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|Number 225 Katakata Street by Centino: 8:39am On Jul 01, 2017|
MEET MY NEIGHBOURS
They managed to squeeze the twenty four room storey building and two self contained and four shops of number 225 Katakata Street into a plot of land that was formerly a swamp. No one knows the exact number of occupants of this building. People stream in and out at all hours like it was a shopping mall, except that here you will see men in only boxers with stiff erections bellowing greetings at neighbors in the morning from the top floor balcony while still rubbing their eyes, women clad in only wrappers around their breasts washing heavy lather from the heads of their children close to the gutter, the privileged shop owners spraying holy water with incantations round their business premises, and many other people being supremely busy within the compound while people continued to stream in and out of the building.
I had since given up hope of knowing all my neighbors. Even with the endless throng of occupants and all the in and out movements all year long, there were still rooms that were secured with large shiny padlocks that were never opened for months. The owners were said to either be out chasing goods or visiting the village for the planting season or ensconced in some bush for religious reasons or even running from the police. There are however many with steady lives with whom I interact everyday and whom I will be telling you about.
My name is Ndifreke. I am a university graduate just arrived Lagos to hustle. I share a room with my thirty year old cousin named Mkpoikanna-Abasi, the pronunciation of which has set up many wrestling bouts down the years, due to his insistence that it be said to perfection, something people of other tribes cannot just wrap their tongues around. Someone had suggested that they simply called him Mkpo. That also drove him mad. So they just call him Calabar boy. He is a wharf rat and proudly so. His only passion in life is Manchester United. You’ll hear him say “This season we will win the league. Mourinho wins the league in his second season wherever he goes.”
For actual neighbors, I’ll start with my favourites. There is Irikefe, nineteen and timid looking but every mother’s nightmare as he is said to be the biggest threat to virginity this side of the equator. He is the son of the caretaker and an apprentice carpenter who everyone knows cannot handle a saw. You will always hear Irikefe say things like “Bros, I will be rich. Whether the devil likes it or not, my time will come.” Recently he has been saying “When I grow up, I want to be like Evans. I supported the free Evans hashtag on twitter. Why would they touch him when bigger criminals are roaming free in the Senate? Free Evans joor!” Then there is Mr Zubi, middle aged, impossibly dark with a knife scar one side of his face. He occupies one of the two self contained in the compound with his large family and we respect him because he does not have to share a bathroom with anyone. One day, his precocious ten year old son Willy-Willy came up to him and said “Daddy, is it true what bro Irikefe said that some of the Chibok girls refused to be rescued because of the rod of Moses they were receiving in the bush?”“Gerraway from here! Ewu Gambia!” he retorted with blazing eyes. The boy was lucky to duck in time as three menacing knuckles flew past his forehead”. The six sons of Mr Zubi always gave him cause to bellow “Ewu Gambia” about one hundred times a day. His wife is Mama Willy-Willy. You will hear her say things like “You see what I always say about those actors?! They are all promiscuous! I hear those two from The Wedding Party are getting married! How can they convince me it did not start on the set of the movie? Someone will now tell me all that kissing and touching and holding mean nothing. That it is just acting. Is a kiss no longer a kiss irrespective of the circumstance of administration? They started enjoying themselves from the movie set o jare! Today, they are husband and wife and nobody is talking about the poor boyfriend and girlfriend who were at home supporting their dreams while they were away fornicating on a ready-made excuse. Now those ones are brokenhearted and getting no sympathy.” She threw her right arm around her head in a wide circle and swore that thunder will fire any woman who would near her man in the guise of acting. Mr Zubi shifted uncomfortably in his seat. He was regularly bedecked as a monkey in NTA’s Tales by Moonlight in the 80’s and once landed a 20 seconds cameo as a cripple in a 90’s drama series. He swears that it was he who should have been casted in the lead role with Omotola Jalade in Mortal Inheritance in 96 and not Fred Amata. “He got there through nepotism! The Amatas controlled the industry back then.” He secretly dreams of a lead romantic role with Mercy Johnson. “Thunder will fire you before it happens” his wife had said when he mistakenly said it in his sleep one night. If you like, don’t get up and go to your civil service work.” There is also the neighbor Akunna. You will hear him say things like “this is a calamity of a democracy. Wastefulness, imbalance in every facet, and a mechanism for corruption humanity will see no greater. I don’t blame President Buhari. If I were him, I will not return from that London. Even the messiah cannot fix this nation. Light skinned and freckled in the face and in his forties, his only other problem is his wife. Recently he said to her “Serena Williams won a grand slam with eight months pregnancy! But two weeks after you have conceived another bastard I will not be able to enter my own house because of your nonsense squirming.” His four children were all dreadlocked and bore more than a passing semblance to Talabi the tailor who was dreadlocked since birth. Akunna did not hide the fact that he had been saving up for DNA tests sometime in the future. He also likes Arsenal. Perhaps losing was in his DNA.
