Saka saw the reflection of Jonbul’s head in the mirror and he knew something will happen to that head. Something good or bad, beautiful or ugly, nasty or funny, shameful or disgusting, he didn’t have an idea. But somehow, he was certain that something must happen to that head and why he felt that way, he didn’t know.
Jonbul’s head was dark and it shined like polished armor. It shined so well, so attractively that one will wish to do anything and everything to it. One would want to touch it to feel the smoothness of the scalp; one would desire to lick it to know if it tasted sweat; one would hope to see one’s reflection in it; one would desire to slap the head to hear if it would produce a clanging sound. It was that kind of hairstyle made by ‘local barbers’ whose equipments were just a blade and any kind of soap plus lime fruit for infection prevention. The name of the hairstyle was called ‘KALAMBOLO’.
Jonbul had a body frame that was too big for his age: that kind of body frame that’s peculiar to a bully; that kind of body frame that, even if he wasn’t a bully, you still don’t dare to mess around with; that kind of body frame that you don’t fantasize a fight with and even if you do, the only thing that comes back to your mind is him sitting on you to death. Jonbul’s unnecessarily big body would have made him a terror had he not been betrayed by his look. He wore a constant smiling-face as though he had inhaled a laughing gas, as though he was always happy and one couldn’t tell his mood apart. Even if he was angry, there was still this smile on his face that betrayed his anger. And just as his look betrayed his big body, so also did his nature. He was as simple as dolphins, sluggish and easy as a snail, slow to learning, and he was an alien to his world – at twenty-four, he couldn’t even call a one year old girl to tell her “I Love You”. More so, he brags like a tortoise, saying things he could never do; but because of his body size, he felt he should be able to do them. Worst still was that his diploma certificate in mass communication deluded him so much that he felt it was a taboo for him not to speak in English language and because of that, he committed malapropism.
He turned to Saka spreading his arms apart, “how are my appearances?” He tucked an Ankara shirt into a black jean, used a gold color belt, and wore a football boot.
Saka looked at him absentmindedly with his freckled face as though he did not hear or understand what he was saying. In his thought, he wondered why he had always chosen to get his hair done by a local barber. Was it because of Nigeria’s epileptic power supply? No it couldn’t be, he told himself. And somehow he wished he learnt a lesson of a lifetime with this silly hairstyle his friend does and he wished he learnt that lesson today.
“Saka!” he shouted.
Saka was an albino, had a bald head, very small in stature, and had an unnecessarily big set of incisor that looked as though it was a form of compensation from God for his tiny stature – yes, tiny stature! Perhaps it was his albinism that had deluded him, and had made him see himself as a white black man, and because of that spoke what he called ‘American English’, a black-American English.
“What? What?” snapping out of his brief thought, “Yes, yes… you look perfect but we gotta bounce. We’re late for the movies.” Why won’t he say Jonbul’s dressing looked perfect after all he himself wore what he called a ‘to-match’ – a black polo T-shirt, faded black jean-trousers, a black Ben-10 wrist watch, and a black g-unit canvass. To make matters worse, he wore a green and white colour PDP face-cap with Jonathan and his vice president’s smiling faces on it. He had said that wearing a green and white cap made him feel like Jay-Z flagging a NY tagged face-cap.
They stepped out of the house.
As they were going, Saka stopped abruptly and busted into laughter. Jonbul, not knowing why he was laughing, joined him too but in between his laughs, he managed to ask him why he was laughing.
Saka laughed more and more that tears stood in his eyes, then he managed to reply, “It’s this… this… this goddamn hairstyle of yours, shining like that of Abiku.” Then he composed himself. “You fat ass pig! What if some dude punk ya head with a stone what you gon do, man?” pronouncing ‘man’ as men.
Jonbul hissed and said, “So that is the reason for all those laughs? Hmm, who can dear to stone me? They have not burn that person; I mean they have not burn the father of that person. For why now? Even if somebody just touch it alone, that person is a living dead walking. Please, let us proceed on our journey of life.” He pulled Saka who was still so filled with laughter. “We’re late for the cinema house.” He added.
