Your Brief Bio:
My name is Shalom Hope Junior.
400L computer science undergrad.
Tweet-Style Story Summary:
It's a saturday morning pretty much like any other at no. 3, Adegboro street. But then something very weird happens. No one knows how it happened or what to make of it.
Folake ties her towel securely across her chest, puts on her bathroom slippers and picks up her bucket.
She is very vexed.
It’s 5.55am on saturday. It’s still dark out.
She has a class by 7am though.
“Person is supposed to be enjoying her sleep now. Instead I’m here inside this stupid harmattan cold bathing with cold water and killing myself. On saturday!!!”
“In the end now, he’ll still fail person” she complains to herself.
“The thunder that will fire him is still coming from Ajegunle” she concludes, quite vexed.
Folake really wouldn’t have bothered with attending the class much less trying to be early if not that the lecturer in question was basically an “evil” person.
You come late to class, you’d get in trouble. Especially when you are a fine ass chic like Folake.
Next thing you know, you’re served with a summon to his office and everyone knows what that means.
“And the greedy goat has three wives already o.” She thinks to herself as she locks the door to her room and starts to make her way to the open air bathroom behind the house that she shares with the about fifteen other tenants in the compound, her brows contorted into a frown.
“You miss the class, he’ll take attendance and those who didn’t turn up are in trouble just as well”.
Folake hissed very loud and long. She saw a lizard that was perched on a wall turn it’s head toward her.
“What?!!” She barked at the lizard.
The animal didn’t even mind her. It just kept looking at her as if trying to tell her he wasn’t the source of her problems and there was no need to vent her anger on him.
Folake seemed to understand as she ignored the lizard and kept walking. She had to vent her anger on someone jor. It wasn’t her fault.
“Where’s Justin when you need him sef?” Folake hissed as she got to the bathroom.
Justin was her boyfriend.
She got to the bathroom and thank God for small mercies. There was no one in there already.
Having to wait would have done nothing to improve her bad mood.
Especially if it was that Mrs Oge that would always take forever in there. Folake sometimes wondered what she was washing.
“Maybe she has plenty vaginas” she said, giggling.
Apparently all her vexations had been expended already.
She set about making preparations for her bath.
First make sure no peeping tom was in sight. One couldn’t be too careful with all these boys. Even the men sef.
That’s how Jumoke was bathing one time and somebody not only came looking while she was all lathered up, the dude even had the balls to cup a feel.
He had reached out and fondled Jumoke’s breast as she was blinded by soap lather and then hightailed it!!!
Jumoke had been to shocked to say anything. It was later she had told Mama Alero who had told Sister Nurse who had then told Folake.
So, one can’t be too careful. She was pretty sure that all these boys with all the testosterone and boy hormones running through them, given half a chance, they would do more than just touch her breast.
“Serves that Jumoke right sef. Always carrying herself like she is better than everybody” Folake said to herself as she spread her towel across the beam that served as the lintel of the bathroom’s doorway so no one could see what they shouldn’t see.
The doorway had no door.
“Abeg jor, lemme do and leave here”.
And so saying, she started bathing, pouring the cold water on herself, shivering and cursing her lecturer some more as she began lathering her sponge with soap.
She started scrubbing, deliberately leaving her face for last so she could see any idiot who tried to pull of any foolish shenanigan this here morning.
The time was 6.03am.
Mama Kukumojo finished sweeping the one room she shared with her husband and five kids.
Her husband had been out all night working the night shift at a bottling company. He had just returned and stumbled into bed and slept off.
The kids had gone to fetch some water from the public tap down the street, all five of them.
The woman packed up the dirt, put them in her small dustbin, picked up the dustbin and headed to the overflowing refuse dump behind the bathroom.
She noticed Folake entering the bathroom with a bucket of water.
She thought nothing of it and carried on with her chore.
By the time she was coming back, a towel was draped across the doorway of the bathroom and she could hear the sound of pouring water and cursing.
She tied her wrapper more securely around her waist and walked to her room.
The time was 6.39am.
The darkness of predawn was quickly fading away as the sun began its daily journeying.
Some of the tenants who had woken up started were milling about doing something or nothing.
It was saturday, if any of them had a job to go to, no one seemed to be in any hurry to go to it..
They called out greetings one to another.
“Mama Vero, goodmorning oo”, Uncle Bosco hailed the mother of Veronica.
“Officer, goodmorning oo. How are you?” Uncle Bosco was a traffic warden, but apparently wardens and policemen were all the same to mama veronica.
