Tag Archives: barrackboy

Two Lives and a Soul by Ojay Aito #23


two-lives-and-a-soul-ojay-aito [5341]

Dr Reuben wasn’t a man given to starting his day with a preface, at least not before his colleagues. In the lab, he would simply start off from where his last activity was paused. Lately, he had been more preoccupied than distracted, as he rather put it, with admin work, given the fact that his boss, Head of DiVivo was retiring in a matter of days, and Dr. Reuben assumed he should be next in the line to take the venerated position. Fifty seven more days, to be exact. Anyone could have easily mentioned that it was only two months away, but to Dr. Lucman Reuben, it was a countdown.

If only anyone had the effrontery to ask him, he would have unmasked the boyish thoughts under this tough half Jewish half Lebanese skin, and told them it was fifty seven days, eighteen hours, forty-four minutes… and thirty two… one… thirty seconds to the end of Prof. Usu’s tenure, and then the beginning of his. Continue reading Two Lives and a Soul by Ojay Aito #23

Two Lives and a Soul by Ojay Aito # 21

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After a few minutes of simmering of my nerves, I began to put my brain to use. Wherever I was, I had to know of my geographically location. And more immediately, I had to find a way out of this pod I was. So far, it was a hard plexi-glass material moist with air. I could see one blurred source of blue light that momentarily flashed in the distance. I tried to figure out where I was

At first, I had used the will of force, and had tried to hit hard on the glass surrounding. I had tried to peer my vision through the glass, which was only a futile and impossible attempt. Frustration was beginning to rent through my cold naked body. I was naked.

The colour of my skin was now a few shades lighter, tending towards teal. I tried to remember how it was when I had my first time travel experience. I was Sam. But… wait did I come back as Sam? I couldn’t tell. And there was no way I would know if there was no hope of getting out of this case, or enclave. Or cell- whatever this was.

The thoughts of Sally and her grandma still lingered in my mind; and the mystery words Grandma Anna had forced me to read, still somehow clung to the ridge of my tongue. I would remember them, this I was sure, but I didn’t think it was absolutely as expedient as getting out of this cocoon I arrived in. Continue reading Two Lives and a Soul by Ojay Aito # 21

Two Lives and a Soul # 19 by Ojay Aito

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I have always felt that hot tea was meant for those in temperate regions of the world, not for us who live in the tropics, and have to grapple daily with the consequence of living along the constant path of the sun’s intensity.

The only way to have my cake and still eat it, was to keep talking while my tea grew cold. I enjoyed the croissant and fruits no doubts. I was sure granny noticed that I had hardly taken more than a sip from my tiny tea cup. I caught Sally smile once or twice behind her cup as well, as I talked about Kobo Olanta and my former Lebanese boss. Then came the inevitable question of why I preferred to work as a guard.

“A watch guard,” I had first corrected. “Being a watch guard is more prestigious than being just any guard. In the sense that you have to keep watch on the visitors, and also watch the clocks tick away, and not feel too sorry for yourself because you realize that your life is passing away with the time. It takes a gift to handle that.” Continue reading Two Lives and a Soul # 19 by Ojay Aito

Two Lives and a Soul #18 by Ojay Aito

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The drive over the lagoon would have been a beautiful experience had I not occupied my mind with so much more than it could bear.

My life in the past one week flashed before my eyes. All the emotions and the passions of the past three years could not come to par with these few days of overwhelming pressure and topsy-turvy. I was almost a mental wreck. Tonight, I could have drowned.

I imagined what it would have been like had we been arrested and interrogated by the state CID, or the very empathetic secret service. We would have secretly vanished like the missing Malaysian plane of the earth’s surface.

