Yemisi, Tara and Temi Dolapo kicked the dust off the road as
they walked back home from school. The sun was too hot and they sweated badly,
their uniforms clung to their skin and their hair itched.
The three girls were regarded as triplets by many who didn’t
really know them. They were born on the same year, different birth months and from
different mothers, the three girls were like night, day and eclipse.
They came
from a largely extended household, Tara and Temi were step-sisters while Yemisi was
their cousin. The Dolapo’s had a large family compound in the heart of Surulere
which housed everyone with the last name, Dolapo. The three girls were quite
inseparable due to their age bracket and since they attended the same school,
they were closer to one another than every other person in their dramatic household.
Yemisi’s mother was a teacher, strong and disciplinary, she
never condoned nonsense, not even from her only daughter Yemisi whom she gave
everything.
Temi’s mother was a greedy and selfish woman who transferred
her trait to her six children.
 Tara was the most unfortunate;
she shared the same father with Temi but not the same mother as
her mother had vanished into thin air after giving birth to her, thus leaving
her in the care of a not-so-nice step-mother.
 The three girls are
sixteen, dark skinned and in their senior year at the St. Clarence school for
girls. It was a Monday afternoon and they were headed home from school;
“I feel so hot!” Said Yemisi, fanning herself with her hands.
“Hot? Are you just realizing that we aren’t too far away
from the equator?” Tara answered.
“Abeg book worm, stop rubbing it in our faces that you know
too much.” Sighed Temi, gazing at her step-sister in disgust.
Amongst the three, Temi and Tara were more of rivals than
sisters, it was common knowledge that Tara was the most brilliant of the three
and was the favourite of her father.
“Please…spare us the lecture Tara tangerine, I have received
in full measure, Mr. Ozuboko’s lecture on Hypothesis, I am not ready to give
learning a try just yet.” Murmured Yemisi using Tara’s nickname which she knew
Tara loathed so much.
Even though Yemisi’s mother was a teacher who pushed her
children so hard to be better than every other child in the Dolapo’s compound,
it was no secret that Yemisi was the dullest of the three, if not all the
Dolapos. With a lovely slim figure and long slender legs, she was the tallest of the
three.
“You can say that again. Please remind me to sleep during
biology classes, the lectures are so boring… and Mrs. Sade makes it worse with
those insects she places on the stand for experiment. May God deliver me from
biology.” Said Temi scratching her head and looking at the mangoes on display
at the roadside vendor’s.
Temi was the worst behaved of the three, she wasn’t as tall as
Yemi or Tara, she stood a little above five foot two but despite the fact that
she neither equaled her sisters in anything worthy of noting, she was the most
beautiful of them all. Where Tara made up with her brains, Temi scored with
her beauty. One of Temi’s irrepressible traits was her greed. she licked her lips as she stared at the mangoes but unfortunately, she had no money left on her. They had just entered the street next to theirs when Tara spoke.
“Yemisi, I was wondering if I could use your computer for research as soon as we get home.” 
Yemisi shrugged and replied.
“It’s okay but you have to come over at seven pm this
evening, mummy goes for Monday church service at six thirty and I don’t want her
finding out that you use our computer.”
“Okay…no problem, thanks.” Said Tara clearly grateful.
In the quest to make her children the most brilliant kids in
the Dolapo’s household, Yemisi’s mother provided her children with their
basic needs. While other mothers were buying Asoebis with gele and slippers to
match, her mother saved up her income and made sure her children
never lacked. Seeing the very brainy Tara in their house will spark up her mother’s
temper and Yemisi would definitely end up with strokes of the cane. Despite the
fact that the Dolapo’s were closely related, there was this silent competition
going on within the household.
They were four blocks away from their home when they
heard a whistle.
“Did you hear that?” Asked Yemisi.
“Hear what?” Answered Tara.
“Someone whistled.” Yemisi said.
“Hmmm…who doesn’t whistle, what’s the big deal?” Said Tara.
The whistle sounded again and Yemisi stopped walking and
turned to stare around.
“Where is that sound coming from?” Yemisi asked again.
“Excuse me guys, I have to drop off the maths book I borrowed
from Olisa…” Said Temi starting to dash off.
“I’m coming with you, mummy doesn’t like it when I come
home without you.” Said Tara.
“Abeg joor…are you my body guard? Let me be! Tell my mother
that I had something pressing to do, she will understand.” Temi said.
“Are we fighting? Why are you so aggressive?” Tara demanded.
“Who says we are fighting… Yemisi, tell Tara to mind herself
oo.” Temi warned.
“Look, I understand Tara, you know how your mother can be…
she wouldn’t mind telling Tara to go look for you. Its better you both go
together, as for me I am off.” Yemisi said and walked away from them.
The whistle sounded louder again and Tara’s ears caught the
sound, looking around and not seeing anyone, she faced her sister.
“That whistle is for you right?” Tara asked suspiciously.
