FRIDAY CHOCOLATE TREAT: OBASSE EDIM

piano croppedPepper is the story of the charismatic pastor who fell in love with an evangelical woman. In most times, and especially in the Christian communities in Nigeria, this is frowned at by both sides of the community. Though many evangelicals or orthodox Christians believe in the word of God, the mode of worship and application of doctrines is different.

A Pentecostal pastor sees nothing wrong in speaking in tongues openly, while the orthodox is more conservative about it.

Obasse Edim is a fire-cracker pastor who has embraced his faith with all his heart. For him, a woman is either a believer or not. But when he meets Pam Ukpabi, he begins to re-evaluate his convictions.

Obasse is an assertive, fully-persuaded, and self-confident man. Unlike many of my male lead characters, he is not rich. He’s not even as rich as the woman he falls for. Here his confidence takes over.

Pam does not intimidate him and he stands bold to proclaim his affection and principles without doubt.

Obasse Edim will easily fit the handsome and easy-going Rykardo Agbor. Though Rykardo’s greying beard will have to disappear to fit Obasse’s age.

Rykardo-Agbor

Read Pepper by Sinmisola Ogúnyinka. Find the book online on amazon, smashwords, iBooks, and other leading online bookstores!

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TISHA CHAPTER 21 – FIRE FIRE

Tisha 2 darkenedAre you just joining the serials, catch up here.

 

I can’t eat when I get back. I want Bisi. I want her to understand me. I am not like Steve. How could he? Touch her, kiss her! I pace around like a defeated demon. I don’t know what to do with Steve. There’s no authority to report him to. This outback in the middle of nowhere is despised. Anyone can do anything and before the protocols in the state departments are observed, the culprits have moved on.

Only jungle justice works in places like this. I think of Ajao. Can he arrange for some boys to beat Steve up, just like what happened to me? For the first time, I really think of the boy Ade, Foyeke’s brother. I’d learnt the boy was just about my age and dropped out of school three years earlier to reign as ‘Prince of Abagboro.’ If he could get boys to hurt me like that, he can do it again, for a price, I guess.

I’ve never arranged a hit on anyone before but definitely, this is well-deserved. Steve has come to mess around with everybody and he has to be stopped. Now I know four girls he’s toying with and Bisi being one of them drives me crazy.

Ade took out revenge on me because I beat up his sister. He can do the same for me if I tell him Steve is now sleeping with his sister and cheating on her. There’s a way to paint the picture that should set him off. Doing threesomes with Kenny, sharing a room with Toro and cheating on Toro with Fortuna.

I wonder if these ladies have any scruples at all themselves. How do girls just allow gigolos like Steve to enter between their legs? Left to Toro, she’s using Steve as much as he’s using her but she’s deceived.

I drop my head in my hands and sit on the edge of my bed. No matter how or why, all I want is for Steve to leave Bisi alone. He could have a million girls for all I cared.

My mind roams to the kiss I shared with Bisi. It was just as wonderful as I dreamed it, though she didn’t respond.

I chuckle. “How sweet she will be when she learns to respond to me.”

Thoughts of having a proper relationship with her propel me back to the food she brought. I’d better eat. Not likely my neighbours will return soon or be in the mood to share their food with me. I’d planned to eat my normal meal of bread and coke but what a sumptuous provision. The soup tasted better than anything I’d eaten before.

The pounded yam is more than I can finish and I wish Jang was here. The slender man could eat a mountain.

I finish my food, what I can eat of it, and pack the rest away, hoping it will not be bad in the morning, and I can eat it again. Then I pick up my diary.

Words fail me to capture the few minutes Bisi spent in my room. I need to record my emotions, my joy and elation, my pain and disappointment, the heated passion I never knew was imbedded in me, and lust so overwhelming it is love.

I fall asleep clutching my diary and pen to my chest. Bisi, I love you.

Loud banging on my door wake me. I jump off the bed and reach for the door in two leaps. I don’t even ask who.

“Ajao!”

Ajao pants in front of my door. I look around and seeing no one, pull him inside.

He bends over and breathes hard. “Tisha. Tisha.”

