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The Thorny Path- A Novel By Akíntayo Akinjide

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The Thorny Path- A Novel By Akíntayo Akinjide by Akinjidetayo(m) : 5:59 am On Apr 16

My intention was to post a very crazy story I've been developing but when I saw a competition I could use the story to apply for I had to bring something else.

I wrote this story last year March and I've not read or tried publishing because it's not from Fortune City.

But reading it now, I like its flow. Let's enjoy it together...

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Re: The Thorny Path- A Novel By Akíntayo Akinjide by Akinjidetayo(m) : 6:03 am On Apr 16

Chapter 1


Tunde Gbadegesin wasn't someone that found joy in complaining about things and whenever he did, it was always subtle, without any iota of anger. However, after his sixth year of trying to get a permanent source of income, that would make him stop leaving with his parents, his subtle complaints evolved and became jibes that were garnished with extreme bitterness.
Therefore, when someone told Emeka, Tunde's friend, to bring as many people he could find to his place for a business idea that would transformed their lives, he dragged Tunde and Ade (Tunde's brother). Ade was teaching in a private school that paid him twenty thousand naira per month.
Tunde, on the other hand was just retrenched, but that wouldn't have been a cause for alarm if he didn't lose his money to fraudsters. He and Emeka partnered to buy some goods that cost them close to a million, but the sellers swindled them. Since Emeka topped the list of the few people he could trust, Tunde had to accept his fate.
It was with the fear of the previous business transactions that he sat still when the man introduced himself as Jude Ikemba. Although he doubted his integrity, he felt there wasn't any bad thing in listening to his proposal. Nevertheless, the moment he got to what looked like the climax of their discussion, Tunde knew that Jude was dragging them into a quagmire.
He shook his slowly shook head, and used the bottle of soft drink in front of him to hit the table as he said, 'no'.
'No?' Jude questioned.
'No'.
Tunde glanced at Ade and Emeka to be assured that the decision he was about to make was
something they both agreed to. The look on their faces didn't betray their emotion. He didn't love
that but he had to expose them to the same though he was having.
'This is like climbing Erin-Ijesha water fall… The mountains. It's like climbing those mountains.
If one wasn't careful one would fall on the way, and smash one's head on the wall. So, it's a no'.
Emeka seemed to be deep in thoughts. He knew Emeka: whenever Emeka refused to talk immediately, it meant he was weighing the decision, and his mind was surely tilted towards accepting the offer.
'You of all people can't possibly be thinking of accepting this offer'.
'My people will say 'a hot pot of soup is eaten slowly and steadily'. I'm still staring at the situation'.
'But you saw the videos?' Tunde said in utter disappointment that Emeka was even weighing the
option.
'What videos?' Jude asked as he shifted his plump, short body in the cushion he sat in.
Tunde shifted to the edge of his seat, surprised, as he looked at the faces of Jude, Emeka and the agitated Ade
'Ade, you remembered the videos I showed you that night?'
Being brothers, they had reasons to be roommates also as they were staying in their father's house. Tunde hated such but that was the situation of things had made him do. His hope was to stay there till he could build his own house. He had hoped to get his first land from whatever profit Emeka got for him. Although their parents have their own house, it wasn't large enough to make everyone in the house have a room to themselves. The two guys were given a room each, while his two sisters were given a room to themselves, while their parents shared the master bedroom.
The night Tunde was referring to, he showed Ade a video their mother forwarded to him through
WhatsApp. The video did a documentary of how several Nigerians died on the way to Libya
through the Sahara Desert.
'I showed you. The video of the way people died on their way to Europe?'
'That doesn't mean anything...' Jude said and turned to Emeka. 'or what exactly is he saying?'
Tunde shook his head as he gestured at his mouth. 'I'm saying that people are dying on the way.
This country is sapping us and trying to leave the country is killing us. We are in a prison by birth. People died on the way to Libya, through the Sahara Desert. I saw the videos'.
Emeka opened his mouth and closed it as he blinked repeatedly. He rubbed his lips, shook his head and sighed. Jude smiled, scoffed, and laughed hysterically. Ade nodded repeatedly, pointed a shaky finger at him to let him know he was right, and kept mumbling, 'yeah!'


'Why is he laughing, Emeka?' Tunde asked, stunned. He coughed. His cough was one that always came at the oddest hour. How will it come when they were talking about matter that pertained to life and death? 'Why is Mr. Jude laughing? Does he think we are playing here? This is our life at stake here'.
'I'm laughing because you people don't know who you're dealing with? You're dealing Jude 1, the grand commander of the federal Sahara Road Users'.
'Is that something like an association or a group?' Ade asked.
'It's the idea that is in everyone's head. They know me as their leaders. Even God knew I will be strong that was he sent me to a family with the name 'Ikemba' because I'm the strength of the
nation'.
'Story. What's strength of nation? What nation? This man wants to tell us another story again', Ade said and burst into Tuface's song 'E be like say'.
'I thought...' Tunde said and looked bemused. 'I thought we came here to only learn how to resolve the issues of our lives'.
Emeka nodded and spread his hands as it was visible in his eyes that he was also surprised to hear what Jude was saying. 'He told me it is a big thing that we would get a lot riches from it'.
'Well, newsflash', Ade said and shrugged. 'You've just being deceived into an unrealistic deal'.
'Of course you will get a lot riches from it', Jude said enthusiastically. 'There's a lot of money involved'.
'If going through the Sahara Desert is your perfect idea of wealth, then your brain needs to be
checked', Tunde said as he rose from his seat.
Ade nodded as he folded and unfolded his fingers. 'I swear. His brain is punctured'.
'Hey', Jude shouted and jumped out of his seat. 'I'm not your everyday person. I will take you there and would return you without any fear, if you so wish. I'm the grand commander. I don't take rubbish'.
'Ah!' Tunde said. 'It's not your fault. The fault was all mine. I wanted an out. I wanted to see the
way to get out of this impoverish way of life. I just needed to have the sun on my face because this poverty had become ice and had become our cloths'.
'That doesn't mean anything. Can you hear yourself? Whose brain is punctured? Mine or yours?
What are you saying for Pete's sake? What?'
'I'm saying that I've suffered enough in life. I have made a lot of erm… I've suffered a lot in my life to be blind to the fact I'll suffer if I follow you again. I don't want to suffer because of the sun on my body or the heat of the Sahara or… Whatever… I want to be sure I make it in life, that I sleep in AC, walk and work in it. I want to live a life that affords me the ability to only feel the sun on my body because I feel it's worth it. I don't want to expose myself to unnecessary suffering'.
'You can see. We're saying the same thing', Jude said as he flopped into the chair again. 'Impossible', Ade said.
'Will you leave and let me deal with only Emeka? He would bring a lot of people for me to replace you. It's so easy to do'.
'That's why you're living in this type of house, right? You're so rich, so powerful that you couldn't get enough money to build a better house', Tunde said and glanced at Ade for assurance.
'Point', Ade said, nodded and pointed a shaky finger at him to tell him he was saying the right
thing.
'I'm making a lot of money from it. Food… Money. Just because you see me here doesn't mean I'm like this. I'm rich. Before we talk much, where is my phone?'
'Are you asking me?' Ade said and sat back in his seat.
Jude rose and moved to the bedroom. Even if he said he had no money one wouldn't believe him because despite the small size of the house, the room was well-furnished. Yet, Tunde wouldn't want to be deceived into doing something that would ruin him. Jude returned to the parlour with a pad, balanced on the seat and began to press the pad while they kept looking from one person to another.
He kept moaning as he pressed one thing or the other. Afterwards, he edged forward in the seat, still staring at the pad.
'A minute. I'm dialing someone on Skype now', he said, put the call on a speaker phone, and stood to show them the Skype's connection. 'Come, come see'.
Jude placed the phone in a position the video would be visible to all of them. Within seconds, they were watching a very handsome man staring back at them. He was putting on his Pajamas, looking drowsy.
‘Ogbuefi one', the handsome man murmured and picked something outside the view of the camera.
'Who are those behind you?'
'I want to prove to someone that I'm real'.
'Real… In what sense?'
'Real... Like… You know. I want to take these people to Italy, and dem no believe me'.
'These guys?'
'Yes'.
'Hi guys! I'm Ricoh'.
'Hi', Emeka said.
Tunde grunted and nodded, while Ade only waved at him and stared.
'I don't know what you people might have been discussing, but I'm supposing or should I say that
I'm assuming that he wants me to talk to you about the way he helped me. Many people I know
died on the Sahara Desert but he has his own way of doing things that makes him stand out and
made every one of us get there. I'm here because of him'.
'Thank you my friend', Jude said and turned to them after he switched it off. 'See, I'm not joking
with you'.
'We will...'
'Let's see another one. Let's see it', Tunde said with a grim expression.
Jude stared at Tunde as if he was looking at someone going astray and shook his head. 'You don't
trust people and it's bad. It's really bad. Business is trust'.
'Story. Story. Tell the worm to trust the eagle. It's never possible', Tunde mumbled.
Jude shrugged and began to press his phone. 'See. I'll even call a woman. Biko, don't take me for a fraud. Before I even show you, come and see my chats and messages'.
Ade and Emeka rose to meet him as he began to swipe through his phone and the two of them continuously gave their exclamation of awe. Tunde wouldn't allow Jude to f00l him with mere gimmicks. There are some basic things that could be done to make sure he got what he wanted, and he wouldn't be a fan to all the drama Jude was performing. Ade and Emeka returned to their seat. Emeka nodded repeatedly.


'I'm not a cheat', Jude said.
Ade shrugged and gave a gesture that the man was worth trying.
'The call', Tunde said as he rubbed the mouth of the bottle of the soft drinks in front of him, trying to refrain himself from coughing.
Jude nodded. 'I see you're a diligent man. It's people like you that make it to the end'.
He placed another call to the woman and, soon, she was telling them of how God had used Jude to get her to Italy.
Tunde, now assured that he was legitimate, sat up and smiled for the first time in that room.'So, we can go to Italy?'
Then, Jude laughed and looked at Emeka and Ade for a split second as if he was looking for a way to mock Tunde at their approval.
'See, your guy. See him', Jude said and giggled. Tunde smiled sheepishly.
'Oga, you know we have to be sure', Tunde said and turned to the others. 'Isn't it?'
Emeka shrugged again as he stared into the space as if the weight of the world was placed on his shoulders. Tunde felt sorry for him as he had the opportunity of seeing move from grace to grass. The way he tumbled down was too much for a single man to bear, but Emeka was still strong. Things all went wrong at the same time. If he was a Yoruba man, his family members would have concluded that his ex-wife was a reason for his downfall. Despite being skeptical about such things, Tunde couldn't help but notice that his downfall really came after he married her. The most interesting part was that when the going became tough, she packed her loads and decided to return to her mother's house.
'So, what do we do?' Emeka said as he licked his lower lips.
Jude dropped his pad and rubbed his hands. He glanced at them and smiled and chuckled. He
remained silent for a while. Tunde had seen such things before and knew very well that Jude would accost him with the weirdest information of the day.
'Just pay me five hundred k'.
'What for?' Emeka said and grunted. 'That's just too much. My brother, say the right thing. That money is too much'.
'Five hundred? Let's fly with a plane…' Ade said as he looked at his brother.
'You're right', Tunde replied.
Jude edged forward. 'Ask anyone you know. Where is the money to go for air? The money you
will use to fly. The money you will use to buy things. Have you collected visa and passport? These money doubles the money I'm collecting'.
'We will get a plane to fly us...' Ade said and shook his head.
'Let me hear word', Jude said and rubbed his beardless chin. 'I have been in this business for long. Let me tell you, they can't give you any Visa'.
'We will try'.
'Try kwa? What do you think this is? We are talking about business here. These people want people that would help their country? You have money?'
'We will get'.
'You will. Oh! You think this job is easy. You will be sent barking like my dog used to whenever
they beat it. Your tail will be between your legs, and you will be sweating so much that people will think you took a bath at the embassy. They don't give broke people visa and passport. They give people that are rich'.
'We will try...' Ade said.
'Tah!'.
'We will...'
'Brother', Emeka said. 'This is money... Ego. We are talking about... My people have a saying that 'when a dead person starts smelling, even a friend that's like a brother to him will…'
'Will have to run. I know', Jude interrupted.
'So, let's go outside to see what we can do. We will see what we can do'.
'Do? Did you see us agreeing to this dung?' Tunde said as he threw a scornful glance at Emeka.
'No. We are not fools. We can't take this rubbish. We're not fools. We're Lagosians for crying out
loud. Someone cannot use a big loaf of bread to park the small soup we have'.
'Yes. Let him beat it down', Ade said. 'Oga, beat it down. The price is just too exorbitant'.


'Exhor what? Exorbitant? From your mouth', Jude said and his eyes seemed to be on fire, even as
his vein protruded from under his skin. 'This business is like an investment. That's why I do it. It's like my dog, you will have to feed and use your money on it, but the moment it gives birth, you sell it. The amount we pay to customs. The money we will pay everyone that will follow us. The money we will pay at Italy. I can't take anything less'.
'And so?' Ade retorted.
'And so. There are so many things that we will have to meet on the way. We will pay for so many things. that will make you understand the meaning of 'and so?'. We are talking of so many things that many people would kill for here'.
'Okay', Emeka shouted as Jude's voice increased. 'Brother… Brother. Hold on. Before we agree...'
'If we even agree...' Tunde corrected.
'We might agree in case we discuss it. But we will need you to tell us how much you can help us remove. The trouble we're facing in this country is just too much. We need something better. This money wouldn't help matter. We don't have enough money. And if my people says, ' if a woman decides to make the soup watery, the husband will learn to dent the foofoo before dipping it into the soup'.
'That's even if the foofoo is enough. This foofoo can't feed my dog'.
'That's why we rushed to heed your call when you said that you can help us. We are d*mn helpless. Abi no bi wetin pesin dey find be this? But the money. Ah! You have to help us'.
'My friend, see. I've told you the truth. I'm only helping you because you're my brother. Others
would pay seven hundred thousand'.
Tunde hummed his disbelief. Ade placed his palm under his chin and stared at Jude as if he was
talking to himself, as if he wanted to catch him in a lie.
Jude, banging the arm of the chair, said, 'I can't help you at all. I can only... Erm.... I can only help you to… I don't know'. He sighed and slumped into the chair, then pointed at imaginary things in the air as if he was pressing a calculator. ' I don't know. I don't know. I can only help you by taking you at that price. When we get to Libya, anyone that hasn't paid that amount always face hell… Real hell'.

'Tunde', Emeka called as he rose and he nodded at Ade. 'let's talk outside'.
Tunde still looking gloomy, glanced at Jude with a very disgusted look. He just couldn't believe that Jude would consider asking them for such ridiculous amount of money when Emeka must have told him all of their plights all their plight, when he could see what they look like, when he knew the plight of people in the present-day Nigeria.
Tunde marched out and when they were sure they were out of Jude's earshot, Emeka giggled.
'My brother, we're becoming Italian. We are going to Europe. Oh! My Europe! We're becoming rich'.
'What are you saying', Ade said and turned Tunde. 'What's he saying?'
'Emeka, you're not thinking right, I assume...'
'Yes. I'm not thinking straight. My people say…'
'Please forget what your people say', Tunde retorted.
'I was about to say how will I think straight when I have finally found a way to move on with my life? The solution that I've been searching for all these while is currently at my palm, and to get it, all I need is five hundred thousand naira. Were you not aware of the way I suffered to get my last visa? The problem was that I even made you ask me those boring questions, so that I'll get visa and they still didn't pick me. God will punish them in America'.
'Hey! Let's face the business of the day', Tunde said.
'If God will even punish them. It was better for him to do that after I have left the place when I have made enough money', Emeka said.
'Before you people go into the prayer room or the front of your church to start rejoicing about how you've been blessed, remember that there are things that wouldn't be counted if you want to make it'.
'Like?'
'Like the fact we are about to pour 1.5 million into a thing when we can easily use it for business and make money from it'.
Emeka stared at him with his mouth agape as if he just realized that Tunde was wise all along. Tunde felt a smile break through his grim face.
'You're right', Emeka said as he placed his hands on Tunde's shoulder. 'I like that a lot. Rather, I loved that. I used to try to do business. I don't like this at all. Not a bit. I love when we all have the same mindset'.
'What's the mindset? Tunde said and flung Emeka's hands away. 'You are allowing this man to dupe us. Please, I'm not sure that amount is enough or worth what we are about to do at this time'.
'What? I'm not sure I agree with you', Emeka said and shook his head. 'The only thing I like is to ensure is that we are not dupe but I think it worth it. It's so much. We might end up looking for things and end up doing things that would change us but I bet you we are not going to suffer as much as we've done this before we ma'.
The little time they had with one another was enough to let him know there was no way he would successfully convince them to use the money for business.
'But because you failed once doesn't mean you'll fail again'.'
'Abeg... Those foolish quotes do not work in any business. I've ruined close to two million on business. There was no way I would let myself go through the same pain I did. The problem is like a bell in my mind. It's still ring. Nothing works in this country. It's a desert. Dry. Killing. Exhaustive'.
'He knows', Ade said. 'He knows this place is a blood sucker. We all know. Our creativity means nothing here. This countries' irregularity can only work for you if you're a criminal. And we are not...'
'That's it, Brother. But if I stay here, I'll act like a criminal. I'll act like one. I'll be one soon. Don't let anyone deceive you. Nigeria would not let you have a happy ending. This is not fiction. It's not a fantasy or a fairy tale. This is reality. Cold blooded reality. It's staring at us in the face and baring its rotten teeth at us. America is the fairy. That's our fairy tale. When we will get our happy ending'.
'You're shouting again, Emeka', Tunde cautioned. Emeka was fond of shouting as if he wasn't in control of himself.
'so....' Emeka said and spread his hands to let him know that he was ready. 'We can...'
'Can still do nothing. This kind of opportunity is like finding a bar of gold on the street. It's so rare. Let's grab this opportunity. If possible, let’s use our teeth to hold it down. Now and let's meet our solution'
'Brother' Tunde said and shrugged. 'Let's go'.
It wasn't that he wasn't interested in making it to Europe. He just wanted to make sure they were playing safe and that if there would be any risk, it would be minimal. However, he had to agree with them if they had to make it there, they had to be ready to go.
'We will go'.
They walked to Jude as they expected, he rejoiced that they finally used their brain.
They agreed to get back to him the next week. He asked them to be fast because he was accepting final payment the coming week's Tuesday so that he would know the number of people he would be dealing with. They went home and began to do the countdown.

