Twisted – Short Story
By: Orija Gbemisola
“Sanjo o oo ….” I already knew the routine! How could I forget?I thought as I scampered into my aunt’s bedroom at exactly 6:00am in the morning .I greeted her hastily and bent to pick the potty which she swiftly picked up and shoved into my face !I felt like vomiting She was fond of doing that whenever she had to call me to empty and wash the potty .We lived in a rickety old building ,the toilet facility was very poor. The stench from the toilet was enough to wake up a dead man!so she used a potty. I was just fourteen,I had to live with my aunt because my father was dead and my mother had remarried! My mother had dumped me with my father when I was barely familiar with her face ;my father told me I was just three…Father later died when I was almost ten years old, so I had to move in with Aunty Agbeke;my father’s elder sister. Aunty Agbeke worked in a big company’s restaurant. Even though, I attend a nearby secondary school, I was practically her errand boy ,I trekked several kilometers to cut firewood for her .I had to carry sacks of foodstuff on my shoulders ,preferably my left shoulder. I did not realize its after effect until one day ,I stood before a standing mirror ,stripped, only to discover my left shoulder was a bit slumped from carrying too much loads.
My cousins did not give me a breathing space either ,they made sure I did all the menial jobs. I had to sleep in the passage because all the rooms were filled up,and none of my cousins would give me the luxury of sharing their beds. I knew my routine like the back of my palms. Whenever I leave school at 2:30pm,I had to join my aunty at the restaurant and she would send me various errands till sunset. I hardly had time to study ,she sometimes rewarded me with a sumptuous meal whenever she was happy .On other days ,I had to eat leftovers and crumbs. So many men would visit Aunty Agbeke’s restaurant and chat till late in the evening .Aunty Agbeke’s husband was a soldier and only came home once in a blue moon.. Aunty Agbeke would sometimes join the men to chat and they would laugh heartily about God knows what! something was odd though, sometimes they spoke in low tones. I wondered why ?There was a particular man whom Aunty Agbeke often sent me to…..The man was a truck driver who sold bags of garri ,yam flour ,and other types of foodstuffs ,aunty Agbeke sent me there often to bring various bags of foodstuff which she must have ordered for.
“Ikotoo……be careful with those bags ,they must not burst!” snapped the truck driver. “Ikoto “is a native name for a small snail .Judging from my stature ,I could be mistaken for a boy of ten years old. Anger welled inside me,I felt like punching him !But there was really nothing I could do, I was helpless !How dare him call me names !I balanced the sacks on my shoulders as usual and trekked the path back to the restaurant. On a particular evening, aunty Agbeke and I were returning home late in the night, when we were suddenly accosted by a weird man, “where is my due?” He had demanded authoritatively from my aunty .At first, aunty was shocked, but she replied the man in the same hard tone he had used , “Your due has already been paid!”On hearing this ,the man walked away grudgingly ,puffing the smoke of his cigar at us .I was shocked ,I stood rooted to the spot for some few seconds after the man had sauntered away. Aunty Agbeke’s harsh tone jolted me out of my thought .I was worried all through the night ,I had never seen aunty with such a thug before. My worries were not unfounded as the true picture of things came out on one fateful afternoon!
Aunty Agbeke had sent me to bring bags of foodstuff from the mysterious truck man as usual .When I got there ,he pointed his fingers towards the direction of two carefully separated small sacks and I was a bit annoyed he did not allow me to select the sacks I wanted .As I trekked slowly on the path ,the weight of the sack making my feet unsteady, I felt strange ,like I was been followed, I glanced back, but I saw nobody and I felt I must be hallucinating.
In no time, I reached the restaurant and dumped the bags inside aunty Agbeke’s store .Barely fifteen minutes later, the unusual happened, we were surrounded by policemen !Aunty Agbeke rolled her plump body out of the store and I saw fear written all over her face. One of the smartly dressed police men burst inside the store and tore one the small sacks with a pen knife, he poured the yam flour on the floor and out came some smaller parcels, I was indifferent and wondered why the foolish truck driver had packed smaller sachets inside the sack. The policeman tore one of the smaller sachets ,he sniffed it ,raised his head up abruptly and told his colleagues it was cocaine !I was shocked, cocaine ?so aunty Agbeke was a drug dealer in disguise ?or was there a mistake ? Many questions rushed through my mind. We were all dragged to the police station like criminals.
Few weeks later, after thorough investigations ,I was released and sent to the orphanage ,the world there was quite different though ,but certainly better and more comfortable .I even had a cozy bed all to myself !I later learnt from one of my cousins that aunty Agbeke would soon face trials along with the other mysterious truck men. Although, I felt pity for her ,I still could not believe I had been used severally to carry out her criminal activities !