Loko (Part V)
Loko had resigned his post as a school teacher and was doing business now or so he told the people. He was out of town a lot and the new house was under lock and keys while he was away, yet his parents lived under a thatched roof that leaked mercilessly whenever it rained. Many a morning, Loko was seen on the balcony among his friends – he had attracted quite some now – drinking palm wine supplied by an early tapper while everyone went about their daily endeavours. Loko’s place whenever he was in town had become a place of merry.
He had a peculiar smoking habit. He was found with a stick of cigar quite so often. Wherever he sat, used match sticks with black burnt heads littered the floor. Actually, he did not smoke much. Rather, he would light a cigar and take a lungful gust and the thing would be suspended in his fingers burning and smoking away while Loko was lost in a conversation with someone. Then the embers would be overtaken with ashes and the thing would be extinguished. Several minutes after, he would suddenly remember he had been smoking and once again jut the cigar in his lips and struck another match stick. To a stick of cigar Loko would require some twenty-something sticks of match. This peculiar smoking habit had now even been accentuated against the background of Loko’s fortune.
People doubted that Loko ever slept in his grand house for each time he came to town, he arrived in the morning and he was seen driving off by dusk. One of his women became pregnant and Loko went to pay the bride price and took her for a wife but she remained in her parents’ house because Loko was rarely in town. Few months later she bore him a son and Loko’s parents-in-law called him and told him it was time he took he wife under his roof. With reluctance he agreed and the woman packed under his roof on the day his son was to be named.
Loko had called the town to a celebration over the birth of his son and in the evening when the guests had gone away and the compound had quieted down, Loko told his wife he was going away for the night as usual.
“Must you go even this night?” his woman sounded edgy. “What if I need help with the baby in the night?” she said.
Loko got pensive for a moment and then he shrugged, “All right, I will stay,” he agreed. He headed for the fridge, got himself a bottle of booze and went downstairs to sit in his car alone. Several hours had passed then his wife, about to go to bed, came on the balcony calling for him.
“I have made the bed, please come up and sleep,” she invited. Already Loko was half asleep in the front of his car with the unfinished bottle of beer in the crook of his thighs. Woken by the woman’s voice, Loko yawned and rubbed his eyes, “All right, dear, I am coming right away,” but rather than come, he repositioned himself and went back to sleep with renewed grace.
Soon a drizzle began and it gathered a rapid momentum to become a real downpour, Loko’s wife came on the balcony the second time, but this time, her man had wound up the car windows to shield from the rain. And so it was that whenever Loko was obliged to pass the night at home, he slept coiled up on the seat of his car rather than the large bed within his grand new house. By the time that this habit filtered into the ears of town, people’s insinuations about Loko’s sudden wealth were further primed.
“Such is the way of houses built with ritual money; there’s a terror which prevents the owner from passing the night under such roof,” the people said. And to respond to them Loko took his car to town and had emblazoned in white paint on the both sides “Ipako o gbo suti, ori el’egan lo daru”. It meant “my back is turned at you; I can’t even hear your rants”.
Last Posts in the Series – Loko:
- Loko (Intro): Life on the Street of Dagbolu
- Loko (Part II): The Day Loko Chased Abraham
- Loko (Part III): Loko's Blessed Night in Iya-Osu’s Shop
- Loko (Part IV): Loko’s Sudden Rise From Grass to Grace
Next Post in the Series – Loko:
- Loko (Part VI): The Headless Corpse of Loko's Mother