And then there is Talabi. He is regarded as a hero in the neighborhood. When Alhaji Sirika would not give any of his resident tenants occupancy of the shops as he did not trust them with rent payment, Talabi led the cry of injustice for many years. When the Alhaji would not budge, he planted faeces in front of the four shops every night for one month until all the occupants of the shops fled. He took the best one for his tailoring business. The other three were occupied by Lukman the one eyed barber, Josiah the carpenter and the oni rice they called Mama Cowbell, all of whom were also resident at number 225. Other than Akunna’s wife, Talabi loved Chelsea FC, and being reigning champions, his feet barely touched the ground since the close season. The last neighbor I must mention at this point is Mr Cosmas. He occupies the second self contained and also does not share a bathroom and would naturally have our respect. But he is weird and says very uncomfortable things. Whenever a discussion veered towards religion, he always had something different to say. He famously said that Jesus did not die for our sins but was murdered for the truth he preached. He said we would all pay for everything we do as God cannot carry the sins of one child and put on the head of another. The less I say about Mr Cosmas the better. It’s just that he is not one to ignore.
I will continue my story next week. For now, I have to go and hustle. Cheers friends.
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|Re: Number 225 Katakata Street by bizza45: 8:41am On Jul 01, 2017|
nice one bro . this story is dope
3 Likes 2 Shares
|Re: Number 225 Katakata Street by Centino: 10:17am On Jul 01, 2017|
2 Likes 1 Share
|Re: Number 225 Katakata Street by ehmusshogun(m): 11:37am On Jul 01, 2017|
I'm sure I'm gonna love this, pls do well by mentioning me when u update next week.
7 Likes 1 Share
|Re: Number 225 Katakata Street by Centino: 12:09pm On Jul 01, 2017|
ehmusshogun:Erm...that means I should say ehmusshogun somewhere in the post?
|Re: Number 225 Katakata Street by greeeneyes(m): 12:46pm On Jul 01, 2017|
|Re: Number 225 Katakata Street by amiablejudy(f): 3:52pm On Jul 01, 2017|
Centino, I believe you had
an aim for writing your story but before you continue I advise that you réminiscence. The phrase of supporting" Evans" is unacceptable.That everyone does the wrong thing doesn't suddenly make it right.
Pls be the champion of your own life and not a follower of wrong practices. I wish you well in your new found quest to write.
|Re: Number 225 Katakata Street by tsharp(m): 4:20pm On Jul 01, 2017|
amiablejudy:Don't be deluded madam. There was really a free Evans campaign. Everyone does not abide by your moral code and there is always another side to every story. Good job Centino.
30 Likes 3 Shares
|Re: Number 225 Katakata Street by ehmusshogun(m): 10:12pm On Jul 04, 2017|
Centino:more like it boss
|Re: Number 225 Katakata Street by Centino: 5:17am On Jul 09, 2017|
MEET MY NEIGHBOURS (2)
There is also Achike who refused to pay his rent because the budget had not been signed. “Achike, “What has the okrika you are selling at the bus stop got to do with the budget? Alhaji Sirika said, eyes blazing. What has that got to do with my money?” Stout with a prominent distension in the middle, Achike said “My business is tied to government spending. It is intricate Alhaji, you will not understand.” When reminded that the vice president in his capacity as acting president had signed the budget, he said, “It is a ruse. We have no acting president. The man was told to coordinate activities of government till Baba returns. He himself has said that he speaks with the president every day. What that implies is that he still takes instructions from the president. It means we have two presidents which is wrong constitutionally and in that light the budget he signed is null and void! When the budget excuse did not work Achike said “My brothers in the north have been given quit notice. Nobody knows what will happen in two months time.”
