The sound of condemnation echoed through the streets.
The man in the boxer shorts picked up his pace as he sprinted through the narrow streets chased by a man in a navy suit.
The instinct of the people around kicked in. Each one of them had had an encounter with a form of injustice: a thief, a liar. They lived here, they knew that in these parts justice was not served by the law. They had to help. They pursued the man in the boxer shorts, to help serve justice.
HE came home early, carrying her favorite ice cream from the creamery in Dugbe. It was time for a change, time to make things right. He’d be on time, he’d pay attention. He would finally love this woman who had been with him for four years the way she deserved to be loved. He was even going to have a discussion with his boss tomorrow. As much as he wanted to advance in his career, he couldn’t risk his marriage for it. She said she needed him here, not money. Things would be different from now on.
He heard the sound as soon as he walked through the door. A painful cry. A moan so deep it raised goosebumps on his back. His heartbeat quickened, pouring fear into the pit of his stomach with each beat. He ran upstairs and by the time he touched the handle of the bedroom door, he was sure he would pass out.
“Fuck!” she swore. That couldn’t be his wife. She was the current vice president of the Women for Christ group in church; she never swore. There was a stranger in his bedroom.
HE ran fast, but the man in the boxer shorts ran faster. His suit weighed him back, but the man glided in the wind unencumbered. He knew he wouldn’t catch him in time, so he did the one thing that was guaranteed to get him help.
He yelled, “Ole!”
The people in the neighborhood ran even faster. Someone grabbed the man in the boxer shorts by the shoulders and he tumbled to the ground, his sweaty body browning from mud and dirt. They hit him, serving swift justice to this man whose offense they needed no proof of. They beat him for all the injustices in their lives. In that moment, he was the embodiment of everything wrong in the society and with his death, change would finally come. Someone found a tyre, another donated petrol. The man begged. He was not a thief. He looked to the man in the navy suit for help, the one person who could save his life. The man stared back, unmoved, remorseless; this man had taken too much from him. A match was lit and everyone turned away from the first flare. The man in the shorts screamed as his skin melted to the tyre. The smell of burning rubber rose in the air, thick and toxic. The accuser in the suit watched everything without flinching. When the screaming stopped, he took off his jacket and puked in the gutter filled with trash and green stagnant water. He closed his eyes to steady himself against the feeling of dizziness that followed.
HE had found them wrapped in each other in the bedroom. Her legs clasped around his waist, he buried inside her, both moaning into the other’s ear. His boss and his wife. He wasn’t sure what sound he had made, or if he had even made a sound, but a second after he entered they had fallen off each other in shock. His boss had pulled on his boxer shorts in a hurry and he had lunged at him. The boss ducked, climbed over the side of the bed and ran out the door. He turned to go after the man and his wife had held him, begging. He shoved her hard and ran after his boss. I’m going to kill him, he thought.
He had known as they ran through the streets that he wouldn’t catch him. This man who was richer and more powerful and had still come to take what was his. He thought of every time his boss had shaken his hand, every time he had smiled at him, every time he had asked about his wife. This man had been stealing from him and, worse still, he must have been laughing at him. He had yelled “Ole,” a scathing indictment in these parts, and help had come. Now as he walked back home a changed man, he thought to himself that his boss had gotten what he deserved. He pulled out his phone which had stayed in his pocket throughout the chase.
Your lover is dead, he texted his wife as he walked away from the human bonfire.
Post image by Thanasis Anastasiou via Flickr.
About the Author: