Monday, January 31, 2011


This one is still in the works. Enjoy...

As the taxi drove through the gates and into her brother’s compound, the vague feeling of unrest that had haunted Ada all through the forty five minute flight from Abuja to Lagos heightened. She had a strong feeling that, aside from the problem that had brought her here, something else was terribly wrong. It wasn’t often she had this feeling, this sense of dread; but every time she did there always turned out to be a good reason. The car slowed to a halt at the front door, and Ada closed her eyes and said a quick but heartfelt prayer for Ginika and his family. She had a feeling they would need all the help they could get. She opened her eyes to see Ginika and Carol coming out of the house. She got out of the car and they came forward to embrace her, Carol first, then Ginika.

“Where’s Kachi?”

“Well, it’s good to see you too, Ada,” Ginika said dryly. He continued reluctantly. “She’s in her room, probably sleeping. That’s all she does these days.”

Ada walked purposefully into the house, leaving Ginika and Carol to bring in her bags. As she started to walk up the stairs, she hesitated. It had been a while since her last visit, and she wondered if Kachi still had the same room. Carol walked in a moment later, with Ginika holding Ada’s bags.

“Does Kachi still use the same room?” Ada asked without looking at them.

“Yes, she does,” Carol answered, her voice betraying a touch of worry. “But wouldn’t you prefer to settle down in your room and rest before…”

Ada sensed the look of surprise that Ginika and Carol exchanged as she continued up the stairs. She heard them follow her seconds later. They must have caught the sense of urgency in her eyes, in her voice. Her heart pounding in her chest, Ada stopped outside Kachi’s room and knocked. Hearing no answer, she turned the handle and pushed open the door.

“Kachi, dear, where are you hiding? It’s your auntie Ada,” she said, forcing a light tone.

Ada grew silent as she tried to place the familiar sound she heard coming from the bathroom. It was the sound of running water. She walked to the bathroom door, and just before she opened it, she noticed she had stepped into a pool of water. As she looked down at the sky blue tiles, she thought she saw a tinge of red in the water that was rapidly spreading into her niece’s room. A cold shiver raced up her spine as the sudden realization hit her. A desperate prayer on her lips, she flung open the bathroom door and stepped inside.

It took everything Ada had to stifle the scream that rose in her throat. There in the bath tub, Kachi lay naked, the open faucet letting water into the already overflowing tub. Her eyes stared up blindly at the ceiling. Her right arm hung limp over the edge of the tub, her slit wrist dripping blood into the water on the floor. A knife lay discarded on the floor beside the tub. As Ada stood taking in the scene, her thoughts suddenly went to Carol. She could not let her see Kachi like this. Just as she turned to leave, she heard a sound that brought every mother’s worst nightmare to life; a sound that said everything that words could not say, and then some.

She was too late.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


...Then become a McDonald's Happy Meal.

This is probably old news to many people, but to me it's still a shocking new discovery so I'm blogging about it. I already knew that most junk fast food restaurants serve processed foods that are not very healthy, but did you know that McDonalds burgers do not decay. I read here, here and here accounts of people who did minor experiments on this, leaving the foods in the open for as long as twelve years! And the foods didn't even grow mold. Added to that, they remained untouched by flies and other household pets.

Even while I'm thankful that we don't (yet) have McDonald's in Nigeria, I can't help but wonder about all the other fast food chains, especially the foreign ones. That aside, with the emergence of genetically modified foods and organisms, how much control do we really have over what we eat. Most of us don't even know where our food comes from.

This is not meant to scare anybody, but to prompt us to give more thought to what we eat. I have still a long way to go, myself. I knowingly do a lot of unhealthy stuff every day, but food that doesn't grow old like everything else...well, that's just creepy.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Baby Baby,
I’ve never felt happier
Than the day you were born.
We both had tears, Baby;
Mine were of joy,
Yours were of indignation.
I looked at you that day,
And the world was perfection.

Baby Baby,
So eager to grow.
Was it not yesterday
You learnt to sit up?
Today you toddle
And hardly stumble.
But Baby, I fear for you,
Life is sweet, but bitter too.

For sweeteness,
There’s nothing like sunrise
And the beauty of nature;
Nothing like chocolate
And the taste of honey;
Nothing like euphoria
And the heady feeling of success;
Nothing, Baby, like a pure love.

But Baby,
Have you tasted bitterness?
What can prepare you
For the sting of a scorpion,
The might of an earthquake;
The pain of betrayal,
Or the pain of a love unreturned.

So Baby Baby,
What’s the hurry?
Take your time,
And grow up slowly.

