Fire In Our Bellies

This is a fictional story. The incident itself is real but the characters and plot are works of art. Any resemblance to real people was not intentional.

* * *

“At all, I’m loving it sister Sewa.” Kemi replied.
“The barracks is quiet and would be perfect for the baby.”

Her sister nodded her head absentmindedly and stared blankly into the mirror in front of her. The hairdresser caught her glance and smiled at her. She smiled back.

“Okay Kemi.” She finally said. “I’m happy If you’re happy. Just make sure you’re safe.”

“I will Sis.”

“Drink a lot of water, watch the aerobic videos, rest a lot, eat heal.…”

“Yes Sis.” Kemi interrupted. “I’ve heard all of this before. I’ve not forgotten. I’ll talk to you later. Bruce is ready to leave.”

“Okay. My regards to him and Tofunmi. Take care. Bye.”

“Bye Sis.” Kemi said and terminated the call. She looked up at her husband fully clothed in his official uniform. He looked like the soldiers she saw in a Hollywood movie she saw that morning and she was proud.

“I’ll miss you darling.” She said to him and walked up to him. The baby bump restrained her from getting as close as she wanted but he bent over to kiss her. She kissed him back wholeheartedly.

“I’ll miss you too love.” He said and carried his luggage. She watched him say goodbye to their seven year old daughter;  Tofunmi and a tear dropped from the corner of her eye. She already missed him. 

“I’ll be back on the thirtieth. Be safe.” He said as he shut the door behind him. She walked to the window and watched as her husband joined his colleagues also dressed in their camouflage uniforms. She never quite remembered why it had to be camouflage. He told her once but she didn’t remember. The hot, mind blowing sex minutes before he did didn’t help either.

She was about to pull away from the window when she caught him look back at the house and could have sworn she saw a tear. His colleagues laughed and Tunde patted him on the back. She felt a relief when she saw Tunde. He made her feel safe. Out of all his friends, she trusted him the most.

They had been friends for ages; Tunde and Bruce. Attended the same secondary school and enlisted in the army on the same day. Bruce had introduced him as his best friend the day they met. Now she watched both of them head for Bakassi peninsula beside the city of Calabar to serve their country. They were but protectors of the Land. It was their duty. She never quite accepted that. She hated his job. Hated the uniform. Hated the barracks. Hated everything about the profession but she couldn’t do anything about it. The army was his first love. She had to live with that.

* * *

The loud sound of the ceramic vase shattering on the terrazo floor woke her from her slumber. The effect heightened the migraine she felt and she shrieked in pain. Her blue face Motorola cellphone rang beside her and she picked the call. It was her sister;  Sewa.

“Kemi!” She heard Sewa yell on the call. “Where are you?” She could feel the anxiety in her sister’s voice.
“At home Sis. What’s wrong?”

“Oh my God. Get out of there now.” Sewa ordered. “Kemi, take Tofunmi and get out of there!”

She heard a loud sound as she arched her back and some boards fell from the ceiling. Voices rang around the road adjoining her room and she jumped up. She rushed to the living room amidst shattering window panes, grabbed a crying Tofunmi and exited the house.
On the street, she was greeted by people heading in the direction of the barracks entrance. A couple of cars drove through the crowd hitting some pedestrians in their haste. Quickly, she joined the fleeing crowd dragging her daughter along.
The migraine pangs slowed her down and she struggled to see ahead. Her head hurt, her breathing was heavy and she felt fire in her belly but she didn’t stop. They approached an intersection she recognized and she hesitated to follow the majority of the crowd heading in one direction.

“Never take that route, Kemi. There is a canal at the end of that road covered with water hyacinth. Nobody knows It’s there.” She recalled her husband saying once. She tried to warn the people heading in that direction about their impending doom but none hearkened. They just zoomed past her like flies to a bug zapper. Giving up, she said a brief prayer for them and turned to continue in the other direction when a Nissan Sunny hit her and sent her flying. She landed with a turd on her bump and yelled in pain. Tofunmi rushed to her side and tried to drag her up but the child failed in getting her back to her feet and Kemi laid there in the red sand. Blood flowed down her legs and she knew this was the end.

The sun disappeared slowly in the east and she knew darkness would soon be upon them.

“Tofunmi.” She said.

“Yes Mummy.” The crying child replied.

“Keep running darling. I’ll meet you at the gate.”