Chibuka was a slim, dark, and tall Ibo boy; had a well built body that he had acquired from frequent press-up. He was a stubborn, aggressive, and no-nonsense person. He was that kind of guy that went about finding trouble even if trouble wasn’t finding him. He had also acquired his sheer stubbornness from his environment – his father was a retired soldier and because of that, he grew up in the barracks where their popular slogan was ‘survival of the fittest’.
Muritala, his friend, had invited him to come with him to the movies and to see something different from all those Jackie Chan, and James bond stuff he was used to, to see something that would make him laugh, to see the Mr. Bean evolution movie.
Muri, as they call him, was a half-educated Fulani boy. He was light in complexion, long and thin, had long nose, and a curly hair. But Muri was a clown because he had never taken anything seriously all his life – not even his life.
Both of them were ready for the cinema. They wore the same attire: brown Swiss-lace material plus black aerosoft sandals.
“This dressing of ours is spectacular, Walahi.” Muritala remarked.
“Anything goes guy, who born them papa.” Chibuka retorted.
“Let’s go there.” Then he paused. “Please Chibuka don’t cause any problem today ok?”
“Comot for road abeg!” he shouted at Muritala.
IN THE CINEMA:
Jonbul and Saka came late so they took their seats at the back.
While they sat, Saka noticed that people stared too well at Jonbul’s head and that reminded him of what he had felt will happen to his head. Then he asked again, “what if some dude smacks that slippery, silky, salty, shining head of yours? What you gon do?” squeezing his eyes and revealing his incisors.
Jonbul looked around with his smiling-face and a guy, whose eyes met his, smiled back at him thinking he had smiled at him. But he ignored him and faced Saka, “One word, just one word for you: the person that tries that is death. No story!” he tried to wear a serious look but his smiling-face would not give up his muscles.
It wasn’t long when Chibuka and Muri came in. They attracted attention with their ridiculous outfit but they don’t seem to care. They walked straight to seat behind but adjacent to where Jonbul and Saka had sat.
Perhaps Muri should have noticed the ever conspicuous Mr. Bean’s banner, where at a supermarket he had held out a full size fish to confirm the size of frying-pan he wanted to buy. But then it was Jonbul’s shining head that held and caught his attention.
“Wa – yo – Al – la – ah” he whistled the oh my God.
“Wetin happen Mr. Pekkinson?” asked Chibuka.
“That cocoyam, mallam rabiu” he pouted his mouth towards Jonbul and Saka’s Direction.
“O – lo – o – pa – o!” Chibuka whistled too.
“That head looks like a gourd, looks eatable and smack-able but it will be better if slap-able.” Said Muri as a complimented his joke with a concealed laughter.
“I swear if person slap that head, this whole place go echo.” Chibuka said. “I fit slap that head, guy.”
“Walahi, you can’t do that so stop bluffing.”
“You know say me I no dey fumble. I go slap am na him I talk so.”
“Don’t you see that guy his fat enough to hit you with a blow and you’ll die seven times.”
“Na wash! Just watch me.” He stood and walked towards Jonbul.
Saka looked at Jonbul and smiled at him.
“You are still thinking of the fact that somebody can still give me smack-down on my head.” Saka nodded and move to fumble with his shining scalp.
He had barely removed his hand when a very heavy smack landed on Jonbul’s head; it sounded so loud that almost everyone looked to his direction.
Although Chibuka had done it with full confidence, yet he still expected furious reaction but the face that stared at him now was a smiling one as though what he did was funny. Seeing Jonbul’s face beamed with a smile, he had wanted to join him too but it wasn’t a risk he wanted to take so he said, “Obi so you sef com watch Mr. Bean things…” then he feigned a quick pretence, “oh, sorry I think say na obi. Abeg no vex… una two look alike well well, Abeg!”
Jonbul smiled at him faintly and said, “Sorry I am not obi.”
“Abeg, no vex, you hear? Una too look alike wella.”
“No probs my guy.” That smack hurt Jonbul so much and he was angry but it seemed as though the angrier he got, the more smile he got on his face.
When he left, Saka busted into a terrible and attractive laugh that people around joined him involuntarily.
He laughed so well this time that tears rolled down his cheeks and between his laugh he said, “What… what… happen Jonbul.”
“As in…” retorted Jonbul.
“As in he just busted a cap in your head and you couldn’t chip him back dude.” He looked half serious.
“You are draft, so draft. Did you not hear him say he sorry that I look alike like his friend, obi.” The hear sounded like year.
