Posted in Prose, Stories

Just Wedded

JUST WEDDED COVER FINAL

ACT II:  SCENE 2

Charles returns home, the wife is watching the television and switching stations. Doorbell rings. She jumps up and rushes to the door, husband is at the door.

Charles: (evidently fatigued) Hi!

Doris: (Hugs husband) Sweet heart welcome! You look so tired.

(He pulls off his suit while she helps him undress. He sits down and unlaces his shoes. She collects the shoes, lifts up the suitcase and takes it to the bedroom. Charles stretches on the couch yawning. She comes out and begins to set the table for food)

Doris: Honey, I prepared your favourite dish, hope you will enjoy it?

Charles: And what could that be?

Doris: Guess!

Charles: But I have no favourite meal, any good meal is okay by me.

Doris:  That’s not true, remember, you once told me that your favourite meal was garri, salt and palm-kernel combo! (Laughing)

Charles: Joins the laughter as he meets Doris at the dining table) No, no! That was in the Boarding House those days! Then, one could give an eye for a cup of garri. (Sits down, opens the plate and smiles at the meal) Wow! Yum yum yum! Smells so good!

Doris: Yes Darling, specially prepared for you with the best Kobnomi in town.

Charles: Kobno what?

Doris: Kobnomi! A love portion specially imported from Uyo!

Charles: No wahala, as long as it is a love portion please, make it a point of duty to always put it in my meals. (They begin to eat together till fade)

ACT II: SCENE 3

Husband and Wife in the sitting room watching TV. Doris’s head is on Charles’s thigh as she lay on the couch. Phone rings, Doris jumps up and rushes to pick her phone.

Doris: Its’ my Mum! (She exclaims) Hello Mummy, Mummy it is not fair o! You just abandoned me all these days, no calls, text messages, not even a flash! Haba mummy! Is this how it is supposed to be? You just sold your Daughter and abandoned her… (Nods) Ehen? Sure? Hmmm mummy, okay I forgive you. How are Daddy, Emmanuel and Jane? Jane has gone back to School? Okay ma, yes ma! He is here; do you want to speak with him? (Gives phone to Charles) mummy!

Charles: (Collects phone) Mummy good day ma! Fine ma, yes ma, mummy this one that you remembered us today, (Laughs) okay ma, no wahala ma, all is well. My people are fine; they call from time to time. (Doris is restless as she beckons at Charles to give her the Phone) thank you ma. Please, hold on for Doris (Hands Phone to Doris)

Doris: Mummy, I am missing you guys so much. Will you be home tomorrow? Okay, we shall come and visit you tomorrow around 2 PM. Yes ma, after Church service. Okay ma! Please, prepare for us o! And make my favourite dish o! Alright ma! See you tomorrow. Love you too mum. (She prances about in excitement while Charles stares at her in bewilderment). Oh Honey! I can’t wait to see my folks tomorrow! Oh I can’t wait, I can’t wait (Excitement) Honey, you are not saying anything, are you okay? (Beaming with smiles as she embraces her husband)

Charles:  Doris did you forget or are you simply pretending? (Pushes off her hands and stands up)

Doris: Honey, what is it that I forgot? And why would I be pretending? (Notices the change on his looks) stop staring at me in this hostile manner! What’s up?

Charles: After church service tomorrow, my uncle and his wife would be visiting! How could you forget that? We have been discussing this since last week! Why did I give you money to go shopping yesterday?  Was it not in anticipation of their visit?

Doris: (She puts her hands on her head and exclaims) Oh my God I forgot! How could I? Honey, I am so sorry, please I forgot. Can you call them to reschedule for next week please?

Charles: No way! They wanted to visit last Sunday, we postponed it to tomorrow and you want me to call them now and tell them to postpone it again? How convenient it is for you to say that! How do you want them to feel? This is my uncle we are talking about, since my Father’s death; he’s been like a father to me. Do you want him to feel that I am avoiding him? No way ma! We would rather call your mum and postpone our visit!

Doris: So your uncle is more important than my parents? Is that so Charles? (Very angry)

Charles:  (Opens his mouth agape) what did you just say?

Doris: Yes of course! Your uncle’s visit is priority over our visiting my parents!

Charles: How on earth could you think like that? You just concluded on your own, without even consulting me, to visit your family tomorrow. You did not even seek my opinion to know what my program was like. Meanwhile, we have been discussing my uncle’s visit for a whole week and you dare say I value my uncle’s visit more? Who is being biased here? You or me?

Doris: (Sobbing) All I know is that I miss my family, I want to visit home. I want to go home and we must go together tomorrow!

Charles: Sorry ma! You will not have your way on this one and please stop being unreasonable. Call your mother and reschedule for next week end.

Doris: Over my dead body! (Stubbornly) I would rather die than not to see my parents tomorrow with or without you!

Charles: And who will attend to my folks when they arrive?

Doris: I don’t know! (Walks angrily out of the room)

Charles: I am talking to you Doris! Come back here! (Stands akimbo, totally surprised and humiliated) What is this? Is this Doris or someone else in her body?  Ha! I don’t understand o! (Walks angrily after her)

FADE

 

 

ACT II:  SCENE 4

EXTERIOR: Couple drives into their compound from church; they alight from the car and enter the house. Charles slumps into the couch, drops his Bible on the center table. Doris goes straight into the bedroom and comes out with her hand bag, ready to go out.

Doris: Honey, I am ready to go if you are not. (Agitated)

Charles: Ready for what? Are you going somewhere or something?

Doris: Please, cut it out! (She snaps) Don’t tell me you have forgotten that we have to go and see my parents?

Charles: (Visibly angry) Now listen woman! I never ever imagined you could be this obstinate! I thought we had settled this… (Doris interrupts)

Doris: Settled what! (Yells) that you want to imprison me in the name of marriage? That I can’t go and see my parents because I married you? What’s all this nonsense anyway? Please, if you will excuse me (walks out of the house) I will take a public transport and find my way. I am off!

Charles: Woman! If you walk out of that door! (Doris interrupts)

Doris: I am off already Mr. Landlord! (Bangs the door after her)

Charles: Doris! Doris! Doris! Come back here! (Opens the door and follows her)

Charles returns into the Sitting room, furious and agitated, he paces to and fro, sits down, gets up totally confused and disenchanted.

ACT II: SCENE 5

Sitting room: Charles is setting the dining table, obviously expecting visitors. The doorbell rings, he goes to open the door. His uncle and the wife enter.

Charles: (Prostrating) Uncle, you are welcome sir. Mummy, welcome ma, we have been expecting you all day.

Uncle: (Opens arms for embrace, patting Charles on the back) Charley boy! How are you? Congratulations once again, may God bless your marriage, may you not struggle to feed your family (Prayer continues as Charles answers amen intermittently) where is Doris my wife? Isn’t she at home?

Wife: Ehn! Iyawo wa nko?

Charles: (Motioning to the table) Please, come to the dining, we have been expecting you since after service.

(They all move and sat around the dining table)

Uncle:  Charles, where is my Wife or did she not hear our voice?

Wife: Maybe, she is dressing up abi? Please, call her to come and dish the food here o! I am famished. I have been fasting all day because I planned to break the fast here.

Charles: (stuttering) Ehm,ehm, Uncle em you know, you see when we came back from church, Doris prepared all these (Gesturing at the table)  in anticipation of your visit, but about forty minutes ago , her father called and told her that her mother was seriously ill and has been rushed to the hospital. In fact… (Interruption)

Wife: (Panicky) What? Hospital? Kilode? Kilonsele? This is serious o! Come on what are you still doing here? Which hospital? Daddy oya! Oya! Let us go there immediately!

Uncle: (Unusual calmness) Boy! What could be wrong with your mother in-law? (Staring deep into Charles’s eyes)

Charles: (More confused) No no! Uncle, em mummy, please, be calm and sit down, everything is under control. In fact, Doris has called to say all is well that I should not bother coming. She is with her mum already, she said that her mum was reacting to something she ate or so, but all is well. Please, relax. (All sits)

Uncle: But why did you not go with your wife in the first place? She doesn’t own a car, so you could have driven her there. With such news, it is totally wrong of you to have let her leave the house alone!

Wife: Yes my dear, next time please, don’t leave her alone in such a situation. I guess you did not follow because you were expecting us abi?

Charles: Yes ma! Yes uncle! You know, I was actually confused but all is well now. Your food please! Later we can talk, there is a lot of ground to cover, and Mummy, how are my Cousins? Lolu and Ibidun. (Charles begins to dish the food as chatting continues)

FADE

Posted in Prose, Stories

Just wedded

ACT I: SCENE 1

Starts with a typical wedding setting; the Priest, Bride, Best man and Bridesmaids and a few family members. It is a moderate wedding setting. The vow is exchanged.

Priest: Do you Charles Ojo, take Doris Bamidele as your lawful wedded wife? To have and to cherish, to love and to hold, in sickness and in health, for riches and for poorer till death do you part?

Charles: I do

Priest: Do you Doris Bamidele, take Charles Ojo as your lawful wedded husband? To have and to cherish, to love and to hold, in sickness and in health, for riches and for poorer till death do you part?

Doris: I do

Priest: I hereby pronounce you Husband and Wife. You may kiss the Bride.

(New Couple exchange kisses)

Priest:  (Announces) I present to you, the latest Couple in town! Mr. and Mrs. Charles Ojo!!

(Applause and Cat cries from the congregation.  Everyone move to the reception arena.  The Party is on , dancing, drinking and merriment; couple dancing to music and people spraying money on them. Gifts items are being handed to the bestman and bride’s maid. Merriment continues till night.)

ACT 1: SCENE 2

(It is night; the couple retires to bed after having their bath. Husband sleeps with mouth wide open snoring aloud. Wife keeps mumbling incoherently. Husband turns back and forth, wakes and sits up; he wipes his mouth with the back of his palm, stares at the wife with surprise. Taps her awake gently.)

Charles: Sweet heart, please wake up (she mutters more incoherent words. He is baffled. He taps her more dense) sweet heart wake up!

(Doris wakes abruptly and fierce, she grabs her husband for protection)

Doris: Thief! Thief!! Where are they? (Visibly terrified)

Charles: Honey, take it easy, there is no cause for alarm. Please, there is no thief anywhere.

Doris: No thieves? Then, why did you hit me like that? (Rubbing her side)

Charles: I did not hit you sweet heart; I merely tapped you to wake up because you were talking in your dreams.

Doris: Ooh! Is that why you woke me? That is how I sleep o!

Charles: Do you mean you talk in your sleep? How am I supposed to sleep with you talking into my head?

Doris: You are talking, what about you that snore like a Hippo?

Charles: Who snores?

Doris: You of course! Oh! Don’t you know you snore? (Hisses) Your noise shake the whole building like there is going to be an earth quake!

Charles: (Laughing) common get out, it’s a lie, and how can my snore shake the building? Am I King Kong?

Doris: Before nko? (Laughing too)

Charles: It is alright, I agree I snore sometimes but to snore is better than your chanting incantations.

Doris: Who de chant incantation? Me? You are not serious o! Please lets’ go back to sleep joor! I am tired.

(Couple cuddles each other, pulls the duvet over as light fades)

ACT 1: SCENE 3

(Doris, in a night gown walks to and fro the kitchen and dining table setting breakfast. Husband appears, in office clothes, he is carrying a suitcase.)

Charles: Honey, how are you?

Doris: (Approaches for a hug and kiss) Fine sweetheart, hope you slept well?

Charles: I tried to.

Doris: What do you mean, you tried to?

Charles: You know nah (Begins to mumble words with eyes closed as if asleep)

Doris: Oh that? Well I couldn’t sleep at all because the building was vibrating from its foundation. (Mimics snoring husband)

Charles: Shut up joor! Please, serve my food, lest, I am late for work.

Doris: In a jiffy! (Dashes off and returns with the meal in a tray. Bread and tea. Places the tray on the dining table while Charles sits to eat)

Charles: Thanks Sweetheart. (Mutters a quick prayer and begins to gnaw at the bread while Doris sits close to watch. Charles takes a piece of bread and dips into the steaming hot cup of tea)

Doris: My Gawd! Charles! What are you doing?

Charles: (startles) what? What is it?

Doris: How could you be dipping bread into your cup of tea? You should know it is not proper.

