UNEXPECTEDLY, Lazzo’s mentor pitched up and invited him for a weekend outing deeper in the hood.
It was a splendid panorama as he sat on the veranda of the house imbibing with fellow revelers.
Someone was organising the transfer of alcohol from the watering hole to the veranda as loud music blared from one of the twin speakers that had been brought to the front porch.
Some imbibers would occasionally wriggle their waists in conformity with the beat blasting away from the speaker as they sipped the opaque drink.
On the veranda was a toddler crawling and picking anything he could find there and sometimes putting the article to his mouth…
The mother was the mentor’s aunt who was so engrossed in the imbibing as she incessantly gulped the brew from her plastic cup.
Absent mindedly, she decided to strap the child onto her back as he was becoming a menace in the vicinity crawling up and down.
She lifted the child by one of his arms and swung him onto her back and tied the two ends of the wrapping cloth as women did often.
Her inebriation was noticeably rapid as more than two hours had elapsed since the merry gathering took effect.
At one stage, she even sent Lazzo to the watering hole to buy more alcohol and boost the atmosphere.
When he returned, she was complaining about a missing cellphone which she had put somewhere on the veranda.
She insisted that it had been there all along until Lazzo was sent to buy more drink.
In effect, Lazzo was being associated with the loss of the cellphone.
In his heart Lazzo knew he had nothing to do with the loss of the electronic gadget.
In fact, he Lazzo had a weakness as he lost many cellphones by the counter at the watering hole.
Once, he was told by an imbiber that every time he was by the counter, he was thronged by women of all shapes because in recent times, Lazzo had tipped over a large sum of money.
In the hood, it was common to hear someone say that one was in a ‘beula’ situation.
Beula was a lingua franca for a tipper (truck) often used in road construction which tipped over sand or ballast.
In a metaphoric sense, when one is said to be ‘tipping over large sums of money’ this was clearly understood to mean that one was experiencing a bountiful season!
It was common in the hood for imbibers to review happenings the previous night and in one of these recollections, Lazzo was told that the woman he was so fond of who usually drew closer every time he appeared was responsible for his frequent cellphone losses .
As he retired to bed that night, he heard a loud knock on the door and Lazzo wondered who that could be that late hour!
In his heart, he was seething with rage because the knock was disturbing and impolite was becoming an understatement.
He unlatched the door from inside and opened it and alas, there was his mentor’s aunt and a cop.
Beside the pair was his mother who had led the party to his home and then he realised it was something serious…
He could not even be allowed to put on his shoes and he was told he should just walk the way he was and explain where the cellphone was.
Lazzo obliged and accompanied the trio to police post and all this while, the woman was cursing and seemingly very angry with Lazzo.
He reiterated his innocence as they arrived and considering his distraught sight, one could almost conclude he was the culprit.
Lazzo looked confused and wondered what had come his way and as he tried to explain to the woman that he was not really responsible for the loss of her cellphone, she snapped and lapsed into a fit of anger as she grabbed him by the shirt.
Meanwhile, she realized that the baby strapped onto her back was affecting her movements in dealing with Lazzo, so she turned and unfastened the knot that held the wrapping cloth tight.
As she turned in a frenzy of anger loosening the cloth, a cellphone fell to the floor!
A cop said to her, “You see, this is the phone you say this man has taken but you still have it. Don’t you know that this man can sue you?” In fact, you can be locked up for this trick!,” thundered a cop.
At this instance, Lazzo began to think that providence was on his side as he had contemplated the worst to come out of the whole episode.
She saw her face drop with disappointment and suddenly crestfallen as she was very sure Lazzo had taken the cellphone and ought to be fixed.
As they walked away from the police post, the woman was intent on striking a new note in a relationship that had become sour.
She pleaded with Lazzo for forgiveness because she did not realise that at the time she was strapping the child on to her back, the infant had clutched the phone.
Lazzo began to reminisce on the imbibing on the veranda and what it had brought to him!
Someone had told him that it was rare for anyone to forgive you in the hood as it was a dog-eat-dog society that one had to be careful about.
Trudging along the dusty footpath towards his home, Lazzo signaled that he was branching off but did not express his views on the whole matter.
But one thing was clear: What had began as a merry-go-round escapade in the hood turned out to be a somber outing that Lazzo would live to remember as another poignant lesson in the hood.
He soon fell asleep and was dreaming again after a rude interruption by an irrational woman who was once determined to send Lazzo to the gallows.
The dogs were equally barking in the night probably confronting hoodlums of the hood and the atmosphere was eerie as a deserted homestead….