As I gulped my pap with the accompaniment of beans cake. Father’s
words of advice echoed in my ear as he dropped my school fee on the
dinning table. A bulky wad of naira notes binded with a red rubber
band. I looked at the money as if it was the summon for the Monday
morning advice. Although， I was used to his usual security advice.
” You are really lucky， you know. I was loved so much by my
father that he did not allow me to attend school. The ordinary school
cert. I obtained， I was kidnapped by our district officer to write the
final exam for it.” he said.
I fastened my school bag to my back like a baby and left for
school. I passed in front of your house but，you were not at home. I
crossed the bridge and trekked down the main road for quite a while
before the hulla-balloo of a woman，two boys and five girls that ran
across the silent road. It was like a curfew. I took refuge in the
corridor of a petty trader’s shop. I turned the display table to a
shield since it was laid on its side，its legs pointed at the road.
Grains of goat faeces formed the physics of the shop’s corridor. I
peeped through the small opening of the wooden table like one would
have done to a camera while taking a photograph. I peeped to have a
view of the road，street and the situation. I heard the hooting of a
car，coming from or either going far away maybe nearby. This I couldn’t
tell，for I was caged behind the display table.
God knows when this war will end. It was October 1968 in
Anambra. Though I can not remember the exact date now.
In my illusion，I thought the car belonged to the
Nigerian military until it came closer. It was a red pathfinder jeep.
It drove by. With the tension cooled down a little，I peeped over the
frame of the display table，to the ends of the road- I saw men seated
under an acacia tree，a keg beside their footstool and tumblers in
front of each of them. Another man whistled a popular Igbo song while
packing a load of dirt in front of his shop.
I jumped out of my hideout. Then，I saw the sprinting woman
from earlier on，waving towards some kids at a crossroad with a goat
around her neck，bleating and bleating like the cry of a sinner in
The goat wrestled its way with the woman. The woman wrestled at
the same time with her wrapper as she tried to cross a gutter.
But，after many rounds with the goat and the wrapper，she lost control
of her wrapper. She was stripped of her honour. The cloth fell like
the drop of a stage curtain to uncover her climax but，her suspense was
sustained by the short she wore. Well，not really a short，maybe as long
as a short trouser. The wrapper fell into the gutter that is got all
the guts of men- the sewages，the fungus，the bacterias. The water
turned chlorophy is enough to discourage one from picking such
wrapper，if one does not want to suffer infection.
“Iye ojo abomination！A woman in trouser！” A man roared
from under the acacia tree beside the road，this drew the attention of
the other men.
Like a stone catapaulted to the world of nests，the man’s
roar worked like a towncrier’s gong as people began to troop out of
the street- houses，shops，workshops，saloons…. Both women and
girls，men and boys. They formed groups of two，three，four，five… very
many groups for such a few minutes before the outcry.
The woman must have been dumbfounded by shock，seeing she
did not say anything and was just blinking like a puppet. They threw
stones，sands and other things at her. Amidst this，the goat fell from
her shoulder and broke through the guerilla wall of the people. They
forced her to her knees. Some boys ran to the mechanic workshop by the
roadside and started rolling tyres up the road. I heard someone say
Someone else said:
“School boy！Wouldn’t you go to school now？”
Then，my neighbour took a cane and started after me. I ran to
school with my school bag doing another jumping exercise at my back.
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