- 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
“My nigga wo zi go
Gee wa go or de be?
The girls dem hmmm hmmm hmmm
I no feel die for you
Oluwa burn am
Ye, ye, ye, ye, ye, ye, ye, ye…”
If I hadn’t heard the “ye, ye” part of the song, there was no way on earth I could have known that what Saka was singing was the Burna Boy hit song, Ye, that I like so much. But what do I know? It was what his growing fans wanted, and it was what brought the likes and comments to the Instagram page I created for him, Biodun and BRD in the first place.
That was why it struck me as odd that Saka was singing by himself and the other guys were nowhere in sight. It was the first time I would see Oputi working with Saka alone and I didn’t like it. Suddenly, it seemed like the love and camaraderie that existed in Kalakala street was no more, and it bothered me. I waited for Oputi to finish editing the video and posting it online before pulling her aside to discuss my concerns.
“Why aren’t the other guys doing this with you today?”
Oputari shrugged her shoulders in a manner that suggested indifference and it bothered me that she wasn’t smiling either. It would be the first time I would see her keep such a straight face when we were alone together.
“I thought we agreed that Biodun and Broderick added some extra stew and humour to the videos?” Instead of talking, Oputi shrugged her shoulders again. I didn’t need anyone to tell me she was giving me the silent treatment.
“I thought BRD was the one always asking for this particular song, how come you didn’t ask him to join Saka in singing today of all days?”
“Oga Ebinimi, if you really want to know what’s going on with those three, you’d have to ask them yourself. Me, I cannot come and kill myself.”
Oputi’s somewhat rude response surprised me and I thought I knew why she was in a foul mood.
“Oputi, I thought I had apologised for Sunday evening; why are you suddenly acting cold towards me?”
That was the truth. I had apologised to Oputari twice since that evening of the disastrous meeting with the Emeledos, and I thought she meant it when she said I was forgiven.
The first time I apologised was when she called that evening to find out if I was still coming to the poetry event. It wasn’t really convenient answering her call at the time, with all the quarrelling, packing and unpacking, and driving I had to do that night. So instead of picking, I sent her a message on WhatsApp, explaining the situation with Ebiakpo and asking that she forgave me for disappointing her. She replied with a sad face emoji and a broken heart, and when I promised to make it up to her, she sent me the dancing-lady-in-a-red-dress emoji, which could have only meant one thing – all was well with our budding friendship.
The second time was when I saw her at the workshop the next morning and she actually told me to my face, that she wasn’t mad at all. She assured me that she understood why I couldn’t leave my sister and nephew all alone after the nasty fight with her late husband’s people forced her to move back to Ovom with me before she did something really crazy. Though Oputi refused to give me the hug I asked for that morning, she was all jokes and smiles, and very excited about my offer to take her clubbing on Friday night.
What could have gone wrong all of a sudden?
“Oputi, are you still angry with me? Please talk to me na?” I pleaded with her.
“Ebinimi, whatever is going on with me has nothing to do with you, trust me. It’s just some family issue I’m trying to come to terms with.”
“And you don’t want to talk to me about it? I thought we are now friends? I mean, I tell you stuff about my own family. For crying out loud, I even shared my plans for this workshop with you the other day.”
She started to speak, and then she held back. The next thing I knew, she was weeping. That was when I opened my arms and she rested her head on my chest. “It’s my sister. I just found out this morning that she would never walk again.”
I didn’t want to pry or prod, so I just let her cry. When she stopped, I told her she could take the day off. She thanked me profusely and left.
When Oputi had gone, I called Saka, Biodun and BRD to my room for a meeting. Anda was engrossed with something on Cartoon Network and Ebiakpo was fast asleep on the sofa. I didn’t want to wake her up because I knew she hadn’t been sleeping well, so I cautioned all of them to walk stealthily into the house and keep their voices down while we discussed.
“I don’t like this bad energy I’ve been sensing around here lately. You guys used to do things together at work and after work, but these days I don’t see that anymore. It’s like all man for himself now.” I waited for who would speak first, but they all stayed mute. “Saka, Biodun, BRD – una no wan talk abi?”
“We hear say him wan go solo,” BRD said, pointing to Saka. “Something when all of start together, now we dey hear say him want 90 percent of any money when we make.”
“No be me oh, na Agnes been tell me to ask for 70 percent.” Saka was swift in coming to his own defence.