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Re: The Thorny Path- A Novel By Akíntayo Akinjide by Akinjidetayo(m) : 5:44 pm On Apr 18

Chapter 2

2
They had been in serious search for money from different sources but none of them came up with something tangible. Few people who had the money didn't trust the fact they had to go through Libya. So, they changed strategy and lied to people that they wanted to start a business. And all that ever did for them compelled people pray for the success of their business. Some even went to the extent of telling them about their own problems, which was a whale beside a catfish.
When they all gathered at Emeka's house on Friday, Emeka had no option than to involve them in his next plan, a desperate measure. He offered to allow them be a part of it, since they had no other option. Upon hearing the crazy idea, Ade stared at him as if he had just seen a ghost. He shook his head and asked him if their problem had gotten to the extent of going to the lane Emeka wanted to thread.
'Yes?' Ade said as he used the edge of his right hand to hit his left palm.
'Yes', Emeka said. 'Yes, Ade. Yes'.
'No. We don't have to steal to get money', Ade shouted from his side of the bed. 'What are we now? We're not…. No'.
Ade felt happy that Emeka lived in his own small bungalow, which he hurriedly built before marrying Uju. Emeka’s intended expanding the land and renovating to a business plaza, after he built their mansion.
Ade abhorred the idea and wouldn’t be a party to the foolish idea. He glanced at Tunde for support because he was very sure that Tunde would counter Emeka’s horrendous idea. Emeka drew nearer and glanced at Tunde, who was now silent as he had his hand placed on his lips. He looked as if he was in a deep thought, which meant that when he was ready he would come with the wisest decision. And most times, when he was silent like that, he had already made his decision but was looking for the best way to tell the person that they were stupid and should never pull that trick on him.
'We do. Brother, we do have to steal', Emeka said. 'We don't have any other option. How many days do we have to do the business?'
'Well, me for one wouldn't be a part of this. I want to go to Europe legally and make clean money', Ade replied, flipping his phone in his hands. Tunde rose, coughed and paced the room.
'See', Ade said and shifted nearer to Emeka. 'See. The thing is that even if I had the wish, there is no need. Lizzy is ready to borrow me the money. I have no need to join you people, I'll be fine'.


'Your girlfriend… Lizzy?' Tunde asked, stopped pacing, returned to the bed and rose again. 'You didn't tell anyone… She is helping?'
'I want to talk about it after she has dropped the money, but she will help me. We talked about the money few days ago. We can still hustle for money. We don't need this'.
'Who has hustle helped? Who? No. No. Tell me. Who? I have hustled my life, and now my slippers are wearing. Holes are in it. Brother, nobody wants to help'.
'But Tunde's plan made sense now. That's why I was able to have fifty thousand naira at hand.
Moreover, I've just been trying not to say this again, we can do business with the money with it'.
'You are aware of the last business and how we failed. But I'm not a man to give up easily. I tried
to pick other things. I did. Brother, I did. They didn't work. All those people we did the politics of the school together those days. I talked to them'.
Ade sat up and he felt joy flood his heart. He had even forgotten the privilege Emeka had over the two of them. Emeka was a one-time faculty president and he would still have the contact of some top politicians. 'Good. What did they say?'



'Brother, you don’t want to know what they said. I swear. You don't want to know. At the long run, most of them referred to how I lost money doing an unprofitable business. Some others…Oh! The ordeal opened my emotional wounds afresh. With recent event I'm not sure that I can stop brooding over the past years of my life'.
'Tunde talk. What do you feel?' Ade said.
Tunde glanced at them for a while then returned to his side of the bed. He drew nearer to Ade. Ade was sure nothing could come out of his mouth than the reality Emeka needed. There was no way Tunde would accept to be an accomplice in an armed robbery. The only wise thing to do was to give up.
'We have to do it', Tunde said and didn't look away, indicating he was indeed knee-deep into the belief that there was no other way.
'Wow!' Ade grunted. 'Wow. That's… I never expected that'.
'I'm sorry to come up with the most disappointing news of the century, but I feel you have the right to know that there is no other way. For us to be sure that you wouldn't be involved, then you would need to call Lizzy. We would exempt you from the plan. Someone like me, I'm ready to dip my head into the sand to find the gold. I will enter the soak-away to find this gold. I will definitely enter a Lion's den'.
'But...'
'Call her. See, do you remember the book 'the black boy' by Richard wright?'
Ade blinked repeatedly. How wouldn't he remember the black boy? It was the first book that exposed them to the idea that there were some people referred to as the black and how they were treated. That was the first Novel he would ever finish at a-go. He remembered it.
'What has that got to do with anything? I don't see the relevance here'.
'Richard wright had to steal because he wanted to migrate to the North'.
'He didn't steal'.
'Of course, he did. He did steal. How come you forget it so soon? He stole and left the part of the town'.
Emeka cracked his fingers. 'There is no other thing we can do than to accept this fact. This country- its policy, its people, its culture- they are like… Erm… Erm… Using straw to drink a mug of beer. They are like electricity. If you stay too long with it, it will suck you dry'.
'Yes. Nigeria, Nigerians would suck you dry', Tunde added. 'You will lose your creativity, your money, sometimes your life'.


Ade looked about to be sure that he wasn't having a nightmare.
'As I said, call this girl', Tunde said. 'Call Lizzy. Tell her that you need to pay the money tomorrow that Jude suddenly change the day for payment'.
Ade knew that Lizzy would quickly send the money if she learnt that they were going soon and was aware of the fact that Tunde wasn't a fan of Lizzy because she rejected his booty call. When he first met her and they became friends, before she met Ade, he wanted to have s*x with her but she refused. And that alone had made him angry. Before he plunged himself into trying to sleep with her she had shown a measurable desire to around him. So, as he told Ade, he didn't see a reason for her rejection. And he couldn't get angry at Ade because he was in the university when all these happened. So, when Ade later flaunted her as his girlfriend, Tunde felt bad.
'I will call her. You just have to learn to trust people. You really do'.
'Please, I trust myself and God', Tunde said.
'Call her already', Emeka said. 'And put it on speaker phone'.
'That's bad', Ade said as he began to make the call to Lizzy. The dial tone rang.
'It's ringing'.
'Speaker phone. Put it on loudspeaker', Emeka said again.
'Any need?'
'You earn trust', Tunde said. 'This is the cap for your trust. I want to put it on. I want to have a
reason to trust her'.
When the phone rang for a while and she didn't pick it, he wasn't rattled. He was sure that she was surely not near her phone. Emeka and Tunde watched him as if the world was watching the stage for his favorite artist, Tu Face, to climb the stage.
'She probably isn't near her phone'.
'Brother, you shouldn’t put your trust totally in people. You've worked with us very well and know that there are ways things can be done. People betray. That's our nature. We betray'.
Ade refused to reply them as he redialed Lizzy's number. Then an idea struck him and he felt
he should present it to them. 'By the way, Emeka what do you feel?' Can't one of us stay back while the other person gets prepared to come'.
Emeka sat up and looked at their different faces. 'Tunde should answer for himself. Brother, what do you feel?'
'Ade has a very good idea. I'll take my seventy thousand and add it to… How much did you say
you've gotten?'.
'Fifty'.
'I will get it. Find more money', Tunde said and snapped his fingers. 'And I'm out of this country'.
'Ahan. Tunde why will you think in such manner?' Ade said and redialed Lizzy's number. He hated the fact that he had always had to play the second fiddle to Tunde. He didn't see anything bad in Tunde sacrificing his position to him. 'I'm your younger brother. I still have the zeal and energy'.
'That's what you think?' Tunde said. 'I'm also young. In the line of friendships, you're my age mate. I'm just two years older than you. Nothing more'.
'Emeka, tell him the truth. Something is happening here. Tell my brother the truth. I know you have it in you. Tell him Lizzy has betrayed him'.
'Brother, let me stay like this. Our people will say, 'the tortoise said that trouble is its own; that's why it carries trouble on its back'. There are various things that shouldn't be accepted in this life and interfered in. A brotherly discussion should be one of them'.
Ade dialed Lizzy's phone again. He was truly worried this time.
'You don't need to stay back', Tunde continued. 'We'll even have the chance to cover each other's back. You're my brother, I'll hold on to the belief that the only reason you will betray me or stab me behind is out of fear or ignorance. But for other people, the reason they would betray me is because of the cruelty of their heart'.
The connection tone sounded, making Ade's heart flip.
'Ade', Lizzy's raspy voice resounded in the phone. Ade edged forward, while Emeka laid back and stared at the ceiling. Tunde vigorously shook his legs. Tunde seemed about to cough because his face had the same redness that always appeared whenever he was trying to muffle his cough.
'Lizzy, please there is a big problem. That money. The man just hinted us that we have to meet him on Friday to start final preparations. You know what that means'.


'Ah! Lizzy shouted. 'I'm in serious trouble. I have just three fifty here'.
'That's good, really good. Edumare will bless you'.
'Good in what way? I still need one fifty'.
Ade was happy and saw a smile of gratefulness on the lips of Tunde. Tunde opened mouth, shrugged and laid back in the chair. Ade rubbed his hands together. 'You don't need to find everything. I'll remember this. I swear to God. I swear. I'll never forget you. Baby, if love is a crime, for you I'll forever love to haunted. You're my African queen'.
'You don't need to forget me because I'll be beside you'.
'Beside me?'
Emeka sat up and frowned, while Tunde stopped shaking his leg and scoffed.
'Yes. We'll find the work and money together', Lizzy said.
'What's together? In what way?' Ade said and could feel the warmth of fear coursing through his mouth.
'I'm looking for money to complete this money to meet up the five hundred'.
'We're saying the same thing. You don't need to find the whole money. We will find the remaining parts ourselves. I, for example, have fifty thousand here'.
'Fifty thousand? Since all this while. With the way you said this man wants the money, are you sure that you won't be left behind?'
'You are the one not getting me. Three fifty plus fifty is Four hundred. I'll find hundred thousand and the money is ready'.
'You are surely not also getting me. I'm looking for money to make five hundred so that I'll go with you. I'm going'.
'For what?'
'For....What?'
'Yes. For what?'
'You're asking me for what?'
'Why will you go?'
'I have to...'
'This is not right'
'Go. I've to'.
'Your parents are rich'.
'And so what? I'm tired of this dependency. I...'
'Stop all these', Ade shouted.
'I've to go to Europe too'.
'Lizzy'.
'Ade, you're not even happy for me…'
'Happy? How will I be? I had…You made me have hope'.
'That I'm no longer dependent on my parents'.
'Shut up and stop this rubbish. I trusted you'.
'I told you I wanted to be free of my father'.
'Just get off...'
'But I need the man's number'.
'Get off'.
Emeka gestured for him to disconnect the call. He repeatedly slid his hands across his neck and
mouthed, 'Kill it'.
'I've got to go, Lizzy. Thanks for nothing'.
'The number'.
'You're....'
'Kill the call', Tunde yelled. He hated people that betrayed others. Ade couldn't crumble into the ground. He was sure that he might die from heart attack because he had never been given any bad news like that in a long time. He inhaled loudly and Emeka rubbed his back and that broke his emotional wall. He burst into tears. There was no way he would allow himself to go into the turmoil of believing that she was truly trustworthy. He cried freely and didn't mind that Tunde and Emeka were present.
'She promised. I had hopes'.
'Brother, man fail us. This is life. Man… Nigerians are just the ones that we've being discussing.
They can't be trusted anymore. My people will say that ' a fish that doesn't swallow other fishers
doesn't grow fat'. We need the money. So, are you in? I'm so sure that with two million we can the thing need'.
'Are you kidding me?'
'I'm very sure that we would meet no obstacle'.
'Are you really sure that the money is two million naira?'
'It's no joke, brother. I heard him talk about it', Emeka shouted with all his strength, the excitement could be seen written all over his face.
'Lower your voice', Tunde said but couldn't get himself to stop smiling.
'Let me shout', Emeka shouted as he jumped. 'Europe, your father'.
Tunde seemed exhilarated at the mention of the amount. 'Then, we have to make plans. Rock solid one. Ade, you should be in now. Get over Lizzy and let's move on. If you don't give her the phone number, I want to see how things will go for her'.
'See, let's find other means of…'
'Brother, I'm not by chance pulling your feet. I'm as serious as the dead'.
Tunde sighed and heaved as Ade opened his mouth to tell them how he still believed that they had better means of going about the making of money. Then, he gestured to Ade that he wanted to say something. 'I hate to do this. But tell me what can a man do? Have we not tried? See our father is still the one in charge of our welfare. Is it supposed to be so? At this age? No. No. It's unrealistic. We would soon have wives. Look at your Lizzy, she is ripe for marriage. However, you, her fiancé is soaked in your garment of poverty. Although you won't be stuck with anymore, what of the new relationship you will enter'.
'But that's not a cause for...'
'What's not a cause for what? This money isn't constant. It's not as if we are taking stealing as a profession. We only need this one to become better'.
'That's right', Emeka affirmed. 'God knows that I can't continue stealing. We can't just get the right amount needed to escape this jungle, and that's why need to do this'.


Though still skeptical, Ade allowed himself to be drawn into the darkness of their plans. He glanced at the wall and saw a wall-gecko. His late grandmother had a belief that when one was discussing in the presence of a wall-gecko, one was surely going to fail at it. But he couldn’t share his superstitions with them especially with Tunde, who was beginning to have disbelief in everything supernatural.
And within a few seconds, they were already making plans on what to do. The two of them would be returning to Emeka's place on Sunday afternoon, where the plan would be finalized, and they would move to the operation.
Ade tried to rein his anger till he dropped Tunde at home; however, when he drove out of the compound, he winded up the car and yelled. He couldn't stay in the house and see Tunde's face because it would remind him of how he didn't agree with Tunde's way of life. His plan was to roam about till the steam of anger cooled off. But, Lizzy's call came again repeatedly and he knew he had no other option that to stand up to her and let her know how much she had offended him. He had to just show her his mind and probably break up with her. He returned home when he discovered that he didn't have his wallet with him.
As he locked the gate behind him and returned to the driver's seat, his mother dropped from a bike. They had suggested to her severally that Ade should drive her to and fro her shop, but she adamantly refused, claiming that her children are not some mere men. She believed that if they took her to her shop, traders around would notice that they didn't have a job. Winding down the glasses of the car, Ade had to wait for her out of courtesy.
'Ade, where are you going?' She said the moment she got to his side.
'Ah… Ahn. Mummy, when did I begin to tell you where I'm going'.
She mimicked him in a way that would have made him laugh on a normal day, shook her head and grumbled about the way he and his brothers had been acting weird of recent.
'What weird?' He called after her as she walked towards the smaller gate.
'I don't know. Something is wrong with you people and you're not talking'.
'There is nothing'.
'Are you sure?'
'See, Mama. I have to go'.
'Are you still with that Lizzy girl?'
'I thought you didn't like her'.
'Yes. I don't like her behavior but I like her. I've agreed to like her since you like her. I'm not the one marrying. I can only advice you. Especially with this person that they said is killing men and putting their p3n!s in their mouth'.
'Ah! Mama, that's gross'.
'Forget gross. All I'm saying is that try to maintain the one you've gotten. Don't go about jumping from woman to another. Do you think I came home to probe you, it's because I forgot my phone?'
'As usual. Mama, don't enter me. I have to go'.
'What's enter?' She asked and stared at him perplexed. On a normal day, that was something that would have prompted him to pull her legs but that wasn't a normal day. That day was the day he got his heart smeared. He had been stabbed in the chest upfront and the assailant still stroke his cheek as if she was staring into the eyes of a baby.
'I have to go. I'll back soon'.
'By the way, you've not oiled this gate still'.
Ade shook his head and drove off. When he drove into Lizzy's compound, he felt intimidated again. The compound was huge and had a conspicuous garage that had several sophisticated cars that always made his father's car look like a toy. The marbles on the floor crunched under his feet as he got down. She rushed towards him, looking all fearful. She dragged him through the other side of the house to her room. He wasn't sure her parents were around and even if they were, he wasn't rattled by their presence. All he needed was for them to break up immediately. It took him a great deal of effort to remain calm and not yell at her.
'Ade, please give me the number'.
'What number? You backstabbing girlfriend. I came here to break up whatever we thought we had. I just wanted to do you the courtesy of doing it face to face'.
'You want to break up with me because I want to progress? I thought you said that you would be with me till the end of the world, that my success is yours?'
'This is not something to support. Not on earth or any other place. This is backstabbing. You should have intimated me on the fact that you would also love to be a part. I wouldn't have had hopes from your side'.


She burst into tears. 'Do you like the way I'm living here? I want to stop depending on my parent'.
'Tell them and get away from them'.
She kept crying. 'Don't you think I have tried?'
'Stop crying', Ade said and touched her.
'Don't touch me'.
He rose and pulled her nearer and hugged her. She had to progress too. On a normal day, he would have been happy that she made the right choice, but she made this choice when he had built his hope on her promises. She cried into his chest and kissed him.
'The phone number', she mumbled.
'I'll give you. I'll take you to him'.
Ade knew at that instance that he had no other choice than to forgive her and follow Tunde and Emeka on the robbery. Their plan was good. Any plan Tunde suggested or had an input in was always good. And that was the reason; he wanted to learn to be free from Tunde, to see if he could make the right choices without being around Tunde. They would steal the money and pay and leave. Nothing could disrupt their plan.

