“What are you doing up there?”
He looked at his young friend from their normal spot, wondering why he had decided to sit atop the roof of the community centre. It had never been their spot.
“What I do up here is my business. I am tired of sitting on that vault watching that old rascal get drunk while guarding the church gate. We need to do something. Liven up ourselves.”
“Liven up ourselves?” He looked around for their last companion. “Where is Senator?”
“Schoolboy” His old voice rang out from behind the huge cross on his tomb. “What are you doing up there?”
“Don’t call me Schoolboy. I prefer lover boy.” He signaled Senator to come join him but he sat on the cross instead.
“He wants to have fun. ‘Liven up ourselves’, he says, as if the fun he had while on earth wasn’t enough. You know, sleeping with your teacher is not a good business.”
“That’s true,” said Senator, “you end up dead at a young age of fifteen.”
“At the hands of your teacher’s feisty husband,” Hotblood concluded, with a shrill voice.
“It’s funny, isn’t it?” Schoolboy said, “I knew a man who killed himself after he catches his girlfriend with another man. You should keep your mouth shut.”
“I didn’t kill myself! It was an accident.”
“Prrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…poof…” Schoolboy acted out an angry man driving a car that eventually crashes. He drives, ‘prrrrrrrrrrrrrr’ and crashes ‘poof’. “What do you call that, Senator? The old man does not answer. Schoolboy appears beside Hotblood. “I call it suicide.”
Sensing that the two young ghosts might fight, the Senator appeared in between the two angry ghosts. “So Schoolboy, what do you suggest we do to… liven up ourselves?”
The three ghosts sat down quietly on the cracking roof of a dead man’s vault pondering, pondering, and pondering, then…
“Eureka!” Schoolboy shouted. “I found it.” The other ghosts looked at him, wondering what had taken over their young partner. “What if one of us possesses the old man at the church gate,” he said.
“No! No! No! Possession is a shady business,” said the Senator.
“Come on, Senator, it will be fun.”
“I agree with Schoolboy, you should possess that old man.”
“Me?” The aged ghost leapt up from the roof and smacked Hotblood’s head. “You must be crazy!”
Schoolboy stands up, raises his hand and drops it on his head as if putting on a cap. “Thinking…thinking…thinking…it’s a good idea. A bit crazy but cool.”
“Possess him Senator”, Hotblood persuaded. “What could probably happen? He will understand we were just having fun.”
“Come on, He has more important issues to deal with than worry about three ghosts in search of fun.” Hotblood said.
“Then, you do it.” Senator replied but Schoolboy said to him, “the man is old, you will fit in perfectly.”
He shouldn’t have listened to them, but he did. “Where are we going?” he asked. They walked in front and he followed them.
“Let’s go have fun.” Schoolboy said. He whispered something to Hotblood and they began to giggle.
The old man knocked the door of the house of the now dead former Senator. It was a big house befitting a rich man. “Good evening, Biola”, the old man said. A young man opened the door, instead of the woman of the house. “What can I do you for?”
“What?” The old man hissed, wondering what he meant. “Who are you? This is my house,” he shouted. The voices warned him that he was talking nonsense, but he did not listen to them. “I ought to ask you, what are you doing in my house…dressed like this. Where is my wife?”
“Widow” the voices had corrected but he did not listen to them. He pushed the young man away from the door. “Honey, there is this crazy old man talking nonsense. I think he is drunk.” He heard rushing footsteps coming down from the stairs. He looked at the half-naked young man and began to wonder.
This man is probably in his early twenties, he couldn’t be married. Did his family sell his house? But he had seen Biola two days earlier, where was she now living?
“Darling!” He heard the voice, but didn’t want to believe it. The voice appeared in the physical and there she was. Biola. His beautiful jewel, a woman he should have respected and loved as she loved him. If only…but He won’t give him a chance to return. The young man approached her and sucked her lips into his. He was shocked. “Stop it,” she said, “pardon us, Mr. Sola. This is my young friend …erm…never mind. What brings you here, this night?”
“What do you mean by that?”
The voices were now warning him about his behavior. They told him it was to pull out, but he did not listen. He began shouting at the woman, “you are an unfaithful woman,” he said.
“Have you gone crazy, Mr. Sola? If you don’t have anything to do around here, go back to the church gate where you are supposed to be.” The young man was angry, and the voices warned the old man to simply apologise and walk out of the house. He refused. His wife was with another man, a younger man, and he was supposed to walk out?
“You are no longer living.” The voices reminded him but he did not listen. The young man came forward and tried to restrain him from coming close to Biola, but he punched him. He went down, knocked out.
“What have you done, Mr. Sola?”
“I am not Mr. Sola”, he said. “I am your husband.”
“You are Mr. Sola.” One of the voices spoke. It was Hotblood.
“No, he isn’t,” Schoolboy said, “he is Senator.”
“No, he isn’t.”
“Yes, he is.”
“Will you people shut your mouth!” the old man shouted.
“Not you, darling.”
“I am not your darling!” Biola said.