Baby Baby, if I were fate
I would be so very partial to you.
I would take a sieve,
Separate the good from the bad and ugly,
And shower you, Baby, with all the good.

Baby Baby, better still,
I would freeze time in place
So forever you would be like this
And I will keep you always in bliss.

But Baby Baby,
Your innocence must be lost someday.
And I can’t always keep you from harm’s way.

So Baby Baby,
What’s the hurry?
Take your time
And grow up slowly.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Rule number one: be smart. No dull yourself.

D’boy was not dulling himself. He was lurking around the outer fringes of the small crowd at the newspaper vendor’s stand, looking for a promising pocket to pick. If he didn’t find one here soon he would proceed to the nearest bus stop. Fuel was scarce again and so the bus stops were packed with hot, angry people, some of who would get even angrier, getting on a bus after a vigorous struggle to find their wallets gone. He shrugged. Hunger had long robbed him of his conscience. He wiped sweat from his brow with the sleeve of his once white T-shirt. The sun was fierce today. It would have a dizzying effect on the less sturdy. His stomach growled again, a reminder of the hunger that was a constant companion.

D’boy was an ordinary enough boy, going by his looks. He was four feet tall and scrawny, with dark skin and big innocent eyes that had gotten him out of countless self-generated troubles. But D’boy had been toughened by the circumstances of his life. He had been born to a prostitute and – according to her – a man he had come to know only as Spanner. It had never occurred to him that he should be offended when the other boys said ‘your mama na ashawo’. That was the story of his life after all. He had lived with her for a few years as a child. Then one morning, without warning, she’d taken him, with his meagre belongings, to a large compound having several rows of single room apartments. She’d left him in front of room 25. Her instructions were to ask for Spanner and tell him that he was his son, from Caro. She’d left without a goodbye. He hadn’t seen or heard from her since. He’d waited outside that door for hours, tired and hungry, his imploring eyes quickly ignored by the people who’d passed by. He’d learnt rule number one then: every boy for himself.

Spanner had come back that night long after the compound had gone to sleep. D’boy lay curled up on the hard veranda that – unbeknownst to him – would be his bed many nights. He was rudely kicked awake, and Spanner, in an angry growl, asked who he was and what he wanted. D’boy blinked up at Spanner, his eyes gradually losing their sleep-induced heaviness, and decided he could pass for Spanner’s son – at least in terms of skin colour. He sat up and recited Caro’s message in a halting voice. The big, dark man examined D’boy in the yellow light from the bulb overhead like he would a worthless, albeit fascinating piece of debris that had washed up on his own private stretch of beach. He finally put his hand into his trouser pocket and dug out his keys. He opened the door to the room and with a grunt, gestured for D’boy to go in. The room was small and airless, with a mattress, a tiny wardrobe and little else. He was home.

D’boy had no fantasies of Spanner as the dutiful father. While his mother had bemoaned her fate every day she’d been saddled with him; Spanner simply ignored him. Having lived with Spanner for years now, D’boy had no idea what Spanner did; he only knew there were long absences that sometimes ran into weeks. At such times he would make his bed on the veranda. Spanner hadn’t thought to give him a key. He hadn’t thought to ask.

D’boy felt a gust of wind and looked up just in time to see Orobo whizz past. Orobo was small and round and had a squashed look, like some malignant force had pushed his body down onto itself. He normally moved with a slow, rolling gait, but with the right motivation he could become quick as lightning. The right motivation could be one of two things: danger or food, and either way it usually paid to follow him. Catching up with the fat boy was not easy, even for the skinny D’boy. His chest heaving, he wondered why the boy was so fat. He couldn’t be that well fed. Maybe his parents were fat. But D’boy couldn’t know; he’d never seen Orobo’s parents, and neither had Orobo.

“Orobo, wetin dey happen?” D’boy managed to gasp.


That was all the breathless Orobo could manage. It was enough. Rule number one: opportunity comes but once.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


I saw her first from a distance,
Adorned with rags and exotic insects.
Her signature scent was Very Vile,
Hair and makeup by House of Life's Trials.
The world moved on in the midday heat,
People so busy, they never missed a beat.
'People with needs is nothing new;
We've got ours, we could mention a few.'

For one second, I thought I might pause,
Find out her story, what the problem was.
But like others before, I averted my eye,
Looked straight ahead, walked on by.
I might sound pious, and very nice
If I told you she'd haunt me for many nights.
But I'm sorry to say that I will forget her,
Long before I turn the next corner.

So I wished her well, this poor, sad soul,
But I had enough issues to call my own.
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