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The Mechanics Of Yenagoa (Season 2) – II
Post Series: Mechanics of Yenagoa

Reverend Ebizimor summoned me to his office in the morning. I wondered what he wanted to discuss with me that couldn’t wait for two or three days after my return to Yenagoa. Whatever the meeting was about, I wasn’t enthusiastic about it. The last time we had a meeting in his office, I had gone to give him an ultimatum about his church and the new rent regime.

So much had happened since then. I don’t want to come across as superstitious or anything, but one thing I know is how quickly things spiralled downwards for me shortly after that confrontation with the man of God.

“Good morning, Reverend.”

“Good morning, Ebinimi.” The first thing I noticed was the way he addressed me. He didn’t say “Brother Jacob,” as he did before, and that bothered me a bit. Perhaps in his mind I was no longer a member of his church or even a Christian at all. Had I been excommunicated?

“You asked to see me,” I said to him.

“Emmmmm, emmmmm, emmmmm,” he cleared his throat. “Welcome back. I hope you feel better now and that your wounds have healed.”

“Yes, it has. I think I’m ready to get back to work again.”

“Well, we have been taking care of things and watching over the compound for you while you were away.”

“Thank you for that, Reverend. I noticed the new name for the church.”

“Fire for Fire Liberation Ministries. Yes, God spoke to us to rebrand.”

“I like the new name.”

“Yes, it came directly from God after one month of fasting and praying. We need to teach some people small lesson in this town.” Not knowing whether I was one of those to be taught a lesson made me slightly uneasy.

“Did God say anything about the rent or moving to a new place?” I summoned courage to ask him.

“Yes, Brother Jacob.” I noticed we were back to being brothers in Christ again. “In fact that was why I sent for you.” I sort of had a sense of what was coming next, so I remained quiet because for the first time since meeting Reverend Ebizimor, I felt something really powerful coming from him. I felt a genuine anointing, or was it fear? “Brother Jacob, you crossed a line the last time,” he said to me after a long pause. “In fact, you crossed many red lines and God is not happy with you.”

“I’m sorry if I said things I shouldn’t have said to you about the arrangement the church has with my sister and me. I’ve also had time to reconsider my position. I don’t think you should be paying rent to us. You have been kind to Ebiakpo and her family, plus the patronage I enjoy in the workshop from all the big big people that come here for prayers because of you cannot be quantified in monetary terms.”

Reverend Ebizimor appeared touched by my words. When he spoke, the aggression was gone from his voice.

“I know I shouldn’t be saying this, but I think your ordeal these past two months was God trying to caution you. Brother Jacob, you do not threaten a man of God na. You don’t! It is scriptural. From what Sister Ebiakpo told me, you could have died if God hadn’t brought those small school children to deliver you.”

“It was a miracle, sir.”

“Don’t play with fire oh.” I sat still like a naughty schoolboy being scolded by his principal. “You see what happened to you? It was God saying He still has plans for your life. Anyway, your sister and I have talked things over and there’s no more talk of rent. In fact, she wants me to extend further into the backyard because the ministry is growing. Our number is fast increasing.”

I wasn’t sure about that, but I didn’t want to get into an argument about his membership strength, so I concurred. “I believe we still have time to look into your expansion plans, but for now maybe you should lay your hands on me and pray for me. This bad luck that is following me about, e don do…make e no cross enter next year.”

“That is very true oh, Brother Jacob; we will get to that right away,” I could see him getting excited. “But first, let me show you this new Water of Babylon I got for the owner of one of the big supermarkets in town. One of my spiritual fathers sent it to me from Israel just last week. It is only 10k for the big Eva bottle and 5k for the small one,” he explained about his merchandise.

Reverend Ebizimor told me to kneel down and he prayed with me for about 15 minutes. When he was through, I gave him 5k for the small bottle and went out to join the guys in the workshop.

I didn’t realise how much I’d missed Kalakala Street and my three crazy colleagues until I wore my favourite extra-large grease-stained blue overall and walked into them arguing about a song.

