People began to listen to Tobe on the day of the new yam festival. Papa once said, over garri and nkwobi, that when you find a man who has a more bounteous harvest than you, listen and learn. With his new Camry, I knew I had to swallow my pride and hear Tobe’s talks, trash and all. And it seemed like the joker was here to stay.
He slapped Ugochi’s robust behind as it tailed her from the stream the other night. When the lass had screamed, he retorted with a ‘How much is yua bride price that you are shouting like that? I will pay! I am Tobechukwu!’ He did the same thing at Mama Chidi’s palm wine joint, then drank and refused to pay. He was a pain in the ass, but no one spoke ill to you when you had a car.
I stopped joining the other men to clamor for a ride in his car the day he shouted at us not to stain his seats with ‘village clothes’.
‘Who the hell does he think he is? The gods have blessed him doesn’t mean they won’t bless me too’ I said. Papa said I was being jealous.
Chiefs began to stroke Tobe’s ego for tiny hundred naira crumbs. The girls flirted openly with him; the rest of us single men were fast losing our edge.
News spreads fast in Nyem, so when the news of Chinonso’s pregnancy came, we all heard. Tobe had promised her marriage and had eaten her fruit in its prime. Now her parents were demanding a befitting wedding, thanking their stars for nailing the richest Nyem bachelor. But Tobe disappeared into thin air just in time.
The frantic search for Tobe led us to his hideout in the city, where he worked as a chauffeur. His madam had traveled, and he had smuggled her Camry to the village in her absence, alongside the fresh wads of naira notes. Now that she had returned, Tobe was forced to return to his former status, but with extra baggage hanging over his head.
I almost died laughing.