The only thing of iron, plastic, or leather-padding matter in the well-lit shrine of Pa Fakunle was the treadmill for his daily exercises. Badoo wondered why the old man needed a treadmill despite his usual long walks through thick jungles in his leave-gathering quests. Everything else under the roof in the shrine: woodcarvings of gods, works of clay, ancestral masks, shrine posts, cowrie shells — everything was like the return of Abija.
When Badoo greeted the old man good morning, he had answered as if the young man was expected. Pa Fakunle eyed the visitor with the keen eyes of a dog.
“A Yoruba girl told you something and you make a skype call to ask a Tswana girl the meaning. I’m disappointed with you.”
“You know about that too? Pa Fakunle, what is really going on? Please help me with this. For god sakes help me.”
“Sade told me a lot about you.”
“She called you too?”
“You know what she said? She said, “I know Badoo has not done much. It is just the dirty mind that will finish him.”
“She told you that?”
“Why would my dirty mind finish me?”
“Have you not been masturbating since your first time with Sade?”
“What if I masturbate while moaning with the name of a girl I secretly admire on my lips? Don’t we all do? I should stop enjoying my fantasies? Why? Because I have a girlfriend?”
“You were engaged. Every rot in the soul starts in the mind!”
“Pa Fakunle, Omoluabi ni mi tokan tokan.” I am an Omoluabi at truly from the heart.
“Let me tell you something son.” Pa Fakunle came near him, placed his arm around Badoo’s shoulder as if he was indeed a son, and made the police officer hold his breath to keep the smell of locust bean away. “I prepared this special drink called fejerun; I wanted to use it for myself. Then I gave you by mistake – forgive me for that. And now, somehow, the thing now runs on two bloods instead of one. That was why I asked what you guys did with blood.”
Bajoo got wide-eyed. “I am running on fejerun?”
“Don’t get your BP high son.”
He imagined a situation that could mandate him to arrest the old man. Who would get the handcuffs on? Who would tell him of his arrest and his right to a lawyer? Taa nfe ku? Who wants to die?
“Pa Fakunle, please help me. I know you can do something.”
“You don’t need my help Badoo. I can’t even help you. I heard some people say Karma is ashewo. Karma is a reliable ashewo o. You will reap what you sow.”
“Papa please. I have a new girl now. I’m trying to move forward.”
“You cant have a new girl.”
Badoo had his hands on his hips. “Why?”
“Badoo, ti awo o gba gbe awo nigbowo, awo a te, awo a ya.” If you don’t keep your covenant you will fail and be shamed for breaking it.
“I am not anybody’s awo Baba. Tell me why I cant have another girl.”
“Because your lover is still out there!”
“The living and the dead cannot have relations.”
Pa Fakunle smiled and stifled a yawn. “It doesn’t matter what you believe son. It makes no difference if what you believe is a lie. Your lover is still out there.”
“Out where Pa Fakunle? Tell me! Out where? Tell me now! I don’t care if you want to turn me to a snake or a frog or a rock. Get shit-faced and speak to leaves for all I care! Just tell me where the fuck Sade is!”
The old man jerked his head backwards in astonishment. “Lenu e Badoo?” You dare say that.
“Lenu e? Iwo omo amunibuni i” You disgraceful son.
“Papa, the name-calling is unfair! It is you who made a mistake!”
“Omo yi, waa yawere o!” This boy, you will go mad.
“Mi o ni yawere!” I wont go mad.
“Baba, you made a mistake! It was your mistake! Now you want to act as if all this has nothing to do with your shitty herbs. You made a mistake!”
“It is not me. I don’t make those kinds of mistakes. There is something you have done that is playing out to expose you. Owu dudu ati owu funfun kii jera won niyan!” A black thread and a white thread will never argue with each other.
“Whatever you are planning won’t stand in Jesus name.”