I used to think Mr Cosmas was weird until three months after I moved in I began to notice activity in one of the hitherto locked rooms on the ground floor. The returnee occupant is Mr Kingsley. He does not talk to anyone, he never says or responds to greetings, he never flushes the toilet after use and he prefers to take his bath in the bathroom reserved for peeing. He is a heavily bearded towering man with dark piercing eyes and bushy eyebrows with some strands curling out towards the sky. His torso is matted with hair and when he moves he seems to do so on tiptoe. The children call him The Undertaker. He converses only in parables or in quotes and always acknowledges the quoted, often leaving listeners confused. During compound meetings he will be seen stroking his beard and looking disinterested while neighbors raged about one problem or the other. Then someone will say to him “Mr Kingsley, so what do you say? How can we be expected to contribute money to repair the transformer when we pay NEPA bills every month? He will pretend not to hear and will keep everyone waiting for about a minute then he will say “When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty. Thomas Jefferson.” Then someone will say “Mr Kingsley you have come again. We are asking what we should do and you are quoting a dead oyibo man for us.” He will again stroke his beard for another minute then say “Whatever we do will seem insignificant but it is important that we do it. Mahatma Ghandi.” It is when he is angry that he produces his best quotes. Usually he quotes an African statesman. One Sunday afternoon, Mr Zubi’s boys were playing police and thief and barged on his door constantly while he was having a siesta. When he could not bear it any longer, he went and knocked on their door and said to Mr Zubi “Mister, warn your children. If they continue to hit my door like that, ‘the come, will turn to become.’ Mbadiwe.”
Living directly opposite Mr Kingsley’s is the born again Spinster Sister Esther. In her late thirties and once beautiful, Sister Esther, always thoroughly covered in maxi skirts and long-sleeve blouses and scarves competed for airtime with the muezzin every morning with her loud hailer admonishing all the souls on the street to “repent, or spend eternity in hell fire”. Before hitting the street she would first put her mouth through Mr Cosmas’ window and say “Brother! The Lord has given you another chance by sparing your life till this morning. Turn away from blasphemy and heresy and call upon the one true God. Repent!” Then she would gather her skirt and jump the gutter and make sure that the first words that rent the air before the muezzin’s speakers cracked would be “repent!”
“She’s in love with The Undertaker” Irikefe once told me. He is the one that shines her congo”. “Don’t be silly Irikefe” I said. “Don’t worry bros Freke. You will see for yourself.”
Now to Lukman the one eyed barber. You would think that after five years of blindness in one eye that he would be used to his lot by now. But he continued to take offence when looked at any longer than he considered necessary. “I am like this because I was fighting for your rights!” He always said. The story is that he was gorged by a policeman who was fighting off a mob that isolated and beat him up during a “peaceful” protest against the APC government for the ill treatment received in the area. “Because we support the PDP and our councilor is an Igbo man we don’t have light and our street is not tarred.” One day, Willy-Willy went to his shop and after staring at him for five minutes said “Bro Lukman, does your missing eye give you a headache?” Lukman planted his knuckles firmly on his head and he ran to tell his elder brother Castro. Castro is eighteen and always spoiling for a fight since he finished secondary school and could not pass his matriculation exams. He stormed into Lukman’s shop and started bouncing his willowy frame about and rolling his fists. Lukman, twenty-five, with a lifetime on the streets easily overpowered Castro. When they got separated, Castro grabbed a clipper with which he smashed a mirror and then ran out into the afternoon. Afterwards I convinced Lukman to buy an eye patch and turn his disability into a style. The first time he wore it and regarded himself in the mirror, his face opened into a broad smile and he said “as the American’s would say, this is badass!” He quickly grew a wicked moustache and bought a montera hat and pointed out to everyone how much he now resembled Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean. Kids now compare every bad guy in movies with Lukman.
It does not seem like the introduction of my neighbors will ever end if I continued. There are too many of them and each of them brings something different. You will have to meet them as my story moves along. But I must tell you about one more person.
The first thing my father said to me as I was leaving for Lagos was to stay away from girls if I wanted to make it in life. But each time I looked at Maya I knew I was going to disobey my father. I wonder why old people continue to spew out this trite wisdom, as if congress between a man and a woman was created in 2017. She is the second of three sisters and the dearest to her mother, Mama Tobi, whom I will tell you about another time. She is seventeen, only four years my junior, graceful as a peacock, with a voice as soft as melting honey. One day her mother said to her “Maya, I saw you looking at that new calabar boy and your eyes were dimming like somebody that drank ogogoro for the first time. Those people are dogs! Be warned!” When she told me, all I said to her was that “it’s a myth.” And her reply was “I know”.
