There has been an explosion. Everyone feared that it was terrorist attack as they had promised. But the doctors remarked that the terrorists were not so stupid as to isolate their targets, focus on only two or three targets or even make such targets as insignificant as Azeez and Old Soldier.
Dr. Rumps: What would be their gain? Nothing!
Dr. Adamu: They obviously do not waste their weapons like that.
Smith: Weapons? None was seen at the scene of the incident.
Deckor: The only people that enter into Iya Roy’s house o’ common that day no carry anything.
Dr. Adamu: Did you see them?
Deckor: I…I… [Looked sideways to Smithereen, who cut him short]
Smith: Yes, I saw them. We were there that day.
Dr. Rumps: And why were you not targets?
Smithereen offered an explanation.
Smith: We were hiding at a distance from Iya Roy’s. From the tone of the letter they sent, we expected that they will bring big and expensive weapons that day.
Dr. Adamu: So…you mean…you had expectation that they will destroy Iya Roy’s and the surrounding massively? Will that be your joy?
Smith: No, do not get me wrong. We are just a part of this ecosystem called Nigeria. We balance things out, me and Deckor are trying to do our best. And that is in spite of the fact that we are neglected victims of our community, whose minority steal for themselves the resources meant for everybody. We are uneducated because our parents could not afford the fees of the schools; my father, for example, had a job that only paid for two cassava-enriched meals per day, sometimes it was one meal per day. So, I stayed home and helped my parents in whatever ways I could.
Dr. Rumps: You have not answered the question.
Smith: These people who threatened in their letter to come and bomb this neighborhood are against western education. Deckor and I are already beneficiaries of that ideology as we have ended up not going to school.But what do we have to show for having attained the demands of these people? Are we any better?
Old Soldier: What is happening here?
Smith, Deckor and the doctors were shocked to hear Old Soldier speaking behind them. They turned to see him reclining in bed, rubbing his eyes. As they approached him, his eyes were fixated on Azeez who was still unconscious. As he attempted standing and approaching Azeez, the doctors made for him and restrained him in bed, securing in place the intravenous line that delivered some fluid into his body. He became aggressive screaming, “Captain…”, struggling to extricate himself from under their weight. Deckor and Smithereen have joined to hold him down. Dr. Adamu picked up a loaded syringe lying on a tray beside him and passed the contents into Old Soldier’s body. He went to sleep and they loosened their grip on him.
Deckor: What happened now now?
Dr. Adamu: Hallucinating…it must have brought memories of the war and its violence back. He will be fine.
Smith: Let us go out to continue our talk.
Dr. Rumps: No, it’s okay here. He won’t be disturbed. Continue…
Smith: So, I hope you are following me? All of us who did not go to school have achieved the ideal that they are demanding, no to western education. Then, their agitations should stop. No, the focus should be what next? What next for those of us, who have turned their back against western education? Oh, you have no plan for us [he was being dramatic]. You just want to shout, against western education, gain attention and receive gifts and donations. Ah-ah, it has become a way to survive? Leaving us to our fate, after we have been successfully taken out of school. Survival. That is what is next and we must survive. Your house, built with hard-earned money, would be sold by the children you created and gave no care. Once Azeez told us what the letter said, we planned to benefit from their coming. We would lay ambush for them and pounce on them as soon as they came to our reach. We would strip them of their weapons and take them to the black market for sale. That was…
Dr. Rumps: What…
By now, all eyes were on Smithereen, even Deckor looked at him as if he was hearing all he said for the first time. But Smithereen hasn’t finished.
Smith: At least, we would have benefited. We thought their weapons would be massive. So, we lay ambush. It was Old Soldier that first appeared. With one pelebe of dry gin under his armpit and a dying stick of cigarette in a hand, he staggered towards Iya Roy’s, singing one song like that. Clumsily, he shook the door and flung it open. It was not locked, so he went in. Within seconds, he came out again and sat beside the door, drinking his pelebe and singing that song. Not long after, Azeez who had only been discharged from hospital the previous day, was hustled towards Iya Roy’s by one tall man I have never seen. My thought was that these people must be crazy. After what they know, they still came to Iya Roy’s today. To do what, drink? Has Iya Roy truly used juju on them that they would forget the meals of their wives for her jedi? Or has life become meaningless that they were in search of death? Well, we waited, hoping that the terrorists will not come till the idiots leave the shop. The wait was not for long when suddenly, we heard a blast inside Iya Roy’sand part of the roof was blown giving out flame and smoke. When we heard the noise, even though we never slept, we thought to ourselves that we must have missed them when they arrived. Few people that were close by ran aggressively in different directions. After some time, when no one came out of Iya Roy’s and the smoke was reducing, we saw Sifidifensi and one policeman in mufti entering into the shop with carefulness.
Dr. Rumps was the first to notice what had happened while they were listening to Smithereen. He pointed a finger at the open window blowing out the empty hospital bed of Old Soldier.