UNCLE BOSUN (Sammy’s Corner)

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You live in a widely one-room apartment with your spouse, Idunnu, and three kids. Judging from the  fashions you work, even with your anguished left leg, one will be right to undoubtedly conclude that you are the quintessence of industry, yet you are extremely poor.
At the mart, while others ‘unhaggledly’ purchase tripes, you settle for limbs; while they buy fresh ingredients for soup, you go for the decayed ones, and while they buy detergents to scrub their linen, you choose ‘Soda’. You personally love to go the market to buy the things your household need for survival. You abhor public embarrassment for your wife and children. You avail yourself at the abattoir to beg the butcher, on the sly, for fresh bones of meat because you cannot afford the real meat. You lie to him that you need the bones for your peckish dogs whereas you do not own one. He answers. He even gives you more than you demanded. You are grateful. You stroll downwards. You perceive something that quickly commands a full stop to your plodding. You have come across cowskins, popularly known as ‘Ponmo’ in Yoruba language, that are neatly soaked in bowl of water. You dart your gaze towards them in envy; you wish you had enough money to afford some for your last son who nurses a great predilection for ‘ponmo’. You approach the vendor to haggle the price placed on ‘ponmo’. She tells you how much one is sold. You heave a sigh of astonishment at the stated price. It is beyond the hundred naira you have last with you. You demostrate your index finger towards the smallest ones. She tells you that one is sold for two hundred and fifty naira. You still haggle it. She pitifully asks you to pay one hundred and fifty naira. Still unable to pay. You are ready to go. You have not gone too far when she calls on you. You swiftly run to her side, pick your choice of ‘ponmo’ and leave the venue.
 You arrive at home. You handle the ingredients to Idunnu. She opens the black sack. Your kids are terribly ravenous. Thus, Idunnu rushes to the kitchen to fill the pot with palatable stew. It is ready. You all, except your firstborn, assemble together at the dinning table. His absence gets you worried. You ask Idunnu if she knows his whereabouts. She says she has no clue. Your instinct directs you to the Patio. You excuse yourself from them, walk to the patio in the hope that you will see him there. Of course, you see him. He sobs as he hears your footsteps. You ask to know the motive behind his sudden sob. In a nutshell, he explains how his agemates have all gained admission to Universities while his case is entirely different; how those who are not even brilliant than he is have also made it in life but he is immune. His sob is about to sound so loud. You are alerted; you muffle the sound so it won’t disrupt the concentration your wife and children place on eating; you fear they may abruptly lose appetite for food.
  ‘All will be well, son,’ you assure him and clean his tear with the back of your palm.
He is reluctant to stop. You pause and look him for a while. Then, you send a friendly pat across his shoulder and expect him to chuckle. He does. He staggers along with you to the living room. He knows you will feel bad if he doesn’t eat. He wastes no time; he starts devouring his portion of meal. No one else even knows that he sobbed, for he has inherited your impassive mien. You’ve told him a thousand times to refrain from speaking pessimistic words. You do not want his younger ones to be hopeless. You tell them to believe in Christ, to pray and to be of good conduct.
A new day comes. You go out to struggle. You dislike to see a pang of hunger striking your family. You work harder than  the preceding day. You make the sum of two thousand naira. You buy two loaves of bread. You have instructed Idunnu to cook a half rubber of beans. You arrive at home. You all eat to the brim. It is the first time  your family would eat satisfactorily. You are happy.
Your firstborn asks to know the reason other people are wealthy whereas you are indigent. ‘Isn’t that an act of wickedness made by God?’ he complains.
You tell him to shut up. He respectfully does. Then, you biblically preach to him. They attend church, fast and pray. They do not keep bad company.
 Many months pass. You inform Idunnu that you have a place to go. She prays to God to bless and guide your steps. You hug her. Your kids are still in bed.
 You go straight to Baba Adisa who knows the gods of thunder and the gods of iron. You meet him around. He asks you to sit on the ground at his shrine. You explains your plight to him. Your words touch him so deeply. ‘How may I help you?’ he asks. You say you have come to get involved in money ritual. He laughs spasmodically, sips some alcohol from his gourd and spits it on the sculptor on whose head palm oil and salt are sprinkled. His laughter scares you.
  ‘It is done!’ he assures you.
He mumbles some words into your ear; he wishes to know whom you love unconditionally among your kids. You mention Tolu, your last born. He gives you a ring and asks you to wear into your index finger to rub Tolu’s body. You have the scary ring. You stand on your feet to go home and do as you were instructed. You tap the door to your room. No one answers. Only Tolu is around. He is asleep on the couch because he has been ill for days now. You begin to rub his body, feigning to examine the temperature.
You return to Baba Adisa. He congratulates you, saying you are into wealth. He advises you to stay away from your family. He says if you ever set your eyes on your last born, you will die. You agonise. You almost slap Baba Adisa for not telling you this in the first place. You did the money ritual because of your wife and children but now he asks you to desert. You weep.
You become rich. You desert from your kids and wife. You erect a mansion in a far distance where you think that there will never be a sight of you by your family. You get married to a new wife. You start to enjoy.
Tolu’s illness escalates. He groans. Idunnu and her other two children run to him. They have not even touch him when he suddenly shudders and falls from the cushion and starts to form white liquid from his mouth. He is Epileptic. Such a condition is deadly. It seizes Idunnu’s peace. Many months walk past, yet Tolu’s illness remains catastrophic. They search every nook and cranny to find you. They want to apprise you about your son’s nausea, about how things have been difficult since your desertion. You are invisible. All your friends neither help the matter; they say they do not see you. Idunnu visits a friend of hers who takes her to a man of God for prayer. The prayer warrior asks Idunnu to kneel down. She does. They pray. The pastor sees a vision. He narrates everything to Idunnu who is skeptical. Sensing the gravity of her skeptic, he gives her a stick of candle to put under her pillow at night in bed. Idunnu collects it. She does as she was instructed. In her sleep, she sees you enjoying your life somewhere, she sees how you are counting wads of cash and how you bring different ladies to a gigantic hotel, lavishing money on them. She fearfully rushes to see the pastor to give her the feedback. The pastor asks if she knows mansion’s address as seen in the dream. She gives a resounding yes. He tells her to visit the mansion with Tolu. They hide near the gate of your mansion. Baba Adisa also senses something. He quickly calls you to vacate the mansion for a while. You hurry to your room to pick some cloths. You tell your new wife and only son to step into the car with you. They do. You are about to ignite the engine when you come face to face with Tolu. Something shakes in your body. Tolu’s epilepsy leaves his life and shadows yours. You come out of the car, collapse and die.

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