We are in the dry season and the Harmattan poured from the sky as if hurled by a giant hand. It gathered in the grooves of the rooftops and dribbled onto the dry earth. Dawn came hesitantly, limning the edges of the fog. This harmattan does make people lazy because they won’t want to leave the bed until the sunrise.
Chidi lying on the bed turned from the window, caressing himself. The entire room was dark, his eyes, tired from lack of sleep, found the clock above the crucifix on the opposite wall. The time is 4:30 am and everywhere remain calm and. Quickly he jumped out bed, hint his big toe against the side of his sister Chidera, who was sleeping on a thin mattress spread on the floor.
“Wake up!” he said sharply, don’t you hear me I say “wake up!” are you a corpse?”
Chidera hung in that languorous swell between sleep and wakefulness until the pain in her side forced her awake. She rose grudgingly and immediately began to fill a bucket with water for her bath. We must hurry, thought Chidi nervously, as he watched her get ready. If we catch an early bus by 5 am, we can finish our purchases before the area boys rise and began their harassment.
Chidi was a licensed seller of medicine (popularly known as Chemists). He so much loves his job as a chemist. The room he lived in was one-half of a medicine shop: two high shelves demarcated the cramped quarters, with a gap between them where a mottled curtain hung limply. The lights came on, and so did Chidi’s rage when his gaze took in the motionless figure in the corner, cuddled in sleep.
Eze was his apprentice; he had been with him for the past five years. After which time he still couldn’t tell a needle from a syringe. He should be the one going to the market with me. Chidi thought, struggling to control his fury. Since Chidi had found out that his apprentice had a “blunt” head he had begun to teach his sister about the pharmaceutical business. If Eze noticed, it was not an occasion for sadness on his part.
When Chidera was dressed, and they were ready to leave, Chidi walked up to the sleeping figure and pulled off the wrapper which he used to cover himself. Eze clenched at it in his sleep, Chidi let go and made an inharmonious sound with the bucket in the corner. His apprentice sprang awake. “We are going to Idumota market today,” Chidi said with a harsh tone. “Open the shop on time, dust the shelves and tidy the place, we’ll be back soon.” I’ll start now, Eze said Obediently, grout, he mumbled in his throat as he bolted the door behind them. Then crept back into his wrapper and curled up in sleep.
They stepped off the bus at Aba and began to wind their way through the bedlam to the pharmaceutical product's section of the market. It was like being squeezed through a sieve. People were moving in all directions, shoving and pushing each other. Screaming hawkers crowded the rad on both sides, interfering with traffic. Curses hovered. The smell of bodies mingled with the smell of soap and plastic which mingled with the smell of carbon monoxide, It was disgusting…. To be continued