(Quote) (Report)

Re: The Thorny Path- A Novel By Akíntayo Akinjide by Akinjidetayo(m) : 4:56 pm On Apr 19

3
Tunde glanced at Ade at the driver's seat and couldn't blame him for having cold feet at the eleventh hour. It was normal for everyone, but he wouldn't hear the rubbish he was spewing at that time. He had been sputtering about seeing the full moon and how he saw a wall gecko. And he couldn't really blame him. The bulk of the blame would be on his father, who left him at their grandmother's place for too long a time. If not, he would have grown with the knowledge that superstitions are only made to come to reality by people's fear and nothing more.
'Here', Emeka whispered to Ade in the car as if people outside the car would hear their conversation. He stretched his hand and told them to put theirs also. Emeka exhaled loudly and whispered, 'for Libya. For Europe'.
Ade whispered and hummed his 'oya come make we go' by Tu face and someone Tunde never cared and wasn't even sure he would know.
'The light', Tunde said and Ade caught the queue and switched off the light. Tunde coughed.
'Do something about this cough', Emeka mumbled.
They stepped out of the car and took the bags they needed for the operation. Their black clothes were truly the perfect cloth they needed for the operation. Emeka sighed and marched off into the darkness. Tunde decided to keep quiet and only grunted when Ade glanced up into the dark sky.
The moon was full. Ade had a belief that the moon was always full only when the month was getting to the end and that could signify that one of them might end his life very soon.
'Are we doing the right thing? Are you sure we're doing the right thing?'
Emeka placed his hand on Ade's shoulder as if he was a father that was about to address his son, who was afraid of his own shadow. 'When we get home, I will buy my mother a full chicken. When we get to Europe and I make money, I will buy a cow. Big one'.
Ade hissed. Tunde stared at Emeka and felt like giving him a hard knock for saying something that wasn't relevant to the problem on ground. They marched off silently into the street. The street didn't have street lights and the power of generator in the street seemed so bad that the noise clouded the silence of the night. He wondered how the occupants of the house slept at night. He just couldn't see himself sleeping in that place without going to the neighbor's house and fighting them for such stupidity. Nevertheless, it was to their own advantage.
The walk from the back of the house was relatively easy. Very soon, they were soon scaling the mighty fence that held the warehouse they were supposed to steal from. According to Emeka, some politicians shared a huge sum of money into different sacks and placed them at different locations because he was being probed by EFCC.
To break the door to the stipulated place was easy, making Tunde know that the earth and God wanted them to have the money. The ease with which they did it was good, but Ade kept popping his head and mumbling that they had to be fast, that he felt something bad was happening.
As they left Ade at the door to watch out for the security guard, who was known for sleeping soundly at that time, Tunde spoke to Emeka for the first time since they entered the warehouse.
'Ade is drunk on gutter water'.
'Brother, it's normal to be afraid. That will make us efficient. Remember the election'.
Tunde had to shush him at that instance because if he didn't do that, Emeka would continue talking about the university election. They just had to get the money and leave. However, they didn't have to go far before trouble began. The first thing that caused a rancor was Emeka, who shouted as it was typical of him, 'this money is not complete'.
Tunde opened his mouth as he felt like entering the floor immediately. There wasn't a way people around wouldn't hear the noise. Now, he wished they didn't leave their clothes at Emeka's place.
At least, if anything happened, he would have quickly changed his cloth and pretend to be in pursuit of the thieves and from there escape.
'What do you mean?' Tunde said after covering Emeka's mouth and Emeka nodded to assure him that he would keep his emotion in check. He opened the bag for Tunde. It was full.
'You are shouting', Ade said as he rushed from his post. 'You're shouting'.
'He said the money is not complete'.
'How will he say that? Is he alright?'
'I'm thinking so too. This bag is full', Tunde said and handed the money to Ade. Then, he helped him to point a torchlight into the full bag.
'This bag is full. Let's leave here', Ade said, closed the bag and glanced at the door. Tunde's eyes dashed to the door severally.
'Are you two blind? Two million would fill more space. This bag is too small for even one million. If this is not even five hundred thousand naira'.
'Think. Think' Tunde said and dragged Emeka towards the door. 'This is the money. We've got to go. Let's go'.


But Emeka wouldn't agree with them and he kept searching until Ade joined Tunde in pulling him out of the ware house. Tunde would have allowed him to return to find the money because Emeka had vast knowledge about money and if he said the money wasn't complete, then it wasn't complete. Emeka snatched his hands. At the same, time the noise of the generator stopped. Tunde and Ade pulled Emeka away.
'Leave me', he grunted and restricted.
'You want to die?' Ade asked.
'Leave…' Emeka shouted as his anger got to its peak. Tunde hurriedly covered his mouth.
'Shhh! Shhh! Shhh!' Ade shouted as if he was suffering from chronic cold. The ray of a torchlight was shaking outside as if someone was trying to see if anyone was there. They all stopped what they were doing, switched off their torchlights, and waited for the next line of action. The ray of torchlight from the other end went off. Tunde raised his hands and hoped the others could see him in the night.
'Now', Tunde said and released Emeka. He wasn't ready to die at the moment. There was only one life and he preferred to use it wisely. Luckily for them, the wall was very near the door. Tunde, who was the nearest to the door, flung himself on the wall, forgetting that he had left the bag in care of Ade. He hurriedly scrambled on to the wall.
'The money', Emeka shouted and Tunde turned as Ade threw the bag of money at him. He grabbed the bag and turned just in time to see Emeka and Ade pounce on the wall before he clambered down the fence into the path that was beside the building. He sped off in the night.
'Go...Go'.
Emeka grunted loudly and that called the attention of the guard in charge of the warehouse. The guard shouted something incomprehensible and began to blow a whistle that was soon replied by the shrill sound of whistles from different sides.
Tunde didn't want to be the recipient of whatever would happen immediately the owners of those whistles joined the pursuit. The worst case scenario was that they would tie them as it was typical of the present-day Nigerians and burn them to death. He, Ade and their father had been a partaker of such event, when some thieves were caught in their street.
Even with the heavy bag, he ran off as if he was a whirlwind and would crush anyone he met on the way, regardless of the fact that he was holding a toy gun. He could have dropped it on the way, but he would prefer to hold on to everything he came along with, to avoid being implicated through them. Only death could take the money away from him at that point. He panted heavily as he ran towards the car and held the bag firmly.
'Run… Run', Ade's voice reverberated in the dark. By this time, the shrill whistles had taken up the duty of disturbing the peace of the night. And they were soon replaced by the numerous shout of men that were eager to catch at least one of them to make them suffer for the sins of others.
Tunde got to the place they parked their car and lurched forward as he opened the door. Securing a space, he hurriedly opened the other doors and switched on the light of the car. Ade's voice gave him up as he sped towards the car, panting and stomping the ground. He jumped into the car, panting and closed his side of the door.
Tunde couldn't understand the reason for what they were doing. He shouldn't have seen things the same way Emeka saw it. He probably wouldn't have agreed to come to the robbery and they might end up staying in their father's house, but that was better than what they were facing at the moment.
'Jesus. God. Emeka', Ade called as he started the car. The car vibrated and Ade began to edge forward.
'Wait for him'.
The plan was that even if the two of them were still on their way, he would have started the car. Regardless of what they as plan, Tunde still felt they shouldn't even start the car until Emeka was safely tucked into a corner in the car. A gun shot rang and Ade yelled, while Tunde scrambled to the floor of the car. Yet, Emeka kept grunting and was yelling something as he neared the door. That meant he was still alive and safe. Tunde sighed as he clapped repeatedly and gestured for Emeka to hurry.
'Get ready', Ade said as the car revved loudly.
Their pursuers got the idea that their car would aid their escape, so they took cue and began to shout the more. Just as Emeka got to the door, two shots rang and this time one of the shots hit him on the thigh. He screamed loudly and fell flat, hitting his chest on the handle of the door. Tunde was so surprise that he couldn't tell if he shouted or just opened his mouth. Yet, Emeka's strength enthralled Tunde that that he was jostled out his little trance. He plunged to action when Emeka shouted as he tried to he crawled to the edge of the vibrating car. Tunde rose from his seat and grabbed Emeka's hand. Ade release the choke and drove off. The noise of the vigilantes edged towards them.
'Ade, wait', Tunde shouted as he struggled to help a yelling Emeka into the car.
Emeka grunted and yelled as if his limbs were being ripped off his hands. 'Ade, go'.
'No. Don't...'
But when another shot rang, Tunde screamed at the top of his voice. 'Go. Go.'
The door was still opened and Emeka's legs dangled from the car; in fact, most of his body were still out of the car. Emeka screamed. Then, his screams began to break as if he was having seizure.
Tunde pulled him into the car. However, for anyone to be dragged into moving car, he or she must use his or her energy like that of the person pulling them. Tunde needed Emeka to put in some effort but he couldn't get the response he desired because Emeka was hanging on to the door for his life.
'Ade, stop… Stop', Tunde yelled.
Ade looked into the mirror and slowed down. Tunde dragged the screaming Emeka into the car. By this time, the light of a bike could be seen racing towards them. Ade shook his head.
'We've got to go', Ade shouted and increased the speed of the car.
'Go...Drive', Tunde grunted as he tried to hold Emeka. Then, he slammed the door shut.
Emeka moaned and mumbled, 'Go'.
Ade sped off into the night as the bike increased its speed. 'Hold on tight. I have to lose them'.
Tunde pushed the bag of money aside. What was the money when his friend might soon lose his life because of it?
'Libya. We go to Europe'; Emeka said and tried to smile but could only spit blood.
'Emeka we will make it', Tunde said as he cuddled him. The second shot seemed to have hit him in the bowel. Even as his hands were dipped into the bleeding stomach of Emeka, he couldn't stop talking about how they were having problems because of Emeka's lack of judgement.
'This shouldn't have happened. You should have happened. You happened'.
'Tunde, it's enough', Ade shouted from the driver's seat.
Emeka was gasping for breath and blood was spurting from his mouth, and gushing from his stomach and thigh. Tunde was even confused about where he should hold.
'Tunde, we will go to Europe'.
Tunde couldn’t hold back his tear. He whimpered and continually rocked Emeka, who was lying on his laps.


'Ade, faster', he yelled.
Emeka winced again and began to drool off. Tunde could only do what he had seen in most movies.
'Emeka talk to me. Say something'.
Emeka's eyes were drooling. Tunde slapped his cheek repeatedly. 'Stay with me. Tell me something'.
Emeka smiled and ranted in Igbo.
'English!'
'I would go to Europe. We will trek. I will feel the dust on my feet. The hot sand'.
With tears streaming down his face, Tunde quivered. 'Emeka we will...Okay, tell me what is the best thing that have ever happened to you?'
'Two things. Two things. I...' He said and coughed blood. 'Uju is pregnant for me. I will be a father'.
'With Uju'.
'Tunde... Someone stole the money. That guy that told me, he had stolen most of the money. Second thing. I will spend this day with you', Emeka said and began to sing 'Tu face's See me so'. They all fell in love with the song after Ade suddenly had a liking for it and wouldn't stop singing it until they all took it as an anthem.
'If you didn't shout first...'
Emeka winced and mumbled loudly.
'Ade, hospital', Tunde shouted.
'Yes. But first dip your hands into him. Pressed the blood down. Apply pressure'.
Emeka's face was becoming flushed. There was no way he would allow himself to give up like that without the proper and necessary things needed to make his friend survive. He dipped his hand into Emeka's blood and felt his own stomach twist. He cried and felt himself about to vomiting. His hands were shaking terribly. He couldn't stop crying as he tried to handle Emeka, who was still vibrating. Very soon, Emeka was beginning to doze off.
'Stay with me'.
'I'm here. Brother, promise me something'.
'I'll promise anything when we get to the hospital'.
'It's nothing much', Emeka said as he began to gasp for breath. 'My mother and son…'
'Anything when we get to the hospital'.
'The chicken', Emeka said and took a prolonged breathe and released it at once.
Tunde rocked him, refused to look at his face as tears began to well in his eyes, and knew what he just heard was the real thing but he just couldn't accept it within minute. He swallowed hard and knew that his tears would soon over flood his tears gland. He couldn't talk again, so began to moan.
'You see what I'm saying', Ade said. 'Now, I must agree with you. I surely must do. This is the height of it. There is no hospital here...'
'He's dead', Tunde mumbled as he pulled Emeka nearer and hugged him. Tears dropped from his eyes as he stared unfocussed into the space.
'Okay, this is arrant nonsense. We need to turn back', Ade said, stopped the car and began to withdraw.
'He is dead. He is dead', Tunde's voice went from a mere whimper to a loud wail that brought Ade to the reality of what happened. Ade yelled his horror and stopped the car in the middle of the road without minding that someone might drive through.
He hit the wheel repeatedly and made the horn sound reverberated in the empty road. He wailed.
'No. Emeks. No...'
'Emeka...' Tunde yelled and rocked the dead body. He didn't even know if his body was being rubbed by the blood but for now he couldn't help but cry into the dead body. He moaned loudly and groaned as if he was the one that was hurt by the bullet of the vigilantes. Even if they would be there for hours, Tunde wouldn't have cared as he couldn't bring himself to accept what had happened to Emeka.
'We've got to move', Ade said.
Tunde could only nod in response. The journey would be one of the worse he had ever taken. He saw the bag of money lying by his leg and kicked it away. There was no way he would be a partaker of this thing.
He hugged the corpse of Emeka and wept into it. Ade drove off and reduced the pace. Tunde didn't think of what would be done to get out of the mess they were in. He didn't think of what might be
done to save them from the blood stain, Emeka's dead body, and he didn't want to think of it.
'What do we do?' Ade said.
'You know what we can do. So, don't ask me'.
'We won't have time to do anything. And how do we prove to the world that he just died'.
'We don't need to. We just have to make it look like a burglar. Then, we would wash the car when Mama leaves home tomorrow'.
The plan was easy and they did it within a short time. It was easy. Faking the burglar was easy. And in fact, getting home was easy. All they had to do was to fake that they were drunk. Their mother, in her usual manner, opened the door for them, nagged about their lateness, and decided to use that medium to tell them how wrong they were by staying up late and not only late, but also irresponsibly drunk.
She expressed her fear of how they might soon go about sleeping with women and one of those women might be the serial killer, who had spent much time to kill men and ram their manhood into their mouth. But, she allowed the matter to die like the dust that was a raised by a traveler's horse.
That night, Tunde cried himself to sleep and just hoped he would be able to stand up to count the money. Ade mumbled about his moon. He mumbled about how they had refused to listen to him and how he was sure that everything happened because of their stubbornness. However, the topic of discussion changed in the morning when they met their mother in the sitting room and continued to talk about their ungodly lifestyle.
'Oh!' Ade said, irritated. 'Let this sleeping dog lie. We need to do other things'.
'Does that mean I'm disturbing you?'
'N-' Tunde was about to say to let the matter die, but Ade cut him short.
'Yes. You're so disturbing us. When are you leaving for your shop?'
'I'm going and you don't have the right to tell me when or ask me when I want to leave my husband's house'.
'Our father's house', Ade said as Tunde dragged him to the room. He tried to restrict but a firm grip and a strong stance made him know Ade was serious.
'What's wrong with you? Hope you've not forgotten that if you p!ss her off she might decide not to go?'
'Let her not go. Stay at home', Ade shouted.
'You're right', their mother said. 'I'm not going anywhere'.
Tunde stared at him contemptuously and slumped on the bed. They had to wash the car before night. If not, their mother would find a reason to look at their car.
Tuesday was around the corner and with the way she was acting, they couldn't even possibly leave home to pay the money together. Ade slumped on the bed after Tunde, and bit the pillow with enough anger that would have burnt a whole house down if it was fire. He hit the bed repeatedly.

(Quote) (Report)

Re: The Thorny Path- A Novel By Akíntayo Akinjide by Akinjidetayo(m) : 6:50 pm On Apr 23

