To Love and Never to Hold

Till death do us apart. And it did.

Akos has been waiting on his porch for hours. The angry grey clouds have been watching, plotting, conspiring to storm down at any moments. She’s on her phone, pretending to be on a call, hoping it’ll send the landlord a message. He’s been sitting outside too; in front of his own two-bedroom eyeing her. Up and down. Up, up and down again. Akos should have greeted when she came in. The ripped shorts and tight crop top probably worsened the situation too. She looked over at his dogs. Six of them. They looked just like the landlord; lean and hungry but this wasn’t the type of hunger that made you hungry. This was a hunger they have known for too long, making them too lazy to bother. She remembered a time when she was just like that till she met Elikem. The gate opened and he sauntered in just in time, before the senile landlord and his dogs could make a feast out of her.

Akos run to him, pushing through wind and sand, through the cold stares from the half-dead landlord. Elikem caught her breathless, tiny rivers of sweat running down her back, glistening her yellow-brown skin.

“I’ve been waiting for so long. What kept you now?” Akos whined, taking his briefcase from his hands.

“You won’t believe the traffic and heat I was stuck in. half of the people in the trotro got down before they even got to their destination. It was really bad.”

“Well, I’m here now. Change and bath. I will prepare something for you to eat.”

“You know my favourite”, he winked.

“I know, I know.”

Elikem rarely chewed so all you would hear is hearty swallows of carefully boiled pieces of yam generously dipped into garden stew. He didn’t notice the way Akos kept her hand on her belly the entire time. He didn’t notice how her breasts threatened to burst out of the seams of the tight yellow top she was wearing.

He reached out for a chilled pure water sachet sitting in a bowl. He tore lightly through it and belched loudly.

“I’m pregnant.”

The silence in the room fell quiet in in itself. Dead. That’s how it felt, like nothing as there.

“Won’t you say something Eli?”, she pleaded.

“Wow!!!! I’m so excited and very surprised. Why didn’t you mention the earlier?”, Elikem asked

“I wanted to be sure. I checked twice already and I’ve already seen some changes”, she smiled, “Here, feel it. I’m so happy?”, her smile dropping as she went on.

“No, no, no, of course I’m happy. How far along are you?”, he asked, smiling.

“It’s been a month and two weeks.”

“Have you told your parents?”

“Why do you think I am here? My dad ignored me and Maa threw me out. So…. well, we can’t say we didn’t see that coming. It’s how it always goes in the movies and local real life.”

Elikem stroked his beard, a cocktail of emotions in his barely brown eyes. Tiny hairs on his arms and legs stood up, his lips went dry but he kept the smile plastered permanently on his lips.

“From now on, leave all the cooking to me. The heavy work as well.”

“Oh, it’s not even time to start that yet”, she laughed nervously, relief dawning on her face.

“Doesn’t matter. Anything for my queen.”

There was blood everywhere. Tears too. Both cold and warm. Akos, lay on the floor, writhing in pain. She couldn’t shout, it would do nothing for her. She crawled into the kitchen, the blood following her in a crooked queue. Even though she was the only one in the room, she could her the screams of death. She grabbed a bottle from the table. She placed it beneath her and fetched the blood from under. The child that was not meant to be apparently but she couldn’t let her go. Her. It would have been a girl. She knew, mother’s instinct.

Elikem couldn’t stop shaking. Akos wouldn’t talk. It’s been three days. She wouldn’t eat. She just sat in bed with the bottle of blood tucked awkwardly in her arms. She would raise her hand occasionally to adjust the cloth she had placed around the ‘baby’. Elikem remembered the way they both cried for a child they never got to see. He didn’t sleep that night. The eerie sounds of harmattan winds felt like haunting baby cries.

“Akos, you can’t keep going like this. How are we going to make a new child if you keep doing this?”

It feels like centuries before she replies.

“I don’t know what you are talking about. Our baby is here. She is here,” she whispered, patting the top of the bottle.

Elikem got up from the bed, hopeless, tired. He headed for the bathroom with his phone. He propped his phone on the sink top, whiles he sat on the toilet. He grabs himself the woman from the phone moans. He rubs and strokes knowing nothing would happen, but hopeful anything is possible. He pours out a little oil and keeps stroking, faster, faster even faster. He keeps his thoughts in the gutter, purely dirty but when he looks down, there is nothing hard. Nothing. He would try again. He would have to keep trying, so that this time, the child would be his. He knew Akos would want him tonight. Angry and sad, he grabbed the thick plastic toy hidden deep under a pile of his shaving sticks and creams. He puts the lights off in the bedroom before going in with the vibrating stick. He shouldn’t have drugged her water. He should have given that baby a chance, even if it couldn’t possibly have been his.

