Home News FICTION : Outside the barber’s shop, by Ifeoluwa Dada

FICTION : Outside the barber’s shop, by Ifeoluwa Dada

by adminV

It was sunset at Long street, the evening brought much to chew.

The rush hour traffic was on and not even motorcycles could escape the gridlock. 

Pedestrians are not left out of the jam, contending with forces for the street’s walk-way . 

Rampaging cyclists finding the way as alternate route, petty traders also launched their wares for evening business.

 The breeze that accompanied sunset in our metro city
is always fresh, fresh sweaty smell.

The evening was much older, when Long Street is lit with the recently provided Street lights by the local authorities, Ekaete calabar kitchen became the joint for all and sundry. 

The kitchen meant different things for different people. 

For most, it is the go-to point to address hunger. But for Papa Emeka, it is the haven away from the
troubles of his Dear Mama Emeka.

A home outside home and set stage for other dramas.
Papa Emeka, here after the trouble with Kamilu over Emeka’s Obama was settled on the wooden armchair at his favorite angle, a table dressed with clothes whose design is similar to the the window curtain at his one room apartment before him. 

The Patriarch beckons on the waitress as one who is about to make his order.

Chichi, a girl of barely age fourteen, eldest among other members of staff of same age bracket at the kitchen. 

Girls, of different background across the country who had been flown into Lagos by one Sandra, with promise to their parents to get them into school while
they work for sustainability at the greenland called Lagos.

Chichi inquired in a tune that confirmed familiarity with the supposed hungry customer. “Na how you want ham Papa?” The man rather responded with tantrums of deep lustful connotations. ” Chichi my girl, na you
gangan I want, as I see you ehn, my hunger don vamut”

He attempted to pull Chichi over to himself with intention to reduce the distance between them. 

He wouldn’t stop at that, his tough palm has found its
way on Chi’s shoulder and felt encouraged by her silence to advance to the her chest region.

Chichi began to feel uneasy. She began to feel papa Emeka’s finger, moving slowing, slowly down her underwear even at the glare sight of the evening. She became scared; scared of her innocence; scared of

Suddenly, she became bold, and hit papa Emeka on the face. Chichi, with all strength and life left in her was able to stop Papa Emeka’s
untamed hand.

She did it in the most unthinkable way, in a manner
which brought all eyes on the scene. Lighting had struck on someone’s face with Chichi’s eyes turned wild like of a wild lion. 

The scene was its climax and not even straying Sikira could look away. Papa Emeka had gotten the kind of slap he had thought he had a monopoly of, the
kind that he calls “dirty slap”, such as he tortured Emeka with earlier in the day.

The only thing on his mind at that point was “all eyes on me”, words from Tu Pac’s hit track which was on while he was “trouble-shooting” at Kamilu’s shop. Crowd had gathered, including Madam Ekaete. “Wetin
happen na? ” The question kept begging for answer as both Chichi and Papa Emeka were muted, each trying to recover from the shock of what
had happened.

While it was a case of what have I got myself into for
Papa Emeka, Chichi though not ashamed or remorseful for her action, but surprised as every other person.

Madam Ekaete gushed “you this small girl, I no fit open my eyes make you fight all customers wey I don get before dem born you, na today you go leave my shop” She wouldn’t finished the statement before
bouncing on Chichi, she couldn’t do as much as her emotions wanted before onlookers at the scene held her back. “Madam, take ham easy, na small girl she be, no injure yaself on top her mata”. 

It was enough effort to rescue Chichi from her.
But the rescue also meant the end of Chichi’s employment at the kitchen down the street. 

Madam Ekaete sent her packing minutes later with nothing but the clothes she had on. Its the beginning of a life without home for young Chichi in her now once upon a time greenland, and her first hurdle is to survive the night’s cold.

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