The atmosphere around Aso Rock is still tensed as usual, surprisingly, there hasn’t been a single fight for almost a week. Everyone has been minding their business. The ones with gainful employment or a business place who are considered the de facto first class tenants have continued living in usual denial as if Aso Rock is a typical Island residential estate. You only see them when they want to fetch water or when they are out washing. It is the usual practice of the compound for everyone to sit outside their apartments in twos or threes, discussing and receiving fresh air. Especially on weekends, an exercise that always ends with the break of bottles or another fight. But these class of tenants will never come out, but that is not to say they are any different from the rest of us. Once you live inside Aso Rock, you only have an option you must be mad.
“Bros, you no fit do this thing. e too strong for you.” Obinna said.
“Baba, why you dey do me like this?” Umar asked.
Apparently, it was an attempt to discourage Umar from taking a drag of whatever Obinna was smoking, but he was having none of that.
“Baba, me I dey smoke anything. Cigar, Benson, SK, Igbo. You name it.” Umar bragged.
Umar is a coat of many colors. A man with different character. But that only began after it was revealed that he also sleeps with runs girls.
Since his secret came to light, he has stopped living the pretentious life where everyone sees him as a devout Muslim, and has taken up an active role in being a major player in the Mad House.
“I no dey give you anything smoke.” Obinna said with a tone of finality.
As a sharp Igbo boy, Obinna wasn’t sharing his weed, not because he cared about Umar, but because he wanted the value of his money, and sharing with someone will be his loss eventually.
The door into Titi’s apartment opened and a young man stepped out.
Kini mo n ri pelu oju mi yii? What am I seeing with my eyes?
Less than five seconds later, Titi followed, looking as beautiful as always, all smile and happy.
“Hunter, wetin dey sup?” Segun asked. “Your babe get boyfriend?”
“How is that any of my business. Titi is my neighbor, just like she is to the rest of you. Nothing more, nothing less.” I replied. The hurt was evident in my voice.
Just last week, Titi reduced her esteem before me when she got involved in a brawl. Now, she’s bringing different men to the house.
Did I say different men? Ooops, this is the first man.
The duo walked past the well, and by implication, a few yards away from us.
“Good evening.” Titi greeted casually as the both strolled towards the gate.
None of us replied the greeting, especially seeing how pompous her man-friend was. With his shoulders strung high and his hands in his pocket.
“Damn! We don suffer for this compound.” Obinna said as he puffed out thick smoke.
“Oga carry that thing comot for my face jor.” Umar shouted.
Apparently, he was still pained from being denied the weed.
It’s been a little over an hour since Titi left the compound with her man friend and the only thought running through my mind was if she was gonna spend the night at his place.
I mean, she didn’t lock her door when she left. And her reading lamp was still on in the empty room. I debated within myself.
“Hunter!!!!!” Segun shouted, slapping me on my chest.
I came out of my reverie with a start. “Why you dey hit me?” I asked angrily.
“I say make we contribute, buy fuel for the gen. So person go fit charge.” He said.
“I don’t know o. Money wey dey my hand now na my transport fare for tomorrow.” I replied.
“That means you no go charge your phone.” He threatened.
I shrugged. Segun and his threat are merely words of mouth; they hold no water.
Suddenly, the compound became illuminated. Shouts of UP NEPA rang across the street, and immediately you could hear people disappear into their apartments, sounds of doors been shut, and the shutting down of generators all over.
“O boy, make I whoop you for FIFA.” Obinna said to me, referring to the PlayStation inside my room. Like a typical Igbo boy, he is very good with PlayStation.
Just as we stood up to go inside, the Mad House became mad as usual.
“Get out of my house.” Came an angry voice from the main building. It was the landlord.
“I am not going anywhere.” A feminine voice replied. That was Iya Iyabo; Baba Landlord’s youngest wife.
“Baba ejo o… Daddy ejo o.” The children, the ones he had from his union with Iya Iyabo begged their father.
“Ema be mi o. Iya yin ni ki e be ko jade kuro ninu ile mi.” (Do not beg me. Beg your mother instead. Tell her to leave my house) The landlord replied.
Every other person outside decided to wait behind and see what is responsible for the problem. Why would a man suddenly want his youngest and favorite wife out of his house.
“Daddy, e dari jin won.” That was Segun pleading on Iya Iyabo’s behalf.
“Omo ale wo niyen. Ta lo pe soro?” (Who is that bastard. What’s your business) The landlord fired back.
“Awon omo yin ni omo ale.” (Your children are bastards) Segun, apparently not letting it slide.
Out of nowhere, the landlord charged at Segun who remained without moving from where he stood leaning against the wall. Forgetting that he was dressed in a flowing agbada, the elderly mam got the garment woven across one of his legs and baaaam, he tripped and fell.
The compound erupted with laughter.
“Better no kill yaself old man.” Obinna advised amidst the laughter.
“Eleeribu omo.” (Unfortunate fellow) The landlord cursed, dusted himself and faced Iya Iyabo.
“Jade kuro ni ile mi.” (Leave my house) He insisted.
“Nibo ni o fe ki n lo?” (Where do you want me to go?) Surprisingly, Iya Iyabo whose voice was loud before had become meek and calm.
“Eyin omo. Eyii ti o ba fe tele Iya e, ko ma bami ni inu ile bayii bayii.” (Any of you who wants to follow his mother shouldn’t bother following me inside) With this, the landlord returned to his building and much to everyone’s surprise, all of his children followed him.
Damn! Even the kids are not loyal. I thought.
Iya Iyabo made futile attempts to plead with her husband to at least take her back, but her plea fell on deaf ears.
The small gate which leads into the mad house opened and Titi strolled in. I had totally forgotten about her. Just before she could shut the gate behind her, the gate bursted wide opened again, this time it was Robert who came charging at us.
“Tanker, tanker don fall for junction. Fuel dey leak.” He announced.
As if everyone had been expecting the news, suddenly, doors started opening and people dashed out with jerry cans and containers of different sizes. Obinna who was always prepared for every situation brought out two 25 litre jerry cans and made for the exit.
“O boy, wetin the tanker dey carry?” I asked.
“Be like say na kerosene.” He replied.
“Fuel na fuel.” Obinna who refused to be discouraged by the news replied.
While some people dropped their containers and returned to their rooms in disappointment, because they were expecting petrol. But Segun, Umar, Obinna and Robert felt undeterred.
Person fit sell am. Obinna reasoned.
“Hunter, how you dey?” Titi greeted before she disappeared into her room.
I didn’t bother replying as I left for my apartment. Time to sleep, tomorrow is Monday. I thought.
Every attempt to sleep was made impossible by my subconscious. Where would Iya Iyabo sleep this evening? Kept repeating in my mind.
After twenty fruitless minutes, I stood up, went outside, saw the poor woman sleeping next to the well.
“Mummy Iyabo. E maa bo.” I beckoned.
She grabbed her bags and with a little help from me, kept them somewhere at the corridor.
“Take the bed, I’ll take the floor.” I said before I dropped on the floor to sleep.
“Thank you…..” Her voice trailed off as the strong arms of sleep swept me off.
To be continued
Mad House Series drops everyday at 7pm.