ACT 3 SCENE 1
Family meeting at Ogiri’s house, Ogiri’s Uncle and the Wife are present. Tombra’s Father a.k.a Old Soja and his Wife are also present. They are all dressed in traditional Kalabari attires save for Ogiri that is putting on a Jean trouser and Polo Shirt. Hot drinks have been served everywhere on the table, male and female all have a bottle and a glass of spirit, brandy and whisky, anytime Old Soja sips from his glass, he gaggles noisily before swallowing with squeezed face.
Ogiri: One again, I welcome you all to our house! This is our house because we are all one family!
Old Soja: (Cuts in) Na today? E don tey ! (Pours himself some drink and drinks up, he gaggles and squeezes his face as he swallows) Ahgh! This ogogoro na correct o! Go on! Go on my Son! I dey with you!
Tombra’s Mother: Papa Tombra! Why you dey like to fall you self hand like this nah?
Old Soja: Wetin I do nah!
Ogiri: (Cuts in) Thank you sir! As I was saying, I have a problem with Tombra, I have been trying to settle it on my own for sometime now to no avail. As you all are aware, I have been out of job for sometime now, I am still not able to secure one as I speak but..(Old Soja Interrupts)
Old Soja: go straight to the point! wetin be the problem? Why you summon us come here from the Village? Tell us! Abi! (Looks at his wife for support) Mama Tombra no be so? (He gulps some whisky and gaggles noisily, squeezing his face as he swallows: his wife cuts in)
Mama Tombra: (Angrily) Papa Tombra! Na wetin dey worry you? Na only you dey here? You no get shame? If you no get shame, me I get o! You dey embarrass me I beg!
Old Soja: (Surprised and with more drink still in his mouth, he tries to speak thereby spilling the content of his mouth on his dress, he wipes his mouth with his hands, searches his pocket and brings out a white handkerchief to wipe his mouth and his dress) you dey craze? Ehn Mama Tombra? Why you dey shout for me like that? I be your mate? Na your mouth I dey take talk? Na your mouth I dey take drink? Abi na your belle I dey drink am put? See as you don make me to waste this foreign Ogogoro now! (Points at his stained dress)
Mama Tombra: Why you dey drink like animal? (Mimics how Old Soja gaggles his drink) you think say na Village you dey with your drunkard friends? You no see our in-laws here? Why you too dey like to fall hand sef?
Old Soja: (Exclaims) Tamuno eh! Why I go shame for my in-laws? Dem be strangers? If to say you sabi the worth of the Ogogoro wey I dey drink so, you go understand why I dey drink am with impact! (Emphasises the word ‘Impact’)
Mama Tombra: Impact? Wetin dey bring that one now?
Old Soja: Yes! (Stands up, sways to and fro, obviously tipsy) yes Impact! Push me, I push you! If you sabi wetin this Ogogoro dey do me as e enter my body, then you go understand why I dey charge like that! Before I swallow am, I need to shake am well- well for my mouth so that the drink go don confuse before e enter my belle! If you think say I dey lie, drink am nah! This one wey una dey drink so na woman ogogoro, na only twelve percent alcohol e get! This one wey I dey drink get forty five percent! We be mate? Oya take small from my own drink! (he lifts up his bottle and approaches the Wife, picks up her glass and empties the content in his mouth without ‘impact’ then he pours some drink from his bottle into his wife’s glass and hands the glass back to her) Oya drink am if you strong! Drink it and see Impact! (Mama Tombra drinks from the glass and swallows, she attempts to take another sips but suddenly clutches her chest)
Mama Tombra: (Screams) Fire! Fire! Water! Water! I don die o! (She runs into the room coughing as husband jumps about excited)
Old Soja: (Pointing at her direction) Impact! Impact! You see what I mean? (Asks the others) That is the ‘Impact’! (He continues to laugh as Ogiri’s Uncle looks at him with scorn shaking his head sadly with disapproval, Tombra notices this)
Tombra: Papa! Sit down! When you go back to the village, you can continue with your drama!
(Old Soja apologizes and sits down stifling laughter by covering his mouth)
Old Soja: (Jumps up swaying to and fro) ehen! Where were we? He drinks some more whisky and gaggles again)Ahgh!(Shakes his head vigorously, shuts his eyes tight and opens them very wide, he shakes his head again and close and opens his eyes) Yes! We are good to go! Go on my Boy! Did you say you now have a job! That is good! Very good!
