Mama chinedu woke up that morning in a grody mood; glaringly, she had fallen off the bad side of the bed. The rot-eaten wooden window tweaked as she struggled to open it, finally it did open but the compound was still asleep; although trampling of feet’s were heard from most of the rooms. It was some minutes to seven.
Mama chinedu left her room holding a broom and started sweeping humming a song, sang in the voice of a warrior preparing for a combat; Iya Kpati came out of her room carrying her local stove with her elephant gait. Immediately, Mama Chinedu saw her enemy, her humming metamorphosed into a full worded song, veins strung out as the song rang out in an off tune. They fought at every given opportunity, they were cat and rat; Mama Chinedu was the cat, short but wieldy, always emerged victorious and Iya Kpati, had a colossal behind, robust with watery breast, “Elephant” Mama Chinedu nick named her.
Indeed, she was an elephant but a lazy one. Iya Kpati was childless and her husband was a professional piss artist and womanized a lot; he took it more serious than the carpentry that earned him money. Mama Chinedu always used that to taunt her.
Mama Chinedu: “Every demons wey dey attack mi for ma dream,any,any yeye kurukere demon wey,” in an abrupt manner her voice ceased as spit almost choked her. Iya Kpati did let an atrocious laughter,
Iya Kpati: “hehehe… Shiyo! Erun ko!” she hissed.
Mama Chinedu having recovered from the choking incidence, vexed she bite her lower lips goggled at her, hissed then continued sweeping and singing as Iya Kpati bent down to lit her stove breathing on the charcoal. There were murmurings from other tenants, for sure; they were warming up to be entertained by those local warriors. Like graffiti on a large wall trouble was brewing.
Mama Chinedu: “ All those pipo wey dey attack me for ma dream, na thunder go fire them, god of thunder fire! Fi..re! fi..fire!” stamped her feet as she emphasized on the fire Iya Kpati kept herself busy with setting her fire, the charcoals were acting up like a naughty child, no matter how hard her breathe landed on their backs,they didn’t emit fire but smoke that made her cough; it seemed Mama Chinedu’s jest was affecting her charcoal. Frustrated she stood and faced Mama Chinedu,
Iya Kpati: “Shey something is wronging with you? Jejewun, I am just on my own jeje, you na come an start disturping me wit your,errm,song you sing! See, wo!” she raises her finger to Mama Chinedu’s face, who is heehawing, “ Omo Yibo,lemme just warn you if they her doing you in your fillage no try cari em come ma side o,wo, I go just beast liki, omo kekere!”
Mama Chinedu clapping her hands in disgust,
Mama Chinedu: “see dis anofia! Pipu dey tolk pesin wey no get pikin dey tolk too. Barren woman!” she gave a sizzling hiss.
Iya Kpati burst into tears,
Iya Kpati: “Ah, wo! Mama Shinedu! Na mi you dey call barren?” she continued crying as she left to sit on her veranda.
Mama Chinedu: “Abeg o, ma pikin name no bi Shinedu oo. No use your Oyo tongue scatter ma better child name oo! As if you know di pain wey dey folo pregnancy!”
Tenants were already looking out of their windows and doors, watching the live movie.
Iya kpati stopped her feigned cry and looked up,
Iya Kpati: “Shioor! Sey Shinedu is childs or pikins!” she eyed her.
Mama Chinedu: “Woooooo!” she wriggled her stony butt at her.
Iya kpati frowned,
Iya Kpati: “Shey, it is that your shinedu that ‘old but kekere like Ige kidigba!” Mama Chinedu danced and wriggled the butt more, “Shiyo! No bi jus’ one pikins you get?” she singled out her tallest finger from the rest illustrating what she meant.
Mama Chinedu stopped dancing and hissed,
Mama Chinedu: “One abi?”hissed again, “At least, I don fit born one e show say a bi korect ogbonge woman but you wetin you suppose use born you use em fat like elephant!”
