Nonso had neither been defeated nor humbled by Papa’s comment about his failure of JAMB. He only remained quite for a moment, then continued being himself again when a whiff of malodorous hot lazy air wooshed past our noses, then came back and settled “hummmmn” he started, loud pressing his nose tightly in a firm grip of two fingers “who just messed?” everybody had a hand in nose except Papa who was driving. I was stroking my nose nervously. In that noisy fuss, Papa spoke heavily in a fury-tinged tone “You children are very stupid, you can cause accident, nya-en, nwetakwa the person that mess this kind of mess, mma a dowa y’ike” he wound down his window and threw saliva, his face face had dissolved into a coy frown. It gladdened me that he was addressing those at the back seat, not me. For a moment I contemplated the question “who messed?” because I had not heard it for a very long time, and I had never heard it in past tense “messed?” “Nawa! American food can release evil spirits from people’s anus, god-I’ve-suffered” Obiageli said, half-crying because of the fart, raising her threadbare blouse to shield half her face, her nose served as the boundary. I just couldn’t take responsibility for that powerful fact, it deserved a sudden squeal of brake that could throw our car to crash headlong into the bushes of Ogun State. If the fart had a color, it would be ghastly indigo and dark grey. “Odikwegwu” Mama said and shrugged, with sagging lips and wrinkle jaw, gathering saliva.
Excerpt from Because of Bread, by Anthony Nonso Dim.