This is an excerpt from Soyinka’s memoir, Ibadan: The Penkelemes Years, that we find interesting. We hope you enjoy it too…

‘Again! You have taken to abusing my mother again?’

His voice rose, and with it came that warning trill again, so strong that he leapt backwards even before Adeyelu shrieked aloud a repeat of his accusation: ‘Chris, you heard him. He abused my mother,’ and his arm flashed forward at the same instant, the contents of the test tube, which had been hidden behind his back, streaming straight at Maren’s face. As if of its own volition, his head jerking sideways.

The potion hit his shirt front and splashed onto the wooden floor, a portion falling on his foot. Even before he registered the first sensation of burning, Maren’s hand went instinctively to the rack of liquids that lined the middle of the workdesks, snatched up a jar, pulled out the stopper and flung the jar and contents at his assailant. Then the howls of pain and alarm from both the injured and the onlookers rent the laboratory.

Maren leapt on the desk and swung his foot into the sink embedded in the workbench, his hand on the tap, but Komi was running towards him, a jar in hand, shouting, ‘No, not the water. Use alkaline solution. Here, here… Oh my god, acid at ten paces. Acid at ten paces.’ Komi had recently read The Three Musketeers.




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