STAY AWAY FROM WINE STREET
(Written by Alfred Benjamin King)
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Once upon a time, in a place called Port – Harcourt, there lived two brothers. Obinna was 12 years and Uchenna was 10 years old. Their father was an abusive alcoholic while their mother was a stay alone at home Mum any time she wasn’t her husband’s punching bag.
Every night their father would come back drunk from a place called Wine Street, which he unfailingly drove to right after walk every day. Whenever Dad returned, their Mum would send them over to their neighbours because very soon Dad would need to flex his muscles on his punching bag.
Mum didn’t want her children to see their father do this to her. However, she knew they knew what was about to happen to her. No matter what Mum did or didn’t do, Dad would still find a reason to beat up Mum every night.
Uchenna and Obinna didn’t mind spending every night with the neighbours. They slept on the cold bare floor of their neighbour’s only child’s bedroom even though they would’ve preferred the comfort of their own cosy beds, they gained solace in the fact that it was their only opportunity in their likes to watch cable TV cartoons and movies.
At school they acted normal and nobody knew what they were going through.
This had gone on for years and everybody got used to it, besides in the city of Port – Harcourt, a man beating up his wife is not news. It rarely ever makes it to the top 5 things to gossip about list of the informal yet professional busy bodies of Port – Harcourt.
One day the neighbours moved away and Obinna and Uchenna had no choice but to lock themselves in their rooms and try to ignore the screams of their mother as she received uppercuts, round kicks and back slaps from their Dad.
It disturbed the two brothers greatly, until Uchenna used drawing as his form of escapism while Obinna used gangster rap as his form of escapism. He would bury his mind in the music that came out of his walkman’s headphones. The kind of music that talked about doing drugs, taking alcohol, and encouraging kids to do things that are too disgusting for words.
One day in school, a fellow student brought a bottle of alcoholic wine to Obinna’s class. All the other boys tried it except Obinna, but after being taunted for hours, he gave in. That 1st drink of alcohol went straight into his soul. The ecstasy of it all. For a few seconds he completely forgot all about his troubles. It was like a touch from paradise.
That singular experience created an unquenchable thirst for alcohol. He found himself saving up his snack money and handing it to a hustler-kid in his school to go to wine street and get him a bottle of alcohol. Soon Obinna became regular in his habit. Uchenna got to find out and tried preaching every sermon he had ever heard to get his big brother to stop drinking but it didn’t work.
One day their Dad died in a car crash while driving drunk. At the funeral, people couldn’t tell if his wife was crying or smiling. She hid behind huge dark glasses and her neck tilted down while she wore a large sun hat which helped hide any emotion. But one thing was sure. She looked different. She looked like a great burden had been taken off her shoulder.
Although Obinna and Uchenna’s father had never really been a Dad or showed them love in any way before, his death hit them hard. Uchenna drew more cartoon characters in his sketch book while Obinna started going to wine street himself, to forget his problems in his new form of escapism.
After some months, it was impossible to hide that Obinna was a teenage alcoholic. Uchenna did all he could to talk Obinna into quitting. He talked about how he is now starting to walk down the same road that their father walked. He talked about how it is not too late for him to kick the habit; that he can lean on Jesus. That Jesus wanted to make something beautiful and glorious out of his life. That he has a great destiny.
But Obinna’s mind was already full with the advice of gangster rappers. He was going to be a ‘G’ and not a ‘Punk’ (as hip hoppers say). Besides it felt so good to be bad that Obinna couldn’t dream of trading the feeling
Uchenna told their Mum about Obinna’s problem but no matter what she did, he didn’t stop going to wine street.
One day Obinna was returning from wine street tipsy. When he saw two bullies picking on his little brother -Uchenna. Obinna confronted them and in the scuffle - in Obinna’s intoxicated state Obinna hit one of the bullies over the head with a bottle. The bully fell to the ground and stopped moving.
Uchenna’s heart was flooded with fear, he hoped what he thinks has just happened had not just happened - he hoped his only brother had not just killed someone.
Obinna was till intoxicated his mind was still in the clouds but it was no longer high enough for him to be unaware of the implications of the situation at hand.
Obinna, Uchenna and the other bully stood frozen stiff, watching closely waiting for the bully on the ground to move a little – to show any signs of life. He looked like he had stopped breathing. As a matter of fact, it was very very clear that he had stopped breathing.
Now if Port – Harcourt was America, they would have called 911 and a medical ambulance with qualified medical personnels would have rushed in to save the day, but this was Port – Harcourt and such wonderful things never happened in Port - Harcourt.