Charles: (Relaxes, heaves a sigh of relief) Oh that? You scared me you know. Ehen?  Am I not inside my house? I can eat any how I like here!

Doris: No Sir! It is against table manners, you could forgetfully do same in public someday. What happens to “Charity begins at home?”

 Charles:  How can I…? (Stands up from the meal, goes for his briefcase) Oh! I am sorry, it won’t happen again.

Doris: (surprised, stands up) Honey! You are not eating again? Is it because of what I said?

Charles: I think I have lost my appetite! I am okay!

Doris: Hold on Honey! Please hold on!!

(Charles pauses)

Doris: Honey, please I am sorry, I never meant to upset you. Please, come and finish your food. (She holds his free hand and pulls him back to the dining table; he obliges reluctantly, sits and begins to pick at his food…till light fades)

ACT II:  SCENE 1

Office setting:  an open office containing six desks. Every staff is busy, computer key boards clicking, movements and discussion among colleagues etc. Charles peeps through the slightly opened- door; some one notices him and shouts “Here comes the groom!” Charles hurriedly closes the door and backs off. His colleagues chase after him and pulls him back into the office amidst laughter and compliments.

Charles: Thank you, thanks to you Guys! Thank you for all your support (Approaches   all of them with a bear hug.  Reaches out to Clara, pauses, pulls her closer and gives her a bear hug too. Someone clears his throat)

Charles:  Na you sabi o! Yusuf, can’t a brother hug a sister again?

Yusuf: You can of course! But not so close because anything can happen.

Clara: Yusuf na you sabi o! Nothing dey happen I beg.

(They all scamper to their seats as their boss Mr. Ayo walks in)

Mr. Ayo: (Looking tough as usual) what’s this pandemonium all about? (Sights Charles) oh! I see! Oko iyawo is back.

Charles: (Stands up abruptly) Yes sir! Good morning sir and I thank you for your entire support sir. I really appreciate sir!

Mr. Ayo:  Tah! (Waves it aside), and how was your honey moon? Hope you don score goal o?

(General laughter in the office)

Charles: Oga, I don’t know o! But time shall tell.

Mr. Ayo: Well, we shall soon know, abi no be so?

(All Chorus, Na sooooo! as Mr. Ayo exits the Office)

Yusuf: So, old Boy, how is married life so far?

Clara: Can’t you see how fat his cheeks are? Just two weeks into marriage o! Even his tummy is bulging already.

Charles: Na lie, I beg! Which tummy dey bulge?

Yusuf: It’s true o! You don de comot belle o!

Charles: (Addressing another Colleague) Patrick na true? I don de comot belle?

Patrick: Don’t mind them jare, you are okay. You are just refreshed, that’s all, (phone rings) whose phone is ringing?

Charles: Oh its mine! (Picks up his phone, stares at the screen and smiles)

Patrick: (Clears his throat) Na wa o! Love wantintin! I go vex go marry o!

Charles: (Motioning colleagues to be quiet) Hello sweetheart? (General laughter in the office, some cover their mouths to suppress laughter. The door opens; they all look towards the door as Mr. Ayo re-appears. They all feign seriousness as the day’s job begins)

JUST WEDDED COVER FINAL

Posted in Prose, Stories

How can your wife describe you? Below are few categories of husband:

(1). Autocratic Husband- He is a self-knowledge, self-involved, unbending, unyielding husband. Nobody can correct him, nobody can counsel him. To him, he knows everything. He is very arrogant and stubborn. He has no mentor. He does not fear, honour or respect anybody. He doesn’t want anybody to advise him and he can not be influenced by anybody especially his wife, who hardly knows his plan or what he may do next. He is a difficult man to live with.

(2). Corrosive Husband- He is abusive; hot tempered and a wife beater. He is not in charge of his temper. He is a no-joke, no-play, no-laughter and no-nonsense man. He shouts and barks at home. The house is a military camp; his room is a defence headquarters, while he is the garrison commander, lion of the family and commander in chief of family forces.

(3). Solo Husband- He stays in separate room away from his wife. He is a “single” married man. He prefers sharing his secret with friends; the only time he talks to his wife is when he needs food and sex.

He is self-centered; his common words are “I”, “me”, “mine” and “myself”. He is full of self-glorification, self-justification and stinginess.

(4). Semi-Husbands- They are not real husbands, they are men under their trouser but lesser than that in their duties at home. They are real men in bed and on the dining table; but when it gets to paying school fees they are nothing. It is their wives that pay the house rent, electricity bills, buy food and provide generally for the family. It is not that he is not working; it’s just that he is a useless man that will not provide for his own family. While some are too lazy to work, others that have money spend their money outside to the detriment of peace in their homes. A semi-husband is a disgrace, Proverbs 24:27, I Tim 5:8.

(6). Supermarket Husbands- These are the kind of husbands that are unfaithful to their wives. They are everybody’s husband. They spend lavishly on their girl friends, woman friends, prostitutes and concubines outside; while giving little or nothing to their household.

To men like this, anything in skirt is good for a bedmate. They pay huge amount of money on hotel bills. They are shameless to the extent that they visit brothels for prostitute or park their cars in the bush path to perform their ungodly act with immoral ladies. Some even go to the extent of impregnating their house-maids and sleeping with their wives’ younger sisters, Proverbs 7:1-27

(7). Executive Husbands- These are the kind of men that live their lives in an executive way. They do not allow their wives to have any close relationship with them. They operate their rooms as if it is the general manager’s office; no love, no romance and no intimacy.

If their wives want to enter their rooms, they have to knock and obtain permission before coming in. They do issue orders to their family members as if to the workers under them and inform their families about their plans as if addressing a press conference; where no journalist is allowed to ask any question.

Their wives can not easily talk to them, in fact; they have to send their children to them before they can get anything from them.

One thing that is common to most of them is that most of them are business executives hence, they use their office experience to the maximum at home expecting everybody at home to follow suit. They have little or no respect for their wives, if their business is not going on fine, then the whole family is in trouble. Many of them always want their wives to be full-time house wives so that they can have full control over them.

(8). Traditional Husbands- They see their wives as properties. They believe women are third class citizens, useful only in the kitchen and bedroom. To them, a woman is just a cook, a tool of pleasure (sex) and baby making machine.

They give no attention to their wives who they see as somebody that is a little bit above their house-maid. They believe that their younger ones living with them are to be served by their wives, while they are expected not to do anything at home.

Most of them are still using the style of their grand fathers for their marriages. They believe a woman must not enjoy sex; love must not be shown to them, they must be beaten if they misbehave, if she fails to give birth to a baby boy then she is a failure. If they give birth to children who behave poorly they belong to the wife, the one that behave excellently belong to the father.

(9). Baby Husbands- They are not under-aged men physically, but they are infant mentally. They know how to build a house but not how to make a home.

If you want to know baby husbands look for the following:

• He keeps malice with his wife

• He rejects food because he is angry

• He beats his wife

• He reports his wife to friends and family members

• He keeps a separate room from his wife.

• He embarrasses his wife publicly

• He calls his wife goat, animal, fool, etc.

• He loves his mother more than his wife

• May refuse to give house-keeping allowance because of a little misunderstanding

• Can never be influenced by his wife

• He is a contentious husband, he nags.

• Will never pray with his wife

• Always find it difficult to say “I am sorry”.

• Will never help his wife with the baby.

• He threatens his wives with polygamy or divorce

• He criticizes, condemns and compares his wife with other women

• He does not love his wife, if he does; he will never say it, or demonstrate it.

• He leaves the house without anybody knowing where he has gone to.

• He gives no room for romance and intimacy. All he wants is sex.

• Gives no room for foreplay before sex. He is just like a carpenter who has no emotion for the nail.

• He retaliates instead of rewarding

• Never does anything to improve his marriage. He will never read marriage books, attend seminar or go for counseling.

(10). Kingdom Husbands- They are extra-ordinary husbands; they are what God want them to be as husband. They know that their God is to be feared and worshipped, their wives are to be loved and their children are to be catered for. They are “real men”, men indeed; they are the SUNSHINE in the life of their wives and children.

– They are man of integrity: – They mean what they say; and say what they mean

– They do pray with and for their wives.

– They are faithful, loving and caring.

– They cherish and nourish their wives.

– They have hostering i.e. they do listen to the suggestion of their wives.

– They are good communicator.

– Apologize easily, forgive quickly.

– They lead their homes with wisdom

– They never retaliate, they rather reconcile.

– They do speak the truth in love.

– They provide for their family (1 Tim. 5:8)

– They stay in the same room with their wives.

– They “leave” their parent and leave to their wives.

– Their wives know how much they are earning.

– They are actively involved in child bearing, rearing, discipline and parenting.

– They have ultimate respect for their wives.

– They do support their wives in the kitchen.

– They are close to their wives, full of honour and they do play with their wives.

– They are skillful in the bedroom; meeting their wives bedroom need.

Kingdom husbands are not common but God can make you one of them, turning your home to a place to be.

Kingdom Husbands – Traits of an Uncommon Hubby

Kingdom husbands are common men with uncommon sense. Are you a great husband? Do you want to be one? Do you want to be a husband your wife will adore, honor and hero-worship? Then all you just need to do is to develop the following traits of uncommon husbands:

God Fearing: The first trait of a great husband is the fear of the Lord. He fears the Lord enough to obey His words. He fears the God enough to care and provide for his wife. No husband can be a wonderful husband expects he is God fearing man.

2. Godly Character: A great husband is of a man with godly character. He is meek, gentle, caring, loving, forgiving, supportive, wise and cautious. He is not stingy but honest. He does not attend night clubs, smoke or practice adultery.

3. Love: He loves his wife with all his heart and is not ashamed to let anybody know. He expresses love to his wife at any given opportunity.

4. Respects and Honors: When you see a man that embarrasses his wife in the public, he is a total failure as a man of valor. A great husband respects and honors his wife and gives all glory to God.

5. Good Communication: A woman loves it when her husband is talking and listening passionately to her. A good husband is open to his wife. He speaks the truth is love and is always positive in his reactions to his wife.

6. Great Leader: He is never a boss but is a tender lover. He knows how to make people follow him without forcing them. He has vision, which he shares with his family. He influences the family and offers them good examples.

7. Diligent: A great husband is a worker; he is not lazy. He puts his hands to work and makes bread available to his family.

8. Romantic: He satisfies his Wife’s Bedroom Desires. A great husband is romantic. He knows how to make his wife enjoy him. He is tender, patient and careful with the wife in the bedroom. He knows that foreplay is a must if a woman must enjoy sex. Hence, he never rush the wife but brings her up before any sexual act.

9. He gives His Wife Peace: The wife of a great husband is always sad to see him travel because he is a man of peace with no space for fighting, bitter arguments, abuse, curse, shouting, malice, bitterness, resentment, bickering and hatred. A great husband has no time for all these. He is a source of joy to his darling wife.

10. He is committed to Marriage: He never threatens his wife with beating, separation or divorce but is ready to give his marriage anything it takes to make it work. His wife is number one in his life after God. His wife is his thinking partner, friend, prayer partner, bed mate, and confidant!
——————————–

This is not meant to abuse anybody, but for you to check yourself and try to be a better husband and father, may God help you in Jesus name.

WHAT MANNER OF HUSBAND ARE YOU?

 

Posted in Prose, Stories

The Abandoned Child; Chapter 19

JANUARY 1997; I met a very complicated situation on my return to Owerri. Strange things had happened while I was away.

I entered the Hotel premises at 4.00PM with my luggage strapped on my back. I was expecting a warm welcome from my colleagues and a subtle reprimand from Oga Dan for staying away longer than I was permitted. Instead, I met people looking moody as they went about their duties. No one paid me any attention rather they were staring at me as if I was a stranger.

I walked to the bar and brought out a chilled bottle of Gulder from the Gulder branded chiller to calm me down after a long journey. The DJ cubicle was closed. It was unusual for Slam’s office to be closed at such an hour when the business of the day was gearing up. He normally played blues or roots reggae at such hour. Emeka walked into the bar to collect some drinks, so I greeted him and asked after DJ Slam, but he pretended not to hear my question.

“Emeka! Is it not you that I am talking to?” I asked.

“I should be asking you!” He snapped.

“Asking me? As how?” I asked.

“You no know?” He asked.

“Know wetin?” I asked.

“Okay! Dey there dey pretend, when Police come carry you go, you go confess!” He said and walked out to attend to Customers.