Ogiri: (Cuts in) No sir! I am yet to get a job! The problem why I called you here is that my Wife has been so uncooperative since I lost my Job. Even after loosing my job, I still carried the family with my savings. Now the Kids are going back to school and I begged my Wife to help in paying their School fees but she declined! She swore she will not pay their fees! (Mama Tombra walks back into the forum with a hand kerchief cleaning her eyes with her mouth wide open; she goes to sit down while Old Soja begins to mock her) Mama Sorry o! Hope you are better now? (Mama nods her head) My wife has a thriving business, I am out of Job! And she refuses to help out at a time like this! I have called this family because I do not want to take some actions that I would later regret! I can take some drastic action! (Old Soja interrupts)
Old Soja: (Flares up, stands up swaying) Drastic what? Hic, you be Obasanjo? Hic, what drastic actions can a jobless man take other that to go and get a job sharp! Sharp! Hic. (He grabs his bottle to pour some drink but the Wife rushes and collects the bottle from him, there is a struggle and he let go of the bottle) ehen! Mr. Drastic! Hic, you say wetin? (Staggers to and fro)
Tombra: Papa! E do! Sit down! (He sits down)
Mama Tombra: (To Ogiri) My brother! No vex I beg! This drink you gave my husband is too strong for him nah! The alcohol is 45 percent!
Tombra: it is Old Soja that choose the drink himself o! Nobody gave it to him; he went to the shelf himself and selected that particular brand.
Old Soja: (Stands up swaying) hic, all these other ones na woman drink! Hic, na dat one be the correct drink! Hic. I remember when I was in 103 Battalion! Hic, dem sabi me for the mammy Market! Those days we dey drink raw Ogogoro from fire! We dey, hic.
Tombra: Papa! (Old Soja sits down)
Uncle Joe: (Stands up and clears his throat) my in-laws, una welcome once again! Please what we are here for today is a serious issue and I think we should tackle it seriously.
Old Soja: (Jumps up staggering) tackle? Who are you? (Points at Uncle Joe) are you Austin Eguavon? You want to tackle me seriously? I will shoot you seriously! Hic, in fact I don’t need to waste my bullet on a bloody civilian like you! I will flog you, flog your Wife and wait for your Children! Are you mad? When I was in the Army, during the civil war, a man tried to tackle me at, hic, Umunede, we were advancing towards Onitsha then, hic, and I killed him with only one bullet!
Uncle Joe: My wife Tombra, I think you should calm your father down, it seems he listens to you alone. What kind of attitude is he displaying here? In fact I am highly disappointed to say the least!
Old Soja: (Flares up) hic, you are mad! You are a, hic, goat! Are you feeding me? You say I disappoint you! Who the hell are you? (Advances dangerously towards Uncle Joe but is restrained by Tombra) Are you the one that bought the Ogogoro? You People want to cage my Daughter! Lazy family all of you! (Points and staggers towards Ogiri) you! Hic, you are a jealous fellow! Hic. My Daughter is drastically building me a duplex in the village! Hic.
Old Soja: yes! That is why he is jealous! Hic. What do you have here? (Looks the sitting room over) a common Bungalow! Hic. My daughter is building something twice this Bungalow! That is why you want her money! You want her to start paying School fees! From there she will start buying clothes for you and your family! See dem! See dem! See their heads like Coconuts! You people are not ashamed of your selves. Hic. You want to turn my Daughter to a man!
Ogiri: Oh Tombra! So you are building a hose with out my knowledge? Is that why you couldn’t assist to pay your Kid’s fees? Is the house more important than the future of our Children? I can’t believe this! That means you have been a pretender all this while! And you go to Church regularly o! Even house fellowships you do not miss! So you are building a house behind my back?
Old Soja: Yes it is remaining roofing! Hic. And you want her to use the money to pay School fees? When we have already fixed a date for the house warming ceremony? Hic. Old boy no body can stop that ceremony o! Hic. Mama Tombra! Where is my drink? He goes for Uncle Joe’s drink and gulps down the content of the glass cup that was half filled. (Faces Uncle Joe) bloody Civilian! Who are you to drink when I am not drinking? Coconut head! All of una for this una family, una heads be like Coconut! (Points at Uncle Joes head, then Mama Joes head and then Ogiri’s head) Family of Coconut! (He gulps down the content of Mama Joe’s glass too, Uncle Joe wants to intervene but is stopped by Ogiri) wetin you want to do? You wan fight me? (He staggers to his seat)
Mama Tombra: (To Ogiri) my Brother, I beg you in the name of God (She kneels down) I am at a loss here, kindly ignore Papa Tombra’s attitude and utterances; he is drunk as you can see! He was not like this until lately when Tombra started sending money home for the building Project. Are you not aware that Tombra is building a House for us in the Village?
