Your Brief Bio:
Angel MESSI is a Nigerian born photographer and writer. He's passionate about writing children and teens
stories that are entertaining enough to get them addicted to reading --readers are leaders.
He believes knowledge is best found not in schools but in books.
He prides himself as an entertainer, and is in the business of entertaining his audience with great stories and photographs.
Tweet-Style Story Summary:
Ali had a Dream is a psychological thriller about a young boy who had big dreams but is then humbled by life's shenanigans.
“Please give me my food, I am starving. You promised to let me have my dinner in peace. You people already ceased my breakfast and lunch, please spare me this I pray you.” Ali pleaded on bended knees, with tears coursing down his cheeks unchecked.
Ali had a dream
Ali had a big dream
Ali had a very big dream
OBAFEMI AWOLOWO UNIVERSITY
“Ahan? Maami, that’s not entirely true, a roaring lion kills no game.” Ali protested, while his mother fried groundnuts; she sat on a small stool. He held in his right hand an A4 paper, and printed on it boldly was the crest and name of a school. He had gained admission to study Chemical Engineering.
“Obafemi Awolowo University is one of the best schools in Africa offering this course,” Ali said, “Besides, you are aware of my sentiments for that school and its rich heritage and history. You should be proud Maami, very proud.” he teased his mother. Ali stood tall and glowed with pride. He was only nineteen and had finally been given the chance to study his desired course --his ‘dream course’ as he always put it-- in the most coveted university in Africa.
He had an IQ of 149 which oftentimes made him solve mathematics and chemistry in his dreams, and whenever he woke up without completing it, he immediately got himself a pen and sheet of paper, and continues till he got the final answer. He’d written UTME on three different occasions, and had been admitted on all three; however, he wasn’t given his dream course until his third attempt. The first, he was admitted to study Medicine and Surgery; his second, Computer Science; he declined both admissions.
Obafemi Awolowo University
He was on top of the world. “I best them!” he said to himself countlessly.
His mother indeed was very proud; he was her pride, her morning star.
Since she lost her husband to cancer (how Baba Ali got cancer was still a mystery, because cancer is believed to be a wealthy man’s illness), she had grown an inexplicable fondness and extreme love for her children - the eldest being Ali, and his two siblings, Aishat and Gbenga- and the feeling was mutual.
Aishat, now in senior secondary school 3, was fast causing stares amongst boys in the neighborhood; but none dared ask her out because of her brother. He was fiercely protective; a ferocious tiger that could be dedicated to a goal even if it was to kill.
Gbenga on the other hand was in junior secondary school 2, and all he could do was eat, sleep and talk to animals, insects and birds. At age six, he once climbed an electric pole all in an attempt to talk to a bird that appeared to have a few detached feathers. He was however disappointed because as soon as he got hold of the electric wire, the disturbed bird jets to the sky. People shrieked in horror when they finally noticed a little being up there on the pole, and before one could say “Goodluck Jonathan” the land was covered with people. The boy’s saving grace was the fact that there hadn’t been power supply for four years; so the pole to little Gbenga was a bigger drier than that at his backyard. Mama Ali’s eyes were bloodshot and tears were beginning to blur her vision as she stared at her last born in utter disbelief.
Later that night when she recounted the ordeal to Baba Ali, he almost died of laughter. He watched his sleeping son and said, “Definitely we have a NEPA official in our family already,” then he laughed some more. Of course Mama Ali didn’t find it anywhere near hilarious. “What in the world are you saying?” she argued furiously with her husband before leaving for bed. That night Baba Ali served himself dinner, and pleaded all night long as he tried to get friendly when something hard hit him. However, there would be no forgiveness on this day –heaven’s gate was shut.
Gbenga nevertheless, would boast of his solo feat of being the only child in the neighborhood to have ever climbed an electric pole without a ladder, although never did he try it again.
“Congratulations my son,” Mama Ali finally said to her son, “I’m sure God will surprise us.”
“Thank you Maami, Iyanu ma shele,” Ali said, “Sugarcane is sweetest at its joint. Very soon, we’ll leave this slum. I’ll buy a mansion for you on the island once I start working with Chevron,” he paused and continued, “And when I become the petroleum minister, Maami! You will enjoy ooo!” His mother could only smile as she put both her hands forward as though to receive a gift and muttered softly “Amin,” she rubbed her hands on her face and placed it on her chest. This was a sign in acknowledgement of her son’s wishes, whilst she carried it to a supreme being.
