It was a dark chilly harmatan night. Tarbo awoken from sleep by desperate demands rushed out of his house to ease himself in a nearby bush. This sort of routine exercise always made him lament the absence of a toilet in his compound. He had rented the apartment after leaving the house of an elder cousin he had been staying with. That apartment had a toilet and that was something. He had also been able to eat twice a day at least thrice a week. That again was another thing. At the moment those were not the issues to which Tarbo’s thoughts went.

His great uncle, with whom he had grown, never tired of giving his household several gems of wisdom. He would say that anyone who married the wrong (or a lazy) wife or had such children would end up dying at his door while knocking, before the sluggards could muster energy enough to turn the knob. He would end with, “This country is a very dangerous place. The rising number of stray bullets and ‘accidental discharge’ of trigger happy police officers do not help issues or offer any consolation.”

Tarbo had no wife and by extension, no children. So there was no way that sort of thing would happen to him. He looked in the direction of his room noting the stark darkness. The Power Holding Company of the nation was being just that, stingy and holding on to their light. It was one of those usual black outs. He sighed.

The atmosphere became tense suddenly as sounds of running feet became audible. He saw the dust first then a man in full flight. The sight was arresting and Tarbo focused for some seconds forgetting the action he was undertaking. Two others followed the fleeing man in quick succession and two minutes later, the police. Tarbo was shocked to see them. They were always at least thirty minutes behind. Obviously the Inspector General’s reforms were already paying off. If only the Power Company could catch up with reforms too. As if on cue a powerful ray of light caught him in the face. It was at that precise moment that he knew the danger he was in. The unfortunate lump that left his buttocks never made it to the ground as the frightened Tarbo put on his trousers. He had never been that scared in his life. Sweat immediately materialized as he raised his hands to the skies in surrender. He stood up and began to walk forward in the direction of the light. Two police officers ran in his direction. A million thoughts flashed through Tarbo’s mind as he froze – not so much to the cold that tore at his skin to which he was presently oblivious, but fear.

“Stand there!!” the first uniformed officer ordered, approaching him.

Na one of them!” The other still a distance back shouted.

Tarbo opened his mouth in denial but discovered that he recognised the voice. He shaded his eyes with his hands and looked properly:

Orvesen, ka mo! It’s me o! Thank God you are the one” Tarbo said, a smile to his lips as he relaxed his nerves. When one was meant to be lucky, it always went lucky for that person. It was one of his tribesmen. What luck! He was… KPOAAAAA!!! A close barrel rang as Tarbo collapsed to the recently manured ground.

“What?!” The first officer, new to the force asked in disbelief, “Wetin you do so?”

“Abeg, make we de go. Reave that one! We never kill all the thief finish.”[1] The shooter called out in a heavily accented voice. The other shocked man persisted:

“But he bin talk to you for una[2] language-”

“Abeg, make we go!”

They jogged away, a kinsman’s bullet leaving Tarbo in his excrement. The strong willed young man waited a bit, gathered all his strength and shouted:

“Help me!”

Neighbors who looked on from slightly parted curtains turned to the first two passers-by in the Samaritan story. Slowly, guilt ridden hands turned faces away. For Tarbo the energy expended was too much and quite soon, stark darkness took over.

[1] Let’s go. Leave that one! We haven’t finished killing all the thieves.

[2] Your

16 thoughts on “Cold” by Sueddie Agema (@sueddie)

  1. chineke mme,tribesman did what?
    OMG,that was unbelievable.
    Good one,suddie

  2. Damn!
    But at the same time, typical of Naija police.
    Good one.

  3. Typical case of fish eating fish…..

    This is good, and I liked the dialogue of the offending policeman.

    Well done!!!

  4. Eeya! Police work now is ‘point and kill’… Nice one Sueddie

    1. Lmao! Tee, ‘point and kill’ indeed.

  5. What a tragedy. An instructive story! Keep it up, Agema.

    1. How sordid! just when he thought he was vindicated, he became more vulnerable to the men in black uniforms! I refer to them as: ” the dawdling stenching refuse dumps along every street’s vague corners with wooden-steel rifles producing most of our wretched spending notes!”

  6. @tee point and kill indeed, i actually skipped a breathing beat when the guy was shot, too bad…very good story its and 9ner here

  7. tribesmen indeed- we as a people must strive to de-emphasize tribe in our assignment, else we will continue to wallow in the mischief that wears the cloak of region/tribe and ethnicity.

  8. wow!You did quite well with this story Agema! to the extent every comment isn’t refering to a mistake or a typo but to the every story, its content and the! i am loving your writing. your number 1 fan here.

  9. This is good stuff. Nice story.

  10. Sueddie,
    It is becoming obvious you like action, fast-paced ones. This is good too, a tragedy that gets into the skin. But i think you should take more time on tenses and sentence construction. The POV was well-defined and sustained in this and the plot was plain to see. Message well-delivered.
    Good piece.

  11. I certainly didn’t envision this ending! Nice one Agema…just goes to show that all that tribalistic sentiment is crap most of the time! Poor chap! and to think no one was charitable enough to help him do people do that? turn their backs on someone who really needs them? na wa! may we deliver when we are equally tested…great writing…keep em coming!

  12. Really touched by all the comments. Thank you, thanks and wow…thanks for all the words. A lil stinging in some areas but over all, highly uplifting. This is really the kind of comments to look at at 04:35 in the morning. :) Thanks.

  13. I came here and found it touching that I have been here over two a year…Wow! Time does fly. Thanks once more to all them who put words to welcome the COLD story…

  14. Typical nigerian police

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