Published on July 18th, 2012 | by The Alchemist15
Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen, this is TheAlchemist-TTXIII, making up for last week’s missed episode of FIST while we were blissfully preoccupied with ‘For Colored Men’.
Previously on FIST:
Our protagonist was hired to kill a certain Brigadier General Adejuwon – an assignment which turned out to be more difficult than he foresaw, leading to his capture and interrogation. After obtaining some new information about the major players - Chief and Senator, as well as plans for something involving the president, he managed to extricate himself from the situation with a little brute force and cunning. Now…
EPISODE 8: We have a problem…
I been lying here for almost twenty minutes – a foolish action in retrospect since there could have been more soldiers in cahoots with these four I have just eliminated.
Above all, the Way of the Samurai should be in being aware that you do not know what is going to happen next, and in querying every item day and night. Victory and defeat are matters of the temporary force of circumstances.
However, my body was protesting severely and no matter how strong of mind one is, there will come a time when the weakness of the flesh will supersede any reasoning. Besides, the time has not been completely wasted – I have been contemplating the events of the last few hours and considering my position. I have managed to distil my thoughts on the matter into a clear and succinct theory which I will keep to myself for now.
I begin to rise to my feet slowly and deliberately so that I can assess how much damage has been done to my body. Taking stock, I have a gash along the side of my head where Lateef knocked me out – I will need an X-ray to verify that there has been no skull damage. I still have a terrible headache – at least 90% of which is due to the impact of my head on Onos’s jaw. I have two sprained fingers, a cut along my back and my left side hurts when I breathe, possibly a cracked rib. Nothing unexpected.
I walk to Lateefs limp body and retrieve the phone he used to call the ‘Chief’ before ambling towards the metal entrance of the warehouse. Tugging on the metal latch that secures it in place, I open the door and all of a sudden the bright sunlight of Abuja comes flooding into my eyes. I raise my hand to shield them from the solar assault. Continuing forward, I try to walk straight so as not to arouse suspicion but I do not think I am doing a very good job of it. The thought of looking for my weapons and pouch which were taken from me when I was captured crosses my mind but I dismiss it. Yuri, Dastan and Nonso always have enough stock and even though I will never trust them to supply sniper rifles, or delicate firearms again, they do provide quality essentials.
I get to the road and buy a sachet of pure water with what little change I have in my pocket from a woman who is giving me a bizarre look as though I had just walked out of a coffin. I use the water to wash my face and attempt to make myself look decent before asking her where I can find the nearest Zenith Bank branch. I need to get some money and then get out of this wretched city.
Lagos is unusually hot for this time of year and the heat seems to be affecting the ability of its cab drivers to do their jobs properly. Barely two hours after landing at Murtala Mohammed airport, I have narrowly escaped two accidents because of stupid drivers. Now I am stuck in the most abominable traffic.
Lagos na wah.
Azeez is looking from left to right and trying to figure out if a lane-change will get us out of here any faster, I have already made this assessment myself but let him make his move. He is the cab driver afterall. I begin to think about the quagmire in which I have found myself but decide to give it no further thought until I have spoken with Baba and consider it from his point of view. I have done enough thinking of my own. I push it firmly out of my mind.
People think that they can clear up profound matters if they consider them deeply, but they
come to no good because they do their reflecting with only self interest at the center.
I think I should call Baba and let him know I am coming. He has not heard from me in over a week. Then again, there is nothing strange about us going through a week or even a month without communicating. I discard the idea and lean back into the cab to take advantage of the traffic by sleeping. I need all the rest I can get.
Even before my eyes close I know that my mind will be troubled by dreams.
I am vaguely aware of my hands trembling as my uncle speaks in rapid-fire Yoruba to the man sitting next to me. The one they call Baba. He is the one I still call Baba, he looks like he has not aged a day. I bring the trembling hands up to look at them but they are not there. All I see are two swirling pillars of smoke. I start to cry but my uncle continues speaking with Baba as though he cannot see me.
“O ni lati lo si be. Ona kan soso ti un o fi gba sodo niyen” (He will have to go to there. That is the only condition under which I will take him)
“Ah Baba. Abi e ranti Femi ni? Bo ba ti lo sibe, ko si ayipada mo. Emi egon mi a binu simi.” (Ah! Baba! But once he goes there, he will never be able to change; he will always be like them. Don’t you remember what happened with Femi? My sister’s spirit will not be happy if I do this to her son.)
“Ninu egbon re ati awon oosa idile wa, talo ye ko se?” (So you want to offend the gods instead of your sister’s spirit eh? You don’t know who you should fear more?)
“Baba e dakun e ran mi lowo. Ona mi n lati wa” (Baba, please, help me. I cannot throw his life away like this, there must be another thing we can do)
“Mo kuku ti so oun tifa wi fun o. Eyoku owo re lowa” (I have told you what Ifa told me. Pay what you owe. The decision is yours)
I can see pain in my uncle’s eyes as he shakes his head. There is a mist over them and even though this is a dream I feel like he would cry if he could. I take a step towards him but I have no feet. There is only smoke beneath me. As my uncle rises to his feet and walks towards Baba, I can feel a cold wind blow on my floating form, separating me from myself.
“E bere eto.” (Baba, make the arrangements.)
I hear my uncle say to Baba as the wind becomes a fierce gale and breaking its way into the room, carries me away from the dream and back into Azeez’s cab.
We are now on the Lagos Ibadan expressway and Azeez is driving speedily along the free road. We should be at our destination in about an hour.
“Wind up the windows” I say as I look at my wrist watch.
It is 3:30 p.m.
It is 7:43 p.m. when I finish telling Baba everything that has occurred over the last few days as well as my thoughts on them. His face expressions have been a rollercoaster ride of pride, fear, pity, shock and now, as I conclude my story, his face seems to be stuck on an expression of deep contemplation. He is planning a course of action. I will let him tell me his before I make any suggestions of my own.
When all your judgements are based on your own wisdom, you tend towards selfishness and fail by straying from the right path… It is best to consult a wise man… A judgement passed using only one’s own wisdom is just like thrusting a stick into the ground and expecting it to grow.
“Eyi o wa daa o. Ode wa ti ko wo pakute elomi. Sugbon iwo lo fi okan re bale, eyi o to lati da ise duro amoo was a ma rora. Ma kan si awon eyan mi, asi wadi nkan ti o n sele.” (This is bad o, very bad. We have entered inside another person’s problem but no matter what, I will call my people and sort it out, find out what is going on. You will continue your work but keep a low profile until I know what is going on OK?)
“Yes Baba. Here… maybe this can help”. I hand over the phone I took from Lateef’s body and he looks at it as though he expected an enemy to materialise from it. After his inspection, he puts it on the couch beside him and says to me
“Wa losi PortHarcout ko lo kilo fun awon olorii bu yen kan ma ta irin ise buruku fun wa mo lai lai. Ko si ra oun koun to ba ni lo.” (Go to Port Harcourt, warn those boys not to sell us rubbish weapons again and then get some more of your standard equipment, at least they have never messed that one up)
I was thinking the same thing.
“Mo mope wa ri Debola. Ehn, a ti e da ko ri. Bami ki o.” (I know you will try to see Debola, In fact, I advise you to. You need it. Greet her for me)
This man knows me a little too well. I say nothing about Debola, I cannot reveal this weakness, even to Baba.
A warrior should not say something faint hearted even casually. He should set his mind to this beforehand. Even in trifling matters, the depths of one’s heart can be seen
“One more thing” I say as I rise to my feet. “We should warn Mrs. Adejuwon, they might try to kill her now that her husband is gone”
“Mi o wa mo nipa yen o. Ko kan wa rara sugbon, je ki n tu ro.” (Ah, I don’t know about that one o. Its not our business. Sha let me think about it ehn?)
“A to otunla ki o to le lo si Port Harcourt. Wa seyin kule ki o je kin wo gbgbo egbo to wa ni ara re. Ma fun ni agbo mu, o sun fun bi oja kan sugbon bi o ba ti ji, ara to ya daa da niyen.” (You can go to Port Harcourt on Monday but first come to the back let me heal all these your injuries, this one is not a matter for hospital, I will give you something to drink. You will sleep well for one day or two and be better when you wake up. OK?)
I follow him to the back of the house where the shrine is located. After tossing a few cowries and beads about, he tells me to strip naked and lie down. I do as I am told; I have never tried to understand Baba’s charms although I use them as I am instructed.
It is natural that one cannot understand deep and hidden things. Those things that are easily understood are rather shallow.
I do not know what god he offers allegiance to or the manner of their service but I trust Baba – and that is all that matters. He then hands me a cup of black liquid to drink. It tastes vile but I know I must imbibe it. When I am done, I turn to look at Baba’s face but his face is where his belly should be and the colours of this wrapper are blurring into one another. I close my eyes and allow the healing darkness take me. I know this sleep will not come with any dreams.
“Emi ni” (Yes its me)
“How come you are calling so late?”
“Ah.. o ti gbo nkan to sele?” (So, You don’t know what is happening?)
“Baba, kilode?” (Baba, What is happening?)
“Chief, We have a problem…”
Tomorrow, on FIST:
EPISODE 9: Warrior. Spirit.
You can read previous episodes of FIST here
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