Titi stared at the bucket. It lay half-submerged in water, floating in the well. She could almost hear it taunting her, daring her to come after it. But, whatever the bucket was saying was drowned out by the voices of the other corpers behind her. One by one, their voices floated to her, slapping the back of her head like brazen accusations.
“Ehen! God don catch her today. Ajebo wey no sabi fetch water. You see am?” said one girl.
Another girl said: “We shall see o, we shall see. Whether na Obama you go call, make he comot your bucket from inside well.”
Her friend replied: “Don’t worry. She will soon join the bucket.”
And yet a fourth girl said: “Upon all your shakara and all de foh-neh, you can’t handle a bucket? Americana, welcome o!”
Titi shook her head sadly, and made her way past her accusers. She walked past the ones who opened their mouths and the ones who judged her with their eyes. The silent critics.
These people don’t know me …
She headed straight to the makeshift boys’ hostel, where male corpers lived.
After asking around for the one person she knew could help, she found him. He was bare-chested and clad in shorts, with a towel hanging loosely from his neck.
“Hey Titi. What’s up?”
“Charles, no wahala. I just need to ask a favor: Where can I find a gala-gala*?”
*Gala-gala is (1) a curious invention with multiple hooks, used to retrieve buckets and other fallen objects from wells; (2) something only an ajepaki/ajepako would know.