I turned towards Sally, who now looked pale after wiping the gothic makeup off her face. Her eyes were filled with a mixture of gratitude and apologies, but she was yet to found the words to express whatever sailed through the ocean of her mind. Continue reading Two Lives and a Soul #18 by Ojay Aito

Two Lives and A Soul #17 by Ojay Aito

two-lives-and-a-soul-ojay-aito [5341]

Chapter 17

I was beginning to feel a bit blue around the gills and browned off at the same time. Evening had set in, and the crowd hadn’t thinned out one bit. I was sure there were more people here now than the park had ever seen in its history. Not even when it was still a prison yard. As a few people strolled out, hundreds more came in. The park manager sure didn’t mind, as long as tickets were bought.

My self-imposed break this afternoon was ending in seven minutes, but one look at my reflection on a glass door, I was worse than I felt. So I decided to go wash my face at the convenience closest to me.

Continue reading Two Lives and A Soul #17 by Ojay Aito

Two Lives and a Soul #16 by Ojay Aito

two-lives-and-a-soul-ojay-aito [5341]


I walked straight out of the gallery, suddenly realizing I was choking. The air felt lighter, as the walls seem to be closing in. I knew it was all in my head, but if I remained in there one more minute, I would go dramatic. No, I am not claustrophobic.

The weather was cool and airy outside, much to my thankfulness. I was already on my feet to do anything I could to stop the sale of the watch. My mind was racing, and as soon as I came up with some plan, I saw its fallibleness. I was walking on quicksand here.

I wished I had some other information about Sally apart from her name. No contact number, no address, nothing.

If I didn’t get to her as soon as possible, I would…

A light bulb came on my head, and caused be to go the way of the information room where the log books were kept. Obi was the guy in charge of the records room. He had a boss who was hardly around, so his Jack the Lad attitude, coupled with the mantle of power resting on his uneven shoulders meant I had to be either super humble, or super prayerful to get what I wanted from him.

His Ibo accent preceded him as I rapped on the door of his tiny office. “Yehs,” he asked me to come in.

I turned the nub gently and pushed lightly the door open. I stood before Obi and wanted to say the usual morning greetings. The stare from his face could have frozen an egg. “Yehs, isn’t it too early in the morning to be dumb?” he asked. I felt insulted. What was that for? I heard this guy had malicious lips, what I didn’t expect was that he had no respect for the time of day. I allowed the maligning words slowly roll off like water on a duck’s back.

Looking at the table in front of him which was full of receipts from betted games instead of his work files, I cleared my throat. “Good morning sir. Abeg, I need your help, Oga Obi.” I quickly added and rubbed his ego in the process. This was my first real conversation with him.

“From where?” He looked up at me, asking that very stupid question I so hated to hear. How does the help I need have anything to do with where I came from.

“I mean I’m trying to track down a visitor who came here the other day, and I will like to check through the register.”

“You want to track down someone?” He flared his nose slightly, echoing my words with an air of haughtiness.

“Yes sir, Oga mi.” I was sure if I stood more than a few more minutes with this guy, I would lose my cool, and swift mode to par his self-centeredness.

“That’s why I asked from where? From who? As in, who sent you?” He pronounced ‘sent’ as ‘saint’. Obi was definitely going to be a pain in the neck. I was in my security uniform alright, and stating the obvious would only create a laughing stock of me. That, I saw, was his intention.

“I was sent by your boss.” I stood before him legs apart beginning to prepare for a face-off he so apparently wanted.

My boss.” This guy was a master derogator. “Who is my boss?” A side of his nose puffed up again.

“Well, I guess you know who gave you employment here, Obi.” I said this looking down at him, now accepting the fact that this was a dead end. I felt like pounding my fist into the wooden desk that stood flat between us, instead, I just perched on it with my ten fingers, painstakingly balancing my weight on them.

It was obvious this wasn’t my forte. On the other hand, Obi did this for a living. I was just a freelance, faffing around.

“I see.” Obi said. I expected him to stand up to match my gait, instead, he reclined his chair and smiled with one side of his mouth. “So, did my boss, the one I presume also gave you your employment here, give you any hand written request for me?” Obi took the words one after the other, enunciating his accent further.

This guy was insane, I concluded, but before I retreated, I had to allow myself have some fun. All I had to do was see this Obi guy as a Kobo Olanta reincarnate.

