Work drive

So I’m in the bus and there’s this guy in front selling his products. You find them a lot in Lagos, selling miraculous drugs (from pain relievers to anti-diabetic herbs).

Hold on, it’s so freaking hard writing in a galloping bus!

So how does outside look? Bikes everywhere, mud (blame the rains, they’re here to stay), dirt (this is one problem Lagos never seems to solve), and of course, people, thousands of them.

There are heavy duty vehicles, trucks and trailers. Road blockers I call them.

Remind me, please, this guy is yet to give me my change. He’s saying he doesn’t have change. I remember when I was in secondary school, I forgot my change with the conductor on many occasions. It’s the painfulest (forgive!) thing ever.

So the drug guy has stopped talking. Phew! He’s now chatting with a fellow passenger he appears to know. No more talk of unending miracles his drugs offer. And people actually do buy these drugs! But I gotta say, they sell themselves well. And his command of English isn’t bad either. I heard some pretty big and harmonious words from him.

There are umbrella shades everywhere, people selling all kinds of consumables and inedibles.

The roads are ever so narrow! Lagos typical roads. Congested roads and people. Constructions that never end. And these roads keep getting worse. I imagine what they’d be like when the rains start etching deep into them.

Hold on, there’s another guy free-talking in front. This one isn’t selling miraculous drugs buy miracles (you just gotta love Lagos). He’s preaching from the front seat of the van and passengers can’t even hear him! Oh boy, tectonic plates moving here (dude, no one can hear you!).

Whoa! I think the bus is swimming hehehehe. Roads are really bad. Thick chocolatey water sitting high on the roads.

A bus broke down in the middle of the road. Some dudes are trying to raise it with an hydraulic jack.

I must be getting close to work now (can’t really see front of me from where I’m seated, only sides).

So again, have a blissful day.

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Uncle Pat, finale

When Patricia got into the guest room, to her utter disarray, she saw Aunt Lucy by the bedside, crying.

“Aunt Lucy, what happened, why are you crying?”

“Don’t worry, dear, it’s nothing,” she said, sobbingly.

“Aunt Lucy you can tell me,” Patricia pressured.

“It’s your Uncle.”

“What did he do to you? Did he hit you again?”

Aunt Lucy looked at Patricia with surprise that spoke volumes as to how she knew.

“Don’t worry, Aunt, I know he hits you.”

Patricia used her pyjamas sleeve to clean Aunt Lucy’s tears.

“He has to pay this time, more than you’ve made him pay before. This time we have to make sure we cure him of this evil. He has to hurt the same way he hurts you.”

“No, Patricia,” Aunt Lucy’s sobs increased. “You don’t understand. He’s working on it, he’s changing, he’s trying.”

“Aunt Lucy, he’s going to kill you if you don’t realise the demon that he is. Look at your face, what are you going to tell Mum and Dad happened to your face?”

“I don’t know. I’d use makeup or something,” Aunt Lucy said, wiping off tears from her cheek.

“That’s not going to do, Aunt Lucy,” Patricia pressed. “You tried to change him before. You used scare tactics on him. I know this, because I’ve been in this room before at night. I watched Uncle Pat sleep. I guess you played the witch role quite effectively, but as we both can see, it hasn’t worked. People like Uncle Pat, wife beaters, they only respond to one thing. Pain.”

Aunt Lucy stopped crying for a moment in awe of Patricia. ‘How could a child conceive of these things?’ was what she asked in her mind. Patricia huged her around her waist.

“We can do this, trust me. He will never hit you again.”

It was dinner time and the family gathered around the table, food was served and everybody jollied. Uncle Pat had the now-and-then smile each time he gazed at his wife, and it hurt Patricia to her bones. ‘Wife beater, has the guts to smile at his wife after committing such atrocity. He has to pay,’ she thought.

In the middle of the night when everyone was fast asleep, it was time for Patricia and Aunt Lucy to carry out their plan. They just had to teach Uncle Pat a lesson. Uncle Pat was fast asleep, but his wife wasn’t. And so Patricia tiptoed in the room and together they woke Uncle Pat up.

“What is this? Patricia–” Uncle Pat made to say.

“Shh,” Patricia whispered.