I check my watch on the table. It’s after midnight. “What’s the matter? Is it Bisi? Or your mother.” I shake him. “Ajao! Talk!”

“Pastor said I should call you.” He sits on the floor. “The other Tisha Jang. Say I should call you now now.”

“What happened?”

“Ade, Ade ti pa Tisha ooo!”

Ti pa. I know pa means kill. I shake him real hard.

“Ade killed who?”

“The female tisha that beat Bisi. Ade has killed her ooo!”

“Yee! Toro.”

I slip into my slippers, grab my phone and rush out of the room with him. Fire on the mountain, run, run, run.

 

 Image of man courtesy of Photo stock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

WEDNESDAY TRENDING – THE BUSTER BARNETT TRAGEDY

Lisa BrownThe tragic events unfolded last week starting in Ellenwood before ending following a police chase on Interstate 20, just over the Alabama line.

It is at Maynard Jackson High, where Brown worked as a math teacher for several years, that she met Buster Barnett, a technology teacher who still works at the school.

Buster Barnett’s school profile mentions his four-year football career as tight end with the Buffalo Bills in the early 80’s. He also heads the school’s chess club.

Police say the pair had an affair for 3 or four years — even after Brown began teaching at North Atlanta High.

In nearby DeKalb County, his wife, Sandra Elaine Barnett, worked for nearly 20 years as a special education paraprofessional at McNair Middle School.

According to Clayton County police, Brown kidnapped Sandra Barnett from her Ellenwood home after learning the married couple was planning to go on vacation together.

At the time Brown forced Barnett at gunpoint from her home, police say Barnett was talking to a friend on the phone who heard the struggle. It all led to a police chase into Alabama where Brown stopped the car on the road and shot Barnett, before killing herself.

My heart goes out to the families of Sandra Barnett and Lisa Brown. This is a double tragedy that could have been averted. It just isn’t worth it a lot of times to cheat.

TUESDAY ROSE BUSHES – SARA’S HELPING HANDS

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Sara was not new to the hard life.

Sara was not new to the hard life.

She had grown up with a mother who was promiscuous ‘so we can eat’ and a grandmother who was barely tolerable. There was never a father or grandfather in the picture. Growing up, she’d been told one ‘man’ was her father but he never showed one bit of interest in what they were about.

Her mother and grandmother survived. And over the years, Sara learnt to survive as well. Because there was nowhere else to live free, Sara’s mother stayed with her mother. She hated the village life. She hated the village men she had to sleep with to earn a lifestyle. She hated having to be caught pregnant, and unable to afford an abortion, having to stay with her nagging mother who refused to share her pot of soup except she brought something home!

It was a hopeless situation in the home Sara grew up in.

Luckily, her mother was wise enough to shield her from the dirty village boys. Instead of prostituting, since Sara had to earn a living to be served any food, Sara was sent to the market to sell. And there Sara discovered a calling!

Soon, it was apparent she was good at what she did. She apprenticed in the village market from a young age, and soon, it was obvious, she had great marketing skills.

One day, a woman her mother called her aunt, came in from a big city, and requested that Sara go live with her. The woman would send Sara to school, while Sara served her at home and in her shop.

Not much of the agreement was adhered to. Five years later, still illiterate, and almost sixteen, Sara ran away from the big city back home. But nothing had changed. Except that her mother was now sick. And that was not good news.

Her mother died only a few months after she arrived back. To her dismay, her grandmother followed soon afterwards.

Unable to help herself and determined to survive, Sara packed her bag and left on a journey to another city where she knew no one… Calabar!

Sara was not new to receiving help either.

Sara had slept in the streets of Calabar for months, done all the odd jobs you could think of, except prostituting, and finally gotten help from a church. From here, she got accommodation, a job, and lots of acceptance. Slowly, Sara got herself educated to secondary school level, and then started her ‘helping hands’ home care and housekeeping business. She did house-cleaning, shopping, housekeeping, catering and baby-sitting on contract-basis.

But this story is not meant to be about Sara, but about Asari.

While about her business, fending for herself, and earning honest living, Sara saw a small girl disappear into a dustbin in the street. Her heart was torn by this sight and she went to fetch the girl.

