Certain individuals are naturally cut above the rest. They are gifted and excellent at what they do. Agooza was one of such individuals.
He was built like a tank; tall and muscular with a face that brooked no nonsense. Agooza’s mum sold kenkey and his stature was just right for stirring those big pots of corn dough. Anytime he was at work, the kenkey was softer than usual and the queues longer too.
Agooza was at that age where boys yearned to prove themselves, and him being built as he was attracted the attention of all those fame chasers.
Agooza avoided them, it was confusing for everyone. He looked strong, he could stir the corn dough like no one, so why wasn’t he beating up the boys? Eventually, a rumor began that Agooza was “big for nothing”. It didn’t faze the taciturn Agooza much, he just went about his business and gave us soft kenkey as usual.
I was in the same school as Agooza’s younger brother. Even though he was younger than me and in a lower class, we all went home together since we lived in the same neighborhood. Agooza doted on this brother very much. Something I had come to realise on my few visits to their home.
Around the time the rumor started about Agooza, I had also started facing some problems in school. My classmates were contributing to buy a football and I was the one in charge of collecting and keeping the funds till we hit our target. I hadn’t meant to but I had dipped my hands into the funds.
It was a little at first but eventually I threw caution to the wind and went all out. I did it because some Ntwemtech guys who lived behind the school had promised to sell one to me cheaply. When it was time to get the ball, they had delivered on their promise.
The problems began the first time we played with the ball. One of the guys from another class four class, Nelson, had come to say the ball was his. My classmates were having none of it as they knew they had contributed to buy it. It escalated into an argument and the only reason why blows weren’t exchanged was because Monsieur Akankude came along. He asked Nelson to prove the ball was his as we had it in our possession and he knew about our contribution.
Nelson said he had written his name on his ball which he had lost a couple of days ago; and that an inspection would prove so. He was allowed to check and all he saw was a little ink smudge which could have been anything. Monsieur gave the ball back to us and said that should be the end of the matter. He was a bit hesitant when he heard that I was the one who had gone to purchase the ball but he had nothing to go on. Especially when I told him I bought the ball from a hawker.
Nelson didn’t leave it at that, he had his twin older brothers try to waylay me after school, but I had foreseen that and had taken a different route home. This continued for a couple of days, after which I resumed my usual route; thinking they would have gotten tired. I was wrong.
I was just a few hundred meters away from home when they accosted me. They had chosen their location well, it was this narrow alley between two houses. One had appeared in front of us, we turned and Nelson was behind us with the other brother. I wasn’t alone, I was with Agooza’s brother, Addotey and a couple of my classmates.
We hadn’t agreed upon it earlier, but we made straight for the lonely brother ahead of us. Most of my classmates who were with me had been part of the gang who had gone in search of “Abrɔfo borla”. We didn’t want a repeat of the run in with Shanpawpaw. We used numbers to overwhelm the twin and escape. I turned around after we broke through only to see that Addotey had been caught. Knowing how much Agooza, doted on him I couldn’t let him suffer. I was dreading what Agooza will do to me if anything happened to his brother. That fear lent me strength, I was in their house within the next couple of minutes.
Agooza was stirring the corn dough, when I arrived. I managed to tell him what was happening whiles trying to catch my breath. He wasted no time, he called someone to take over and asked me to lead the way. We didn’t have to go all the way as the twins had been brought to my gate by Addotey. They hadn’t asked gently, you could see bruises on Addotey’s face. I looked at Agooza then, his normally bored look was replaced with one of anger. The twins ignorant of what was coming their way were looking at us with annoyance.
The twins were older than Agooza and bigger too, and though not living in our neighborhood had heard about the rumors concerning him being big for nothing. They totally disregarded him and made a beeline straight for me. Agooza got in their way, and calmly asked;
“What happened to my brother?”
A crowd had gathered then, as we hadn’t been quiet and it was the time of day when folks had nothing to do but sit outside their houses. No one made to intervene, my neighbors were like that. Addotey didn’t wait for the twins to answer, he started singing. I could tell he was exaggerating as what he said didn’t tally with the bruises on him. The twins didn’t deny anything though, they only laughed and asked Agooza what he was going to do about it.
One of the twins had taken a step towards Agooza and made to shove him whiles his brother was talking. Agooza was immovable. He tried again and it was the same result. He tried to shove Agooza a third time and Agooza calmly stepped out of the way , grabbed the twin’s arms and slapped him. The whole place grew quiet, the movement had been so smooth and natural. The twin had this confused look on his face, Agooza let go of him and he fell down on his butt. Agooza stepped back and asked again;
“What did you do to my brother?”
The twins were now looking at their opponent with a wary look, they were sizing him up. They started circling him, going in opposite directions. Agooza didn’t move and just kept staring ahead. Suddenly, he feinted to his left, the twin on that side stepped back only to realize it was a feint and Agooza was already on his brother who was unprepared for him.
A kick to the chest, and a punch to the temple was all it took to knock that twin out. The twin on the left , seeing his brother knocked out; made a mad dash at Agooza.
Agooza was unperturbed, he turned and met him head on. He went low and used the twin’s momentum to lift him up high and flip him over. He landed on his back and lay still. He was out cold too. Agooza didn’t even turn to look at him, he walked towards Addotey, took his hand and left.
It was all surreal, and that was when the legend of Agooza was made. No one challenged him afterwards.
In school the next day, Monsieur Akankude’s class was the first lesson. He was a bit late and the whole class was in an uproar as I recounted the incident from yesterday. They all got quiet all of a sudden; I sensed some heat from behind. I turned to the door and guess who was there; Monsieur Akankude, the Ntwemtech boys and Nelson’s dad (the resemblance was uncanny).
I closed my eyes and thought. Where is Agooza when you need him.