A PLAN TO KILL MY FATHER

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*A PLAN TO KILL MY FATHER* 

Written by George Adefemi

(Fiction)

It was on a scorching, sunny Friday afternoon. I was walking pass the Casualty section of the General Hospital [odan] Marina, Lagos. Though everything about me seemed to be tired; my legs; eyes and other part of my body, more because I had been walking around like someone without aim or destination. My black skin with the aid of the sun glittered in the white chase-deer t-shirt I wore; a black pencil trousers hung on my waist and my locally made; #500 bend-down select palm fit into my dust filled foot. Although the day seemed to have started well but I never knew what it had in stored for me.

The smell of medications; odour of sore treated and bandaged wounds rouse the atmosphere. The cool breeze that blew from the Marina waters-combined with the offensive smell of locally made izal and air freshener emanated from the toilets and rooms of the casualty building. Houseflies were flying here and there happily, looking for where to perch; on wounds, dustbins, galas, doughnut or meat pies-being eaten by those who stood at a red canteen with Coca-Cola signage nailed to the top of the kiosk; immediately below the almost rust ‘aluminum sheet roof’ ready to lick rain waters whenever it rained.

The buildings of the hospital all appeared to look the same, with little modifications that made it easy to differentiate the Pharmacy apart the Emergency/Casualty building; the Ward apart the Radiological building. The blue roofs with fully grown weeds on them were slant sideways for erosion purposes. I imagined the rain drenching those who sat beneath the drainage when it rains cats and dogs.

I heard a car horn and looked back. There stood an 8ft gate with topped sharp ridges protruding atop it. A gateman who wore a green bib like those Julius Berger contractors or those football teams one saw at various under-bridges in Lagos; with the words `Ask from me’ written with red ink on it, below the back muscle-, opened the gate and a car drove in.

I stood on a spot for a moment when I saw the car being driven recklessly towards my path.

I made way since I didn’t have a clue of the driver’s intentions. Perhaps, he might be a ‘Yaba-left` patient.

The black 2004 model ford jeep explorer sped pass me leaving nylons of sachet waters; biscuits; and unknown small cartons of things that looked like postinor-2 packs to fly in the air as though dancing to the wind of a tornado.

That was the moment I saw a woman weeping and lamenting “Ah Lekan! Kilode to shey shey eyi fun mi {Lekan, why do you have to do this to me},” her scarf hanging loosely across her shoulder; her wrapper, in the way she wailed uncontrollably was already grazing the floor; her hair and appearance looked unkempt like a mad woman chasing thin air. It was evident she wept for the death of her son or relative.

Another woman dashed out of the waiting room and sprawled rolling on the floor, crying louder than the first woman “God! God! Why do you have to do this to me?” as though God had come down to kill the boy.

I imagined God descending heavily armed with cutlasses, axes and broken bottles to stab the child at every part of his body. But it was useless to think of. God wouldn’t do that, wouldn’t have done that.

Why do humans thank God for every fortunes and blame him for every misfortunes? Was the thought I had.

I shook my head for their loss and grieve. I wished I had words of consolation for both woman, wished I could say, don’t blame God but accept fate or,-embrace them and make them feel my calm breath that gives hope and assurance of a better tomorrow. But these I knew, would not stop their tears or the pain that pierced their hearts.

Although I caught a view of someone covered with a bedspread on the stretcher as I looked through the window. It seemed to be the corpse the women were grieving for. Perhaps I was wrong, I thought to myself as I increased my pace towards the Ward.

I had gone to clear my grandpa’s file at the kitchen, pharmacy and pathology. He had been examined fit to be discharged by Dr. Shomoye, one of the senior doctors. A cavalier; very dark rotund looking man-with his cheeks always hanging down bull-dog like, whenever he said ‘do not disturb me’ even when his patients were at the jaws of death and needed his attention urgently.

It was 6 weeks and a day ago my grandpa was rushed down to the hospital because he couldn’t urinate through his Catheter well. There seems to have been a blockage caused by bacteria. Though you all would think, that shouldn’t have made him stay that long at the hospital but the blockage caused many things in his body. He couldn’t breathe well as he was an asthmatic patient, couldn’t sleep and he was at a time diagnosed to have prostrate infections, which led to his use of Catheter and urine bag.

It took 5minutes to get to the Ward E1. A male Medical ward where patients on observation and medications were accommodated. It was quite different from the Surgical ward that bedded patients’ with injuries and large smelly wounds. I remembered when papa was admitted to the ward. He told the matron who wrote the the admission pack receipt that he was an asthmatic patient and wouldn’t like to be in that smelly Surgical ward as if, those who are admitted there aren’t humans.