Something was amiss. So, I gulped down the content of my beer and carried my luggage to my room upstairs, I entered the reception and asked the receptionist for the key to my room.

“Go and ask Oga Dan!” The receptionist told me.

“Oga Dan? Why?” I asked.

“He has to authorise the release of the key to you!” She snapped.

“Haba! Chinwe! It is me o! Bolaji! Am I a stranger here?” I asked.

“Please go and ask Oga Dan nah! I am busy please!” She snapped and started tapping the keyboard of her desktop computer all of a sudden.

I dropped my luggage behind the door and made to go up to Oga Dan’s office.

“Hey, Oga!” Chinwe called out.

I looked back at her, not sure who she was referring to. She pointed at my bag

“Carry am go I beg!” She said.

“You mean my luggage?” I asked.

“You heard me!” She snapped.

I quietly walked back and carried my bag. I knocked and entered Oga Dan’s Office; he was surprised to see me.

“Omo!” He called out.

“Oga Sir! I remain loyal sir!” I saluted him.

“Where the hell have you been to all this while? I expected you to be back after one week, but you have been away for three months or thereabout!”

“I am very sorry, sir! I had a lot of family issues to sort out sir! And since my NYSC programme is still far away, I decided to take out time and sort certain things out. I explained”

“You are welcome! But there are problems here o! I don’t think you are welcomed here any longer o”, he told me as calmly as he could.

“What happened, sir? No wonder everyone I have met had been somehow cold towards me”, I said.

“Excuse me for a minute!” He said and left the office to return after five minutes.

“Yes BJ! Welcome back!” He said with an enthusiasm that was not there a few minutes ago. Are you a member of a secret cult?”.

“Ha! What? Me? No o! How can?” I was confused.

“Are you sure?” He asked suspiciously.

“Haba! Oga Dan! You no trust me?” I asked him.

“Hmm, trust you? I used to trust you, but from what I have heard about you so far, I don’t know if I can trust you anymore”.

“Oga Dan, please talk to me! What is all this about? And where is Slam? At least he will tell me what happened if none of you wants to tell me. His office is closed at this hour, and I asked Emeka about Slam, but he said I should know better, me that have been away for some time now! Biko dede, ogini n’aeme ebe a?” I asked in Igbo language.

“You and Slam disappeared about the same time last year; he said he was going for political runs while you said you were going for a family visit. Is that not so?” He asked

“You are right, sir!” I replied.

“Slam has been dead and buried! His headless body was dropped outside our gate. This happened the second day you left, and since then you have not come back here! What have you come back here to do now when you are a wanted criminal?”

“Jesu Christi! Jesu Christi! Headless corpse?” I asked.

“Yes! That was what his people buried”, he said.

“Oh my God! Slam is dead?” Goosebumps came all over me, and I began to cry.

There was a loud knock at the door of the office as I asked him. “So what are the Police doing about it?”

“Oh! The Police?” He asked. Then, he turned towards the door and shouted, “come inside, please!”

The door opened, and three armed uniformed Policemen entered the office.

“Good day, Officers! Oga Dan stood up: this is the man we have all been looking for; he is one of the suspected cultists!”

My bladder gave out its content immediately, and a feverish feeling overcame me. I was feeling a burning sensation from inside me as I felt the cold hands of raw fear. I looked from Oga Dan to the Police. I felt like a dog whose owner was selling out to a Calabar or Ondo man.

“Are you Mr Bolaji?” The one with the pistol asked. I nodded.

“You are under arrest for involvement in cult activities which has led to the death of one Nnana Ogbuike popularly called DJ Slam, Onyekachi Chukwuma popularly called Major and Onyema Iloh popularly called Lusaka! You have the right to remain silent as anything you do or say here shall be used against you in the court of law”.

Nigerian Police don’t read you your rights before arresting you! For these people to read me my rights means they meant business and were not the everyday Nigerian Police.

“Oga Dan!” I called out.

“Please, follow them! Murderer! Your parents sent you to school, but you came here and turned to a daredevil! Wolf in sheep’s clothing! Onye oshi!” Oga Dan said.

“Oga Dan!” I called again as my hands were cuffed, and I was whisked out of his office.

A small crowd had gathered downstairs as the Police escorted me into the Peugeot 504 station wagon they came with. I was crying as the Policemen were hitting my joints with their batons even though I offered no resistance at my arrest.

We got to the Police station at a quarter past six o’clock as indicated on the wall clock at the police counter. The DPO was not on seat when the inspector that led the team asked the constable at the counter.

I was given a sheet of paper to write my statement. I asked the Corporal in the team to tell me how to write the statement as I had never had any reason to write a statement in a Police station before. The corporal relayed my request to the inspector, who then called the sergeant that came with him to arrest me to take charge of my case.

The sergeant said I should write everything I know about the death of DJ Slam and other dead Cultists and about my involvement in the secret cult.

I told him that I know nothing of both. This annoyed the Police officer when all efforts to make me indict myself failed.

By 9.45PM, they dragged me to a room inside the station. The stench from the room was awful, the door was closed, and the room was soundproof. They told me to pull off all my clothes, and then my hands were cuffed.

On a wooden table close to the wall were pressing Irons, needled syringe, pliers, hammer, koboko, cable wire, a pack of Tiger head razor blade, and some other strange instruments of torture.

I was lifted up and hung on the ceiling fan anchor. The handcuffs bit into my wrist, and I screamed. My legs were tied together with a hard wire. In two minutes, it felt like my hands would pull off my body. Words cannot describe what these men did to me. I went to hell.

The Police flogged me with cable wires and koboko for over forty minutes. They flogged every part of my body with emphasis on my private part. At a time, one of them grabbed my legs to prevent me from struggling while another inserted a long and thin iron into my penis to and fro causing me the most painful agony man could endure. They plugged the electric Iron into the socket, and when it smelled hot, they unplugged it and pressed it on my buttocks and my thighs. The room smelled of burnt flesh, my flesh. I screamed and screamed, I begged them and told them the story of my life, but it fell on deaf ears as they were threatening to kill me unless I tell them the truth.

They also used the razor blade to cut randomly on my buttocks and my legs. Then, they rubbed a substance which I think was dried pepper. I screamed, the pliers on their table was used on my toes. My bones were cracked. My ankles and my knees were knocked out with a hammer. That was when I stopped feeling any more pain.

“Are you ready to cooperate now?” I heard the question from afar.

“Pour am more water!” I heard someone else said.

I woke up with a pounding pain in my head as water was poured on me. I was on the floor of the torture room; I was lying on a slimy substance on the floor that smelled like death.

“Get up, criminal!” Someone snarled.

I tried to sit up, but I could not. I could not feel my hands as they just lay limp by my side.

“You no dey hear word?” Someone barked. “I say get up!”

“I can’t!” I said. “I can’t feel my hands”.

“You never see anything yet!” He said. “Look up! I say turn your back and look up!”

I turned to lie on my back. Every movement sent excruciating pains all over me.

“You see this guy wey hang there so?” The voice asked me.

I looked up to where I was hung and saw the lifeless body of a young man dangling from the ceiling with blood dripping from his body.

“He don die! The voice said to me. Na the same treatment wey we give to you we give am, but he no survive am! For you to survive am mean say you be hardened criminal! A confirmed cultist! But what we did to you is just step one! By the time you still refuse to cooperate with us, we shall proceed to step two! You hear me?”

“Yes, sir! But wetin una want me to do nah? I asked. Make I lie upon myself? Una no even bother to investigate wetin I tell una, the very day wey I leave this town, I was at Ibadan! I..”

“Sharrap! Someone shouted and kicked me in the groin. I saw flashes of light as I screamed my guts out.

“I will cooperate! Anything you want I will do it!” I said as I cried. I could not bear to take any more of the torture.

Oya, sign this statement! He dropped an already written statement on the table and pulled me onto a chair. He dropped a pen by the paper and told me to sign the paper. I tried to move my hands, but I could not. I was reading the content when the man shouted, “Oh! You dey read am abi!”

There was an explosion, something tore through me. I felt myself falling.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Prose, Stories

The Abandoned Child; Chapter 18

It was a drop-dead beautiful svelte that opened the door for me when I reached Mr Adegoke’s house at Ibadan. I had branched at the shop to greet madam and her sales girls before entering the main gate into the main compound through the pedestrian gate. The entrance door to the house opened from the inside just as I was about to open it from the outside.

“Jesu Christi o!” I hissed

“Uncle Bolaji?” She asked

“Yes?” I asked as I peered very well into those eyes.  “Don’t tell me you are Oluwayemisi!”

“Of course, I am!” She exclaimed in laughter. “You cannot recognise me again?

“Jesu o! Jesu o! Are you a model at school or something? Jeez! Look at you! You have grown into a beautiful woman! Like a supermodel!” I exclaimed. “How old are you now?”

“Uncle BJ, I am just above eighteen now!”

“Look at you! I don’t know if I should lift you up or hug you or even kiss you!” I said

“Anyone, uncle!” She said.

“Come here! Come here!” I gave her a close hug that affected my crouch once again, I remembered the first day I met Chioma.

“Please, take my bag to the guest room! I said as I discharged from the hug and went straight into the convenience room at the sitting room to caution my emotion. I stayed there for about ten minutes. I did not come out when I heard her calling my name from the sitting room.

This was not any other girl. This was Mr Adegoke’s daughter! My mentor’s daughter! What was wrong with me? I am almost nine years older than her! She was like a sister to me! Suddenly I heard DJ Slam’s voice in my head.

‘Shattap ya Yoruba mgati, mgbati mouth there! Na ya mama born am?’

‘But the Papa na my mentor nah!’

‘Ehen? Na, her father, go marry her? Biko wire the girl!’ Slam echoed

‘Chai! But the girl is innocent nah!’

‘Oh, no! Oh no! Jew man! Is she not above fifteen years of age?’

‘She is eighteen’, I said

‘Then she don ripe be dat! Wire am! Wire am!’ Slam said.

‘Dem take wire swear for you?’ I asked.

‘If you no wire am! Another guy go wire am o!’ That’s all! Slam said as he fizzled out of my head.

I returned to reality as someone banged hard at the door to the convenience

“Ta ni yen? Who is that?” I asked.

“Bolaji!” It was Madam.

“Mummy!” I called back.

I came out to meet Mummy already dressed to go out.

“Thank God that you are around, please look after the house”, she said. “Have you seen Yemisi?”

“No, ma! Yes ma! Yemisi abi?” I was confused

“Kilode? What is wrong?” She asked

“Kosi nkankan ma! Nothing ma!” I replied. “I saw her as I came in, I did not know it was her!”

“Okay! She has grown abi?”

“Yes ma!” I replied.

“Please take care of the house and the shop! You are the man in the house now. I will be back at night, tell Yemisi to prepare dinner before Daddy returns from work”.

“Yes ma’am!” I said

Immediately she left the house, I went to my room to loosen up and relax from the stress of the journey.

It was the aroma of the food she brought into my room that woke me up. I was so famished that I jumped out of bed and grabbed the plate of steaming Jollof rice from her

“Thank you, my dear! I said. “How did you know that I was very hungry?”

She laughed and said, “I don’t know o! You have been sleeping since morning nah, I was knocking at your door, but you did not answer, so I decided to burst in with your food”.

“Thank you for bursting in! You just saved a soul! I would have died of hunger from my sleep!” I said as I ate up the steaming food in a hurry.

“Uncle, take it easy, nah! She said

“Did you cook this food?” I asked an obviously stupid question

“Yes nah!” She said.

“Who taught you how to cook?” Another stupid question.

“Who else, but mummy?” She asked.

“Oh, yes! Mummy! I forgot… So, how is school life?” I asked the first sane question.

“Uncle, wait, let me go and get you drinking water. She left and came back with a cold glass of water.

“Thank you very much!” I said and gulp down some water. “So, school life! How is it? I continued.

“School life is fine!” She said as she sat on the edge of the bed.

“I heard you are studying Agric economics!” I lied.

“No o! I am studying Med- sug!” She said.

“As in, Medicine and surgery?” I asked.

“Yes sir!” She said.

“Wow! That’s cool, I am not surprised though, and I am just impressed”, I said. “I wish you the best, Doctor Yemisi”.

“I heard you came out with first class in engineering”, she said.

