The Cross Bearer’s Hour of Reprieve

(please note: This is a continuation of an earlier post here. Please read that before this, if you haven’t already. Thanks, and enjoy! 🙂 )

“Her majesty arrives!”

She walked into her brother lounging in the parlor, wearing that characteristic look on his face indicating his BlackBerry battery was almost dead, as usual, and her friend at the kitchen counter, grinning widely after announcing her arrival, drinking…juice? Again? Had he finally stocked his fridge? Good. I’d love some to cool down after such a busy day. She dropped her bag in her room, and then came out to do as planned. She opened the fridge to help herself to some, only to find it…empty? Again?! Why was his fridge always empty, yet he always had juice in his hand?!

“Because of the current economic crunch: I have to keep my vitamin C levels up. But I can’t afford it for everyone.” he answered her thoughts, which freaked her out…until she realized she’d actually asked the question out loud, not in her head. She smirked to herself.

“Yesterday’s events still bothering you?”

“That easy to tell?” she replied, pulling a stool. “Even a night’s rest didn’t work…”

“You still haven’t come to terms with it. Give it time, you will.”

“But…but…” She at first hesitated, but decided to ask anyway. “…why do guys always pester me wherever I go, all of a sudden? It’s getting quite frustrating!”

“Hmm! My dear…could that be a humble brag I detect?” he remarked, stroking his imaginary Pete Edochie moustache.

“A what?”

“A ‘humble brag’! A statement that is a conscious brag, but indirectly, hence making it ‘humble’. It’s usually styled as a complaint to keep the hearer unaware.”

“Oh?”

“Really! Like your statement: I could say you’re humbly bragging that guys always ask you out.”

“Aw, c’mon! You know I wasn’t–”

“Okay!” pitched in brother. “Or, ‘My dumb car needs a lot of space to park’. The person’s bragging about the size of his car, deceptively labeling it ‘dumb’!”

“For church folk, an example is ‘My knees hurt from praying all night.’ The person just humbly bragged about all-night praying”, her friend explained further.

“Or ‘My Bible is so worn out from so much reading.’” she offered.

“Now you get it!”

“But aren’t those sometimes truthful statements? They don’t sound like bragging…”

“That’s the thing! It depends on who’s speaking, and the situation. But a little listening is all that’s needed to identify one, especially if that ‘complaint’ is always found with that person. Emphasis is the key. For example: ‘It’s difficult speaking more than one language”, he said, winking at her. She understood.

“Or ‘My BlackBerry’s battery is always drained from so much pinging from peeps’: a double brag in one!”

“Oh ho! So the two of you have stylishly turned it personal on me?!” her brother had finally caught on. “How about ‘My Sean Combs perfume is almost finished’?”

“Ouch!” she jeered.

“‘My bank should stop sending me so many alerts’!” her friend retorted.

“Ye!” she jeered again.

“‘My DSTV bill is almost expired’. Only you has DSTV, right?”

“‘Cabs cost so much these days’. Telling us you don’t take the bus anymore, oui?”

This battle went on for several minutes, with her acting as umpire. After a while, however, she decided to call it quits.

“I have to prepare for church now!”

“Thank you my sister! ‘I have to prepare–’, wait, what? Who is that? Who are you imitating?”

“No. I mean…” she spoke sheepishly, “I have to prepare for another church program this evening.”

She spoke low, because she was honestly anticipating they’d begin roaring with laughter again, recollecting the night before. But to her surprise, they both stared at her blankly. It was creepy!

“Why are you guys staring?!”

Without a word, they stared on. After what seemed like a light-year, they turned to each other. A silent nod was exchanged. Dropping his tumbler, he retrieved his wallet, and produced a crisp N1000 note, placing it on the marble counter.

“25”, he announced.

“Whoa, guy! Too high.” replied her brother, producing his own note. “13”.

“Underestimating, aren’t we?”

“What’re the two of you doing?” she inquired.

“Isn’t it obvious? We’re wagering how many guys will ask you out this time. Personally, I’m rooting for you breaking your own record, but it’s like your brother – hey!”

While he was still explaining, she’d surprised them both–even herself in fact!–by grabbing the money and dashing for her room! They were stunned for a split second, all the time she needed. By the time they’d reached her door, she’d bolted it!

“Open this door! We’ll break this door down oh!” A two-man angry mob! As usual, no jokes when it comes to their money, she humored.

She leaned against the bulging door, thinking fast. Another idea struck her. Moving quickly, she grabbed a bra from a pile of clothes on the bed, and slid it under the door. “You see that?” she teased. “Don’t barge in here oh, if you know what’s good for you!”

“HA!!” they both exclaimed. “Which kine wahala be dis?![i] Why you go strip, comot[ii] bra?! ON TOP OUR MONEY?!”

“Isn’t this my room? I can do whatever I want!”

They both stood there, staring dumbfounded at the clandestine object. Finally, he spoke up:

“Guy”, he nudged. “Go backyard, go block am for window there.”

Șé orí è pe șa?![iii] You wan make I see wetin[iv] go blind me?!”

“Why are you talking this uncivilized way? Are you not siblings? You should have seen each other nude before now!”

“Guy! The last time that happened was like, 12 years ago! Ha, you want me to enter trouble, make she report me go my mama?!”

“Which trouble? And why na your mama you dey always fear?!”

Me? Dey fear mama? No be you buy carton of juice go hide am, say make you use am pose when your mama come next week, make she think say you dey lounge?!”

“Mm-hmm oh!” he disapproved, wagging his head profusely. “It’s not me that is at the centre of discussion here!”

“Then bust down the door, enter collect our money na!”

“Are you crazy?! You no like me șa oh!”

On and on they bickered, pausing intermittently to see if the door had magically unlocked itself, only to continue when they were disappointed, each time. In the end, she returned the money; she had to, as she was finding it increasingly difficult laughing so hard and applying her make up properly simultaneously. Of course, they threatened holding the bra for ransom as revenge, but the idea died quickly when neither of them volunteered being the scapegoat that’d be reported to their mother for bra-napping, of all things: no “economic crunch” excuse could explain that away.

 

© Adeleye Adeolu, 2012. All Rights Reserved. No part of this story must be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the author’s permission.


[i] Which kine wahala be dis?! – Nigerian pidgin, lit. “What sort of trouble is this?”

[ii] comot – Nigerian pidgin meaning to remove something.

[iii] Șé orí è pe șa – Yoruba, lit. “Is your head really complete?”, meaning “Is your head okay?”

[iv] wetin – Nigerian pidgin used to say/ask “What?”

 

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