Priscilla sat up. She had heard the scream distinctively. “What the hell was going on?” She thought to herself. It was almost 1:00 am in the morning, she had been reading a textbook for a 500 word presentation for one of the courses she offered as part of her master’s program and had assumed everyone had gone to sleep after the barbeque-turn small party they had that day.
She finally had met everyone and was pleased. Tokunbo was obviously a gentleman, well mannered, and quite a catch for the eyes, she thought unashamedly. He had welcomed her warmly and so did Maryam. Maryam seemed to her as an easy-going fellow unlike her contemporary; Kevwe, who was more of a no-nonsense kind. As unwelcoming as Kevwe was when Priscilla first met her, she noticed she was actually fun, after all she cajoled Tokunbo to throw the house warming barbeque and she did know how to grill. She had noticed a lot of trouble coming from Justin from his frequent locking of horns with the ever formidable Kevwe and thought of him as a chronic flirt but pleasant. Her second night was going peaceful until the scream.
She heard footsteps and decided to poke her head out of her room. Tokunbo was coming down from the stairs holding a rod and Matthew whose room was downstairs as well was just poking his head out.
“Hey you okay?” Tokunbo asked.
“Yeah” she replied “the scream seemed to come from the kitchen”. Matthew nodded in confirmation.
The guys dashed to the living room. Just as they switched on the light . . . . . . .
“AAAAHHHHHH oooh it is you guys, I thought it was the intruder” Kevwe said panting heavily but looking relieved.
“Intruder? Nne mooo” Priscilla exclaimed in Igbo. By then Maryam had rushed downstairs tying a wrapper over her nightie. She quickly rushed close to Priscilla and they both started looking around as if the intruder had got into the house. They were obviously scared.
“Yes someone is out there” Kevwe pointed frantically towards the kitchen. “I saw him through the window as I was cleaning up”.
Tokunbo and Matthew rushed into the kitchen and looked through the window. It was a bit dark but from the light from the other side of the house they would have been able to see the outline or shadow of the person at least. They came back to the living room.
“I have been telling us to get a guard, you all have been ignoring me. Hmmmm if we are attacked . . .” Kevwe said in a panic.
“But no one was there now” Matthew said, “are you sure you ….”
Just then the front door opened and Justin walked in.
“Come, who was shouting like that just now? Don’t you know it is late?” He said irritated.
“So it was you? Who goes around walking in the shadows at such an hour?” Kevwe shouted at him. Tokunbo dropped the rod he held. Relief flooded his face as well as the others.
“How many minutes did the party finish?” Justin said defensively, “like two hours ago dude, it is almost 1.00am” Tokunbo retorted.
“You are kidding” Justin said looking shocked. He checked the clock in the living room and it really was that late. “Guess I lost track of time. Some of the guys and I where outside gisting oh. They just left and I was pressed, before I reach upstairs I for don piss for body so I went to the back” he said a little embarrassed.
“That’s just gross” Maryam said twisting her face.
“Sorry I scared you” Justin apologized to Kevwe. “Oya, all of una, make una no vex. It’s just same old harmless Justin, no burglar here to lynch”.
“Everyone just go to bed we will sort this out in the morning” Tokunbo said.
“We better” Kevwe said and turned to her room. She wasn’t cleaning any kitchen this night.
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“But some people are stupid oh” Justin said as he laid on the 3-sitter in the living room. Sunday afternoon everyone who dimmed it fit to go to church had gone and returned and everyone was at home.
“What warrants that obvious fact?” Tokunbo replied.
“Why will you wake up and go on twitter and be asking ‘what is your favorite Yoruba movie’ eh? Who watches Yoruba movies? Who still watches Nigerian movies sef? Those IQ reducing movies” Justin complained. Tokunbo shook his head as he walked out of the living room in search of Matthew.
