Have you seen my beautiful baby? Have you seen my tomato baby o? (iyele)…
Obinna watched his bride as she boogied to the tune of the music blaring from the huge speakers. It was the couple’s Igba Ukwu (traditional wedding ceremony In Igboland).
‘The groom cannot even dance!’ one of the guests remarked.
‘You can’t blame him,’ another countered, ‘must have been stressed out!’
Obinna nodded in affirmation to the last comment. Stress, was just an understatement; he was seriously under pressure. And while his bride danced in reckless abandon, his eyes scanned through a cross-section of the guests.
‘Have you seen Chief Ikenga?’ he whispered to his best man.’
‘My guy, I heard chief’s wife had a fatal accident last night and…’
Obinna’s attention drifted from the rest of the details. How could Chief Ikenga of all people be missing in today’s action? He pondered.
‘Nne, biko,’ he beckoned to his younger sister, please, check that polythene bag very well…’
The young girl tactfully checked the collection bag where the guests dropped the money they ‘sprayed’ on the couple.
‘Broda, majority of the naira notes inside that bag are green ooo…,’ she informed Obinna.
Obinna restrained himself from collapsing, as several thoughts flew past his mind.
How would he recoup all the expenses incurred on his ‘grand’ wedding? He had bragged to his friends of realizing at least half the cost of the wedding on the wedding day.
‘Obinna, biko dance,’ his friends hailed him, ‘stop forming big man.’
‘I know the kind of music that would boost my guy’s morale,’ the best man smiled.
And without much ado, the concerned best man beckoned on the MC.
‘Please, tell the DJ to change the music to, ‘I don get alert!’
As the memories of the grand wedding lingered on people’s mind afterwards, Obinna’s anxiety increased. Numerous calls from his creditors eventually forced him back to Lagos three days after the event.
The only option left for the young man was his savings with the esusu savings scheme he joined at the Oshodi market where he trades.
‘Here comes the latest bachelor in town!’ Wale, one of the traders at the Oshodi market remarked on sighting Obinna alighting from the bike.
‘My brother, the ground is not level yet ooo,’ Obinna replied as he joined his counterpart in the shop.
‘Are you not supposed to still be on honeymoon?’ Wale teased, ‘Wetin dey pursue you?’
‘Wale, I need money badly more than central bank. I can’t wait to collect my esusu money.
‘Pele, after all your guests have eaten and ‘cleaned’ their mouths, you’re now bearing the burden.’
‘Wetin man go do?’ replied Obinna.
‘I can understand,’ Wale nodded, ‘my sister is having her freedom next week; so, me too I need that esusu money ooo.’
And while they conversed, Mama Binta joined them.
‘Happy married life, Obinna!’ Mama Binta greeted. ‘How is iyawo?’ she added.
‘She’s fine. Have you finished selling your Kunu so soon?’
‘No. I left it with Binta. I need to collect my esusu money to get some fresh supplies.’
Few minutes later, the custodian of the esusu fund, Honourable Johnbull strolled in.
‘Good morning!’ he began sweating profusely, ‘please I’m very sorry for the delay. The traffic was hectic…’
‘Oga, go straight to the point, my creditors are pursuing me!’ Obinna interrupted.
‘Calm down, Oga Obinna,’ Mama Binta intervened, ‘can’t you see the way the man is sweating?’
‘Concerning your money,’ Honourable Johnbull continued, ‘actually… I’ve been in shock…yes… I’ve been in shock since last night…I’m still in shock actually’
‘Oba Eludumare,’ Wale whispered. ‘When did Honourable started stammering?’
‘For some time now, some rats have been disturbing my neighbourhood,’ Honourable Johnbull paused as he wiped the sweat on his face.
‘Tales by moonlight! Give me my money jo!’ Obinna roared.
‘Actually…last night when I counted the money it was complete…and…’
‘Mr. Actually, kilo sele gan gan?’ Wale began to tremble.
‘Actually…some of those unruly rats invaded my house last night…’ he paused, wiping his face.
‘Those heartless rats carried out a massive invasion of my safe…’
‘With my money, abi?’ Obinna seized him by the collar, ‘I’m going to turn you into a pussycat today!’
‘You’re playing with fire o!’ Wale grabbed him by the trousers, ‘we shall all escort you to the animal kingdom!’
‘Oga, Honourable, I’m begging you in the name of God, that money is for my kunu business,’ Mama Binta, cried with both arms on her head, ‘I’m just a poor widow!’
The uproar attracted the attention of several spectators.
‘Wonders shall never cease!’ an onlooker remarked, ‘rats swallowing money, just like that?’
Final remark: Animal kingdom! Does this story sound like another tales by moonlight? You must be living under the rocks if you think it is.
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