TO BE CONTINUED.
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|Re: Number 225 Katakata Street by Centino: 5:19am On Jul 09, 2017|
|Re: Number 225 Katakata Street by Centino: 7:59am On Jul 10, 2017|
“This is an evil rain!” Sister Esther said. “What sort of city is this? Every year it will rain for seven days nonstop. This year, it has been twenty-one days! It is the handwork of principalities and powers.”
“Principalities and powers do not cause rain sister Esther,” Mr Cosmas said. Rain is as a result of heating from the sun. When the ground warms up, moisture in the ground evaporates and rises as water vapour, it then cools and condenses into clouds and ultimately rain. If it is raining more, it is because of global warming and other such phenomena environmentalists have been crying about for decades now. Principalities and powers exist only in your mind.”
“They exist in this compound as well and you are one of them. Harvard professor.”
We were bailing water from the corridor as the deluge coursed through the streets and into the compounds. Every family with at least two occupants in a room shared responsibilities. While some bailed the water from the rooms, the others worked in the corridor to send it back onto the street. Those upstairs do not any fare any better. The corrugated roofing sheets were rusted and looked like they were sprayed with bullets from above. So on rainy days, upstairs occupants at the first sound of the rumbling skies will place buckets and bowls on tables, suitcases and television sets to collect their own share of suffering. For us on the ground floor, our advantage is that the rain has to be heavy and sustained before we went to work to prevent ourselves from drowning in our beds.
“At least we are better than Lekki residents for once. We can bail out our own water but they can’t. Have you seen the pictures? Some of their houses are completely submerged and they have crocodile in the water.”
“You can be sure that the government will intervene in some way and help them. Just wait and see the billions that will move in that direction when this is over. Remember when bar beach overflowed? But for us, nobody cares!”
“Has anyone noticed that this house is sinking?” Akunna said as he scraped the floor with his bailer.
“What?” Josiah said.
“Can’t you see we are now below ground level? This place was a swamp and with all this rain the filling they did cannot hold anymore. Can’t you see that to step out we now have to literally climb onto the street?”
“Oga Akunna. That means we are living in an underground apartment” Josiah said with a grin and wiped sweat from his brow.
“You are stupid. I am telling you that this defective structure is going under. We may wake up one day to find that we have vanished into the ground like Atlantis.”
“Then they will put our pictures on CNN like the victims of that high rise building in London. We will become famous.”
“You will be dead you fool.”
“But at least, we will be on CNN.”
“Look at you” Lukman said. Those that died in T.B Joshua’s church, ordinary Linda Ikeji we did not see their passport photographs. You will be lucky if PM News mentions Katakata Street, not to talk of one useless carpenter that lived there.”
“I don’t think any child has ever been conceived during the raining season in this compound” Talabi said. He may have been thinking aloud because he was startled when everyone stopped and looked in his direction.
“Eh what have I said that is wrong now? When it is raining and the weather is like this, normal people will get close to their men or women. But in this compound, if we are not bailing water, we are dodging from it landing on our heads. It is only when the sun is hot that it gets to happen here. I’m sure that is why all your children are hot headed.” Everyone turned to look at Akunna when Talabi finished. This was uncomfortable for him so he dropped his bowl and went into his room.
“Thank God the rain has stopped for now” Josiah said. At least we can go and rest.”
One by one neighbours retreated into their rooms or the common kitchen.
“My only consolation this week is that Man U have signed Lukaku” my cousin Mkpoikanna said. “We are surely winning the league”. His waist was sore from the pummeling he got in the hands of task force officials that raided the wharf yesterday. Having to bend to bail water when he should be nursing his wounds was taking its toll on him I could see. “Ndifreke” he said to me. “Get a real job my brother.”
“I will try”. I said.
Talabi started to say something about how Chelsea fans did not care if Man U signed Lukaku. But I lost interest the moment I saw Maya with a basin of clothes for washing balanced on her head and moving towards the backyard.
“I’m coming” I said, I need to check something at the backyard.
TO BE CONTINUED.