“What do you care?” Temi answered.
“I’ll tell mummy about this!”
“Whose words do you think she’ll believe, yours or mine?”
“Let’s go home now!”
“Are you deaf? I said I am retuning Olisa’s book to him,
haba!
As though on cue, Olisa emerged from the next street with a
two young teenage boys.
“Oh…there is Olisa…” Said Tara.
Temi knew her lie wasn’t working so she begged.
“Please Tara, I… I…err…I.”
“What! Why are you begging? You said you wanted to return
Olisa’s book…why are you acting up all of a sudden. He is here already, lets go
and meet him.” Said Tara.
“Okay… I lied, I’ll tell you the truth…the truth is, I hang
out with Jolie and she…”
“Jolie? Did you just say Jolie? She is the notorious woman
in our area whose reputation is to steal people’s husbands, are you a learner?”
“Who said she stole their husbands? That’s not what she told
me.” Temi said quietly.
“Let’s go home now!” Tara demanded.
“Please…I beg you… I have to go there, it’s urgent…”
The whistle sounded again, this time it was longer.
“No way!” Tara said, stamping her foot.
“I beg you with all my heart… if I don’t go, I might die of
a heart attack, I will be back soon. Just tell mummy that I went to Olisa’s
house to return his text books… I beg of you.”
“What is going on Temi, are you in some kind of trouble?” Tara
asked concerned over her sister’s desperate pleas.
“I’ll tell you when I return, I promise.” Temi said and
dashed off.
Tara expelled a deep breath and prepared to face her step-mother.

****
Oni Dolapo carefully fanned out the smoke from his room with
his hands. The knock resounded again and he cleared his throat hastily and
quickly popped the Tom Tom sweet into his mouth. Opening his door wide and smiling as
innocent as a lamb, he greeted his grandmother.
“Granny grans good evening.” He said as he bowed low.
Granny grans was the nickname given to the eldest woman in the Dolapo’s household by her grandchildren.
Staring at her wayward grandson and stepping into his room, she murmured.
“Hmmm…”
“Err…granny grans, hope there is no problem?” Oni asked
stiffly.
“Hmmm….” His grandmother grunted again and kept sniffing
around.
“What is it now?” Oni whined.
“Don’t you talk to me like that? Disrespectful young man, do
you think I’ll pamper you the way I did your father? Where did that take him? The
London prison!” His grandmother scoffed.
“What does that have to do with me Granny grans, this is the
new generation. Pampering kids is the norm besides; I have run out of cash, I was
about to come to you for some doe.” Oni said picking his nose.
His grandmother kept sniffing loudly but unfortunately
didn’t pick up any smell, she had been diagnosed with a nose infection at the
age sixty-five and since then, she had lost eighty percent of her sense of
smell.
“Oni Dolapo, I hope you aren’t doing bad things. Remember
that what an elder sees from the ground, a young man cannot see from the
tallest iroko tree.” She cautioned.
“Ah…Ah granny grans…check me out, haba! I’m a big boy ooo,
nineteen no be child’s play at all.” Oni said, stretching his arm wide and
doing a three sixty degree turn.
“It was at nineteen that your father had his first accident
with your grandfather’s Peugeot car.”
“No dulling mama… I’m cool… no shakes.” Oni smiled, touching
his small beard and scratching his hair.
“You better barb that hair quick or you risk infesting the house with lice.” His grandmother warned pointing at his plaited hair.
“It’s the latest trend Granny grans… you should see worse hair styles on the internet, I settled for the most appropriate. I didn’t want you having a heart attack before your time.”
His grandmother shrugged and turned to the door of his room but Oni
stopped her with his whines.
“Granny grans… I need money ooo.”
“Your father has not sent any money since he landed in Yanki
prison. Am I a money manufacturer?”
“Ah…ah… granny grans, you have sons and daughters around.
What of auntie Bukky and Uncle Olamide, they are very wealthy… ask them ehn,
for my sake.” He pleaded.
“You know they don’t like the fact that I still give you
money especially when they are trying hard to release your dad from jail.”
Oni feigned a long cough and rolled his eyes dramatically,
this caught granny grans attention and she was immediately at his beck and
call.
“Oni…Oni what is wrong? Are you alright?”
“It’s nothing Granny grans…I have been feeling so sick this
past few days… my throat is dry and my chest is hot.”
“Ahh…I’ll call your Uncle Ade to take a quick look at you.”
His grandmother proffered.
Uncle Ade was the only one of granny grans three sons who lived separately from the rest of the family. Uncle Ade read Oni like a book
and in a moments glance, he would quickly tell his bluff.
“Granny grans…please…not Uncle Ade. You see, this cough
thing only happens to me whenever I am broke…”
“Okay… you win, I’ll give you the money you need but you
still need a check-up. You are the only surviving child of your father and I do
not want anything to happen to you. And please cut that hair.” Granny grans said in concern.