The child shook her head In disapproval and wiped her running nose.
“No Mummy. I’m scared, let’s go together.”

“No Tofunmi. Mummy needs to rest. I’ll meet you at the gate with baby, you hear?”

Tofunmi nodded this time and managed a smile. Kemi pulled her close and kissed her on the forehead one last time. Tears streamed down her face as she watched her daughter scamper through the crowd in the distance. Her phone rang and she answered the call.

“Hello Sis.” She said into the mouthpiece.

“Kemi.” Sewa said. “Where are you?”

“I couldn’t make it.” She replied. “But… Tof…”

“What do you mean by you couldn’t make it?” Kemi asked.

“I can’t, Sis.” A sob interrupted her and she pulled herself together to continue. “I can’t make it, but Tofunmi can. Find her and take car.…”
A blast erupted and the phone went dead.

* * *

Some say It’s never too late to right a wrong. I argue and say sometimes it is. I’ve lived long enough to know that life can throw you off balance in a second and render all your plans useless.

That’s why I’ll rather live in the present. Planning for the future is also important but what We do with our present is what influences that future we crave.
This is my rendition of the Ikeja Cantonment armoury explosion on the 27th of January, 2002.

It’s hard to imagine It happened 12 years ago but time flies and so do opportunities and lives. It’s painful to imagine that there was someone who passed away via that disaster that wasn’t meant to be where he or she was at that particular time. It’s painful to imagine that like my story, families were broken, legacies were destroyed and lives were lost. It could have been you Or me instead of someone there that fateful day.

Life is a cheat.
A respecter of nobody.
If it decides It’s your time to say goodbye, bar God’s intervention, you’re going.

So my advice is simple.
Live like today’s your last.
Love like he or she would be no more tomorrow.
And laugh like your source of laughter might soon disappear.
In truth, you actually only live once. So live it right and well.

Have a lovely day.

Mike Dammy

Live • Laugh • Love

Live, Laugh, Love _ Sourced from Google

Live, Laugh, Love _ Sourced from Google

I happened to be in one of the not-so-‘tush’ parts of Lagos-Agege, Oshodi to pick up some stuff recently. I’m not saying if you reside in any of those places you aren’t ‘tush’ but you know, there are different levels of ‘tushness’, compared to them VGC and Banana Island peeps.

Anyway, as I was observing my environment (as I always do), I couldn’t help but notice some guys and girls on their uniform black shirts with all sorts of inscriptions on them, printed in rainbow colors. You know what I’m talking about, unless if you want to pretend…

Okay, for all of you that’ll like to form ‘tush’ and pretend like you don’t know what I’m talking about. Remember those shirts with stuff like ‘MY MONEY GROWS LIKE GRASS’, ‘I FACE-BOOKED YOUR MUM’?… I’m guessing this is the part you’ll say ‘Oh! I know those razz shirts’ to yourself.

In all honesty, I always wonder why they wear those shirts, it just makes me sad. But at the same time, those shirts could be what they can afford so they shouldn’t be judged.

Back to where this article is heading.

There was this particular guy that just stood out despite the fact that he was on the uniform too. There was something about him that kept me staring at him.

Okay, hold your thoughts right there! I wasn’t staring cos he was good-looking of ‘hot’ like those guys on TV with very well tended hair, muscles and thick packs; Far from it folks, far from it. It was the inscription on his shirt that caught my attention.

I kept staring and pondering on what the shirt read. I can almost bet the poor guy thought I had a crush on him or something, because judging from the way he started to stroke his chin and  the very nasty winks he threw in my direction, that was what must have been in his mind. Reality slapped me on the face and I began to walk. Really, action was needed, and very fast at that. I mean, the guy would have walked up to me to start feeding me with lame lines.

I kept walking, meditating on what I had seen on the guy’s shirt but the market women pushing my slim physique from side to side won’t just let me concentrate on my meditation. Making matters worse were all the hausa and ibo market men tugging at my sleeves. In my bid to try to free myself from the grip of those ibo sellers compelling me to buy their ‘okrika’ shoes and bags (hian!), I hit a lady. The first thing I said to her was ‘RISE ABOVE HATE’

She looked like she was about to beat me to pulp with the stern look she gave me.

‘Excuse me?! What do you mean?’ She barked in Yoruba.

‘Oh! I’m so sorry‘ I replied as I continued my trek.