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|Re: Number 225 Katakata Street by rapsodi6(m): 10:39am On Jul 10, 2017|
I use God beg you, mention me 4d nxt update.... you just mke me dey laff lyk madman inside yellow/black (danfo)
|Re: Number 225 Katakata Street by Centino: 12:07pm On Jul 10, 2017|
|Re: Number 225 Katakata Street by ehmusshogun(m): 11:27am On Jul 11, 2017|
Achike is quite enlightened for sm1 that sells okrika at road side, I'm impressed with him , in fact with all these ppl as your neighbor, you'd hardly ve an uneventful day.
you'd certainly never be bored.
and eh thanks for the mention boss, nice writeup
|Re: Number 225 Katakata Street by Centino: 1:41pm On Jul 11, 2017|
Glad you like Achike. In my next update you'll see how he gets to be so enlightened.
|Re: Number 225 Katakata Street by ehmusshogun(m): 9:12pm On Jul 11, 2017|
Centino:can't wait for the next update
|Re: Number 225 Katakata Street by meneski(m): 2:09pm On Jul 14, 2017|
wasnt invited. But i invite my self...nice one...meneski sends his regards.
|Re: Number 225 Katakata Street by Centino: 1:42pm On Jul 15, 2017|
meneski:Apologies meneski. Front row invitation for you going forward.
|Re: Number 225 Katakata Street by meneski(m): 3:28pm On Jul 15, 2017|
Centino:thank you buh
|Re: Number 225 Katakata Street by Centino: 1:25pm On Jul 16, 2017|
I know you are eager to know what happened when I followed Maya to the backyard. I have to say that I am taking things easy with her. Maya has had a harrowing life. Raped and deflowered by her own father at a tender age, maniacally protected by her mother as a result, she is not the kind of girl you follow to the backyard and begin to lift up her skirt. It seems to me now that she may be ready for some fooling around, because one evening when they suddenly took light, she found me where I sat on the soakaway slab and searched out my eyes in the darkness and said “why have you not tried to touch me?” So far I have refrained from describing Maya’s bodily features in full because you may think I am exaggerating or carried away. But anyone who shows up at number 225 Katakata Street for the first time and sees Maya will believe Mr Cosmas’ cosmic assertions about circumstances of birth, because it would only take something fantastic for a being like Maya to turn up in this dump. Perverts for whom face-me-I-face-you was designed will happily fill out hell’s register and check in without thinking twice because of her. But I have earned her trust, and respect I hope. And it is equally important to prove to her mother that ‘Calabar’ people are not dogs. So I will leave Maya and the backyard thing for the time being.
I like Saturday mornings at number 225. The day starts at 5am with Sister Esther disturbing our early morning sleep with her amplified admonition to the whole street to repent, after which she would sneak back into her bed till about 8 o’clock when she would join the rest of us in front of Talabi’s shop.
Mr Zubi is always the first one out. He has recently taken up yoga, and takes immense satisfaction in remaining unshaken in his lotus position even when cars and motocycles splash mud over him in front of Talabi’s shop where he spreads a mat for his new hobby. “It is the discipline and serenity of soul yoga gives to you” he will say when quizzed about all the distractions, some of which were pure mischief. He of course does not utter a word while he practices. Everything requiring his attention waits until he is done. His wife has promised to one day come and pour hot water on his head while he sat in that “hausa position” any day he stepped out without leaving money on the table for their Saturday eggs. “He will soon get tired of it” She will say to everyone. “If he reads on the internet tomorrow that the Chinese have started eating naked on top of trees for enlightenment, he will get up from there and go and start that one.”
It is Suleiman, our newspaper vendor’s horn that brings the yoga practice or whatever the fad of the moment is to an end. Mr Zubi will straighten up, place his hands together at his heart, bow his head and utter ‘Namaste’. Then he will turn and look at one of his sons who will inevitably be waiting with a message from his wife and bellow “what do you want? Ewu Gambia”. Then he will grab a chair he had kept and collect the bunch of papers Suleiman would hand to him. One by one we will all gather around and explore the issues of the moment.
“The senate has summoned Fashola to come and explain his comments that ‘the lawmakers displayed stark and worrisome gaps in knowledge about the budget.” Mr Zubi said when he looked up from the first paper.
“What kind of Senate is this ehn? You don’t wear uniform, they summon you. You say something they don’t like, they summon you. If you fart at Eagle square sef, they will summon you.” Akunna said.
“We should send Alhaji Sirika to them. After all, he built this death trap and still wants rent for it.” Achike said.
“If you like don’t go and pay your rent” Akunna sneered.
“What else is hot Mr Zubi?” Achike will say quckly. He did not like the subject of his rent.
“The Acting President visited the President in London.”