“Are you ready baby, I’m ready.”

“I’ve put the baby to sleep.”

“Akos, you know…….”

“Don’t talk, can we put the lights on tonight? We always do it in the dark.”

“I like it better in the light. Now just lie down. Let’s make another baby.

“I love you.”

Grown

Abel was surprised to hear of lockdown. That it was something new to people. He’s been in it his whole life, except for when he goes to school and church, plus the occasional visit to some family member somewhere. His ma says the whole world is going mad.

Today is Saturday, Ma would soon be outside with her pestle and mortar, pounding furiously on boiled plantain and cassava. Abel loved Saturdays. On these days, he could come outside and play with the children next door. They’d bring empty tins of Ideal Milk and sardines; fasten them with bottle covers which were secured through holes punctured at four points in the tins-usually with his school compass.  Then, they’d put a roughly estimated length of broomsticks through the hole and attach it to the bottle tops. Everyone would make their own car and then they’d have a race on the compound. The girls would sit by the women, picking pieces of the pounded food that landed on the ground and scurrying off to make their own special meals.

In the middle of their car game today, Abel remembered something. He dusts the sand off his shorts and runs to his Ma.

“Ma, last night, I saw Uncle Attah in his bed and he was sleeping on top of one girl. what is the meaning of that?”

“Shut up! You didn’t see anything. Bad boy. Bad boy. Go back into the house.”

Abel’s shoulders drop as he walks away from his Ma. One of the older girls who were playing on their phones called when he was out of the sight of the adults. She pulled him into a corner.

“I can show you what they were doing. It is a very good good thing. It is called ‘Mama ne Dada.”

The girl puts her hand in his shorts and plays around. Abel looks at her, not understanding but yet, enjoying the moment.

“Don’t you like it?”

“Y….ye..yesss”, Abel stammers.

“Keep your mouth shut and it will be our little secret. Okay?”, the girl says and Abel and nods in response. She takes his hand and slips it under her skirt.

These days, all Abel looks forward to are Saturdays with the older girls. It’s those feelings he likes even more than playing with the other boys. Last week, he didn’t join his friends when they tied the ends of clothes around their waist and held the other two ends up high, in raised hands. Soaring with the wind in their back.

Today, he wasn’t even paying attention to the game they were playing. Araba, stole the tin from his hands. Abel chased her about. Jumping over the lazy cat, running into the bucket queue. He finally tripped over a stone. Abel fell with on his face with a loud thud and immediately run to his father whose muscles were bulging as he hit the pestle against the mortar.

“Da, Araba has taken my tin from me”, he wailed.

“Be a man. Wipe those tears boy. What do you think you’re doing coming to report to me? Go back there and make sure she knows who is macho. Hurry up before I slap you. Never ever let a girl beat you in anything” his father retorts.

Abel looks at his mother, hoping she’ll be more comforting but Ma ignores him and keeps turning the fufu this way and that, wetting it with water when she needed to.

“Are you still standing here?!”, his father screams. Able rans away before his father had the chance to throw anything at him. He notices the girls in the corner waiting for him. He shuffles towards them.

               ************************18 Years Later************************

“Why can’t you just love me Abel? You’re always busy moving around with one girl after another. It’s too much. You’re never at home, always out chilling and playing with the boys”, Abel’s girlfriend, Louisa shouts.

“Just go already Louisa, I was just having some fun. It was nothing serious but since you’re making such a big deal out of it, why don’t you just leave?”

“Women are not just things you can take and throw away when you’re done Abel. We are people. We are gods.”

“Yeah well, then just go destroy somewhere else, ‘god’” he sniggers, air-quoting with index and middle fingers on each had.

“You’re messed up and I hope you never find love.”

Louisa storms out only to return with two eggs.

“Wow, hold on there girl. should I bring you some pepper for those eggs?”
Louisa stands in the middle of the room and drops the egg to the ground after shouting that Abel will be miserable all his life. Abel just stares at her passively sends a text.

“Hey Hannah, come over tonight?

Eve.

I was the first woman

I was, I was, I was

I have been running on water

I am, I am, I am

Whispers, screams, silence

You were, you were, we were

You were the first god

Power, Eden , power

Till you made the second woman

Her, her, her.

I have not come to ruin

Chaos, burn, debris

Creation story two

I will make myself from dust

With, without, forgetting

Un-Nude

“I can’t believe you were able to come. Knowing your parents dierr,” Eyram says sneering

“Oh, it’s just strategy. I just told them I’m going for choir rehearsal”, Josephine laughs.

“Don’t tell me you’re wearing that?”

“Of course not, my mother won’t let me leave the house in what I want to wear so I packed it.  Give me a minute and I’ll change quickly.”
“Kwerh, I’m so glad our parents aren’t on Instagram. Like how would we post all these pictures.”

