‘Good afternoon sir’ i greeted with fear and trembling showing on my face.
‘The person that showed this man our house na God go punish am’ i tot.
‘Sir this is my son, he is in jss2’ my father introduced him to me.
The man shook my hands and asked me about school and other stuffs and he shook my already shaking hands.
I was thanking God for saving me, when the man started telling my dad of how he was passing a football field and a boy broke his glass with football.
“Uduak come back here” my father shouted.
I froze and came back to face them
“Did you know the person that broke his side window in the field, because i have seen you playing ball their before with kolo”
I quickly did what a sharp kid would do; lie.
“I don’t know, since last two weeks i have not played ball because we are writing 2nd test in school” i told the perfect lie.
‘Ok you can go’.
I quickly ran inside before another question would be asked.
The man was a soldier officer who just returned from Liberia for peace keeping mission and he came to greet my father.
After my test, exams and other stuffs we went for vacation. And it was the christmas break.
Kolo the demon called me one week before the christmas celebration and told me that we should go and buy knockout.
Then it was announced on the radio and tv stations that knockout was prohibited and that any body caught using it would be arrested. Due to the high rate of armed robbery and cultism activities.
So it was with fear that i had but kolo encouraged me to go because the man he was buying from usually sells to him, so i reluctantly followed him.
We went to north bank market in makurdi and we were walking round the market, when kolo stopped in the front of a provision shop.
“Kolo wait, na for provision shop you dey buy banga”. Banga was what we call knockout then.
“Just wait and see na” we walked to the shop and met the owner of the shop, a huge fat Ibo man.
“Good afternoon sir, we want to buy banga” kolo blurted out.
“So where your money”
kolo brought out the money from his pocket and gave to the man.
“Na five packet we need” kolo added.
“Ok make una siddon, i dey come” the man left and we sat down waiting for the original banga from a provision shop.
Instead of bringing out banga, the shop man brought out a hot fresh koboko with five fingers which made our eyes open with horror.
“So did you children not see the announcement in tv or heard what the announce in radio concerning throwing of banga” the man asked while his hungry looking koboko.
My brain was dead with no explanation to give, i just sat there looking at kolo and waiting for him to display his lying talent and bring us out from the mess.
“Sir i no know, na just yestaday i come from village, nai this boy say make we buy banga, i no even like banga sef” kolo shouted pointing at me and making me look like a foreigner.
I had completely lost my voice from the accusation i just received and when the man turned and asked me whether it was through i simply sat there with tears streaming down my eyes like the rivers of flowing water.
“I said am talking to you, is it true that you brought him here” the man asked me again, i was still mute with more tears streaming down my eyes.
The man must have had pity on me, he looked at us and said.
“Throwing of knockouts is not good, because the police may think its armed robbers and you children could be arrested, etc”
we listened to him and then his face suddenly changed to a frown and he shouted at us that we should run and never come back if not he was going to call police for us.
I got up gratefully and was about adding my gear to run when kolo opened his foul mouth and said.
“Oga what of our money na”
“Which money, you dey mad, na because i no give you to police thats why you get mouth talk abi” he raised his koboko to flog us but we took off like two ferrari cars and ran for our dear lives.
We reached home breathless and before kolo could say “Kai this man don chop our money” i landed him a square blow to his chin and started beating the sense out of him.
“So na me you wan put for trouble eh, abi i resemble you mate” i shouted while he begged and cried.
“Abeg sorry i don’t know what came over me” i cried.
“Oya make we go meet bro felix him go dash us money”
At the mention of money, i left him and he got up and we went together.
Bro Felix was a church member of ours who played football with Lobi stars, the official football team of Benue state.
He was an Ibo man, he had money and other things but the problem was that he was very stingy.
He never gave money without a price on your head. So we went to his house that day to try our luck and see What’s in for us.
Our luck that gave us our money that his fellow Ibo man collected from us in another pattern. A luck we never had.
“Oga Felix good afternoon” we both chorused. The oga was to make him happy alittle or so we tot.
“how are you boys”
bro Felix was eating a full plate of rice with a large chunk of chicken that was prepared for him by his girlfriend who as humming in the kitchen, while a fantastic aroma filled the room.
We totally forgot what we came for and our whole attention was on the piece of meat in front of us.
“Kai, if na so footballer dey enjoy, i must turn to footballer” i said in my heart while still eyeing the meat and thinking of what i would do with it if it gets into my mouth.
“So why did you people come to my house” bro Felix interrupted us.
“Em we came to see you” kolo said out of the corner of his dry brain.
“ok na, welcome, just seat down and watch film”
“see this man o, he cant even tell person to come chop sef” a job we would have done quickly.
“Uncle, we need money o” i said before we forget it.
“Ok na, i would give you money but under one condition”
“What’s it uncle”, we asked with trembling hearts.
“can you play football very well” he asked us.
“This is too easy” i tot.
“uncle me am messi while he is c.ronaldo” kolo informed him.
“ok thats good, you children should wait let me eat finish, i have a task for you”.
When he was through he took us outside and told us to find stone and use as post. He then informed us that we are going to play against ourselves.
We had to score three goals without the other person scoring any goal. A task that we thought was easy. He instructed us that if any of us equalise before the other person finish scoring, its cancelled and we would start from 0-0 again.
We started and i first showed my football talents by scoring two goals before kolo scored one and we started all over again.
At first it was fun, we would score and equalise and it would be cancelled and we kept on starting again and again.
But when we played for almost 2hrs without any winner we were tired and we both fell on the ground in pain and begged bro Felix to free us.
“Ok you boys have tried, get up and come and collect your money”.
At the mention of that we all got back our energies and we scrambled to our feet while bro Felix took out his wallet and started searching for the currency he would give to us.
What he brought out made us cry, it was two clean shiny neat five naira notes and gave it to both of us.
The only words that came out of our mouths was “Uncle only this one”
“Yes na, he told us “except you can score me then you can get more money”.
We quickly ran to him and started playing again, before i could say Jack Robinson the ball was in our post.
I was so determined and i rushed at him, he swung his leg at that moment and kick me on the knee cap.
“Uncle chop your money, i no go play again” i screamed while hopping back to my house.
I lied to my mother that i hit my leg and she pressed it for me like an iron bender which made me screamed and i promised myself to deal with uncle Felix the Ibo crooner, One way or the other.
I got my opportunity the next day during church service.