I walked into the ward and told Matron Titi I had done the necessary things and was ready to call the driver immediately she gave the go-ahead. Matron Titi who appeared to be in her middle fifties, grey hair already laying foundation on her head asked

“Are you the only one who will take him home?”

I stood transfixed. I didn’t have a reply for her. I wanted to try and make her see reasons why I was the only one around; the only person who had been doing the running around but my mouth and courage failed me.

My tongue glued to my upper palate as though it would be rebuked for trying to make an attempt at speech.

I didn’t look into her eyes but her white uniform, with shoulder board like every military uniform with rank. I knew she was staring at me but I was afraid I would shed tears mere looking into her eyes. I was trying to contemplate what all the coloured stuff like rank meant when she said

“you can call the driver. At least he should be able to assist you with attendant Aliu to wheel papa to the car.”

I nodded in response as if I were a dummy who couldn’t speak, a moron of the highest calibre, as I walked out of her presence to where papa’s bed was located in a hall of about 20 beds.

[]His face lighten with smile as I told him I was done with the clearance and needed his phone to call his driver. I saw his glasses move as he said “bless you,” holding my right hand to show he appreciated me more than I could think, more than I could ever imagine.

I tried to picture him being attacked by asthma. So I could hold him in the way he held me, so I could make him feel I would always be there for him. Perhaps, be his Inhaler or Seretide disc, so he could puff me into his mouth and feel relieved.

The driver picked the call at the first ring and I informed him we were ready to leave so he should start coming. After I hung the call, I packed all his belongings and we were set to leave once the driver and attendant, who would place him on a wheelchair was ready.

It was about 6:30pm we got home. I got down immediately so I could open the car for papa to come down, -was when people started trooping out of our blue painted bungalow to welcome him.

“E ka bo sir {welcome}” a woman said.

Another prayed “God will never let you fall sick again or witness anything that would cause for you to be taken to the hospital.”

It was at that point I saw my father appeared from the gate. I bowed my head to show I was greeting him,-then took some of the things we brought inside. He helped papa down from the car and walked him to the corridor.

“I won’t go inside that office now,” he said and sat on a plastic white chair.

I knew why he couldn’t go inside his office at that moment, the atmosphere would be different and could trigger his asthma.

I was tired and my eyes were heavy. I made for his office which I had been sleeping since he was admitted-if I wasn’t with him at the hospital.

I tried to shut my eyes as I lay down on the sofa in his office but sleep would not come. It was as though sleep was tired too, perhaps it had been busy all the while I was at the hospital, day and night.

I moved my body so I could lay on my side and try to coerce sleep by eclipsing the white florescent bulb that lit the office.

The office was painted sky blue, beautifully decorated with pictures of Papa in various frames hung on the wall. There stood out a frame above the shelf on the right –which Papa wore his red and yellow St. Stephen regalia; on his imported Mark and Spencer black suit. His black bow tie perfectly knot beneath the inner collar of his white shirt.

On the left side of the office hung his art works, elegantly carved altars with statues of different saints on them. I tried to imagine at night, when the florescent was switched-off; and the statues of St. Mary; St. Pio; St. Philomena, etc. All dazzling to give some form of heavenly light to the office.

The only window in the office, an aluminum Louvre window frame was etched in the wall, right beside the mahogany door.

A table of about 3ft stood at the middle of the office with what grandpa often calls ‘barbers-chair’ close to it. Those chairs you often sit on in the barbing salon, which could easily be wind {twist] round when the barber needed you to face another direction. Rubber tiles of blue and cream ran across the length and breadth of the office.

My grandpa entered and struggled to sprawl on his chair. He’s 73, but hasn’t lost that youthful, springy body. His skin though gleamed like a scale of fish glued all over his body to show his age but his muscles were still flexible. Perhaps he could still lift those weight he lifted when he was 25.

“Didn’t you see that I came in” he snapped and I rose from where I lay immediately.

“Can’t you greet?”

I was surprised at what he said. He has started again I thought. There was no time he got back from the hospital that he doesn’t pick on me; someone who I had been helping all the while he was on admission at the hospital; someone we just got back together.

I remembered I had slept on a slab, very close to the casualty department for 3 nights, in the cold of the dark. Although there were people older than I was, who could take care of him; his 2 daughters and 3 sons of which my father was one of them. But he preferred me because I was to him, fastidious.

Here he is again, trying to make me feel I had done bad making him feel catered for, even when his children were not making an attempt.

All the while I slept,-ran around on empty stomach for 2 days; not tasting food nor water. No matter how I tried to make myself available to help him, I was often referred to as useless.

Even when I was the one cleaning him up when he messes up {poo} his body; fed him; bathe him and many things he should be in a better position to say I did.