“Veronica, won’t you greet officer?” She hissed at her daughter who was just coming out of the room.
The girl was about to point out the fact that she just came out, but thought the better of it and greeted. Can’t be too careful with African parents. Pointing things out to her mother could land her in trouble this morning and she didn’t care for that at all.
Kukumojo and his siblings had returned from fetching water at the public tap.
They had filed in one after the other like a troop of soldier ants. Five soldier ants.
Kukumojo, the oldest at twelve years, was at the back of the file and Abike, the five year old girl who was the youngest of them was at the front.
They had poured the water into the big drum and made another trip. It took about three trips to fill the drum.
Now they were done and began preparing to go hawk the pure water and other “small things” their mother sold on the side.
Their mother bathed the youngest ones, the others bathed wherever they wanted to, usually outside in front of the house.
Kukumojo was having none of that though. He was a big boy you see, and there was no way he would be caught dead bathing outside.
What if Titi was passing the house then?
He knew that was highly improbable but one could never be too sure, especially with the kind of luck he had.
The thought of the embarrassment nearly choked him.
Better safe than sorry.
Titi was a girl who lived on the street. He had a huge crush on her.
So he took his bucket of water, his pail with the soap and sponge in it, tied his towel around his waist, a chewing stick bobbing up and down in his mouth, and headed to the bathroom.
He groaned when he saw the towel draped across the doorway. He would now have to wait. He hated waiting. In Fact, he hated this compound with the nosy neighbors who were always so noisy.
He put down his bucket so anyone who came would know he was next in line, although that really counted for nothing in No. 3, Adegboro Street.
The unspoken rule was, if I come and the bathroom is empty, then I bathe. If you like, keep a hundred and one buckets.
Especially when I’m an adult and you are a child.
Heck, a child could even stand there waiting and some grown up would just come and bully him or her and go bathe while the child was forced to wait some more.
Kukumojo knew this, so he dashed to the side of the pit toilet as fast as he could to piss, and then dashed back just as fast.
The towel still hung across the doorway.
He sighed and resigned himself to waiting, his chewing stick still bobbing up and down in his mouth, praying no other adult decided to come bathe as he stood waiting.
The time was 7.05am.
“Maaaaaa” The boy shouted back, highly vexed. He had been standing for so long waiting for whoever was bathing and he still was waiting.
Grumbling, he shuffled his feet over to where she was.
His mom looked at him and instantly started.
“Ahn ahn, this boy, you still haven’t bathed? What is your problem ni? Don’t you know these children can’t leave without you?”
“Ma, somebody is still in the bathroom bathing oo.”
“Ah ah, who is that?”
“I dunno oo” Kukumojo replied, frowning his face.
“Lemme go and see sef” she said dropping the egusi she was peeling and tying her wrapper more securely around her waist.
She headed towards the bathroom with her son trailing behind her.
She saw the same towel she had seen earlier still hanging across the doorway.
“Ah ah, Folake is still in there?” She asked her son.
Kukumojo shrugged and stood looking, a scowl on his face.
“Folake!!!” Mama Kukumojo shouted at the towel, hands on her waist, bending forward in that way women have when they are spoiling for trouble.
She received no answer for her effort, the towel just hung there nonchalantly.
“Ah ah, Folake no dey there? Folake!!!” She screamed even louder this time.
Pa Jimo was strolling past shirtless, his big belly bobbing in front of him like a yoyo that was reluctant to bounce.
“What is all this shouting about, you this woman? Person cannot even wake up to peace and quiet in this compound sef”.
“Pa Jimo, is Folake oo. She has been in this bathroom since morning o. My son cannot even bathe now and he has work to go and do for me. And now I’m calling her and she isn’t answering me”.
“Ehn, enter and see what’s keeping her. Abi are you not a woman like her?” he said, walking away with his big belly, leaving her to her and her son’s predicament.
Mama Kukumojo looked at him walking away, perplexion etched on her face, then she looked at her son who still stood there with the scowl on his face, the now half eaten chewing stick still in his mouth.
Then she returned her stare to the towel and realised at this point she hadn’t heard any sound coming from the bathroom.
Surely, if Folake was in there and just ignoring her, there would be the sounds of her bathing. Right? No one can actually bathe so silently. Right? I mean, she had heard the sounds of her bathing when she was passing by earlier.
“Folake?” She called more tentatively this time, an undercurrent of concern tinging her voice.
Still there was no answer.
She looked about her again as if expecting Folake to materialise in front of her, her worry beginning to become very evident.