“You see? Did I not tell you nobody is acting anything? The man is still giving instructions from his deathbed!”
“Shut up Achike. You do not speak of a sick person in that manner, not to talk of the President. Show some respect! The least you can do is to pray for him.” Akunna said.
“See this one! When you are sick where do you go to? Philemon’s chemist! But despite all our wealth our elite fly abroad even when their anus is itching them. Did you ever hear that Mandela was flown abroad? All the times he was sick he was treated at home. He died in a South African hospital.”
“Nnamdi Kanu addresses crowd” Mr Zubi announced next.
“You see what I was telling Alhaj?” Achike continued. “This man has committed treason and they won’t touch him. He is flouting court orders left right and centre and they are turning a blind eye. The Government is unsure of this whole Biafra thing. If not they would have grabbed the man again and locked him up and thrown away the keys. Me I don’t want war. I have a small land in Sango.”
Mrs Zubi had joined the gathering unnoticed. She spoke up when her husband said “Another Nollywood death?”
“Why won’t they die when they keep playing with fire? Today they are inside coffin, tomorrow they are tying red cloth around their waist and painting their eyes with chalk and chanting names of demons. They say it is acting but they don’t know that the devil does not know the spelling of Nollywood. Rather than go to look for one correct prophet that will wash their heads after playing such roles, they will be going from place to place mimicking Hollywood red carpet. Next day they fall down and die. When Funke Akindele did not miss one minute of the hallelujah challenge last month, the others thought she did not know what she was doing.”
“Sports please!” Josiah said.
“Chelsea sign Bakayoko from Monaco” Mr Zubi said, and held up the colourful centre spread.
“Another African player. The guy is too black.”
“He is not an African player. He is from France” Talabi said.
“He is from France just like I am from Japan” Josiah sneered.
“He is French-born and carries a French passport. What is your problem with African players?”
“They do juju. Very soon you will see that those that are competing with him for position in the team will start breaking their legs and in training they will be kicking the air instead of the ball until they find themselves permanently on the bench.”
“Then whose fault is it when they themselves get injured? This guy just had a knee surgery and may be missing the start of the season.”
Irikefe snuck up to me from behind and whispered in my ear “Bros Freke. Sister Esther is cooking for The Undertaker.”
“Shut up Irikefe. Sister Esther is here.” I looked around and did not find Sister Esther.
“Come” Irikefe said, and grabbed my hand.
TO BE CONTINUED.
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|Re: Number 225 Katakata Street by Centino: 2:11pm On Jul 16, 2017|
bizza45, ehmusshogun, rapsodi6, greeeneyes, tsharp, amiablejudy, meneski, Divenpen1 You're all invited
|Re: Number 225 Katakata Street by meneski(m): 4:43pm On Jul 16, 2017|
Centino:hmmmmm! Sister ester kwa!
|Re: Number 225 Katakata Street by bizza45: 8:06pm On Jul 16, 2017|
invited to where, besides where is d continuation of the story
|Re: Number 225 Katakata Street by ehmusshogun(m): 8:25pm On Jul 16, 2017|
lovely, do update again this might oh centino
|Re: Number 225 Katakata Street by Centino: 7:35am On Jul 17, 2017|
bizza45 pls scroll up updated thrice since you first came by.
|Re: Number 225 Katakata Street by Centino: 7:37am On Jul 17, 2017|
Weekly for the time being ehmusshogun. Demanding day job . Thanks for the interest man!
|Re: Number 225 Katakata Street by ehmusshogun(m): 8:02pm On Jul 17, 2017|
Centino:Aight boss, looking forward to the weekend.
|Re: Number 225 Katakata Street by Centino: 2:51pm On Jul 23, 2017|
SATURDAY MORNING (2)
I never saw the relationship between Sister Esther and Mr Kingsley in the light Irikefe constantly alluded to. Sister Esther who was interested in the destiny of our souls and payed so little attention to her appearance, it was sinful to even begin to imagine her in that way. The first time I saw both of them interact, it was a fierce quarrel they were having. Well, fierce from Sister Esther’s point of view. Mr Kingsley was cool as a cucumber, only punctuating Sister Esther’s rants with one quote or another. Irikefe said the quarrel was just lovers’ spat. “A girl slept in The Undertaker’s room the other night. Sister Esther knows because she is always watching his door.” On that occasion she had accused him of stepping on her clean clothes that fell from her hands as she was returning from the backyard airer. I heard her screaming “you wicked man! Idiot! Nebuchadnezzar!”