“I know right”. Josephina agrees, “I mean, she won’t let me out for any programs or shows. ‘Can I dye my hair mum?’ the answer is ‘no’. ‘what about a second piercing?’ the answer is still no. Do you even know the reasons she gives me? ‘what will the people in church say if I let my 15-year old daughter do all that?” she says, mimicking her mother’s voice.

“Study hard and become a nurse, then you will see what is like to be a mother, she says. I mean they even said I should stop being friends with you the last time you came into the house and didn’t greet.’

“Eiiibeaaa” Eyram screams.

“hmmm, they keep me at home all the time but they won’t even buy drink unless one of those annoying relatives are coming. This afternoon, I’m going to party harddddd at the party. I mean, those old people who call themselves parents have already enjoyed their youth. I see it in the photo albums. Dancing and having fun but they won’t let me live? Let’s go girl, tonight, is the night.”

The two girls sulk out of the washroom to the pools in their little red bikinis, arms flaying and prancing about. Eyram wiggles her waist to Sarkodie’s song, ‘Saara’. Excited to be out and free. A group of boys walk up to Josephine.

“Wanna join us?”, the prettiest boy amongst them asks, holding out a cup to her. Josephine signals to Eyram to join her and they head off with the boys to the poolside.

Laughter turns to slurred words and blurred visions. Josephine opens her eyes to find herself in a strange room. She tries to get up and notices a soreness between her legs. She touches her fingers to the space between her thighs and it comes back up with blood. Josephine screams.

    ***********************Two Weeks Later************************

“Josephine, you’re losing too much weight. What is wrong with you? you won’t even eat the good I cook. Meanwhile you yourself you can’t cook. Are you pregnant?”, her Ma asks her.

“No, Ma.”

“the bible says that, ‘being cheerful keeps you healthy but it is a slow death to be gloomy all the time. read your bible. Why aren’t you reading your bible? Don’t let the devil steal your joy.”

“Ma, did you have sex before marriage or done any bad thing when you were younger?” Josephine whispers.

“God forbids!!!! Me? I have never made that mistake before oo. in fact, I studied hard till I finished school, I focused on only my studies. Why would you ask a question like that? Are you not a virgin?!!”

“I am, I am, Ma.”

“Good.”

“I’m just feeling depressed.”

“Kai, depression does not exist oo my dear. It is the devil’s plan to get to you. just read your bible and eat my food. It will all be well. Now go and wash you face before you father comes. And smiles dear. Smile. This why you don’t have many friends oo.”

“I can’t believe she just said that, last time she said I have too many friends”, Josephine thought.

“Ma, I think I want to go for counselling.”

“For what? When you have God? Come on my dear, talk to God about it. why can’t you even talk to me?”

“So that you’ll take me for prayers and call everyone family member to announce what I said?”, Josephine wonders.

“I was just joking. It was a joke. I’m going to the room now.”

“Are you sure? You come and let me pray with you for just one minute.”

Josephine shuffles towards her mother, tears in her eyes. She holds hands with her mother; they both close their eyes.

“Father Lord God, any plan that the enemy has in connection with my daughter’s future. I break it. I destroy it. I send it back into their camp. Any enemy behind closed doors, in any forest, under any water, holding my daughter. I break it loose. I bond it. Amen!”

“Amen.”

“you have to shout it dear. Shout it.”

“Amen!”, she shouts with tears right behind her throat.

A woman for the gods

“Kodjoe, whatever you did, a man came here this morning. To the shop. He looks like your uncle who passed away last year. I swear he was wearing the cloth you buried him in. He said to tell you that the ritual you came to perform so you could sit on the stool was not accepted by the ancestors.”

“Really? But I……”

“Listen, let me finish. He said that you disrespected the gods by talking too much when you poured the schnapp and that the hen you brought was sick in the leg. He says if you want the stool and love your life, you should bring a young girl for the gods.”

“What!! As for the stool, I must sit on it. Whatever the stool demands. I will give it up.”

“He said you have ten days. Kodjoe, I’m scared. The place was windy when he came. He didn’t look human oo. whatever you have done, don’t come and drag the family into it.”

“As if when I sit on the stool you wouldn’t enjoy all the benefits with me. What did he say about Mensa’s own?”

“I heard Mensa was struck down ooo by a tree branch on his way from his farm. I heard he was drunk whiles doing the ritual for the stool so he drank most of the libation alcohol. Asare was found murdered in his compound. Everyone is waiting to see what will happen to you and then step forward to claim the throne. The gods want a woman, if you provide it but they kill you, there will be a struggle for the thrones. They are waiting for that.”

“I can’t believe they even dared to compete for the stool. The gods will not harm me, I will do it right this time.”

