Who, or What Killed the Madman: The crowd, The woman or a Misunderstanding?

The Prosperity Ark

He wakes up, having slept by the roadside for days. He doesn't want to, but the continual growling of his empty stomach keeps ringing in his head. His hair is braided in no beautiful manner, by himself. The mirror he uses is plastic, and the only thing he can see from it is the blue hue of the plastic itself. He wears a tattered brown-black shirt and yellow shorts to match. The shorts have small and big holes that show his bare skin and white patches on them. The roundabout is his home. He treks a thousand miles and more in the day, while the roundabout bustles with so many people he regards as strangers, and he retires to enjoy its solace in the middle of the night, away from the prying eyes of the many strangers.

On this particular day, his body fails him, and he can't go out. He tries at dawn when he wakes, but his frail legs wobble and land him on the floor. The occasional few strangers of the morning pause and stare and walk away because they don't care. And so he lies, his head pounding, his stomach growling, and his skin hurting. He watches with his eyes open and closed. He watches the blue sedan tires screech with a loud noise that makes everyone pause and stare. The car halts, and the driver freezes.

The Prosperity Ark

He feels a spark, a flash of excitement tingling in the front of his head, and he springs up unsteadily. With his wobbled gait, he walks, oblivious to the many staring faces, across the road to the young boy who is already crying profusely. The rim of the car is inches away from the boy's head. It doesn't hit him, but the speed at which the car comes and the loud noise its tires make when he slams the brake are what make him afraid. The madman picks up the boy in a loving father's embrace and sets out to cross the road back. He has found a companion. But it lasts for only a fraction of a second. Just as he carries him in his hands, he hears a scream. The mother of the child has also sprinted across the road from the other side, although a bit later than the madman.

More than a minute has passed, but those who hastened to work, and those who sold at stalls, and those who hawked the road no longer do. Everyone fixes their gaze at the brawl that is about to ensue. Although some motorists honk, many have switched off their engines, and wind the windows with protruding heads.

"Heyy, bring my child now" the woman screams again, this time around trying to carry the boy off the madman's hands. He mumbles and wriggles his head in disagreement. The brow on his head folds, his ears stand up, and his lips part, exposing his white-black-brown dentition, with slimy saliva pouring out. The only thought in his head is how not to lose his newfound friend. Eventually, more people gather around the duo. Now the woman is already livid. She loosens the scarf on her head, throws it to the floor, loosens and re-knots her wrapper tightly. She charges like a raging bull towards the madman. He swerves, dodging the woman, and in the process, sending her to the ground. The crowd that gathered around increases, the atmosphere tense with growing animosity. Suddenly, a thick short-bearded man lunges from the crowd and slaps the madman violently at the back of the head. And just as he turns in the direction of the slap, another slaps him again from behind. The animosity of the crowd now buoyed with excitement, with all and sundry wanting an opportunity to assault the madman. The madman, dazed by the slaps and frightened by the crowd that is now closing in on him, cries out loudly.

The baby's mother springs up from her feet and snatches the baby from him, careful not to let him fall. Now the madman is more scared than ever, and he thinks to escape. He throws himself into the crowd, squeezing himself in between a fat, chubby woman, clothed with pink, glossy aso oke, and a frail-looking man whose white shirt and black trousers are stained with grease. On the woman's shoulder hangs a black leather bag which she grips tightly.

The madman wriggles his way through, a bit easily as the crowd paves way, with many not running away from the filth and stench that emanate from him. He breaks free, runs across the road, and limps along the dark alley. Suddenly, the fat chubby woman screams again.

"Aaah, Gbese!" Amidst the hullabaloo, the handle of her bag has been slashed, and her phone is missing. Now the tired crowd, who were almost dispersing, saw another opportunity to gather. Shouts of "ole, ole" fill the air as they chase after the madman, who is limping more hastily as he hears the cries that ring from behind.

Ahead, away from the alley, is the neighbourhood police stop. On a normal day, the officers just laze around, sleeping, chatting, and sometimes even playing cards just to pass the time. But this is not one of such days. At first, the cries and shouts are faint, growing louder little by little. The police officers walk outside their office towards the big green gate of the station; the shouts are getting louder. Just as the oldest of the constables opens the gate to see the direction from which the noise is coming, the madman runs past, slamming the gate on the police officer's face. He falls to the ground, splashing dust in the air. As he stands up to recover, the faint shouts are now distinct. "Thief, Thief, he mustn't get away. Catch him!"

The Prosperity Ark

Ordinarily, he wouldn't have bothered with the chase, after all, what's the police business with catching petty thieves from whom they wouldn't get anything in return? But because of pride, his black rumpled trousers now clothed with splashes of clay powder from the floor, and the throbbing pain from the point at which the gate hit him, he springs up and joins the chase.

The gap is closing in. The madman is already tired and slowing down. Ahead is a large, inch-wide gutter. As the vociferous crowd grows, he turns his back to look at his pursuers. Unfortunately, as he looks back, dread, fear, and panic set in, and as he tries to force his body to increase his speed, he faces forward but it's too late. He uses his toe to hit the gutter margin, falls into it, and dashes his head on the gutter boundary. His skull cracks and splinters into many pieces. As the crowd gathers and halts, many gasping for breath, it's the pieces of bone and blood and dust from the madman that bathe them.

The police go on to search the madman and find nothing on him. Just as the fat woman is arriving at the scene of the death, a phone starts ringing. Its ringing tone is like those old Tecno-made phones. Everybody turns around, wondering whose it is. Shock is written on the woman's face; she pours the contents of her bag down, yet the phone continues ringing from her body. Eventually, she loosens the wrapper, and the phone falls to the floor. The police officer, sensing that the woman must be rich and looking for a way to compensate for all the unnecessary struggles he went through, goes on to cuff the woman.

"You have been arrested for intentionally misleading the public at the expense of the life of an innocent man. You have the right to remain silent; anything you say will be used against you in the court of law."

Just as the police put the cuffs on the woman's hands, leading her towards the station, the crowd riots in revolt, threatening to lynch the police officer if he doesn't release the woman. The police officer, afraid for his life and not being able to command the crowd because of his shady lifestyle, releases the woman. She smirks a disingenuous smile; At last, she has finally fulfilled her long-age promise to kill her husband for divorcing her because she couldn't bear him a son.


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