Ogiri: (Shakes his head and pulls her up) no ma! I am just hearing of it today!
MamaTombra: yee! (Faces Tombra) Tombra eh! Tombra is it true? Your husband is not aware of the house you are building?
Tombra: (Shrugs indifferently) it is my money! I can do what ever pleases me with it!
Mama Tombra: You are building a duplex for us in the Village, yet you cannot assist your husband in paying your Children’s School fees! I am not a party to this! I will not step my foot into that house unless you change your ways and start supporting your husband!
Tombra: They are his Children! They bear his name!
Mama Tombra: what about you? Don’t you bear his name? Are you no longer his wife?
Old Soja rushes from his sitting position to the centre of the sitting room and begins to vomit. There is pandemonium in the house.
ACT 4 SCENE 1
(Ogiri’s sitting room, the two Kids are busy at the dinning table with their home works. Ogiri enters)
Joshua: Daddy welcome! Good evening!
Ogiri: Good evening Josh! How are you?
Daniella; (Comes to hug Daddy) welcome Daddy!
Ogiri: How are you my pretty Angel? Where is your Mother?
Joshua: She has gone to Church for fellowship! Daddy, they say we should not come to School tomorrow!
Ogiri: why? Because of your School fees abi?
Daniella: Yes Daddy! We were called out today at the assembly ground for non payment of School fees! It was so embarrassing!
Ogiri: did you tell your Mother?
Joshua: mummy came to pick us from School and our Bursar saw her and told her personally.
Ogiri: and what did she say?
Daniella: she said we should tell you! She said you have the money to pay our fees but you do not want to pay it.
Ogiri: My God! Is that what she said?
Joshua: yes Daddy! We reminded her that you are jobless but she threatened to slap any one of us that says so again!
Ogiri: how much is the total fees?
Joshua: mine is seventy two thousand naira and Danny’s own is sixty four thousand naira. The total is em, em, one hundred and thirty six thousand naira!
Ogiri: Okay! I will give you the money tomorrow, but don’t tell your mother about it yet!
Daniella: Daddy but you said you do not have money! So mummy was right after all?
Ogiri: I can raise the money for your fees my dear, but after paying the fees, things will get worse for us, especially me!
Daniella: how daddy?
Ogiri: I will become penniless! I will have no dime left to feed on! I am sure your mother will not allow you Guys to go hungry, but for me, the Lord is my Shepherd!
Joshua: but Daddy, why is mummy behaving like this to you? Was it not you that opened the Shop for her when I was ten years old? I remember nah!
Daniella: mummy must be wicked!
Ogiri: no! No Danny! Do not say that about your mother, she is only going through a process called metamorphosis! When jungle mature, who no know go know!
Joshua: Mummy has a lot of money Daddy! Every day at the Shop she counts a lot of money! Why can’t she help you out?
Ogiri: my Son, women are like Children, give a Child a piece of Cake and try to collect part or all of it, you will see drama!
Daniella: ahan! How will you give a Kid cake and you want to collect it back! Is it fair?
Ogiri: good! Joshua, you heard your Sister abi?
Joshua: yes sir!
Ogiri: that is a woman for you! Don’t you know that the Person that gave you Cake and wants to collect part or all of it has a good reason for doing so? Well, no wahala! (Walks towards the room and looks at the lights) this light! Is it NEPA or Generator?
Joshua: it is generator sir!
Ogiri: ha! Why not wait until seven o’clock before putting it on?
Joshua: we need it to do our assignments and home works!
Ogiri: you can still do your home work at night nah! It is just past four o’clock and you have already put on the generator! Do we still have fuel in the fifty litre jerry can?
Daniella: Joshua poured the last one into the Gen!
Ogiri: hmm, you Children don’t know what you are up against! Look! I don’t have money, I am broke! After paying this School fees of your, I will be left on nothing! I will become a beggar until I get a job. You Children are used to a life of surplus but my dear, levels don change o! Your mother that I know would rather buy fuel for her Generator at the Shop instead of the one at home. Go and put off that Gen until night!
(Joshua reluctantly leaves the room grumbling)
Daniella: daddy, did you buy anything for me?
Ogiri: how? Anything from where nah? Did I go to work? Don’t you understand all that I have been going through in this house? I am a jobless man! I am getting desperate now! (Storms out of the house, Daniella feels embarrassed and begins to sob as she enters the room)