“Hmm, well.” It seemed I was searching for words, but I was only actually counting the minutes that was being wasted. Sally’s phone contact was surely somewhere in those log books up the shelf. “I promise you, Obi, or whatever your name is, that if I step out of here, the only note you will be getting is a sack letter.” I knew I was bluffing, but one could never say. People like this probably only yielded to threats.

“Really? Last time I checked, security men around here are way down the food chain. You will make a good brunch, brother.” He paused to let the information sink, then continued. “I thought you would have learnt a few lessons from your last job, but from what I see here, I don’t think you will be here more than a day or two more.”

We both remained quiet for a second. This guy just dealt me a double combo. Did he know about my last job as a sales man, or he was just ranting?

“I thought I was only going to do you a favour, and perhaps make an acquaintance. Apparently, you don’t seem to be that kind of guy. Sorry I bothered you.” I didn’t allow him make another come-back before I left his pitiable office. One thing I succeeded in doing was make him think. If he wasn’t as thick as he tried to sound, he would surely give a few minutes thought to what I just said.

I walked towards the gallery, sulking a little, and thinking if I could have used a better approach. I only had a few minutes to ‘faff’ around before I was conspicuously M.I.A. I kept thinking about the threat I had made about Obi losing his job. Where did that even come from?


A few more journalists had arrived, setting up their equipments around the entrance of the gallery. I moved towards one of them, cautioning myself not to transfer my frustrations on anyone.

“Good morning.” I sounded friendly as I stood before one of the camera men.

“Hey, officer, how work?” The man hardly looked up from his kit. He was strapping himself with what I felt was only necessary if he covering the war in Syria.

I gave him the usual, “We thank God,” and stretched my arms to shake him. “The name’s Eli.”

“Oh,” He tried balancing his weight and completed the strapping before he freed his right hand to take mine. “Great. Is it Elisha or Elijah?” he asked with a smile on his face.

“Neither. Just call me Eli.” I shook his hand twice more to make sure he got it.

“Oh okay Eli. My name is Felix and I’m with News Line.” He pointed at the logo monogrammed to the left chest of his camp jacket.

“Nice one.” I said. “So you must find your job interesting.” I made the statement and stepped back, taking a view of all the gadgets he had at his disposal.

“My brother, I wish o. My passion is to be in front of the camera, not behind it.” He spoke as a matter of fact. “You know I used to think I would work my way through to the other side, but my boss sees things differently.”

“Really, your face isn’t that scary.” I had a smile on my face.

“I wouldn’t have minded, but his real challenge with me was not having a foreign accent.”

“Really,” I must have used ‘really’ more than a few times this morning alone. “Any foreign accent would have done it?”

“No, I don’t mean a Zulu or Ashanti accent.” The way Felix made his face as he spoke, he could make anyone laugh easily. “I mean, the Britico-Americana srisrisrisri.”

“Oh, I see. So there’s no hope for you?”

“Well, there’s always hope. If there is life, there is hope. At least this,” Felix pulled the jacket tighter to his body. “pays the bills. With a wife and daughter at home, one will do anything to put food on the table.”

“I feel you, bro.” It was time to go. “So it was nice meeting you.” I shook his hand again.

“Same here, Elijah.”

“Keep it Eli.” I warned, not wanting to remember my secondary school days with friends. “And make sure you catch me on camera when the governor goes through the entrance.” I pointed to where I felt I should be standing when eventually the governor comes this morning.

“Ah, that would be a tall order, but I’ll be sure to do my best.”

“I’ll shoot you if you don’t.” I made the pistol sign with my first two fingers and thumb, as I backtracked away from him.

“I’m heavily vested. So what do you think?” Felix hit his padded chest in defiance.

I laughed as I walked back to my appointed post. He sure did make me feel better.



The crowd that had gathered here within the last hour wasn’t as much as one would find at a political rally, but this was too much for just a tour at a clock gallery. One would wonder if the clocks were made by the seraphs that patrolled the throne of heaven to attract these many people.  But we all knew the real reason for the crowd was because of the governor’s presence.

