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The Mechanics Of Yenagoa (VI)
Post Series: Mechanics of Yenagoa

Ebiakpo and I stood up at the same time.

“Yes, who are you?” in the darkness, I couldn’t tell if it was one of the policemen that had come to the house earlier in the day, or someone else.

“She’s my elder sister, sir,” I offered the explanation. I knew she was too tired but mostly afraid to answer.

“Ehn? Ehn?”  It was one of the policemen from before. I could tell because Ebiakpo had put on the torch from her phone so I could make out his face. “Honourable Aaron Barnabas-Treatment say make you come see am, you come dey carry anoda person join body. Wetin come concern your sister for dis matter, abi na she been follow you dey inside the car?”

“No sir, that was my – ”

“Abeg oga mechanic, spare me the details. My Oga is waiting for you in the car, don’t keep him waiting.”

“And my sister, can she come along?”

“She stays here with me. Go answer your papa name.” He motioned in the direction of the black Toyota Prado parked just inside the main entrance gate of the pavilion. The police orderly in the front passenger seat alighted from the car and signalled to me to jump in and occupy the spot he just vacated.

The first shock of the night was seeing the “big man” behind the wheels. He was driving himself, and that took me unawares. Because of the two policemen I had already seen, I assumed he’d have his PA and a driver in the car with him. In the light of my very recent encounter with people out to get him, I didn’t think he’d feel safe with just me, a complete stranger alone with him in the car.

The second surprise was realising how young he looked. It wasn’t just his small stature and baby face or the casualness in his appearance. This was a young man, probably in his mid-thirties and only a few years older than me. He must have been in his mid or late twenties when he was appointed Caretaker Chairman of Yenagoa Municipal Council.

As a happening Yenagoa boy, of course, I had heard his gist from customers in my shop and in the places I hung out with friends. But seeing him in person, I was really struck by his youthfulness and the aura of simplicity around him.

“Ebinimi?” His voice was low and measured. He called my name like he was counting numerals or cueing in a symphony. “Ebinimi, the mechanic that took my car out for a joy ride.”

“I’m sorry sir. I am very sorry sir. It will not happen again sir.” I was looking him straight in the eye, hoping that even in the dimness of the lush interior of his car, he could see how remorseful I was.

“I am mad at you, very angry at what you did,” he continued counting his words as if I hadn’t even spoken.

“You have every right to sir. It was totally wrong for me to carry a customer’s car out with or without permission. I will never do it again.” I took advantage of his delayed speech to make a case for my life.

“But what if I was the one driving the car?” It occurred to me he was doing a monologue so I stayed quiet and allowed him continue. “At least now I know that people are after my life and I didn’t have to walk into a trap. Abi Ebinimi, what do you think?”

He called my name like we were long lost friends and it was terrifying – like the kiss before the knife cuts.

“They said I should tell you that tomorrow is another day,” I thought telling him that might help reduce the knife wound.

“Mad people. They have failed. And they will continue to fail like that. Who born their father? Bastards!”

“There was no scratch to the car sha…I have returned it to your PA intact, just the way you brought it sir. Even the clutch and break sef – ”

“Ebinimi, God used you to save my life. That is all I can say on this matter. My PA tells me you are a graduate.”

“Yes sir. I studied Banking and Finance in NDU and now I am doing my MBA.”

“Interesting.” He broke the word into four distinct syllables, punctuated by long purses. “Very interesting. That is what I keep telling our Bayelsa boys. They have to go to school. They have to become doctors and professors so that these Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa boys no go dey look us down.”

“That is what my father used to tell me too before he died.”

“Oh, your father is dead?”

“And my mother too.”

“Is that why you became a mechanic?”

“That is part of it sir.”

He was silent for some time – all the while bobbing his head as if he was in long contemplation. “Look ehn Ebinimi, I have to go now because I have a meeting with the Speaker of the House of Assembly, but come to my office on Monday. I think I have a small job for you to do for me.” He reached for a bag on the back seat and brought out a bundle of money he handed over to me. I couldn’t tell how much it was because I couldn’t quite make out the denomination but it looked like a lot of money.

“Sir – ” I began to protest.

“That is five hundred thousand naira. Use it for your school and your business.”

“Sir, did you say N500k? It is too much na.” A part of me was jumping inside for joy because N500k was just what I needed to make Tiekuro and his treats go away for good. The other part of me knew I had to play coy because no Bayelsa man would collect money from another man without posing a little, even if it were free money.

“Abeg take am dey go jare. If to say those mad boys bring me down, na five hundred thousand for bring me back to this sweet world?”

I tucked the money underneath my shirt because it wouldn’t fit into the pockets of my slim jeans and raced back to where Ebiakpo was held in temporary captivity by Barnabas-Treatment’s guards. I didn’t know whether to hug her or lift her up so I just settled for screaming her name in excitement. She must have thought I had lost my mind, but she did well to stay silent until we got back to the house before starting the interrogation.

“Ebinimi, wetin happen with that man? Why were you jumping up and down shouting my name like you won the lottery?” She asked even before the driver of the keke that dropped us was done sorting out our change.

“This one is not a road-side gist oh Ebiakpo. We need to sit down inside the house with a bottle of something hot to digest am well well.”

“Okay oh bros,” she said yawning loudly. I could tell my sister was exhausted from our strange movement.  “Me, let me go and see whether my son is still awake,” she added, leaving me to sort out the change with the aboki that brought us home.

I waited until he counted out the complete change and zoomed off before entering the compound. It was quiet and dark outside the house. Reverend Ebizimor and his workers must have left hours before. The generator wasn’t on and I thought it was strange. Because of Anda, I thought it would be on so Saka and the other two guys could engage themselves watching Super Sports while waiting up for the kid’s mum and me to return. As I approached the front door, I noticed it was wide open. Why weren’t they worried about mosquitoes?

“Broderick! Broderick! Broderick!” He was the youngest and the one I scolded first whenever they misbehaved.

“Oga, Broderick no dey house.” It was Biodun.

“Where did he go at this time of the night? Don’t tell me he went to carry ashi for Hospital Road again oh.”

“Oga Ebinimi, no be wetin happen. Na him and Oga Saka comot together.”

“Where did they go to?”

“Dem go find Anda. The boy don loss.”

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This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. What a belter!
    Without mincing words, the plot is sui generis. I laud the hand that dirtied the slate with this piece. The economy of words is something I respect, and the author didn’t disappoint. The suspense was well laced around the plot; all elements used were exact.
    Kudos to Mr. Michael Afenfia. He enjoined me to read just an episode but I kept clicking the next button. In a word, I’d call it a page-turner!

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