Published on October 27th, 2011 | by thetoolsman40
43 Fafunwa: Episode 3 (Up Nepa)
Whenever power was restored to Fafunwa street in the evening, it was a chance for Sister Laide to turn on her fake but workable “LG” DVD player and watch any one of an absolute shelf-full of Christian music videos. It was either those or she listened to taped messages while reclining on her solitary mattress.
Room eight was where the Alabis lived. They were a quiet family. Mr. and Mrs. Alabi were both civil servants. Mr. Alabi was a driver for a government parastatal while his wife was a typist attached to the state High Court. They had two children. Simi, the elder was as chirpy as children got. She was in JSS2 now and quite the free spirit. She had none of her parents’ reserved nature. The Alabis typically turned on their fridge when the power came. Their other electricity-hinged needs were tied to the TV set. And Kunle… their chronically asthmatic child who could only use his nebulizer when there was electricity.
More on that later. We tell all in good time.
In Room Five, Ifiok would now have illumination with which to clean up his already neat room some more. These days, Eddy was around. The predictable evening window when power came was ample time to get his clothes pressed. Sometimes, he pressed just what he would wear the following day. When he was up to it, he pressed what he would wear for a few days to come. Today, he wasn’t up to it.
Ifeanyi though, was up to something…
He’d had it on his mind all day yesterday and today. He had finally summoned up the courage. The presence of electricity simply afforded him the use of equipment with which to set the mood: Kenny G. Ifeanyi was 5, 8″. He grew up dark skinned but these days, he always smelled of ‘Peau Claire” or any one of a barrage of ‘skin tuning creams’ (his words) he was always using. Running a local pharmacy afforded him express access to whatever he needed to keep his skin ‘tuned’. Hence, Ifeanyi was now, at the very least, a touch lighter than he used to be. Other than that, in looks anyway, Ifeanyi was rather unremarkable. He had beady eyes and a prominent nose. Thick lips were perpetually framed by a moustache and beard carved to perfection.
“Ibiyemi, look me, abeg.” His live-in girlfriend exhumed her nose from the worn edition of “City People” she’d had it buried in.
“What?” she asked. Clearly ruffled at having to pause her reading.
“You know say I love you die! Baby, make we marry na.” Ibiyemi’s facial expression went from slight irritation to elation in a blink. She leapt at Ifeanyi in glee. Without saying a word, it was obvious what her decision was.
Sparrow also had an announcement to make at this time it seemed. He was coming from the toilet. He was grabbing his crotch as he waddled to his room. Once he stepped on the mutual corridor of the single-room apartments, he spoke: “If you hear any voice wey tell you make you go our toilet now ehn, that voice no be from God o. Because the tin wey I just do there ehn!” A mixture of jeers and insults were hurled at Sparrow at once from the rooms. Sparrow just wanted a reaction. Mission accomplished. Now was the time to put that electricity to good use: he had over-hidden a wrap of marijuana somewhere but the darkness of early evening didn’t allow him search thoroughly. This would be the perfect time to find it.
In Room Seven, Madam Wangerr waited for all the household chores to be completed first. They were eating dinner when the power was restored. She allowed time for dinner to end and the dishes be put away before the beating started.
Ifeanyi and Ibiyemi were locked in heavenly embrace when they heard the first loud wail. It was unmistakably Doshima. Most of the inhabitants of number 43 heard the impact of whatever it was Madam Wangerr was using to pummel Doshima as it hit her. Muffled screams coming from room 7 included “harlot” and “ashewo.”
As was to be expected, a small crowd soon gathered outside Room seven. Some just wanted to see a good beating, others pleaded with Madam to stop. Others, like Ibiyemi just stood and watched. Or listened. Because Madam Wangerr knew to keep her door firmly shut. Inside, Mr. Andrew was only perturbed that Doshima’s wails were drowning out the voice of the newscaster onscreen. The other children had been sent out as a precaution so that they did not see their eldest sibling get utterly manhandled.
Sister Laide though couldn’t take that. Once she’d had enough, she banged away furiously on Madam Wangerr’s door. Receiving nothing by way of an answer, she proceeded to slam a stool she picked up from the corridor into the door.
Sure, a dude with similar intentions could have just broken the door down. But you get her idea, no?
Finally, albeit reluctantly, Madam Wangerr opened the door. “Laide, mind ya business,” she breathed. She was panting and sweating a flood. Clearly, discipline was tasking on the obese lady.
“What did she do?” Laide inquired quietly. But the entire crowd there present was hanging on to every word in their exchange.
Still shaking with anger, Madam Wanger answered: “This…” she turned and began hitting Doshima again. With a thick leather belt. Her husband’s. “…harlot. Ashewo… Prostitute. You no go embarrass me…” she spoke in between delivering lashes. This time though, Laide was able to restrain her.
“Talk to me. Don’t kill the poor girl.” Laide pleaded.
“Yesterday, I send am message make she go market. She branch yard come dey…” again she reached for a weeping Doshima without success, “… come dey fuck Ifiok brother!” The crowd outside the room heard and reacted with loud cries. Versions ranged from “Yeepa!” to “E gba mi o!” The odd “Chineke Nna!” could also be heard.
It’s a ‘face-me-I-face-you.’ Don’t act surprised.
Gratefully, Ifiok was not one to gather with crowds on the occasion of public beatings or fights so he was not within earshot. He would get to hear but not just yet. Ibiyemi though, had left Ifeanyi’s embrace once the racket peaked. Now, her eyes widened in disbelief and undiluted shock. It seemed she had heard and seen enough. She slinked back into Ifeanyi’s room and sat still on the lone plastic chair in the room. Ifeanyi was at once curious.
Back in Room 7, Laide was shocked too. “What?!” she exclaimed. “Ifiok’s brother?”
“Yes!” Madam Wangerr yelled.
“Around afternoon time?”Laide asked again.
“Yes na.” Again Madam reached for Doshima.
“No.” Laide disagreed. “It wasn’t Doshima.” As with all crowds witnessing a plot twist, The crowd’s reaction was a mix of “What?!” “Tani?” and “Who?!”
Again Laide spoke. “I saw Ifiok’s brother yesterday and the lady he was with. It was not Doshima.”
“You sure so?” Now Madam Wangerr was petrified that she been beating her otherwise trustworthy daughter without due cause. A lot of pacifying seemed on the horizon. Laide never lied.
“Yes. Very sure. The lady is somebody we know but it wasn’t your daughter.”
“Hmmmm…” The crowd again.
Twenty minutes later, there was a knock on the door of Room Four. It was not opened in a hurry. After another knock, Ifeanyi appeared at the door. “Yes?”
“Can I see Ibiyemi please?”
“‘Yemi, person dey find you.” Ifeanyi looked into the room at Ibiyemi as he spoke.
“Who is it?” she asked. As soon as she saw it was Laide, she hastened out of the chair and out of the room. She shut the door behind her as she confronted Laide on the corridor. Without even waiting for Laide to speak, Ibiyemi pressed a finger to her lips. “If you tell anybody, I will kill you!”
43 Fafunwa is jointly written by @Cikko and @Thetoolsman please leave your comments below. Cheers.