WRITER’S FOREWORD: I would like to take the Humour Colum writer-Chika Jones route and apologize to the dedicated readers of the Housewives series for my protracted absence from MMS. It was due to circumstances beyond my control, circumstances that have hopefully been resolved, enabling me to bring back to you all the drama on-going in the lives of Adaku and her friends.
I sincerely apologize for my hiatus, and I want to express my profound appreciation for the readership of the series. Walter informed me of how he had to go into Witness Protection from those of you who were hounding him for the return of the series. That is gratifying. Thanks a lot. By God’s Grace, we’re back to business!
On that note, here’s what happened previously on The Housewives Tale: Ijeoma begins making quick progress in her recuperation from her coma, even accommodating her friends Adaku, Chinwe, Mercy, and Mimi in her room for a boisterous catching up. The topic of what to do with Ada’s nemesis, Leticia comes up. And speaking of the she-devil… Ada goes back home in the company of Chinwe and Mercy to meet Leticia’s latest atrocity in her kitchen. Something finally snaps in Ada, and she gives Leticia three left-handed slaps across her cheek.
And now, for Episode 37…
The strength of the slaps sends Leticia spinning towards the door through which she walked into the kitchen. She hits her shoulder on the edge of the half-closed door, and in struggling to regain her balance, she jams the door shut with a loud bang that causes me to flinch and makes the door swing back open right away. She had fallen to the floor before the doorway, so, the door hits her foot on its way back.
I watch with icy detachment as Leticia cradles her right cheek with both palms. Her eyes flash venom at me above the redness creeping across the cheek.
“You slapped me?” she growls.
“Yes!” I scream. “And I will slap you again, if you don’t get up and get out of my house!” I jab a pointing finger outward from the kitchen to underscore my threat.
“How dare you slap me, you bitch!” she snarls, now rising up from the floor.
“Who did you just call a bitch?” I roar, incensed. Even before the words are entirely out of my mouth, I charge towards her, my anger surging through me like a tidal wave.
But she moves too fast. Before I can get a-hold of her shirt, she strikes my forehead with her open palm.
“Jeezuz!” I scream, spinning with the force. Flailing for support, I grasp the kitchen cabinet in time to prevent me from falling down. I clamp down on a sudden bout of nausea that hits me from nowhere, while attempting to steady my spinning vision. Then, out of the periphery of my sight, I see something move.
I turn immediately, but I am too late! Leticia had lifted a damaged mop-stick, the stick which I usually lodge inside my broom in order to clear cobwebs; she hefts the stick like a cudgel and aims right at my head. My whirling movement saves my head from the strike, and the stick lands instead on part of my shoulder. I yelp in pain, as she lifts the stick again. Her expression is crazed, and she screams as she wields the stick again. I side-step and she hits the stick on the floor with such force that it splits in two, one part flying up and connecting with my calf, bruising the skin.
I scream again and bend down to inspect the damage done to my leg. She rises to her full height, wielding the remaining short stick in her hand. She lashes out at me with it. The blow connects, and I yelp. The pain short-circuits into fury, and I grab the ladle on the kitchen counter, moving very fast toward her and hitting out at the side of her head. It is her turn to scream in pain, and she raises the stick to hit me again. Moving very fast again, I fend her off, knocking the stick off her hand. She snatches at the pot containing the burnt fish, and sends it flying in my direction. I duck and the pot crashes on the window protector and lands on the floor, charred remains of the fish scattering everywhere.
“What the…” Chinwe’s voice comes through the kitchen door. It takes her two seconds to take in and surmise what is going on. “WHAT THE…?” She screams the words this time, just as Leticia grabs a kitchen spoon and takes a swing at me.
Chinwe darts inside the kitchen and gives Leticia a hard shove from behind, making her drop to the ground in a crouching position.
“Are you mad?! Are you mad?! Are you mad?!….” Chinwe screams over and over, punctuating the word ‘mad’ with a kick to Leticia’s rear. With each kick, the other woman cries out and drops further down to the floor. “Are you mad?!” Chinwe yells again, this time kicking at Leticia’s leg as she lies prone on the kitchen floor.
Breathing fast and wincing at the pain on my shoulder and head, I lean downward and flip Leticia around by dragging her by the shirt. I hunker down beside her, and holding her by the collar of the shirt, I pull her up to a sitting position.
“Listen to me, you sneaky bitch!” I spit out, my voice marinated with all the rage and hatred that I feel for her. “If I ever see your stupid legs in my kitchen again, I will cut them off! Am I clear?”
“You think –” she starts to reply.
My hand striking her face knocks off the rest of her response.
“Aarrgh!” she shrieks.
“It’s a yes or no question,” I hiss. “I said, am I clear?”
“If it were only –” she begins again.
My hand lashes out twice across her cheeks.
“I said, am I clear?” I ask again, lifting my hand threateningly, confident in the knowledge that she will not dare retaliate, not when Chinwe is hovering behind me, eager to inflict some bodily harm on her.
“Yes! Jesus! Yes!” she screams, beads of tears streaming down her face, as she tries to wrest my fingers off her shirt.
Chinwe taps me from behind, indicating that I give her a turn. I let Leticia pry my hand away from her. But just as she is about to rise, Chinwe pushes her back down.
