Ebutu staggered as he tried to make his way home. The shrill, discordant tune of his voice shot through the dark night as he sang while carrying his fidgety steps.
His wife and five children had gone to bed after a clumsy dinner of fried fish and garri tonight again. They were tired of waiting and hoping on their irresponsible head of the family to bring home something worthwhile for dinner. Even though Ebutu worked as a Chief Inspector of Prisons in the biggest correctional service in the state, he had nothing to show for it. Officers below his ranks had built their houses and have their kids in secondary schools and Universities but the same could not be said for Ebutu. The irony was that he might be a jailer but he too was in chains, a prisoner to alcoholism.
It was the fourth week his kids had been sent away from school after the school proprietor had grown weary of accumulating their three-year school fee debts. His wife had capitalised on this by using the kids as sales representatives for her small scale fried fish business. She would arrange the fried fish on trays for her three kids of twelve, nine and eight years old respectively to hawk to other neighbourhoods while she kept an eye on the remaining two toddlers who were a set of twins.
The headlights of a car beamed unexpectedly, blinding the staggering Ebutu on his way home. Then a loud thudding sound followed.
"Ah, bastard!" Ebutu cursed the driver of the car as he lay in the roadside gutter he had fallen into.
The following morning, good-hearted neighbours helped the pathetic Ebutu out of the gutter to his house where he lived as a tenant with his family.