4

'I will kill her', Ade mouthed.
'What?'
'I will kill her', he whispered. 'I will kill her. We're so dead'.
Tunde calmed him down. 'She will leave'.
Their mother raged and walked through the passage and marched off to her room, ranting all the way. Tunde hoped she was returning to her room as a change of mind.
'She is not going', Ade muttered and scurried to peep. He looked back and shook his head and crumbled to floor. Tunde raised his hands to assure him that he could try to something. He rose, adjusted his trousers, and watched her from the back of the curtain as she continued in her rambling, shaking her leg but not in any way prepared to leave. Tunde sat on the bed and knew that the only way he could send her away would be to beg. He trudged to the sitting room. At the same time, she marched to the door.
‘I don’t even know why he allowed you people to carry his car anyhow?’ She fumed as she opened the curtain.
‘Mama’, Tunde said and she turned to him, startled. With a big scowl on her face, she stood akimbo and glared at him as if her eyes had lasers in them and she wanted to smolder him to death with them. He prostrated as it was typical of the Yorubas when seeking the confidence of an elderly one. He wouldn’t have done this on a normal circumstance.
However, he had to give her disturbing-cow the grass she needed, which was their apology, so that she would give them the chance to clean anything that would implicate them in the death of Emeka.
‘We are very sorry’.
‘We’re sorry’, she mimicked him ludicrously. She had the habit of repeating whatever one said as if they were saying rubbish. He could see the anger on her face breaking to a smile.
‘This is a son. This is your elder brother. See him. Can you? Can you see the way he laid here? I don’t understand you people again. You’re grown up and have forgotten that I’m still your mother. I won’t take that rubbish from any of my sons. You people are still my boys. What do you want to teach the girls among you? No. Not in my lifetime’, she said as she released the curtain, making Tunde breathe.
‘Mama, don’t mind Ade. He is just a small boy. He is still behaving like a baby’.
‘Baby? This grown up. It’s not babyish. He is not a baby. He is just …Erm...He is proud, rude, pompous. Since he finished secondary school, he had suddenly seen himself as Don. So, I shouldn't be surprised that he finished the University and feel he can grow wings. Who do you think you are? If you grow wings, I'll break them. I… Will… Break them without anything to stop me. There are bigger men than you, many of whom I taught before I retired. Whenever they meet me on the way, they still prostrate’.
‘Mama, it’s okay’.
‘It’s not okay, she retorted as she sat on the chair and began to tie her scarf across her head. He felt like cracking up. His mother was disappointedly predictable. She was getting ready to leave the house. He preferred to lay there.
'Get up! Get up my son’.
‘We will change. So, you won’t have gone to work?’
‘Yes. You people are my children. I don’t mind. If it’s to remain here till heavens return, until you heed what I’m saying I won’t stop saying it. I told your father you people are doing things that are not worthy of being called children of a teacher.’
‘Mama, I'm sorry'.
‘I’m on my way. You know you can still come to my shop with me’.
He gave her that look that she knew meant she was already passing her boundary.
‘I’m going. Naughty child. When I’m ready for you, I’ll handle your case. You also know I don’t want you. But for now, I’ll go before Iya Segun drains my battery because of her money. How much is her money?'
She clambered out of the chair, dropped her phone on the center table, went to the room to get her bag, and left the house. After about ten minutes, Ade came out with eyes that were red and face that was flushed as if he had been slapped with a slab. Tunde wheezed and counted down from thirty. He had to be sure she was gone. If he did things rashly, she would notice that something was wrong and that was really bad for them. Then, the gate cranked loudly as she stepped out.
Ade punched the air and pointed his knuckle at him, which Tunde punched. She had always complained about the crankiness of the gate. Ade was supposed to oil some three months before, but he had never gotten a right time to do that and that was helpful on a day like that.
He ran outside without his slippers as that could easily give him away and Ade hopped after him. Tunde peeped out of the house. He had heard the fading sound of a bike’s engine. It had probably carried her away. Yet, he didn't have any proof that she was gone. It would be very disastrous to leave the house and try to peep only to meet her still standing the house, waiting for a bike. She would easily decipher that something was wrong.
He peeped from the sides of the gate- an action that was like trying to watch a wrestling from a neighbor's closed window: it was a very horrible ordeal. He turned intermittently at Ade who kept gesturing to know if she was still there. He opened his palms to make him know he didn’t know. However, his cough came again and muffled with all his strength, wishing that he could find a lasting remedy for it. After trying different strategies to tell him, Ade still didn't get what he was trying to tell him. So, he ran back.
‘Is she gone?' Ade whispered.
‘I don’t know. That’s what I've been trying to tell you. I'm not seeing anything. I don’t know if she is gone. She might still be there’.
‘What do we do?’
Tunde looked out of the door again to be sure no one was coming. The next thing would be to use what would vex her if she was really outside.
‘You have to do as if you’re going out to buy something. Go…’
Ade ran back inside.
‘Where are you going?’
‘To hold money’.
‘For what?’
‘For…Why do I need money? We need money to f00l her in case she is there’.
‘She is angry at you, remember. She might not ask you where you’re going’.
‘What if she does?’’
‘You’ve your heads. Tell her that… You know what? Don’t even talk to her’.
‘Good’.
‘Go… ‘He whispered and pushed Ade towards the gate. He wished they weren’t doing this. As against this, he was supposed to be at home, or trying to find another job, and maybe Emeka would have been sleeping in his own house. They shouldn’t have met the Jude. Maybe they wouldn’t be in that problem at that time.
Ade walked away and suddenly began to hear the noises of his mother’s voice. She was there. He hurriedly wore hiss slippers and ran for the door. There was no way she wouldn’t be angry enough to let Ade go without causing trouble for him. He knew he had to play cool and a fool. That was what she needed at that time. When he got outside, he met her fiddling with her bag.
‘Mama, what happened again?’
‘Arrant nonsense. You people don’t talk sense into those big head of yours. If not, Ade wouldn’t snub me when I asked him questions. How old is he? I’m his mother’.
‘Mama, what did he do?’
‘That’s what I hate about you too. Can't you decipher simple thing? I said he snubbed me. He is my son’.
‘Mama, we are very sorry’.
‘No. No. Don’t even try it. I gave birth to the two of you and I won’t accept you counting yourself as if you're the one that committed the crime that only your brother committed.
‘Mama, don’t let him work you out. You know what? Let me get a bike for you’.
‘That’s what I was trying to do before he suddenly became snobbish. I’m his mother for crying out loud. I’m his mother'.
‘Okada’, Tunde cried enthusiastically as a bike man passed by.
'I think I'm forgetting something'.
'Ah! Go! You're not forgetting anything'.
'If you say so'.
His mother also was ready to go with the bike. She haggled the amount for the transportation and she was soon ready to leave. Ade was pretending to buy something from the shop when he saw her leave, he sped up to meet him. They ran into the house after counting to thirty and they were sure she wouldn’t be coming back soon.
Without wasting anytime, they ran for the car and Ade rolled up his trousers and was set for cleaning of the car. Tunde, who wasn't a fan of car-washing, asked Ade numerous questions on how he could help and Ade kept passing instructions for him.
‘Water. We need an extra bucket, Ade called as they got to the scrubbing off of the blood. It wasn’t easy to do. As he was returning with the bucket, he heard his mother’s phone ring. Tunde felt himself freezing and hoping he could die that instance. She would probably remember. He quickly aimed for the phone as he saw who was calling her. It was Iya Segun again.
‘Mummy. Maami is coming’, Tunde said.
‘Yes. She is coming’.
‘Yes. She just left home some minutes ago’.
‘What do you mean by she is coming. She just left here’.
‘Where?’
‘Yes. She just left home some minutes ago.’
‘What do you mean by she is coming. She just left here’.
‘Where?’
‘Shop now. She said she forgot her phone and only dropped her bag.
‘I can bring it for her'.
'There’s no need. She should be there in the next ten minutes. I was just calling the phone to confirm it was at home because she always forgets her phone. Alakogbabe ni iya yin’.
‘Okay’.
It took Tunde all the efforts in the world not to scream when he heard she left some minutes ago. ‘Ade, there is fire on the mountain’, Tunde exclaimed.
‘And the people keep on running around’.
‘Hope you are alright?’
‘It’s the same thing. We would start running around. What happened?’
‘It’s Mama. She is coming home again’.
‘The witch’.
‘Hey!' Tunde shouted as he hated people talking to his mother anyhow. There had been days he had been in serious fight with people because of the way they talked about his mother. His mother had warned him seriously to never be engaged in any fight because of her, but that was something he couldn't stop.
‘See, leave me. How will we salvage this situation? Is she not a trouble like this?'
‘Are you still asking me? I’ll be at the gate and wait for her to arrive then, pretending to want to take the phone to her on the way home’.
When the bike man stopped her at the gate, he was waiting for her and didn’t give her the chance to drop because doing so could only mean that she was coming into the compound and that was something he wanted to avoid at all cost. She asked the questions he expected her to ask and he told her all the answers he planned for such questions.
‘Like this?' She said as the bike turned. He looked down and saw that his legs were wet and the trousers were still rolled up. He watched her go and sighed. At that point, he wished he didn't make any plan. He could have told her that after the call from Iya Segun, he decided to wait for her outside that was a better move than the one he just played and he hoped his mother wouldn't find the loophole in his story.
The ground would be dry before their sisters returned from school in the afternoon, and he would do everything in his power to make sure that nothing disturbed them from reaching their goal. If for nothing, for the sake of Emeka, whose life was sacrificed for their emigration. He had become their lucky charm. He made them have the whole idea in the first place.
‘We’ve not even counted the money’, Ade said after they've finished washing the car, eaten and seemed ready for anything that reared its ugly head.
‘That’s true. ‘
‘Let’s count the money’.
Despite the heaviness of his heart and the memory of how Emeka kept fighting for his own life haunted him, Tunde watched Ade as he wanted to start counting the money. At that moment, he wished someone would open the door and catch them and kill them and every problem in the world would end. Or Wished a plane could just drop on their house to end the fear and worries that brewed in his heart. Or if the weather of Nigeria could suddenly change its uniqueness to a worse one, where a natural disaster would suddenly end their lives and he would forget everything he had ever had to go through to get the money- the shame, the losing of his best friend, the desire to steal, the betrayer they had to get from Lizzy and the things to come. If they had agreed to do this now, how was he even sure that they would have a reason to do something worse.
‘Stop doing that’, Tunde complained.
“What?’
‘All these… Stop all these… You can’t count all the money like that. You can't count it one by one, you'll faint. Just count only one and we will assume that’s the amount in every bale’.
‘Oh! I never thought of it. Thank God you’re here’.
‘Thank God. Now, let’s try to do that’.
They set to work and Tunde had to count some set twice. After they finished counting the money it was just eight hundred and fifty thousand. Tunde had to conclude that, 'Emeka knows about money’.
‘Why are you saying that?’
‘He said this thing wasn’t complete’
Ade rested his back against the wall and Tunde was very sure they could come up with a way to leave the house before a detective began to seek out things where they weren't supposed to be.


Later in the day, their mother called to announce what she had just read on Facebook.


‘Have you heard? Ah… Emeka… He is dead’.


‘Dead?’


‘Yes. He is dead. I just read on Facebook. Ah! That fine boy, Emeka’.


'Mama! Emeka! Ahhh’, Tunde pretended to be sad. ‘What killed him?’


‘They said he… It was thieves. It was this Baddo group. You should know those armed robbers. I
thank God my sons are armed robbers. They said they entered his house and broke his head. Then


they stabbed him. Or maybe they did one before the other. Oh! God. This is bad. Really bad. God
will punish these Baddo group’.


Tunde pretended to feel sad, rushed into their room, placed the phone on speaker phone, and made
Ade shout as if he really felt bad because that was the only way they could make their mother
nosiness shift to another business. Even when they have switched off the call, she called back and
told them not to even go out for the next three days or even near Emeka's place so that they might
not be roped in the issue, but that if they had Emeka's parents' phone number, they should
commiserate with them.


Ade wanted to protest but Tunde told him to keep his cool and assured their mother that they would
take all her words to the heart and they've even started trying Emeka's parents' phone number, and
that none of them would go out. She prayed for them, wishing nothing evil will happen to them.
Since she had her way of getting information and Ade couldn't defile her that day.


'At lease we're free from anything implicating. Emeka’s death is solved. The people believed
Baddo killed him’.


‘That's our truth till we leave this earth. Baddo killed him’, Ade said and nodded.


‘What have we put ourselves into?’ Tunde said.


‘We’ve just switched off the generator of Shrine Club. It means disaster for us. I remember the
story of the guy that did that. He was beaten blue black. This life has just beaten us blue-black'.





The plan was that they would wait till the next day. Ade would take the car to Jude's place and
would beg him that they would find the rest before the day they are meant to leave, that the money
was just paid for to show their readiness. He could have followed him but their mother can be


assertive and that meant that she would find a way for someone to tell her if they both went out or
not.


When the night fell, they decided to stay in the parlour so that their mother wouldn't suddenly have
a reason to suspect them of doing something shady. However, the reverse was the case because the
moment they rose from the chair to return to their room, his mother called his name.


‘Iya Shakiru said she told you I was on the way’.


'Yes. That was why I came out. I was waiting for you'.


‘You told me you wanted to take a bike'.


'And I wanted to'.


' But you looked suspicious. I'm your mother. You, Ade, for example. You only get angry when
you want to do something bad and you don't want anyone to know. I'm your mother. I can tell…'


'Leave these boys alone. If he didn’t help you, you would have talked. Now, he did help you, you’re
tormenting him'.


Tunde entered the house and knew something big might happen very soon. So he advised Ade to
start parking his loads. When the next day came, they pretended to argue about pre-season matches
and were so engrossed in their argument that their mother, who hated talks about football matches,
had a reason to leave home earlier. And that helped Ade to leave home after her. Coughing, Tunde
said his goodbyes and watched him leave the compound.






***


Ade drove out of the house as fast as he could as he had to make Lizzy tag along to pay her own
money.


'Ade, I've not gotten the full amount'.



'We too'.


'We have to work something out. Can't one of you wait behind?'


'I told Tunde, but he insisted on going too. We've decided to beg the man. Tunde couldn't go
because our mother is suspecting us of something we didn't do'.


'And you think he will collect it?'


'Of course, he will'.


'Stop sleeping. Wake up. This man will not collect nothing'.


' Do you know him? Even at that, if he refuses, we will stay at home'.


'And lose such opportunity? No. No. Not at all. Things like these are once in a lifetime'.


'We can get another one. It's not that deep'.


'What's not deep? What do you mean by deep?'


'I mean. It's not as serious as that'.


'Oh! Who told you? These things are as serious as anything in the world. We can only get this
opportunity once. How many time has anyone ever come to you talking about going abroad?
None... Or how many times?' She said and began to unzip his trouser. He gave her a cold glaze
and she removed her hand. She always saw any opportunity together as a reason to copulate, and
he loved it until that time. Ade focused on the road and didn't know what to think or believe. He
zipped his trousers and she shrugged and began to fiddle with her bag.


'Talk. Tell me. How many times? These opportunities are like roses that blossom in adversity. They
are... How did that Papa Pope put it? They are rare. Very rare. You can't get a chance to see them
again. Somehow much do you think or do you say you have?'


'We have Eight ninety thousand. We're keeping fifty for contingencies'.



'You....'She said and her voice faded off as she seemed to be in deep thought. She was fond of
pretending to be Olivia pope from the TV Series ' Scandal'. He knew she already knew what she
wanted to say and must have been practicing it from home. She stared into the evening as if she
was in a trance. 'You will sell this car'.


'Sell car? What's sell? What car? This? No... This will kill my father'.


'Your father will have to pick temporal success over the permanent one. And he is like a baby. You
know what babies are now...'


'I don't want to hear this hogwash. Let's discuss a realistic solution'.


'Well, you're the one acting like a baby here. The sentiment you're showing is becoming too deep,
as you put it, for my liking. You need to have a sense of responsibility. I mean you to be a man.
We'll be married one day. Is this how you'll act. Act. Act like a man. Think like one. You can't just
spend your life like this. Think. The car is even the second phase of the plan'.


'Oh! Your plan, that is making my love for you dwindle like an electric train, has other phase, a
first phase?'


' A first phase that you would surely not like, and might probably yell at me for, if you hear it'.


'Spit it out already'.


'Adex, It's the truth... And after you use it, you will see that you made the right choice. The thing
you have to do is to take some part of the money for yourself. Pay the man five hundred thousand
naira. Then, take fifty thousand for contingencies. It will remain erm... How much again? It will
remain three ninety thousand. Then, you will give me One fifty thousand to add to mine. It will
remain one hundred and ninety thousand. We will sell this car for three hundred and add it to that
of your brothers'. Oh! It will remain ten thousand. We will remove ten thousand from the one with
you. I would have asked that we collect some of the fifty thousand, but he will suspect. I'm sure


we can find other means before we leave and by then, I would have found money to refund you
guys for the trip and we will all be fine'.


'Why didn't we say this at the beginning? I mean why didn't I suspect that you were always
heartless?'


She pouted and began to dab her face with a powder duster. 'Please, don't call me heartless. I love
you. It's your brother that has problem. He is selfish. I know you know'.


'That doesn't mean....'


'It means he is selfish. You're the more agile one. You should stay woke. You can't sleep at this
moment. The most painful part is that you people can share this money without much problem.
Don't always play second fiddle to him. I think you always complained about this'.


Ade kept quiet as he drove off, knowing that her plan was really good and hoped it was the right
decision.

(Quote) (Report)

Re: The Thorny Path- A Novel By Akíntayo Akinjide by Akinjidetayo(m) : 6:52 pm On Apr 23

