(Back at the dining room in Frank’s house. Anong barges in with a small travelling bag. He drops it on the floor and sits down on one of the chairs dejectedly. Afterwards, Choba enters.)
CHOBA: (in American English) Hey, men! Don’t get so worked up about it! So the gig didn’t happen. At least, we had a good time with the girls.
ANONG: You call those witches you slept with girls? Ha! Stop lying to yourself.
CHOBA: (hesitantly) I must say I was very uncomfortable sleeping in between them. They were poking me from all angles.
ANONG: Men, you be idiot, Choba.
CHOBA: Make you no just vex me for here!
ANONG: See am! After im don vex me finish!
CHOBA: Na me vex you? No be Patrick wey go mess up? I wonder which kind babes im go bring for us. Na true you talk. Na proper witches dem be.
ANONG: And to top it all up, his parents weren’t even around.
CHOBA: (sits down) I swear to God Almighty never to have such a night as yesternight again.
(Grace, Hamza and Aishatu enter with their luggage each. In exhaustion, they sit down. Immediately, Hamza gets up again, holding his abdomen.)
HAMZA: I do not feel too well. (Exits)
AISHATU: (to Grace) Can you see what your cooking has done to him?
GRACE: (annoyed) What do you mean, Aishatu?
ANONG: Wetin shelle for here?
AISHATU: Aunty Nkiru left the house for us on a business trip last night, and our gracious Grace graciously took over the cooking. (pauses) She cook food wey she no sabi eat. Me, I no gree chop am. Na Hamza wey hunger catch pass. Na true say hungry man sabi chop anything, but im no go chop something wey pass im power.
GRACE: Why didn’t you go and cook? I attempted. At least, I am better off than you.
(Aishatu starts to file her fingernails.)
AISHATU: Me? Cook? Do I look like a cook to you?
CHOBA: Not at all. In fact, you look like a witch sharpening her claws. (laughs)
(Aishatu throws something at him and he dodges, laughing. Just then, Maduka walks in with his briefcase.)
MADUKA: Nonsense! Imagine!! I was at Bola’s place, knocking and knocking and knocking at his door. No answer. I waited. And waited. And waited, for the idiot. He didn’t show up. I said to myself, what is wrong with that bombastic delinquent? I couldn’t go home just like that. I swore to myself that I’ll kill the bastard whenever I see him. I went to lodge in one of these local hotels blessed with anopheles.
CHOBA: Eh? Abeg Maduka, wetin you call am? Ano-wetin?
ANONG: Choba sef, you be proper mugu. Im talk say na anopholopholos.
MADUKA: There were mosquitoes all over the hotel. I need to go for clinical check-up just in case I have plasmodium malariae, plasmodium vivax, or plasmodium falciparum.
GRACE: Hold it right there, Maduka. Don’t bother disturbing me with your knowledge of the English language. I know that already. We all had a rotten night, ok?
(Nkechi enters, dressed in a house-robe. She pats her abdomen with great content.)
NKECHI: Ah! You people are back already? That’s amazing. How were your nights? (Silence) Well, we had a pretty exciting evening. (Silence) I mean, mummy and I had quite an exciting evening. (Silence. Maduka sits down. Turns to Aishatu) Where is Hamza?
AISHATU: He is vomiting in the bathroom.
NKECHI: Oh. How come? (Silence) Well, mummy and I had a pretty exciting evening. (Silence) We played Snakes & Ladders for about five hours. (Silence) Mother never easily gives up, so we ended up tying. (Silence) And we talked. (Silence) Yes. We did. We did. (pause) Do you know that mother’s sister was a dress-maker? (Silence) Yes. She was. She was. (pause) You know, when mummy married daddy, she was the one who made all the bridal gowns for the wedding. (Silence) All in black lace and satin. (Silence) Abeg! We dey for mortuary? Why this silence?
MADUKA: Nkechi, ferme la bouche!
(Julia enters, also in a house-robe.)
JULIA: Why are you all back here so early?
MADUKA: Em, things happened, you know. Unexplainable things.
HAMZA: Good morning, mummy.
JULIA: Hamza! How are you?
HAMZA: (rubbing his stomach) I am feeling much better now.
(Julia appears a little confused.)
JULIA: Anyway, now that you are all here, I’ll tell you. Frank phoned me and said that he has to stay in Kenya for two more days.
JULIA: I don’t know. He was very vague about it. He said something about official business and being detained for 48 hours. (pauses) I just pray he gets in touch with me before something else goes wrong. (to Nkechi) I hate to impose, but could you stay with me for two more nights?
(Nkechi looks at her siblings desperately. Maduka goes to Julia and embraces her by the shoulder.)
MADUKA: We will all stay here as a family. Right, people?
MADUKA: There is nothing better than home. Let’s go and get ready to stay here.
(All exit except Julia. Priest enters with the bible and crucifix.)
JULIA: Welcome back, my dear priest. How was the night vigil?
PRIEST: So slow, so long, so boring. Even after the morning mass, the queue of people coming to confess their sins was too long. Men, people can sin, o! I was just busy, weighing each sin being confessed to me. Truly, it has left me wondering, thinking. Why? Why all these sins? It is getting too much. And the worst thing is that after confessing their sins, they will do worse. It does not make any sense, at all. It is as if my bishop is deliberately punishing me. That enemy of progress!! (At this point or thereabouts, Julia exits without the priest’s knowledge.) For five good years, I have been living practically homeless, and that church of mine has done nothing about it. Where went all the tithes – all the monetary tithes? Can you believe that they are just at the foundation? If not for your hospitality, Mrs. Ozioko, I would not have continued. (pauses) Mrs. Ozioko? (Silence) Mrs. Ozioko? (turns and looks around) When did she leave? Well, I hope her husband comes back on time. She must be pretty lonely. Well, let me go and commune with Him. (points heavenwards and exits.)
(Back at the old couple’s bedroom. Frank comes in from the bathroom in another pyjamas. He sits on the bed. Later, Julia enters with a hot cup of coffee in a saucer-plate. She offers it to Frank.)
JULIA: Frank, here is your coffee.
FRANK: Thank you very much, dear.
JULIA: At least, this must make you get some sleep.
FRANK: It should, I hope.
(He takes it from her. Julia is dressed a light blue nightgown. They lie on the bed.)
FRANK: Well, Mr. Ulu is still back there. He has some questions to answer about his frolic behaviour. I was released after my statement was investigated. I can bet Mr. Ulu will not go on another assignment again.
JULIA: And if you did what you said you would do, allow yourself to be picked up by a rich woman, it would have been a different story altogether, wouldn’t it, Frank?
FRANK: (hesitantly) I … I … I guess it would. (sips his coffee) God, it was so humiliating, being dragged off like a criminal, with that girl. (pauses) I am glad to be back in my own pyjamas, my own bed, my own coffee.
JULIA: (holds him) And your own wife.
FRANK: (sips his coffee) Em, yes, you’re right. (gives her the coffee) That will be ok for me.
(Julia keeps the coffee on the bedside table.)
JULIA: Frank, tell me. Was she pretty?
FRANK: Who? I … I don’t remember her. (scratches his head)
JULIA: (pleased) You don’t, really?
FRANK: (sure of himself) Of course I don’t. I am a happily married man.
JULIA: (very pleased) Well, Frank, it was very sweet to hear you say that. (pauses) Good night, Frank. (turns)
FRANK: (turns as well) Good night, Sherry.
(Julia turns back and looks at him in visible bafflement. Frank sleeps off.)