As time went by, I had to do my six months industrial attachment program, and fortunately for me, it coincided with the time of expansion and renovation of the Hotel.
I told Oga Dan about my IT program and my desire to work in an establishment I could put my learning into practice so he talked with the Contractor handling the renovation project and I was recruited as an IT student for six months. The company, “Vita Logistics” Limited was a building engineering company covering civil and electrical engineering works. I moved a lot with the company to their various project sites and participated in troubleshooting, maintenance, and installation of electrical and electronic appliances.
It was a big learning point for me for all I had learnt in school were brought to practice, and I even learnt some more. I always felt proud of working with my hand gloves and helmet on. I learnt about safety health and environment, and I attended several seminars and workshops under the auspices of the company. I never knew such emphasis was being placed on safety at the workplace.
I was so engrossed with the company that I barely had time for other activities; the company had a lot of ongoing projects with the government, so we travelled a lot. Many times, I slept outside Owerri due to job’s demand. Through the job, I visited the almighty “Garden City” of Port Harcourt for the first time. The GRA in that town does not sleep at night! We lodged at hotels in the GRA; our favourite was Bougainvillea Hotel at Sani Abacha road, which was busy twenty-four hours daily.
Once, we spent three months at a stretch without visiting Owerri. We were shuttling between Port Harcourt and Yenegoa town, working. I missed Chioma, the bar, and my Clippers. The only hair I cut within this period was mine and my colleagues with whom I travelled. Yet, I was happy with the work. Being called an Engineer gave me quite a satisfactory feeling.
The company paid us daily “out of Station” allowance. They catered for our accommodation and feeding and even paid for complimentary drinks in the fridges in our hotel rooms. We were treated like VIPs’. I had little or no use for money, so I had a lot of savings in my bank account.
After five months of industrial training, we finally came down to Owerri for a week recess. Immediately we parked our car at the Royal gardens hotel, I told the driver to take me to IMSU. I needed to see Chioma. He agreed to take me there after lunch; we arrived at the lunch hour.
I did not see him after lunch. He had run off to see his family too. Every one of us had been complaining about missing our loved ones.
Thus, I took a taxi cab to IMSU in the company of the Hotel’s DJ, DJ Slam, who happened to be a pretty popular student of IMSU too. He loved to wear dreadlocks and a stud on his left ear. I was dressed in a light blue jean and a lumberjack shirt on a black safety boot. DJ Slam’s dressing was indescribable. I can only say he was a crazy dresser, and he reminds me of the Nigerian Denrele Edun.
Chioma lost control when she saw us entering her classroom. She screamed my name from the back of the classroom. There was no lecture going on, and the class was a little rowdy as the students were rushing to submit an assignment to the class representative. She rushed towards me, pushing and apologising as she tore through the moving bodies in the classroom. I was grinning from ear to ear as she jumped into my open arms. I almost lost balance. We clung tight to each other tight and spun. She released me and gave Slam a brief hug then she came back into my arms.
“Let’s go to the joint!” Slam offered
“Can I come with my friends?” She asked. “They have been dying to meet you!
“Baby, you can come with the whole class!” Slam said. And we laughed.
“Yes, dear, call your friends!” I said, and she beckoned at two equally beautiful girls advancing towards us.
“Wow! Slam exclaimed; you go give me one of them o!”
“You?” Chioma asked.
“Yes, nah!” Slam replied.
“Tufiakwa!” I cannot give you my friend! If not for the fact that I know what linked you and Bolaji together, I will never come near you!” Chioma said.
We all laughed. I understood her fears, for DJ Slam was a really randy and bad guy.
I got to meet her friends, Tessy, and Katty, short for Teresa and Katherine. Together we spent the rest of the evening moving from one joint to another and ended up at Royal gardens at the end of the day. I went upstairs with Chioma, DJ Slam went to his room with Katty while Oga Dan went with Tessy.
My relationship with Chioma blossomed with time, and when I returned to school for my final year programme, we were well-known together. DJ Slam introduced me to her former cultist boyfriend, and we became friends, although the guy thought I belong to the same confraternity with Slam. In fact, people were suspicious of my relationship with DJ Slam outside the hotel that we worked.
