Comic adventure of years past
Fifteen years ago my mother would take me to the tailor’s - good old Bambila, God bless his cloth murdering soul.
“Oga Bambi, I want you to sew a new school uniform for my son, his old one don spoil".
The old tailor with his bloodshot eyes, dark lips, and running nose would smile that kind of knowing smile that says 'thank you fada Lawd’, revealing his 20pieces of teeth in the process. Oh my-my, what miserable teeth they were! Half of his upper jaw has given way to a nicely paved railway. The remaining teeth contend for the position of the world’s darkness object with the nose of a dog.
Oga Bambi jumped up gleefully, himself a very short something of a man. Most times I wonder how he measures tall people. I presumed he must have a climbing stool nearby for that purpose; I just pray he doesn't fall off it one day. Then he opened his drawer and groped for his tape. He always forgets where he kept his tape. His fish brain is epic. I have a forbearing that one day he may even forget where he kept his left hand and end up going home without a hand for anything is possible with Oga Bambi. After searching for a while, he cursed under his breath and staggered inside to go look for the damn tape.
Looking at the tailor, I kept having this strong vision that somewhere somewhere in his shop, he had hidden a bottle of half-drowned 501 whisky immediately he saw us coming. On his desk was a wrap of tobacco that had been ruthlessly dealt with. That was his toothpaste. Oftentimes one would catch him shoveling thumb-fulls of it into his nose and mouth. Poor nose, no wonder it looks like a borehole. After shoving a thumbful into his mouth, he would smirk reveling his toothless gums with a face that could make a she-goat to miscarry.
Momma beckoned on me to sit. Scratch that! Like seriously? How could she expect me to sit on a seat that had probably received the full force of a tobacco sneeze. And these tobacco sneezes don't come singly. They come in bouts.. Ezzziiiiiemm, ezzieeeemmmmm, ezziiiiieeeeeemmmmm. And the smell? Fada lawd. The smell could resurrect a dead rat. After each rib racking bout, the senior brother 'sputum' usually follows. To spit it, oga Bambi usually draws his head back like a catapult and piaaaamm, releases it like a rocket launcher.
Just one of these sputums is as dark as the pit of hell and gummier than evostick gum. If perchance one of them happens to escape and land on you, brother, you'll just spend two and half years ungumming yourself from that spot. So that is the seat momma wants me to sit right? Idonbelievit. I'd rather stand. Fair is fair.
After about five minutes, the tailor emerged holding the tape in his left hand and smiling like one that has recovered the lost sheep of Israel. "Oga Bambi you remember how I like his uniform abi," my mom asked. "Hawu can I forgeti" he replied flashing his toothless gums once again. I suspected foul play here but couldn't place my finger on it.
"Oya standi wellu lemme measure you, bring ya chest awtu, no no no keep ya headi high, standi ereckiti... " oga Bambi barked with military precision. I didn't know which one to do first. Somehow I think these barks were not coming from a sane oga Bambi, I think the tobacco and dry gin has taken its toll thereby making him the 'most high'. "For it is written, this type liveth not, except by drinking and snuffing" [1 Chasa 5:9]. But then I dare not say so in momma's face.
With shaking hands, Oga Bambi starting taking my measurements. He spent good fifteen minutes taking each particular measurement. My shoulders, my hips, my chest, my buttocks, even my skull. I wondered when caps joined our school uniform. All of me felt the measurement of Oga Bambi's rope called tape. "Nna you go see, your school uniform go fine, you go fine pass everybodi for shukulu, dem go dey jealousy you". Somehow I believed Oga Bambi. I imagined cruising in with my new wear and all the girls gunning for me. I smiled.
Two weeks later I came back to collect my done uniform. Oga Bambi was full of smiles and gratitude. "Greet ya mother for me you hear", he said. I ran all the way home in delight and couldn't wait to test my newest property. It took the fear of God for me not to try it on the way.
When I got home, everybody gathered to watch me wear it. I stood in front of the big standing mirror and started undressing. I wanted to see myself too. I needed to see how awesome I looked. When I brought out the shirt from the nylon, I feared oga Bambi had misplaced my clothes. It was as big as a bedsheet. I tried it on and almost broke down into tears. But I am a man, I cannot cry.
"Twoderful, my mum screamed. I looked at momma and she was all smiles like she bagged an international merit award. "At least this will last you up to Primary 6", she continued. Meanwhile, I was in primary 2. "Now try on the shorts too let's see.."
I brought out the shorts and tried it on. Staring at myself at the mirror I had this urge to run down and strangle Oga Bambi myself. The shorts looked like my mum's skirt. It was so big that the slit between the legs was not noticeable. Now I really broke down into tears. I couldn't hold the damn thing back anymore. I let them flow. Oga Bambi has killed me, now Cynthia would leave me for another. I was very certain.
The next day I landed to school in my newest bedsheets, sorry, attire and Pandemonium broke.
I think Oga Bambi is a scam. How else do you describe someone who'll spend close to one-hour measuring you and in the end sew what him and his Chi agreed?