Representational photo.

The intensity of the door handle hitting the wall as it burst open shook the apartment. One of the photo frames, with the face of a smiling mother and a well-fed little child hung on the wall at the dinning section fell from its hook on the wall, shattering on the floor. The commotion startled TJ and Ronke, with TJ's lifted hand freezing momentarily midair. He let go of his wife with a push that brought her down on the edge of the sofa as Olamide, their nine-year old daughter ran into the sitting room wide-eyed.
"Daddy, Junior fell from the bunk and broke his head. There's blood all over him," she cried.
"Yeeeh, my son!" Ronke cried, staggering to her feet.
"Ola, what do you mean, Junior broke his head? Jesus!" TJ wailed.
He and Ronke ran into the children's room, where Toriola James, commonly called TJ Junior, sprawled out on the floor beside the double bunk bed, the colar of his polo shirt soaked in blood. He was motionless, a posture that brought both his parents anguish.
"Junior!" they both chorused in unison. TJ went down on his knees beside him feeling his pulse. "Ronke, quickly, bring him out, let me get the car and let's get him to the hospital at once. He ran out while Ronke swept her five-year old son into her arms and lifted him up. She ran with him outside where her husband had their Honda Pilot SUV running. TJ helped her into the car with their son in her arms, his head nestling on her bosom, her blouse smeared with the blood from the deep cut on the side of Junior's head. At that moment, neither she nor her husband remembered the row that nearly brought them to fisticuffs only a while ago. Who remembered such differences when the life of a precious son was in danger, anyway? Ronke thought to herself as she kept staring at the cut on Junior's head.


TJ eased the car into the street, turning right at the point where the street emptied into College Road as he headed towards Yaya Abatan Road at the Ogba area of Lagos. The traffic was light on this Saturday morning. He increased speed after the Yaya Abatan-Thomas Salako interception and gunned down the car towards Aguda area. He turned left before Sony Okosun's house and headed towards Oke-Ira. Soon he got to the hospital. He helped his wife get Junior out of the car and ran with him into the hospital's lobby, startling the nurses and two persons seated at the waiting section.
"Nurse, where's the doctor? Please help us, our son is badly injured," Ronke said, shaking with fear. 
"Do you have a card?" one of the nurses asked.
"No, we don't," Ronke responded.
"Then you must obtain a card before we can admit him. N2,000 for personal, and N3,500 for family. And besides, you must make a deposit of N25,000 before we can commence treatment on him," the nurse reeled out with no enthusiasm. 
"What is the matter with you," TJ raged. "Where's the doctor? I need to speak with the doctor at once."
"It won't change anything sir," the nurse told him. "I am acting on the instructions given to us. It's the normal standard."
"You're wrong. A standard whereby you place a higher value on money far above the sanctity of the human life certainly cannot be normal," TJ said, hate in his eyes, his expression menacing.
"Please take it easy," a middle-aged man sitting beside a shivering teenager, told him. "It's the same thing we were told when we rushed our son here. And they have no PoS where we could easily have made the deposit. So my wife has gone to the nearest bank to make withdrawals."
"I wonder what has happened to our society! What has happened to the bowel of mercy, the milk of kindness that was the hallmark of the Nigerian society in the 60's, 70's, and the 1980's?" TJ wondered.
"That's grammar sir," the second nurse interjected.

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