Written by Jennifer Azubuike
“You cannot build integrity on promiscuity, it is madness!” Muna disdainfully mimicked the words of his neighbor and hissed.
He pushed the center table aside and looked underneath but could not find the remote anywhere on the floor. He could have sworn he saw it on the table that morning.
How am I supposed to turn down the volume of this blasting TV? How did it get so loud anyway? He thought to himself.
Personally he didn’t mind it but he was afraid Elder Tim would complain again. Elder Tim, that grumpy old fellow. He never seemed pleased with anything.
“My brother and I are promiscuous?” Muna humphed and shook his head.
How dare him insinuate we are promiscuous. Has he even seen his granddaughter? That Jezebel throws herself at any man who as much as makes passes at her. Besides, he doesn’t even know us. I mean he doesn’t care to get to know who we are. The other time Jean visited, I tried to introduce her and the best he could do was smirk and walk into his house without saying hello. So rude! If he had waited he would have gotten to know that she is my sister and not a random girl. I mean he’d know I have four sisters!
Muna moved to the couch and lifted the throw pillows but found nothing underneath them. He straightened up and looked around again.
“And this useless new TV has no control button attached to the body.” He cursed.
That moment the smell of raw tobacco started to seep into the house prompting Muna to shut the windows. That could only mean that the old man is already sitting on his patio again. He snuffs tobacco as the clock works.
He smokes like a chimney but has the guts to judge innocent me as promiscuous. Does he even know the meaning of the word? I doubt it! I think he meant to say ‘promising.’ Yeah he probably meant to refer to me and Adam as promising young men. You know what? I will take it as that. We are promising young men!
He opened the drawers of the TV stand, and inside the bottom drawer he found the remote.
How the heck did it get there?
Muna turned down the volume of the TV.
“I have told Adam countless times that the volume of this TV does not have to be the source of his deafness, but if he doesn’t care about his eardrums he should care about mine and turn this shit down when he is done using it.”
He retrieved his jacket from the dining chair and threw it over his shoulder before starting upstairs. Again, he recalled the spiteful look on the face of Elder Tim that morning when he tried to say hi. Sometimes he feels some sort of pressure to prove himself to that man; a chance to prove his innocence, credibility, integrity…whatever.
“How can someone know so little about a person, yet despises them so much? Such a self-righteous bigot!” Muna hissed.
As he walked past the door to Adam’s room, he heard a sound coming from the room and stopped. He checked his wristwatch. It was 11:30 AM. Adam should be in his office. He saw him get in his car that morning for work. What then was that sound? He moved closer and was about to push the door open when it occurred to him to take caution. Just on the ground in front of the door laid a hat. He bent over and examined it closely but didn’t recognize it to belong to him or Adam. Besides, his brother never wears hats. Suddenly it hit him. They were being robbed!
Muna quickly retreated back to the kitchen in search of a weapon. He picked up a bread knife but set it down again.
“If the thief is taller than me then I need something bigger.” He said to himself as he searched for something else.
Behind the fridge, he found a rod of about twenty-four inches and picked it up but also added a kitchen knife. Stealthily, he walked back upstairs armed with a rod in one hand and the knife in the other. When he arrived at the door, he steadied his trembling hands and set himself to attack as soon as the door opened. On a second thought, he changed his mind and kicked the door forcefully. The door swung open with a bang! Muna rushed into the room, raised his hand to strike but hung it in the air. It took a minute for his brain to comprehend the sight his vision transmitted to them. In another split second, the adrenaline rush he had felt melted into weakness; a weakness so overpowering that he dropped the knife and narrowly missed stabbing his own foot.
Adam was lying on somebody in his bed naked. Muna could not see the other person but whoever it was must have a really small stature.
The party got startled when Muna entered. Adam quickly rolled off the other side of the bed while trying to hide his nakedness. The other party pulled the duvet over his or her head to hide as well. Muna couldn’t see the face.
“Mu..muna!” Adam stuttered at his brother who stared back at him confused.
“What are you doing, Adam?”
He didn’t respond but looked like a child caught doing what he should not be doing. Out of curiosity, Muna walked to the bed and pulled back the duvet to uncover the person lying there.
In shock, he looked at his brother and screamed “Adam! What? Adam what is this?!”
The girl tried to hide herself again but in vain. Ashamed and confused about what to do, she burst into tears. Muna stared at the twelve year old daughter of their neighbor and back again at his brother in disbelief. He had seen this girl a few times with her mother and sister across the street, and thought of them as a small family managed by a single mother.
Muna dropped the rod in his hand and stumbled out of the room. His thoughts were too jumbled to allow him to take any action. He wasn’t even sure what his next action should be or if he should act at all.
The house looked like it swirled when he reached the top of the stairs that he held onto the rails to support himself. The words of Elder Tim returned to him.
“A hypocrite is someone who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion. You cannot build integrity on promiscuity, that is madness.”
Now they made sense! The words of the old man suddenly made sense. With his hand trembling, he retrieved his phone from his pocket and called the police.
Thirty minutes later, Muna stood outside their apartment staring blankly as the red and blue flashing light on the police van faded into the distance carrying Adam. Half an hour ago, he felt fear, disgust, and anger in quick succession. Now, he just wanted to run, hide and cry.
His best friend and closest bud. The one he looked up to. How could it be?
He wiped his brow and turned around to return to the house when his eyes caught Elder Tim stealing glances at him from between his window panes. The old man let down his curtains the moment their eyes met.
“I am sorry I misunderstood you.” Muna muttered. “I never noticed such a trait in my brother all this time we’ve lived together but a stranger could pick up on it in only four months. I should never dismiss criticisms until I have objectively evaluated them.”
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”
Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV
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