Short Story Excerpt: Ol’ Boi
The weekend after the incident they learned that four other houses in the area had been raided, and in one of them a man was shot and was in critical condition at the university teaching hospital. The children’s mother was nervous and uneasy and nagged their father until he became frustrated. At night when the children were trying to sleep, they would hear their parents arguing in their bedroom.
Eventually their father found them another place to live, and their mother told them that they would have to go to a new school and make new friends. He still had his friend Bamidele’s Voltron toy wrapped in a black plastic bag, hidden under a pile of clothes in his wardrobe. Bamidele had let him keep it after he had learned about the robbery; it was a very kind gesture especially since he knew that his friend was attached to the toy. Still, it would have been hard to explain this to his mother, so he kept the toy hidden.
Seated in the car early one evening as they drove home from visiting relatives, he was thinking of a tactical way to move it without his mother suspecting anything. The family was caught in slow-moving traffic, with their father behind the wheel and their mother in the front passenger seat while the little boy was in the back seat directly behind her. His two sisters were fast asleep next to him. He craned his neck to see what was going on and noticed that there was a checkpoint several cars ahead. The length of the street had been barricaded with two large planks on either side, and there was enough room left for one car to squeeze through following intense scrutiny of the vehicle’s documents by a policeman. There must have been at least a dozen policemen at the checkpoint. On the side of the road close to him, there were some policemen attending to vehicles that had parked a few yards away, while other policemen were standing by idly. His eyes wandered to them. By this time it was their turn to be checked, and he could hear Daddy rolling down his window and speaking to the policeman in the respectful voice he reserved for older people.
The little boy was about to look away when he noticed something he had not expected to see.
‘Ol’ Boi‘ is the first story in ‘Terra Cotta Beauty‘ by Jola Naibi