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  • XABURI BARBER SHOP
  • XaburiWhere you dey? John!!!
  • A young apprentice barber of fifteen runs in and stands at attention.
  • JohnSir!
  • XaburiWhere you go since? Instead of you to sit down for shop.
  • JohnAs light no dey, I say make I...
  • XaburiSharrap your dirty mouth there. Is that why they send you to me?
  • JohnSorry sir.
  • XaburiI want to enter that corner, make I smoke cigar small.
  • XaburiIf anybody want to barb their hair, tell them that I am coming. I no go far.
  • JohnOK sir.
  • XaburiBut if they say that they cannot wait, run come find me.
  • JohnYes sir.
  • XaburiDon't forget o. I never make any money today.
  • JohnYes sir.
  • TEN MINUTES LATER
  • ClientWho is here?
  • It's a man with scarcely any hair on his head, a bald middle and no facial hairs.
  • JohnMe sir. Shey you want to cut your head?
  • ClientIf I want someone to cut my head, I will go to Sambisa to meet Boko haram.
  • Not quite grasping the correction, John decides to simply offer an apology.
  • JohnUmm... Sorry sir.
  • ClientIt's hair you cut, not head.
  • JohnAh… Yes sir. Sorry sir.
  • ClientWhere is your oga?
  • JohnHe go... He go toilet. Stomach is turning him.
  • JohnBut he supposed to have finish by now. Shey make I go and call him?
  • The client wrinkles his nose.
  • ClientNo. Don't worry. Come and shave it for me. It's just simple something. Malamolo.
  • JohnSkin?
  • ClientYes. Shave it clean. Let it be smooth, like this your mirror.
  • JohnOK sir. Come and sit… siddon for here.
  • The client takes his seat.
  • John drapes a barber cape over him and goes out to start the small Tiger generator. Then he gets to work.
  • JohnHope the clipper no too sharp sir?
  • ClientIt's fine.
  • Because the hairstyle isn't complicated, John is done in no time and dusts off the barber cape.
  • Client checks out the haircut in the mirror and hands him a 500 naira note.
  • ClientNot bad.
  • ClientKeep the 200 naira change.
  • JohnThank you… Thank you sir.
  • He prostrates.
  • FIVE MINUTES LATER
  • John is still beaming with excitement and talking to himself.
  • JohnO boy. Two hundred just like that. Nairabet go hear am tonight.
  • JohnIf I no eat their father money, my name is not John. Sure odds. Their father!
  • He starts a mental calculation.
  • JohnIf I can bet two hundred and I win like two thousand, ashawo go work overtime tonight.
  • JohnThen the remaining one na flex. I will paint the whole Bariga with suya. Beer go flow.
  • JohnAnybody that say we no go enjoy, make their mama no...
  • Soldier walks in and looks around quietly.
  • John immediately goes mute. Then he hurries over.
  • JohnWelcome sir.
  • SoldierWho's in charge?
  • John hesitates, wondering if he should fetch his boss or impress this client and make more money.
  • JohnMe sir.
  • SoldierYou??? Are you not too young to own this place.
  • JohnNo. It's not me that own it. But my oga trust me well-well, that's why he leave me in charge.
  • SoldierAre you sure?
  • JohnHaba, oga. Clients always run from my oga sef.
  • JohnThey like my own barbing more than his own. But because the shop na his own, person need to give him respect.
  • SoldierOK. Let me test you.
  • EIGHT MINUTES LATER
  • John's heart skips a beat. He begins an internal monologue.
  • JohnMogbe!!!! I don die.
  • He scratches his head and neck because suddenly... Everywhere itches.
  • His forehead and neck are pouring with hot sweat.
  • JohnYeee! This clipper don mess me up sha. See pit for client head.
  • He eyes the man's huge biceps that bulge from beneath the short sleeves of his tight-fitting camo t-shirt. Then he swallows hard.
  • JohnMake I put fade for the side of his head.
  • He does this, but it is poorly done.
  • John speaks out now.
  • JohnYou like this? Is it OK?
  • The soldier examines the fade in the wall-mounted mirror.
  • His voice is gruff when he responds, like a smoker's.
  • SoldierHmmmm. Not yet. Just continue.
  • The soldier misses the hole in the middle of his buzz cut because John's hand will not leave that spot.
  • JohnOK. OK. What of dye? You want to dye your hair?
  • The plan is to dye the hole black until the missing clump of hair is less conspicuous.
  • SoldierNo. Don't worry about dye. My hair is still black. Just barb.
  • JohnOK. But the dye for make it sharp o.
  • SoldierMaybe next time.
  • JohnOK. OK.