Iya Kpati: “God punish you!” she made an attempt to attack her but Mama Chinedu in a flash took a pose like a hungry wrestler waiting for a feeble opponent, the one Okonkwo took while defeating Amalinza the cat. Seeing that Mama Chinedu was ready for her, like a snail she curled back into her shell. Hissed and started crying,
Iya Kpati: “You calls me a man,abi?”
Mama Chinedu who was really in the mood to fight moved closer to her,
Mama Chinedu: “Ehen, wetin you go do? Mtchew! That’s why your husband dey folo folo about na.”
Iya Kpati was really irked by that statement as she remained motionless targeting the short legs of Mama Chinedu, springing up like a kangaroo she tumbled Mama Chinedu who was taken unawares by that act and she sat on her with the whole of her weight, Mama Chinedu kept screaming and throwing her legs and hands, she did all she could to free herself. But it would take ten strong men to pull Iya Kpati up; a trailer on a small vehicle- that was the situation.
Kalu flicked up, the noise outside had driven him out of his sleep, they are at it again, Mama Chinedu and Iya Kpati. With his hand on the fore head, he rubbed it as it ached. The noise they made strung into his ear and possibly, prickling into shreds some cells in the head.
Kalu: “How did I find myself in this place ,eh, biko nu!”
When the scream was unbearable, he bolted out of the room with just boxers, Mama Chinedu was beneath the ponderous Iya Kpati with foam coming out of her mouth. Other tenants were watching, whispering and giggling. Kalu managed to push Iya Kpati off Mama Chinedu who was gasping for air,
Iya Kpati: “Shiyo!” she said smiling somehow she had gotten back her pride that was the medal; she raised her shoulders delighted with that rare victory.
Kalu: “What’s wrong you, women? Why are you behaving like kids?” he helped Mama Chinedu to a bench and asked Chinedu to bring her a cup of water that resuscitated her. Turned to co-tenants hanging around, “ wetin dey worry una sef? Na so una go just dey watch until pesin die for dis compound!”
Iya Kpati: “Na pesin wey wanting die go see em na!” she said swaggering into her room.
Ene: “Dey dia dey form good Samaritan!” hissed again and made for her room. Kalu ignored her, she was embittered towards him after he had rejected her. Ene tried to seduce him but Kalu didn’t like her.
Deflated, Mama Chinedu had been ruptured, shame cloaked on her chest. Unconsciously, she broke into tears, Iya Kpati burst into vociferous laughter as she heard the sob,
Iya Kpati: “pezin wey laff last laff beist!” she clapped in mockery.
Kalu: “Go inside,mma Chinedu, nnnoo! I have told you to stop fighting and embarrassing yourself but you wouldn’t hear!”
Kalu and Mama Chinedu were from the same village they knew each other from the village. It was through her he got the house when he came to the city but he never supported her in the fights. Of course, he knew she loved trouble shooting back then in the village she fought everybody, both men and women. Ugo, his first cousin who was way older than him,had a broken front teeth it was Mama Chinedu who gave him that scar. He had beaten her after she beat his sister at the stream and the best way to retaliate was to use a stone to break his teeth with, “Quit fighting ,nne!” Kalu would always advice her.
Kalu: “Chimo!” he ran into his room,”Oh my God!” he said as he looked into the screen of the blue Nokia torchlight phone, “try to come before 7:30 ooo!” the secretary to his Uncle said to him.
His Uncle promised him a job but anytime he went to the office it was either “oga just left the office or in a meeting!” and his Uncle had warned him not to call him. Well, he wasn’t really a blood relation they were from the same village; he had promised Kalu’s mother years back that he would give her son a job in Abuja during one of his Christmas visits. Kalu had relocated to Abuja for years now lurking for greener pasture and his Uncle was yet to fulfill the job promise.
It was 7:30 and he wasn’t even ready. Kalu was confused and angry at Iya Kpati and Mama Chinedu; what was he to do?
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