Read Vanquished Episode 3: Fish Dream
“Uncle, my side chick wants to kill me.”
Ben, Ify’s father fumed inwardly as Ebuka sat before him pleading for help. Ebuka was stupid, very stupid. If not for his brother of blessed memory, he would have thrown the useless boy out of his house. Even now, it only took the last shred of his patience to not do so.
Ebuka was his nephew, his elder brother’s only son. Vin and Ben had grown up from poverty, the type that Igbo calls ogbenye ọnụ ntụ. When their parents died, they were passed from one relative to another. At a point, the boys were left totally alone to fend for themselves. Vin, the elder brother, was barely ten years old.
Ben’s success story was largely due to his brother’s sacrifice. Vin took care of his younger brother from a very young age. He worked, scraped hard for their daily bread. And when he earned enough to enroll into a school, he sacrificed even that for Ben’s education up till the university level. Ben was an excellent student and got a promising job soon after his NYSC,. From there, Ben’s fortune changed for good.
Vin wasn’t so lucky. First of all, his business wasn’t doing so well. His marriage wasn’t blessed with children until many years later. Although he had married long before Ben, Ben had his first two kids before Vin’s wife was able to conceive Ebuka. Ebuka was thirteen when Vin eventually died of cardiac arrest. He was just walking towards his shop when he suddenly slumped and died.
And so, Ben took Ebuka under his wings. He had vowed to raise Ebuka like his son in memory of his brother’s sacrifice. He enrolled Ebuka in one of the best secondary schools he could afford. But after four years of constant failure in academics, Ben eventually discovered that Ebuka’s name was always absent in the class register. No amount of flogging and cajoling would make the boy reveal where he went during school hours.
After the fifth failure in class, Ben sat Ebuka down and asked him what he wanted. Ebuka said he didn’t want to go to school. He wanted to start a business. Ben agreed. After all, everyone must not go to school to succeed. So, he took the boy to be apprenticed to a wealthy friend who dealt in electronics.
That was another problem. Throughout Ebuka’s three year apprenticeship, Ben frequently got reports of his annoying excesses. Ebuka refused to learn. Always complaining about being sent on too much errands. He refused to work along with his fellow boys, most of them older than him in his oga’s shop. He was feeling too big to be a boy. As if that was not enough, Ebuka always pressured customers for ‘anything for the boys?”
The last straw was when he quarreled with his oga’s wife over a piece of meat. His already fed up oga sent him packing. The man could have done that long before then but he endured for the sake of his close friendship with Ebuka’s uncle. For years, Ebuka went from one apprenticeship to another, clothing, carpentry, POP, interior decoration, motor spare parts business and more and failed in all of them.
When the last apprenticeship – beverages store business – failed and Ben was wondering what to do with his difficult nephew, Ebuka got a girl pregnant. Ebuka tried to deny it. Unfortunately for him, the girl’s parents weren’t the kind to be trifled with. And so, Ben found himself organizing a wedding. After the wedding, Ben had paid Ebuka off with a cheque of 800k and warned him never to come to him for help again.
And now, three years later, Ebuka was in his living room asking for money, again.
“I can’t help you, Ebuka.” Ben replied flatly.
“Uncle please. I need you now more than ever. Help me.”
“Ebuka, your wife is pregnant with your third child. You got another lady pregnant and she moved into your house and refused to leave. What do you want me to do about that?”
“Uncle, that is what I am saying. I need money to settle the girl so she will leave my house. My wife’s family is threatening to kill me and you know what they’re like.”
“Oh, I’m surprised you know what your In-laws are capable of. Yet, you disrespected their daughter by getting another woman pregnant. See, I can’t help you. I have my own problems.”
“Uncle, it’s me o. I’m your boy o.”
“You’re my nephew. And God knows I’ve tried for you. I gave you 800 thousand naira to start life with. What happened to it?”
Ebuka fidgeted uncomfortably. “See eh uncle, it’s not like I wasted the money o. I started business with it. But business is hard.”
“How will it not be hard when you spend most of your profits living a large life that you can’t maintain? It’s been three years that you got married and you already have two children and your wife is expecting the third one. Oh, I almost forgot your mistress is also pregnant. What is wrong with you, Ebuka? Remember I gave you money for your wife’s delivery of your first child. And when that child got sick, I footed the hospital bills. What more do I do for you that I haven’t already done?” Ben asked, beginning to lose his temper.
“Uncle, I know you have tried for me. But I’m just asking you for this last one. Biko, help me this last time. I promise I wont disturb you again.”
“Ebuka, I’m sorry. I can’t help you.”
“Uncle please na. Remember my father made you who you are today.” Ebuka said recklessly.
That was a mistake. For Ben’s eyes turned icy with anger. “Yes, your father made me who I am today. But you know what? I didn’t waste any of the opportunities he gave me unlike a stupid boy I know. Now, get out of my house!”
Ebuka left the house, fuming. Who did that man think he was? He fumed. Uncle Ben would have been in the village drinking garri and sniffing utaba if not for he, Ebuka’s father. Now he was a big man, he had refused to help him, his own nephew. So what that uncle gave him 800k to start his business plus other small things he did for him? Was it his fault that business was not moving well? As for the side chick matter, everyone knew he never wanted to marry his wife. Getting her pregnant was an accident. So was getting his side chick pregnant. But what was he supposed to do? Body no be wood na. He wasn’t the first married man to have a side chick neither would he be the last.
He had always been successful in handling his side chicks but this current one was too stubborn. First his wife trapped him. Now this side chick wanted to do the same. Chai! Why were women like this? Other men had been doing their own and getting away with it. Why was his own different?
And now uncle Ben had refused to help him. It wasn’t as if he, Ebuka, could not help himself o. It was just that his In-laws had forced him to sponsor his wife’s youngest brother in the University as first punishment for disrespecting their daughter. And Monica, his side chick, was showing him pepper in his own house. That was why he needed money to settle her so she could leave his house in peace.
Ebuka flagged down an okada. The okada dropped him in front of an uncompleted building in a deserted area. He entered the building. It was completely empty and silent. All of a sudden he was surrounded by seven dangerous igbo gingered men threatening him with several dangerous weapons. They held him down, screaming at him until their boss, an imposing man entered.
“Who be that maga?” He asked in his already distorted by too much drugs. Then he stopped as he stared at Ebuka.
“Ebuka? Ebus, my niggi!”
Ebuka grinned at him. “Sunny! Sunnylololo. My manest man!”
Sunny laughed and made to hug him. He stopped, seeing that his men were still holding his friend. “Why una still dey hold my niggi? Una dey craze?”
They immediately released Ebuka who hugged Sunny and they laughed and patted each other’s backs happily.
“Ebus, how you dey na? Longest time.”
“My brother, I dey o.”
“Nawao. Since you marry, person no dey see your break light again.”
Ebuka sighed. “My brother, na long story. But first, I get something wey I wan make you do for me.”
“Anything for my niggi. Wetin be that?”
Ebuka’s eyes glinted evilly. “I wan make you visit somebody for me.”
That night, Sunny and his gang landed at Ify’s father’s house.
Watch out for Episode 5 next week. Please don’t forget to like, comment and share.