TISHA CHAPTER 4 – WATER TROUBLE

Tisha 2 darkenedI wake to disturbance outside. On impulse, I reach for my phone and check the time. 4a.m. What the heck? I reach for my trousers tossed over the back of my chair, and get dressed. For a moment, I stand to listen again. I listen for Toro, but hear nothing distinct. Voices, footfalls, and water rushing.

I pick my phone instead of barging out to the unknown in this ridiculous village where they talk funny, and call Toro.

She picks on the fifth ring. “Yes?”

I must admit she sounds different from sleep. “Are you okay? Do you hear sounds outside?”

“Yes. They’re villagers. Fetching water from our tap.”

I pull my curtain aside. Fear has torment indeed. “There’s no water in the village?”

“Looks like it, Abbey. Please I want to sleep.”

She cut the line. Hmm. I stare at the rush outside. Toro and I share a bathroom, and toilet, but a tap has been fixed just outside her window. If there’s no water in the village, then there may soon be a shortage here as well.

How did these villagers know we’d have water here? In my one month of being in Abagboro village, there has been water. I never imagined it would be a problem. I didn’t have a bucket to store water or …

I hear a sharp sound outside, and behold. Two men are in a fight. One hit the other with his metal bucket. Blood spurts forth. I grip the curtain. I cannot involve myself, and the villagers arrive in troves. The two men are ignored as more people crowd around the tap.

I drop the curtain and get back in bed. Of course, I can’t sleep. I prepare for the day instead. I go into our bathroom where there’s only one bucket Toro bought. I take a bath and fill the bucket with water.

To while the time, I dig into my John Grisham. It’s too early to be awake but what can I do? I must have dozed after a while because I startle awake at 7a.m. All is quiet.

I listen for any movements, none. I hear Toro hum in the next room. Good, all must be well then. I’m not a breakfast person, so I take a cup of tea in my normal manner.

Assembly is at eight and I don’t have to be there though I make it a duty. The walk from our accommodation to the school area is five minutes. I have time on my hands.

There’s a knock, and Toro enters. Sometimes I wonder if she hopes to catch me naked the way knocks and enters without invitation.

“The tap is spoilt.” She sighs. “We are going to have water troubles.”

“Good morning. What tap? The one outside?”

“Yes. Two men nearly killed themselves over that tap and with the rush and all, the tap was twisted and couldn’t be shut. Water’s been rushing out without control.” She sighs again. “Anyway, I filled our bucket. We need something to store the water because I don’t know what will happen.”

“Where’s the source of the water?”

She shrugs. “I don’t know. I’m going to school.”

With that, she exits. So temperamental.

I walk round the back of our rooms to assess the damage. The whole area is swamped and the tap is still on. There’s a black nylon around the mouth of the tap, a good person’s effort to staunch the flow. Not effective though. I go back inside my room and get another nylon bag and succeed only in getting myself wet.

I wonder what the source is. How life forces one to make enquiries.

The principal gets to inspect the tap three days later. Maybe it was a mistake to invite him. The water is sourced from a bore-hole, which the school pumps water for the whole compound.

After the principal visited, he stopped pumping the water pending the time the tap is fixed. There began the water trouble. The village source from government-operated water works had ceased. Now, there’s nowhere to get water except the stream.

Toro had bought a keg and a small drum and stored water before the shutdown. Thank God for women. I never envisaged any problem.

But after a week, and the tap had still not been fixed, and our little drum and keg of water were diminished, I decide to call a plumber and do it myself.

 

Image of man courtesy of Photo stock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

SATURDAY ROSE THORNS – 15 GENRES OF FICTION I NEVER HEARD OF BEFORE

BLUE roseDo you know there are over a hundred variants of fiction genres? Besides your usual historical, romance, horror, young adult, sci-fi, and so on, there are so many other. Here are some I never heard before.

  1. Airport novel: a work of fiction, generally genre fiction, so named because of its availability at stores in international airports in order to provide airline passengers with a light diversion during a flight.
  2. Allegory: a story using symbolism to express truths about the human condition.
  3. Bildungsroman: a story detailing the emotional and moral growth of a character.
  4. Black comedy: a story in which the humor derives from the misfortunes and/or reproachable behavior of characters.
  5. Comedy of errors (farce): a story involving energetic action revolving around humorous predicaments and coincidences.
  6. Comedy of manners: a story that mocks class pretensions and/or prejudices.
  7. Epistolary fiction: stories constructed as a series of letters exchanged between characters.
  8. Fictional autobiography: a story purporting to be a first-person account of someone’s life.
  9. Fictional biography: a story structured to resemble a factual life story.
  10. Pastiche: a story that imitates one or more established works, or consists of episodes of such works.
  11. Picaresque: an episodically structured story featuring a rogue or an antihero as the protagonist.
  12. Romp: a boisterously comical tale.
  13. Screwball comedy: a fast-paced story involving improbable situations and antics from which the humor derives.
  14. Swashbuckler: an adventure story in which the hero accomplishes great feats to aid a noble cause.
  15. Travelogue: a story with a plot centering on a significant amount of travel.