I felt as though I had done bad trying to take care of my grandpa, felt dejected and frustrated, felt tears welling up in my eyes. Train of pains run through my body. I was sorrowed and hopeless and helpless.

I felt like going inside the kitchen to pick a knife and end my life. Perhaps, inject myself with Dimethyl-mercury or Botulinum Toxin. I was extremely frustrated and felt death could be the best step to take.

I was angry. I knew I was boiling and to save myself from saying any offensive thing out of frustration, left his office snapping my blackberry bold 5 off his table and headed for the living room.

I wanted to switch my PlayStation3 on as I sat angrily on the bug-ridden sofa but dismissed the idea. I peered at my phone to see through the indicative red light may be I had any message or chat-that could change my mood but saw none.

Something pierced my neck with a sharp object, as though a venomous snake had bitten me. I traced my hand to where I felt the pain and caught a bug {cockroach brother as we often call it} shining in its brown blood stuffed abdomen (back section). It had suck my blood, I muttered and pressed it between my thumb and forefinger to kill it.

The odour was foul, sharp offensive odour that smelt like books of ancient Greece just dug out of the ground. It was at that moment my father burst into the living room and said “papa is calling you.”

I felt something boil in my stomach and words flying freely out of my mouth. I didn’t know I had said many offensive things out of frustration in the space of 3 minutes. I saw him leave the room but I was boiling seriously, I didn’t know I had said I wasn’t coming and he should leave me alone.

When he returned into the room, he gave me a deadly punch on my chest, close to my heart. I felt my heart stopped; I was dead; blood wasn’t pumping into my heart and my soul was lifted out of my body, out of this world.

I saw my grandma in an unspecific location. The place looked a lot like cloud, just cloud surrounding everywhere. It looked like thin air, like faded white cloth or closely like ash. It should be grey but it was not. The place looked colourless, lifeless as though I were in another planet without a name. Perhaps, another heaven apart the one described in the bible.

She called my name “Femi,” and I answered “ma.”

“I want to tell you something you don’t know,” and I sat down on the floor, my legs interlocked like a Fulani man on his prayer mat; like a village boy who was about listening to one of those moonlight tales.

I tried to see may be I could see her face for descriptive purposes but she looked faded, very faded like atmosphere, I couldn’t see her face.

I felt a sharp pain in my heart but it didn’t prod me to move since I was with my grandma, I was safe. Although she didn’t clasp me in her hand, held me tight to her fallen b—-t; very fallen like those Igbo head warmers-but I knew I was under a protection.

“I want to tell you about your father,” she said.

[]A very black man that made people nicknamed him ‘black mamba’ when he was young-with an oval bald head.

“You see my son! When your father was young, he went through this world. He suffered a lot and was tortured by terrestrial powers.

It all started one day, when I got a message from his headmaster at St. Matthias boys’ that your father was always leaving class when lectures were on. He would just leave, even when a teacher was in the class and walk all the way from Lagos Island to the Bar Beach situated at the Victoria Island. He would be seen sitting at the bank of the beach, talking in derision as though he were discoursing {discussing} with a terrestrial being in the water. Though it was reported to me but I dismissed it as if it were a usual thing to see a child doing, when he doesn’t want to be in school.

Afterwards, he was admitted at the Osogbo Grammar School, Osun State. The principal of the school being a typical Yoruba man who was inclined spiritually-called my attention to it again; that your father always left class whenever lectures were on. A week or more, he wouldn’t be seen. It was then he told me I needed to look for a solution to his problems as it was more than the eyes could tell.

He was sometimes found very far from Osun; sometimes he could be found in Oyo State; sometimes in Ilorin. He would beg alms and ask people to assist him as he couldn’t figure out where he was. I became fed up until he was able to open up, a hand was always calling him out of the class and he would follow the hand to whatever location it so pleases it. He was the only who saw the hand, no one else did.

Being someone who was born into a traditionalist family, I had to run to my fathers’ people at our family house for help but all effort from them were in vain, as they couldn’t help me. I felt may be their powers all became impotent when it got to the time I needed it but other people were testifying finding solutions to their problems whenever they got to our house.

It got to a point I became fed up, when your father was always found racing to a scene where a fight was going on,-when people were racing away from there to save their lives.”

I was starting to sob uncontrollably; tears were forming in my tears-gland I couldn’t resist the tears. It was as though a pump was over-filling it, the only solution was for it to spill out of my swollen eyes.

“It was the daughter of my rival that drew my attention to a CAC church at Mushin, where I took your father to for deliverance and we were told he was under a terrestrial power and-unless we became a member of their congregation, so we could pray and fast together with the church for him, he would remain that way. It was prophesy no matter how he tried to look for a job or start up a sole venture-he would never make it in life or stay alive except he became a pastor.