****A Quick Glossary****
Maami: my mother
UTME: Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination
NEPA: National Electric Power Authority
Iyanu ma shele: there’s going to be a miracle
Then she said, “You must go to Ogba and tell your uncle about it,” she had finished frying the groundnuts and began to pull out the firewood; Ali instinctively took a bowl of water and sprinkled it on the red hot firewood. The conviviality between smoke and ash produced a hissing sound that settled on everything close. “You know I can’t afford to send you to the university, and this factory work you are doing cannot pay for your education either,” she paused and studied her son, he was growing faster than she’d anticipated, “Besides you will have to resign and the stipends will stop coming in.” Ali nodded in agreement, “Yes I will see him on Sunday. I am off duty on Sunday.” He said. “By the way where is Gbenga?” he suddenly asked his mother, “I told him to bring the bottles I washed earlier this morning at the backyard. That boy, will he ever be able to carry out petty chores?” he beleaguered, “Gbenga!” he shouted and folds his admission letter into his brown leather side bag. He now sat with his mother as they both separated the skin from the nuts. “G b e n g a!” he cried yet again, “Yeeeeeeeesss! I am coming ooo!” Gbenga cried from a distance, he carried a big bowl filled with clean empty bottles of dry gin -chelsea, seaman, squadron- on his head.
“You no dey hear word once. Since wey Ali don dey call you! Nonsense boy.” A short, fat woman blessed with zebra-like stretchmarks and discolouration due to bleaching bursts open her door and caught Gbenga just in time as he walked past, she held a small covered bowl. It stunk and Gbenga instantly knew what was in the bowl. He could only wrinkle his nose and quicken his steps. She has been caught defecating in her room again for the umpteenth time.
Mama Bornboy never listens to anybody, not even the landlord could coax her to use the toilet. “I cannot go and carry ‘goloreah’ (gonorrhea) or ‘stafilokocos’ (staphylococcus) from that dirty toilet abeg,” she dared to say to anybody that cared to listen. She was the only tenant capable of engaging the landlord in series of heated arguments and fights -other tenants referred to her as the landlady.
“Can you imagine ehn? Ai fini peni, ai fiyan peyan lo mu ara oko san bante wo lu; meaning, it is the lack of decency that makes a bush girl ro attire into the town; what nonsense! Ehn?! It is your husband that will give you gonorrhea o, not my toilet. Besides when it’s your turn to wash the toilet that is when you will have back pain or malaria, and your children are as useless as you are,” the landlord once said to her when he first caught her some few years ago with her mobile toilet, and she gave him her petty excuse. The stench was awful and the Landlord flexed his verbal muscles on her; Mama Bornboy however was a typical Benin woman, she would not be dilacerated “Warri no dey carry last.”
“Warri… Warri…” Aishat recounted to her family later that night, as she sounded as if she spoke through a throatful of tightly packed phlegm. “The Landlord was going to have his bath jejely o, when he caught her,” Aishat said, (she was now talking normally) “He was tying a towel when Mama Bornboy suddenly grabbed his towel, almost letting it loose, and flung her potty into the air as though she were spraying money on an exquisite couple at a traditional wedding.” she laughed, and so did every other person in the parlor,”Nyama!” Gbenga said. Aishat ignored him and continued, “he was shocked and didn’t even know when he started pleading. Moles of Mama Bornboy’s shit were hanging and dripping from everywhere, even Baba Landlord got some piece on his bald head.” Some of them had started laughing again, but she continued, “I think she must have caught some of his pubic hair combined with the craze of the splashed shit.” They all laughed out loud yet again. Since that fateful day, the landlord has been stylishly avoiding the madwoman as it was near impossible to evict her from his house. Mama Bornboy was trouble; with her protuberant belly and magnificent buttocks. She gave birth to ten children, -all boys, three died at child birth- hence the moniker “Mama Born boy” was birthed.
“I couldn’t find the corks,” Gbenga quickly announced as he placed the bowl of bottles at Ali’s feet in order not to receive a resetting slap or thunderous knock. “I think Suuru took it.” He lied, (Suuru was Mama Bornboy’s fourth child, Gbenga’s abettor). It was futile nonetheless, because Gbenga never saw the knock coming. Ali pretended to believe his lies in other to allow Gbenga some space to feel comfortable; but when it did strike him, it left him writhing on the floor.
“My friend bring those bottles closer!” Mama Ali ordered whilst he writhed in pain. “A child that says his mother will not sleep, he himself will know no peace. It did not touch you very well. Nonsense.” She chastised him.