She was nine-year old Asari, whose story was so much like Sara’s, it brought tears to her eyes.

Sara learnt Asari’s mother was dead, and she didn’t know her father. She lived in a shack with her grandfather and a host of other members who often accused her of being a witch.

Sara took Asari to her one-room accommodation, fed her, and sent her back on her way. The following day, Asari found her. As the days passed, a bond was forged. Sara enrolled Asari in school, visited her family and got permission (which was almost free) to continue to care for her.

Sara is still trying to keep her head above water but Asari remains by her. She is Asari’s adopted aunt now.

Today, Asari is fifteen years old. She is a brilliant young lady, who has consistently topped her classes in school.

And Sara continues to lend her helping hand.

 

 

MONDAY CHOCOLATE MELTDOWN – MARKED FOR LOVE

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Jabulani smirked at the letter in his hand.

“Another one?”

He looked up and laughed. “Yeah. Another one. Another hot one.”

Tebogo, his roommate walked over and leaned against the wall. Jabulani gave him the letter. “I have been praying for you—”

“Oh they all pray for me, bruver.” Jabulani raked his hand over his near-bald head. “As though I am a demon.”

“I want you to know God loves you. And I love you too.” Tebogo smiled. “Who is this one? She didn’t put a name.” He handed the letter back to Jabulani.

“I have not the slightest clue.” Jabulani took the letter and tore it in two. “They all love me. Sometimes I have a feeling they know themselves. Like they plan it together. Sit together and say, who’s writing Jabulani next?” He rolled his eyes. “Who wants to try Jabulani next?”

“Com’on, Jabu.” Tebogo laughed. “Look at you. You are good-looking. You’re clever. You are spiritual.” He shrugged. “What more can a woman ask for?”

“Try the Holy Spirit?”

Tebogo laughed. “Yeah, they all definitely need the Holy Spirit.”

Jabulani took one half of the torn letter and opened his letter box. The torn half joined eight others.

Tebogo corked his head. “May be the same person, you know.”

Jabulani clicked his tongue. “I wish her luck.”

 

TISHA CHAPTER 20 – PASSION

Are you just joining the serials, catch up here.

Tisha 2 darkened

Jang moved out to live with our village Pentecostal church pastor, and I can’t blame him. If I had a choice, I would move too. Nothing more has been heard of Toro’s report and request to be transferred based on my assault experience. I suspect Mr. Akande must have swept things under the carpet because it wasn’t good for his reputation or that of the school.

Life goes on. The hostility between Toro and Fortuna hurts deeper than I expected. After all, we’re all strangers here and may never cross paths again after we leave. Steve shows no remorse. I heard him in Toro’s room later in the night, and they made ‘animal’ love. It leaves me totally sickened at the nauseating behaviour of these so-called adults.

They all went out the following evening. Toro and the guys to Iya Elemu, and Fortuna to Ife to visit her friend on campus.

Home alone, I pick up an old favourite from Richard North Patterson, Eyes of a Child. I’ve read it twice already, and each time seem like a new read.

I’m hardly through the first chapter when there’s a knock on my door.

“Who’s it?”

There’s no response, only a knock again. I wear my trousers, and put on a shirt.

“Who is it?”

No response. I open the door anyway, and there at my door, is Bisi. I do a double take and look around. It’s dusk, and getting cold on this late November evening.

My heart thuds. What does she want? Alone, and here. I thank God the others are out. And then pray against that. I don’t trust myself alone with her.

“Good evening, sir.” She curtsies. “My mother said I bring food for you.”

“Food?” I step back. “Come in.”

“Yes, sir.”

I close the door behind us. I’m finding it hard to control my breathing with her so close. There’s nothing unique about her shabby clothing but her lips look soft, and her plaited hair hang around her face. She puts the nylon bag in her hand on my small table and turn toward the door.

“What did your mother cook for me?”

She turns. “Pounded yam, and vegetable soup.”

I shove my shaky hands in my pocket. “Why?”

“To tell you, thank you.” She licks her lips. “For buying drug for me.”

I lean against my wall. My legs begin to tremble too. “Ah, that’s very nice of her. And she said you should bring it for me? Alone?”

She looks down, and shrugs.

