Loko (Part III)
Another of such moments with Loko never to be forgotten was the night that Iya-Osu, the popular seller of amala and gbegiri at the roads’ junction had locked Loko in overnight. As it happened, earlier on in the evening Loko had had one of his rarest tranquil moods and mingled with the crowd at the coronation of the new otun of Dagbolu. The men had had all they could of the generous undiluted palm wine placed in gourds at several angles of the coronation ground yet there was still plenty left by the time Loko joined in towards the tail end of the day. He secured himself several calabashes of the sweetened liquor which he downed sitting at a little stone in a corner. Surprisingly, the men had been too busy or excited that no one seemed to care about Loko. Soon he got himself drunk. In his grogginess, he needed a place to lay his head and his legs took him to the restaurant. Iya-Osu and her girls were immersed in their cooking in readiness for the next day’s business and no one saw Loko when he sauntered in. Once in the darkened shop he located a spot under the long canteen table where he balled himself into a tight knot. Soon the day was over with the stew of fish and meat, and gbegiri and ewedu soups finally ready, the seller and her attendants locked the door and went their way. They had locked Loko in with all the food prepared.
When the effect of alcohol waned, Loko came to and was welcomed to the world by the sweet smell of rich food. This was an unfamiliar experience. He crawled up and located the pots. What a blessed night! Loko turned the pot of stew into that of gbegiri soup, he added the ewedu and unwrapped several wraps of the fufu left over from the previous day’s business into the mixture. He treated himself to an all-night feast.
Iya-Osu shrieked like a maniac the following morning when upon opening the door she was confronted with the sight of Loko sprawled atop the canteen table, stripped to the torso, his belly oily-rounded. He was enjoying an innocuous light sleep snoring through lips gagged at a split with a dribble of spittle coursing down one side of the mouth. Iya-Osu’s alarming voice woke him. Loko rose without hurry into a sitting position. He turned his neck about, wiping with the back of his hand the dribble on his cheek, taking in the environment, and when he now realized he was out of zone, he began to rise to his feet. He had no belt, thus he made the upper part of his trousers into several folds to fit his waist. He then began to leave. He looked totally expressionless, almost numb.
Iya-Osu, inspired by her loss, pushed her way through the small crowd that her shout had attracted to the scene; she summoned a rare courage and ran to the next meal shop where she snatched out of the fire a long wood shimmering red at one end. She came with a blinding fury and throwing all her weight into the stick she whacked it across Loko’s trunk. The force was so much that she herself had staggered and struggled for balance. Loko faltered under the weight like a tall tree buffeted by a strong gale. A peel of skin came off with the hot end of the wood and blood began to ooze. Loko winced once and continued to walk away in his usual slow measured manner. And as he went pastes of faeces escaped to the ground from the lower end of one of his trousers legs. Houseflies rallied and trailed his track. For several days afterwards, Loko was not seen. Then the dated scrawls on the walls resumed. Life in Dagbolu continued with Loko as an indubitable thread in its fabric.
Last Posts in the Series – Loko:
- Loko (Intro): Life on the Street of Dagbolu
- Loko (Part II): The Day Loko Chased Abraham
Next Post in the Series – Loko:
- Loko (Part IV): Loko’s Sudden Rise From Grass to Grace