- 1.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (I)
- 2.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (II)
- 3.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (III)
- 4.Mechanics of Yenagoa (IV)
- 5.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (V)
- 6.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (VI)
- 7.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (VII)
- 8.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (VIII)
- 9.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (IX)
- 10.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (X)
- 11.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (XI)
- 12.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (XII)
- 13.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (XIII)
- 14.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (XIV)
- 15.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (XV)
- 16.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (XVI)
- 17.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (XVII)
- 18.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (XVIII)
- 19.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (XIX)
- 20.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (XX)
- 21.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – I
- 22.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – II
- 23.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – III
- 24.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – IV
- 25.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – V
- 26.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – VI
- 27.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – VII
- 28.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – VIII
- 29.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – IX
- 30.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – X
- 31.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – XI
- 32.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – XII
- 33.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – XIII
- 34.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – XIV
- 35.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – XV
- 36.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – XVI
- 37.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – XVII
- 38.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – XVIII
- 39.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – XIX
- 40.The Mechanics of Yenagoa (Season 2) – XX
“Ebinimi, you’ve not been picking my calls. I’ve been trying to reach you for over an hour now.”
“Sorry, Benson. I left my phone charging in the room. There’s no way I wouldn’t have returned your calls if I had seen them,” I said as we walked together towards the main house.
“Can we go somewhere a bit more private?” Benson said, looking around the living room as if he expected to see someone eavesdropping behind the curtains.
I led the way to my room and locked the door with the keys to reassure him and also to make sure Saka or any of the other guys didn’t barge in on us as they do whenever they know I’m alone in the room.
I sat on the bed, while Benson stood. “So, you want to talk to me about something?” I asked, even though I felt I already knew the reason for his unexpected visit to Kalakala Street.
He didn’t beat around the bush. “Does Ebiakpo know?” a very sombre and obviously worried Benson asked.
“That you took another wife? No, she doesn’t – ” I was going to tell him how shocked and disappointed I was at him but then it occurred to me to ask, “Come oh, how did you even know that I know about the marriage?”
“I saw Blessing in a couple of the photos when I was going through them with my…my other wife. From what Ebiakpo tells me about your girlfriend, I figure she must have already told you what she knows and I know how close you and your sister are.”
Blessing had told me she didn’t want to create a scene or cause any embarrassment to the friend that got her the make-up and styling gig, so she made sure to stay away from the main hall used for the party. Quite uncharacteristic of my girl, she didn’t want Benson running into her and getting uncomfortable because she thought it was his big day. I’m sure she didn’t know she had been photographed.
“Well, Blessing told me everything, but I haven’t told Ebiakpo anything yet. You know my sister, she’d go ballistic if she finds out and I don’t think I want to be the one to break this particular news to her.”
“That is why I came to beg you not to tell her anything. Please, Ebinimi, I want to break the news to her myself. I just haven’t found the right time to do it.”
“You know what, Benson? The right time would have been before you married this other person. That way, you would have spared her the embarrassment and pain of being the last to know.” I gritted my teeth so I didn’t raise my voice. “Benson, my sister deserves to know about your betrayal of her love and trust in you and that there’s another Mrs. Benson Emeledo out there. She needs to know today, not tomorrow or the day after. Tell her today, otherwise…”
I knew by the look he gave me that he got my message. “My brother, there are certain things I can’t get into with you today, but your sister betrayed me too.”
When he said that, I couldn’t help but wonder if he knew about Anda’s true paternity. If he did, I didn’t want him knowing I was in on that particular secret too so I squeezed my face even harder.
“Na beg I dey beg you bros, in this era of social media, let the marriage pictures not pop up somewhere your wife would see them. She will kill you.”
“I will tell her tonight.”
“What exactly do you want to tell her sef, Benson? Perhaps I should even ask what this action you have taken means for my sister.”
“What do you mean?”
“She told me you were going to buy her a jeep when government paid you for the job you did in Ekeremor. Now the money has come, you went and married a small girl while my sister and her son are still using keke to move around this town because you won’t even bring money to replace the engine in her tuketuke. Tell me, are you kicking her out of your house? Are you divorcing her?”
