The blisters on his hands are a testament to the hard shift of work he put in today. Despite the constant verbal abuse from his mother, Simon knows he is hard worker.
He gets a lot of stick from his mother because he can’t get a job. He completed his Bachelor’s in Business Administration degree two years ago. Since then he hasn’t received a single call for a job interview. He has sent out his CV like wedding invitations to various companies but nothing has yet materialized.
The sweat that had drenched his whole body during the day at the fields has now dried. The sun had punished him for daring to work under its scorching heat. But Simon had to soldier on.
It is close to rain season so he had to prepare the fields for planting. Today was just the first day. He still has a long section of his father’s gigantic field to clear off the weeds. He estimates that in the next two days the job will be done.
It’s the least he can do since his mother always shoots him disapproving looks when he spends the whole day at home. He always tries to avoid her when he is at home by staying in his hut. But wherever he will be, she always hunts him down and assigns him a task she would have made up probably just to annoy him.
Today he slaved the whole day at the fields to make sure she gets off his case. But he knows it won’t happen. His mother has been cranky for some time now. Since Simon’s father died, she has grieved by lashing out at her only son every single day. Simon has attempted to talk to her about the passing of her husband but she blocks him out. They have never been a family of open emotions.
Even though he doesn’t want to leave his mother alone he is also desperate to move out of the house as soon as possible. He wants to go to the city. There are bigger opportunities and greater experiences, so he has heard. Having grown up in the rural village of Shango he longs for a change in scenery.
Simon is walking down a dirt road that lacks any real character. The soil is thick and heavy like a desert. The fields that bracket the sides of the road have been cleared for planting. The tall weeds that had invaded that space before, have now been uprooted.
Once or twice on his journey back home he had come across a few people but now the road is empty. The sun has already gone down so it doesn’t surprise Simon that no one is wondering around at this hour.
He notices a pair of dark blue jeans lying in the middle of the road. When he gets closer, he realizes they are male slim fit jeans. When he measures their waist, he also finds out that the jeans are his size. They are too clean to have been abandoned in the middle of the road like this. Simon scratches his bald head as he wonders how the owner could have lost such a good pair of jeans. He contemplates on whether he should take them. The jeans would be a massive upgrade from the oversized grey trousers with several holes in them he is wearing right now.
However, he was brought up well, so he throws the jeans back on the ground and resumes his journey back home. His father used to exert severe punishment on him whenever he stole something. On top of corporal punishment he would send Simon to bed without eating.
As Simon continues to stroll his way back home with his hoe in one hand while the other hand is thrust into his pockets, he thinks of how he would have looked in those jeans. He would have looked like someone from the city, someone with class.
He knows he has walked a long enough distance and by now the jeans would probably be out of sight but he still turns back to have a look at them one more time. His heart jumps to his mouth when he notices the jeans are lying just a meter from where he is standing. It is not possible. He had walked for a good ten minutes when he last saw the jeans. The jeans should be out of sight by now but they are lying in the sand just a meter behind him.
Fear grips Simon tighter than the hug of a polar bear. He turns forward and begins to walk faster. He senses a supernatural trap. He walks for another five minutes without looking back. When he finally turns around to check behind him, there is nothing. The road is empty. No birds in the sky, no people ambling about and no weird jeans lying on the ground.
He turns forward and he is shocked to see the pair of jeans is now lying right in front of him. The meter on Simon’s fright scale goes off the charts. He jumps over the jeans and ignites explosive pace towards home.
The adrenaline in his body replicates the work of steroids as his fear causes him to run like the wind. He desperately wants to get home. It is always risky business to wonder around this area when it gets dark. Shango is a rural village that is very popular for black magic. Having grown up in this village, Simon is well aware of that fact. But he didn’t steal the jeans so why they are haunting him, he doesn’t know. But what he does know is that he needs to get home as soon as possible. If he lingers out here any longer, something bad will happen to him.
Most witches or evil spirits tend not to invade spaces that they don’t own, so being at home is Simon’s best bet of surviving whatever this is. When the view of three clay huts surrounding a long rectangular white bricked building comes to view, he begins to slow down.
He is relieved to be home. He turns back once more just to make sure he is in the clear. His whole body is acupunctured with needles of uneasiness with what he sees behind him. The jeans are running towards him with bullet fast speed. They are suspended in mid-air with their legs striding towards him, but no one is wearing them.
Simon once again flares up his legs to unleash horse like speed as he sprints home. He runs past the first hut which is his mothers’ bedroom and heads for the white rectangular building which is the lounge. He knows his mother and her visiting sister will be in there watching TV. Much to the annoyance of the two plump women, Simon bursts through the wooden door and collapses into his mother’s lap.
“Are you insane? How dare you budge in like that?” his mother questions with obvious irritation.
“There is a pair of jeans after me,” Simon says without recognizing how foolish he sounds.
“What the hell does that mean?” his aunt asks.
“Are you on drugs, boy?” his mother piles another question on him.
“I am serious! I was coming from the fields and…” Simon stops talking when his mother raises her hand to stop his rumbling.
“You are now a grown man, Simon. You need to leave these childish ways of thinking,” she asserts in an all too familiar dismissive tone. She turns back to face the small black and white CRT TV at the far right side of the room.
Simon isn’t surprised, it’s not the first time she has shut him out. Judging by her body language, his aunt is also not interested. She has turned all of her attention to the TV.
Simon reluctantly gets up and saunters out of the lounge. Relief sweeps all over his body when he realizes the jeans are nowhere in sight. After placing his hoe in the tool shed, he quickly strides to his room. His head feels heavy and his hands are still sore. He desperately needs to rest.
He gets into his hut and lights up a single thin sized candle. His heart implodes when the dim glow of the candle reveals a pair of dark blue jeans lying on top of his bed.