Then she leans forward, and thrusting her face, which is a mask of anger, toward Leticia, she seethes, “I have heard so much about you, and none of the stories are good. So, I’ll tell you how it will go from now on –”
Leticia cuts her off by blustering, “What is your business –”
Chinwe’s hand streaks forward and slaps the rest of her words back inside her mouth. Leticia shrieks in pain. Chinwe bends closer and hisses, “Don’t you ever interrupt me when I’m speaking to you. And I will tell you what my business is. When you mess with my friend, you mess with me. So listen very well to the new rules. Number one, I don’t ever want to hear that you came to this house for anything! Not even to see Ifeanyi. You guys should find another meeting point. Number two…there’s no number two.”
“You have no right to –” Leticia fumes.
“Shut the hell up!” Chinwe roars, reaching forward to shake her violently back and forth. The manhandling must have caused Leticia to snap her teeth over her tongue, because she whimpers, before lifting her hand to her mouth, but not before I spot a small trickle of blood seep through her lips, down the side of her head bruised from my blow with the ladle. I smile acidly, happy that she has something to show for our fight,
“Look at me very well,” Chinwe rails on. “You don’t want to find out what I can do to you, Chioma!” She spits out the name as if it is some kind of curse. When Leticia flinches visibly in reaction to her name, Chinwe continues, “Yes! I know you, and I know where to find you if you ever set a foot in this house again. Is that clear?”
“Y-y-yes…yes!” Leticia stutters her reply.
“Good, now, get up!” Chinwe says, standing and dragging her up with her. She doesn’t let her go as she drags the woman right out of the kitchen.
Mercy, who has been standing and watching the fight wide-eyed and dumbstruck from the doorway, scurries out of their way.
Leticia, upon realizing that she is being physically banished, tries to wriggle out of Chinwe’s grasp. “Let me change and gather my things! My phone…my purse!” she protests, dragging her feet.
“Ask Ifeanyi to bring them out for you later. You are leaving right now!” Chinwe says grimly, holding fast and hauling her out of the house and outside toward the gate with amazing strength.
I hurry to Ifeanyi’s room and pack up everything I recognize as hers. I move back into the living room to see Chinwe storming back into the house.
“What are those?” she asks, gesturing to the items in my hands.
“Her stuff,” I reply.
She snatches them from me, and begins to go through them – Leticia’s jeans, top, bra, her purse. She drops the clothes on the floor and snaps open the purse. Rummaging through it, she brings out two phones, a Samsung android phone and a small Nokia. She returns the Nokia into the purse, and drops the Samsung in her own jean pocket.
“What are you doing?” Mercy and I ask in unison. I flick a momentary look at Mercy, who I hadn’t noticed had come to stand beside us.
“What you should be doing,” Chinwe says to me grimly.
Rummaging further in the purse, she produces two sets of keys, each in a different holder. One had a bunch of several keys, while the other contained one single key with three holders.
“Isn’t this your house key?” she asks, brandishing the single key.
“Let me see that,” I say, stretching out my hand. She drops the key in my palm, and I inspect it. “Nope,” I say.
“Are you sure?” Chinwe asks. “There’s a possibility that she has had a spare cut for her.”
“There’s a simple way to find out,” I say, turning toward the front door to check the key out. I slip the key into the keyhole, and – Click! – it turns perfectly in the lock.
“Ah!” I exclaim, astonished. “It’s my house key oh! Okwa ifugo?”
“I guessed as much,” Chinwe says in a crisp tone. “Keep your house key.” She picks up the clothes, and together with the purse, she marches back outside to the gate. On the other side, Leticia is banging and swearing furiously at us.
Just then, a sudden wave of nausea hits the centre of my head, and dizziness sweeps through me. I stagger backward, flailing a bit until I find a sofa to lower myself into.
“Are you okay?” Mercy asks, coming close enough for me to see the concern shadowing her face.
Unable to talk, I shake my head, gasping slightly for breath.
“Sorry,” she says, for want of any other thing to say.
I place my head gingerly on the sofa backrest and close my eyes.
“Why did you take her phone?” Mercy says.
I open my eyes. Chinwe has just walked in again.
“I returned it,” she answers. “She locked it with a password, so I couldn’t access it for the information I wanted. Are you okay?” she directs at me, her brow furrowing.
“Yeah,” I say, sitting up.
“Did she injure you?” Chinwe queries, the anger rising again in her voice.
“No injury, just body pains,” I say, shaking my head.
“Sorry, dear,” she consoles. “But trust me, that girl will not come here again.”
“Are you sure?” I ask, uncertain.
“Did you see her face when I called her ‘Chioma’? If that wasn’t a ‘scared shitless’ face, then, I don’t know what is.”
“Ok o, let me believe you,” I say, leaning back again on the sofa.
“We will help clean up your kitchen,” Chinwe offers.
“We will?” Mercy cuts in immediately, glaring at her.
“Yes, we will,” Chinwe maintains, glaring back.
It was a few seconds of glaring war between my two friends, before I said wearily, “Guys, please, don’t bother about my kitchen. I just need someone to pick up Gabby and Nuella for me.” Turning to Chinwe, I ask, “Shey you can drive?”
“Of course, I can!” she says, beaming.
I hand her my car keys and Gabby’s ID card. “Help me collect Nuella’s own from the gateman on your way out.”
“I will soon learn how to drive too,” Mercy begins, refusing to be the odd one out. “You know, my boyfriend has been disturbing me to go and learn how to drive, so that he’ll buy me a car. He says that a big girl like me shouldn’t be trekking –”
“Yeah, yeah, tell me all about it on our way!” Chinwe shuts her up with an eye-roll.
I chuckle as they both leave the house, bickering good-naturedly.
“Where is Ifeanyi sef?” I wonder aloud as I listen to the sound of Chinwe driving my car out the gate.
Written by Adaku J