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Sunday, 17 September 2017

THE RINGS OF FIRE: 2 THE REBELLION





VEXATIONS
Simi stood in front of the butcher. She opened her handbag and began to scatter things inside it. The butcher picked two knives and sharpened one with the other. He took a big piece of meat and sliced it into three and began to cut one into smaller pieces. Looking at Simi, he asked, “Madam, hope no problem?” and she shook her head. A woman with a baby on her back came also to buy meat. She was carrying a basket full of stuffs on her head. As the woman tried to lift the basket, she staggered and struggled not to fall. Simi hastened to remove the baby from her back before the women could reach the ground. The woman selling pepper and seasonings, opposite the butcher also rushed to help the fallen mother up on her feet. “Thank you all. God will not leave you. You will not lose what you cherished most.”
“Next time,” said the pepper seller, “ask someone to assist you.”
The butcher packed Simi’s meat inside nylon and gave it to Simi. She paid for the meat and took off. And baby’s mother continued to bargain for a piece of meat.
          After Simi had left, after selling meat to the baby’s mother the butcher, trying to find change for his customer found that Simi had given him three thousand naira notes instead of two. “Ha, woman yi o gba change,” he said. “O, well, she may come back,” baby’s mother responded. “Only God know what was wrong with that madam,” the butcher said. As baby’s mother was going, the butcher called her back to take her wallet. And she took it. She turned to leave but the pepper seller stopped her. “Haba, mama, agbalagba niyin ke. You’re an elder. Why did you lie?”
“What do you mean lie? Do you want to insult me?”
“No, no, but you didn’t do well.”
Baby’s mother hissed and attempted to walk away but the pepper seller pulled her back. “You’re going nowhere. You’re a thief!”
“What! You called me a thief?”
Baby’s mother slapped the pepper seller and the two women started fighting. One woman managed to remove the baby from her mother’s back. “Hey, in front of my shop?” the butcher shouted and stopped them from fighting. The pepper seller had to explain why she accused baby’s mother. “Boda Popo, this thief is not the owner of the wallet. It belongs to the first woman who forgot to collect change.”
“That’s a lie. It is my wallet.”
“No problem, mama, you’re my customer. And she is my regular customer. Let’s check your basket and your hand bag; if there’s no other wallet then it may be yours.”
“No way! I will not let you treat me like a thief.”
After much reluctance, baby’s mother allowed them to search her basket, one wallet was found inside. They asked her how much she had in the wallet but she refused to tell them. Then they searched her bag and found a similar pink wallet. Inside that wallet were different naira notes summed up to one thousand five hundred. “That must be hers,” pepper seller said. Inside the other wallet were twelve one-thousand-naira notes. No one judged baby’s mother. The wallets were the same. She might not have known that the second one was not hers. “No, problem ma, she’s my customer. I’ll keep it for her.”
Now, baby’s mother looked at the women. She didn’t know who had removed the baby from her back. And that person had taken off with the baby. “Mogbe o! Omo mi da? Where is my child? Ha! Baba Luku, is this how you want to afflict me?” She didn’t care about her basket, or wallet. Many people joined her to look for the unknown person who had removed baby from the mother’s back and had taken the baby away. They wouldn’t find that person. Baby’s mother would wail all over the place. No one would find the baby. Baby’s mother said her husband will kill her if she returned home without the baby. “She is our only child. “Yeh! Okansoso! I was barren for thirty years. My husband’s family pressured him to marry another wife but he didn’t. He loves very much. And now that we’re blessed with a child Baba Luku has done this that my child to should be stolen. Baba Luku o! Baba Luku o!” Baby’s mother wailed.
Similoluwa came home. She dropped the sac and her bag by the door and rushed into her room. She opened her wardrobe and began to search. She removed each cloth and searched pockets of all that have pockets. “No, it can’t be inside the wardrobe.” Simi moved to a corner where a big bag was settled. She opened the bag and began to take out all the books therein. She opened the books one by one perhaps something was inside any of them. “Where did I put this thing?”
Prophetess Tejuola came down from upstairs and saw a sac by the door. She walked to it. Similoluwa had come back. “What happened in the market? She didn’t buy my plantain, she didn’t but stuffs. Only meat? Or she’s in the kitchen? Is she even inside this house? Simi o!”
Simi came to the sitting room and began to check everywhere. She didn’t respond to Prophetess Teju’s questions. “Did anyone fight you? Did you misplace something? You lost the money you took to the market?”
“I know where I forgot my wallet.”
“Then what are you looking for?
“Where is Aaron? Where is he? I need to know.”
The Prophetess looked at Simi’s eyes. Simi looked like she might cry. She ran upstairs to continue her search. And the Prophetess followed her. “Wait, Becky told me that Aaron is fine.”
“You’re hiding something from me.”
Prophetess Tejuola reasoned within her if it would be good to let Simi know that Aaron was missing and might be in danger. And she knew it would be difficult to lie to Simi concerning Aaron’s situation. “This girl knows something is wrong.  If I lose her I might lose my son.” Prophetess Tejuola called Similoluwa to the sitting room down stairs and promised to tell her the truth. She told her what Becky had said about Aaron’s situation. “My Aaron? My Aaron is missing?” Simi asked. Prophetess Teju only nodded. “My Aaron may not remember me?”
“Yes, your Aaron may not.”
Similoluwa saw her bag. She quickly moved to the door side and carried it. She wanted to search again. “It’s not inside your bag,” said Tejuola.
“What do you think I’m looking for?”
“I know it. It’s not inside this house.”
“You … found it? And you hid it? No? You burnt it? Or you threw it away?”
“This is a Christian family. Hoodoo is not allowed in this house.”
Simi slowly sat on the floor. Tears rolled down her cheek. Prophetess Tejuola moved closer and also slowly sat on the floor beside Simi. The prophetess cuddled Simi and begged her for forgiveness. “It’s for the good of all of us. We cannot serve God and Mammon.”
“It’s for the good of your pride. You’re a prophetess! Do you know why I keep that gourd? Do you know what’s inside it? It’s all for Aaron’s sake –to keep him safe and to make him prosper.”
“It is for the same reasons that I’ve thrown it away –to keep him safe and to make him prosper.”
“Hmmm, that means I am a threat to him. You’re saying that what I kept and what I did to help him only endangered his life? So, I was trying to thwart his prosperity?”
“No, but he’s a Christian. And it is better …”
Simi suddenly rose up and rushed into her room. She locked the room to prevent Prophetess Teju from entering. After some minutes, she came out with a small bag. “Thank you for everything you have done for me since my parent’s death. You will be rewarded. You’ve only tolerated me you haven’t loved me. If you’ve loved me you’d have respected me or at least not thrown away my thing without telling me.”
“Hey! I made that choice for love. I love you. Mogbe! Simi! Another trouble. Please don’t go so that we can look for him together. And you have nowhere to go do you?”
“No I don’t have nowhere to go and that’s why I can go anywhere. How dare you think of me as a helpless orphan and treated me as such?”
Though Prophetess Tejuola pleaded that Simi should not leave Similoluwa still left the house with annoyance. And the Prophetess began to cry. “I had hoped that if Simi is with me and see her safe, Aaron will be safe. He will come back to me. How will I now be sure?”

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