Why excessive drinking is thought to be common indulgence of Indians, red, black or blue, still remains a mystery to many people. However, Obimo’s overly indulgence in drinking was in his community a practice that conjured slightly different imaginations and they said it made him as drunk as potatoes.
His mother had frowned at this habit, which Obimo began when he was barely a man. She had attributed the bad habit to the company of his fellow youths. Most disgusting still, the habit had remained with Obimo well into his adulthood. That hurt his mother because as a child, Obimo had displayed the brain of a genius and his father had hoped he would be an engineer or a doctor. On the contrary, Obimo became a pathological drunk, one who did nothing but womanise and drink to remain as drunk as a skunk.
On this particular morning Obimo left home early and went to the area’s township and hit the bottle hard. By mid-day he had drunk more than what a thousand Apache could consume. It was a market day and the centre overflowed with people. His mother was among them. She often attended the market day.
On her way back home she would be carrying something for food, which often was fish. After the market time, people left the venue one by one, but more often in pairs or groups. Obimo, the lay-about of their village, staggered home alone. Nobody wanted to give him company is his slow and laborious pace that left him swaying. It was dusk, but the distance was long and in a hilly land that appeared dark on account of so many trees, it got darker fast.
This dimming light reduced Obimo’s vision that was already blurred by alcohol. He stumbled home, his dome carrying a grass hat he had borrowed from a friend. Faintly, Obimo, heard a crow caw and a bush baby laugh somewhere in the wild around him. “You can caw until next month, but you won’t stop me from drinking,” he mumbled to himself. Obimo thought he saw the picture of something that looked like a woman walk past. He extended his hand and grabbed the woman.
“Come here,” he said as he held the woman. The woman fought him off, telling him that she was his mother. “What’s wrong with you, Obimo my son?” “Come on! Every woman calls me my son,” he said. “That is a slim excuse to deny me the pleasure I am expecting from you.” Obimo knocked the woman to the ground and struggled to strip her of her clothing. The woman fought back hard. In his drunkenness, Obimo turned into a sex-thirsty beast.
In one powerful pull, he removed his mother’s underwear. He might be reeking of alcohol, but he still had reserve energy to violate a woman. Alarmed that the worst was about to be committed upon her and by her son, the woman fought hard for her safety. She kicked the drunkard in the face and pushed him off her. As she arose to her feet, she saw two men arrive and run to her security. With her shopping in a basket, she ran home before the men reached her.
“Obimo, my son. You are accused. Accused!” she cried as she went. The men she had just seen went and grabbed Obimo. They were fellow villagers. What Obimo had just tried to do did not only shock them. It enraged them. The beat Obimo hard, kicked him all over the body. Then they dragged him home. The village did not have a lock up where they would keep criminals like Obimo. But what he had done was an abomination and they wanted to kill him.
The village headman intervened and instructed that he be tied up in a cow pen until the following day when the council would sit and hold a hearing on the matter. The next day Obimo was brought before the council. He was swollen all over. His eyes were just slits. “Please, pardon me,” he pleaded.
“I was under the influence of alcohol. It was the Devil ordering me.” Devil or no devil Obimo was given a couple of strokes of the cane. “Cane him more, please. Cane him more,” his mother cried. “How can my son see me naked? Obimo is cursed. He does not deserve to live. Please, cane him all the more!” When the punishing exercise was over, Obimo was made to stand before the council and repent his sin. He did it.
“I ask for your pardon,” he said. “Mama, most of all the people, I ask you to pardon me. Please, Mama, please!” But the pardon of his mother had a price tag. And she spelt it clearly. The house fell silent. You could hear a pin drop. “You are my son. These are the tits you suckled,” she said patting her breast.
“Seeing me naked is abominable, but trying to rape me is a sin only God can forgive you. I can only accept you back as my son if you will promise and keep the promise that you will never drink.” “I promise, Mama! I promise,” Obimo answered. It was a promise he truly kept. Many years after undergoing training as a mason, Obimo became very rich and gave his mother a highly comfortable life in her old age.