You can always tell which boys had just been blended, it was there in the angle they hung their shoulders and how they tried to take up all the space with their frail bodies. It was there in their broken teenage voices and they tried to place it in the well of their throats and make it sound as it was made by thunder in a secret place.
If you look in their darting eyes, you will find the bubbles of fear gliding to the surface from beneath all the bravado their bodies project. Like this one who is asking for a cigarette and doesn’t even know what brand he prefers. Too green to know that each brand gives a different kick, serves
His eyes roam the shop and the clearing beside it where other students sit and eat Madam Rose’s food, I know that look and it is never unaccompanied by trouble. I want to tell him to cool it down, that this gra-gra was pointless
There is a part of my tongue that is numb from all the times I bit it to stop myself from telling these boys to run until they get to the Ovia river and wash their skins and souls from the communion of the brotherhood. I wish I could tell them how I see their obituaries clearly. But I bite my tongue again and when I find their obituaries, I shake my head and bite the lining of my cheek to keep myself from laughing and then from crying.
The boy’s puckered lips make me laugh as I watch them caress the cigarette in an awkward angle. I wonder if he has kissed a woman before, or felt the weight of a breast in his hand while he squeezed it to remind himself it was real.
I wonder if he would feel the softness of a woman beneath him before he ends up on a road with a bullet in his head. Then I wonder why I am wondering such things about this boy who I would most likely never see alive again.
I am still putting his money in my change container when I hear a voice and I hurry out of the shop because no one has ever been able to escape from George’s clutches in under ten minutes of his convoluted stories and scattered gist.
From the corner of my eye, I see the nervous boy’s right hand dart into his jacket and the bulge in his jacket suddenly made sense. I follow his gaze and it lands on George who is barely 10 metres away.
“George of destiny!” I call out and in one second flat, I’m holding the boy’s right arm.
“Don’t try it,” I hiss into his ear and drag his hand out of his jacket.
“Where you dey go?” George asks as I pull the boy outside.
“I wan go show this nigga something, I dey come.” I say as the boy and I lumber on the road like an ungainly pair of drunken idiots.
I look at the silly boy again and wonder at the level of hatred his capo had for him that he sent him to ‘fall’ the most fortified supremo in the entire mid-west region.