“What are you going to do about the girl?”

“Which girl?”

“The girl for the gods Kodjoe or they will do what they did to Mensa to you. his wife is already blind and his son, last year’s wrestling champion is running mad. You must do something. The village is in chaos. The gods want a woman to replace Paa, the chief priest after his mysterious disappearance. Everyone wants to be chief now. The gods were right to strike down the whole royal family for their abomination of mixing blood. We must rule, my husband”

“I have heard you woman. One of our two daughters must go.”

“Or what of your sister’s daughter? Our daughters will be princesses.”

“My sister will not agree to that. Pokuaa her only child after her husband died.”

“We will work something out. Come, let’s go before the strange man returns again. Let me lock the shop quickly.”

The sun is in quite a mood this hot afternoon, as clouds made sneaky tiptoes across the blue sky. The sun sent her fury down in scorching invisible rays, burning into the naked backs of the men and women. The wind seemed scarce on such days, unable to cool the long strings of beads of sweat running down sunburnt faces.

Kudjoe and his sister sat under the shade of a mellow mango tree. Avoiding the hot glares of our yellow friend.

“So, you are telling me you’ve come to take my daughter for the gods.”

“Sister, you have always said she is a troublesome and weird girl.”

“That doesn’t mean I want to give her off to the gods. She is all I have got, who will take care of me when I am old, who will give me grandchildren?”

“I will take you into my home when I ascend the stool.”

“How will that benefit me?”

“I will give you a young man to marry, so you can have more children. You are not old sister. I will give you as many maid servants as you please.”

“Bring your men for her tonight. Before others make the ritual to ascend the stool. You owe me brother.”

“I know.”

Kodjoe and his wife sit in the weary night with a bowl of boiled yam and stew before them. Kodjoe sits on his lazy chair, legs spread apart, taking in the view of his compound.

“What will you do first as chief?”

“I will organize a big feast for the whole village and we will drink and dine. Power is sweet.”

“It is ooo, my husband. I have ordered our daughters to pack their things because any time soon we will be moving to the palace. When will you send the girl?”

“Tomorrow. I can’t hang around for the other men to beat me to it. I know Agya Kwasi wouldn’t think twice before handing his daughter in. Neither will Appiah. They are all just waiting to see if I will fall. I cannot waste time. right now, it is fear that is keeping them back. Soon, I will fade and they will come forward to see the gods themselves. I must be fast.”

“Everything will be prepared tomorrow.”

Kodjoe balls plantain in his palm and dips it into the garden egg stew. He eats with a new hunger for glory, mixed with a thirst for power. His wife sits by with a lustful gleam in her eye. Planning how to spend her days as queen mother.

A girl clad in a white wedding dress sits on the floor with a veil on her face. She is surrounded by bottles of schnapps and bowls of food. The whole village is gathered around, wearing their best clothes. Mothers holding their usually-crying babies who are silent as if aware something ominous is about to happen. Men standing in groups, hoping for the fall of Kodjoe to get a chance to take the throne. Old men and women shake their heads, thinking about how a greedy man like Kodjoe will bring their ruin. Noses are high up in the air smelling the thick air of chaos.

“My fathers’ gods and my mothers’ gods, the new gods and the old gods, the dead gods and the living gods, I have brought your woman. I have brought her as a gift, as a sincere apology for my actions. I have brought her as a payment to a debt owed. I have brought her as a replacement for our old priest who has been missing for some time now.” Kodjoe says in front of the shrine whiles pouring a bottle of Schnapp on the ground.

“She is to serve you in place of our old priest.”  He lifts the veil and sinks to his feet. His wife rushes to his side.

“Kodjoe, this is not your niece, what is Nana Yaa’s daughter doing here? Where is your niece? What is all this?”

 Kodjoe remains speechless on the floor.

“She is your husband’s mistress.” His niece, Pokuaa walks up from behind the throne and says. “I exchanged my place with her, just as he would have done to you immediately, he sat on the throne.” Kodjoe’s wife screams, clapping her palm to her mouth.

“Kodjoe, I have borne you two daughters”

“And she has bore him a son”, Pokuaa laughs.

“What are you doing here?” Kodjoe says, screaming to the innocent girl in white.

“She said you wanted to marry me,” the girl in white points at Pokuaa, “before you ascend the stool. She came last night with the wedding gown. She told me to hurry and wear it and be ready here.” The girl says crying.

“You men and your gods and power. the gods have no real power because men in ourselves are immortal. We do not die. Maybe our flesh does but our spirits live on. We are merely gods too buried beneath flesh. You have made gods kings but they are nothing.”

There is a gasp from the crowd. Mothers gather their children between their legs and fathers whisper among themselves.