FRIDAY CHOCOLATE TREAT: MADAM KOFO

yummyMadam Kofo’s backstory is quite intriguing. The leading lady of my movie, Red Hot, much of her story comes through her dialogue.

She’s the wife of a rich man who dealt in crude oil, diamonds and gold. She’s not a worthy wife however and I suspect she must have seduced him into marriage. From her make-up, her clothing, and her way of speaking, you can conclude she must have been a street girl who hit a goldmine when she met her husband.

She is however a very beautiful woman.

Madam Kofo is full of deceit and lies every turn at the bend. A new lie comes quickly to cover the old. Her lies are so ridiculous and glaring at times as depicted in the movie when her husband asked if she had a guest. I would have accepted since the evidence was obvious.

Madam Kofo was a charmer, and she got her lesbian partner, Princess and the gigolo Fred, woven into a deadly web. You just must watch this suspense-filled movie.

Bukky Wright played the part of Madam Kofo in Red Hot and did justice to the part. I was particularly thrilled by how frequent she could move her eyelids when she blinked or feigned innocence.

Watch Red Hot now. Click here.

Red Hot

TISHA CHAPTER 3 – TORO

Tisha 2 darkened

I’m in the middle of reading and dozing when Toro knocks on my door, and enters. I fold the page on my John Grisham novel and sit up. Most evenings I read, and I like to be alone but she’s my neighbour, and she’s been a lot of help to me, I must confess. She cooks and shares with me.

The principal of Abagboro Community High School gives accommodation to student teachers on the school premises, which is great. It’s quiet and lonely after school hours but I like it. The accommodation is not much but far better than what we’d have gotten if we rent in the village.

Here at least there’s a little kitchenette for cooking, though all rooms share a bathroom and toilet at the end of the corridor. The bathroom, separate from the toilet, has a shower and toilet space has a shank. Both share a little space where the wash hand basin is placed. My kitchenette is dry and dusty. I am still grateful. It’s better than what I had in Lagos, in some way. A government grant had been used to build the accommodation, which is about the most modern building in the village.

Two blocks were built and some teachers live in one block. Our block has four rooms but only mine and Toro’s are currently occupied.

Toro sits on the edge of my bed pushed against the wall in the small room. She tries to be friendly but I’ve never had close girl friends. She smiles and takes the John Grisham from me.

“What are you reading?”

I shrug. “A time to kill.”

She gasps and draws herself closer. “I watched the movie. The black man who killed two white boys for raping—”

“Hey don’t tell me, I just started it.”

She laughs. “Sorry. It’s a good read. You’ll like it.”

I smile. “I like it already.”

“I could do with a good book right now. It’s so boring in this village. I hate it.” She stretches and relaxes against my wall, which looked so awkward because now she is more in the bed than me.

I stand. I’m not all that comfortable around women. At twenty-one, I’ve had a lot of opportunities to get women’s attention but I’m not interested. I’m more into my work, and my family. Raised by a single mother, my sister and I have always had it drilled into our heads to focus on education and career, first.

I walk to my single wardrobe and open it. “I have another Grisham here. The Chamber.”

“I’ve read it.”

I squat in front of my rucksack full of novels. “Let me see. Do you read Baldacci?”

“No.”

I hear the groan of my spring bed, and sense she has moved only a second before she crouches behind me. I feel her at once. All of her softness engulf me. If I straighten, I’ll push her away and I don’t like the sound of that.

“No, you don’t or no you haven’t.”

Her hand rests on my hip. “No, I haven’t. What’s it like?”

Her pointed chin rests on my shoulder. “Like Grisham I guess. Here.” I need to stand. Without being cheeky, she adds pressure on my back. I have to get Toro out of my room. She’s a beautiful woman. Fair-skinned as well, and slender, curvy. She wears her hair in a stylish funk around her oblong face. Her best attributes are her bosom. Much as I hate to admit it to myself.

She presses that amazing part of her anatomy on my back. I ease up, taking her with me.

“Here, you’ll like this one.”

“First Family. Hmm.” She moves away, taking her musky scent with her. “What’s it about?”

I choose not to join her on my bed. I lean against the wardrobe. “Read it. Hey, if I tell you why would you want to read?”

She laughs. “Makes sense.” She sighs. “Have you had any dinner?”