4

'I will kill her', Ade mouthed.
'What?'
'I will kill her', he whispered. 'I will kill her. We're so dead'.
Tunde calmed him down. 'She will leave'.
Their mother raged and walked through the passage and marched off to her room, ranting all the way. Tunde hoped she was returning to her room as a change of mind.
'She is not going', Ade muttered and scurried to peep. He looked back and shook his head and crumbled to floor. Tunde raised his hands to assure him that he could try to something. He rose, adjusted his trousers, and watched her from the back of the curtain as she continued in her rambling, shaking her leg but not in any way prepared to leave. Tunde sat on the bed and knew that the only way he could send her away would be to beg. He trudged to the sitting room. At the same time, she marched to the door.
‘I don’t even know why he allowed you people to carry his car anyhow?’ She fumed as she opened the curtain.
‘Mama’, Tunde said and she turned to him, startled. With a big scowl on her face, she stood akimbo and glared at him as if her eyes had lasers in them and she wanted to smolder him to death with them. He prostrated as it was typical of the Yorubas when seeking the confidence of an elderly one. He wouldn’t have done this on a normal circumstance.
However, he had to give her disturbing-cow the grass she needed, which was their apology, so that she would give them the chance to clean anything that would implicate them in the death of Emeka.
‘We are very sorry’.
‘We’re sorry’, she mimicked him ludicrously. She had the habit of repeating whatever one said as if they were saying rubbish. He could see the anger on her face breaking to a smile.
‘This is a son. This is your elder brother. See him. Can you? Can you see the way he laid here? I don’t understand you people again. You’re grown up and have forgotten that I’m still your mother. I won’t take that rubbish from any of my sons. You people are still my boys. What do you want to teach the girls among you? No. Not in my lifetime’, she said as she released the curtain, making Tunde breathe.
‘Mama, don’t mind Ade. He is just a small boy. He is still behaving like a baby’.
‘Baby? This grown up. It’s not babyish. He is not a baby. He is just …Erm...He is proud, rude, pompous. Since he finished secondary school, he had suddenly seen himself as Don. So, I shouldn't be surprised that he finished the University and feel he can grow wings. Who do you think you are? If you grow wings, I'll break them. I… Will… Break them without anything to stop me. There are bigger men than you, many of whom I taught before I retired. Whenever they meet me on the way, they still prostrate’.
‘Mama, it’s okay’.
‘It’s not okay, she retorted as she sat on the chair and began to tie her scarf across her head. He felt like cracking up. His mother was disappointedly predictable. She was getting ready to leave the house. He preferred to lay there.
'Get up! Get up my son’.
‘We will change. So, you won’t have gone to work?’
‘Yes. You people are my children. I don’t mind. If it’s to remain here till heavens return, until you heed what I’m saying I won’t stop saying it. I told your father you people are doing things that are not worthy of being called children of a teacher.’
‘Mama, I'm sorry'.
‘I’m on my way. You know you can still come to my shop with me’.
He gave her that look that she knew meant she was already passing her boundary.
‘I’m going. Naughty child. When I’m ready for you, I’ll handle your case. You also know I don’t want you. But for now, I’ll go before Iya Segun drains my battery because of her money. How much is her money?'
She clambered out of the chair, dropped her phone on the center table, went to the room to get her bag, and left the house. After about ten minutes, Ade came out with eyes that were red and face that was flushed as if he had been slapped with a slab. Tunde wheezed and counted down from thirty. He had to be sure she was gone. If he did things rashly, she would notice that something was wrong and that was really bad for them. Then, the gate cranked loudly as she stepped out.
Ade punched the air and pointed his knuckle at him, which Tunde punched. She had always complained about the crankiness of the gate. Ade was supposed to oil some three months before, but he had never gotten a right time to do that and that was helpful on a day like that.
He ran outside without his slippers as that could easily give him away and Ade hopped after him. Tunde peeped out of the house. He had heard the fading sound of a bike’s engine. It had probably carried her away. Yet, he didn't have any proof that she was gone. It would be very disastrous to leave the house and try to peep only to meet her still standing the house, waiting for a bike. She would easily decipher that something was wrong.
He peeped from the sides of the gate- an action that was like trying to watch a wrestling from a neighbor's closed window: it was a very horrible ordeal. He turned intermittently at Ade who kept gesturing to know if she was still there. He opened his palms to make him know he didn’t know. However, his cough came again and muffled with all his strength, wishing that he could find a lasting remedy for it. After trying different strategies to tell him, Ade still didn't get what he was trying to tell him. So, he ran back.
‘Is she gone?' Ade whispered.
‘I don’t know. That’s what I've been trying to tell you. I'm not seeing anything. I don’t know if she is gone. She might still be there’.
‘What do we do?’
Tunde looked out of the door again to be sure no one was coming. The next thing would be to use what would vex her if she was really outside.
‘You have to do as if you’re going out to buy something. Go…’
Ade ran back inside.
‘Where are you going?’
‘To hold money’.
‘For what?’
‘For…Why do I need money? We need money to f00l her in case she is there’.
‘She is angry at you, remember. She might not ask you where you’re going’.
‘What if she does?’’
‘You’ve your heads. Tell her that… You know what? Don’t even talk to her’.
‘Good’.
‘Go… ‘He whispered and pushed Ade towards the gate. He wished they weren’t doing this. As against this, he was supposed to be at home, or trying to find another job, and maybe Emeka would have been sleeping in his own house. They shouldn’t have met the Jude. Maybe they wouldn’t be in that problem at that time.
Ade walked away and suddenly began to hear the noises of his mother’s voice. She was there. He hurriedly wore hiss slippers and ran for the door. There was no way she wouldn’t be angry enough to let Ade go without causing trouble for him. He knew he had to play cool and a fool. That was what she needed at that time. When he got outside, he met her fiddling with her bag.
‘Mama, what happened again?’
‘Arrant nonsense. You people don’t talk sense into those big head of yours. If not, Ade wouldn’t snub me when I asked him questions. How old is he? I’m his mother’.
‘Mama, what did he do?’
‘That’s what I hate about you too. Can't you decipher simple thing? I said he snubbed me. He is my son’.
‘Mama, we are very sorry’.
‘No. No. Don’t even try it. I gave birth to the two of you and I won’t accept you counting yourself as if you're the one that committed the crime that only your brother committed.
‘Mama, don’t let him work you out. You know what? Let me get a bike for you’.
‘That’s what I was trying to do before he suddenly became snobbish. I’m his mother for crying out loud. I’m his mother'.
‘Okada’, Tunde cried enthusiastically as a bike man passed by.
'I think I'm forgetting something'.
'Ah! Go! You're not forgetting anything'.
'If you say so'.
His mother also was ready to go with the bike. She haggled the amount for the transportation and she was soon ready to leave. Ade was pretending to buy something from the shop when he saw her leave, he sped up to meet him. They ran into the house after counting to thirty and they were sure she wouldn’t be coming back soon.
Without wasting anytime, they ran for the car and Ade rolled up his trousers and was set for cleaning of the car. Tunde, who wasn't a fan of car-washing, asked Ade numerous questions on how he could help and Ade kept passing instructions for him.
‘Water. We need an extra bucket, Ade called as they got to the scrubbing off of the blood. It wasn’t easy to do. As he was returning with the bucket, he heard his mother’s phone ring. Tunde felt himself freezing and hoping he could die that instance. She would probably remember. He quickly aimed for the phone as he saw who was calling her. It was Iya Segun again.
‘Mummy. Maami is coming’, Tunde said.
‘Yes. She is coming’.
‘Yes. She just left home some minutes ago’.
‘What do you mean by she is coming. She just left here’.
‘Where?’
‘Yes. She just left home some minutes ago.’
‘What do you mean by she is coming. She just left here’.
‘Where?’
‘Shop now. She said she forgot her phone and only dropped her bag.
‘I can bring it for her'.
'There’s no need. She should be there in the next ten minutes. I was just calling the phone to confirm it was at home because she always forgets her phone. Alakogbabe ni iya yin’.
‘Okay’.
It took Tunde all the efforts in the world not to scream when he heard she left some minutes ago. ‘Ade, there is fire on the mountain’, Tunde exclaimed.
‘And the people keep on running around’.
‘Hope you are alright?’
‘It’s the same thing. We would start running around. What happened?’
‘It’s Mama. She is coming home again’.
‘The witch’.
‘Hey!' Tunde shouted as he hated people talking to his mother anyhow. There had been days he had been in serious fight with people because of the way they talked about his mother. His mother had warned him seriously to never be engaged in any fight because of her, but that was something he couldn't stop.
‘See, leave me. How will we salvage this situation? Is she not a trouble like this?'
‘Are you still asking me? I’ll be at the gate and wait for her to arrive then, pretending to want to take the phone to her on the way home’.
When the bike man stopped her at the gate, he was waiting for her and didn’t give her the chance to drop because doing so could only mean that she was coming into the compound and that was something he wanted to avoid at all cost. She asked the questions he expected her to ask and he told her all the answers he planned for such questions.
‘Like this?' She said as the bike turned. He looked down and saw that his legs were wet and the trousers were still rolled up. He watched her go and sighed. At that point, he wished he didn't make any plan. He could have told her that after the call from Iya Segun, he decided to wait for her outside that was a better move than the one he just played and he hoped his mother wouldn't find the loophole in his story.
The ground would be dry before their sisters returned from school in the afternoon, and he would do everything in his power to make sure that nothing disturbed them from reaching their goal. If for nothing, for the sake of Emeka, whose life was sacrificed for their emigration. He had become their lucky charm. He made them have the whole idea in the first place.
‘We’ve not even counted the money’, Ade said after they've finished washing the car, eaten and seemed ready for anything that reared its ugly head.
‘That’s true. ‘
‘Let’s count the money’.
Despite the heaviness of his heart and the memory of how Emeka kept fighting for his own life haunted him, Tunde watched Ade as he wanted to start counting the money. At that moment, he wished someone would open the door and catch them and kill them and every problem in the world would end. Or Wished a plane could just drop on their house to end the fear and worries that brewed in his heart. Or if the weather of Nigeria could suddenly change its uniqueness to a worse one, where a natural disaster would suddenly end their lives and he would forget everything he had ever had to go through to get the money- the shame, the losing of his best friend, the desire to steal, the betrayer they had to get from Lizzy and the things to come. If they had agreed to do this now, how was he even sure that they would have a reason to do something worse.
‘Stop doing that’, Tunde complained.
“What?’
‘All these… Stop all these… You can’t count all the money like that. You can't count it one by one, you'll faint. Just count only one and we will assume that’s the amount in every bale’.
‘Oh! I never thought of it. Thank God you’re here’.
‘Thank God. Now, let’s try to do that’.
They set to work and Tunde had to count some set twice. After they finished counting the money it was just eight hundred and fifty thousand. Tunde had to conclude that, 'Emeka knows about money’.
‘Why are you saying that?’
‘He said this thing wasn’t complete’
Ade rested his back against the wall and Tunde was very sure they could come up with a way to leave the house before a detective began to seek out things where they weren't supposed to be.


Later in the day, their mother called to announce what she had just read on Facebook.


‘Have you heard? Ah… Emeka… He is dead’.


‘Dead?’


‘Yes. He is dead. I just read on Facebook. Ah! That fine boy, Emeka’.


'Mama! Emeka! Ahhh’, Tunde pretended to be sad. ‘What killed him?’


‘They said he… It was thieves. It was this Baddo group. You should know those armed robbers. I
thank God my sons are armed robbers. They said they entered his house and broke his head. Then


they stabbed him. Or maybe they did one before the other. Oh! God. This is bad. Really bad. God
will punish these Baddo group’.


Tunde pretended to feel sad, rushed into their room, placed the phone on speaker phone, and made
Ade shout as if he really felt bad because that was the only way they could make their mother
nosiness shift to another business. Even when they have switched off the call, she called back and
told them not to even go out for the next three days or even near Emeka's place so that they might
not be roped in the issue, but that if they had Emeka's parents' phone number, they should
commiserate with them.


Ade wanted to protest but Tunde told him to keep his cool and assured their mother that they would
take all her words to the heart and they've even started trying Emeka's parents' phone number, and
that none of them would go out. She prayed for them, wishing nothing evil will happen to them.
Since she had her way of getting information and Ade couldn't defile her that day.


'At lease we're free from anything implicating. Emeka’s death is solved. The people believed
Baddo killed him’.


‘That's our truth till we leave this earth. Baddo killed him’, Ade said and nodded.


‘What have we put ourselves into?’ Tunde said.


‘We’ve just switched off the generator of Shrine Club. It means disaster for us. I remember the
story of the guy that did that. He was beaten blue black. This life has just beaten us blue-black'.





The plan was that they would wait till the next day. Ade would take the car to Jude's place and
would beg him that they would find the rest before the day they are meant to leave, that the money
was just paid for to show their readiness. He could have followed him but their mother can be


assertive and that meant that she would find a way for someone to tell her if they both went out or
not.


When the night fell, they decided to stay in the parlour so that their mother wouldn't suddenly have
a reason to suspect them of doing something shady. However, the reverse was the case because the
moment they rose from the chair to return to their room, his mother called his name.


‘Iya Shakiru said she told you I was on the way’.


'Yes. That was why I came out. I was waiting for you'.


‘You told me you wanted to take a bike'.


'And I wanted to'.


' But you looked suspicious. I'm your mother. You, Ade, for example. You only get angry when
you want to do something bad and you don't want anyone to know. I'm your mother. I can tell…'


'Leave these boys alone. If he didn’t help you, you would have talked. Now, he did help you, you’re
tormenting him'.


Tunde entered the house and knew something big might happen very soon. So he advised Ade to
start parking his loads. When the next day came, they pretended to argue about pre-season matches
and were so engrossed in their argument that their mother, who hated talks about football matches,
had a reason to leave home earlier. And that helped Ade to leave home after her. Coughing, Tunde
said his goodbyes and watched him leave the compound.






***


Ade drove out of the house as fast as he could as he had to make Lizzy tag along to pay her own
money.


'Ade, I've not gotten the full amount'.



'We too'.


'We have to work something out. Can't one of you wait behind?'


'I told Tunde, but he insisted on going too. We've decided to beg the man. Tunde couldn't go
because our mother is suspecting us of something we didn't do'.


'And you think he will collect it?'


'Of course, he will'.


'Stop sleeping. Wake up. This man will not collect nothing'.


' Do you know him? Even at that, if he refuses, we will stay at home'.


'And lose such opportunity? No. No. Not at all. Things like these are once in a lifetime'.


'We can get another one. It's not that deep'.


'What's not deep? What do you mean by deep?'


'I mean. It's not as serious as that'.


'Oh! Who told you? These things are as serious as anything in the world. We can only get this
opportunity once. How many time has anyone ever come to you talking about going abroad?
None... Or how many times?' She said and began to unzip his trouser. He gave her a cold glaze
and she removed her hand. She always saw any opportunity together as a reason to copulate, and
he loved it until that time. Ade focused on the road and didn't know what to think or believe. He
zipped his trousers and she shrugged and began to fiddle with her bag.


'Talk. Tell me. How many times? These opportunities are like roses that blossom in adversity. They
are... How did that Papa Pope put it? They are rare. Very rare. You can't get a chance to see them
again. Somehow much do you think or do you say you have?'


'We have Eight ninety thousand. We're keeping fifty for contingencies'.



'You....'She said and her voice faded off as she seemed to be in deep thought. She was fond of
pretending to be Olivia pope from the TV Series ' Scandal'. He knew she already knew what she
wanted to say and must have been practicing it from home. She stared into the evening as if she
was in a trance. 'You will sell this car'.


'Sell car? What's sell? What car? This? No... This will kill my father'.


'Your father will have to pick temporal success over the permanent one. And he is like a baby. You
know what babies are now...'


'I don't want to hear this hogwash. Let's discuss a realistic solution'.


'Well, you're the one acting like a baby here. The sentiment you're showing is becoming too deep,
as you put it, for my liking. You need to have a sense of responsibility. I mean you to be a man.
We'll be married one day. Is this how you'll act. Act. Act like a man. Think like one. You can't just
spend your life like this. Think. The car is even the second phase of the plan'.


'Oh! Your plan, that is making my love for you dwindle like an electric train, has other phase, a
first phase?'


' A first phase that you would surely not like, and might probably yell at me for, if you hear it'.


'Spit it out already'.


'Adex, It's the truth... And after you use it, you will see that you made the right choice. The thing
you have to do is to take some part of the money for yourself. Pay the man five hundred thousand
naira. Then, take fifty thousand for contingencies. It will remain erm... How much again? It will
remain three ninety thousand. Then, you will give me One fifty thousand to add to mine. It will
remain one hundred and ninety thousand. We will sell this car for three hundred and add it to that
of your brothers'. Oh! It will remain ten thousand. We will remove ten thousand from the one with
you. I would have asked that we collect some of the fifty thousand, but he will suspect. I'm sure


we can find other means before we leave and by then, I would have found money to refund you
guys for the trip and we will all be fine'.


'Why didn't we say this at the beginning? I mean why didn't I suspect that you were always
heartless?'


She pouted and began to dab her face with a powder duster. 'Please, don't call me heartless. I love
you. It's your brother that has problem. He is selfish. I know you know'.


'That doesn't mean....'


'It means he is selfish. You're the more agile one. You should stay woke. You can't sleep at this
moment. The most painful part is that you people can share this money without much problem.
Don't always play second fiddle to him. I think you always complained about this'.


Ade kept quiet as he drove off, knowing that her plan was really good and hoped it was the right
decision.

(Quote) (Report)

Re: The Thorny Path- A Novel By Akíntayo Akinjide by Akinjidetayo(m) : 7:13 pm On Apr 23

Chapter 5
Ade drove out of the house as fast as he could as he had to make Lizzy tag along to pay her own money.
'Ade, I've not gotten the full amount'.
'We too'.
'We have to work something out. Can't one of you wait behind?'
'I told Tunde, but he insisted on going too. We've decided to beg the man. Tunde couldn't go because our mother is suspecting us of something we didn't do'.
'And you think he will collect it?'
'Of course, he will'.
'Stop sleeping. Wake up. This man will not collect nothing', she rebuked him.
' Do you know him? Even at that, if he refuses, we will stay at home'.
'And lose such opportunity? No. No. Not at all. Things like these are once in a lifetime'.
'We can get another one. It's not that deep'.
'What's not deep? What do you mean by deep?' She asked.
'I mean. It's not as serious as that'.
'Oh! Who told you? These things are as serious as anything in the world. We can only get this
opportunity once. How many time has anyone ever come to you talking about going abroad?
None... Or how many times?' She said and began to unzip his trouser. He gave her a cold glaze and she removed her hand. She always saw any opportunity together as a reason to copulate, and he loved it until that time. Ade was focused on the road and didn't know what to think or believe. He zipped his trousers and she shrugged and began to fiddle with her bag.
'Talk. Tell me. How many times? These opportunities are like roses that blossom in adversity. They are... How did that Papa Pope put it? They are rare. Very rare. You can't get a chance to see them again. So, how much do you think or do you say you have?'
'We have Eight ninety thousand. We're keeping fifty for contingencies'.
'You....'She said and her voice faded off as she seemed to be in deep thought. She was fond of pretending to be Olivia pope from the TV Series ' Scandal'. He knew she already knew what she wanted to say and must have been practicing it from home. She stared into the evening as if she was in a trance. 'You will sell this car'.
'Sell car? What's sell? What car? This? No... This will kill my father'.
'Your father will have to pick temporal success over the permanent one. And he is like a baby. You know what babies are now...' She argued.
'I don't want to hear this hogwash. Let's discuss a realistic solution'.
'Well, you're the one acting like a baby here. The sentiment you're showing is becoming too deep, as you put it, for my liking. You need to have a sense of responsibility. I mean you to be a man. We'll be married one day. Is this how you'll act? Act. Act like a man. Think like one. You can't just spend your life like this. Think. The car is even the second phase of the plan'.
'Oh! Your plan, that is making my love for you dwindle like an electric train, has other phase, a first phase?'
' A first phase that you would surely not like, and might probably yell at me for, if you hear it'.
'Spit it out already'.
'Adex, It's the truth... And after you use it, you will see that you made the right choice. The thing you have to do is to take some part of the money for yourself. Pay the man five hundred thousand naira. Then, take fifty thousand for contingencies. It will remain erm... How much again? It will remain three ninety thousand. Then, you will give me One fifty thousand to add to mine. It will remain one hundred and ninety thousand. We will sell this car for three hundred and add it to that of your brother's. Oh! It will remain ten thousand. We will remove ten thousand from the one with you. I would have asked that we collect some of the fifty thousand, but he will suspect. I'm sure we can find other means before we leave and by then, I would have found money to refund you guys for the trip and we will all be fine'.


'Why didn't we say this at the beginning? I mean why didn't I suspect that you were always heartless?' Ade gritted. He withdrew from her touch.
She pouted and began to dab her face with a powder duster. 'Please, don't call me heartless. I love you. It's your brother that has problem. He is selfish. I know you know'.
'That doesn't mean....'
'It means he is selfish. You're the more agile one. You should stay woke. You can't sleep at this moment. The most painful part is that you people can share this money without much problem. Don't always play second fiddle to him. I think you always complained about this'.
‘Don’t tell me what’s not’. He marched out.
Ade kept quiet as he drove off, knowing that her plan was really good and hoped it was the right decision.

(Quote) (Report)

Re: The Thorny Path- A Novel By Akíntayo Akinjide by Akinjidetayo(m) : 7:15 pm On Apr 23

6
There was a difference between preparing for something and seeing its reality. The only thing one could do was to wait. The trouble they were expecting didn't come the next day.
In fact, the only thing their mother did was to inform them about some certain armed robbers that were said to steal goods worth twenty million naira at the place they robbed. It took Tunde a great deal of effort not to automatically start bantering the politicians and the people working in that warehouse.
Ade wished he could get a way to make her keep quiet about armed robberies, but their death even excited her as it was typical of Africans. He felt bad that if these people understood why they took to robbery; they would gather money to help them.
'Ah!' Tunde exclaimed, making their mother look at him suspiciously. She asked if there was anything wrong and he shook his head.
'Say your mind?'
'Well, I'm just curious as to why you like reading news by all these mundane amateur bloggers. They are only out there to incite fears', Tunde said and rested in the chair.
'That your own business. That's your ish'.
'Eh! Mama too can call knows the meaning ish? I die!' Ade jested.
'You'll not die in Jesus name. What kind of curse is that?'
'Okay. Being trending with news didn't let you know that this is a trend too', Ade said and faked a big laughter and Tunde could only giggle.
'I'm happy I'm even online. I wouldn’t have seen those BCs'.
Their mother saw this as another reason to show how she believed in those Broadcast messages.
Ade smiled at him and hoped that his smile would mask his fear. The real fear he had was for
Tunde not to find out that he had been betrayed. He would really breakdown. Yet, he didn't need
to betray him. All he had to do was to make sure everything worked according to plan and they would soon be out of the trouble called 'Nigeria'.