“And so what, dude. You should have, at least, hit him with that big head of yours.”
“Forget joor. You are not merciful at all. If he tried it again then I shall avenge.”
“Aiight, man,” he cackled.
Muri asked, “Walahi Chibuka, how did you do it?”
Chibuka told his friend how he feigned pretence and they both gave a concealed laughter.
After about 15mins:
Muri tapped Chibuka again.
“Walahi, that heady… is… calling me.” He sang using R-Kelly’s ‘your body is calling me’ tone.
“Attend to am now.” He focused on what he was watching: a scene where Mr. Bean wanted to buy a table phone and he didn’t chose from all the new ones except for the one on the supermarket’s customer-care desk because it hummed into his hears. The audience laughed and children giggled.
“You attend to it. I can bet with you on this one.”
“How much?” Chibuka got interested.
“Walahi, 5000 sharp!” he brought out the cash.
“Ok…” he got straight to action.
Saka was still so much filled with laughter and while trying to hold that laughter, he asked, “Why you gotta barb this kinda hairstyle nigga. You look like a black monkey. Hey want some bananas.” He stretched out his tongue to spite him.
“Don’t you see I assemble tu-baba (tu-face).” He said it with a ridiculous ego.
“What if some dude smack that head again? This time, man, its gon feel like WWE smack-down.”
Jonbul smiled and said, “that guy had good set of excuses. See, if anyone try it this time even if it is him, I will…”
Pahs pahs, two heavy smacks landed on Jonbul’s head and interrupted the rest of his statement.
When he looked back, it was that same slim guy again. Instantly, Saka’s incisor was revealed by laughter and his co-laughers joined him again this time involuntarily.
Chibuka quickly said, “you be obi my guy. Why you com dey lie say you no be obi. You be obi.” He pleaded with a serious and feigned confidence of someone who was really certain of what he was saying.
“My dearest friend, I am not obi. I have told you before before that I am not the obi you talked about frequently.” He said, using an appealing tone.
“Ha! Ha! But una two look alike. That means say na two two God create us be dat.” Jonbul nodded to affirm that God created us in pair. “Sorry my friend,” he added.
“No probs… just be easy my friend.” Jonbul said with that smiling face of his.
When he got to his friend, Muri, he told him what he did again but Muri did not give him the 5000naira he had promised him.
Saka laughed and laughed and laughed until he was sitting on the floor. “You punk ass dude just brags like a tortoise. You can’t do… do nada nigga, nah.” he giggled.
Jonbul stood up without answering to his jest and went to sit elsewhere. He followed instinctively and together they took their seat somewhere else yet not that far away from Chibuka and Muritala.
After about thirty minutes again:
Muri said, “Ok this time 6000naira and you’ll get your money.” He made a cross sign saying, “I cross my heart.”
“Abeg because say I like money no mean say make you they play me o.” he frowned. “If you go bet make you bet because na me them go beat no be you.”
“Walahi I’ll give you the 6000 bucks.”
“Okay now, make we go there.”
He stood to leave but Muri pulled him back. “Think it well Chibuka. If you go this time and they beat you, Walahi I will not do as if I’ve ever seen you in my life.”
“That one no concern you. Wetin I want make e concern you be my 6-bar”
“Walahi Allah I will give you.” Muri reassured him because he was sure that this time, that fat guy (Jonbul) will retaliate this time. And somehow he felt the 6000 naira will not be worth the kind of beating the fat guy would give Chibuka.
Jonbul looked at Saka with his smiling face and, though Saka knew he wasn’t smiling at him; he smiled back.
“You’re still laughing from that incidence?” Jonbul asked.
He nodded. “But what if you’re been smacked again, man?”
Jonbul giggled, then laughed before he said, “God forbid. But if he repeats it again,” shaking his head, “what happened in 1971 will repeat itself here now.”
“Park well, man, what the fuck happened that…”
Pahs pahs pahs, three heavy smacks that landed on Jonbul’s again interrupted the rest of Saka’s statement.
Chibuka said quickly, “Obi, so na here you dey since wey you allow me they slap another person for there.”
“Abeg, my guy and nigga, Walahi I am not a fucking obi!” he screamed at him and though he tried so hard this time to attempt a frown, his smiling-face still betrayed him.