“We are gods, women. We are crowns who have birthed thrones and crowns. Get up,” Pokuaa says to the girl. I will not sacrifice to any gods who do not know the pain of giving birth, who do not know the pain of death. Choose me as your queen and I will reign better than any gods. I will put back glory on this village.”

“The gods will kill us if we abandon them”, a woman in the crowd shouted.

“We will do no such thing. We will only put ourselves first. We have seen men run in times of war with their gods on their heads and lost their lives all the same. Put your faith in a woman. I will lead you to war myself. I will not sit on some throne and demand sacrifice before I let you defeat your enemies.”

“We will not be led by a common woman”, one of the warrior shouts.

“She is right”, another woman shouts.

“For years, women have been cast aside and left to tend to farms whiles the men fought and hunted. Whiles the men made all the decisions. In these farms, I have seen animals eat animals and I have learnt from their ways. Follow me, I will create a new name, a new history for us.”

“If the gods end the whole village, then they will serve themselves”. All of a sudden smoke fills the air and everyone looks at Kodjoe holding a match, standing near a burning bush.

“Then the village will burn. Me and everyone in it. A woman will not rule, especially over the gods.”

The fire moves like a mad woman whose baby has been stolen, devouring everyone in its path. Are there gods? Shall we make them bleed? Shall we make every woman a queen?

Ashawo

“Boy, you do am! You do all. Then you dey trend for telegram”, Doske says when Willy enters the hall, “tell us how it felt, she sweet?”

“No, she dey smell. Check like white.”

“But she be black.” The boys laugh.

“I pull some of the weed then the sex toys”, Doske whispers pulling out herbs and a dildo.

“Yo, you know I’m on suspension. Next mistake and I’m out.” Willy looks around to make sure no one is watching.

“But you have to do it, I told boys it’ll be ready this weekend for entertainment night. It must go down.”

“I can’t”, Willy whimpers.

“You don’t have a choice.”

                 ************************************************************

“Ashawoo!!!!” the students in the dining room scream when Lorlor enters.

“How much?”

“Cheap!”

“We heard it is smelling. Candidiasis? Candy!”

“The tape was leaked. Have you watched it?!”

“When is the next one dropping?”

“Gbele mi,” the boys’ ang Joey B’s popular song

“This one for enter porn hub oo.”

“Boyfriend stealer. Man chaser.”

Judy walks up to her and hits her.

“Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!” the crowd chants.

“You threw yourself at him with your big black ass. Look at you. I know you bought bleaching cream and asked for a refund when it didn’t work. Dirty black whore.” Judy shouts as she punches Lorlor who has curled up into a ball on the ground. Some of the kitchen staff hold up their phones and take videos, climbing on the benches and tables to get a good angle. Judy grips Lorlor’s pants and rips them off.

“Ouuuu.” The boys holler.

“Does it smell?”

“Is it dirty?”

“What’s the size?”

“Here, check it.” Judy grins and throws the pants to one of the boys who catches it between his thumb and forefinger.

“Nice colour but I always preferred red.” He passes it on to another boy who passes it on to another boy and the cycle continues.

“Cheap girl.”

“So will you be sleeping with next?”

“I can’t believe we let her into scripture union”, One of the girls in the group huddled together squeaks-Gina, rubbing between her thighs.

“She is really gone now”, the president decided, “hold hands, let’s pray that God will save her and touch her. Tomorrow’s service will be on repentance and forgiveness. See you all tomorrow.

“It cannot be proven to be a homicide or suicide. Victim: Lorlor Adeze. Age: 19. Time of death: just an hour ago during school entertainment. Cause of death: poison. I can only give more details after examination”

“Cheap killer on our hands then. I want a list of every student at this…..party? A list of dorm mates and class mates. Teachers and housemasters. ASAP. I want her background, history and since this is a secondary school, gossip,” Detective Sheila says.

Interview with Miss Gloria, Lorlor’s Housemistress

Detective: marks on Lorlor’s body show some sort of physical abuse. Some of the other girls confirmed that she was being beaten by other housemates. Why did you do nothing about this?

Miss Gloria shifts uncomfortably in her seat.

Miss Gloria: I had no knowledge of such incidents.

Detective: Really? Because the marks are very visible. I have to question your competence as a housemistress and since I am running this through the headmistress of the school, I am sure you will be fired.

Miss Gloria: no please. You know how it is with these girls.

Detective: I do not

Miss Gloria: it’s only because a murder happened that the girls are talking. There was no evidence of who was beating her.

Detective: You mean apart from the videos showing it. Why are you really protecting Judy?

Miss Gloria: I’m not protecting her.

Detective: it has nothing to do with the fact that you have been sleeping around with her father?