“Jesus? The man coming for the third time? That is the name you come up with? Badoo, wake up, son. You really don’t know what time it is. For you to even dare to come in here without my invitation. Badoo, ile ooo muo!” The ground will trap you.
He avoided the face of the head of Osanyi – which was closest to him – but when he turned he saw the head of Oranmiyan beside the statue of Sopana. He decided to keep his eyes on the man.
“Ile ole mu mi Baba. Toluwa ni ile!” The ground cannot trap me, the land belongs to god!
“We shall see who this oluwa is!”
“Won ni agba kii wa loja ki ori omo tuntun wo! Pa Fakunle, you are neglecting your duty as an elder!”
“Lenu e Badoo?”
As Badoo walked past the carvings, and pots, and calabashes, he knew how it could end. If his mother gets to know of his rude confrontation of the revered Pa Fakunle, she would be alarmed; she would want to take him by the hand to the old man’s shrine, to make him lie flat on the floor. Begging.
Now he really wanted to see the result of Dr Masango Masango’s examination. Badoo had been pressured to be rude to Pa Fakunle. He knew he would have to beg someday. And to make matters worse, he had been running on fejerun without knowing it.
Mr Falajiki was alone in a corner in the air-conditioned gym for the mandatory midweek drill, grunting under 10kg weights like a girl, wasting government’s time, avoiding the drills meant to get his stomach down. Just as he had refused the recommended diet. He would not have been in the force if he was not Yoruba. No man with such a stomach would police anything beyond the place of convenience.
After lunch Badoo hurried to a familiar door with a paper in his hand; he opened it slightly and peeped into his boss’ empty office. He saw wraps of fufu in the corner where Mr Falajiki usually kept them. He knew egusi soup would be in the china beside the fufu.
His walk from there to the gym was brisk and business-like.
“Oga, I passed! I told you! Can you see sir, I am not insane.” He hurried to Mr Falajiki’s side and showed him the paper and his teeth, with bright eyes. The boss looked bored or tired. “I understand your doubts about my sanity but I was not making the phone calls up. I’m so glad to have the test to prove it though.”
The man exhaled deeply as if he had been at it for hours. “I know you will pass.”
“Now I have to pursue my submission all the way to Abuja. I can convince the federal government not to import law enforcement robots.”
“You think they will listen to you?”
“I will prepare sir.”
Mr Falajiki gave such a huge yawn that tears came to his eyes. “You got the documents from the doctor himself?”
“Dr MM has gone down south. You know, he has developed a procedure could shed some light of president Ebagum’s sanity.”
Badoo got curious. “He is in Gulungulun?”
“Is that what they call themselves now? Have they changed their name? Any way, he is in Harare.”
“I like doctor’s name o.” He smiled. “Masango Masango.”
The alarm sounded suddenly; it was the one from the state central command. Those are hardly ever false. Badoo called the nearest patrol car but still raced towards it like a sprinter. He knew Mr Falajiki would slow him down. If he had waited for him every time, he would have been that police officer who hardly ever gets to the crime scene when help is critically needed.
He was ahead of four other speeding police cars. Someone said it was a bomb at Fiwasaye Roundabout that could set two petrol stations on fire at the same time. Badoo thought the sort of call should have been handled by the bomb squad.
Oh the thinking of a black man! Two petrol stations very near a place of amusement. If you are the kind with lighters, you could practically set yourself on fire. And we are the only ones still using petrol-run cars! Darkies!
Badoo had began his speed from the office complex with the thought of preventing an explosion. It could indeed be a bomb.
Soon he saw the yellowish orange balls of fire ahead of him, he saw the thick black smoke. He heard the second explosion. Updates said there had been a first explosion. It had happened when Badoo drove like a stunts man from the station with thoughts of a bomb that could go off.
It would not have crossed Badoo’s mind that he would take any call at that moment. When he gave the ringing phone a glance he had to slam his leg on the break and get the car to the edge of the road with a screech.
“Badoo baby. I’ve missed you.”