“Left over from yesterday. Then I marked the scripts for my students’ exams.”

“That yellow girl who came to the staff room with you.” She purses her full lips. “What did she want?”

I shrug. “She—” Suddenly I’m unable to say what I did. More for Bisi’s sake. I don’t want Toro to see her as a cheat. “Nothing really. Can I remember? These girls come to ask all sorts of funny questions all the time.”

“Hmm. Just be careful. I hate these village girls. They are so rotten. You’ll be shocked.”

I can still feel Toro’s imprint on my back. So who’s rotten? “I don’t bother myself with them.”

“Just be careful. Especially that one. And that village head’s daughter. You’ll be shocked what I hear about them.”

I didn’t want to know. “I will be.” I scratch my head. “So what did you have for dinner?”

“I’ve not eaten. Thought we’ll eat together.”

“Ah, sorry.”

“Well, I’m hungry.” She stands. “I may come back with my food if this novel doesn’t hook me.”

I smile. “Fine. I’m not getting to sleep for another two hours or so.”

She checks her mobile phone. “Ah, two hours. This is almost eight. I should be asleep if the book—”

“Doesn’t hook you. It will.”

She waves and leaves. I heave a heavy sigh. Toro’s been giving off all these signals since the first day we met a month ago but pressing herself on me like that? A bad sign.

I’d better get my act together and let her know her place.

 

Image of man courtesy of Photo stock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

WEDNESDAY FUN DAY – CAN YOU DATE SOMEONE WHOSE ENGLISH IS VERY POOR?

rose 3Copied with permission from my friend and old school mate, Oluwatoyin Adegbenro’s Facebook post.

“I don’t know how you guys see it…but I admire guys who speak pure, polished and neat English. It’s a turn on for me, when I see someone with an impeccable eloquence, that minute I don’t even care if you are broke or ugly. I just respect them.

But for guys with bad eloquence, I’m not trying to insult or intimidate you, you could always brush up your English, I want guys to know that good eloquence, fluent usage of English is a huge turn on for girls especially the brilliant ones, or so I think…

So, what’s your take on it?”

That’s from my friend.

As for me, well… I do know though, there are many other considerations in choosing a partner. Last week, we voted on age. Today, let’s vote on smooth tongue. Lol.

Vote now! Let’s have some fun with this!

TUESDAY ROSE BUSHES – TAKEN FOR GRANTED

rosessThe plains were lush and green, inviting. Dinah stood on the corridor of her father’s vast mansion, Jacob the Patriarch, and stared into nothingness. The weather was cool, inviting her outdoors.

Being closer to two of her brothers, Simeon and Levi, she had confided in them about her boredom. She was tired of being the only girl in the family; one treated like a golden egg. When she asked to go to the ladies of the land, her mother, Leah, called her worldly and ungrateful.

Leah, the matriarch of the family, and Dinah, much as they were supposed to be intimate, were not. Her mother had advised her to mix with the maiden girls if she was so discontented. But Dinah found it demeaning to her status to move around with slaves and servants. Or children of lesser mortals.

“It’s a beautiful day to play in the fields,” Levi said behind her, causing her to jump in fright.

She clutched the front of her purple and gold tunic to her chest and stifled a scream. “You scared me, Levi,” she said. “Why are you home?”

“I’m sorry.” He smiled. “I did not mean to scare you. I’m picking up some supplies for our brothers out with the cattle.” He squinted. “Have you been crying again?”

She looked away, and he turned her face back to him, gently.

She sighed. “I wish I could be married.”

Her brothers took any women they wished and no one stopped them. Why couldn’t she be allowed such freedom?

“Why don’t you take your maids and go for a walk in the plains,” he said. “Get away from the house for a few minutes.”

“Father won’t allow it.” Dinah looked away again. Tears pooled in her eyes. She hated it. She hated her life. Would life not have been more bearable if she was one of the servants of her father, or better still, a heathen!

The heathens did not have God’s promises and blessings but they were free to live as they so wished. What that would be like, she wondered.

Levi touched her shoulder. “Go. I’ll cover your back… just for a couple of hours only!” Levi said. “I have to get back to the men, you understand?”

Dinah’s eyes lighted. “Yes, brother!” She curtseyed and hugged his neck. “Thank you so much!”

She was out of the house and running down the pathway with two maids before Levi’s smile had faded.

*

A couple of hours passed and Dinah didn’t come back.

Levi paced the grounds of the mansion for several minutes and then went out into the green plains where she was supposed to be. He panicked when there was no sign of Dinah or the maids anywhere. He could not take a risk; he rushed back and found his brothers. The men took four teams and went in search of Dinah.