Then he realized it. He remembered that he had possessed the old man at the church gate. He looked on the floor and saw his wife, his widow, trying to resuscitate the young man. What was he thinking, allowing those two idiots to convince him to possess the poor old man?
“Is he dead?” he asked.
“I don’t know.” Biola said as she tried to resuscitate him. “What is wrong with you Mr. Sola? Are you drunk?”
I am not Mr. Sola…though…it is the body of Mr. Sola. It is me, your husband, the senator.”
“This is not good, Schoolboy.”
“This is lovely; I wish I could do the same.” Schoolboy said. “It’s a chance for old love to come alive again.”
“What love? We don’t have any dealings with the living anymore.” Hot blood said. “We’re dead, remember? Feasting maggots, sunken eyes, sucked out brains, rotten flesh, dusty bones-”
“I get it! But you have to hope sometimes, positive thinking, please.”
“Positive… thinking? Are you crazy? It is hope for the living, nothing for the dead.”
“Shut up, you two.” The old man shouted.
“I don’t understand, what’s going on here? You’d better pray that he is not dead.” Biola said.
“He is not dead, it is a ghostly punch, but he will survive.” The old man held her hand, and reassured her that the young man will live. “It’s me, your husband. Why did you do this, bring another man into our house?”
She could not understand what was going on. To her, this was Mr. Sola, the security man at the church gate. Why was he calling himself her dead husband? He must be dead drunk, she thought, so she moved away from him.
“I asked you a question?”
“And I do not have to answer you, you are drunk, Mr. Sola.”
“I am not Mr. Sola.” He opens wide his mouth so that she may smell if he had drank alcohol. “I don’t drink.”
“Don’t do that Senator, it’s stinky,” said Schoolboy, “and the old man always …” Realizing quite late, the old man tried to close his mouth, so that the woman won’t perceive the strong smell of gin.
“…drink every night.” Hotblood concluded.
“You are drunk. Leave my house.”
“I am not drunk,” he shouted, “and don’t try to change the subject, woman. You brought another man into our matrimonial home. It is wrong!” He walked towards her, angered and wanting to hit her. She looked around for something that could serve as a weapon. The closest thing to her was a tennis racket. She moved away from him and picked up the racket. “Stay away from me, foolish old man. I swear I will hit you.”
“That must not happen.”
“Why do you care, Hotblood?”
“Because if she hits him with it, Senator will only leave the body, the old man will feel the pain.”
“Oh! We’d better warn him.”
But he was not listening to the voices. He was more interested in dealing with the woman who had in her hand, a tennis racket and was threatening to hit her with it. The young man on the floor was trying to stand up, and she quickly leapt to his side and tried to help him up. The old man stopped. Why would he hit a woman? He thought. If she wanted to go with another man, it was fine with him, but this is his house. “It’s okay if you prefer him to me but this is my house, so I advise you to leave immediately with your young lover if you don’t want me to kill you both,” he said.
“Do ghosts become delusional too?”
“I should ask you that, I am young in this business.”
“I think Senator is delusional. He seems to have forgotten that he is a ghost!”
“Living in another man’s body,” Schoolboy added. “I would love to tell him but he is not listening.”
He picked up the tennis racket and threatened to hit her if she does not take the young man out of his house.
“This is unbelievable,” she said. “I am the owner of this house, and you know that already, Mr. Sola. My husband died two years ago, right inside this house.”
“I am not dead!”
“You are dead.” The voices reminded him.
“Even if he was alive,” Biola said, “he wouldn’t dare speak of me as being immoral. I loved and cared for him for 43 years, and what did I get from it. He died on a young girl, our housemaid!”
“That’s a lie!”
“It is the truth, Senator.” Schoolboy said. “Everyone in this town knows it. It was in the news. Remember the senator who died while having sex with the house maid.”
“It must have been the heart,” Hotblood said. “It couldn’t take it; the maid must have been one healthy kind. I heard she is from Akwa Ibom.”
“No, it’s Calabar.”
“Shut up, you idiots!” Just as he shouted, the young man’s fist landed on the face of the possessed old man and knocked Senator out of him. The old man went down.
“What have I done? Is he dead?” Senator asked. Hot blood went over to where the old man fell and placed his head on his chest. “He will live,” he said, “though it might take longer, before he recovers.”
“What if he dies, Hotblood?” Schoolboy asked.
Hotblood looks at Senator and shrieks. “That will be nasty.”
“His ghost will come after you, Senator.”
The senator saw his wife lean on the young man as he tries to resuscitate the old man. He couldn’t bear the sight any longer. “Let’s go”, he said to his younger companions. “We are not needed here.”
As they walked back to the cemetery, Schoolboy beamed up. “Let’s do this some other time,” he said.
“Shut up!” Hotblood reprimanded him. “Give the old man a break.”
“Come on, fool. I was talking about myself.”
“What do you mean?”
“I was thinking about a visit to my old teacher.”
Hotblood looked at Schoolboy and smiled. “Lovely…and who would you possess?”
“My father,” schoolboy said, smiling, “he never really liked me.”
The two young ghosts laughed as they ran to catch up with the sober old ghost.