Instead of answering my question, Benson asked for water. When he insisted on it being room temperature instead of cold, I gave him one of the two small Eva bottles on my dresser. It wasn’t until he had finished drinking that I realised I had given him the wrong bottle. The one on the table still had the tamper proof seal intact so I knew the water my brother-in-law drank was not ordinary. It was the holy water from Reverend Ebizimor.
Since Benson wasn’t exactly a member of FFFM, I was going to notify him of my snafu, but then I remembered the backstabbing way he treated my sister and thought he needed the cleansing.
By the time Benson and I left my room, it was almost nightfall so I asked the guys to call it a day. There was still the Commissioner for Environment’s car that his driver brought while Benson and I talked inside, but there was nothing we could do about the malfunctioning door locks at that time of the evening. Most spare parts dealers close at 6 pm and it was almost 7.
After Saka, Biodun and BRD went into their rooms to freshen up, I noticed Oputari still lingering in the parlour so I asked her to join me in my room.
“Oputi, someday when we’re not so busy with cars, I’d like to hear the very interesting story about how you ended up as a mechanic. It’s a dirty job, you know?”
“I should be making dresses or baking meat pies, I know. I’ve heard that a thousand times. But this is what I love and that’s what it is. Sorry to disappoint you, Oga Ebinimi, but there’s no interesting back-story here, except to say that it runs in the family. I was told about this uncle who died young. They say even as a teenager, there was nothing he didn’t know about cars.”
“I see. So you don’t want to teach English or get a proper job someday?”
“My dream is to open an all-female virtual car repair and maintenance shop where people can contact us from all over the world with problems about their cars and the best places to shop for parts. That’s why I love this whole social media thing you are doing with the guys. You won’t believe the traffic we get everyday.”
“You mean people are engaging?” I asked, surprised.
“They are. Just this evening, someone from Axel Auto Oils wanted to know how he could reach Saka to feature in an advert for their new engine oil product.”
“That’s great news. Have you told him?”
“I was waiting to tell you first, but you were with your brother-in-law. That was why I stayed back.” She smiled at me and I smiled back, not knowing why she was smiling. “Whatever the outcome, I think this calls for celebrations.”
“I agree with you, Oputi. Do you have anything in mind?”
She smiled again. “I saw on Facebook that you’re a fan of Michael B. Jordan. His new movie is out in Nostalgea Cinema tonight. If you’re not too tired, maybe we can go see it together…my treat.”
“Yeah, I saw the trailer last week and I’d really love to see it. Why don’t you give me a minute to wash all of the grime and sweat off my body, freshen up and then we can go.”
“I’d also need to do the same thing and get into a nice dress so I don’t embarrass you,” she smiled again. “How about we meet there at about 8:30 pm. That’s when the movie begins.”
At the concession stand, we got popcorn and soda and then went in to see the movie. It was worth all the hype and the premium we paid to be amongst the first set of people in Yenagoa to see it.
After the movie, I invited Oputi to join me back home and she agreed without hesitation. I opened the door of the Commissioner’s Prado for her and made sure to drive slowly so we’d have enough time to review the movie and make jokes about the parts we thought were really funny. When we got back to Ovom, the house was quiet and all the lights were out.
We got into my room and started to kiss. I could already imagine what the rest of the night would look like, although I was confident in my ability to make the reality even better than the fantasy. When my phone rang and spoilt everything, we were almost in second base. At first I ignored it, but the persistence bothered Oputi so she insisted that I find out who it was. I was going to turn off the phone instead, but then I saw it was my sister, Ebiakpo; so I called her back.
“Ebinimi, why you no dey pick your phone?”
“Where you dey? Benson is dying. Please come to FMC now. The doctor says he may not make it through the night.”
By the time Oputi and I got to the hospital, Benson was in a terrible state, and it was as the doctor said – he didn’t make it through the night.
Benson died at about 1 am.
Photo Credit: Sandiego Reader