Malam Abdul was a strong market man, the kind that always put on a smile. By his side, usually, was Ngozi. She was as well a cheerful market woman. There were also other marketers that sold things ranging from foodstuff to household utensils. They traded in peace, or so everyone thought. Even if they quarreled, they always found a way make peace between themselves.
That faithful day, Ngozi and Abdul were having a discussion about another Malam who married a ten year old girl.
“Aba mana, but Malam Jamiu no suppose marry such a small girl now,” Ngozi said to Abdul, who was calling on passersby to buy his tomatoes. The prize of tomatoes was high, and people patronized less.
“Ngozi, abeg face your market. Na like this you go dey talk, you no go sell anything,” Abdul replied her.
“Abegi!” she started, “Leave matter, you no see say dem no dey buy? Same as yesterday. Abi you don sell market wey I no know today?”
Malam Abdul wore a thin smile in reply.
“Ehn ehn, as I bin dey talk. That girl wey Malam Jamiu marry, she too small na.”
Malam Abdul didn’t reply, he was focused on his market, but no one stopped to buy. He wore a smile nonetheless.
Ngozi was losing patience at being ignored.
“Na so una go dey marry small small pikin dey talk say na prophet talk am. Which prophet go ever talk that kain thing?”
Abdul thought he heard wrong. His lips suddenly went taut.
“Ngozi! Watin you talk just now?” he screamed.
“Na Jamiu matter we dey discuss now. Abi you don forget?” Ngozi replied.
“Watin you talk about Prophet Muhammad?”
Ngozi didn’t realise that she had just spoken out of line when she made reference to the Prophet. You see, Abdul and many other Malams only smiled because they endure life, but life affected them nonetheless. Ngozi had struck a chord in Abdul’s head, and all the strings went loose.
Abdul continued to raise his voice, and before anyone knew it, other Malams had gathered around their stand. After Abdul relayed what she said, Ngozi knew from the look on their faces that something dastardly was about to happen.
The last conscious thought she had was, ‘I have lived with these people for so many years, why would they do this to me?’
Ngozi’s head paraded the market that day, but without her body.
Written by Victor Enesi Ipemida