He was sure his Lizzy would have found a buyer for the car and he wouldn't have to lie or have to betray Tunde. Their father would surely feel bad and he had to make sure he had to present the necessary papers with him. All other plans were easy. It would even be a way for Tunde to acknowledge that his plan was really wonderful. The plan he had with Jude was that before they left he would pay Tunde's balance.
Regardless of the fact that the plan seemed viable, his still didn't feel at peace. That night before they slept, his mother asked him where they went for the party the other night. He guessed that she was after knowing their whereabouts at the night of Emeka's death and he just told her it was at Iyana-Meiran.
'Two days to go and I'll be free from this unnecessary probing and child-like behavior from Mama', Tunde murmured as he faced the wall.
'What do you mean by probing?' Ade said and hoped he hadn't played directly to her hands.
'She asked me where we went to do the party and I said Ipaja'.
'Oh!' Ade said and slumped into the bed. 'We're so fried'.
'What do you mean?'
'I mean we're "burned". We've just implicated ourselves. I told her Iyana-Meiran'.
Tunde inhaled loudly, coughed and went silent for a while. 'We've to look for a way to tell her that there was a mix-up'.
'And tell her what? That we didn't know the difference between Iyana-Meiran and Ipaja'.
Tunde clapped mildly, repeatedly. 'Let's sleep and hope because there's nothing we can do than to leave here tomorrow morning. I guess, she will come barging into our room tomorrow and there the problem would start but for now, I guess you sleep and expect a loud rancor tomorrow'.
'That! I'm up for it'.
'Be mindful of your words. Don't abuse hers'.
Even if they were expecting a rancor the next morning, they weren't expecting a horrible banging at 4.21 am. Ade checked the time on his phone to sure they weren't experiencing a longer night. Moreover, they weren't expecting the voice they heard next.
'Who is that?' Tunde shouted angrily after the banging became louder.
'Open this door', their father called from outside and began to pull the door knob. Since they finished secondary school, their father always accorded them respect and tried to avoid using harsh words when dealing with them. And that alone built their desire to be better in the university. But the tone of the voice definitely reflected that of someone that was ready to do anything to express his anger.
'Open this thing', his father shouted again.
Tunde scrambled from the bed and opened the door. Ade followed him to the door as he knew what to expect it.
'I said open this door'.
Their father’s torchlight was in his hand. He looked from person to the other.
'Is it true?'
'Is what true?'
'You stole'.
'What's stole', Ade asked. 'Stole what?'
Ade knew their mother had ratted them out to their father. Despite the little light that kept dancing from his mother's lamp, he could see both the disappointment and the anger on their father's face.
'You people have turned to thieves overnight. Did I send you out of my house? Didn't I give a car to help you people think of a business idea. Instead, you gave up on modesty and took up the job of one that worked once and make enough money that others had worked for most of their life'
'Papa, what are you asking about?' Tunde said.
'We didn't steal... That's a lie', Ade said and stared at his father. 'Papa, how do you know? I want to know because it's rubbish and a big allegation'.
'I know. You don't need to know how I know. I know you will leave my house today'.
Ade was surprised that he opened his mouth and closed it repeatedly as if he was a goat that had just tasted salt. He couldn't talk again for some seconds.
'Papa, what are you talking about?' Ade managed to ask after Tunde burst into laughter as if his father had just cracked a joke.
'I said you people will leave my house'.
Ade scoffed. 'I said that I heard something like that. Why will you say such rubbish?'
'Is it your father that is spouting rubbish? You people, my sons, are criminals. I can't live with criminals'.
'Mama, you started all these suspicions…False allegation.. Me, I don't understand what is wrong with one enjoying oneself', Ade said and turned to Tunde. 'Or Tunde, what's bad in one enjoying oneself?'
'Nothing, brother'.
'Get out of my house'.
Ade's plan had just been forfeited.
'Papa...'
'I don't want to hear anything. Just leave my house. I want you gone. You're old enough. I won’t want police meeting anything about you in this house'.
Their sisters stood in the corner and were trying to calm everyone in the little way they could. The younger one, Oyinade, tried to pull their father away, while the youngest, Shade, stood at a corner and kept crying, 'it’s okay' as if she was auto-tuned to repeat those words.
'Then, we will go', Ade shouted, hoping they would see the anger that was brewing in him like that of the herbs of an herbalist. Tunde pulled Ade and told him to keep his cool, that they didn't have to leave the house with much drama, any noise at all. They could still fathom a way to beat everything and leave home with the people talking about them as if they were legends.
'You heard your father, get out of this house', their mother shouted after Oyinade had succeeded in pulling their father to the parlour. 'Ah! Tunde. Of all the people, I would have expected this arrant nonsense. Did I say arrant nonsense? This crazy, devilish behavior from you'.
'I know what I know. I didn't steal any money. Neither did Ade. But what will happen is that we will leave your home and country. That's why we've been secretive. We will take the cold of the desert and of the wind to get this money. Our family will surely become something other than the one we've known'.
'Go. Climb the mountains, enter it and get gold for all you care', their father shouted as he stormed into the sitting room. 'All I need is for you to be gone, out of my life and house'.
'I know what you did. I'm a teacher and a mother. I know when someone had been doing something shady and your big, coded lie about going to Libya is a lie from the pit of hell. You know that you went to steal. With the way you were doing, I suspected that you might have known about Emeka's death, but never in my life would I have suspected you would be involved in a robbery. I knew you were doing something. I called some of your friends, chatted some others and tried to check their uploads and couldn't find you. You're lying'.
Tunde stared at her and Ade knew she added the event well and had done their research, and he would love to beg their father so that he would be able to still the car or else Tunde wouldn't be able to enter into Europe. They stormed into the room.
'You can't drop the act', Tunde whispered as they picked some other things.
Ade felt bad because leaving the house without the car would only mean he wouldn't be able to help Tunde and that could break his heart. There wasn't a way he would be able to leave the house with their father's car but he still had to try his luck.
'Go. Be gone', their mother said and he could sense that her voice increased in tempo when she saw them lifting their bags and going out of the room. Their father in the parlour and with his hands supporting his chin. 'You people can't beg your father. You even added pride to it'.
Ade knew the only person that could never say how sorry he was to them was Tunde but Tunde didn't turn until he got to the door. 'We're not thieves. We're your children. Even if we're thieves, which we are not, you shouldn't send your sons out of your house around five in the morning'.
'Thank you for the parenting tips. We will work on it. Or won't we dear?' Their mother said as they closed the door behind them. Ade's mind quickly went to all the times he had spent in the house. The days they played hide and seek. Oyinade and Shade ran out to meet them despite their father's shout meant to call them back. Shade hugged him briefly and hugged Ade.
'I'll send for you', Tunde said and shook her chin. 'And in case we will come ourselves, I'll get you a good wristwatch'.
She nodded and cried into his chest. Oyinade hugged Ade for a while and did the same for Tunde. Ade smiled because they had set an example for their sisters and the two girls didn't even wait another day before defiling their father's order. They came to hug them, not minding the consequences.
'Just let them go. They are becoming a nuisance in this house', their father shouted. 'If the police come around. We will deal with them, but for now be gone and my car key'.
'Daddy Tunde', their mother called in a tone that showed she didn't really approve of his decision to collect the car.
'Shut up! Will you follow them? Give me my key. Car key. Answer me'.
Ade bit his lower lips and realized that he had no other option than to encourage Tunde to return home. Tunde, who wasn't aware of the disappointment that laid ahead for him at Libya's border, led the way out and only reduced his pace when they got to a junction. As it was typical of Lagosians, bikes and buses were being to ply the road.
'Where do we go now?' Ade grumbled.
'Hotel'.
'We can go to a friend's place'.
'No. I don't want to raise questions that would finally lead to Emeka's death. I just want to get to Edo tomorrow. We can even go today. Remember that Mama said she had chatted most of them up about a party. Those ones too can't chat us up when Mama was chatting them up. We just need to quickly get to those parks'.
'But my Lizzy is also going'.
'Going… With… Us? Is she going with us?'
'Yes. She is going with us'.
'Oh! The betrayer. I thought you were done with her'.
'She had her reasons and I have to understand her'.
'Indeed! You know I always told you that girl is manipulator. She is a bad influence. The things she had done or seems to have interests in are really disturbing. I don't know why you're still with her, didn't I tell you how she played me and when I tried to let us have the one thing that I wanted at that time, she got angry for no reason. Is he insane?'
'Words. Please. Let's give her some respect here. That's your own problem with her and not mine. I don't know....'Ade started to shout.
'See...See... It's your choice, your cross. I was just trying to tell you to tone it down. Be your own man'.
'I am. Let's let the matter die. I'm ready to face the consequences. And I'm already a great decision that's making me free from everyone'.
'If you say so. Then, tell her we are moving today. She should have been preparing'.
'What's today? But you just said that we're going tomorrow'.
'Change of mind and plan'.
'Ah! What's all…'
'No need to fight. This is still 5…' Tunde said and switched on the screen of his phone to see the
time. 'It's 5:41. She can still make it'.
They headed for the park at Iyana-Ipaja. They should take a day rest in Benin and the next day they would prepare for the big journey. He felt they should get them a day before the day, but having a day to rest was still good. Ade placed a call through to Lizzy and she said she would be on the way soon.


They sat at the park for her and Ade kept calling her, while she repeatedly said she was on the way.
'I told you. This girl is just another thorn sent into this world for you. She will be your nemesis.
Thank God we're not even together again'.
'God forbid. Please stop all this negativity. I'm for positivity'.
'Your positivity be damned. Even if you're blind, can't you wake up and smell the mischievousness? Now, what...'
'I've heard...'
They sat on a bench at the park, in silence. Then, he brought out his phone and pressed it for a while then hissed. 'Can you believe these guys warned me already of what happened between them and Mama. She knew I didn't have data and wouldn't be able to track her movement. I guess she didn't ask your friends'.
Ade couldn't reply because he felt bad about what Lizzy had just done by delaying them. The bus slated to go to Edo moved, left them there but Lizzy didn't show up until one hour twenty minutes later.
When she saw Tunde, she didn't try to her hide her disgust even as he mirrored her. She pouted as Ade informed her that the bus has left. She didn't feel any remorse and that aggravated Ade, but he decided to use silence as a weapon. And truth be told, Tunde kept quiet but his silence was punctuated with regular hissing and exclamation of disgust. Ade knew the only option he had was to keep them from one another. After they had confirmed from transporters from the park that they couldn't get a bus going to Edo that day, they proceeded to go to a nearby hotel and that was after Ade firmly convinced Tunde that they didn't need to go to Oshodi or Ikeja to check for buses when they could possibly wait for the next day. Upon getting to the hotel, Tunde ordered for a room.
'No. We can't stay together. That's like staying with Tyron Lannister or The hound- two ugly characters in the Game of Throne movies', Lizzy mumbled.
Ade glanced at her, surprised. 'We can all cram into a corner for tonight and tomorrow we will be gone'.
'I can't stay in the same room as your brother, an ogre'.
'What's 'can't stay? Why can't you stay with him? Is this your feud that strong?' Ade asked and
Tunde smirked behind him.
'Yes. I hate to be around him'.
'He is your potential brother in-law'.
'Tell me something else. This is the only night I'll have with you before we become hurdled up in the trouble of the road. I want you'.
'What do you me by you want me', Ade said and she glanced at his zip. He sighed and shook his head. 'I know… But everything is just for a few days. I wish Emeka was here he would have given one of those his crazy proverbs'.
'I want you. You know that I'm a woman. I don't get moved easily, but when it comes it's not easy to shake it off'.
'Like Mylie Cyrus, you can easily shake it off'.
'I'm not shaking it. I want it bad'.
'Who filled your head with such lie?'
'I did. The media. Books. No matter who did, I just want you. Is that too much to ask?'
'Not at all...Erm Tunde', Ade said as he neared Tunde. 'We will collect two rooms'.
'As expected', Tunde said and raised his voice. 'I've seen the way she had been acting like a maggot, I know she would demand for something extraneous. Remember the amount with me and remember that it can't provide more than a room'.
'That's your own cup of tea. Na you sabi your own. I can't be sardined into a room. I'm a woman for crying out loud. I'm not cut for poverty. I was cut out for suites, grandeurs, for five-star hotels. I just want to explore. Go on adventure. Be real to myself. Yet, I only get to do the adventures I choose, not what one uncouth, grumpy man chooses for me. I want the one that would be chosen by me. I choose me'.
'It's not your fault. It's the one I call a brother that holds the bulk of the fault. If he had only let you know that you're wasting your time, you wouldn't have the mouth to talk. Our parents would never accept you'.
She scoffed. 'Balderdash'.
'Shut up!' Ade shouted and stomped the ground. 'Shut your mouth and hide those nasty words within. Shut it two of you. I need us to reach a consensus'.
'What consensus? Tell your husband to tell you his desire because she is no longer a wife material but a potential husband. I guess you people have the money. I'll pay for mine and if I don't see you, I'll assume she has paid. Tell her that we're leaving this hotel by six tomorrow morning. So after you people have decided to break a bed, remember we're leaving before the break of the dawn. So, I don't know who spends the most time in the bathroom, but I know you Ade can spend the whole year, so wake as early as possible. Probably 3 am', Tunde said and grabbed the key that was given to him by the receptionist and stormed up the stairs. Lizzy seemed so thrilled that she hissed and wrapped her hands around Ade's waist.
'What are we doing?' Ade said as the tall, slim receptionist stared at him and that made him feel awkward. He hated acting stupid in front of beautiful ladies. Lizzy opened her bag and counted the expected amount for the room and gave it to the receptionist, who in turn brandished a wide smile and gave her the key.
In a short moment, they were bounding up the stairs and true to Tunde's prediction, the bed started squeaking to their love-making. The next morning, at 6:13, they dropped their keys and found their way to the park after Tunde had complained to Ade because Lizzy delayed them.
They were soon off to Edo in what seemed like the most eventless journey. The only thing he enjoyed in the journey was that he and Lizzy were busy chatting all the way through. Since they were at the back, she kept tugging at his trousers and he kept rejecting her. She kissed him intermittently. Tunde didn't look at them; instead, he kept reading books on his phone. Even when they decided to buy things food by the side of the road, Tunde talked to only Ade.
Ade wondered how Tunde got enough patience to read a book all through. No matter the amount that would be given to people who would finish a book, he was definitely sure that he would fail woefully.
When they got to Edo, they entered another hotel. This time, Ade did the ordering and he requested for two rooms. They were soon off to the rooms.
'Adex, call the man about your brother', Lizzy said as they laid on the bed, panting from intense romance. 'Let him know they have to let him go back home. It wasn't your fault his luck was bad'.
'Tunde will die in realization'.
'You tried but you only did the most logical thing. I wouldn't have done otherwise'.
Ade stared into the space for a while and seemed to agree with her. The best option would be to allow things work out in the way he planned it. He would ask Jude to give Tunde the remaining one hundred ninety thousand, so that he would have enough money to start a new life after his deportation to Nigeria. He was very sure that he would see Italy and breathe the air. Afterwards, he would send for Ade. Nothing would stop him from seeing Italy. He chuckled.

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Re: The Thorny Path- A Novel By Akíntayo Akinjide by Akinjidetayo(m) : 6:56 pm On Apr 24

