Their Heads For Supper

The silence of the night and its darkness that had emptied the sky off every shade of bright light was the only means to survival we knew. “On Your Own” was the invisible mantra we all pledged allegiance to, most of us can’t even remember how we got here, as under the bridge and all its nefarious act stomached by everybody who found themselves here was all we could call a home.

“Una dey see that new girl abi? She be like ajebutter! Na my choppings, make una no near am” Abortion said in his husky Voice as he took a drag from the wrap of marijuana tucked in between his fingers, as he let out a huge brownish smoke that formed a cloud before him. Abortion as he was nicknamed, a dark short guy with a heavy built, was one to send shivers down the spine of anybody he beckons. He had scars that adorned his face, one very prominent scar ran from his left ear down to the edge of his mouth. He was vicious and feared by all for anyone who dared to challenge him was found floating by the canal at the end of the bridge. Dreaded he was but I wasn’t part of the pack that shivered when he spoke. “dis bridge, no be anybody papa get am” this was the motto we used to defend ourselves when opposition rises and to me, Abortion was no exception.
Sorry for my lack of manners, I was enamoured in the sad tales that I forget to introduce myself. My name is Dele, it feels awkward whenever my name reels out of my mouth for I had lost every touch with whom Dele was. How I got here? Its a very sordid tale that leaves me drowned in utmost confusion.
Over fifteen years ago, when my heart was still immature and devoid of the ill the ghetto had infused in me, Mama had clutched me in her arm while the scorching sun bathed us with all its fury as we crossed the ever busy Okota junction, passerby’s went about their chase against time, while traders displayed their wares by the road side. The stench from sweat and all kinds of stuff that breath odour hung on the air
“Dele, Ma binu. Just wait here make I buy wetin we go chop for night”
She said as she lowered her head towards my ears and playfully gave me a nudge on my jaw. I watched as she waved me goodbye and crossed the road, her glowing yellow gown intermingled with the shades of yellow buses that thronged the road until she dissipated. Minutes grew bounds into hours and a promise made was dashed on the rock of my firmly rooted hope, Mama never came back. My legs grew weak as I sat on the ground while the hot earth sent heat waves up my spine.
Hungry first caressed my innocence, my palm became sweaty as the trickles of sweat that had gathered on my forehead, formed a confluence and ran down my chest, leaving me dehydrated. I tried to muster courage but like a faulty brake, it failed. Beads of tears tore through my masculinity as it began to drop in a chain-like trail. My defences were floored as I let out a loud cry, accompanied with hiccups which occasionally tried to console my being but yet it didn’t bring Mama for me.
I watched the sheer which of the heart served cold, passerby’s, commuters and traders cared less of wailing child whose tears and sorrow was yearning for attention. “Dis small boy comot for front of my shop jare! Na me you wan cry dis your crocodile tears give?” A fat dark woman in her 40’s scolded me. I stood up confused at with direction to take. Left spelt doom, the ‘area-boys’ were crowded at a corner, sitting in circle as they brandished their wraps of marijuana to the glare of the tumult crowd that went about their daily activities. Right was not bliss itself, it had in its ambience kids, kids that were bare chested and looked all scruffy. They were taunting another kid who seemed different from the pack ; he had his shirt on.
I faced my right and began to walk towards that direction. My heart throbbed with each step, I felt the ground grown soft, the near mushy feeling the ground had on me or I felt it had, made my legs wobble. I kept a straight face and tried to feign boldness but I could sense my composure wasn’t spruced up. Out of the pack a voice called out “Hey! That Mumu boy wey dey waka like say him na jackie chan, wetin you come find here”. The ground didn’t open, I could remember praying for it to path and just stomach me.
Almost immediately, they all tilted their heads towards my direction. Fear engulfed my being, the trepidation was one too many. A long line was drawn from the pocket of my trouser down to my right leg, it was me urinating on myself. I watched urine circle were I was standing and…
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