When Power Goes Out
Mummy would send Junior and I to go and buy blocks of ice from the factory in Azikiwe Road to keep the food in the freezer cold. One day at the factory, I placed money on the table of the woman who sold ice. She counted it and tossed the money back at me.
"You did not read the announcement at the gate?" She asked.
"Oh,small girl like you is asking me cross-question, ehn?"
I looked at her angry face. She would have been beautiful if she wasn't chewing gum like she was and if she hadn't shaved off her eyebrows and drawn eye pencil as if with a ruler.
I and Junior got to the gate and read the paper glued to it:
WE HAVE INCREASED THE PRICE
THIS IS DUE TO THE INCREASED
COST OF FUEL AND
OTHER PRODUCTION PROCESSES
BEAR WITH US
We walked back home and told mummy. Mummy wasn't happy.
"Ah ah," she said. "Very soon they will start charging the head of John The Baptist for just a block of ice. May God save us in this country."
There were a plethora of other unhappy circumstances that arrived in the wake of power's long sojourn in her new boyfriend's place: no Tom and Jerry by 4pm after school; no Super Story by 8pm on thursdays. We wouldn't be able to turn our morning tea to ice-cream and Uncle Uwadiegwu would put on his blue catapult generator and play loud Celine Dion songs when his annoying fiancee came visiting, suffering the ears of everyone in the yard.
I remember a time he had turned off his generator and everyone shouted, "Thank God!". He got angry and rushed to the filling-station to get more litres of petrol and he left it on for so long....