7
Tunde called Jude that they had arrived at Edo. Jude sent him the direction to Oka and told them to meet him by 8 a.m the next day. Their journey through Edo was the easiest since they started their journey. The next morning, they were on their way to see Jude. When they got to the place he described, they met him among a crowd, who were either begging or complaining about something. Tunde walked up to him and expected an audience, but when they got to him, he noticed them and pointed a finger at them. True to his word, he was through within a minute. He led to the side of the building.
'So, where is the final payment?' Jude asked.
Tunde glanced at Ade, rubbed his lower lips and edged towards Jude. He didn't know how to beg Jude for such minute issue. The money was just one hundred and ten thousand naira. Jude glared at him as if he was a child that had that defecated on his body and he was coming to meet his strict father. 'I'm asking for money you're coming nearer'.
Swallowing hard, he rubbed his hands together. 'I couldn't come to you that day. This is my brother. He brought the money to you'.
'I know, but where is the remaining part'.
'We will pay you'.
'Don't I know that already? When?'
'When we get there. We will get the money across to you'.
Jude laughed and turned with his hands stretched. 'Chineke, these boys take me to be a fool. You
can't bargain with me. You want to start playing the same wayo that caused trouble the last time, that we have to deport some people to Nigeria'.
'We are not playing any wayo, we are truthful', Lizzy said as she glanced at Ade. Tunde could see a glimpse of amusement in her eyes, but he dismissed it. It would be wise to follow Ade's advice. Maybe he needed to learn to start trusting people. She was probably laughing at Jude’s thick Igbo accent.
'Shut up! Who? Who? Do you think I am? I told you people that I've been carrying people over the sea for more than seven years now. Do you think I'm a baby? Let me… Let me…' He said as he spun and hurried towards his car. 'I'm coming o'.
He searched for something in the car. Tunde moved towards Ade and whispered. 'Didn't you tell him what I told him?'
'I did'.
'Then, why is he acting as if someone pushed pepper into his anus?'
'He is mad', Lizzy said.
'Indeed', Ade replied.
Jude rushed back holding two books. Then, he thrust the books into Ade's hands. 'Give him one and flip through them. You will see the amount of money I should have made or have. Flip through'.
'What's this?'
'What does it look like. Flip through'.
'Money'.
'Yes. It's the money that people have promised to pay'.
'Paid?'
'No. They've not paid. All of you people are those that make Nigerians seemed to be untrustworthy. All of you. You would do things that would always bring about the destruction of Nigeria's name'.
'Like smuggling us through the sea', Tunde remarked.
'Then, they will now start saying Nigeria is bad… What? What did you just say? Smuggling? It
looks as if your chi wants to see your destruction?'
'It was a slip of tongue', Ade said.
'No… No. How dare you call what we do smuggling? We pay people. Fine. But so that they will make the papers you need come in time. Oh! What do you take me for?'
'He said he was sorry', Ade said.
'Yes. You know, I'm deaf. Or blind that I won't know when he talks. In fact, I'm not taking you people again. Some other people have been begging me but because I reserved seats for you people, I refused them. I'm not taking you again'.
'Eh'. Lizzy shouted and dropped to her knees, with her hands raised as if she was praying God and, this time, Tunde could see real exasperation on her face. 'Oga, I beg you in the name of God. I beg you'.
Ade also joined her, kneeling, pleading as if Jude would truly refuse to take them at that point. Ade pulled Tunde's trousers for him to join them, but Tunde wasn't ready to succumb to the desire of a man that needed his ego to be fanned. With what Jude had just displayed, he would had placed him as one of the people that would soon face trouble from him. Tunde's prayers and hope was that he made enough money in time so that he would get the chance to help Jude realize that one doesn't trouble others especially when they need one's help.
'Tunde, keep your pride and kneel down', Lizzy said, hissed and turned to Jude.
'Are you insane? Who are you talking to?' Tunde growled.
'Ade, your Lizzy is being ridiculed and you can't talk', Lizzy sneered. She turned to Jude,' Oga, if you won't take some insolent, god-forsaken people, please don't leave me behind. I really need this'.
Jude shook his head and snatched the papers from them as if the paper being too long with them would make their names automatically appear in it. Tunde couldn't fathom a reason to kneel but he would do what they want. He would call the proverbial cow, his elder brother, so that he would get the chance to go without disturbance. Grudgingly, he knelt but didn't show any sign of remorse. Jude glanced at him and pretended to be in deep thoughts.
Tunde wondered why Nigerians like a lot of drama in their actions. Who was Jude deceiving? The money they needed wasn't up to the amount he wanted to collect; yet, he was acting over it. All he needed was to bribe the people at each point with nothing more than fifty thousand naira. And nothing more.
'The truth is that. There are a lot of people with money. Some even have more than enough, but I like you people. I like this boy', Jude said and pointed at Ade. 'He is wise. He knows what he wants. He has business sense'.
Ade winked at the man. Tunde wanted to tell him to stop all the drama they were performing, that he was still kneeling in front of him, that he rarely knelt like this to God who deserved it, but he kept quiet, seeing that Ade seemed to be in the touch with the man's belief and emotion.
'I will help you. But there are rules. You must pay me my money'.
'We will pay you. Don't bother. I'll try to pay you my own share', Lizzy said eagerly.
Tunde hissed.
'Who is this one? Women hiss. But a man.... No. Men are not known to be hisser. They train their mind to be in the perfection of being gentlemanly. But some people are just born with a lot problems in life'.
'What is she saying?' Tunde asked.
She looked at Jude with so much concentration that almost made Tunde laugh. She was indeed a clown and he should leave her to herself before she forced his hand to do something he might regret later.
'So, I want you people to decide when you will pay and promise me that when the day comes, you will have my money'.
'That's ludicrous and suspicious. We've not even made a plan on how to get there, so how do we
get the money to pay you?' Tunde shouted.
'What is wrong with you? What is the matter?' Jude shouted and stomped his feet on the ground.
'You this man you're too stingy. Too tight-fisted and in our line of work, tight fisted people don't
last. They end up in the middle of the desert alone. They will die'.
'Please, let's stop all these feuds', Ade said, trying to quell Jude's anger.
'Some people's mouth will be the highway to their downfall', Lizzy said and hissed as she began to rise.
'Let a man remember that we mirror ourselves on others', Tunde replied.
'That's because your brain is paining you. Ade, tell your brother', Lizzy said and her voice became pitched.
'What is tell? What is wrong with you two?' Ade yelled.
'This girl has forgotten that she will be coming to our house and that we will soon be seeking for her hand in marriage'.
'You've said it all. You'll seek for my hands. I love to enjoy. I'm the one sought out, not the seeker'.
Tunde, who was now crouching, stared at her with so much disdain that he wished he could simply let her come to the understanding of how much power he still wielded.
'Then, we will show you this ingrate. At least, you will still come around'.
'Hear! Hear! Like they will say in those British movies. Hear the rubbish he is spewing from the mouth. Hear the nonsense he thought were words. If you remain arrogant, I will make sure that you people, your whole family members suffer before I accept or if I do, I will ask for so much a bride price that will drain your family purse'.
Jude could only stare at them as if he was seeing an invention. His head moved from side to side as if he was watching a table tennis court. Ade turned to them and the vein of his neck was throbbing as he shouted, 'What is wrong with you guys? What's your problem? At least, if one is acting like a baby the other should be wise. Be wise. Ah!'.
'Ade, mind your words', Tunde retorted.
Jude stood akimbo as he stared them. At the other side of the house, there had been occasional dying and revving of bikes.
'You people are not trustworthy. This is what we will do. You will swear to the gods. Ah! Anybody that carry my money will die'.
Ade and Lizzy glanced at each other. Tunde glanced at Jude and at Ade.
'Is he right? Is he saying the truth?', Lizzy said and stared at Ade, who seemed confused too.
'Of course', Jude said and turned towards front of the house. 'I'm coming'.
Tunde rose from his squatting position and Ade followed suits. Being around the two of them had exposed him to different types of emotions, but he didn't understand the reasons for that. Before Jude made the announcement that they weren't going to make it to Libya, they seemed to have a deceptive fearful look, but the moment he told them he wouldn't go with them, their countenances changed to express their fear. Tunde shook his head; his mind was being clouded by his lack of trust. Lizzy moved up to Ade and began to whisper something that Tunde wished he could hear.
'Calm down', Ade muttered.
'Calm down? Calm down? I can't calm down. Do you think I'm Cersei that waited till the day of her swearing before burning things down? I can't wait'.
'Who is Cersei?'
'Game of thrones...'
'Oh!'
'We didn't plan this. Let him know'.
Tunde wanted to start ranting, but his cough got the better of him, also seeing that Lizzy was doing that made him happy and hold his tongue. With these, her impetuous mouth would see what he had been seeing all these while: Jude was a fraud and they needed to let him know.
'What's 'Let him know ' that you're talking about? We will work something out'.
Ade brought out his phone, stared at it for a while, sighed and showed Lizzy something. Her mouth danced as she read it. She chuckled and burst into tears and cried into Ade's chest. Tunde wanted to ask if everything was alright, but how will it be that he stooped so low to ask her for the reason she was crying. Jude hurried back to meet them.
'Let's go'.
'Go where?' Tunde asked.
'To the shrine, where else?'
'You were joking'.
'Me, joke? I'm not a joker. This is money and business. This money will soon become lost if I don't do anything to make sure it comes back to me'.
'But I've never agreed to...'
'What's not agreed to, Tunde? Are you not going to pay?' Ade asked as he pocketed his phone.
At this point, Tunde felt like going back to Lagos, but where could he possibly go? He would need a house. He might get a little job. But how will it be that he didn't even try his best to go the place Emeka died for.
'Ade, don't you dare...'
'Forget him', Lizzy said, pulled Ade's hand slightly and released it as she strutted off with Jude following her. Tunde wanted to run after them to beat them up, to show them who the boss was. However, Ade moved nearer.
'These guys are tricky. The only way to hold their trust is to try to do things that will favour everyone. This swearing would favour everyone'.
'I... Don't....Trust .... These guys. I don't trust this Jude one bit. I think he is shady. Even this your Lizzy. She is your demon. She might change you. She knows how to appease you. And I think I'm lucky nothing happened between us. She was just fretful some seconds ago, now she was rushing off as if she built the shrine'.
'She is not my demon. She thinks. The brain is there. Tunde, let's do this thing and leave this God-forsaken country'.
'Let's', Tunde said after some seconds of deciding if he should allow the new thought that built up in his heart to grow or follow it through. For now, he wasn't even sure of what he wanted anymore. The two of them went after Lizzy and Jude. They had no choice than to follow them.
When they got to the shrine, Tunde knew he had given himself up a lot of trouble. He should have exempted himself from the process from the beginning, if not he wouldn't be fighting his way through a deserted bush path. The bush wasn't extraordinarily scary. Nothing pointed to the fact they were moving towards the silence. Probably the silence, but nothing more. The only thing that indicated they were headed towards a shrine was when they heard the squeaky voice of a man and the rattling of something metallic. The house was shrouded in dirty red clothes that made Ade hold his breath and keep spiting.
Upon entering the shrine, they met a short man, whose body had various marks as if he was flogged with cutlass, was trying to appease the gods'.
'Enter'.
'Before you do this', Jude started and glanced at his wristwatch. 'You can still go home'.
'For where?' Tunde said and looked at the statues that were laid in a corner of the room. There was a lot of dry oil on the old statue, making it look like someone vomited on it. Ade rushed out and spat. Tunde stood still. And they waited for him to return.
'Good, let's proceed', Jude said.
The herbalist grunted and began to chant things. His rough voice was loud enough to wake the dead. Tunde zoned off to the ways he would spend his money. He would ensure he never partied until he had gotten enough money. The way he would stack money and return to Nigeria, to start something that would prevent the money from flowing to the Europeans and their rumored high taxes. The herbalist finished his incantations and continually rambled about the way things would happen to them if they ever betrayed one another.
He fetched some water from a pot that looked as if it was thrown into the drainage. Ade gasped, frowned and spat before proceeding to drink the water. Although he drank it in what seemed to look like forever, Tunde wondered why Ade, the one who cared about his health, would take such water. Ade was acting as if he had been ready to do all these since birth.
Tunde collected the water, used his hands to remove some shafts and gulped the water. As he expected, the water didn't do anything to him. He didn't feel anything. Seeing that nothing happened, he stared into Jude's eyes.
'When can I leave?' Tunde asked as the herbalist seemed to stare at him.
'You can leave'.
'Let's leave', Ade said, held Lizzy's' waist and led her off.
Tunde got out of the place and hissed. 'Scam'.
'Not again', Lizzy murmured.


Tunde hissed again and hoped she wouldn't give him a reason to tell her the history of her birthday, of her family, to let her know that she was becoming a nuisance and he would hope that something drastic separated them.
'We will soon get separated', he muttered.
'Talk loudly if you have the mind'.
'We will soon go separate ways'.
'Before? We will surely go separate ways. And you'll be poped'.
Despite not having a full understanding of what she just meant, he was very sure that she would soon come to the realization that she needed him.

(Quote) (Report)

Re: The Thorny Path- A Novel By Akíntayo Akinjide by Akinjidetayo(m) : 12:26 pm On Apr 25

8
Tunde wanted to talk and lecture Lizzy about the way he was way out of her league. But he kept his anger in check till it was the most appropriate time to explode. He marched out of the path and went to the front of the house, where the number of travellers had increased.
Every one of them had bags of different sizes. Some looked haggard while others made it a duty to impress people. The ladies wore dresses that were aimed at seducing others. He just couldn’t go out his way. No matter how hard it was, he would abstain from s*x until he met a woman that really wanted it. From experience, women always felt that once a man began to desire to have s*x with them, they now had power over such man. He would be different and would make sure he found a reason to be desired by women. Even if any woman wanted to control him with his desire for sex, such woman must be the one he would marry.
In a few minutes, Jude rushed out to his car, and returned to call names. Tunde, Ade and Lizzy were the last.
After Jude had called their names, he asked them to take numbers. Tunde got the number 27 and still and got eight people following him. Jude brought out his phone, dialed a number and said, ' how far? We're ready'.
The travelers all took their seat. Tired from reading and alone, Tunde scouted his surroundings. His eyes rested on a fair lady who found it hard to deal with her padlock. She couldn’t get it to open; thus, she tried various keys on it but the padlock refused to budge. However, after much trial, she smiled and looked around to see if anyone was watching her. Tunde looked away and glanced at her immediately. She caught his movement. Her beauty mesmerized him and he couldn’t take his eyes of her, making him smile sheepishly. She smiled and winked. Realizing he was staring at her, he grinned and looked away.
Jude rushed to the gate and welcomed two men to their midst. One was tall and wore his glasses straight, while the other one was chubby and kept chewing something as Jude stood near them. They both dressed formally and had boxes with them.
'What's this?' asked the lady he was stared at.
'This is the part we return some people's money to them'.
'As if you people are recycle bin', the lady said again and that piqued Tunde's interest towards her. Lizzy inhaled loudly and glanced at Ade. For whatever reason she did so, Ade nodded with a sense of awe. He rose and saluted the lady, who giggled. Ade wasn't one that did stupid things, but Tunde had seen him do many crazy things within the few times he was Lizzy and he hoped they got separated as early as possible.
'I told you this man is a scam. We can't get to Europe', Tunde said.
'I know. I always knew', commented a woman whose child hung on to her as if she was the cover of a book.
'This will help you. Don't you know that there would be cold in the field and on the sea?' Jude replied offhandedly.
'What do you mean on the field? Aren't we going to be inside the ship', someone else said.
'See... This life is as simple and as short as possible. Don't let me waste it on talks. Senseless ones at that'. Jude looked frustrated.
'My talk is not senseless', the girl said. 'We need to know what we're facing. Why do we have to bother about cold? We're not turkeys. We’re human'.
Some people defended her notion and began to murmur things, to Jude’s chagrin. He coughed and raised his hands. The others refused to stop talking and that infuriated him that he shouted. 'Shut up. You people are ungrateful. What do you mean? I'm not blind'.
'Ah! He has pressed P', someone said.
'Your father will press P'.
'Please, be careful what you say about my father, you might look fat but you're not his mate. You're not even up to the age of my father's first son, my elder brother'.
'Let your father take you to Italy and Germany'.
'Please, it's okay', A man shouted. The man looked like someone that was dressed up for a job interview. The rambling reduced.
'Oga, over to you', Ade said lackadaisically.
'Yes. Yes. We need to check your health statuses.
'To....'
'The bus that will take you was the one I called the other time. To? Did you just ask me 'to'? To
water. Haven't I explained enough? There are things that will warrant that we take healthy people. I'm not called the grand commandeer, IGWE1 for nothing'.
'Just do the test and let's face this business'.
'What do we do?' Asked the man that called for calm the other time.
One lady that looked as if she was made from wafer biscuit sat at a corner and silently chew gums. Tunde wondered if she would get the chance to follow them. If the wind hit her, Tunde was very sure that she would break into pieces. However, his attention drifted to her bag, which was different from those of the other ladies around that were filled as if their fathers had sent them parking.
‘File… Arrange yourselves like humans’, Jude replied.
The travelers filed to take the test and were done within a few minutes. Tunde returned to his seat and absentmindedly watched the remaining seven people go for theirs. Time crawled and he wanted to complain about their idleness, but he stopped when he caught Lizzy's eyes, which held contempt.
Around 9:30am, a big coaster bus parked in front of the house to take them away. Tunde fought
to pick a seat that was very far from Lizzy but she ended near him. She seemed to understand his plight because she glared at him, shook her head and turned to Ade. In another few minutes, they were teasing one another. Tunde felt left out as he had always been and his mind reverted to the way he always found a confidant in Emeka, how Emeka would have been with there with them.
About three kegs of petrol sat at the far end of the back seat, not far from them.
'That's kegs of petrol near us', he complained and the lady he was staring at the other time turned. She was sitting adjacent him.
'I hate what is happening to us here. This wasn't the way Jude told us things would happen. Now, we're knocking head to head with Petrol kegs'.
'The man is just too ludicrous. He is shady'.
'Indeed, I paid seven hundred thousand naira for just an adventure'.
'What's an adventure?'
'I'm just travelling, exploring the world'.
The frail lady glanced at them as if they were disturbing her silent muse. Seeing that the lady paid more than he, he knew he couldn't try to appease her because she had paid two hundred thousand than his uncompleted original payment. So, he decided to change the discussion.
'I'm Tunde'.
'Cecilia'.
'Nice to meet you'.
'You too. This one that we will be on the sea together, I hope it will really be nice'.
Lizzy laughed loudly. Tunde glanced at her and wondered when she would learn to be courteous, that they were in a bus that contained a lot of people.
'So, why are you leaving Nigeria?' Cecilia asked as she fiddled with her fingernails. The nails were well trimmed except the index fingers. The remaining fingernails were dotted with different
colours.
'I was retrenched for the second time. I'm bad in doing business. Everything seemed to work against me in this country'.
'Except the sun I guess. That guy knows how to come out to greet everyone'.
'I think it's the mosquitoes. Battling with them in the night might make you work your 6utt hard'.
'Oh! That might be true too'.
'It's true'.
'Now, we have two things that work for us in Nigeria'.
'Then, something is wrong with the two of us. We need to have our brain examined, if we think that the sun is working in our favour'.
'Oh! That's because you are not looking at it from that angle...'
She proceeded to tell him stories of great men and how they were able to make it in life because they hustled enough. She claimed it wasn't easy. Yet, they were one of those that had their ways cut out for them because they were propelled by these things. They stopped talking and Cecilia wanted to see the pictures of his phone.
She was too forward and he shouldn't trust her, but there wasn't a thing he could do since she was the only warming up to him at that time. He gave her his phone and proceeded to tell her something about the pictures. When they saw pictures that Emeka featured, Tunde called him 'just a friend' to avoid telling his story.
She too brought hers and flipped through as she made jokes about each of them. Just when the awkward moment came between them, when Cecilia stopped talking and he had no topic to raise for discussion, the bus stopped.
'What happening?' Cecilia said.
'I don't kn... Ade, what happening at your side?'
Ade turned to the window and peeped. Lizzy stretched her neck to also peep.
'Nothing'.
'Seriously?' Cecilia said and looked at her side.
Upfront, people have begun to murmur. Then, the door opened and Jude walked in.
'This is where you people will be till it's time to go. Enter the hotel. It's free for all'.
Tunde swallowed hard as if he had just been punched in the stomach.
'I thought we are going towards Libya', Tunde exclaimed after finding his voice. The frail lady
looked at him and he understood that he just spoken her fear.
'Go to Libya on legs. You're still lucky that I'm too tired to engage your insolence'.
'You're just jam-talking. Was this the plan?' Cecilia said.
'There was never a plan'.
The travelers began to make noise and Jude shouted at the top of his voice till they kept quiet.
Then, the guy with the suit said, 'but to be candid, he never told us any plan in the real sense. We were just made aware that we are leaving the place'.
Tunde wasn't up for being cheated. He rose from his seat.' This is really uncalled for, you never told us there would be a stop-over'.
'Shut up'. Jude shouted. 'I'm not like every other control-man. I'll tell you people a plan. This is the place you'll be staying till I give you the plan. I'm not just any type of control man. I will push your van into the desert only when I want to push it, not when you tell me to push it'
'Forget that side', Cecilia snapped.
'Leave him, he has seen fools', Tunde added.
'What do you mean? In fact, file out. Follow me'. Jude marched out.
Immediately, the bus was infested with a lot mumbling. Ade glanced at Tunde and shook his head. Tunde returned his glance and they stared at each other for a while and Tunde shrugged, agreeing that they were helpless and that was because they haven't trashed out the issue before they set out to follow him. If they had done the right thing by asking him for the plan, he wouldn't have dared made them stop like that.
When they had all gotten down, Jude asked them to pick a room of their choice from the hotel because it had been booked for them. However, two people, regardless of their genders, would be in the same room.
Everyone began to pick partners, especially the ones they've tried to connect with before they got there. As expected, Ade and Lizzy picked each other. Tunde stood aloof alongside Cecilia, he wanted to pick her but he didn't want to give her strange ideas.
By the time everyone gotten a partner, Tunde, Cecilia, the slim lady and another man were left behind. The other lady tried to pick Cecilia, claiming they were both ladies.
‘Tah! I’m not lesbo…’Cecilia replied.
The other man smiled and edged near Cecilia. ‘Can I go with you then?’
She gave him an iced glare and turned to Tunde, who had been trying hard not to laugh at them.
'I know you were being careful about picking me. You're probably the type that makes people feel loved and then step back'.
He smiled as she picked her bag, turned to the remaining two and declared, 'we are together'. Indeed, they went off together and he had to find a way to avoid being emotionally attached to her. Turning towards the hotel gave the chance to analyze it well. Nothing about the hotel was spectacular. Jude’s frugality might be their undoing. Despite the miniature effort the owner tried to make the hotel look presentable, it still had touch of mediocrity about. They clambered up the stairs, with him dragging his bag as well as hers. She walked off after she had berated him for not being gentlemanly and not helping her. Everything about him screamed that he shouldn’t allow her make him cheap, but she was marching away before he couldn’t think up something to say.
After several attempts to get an empty room, they got one at the end of the passage. Upon entering the room, Tunde couldn’t get his mind off her curvy body. The tweaked from side to side and he couldn’t say if her actions were deliberate or she just that effect. Her presence made the room look small. If he had the intention of resisting her body, he had to move on.
They dropped their bags by the side of the bed and she grabbed a towel off the bed.
'Be a gentleman and try not to do anything that would make me shout', Cecilia said and marched off to the bathroom. She turned to him, 'or I cut off your power house'.
If it was to be a gentleman, he could do that. He had enough trouble at hand than to have her shouting to the others about him. He would do just as she had wanted, to stay put. As much as they couldn’t stand each other, Lizzy still had the respect for him that he didn’t rape her. The news would blow off the shred of respect remaining for him.
When Cecilia stepped out, he hurried to the bathroom. Her sky-blue tower had a negative effect on him. When he returned, she gave him a dismissive look, probably because he was half-dressed. The only thing he needed to wear was a Polo shirt.
‘I’m out. Hold the key’, he muttered.
Not very from their room, the slim lady had rested again the wall, smoking cigarette in the corridor. He stared at her, shook his head, hissed and returned to his room. He wanted to complain there, but refused to talk. If he talked, he would tell her revolting her behavior was and how he wouldn’t rush to her aid if she wanted to die.
He jumped into bed. Cecilia continued making up in front of the mirror. He slept off and woke five hours later, making wonder how he had slept off without being aware of her movement.
Dragging himself off the bed, he entered the empty corridor. Nothing moved within the upper part of the house and he could guess why. The bass of the music from the lower floor rocked the house and he couldn’t help hurrying off. But to his utter dismay, none of the action below excited him. He drank some bottles of beer and even took part in eating of fish. Cecilia kept rocking to the music on her own while Ade and Lizzy couldn’t stop smooching one another. Their action irked him that he had to return to the emptiness of the room. The effect of the emptiness could dry his longing for Cecilia.
Her hair flipped in the hair again and various men clawed their ways to dance with her. But she seemed too loosed to look to give them a minute’s attention. Engrossed in the dance, she kept rocking and would wink at him whenever she caught his attention. Immediately, he rose to leave, she blocked his path. The bottle of Legend in her hand dangled and she didn’t seem to care. The stench of alcohol on her could sink anyone.
‘Dance with me?’ She urged.
He shook his head. Nothing would make his grow closer to her. ‘ When we get to Libya’.
‘I want you now. This floor… Now…’ She slurred. He shook her off him and hurried off her. He had a knack for walking without making any noise. Despite the noise, he wouldn’t expect any noise from his walk. At that point, he noticed a small room by the door of the stairs. Someone had left it ajar. He stopped in his track and scanned everywhere to see that no one could see him.
Suddenly, someone shouted. 'Don't tell me that. It's traceable'.
'No. Not traceable. She has really disguised herself', a guy’s voice replied. The first one belonged to a lady.
'She didn't. I'm very sure she is that lady that is always making snide comments. I can feel it in my guts and my guts doesn't deceive me'.
‘Well, your gut could have made you pick that guy when she rejected your offer’, the guy said again.
‘That one… He looked like a rapist. I just hope she doesn’t…’
His cough came again at the oddest of time.
'Who is that?' She called. Tunde sneaked away hurriedly.