*

Shechem, prince of the Hivites was an interesting personality. He was wealthy in his own right and influential in many circles. His father, Hamor, sat with other kings in council and made many successful wars, conquering territories and kingdoms. The palace, where Shechem lived was furnished with gold and precious ornaments.

Dinah had stood on the same balcony of her chambers on many nights, speculating what went on behind the night lights she saw every evening. The Hivites had remained for her a great intrigue. On the few occasions she was able to sneak out into the land with a disguise, she had been enchanted by their free lifestyles. The women were beautiful and dressed in colorful and revealing outfits unlike the dreary tunics and veils her mother made her wear.

When Dinah stepped into the city this time around dressed like a Jewish princess, she was met by Shechem’s servants who had seen her come into the city with her maids. They quickly took her to meet their prince.

He welcomed her with a radiant glow. Jacob was the richest and most influential man amongst the dwellers of the plains; one the Hivites had desired to relate with for years. The way of the Jews was different from theirs but it was one they coveted so much. Severally, Hamor had tried to marry his daughters off to Jacob’s sons but the Jew would not even allow his men to relate with the ‘strange’ women.

Having Dinah, the only daughter of Jacob as his guest was a huge thing for Shechem. Apart from the prospect of having a relationship with the two families, and people, he was grossly attracted to the beautiful woman. She was virginal; her hair was dark, long and glossy beneath the covering veil. Her smooth dark complexion was creamy and her skin soft to the touch. Shechem was enchanted.

He threw a party immediately and invited all the men of the land. It was a grand event. There was more than enough food and wine, and women. Men and women with skills to entertain did. There were stunts and dances and displays of talents. Dinah had never seen so much fun in her life. She forgot she had only two hours to spend.

Shechem poured his love and attention on her. Drunk with love and wine, he invited her into his bedchamber and forced his way with her. Defiled, abused, and violated, all that mattered to Dinah was to get home because she feared the wrath of her brothers. She knew what they’d done to her brother, Joseph; it was the secret all the children shared. Dinah’s brothers could be vicious.

To allay her fears and confusion and reassure her he was not one to play games, Shechem offered to marry her.

But Dinah needed to get back home. She knew her brothers would notice her missing. Levi would be upset and he would feel betrayed. Jacob would be worried, and Leah, infuriated.

Shechem on the other hand wanted to do the right thing. If he let her go without a dowry, she would be lost to the wrath of the Jews. He preferred to do the right thing, and explained this to her. He had to detain her and compel his father to approach hers.

*

The Jews found Dinah in Shechem’s home and asked to bring her back but Hamor insisted he would rather his son marry her. The Jews were livid but what was done was done. After much appeal from Shechem and his father, Dinah’s brothers agreed to the union, but on one condition. The men had to be circumcised as the Jews were.

Hamor agreed.

Dinah’s brothers returned home with the news, but Levi could not be consoled by the affront. Jacob mourned, Leah wept, and the clan lamented. A daughter of Zion had been defiled. The men retired to their chambers but Levi was restless. He went out into the plains and Simeon followed him.

“He can’t get away with it!” Levi said. “His generation is cursed!”

“I have a plan.” Simeon turned to him. Both men looked at each other through the night lights and reached a compromise. Shechem would pay the ultimate price!

A few days later, the Hivites were circumcised. Every man in the land went through the process in respect of the most honored of all the household of Hamor, Shechem. But while the men lay weak and recuperating, Dinah’s brothers, Simeon and Levi, took their swords and went on a blood bath.

When they left the land of the Hivites, all the able-bodied men were dead, including Shechem and his father, Hamor. They took their sister out of Shechem’s house.

The anger of the Jews had been taken for granted.

 

MONDAY CHOCOLATE MELTDOWN – DISENCHANTED

chocolate melt 1Miriam got married at a young age, barely eighteen. She got pregnant immediately, and had a baby boy, Fortune. Two months after her first baby was born, she found herself pregnant again. However, this time around, friends advised her to abort the pregnancy.

“Your husband and his family will not be happy with you…”

“It is not medically safe for you…”

On and on went the ‘evil’ counsels.

Without seeking the consent of her husband, she aborted the baby. The abortion affected her more emotionally than physically. And she could not bring herself to tell her husband.

Keeping the secret became a pain after she tried to keep a pregnancy and continuously miscarried.

Her husband however wanted more children, and took a second wife.  Miriam’s rival had children too. The first, the second, and a set of twins. Miriam comforted herself with her only child.

Tragedy struck when Fortune was seven years. He had a serious case of measles. The boy did not survive the sickness.

Miriam’s misery at her inability to conceive would drive her to the brink of insanity. She grew into old age childless.