In Port – Harcourt, when a thing like that happens: hurriedly get the person into your car and drive to a hospital you have been to before and you know its service doesn’t suck and they care about their patients remaining alive. You also have to have money though, be prepared to have whatever large amount they would ask of you, on you in person. Have cash not cheques and definitely not credit cards.
Now if you don’t have a car, you should pray that a taxi with no passengers comes along, you should pray that the money in your pocket at present is enough to pay the taxi driver whatever he would ask ( if he would agree in the 1st place to let you put a bleeding person in his back seat. Which would mean he would have to clean the blood off later because no Nigerian passenger would want to enter a taxi with a seat stained with fresh blood. Now, cleaning out that blood to leave no traces could take the taxi driver the whole day or half the day, which would mean him returning home to his wife and kids that day with a lot less money than he usually does which normally results in his wife cursing him out in front of his kids ). The money in your pocket should also be enough to pay the hospital bill, otherwise there is no point in playing good Samaritan.
Now if you think you have enough money but you don’t see a taxi with no passengers coming by after 3 minutes. Its best you run away fast and play good Samaritan some other day before somebody sees you and thinks you did it.
Now if somebody sees you, they won’t call the cops, they would act like they didn’t see you, but they would go around telling people that they saw you do it.
So I guess you have an idea of how the Obinna, Uchenna and the bully situation turned out.
It turned out in the way things normally turn out when you kill somebody in Port – Harcourt. It’s called STREET JUSTICE. It never ends well and there is always blood-shed.
Anyway, that makes it needless for me to say that Obinna was killed by a relative of the bully he killed, and as many murder cases in Port – Harcourt goes, nobody ever went to jail or even contacted a lawyer.
In all of this, Uchenna learnt a few valuable lessons. He learnt that no matter your excuse no matter what you’ve gone through; you have no reason to do something you know is wrong, because two wrongs don’t make a right.
You should also never run away from your problem never hide from your problems under the cover of a battle of alcohol, and never face your problems under the influence of alcohol either.
The most vital lesson of all is that we should hold on to Jesus tight enough. Sometimes we hold on to Jesus, but we are not just holding on tight enough so when the storms of life comes, it blows us away from the presence of Jesus because our grip on Jesus was not tight enough. Uchenna knew his brother Obinna was a Christian, but the thing is, his grip on Jesus wasn’t tight enough so when the trauma of their Dad always acting out followed by his loss set in, Obinna was quickly blown away from Jesus. Blown to wine street, to find solace in a bottle.
These were the lessons Uchenna had learnt.
Uchenna, knew now that he only had his mother. She was all she had now and He was all she had now. He walked into her bedroom to console her over the loss of Obinna. But as he entered the room, he saw some bottles of alcohol on the floor. He looked up and saw his mother looking dishevelled with tear washed massacre on her face, a half empty bottle of alcohol in her right hand and a cigarette stick in her left hand.
She had begun to use alcohol as a way of escape to deal with the loss of Obinna, her son.
OOH – NO!
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PRAYER OF SALVATION:
If you’ve been touched by what you just read and you’ve never given your heart to Jesus and would love to become a Christian, please say this prayer and mean it with all your heart :
“Oh Lord God, I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ. Your word says, ‘… whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved’ ( Acts 2:21 )
I ask Jesus to come into my heart to be the lord of my life. I receive eternal life into my spirit and according to Romans 10:9, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved, “I declare that I am saved; I am born – again; I am a child of God! I now have Christ dwelling in me, and greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world! ( 1 John 4:4 ). I now walk in the consciousness of my new life in Christ Jesus. Hallelujah!”
PRAYER TO RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT:
“Oh Father, I thank you now for making me born again. For making me you child.
I ask that you give me your Holy Spirit to live in me and with me. For your word says that you would freely give the Holy Spirit to all those who ask. I open my heart and receive and I know by faith that you have given me your Holy Spirit. Thank you Father. In Jesus name. Amen.
CONGRATULATIONS! YOU ARE NOW A CHILD OF GOD. WELCOME TO THE FAMILY OF GOD.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Alfred Benjamin King is a full time writer and illustrator. He is one of the leading Christ – Minded writers in both fiction and non-fiction today.
His literally works and special projects have gone spiral on the web; wheeling in thousands of page views per post.
Alfred Benjamin King is the founder and General Overseer of the “Disciples of Jesus”.
He currently lives in the city of Port – Harcourt in Nigeria, Africa