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Re: The Thorny Path- A Novel By Akíntayo Akinjide by Akinjidetayo(m) : 3:48 pm On Apr 26

10

The next morning, they were woken by a loud noise. Tunde wished for more time because he had kept a vigil because he feared the people would pick the lock of their room just to get to the drunken Cecilia. Normally, that would have bothered him but she was by his side. With no doubt, he would be a victim of circumstances.
Whoever thought of the object making noise did a great job because even a deaf person could hear the incessant and boisterous siren sound. And that brought him back to reality. Curled up to him, Cecilia laid like a log of wood. The sight of her sleeping like a baby sent vibes down his spine. No matter how hard one restricted the hot Cecilia, the sight of her sleeping innocently did it job. He wheezed and grabbed the bed to avoid kissing her.
Realizing the volatile position he met himself, he touched his zip to be sure she didn’t take advantage of him. He shook her and she moaned. Immediately, the noise increased and this time, she roused out of her sleep.
'What's that?'
He gently pushed her off his body and sat up. 'I don't know the message they are trying to pass with this crazy noise but they... I'm assuming it's to get ready'.
Within a few minute, the noise became audible. 'Get out here before 8pm'.
'Get down there before 8? That's fair', Tunde said as he rolled over to pick his phone. 'What? We have forty minutes left. How can... They... Get up, and get going to the bathroom'.


'Yes. Daddy…’She moaned and rolled towards him.
With her arm stretched, she tried to hug and kiss him. He pushed off him, wondering how he hadn't taken up any emotional defense against this girl. The little things she did was getting to him, drawing him to her and he hated it. They were likely to part ways. Giggling, she climbed the bed and removed her bump short in front of him. Tunde was outdone there. Luckily for him, she walked away.
'There's a guy here', Tunde complained as he ransacked his back to pick his sponge and soap and towel. She stopped the door of the bathroom and spun towards him.
'You're too gentle and that's unnerving'.
'That's because I know my worth'.
'Probably…' She said and stood at the door of the bathroom. 'You might probably be impotent'.
'The bathroom', he shouted and scurried out of the bed.
She rushed into the bathroom and rushed out soon. Not taking a moment to sip her beauty, he jumped inside and was also out within a few minutes. They dressed in silence.
As they were about to leave the room, dressed casually, he turned to her. 'Did you remember most of what happened yesternight?'
'Of course'.
'Good'.
'I remember everything perfectly well especially your expression when I told you I expected you to sleep with me'.
Tunde smacked his face, disgusted. 'Common. I was talking about the thing I heard'.
'Gentleman, I remember and how you told me to be careful. I remember'.
When they got out, Jude was standing on the coaster bus that brought them the previous day. How he got there, Tunde couldn't tell, but he knew one thing: Jude loved power and would always wield the little he had.
'Where have you been?' Ade asked and winked at Cecilia, who smiled and waved coyly at him. Tunde understood the deep meaning of what Ade was insinuating.
'Me? No. No.', he said and lowered his voice. 'Since, your Lizzy refused to have s*x with me and instead became your Lizzy, I've made sure this thing under would be strictly for only women that I trust. No offense meant'.
'None taken. By the way, you didn't ask her for sex. You asked her to be your Lizzy'.
'I know. But I asked for sex. She would have just been a fling. It just pained me that she refused me today and the next two weeks she is becoming your Lizzy'.
Ade looked away and tapped Lizzy, who was chatting happily with Cecilia. 'Let's hear what he has to say'.
The two ladies turned towards the bus as Jude continually shouted at the top of his voice for calm.
'After all the cover-up, I know you're lying. How was it?' Ade mumbled to Tunde as he kept staring at Jude.
'Seriously. I mean it. I didn't do anything with her'.
'Wow. With this beauty', Ade said and started singing Tu face's song again about how he could say she was finer than his mother. Tunde shook his head and gave him a grim look that excited laughter from him.
'I heard my name', Lizzy said and rested her head on Ade's shoulder.
'Yes. I said you're a beauty'.
'Aww awwwnn.... You're lying. You're talking about other girls'.
'Me? Other girls? Impossible. When you are here'
'I hope', she whispered as calm had finally settled on the ground.
Jude looked as if he would soon cry. He turned to someone and barked for order again when he saw the person whispering. 'The plan is simple. We will take a 22-hour journey from Edo to Agadez. You will rest, I will advise you to really rest this time because that's the last sweet rest you'll get till you get to Italy. And from there we will enter the van that will push us to Sahara Desert, where we will use maximum of one and a half day'.
Someone murmured.
'What again?'
'Why?'
'What do you mean?'
'Why are we spending so many days on the desert?'
'You're high on palm wine. You should have asked us to jump the desert because of you. Please my people let's talk something. From the desert, I'll control money for people that will allow us enter Libya and our boat will enter the sea. And from there we will enter Italy. Italy people will catch you but UN will save you and they will sustain and help you get the real Italy visa. All of you will be given your passport now'.
'That one is hard o', another person said.
'Your brain is leaking. Do you think life is easy? So, go and pack your load. By 8:30, we will leave anybody that isn't ready. That for that. The test result has returned, the following people should see me now at that end', Jude said and pointed towards a place. He called out the names of five people.
'Can we enter the bus now?' Tunde asked.
'Yes'
Immediately noise erupted as people returned to their rooms. Tunde and his crew had their bags with them.
'Let's all sit together', Ade suggested. Tunde knew they wouldn't actually be together because he and Cecilia couldn't possibly be together. Tunde sat at the extreme end of the back seat. The petrol kegs were now gone. Cecilia squeezed herself beside him while Lizzy sat between Ade and Cecilia. Everyone returned to their seats. The slim lady too made sure she picked a seat near them. Despite the fact he saw her on the stairs, he couldn't actually conclude the voice he heard was hers. Yet, she was their prime suspect.
The journey started slowly on the rough roads and soon they were plying the express way. Ade and Lizzy started talking about things. Cecilia removed her earpiece from her pocket to listen to music. Tunde had no other option than to bring out his phone to read. Despite the desire to smell the sweetness of the hardcover books, he wanted to read some particular books that weren't in print yet. He read for hours unending.
Some hours later, Cecilia turned to him, raised a topic as she kept referring to people as Tunde's family members. Then, she later turned to Lizzy and they talked and Lizzy turned to Ade and soon the conversation became what every one of them contributed to until Ade began to sing 'See You Again' by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth. Tunde smiled.
'Shut your croaky voice'.
But Ade didn't. Instead, he kept singing with vigor that made other passengers looked back as if they were trying to test his mental state. When the song was about to die, someone from the front joined him. The person started the song again and some other people joined them. Within seconds, a whole lot of people in the bus were singing it.
Tunde smile sheepishly and blinked back tears. He would surely miss his parent and he was so sure that he couldn't just return without doing something for his life. He would miss Emeka. His mind flashed back to the way his hand was dipped into Emeka's chest and the way Emeka took his last breath.
They slept and woke again and restarted the process of conversation. Only this time, when Ade wanted to sing another song, Cecilia shouted, 'Stop all these rubbish, we're not in Disneyland'.
Everyone around, who heard her, laughed or snorted. They stopped the bus for a while to buy food and Jude could be seen strutting about, reminding them he was treating them well. Tunde frowned at him. 'What's he feeling like?'
'Like the boss. He bought us plate of rice and meat...' Cecilia said, irritated.
'Add the drink', Ade said from their table as he dropped the bottle of drinks.
'Yes, Ade. The drink', Tunde said.
'What about the plate and the spoons', Lizzy chipped in. Tunde wished she could face her own table. The place was set to accommodate only two people at a time. So, he wanted her to face her side of the table.
'Are you whining?' Cecilia said, amused.
'The plate and spoon. Such men are always known to swoon about, carrying about the grandeur of whatever they have done for us'.
They laughed, faced their food and Tunde coughed the same time the thin lady coughed. Tunde frowned at her and sighed desperately.
'Can't your wife put off her glasses?' Cecilia said.
'My w...?' He began to ask but when he followed her eyes, he smirked. 'I'm beginning to think some nuts are loosed in your head'.
'It takes one to know one'.
'Well, we're mirrors'.
'Indeed. I can see you in her', she said and tapped his chin. Tunde felt himself about to burst with laugher.
'She might be blind'.
'Oh God', Tunde replied with pity as it occurred to him for the first time that she might truly be blind and he had allowed himself to joke about her.
'See your life. How can she be blind?' Cecilia whispered and bent nearer. 'She is having big eyes'.
'Big eyes? Where are these ideas popping from?'
'From my head. Or where is my mouth again', she said and touched her mouth and touched her head as if she was looking for her head.
'What are you doing?'
'I'm looking for my head and my mouth'.
Tunde stared at her for a while and laughed her. Ade and Lizzy turned to look at them. Tunde nodded.
'So, back to your wife...' Cecilia said.
'No, back to your seat in the bus...'
'So soon?'
'We're not going to spend three years here'.
'We're not'.
They moved out of the canteen and returned to their bus, where they spent the remaining journey trying to sleep. However, they eventually spent it talking. The next few hours were spent in anticipation of the end of journey. Tunde looked forward as if the road was a fence and he could see their destination if he stretched his neck.
After what seemed like eternity, the bus reduced its pace at a place that had the representation of a park because a lot of people were also getting down from other busses.
'But I thought he said we would seat in a van', Cecilia noted.
'I thought so too’.
Lizzy, still staring at the end of the road said, 'let's hope'.
The number of people getting down from other buses scared Tunde, making him wonder if the travelling happened daily and if it did, how many able men would be in Nigeria. They stood there for about thirty minutes. From the buses, people began to call their different pusher-man. Some people were shouting terribly at their pusher-men and were telling them to come for them. Others were celebrating their arrival with their parents or relatives or friends over the phone.
'What's with all these ones?' Cecilia said. 'See how they are making call as if they are back. Or are these one just returning from Europe?'
'Are you fighting them?'
'In what sense?'
'In the sense that you can ask them yourself'.
She hissed and scoffed. In a few minutes, people from their own bus began to agitate about the whereabouts of Jude. Some of them placed a call to him and Tunde could see the frustration on their face as if it was a mask that couldn't come off easily.
'He said he would meet us here', one of them complained. The driver that brought them came forward and said, 'he is coming'.
As if they had been waiting for that statement, a lot of people grumbled and Tunde didn't take a back seat. He laid out his complaint chronologically and ended by letting anyone who cared to know that the problem was because they didn't make their plans well.
Sweating as if he had been under the sun the whole time, Jude ran towards them and pointed at a hotel. 'That's our destination. Follow me'.
They filed after him.
Cecilia nudged him. 'Welcome to my father's house'.
'Indeed'.
'You're such an unbelievably faithless man'.
'Your father can own this'.
'He does own it'.
Tunde nodded.
'In my imagination, though'.
Tunde laughed, shook his head, walked on, and laughed again. He glanced at her, she winked.
This time, they were four in the room. Tunde, Ade, Cecilia and Lizzy were in the room. They took turn taking their bath. They discussed, argued, joked and slept; with Cecilia cozying up to him. He tried to push her away but she whispered, 'be a gentle man or I'll shout'.
He shook his head and turned his back at her.
'How come you're able to resist me. If you're not impotent, are you an S.U?'
Tunde felt like vomiting, he coughed and grumbled, 'yuck'.
He loved the fact that she was surprised at his ability to hold himself. In the morning, they got ready and were down with their bags. When they got down, they met Jude barking orders at some boys. The boys were spilling water and petrol as they lifted them into a Hilux vans. Tunde tried to calculate, how they would seat with the way things were arrange, and knew that they would have to squeeze themselves within the van.
'The gala', Cecilia said and Tunde inhaled loudly. Jude had encouraged them to buy more of gala and bread. Within a few minutes, he, Ade, Cecilia and Lizzy were searching for where to get stuffs like Bread, Garri, Water, and so many junks that would last them for two days. Cecilia had enough money and she bought extra things. Luckily, she had a backpack. When he asked her why she got extra of everything, she said she would love to eat on the sea.
'At least I'll have something that can't resist me and would surely do what it is meant to'.
When they got back, they met a mechanic working on the van. After a while, he banged the bonnet of car and turned to face Jude, whose sweaty body made Ade wonder what they must have done when they weren't around.
'Igwe one, this thing is sure'.
'Are you sure?'
'Everything. You trust your boy now. I'm not the regular people you see on the street'.
'Good', Jude brought money from his bulky trousers, counted some parts of it for the man, who left after hailing Jude about being 'Igwe 1'. Jude turned towards an shade, which bent under the weight of the roof.
‘ The place must contain only the dead, yuck!’ Ade mumbled.
‘Leo! Leo!! Let’s push this van’, Jude shouted towards the hut. “ Come drive o”
Immediately, a man, clutching a big bottle of dry gin, staggered towards them. Tunde, who had never fainted in his life, wished he could faint that instance because they were handling their life to a drunk.
'Okay, let's get going', Leo said and staggered towards the car. He pronounced his 'l' like 'r'.
'See your uncle', Cecilia said as she placed her hands on her head. 'We are so finished'.
'Jude', Tunde called, 'we are not following this van, right?'
'You're following'.
'But the driver is drunk'.
'Drunk. He needs something to make him stay alive. We are travelling for two days. Do you think it's easy? In fact', Jude said and strutted towards Leo. He snatched the bottle of gin amidst the drivers' rebellion and gulped it. He inhaled loudly as if he had just woken an evil spirit within himself. 'Arrange yourselves among the bags'.
'That's how we are sitting'.
'Kill us', Tunde exclaimed and he was supported by the murmur of people.
'You still have the chance to go back now'.
Tunde eyed him but they had limited power.
The one that seemed to be a fan of shirt and ties barked instructions at them, and soon they were seated. People now called him Pastor. Some of them were seated, with their legs dangling from the side of the bus. The plan was simple: at their next stop, they would trade place with those seated within the van.
The only person exempted from this was the boy that was among them. The car moved and within ten minutes their van had raised dust of the desert. Tunde whooped and squeezed Cecilia hands.
'Libya, here we come', Ade screamed.
Tunde glanced at Lizzy and wished the only effect she had on his brother was this and not any bad one, but he couldn't trust her. Now, Tunde could smile.
People around him smiled or stared on indifferently. He couldn’t blame them. Nigerians no longer enough hope or sadness or fear or joy in them. He remembered once when people caught a thief and rallied round to kill through jungle justice, the man sat down looking at them indifferently. At the sight of that, even the man that decorated the man’s neck with a big tyre felt bad. They later took him to a police station.
Pastor rose, when they have moved a bit, steadied himself with the baggage and began to pray loudly and some people became attuned to his piety, while others kept mumbling their 'amen'. They wanted to act as if his prayer meant nothing but had to pretend to hold on to a higher belief. He couldn’t blame them- the system abhors people that didn’t trust in a higher authority.
Tunde knew their smiles, indifferences, or prayers weren't because they were deserting their country but was because they were going to a greener pasture, through a thorny path that many had reported to be full of evil. Cars behind them revved and raised dust. Just it became dawn on them that the journey had begun fully, the woman with the child burst into tears and Ade started singing.

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Re: The Thorny Path- A Novel By Akíntayo Akinjide by DoctorTansi(m) : 5:24 pm On May 05

Great work! Creativity isn't easy kudos.
But as a fellow writer like you. I think you.can.do better. I dragged myself thru d 1st chapter n that was all.
Something is missing. Something is missing here. Your 1st line/chapter/character shd spike interest 4ppl to read more unfortunately the story didn't cut it for me. Harsh but true!
Nice work being creative all the same. More improvement to ur elbow.

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