Miss Gloria: ummm..ummm

Detective: The case has not been determined as a suicide or a murder. The circumstances suggest that the girl may have been so bullied she may have taken her life herself but investigation is showing that people had a reason to want her dead. We found a computer in the lab with picture of you and Judy’s dad. She was blackmailing you.

Miss Gloria: yes, but I would not kill her.

Detective: oh but you already did when you allowed her get beaten and stepped on. A recording of this interview will be sent to the school heads. Better pack your things ma’am.

“There is new evidence detective. Lorlor was a virgin.”

“Crap, which means she is not the girl in the video. Ran the video through experts and let’s see what we can get out of it. Let’s find out who really is the girl in the video.”

Interview with Willy, Judy’s Boyfriend.

Detective: what do you remember from that night?

Willy: which night? They have been so many good nights.

Detective: Cheeky huh? What do you remember from the night you allegedly slept with Lorlor.

Willy: Allegedly? It cannot be allegedly. It happened and it was consensual.

Detective: describe Lorlor.

Willy: Lorlor was an attention seeker. Desperate for even a glance in her direction. She acted the part of the holy girl and all but we all know now what she really is……

He keeps his hands down, constantly scratching between his thighs.

Detective; so let me guess, you think your little incident with her made her popular.

Willy: it sure did but it was not anything she didn’t like.

Detective: were you drunk?

Scratching noises from Willy fill the room in a moment of silence.

Willy: no

Detective: Really? That’s not what Doske said.

Willy: no, he wouldn’t say that. He wouldn’t.

Detective: we spoke to some of your house boys. We threatened to run a drug test and guess who squealed about you and Doske selling drugs. Doske said it was all you. As a boys’ prefect I expected him to do that. So, my guess is almost all the student population was high that night. Including you. examination proves that Lorlor is a virgin which means she is not the girl in the sextape. We also know after thorough sweeping of the school computers that someone was threatening you about exposing your little drug empire. And a few hours later, Lorlor is poisoned.

Willy: if I didn’t sleep with Lorlor, who slept with me?

Detective: are you really asking me that? Lorlor was killed with antifreeze which is very easy to make in you school’s laboratory. I would have said per your academic records you are too dumb to do that but I guess google makes you all smart so she wasn’t poisoned at the party. Meaning the killer slipped it in probably the day before. Which means it has to be someone she’s comfortable with but you’re still a suspect.

Willy: I didn’t even know who was threatening me. So, it was Lorlor?

Detective: the username suggests so. It is consistent with a certain name she uses in her diary-Agni. Then again, she might be referring to someone else.

Willy: I can’t be a suspect. I’m the hockey team captain, we have a match and I already have one strike for the disciplinary committee.

Detective: should have thought of that before getting involved in all this. Now the video has come to the attention of you school authorities. All the best with that too.

Willy: I didn’t have a choice.

Detective: we all do. You did when you let her get beaten by your girlfriend and called names. When you isolated her. I’ll get back to you later.

Interview with Judy, Willy’s girlfriend.

Judy: I didn’t do anything.

Detective: no one said you did

Judy; but I know what you are all thinking. The videos of me beating Lorlor and everything. I know the other girls snitched on me too. That I put sand in her bathing bucket and putting poop on her bed and all that. I will fight for a man but I won’t kill for one.

Detective: Lorlor was a virgin.

Judy: what? No. she was in the video.

Detective; no, she wasn’t. you assumed she was.

Judy: well I couldn’t see the face but the figure and colour was like her.

Detective: well, it wasn’t her. You hit on the wrong person. It wasn’t her.

Judy; why would she protect someone else?

Detective: no one knows for now. Did Lorlor ever retaliate during after any of your……” pranks”?

Judy: someone did. But I don’t think it was from Lorlor. Lorlor was a very secretive kind of girl. She had no close friends except the scripture union people she walks with. But she stopped going after the news and all that spread.

Judy itches underneath her abdomen and scratches her head.

Judy: It’s not like I blamed Lorlor for sleeping with Willy. I blamed him too. He doesn’t have sex with me for about a month and I catch him in on it with someone who is not even as sexy as me. May her soul rest in peace of course. I dealt with him.

Detective; but there are no videos of you beating him or bullying him.

Judy; I mean, it’s not like it was him. He was high and drunk.

Detective: and that is enough reason to beat the girl? How do you know she wasn’t too? Why is she the whore?

Judy: well I mean, well……………………….

Detective: well you made a mistake. Did you know your father is having an affair with your housemistress?

Judy: what!!

Detective: were you threatening her?

Judy: why would I do that?

Detective: don’t ask me. Why did you bully Lorlor? Who even really knows psychology anymore with all these twisted minds? Especially you teenagers.

Judy: I wouldn’t threaten her. I’ll beat her up.

