the-stingy-man

“He was a very stingy man, stingy to himself I must say. He never saw the need to enjoy the good the things of life.” Ebuka said shaking his head in disgust.

 “I am certain he had millions of naira stashed in his bank account, yet he preferred public transport.” Amaka whispered.

She looked at the others, afraid she would be rebuked by the oldest because she was the youngest and they had never said things like this. It was forbidden in their household to criticise people. And she was committing the worst sin of all time, talking about father in that manner. She shuddered. In her defense Ebuka started it and everyone knew Ebuka was a non-conformist, he had no regard for culture and tradition, no regard for rules and regulations.

They all sat in the living room like sheep about to be slaughtered. All 6 of them, their mother looked tired, she had a black scarf loosely tied around her head. Her black long flowing dress was seamless and majestic. She looked like a Queen listening to the reports of her subjects.

Amaka peeped at the first born -Chuks. His stare was fixated on the floor. He opened his mouth and Amaka gasped.

 “I remembered this one time he told me that acquiring a fleet of cars was waste of good money. That it was better to keep money in the bank where accidents can never happen to it.” Chuks said. 

“He always saved for the rainy day, but his rainy day never came.” Ebuka chipped in. 

“What of us? We felt the sting of his stinginess. At school we were always the last to pay school fees, we never took snacks, daddy called it discipline. But we called it exactly what it was. Hunger!” Christy said. 

She was the quiet one, she rarely talks except in monotones but she broke her record today by making a lengthy sentence.

Amaka smiled, so everyone knew it was time to talk about father, she looked at mother, waiting for her to flinch, react or rebuke. But none came. She was silent.

 “Yours was better, what of that time when I was admitted in the hospital and he wouldn’t let them carry out the surgical operation for the appendix. He said it was an operation devised by the hospital to make him part with his money. He said I genuinely did not need the operation.” Uzo said.

 The corpse of the man they called father laid in the middle of the large living room. No one shed a tear. Their mother looked beyond the corpse, each person was trying to remember their sad experience with their father. 

“Is he really our Father? Cos no father could do what he did to us.” Ebuka said. 

“I agree. Why would he not buy us provisions for school, pay our school fees and even take us on treats when we passed with flying colours?”Chuks responded.

 He nodded his head as if he finally solved the puzzle and discovered the mystery of his father’s stinginess.

 “He is your Father.” Their mother’s voice rose above the whispers. It was firm and full of authority.

“He was that way. That was his only fault. A fault so costly that he lost his first wife and child. I thought with that experience he would be better , but he did not change his ways. Maybe he was stingy for a reason. We shall know soon enough.”

 “Mother, can I ask you a question?” Amaka asked. 

She finally summoned the courage to speak again. 

“Yes.” Their mother turned to Amaka, she looked at her lovingly. 

“Why did Daddy not spend his money on us yet he built this mansion, furnished it and refused to maintain it.” Amaka continued. 

“The history of this house is story for another day. It wasn’t built for his pleasure. He built it as a remembrance and in memorial of his late wife.  The money he couldn’t spend on her and the baby was what he used.” Mother said. 

“Hmmm. That’s strange.” Amaka muttered. 

She was a curious girl, she tried to get into the thoughts of others and imagined what they thought. There was a knock on the door. Everyone was quiet. They knew what it meant. It was time for them to pay their respects to the dead, to the man they disliked most of the time. To the man they had bitter memories of. It was time and they were ready to lie and cry and look sad. In truth, they were not. They wanted nothing to do with him except of course for his money. Most of them had a list of money he never gave them. They wanted to take it and share it and use it. But they knew the stingy man would not make things easy. So they waited. The funeral was brief, it was unlike most funeral, the dead man had assigned money that will be used to bury him. It was all carefully thought out and planned. No photographers, a handful of friends and the priest.

 Three days later, the lawyer came. He said he had the man’s will. He wanted to know when to read it. He asked them to gather round on a Thursday by 10am at exactly that time the will would be read. They agreed and gathered. But the will was a page. 

“He said not to waste paper.” The lawyer said as some sort of explanation for the size. They all nodded.

“Every landed properties I own, my houses and companies in Abuja, London, Dubai, Bahamas, Germany, United States and here in Lagos, 10 of them in number must be preserved in its state. Nothing must be taken from it, and I forbade it to be sold. It must be preserved for my grandchildren and great -great grand children. It is for the Odiegwu unborn generation.”

“The money in my Nigerian bank account totalling two billion naira should be spent sparingly. My wife is the caretaker of that money and must dispense it with care and wisdom. She is to have access to the money during her lifetime and thereafter our first born Chuks will inherit that position. The money must not be exhausted in both the caretakers’ lifetime.”

“The money in my foreign bank account must be preserved for our unborn generation.”

“I bequeath my box of shell collections to Ebuka. Priceless possessions are rarely collected.”

“I bequeath my clothes to Uzo. Clothes are worn for a particular purpose.”

“I bequeath my shoes to Christy. It is never easy to walk in another man’s shoes.”

“I bequeath my hats to Chuks. Uneasy is the head that wears the crown.”

“I bequeath my collection of books to Amaka. Read it and apply the wisdom there to your life.”

“And to my beautiful wife, the mother of my children who had stood with me all these years and endured my occasional unbearable attitude, buy a car but not too fancy a car from the money in my bank account. Enjoy it, you deserve it now.”

They all shook their head, they expected it. But the new King and Queen had being born from the will. Their mother and Chuks.

The lawyer left and they celebrated until the banker called with a fresh information, a monthly spending limit was placed on the account.

Mother’s face was crestfallen, nothing had changed, their stingy father rules them even from the afterlife.

 

 

Written By Flora Martins

By floramichaels

Hi, I am Flora Ngo-Martins. I love writing and I am passionate about fashion, stories, news and food. Sometimes I get a little bit serious but that's alright, I can also be mischievous. I also like to analyse stuffs people do and sometimes judge.*wink* Most of all, I love to influence the lives of people positively and tell people's stories from a totally different perspective. Feel free to contact me if you have any suggestions or....

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *