It was a Saturday morning and such mornings saw the Dolapos
engaged in a long family meeting. It was customary in the household that on
Saturdays, everyone was to gather around the big compound in silent prayers and
meditation after which words of advice were passed on. Words of wisdom knew no
exception except for granny grans who remained the eldest in the household.
She
spoke words of advice to her sons, daughters and in-laws who inturn spoke to their
children. The Saturday gathering had been tagged ‘the town meeting’ by all the
grandchildren as they longed to have their beauty sleeps on their beds rather
of running outside to sit and wait for a long boring meeting.
However, this Saturday was different, the rains started at
six am and didn’t stop till two pm, enabling the whole family to breathe a sigh
of relief and sleep to their hearts content. It was at twelve noon that the rains
reduced to drizzles, it was at that time that they all remembered either to buy
bread for breakfast or patronize the akara sellers around their area.

Yemisi didn’t like the food they were having for breakfast,
it was boiled yam and eggs and she hated eggs, angry that she couldn’t get the
kind of breakfast she wanted, she quietly slipped out a hundred naira note from
her father’s pocket and rushing off to pick up her umbrella, she left the
house, assuring herself that her father wouldn’t notice his missing money.

Tara on the other hand had been cleaning the house since
eight am while her brothers and sisters slept fitfully and soundly, she was
used to the uneven treatment she received from her step mother and accepted her
fate in good spirits. She had just finished washing the plates at the sink when
her step-mother called.
“Ma.” She answered.
“Have you finished the whole chores?”
“Yes I have…” Tara replied.
“Do you know what? I forgot that I had to make Zobo drink
for Madam Ngozika’s new shop opening today, she even included that I fry buns
for her but I refused… thank God for the foresight. Now, I’m in a fix, I have
soaked the Zobo but haven’t made it yet. I hope you remember how I made the
drink last time because you will make it today and send it to her.” Her step
mother said.
“But mom, you know I can’t, the lesson teacher daddy hired
for us will be here at one pm and I won’t be able to make it.” Tara whined.
“So who’s going to make it? Me? You are such an ungrateful
child Tara. Do you know how hard I work at the shop? Yet I still have time to
make dishes including lunch for you and your siblings for school.”
Tara wasn’t novice to her step-mother’s trick; she said such
comments every time Tara came up with excuses to avoid extra chores.
“But Mummy…what of Temi, she hasn’t done anything today and
…”
“What’s your business with Temi? She isn’t feeling too well,
or don’t you know that? You are such an uncaring sister… you don’t love your
siblings at all.” Her step-mom accused.
“Why would you say that… mommy? You guys are the only family
I have.” Tara said, tears falling down her cheeks.
“Well… I was just saying. I never meant it, it’s just that
sometimes, you make your siblings look unserious especially in your father’s
sight. What if you said these things infront of your dad? He’ll take a cane to
Temi’s back fast… I want you to know that, you have been highly favoured to
live in this household. Everyone envies you, yet here you are, taking our
kindness for granted. You will make the Zobo and if you want to attend lesson,
you better do it quick or else, no lesson till next week Saturday.”
Tara nodded, defeated. It was always a battle of wills
between her and her step-mother and she always lost. Shrugging, she turned back
to walk into the kitchen when her step-mother’s voice stopped her.
“My dear, don’t forget to go to the market and buy
pineapples for the Zobo. Take the one thousand naira on top of the fridge and
be quick. I hope you have planned what you are having for breakfast; there is
ogi in the fridge. Remember that your dad returns from his trip tonight, buy
fresh Pomo at the market, I want to cook his favourite soup.”
Tara nodded again and walked into the kitchen, she felt tired
and bitter all of a sudden. She had really prepared herself for the private
lessons at one pm and couldn’t afford to miss it. She didn’t fully understand
the ‘Pythagoras’s theory’ and this was her only chance of ever understanding it
especially since the lesson teacher had said he would move to other topics from
next week as they are far behind.
She took the money and rushed out of the house with an
umbrella, desperate to beat time.
****
Image source: gleamagazine.com

Godwin stared at his food in disgust, his eyes narrowed as
he watched his brothers gulp up the morsel before them.
“You guys can dull me sha…” Godwin grunted.
“Why do you say that? What did we do?” Asked Jerry, still
swallowing a morsel of eba with cold soup.
“Is this food appropriate for breakfast?” Godwin asked.
“What do you think?” Asked Larry, another of his four
brothers.
“This food is crap mehn….why must we live in poverty when we
have riches all around us.” Godwin said.
“Omo dis guy no dey joke ooo…wia de riches na?” Asked Jerry.
“Look… it’s not fair; we are being treated like nutcases. Is
it because our father divorced our mother and we were forced to come here and
live in her family’s house. If you ask me, we were doing better in our dad’s
place than here.” Godwin said.
His two brothers stared at him in confusion, their eldest,
Yomi, was not in the house with them, he has been missing for one year and no
one cared. The boys were Aunty Mo’s sons, she had divorced her husband two
years ago and had moved into her family household alongside her children. Their
names are Yomi, who is the eldest, Godwin the second child While Jerry and
Larry are the last sons. Since the divorce, it was as though the chains of
marriage had been unshackled from their mother’s feet and the song of freedom,
poured on her lips. For Aunty Mo, as soon as she dropped her wedding ring into
the faucet, she made up her mind, to enjoy life to the fullest and didn’t care
who got hurt in the process.
“But Dad’s place was worse, have you forgotten the way he
used to beat mom up?” Larry his twelve year old twin brother replied.
“So what? Is that enough to have us live here and hardly see
her? She hardly keeps pocket money for us, let alone cook or take care of our
needs. Where is she now? Can you answer that question? Please, spare me that
bull shit…”
His twin brothers stared at him incredulously, Larry later
refocused his gaze on his plate and rapidly licked the plate with his fingers.
“I’m still hungry…” Larry said, rubbing his stomach.
“I know you are, it was the left over eba of last night that
I warmed up for breakfast…” Said Jerry.
“Do you see how fast we are turning into beggars? Last week,
it was Yemisi’s mother that gave us food…” Godwin started.
“I remember, it was yummy…” Larry said, smacking his lips.
“Abeg spare me that bullshit…that was the left over
spaghetti she would have thrown to the dogs if she had any.” Spat Godwin.
“What do you say we do?” Jerry asked inquisitively.
“This is when we strike….our so called mother doesn’t care
about us, granny grans is more interested in her other grandkids, so it’s time
to call a spade a spade.” Said Godwin smirking.
“What do we do?” Jerry asked again.
“We will be exactly like Robin Hood; we will still from the
rich to save ourselves from the imminent hunger which will ravage us if we do
nothing to stop it.”
“Wait-a-minute that is theft. Mummy says thieves will go to
hell.” Said Larry.
“What is she? A saint? How well has she lived up to her
motherly role. One divorce has sent her down the freedom zone. Spare me that
rubbish jor.” Godwin snorted.
“But we don’t have to steal, this is our family house and
mummy said and I quote; ‘whenever you are hungry, remember that this is your
family house, go to the nearest door and knock, help will be rendered.’ That’s
what she says.” Said Jerry.
“Goddammit! I am tired of living like a pauper, can’t you
understand?” Shouted Godwin stamping his foot. “I want to own the latest things
like my friends, everyone has a phone nowadays and I don’t even have one.
During break time at school, I don’t have money for snacks… I can’t live this
life anymore, I can’t.” Godwin said trying hard to hold back the tears.
During the stages of Aunty Mo’s divorce, Godwin had been the
most affected, he couldn’t sleep for days and he had never gotten over it
either.
“Okay… we will do what you say, but I just hope it’s not
dangerous.” Jerry said quietly.
“No… it’s harmless…first of all, we start stealing from our
classmates bag at school, then we sneak into our friends homes and steal, even
from our household as well. I know that Tara’s father keeps huge sums of money
at home due to the nature of his business.” Said Godwin.
“Let’s get started.” Said Larry, excited. “We will use the
money to buy the latest play stations and chocolates.”
“Yes but first of all, we must make a pact.” Said Godwin.
“What’s a pact?” Jerry asked.
“It’s a promise… we should let anyone into our secret, it
would live and die with us..”
“What? Die? I don’t want to die ooo…” Said Larry, wide eyed.
“You won’t…just promise not to tell anyone. We will give
ourselves a name…something easy and quick.” Said Godwin, happy that his plan
was coming to fruitfulness.
“Well…what of Robocop…that’s a cool name.” Said Jerry.
“No…Superheroes…that’s a better option.” Shouted Larry in
excitement.
“Let’s go with the name; ‘the Dirty Boys.com’…that’s
better.” Said Godwin.
“The what? I don’t want to be a dirty boy.” Said Larry,
frowning slightly.
“It’s a slogan, I made it up with a dot com so that no one
would ever know it’s us. And it’s cooler because we know we are the dirty
boys…” Godwin said smiling.
His two brothers stared at him as though he had lost his
mind.
****