“If you no get money, wetin you gain oh! Gain, gain, gain ah! That na wetin I sing na.” It was Saka screaming at the top of his voice, not minding the two guys already in the shop to get their cars fixed.

“I no follow you argue that one,” BRD replied him. “Na the part when you sing say ‘…if no be chicken na something dey chop oh,’ I dey talk.” BRD proceeded to sing the correct lyrics of the Victor AD song, “…if no be billing, na something dey sup oh –”

“Ah! Okay, na now I dey get am – ‘sup,’ like when person say ‘what’s up.’ But wetin come bring sup inside the music na, Broderick? Abi na your normal sabi sabi leg you don bring inside this matter again?”

“Saka, no mind the boy jare,” Biodun joined in on the conversation. “Whether na sup oh or na chop oh, the one I sabi be say Oluwa must bless us with this money this year; if not wetin we gain?” The three of them burst out laughing.

“I don tell una say I no be Michael Jackson or Sunny Ade, make una leave me make I just dey sing the one wen I sabi.” When Saka said that, I knew he was about to do something really hilarious so I brought out my iPhone and pressed record.

He sang the whole second verse of Victor AD’s song, and even though he murdered the lyrics with unrecognisable words, when he got to the chorus, BRD and Biodun chimed in, dancing happily as they sang along.

“If we no get money, wetin we gain oh…”

It was a crazy performance that had me in stitches even as I played it back to their amusement. Maybe that was why I made a mental note to capture that moment for him and upload it on Instagram when I had the chance later in the day.

The rest of my day consisted of yelling out instructions to Saka, Bioidun and BRD; fixing a new fan belt for Reverend Ebizimor’s car; replacing two tyres for the Fidelity Bank manager; supervising the patching up of a broken radiator for my neighbour across the street; and answering calls from some of my customers that had insisted on waiting until I got back to town before having their cars fixed.

Not once did my mind go to Tiekuro and his goons. But when I was done for the day, with nothing else to do because Blessing was away in Port Harcourt to do make-up and tie gele for one of her clients getting married there, I decided not to put off confronting him any longer. In that moment, I felt that I needed an explanation for why he and Oyintari chose to leave me for dead when they could have simply taken me to the hospital.

Tiekuro’s number wouldn’t go through, so I decided to drive to the Judges’ Quarters at Opolo myself. At the gate, I told the security men I was looking for Justice Digha’s residence. After telling me the street name and house number, one of them gave me a gate pass with the number nine painted boldly on it.

Although Reverend Ebizimor had prayed for me earlier in the day, and even admonished that I shouldn’t get myself into any situation; on account of my own foolishness or stubbornness, I still felt I needed answers to the questions I had been asking myself for weeks. I had to hear from the horse’s mouth why I was picked up, instead of Saka.

A matronly lady opened for me when I rang the doorbell. I took it she was Tiekuro’s stepmother since I was aware his biological mum was no more. I noticed the funny way she looked at me when I asked to see Tiekuro. Pointing to a chair, she went in to fetch him without saying a word to me. When minutes later a figure emerged from one of the many hallways in the exquisitely furnished mansion, I knew immediately that the bulbous grey-haired man was not Tiekuro, but his dad. The resemblance, though – it was uncanny.

“Young man,” he said, sitting down in the chair farthest from where I sat. “You say you want to see my son?”

“Yes sir.”

“Are you friends with him?”

“I…I…I am his mechanic sir. But…but we are friends somehow, because I have repaired his car before.”

“You don’t live in Yenagoa?” The questions were coming at me as if I was being examined and cross-examined in his courtroom.

“I do, sir. Well not…not really sir. I have been in Abuja for some time now.”

“So you say you are his mechanic? Is he owing you any money?”

“No, sir; he is not. I was just in the neighbourhood and I decided to greet him because I haven’t seen him in a while,” I lied.

“Well, the reason you haven’t been seeing him around is because he is missing –”

“Missing?” I exclaimed.

“Or dead. The police don’t know which.  No one has seen or heard from him since he left the house on the morning of the 22nd of August.”

“22nd of August?” That was the same day he left me to die.

 

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