Your father learnt architecture but he couldn’t work with his skills. There was a time he was invited to four interviews in two days but when he went to those interviews, he was just shedding tears, as he couldn’t see what was written on the board or on papers.

There was a time I wrote a list of jobs in a paper and sent it to another church so they could pray over it on which one your father could do but none came out. As God would have it, I accepted fate and sent him to the missionary as prophesy.

On his first attempt, after 2 years in the seminary-just 2 years to graduate, an unknown force made him drop out.

On his second attempt, after spending 3 years-a year left to graduate; papa started a trouble that his son would never be a pastor;-that jobless and lazy people were often the people who ventured into the profession for selfish reasons.

As a woman, I had to re-tie my wrapper but this time, very tight that it held my waist like twine.

I, with stubbornness-sent your father to the seminary for the third time when he now graduated as a pastor. His father didn’t contribute a dim till he graduated since he swore never to have anything to do with him being a pastor.

Even after picking his cross to follow God’s will, nothing seemed to have changed. I have been feeding him, you and your siblings. But I know by the power of the living God I serve, those tormenting his life would be destroyed,”

I saw water falling from the cloud in my front. May be it were my grandma’s tears, I did not know but I heard sobs. Water trickled down my face.

It was not what my father had gone through that made me cry. It was more than that, more than what my grandma had told me. He couldn’t just stop making mistakes.

I felt a sharp pain in between throaty-sob as though I swallowed a ‘male-stone’ {granite}.

“He should have stuck to my mother, shouldn’t have left her. He shouldn’t have with deceit, collected quarter of the #500,000 that was placed in my care by papa; giving me hope he was saving it in a bank; he bought shares and once my admission came through, I wouldn’t have to search much for the money or disturb my mum,” a very hardworking mother-who though, fed up with life, still has a tinge of hope for the sake of my junior brother and me.

She sells ready-made pap with moi-moi across various streets in Lagos during the day; running at buses and cars to sell sachet-water to commuters at night. I could remember in my unconscious state how skinny she looks, her toenail almost rust as if whitlow had eaten deep into them; deep into her life.

I didn’t know how my soul moved away from the cloudy place. It moved very fast like fast-forwarded documentary but the pain and frustration still clung to me. I couldn’t see my grandma again, didn’t hear her sobs.

My soul seemed to have been drifted to another location, a very dark tunnel. I tried to stretch my legs but they remained interlocked and folded that it seemed I could be bundled into a Ghana-must-go sack.

I saw horns on people’s heads whose faces were painted a darker shade of black, darker than coal. Something sprung out of my head and I saw a mirror in my front; someone I could assume to be Lucifer in my presence holding it. He made me look into the mirror, to see I looked exactly like him-I had horns and would be initiated into their midst in no time.

“You’ve been deceiving yourself you look like God, you bear no resemblance with him,” he said clasping his hands together. “You brought everything on yourself by being a good-Samaritan. If you had not helped your grandpa and he was still at the hospital, you would have made heaven and become a saint,” he added and disappeared.

I looked into the mirror still standing in my presence and saw myself buying a gun and shooting my father. I shot him in his two eyes, shot him in the heart and forehead. He fell and I heard a loud scream piercing my ear-drum.

I scuttled forward to where he lay in his pool of blood. His clothes were with holes the bullet made on it,-blood spurting out of them. I knelt on both kneels beside him, grabbed him awkwardly-shaking him vigorously and shouting.

“Wake up daddy! Daddy, I’m sorry I shot you out of frustration.” I was now wincing, breathing hard, perhaps I had developed asthma. Hot tears strolled down my face.

“Papa made me do it,” I sobbed and left my grab off his clothe. I was shaking, streams of hot pee wet my pants. My nose emitted snot that drained down my white chase-deer which was stained with blood-in unison with sweats and tears as though Leonardo da Vinci or Michelangelo were practicing another form of glass staining on my t-shirt.

I tried to imagine me grieving over the father that never cared about me, my mum or brother. The father I never liked, who I abhorred. Who I blamed for our suffering and frustrations. I knew I hate him but I couldn’t wish death for him, couldn’t wish I had shot him.

I rose up on the verge of total derangement, tore my clothes of my body; crawled to where his body lay “now I am going to wake him up,” I blurted in grief {grieve}.

“Daddy! Wake up! My mother loves you. My brother and I love you” I shook him vehemently; cried out in pain may be those words would wake him.

“We will build a house and live happily. It wasn’t your fault we are like this. I’m sorry daddy.” I wailed.

“Daddy!” I shouted in insanity as I regained consciousness.

I hope I don’t do it in real life.

THE END.

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