Mr Kingsley, seated on his room embankment said “If I am not out of my mind, it is alright with me. Saul Barrow 1915.”
“Mad man. Open your mouth and talk. Defend yourself let everybody hear you.”
“Silence alone is grand. All else is feebleness. Alfred de Vigny 1797.”
“Hypocrite. You stopped talking because you used your mother for money rituals but you have remained poor.”
Irikefe turned to me and said “If he does not start talking normally now, he will quote an African next.”
Mr Kingsley’s eyes suddenly reddened and became drawn. There was spittle bubbling from the corner of his mouth and his chest puffed out.
“Whenever things begin to go well in this world, the devil comes and puts a woman in your way, Robert Mugabe.”
And so it went on. Irikefe insisted Sister Esther was only in a fit of jealousy.
“But she is born again” I said.
“Leave that thing bros Freke. They are the worst. Give them a few days and she will be back cooking his meals.”
That is why when Sister Esther disappeared from the gathering this morning and Irikefe worked out her whereabouts, I could not help but tag along.
Each of the two floors of the compound has a common kitchen situated beside the toilets and bathrooms at the end of the corridor close to the backyard. It is one bare room tenants are given space to place cookers on top of individual cupboards to do their cooking. Walking down the corridor you are assaulted by the smell of stew and urine and soap in a giddying blend. Those who cannot digest food from this arrangement place their stoves on the corridor close to their doors to do their cooking. Mr. Kingsley and Sister Esther found a better way yet to make their food in a level of decency the rest of the compound envied. Since his room was the closest to the staircase, Mr. Kingsley one day cleared the rubbish from the space under and put his cupboard and stove there for his cooking. He protected this space for himself alone for a long time until one day we saw that sister Esther had squeezed her cupboard in there too and there were no borrowed words of resistance from Mr. Kingsley.
“So what now?” I said to Irikefe when he led me through the backyard to the side of the building from where we could peer under the staircase and follow the movements through the hollow bricks used there for aesthetics and to allow ventilation within the corridor.
“That is Mr Kingsley’s stove she is using. There is no way that food will not be landing on Mr. Kingsley’s table. And there is no way those two will not resume normal service tonight. It will be in sister Esther’s room in case another girlfriend of Mr. Kingsley’s turned up. I will be by their window monitoring things don’t worry. I will have something for you in the morning.”
“If you took your carpentry work this seriously Irikefe, you would have had your freedom by now. You would have even started your own business,” I said.
“Which nonsense carpentry business is that bros?” Leaning closer he said to me “Can I tell you something?”
“You know you can,” I said.
“Okay” he said and hesitated.
“I want to start doing Yahoo.”
“Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh Calm down bros. I have a target. If I don’t hit good money within a year, I will get an ugly oyibo woman to come down here and marry me. She will bring her dollars. When it finishes her family will be sending for us. With hard work I will be able to catch one, even if it is a Philipino.”
“That is the most stupid thing you have ever said Irikefe.”
“Bros Freke, that is what boys are doing now. See Ayeni at number 35. He has married and divorced three oyibo women already and he has never reached Seme border in his life. All he does is press his laptop from morning till night and they will be entering planes and landing in Katakata Street. He has bought the house they are living in now and has constructed a flat out of the rooms upstairs. Big boy.”
“You will get caught Irikefe.”
“Why haven’t they caught all the others? I may look stupid but I’m not. I will get by.”
“I think we should go back and join the rest. The papers are interesting today.”
“Tomorrow I will get my laptop. Someone is getting me a second hand one from Westminster. I will pay when I make my first hit.”
“When you pick your Dad’s pocket you mean?”
“Haba bros. I’ve stopped that one since na.”
“Good for you.”
“I will try and make a video of Sister Esther and The Undertaker tonight.”
“I hope they catch you and change the position of your nose with a frying pan.”
“No they won’t. They will be having too much fun to notice the recorder I will place inside their room before they go to bed.”
TO BE CONTINUED.
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|Re: Number 225 Katakata Street by empress101(f): 9:19pm On Jul 23, 2017|
Lolz.. interesting.. cnt wait for nxt update.. Welldone Op
|Re: Number 225 Katakata Street by Centino: 7:41am On Jul 24, 2017|
Thanks empress101. New update every sunday.
|Re: Number 225 Katakata Street by Centino: 4:50pm On Jul 25, 2017|
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