“That na why me and BRD say we sef no dey do again. After all if PSquare when be twins from the same mama belle fit break up, na this our own tintini Mechanics of Yenagoa when never even reach anywhere I go come carry body die put?” Biodun asked, speaking directly to Saka.
“Ask am oh, Biodun. For him mind now, na only him fit make person laugh,” BRD sniggered. “Saka don turn Frank Donga abi Lasisi Elenu.”
“Broderick, na me you dey talk to like say I be your mate? I no blame you. Since you begin follow boys wen dey smoke igbo and dey wear trouser when no dey even cover that your dirty boxer, for your eye now, me and you don be mate abi? I no blame you oh, na because we dey Oga Ebinimi room. If not, I for don show you say you be small pikin for where I dey.”
“Stop it, guys! No one is showing anyone anything here or outside this room,” I said to Saka. “And for the two of you, there’s no breaking up or going solo, not when the three of you are still under my roof and working for me.”
I spoke to them about unity and not letting their small success get into their heads, before ordering them back to work.
It was a few days to Christmas and lots of cars were lined up in the yard for us to work on. I didn’t realise how fast the day had gone until I got out from underneath the car I was working on and saw that darkness had completely enveloped the compound. Being the workaholic that I am, I still stretched myself to put in one more hour of work just to ensure that that the owner of the last car in the workshop drove it home satisfied.
Back in my room that night, the urge to call Oputi was strong but I fought it, long and hard. Sometime around past 10 pm though, I lost the battle. I was half hoping the line wouldn’t connect or that she wouldn’t pick up if it connected, but the girl didn’t even let the first word of her caller tune end before saying hello.
“Hi, did I wake you up?” I had to be polite even though I knew she wouldn’t have answered so fast if she had been sleeping.
“Oh no, you didn’t. I was actually seeing a series on my phone – Insecure.”
“Never heard of it.”
“You’ve never heard of Issa Rae or Yvonne Orji or seen Insecure?”
“Nope. Who are they and what’s the show about?”
“Dating and sex in America.”
Her response made me laugh really hard. “So let me be sure I have the correct picture of what’s going on in your house right now. You’re somewhere in Yenagoa learning about dating and sex in America.”
“Ebinimi, it’s not porn. It’s comedy and you really should see it some time. I promise, you’d like it.”
“This your mission to polish me up ehn, are you sure you would succeed? As far as female celebrities are concerned, top on my list is Mercy Johnson, followed by Omotola and then Genevieve. In that order. You know how my boys and I do it in Ovom na? Naija for life mehn!”
This time, it was Oputi doing the laughing and I was glad I was able to make her laugh considering how sad and distraught she was when I last saw her at the workshop in the morning.
“You guys love Naija jams sha.”
“And you don’t?”
“Before I joined your workshop, you’d only find like Ella Mae, Khalid, Calum Scott or James Arthur on my playlist. But these days I’m shocked at myself. Because of Saka and BRD, I’m listening and dancing to Zlatan, Teni, Simi and Timaya.”
We talked about music, movies and a little about her sister who had just undergone an unsuccessful surgery in India. The operation was to make her regain the use of her legs after surviving a brutal gunshot attack in Yenagoa that left her hips and gluteal cleft region badly damaged. The doctors did their best, but her mother who was with her sister in New Delhi called home to report to their dad that their daughter would never walk again.
Talking about her sister made Oputari sad, but then our conversation moved back to other things that were not so depressing and before long we weren’t talking anymore. We were just listening to each other breathe, and that was really deep and intense. Neither of us was able to say goodnight or end the call. My body was feeling things, and even though she wasn’t there in the room with me, I could sense she was catching feelings too. When I asked her if she could come over to my house, I wasn’t trying to shoot any shot or seduce her. It was a joke, but surprisingly, Oputi said yes.
“Ebinimi, I’m not sure I can get a keke in my area at this time of the night oh.”
“Don’t worry about that. As long as you can leave the house without getting into any trouble with your dad, I’d come and get you myself. There’s a Lexus, a Toyota and a BMW in the workshop right now. Which would you like me to come with?”
“The fastest,” she laughed and hung up, to get ready for me I believe.
I jumped out of bed and hastened to my closet. I pulled out a shirt and a pair of jeans. Within seconds, I was dressed up and already at the door.
The knock and my hands on the knob kind of happened simultaneously. For a whole sixty seconds, possibly more, I was tongue-tied. It would have been better if it had been a ghost, but it wasn’t.
“Ebinimi, where you dey go this night?”
It was Blessing!
Biko, which kind of wahala be this, where should I tell this woman I am going now?