That was what was written on the guy’s shirt. The phrase just got me thinking and in my opinion, everybody in the world needs to know this. We all need to rise way above hate.

It absolutely pisses me off when someone wakes up one morning and decides to hate a fellow human for no just cause, in fact, there is no just cause to hate anyone, seriously! We were created by love. We live and exist by love- God’s unending love, therefore, who are we not to love?!

Love is the only way we can successfully live life. Agape love- that sacrificial love that sees everyone with respect, that treats everybody right. That love that is ever-willing to give and keep giving without restraint.

Rise above hate; Stand on the high platform of love, walk in love and see everybody above their flaws, as though they were perfect. Love everybody perfectly (at least almost perfectly). That’s how God wants us to be. We are in the world to express His love to mankind.

This love doesn’t envy, doesn’t say ‘me first’. It over-looks offenses (I know some people can be very annoying, but love them still…. Love is joyful.

See beauty in everyone and treat people like you would want to be treated. Take note that I said see the beauty INSIDE not outside only.

The funny thing about hate is, it’s the hater that keeps getting hurt. The hated just keeps living life, especially if he/she knows nothing about the other’s hatred towards him.

How to love everybody is a topic for another day as its another lengthy issue but live with the mindset that anything you’re doing to anybody, the same would be done to you, with the same manner, thoughts, gusto or disgust.

So Folks, rise above the mediocrity of hate and live in the excellence of love, because it’s true love that makes you excellent!


Live • LaughLove 

• • •

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Thank you for Reading.

Tofunmi Onaolapo



Are you a Learner? Ep 1

Welcome Folks to the new series.


The ARE YOU A LEARNER series is simply a collection of short comedy sitcom like stories and they are meant to lead up into the new year but who knows, we might just continue after then. :d

So we’ve bringing in the baddest of writers and bloggers to write each episode., yes o! The baddest of the baddest!

At least one episode of this series would be posted everyday except on days when other articles are posted.

Make sure you subscribe to this site to get daily updates of new episodes. (The widget is on the left if you’re viewing the Web page and on the bottom if you’re viewing the mobile page)

None of the stories or characters are real and the main purpose is to make you have a good laugh and help you avoid making silly but tragic mistakes.
Don’t forget to learn the short message that comes after each episode also, it is meant to inspire also after all and Remember to drop your comments and views when you’re done.

Without further yarns, I introduce you to

    ARE YOU A LEARNER: Episode 1

as written by Me, Damstylee himself. :d


The scene opens in the residence of the Fashola family.
Taiye, the first child walks absent mindedly into the kitchen and a plate of fried fish on the kitchen cabinet catches his fancy.

Yeepa! Eja leleyi o!(This one na real fish o) he exclaims while surveying the wonder in his view.

He quickly removes two pieces of fish out of the pile, keeps it a nylon and wipes his hands clean.
He walks to the room, whispers into the ears of kehinde, his twin brother making sure that his three other siblings didn’t notice. Both of them feign ignorance and walk out after a while.
Yomi, their immediate younger brother suspects foul play and tiptoes after them, his younger sisters Tife and Sewa right behind him.

They soon catch their elder siblings gobbling down large chunks of fish and Sewa, the last born raises an alarm.

Mummy! Mummy!

Their mother wakes from her deep sleep grumbling and reluctantly answers when the cries continues.

Sewa, what is it?

Its Taiye and Kehinnde! They are eating the fish you said all of us should share and they have refused to give us.

Taiye! The mother calls out.


Kilode to ya agbaya bayii? Come on, share the fish with your junior ones and stop disturbing me.

Yes ma. He replies.
Their mother then resumes her sleep.

Five minutes later, she jerks up and runs out of her room.

Mogbe! Mogbe!
Taiye! Kehinde! What fish were you talking about?!

She peeps into the kitchen and sees the plate where she had kept the fish she intended to use empty.
She then runs to the children’s room and meets the kids groaning and rolling the floor, everyone of them holding his/her tummy.

Mo ku, Mo gbe, Mo daran!(I’m dead, I’m in trouble and I’m in big trouble!)
Who told you to touch the fish?!
There was rat poison in it!
Temi bami leni! (My own has finish today!)


Don’t build a house of glass if your kids have catapults as toys.

Thanks for Reading.
Do drop your comments and watch out for Episode 2 tomorrow.


I Think • I Write • I Inspire