Maryam and Kevwe stopped chatting, turned from the movie they were watching on African Magic to look at Justin with venom. Justin who was looking at his phone noticed it was quiet and looked up to see two pairs of laser eyes looking at him. He then realized it was a Nigerian movie on the screen and smiled foolishly.
“But you two know I have a point” Justin tried to defend himself. As if on cue, both Maryam and Kevwe smiled at each other and turned back to their movie.
“Wait what was that about” Justin said. Never trust two ladies with a devious smile he thought.
“Nothing Justin dear” Kevwe said smiling. Justin now knew he was definitely in trouble. For Kevwe to call him ‘dear’. That was a sign of impending doom for him. Better he found out sooner than later.
“Haba talk now” he said sitting up.
“Calm down Justin, we just recalculated the amount of food we are going to cook” Maryam smiled at him “it just went down by one”.
“Haaaaa, sorry now. Haba you girls can’t play with a man’s tummy now” Justin began to plead.
“Oh now you have mouth. When you were running mouth you didn’t know” Kevwe said. She always loved making Justin uncomfortable, especially in the realm of food. Threatening him with starvation always worked, a perfect ace card up her sleeves she was never tired of using.
“Abeg una go pause that movie” Tokunbo said walking back in closely followed by Matthew who had been outside washing and Priscilla.
“This morning’s incident was not funny at all” Tokunbo said as he sat down. Matthew sat on the other chair. Priscilla went to the 3-sitter and had to hit Justin’s head before he created space for her to sit.
“Why are these girls always picking on me” Justin grumbled. Come ooo!!! You all should learn to respect a grown man, you all can’t just be going around treating me like your kiddo”.
“Because you make it too easy love” Kevwe say looking at him innocently.
“See we need to create rules in this house. No picking on the cute and sexy guy” Justin said looking serious.
“But no one is picking on Toks now” Pricilla said with a blush she was glad no one noticed. Everyone laughed except Justin.
“Toks is sexier than me? I would rather lay an egg na”. Justin said.
“Abeg let it be big because I was going to make eggs and chips this evening anyway” Kevwe taunted. Justin shook his head in defeat.
“Please stop attacking my guy now” Tokunbo tried to back Justin but was still struggling with laughing. “On a serious note though I wasn’t happy that Kevwe was terrified last night and we all didn’t feel so safe”.
“Finally we are taking this seriously” Kevwe said happily. “Finally I’m being taken seriously. Was beginning to feel like a clown”.
“I will speak with that security agency close to the house this evening and will try others tomorrow. We should have someone before the end of the week” Tokunbo said.
“Abeg let’s get an outfit that has swag oh. Not some bush people that will be wearing boxers and vest” Kevwe said. I can’t have folks coming to look for me and meeting some classless hippie as the guard, you know I am the definition of class, plus people need to take the guard seriously, a riff-raff would only be slighted”
“Na wa oh, is it fashion or security you want?” Justin asked.
Matthew who was always quiet spoke up. “If I may” he started looking at Tokunbo for permission to speak. Tokunbo nodded and he continued, “We have obviously settled in. We need to settle the allocation of financial differences and contributions to the smooth running of this fine infrastructure”
“ELDER!!!” Justin hailed Matthew. He always had a way of speaking that made him sound way older than his age and it had always made Justin laugh and was the reason behind the nickname ‘elder’.
Tokunbo smiled “thank you Matthew, was heading there. With the security coming in we have water bill, food bill, electricity bill and security bill”.
“What of house rent?” Priscilla asked.
“I will handle that” Tokunbo said without further explanation. Everyone except Justin was confused. How was he going to pay for such a house?
“Toks I think I can speak on behalf of everyone when I say we appreciate that but are totally not comfortable with it” Maryam spoke up. Her independent spirit would not let anyone make her feel like she was depending on them.
“The house belonged to my late uncle. He willed it to me” Tokunbo said trying very much to sound modest.
“Wow. O.B.O things” Kevwe hailed. Tokunbo smiled shyly.
