The Estate was divided into 5 Zones. They were Zone A, B, C, D and G.R.A. In low cost housing like ours, the hood had five strata of guys. Those that just got into secondary school and had not written their J.S.S exams had their own group, those that were freshly in Senior secondary school but were still ‘boys’ had theirs, those in SS2 and SS3 that where at the edge of being big boys also had theirs. This was the group I belonged too. There were those in the university, they were the most violent in all the zones. The last group was the graduates, employed and unemployed, though I must add that the unemployed outnumbered the employed by 7 to 1.
Groups in the lower ebb like ours had guys fighting for superiority. Our weapons were height, alcohol, girls and violence. This organization was Peculiar to each of the zones in the estate, except G.R.A. the guys there were mainly children of Lecturers and workers from LASU.
We lived in Zone D, and would have been the undisputed head if not for Tony. Tony was an SS3 student from Command day Secondary school, Ojo. He was 17 yrs old, with moustache that depicted age 30. He was the most feared among our peers. He had everything, from the height to girls and he was pretty violent too. One thing he wanted but couldn’t get was Ogechi. I believed they would have been dating if she didn’t know how much her brother detested him. Tony didn’t like us either and he used every opportuinity he had to show it. This included baring us from coming to play his Playstation game. He was among the very few that had it then in the low cost housing.
He was a gambler like me. WHOTS, soccer, dice were our thing. Sometimes we added the game of Ludo. Rubber band throwing was a gamble for the lower strata. Unfortunately, he held the key to providing Mama Joshua with her Chicken.
As expected, he was at Zone D car park, with his followers. That was where ‘monkey post’ football was played in our Zone. There were usually people there playing for fun or money. Tony was usually there, waiting for those who would play for money. Monkey post football was a kind of football played with miniature posts of about 3feet by 6feet, and maximum of 5 players per team. Tony was seated by a drainage that overlooked the park with black shades that protected him from the sun. Grown-ups usually arrived with their cars from 6pm, the idea was to finish all activities before they came with their automobiles.
“Tony, howfar, make we play ball na, 5, 5 hundred,” I said, sitting beside him.
“I get injury,” he said raising his leg to expose a bandaged feet, “but we fit gamble on those guys wey dey play,” he said pointing the group of younger boys playing four aside.
“How do we choose a team?” I asked.
“We flip a coin,” he replied.
His guys encircled us, Tope and Ugo were seated beside me.
After flipping the coin, our team was the one on the right. So we left to inform them that we had placed money on their head, victory was all that mattered. They would play for 30 minutes, 15 per half. It was a winner wins all and loser loses all.
I thought we had the upper edge in the coin flipping because our guys looked bigger. After informing them about the agreement we had made without their consent, we promised to give them 100 Naira to share among themselves.
I thought we were done talking and it was time for soccer, but Tope was having none of this. He assembled the boys and prepared to motivate them.
“ Fellow brethrens, in one accord we find ourselves in this hallowed ground. To find out if this team or any other team, so blessed in skills and bravado can longer endure.”
I could swear I heard phrases from Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, but he just continued with the assassination of the speech. The poor boys had no idea what my lunatic of a friend was talking about.
“Let us remember, that as women use breasts and bumbums as a weapon to express love, we must use our victory to express why we are here.”
I tapped him to quickly finish the speech.
“Most importantly, you are warriors, what you are fighting for is for the greater good, it will save us from the brink of destruction!”
I couldn’t help but agree with him on that last part.
“Dearest comrades, don’t forget what you are fighting for!” he concluded like he was expecting a clapping ovation. More than one of the boys sighed, they must have been confused about what they were playing for, wasn’t it just football?
Ugo, Tope and I were the only ones that knew that this match was about Mama Joshua’s Chicken. As the clock hit 5pm, the match started.
To Be Continued