“That’s true!” I said.

“I am not surprised though, I am just impressed”, she said.

“Ahan!” I said.

“Ahan what? She asked.

“You are mimicking me”, I said.

She laughed. “But it is the truth, nah! You have been our inspiration in this house. There is no day my dad does not mention your name while advising us to be the best! You are my role model, my hero!”

I wished she could say “my husband”, for I loved every moment with her until one of the sales girls from the shop came to call her out of my room for an urgent errand.

I could not take my mind off the thought of Yemisi. I was already jealous of the possibility of her having a boyfriend already. A beauty like hers would have been hooked by some stupid campus boys that have made it their birthright to sample every beautiful female Jambite. She was already in her second year and as such would have been devoured by those scoundrels! Yemisi was mine! Imagine the way she served me food in bed. She even knew I had to drink water while eating! What other sign was I looking for? I wish we were alone in the house so we could just be talking.

DJ Slam’s voice tried to get into my head again, and I shook my head vigorously and shouted” Get behind me, Satan”!

He ran away, echoing the words “wire, wire! Wire her”

This was not a girl for wiring but for keeps. A girl to treasure and nurture; a girl that would give me good dreams when she is by my side. A wife material! Her laughter was so inviting and soothing. I wanted to think of her innocence. I did not like to think of those campus boys and their capabilities. I just wanted to think of Yemisi as mine, untouched, waiting for me.

“Waiting for you for wetin? Na you God create her for? Slam’s voice in my head interrupted again.

“Yes, na me! I shouted. “Slam! Leave me, I beg! Make I think!”

“Think well o! But remember that no girl is innocent o!”  He fizzled out of my head again.

“Get thee behind me, Slam!” I commanded.

I was possessed by the thought of Yemisi. I was thinking of her as a future partner, my wife! I deserved her.

“Only you deserve her? Just wire her and go your way!” Slam’s voice in my head spoke again.

I pretended to ignore him.

“If her papa catch you! Your own don finish be that!” Slam said.

Mr Goke had advised me that I get into a serious relationship with a girl that would love me for who I am and not for what I will become. I don’t need to look further! Oluwayemisi knows my story, even though she was very young when I stayed briefly with their family during my secondary school days, I am no stranger to her.

 

The opportunity came on my second night at Ibadan. Uncle Goke and Madam had retired indoors for the night. Gbadebo was reading at the library as he was preparing for his senior secondary certificate examination.

“Come and sit here, Yemisi”, I said. “We need to talk”.

“Okay! She said as she left the seat close to the Television and sat on the two-seater couch I was occupying. She smelled good. The faint scent of perfume came with her. This girl was clean. Her skin was light and smooth without blemish. Her legs, tapering from the bum short she wore were straight and fresh like vanilla ice cream. My heartbeat was racing as she sat by my side and focused on the Television. She did not look me in the eyes. I really felt like having a bottle of Gulder at that moment, but I have never drank alcohol in their house. Even when uncle Goke bought beer for me, we were seated outside the house discussing behind the shop.

I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly so that she would not know that uncle BJ was a Jew man.

“How old are you now?” I asked.

“You have asked me that before, and I said eighteen plus!” She said still watching the TV.

“Have I? I am so sorry. In other words, you are not a baby!” I said.

“I am not a baby”, she said, still focusing on the TV.

“I want to ask you some questions. I hope you will not be offended?” I asked.

“I don’t know o! I hope there is no problem?” She asked, looking at me and removing her face to focus on the TV.

“There is problem o!” I said

“What happened? Did I do something wrong?” She asked

“You are doing many things to me, my dear!” I said.

“Ha! Uncle BJ! What have I been doing to you that is wrong?”

“You have been scattering my head since I came around two days ago! I can’t concentrate! I talk and argue with myself like a mad man! I have not been able to take my mind off the thought of you! I think I am in love with you already!” I said.

“Ha! Uncle BJ!” She exclaimed

“What?”

“You are like a big brother to me! She said.

But I am not your brother, and you know that!” I said. “Do you have a boyfriend at school or at any other place?”

“No o!” She said shyly.

“Are you sure?” I asked.

“I don’t have the time for that yet!” She said.

“And why is that?” I asked. “You are a very pretty girl. Does it mean you don’t have toasters?”

“Of course, I have toasters daily, but I am not ready for another relationship now”, she said.

“What happened to your previous relationship?” I asked.

“Hmm, it’s a long story, we were secondary school friends, he was a sickle cell anaemia patient, and he is dead!” She said.

“Oh no! I am so sorry”, I said. I heaved a sigh of relieve and a silent prayer of gratitude. “How long was this?”

“After our SSCE. Over two years ago”.

“Do you miss him?” I asked.

“Yes, sometimes! He was a very good boy, he deflowered me”!

The laughter of Slam started to echo in my head; hahahahahahah! See your innocent girl o!

I shook my head vigorously to send Slam away.

“I love you!” I said. “I don’t care whether he deflowered you or not! I am not a saint myself. I am glad there is no one in your life now, I would have committed suicide if you had told me you love someone else but me!”

“I don’t love anyone o!”

“Except me, abi?” I teased.

“You?”

“Yes me!” I said.

“I don’t know o! But I love and respect you like a big brother!” She said.

“Thank you! But don’t love me like a brother anymore! Love me like your boyfriend! Like your husband to be!” I said.

“Ha! Uncle BJ!” She exclaimed meeting my gaze with surprise.

“Kilode?” I asked.

“Husband to be? Like my boyfriend?” She asked.

“Yes! I said. We are not strangers to each other, and I will wait for you until you are through with your studies. I just want you to promise me that you will be there for me!”

She was silent.

“You are not saying anything”.

“I don’t know what to say nah! I am confused”, she said. “How can I bring myself to be calling you by your first name without putting the word Uncle or brother?”

“Forget uncle, abeg! I am not your uncle! Your uncle is the village! Forget brother. Your brother is reading in the Library!” I said. “Call me BJ like all my friends do!”

She laughed. “My Parents would skin me alive”.

“Don’t worry, when the time comes, they will support us!” I said.

“My mother loves you. She will be happy about this if I tell her. But for my father, I cannot tell”.

“Leave your father! Your mother will get him for us! So, am I getting a yes?” I asked.

“Yes!” She laughed.

“Wow!” I suppressed my scream by jumping around the sitting room. I pulled her up and hugged her quickly and left her before an intruder bumped in on us.

“I love you! I love you!” I was saying.

“I love you too”, she said shyly.

 

I could not sleep that night, I waited for Slam to talk into my head, but he did not come. ‘Satan, shame unto you!’ I said to him. The next morning, after Uncle Goke had gone to work, mummy had gone out, and Gbadebo had gone to school, Yemisi and I were left indoors, playing and talking. She could not bring herself to call me Bolaji, and I forbade her from calling me, Uncle. I believed she would find a name for me in due course.

I left Ibadan two days after. I gave my new-found love all the gifts I had bought for Katty and Tessy- Perfumes, wristwatches, handbags and T-shirts. I would buy their gifts when I get to Onitsha. I gave Yemisi some cash, but she refused it. I asked her how she will conceal the gift items from her parents. She said she would tell her mother what transpired between us once I was safely on my way to the east. I did not know what to say but to hope for the best.

As she came into my room to help carry my travelling bag to her mother’s car, I quickly closed the door and pulled her close. The scent of her perfume charged my senses as I planted my mouth on her luscious lips, she responded. She held my head. I almost cried.

The Abandoned Child new cover

Posted in Prose, Stories

The Abandoned Child

CHAPTER 20

 

I came alive with this throbbing piercing pain on my shoulders, I cried out and opened my eyes. Everywhere was blurry at first, and then I could see light. I sneezed severally before I noticed the person standing by my bed. Even sneezing was painful.

“Sorry. Relax! Relax!” He said as he touched my body and checked my vital signs. He opened my eyelids and pointed some luminous instrument into my eyes, and he felt for my pulse as some other person joined him.

“Is he back?”

“Yes! He pulled through!”

“Wow! Thank God o! After five months in coma!”

“God still has use of him”

“God or Satan?”

“Well, it is God that gives life!”

“Let’s hope he will change for good”

“We don’t know him yet!”

“What else do you need to know other than he must be an escaped criminal? A fugitive! Let us call the Police now that he is conscious!”

“The Police? Have you forgotten this is a naval base? ”

“Ehen? Is it not the police’s job to handle such matters?”

“Then, it is not your responsibility to call the police! The Commandant is interested in this matter! The United nation’s attaché that brought him here is interested in him also so please hold your peace!”

“No, please! No police!” I interrupted their discussion. “The Police will kill me!”

“Why?” One of them asked.

“They did this to me!” I wailed.

“What? The Police did this to you?”

“Yes!” I managed to say before I fell into another long sleep.

I spent a total of six months at Owerrinta naval training school hospital. The Naval patrol had picked my body up from the popular “Boro Pit” along Aba-Port Harcourt express road. Some scavengers picking items for recycling from the refuse dump had seen that I was still breathing, and then they alerted the patrol that happened to drive by at that time. It was about 3.00AM. The Navy had put me in their van and taken me to the emergency ward of their hospital. They said I was naked and battered like a thief who escaped being mauled by a group of frantic and angry community youths. There was a bullet wound on my stomach.

The police that arrested me had driven my body all the way from Owerri to Aba and dumped into the Boro pit to rot,

I told the commandant of the base the story of my life, from my birth to my death, and then he told me my story from my death to my resurrection.

He said I was taken to the ICU immediately they brought me to the hospital that morning around 3.40AM. My intestine was popping out from my stomach, and I was a complete mess. No normal hospital would have accepted to treat me but for a military facility or a teaching hospital. They had cleaned and patched me up. My joints were broken, and my shoulders pulled from the sockets with torn ligaments, my penis was like a ball of grape, it was swollen and scorched. My buttocks and thighs were swollen with deep razor blade cuts and scorched with an electric iron. My back and stomach were not spared of the same treatment. I was better left for dead! There were sores all over my body, and they cleaned me up every day, I was put on oxygen life support when I developed a fever and became very ill while I was still unconscious in the bed.

Commodore Aboderin told me that I was actually saved by a UN attaché, who was working with the Patrol team that night. The attaché was in Nigeria, Aba to be precise, to monitor the activities of the Bakassi boys at curbing crime in Abia State. It was the foreigner that insisted that I was brought to the naval hospital for treatment even though the naval officers in the van had told her that I was a criminal caught and tried by the Bakassi Boys. She had told them that my case was not similar to the way Bakassi Boys treated thieves. The Bakassi boys would tie up the thief, cut him or her into pieces, and then burn off the body. She said that I was a victim of jungle justice.

The commandant said I was very fortunate because many people have died innocently in the hands of some unscrupulous members of the Nigerian Police.

I poured out my concerns to the commandant. What would have happened to me if the Scavengers had not discovered my body that morning? What if it had rained heavily that night while I was lying in refuse dump dying? What if the pigs and dogs that roam at the refuse dump had gotten there before the scavengers? With my intestines popping out of my stomach? What if the Vultures had gotten to my body first? It was even possible for head hunters for ritual purposes or any of their suppliers to have gotten to the dump that morning and found my body. It was by the mercies of God that I had come out of the police brutality alive.

I could not really place how everything happened because it happened so fast simultaneously. I was not given a chance to defend myself; the police station was a torture zone for the fact that they have such a room at the station that was soundproof. The Police Officers had tortured to kill me, and they eventually shot me in the stomach and disposed of my body. In my presence, I saw the dangling body of another of their victim tortured to death. They would also dispose of such body! Does it mean no one ask them questions? My case was peculiar because no one would have asked for me. Mr Adegoke would be waiting forever to hear from me, and if he did not hear from me after several years, he would assume I have abandoned him to be on my own. My Yemisi would assume that was the way of men and their sweet talk. I would simply have disappeared just as many others must have been made to disappear by the police. This was jungle justice.

It was the third quarter of 1987; I was twenty-eight years old, and my mates were already into the NYSC programme. This was not the situation I had expected to find myself in life. I knew my call up letter must have gone back to Abuja. My friends and well-wishers would have expected to know where I was posted to for the service year. My so-called friends at the hotel had betrayed me. I was not given a fair hearing as their minds had been poisoned against me even before I returned from home.

