Victoria, Mummy is coming.
Now, my mum is the Onijogbon-General of Gbogbo-Agbaye, the only civilian Dictator, who is more military than her Naval Officer husband.
This woman has skills even the devil dabs to! She can detect lies from a million radius; embarrass you before any crowd. She manufactures domestic chores just like the way God said “Let there be light, and there was light” in the Bible. Ha! Mummy wa can make you confess to future sins by mere eye contact. The one that beats my imagination the most is her anti-enjoyment talent.
Undoubtedly, she just doesn’t like to see her children having unnecessary light-hearted pleasures. As a matter of fact, it gives her headaches! She will in-turn make a pronouncement that will mar you till her words become custom and tradition.
What was the source of today’s custom, Cool FM kobalized Victoria!
**Mummy is coming.
My sister Vicki adjusted herself as though she had been reading. You know, J.S.S.3 is not an easy class.
***Are you deaf? I say mummy is coming o!
The scapegoat still didn’t hear, but Mummy already listened to my “I say Mummy is coming o!” I went mute and went on with my own business.
To investigate the matter at hand Mummy did not interrupt Victoria, but laid on the three-seater sofa in the living room.
It was a pleasant Thursday afternoon, Vicki was on mid-term break, and her mid-term performance wasn’t straight A’s as every Nigerian mother daydream. Though she wasn’t doing poorly at school, but trust my mother now, she was looking for the slightest opportunity to pounce on her.
Cool FM gave Mummy the million-dollar opportunity.
They just had to start this musical challenge of “Ninety-nine” songs and dared people to know all Ninety-nine. Haba na! not now, biko! It’s not that I would know all the songs, but I don’t trust Vicki. That girl has a musical-magnetic-ears. All she needs to learn any song is to listen to it just once, no matter the language. Knowing my sister’s hidden talent, which Mum had more than once lamented and described as a vice, made my heart palpitate. I prayed to God to make Mum sleep, but No way! God does not answer such prayers. It was a day of reckoning.
In as much as Vicki was supposed to be studying, she started to sing. Though on the study table facing her whiteboard, she sang song number 1 as she jotted down things from her textbook to her notebook. I told myself sheer coincidence.
Songs number 2 – 5, Vicki sang it all; This was from Justin Bieber to Bruno Mars. I made another excuse in my mind that they were all musicians from her generation. She should know them. By this time Mum made a passing comment, Vicki, I thought you are reading your books? Omo Cool FM, ka re o!
The songs have reached number 20. By this time, Vicki’s divided attention from her books was alarming. I used my corner eye to watch mummy move from the lying position to sitting, to turning her head in a semi-clockwise way from Vicki to the device connecting the radio station. Unless there was a miracle, Vicki was in deep trouble.
Mum laid back and was like hmmm!
I prayed for her phone to ring. My mum is that type of person that doesn’t play with her phone calls, she wants absolute quiet. You would hear you turn down the volume, put off the tv, you children should keep quiet, you are always talking. And we will be like, but you are in our room, innit? My mother dominated all space. She is indeed the very definition of the word “matter”.
Her phone didn’t ring. The world did not remember her. Wahala ti dey bayi!
Song 25 – 30 were all Bob Marley’s songs. I mistakenly hummed the Redemption Song lyrics. Mum’s eyes were now on me. Haa! And we have this rule, “If mum’s eyes are piercing through your soul, you must hold that gaze”. To avoid being the subject matter of whatever it was that brewed in my mum’s mind, I blankly held her gaze to the complete detriment of Vicki. I stopped singing and minded my Itsey Sagay’s – law of contract textbook.
Song 40, 45, 47 at this time, it went from Michael Jackson’s Heal the World to Speechless. Mummy was flabberwhelmed. She was speechless, while Vicki happily sang along with Cool FM. By this time, mum was looking at the speakers, and she wasn’t moving. I knew that powerhouse of her brain has thought about one million ways to kill Victoria, as well as follow her to heaven. Still, my greatest consolation was that mummy cannot kill us. Vicki just got back from the hospital weeks ago, Mummy will be merciful.
My elder brother walked into the living room, he just got back from work. He really wasn’t in her good books either, he recently bashed her precious Mitsubishi Lancer, and they weren’t on talking terms laidat. The way I sat and Mummy was intently listening to the radio with her bugs bunny ears, he gave me that international hand symbol of “Toyo, How far?”
In fact, I moved my eyes from my mum to the speakers, to Vicki back to the speakers, gesticulating as best as I could. Mtchewwww! All my efforts were in vain. He didn’t even understand. Sensing the stench of whatever impending danger that was in the air, at this time, he left us, females, to our problems. Oh God, he was the only one that could break the ice, but he walked away. I was sure we would all suffer for this.
Song 55, 57, 65, 70. Now Mummy focused on Vicki as she happily sang. Meanwhile, mummy shook her head or slowly clapped her hands in amazement.
Song 81, 84, they repeated song 24 and continued with 85, then asked a question who sang such similar songs, before they could land, Vicki answered. All the while, mummy had cogent proof that she wasn’t studying. She was just passing the time.
Finally song 90, 94 … and 99. Without missing a word, Vicki even sang the intro to other songs, while all that Cool FM did was play the instrumental. I remembered T. S. Eliot book “Murder in the cathedral”.
As soon as the challenge was over, and Cool FM gave their goodbye notes, I heard mum thunder out Victoria’s name. She dashed the instruction “Toyosi put off the whole of that sound system from the socket”. Mummy continued, so, is that the book you were reading? Why won’t you fail?
Jesus Christ, hear us o! My daughter sang all 99 songs. Everything! No child in this house will fail, I repeat, you will never fail under my watch. At this point, as Vicki was about to refute the fact that she sang all 99 songs, mummy re-iterated that she was there the whole time.
Then the pronouncement followed;
If you children dare put on this radio again, you will be answerable to me.
What am I even saying, let me see who will put on TV in this house? Let me see who has two heads. Then, my mum realized I was sitting while she made her pronouncements. Are you sitting, my friend would you stand up! Do you not see that I am speaking? Then she pounced on me, I don’t know what your job is in this house. Your sister, who is busy failing all her subjects is here singing all the songs in this world – have you not taught her anything?
You are just there encouraging her to waste her life. Don’t you know when I am dead, you are the mummy of the house (Now, we have come to the chronicles of when I am gone. oh lawd, mummyyy ooo!). If your sister fails, all of you are in trouble in this house.
My other sisters just remained in their rooms. If not, these proclamations could get worse.
Then she turned to Vicki. I am following you to your school on Monday. If you dare sing any song in that school, your school is in trouble (in my mind, I was like Ahan, mummy her school too?)
Can you not see your elder siblings? Will they sing 99 songs at one sitting? You are wasting your precious time. No wonder you are busy scoring 65/100. God bless you your report card at the end of the term doesn’t read all A’s.
What are you even reading? Vicki answered introductory technology. Let me have a look at your workbook.
Mummy exclaims again, Lord save me o! Do you know how much I bought these books? You haven’t even written any word on it. Not even your name. In fact, if I hear pim from your mouth in this house, you are in trouble.
In short, how many hours do you read in a day? I will double it.
I repeat no more TV! No more radio or music!! No more noise!!! All I want to see is all of you reading and breathing only.
That was how, till today, we stopped listening to the radio in my house.
For TV, Dad helped us relax the rule and channelled it to only news and sports. I will tell you another day how Vicki became conscripted to being a Barcelona fan. That year, and the following years Messi was the undisputed champion. As usual, it landed Vicki into mummy’s trouble, but this time, she was all by herself.
Words and their meaning:
“Flabberwhelmed” – A mix of the word flabbergasted and overwhelmed.
“Mummy wa” – Our mummy.
“Haba na!” – Exclamation for why?
“Kobalized” – To put in trouble.
“Laidat” – pidgin word for “like that”.
“Omo Cool FM, ka re o!“ – Cool FM’s child, well done.
“Onijogbon-General of Gbogbo-Agbaye” – Ingenious Yoruba title for unique mothers.
“Pim” – pidgin word “to remain quiet”.
“Wahala ti dey bayi!” – There is trouble.
” biko!” – Please.
Mtchewwww! – to hiss.