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A fast decision had to be made. Kelechi, apparently sorry about what he had done, decided to join his friend, Chibuike and Ugochukwu, Nonso’s friend, to take the wounded to the hospital. After contemplating how he would be taken to the hospital, they decided to use a wheelbarrow since they could not get a motorcycle or taxicab, as it was already bedtime. So, Chibuike went to a nearby house and woke its residents, pleading with them that he needed their wheelbarrow. When asked why he needed the wheelbarrow, he lied that he was going to use it to purchase some drinks. The residents wondered who on Earth would sell drinks at such an ungodly hour, but for security reasons, decided to oblige the pleadings of Chibuike and gave their age-long wheelbarrow to him. Chibuike looked at the wheelbarrow with contempt and swore as he rolled it away that he would not have taken it, if not for the emergency.

When he arrived at the hall, Nónso was placed in the wheelbarrow, with his bleeding head already tied with the long sleeves he wore to the party. They had gone only half-way to the hospital, when the boys in blue accosted them, demanding to be told what had happened. The whole story was then relayed. Then, the policemen decided to take Kelechi with them to the police station which was merely a stone’s throw, while Chibuike and Ugochukwu rolled Nónso to the hospital. About five minutes later, Kelechi found himself at the station where abuses were hurled at him.

How could you have been so heartless and careless to have hit a bottle on your fellowman’s head,” asked a constable. He didn’t bother to answer because he knew they were already angry with him. As they kept firing insults at him, the Divisional Police Officer (D.P.O), Mr. Paul Ugwuanyi arrived and demanded to know why they brought somebody to the station at a time as late as that. After he was told the whole story, he ordered his men to keep the young man in a cell until morning and then bring him to his office. In the cell, he met three notorious criminals. One of them was the one they called ‘boss,’ while the other two were his ‘boys.’ The boss asked Kelechi to scratch a particular spot on his back where he had an injury. When he refused to do so because of the big sore around the spot, the boss gave him a hard slap and threatened that he would tear him open like a rhesus monkey if he did not do as he said. One of the boys told Kelechi to do as he was told if he did not want any problem. Kelechi painfully did as he was told. In a short while the three of them dozed off, leaving Kelechi, the newcomer to battle with the veteran mosquitoes who had successfully secured a niche for themselves regardless of their short bloodsucking life spans. After some time, he also fell asleep. At about 7:00 am, Kelechi was already in the D.P.O’s office. The D.P.O, Mr. Ugwuanyi came in wondering why a handsome young man like him could have been so violent.

What is your name and who are your parents,” Mr. Ugwuanyi probed. “How did you even grow up?”

My name is Kelechi Onyeabor,” he began. “My parents are Ifeanyi and Oluebube Onyeabor, and they are both natives of Nnewi town. I was born many years ago in this very town. I am the only son of my parents but not the only child. My father was a palm wine tapper. He took care of the family with money he got from the sale of palm wine he tapped each day. When I was seven years old, he started taking me along with him when he went tapping palm wine and I usually drank a cup from every tree he tapped. So I became a lover of alcohol because it was bred-in-the-bone. In fact, when you talk about drinking, I am a chip off the old block. When I was still in short trousers, I started substituting palm wine for other alcoholic drinks. In due course, I had to spend my money on drinks because my father eventually stopped tapping palm wine. One morning, on his way to the wild, he got bitten by a green mamba. Scared of having yet another experience, he swore never to tap palm wine again.

I gained admission to the Federal Polytechnic, Nekede where I studied Mass Communication. I started attending parties at school and soon became one of the best dancers. I attended almost every all-night party and was also the best binge drinker. I could take twelve bottles of beer in a row without tottering. I became a popular guy and was usually called ‘Onyeisi.’ After I graduated, I didn’t quit attending parties. I was invited to every night party held in this vicinity including the party where this incident occurred last night. It was Nónso who provoked me, I don’t usually fight at parties,” he concluded.

You mean you didn’t look for any work to engage yourself with after you graduated from the polytechnic?”

I worked for a Newspaper company as a correspondent but called it quits because I was not well paid. Then I went in search of a job elsewhere, but did not find a suitable one.”

But your efforts were not constant. You cannot expect somebody to offer you a job at home except you are a professor emeritus. If you had sought harder, you would have found a good job. Does the bible not say that if you keep seeking, you will find? Please, be more serious about life; for crying out loud, a supposed journalist like you should not be out causing trouble for others. So you have to go and check on your friend at the hospital and pay his bill. I will let you go because I like you, and unlike others I am sure you are not dissonant. I also see you as someone with a bright future. So I want you to refrain from attending night parties, rather look for a job and you will prosper. Lest I forget, steer clear of bad friends.”

Kelechi was happy that he would not be detained in the police station. He was discharged and given his long sleeves which had been taken off him earlier on. When he checked the breast pocket, he was dumbfounded because he could not find the two hundred naira that was in there when he arrived at the station. Without finding out who took the money, he told a constable: “please, give me back my money.”

Which money?” the constable asked.

The money that was in my breast pocket when I got here, the one you stole!” Kelechi replied sharply.

Your father is a thief,” retorted the constable. “So do you think it fit to come here and go free like that? No my friend, you cannot have your cake and eat it too. Now come here before I descend on you!”

Your father is a nitwit,” Kelechi said and took to his heels like billy-o.


The meanings of Igbo words and expressions as used in this story are given below.

Nna m, gini mere?  -----------------------My father, what happened?

Biko ----------------------------------Please

Egwu mmanowu -----------------------------Igbo masquerade dance

Na odika isi kwue! ---------------------------------------Amen! (so be it; surely)

Noro nwanyo!  --------------------------Keep quiet!

Nwoke m! --------------------------------------Young man!

O buru na nwata enpu isi oga ataa ahuhu --------------- If a child does not humble himself, he will                                                                      suffer adversity

Nwaanyi a!  ------------------------------This woman!

Nwanne, idi sharp! -------------------------------------Smart guy! (a hail word)

Ibu ajo mmadu! --------------------------- You are a bad person!

Chineke m! ------------------------------- God (as used- my God!)


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