Oga Dan had gone to call the Police when he excused himself for five minutes during our discussion in his office. Oga Dan could have told me that I was wanted by the police so that I could run away or find a way to go and explain myself at the station. I would have called Mr. Goke via any of the NITEL payphone centres springing up in the country and explain the situation of things to him. He would have advised me or come down to follow me to the station. I just kept ranting and repeating myself until the commander asked me a simple question.

“Would you like to join the military?” He asked.

I was surprised because I was not talking in that direction. I was tongue-tied at first.

“Would you?” He asked again

“Sir! I am a graduate of Electrical and electronics engineering. I would love to practice my profession, sir! I have never in my life thought of the military as a career!”

“I am also a mechanical engineering graduate of the University of Ife, and I am practising my profession in the Navy! In fact, there is no better place to practice your profession than the military. Be you a Doctor, a Lawyer, a musician, a tailor or bricklayer. There is a place for everyone in the military. We do our things ourselves here by using our professionals”.

“Sir! I heard it is a very tough and rigorous process to join the military”, I asked.

“You have been through tougher experience lately! Look! I like you and would love to help you; the present GOC of the 82nd Division is a very good friend and colleague of mine. He has given me one slot to present a candidate on his behalf at the next Officer Cadet short service commission next month”.

“Ha! Sir, I am yet to go for my youth service! Won’t the certificate be necessary?” I asked

“By then, you will be serving as a Soldier and will apply for an exception from the NYSC”, he said.

“Ha! Sir, I don’t know how to thank you o!” I got up and prostrated before him. “God will bless you, sir! May your children meet with divine favour where ever they may be sir!”

“Amen! Stand up please!” He said.

“I don’t know what next to do sir, but one thing for certain is that I need to go to the hotel and retrieve my belongings then I need to go to school for my clearance and my result. I will also need to rent a temporal apartment as I sort myself together! I need some time to think about my new life! The twist in my life is so sudden that I still feel like I am in a dream world”.

“No problem, Bolaji. Take everything step by step. You can use a room at my BQ while you tie up loose ends in your life. I have no doubt about your integrity because from all the information our intelligence unit gathered about you, you have been set up!”

“Oh! You investigated me?” I asked

“We are not stupid! We are the navy!” He said

“Wow! Did you find out about the girls in my life?” I asked shyly.

“Chioma, Katherine, and Theresa? Even the Amara that is dying for you!” he said

“Ha! Jesu Christi o! You people have exposed me o!”

“We think Chioma set you up! Her boyfriend or do I say the former boyfriend was killed along with your friend DJ Slam. It is complicated sha! But we are still working on certain links and the less you know the better. I am offering to help you as an act of service to God and man! If a foreigner could help to save your life as a black man, then I should do more for you as a black brother and fellow Yoruba. I will assign one of my boys to follow you to the hospital for a check-up, then he will drive you to Owerri, he will be with you until you go to NDA next month”.

I prostrated again. “Ese pupo! Sir! Thank you so much, sir!”

 

The hotel was quiet when we got there at 10:00 AM, I had been wearing the same clothes for over a week, and I don’t even know who bought the dress for me. I needed access to my clothes. The Orderly assigned to me parked the Toyota Avensis 2.2 at the parking lot, and together we went upstairs to Oga Dan’s office. The Orderly kicked the door with his boot as I was about knocking and the door flung inwards startling Oga Dan and the lady sitting on his laps with her breast over his face. It was Chioma sitting on Oga Dan’s laps with her blouse unbuttoned. She jumped out of her skin as she saw me.

“Ghost o! Ghost o! You are dead! You are dead!” She screamed, pointing at me and cowering beside the refrigerator in the office

“How can? Oga Dan asked. “But you were dead! I saw the picture of your battered corpse!”

“Is that why you are putting on my clothes?” I asked. “You are wearing a dead man’s clothes!”

He hurriedly pulled off everything he wore save for his boxers.

“Please take your clothes if it is what you have come for! I have no hand in your death!” He said, throwing my clothes towards me.

“Put my clothes in my bag and give me the keys to where ever you kept my belongings, I have come to pack my things!”

“Em em, your things are no longer in the hotel! We shared everything amongst ourselves when the police said you were dead!”

“What? The Orderly shouted. “You mean that you people shared his property without his family’s consent? Is that what he wrote in his will?”

“No sir!” Oga Dan said. “But please is this man dead or not?”

“I am not dead, Oga Dan! Your plans failed! God came to my rescue for I am more than a conqueror!”

I didn’t even believe I could use that biblical phrase, though it suited the situation at hand. It was at this point that Chioma came under the attack of an epileptic seizure; she started to shake and contort as she fell to the ground.

“Help me! Help me help her!” Oga Dan shouted.

“Leave her! I said. “Just get a metal spoon and put between her teeth then hold her in position until she calms down”.

“Is that all? Will that do?” Oga Dan asked nervously as he got a spoon from inside the refrigerator and forced it between Chioma’s clenched teeth. He held onto her as she convulsed for fifteen minutes before she was relieved.

By this time, some of the staff of the hotel had come into the office. Oga Dan was half-naked wearing only his boxers while Chioma was in his arms with her blouse opened, exposing her breast. I looked up at the cabinet in Oga Dan’s office and saw my travelling bag there, the one I returned from home with on the day of my arrest. I brought it down. My documents were intact.

Chioma got hold of herself and started to dress up shamefully.

“Oga Dan and Chioma!” I called.” How on earth did the two of you start to date each other? My two good friends! I can’t understand!”

“It is Chioma o! BJ, believe me it was Chioma that told me that you were a cultist and was involved in the death of DJ Slam. She also testified to the Police that you were on the run. Even when you died, it was Chioma that that told me that you have no relations that would come for your property; that was why I shared it”, Oga Dan confessed.

“Chioma! Is it true?” I asked. “Am I a cultist? Did Slam himself not tell you that I was a Jew man? What did I do to you to set me up even unto my death? And now you are sleeping with my boss? Chioma!”

“You were sleeping with my friends!” She snapped.

“Oh! Is that it? The truth is that all of you are the same! You and your friends are a rotten lot! Your friends came after me when you left me because I refused to buy the car for you! I begged you severally to no avail so you have no right to be jealous that I was sleeping with your friends! So, is that why you set me up? To the extent that I was killed by the police and it does not bother you? Let me show you something”.

I unbuttoned my shirt and pulled off my singlet, everyone in the office screamed. I pulled off my shoes and pulled down my trousers then I pulled my boxers up to reveal the scars on my thighs.

This is what the police did to me! I turned around for everyone to see. Someone pushed her way to the front of the small crowd in the office. It was Amara. She screamed when she saw me, she closed her mouth with her hands when she saw my battered body and sank to the floor.

I continued. “I was arrested for no just cause! I was cuffed and hung from the ceiling naked. I was flogged continuously for one hour! I was burnt all over with pressing iron! My ankles and my knees were dislocated with a hammer! I was slashed with razor blades, and the wounds stashed with red hot paper for no just cause! They used pliers to break the small bones on my feet. I cried, I screamed!  I begged, but no help came! My shoulder was pulled from my body! Then I was shot in the stomach! My intestines came out! Then I was carried all the way to Boro pit in Aba to die!”

“Who did this to you? Who did this to you, BJ? Amara rose and came over to me, crying.
“They said you were dead! They said you were a cultist! They said you killed Slam, but I did not believe them! I did not know where to find you, but I did not believe them! Then, I heard you were arrested and have been killed too! I was confused! Oh my God so you are alive! Who did you offend?” She wailed.

“Your brother and his girlfriend set me up, Amara!”

“What?” She was shocked. “My brother? And his girlfriend? Which of his girlfriends?”

“Look at them standing together!” I said.

“What? This girl? Your former girlfriend?”

“Yes!” I said

“How? Brother why?” Amara asked

“It is the girl that deceived me, Amara! She had a hidden agenda and scores to settle with BJ. So, she used me!”

“And at your age you allowed this common prostitute to use you? I have not liked this girl from day one! I knew she was dangerous, but I could not tell you, BJ. I told Slam, but I could not tell you!” Amara said.

“DJ Slam told me! In fact, he told me everything you wanted to tell me, but I was a fool not to be able to read between the lines”.

“Ha! Human beings are wicked o!” Amara faced her brother and Chioma. “Look at somebody’s child! Look! Look! What you people did to him! Look at scars on a human being’s body? Can these scars ever wipe off for life? Look at the bullet wound on his stomach! And you people have the temerity to sleep with each other after killing him? God! Human beings! And brother, why are you naked? What is wrong with you?”

“He was wearing my clothes!” I said. “Everything he wore was mine except for the boxers. He thought I was a ghost when I entered his office, so he pulled off my clothes as if it was what I had come back for!”

“Nonsense!” Amara exclaimed as she packed the clothes her brother pulled and put them back in my bag. “Put on your clothes BJ and let’s get out of here! God will judge these people! Let’s leave them for God!”

“Leave who for God? The Orderly who has been quiet all the while shouted. Oya two of you, forward March to the base! When we reach base, then una go sabi the difference between the Police and the navy!

 

 

The Abandoned Child new cover

Posted in Prose, Stories

The Abandoned Child: Chapter 17

The Abandoned Child new cover

CHAPTER 17

 

I took a short vacation and travelled west. It was an impromptu decision I took after reading the last letter from Uncle Goke. I felt homesick. I was done with every academic activity except for my clearance that would be done before the NYSC programme. The only people I told about my journey were Oga Dan and the Manager of Vita Logistics. DJ Slam was away on political rally; he mobilised bodyguards for some politicians and had to be on ground to keep his dogs under tight leashes.

My first point of call was at Mr Goke’s house at Ibadan, a four-bedroom bungalow with a two-room boys quarters at Apata area of the city. He lectured at the sociology department of the University of Ibadan. He also owned two hectares of land along old Ife road where he farms. He went there on public holidays and weekends.

He was visibly surprised at the transformation he saw in me. I had grown taller and muscular compared to how I was five years before.

His first child, Oluwayemisi, had gained admission into the University of Ife and was away at school when I came. The son was in final year in secondary school, and the wife runs a Grocery shop built at the front of his house.

When I got there, I helped out the little way I could. I was with Madam at her shop after all morning chores, and Mr Goke had gone to work and the son to school. Madam left the shop at mid-day to the popular Dugbe market to replenish her stock. I was with the two paid sales girls she employed at the shop. Customers were trooping in and out of the shop from morning till evening. It was more hectic in the evening because the house was strategically located at a junction of three streets and as such returnees from work made their last-minute purchases at the shop before getting to their homes after the days’ activities.

Mr Goke had three cars in his compound- the Mitsubishi L200 Van used by the wife for her business, a Toyota RAV 4 used privately by the wife and a Toyota Camry 2. 2 used by him. I was proud of him as he had steadily climbed up the success ladder over the years. In fact, he had even developed a budding pot belly. He neither drank alcohol nor smoked but he entertained me with my Ultimate Lager when I came around. His wife sold chilled beverages in her shop.

I got to his house on a Thursday evening; I rested on Friday though I helped out at Madam’s shop then on Saturday we went to the farm with his son, Gbadebo. When we got to the farm, we changed into farm clothes. I wore an old cloth of his though it was undersized. It suited the purpose; we went plucking ripe maize and cutting down the stem of the plant. We later went to the Wife’s Garden and plucked ripe Okra, pepper, and vegetables. The harvest was reasonably large because the back of the Mitsubishi Van we went with was full.

After working for three hours, we settled down and roasted some fresh maize. We made a big fire and threw the maize in it without peeling off the husk. The fire cooked and roasted the maize, and then we peeled off the burnt husk, revealing well-cooked and delicious fresh maize grain. I ate six ears of maize and I was full. We drank from the chilled water bottle we brought from home before proceeding on the second round of work which was tidying up the farm and the area we cooked. We gathered all the maize stems that we cut down and the husks of the maize we ate and kept them on a plain ground to dry up for burning by the next visit to the farm. This would allow enough air into the farmland for other crops to thrive.

We got back home around 4:00 PM and went to offload our harvest at Madam’s shop. She immediately displayed the maize and vegetables in smaller portions on a table outside her shop. She sold off everything before retiring into the house at 8:00 PM. People returning home from work in the evening bought off the fresh farm produce. Madam shared the proceeds of the sale into two and gave her husband a portion. That is how they live their lives; there was mutual love and understanding. Uncle Goke then gave Gbadebo his pocket money out of the money. He offered me some money, but I declined. He was feeding me free of charge already. I owe this man my status today.