DJ Slam happened to be an all-round bad guy in the city of Owerri. He was into partisan politics as he organised thugs and bodyguards for politicians during campaigns. They indulged in stealing ballot boxes and eliminating rivals of their sponsors by any means. He was also a pimp. He organised campus babes for the politicians, and he got his cuts from the girls. He called his political godfathers his “Chairmen”. The campus girls that indulged in “runs” hailed Slam whenever they ran into him.
“O Slam o! O Slam o!” You hear them hail while he raised his hands up in acknowledgement.
“Yes o! Yes o!” He replied them.
Slam was also the conduit between many students who wanted to bribe any lecturer to inflate their examination scores. He also knew people in the exams and records department that could make a student’s file disappear forever. And to cap it all, he was the number two man of the neo black axe movement. Whenever I was with him, I had mixed feelings. Sometimes, I felt tough with him, and some other times I got jittery and scared. While on Campus, Slam was a wild creature, but when on the wheel of steel mixing sounds as a DJ he was very amiable. He was also called the cat with the nine lives. Having been a staunch member of the black axe from his year one till date, he had escaped many attempts on his life by rival cult sects and rival political thugs. The strongest weapon he had was his ears! He was well informed. His allies, girls, fellow cultist, and the call girls at the hotel all informed him of what went on in Owerri and beyond. A lot of people whispered things to him.
He always disappeared and reappeared when he was in school. His movements were never predictable. He changed his mind on decisions taken at the last minute without apologies for inconveniencies to others.
It was DJ Slam himself that convinced Chioma that I was still a Jew man and not a cultist when my friendship with him got so close and people had started to talk.
The truth was that I would have willingly joined the black axe if Slam had insisted because I was so much involved with the group that I even attended their parties, but Slam had other use for me. He was also an engineering student, and I did all his home works, assignments and examinations for him while I enjoyed his protection. We were in different schools, though, but we were all in the city of Owerri.
In my final year, I lived in the hotel. I still worked with the construction company and got paid every month. I still worked at the bar at night and had started mixing sounds too with the help of DJ Slam. So, I was like a utility staff at the hotel. I was useful in various departments as I also help out at the barbing salon and cleaning of the rooms and getting the laundry done.
My practical experience during my industrial training helped me immensely in my final year as it was as if I had done all that was being taught in school.
Second-semester final year, I wrote a long letter to Mr Adegoke, although I skipped any mention of DJ Slam in my letter. I was twenty-six years old and was doing well. I realised that I had over seven hundred thousand naira in my bank account. Suddenly, the desire to buy a car became strong. DJ Slam’s younger brother was based in Belgium and sends cars home for sale once in a while. Slam said I could get a clean Volkswagen gulf 4 for three hundred and fifty thousand naira.
I told Mr Adegoke about the car idea in the letter that I wrote to him. I also told him about Chioma and my increasing love for her.
In his reply a month later, he repeatedly warned me not to buy the car while still in school and while still working and living free of charge in the hotel. He said I might need the money after my National youth service scheme upon my graduation from school. He also said my buying a car would send the wrong signals.
About Chioma, he wished me well. He, however, said I should not be too emotionally involved so as not to lose concentration on my studies. He said I should keep saving my earnings for the rainy days. He said no amount of money was enough for one man. So, I should not think I have “arrived” because of a paltry seven hundred thousand naira. He wrote that my age mates working in oil firms earn twice that amount monthly, so what was the big deal?
He also warned me never to tell Chioma about the money I have in the bank because she was not my wife. He wrote that she could tell it to persons that might not have my interest at heart. Women like to show off with their men’s accomplishment. He also said she may not be experienced enough to advise me well.
The problem, however, was that I had shown Chioma my bank passbook and Chioma had told her friends about my desire to buy a car, she went further to tell them that I would buy her one too after my own.
And that had its own repercussion. Her friend, Katty, came visiting on an environmental sanitation Saturday morning. Chioma had travelled home to Enugu that weekend. We were downstairs at the hotel, cleaning the surrounding when she came, so she collected the key to my room and went upstairs.