I stood arms locked behind me before the erected barricade as the important figures were separated from the throng. Only the governor, a few important delegates and selected press members would be allowed into the main gallery. As the executive guests walked through the guardrail I was able to see them at proximity. Even the governor sweated on the scalp of his head. Beside him were a few political figures who had been popular during the election period.

A face stood out. And it popped an alarm in my head. I shifted my position to get a better look at who it was. Maybe if I saw his face again, I would be able to place it. It was as if time and chance had passed me by, as the delegates walked past me. I stretched; even began to move along on the side just so I saw that familiar face again.

I knew I was leaving my post, but I didn’t expect one more step away from standby to have a causative effect on the crowd control.  I stepped forward, more determined to see the man’s face. From the back view it was clear he was putting on a pair of glasses, and the middle of his head was bald.

I pushed my way through the delegates I was supposed to be shielding, and I got the attention of a few security operatives. If Old Rhoda saw me now, she sure won’t be surprised by my action. To her, I was a restless, hyperactive, maybe ebullient young man. I didn’t think she was wrong. Not since I started working here though.

Just then the governor stopped to great someone in the crowd, and the whole train had to pause for a bit. The glass-faced man had no choice but to follow suit, and that was when I saw the face again. And this time, yes, it registered.

The alarm in my head rang a lot louder as recognition struck. This was the man I had seen earlier today talking with Mr. Sunday. He now had his chin clean shaved, although his eye brows were still as thick as a Persian carpet. What was his name? I remembered the feeling I had when I first heard him speak from behind the flowers this morning. Was it possible that this was the man in charge of this park? The most likely answer was yes. I watched him adjust his glasses as the train finally began to move again. He looked like he had no time to waste, but had to behave himself before the governor, hence the plastic smile.

My mind for the umpteenth time this morning drifted into the gallery where the delegates now were, and Sally’s time piece that sat beside a glass protection. It was Bose, one of my colleagues, who shook me out of my reverie. She just shouted at one indignant photographer who had wanted to push down the guardrail. She called for backup and I headed her way with good relief.

After we sorted the problem with the photo journalist, I didn’t want to go back to my post again. What was the point when the governor and his train had made it safely into the clock gallery?

From where we stood, I could feel the air conditioning seeping through an opening at the edge of the glass door.

Nawa o, you dey groove here o.” I shared a joke with Bose.

“Which kind nonsense stupid groove be that one?” Bose didn’t have the luxury of time to be pranked.

“Na AC you dey seep here na.” I replied her.

Shhoooo, na wa to you o. So wetin you go come talk of the people wey waka pass you go inside? Them get two heads?” Bose wasn’t interested in seeing the good in what I said. Although I knew she was right, I felt she was provoked about something.

Mr. Cliff get two head?” She asked me again. I shook my head and added a smile.

Although he get four eyes, but na still one head like you and me him get. So why we no fit achieve the kind things wey them they achieve?”

Bose was saying a lot, but she just said something that was news to me. I paused to regurgitate on what she just said. Four eyes but one head… Four eyes… the words didn’t fall from my mouth, but my lips moved. … Four eyes… Mr Cliff was the man with glasses.

That was it! Mr. Cliff was the so much spoken of horologist that had organized this clock exhibition. And… he was the man who spoke with Mr. Sunday earlier today.

I couldn’t help but begin to replay in my head all I heard him say this morning, while he spoke with Mr. Sunday. He had been forceful, with a bit of vengefulness exuding from his tone. His words this morning to Sunday were … Do whatever you need to do. Now I wished I hadn’t been seen eavesdropping, I would have been chanced to hear more.

And Mr. Sunday’s reply had been … I will keep an eye on him.

I stopped all other thoughts wandering in my head and silenced the noise from the crowd. I needed to focus on this one: I will keep an eye on him.

I made another quick permutation in my head: a silver chain wristwatch was found. And it went missing again. This morning, it appeared in the show glass , ready to be sold to perhaps the farthest place in the world.