I left for Ijan, Ekiti on Saturday morning to return to Ibadan in four days before going back to the east.

My house was as I had left it. I had to break the padlock because I had lost the key. I got there at 9:00 AM and started to clean up until the afternoon. There were dust and thick cobwebs all over the place. I opened all doors and windows as I cleaned

Villagers came around when they noticed that someone was in the house. Everyone that saw me screamed out their surprise at how much I have grown over the years. My physical features had changed, save for my face. I left as a boy and returned as a man.

On Monday morning I went to my land. The two plots given to me by the community some years back. It has been left uncared for all this while and had been overgrown by trees and weed. I decided to keep myself busy while at home by clearing the land and fencing it.

I went around my home town. Some of the old butchers were still alive and selling. I saw some urchins on standby waiting for the butchers to throw something away. I greeted the butchers; they were happy to see me. The old women that sold vegetables and fruits remembered me and prayed for me as I gave them some money.

I went to greet Modupe’s Landlord “Baba Landlord”, who happened to be my namesake. Another tenant had taken over Modupe’s house. He was very surprised by my transformation. He asked if I ever ran into any member of Modupe’s family. I said no. He sent some fresh curses to them where ever they were, and I said, “Amen”.

Akin, Modupe’s boyfriend years back came to my house the next day Tuesday. I was at my plot of land working in the company of Tunde, a young Lad that was born just before I left for secondary school years back. He was the grandson of Baba landlord and had taken an immediate liking to me. He saw me going out of my house with my cutlass in the morning and had run to pick up his own cutlass to join me; he thought I was going to farm. He was named Babatunde then because he was born a day after his father died. The pregnant mother had cardiac arrest during her labour due to high blood pressure which had led to the caesarean section that produced him. He had been with his grandfather since then. He did not suck his mother’s breast. Baba Landlord has three daughters while in active service. His wife had died of cancer several years back, and he lost his first daughter who gave birth to Tunde. The other two daughters were in their husbands’ houses.

Things were not too rosy for Akin. His influential father had died six years back, and his wealth shared amongst relatives. Akin did not get much. He had graduated about three years back but was yet to get a job. None of his father’s acquaintances could help him. He had believed so much that his father’s connections would pave the way for him. He was disappointed in the city, so he had come back home to farm. And since he could not farm alone, he had put a young girl in the family way; at least, life must go on! He had said.

He apologised to me for taking sides with Modupe years back when we had a quarrel. He said Modupe and her family had relocated to Lagos with my money. Modupe gained admission into the University of Lagos to study secretariat studies while the mother shuttled between Nigeria and Dubai for business. He said they lived in Amuwo Odofin estate. He could not continue his relationship with Dupe after the death of his father because he was short of cash and could not continue to service the extravagant lifestyle he was living with Dupe. He was ashamed of himself as Modupe was then a Lagos girl with high taste and expectations.

He went to my house to get a cutlass, and together, the three of us worked on my land until the evening. We retired to my house and took our baths. I sent Tunde to buy a gallon of palm wine from “Baba Elemu”, the wine Taper. We sat outside the house on the terrace drinking and gisting, and before long there were about ten youths drinking and gisting. Baba Landlord joined us later with an additional gallon of freshly tapped wine.

Akin reminded the small forum to stop referring to me as Bolaji but Engineer. He told them it was not a small feat to achieve while Baba landlord went into a storytelling session about the white man’s technology called engineering. He held the listeners spellbound with lies that sounded like facts to my hearing.

Baba landlord was a police officer that had worked in several Cities before retiring in Lagos as a superintendent. He built his houses while still in service, and till date, his detractors said he built the houses out of bribe money called “egunje

Every time he told a lie that surprised the small audience, and they exclaimed their disbelief, he told them to confirm from me. I simply said “beeni” it is so! Everyone was high on palm wine and would not remember the discussion by the next day. Akin was just enjoying himself laughing at their gullibility.

By Friday, the two plots of land were cleared. My friends that came to drink at my house all turned up with their Machetes the next morning, and we descended on the land, cutting down and uprooting trees. Of course, at night we drank ourselves into the night again, and this time, there was bush meat and some village girls too to spice up the forum. Three girls joined us from nowhere. These were girls that have had at least two kids in their father’s house and were ready to go home with any man as long as you could buy them drink and food and give them a little change to fend for their Kids.

I called a bricklayer to build a fence around the two plots of land while I contracted a local welder to build a gate for me. He was happy to charge me half of the amount I had expected to be charged for the job.

There were no more innocent girls in the village. All the little girls I left in the village had become baby mamas to some elusive boys. They roamed the village with their babies strapped to their backs while their boyfriends eke out their living by riding commercial motorcycles in Ado Ekiti, the capital City. Their only hope was to be married eventually to a widower or to be the second wife to a local rich farmer. It was sad to see how low our girls had degenerated.

They were shy to come to my house for fear of being ridiculed by the elderly, especially Baba Landlord, who has made my veranda his resting place in the afternoon, drinking palm wine until evening.

The new house built for me after the Alabi’s gang incident had an extended terrace where one could sit and relax while watching passers-by as they go to or return from their farms or market. It was a four-bedroom bungalow built with modern architecture and the first of its kind in my village. The floors of all the rooms were tiled wall to wall; the walls of the kitchen and the convenience rooms were all tiled. A well was also dug at the back of the house during the construction of the house. I bought a pumping machine and mounted a GP tank so that I could have access to water in my house as the plumbing job was properly done by the builders. I also bought some electronic gadgets and a medium-sized power generator to augment the inherent epileptic power supply. So, my house was always full whenever there was a power outage while an important programme was being telecast on TV, especially football matches.

My villagers were poor people, as we were basically peasant farmers. Money was very scarce, and on seeing the way and manner in which I was living in the village, they thought I was a rich man. Apart from those very close to me, none knew much about my life achievement and what I had been through in life. They saw the young boy that was given money by community and government years ago, a young boy that was given scholarship to university level and a good job waiting for him. So, they came to me with varied problems.

Some widows would come to my house very early in the morning to beg for money to feed or pay their children’s school fees. Some young baby mamas would stalk me till I was alone or when I am with Tunde alone. Then, they would fall on their knees, begging for assistance to start a business that could help them carter for their children’s needs. Many of the baby mamas had learnt one trade or the other but needed money to buy sewing machines, weaving machines, hair drier; the list was endless. I was helping everyone that came to me for help, and the news went viral throughout the Village and neighbouring communities that a philanthropist has arrived.

It was Baba landlord that spoke some senses to me.

“My son!” He had said while we were seated outside my house drinking palm wine mixed with legend extra stout. “A fool and his money are soon parted!”

“Meaning what, sir?” I asked.

“Our people are not good! They will milk you dry! In the end, when you are broke, they will say “we wonder what the fool did with his money”! It is good to help people; it is very, very good! But you must help yourself first! Not all of these people that come to you for help actually need help! Some are pathologically lazy and have refused to help themselves because they leach on people like you!”

“Have you started working?”

“No, sir!” I replied

“Then why are you spending money on people like you are working and your salary is in seven digits? And from my findings, you have not even gone for your NYSC programme!”

“Yes, I have not gone, sir!” I replied

You worked hard to train yourself in school. You disciplined yourself to save up some money! Not so?”

“That is correct, sir!”

“How many of these villagers that you are dashing out your money to would do what you are doing, having gone through what you have been through in life? Our people say that “it is the oily fingers that people will lick with you! Not the bloodied one” when you were toiling, no one was there! That is why you see that I buy my palm wine while coming to sit down here with you! I hate parasitic human beings! They will ruin you! For your information, my finding is that most of these villagers did not even know that you lost everything to Modupe and her mother; they did not know that you lost the scholarship due to the bank collapse years back! When they come to you, they come with the mindset of reaping from what the government has planted in one of theirs! They say it is government money! Our money!”

“Jesu Christi o!” I shouted. I was shocked.

“Look! I am a pensioner in this village, but nobody can come to me for any yeye help because we know ourselves. How can you come to me for money when I know you have a well-to-do son in Lagos or in Port Harcourt? How can you come to me when I had seen you and warned you to stop frolicking with a never-do-well boy that keeps pressing your breast under the orange tree every night until he impregnated you and left the village to ride Okada in Ado Ekiti? I know something about everyone in this village. That does not mean I do not help o! I do! I help those hospitalised that needs genuine financial assistance. I help those in need and not those in want!”

“Ha! Baba, I am short of words”, I said.

“Don’t worry, my son!” He said. “Just be cautious and learn to sometimes say no!”

My money was, indeed running low. It was time to leave the village. I had planned spending a week in the village, but I ended up spending two months. Village life was very exciting especially when you have some money in your pocket.

I gave Akin some money to start a small business. He wanted to go into trading cocoa. I reminded him to be careful not to end up like the legendary Alabi. I gave Baba Landlord some money too, but he refused until I told him it was for Tunde’s education and upkeep. He collected it and prayed for me. He said he felt he owe me something. He said he had gone to Lagos severally to help track down my mother to no avail before he gave up hope. He asked if she ever contacted me. I said I never met her and if I do I would not have known. He said there are things he needed to tell me about her, but I told him I was not interested, I told him to take care of Tunde. I had agreed with him that Tunde will move in with me immediately I settle down. That was when he told me that “a man can never fully settle down until the day he dies”!

 

Posted in Prose, Stories

The Abandoned Child : Chapter 16

The Abandoned Child new cover

CHAPTER 16

 

Final semester in FUTO, I was on my project writing which involved a lot of researches. I had to visit several libraries and nearby higher institutions to get materials for my project. I choose a fresh topic for my project, and as such I have a lot of inputs to make.

The strain in my relationship with Chioma deepened and after several visits to make her see reasons proved abortive, I had to focus more on other things. Moreover, Katty and Tessy were taking her space. She said I was uncaring and selfish; she accused me of being stingy and lots more.

Well, my relationship with Tessy started on one of the days I went to plead with her. She was not at home, but Tessy attended to me. I explained my position on our issue to Tessy, and she saw reasons with me. She said I should move on with my life and get another girl that would be more appreciative and understanding, a girl that could give me double of the attention and care Chioma was giving me, a girl that does not want my money, a girl like her!

I was not surprised. DJ Slam had prophesied it. She slept in my room that night, and it was one hell of a night!

The next morning was a Saturday, and we were cleaning the hotel premises when I gave Slam the gist of who slept my room the previous night. He laughed and jumped about, and then he came and gave me a handshake and said, “Welcome to Owerri” the “O” town! Na now you dey do like a guy! Just dey wire dem de go! BJ, the bad guy! Now, na Amara remain o! You got to wire Amara so that the equations go complete!”

“Which yeye equation be that?” I asked.

“Omo, my Man!” He saw Emeka walking by, and he called him. “Mekus “lekwa”! Omo Yoruba a bukwa a very bad nigga! You are here selling beer while Omo is here eating all the meat!” He laughed hysterically and hugged me. I grunted.

Nna, men! You have made me proud today omo.”

“Ogini k’a, Omo mere? What did he do?” Emeka asked.

“Look at you! So you want to know? Jew man! Common get away from here! Go and bring your sister so Omo can show you what he did!” He rebuked Emeka.

“DJ Slam, please stop insulting me! You were the one that called my attention to your gist!” Emeka said.

“Who is insulting you? Have you been drinking soured beer so early in the day? Or don’t you know your mates again? Common si ebe a puta kita! Get out from here! Small boy! I invited you to a senior joke, and you are already feeling like a senior boy!”

“Is that why you said I should give him my sister?” Emeka countered

“Oh! Is that your problem? Okay, don’t give him your sister! Give him your mother!” DJ Slam said.

“Chineke mee! Mma m? My mother? DJ, Mmam? I will report you to manager today! Emeka ran off, crying towards Oga Dan’s room upstairs. He did not know that Oga Dan had travelled to Enugu the previous evening.

“Look at him, whining like a baby!” Slam said after him. “Small boy!”

He was so happy, and I could not help feeling like I did something heroic though I don’t revel in such things.

