It was the late 90’s to the early side of the 2000’s, the era of faded jeans, the Walkman paving way for the disc man and the trend of jazzy youth “luxing” in Freetown. One of the features in hailing from a family filled with older brothers and cousins is their knack of grilling, teasing and being initiated into a rite of never ending stories.
In the rare times I was granted permission to be in -“The Stronghold” as my brothers called their bedroom, I sat on the floor with folded feet and stared at them in awe and drank in every details as they conversed. I was a very curious kid, let me don’t euphemize, I was a very “congosa pikin”, and so when I was barred entry I found ways to eavesdrop.
Boy, the stories I heard! Let me tell you about the Disco Bash.
My brother, let’s call him Max had been in party prepping mode for a month. Trips to the barbershop with him returning doo rag donned to protect his waves, brand new Reebok Pump sneakers straight from the box and my dad’s Hugo Boss cologne suddenly going missing.
Dash card, cash box and neighborhood Sunday cleaning, Max left no stone unturned to raise funds.
Finally, the D-Day dawned, from what I could piece together from the narrative, the party kicked off with a bang. DJ Sonny was on location at Rumors Night Club swinging and the ladies came through in droves.
Then, the generator made a rumbling noise and went out. It was no trouble, a mechanic was handy, he sorted the electrical issue in no time to rousing cheers from the crowd and went home, assured his work was done.
Freetown had many rival social club sects back the who vied for premier relevance. Apparently, one of these groups had been plotting and planning to topple my brother’s sect.
The generator which had been marked as the weak link was first smoothly disconnected, then a big boom box tape recorder had recorded it’s sound and put on a repeat loop, whilst the generator was carted away. So when the lights went out again, all assumed it was just another electrical issue, it was sheer shock as my brother and his friends arrived at the backyard to see an old beaten down boom box at top volume bleating out generator noise.
Bad luck, they say come in series never single.
The ECOMOG located around the vicinity had been notified by a tip off (probably from the rival group) or rather just by the aggrieved crowd loudly venting at their party being cut short. It was after curfew hours after all, so when the ECOMOG breezed in with their vehicles, it was fleeing time as the palpable fear and possibility of the notorious soldier dubbed Evil Spirit amongst the Nigeria officers sent many flying as if their feet were those of Hermes.
My brother was never known for his athleticism; he was amongst the few caught.
His best friend -Sugarmouth Joe was selected to be the speaker when the soldiers enquired why they were out. Joe was a celebrated smooth talker and a lady’s man. By now, it was almost dawn and as Joe went ahead to make sign language and writing on the dusty earth, my brother and his cohorts knew they were royally in the deep end, because if Joe took the deaf and dumb route, it sure was trouble.
They took the belting that came in stride, and they were all dropped off at their various points later on in the day.
Max of course told a different story why he stayed away so long from home.
I later knew the real story because of my eavesdropping exploits.
Of course I could not just let this go, I noticed Max was very slow in sitting down, and a slight spasm of pain flickered on his face whenever his bum touched a chair.
I chose those specific moments to go “Vroom, Vroom, Ecomog day kam, I am a Disco dancer” and he would chase me across the room, but I always fled from his grasp.
Max was never a good sprinter.
* Luxing was a slang in Krio in the 90’s that translates to define a well dressed individual.
*Congosa Pikin is a phrase in Krio that translates to an extremely inquisitive and stubborn kids.