Ali and his mother filled each bottle with groundnuts --they were of different sizes. Mama Ali was a judicious petty trader; she sold different goods and rendered various services that change as the seasons. “These big big bottles are five hundred naira,” she said to Gbenga some minutes later, who now sat coolly studying an army of ants that marched across the gutter, “can you hear me? You have started playing again abi? You this boy! You will not kill me” Mama Ali lamented. Gbenga furrowed and grumbled which almost brought down the wrath of Ali again, “Ehn?! You said what?” Ali asked, suddenly alert to the boy’s protest. “Nothing” Gbenga replied.
“Those bottles, the big ones,” Mama Ali repeated, pointing to the bottles, “it’s five hundred naira; last price four hundred and eighty naira, that’s if the person has good mouth,” she said, as she held her left ear tightly, which signifies that the little boy had ears and they were meant for listening to instructions. “These small bottles are three hundred naira last last, and these kenkele ones are hundred naira.” She revealed, “Shey you heard me?” she sought his confirmation, “Yes Maami I got it.” Gbenga said. “Good, now go and call your sister for me let her hear it from me before she go and do Good Samaritan with my groundnuts” Mama Ali ordered.
Jejely: calmly; softly; gently
Nyama: something nasty
Good mouth: courtesy
Kenkele: smaller than small
“Maami let me go and rest a bit, I’m on night shift today” Ali said, and left his mother as she added her newly made goods to old stock.
***Mama Ali’s Inventory***
1 dozen of sachet Peak milk
3 tins of Three Crowns milk
5 tins of Peak milk
6 bags of sachet pure water
5 pieces of sachet Milo
2 dozens of sachet Cowbell chocolate milk
8 tins of tomato paste
1 carton of Indomie super pack
1 empty carton of Indomie ‘hungry-man size’
3 plastic cans filled with sweets, sugar and seasoning cubes
Half-full 5 litres plastic of palm oil
Empty 5 litres plastic of groundnut oil
Empty crates of soft drinks
11 bottles of groundnuts
2 Ancient mechanical and electric grinding machines
A worn-out sewing machine
Mama Ali’s moniker also varies due to the flexibility of her ever changing trade. Mama Ali being the most popular, to the less popular ones like; Iya Gbenga (No one ever called her Iya Aishat, firstborns and lastborn are the main children, second-borns are almost invisible.), Iya Alata, Mama Melo; while the kids mostly called her “Mama Boda Ali” (simply put, uncle Ali’s mother). This is Nigeria and respect is a thing that flows even in the bloodstream of unborn babies.
Mama Ali’s shop was one of the shops that occupied the ground floor of the two storied building; other shops includes: a barber’s shop, a boutique, a bet shop/game house, and a shop that housed an office desk, two blue plastic chairs, a bench, typewriter, desktop computer, and a whole lot of files. A placard was pasted on the door with washed off writing: “ESTATE AGENT. To Let, 2 & 3 Bedroom flats for lease.” The shop was perpetually empty.
Baba Ali owned a mechanic shop. A school certificate holder, but he somehow managed to speak Queen’s English (I am sure you’ve met people like that). He served as a cook to a British couple at a tender age of twelve, and went on to live with them for twenty four years “Tunde boy,” as he was fondly called by his master went on to learn all he could from the Briton who was a qualified mechanical engineer that worked with Volkswagen at the time, until his untimely death alongside his wife in a motor accident.
Baba Ali was the best mechanic there was in the busy city of Yaba. Ali however wasn’t interested in his father’s trade, and upon his father’s death, the shop was relinquished to a stranger.
Baba Ali was a generous easy-going man that worked for free most of the time, which invariably left him broke and at the ire of his wife. He didn’t care less notwithstanding; as long as he could provide for feeding, and his children’s education and shelter, he was satisfied. The issue however was the occasional luxuries his wife wanted to enjoy. “We must be frugal in spending,” he’d say to her whenever she came crying for money. He’ll then give her the money and ask she use it to buy whatever she wanted or she used it to buy food and also stock her shop. Yea, you guessed right.
“Ahan? Ali what’s wrong? Why is your shirt torn?” Uncle Kamal asked surprised as he opened the door for his nephew, “Uncle it’s the bus I entered o!” Ali lamented, “As I was about to drop, I had no idea that my shirt was being held back by a knocked out screw…” he continued, “…all I heard was the sound of the tear and people telling me ‘sorry o’. I was embarrassed.” He hissed.
