Tabwal stands staring at the big yellow sun, splash into the western clouds. Whatever ran through his mind, one could tell from the solemn looks on his face that, conscious satisfaction breaths far from him. He is empty of any manliness. The sober fall of the sun which greets the evenings of Wamba, forges newer generations of tragic heroes. The early appearance of the moon is an ordeal to many survivors. Perplexing is the unfair treatment it inflicts on many like Tabwal, in a town, not big enough to contain the dreams they could work all day to have come true. This pricks one with a thirsty enthusiasm to seek and unveil the cockroach nature has in its cupboard, for having the same people of like fate exist in Wamba. A life you can call a recycled one. Nothing went straight developmentally. In fact, the few iron-shit roofs sitting flamboyantly at Ago Hills are canopies of a shy mirage. Not a proud story to be told nor a beauty to behold. For the few houses that succeed in crowning their mud bricks, corrugated shits, have in them the usual bamboo and raffia, resting on each other, so that, a moderate level is formed for a bed.
Tabwal waves Akumu goodnight and sets upon his usual lonely road. He staggers lackadaisically, dragging his loaded financial trauma along the grassy plains which leads to his home. This added load of misery is heaped upon him by the deflated tyre of his wheelbarrow; a factor that consistently denies him a full-day work. It goes flat any time he sets for the biggest deal of the day. He has to do something about it, if he will one day, stand the rating of the male gender. Yes, he has to fix it, else, he would not get to the People’s Republic today. The People’s Republic is a popular eatery which has grown to be the comfort zone of Tabwal and his contemporaries. They yearn for the satisfaction of the food, and dream of the varieties of locally brewed drinks it offers. Factor, they consider in maintaining their culture. In fact, they equality and reverence of voice it liberates to them replaces the dead people they are.
Pulling a sharp stop, Tabwal turns the wheelbarrow to the ground so that the handle is facing where he headed. The pan lies flat to the ground and pointing the devil-born tyre to the skies. He unties the screw between the shaft and the wheel but could not get a good hold of it hence, he bends his right knee to the ground so that his left leg is some inch before it. Frustrated by the trickles of salty sweat from his face now streaming down to his mouth, Tabwal pauses to wipe them off. He wipes his face severally with his wrist, hissing out all forms of lamentation; his usual saying: “we won our freedom but lost our people… even more, we’ve bread leaders ordained on alters coated by our bloods.” This further leaves him wondering if being a well-fed slave is a more honorable dignity than being a hungry free man. A question he would ask God if he makes it to Heaven.
Tabwal has his locomotive back on its wheel again just in time to catch the moon on the brink of chewing the last remains of sunlight for that day. Pushing through a light bush swaying dancingly by the gentle air breezing, Tabwal makes it to the People’s Republic to meet Birabi, Audu and Aklo all seated and munching what their toiling for that day could fetch. “All hail the Republicans” Tabwal salutes from the corrugated zinc-coated entrance. Without hesitation, he grabs a seat and calls out to Pam, the waiter. “Four parks of noodles, one boiled fish and three fried eggs.” He ordered without mincing words.
“I tell you, that greed-filled pot belly is our major barricade to success.” Aklo crunched out the words with particles of biscuit from his mouth. “I dare you to break it open and you will see that, it is that gluttony that has reaped us of our destinies.” He added. Pam chuckles while pickling Tabwal’s eggs. “You fat lab rat, keep laughing like that and all you will end up with from this falling shop of yours is a rusty, yet guarded relic. Your son will hand it over to his son with no electricity in it.” Birabi, haven listened to a perfect introduction to his seminal essay continues from where Aklo stopped. “We’ve got all the fortune to change us from ordinary wheelbarrow pushers into bus drivers or perhaps, attendants to some government busses.” He hisses out loudly and waving his right hand in the air, as if to signal a crowd out of his sight. “I hear there are a lot of them parked in Maitama. They were bought to convey the civil servants who now own cars. Who would drive in them anyway?” He concludes, with his eyes now gazing at Tabwal. “I tell you faithful republicans that, this is the reason to why the margin between us and freedom is like from the solid earth to the fairy skies. Who the hell named the word “democracy” into existence? God is the only government I know.” “Birabi, you sound as if God is a place we can go to after tonight, because I don’t want to see the face of tomorrow. We are all pathetic to think a divine hand would lift and fly us somewhere other than earth. The only place where true freedom can be found is the space between heaven and earth” Tabwal suggests. Banging the empty calabash on the table, he stands “You know what? Nothing can feel better than a second chance that would accommodate me as a major character. The current plot of life we are in, needs to be looked at again by God.” He says this with all seriousness this time, pulls his old coat from behind his chair and heads towards the door. He was losing his temper amidst his turbulent senses and eyes. That would mean too much to handle. Tabwal’s words came hard upon the republicans like a gavel smash the table. So that, the house falls under the spell of a bewildering silence. Their thoughts must have been sent on a wild quest for answers beyond God. Tabwal bangs the door behind him. He raises his arms to shoulder level to rest on an imaginary support as he struggles to find the slightest sight to his next step. “Fools, they will never learn” he condemns, as he staggers into the night, fairly lighted by the moon.
Alpha E. Y. 2017©