“Lucy, what’s going on?” Uncle Pat asked, confused.

“You’re not going to touch me anymore, Patrick, we’d make sure of that.” Aunt Lucy replied.

Uncle Pat chuckled for a while and then said, “Have you lost your damn mind? She’s a child,” gesturing to Patricia.

“I’m no child, wife beater. Oops, should a child be holding this?” Patricia brought out a kitchen knife from the back of her pyjamas.

“Jesus!” Uncle Pat exclaimed. “Patricia, what are you doing with that?”

“Just what you did to Aunt Lucy.”

She drew close to him and he recoiled. She used the tip of the knife to travel his skin slowly.

“Now, wife beater, where do I start?”

“Patricia, you don’t know what you’re doing, drop that thing.”

“Shh,” she whispered as she moved the knife up his belly.

“Why do people always think I’m a child, I wonder. Can a child do this?”

She pricked his chest with the edge of the knife.

“Ouch!” he uttered as blood eased out of his chest.

“Look at that, the wife beater bleeds,” Patricia chuckled, looking to Aunt Lucy.

“Do it, Patricia, teach him a lesson,” Aunt Lucy said.

Uncle Pat began to mumble words like “You-you-you just a kid, you don’t know what you’re doing” and “We can talk about this. Lucy, we can talk about this.”

“It’s too late for all that now, Uncle Pat. You should have talked about it before you hit her,” Patricia said as she moved the knife toward his face.

Uncle Pat knew he had to do something quick, so he tried yanking her hand away and the knife got a bit of his neck, a red bloody line on his neck. Patricia fell back.

“Argh!” he grumbled, “Stupid kid, look what you’ve done.”

He walked toward Aunt Lucy.

“Did you put her up to this? You psycho bitch.”

He slapped her and she fell to the ground. Patricia held the knife out.

“You can’t do this, you can’t hit her. I’ll stop you.”

“Watch me.”

He dragged Aunt Lucy around the other bed in the room and jerked her against the wood work so that she hit her head and made a loud cry.

“I’m going to teach you a lesson, after which I’m coming for you, kid.”

“You. Can’t. Hit. Her!” Patricia cried.

She ran, full force, knife outward. And before Uncle Pat could look her direction, she met him. And everything was still for a moment.

“What. The. Fuck…” Uncle Pat counted in total shock.

A red map spread on his singlet, just the way an artist dapples a canvas with red paint. He looked at Patricia, weary, then he fell to his knees amid distant cries from his wife. He gazed at his wife and then at Patricia, and fell on his face.

Patricia knocked the guest room door after travelling chilling storylines of possibilities.

“Come in,” Aunt Lucy’s friendly voice said.

When she got in, Uncle Pat was in the bathroom prepping for work and Aunt Lucy was sitting on the other bed in the room.

“How was your night, dear?”

“Uh… fine. You said we were going to talk,” Patricia said.

“Yes dear. Your Uncle told me you came to the room in the night…”

‘What the fuck,’ was what ran through Patricia’s mind, ‘he knew?’

Aunt Lucy smiled at Patricia’s displacement.

“You see dear, I know you’re a smart girl, so you’d understand. Your Uncle and I have been through our ups and downs. Some things he did that he isn’t proud of, but we have worked it out. There are scars, yes, but these scars are not objects of torture but of a reminder of our mistakes. Maybe soon enough you’d understand fully what I mean. But you can’t play on his mind, Patricia, it’s wrong. Okay?”

“Okay, Aunt Lucy.”

Patricia was still flummoxed at what she just heard. Funny thing when you think you’re on top of the world with your moves.

When she got downstairs to her room, Georgina looked at her like she had just come out from an interrogation room. Patricia was not herself after hearing Aunt Lucy’s meltdown. ‘They knew all this while.’

Her phone rang, it was Vanessa, her classmate.

“Hello Vanessa, I’m not really in the mood to–”

“Patricia, you would not believe what I just saw,” Vanessa cut her short.

“What is it, Vanessa?”

“I just saw Thomas in the football field close to my house. He was with Abigail. Patricia, they kissed.”

 


Thank you all for following my series, Uncle Pat. It’s been a wonderful ride with you. Writing sometimes has its challenges, but knowing that people read my work out there is just gratifying to say the least. Be on the look out for more engaging series. Cheers.