After working for about three hours cleaning the environment, I went upstairs to clean up. The moment I opened my door and entered, I saw Katty on my bed, reading a book. I went straight into the bathroom to bath.
I came out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around my waist and was shocked to see Katty standing before me completely nude. I opened my mouth to speak, and she quickly stepped forward and placed a finger over my lips. I was shocked, to say the least, and my mouth remained open with no sound coming out until she planted her mouth on mine and took my right hand to her breast.
Everything happened so fast. I was transfixed where I stood, trying to get control of myself, which was, unfortunately, responding swiftly to all her touch. When she pulled down my boxers, I was amazed at the massive and hard erection from my crotch. I knew instantly that I had fallen! And I allowed myself to fall further when she went on her knees.
DJ Slam was all laughs as I narrated my experience with Katty to him. He said Tessy would soon come for me, but I did not believe him, and I vowed to ensure it does not happen again with Katty or Tessy for that matter. I told him I would confess to Chioma, but he warned me never to try it.
“Old boy wetin dey do you?” He asked. “You be woman wrapper?Why you dey talk like a Jew man so? Listen, make I tell you the truth Omo! Many babes dey die for you for this town o! Na me just dey discourage them by telling them say you be homo!”
“Wetin? I shouted. “You tell them, wetin?”
He laughed and said, ‘listen and let me tell you, Omo. Some of the babes you see around me at school or here in the hotel come to meet me in order to get to you, but you don’t seem to look their way and since I don’t want to get you so distracted, I simply tell them that you are gay and I end up sleeping with them!” He continued to laugh.
“Old boy this is not funny nah!” I said. “Of all excuses to give them, why tag me a yansh man? Couldn’t you have said I am not interested in women or something else?”
“Ehen! Listen to yourself now”, he roared. “You just said it now that you are not interested in women! If you are not interested in women, what would you be interested in? No be men?
He started to laugh again.
“That’s not what I mean, and you know it”, I said. “What of Chioma? Is she not a woman?”
“And that’s the problem! “He exclaimed. “Chioma! Chioma! Chioma! You go dey follow her up and down like dog dey follow small pikin wey want to shit for Village. Old boy, explore! Rule your world! See as you tall and fine! You come sabi book join am but you dey jones!”
“I no dey jones!” I countered
“Oh, you no dey jones? Simply because Chioma friend come wire you for your room you don dey feel say you too belong abi? If the girl no come to you, you for get the liver to toast her?” He said
“Why I go toast her when I dey date her friend? Is it normal?” I asked
“Then, why she come wire you, notwithstanding say she be your babe friend? Why?” He asked
“I no know!” I replied
“Why you go know? He said. “Jew man feeling funky! Omo, I beg make you wake up o! Na Owerri you dey o! No be Ekiti! For here we dey shine our eyes! Are you aware that Amara is dying to date you”? He asked.
“Amara? Which Amara?” I asked
“The same Amara wey dey come do holiday job for here nah! Oga Dan sister!” He said.
“Yee! I exclaimed; Oga Dan sister? Innocent Amara?”
“Come on, shut up ya mouth!” He said. “Wetin you mean by innocent?”
“Amara na good girl nah, everybody knows!” I said.
“Oh no! Oh no!” He exclaimed. “Bolaji you dey fall my hand! How could you be so gullible? There is no good girl or innocent girl anywhere these days. It died in the era of our forefathers!”
“Okay, no vex! I pleaded. “Ehen! Back to Amara issue, na who tell you say she like me? I asked
“She told me herself!” He said.
“Did you also tell her that I am gay?” I asked.
“No nah! She knows you are not, she knows you are dating Chioma!”
“Hmm, yet she still wants to date me?” I asked
“And you said she is innocent and good!” He replied. “Well, she believes that Chioma is a runs girl and not fit for you!”
“So, did you wire her too?” I asked.
“No! She won’t agree, she knows me very well”, he said
“But why she no tell me face to face nah?” I asked.