“I think I have an idea on what we are looking for. I have to speak to a few more people.” Detective Sheila says to herself as she sips on a can of Blue Jeans Energy drink.

Lorlor’s mother.

Ma daugta no bi beaten just here. Them beat am before before. Kg and primary. The small small pikin no wan’ play with am cause them fear to turn black. Ma Lorlor black. They no like. They call her charcoal. They no like say her mama bi market woman. them kill ma baby. It bi the boy. I see the picture.

Interview with the S.U group.

 Detective: I gather Lorlor was part of this group?

President: yes, but after the sextapes and rumours came out, we couldn’t take her in

Detective; let me guess, because you’re too holy for us all?

President; actually no, we would have taken her back even if she murdered someone. Pardon the pun.

Detective; go ahead.

President: but after it happened, she changed.

Detective: how?

Detective: she become very closed. Even more than usual. Absorbed with something. She wouldn’t let any of us near. So Gina suggested we give her some space.

Detective: which of you is Gina?

Gina: that’s me.

Detective: okay. So why did you decide to give her space?

Gina: because most of the time when a girl become closed, they just need to think and grow in their own space?

Gina keeps her fingers between her legs, head down.

Detective: really? Not reached out to and helped? What did you people do when she was being bullied?

President: we took her in and became her friends.

Detective: but you did nothing to stop it.  President, what is your name?

President: I’m Peter.

Detective: what was your relationship with Lorlor like.

President: we were great. She talks to me at times, shared a few secrets.

Detective; anything that may give insight on this case?

President: yes, before she went distant, she mentioned that she had discovered someone, new. She never mentioned who but I think it is one of Judy’s close friends in her squad. That group has an inner group. She might have been talking about one of them.

Detective: Thank you.

“Detective the tech team had confirmed that Lorlor was the one blackmailing both her housemistress and Willy as well as Doske. The boys also confirmed that Doske, the head boy used his position to make Lorlor pay for personal grievances. She is reported to have done several punishments for no apparent crime. There is also one more person that was being threatened by Lorlor but we have no idea.”

“And the girl in the video?”

“We are beginning to believe that she was someone hired to do this because the body in the tape was hidden by the boy, all the girls have their hair cropped.”

“Really?” the detective smirks, opening another can of Blue Jeans.

“Gina, you are under arrest for the murder of Lorlor?”

“What?”, the crowd screams along with Gina.

“You were the one in the video. I can tell by the hands always near your privates. In the interview you, Willy and Judy were itching your private. STDs. You’re the one who was in the video. The one Lorlor had discovered. Angi interchanged is Gina. When everyone took it for Lorlor you let it ride on but she threatened to expose other parts of the video she claimed to have. Why did you have to wait for Willy to be high though?”

“We were seeing each other on and off earlier this year. He was getting tired of me but I loved him so much. He was avoiding me. Lorlor took the sextape video to get back at Judy for being mean to her because of being Lorlor and well it backfired. To keep her quiet, I told her about her housemistress’ dirty game with Judy’s father and that Doske, the school head boy sells drugs and sex toys. But then she had to bring Willy into it and started blackmailing me. I had to.”

“Shame on you for ending a life and soul. You made her last years terrible. All of you. her housemistress has been fired and Doske will also be replaced as the school head. Lorlor was guilty of blackmail but only to get fairness she deserved. Shame on everyone who took part or stood by. Gina, you have the right to remain silent, anything you say or do can be used against you in the court of law.

Kubolor

Adjetey won’t you stop playing with car tires and help your mother sell fish?

Your mother helped her mother when she was your age, won’t you do the same?

It was just yesterday, that a ‘trotro’ almost run you over but the driver and mate were not to blame.

Adjetey it’s enough swimming for today at the beach with more rubbish than sand,

Staying at the smelly shores, cartwheeling and imitating live bands

You don’t repair your father’s fishing nets; you would rather join the boxing spectators in the sun.

Adjetey, Accra is a starving widow that eats the left-behind alive

The only English word you know is ‘sea’ but that is not the matter; the matter is that you don’t try

All you know is your little boy gang, all you know is the kenkey and shitor on fire.

Adjetey, houseflies swarm around the sore on your leg; the one you got from joining the motor riders as they screeched in town,

Come, carry your mother’s goods on your head

Back home to your shack; it’s late and the mosquitoes are gathering.

Adjetey, tomorrow you can join you father’s boat go

You know, the one with ‘Gold Coast’ painted on it in rich yellow

Tonight, I hope you dream of mermaids and ships.

How to go Mad

The truth is Yara has never had a problem with men. At six, she had broken the hearts of two boys. And after that, well let’s just say she knew she won’t be wearing white to her wedding.

She liked to think of herself as Everybody’s Girl. Totally unselfish.