It got missing from Sunday’s wooden box, and was found in Mr. Cliff’s glass box. If I would be the only one who could draw the line, then I might as well just be the one to me monitored.

I wanted to ease myself that very moment. I tapped Bose on the shoulder and whispered my excuse into her ear.

Now, my senses were more alert more than ever. I was in danger. And even though I tried to play down on the inference I had just drawn, I couldn’t help but think I was in great danger.

Was that the reason I was assigned outside? It was Andrew who assigned the duty post, but had he also been privy to this information?… Wait o… Obi had asked for a written note from my boss. Did he mean Mr. Sunday was my boss? Was he the one Obi needed an authorization from? Was Obi involved in this as well?

I will keep an eye on him…

My eyes darted everywhere. I spotted a few people looking my way, but I told myself they were just about their own business. If anything, this wasn’t a Hollywood movie. No advanced security cameras and no snipers. But wait, there could be kidnappers.

What could Mr. Sunday have meant when he said he would keep an eye on him?

I sat on one of those concrete slabs and tried to allay my fears. It probably wasn’t as bad as I had thought. That was even if that conversation was about me in the first place.

If the auction party was still going to happen tonight, it would mean that Sally’s granny’s watch which was already in the glass would be up for sale as well. How much could the silver time piece possibly cost? Had they recognized the watch was also capable of enabling time travel? Or was it just some rare expensive wristwatch to them?

If only I could get Sally’s phone number, or just find a way to get across to her. I was already a bundle of nerves, breaking out in a cold sweat.

Two Lives and a Soul # 15 by Ojay Aito


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The sound of people cheering wasn’t in congruence with my state of mind. Fear, more like terror tore through the fibre of my being. The string I held on to, although it was some sort of lifeline, tossed me to and fro two gnawing endless depths: one blazing with flames, more like a furnace made of hot coals; the other, a pitch black abyss that personified nothingness. I was between the devil and the deep blue sea. Continue reading Two Lives and a Soul # 15 by Ojay Aito

Two Lives and a Soul # 14 by Ojay Aito


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I wished I had super powers to hover above the crowd in the park just so I could scan the entire property in one fell swoop. I made my way towards Mr. Sunday’s office where I believed the lady would be at this moment. I could picture Mr. Sunday hand over the handbag to her, and she was just leaving the park. I panicked a little and my heart skipped a few beats. I increased my pace.


The door to Mr. Sunday’s office was opened although the burglary proof gate was locked with a padlock. It was empty but bore traces that Mr. Sunday had finally made it to the office today: the whole place smelt of fried plantain and beans that could easily have been lunch for him. The clock on the wall said it was a quarter past one in the afternoon. Continue reading Two Lives and a Soul # 14 by Ojay Aito

Two Lives and a Soul #13 by Ojay Aito


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Sleep was the last thing that came to me as I sat legs folded on my bed. My mind was far away in that little staff office which had in it a wooden box hung on the wall. In that box laid my ticket to the future. If I hadn’t experienced the time travel a few days ago, I was as certain as a fire would cause smoke, that this idea would only have been termed incredulous.

My hands still trembled. A few hours ago, Mr. Sunday, as I now called him, had ordered me to put the strange bag with its contents into the box. I had thought of the possibility of making a run with the bag, but I guess it was the withholding power of common sense that proved to be supreme. I had followed Mr. Sunday’s instruction like a blood thirsty zombie, and handed the key of the box to him, after which he had shut the steel doors and left me standing in front of the office, unsuspectingly dangling the keys in my face as he said his good nights. Continue reading Two Lives and a Soul #13 by Ojay Aito

Two Lives and a Soul # 12 by Ojay Aito


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Forget whatever I had said earlier, or thought aloud about. No, they weren’t wrong, they were not just as I thought them to be. One was the fact that my new job was more or less that of a security man.

The second, which was linked to the first was that I was posted to keep watch of a ‘watch museum’. How incredulous that was. Continue reading Two Lives and a Soul # 12 by Ojay Aito