“You be Jew man nah!” Slam said. “How else you want make she take talk am? All the green lights wey she dey show you, you no fit to decode! Is it until she uses Katty’s style? Even before you started dating Chioma, that girl has been coming around you, flirting with you but you dey form good boy! Abi Amara no fine reach?”
“Haba! Amara na fine girl nah! But na my Oga Sister o!” I said
“And so what? Na Oga Dan go marry his sister? Abi Oga Dan no dey wire other people sisters?” He asked.
“Mba nu, Slam, Amara is like a sister to me I beg!” I said.
“Shattap ya Yoruba mgbati-mgbati mouth there!” He shouted. “Na wetin relate Amara with Bolaji? Wetin relate Ekiti and Enugu? Yeye jew man! No be only ya sister, na ya mama! Old boy, wake up nah!.
He sounded pissed with me.
“Kai! Kai! The girl fit don hate me now o!” I exclaimed.
“She can’t hate you, in fact, she does not hate you, and she was only disappointed in your taste!” Slam said.
“How nah? My taste how? Is Chioma not good enough? Chioma was not a runs girl nah, and you know it Slam! Why didn’t you tell her that Chioma was not a runs babe?” I asked.
“Wetin be my own? Do I know Chioma before? Na me born am? I sabi wetin she don do before she come Owerri? Look! I cannot vouch for any babe that is above fifteen years! Even my younger sister!” He said.
“Well, all I know is that Chioma is a good girl and I love her!” I said
“No vex o! No vex!” He said and left me to attend to his musical set. We were talking outside the DJ cubicle.
I continued to have a secret relationship with Katty. She happened to be very close to Chioma and knew her itinerary. So, we were discreet, but I always looked forward to moments with her. They were explosive. I still respect her till date on how she comports herself whenever I was in their company. I found it difficult to meet her gaze so that Chioma would not be suspicious, but Katty acted so naturally that I sometimes wondered if she was not the girl I was cheating Chioma with. But in all of these, I never stopped reading at night. After closing the bar at 2:00AM I read until 5:00AM before sleeping, I wake up at 7:30AM and go to school, I return at 4:00PM and sleep until 9:00PM. It was a routine I tried to keep.
My first problem with Chioma started when she realised I had over a million naira in my bank account. She was cleaning up my room in the hotel when she stumbled upon my bank passbook. She reminded me of the car I wanted to buy, and I told her what Mr Adegoke told me about sending the wrong signals. She did not like the idea at all. She said I do not have to listen to Mr Adegoke because everyone knows I was a hustler and could afford the car. I declined and told her I had always followed Mr Adegoke’s advice and it had helped in all way.
She was angry, but as she ranted, she cautiously avoided insulting Mr Adegoke so as not to hurt my feelings. Eventually she threw the bomb!
“If you don’t want a car, me I need a car!” She said defiantly. It was as if I was slapped from behind my back.
“What? You said what?” I asked.
“I need a small car of my own!” She said. “I need a Gulf 3!”
“Is this a joke or something?” I asked.
“BJ! I am dead serious! Since you cannot spend your money on yourself, spend it on me! I am your girlfriend!”
“Listen, Chi!” I said. “Even if I am to buy you a car, it should not be like this nah!”
“Like how?” She snapped.
“I mean, like quarrel! Like you are forcing me to!” I said.
“I am not forcing you! I need it! I have wanted to tell you since! I was only waiting for you to buy yours first!”
“But you know that would drain my account nah! How would I just buy two cars at once?” I asked.
“BJ, you can afford it! I know you can!” She said.
“No my dear, I cannot afford it! The future is still bleak! I need to save up for the rainy days! Listen, my dear, I am a student! You are a student! I know I work here and there to make ends meet, but I am not that buoyant! Don’t I provide all your needs for you?
“What do you mean by you are not buoyant?” She threw my passbook at me. “You have over a million naira in your bank account! Three fifty to four hundred thousand naira will buy the car for me, and you will still have enough in your account! Bolaji! Do you love me?” She asked.
“Of course chi! You know I do!” I replied.
“Then buy me my car!” She grabbed her handbag and walked out of my room, crying.
I was confused! I needed to talk to Slam