“How’s your hand?”

“Is better.”

“Let me see it.”

Her eyes shoot up to mine. I feel so hot for her now I can’t think straight. She holds out her bandaged hand to me. I reach for it, and pull her close. Part of her wrist is wrapped too and gently, I untie the wound, angry beyond reason.

No teacher has the right to do this to a student no matter what their offence. The hand is swollen and tender. Red welts slash across upraised, two open wound. The pain she must have gone through. For a moment I consider taking pictures and do exactly what Toro did about my back, but then, I reconsider. What will come out of there in this outback?

My voice cracks. “What did you do to her to deserve this?”

“I—nothing.”

I trace the wound on her hand. “She just entered the class and started beating you, she didn’t say anything?” I look at her. “And she beat only you?”

She nods. “She said I am stupid. By the time she beat me finish, no tisha go look me again.”

“No teacher will look at me again.”

She nods.

I examine the wounds. It looks clean, which was what the chemist had insisted on. I wrap the hand back in the bandage.

“Was that all she said?”

“Yes.”

“So, which teacher has been looking at you?”

She shrugs. I continue to hold her sick hand in both of mine. “You don’t know or you don’t want to tell me.”

She looks down. “I don’t know.”

I raise her chin with one hand. Her skin is just so soft. Her lips are pink and full, and so beautiful.

“Tell me,” I whisper.

She licks her lip again and I want to capture her small pink tongue before it disappears inside her mouth. My palms are near freezing now, and my temperature risen.

“The new biology tisha.”

“Steve.” I swallow hard. “What did he do to you?”

“Tosh my hair.”

At least she’s not suffered because of my altercation with Steve. “The bas—” I bite hard on my teeth. “What else did he do?”

She looks down and I bring her face back up. I’m so furious I could break Steve’s head with a bottle. What was the meaning of this?

“Nothing.”

“Tell me the truth, Bisi. Did he touch you anywhere else? Did he kiss you?”

She frowns, and in my madness and lack of self-control, I bend and take her lips with mine.

I pull her fully into my embrace, and enjoy what I have dreamed of for so long. It takes a while before I realize she’s struggling against me.

I break off but place her head on my shoulder. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” I twist her locks in my fingers. “I’ve loved you from the first day I saw you, darling.”

I’m finished. How could I lose control like that? I lick my lips and capture her after-taste. I bury my head in her shoulder. Her body is full, luscious. She smells of local condiments and stew, and mixed with her female scents, I’m totally consumed by lust.

“If Steve ever comes near you again, tell me.” I don’t know what I will do. I pull back and look into her eyes. “Did he kiss you?”

She nods, and looks away. My heart crushes into a million pieces.

“What else did he do?” I smooth back her hair from her face. “Please tell me.”

“Nothing.”

I feel as bad as Steve but I am genuine, and I don’t play around. “Are you sure, Bisi?” She nods. “Bisi, if he calls you again, call me. I mean that. Don’t ever let him touch you again.”

She nods. I’m ashamed I allowed myself to be carried away. “I’m not like Steve. Do you believe that?”

She nods. I stare at her. I want to tell her I love her but hold back. I’ve said and done more than enough already.

“I have to go back,” she says.

“I will walk with you.”

I tuck in my shirt and find a novel from my wardrobe. I’d always wanted to give her a book to read because it will help her English. I have a nice collection of books used for literature and I pick So Long A Letter.

I give her the book and encourage her to read it, then I walk her close to her house, and turn back home, unable to say anything about what happened in my room tonight.

Embarrassed. Mortified.

 

Image of man courtesy of Photo stock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My most cherished item

design croppedSymbolized by the puzzle, my most cherished item is my life in Christ, which has become a wonderful puzzle of events and mazes unfolding in amazing dimensions and seen through God’s wisdom manifested in my life, my writing, my marriage, and my family.

God has turned me into His puzzle and as He puts each part into place, I see a picture so glorious, so humbling.

Click here to see a list of the participating blogs in the Cherished Blogfest so you can continue onwards to the next one!

The Cherished Blogfest is co-hosted by Damyanti BiswasDan AntionPaul RuddockPeter Nena, and Sharukh Bamboat.

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