Oni knew he had tricked her again, his father was the last
child of his grandmother and she had spoilt him silly. Having tried marriage
four times and still counting, Oni was the only surviving child of any of his
father’s marriages and his grandmother strove hard to keep him alive and well.
The Dolapo’s compound has three buildings; one bungalow at
the front of the compound, a block of four flats at the middle and boys
quarters at the back of the house. The whole house was occupied. Granny, Oni,
Aunty Felicia and some scattering of cousins, lost but found nephews and nieces
and househelps occupied the bungalow at the front. Aunty Felicia was Oni’s
father’s immediate elder sister, she held a big position in the bank and after
her first marriage to the love of her life which ended in a ghastly accident involving
herself and her husband which ended her husband’s life, she refused to remarry.
Oni completely dreaded her, because she contributed to his education and always
wanted to know how much time he spent reading for his A levels. Oni had graduated from
secondary school a long time ago and it was his father’s wish that he studies
abroad.
 The four flats at the
middle of the compound were occupied by the two sons and two daughters of the
Dolapo household. The front upstairs flat housed the first son, Temi and Tara’s
father alongside his wife and five children. The downstairs front flat housed Yemisi’s
father and his family of four including his wife. The back flat upstairs was
taken by Aunty Bukky, granny grans first daughter who hardly ever lived in the
apartment with her family as they were never in the country. The downstairs back
flat was occupied by the second daughter, Aunty Mo who had long separated from
her husband and managed her already broken life with her four rough teenage sons.
The boys’ quarters had only two compartments and they were both taken by
relations of the family.
As soon as granny grans had closed the door to Oni’s room,
he released a sigh of relief and ran to the side of his bed where he had stashed
his half burnt marijuana. He placed it on his lips, and inhaled deeply. Picking
up his phone, he dialed his girlfriend’s number.
“Hello babe.” He sighed into the receiver.
“Don’t babe me joor… where is the money I asked you for?”
She sulked.
“Pamela baby, chill…”
“If you are not ready to give me the money, let’s end this
relationship and move on.”
“Noooo… don’t do that to me, I love you…”
“Stop talking crap! You are wasting my battery, I am the only
one amongst my friends who doesn’t have a blackberry phone. Spare your bullshit
for the dogs.” Pamela spat.
“Okay…okay, stop nagging darling, I have been able to
convince my granny grans to let out some money from the trust fund my dad set
up for me.”
“Hmm this granny of yours is mean ooo…with all your fathers
millions, she still dey pose for you. Why don’t you call your dad and inform
him about her stingy ways towards you?” Pamela adviced.
“My dad is a billionaire, he doesn’t care about all that
shit, he is too busy taking care of his Swiss accounts to be bothered about all
this.”
“Na wah oo… but you are his only child, he should move you
over there.”
“Let’s leave that topic jor. If I move over to London, I’ll
not see you in a long while and it’ll break my heart.”
“Forget that abeg… we will Skpe. Atleast I’ll brag like Titi
who boasts of her boyfriend in Malaysia.”
“Drop the subject love, let’s talk about more important
things.” Oni said into the receiver.
“That’s not an option boo, get me the blackberry and we’ll
pick up our chat from there.” Pamela said and hung up.
Oni was angry, he threw his phone to the wall and watched it
smash and fall to the ground, ‘why wasn’t he lucky with love?’
****
Yemisi had just dragged out the trash bin towards the next
street, it was illegal to throw out trash in the canal but who cared? She had
missed throwing out the trash on Saturday when the refuge van visited
their street, now the trash was so smelly and their family members were
complaining. She had just thrown the heap of garbage into the canal and was
heading back to the house when she saw a red sports car stop at the street junction
and Temi alight from the vehicle. Shock and surprise weren’t words to describe her
reaction. Temi was still in her uniform and held her bag firmly in her hands
while waving to the occupants in the car and walking away. Yemisi practically
ran up to her and whispered.
“Temi! Where are you coming from?”
“Oh my God! You scared me.” Temi answered.
“Who does that car belong to? Why are you still in your
uniform?”
“I went to Olisa’s house to drop off his book and his mother’s
friend decided to drop me off.”
“Oh..okay… wow! I was scared oo, for a while I couldn’t place
my finger on what was going on.”
“Where are you coming from?”Temi asked.
“My dear, we missed the garbage van again oo…”
“Its not good to throw garbage into the canals, when the
heavy rains come, where will the waters go?” Temi asked.
“Abeg joor… spare me the talk, I will work hard in catching
up with the van next time.”
“Your mother will not like this oo..” Temi warned.
“Well…she doesn’t have to know…”
They both walked into their street and headed to their home
when a phone rang, it was coming from Temi’s bag.
“A phone? Where did you get that from?” Yemisi inquired wide
eyes.
Temi opened her bag and struggled to bring out the phone and
in the process, a pack of condom fell out. Yemisi screamed in shock! 

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