Friendly War

HALF TIME

My bladder rejoiced as I hurried off to the toilets. But come see show!I passed a couple involved in a “domestic” which people around said started like play-like play. At first they were arguing on how well the Falcons (Nigeria’s female soccer team) might do in a friendly against the Super Eagles.

“These boys are gentlemen so they will do what we men do everyday and that is let the woman win” said the husband. For no obvious reason that statement vex the woman well well. The husband as usual didn’t notice and began to entertain his new-found audience with more. “Perhaps the result will depend on exactly what the Falcons are wearing at the time” he now said.

Unfortunately I couldn’t wait for the wife’s reply, as nature’s call became too strong.

At the toilet’s entrance I received the shock of my life. “By Jove!” I screamed. A spillage almost occurred in my pants, for lying there at the entrance of the nice refurbished toilets that stank of antiseptic was a corpse marinating in a pool of blood. He was prone and held fast to a spanner in one hand and a toilet seat in the armpit on the other side.

A uniformed man bearing a face like thunder chewed Kola behind closed lips as he stood in an “at ease” position. “Wetin happen?” I ventured. He swung round at me like a lion about to pounce and true to God, the sight of his most interesting rifle pointed at me opened the floodgates. My life flashed across my very eyes as I unconsciously irrigated my underwear.

Fear na bad thing o. Ha! God forbid! Let no poet deceive you o, the gun is in fact mightier than the pen! (Before you criticize my lack of courage, come and walk a few years in my shoes within the boundaries of this great country and we shall see).

“My orders were to shoot to kill anyone leaving these toilets with anything they hadn’t brought in” the army man said calmly, showing me his dangling uvula and half masticated Kola in the process. “Deposits only but no withdrawals” he added, laughing at his sense of humor. He expanded his chest like he was about to address the whole first and second mechanized divisions without the se of amicrophone and began talking. “The recent spate of armed robberies and vandalism has spiraled out of control sir and we must deal with it, fire for fire and blow for blow. As a civilized society, we must respect public property” .I nodded to everything he said o! After all, the gun was now pointed at me. Nature called again and I side- stepped the corpse eyeing his blood soaked green white green top (of course not original Nike like mine) and I must confess I almost fainted. I haven’t been in contact with dead bodies that much, apart from three funerals I have attended and one road accident I witnessed.

Now stationed in front of the urinals my trembling hands struggled with the zip. I paced myself with gentle breathing exercises and was soon relaxed. Next problem was I couldn’t get my bush taxi to move. “Please turn on the taps for me sir” I asked of the army man .The sound of running water did the trick.

Suddenly some policemen arrived on the scene. “At last!” I exclaimed in my mind thinking that justice will be served on the trigger happy toilet guard. The murderer narrated his account of events to the policemen, of how he caught the “useless thief” trying to strike as he had done many times before. “How many bullets you use?” they asked. “One” replied the proud guard. They all took turns in patting him on the back for the good riddance and saving the tax payers’ money through his judicious use of bullets, before unleashing ferocious kicks on the corpse.

Who says Nigeria hasn’t got abundant talent in soccer. I tell you, these policemen were born to kick football but mistakenly ended up in the police force. (I like that word Force. Not police gentle or police persuasion but na police force, chei!) Next minute we were alone. “Isn’t your brand of justice too severe, if anything, why not shoot the legs?” I ventured. He eyed me wickedly and screamed “the thief na your broda!” Oh no sir!” I replied.

“Anyway I was just obeying orders”, he said nonchalantly.

How original. Every solider says that. “I suppose you think that lame excuse will hold water in court” I asked seeing he was smiling a bit. “Sir, not just water but plenty of Naira and kobo” (I couldn’t understand so I just laughed). “Now you mentioned it.” I said as I washed my hands (under this miracle of flowing tap water) clear of misplaced drops of urine due to my fright “who invented the word Kobo”. “Sir, I no know book but as Koboko na for poor man back and Kobo Kobo na for im pocket, I think say the later was derived from the former.

While we spoke more half time toilet users came and went without batting an eye lid at the corpse which they all side stepped with all the skills of Maradonna. Talk about turning a blind eye. I began to see my fellow men in a new light, for if they could pass a fresh corpse unperturbed then they must possess the wherewithal in their stony hearts to perpetrate the crime themselves. Yes o!

At the drop of a hat they could stab, lynch, torch or even poison their fellow men without the burdens of conscience. I was sad. Left alone with the guard, we chatted for a while before exchanging addresses. (Ah ah, why you look me so eh ? Tomorrow now, when he leads his own coup and becomes supreme commander he may give me contract to supply electric cables to the whole country, if you can’t beat them register straight away!)

As he saw me off to the door I decided to tease. Before we reached the door proper I stopped while he took a few steps out of the toilet. “Ha! I caught you out. You inspired air in the toilets and went out the doors with it”. The guard dey craze o! He just lifted the gun to his chest and shot himself.

There goes my army connections I thought to myself. As he lay there dying I asked him why he did it. “Only obeying orders sir” he said. And the man died. Now if I call him the Z word them go wan burn my house and throw Mama Skido from the first floor window eh. I slipped my hands into the guard’s pockets and extracted the blood stained paper bearing my address with I promptly flushed down the toilet. I washed my hands a second time.

The roar from the crowd told me the second half was imminent. Making my way back to my seat I passed the couple still arguing about the Falcons versus the Eagles. The woman was now abusing her mother in-law. “Leave my mother out of this o!” the man threatened. For where? The woman was just warming up.

“Your mother should be captain of the Falcons as she sabi to dey fly fly for night! Stupid most valuable witch of the year woman” Come see laugh. The man just remained silent as the supporters around the woman began to chant “You don win, you don win. Falcons sef don win” Serves him right for coming to the game with his wife. Ye-ye woman lappa man.

Back in my seat I begin to fan my neck. I then notice two of my favorite players on the bench wearing dark sunglasses. Those around me started speculating. Them just dey show off. Na Apollo do them. No na conjuctivitis do them, on and on it went till the Mexican wave hit us, out of which came an unlikely story.

You see, dem say dat the foreign coach was unhappy at the way our boys were refusing to fall when their strong yams (leg muscles) were kicked in the penalty area. He reckoned we’ve lost out on at least four penalty kicks in our last six games. To correct this he decided to embark on a crash course in diving. And where better to learn than at an Ijaw waterside village where they built houses on stilts in the Niger Delta.

For two hours the players dived from the rooftops seemingly enjoying themselves by which time the coach was sure

that any referee could easily be fooled by the now high standard of diving the players were exhibiting. Suddenly disaster struck. An under water oil pipe burst while some players had their eyes open in the water. Na wa! See di trouble this ye-ye coach has caused. What is wrong with Federal palace hotel or Ikoyi hotel swimming pools eh? If we loose this game there will be trouble for that coach o!

The game is now held up as the referee has disappeared.

To while away the time the Stadium Selector plays Felix Liberty ‘s Ngozi music. See show! See rockeez! Cheerleaders flooded the place and began to gyrate. Some players even joined in the dance. When we saw the referee running towards the centre circle and tucking in his shirt as he ran we knew our fun was over and we all booed. The rumor came saying the referee had been trapped behind a faulty lock in the toilet. The pretty cheerleaders received a standing ovation. They even received a presidential wave. Nice chap that president of ours. Not that I wish him bad or anything of the sort but I hope the countries’ electric power problem continues.

Ah ah, so you judge me with you eyes eh? Don’t you know my electric generator leasing business depends on power cuts? At this point in time I can’t afford a drop in income. Can you?

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