Even Kukumojo’s scowl of annoyance had been replaced with an expression of concern.
Mrs Kukumojo shifted slowly toward the bathroom, as if approaching some vile and evil portal that could spring forth some mad creature to devour her at any moment.
“Folake?” She called very softly as she edged closer to the towel that stood across the doorway like Charon.
Her son and Pa Jimo who had returned with his pot belly stood watching her with chewing sticks in their mouths.
Getting no answer still, Mama Kukumojo suddenly became highly vexed.
The thought that Folake was in there and deliberately refusing to answer possessed her completely for no good reason.
The fact that she would have been in there for over an hour didn’t register in the midst of her fury.
And so, while Pa Jimo spat out some chewing stick and her son stood silently behind her, and a cock began chasing a hen across the yard, and a lizard snoozed on the wall, and a hawk eyed the lizard intently, Mama Kukumojo quickened her pace and hastened towards the bathroom, covering the distance in three quick, short strides.
“All these women and their wahala sef” Pa Jimo said and spat out some more chewing stick as he watched Mama Kukumojo push the towel aside and stop.
She stood very still for a few seconds and then she began to scream, a bloodcurdling shriek that sent chills down Pa Jimo’s spine and made the twelve year old son jump with fright.
The sleeping lizard woke up and scurried away and the hawk took flight while the cock abandoned chasing the hen and began running in the opposite direction.
Pa Jimo and the boy rushed to see why the woman shouted and as soon as they saw, they rushed out just as quickly.
Pa Jimo sat down heavily on the ground beside the bathroom to catch his breath, his chest heaving up and down as his stomach perched quietly in his front.
Kukumojo kept saying “Jesus” over and over.
Aunty Nurse and Sisi Alero who had been just come out of the house when they heard the scream soon came running to investigate the matter.
They saw Mama Kukumojo wailing in one side, Pa Jimo sitting in the dust on the other and Kukumojo looking rather catatonic.
“What is it?” the all asked at pretty much the same time.
It was all Pa Jimo could do to point at the bathroom while sucking in huge gulps of air, wheezing like an overworked engine.
Aunty Nurse went first while Sisi Alero watched her like she was performing a rather wonderful magic trick.
Carefully pulling the towel that was still draped across the doorway aside, she saw and fainted away at once.
Sister Alero instantly began to cry, giant sobs racking her body. She didn’t even bother going to investigate what the source of all these weeping and gnashing of teeth was. If it could make Aunty Nurse instantly lose consciousness while making the others act the way they were acting, she wasn’t sure she wanted to know.
She just joined Mama Kukumojo to shout and shed tears.
Soon the yard was filled with people as tenants of No. 3, Adegboro street as well as from the other compounds came from wherever to see what the ruckus was all about.
As more of them hurried to the bathroom and saw, the air quickly became an intermingling of sounds of wailing and grunting and shouting.
Papa Kukumojo was the last resident of the compound to go and see.
He was woken from sleep by the cacophony and wondering what the matter was, came out of his room to see.
He met his wife and Sisi Alero and a couple of other women crying, the different stages of hysteria evident. He saw a few of them attending to Nurse Alero, they had poured water on her face and where fanning her. She had regained consciousness, but her parlor was still deathly white. She and the women attending her were crying.
Papa Kukumojo saw his son sitting quietly in one side, surrounded by his siblings and a number of kids. His son’s eyes were bloodshot and it seemed like Kukumojo couldn’t see straight. It also didn’t seem like he heard the children pestering him, all of them asking him what happened. A few of them had tried to go see for themselves but the way the wailing women had chased them back, it seemed like some of them weren’t their mothers.
A couple of men were clustered close the bathroom, Pa Jimo still sitting on the ground, his chest calm now, his chewing stick lay on his stomach. Pa Jimo had forgotten all about it.
Papa Kukumojo approached them and arched his brow, silently asking what the problem was.
One of the men just shook his head sadly and gestured in the direction of the doorway, silently telling him to go see for himself.
He walked to the bathroom and also pushed aside the towel that was still draped across the doorway and looked in and his breath caught in his throat.
He knew he wouldn’t be going to sleep anytime soon.
Folake was there, sitting with her back against the wall in a corner of the bathroom, her legs stretched out in front of her.
She looked alright except for the fact that there was blood around and on her, a rather copious amount of it and her skin was ghostly white and she now had no head. It had been cleanly cut off and placed in her hands which had been folded across her legs, her sightless eyes staring at nothing and her dead face the very picture of terror.