“Eeyah… thank your stars it wasn’t your trousers, that would have been the peak of your embarrassment and hope your boxers are clean? ‘Coz you never know, the next bus you hop on might chew your pants.” uncle Kamal laughed at his just concluded hilarious joke, but Ali didn’t find it near funny, he only managed a grin. He spotted a beautiful girl on his way to his uncle’s place and had hoped to get her mobile number only for her to embarrass him. “Why must it be today of all days that I now see someone attractive? My God!” He said to himself as he watched the girl and her friend stop a bike and disappear into the noisy chatter of Lagos. He stood speechless and defeated at the bus stop.
“Check my wardrobe and see if you can get something that fits,” his uncle finally said amidst laughter as he picked the channel changer and buried himself in his couch. Ali let out a wry sigh of relief and gratefully dashed to his uncle’s room. Uncle Kamal lived alone in a 3-bedroom flat located in Ogba, in the city of Lagos. His two wives and five children lived in Boston. He was a promiscuous man, so it was no surprise when Ali saw the silhouette and back view of two ladies who he guessed should be in their late teens or early twenties, stroll from the kitchen to the other room in bum shorts and tank tops.
Some minutes later, Ali joined uncle Kamal in the living room dressed in a brightly coloured, flowery blue shirt. He announced his presence with both hands wide apart like a peacock showboating, “Uncle Kamal how do I look?”
His uncle had spent most of his life abroad, so calling him a name he didn’t bear did not quite go down well with him. People who called him by his children’s name ended up being frustrated because uncle Kamal will not respond to such calls. “Say my name! I am Kamaldeen, and not Baba Shade! What in the world is wrong with Nigerians? Aaarrrgghhh!” he once charged at his friend while at a party; his friend had brought to the party three hot dames, and anything near “Baba whatever,” was bad for business.
“Ali! So of all the shirts and polo shirts in that wardrobe it’s this one that caught your fancy right?” he said, “you too like better thing. See your head.” Ali turned around one more time so to send a message to his uncle that that would be the last of the shirt he would be seeing in his house. “Who doesn’t?” Ali grins. Just then, Ali proceeded to the refrigerator, -that was his favourite place in the house, followed by the kitchen- he brought out four cans of beer and returned to the living room.
On seeing the beer cans with him his uncle said, “Hmmm… EeekkaaA! I trust you.” And they both laughed yet again. Ali was his favourite nephew, and he loved him so much.
*****Definition of Term*****
EeekkaaA: someone or a group of persons very good in doing ‘bad’ things. (It can be used as a noun, pronoun, verb, adjective and adverb.)
Ali passed his admission letter to his uncle, “What’s this again oo?” he asked, as he read the letter, “Oh… finally…” he said, “…your dream course… congratulations boy. Your father would have been very proud.” And he raised his beer to the lad.
“Thank you sir.” Ali blushed; just then one of the ladies joined them in the living room and settled beside uncle Kamal. She was scantily-clad and had helped herself with some chocolate ice-cream. Uncle Kamal then introduced her to Ali, who to his greatest surprise didn’t believe it. “This is Ali, my nephew I do talk to you about,” he said, and she faked a smile. Then he turned to Ali and said, “Ali this is Jenifer, she’s a sophomore student of Obafemi Awolowo University, your school.” Ali then mouthed, “Hello,” but the actual words didn’t quite come out.
Jenifer was the lady he saw on his way to his uncle’s place who he had tried to talk to only for her to tell him his clothes are torn and he needed clothes not girls in his life. She then flagged down a bike and sped off. Jenifer however was suddenly interested in Ali, pretending not to remember a thing.
“Oh oh… Great Ife!” she said, as she held her spoon in a fist. “Eeerrr… actually I just got admitted…” Ali stammered, “Oh that’s nice, congrats. What course were you given?” She asked coolly in the most sonorous voice Ali had ever heard, just then uncle Kamal cuts in “His dream course of course! He’s the one I told you about that rejected your school on two different occasions when he was given Medicine and Computer science have you forgotten?”
“Ahan… uncle Kamal…!” Ali said embarrassed, “you don’t have to be a whistleblower, you won’t get paid” and they burst into streams of laughter.
Ali peeked through the corner of his eyes as they watched TV and caught her staring. What could she be thinking now? he thought, and then he turned to her as though to say something. His opened mouth however would birth no word. She smiled and winked at him, and then she proceeded into the other room. So shapely she was even the number eight has fewer curves. The bum shorts she wore gave him enough room to take in her straight hot legs.
“WOW!” he suddenly said absentmindedly, before he realized he shouldn’t have said that.
“Hey! Young man… get your eyes off that girl.” Uncle Kamal warned and creased into a satisfying smile. Ali smiled back and relaxed into the armless arms of the cushion chair, “Obafemi Awolowo University… here I come.” He said to himself.