Bros by Godwin Godson


As a resident of this town, you just had to get used to their noise. I could hear them from their position at my window, they just wouldn’t let me watch my movie in peace. I pause the movie, tighten my loose belt and head outside with all the trappings of a pouncing lion. I find them alarmed, their stiff bodies mixed into one another, every single one of them trying not to be the most reachable. They awaited me in silent guilt.

“You guys have begun this your noise again,” I say to them. “Do you want me to stop you from coming to the window too?”
“No! no! … brother, no!,” they cry.
“Bros, na Kennedy cause am,’’ says Paulo, the notorious bully.
‘‘Chai!,” screams Kennedy. “Brother na lie o! Ask them na, every time wey Paulo come, e go wan take person chance.” I ask the rest, “Is it Paulo that brought about the scuffle?” They don’t seem to understand. I go again. ‘’Who between them caused the quarrel?”

“You are just showing off for Ada and you know it”, says the regulator in my head. Perhaps, that’s exactly what I am doing. She’s the beautiful new tenant next door. She’s classy and independent like I like them. We haven’t had time to talk much but our sporadic conversations, I estimate, have been very promising.

The children still don’t reply. I catch Paulo eyeing one.
‘’Paulo, turn and face the wall.’’ He does so slowly.
‘’Now tell me, who caused the quarrel?’’
I point slyly at Paulo and they nod nimbly.
‘’Paulo, you can turn back now. Tell me what happened.’’

Paulo draws in a breath. He bends his body askew in a stylish manner. This boy’s self-esteem is worth noting. All the children in the compound call me ‘Brother’ in the customary way of showing respect. Bros, which Paulo called me would be expected of children way older than he.

“Bros”, Paulo begins, “Wetin cause the quarrel be say this small boy Kennedy wey I even know when dey pack come this compound, get mind tell me say your father.’’

“Bros”, Paulo begins, “Wetin cause the quarrel be say this small boy Kennedy wey I even know when dey pack come this compound, get mind tell me say your father.’’

The ‘small boy’ Kennedy celebrated his eigth birthday two months ago. Paulo’s ninth one, his mom told me, would be coming up next month.
Kennedy protested, “Brother, e still dey lie o! Ask them again na. Na Paulo insult me your father first before I insult am your father back.’’

‘Your father’ was one of the crudest insults on the streets. Naturally, ‘Your mother’ carried the same venom if not more. Only the very self-controlled or very religious didn’t turn into a raging beast at the mention of these words. Retorts like ‘You can insult me but if you dare insult my father, we will both die here’ were common on the streets everyday.

It was usually accompanied by an open palm dramatically stretched to face the opponent’s face. And very regularly, this was the first step to a full-blown fight. I, too, in my younger days, had tumbled in the dust times plenty over these very words. But here I was, the twenty-four year old, recently-graduated and recently-employed. I felt I had to act like it.

‘’Errm Paulo, even if he said ‘Your father’ to you, why does it bother you? Let me even ask you, how is ‘Your father’ in any way an insult?’’ Paulo’s frowned face shows he is having none of this.
‘’Since you said you are older than Kennedy, you are expected to act more maturely than he.’’
Paulo’s face makes me feel this great dislike for him and I would have vented it but I did not because of Ada. I want her to think I’m good with kids.

“You know something Paulo—‘’
“Bros,” he cuts me off. ‘So you wan mey all this small-small children dey insult me now abi?”
“Paulo, this is what I am saying, ‘Your father’ is not an insult, so why are you offended by it?”
‘’So Bros, na your judgement be this abi? No wahala. “Your father no be insult abi?” He says with all the tenements we show when we are about to be vindictive. He elongated his right hand to reveal his palm to me just as he said to me in a self-assured manner, ‘’Bros, your father.’’

Creative works (literature, art and culture) emerging from Nigeria.

Discussion2 Comments

  1. ??? Ngwanu, bros, continue your verbal dissertation on how ‘your father’ no b insult.

    Funny one, Godwin.

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