I woke to the complaint of a loud old generator, to a devilish long tongued heat, to the funny harmony of mosquitoes, to the killing pang of hunger and I knew I was done for.
Why did I wake again? Why did I not just pass from sleep to death and from death to the grave and from grave to God, to whom my complaint would go blaring siren and using the loudest honks to deliver the message of my woe, my pain, and my anger at what this world was.
At least, it would take me far away from my wife’s incessant complaints and nagging, from the sharp, tiny, painful cry of my darling little three day old baby and would make me face heaven.
But I’m sure none of them woke me, I’m sure it was the noise of angry Mathew, my neighbour and his heavy knock on my door. I should have expected the knock, but I had thought otherwise.
‘ Yes… Who’s there?’
‘ It’s the police’, a rough, cold voice shouted from outside.
Oh blood of zechariah! This idiot had gone to call police over the small issue that ensued that evening.
I felt my wife stir, lift her head, and probably stare at me but the choky darkness was sure to take away her worried look. And my little girl winced in her sleep, snoozing and waking up in bits.
I went out of the room and faced the doom at my door. ‘Yes, what do you want?’
I knew but with Nigeria police, one must always be alert.
‘ You are under arrest for breaking three teeth of your neighbour’.
‘ Where’s your warrant?’
‘ Wetin you dey talk?’
‘ I said where’s your warrant?’
‘ You dey crase’, someone shouted from the shadow. Ray of light from the other house poked into the house and I saw it was another uniformed man.
My baby cried from within the house and I thought of running and the consequences, following them and the consequences, so I chose following them and I’m sure those idiots that refused to borrow me money to start business would now be interested in bailing me.
I looked at my lanky, dry-bone-like-buhari neighbour and moved in front of the police as if they were my guards.
‘ Simple sorry you no fit take’, I said as I wheeled towards him and back to the front.
‘ You wan beat am again’.
‘ Oga you noba hear my story you don do kerekere wan carry me go tation. Na like dat real officer suppose dey do’.
‘ You don get loosed button for your brain. Who no be real officer? Na me?’
I wanted to see their face but I knew that the only thing sure about Nigerian Light was that it will never come and when it does, it’s for show, to make people have hope that vision 2020 would bring hope, for the sake of preparing a way for those that would be involved in disconnecting the light from it’s source, the pole if one had not pay his PHCN due.
My problem also started with PHCN, I was seated outside, waiting for my wife to cool down her rants, and my baby, her cry, hoping that the breeze from outside would seethe my pain, and the light from the sun would dry my unshed tears, hoping PHCN would restore our light when Matthew, the Lanky neighbour joined me.
We started from complaining about Nigeria and discussed generally even as the day began to go dim like a theatrical art. Then, our arguments went to family planning, which I supported vehemently. But the dry bone refused. He believed we should get as many children God wanted to give but I told him to forget it while I played with a padlock I brought out. And I even told him that if God want to give me baby let him send money to take care of them first.
As though I was hit by lightening, I saw Matthew’s hand connect to my face, boring pain into the pores of my skin, into my veins and in my brain. I yelled. He opened his hand and showed me.
‘ Mosquito’, he groaned and smiled as though he was a hunter who had just had a great kill.
I pounced on him, forgetting that I held the padlock, forgetting that I was as fat as an elephant, hoping to finish him before he could escape. By the time people dragged me off him, I had removed the three front upper teeth.
‘ Idiot’ I said as the police man pushed me away. Now, I was suffering because a man hated mosquito and I hated unbalanced judgement.