her begin to see things from God’s perspective.

Things stopped been business as usual for Feyi. She has learnt to let go of her past; believe the best in others; make friends of like-minds and is now doing great in her academics.