“Whoever you are, you have to stop this right now.”
“Badoo, it is me. Sade.”
“This is not a good time Sade. Okay? Could you please call back?”
“When are you coming to me? When are you going to snap that girl’s neck for me?”
He ended the call. He had to speed on. He would have many enemies because of his submission on the law enforcement robots. He knew that. His personal response time was part of the data that would be used in the security review by the committee on the importation of robots.
Even fools would not need to be told to park as far-away from the fire as possible. The men of the state fire service got busy with their trucks, and shouted orders back and forth. The police would have to keep the crowd of watchers out of the firemen’s way. The women of fire – the women arm of the state fire service – had two helicopters hovering above the fire, making it rain from above. No fire service personnel even stopped to give room for the question what really happened? Badoo was set to join the team of officers barking at the crowd to move back.
That was when his Mum called.
“Badoo, have you seen what is trending on Twitter?”
“What is it Mum? I’m at work.”
“You don’t want to know who set that place of fire?”
“Have you read Sade’s recent tweets?”
Badoo’s mother interrupted. “Someone must have hacked into her account. This fake Sade twitted her plan to set that place on fire if #KeYona is not activated.”
Because of the way that Titanic-themed night in the car ended, Bunmi Affi was still not picking Badoo’s calls. He was not so bothered by her resistance. He still missing the way Sade would look on top of him as they moved, with his hands on her breasts and her mouth slack from the feeling.
Sade called the following night – just when he was about to google FEJERUN – to tell him something unbelievable.
“It wasn’t me Badoo.” She said sotto voce. “I didn’t set that place on fire.”
“Sade, don’t lie to me.”
“I swear. It wasn’t me. Someone must have hacked into my twitter account.”
“Since you know so much, how come you don’t know who hacked into your account?
“I cant be everywhere at the same time baby. I’m not God.”
“Sade please put an end to this.”
“Look baby, you have to stop fucking that girl. If you are to fuck her again you will have to snap her neck. See, I have been lenient with you because I understand a man has needs. Now you’ve done enough. If you don’t stay away from that saggy-breasted slut, you will see what I will do with the two of you.”
“Why are you so contentious? I was faithful to you throughout your lifetime.”
The police needed the Nigerian electronic army. The men of the electronic army had their hours tracing the hacker or hackers who Badoo suspected may not be real.
No clue whatever about the cause of the explosion. The tweet had been sent from a mobile device around Captain Cook – just beside the four-lane Oba Adesida road – an hour before the explosion. There are millions twitting nonsense online. The electronic army could not possibly be expected to take every threatening tweet seriously.
In the midst of the blackness and the smouldering vastness, the bomb disposal unit had their hours on the scene with their sniffer dogs.
One of the electronic army generals – the CEH – said while tugging at his goatee that a virus could be responsible for the tweet. The general could not say though, how a virus set off the explosions at Fiwasaye Roundabout. It must be the work of hackers, Mr Falajiki said. Because he had to be noticed as being there, pretending to know more than he actually knows.
The thing is, the hacker or hackers remained untraceable after 48 hours; the hack made the award winning electronic army look like a bunch of nerdy sissies; it was after two days and three nights of the fruitless search that the CEH (Chief Ethical Hacker) joked about recruiting the mystery fellow into his army.
“Even if this person is a ghost,” General Ojopagogo said with wrinkles on his forehead. “I want her in my army.”
That was when Ojopagogo’s phone beeped. A text message. He thought it was from one of his boys working on the case.
He read it and tugged at it goatee. It read: YOU WANT ME IN YOUR TEAM? SO DOES EVERYBODY ELSE
“The hacker is definitely not a ghost.” He said with a curious twinkle in his eye.
Dr Shina Rabo walked in with his glasses perched on the edge of his nose and sat between the two men in white agbadas; men Badoo had spent time with in Akure. Their agbadas may not be exactly the same as they had on in Akure but it was white; and they had white shoes on. Badoo would have to keep the camera in mind. He could still recall what he had read online on impactful TV presentations.