Now, Yara tries on a midnight blue backless dress, then a see-through bright yellow one. Finally, she settles on a black short silk dress with half her chest on display. She wears black underwear under it and it fits like a second skin. She picks out a pair of red daring heels to match her bold red lipstick. She puts her brown faux locs in a big bun, black drip glasses sliding ever so slighting down her nose. Finally, her golden hoop earrings. She picks up her phone and takes a picture. Caption: Hide your men. She posts it on her WhatsApp status.

They haven’t met very often but the few times have been great. She meets him at odd places like university hotel rooms during the vacation. He drives there in his black Kia with his tinted windows rolled up. Tonight, they meet at a little shack that might be called a bar if a bar sells cheap alcohol with terrible live band. His wife calls, asking what to cook for dinner; she sounds quite happy. Almost has happy as Yara is at that moment. There is something about knowing you have something someone thinks they have to themselves, that makes everything so much more pleasurable. He follows her on Instagram under a different name, almost always the first to like every picture of hers.

Solo holds her hand. The right one with four rings.

“I’ll take you home with me tonight”, he says, pink lips perfect in the awful green light.

“Won’t your wife be home?”, Yara asks.

“Exactly, where is your sense of fun?”.

“You know all my five sense are fun. I’m sure if you’re sure”, Yara replies with a smirk quickly forming on her face.

“Let’s go.” He grabs her hand and they stumble out into his car to break a heart.

Maybe it’s the irony of white sheets or that his wife is next door but Yara feels so high.

“Hey, Solo”, his wife says, standing by the doorway.

Yara knows it’s her because she’s been stalking her for months. Yara knows she graduated from UCC and opened a tailoring shop. Yara doesn’t cover her naked body, a smug smile forms on her lips. She turns to see Solomon smiling too.

His wife, Judy, walks over and hugs him.

“I’ll bring the food in”, she says.

“Hey there.”

‘Hey there? What does that mean?’, Yara thinks.

It’s takes a moment for her to understand. Solomon never looked nervous when they were out, he never spoke about his wife being suspicious. A sickening realization dawns on her. Suddenly, Yara knows she has been cheated on all these years. She was not the one who knew she had something someone thought they had all to themselves. She was not the one stealing. She picks up her clothes, feeling she’s already wrapped in a web of hurt and lies. Solo doesn’t even try to stop her. He watches quietly. Yara wonders how many more there are, like her.

She sits in an uber; pieces of her heart floating above her but they stay there in the uber with her because they have nowhere to go. She’s mumbling something. Our girl Yara, has gone mad. She throws her hooping earrings out the uber window. She cleans her now bloody-no longer bold- lipstick with the back of her hand. She deletes her twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp account. She deletes all pictures of him, of his wife, of him and her. She looks quite insane with her lips smeared red and mascara spread around her eyes. You can tell she is going to build a shrine. she picks every dress she’s worn to see him out of her wardrobe and straight into the little fire she’s built.

She looks at the map she’s created on the wall, filled with pictures of Solo and his wife. Those she’d printed from the internet. She throws a knife into the map, then colours it all red with the lipstick she wore tonight.

Our Favourite Wife

“When you finish washing the clothes, my mother says you should remember to do the shopping at Kantamanto market for her. She says she would WhatsApp the list of foodstuffs”, Ernest shouts to Maame Esi. It’s a sunny Saturday and Ernest is on the phone with his mother. Maame Esi, his wife of three years is on a short wooden stool sweating. You would be too if you had to wash your husband’s clothes, your clothes, your brother-in-law’s clothes and those of your two children as well. The youngest child is tied to Maame’s back, wailing loudly, runny nose and all.

No, the story doesn’t begin with a smart Maame Esi being forced to give up her schooling to get married. That’s a bit old isn’t it? In fact, Maame Esi wasn’t too bright at all. Like most people, she fell in love at 19 and got married at 23; after school of course, with a third class lower in education.

“Please clean my room, Maame Esi”, her brother-in-law says.

“Of course,”, Maame says, smiling indulgently.

“My toy ma, I can’t find my toy”, Maame’s two-year old son wails.

“Here it is Nana, it was under the chair”, Maame sighs, handing it over to him.

“Darling, my father will be coming this afternoon. You will prepare his favourite mashed plantain, won’t you?”

“Yes, surely”, she replies.

Even though Maame Esi must have once been the brightest girl in the room I remember she had dreams. They were killed at thirteen; held at gunpoint and executed. Maame Esi’s mother would often spend every afternoon after school with in the kitchen cooking. The evenings were spent cleaning. At the end of the day her hands smell like key soap and ginger, too worn out for school.

There is nothing more to say when they buy dolls for girls and race cars for boys. Well, Maame Esi is still our favourite wife.

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