“So since we have talked about the bills can we delegate? I vote Kevwe for cooking. No offence Maryam it is only your spaghetti that I have eaten and Pris I don’t know if you cook” Justin said. Pricilla shook her head in humor.
“… And I vote Justin for laundry work” Kevwe fired back. “And I mean everyone’s clothes”.
“Yes, yes” both Maryam and Priscilla shouted. “See even new girl here backs me” Kevwe answered smiling at Priscilla.
“Why evils now” Justin said with a plea in his eyes, wishing he hadn’t been so forward.
“If I may again” Matthew spoke up “I think the house should have simple rules that doesn’t affect anyone but works for everyone”.
“Elder lay them down we will adhere” Justin said. Matthew smiled at his humor.
“I suggest we all respect each other. Take turns in cleaning, cooking and shopping. And we can all work together on Saturday for general work” he said.
“Elder nice one” Tokunbo said using the nickname given by Justin for the first time. ” I think we can live without any major problem”.
“We have sorted that out, can we watch our movie now?” Maryam said.
“Sure” Tokunbo said getting up. Justin walked beside Tokunbo and whispered to him stealing glances at the girls as he did. Tokunbo burst out laughing
“Justin love, it seems you really don’t want dinner” Kevwe said giving him the ‘don’t try me’ look.
“What I do now?” Justin said innocently and ran out of the room.
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“Hey Musa” Kevwe shouted as she walked towards the gate. The new guard was sitting in front of the guard post near the gate and was dozing. He jumped at the sound of her voice.
“Who be that? Who be that?” He asked disoriented turning around in circles.
“You are an imbecile, what is wrong with you all. Sleeping on duty at this time?” Kevwe shouted her voice getting even louder. “Madam cool down now. I been dey up all night fa” the fatigued guard replied with a yawn. Kevwe looked like she would explode. Tokunbo came out of the house walking towards them.
“What is it this time Kevwe?” He said. “You dey mind dis incompetent tout” Kevwe shouted “See him sleeping oh”.
“Kevwe, Keeeeevwe” Tokunbo called out pleadingly. “First Benjamin’s hair was too bushy and he smoked, then we got Luka. That one was always smelling. Now Musa sleeps too much? It’s what? 9.00am” he said looking at his watch. “Who wants to attack this house at this time? Cut the guy a break”.
“Toks what are we paying him for?” Kevwe argued, “Definitely not to be sleeping on duty”.
“He is human oh, you can’t expect him to stay up 24 hours now” Tokunbo said. He pulled her aside and said to her quietly “Reason am, if he had the capacity and determination and opportunity to be i a better place would he be here? Let’s not treat him like a slave”.
“Okay oh, me I have said my own. Instead for him to be guarding us he is sleeping” Kevwe turned and left. She didn’t understand why they were ready to accept such incompetence. The day went on and to distract herself, Kevwe decided to bake. She prepared the mixture and left it in the fridge for later. After dinner and clearing of the sink she got busy.
“Hey you, still baking?” Justin walked into the kitchen, obviously on hi late-night-snack stroll. “Its almost mid-night oh”. Kevwe looked up. She checked her watched which she placed on a cupboard to avoid getting it dirty.
“Wow I didn’t notice oh” she said. She had been baking for close to four hours now. Looking around she had baked 2 big cakes and 10 cupcakes. “I was so engrossed. I better go and sleep” she said. She packed all the baking pans and Justin helped her put the cakes in the fridge. Just as she stretched to close the kitchen back window she saw something move, before she knew it a face popped.
“Madam how far, I fit get one cake” Musa the guard stood.
Kevwe screamed again. Justin shook his head laughing. From the noise coming from the stair case he knew the others were on their way here. Watching Kevwe explain this one was definitely going to be fun.
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Muyiwa blogs at htttp://abluntnigerian.wordpress.com
You can follow him on instagram/twitter – @mfadarated.