“You have five minutes,” Dr Shina Rabo said.
Badoo thought he heard the whispery rasping intimate noises of Sade. “Yes sir.” He shook off the thought. “I met the alagbada funfuns when they came to our station. I work with Mr Falajiki at the RRU – Rapid Response Unit – I am a son of the soil.”
“Akure?” Dr Rabo asked as if the soil could have been somewhere else and should be clarified.
“Your time ticks on Badoo. Say what you want to say.”
“Yes sir. I just want everyone to know that law enforcement robots are the worst things that could happen to our life as it is in now, here, in Africa. No, I’m not just being overly dramatic with my creative pictures of doom. If humanity would ever descend to the level of being protected by the works of her hands that is not a slight descent. That is a pit, a life like a curse.
“God has given the law to men; the law should be protected by man, enforced by man. It is not law enforcement if force is not involved. Let’s stop all the name-calling, let’s get rid of this human rights that we keep demanding like spoiled kids ordering burgers and fries. Do I want to call robots in times of troubles? The robot is not my blood brother; blood does not flow in the veins of a robot. Would I want the warmth of the body of a woman or the gymnastic pleasure pot of the love-and-relationship robot brands? Humanity. That’s what we should focus on. For once let’s just rid ourselves of our ego and our petty pursuits.
“Human beings should be king in their land. A robot tossed a chief of our land into the boot of a car in London. What would robots do in Africa? A suicide robot killed 800 people in Alliedland. What would robots do in Africa? A robot tried to assassinate President Ebagum. We know the man had been in power for too long. Yes, he is a dictator. But who brought him to a court of law and pronounced him guilty and ordered him killed? When did this judge sit to ask questions and make decisions? Whose stamp of approval does that bullet have? How many people have been assassinated by robots? Now, I am not saying human beings are perfect. I am not saying Robots are nothing but pure evil. Yet I would rather have a being with conscience, a being that knows what it feels to live in the flesh.
“Human beings know good and evil, human beings have the gift of choice. A robot can never make your life better on this planet than a fellow human being would. It is not as if crime rate is high, or that it is getting too dangerous. Is it about the need to catch up with the world? Cant we make up our mind and chart a new direction? Do we have to be told what to do all the time?”
“Badoo, you think we are pushing issues of human rights too far?” It was the bearded one of the men in white.
“I want my rights respected. No doubt about that. But we should do things from the place of love. It shouldn’t just be about me flaunting my needs and my feelings like life-threatening laws that should be obeyed by all. And in terms of efficiency and effectiveness, we are better than robots. What happens when the battery of your robot runs down? What happens when your robot is attacked by a virus? What happens when you mess up cyber security and see machines you have armed to defend you turn to killing machines?
“The Nigerian electronic army is still looking for a hacker who worked about a week ago? If it had been an army invasion with bombs in every inch of our land the award winning electronic army would still be looking for its enemy while we all end up burnt to crisps. ”
“They still cant get the hackers?”
“Maybe tomorrow morning they will. All we have now is maybes. So what that teaches me is that we are not giving sufficient thought to cybersecurity. Even if we need law enforcement robots we are not prepared for them. We don’t need to prove anything to anyone for God sakes. If they want to keep saying we are not civilised because we don’t use robots for everything, then let them say.”
“Badoo, when you say the law should be enforced by man, protected by man, etc, are you saying that to the exclusion of women?”
“No. I’m just using man in that old biblical sense of including humanity in that one word.”
TO BE CONTINUED…NEXT MONDAY: December 7
About the Author:
Feyisayo Anjorin is a writer, an actor, and a director. His writing has appeared in Litro, 365 tomorrows, Bella Naija, and Fiction On the Web. He plays the character “Cassius” on Mnet Africa’s flagship TV soap “Tinsel.”