By Sheila Sanda
Mrs Achebe read the story of Patty Mcwizu with a broad smile on her face. That was all she needed. The next line of action would be to wait. Her daughter Edna had become an imbecile for a reason she didn’t know. Occasionally, the girl would recover herself but would lose it again.
Edna sat on the rug of the wide sitting room playing with the twins while her mother read the story about Patty Mcwizu . Mrs Achebe was not completely sure if Edna knew the kids were hers but the girl was too protective of the kids and would do anything to make them happy.
Mrs Achebe’s smile broadened as she read the different angles of the report on Patty Mcwizu’s octuplets. The reporter had done a thorough job and she felt like inviting him to her house. She dropped the newspaper and reached out for her phone. Edna, her imbecile daughter took the newspaper and began to read aloud and very coherently. Her mother was amazed. She was still bending towards her phone while she listened with one ear to Edna’s reading.
“So you can read”?”she asked Edna.
“Öf course I can. Is it not you that would not register me in school? You didn’t want people to know I got pregnant and had twins.”
Mrs Achebe stayed as if she was rooted on the spot. Did Edna spoke normally or did she imagine it ? Was her daughter getting normal?
“What did you say Edna?”
“What you heard mum,”she answered her like she used to do when she was normal. Mrs Achebe was astonished. She left her phone where it was and sat upright, wondering what was happening.
“Äre you surprised mum?”asked Edna, sounding more normal with every statement. Mrs Achebe became afraid.
“Tell me something Edna,”her mother leaned forward, wanting to hear more.
Edna laughed, stood up and faced her mother.
“Äre you not happy seeing me like this? You and Papa threw me out of the house because I got pregnant. And, you spent a huge sum to purchase the same babies I could have given you for free! I am the baby factory mum. I am the factory that produces babies. Men sleep with me and give me babies. Women who send their pregnant daughters away pretend they are the ones pregnant and buy babies. All roads lead to Nurse Theresa’s…”
“Shut up!”Mrs Achebe shouted, realising that Edna was beginning to lose it again but this time, she wasn’t so sure. Edna went back to sit on the rug, her eyes glued on the TV.
Mrs Achebe picked her GSM phone and grabbed the newspaper again. She started picking the telephone numbers from the imprint of the newspaper.
“Ïs this Jewel Edwards?”she asked. “Ï have a story to tell. I got twins from Nurse Theresa’s traditional maternity home.”
“What?”Jewel Edwards shouted from the other end of the line. She was in her office in Lagos when she received Mrs Achebe’s call. She beckoned to Jombo Ajayi and signalled him to bring a biro and a paper. Jombo almost jumped from his seat, taking his ipad instead. He had barely settled down in Jewel Edwards office when she swore.
“The line just went dead.”
“Who was that?”
“Änother woman with a similar circumstance.”
“Jesus H. Christ.”
“Ï think something is going on. We must get to the end of this.”
“Waoh! Baby boom in
“You can say that again.”
Nurse Theresa almost jumped out of her skin when she read Patty Mcwizu’s interview in Centre-Spread.
“What is this?”she asked aloud.
“What is what?” her husband asked.
“The woman has granted interview to the press again,”she answered him.
Ïs that all?”
“What do you mean is that all?”
“Why are you worried about interviews? Ï just asked an innocent question. Anyway, I am ready for the trip,”he dragged his bags out one after the other.
“Have you decided on where to stay?”asked his wife.
“Ï don’t want any wahala. I am not a nurse, neither am I an Apostle. I will go and stay with my sister when I get to Abuja.”
“Ï heard you. Who is afraid of being caught?”
The man dragged the bags outside. The taxi he called earlier was already waiting and he began to load the boot of the cab with the assistance of the taxi driver.
“Don’t go near Asokoro when you get to Abuja,”she warned him. “Ïf you do, you are in trouble.”
The man did not respond. The woman got up as the man entered the cab, shutting the door noisily. The driver started the ignition, letting out a thick black smoke.
Nurse Theresa waved him goodbye and reminded him not to talk to anybody. She was still holding the newspaper in her hand. The taxi drove off, letting out thick black smoke.
Nurse Theresa did not see the next vehicle arrive. She was still trying to wave off thick black smoke let out from the taxi’s exhaust pipe. She walked into the compound, not knowing two men were following her. By the time she noticed them, it was almost late.
“Please don’t kill me,”she went on her knees.
“Shut up and get up. We are men from the state CID. We want to search your house.” The men flashed their search warrant at her face.
“What is the problem?”she asked them.
“Let us go inside first. We have a warrant to search the entire place”.
One of the men pushed Nurse Theresa into the sitting-room and had her sit on one of the chairs. He signalled the other to go ahead and search.
“Ï will give you whatever you want. Naira, pounds, dollars…”
“Sharap up!”the man holding her shouted as his partner disappeared inside. Nurse Theresa kept staring at the man, wondering if really the visitors were detectives or robbers.
“What do you want from me? Why are you harrassing an innocent woman?”she asked one in the sitting room with her.
“Let me at least have an inkling of what you are looking for. How can you hold me hostage in my own house?”
The man slapped her. His mate came out and asked him to follow him. Nurse Theresa got up and raced towards the door. She was shocked to find another security operative in uniform, carrying a gun and had his finger on the trigger waiting. She ran back into the sitting room, raising her two hands up. Her wrapper losen from her waist and dropped on the floor. The three men got together in the sitting room, all staring at her in awe.
“How come you have so many babies in the house?” asked one of them.
“They are mine,”Nurse Theresa replied.
“They are mine,” she insisted.
“We didn’t come here to joke woman,” one fo the men told her.
“The babies are mine. I gave birth to them.”
One of the men slapped her while the other handcuffed her. They pushed her outside and took her away.
Patty Mcwizu was all smiles when she saw the convoy of vehicles driving into the premises of the All Saints Glorious Assembly. She knew she would get responses soon enough. The newspaper interview was the right thing to have done. Now, men and women from all nations would call her blessed and they would donate to her cause. Mother of Miracle Babies; Superwoman. She was watching the convoy from the window in her office located within the church premises. She wondered why her father had not come to welcome them. Since she started the church and made a name for herself, her father who gave her the land had doubled as the Chief security officer of the church. He was proud of what his daughter had become and of the fact that the strange miracle that happened to his daughter had also brought him to the limelight. The journalist who came from Lagos had asked him questions too and had taken his photographs and his side of the story was published too as the grandfather of the miracle babies. At 75, even if he was to die, he would die a happy man.
Patty Mcwizu drew the blinds and went back to her table. She made a call to her house requesting a young ‘prophetess’ who also doubled as her maid to clean up the children and dress them up. She was hoping the visitors would demand to see the babies. After speaking on the phone, she sat quietly on her seat and waited, pretending to be praying. She was in that mood when the visitors knocked and without waiting entered.
“Pastor Patty Mcwizu?”asked one of them.
“Yes,”she smiled her broadest smile , blessing them.
“May we sit?”asked their leader.
The leader introduced himself as a visitor from Gboko searching for the fruit of the womb and the other two-men as his brothers-in-law who told him about her and convinced him to visit. Patty’s smile became broader this time, showing her teeth. But again, she got it wrong.