Episode 4: Kingsley, My Dear Cousin
My cousin, Kingsley was the most stubborn of us all. Back in the days when we were young, we always searched for trouble everywhere, and when we didn’t find any, we created one. Our bodies itched when we didn’t have anything doing. I was 4 when I understood what it meant to be addicted to drugs….yes I am that smart. Not that we took i-gbo or ‘coke’ (actually we always had a lot of the other good coke, guess it was why we had a lot of energy), but we just couldn’t help staying away from trouble, and Kingsley was our ring leader – he was the dare-devil and we were always trying to keep up.
And no, we were not terrible kids, we just had a little too much adrenaline in our blood streams, plus we were boys. We had our off days and today in focus was one: we were washed, dressed, fed and reminded of our behaviors. Can’t remember if we were on one of our mid-term breaks or long holidays but I’m sure it wasn’t a weekend because my parents went to work and we all waited eagerly for 4pm to ‘knack’ so NTA would come on the TV. (Not that we could tell the time, by gazing at the clock, but we just instinctively knew when the time was up for SuperTed or Vultron: the defender of the universe… Where are those cartoon characters now? Dem for don old die).
Anyway, I was beginning to get restless just lying down on the bed (that was how my aunties punished us: compulsive afternoon siesta. Yeah, there were very few 6-letter words I could spell at the age of 4 too. SIESTA was one), and I knew Kingsley would be super-restless. Not long before, he stood up from the bed grumbling that he wanted to go to the toilet (that was our most handy excuse because no one wanted us to wet the bed.) I waited a little while before I took cue.
Ten minutes later, we were tumbling around the tiny space left in the sitting room, our aunties were busy at the backyard…In hushed voice, Kingsley called my attention to something around the dining area. I was curious, as excitement seeped into my veins.
“What is it?” I asked. He pointed to the refrigerator (bet you had those small steel rimmed thermocool fridges too).
“What?” I asked again. He pointed at the fridge, this time his tiny finger almost touching the steel rim. Then he said, “Lick the edge, it’s very sweet. Someone must have put sugar here.”
I looked at him in the face, I knew he was lying but I couldn’t allow the idea of something sweet pass me by.
I guess he saw the contemplation in my face because he said “I’m going to lick it all o if you don’t want.”
I stopped him, then stretched out my tongue to taste the stupid sweet fridge… Of course you know nah, the thing shocked me, shocked my soul, shocked my spirit join. But the good thing was that I didn’t shout. Actually, I screamed, but it was like the shock muted my voice. My cousin laughed non-stop. I felt like killing him, actually I did in my mind, but had to wait to do in the physical. A tear rolled down my face, and I fought the rest away. I went back to bed and didn’t need to beg sleep to come.
I was woken up at about a quarter to 7pm for dinner (my aunties would have preferred that I slept through till when they were through with their never ending chores, but they knew I wouldn’t sleep at night if I wasn’t awake now, and therefore cause more wahala for everyone). So after dinner, we were washed and changed into our PJs and allowed to run around the house and wait for our parents to come home.
It was then I got the idea. Wow… I stared at our KDK standing fan (if you guys didn’t have one then, it only means you must have been very very poor o. Anyway…). I moved towards it, pressed the #3 button, and allowed the breeze to blow me. I even sang into the fan (it gives a different feel to your voice, did you ever try it?). When I was done with my plan I went in search of Kingsley.
“What is it?” He asked. I pointed to the fan.
“What?” He asked again. Then I started singing into the fan. He immediately started singing into the fan as well, taking up the challenge. Everything is always a challenge and competition for Kingsley. So here I came it my idea:
“I just stopped the fan with my finger, and you can’t do it. Never!” I threw the challenge at him, hoping he wouldn’t see the lousiness at my try at retaliation. Like I was fooled with the idea of sugar, so was he corrupted and blindfolded with the idea of challenge.
“You can never stop the fan, but I did!” I pushed again, hoping that he wouldn’t say I do it in his presence. But my dear cousin didn’t even ask, before I could tease more, he simply stuck his index finger through the gauze….
The scream from my dear cousin broke through the air. The scream was so loud that it frightened me at the instant. I started shouting in resonance. I think my scream was even louder than his. There was blood on our PJs and everywhere. Our aunties were by our side almost at the instance, demanding what, and how, who, because they didn’t who wasn’t hurt. Kingsley was pointing his blooding finger at me trying to tell them I was the one who caused it (caused what?). I pointed back at him screaming louder to cover whatever he was trying to say. Tears was in both of our eyes, but mine was tears of joy…
I went late to bed that night long after my cousin was tucked into bed with his bloody finger banded in plaster. I even dreamed that I had a ride in a sport car with Pierce Brosnan, while my cousin was left behind because of his bad finger (James Bond wouldn’t have a liability with him, except if the liability was a lady). When I woke early the next day, I could see the tear stain on the right side of my cousin’s face (he must have cried in his dream as well). I felt quite sorry.
Kingsley didn’t have to write a single thing for the next one week; in fact, I was asked to wash his socks. After 3 days, I was wishing I was the one who had a cut on the finger. The attention was getting too much. I feigned stomach pain so that at least I got some ‘pele’ and ‘doh’, but all I got was Flagil, ‘oh mine’.
“Your sugar is becoming too much,” my mum said.
“Stella, I beg no forget to bring more Flagil come from work for these children, dem need am, especially Osereme.
My hands were on my head (in my mind).
My own don meet me.
Ojay Aito blogs weekly at ojayaito.com and he is @1ojay on twitter.