I defended my project on the 17th of October 1986. I was twenty-seven. It was a memorable day. As I came out of the project defence hall to the open field where students were gathered rejoicing, I was immediately picked up by my friends. I was raised up high and carried to the centre of the field, where DJ Slam was waiting with his instrument in his car boot blaring aloud. I was stripped to my boxers alone and bathed with wine, water, and beer. Some guys pulled off their belts and whipped me. It was the ritual and was fun. Every other student that defended their project joined the party as they came out of the hall.

Amara was around to congratulate me. Katty left her school to FUTO to rejoice with me. Chioma was invited by Slam, but she did not turn up. She was the one that told her friends, and Katty alone came.

We moved the party from the school arena only to join another party being arranged in my honour by Oga Dan and the management of Vita Logistics and Construction Company. It was crazy; I was bathed over and over with alcohol. There was enough to eat and drink. I woke up the next morning in DJ Slams’ bed with Katty and Tessy by my side. We were stark unclad. Till date, I cannot remember how that happened, but one thing I know for sure was that it was one hell of a night.

Two weeks after my project defence, I was summoned by the school’s senate board to defend my result. I got a cumulative average of 4.68- First class. It was not difficult defending my result because I worked hard for it. I demonstrated complete theoretical and practical competence expected of an electrical engineering graduate, and I impressed all the academic professors and Doctors on the board. I was adjudged the overall best graduating student, and I set a new record in the department of electrical electronics engineering. I left the office walking in the air.

I wrote a letter to my mentor and gave him an update of happenings in my life. I continued working at the hotel as an all-rounder. By this time, my proficiency in Igbo language had improved tremendously. Katty and Tessy were still friends, and they shared my bed individually. I still wondered what they did to me on my project defence night. Chioma had finally abandoned me because I refused to part with a huge sum of money and buy her a car.

Amara, on the other hand, was still crazy over me. I do not love her. Even Tessy and Katty were mere bed mates with a mutual understanding of the limits of our relationship. My hand was full already, and I was not ready to add Amara to the mix. This was the scenario I painted to DJ Slam inside his cubicle on a certain night while he was entertaining our guests at the Bush Bar.

“Why you no just wire Amara so that her body go calm down?” He asked

“Haba! Slam!” I protested. “Why your own no dey pass to wire? You mean I should take advantage of the girl’s love for me?” I asked

“Who tell you say she love you? He asked. “Ever heard of the word infatuation? She just wants to wire you! So, wire her!”

“How you take sabi say na wire she wan wire me?” I asked.

“Listen, BJ! She knows you and Chioma have issues now and she is not happy that Chioma’s friends are closing in on you. It would have been her opportunity to get you! Look! Don’t be a Jew! Wire her! You don’t even need to toast her. Just grab her hand and say; Amara follow me! And you will see how she will follow you like mumu to your room! The girl dey melt for you my guy!”

“Slam, abeg, my hand don full already! I no want any more girls! I said

“Stupid Jew man! So all these your muscle and six-packs na for fashion! I beg, come wear headphone biko make I go ease myself!” He handed the headphone to me and left the cubicle while I took over the wheel of steel mixing sounds to the people’s delight.

Luckily, I got another letter from Mr Goke, and that helped me to retrace my steps. He wrote in his letter that I have graduated with the prospect of a good job at sight. He said I should not rest on my oars. He wrote that I should not forget where I came from. He reminded me of my home town, of my mother whom I do not know, of my house in the village and of the need for a serious relationship with a responsible girl, who would love me for who I am and not for what I would become. He reminded me of Modupe and her mother. His letter took me back through memory lane as I reflected back on my secondary school days when Modupe made school unbearable for me.

I remembered my dog, Pharaoh that was beheaded in his sleep. What a way to die! I reflected on the adventures I had with Pharaoh as a partner, how we had scavenged, how we hunted together and slept on the same mat back then. I remember the house on the hilltop, Alabi and his family, and the encounter with Baba Oloro. I remembered my village in the suburb of Ekiti land.

So many years had passed. I left the village a seventeen-year-old lad, and now I am twenty-seven. A full-grown man with prospects. I could now fluently speak English and Igbo languages and I am an Engineer. I really have weathered the storm and all thanks to my mentor that brought out the best in me by didactic words of encouragement! He challenged me years back! He dared me to change my life situation and make a name for myself. I smiled as I imagined that I, Bolaji will now be referred to as Engineer Bolaji. I went through school and of course school went through me. It felt good, but I felt a vacuum still needed to be filled in my life. My mother was still aloof. I never knew my father or his background. Am I biologically Yoruba? Where is the man that impregnated my mother from? How absurd it would be if I finally find out that I am not a Yoruba boy? There are some tribes I never wished to come from. I could even be from one of these small neighbouring countries.

 

 

 

Posted in Prose, Stories

The Abandoned Child: Chapter 15

The Abandoned Child new cover

CHAPTER 15

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Prose, Stories

The Abandoned Child

CHAPTER 14

 

1994/95 session, I was in 400 levels at the age of 25. My grade at the end of my third year was 4.76 CGP. I went down a little in my third year, but I was fortunate to have started up as a four-pointer from inception. I wrote to my mentor. He also had become a PhD holder, bagged his doctorate, and had become a lecturer at the prestigious University of Ibadan, the premier University. My letter to him was very voluminous. In it, I updated him with all that happened in my life over the year. His reply was equally voluminous with emphasis that I do not lose focus on my academic pursuit. Once again, I resolved to stay focused. I decided to start burning the midnight candle.

Well, on St Valentine’s Day, in 1994 at the bar, I felt the first impact of the love from cupid’s arrow. I was busy working at the bar at night. It was Val’s’ night and the number of customers that thronged in was overwhelming that we had to resort to “pay before service” basis. It was work from 2PM till the dawn of 15th February.

I was giving the balance of customer’s money. He had come to the bar counter to buy drinks. My eyes beheld her as she entered the bar. She stood at the door and looked around as if she was looking for someone. Something hit my heart, and it stopped beating for some seconds. “Jeez!” Was the word that came out of my mouth. The man I was giving change looked behind and saw her too.

“Biko, give me my change, barman!” He scowled. “You never see woman before?”

I gave him his balance. I did not know how much but he grabbed it and left with his drinks.

She looked around until our eyes locked. She smiled and glided towards me, swaying gaily like she was on a run-way. Her eyes sparkled like crystals as she smiled. She is about five feet nine inches tall; neither thin nor fat. She was perfect. Her breast was full and appropriate for her frame. Her curves were perfect in her fitted black mini gown. Her stomach was flat, and she had the loveliest legs on earth. This emotional confusion had never happened to me. I was still a virgin at 25. Though I had wet dreams and woke to meet sticky discharge in my boxers, I had never had sexual intercourse in my real life.

As she stood before me smiling, something moved in front of my trousers, and I had to move closer to the bar shelf to hide my bulging crouch. I could not understand what was happening to me.

“Hi! She said

“Hello!” I replied

“Please, I am new in town. I don’t know how you guys operate here, but I need a bottle of Heineken beer and some chops”, she said

I was breathing fast and was confused. So, I pointed at a lone chair and told her to go and sit.

“There! Someone will attend to you please!” I stuttered. “No! Sorry, please. You will pay here and collect your drinks. Then, you can go there and enjoy your drink”.

The smell of her cologne was mesmerising my senses as she opened her purse to pay up.

“Keep the change,” she said.

“No!” I said as I gave her the bottle of Cold Heineken beer.

“You said no?” She asked

“Yes!” I replied.

“No! Yes! What are you saying?” She asked.

“Sorry, I mean the change! I don’t want to keep your change”, I replied.

She laughed. My heart jumped. I was fighting to keep my emotions under control

“Why!” She asked. “You don’t collect tips here?

“We collect, but I cannot collect from you!” I said.

“Why is that?” She asked.

“Are you married, did you come here with someone? Are you waiting for someone here?” I asked all three questions together.

She laughed again and my heart almost tore through my chest. She did not know what her laughter was doing to me. I did not have any line to use on her. I had never wooed any woman in my life. This is when Godstime, my classmate, would have called me a “Jew man”.

“Please, I will bring your change to you. Go and sit there before someone else takes over the seat”.

She collected her drink and swayed towards the lone seat at the far end of the bar. The bar was dimly lit but she shone as she cat-walked towards the seat, making heads turn to stare at her. She was beautiful to behold from behind. The curves, the firm round buttocks, and the fresh long legs.

Omo na wetin dey do you?” Emeka, my colleague, had asked

“Mekus! I swear I no understand wetin dey happen to me o! Woman never affect me like this before o! I don see babes tire for this hotel nah, but none dey like this one!” I explained.

“You sure say she no be hustler?” Emeka asked.

“She don marry?” I asked Emeka.

“Which kain stupid question be that? I sabi her before?” Emeka countered. “I beg attend to customers’ biko! See as your trouser don swell because of the girl”.

I cowered immediately. So, Emeka had seen it? I needed to stay away and calm down so my crouch could calm down also.

Numerous thoughts went through my mind. What could a beautiful girl like this be doing here alone? Perhaps to hook a man. I have been seeing girls come and go from the hotel, I have seen all shades of the female species but this one was unique. She was young, say between eighteen and twenty-two years. She said she was new in town, but how could someone new in town locate here of all joints in Owerri?

I opened a chilled bottle of Gulder beer and gulped straight from the bottle as I sat behind the bar shelf away from prying eyes. It helped me. The chilled drink sent charged sensations through my system, and I became calm.

I walked up to her and asked the kind of chops she would like. She requested for gizzards, and I told we had it hot and steaming. She asked for the price and I told her not to worry, I would take care of that. She laughed again and I felt that tingling sensation at my crouch again, I was in trouble.

I ran away from her and sent Emeka to take a serve of Gizzard in pepper source to hereineken beerhHkkk. I paid for the Gizzards immediately and gave Emeka her balance to give to her.

I attended to other customers while I stole regular glances at her. I saw different men approach her table and talk with her. I was always red with anger whenever anyone made her laugh.

I had seen men take single girls home every other night from this hotel, but it would kill me tonight if anyone should take this one home. Emeka saved the day.

“Omo, it’s like you like this girl”, he said

Yes Emeka! I said. “I never see her here before, but she dey make my heart beat to run faster!” I said.

“Okay, see wetin you go do ehn? Go upstairs, go change your clothes, and then go meet her. She must be a student. So, do not be afraid. Even if she be Ashawo, I never see her here before which means she no get customer for here!” Emeka encouraged me.

“I dey fear o! I never toast woman before o!” I said.

“My friend, wetin dey do you?” Emeka challenged. “You no be man? Go, abeg!”

He pushed me. I hurried out of the bar and changed into a pair of black jeans and red polo shirt. I sprayed my perfume “Tahoo for men” and quickly brushed my teeth before coming downstairs. As I approached the bar, Emeka quickly brought out a spare chair and placed it directly opposite the girl. She looked up as Emeka was beckoning at me to come and sit. She returned her gaze to her drink.

I sat down and said, “hi!”

“Hi!” She replied as she looked up into my eyes. She squinted and she looked towards the bar counter. She made a funny face as she peered into my face in the dimly lit room.

“Are you not…”

“The barman!” I completed.

“Have you closed for the day?” She asked.

“No! I am still on duty, but I need to speak with you”, I replied.

“Me?” She asked. “What for?”

“I am confused, I said.”Your presence is doing things to me that I cannot explain”.

She laughed again, displaying the most beautiful set of white teeth in the world. It was like watching Whitney Houston laugh.

“You are doing it again”, I said.

“What did I do?” She asked

“I don’t know why my beat skips whenever you laugh, and I was angry when I saw those guys coming to chat with you, and you laughed with them. Please don’t make me kill somebody. I could poison their drinks because of you”.

“Ha! Please o!” She begged.

“Can I get you another bottle of Heineken? I offered; the bill is on me!” I said.

“Hmm, it’s like you have some money to burn abi? You sent this plate of gizzard which your colleague said you have paid for and now you want to buy me another bottle of beer. I gave you a little tip, but you rejected it. Is this your own tactics for catching your babes here?” She asked.

“No!” I said. “You won’t understand, but please I asked you a question earlier

“I am not married!” She said. “I am a two hundred levels student at the Imo State University, IMSU. My hostel is close by; I just want to check this place out as I have heard a lot about it”.

“What course are you studying?” I asked.

“Mass communication”, she said.

“Hmm, that’s nice, you will be a beautiful newscaster, and so what is your name?” I ventured to ask. “And I mean your real name, please”.

