“Where women are gathered is almost like a radio station.”
Gasti was only thinking about work. That’s what was most important to him that day. Or it was the only distraction he could get from the evil he had done the previous night.
He was chased like an armed robber. Though it made no difference; taking someone else’s wife to bed was highly a criminal act as stealing. It was his habit and this was not his first, only that it almost backfired.
He ran out of the compound with his potbelly slapping his skin so hard. He hardly believed he actually could run that fast. He stumbled on many things he would not even recognize if he had gone back to the spot, but he didn’t stagger, he was so engrossed with eluding the pursue that nothing could stop him. He just bulldozed ahead like a tractor. Although, he saw some injuries in his legs the next day.
He revved the mini bus engine. He was a commercial bus driver in Lagos: the only place he got his daily bread. He was used to the hustle between himself and other bus drivers in search of passengers and he was sure he was going to do better amidst the fear that lasted in his heart.
He chased the thought away when he imagined someone coming out to hold him this morning about to last night’s deed. He was sure no one saw his face; the night was thick enough. Thank God, NEPA had even just ceased power that minute. It was blackout. He was one of those who spoke ill of the power system of the country, but he didn’t know when he thanked God that there was no power at the time he escaped.
He had the guts to smile and moved his ‘danfo’ into the streets of Lagos, it was time for work. The jalopy sounded like an old cassava engine, but he didn’t care how it sounded, so long it fetched him the money he needed.
Sani scratched his beards. Anger was still breathing from his nostrils instead of air. He looked at his wife sitting on their neighbor’s veranda. Six hundred times since 2a.m., they’ve separated him from beating her to death, yet he still hadn’t given her bruises where he’d be satisfied. The bruises he had inflicted on her still looked like mosquito bite to him. He was known for his soft spot for women, he’d never hit his wife before, it was the reason his actions were surprising, yet understandable.
He couldn’t imagine the hunger in him to spoil her left eye, maybe bite off her ears, or even double the size of her lips. He hated his neighbors, especially when he started hearing things like: “she’s a woman, you can’t hit a woman like that”, “The day you lay your hands on a woman, you cease to be a man”, “That’s nonsense, no matter the crime she doesn’t deserve this.” But only mama Buki and her husband understood how sweet a husband Sani had been over the time they knew him.
The figure he pursued last night was recognizable, he thought to himself. He was a small man that’s why the fat guy he found with his wife had been so lucky to escape the big cooking spoon he’d raised at him. He was going to find him.
He suspected he should check the Shomolu area and investigate privately, who had entered the area at about 2 o’ clock at night. Though that area was big and his search could be pointless, but he was angry. He has seen his wife in that area several times.
He boarded a danfo—a danfo that seemed like it had 800 women inside: that’s how he saw the 18 women sitting in different sizes, and they talked at the top of their voices, speaking Yoruba as if it’s the last day they’d speak it.
He told the driver he was going to shomolu, he barely had his mind there. He was only thinking of how he would go about handicapping the big guy.
He was so furious he thought it was the end of his peace in the world, but somehow he was able to detect he could still control his anger.
The bus took a standstill somewhere on the road. This brought his mind back to the bus. The ladies never stopped talking. They’ve said a lot that he never paid attention to, it was all over Instagram how a woman was caught with another man, picture flying here and there, this was about the time the ladies switched the language as all the ladies in the bus started throwing comments on the topic and not all understood Yoruba.
“I was shocked by the incident when I saw it on Instagram, you’re in a man’s house and misbehaving.” One had said, she tied her head with a scarf.
“It might not really be the way you’re looking at it oh,” he heard the woman sitting at his left hand side say, very close to him. “The husband is probably not better, too. Or he’s just not good a husband as he should be,” she laughed and looked at Sani, “Or what do you think? I’m not making sense?”
Sani would have given her hot slap if it was fair. He looked at her, she was so short and black, although was a bit beautiful.
Another one talked from the back seat. “Why do some women stray, why can’t we be faithful?”
The one at his left hand side said again: “Emotional dissatisfaction.” It was clear she was in support of what Sani’s wife had done, and looked like she didn’t have a husband. He wanted to give her a dirty slap, she had a mouth like chicken bum.
“I couldn’t behold the face of the coward she had prefer to her husband. The thing that was actually attractive about the guy,” another one from close to the door said. The kind of women that talk with food in their mouth: she was eating groundnut.
“Please excuse those words, madam. Who else but that fat guy that stays in Shomolu? I’ve seen him in a situation like this, besides I’ve seen that lady on Instagram once in that area too. The boy is always after small girls and married women.” This was the one sitting beside his right hand side.
“Wait! Is it that guy that has scar close to his right eye? That ugly pig?” one said.
“You’re the one regarding him as pig, she doesn’t.” That same woman at his left hand again.
He almost had a heart attack hearing them talk. Had it been they were aware he was the victim. He heard one say: “I really pity the husband who has been thinking he had a good wife all along. Who knows this thing has been going on under his nose?
Gasti was in serious trouble. He heard the conversation of the women as he drove. He thanked God he’d picked his conductor as he drove out in the morning. He quickly wore his cap and drew the upper part down so it could cover almost down to his mouth. He was sweating profusely, and he drove like he wanted to fly over the vehicles ahead of him.
It was funny how both of them were in same vehicle where the incident that happened between them was the discussion that kept everyone busy, they could only listen and use the information the women would gave them, because, quite frankly, it was more than a radio discussion.
In Sani’s heart, he thanked God he had so much confidence that the scum back lived in shomolu. He was ready to fight the guy no matter how big he appears.
He paid the driver and headed forward.
He could use his help, he could ask him few questions that might lead him directly to the animal he was looking for.
He called him as he approached. “Please, if you were listening to the women in the bus, do you by any chance recognize the man they referred to?”
Gasti didn’t bother to raise his face because he already knew the person might just recognize him. “I don’t know,” he said.
Sani began to surmise it could be the idiot standing before him, judging from how fat he looked. “Ok.” But he did not move forward, he just swiftly pulled the cap off his face and he saw the scar near the eye.
All hell broke loose as he pounced on him and started punching his face. The women in the vehicle all came out and started shouting, trying their best to separate the fight, but the two men clung to themselves like two insects, inseparable.
As he rained punches on him, he keep saying, “I caught this idiot in my house with my wife.”
But Sani was surprised to hear them say, “Leave him, it’s not his fault, your wife did not stamp your name on her forehead.” “If you kill him, we will cease you here, it’s your wife that has a public bedroom.” “Have you killed your wife before attacking the innocent man like that? It is your lustful wife that needs to be hanged.”
Sani’s head spun around his neck as he heard too much and felt guilty. He got up from the fat fellow and just left shamefully. His shirt was out of order.
Gasti rose from the ground like a giant. “God bless all of you.”
“Will you keep quiet, idiot, you don’t know yourself,” one of the ladies retorted.
“We would have allowed him remove your nose as you can’t leave other people’s property alone, if not for the fact that we have somewhere going.”
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