Tara’s market bag was filled with the food stuff she had
bought from the market, she was close to the gate when she saw her cousin Oni,
exchanging a parcel with a girl.
“Hi…” She greeted as she walked up to meet them.
“Oh…hello” Said Oni offhandedly as he resumed speaking to
the girl.
“Hello I’m Tara.” Tara introduced herself to the girl Oni
spoke with.
“Hey, I’m Pamela.” The girl replied.
Will you buzz off, you little freak?” Shouted Oni.
“Why? I was just saying hello.” Tara grew defensive.
“I’m sorry honey, she’s just the help.” Said Oni faking a
British accent.
“Me? A help? Are you mad?” Shouted Tara, dropping her market
bag and placing her hands on her hips.
“Did you just call me mad?” Asked Oni in pure anger. “Look
at this charity case, are you sure you are Uncle Olamide’s true child or a
bastard?”
Tara stared at her cousin in anger and hurt, she couldn’t
believe he was saying such things to her. Oni had never been the nicest cousin
but somehow, they weren’t enemies either. She couldn’t understand the source of
his resentment. She angrily rushed at him and threw blows at his face but her
strength was no match for Oni’s as he pushed her into the gutter. As Tara
struggled to dodge the gutter at her side, she rammed into an unsuspecting
Pamela who also fell into the gutter with her neatly wrapped parcel.
“My blackberry phone!” screamed Pamela as she rushed to save
her parcel.
It was too late, the black gutter water had soaked into the
parcel and found its way to the electronic device within, till it disappeared
into the blackness beneath.
Their screams drew unwanted attention from the house and soon
enough, Aunty Felicia arrived at the scene.
“What is the meaning of this? Why can’t you kids give
someone a moments peace.” Shouted a very gruntled Aunty Felicia who had just
been dragged out of her yoga exercise by their noise.
“My blackberry phone!” Cried Pamela as she kept groping
around the gutter for her parcel.
Tara had helped herself out of the gutter and was staring at
her aunty solemnly.
“What phone?” Asked an angrier granny grans who had emerged
from the compound and was starring at her grandchildren and Pamela.
“The Blackberry phone my boyfriend bought for me…” Cried
Pamela hysterically.
“What boyfriend?” Aunty Felicia asked.
Oni darted his eyes away and mumbled a quick prayer. Pamela
pointed at Oni and spoke.
“My boyfriend Oni.”
“Which Oni?” asked Granny grans.
“Oni…Dolapo…” Said Pamela, making matters worse.
“Tara go inside and clean up quick…” Said Granny grans who
hated to reprimand an older child in the presence of a younger one.
Tara picked up her market bag and ran inside. Aunty Felicia
shook her head in dismay, granny grans stared at her grandson, a tired look
crossed her features.
“So, after all that has happened to your father, you never
learned. Women have been his doom from the beginning and despite the fact that
it was cocaine business that landed him in prison, it was a woman who pushed
him into it. I thought I lectured you on this topic a thousand times over.”
Sighed his grandmother.
“Prison? Your father is in prison?” Pamela asked in pure
disbelief.
They ignored her questions while Oni kept looking at his
feet silently, praying that the ground would open up and swallow him.
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Adaeze loves to travel, write and sleep.

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