  • He looks at the soldier's Tag Heuer.
  • JohnAhhh! Oga mi. I like this your wristwatch o. You no go dash me?
  • The soldier grunts and smiles into the mirror.
  • SoldierOne day.
  • John moves the hand from the hole once the soldier's eyes are averted.
  • He examines it briefly and convinces himself that he is finished.
  • Next, he continues trying to be chatty as he shaves.
  • JohnHow you take find our shop? Na person recommended us?
  • SoldierMy barber traveled so I just said let me try your own.
  • JohnWhich salon is that?
  • SoldierThat one after immediately UBA.
  • JohnOh! Hair doctor?
  • SoldierYes
  • JohnI know that place. The guy good. But we good pass him.
  • The soldier coughs.
  • SoldierDon't worry. I'll decide that when you finish your work.
  • SoldierIf you impress me, I'll switch and start coming here.
  • John swallows hard. He is tempted to ask what will happen if his work is less than impressive.
  • Suddenly he gets an idea...
  • John pretends to shave the affected spot, then he leans into the chair and jerks it with his waist.
  • JohnAhhh! Oga why you move like that na?
  • SoldierWhat happened?
  • JohnYou have spoil my work na. Neat haircut that I am giving you.
  • SoldierWhere? Show me?
  • JohnSee na.
  • John bends the soldier's head forward.
  • JohnShey you can see it. You no stay in one pla...
  • Soldier pushes the chair angrily and stands up. Then he unclips the barber cape from behind his neck and points a finger at John.
  • SoldierYou think I'm a fool?
  • SoldierYou spoiled my haircut and now you want to blame me? I will show you!
  • JohnBut shebi it's you that turn your head na. As you turn your head, the clipper now...
  • The soldier slaps the clarity out of John's vision. John’s eyes quickly mist over.
  • SoldierYou're still talking eh? Wait until I show you pepper today. You will pay for this.
  • JohnHeeeelp! I no do anything o. Sorry sir. Somebody Heeeeelp.
  • The soldier gives him a second slap that sends him to the clump-littered floor
  • John feigns a seizure.
  • Attracted by the noise, people enter the shop to witness the unfolding drama.
  • Some GuyWhat happen?
  • SoldierJust look at my hair. See what this idiot did to my hair.
  • Some WomanThe boy dey get seizure. Make someone put spoon for his mouth o.
  • Another woman hurries out to get a spoon from the food vendor across.
  • Some GuyBut where his Oga go?
  • SoldierI met him alone. He will pay for this.
  • Just then Xaburi rushes in, a toothpick between his lips.
  • XaburiWhat is happening for here? Who die?
  • Some GuyEheeen! His oga have come.
  • SoldierOh! You're the owner... You're the owner?
  • He seizes Xaburi by the collar, pulling him back and forth.
  • SoldierYou and your boy will pay for this. Wallahi, you must pay.
  • SoldierI will not collect less than ten thousand. Next time you quacks will not try this nonsense.
  • XaburiOga, I no be quack. I just talk say make I smoke small. I no send him message.
  • XaburiAbi, John, I send you work?
  • But John is still being 'revived.'
  • SoldierAll you're saying is Tales by Moonlight. You must pay or I will seize something worth more than that ten thousand.
  • XaburiAhhh! True to God, I will kill John's mother.
  • The onlookers plead on Xaburi's behalf.
  • In that moment, John scampers to his feet and dashes out.
  • SoldierYour boy is gone. You better pay up.
  • A man pushes forward and rests a hand on the soldier's shoulder.
  • Another SoldierComrade, abeg forgive him.
  • SoldierKai. No way!
  • Another SoldierOK. But which battalion are you from?
  • SoldierWhy are you asking?
  • Another SoldierI am a soldier too. I want us to carry him to the barracks and settle this matter there.
  • SoldierNo way! He must pay.
  • Another SoldierDon't worry, my friend. I've already sent word to the barracks. Just hold him tight. He will pay... after we settle this matter at the barracks.
  • The soldier's grip starts to loosen. His frown becomes a smile. Then a nervous laugh.
  • SoldierNa you o. If not for you, I will not forgive him.
  • Another SoldierNo. I didn't say you should forgive...
  • The soldier dashes out of the barber shop with lightning speed.
  • The actual soldier pursues after him.
  • Another SoldierHold him! Hold that fake soldier! Ten thousand to anyone who catches him.
  • John reappears out of nowhere, his movements animated and excited.
  • JohnTen thousand?
  • JohnOya, make we catch am! Dead or alive, we go bring him back.
  • He turns around and gives chase. The crowd roars and follows.

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