Uncle Pat, 6

James and Patricia didn’t talk the rest of the day, and James was fine with it. His sister had to learn to be wrong sometimes and to stop insulting him. James and Patricia have kept silent spells before. They fought one fine morning, and when Dad returned home, Patricia twisted the story in her favour. Dad was cross with James. “You don’t hit a girl, never!” he said. James couldn’t believe Patricia would lie in broad daylight, so he kept his distance. And though they went to school together, they didn’t talk to each other for months. He hoped this time it won’t take as long, but still he had to keep his distance. And so they went to bed on no-talking terms.

“James, wake up,” a feint voice spoke into his ears.

James could barely hear, for he was somewhere between life and peaceful death, a place called sleep.

“Wake up, James,” the sweet voice spoke again.

This time, James was beginning to grow some consciousness. He managed to open his eyes.

“Ahh!!” he screamed, but a hand held his mouth before for his voice travelled any distance.

“It’s me,” the now crooked voice said.

“P-P-P-Patricia?” James stuttered.

“Yesss,” it cackled.

The face before him was the face of nightmares. A ramshackle face James was sure had NEVER seen younger days. The hair an ominous white, so uniform, even the oldest of the old didn’t possess. The hideous creature hauled its face together with the wig away and lo and behold it was Patricia. She grinned from ear to ear.

“Not funny, Patricia. Not funny,” James uttered in vexation.

“Keep your voice low,” Patricia cautioned. “At least it worked with you. You should have seen your face, so terrified. That, my friend, is how our shameless Uncle must feel tonight.”

“Where did you even get– you know what, never mind.”

“Good. Now that we got all that sorted out, can we move to the next stage?”

James carried Patricia on his neck. She wore the latex mask and put on the white wig. They were ready for action. Patricia put her arms into the sleeves of the cloak and buttoned the top while James buttoned the bottom. Patricia put James through some movement training because he could barely see from inside the cloak. She nudged her legs to the side to signal side movements and clenched her legs to signal no motion. Soon after, they were good to go.

“Are you sure about this, Patricia? We could still turn back, you know,” James whispered, on getting to the door of the guest room where Uncle Pat slept.

“Quiet,” Patricia whispered back.

She held the handle, and with some torque they were in. The room was dark and it appeared Uncle Pat was sleeping just fine.

“What if he shouts?” James whispered from inside the cloak with as a tune as possible.

“Quiet,” Patricia said as she kicked him.

They went closer to the bed.

“Ouch!” James almost uttered audibly. He hit let against the bed and it hurt.

Patricia kicked him from inside, signalling him to behave.

James bent enough to give Patricia room to bend too and inspect Uncle Pat who was snoring in his sleep.

“Patrick,” she whispered in an unrecognisable way.

“Patrick,” she whispered again.

James almost peed his pants. He imagined all the horrible things that could happen to them if Uncle Pat wakes up and maybe turns on the light and catches them both in the childish act.

Uncle Pat turned on the second call of his name.

Patricia whispered his name a third time, and he made a discomforting sound.

“Wake up,” she whispered.

Uncle Pat made a sobbing sound, like he was in fear in his sleep.

Then Patricia nudged James to different corners of the room as she whispered his name.

“What do you want from me?” Uncle Pat responded sobbingly from his pillow.

James couldn’t believe it. It was like there was something he was missing. What he expected was that Uncle Pat put on the lights or something and figure them out. But for some reason, Patricia was speaking into his mind, so it seemed.

“I promised you, I won’t hit her again,” he continued, so much fright in his voice.

Patricia herself was confused. ‘Hit who?’ she thought. All she was aiming at was to scare the crap out of him. But now he confused her and she didn’t quite know her next words.

“And what will happen if you do?” Patricia played along.

Instantly Uncle Pat’s sobbing increased. Even with his eyes closed the fear he demonstrated was almost palpable. He pressed his face to the pillow and began reciting the Our Father amid other things Patricia or James couldn’t make out.

Patricia figured now was the right time to leave the room, and so they crept out.

Quote #45

Why do we read and write? We read and write because reality sucks. We read and write to escape this rigid reality.

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