She laughed once more, and I joined her. I was feeling free and lighter like some butterflies in my stomach.

“My name is Chioma”, she said. “And you, what is your name?”

“My name is Bolaji”, I said.

“Bolaji?” She asked. “Are you Yoruba?”

“Pure and applied!” I said. “I am from Ekiti state”.

“Wow! What brings an Ekiti boy to be working in a Bar in Owerri?” She asked

“Hmm, it’s simple! It is what brought you here that brought me too”, I said

“Are you in school?” She asked.

“Four hundred levels EE at FUTO”, I said

“EE as in Electrical Electronics?” She asked

“Yep!” I said

“It’s a lie!” She said

We both laughed out loud together, and at that moment, the General Manager of the Hotel walked into the Bush Bar. He looked around the bar and askedof me. I saw Emeka pointing at our table, so Mr Daniel came towards our table.

“Omo, how are you?” He greeted.

“I am fine, sir! Meet my friend, Chioma! Chioma, meet my Boss, Mr. Daniel, we call him Oga Dan!”

“Good evening, sir!” Chioma greeted.

Oga Dan greeted her, and they spoke briefly in Igbo language. She kept laughing.

“Omo, please take care of my sister o! She is from my State of origin o! We are both from Enugu state!” He said as he walked away.

“Your Boss is a funny man”, she said.

“What did he say to you?” I asked.

“He was praising you. He said this is the first time he is seeing you with a girl. He said you are very intelligent and the best in your department that you are a hustler and I should not lose you. Is it true?” She asked. “Are you the best in your department?”

“I can’t say I am the best! But I am not doing badly”, I said.

“Is it true that you have not been seen with a woman here before?” She asked.

“Yes!” I replied.

“And why is that?” She asked.

“Hmm, my story is a long one”, I said.

“I am all ears, tell it”, she said.

“Don’t worry, not today, but someday you will read about it. So, tell me about yourself! I continued; do you have a boyfriend?”

“Of course, I have many! I am a student, and there are boys everywhere around me, and of course they are my friends!” She teased.

“No, no! That’s not what I mean nah! I meant to ask if you are in a relationship”.

“You and your questions! First, it was if I was married, now it is if I have a boyfriend. What about if I said yes?”

“Then I would ask to be your friend, just friends! I replied.

“What are you afraid of?”

“I have seen a lot of things while working in this hotel that I would never attempt to take over another man’s woman. I wish to live long and whole”.

She laughed out loud. “Yoruba man! You people are cowards!”

“Thanks for the compliment!” I said

She laughed out loud again. “You are not even angry that I said you guys are cowards”.

“I started hearing that four years ago when I came to the east. You guys believe the Yorubas are cowards”.

“And what do you say to that?” She asked.

“You have a right to your opinion, my sister!” I said.

“I want to know your opinion about that my opinion”.

“You believed what you were told. We are all products of the environment we grew up. I also had certain opinions about the Igbos before I came down here, but my opinion had changed having spent some years here. Perhaps if you travel out of the east to the west and live among the Yorubas. Your opinion may change. But for cowardice, I would say that an average Yoruba thinks twice before going into a fight or a business. He weighs the risks and the consequences, and then decides if it’s worth it before venturing. We also have Yorubas who do not give a damn and plunge into danger and come out unscathed. So, it is relative, it all depends on your upbringing”.

“Hmm, man of wisdom!” She said. “I think you made a point there. Well, I was kidding, though. That is not my opinion, and I do not generalise”.

“So, back to square one!” I said. “Are you in a serious relationship?”

“No, sir! I am not!” She said.

“Thank God!” I said.

“Thank God for what?”

“At least I am not encroaching!” I said.

She paused a while before she said, “I was going out with a part 3 student last year, he is in part 4 now, but we are through”.

“What happened?” I asked.

“He is a womaniser and a cultist too! He has just been made the Capo of the Black Bats Confraternity in my school. I told him I needed to stay clear to be free from harm. It is dangerous dating such a guy on campus, you know?”

Wow! The Capone’s girlfriend? Yeepa! Mogbe? I exclaimed

“And what is that supposed to mean? She asked; you are scared already?”

“My dear”, I said. “To tell the truth, I would not like to be involved in any issue with a cultist o! I have heard a lot of sordid and terrible stories about their capabilities, let alone a Capone!”

She laughed until tears came to her eyes

“Chai! Onye Yoruba!” She exclaimed. “You are scared!”

“Look Chioma! You can call it whatever you like, but I am an only child with a complicated and disjointed family background. I have gone through so much in life to come and allow one cultist kill me over a girl on Campus!” I said.

“Which means you cannot risk your life for me?” She asked.

“Look! You are adorable, you are sweet, your beauty and mien have captured me, but I am not an idiot! Excuse me for a moment”. I said as I got up and dashed to the bar to get a bottle of Gulder the “Ultimate” and a bottle of Heineken the “Chairman” for Chioma. Emeka, my colleague, asked me, “Omo! How far nah? The Babe don fall?”

“Old boy! Wahala dey o!” I replied.

“How?”

“Not all that glitter is gold o! I added as I collected the drinks and scurried back to Chioma. I opened both bottles and filled our glasses.

“Fear-fear Yoruba man!” She teased.

“No wahala! I agree”, I said.

“So, tell me,” she said. “Which Cult do you belong to in your school?

“I am not a Cultist!” I snapped

“Why are you so defensive?” She asked

“Defensive of what nah? I am not a secret cult member and will never be!” I restated.

“Well”, she continued. “I like cultists! I feel protected with them, and it is fun rolling out with them, especially when there is peace on campus”.

“Jeez!” I exclaimed. “You like Cultists?”

She laughed but the laughter had no effect on me this time around. My Gulder was making me bolder and more reasonable.

Okay, look at it from my point of view”.  She took a long sip from her glass and gave out a slight belch, then continued. “When I gained admission into the University last year, I had so many toasters coming daily to ask for friendship. Even my roommates and hostel mates became jealous of the array of men that came visiting me in the room that I was warned by the leader of the Black Angels to reduce the influx of men to my room. She later asked me to join their clique if I must continue to do as I please in the hostel.

My life was so engaged with people that I almost ran out of school. The black brassier, the white Angels! The black Angels! And the Amazon Confraternities all wanted to recruit me. On the other hand, different shades of male cultists wanted to date me. In the second semester when the pressure continued, I had no choice but to give in to Julius popularly called “Major”. He was involved in school politics and an active member of the Black Bats. He happens to be a very charming guy, too, and he has his ways with the ladies. My relationship with him scared every other guy from toasting me. Both male and female. Did I tell you that I had female toasters too?” She asked

“How?” I asked.

She laughed. “Are you that naïve? Stop behaving like a Jew I beg! There are lesbians and bisexuals all over the campus that wanted to sleep with me also!”

“Jesus!” I exclaimed.

“Chai! Yoruba boy!” She teased. “Well, I like you sha! Your humility and your pure innocence appeal to me!”

“Please!” I said. “Please, don’t like me!”

“What is that nah? Don’t be a Jew, please!” She said.

“No! No! I want to remain a Jew!” I replied.

She laughed out loud and held my hands over the table.

“I was tactically pulling my hand from her grip when she gripped it tight and became serious”.

“Yoruba man!” She called.

“Bolaji!” I replied.

“Sorry, Bolaji cool down! What is your problem? I have not even told you half of my story, and you are scared already! Don’t you like me again?” She asked.

“No! No! No!  I don’t!” I replied. “You are dangerous!”

She released her grip on my hand and recoiled. She sank into her chair and held her head in her hands. And the next thing I realised was that she was sobbing.

Now, I was more confused because I was looking for an opportunity to leave her. Her spontaneous change of character left me in dismay.

“What is the problem Chioma? Why are you crying?” The more I asked, the louder she cried. In order not to create a scene in the Bar, I pulled her up and led her upstairs to one of the rooms I had access to the key. She followed me quietly.

As I closed and locked the door behind us, she started to wail, and she cried. Then, she told me her story.

She was a product of a broken home; her father eloped with an Edo woman leaving her mother with her and her kid brother, when she was just seven years old in primary 3. Then, they were in Benin City, where she and her brother were born. Her father was a staff of Chevron Oil Company and was sent on internationalisation to the Middle East, which allowed him to abscond with her mother’s closest friend who happens to be her class teacher, Auntie Osas!

Three years later, her mother relocated to the east, Enugu. She got a job as a secondary school teacher at Ekulu Girls secondary school Enugu. She later became the mistress of an Enugu based millionaire, who built a bungalow for her and took over the responsibilities of her elusive husband.

When she was seventeen and awaiting the result of her JAMB examination, she took a part-time job as the secretary to the mother’s man friend.

She lost her virginity to him inside his office, on his desk. He had made her drink some whiskey while waiting for the rain to subside after the close of work on a Friday evening. He gave her some money the next day and made her promise not to tell her mother.

It became a regular occurrence as he took her along on all his travels, exposing her to people and places of importance both home and abroad. She had all the good things of life plus a very fat bank account.

Things changed when her mother was arrested at the Murtala Mohammed international airport for drug trafficking by the NDLEA. Her sponsor was her millionaire man- friend, and he was subsequently arrested. Both were sentenced to forty years jail term each and were currently serving.

She had to sit for another JAMB examination as she did not follow up on her admission two years before her involvement with her mother’s man. She had a lot of money saved in her bank, and she could take care of herself and her younger one.

When she gained admission into IMSU, she faced a lot of challenges before finally settling down for Major simply because she wanted protection.

“Please don’t hate me! Don’t be scared of me! Is it because I told you the truth?” She asked. “I never knew you before today, but I felt as if I have known you for ages and that was why I spoke freely with you. I felt I could confide in you that was why I told you about Major not because I am proud to be dating him. I have never been in love. People have been taking advantage of me and I had no choice than to turn such opportunities to my advantage too. I am not a bad person, though I have been spoilt and pampered with money. I drink, smoke, go clubbing, but I can change! I promise you. I can change!

She clung tightly to me as she buried her face in my chest, crying. I held her close for comfort and kept patting her back and encouraging her that all was well. She slept in my arms that night. I could not sleep. I was torn between two worlds! Confusion and fear!

For me, I had no father, and my mother was somewhere in Lagos prostituting. I was in school by my own effort and here was a girl I just met and fell for. Her father had run away, and her mother was in jail. She was in school by her own effort too. I thought like terms, they say, repel while unlike terms attract. The two of us should not be together!

As I looked at her face as she slept soundly with tear-stained face, I felt pity for her. I imagined the frankness and openness with which she spoke.

And I said to myself, “here is another victim of circumstances that have adapted her circumstance to her own favour! Here is another survivor!”

Thus, I resolved to be with her, with the hope that she will change for good. To bid time, I picked up a textbook and began to read. I did not go back to duty.

Early in the morning, I woke her up with a kiss on her lips; she opened her eyes and saw me. She yawned and called my name and smiled. Then, we kissed some more. I was inexperienced. She was experienced. She felt for my hardness and held on to it. I was on fire!

“Relax!” She said. “Just relax! I am not running away. Try to be calm! Breathe in and out. Breathe normally,” she instructed.

I tried to breathe normally but could not. I was breathing like a leaking hose.  She sat up and removed her clothes slowly, all of it! I almost had a heart attack. I had never been so close to a naked woman, let alone in the same bed.

I hurriedly took off my clothes too. I had problems removing my boxers, but I eventually did, with her help. I happened to be heavily endowed down there, and she was shocked at the size and thickness of my hardness as she held it in both hands. She took my hands to her bosom.

“Play with me!” She said.

I remembered some erotic movies I had seen. I knew what to do. After a while, she stopped me, pushed my head up from her bosom, and she asked, “Bolaji! You have heard my story, are you going to be there for me or you are just going to take advantage of me?”

What a question at such a critical moment? What was she expecting me to say?

“I love you!” Was all I could mutter as I dug my head back to business.

“Are you sure? She asked.

“Yes! Yes!” I replied as I kissed her all over.

“I love you too!” She replied. “I have never told anyone that.

She then spread out and guided me into her. She held her breath as I slowly pushed into her inch by inch until I was fully buried inside her. She wrapped her legs around me and pulled me closer. Then, she whispered into my ear, “You are so big! I love you”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Abandoned Child new cover