Reunions, Memories And Mixed Drinks

“Hey, are you ok? ”
“Yes, I am. Why do you ask? ”
“Everybody is having fun, and you just choose to sit here? ”
“I’m getting into the groove, just watch, you will be begging me to slow down.”
“Ok o. Until then. ”
With that, he went his way, leaving you to sit on the sparsely decorated white plastic chair, a tall glass of red wine and a flurry of thoughts being your choice for company, at least for that moment. The curiosity of the man you just had a conversation with was not without good reason; it was not the kind of evening where being alone with your thoughts would be a particularly popular choice, afterall, high school reunions were not organised too frequently, what with the financial obligations, logistics and all. Continue reading

The Periwinkle List

​9.58am.

Victoria Garden City, Lagos.

It was an unusual time on a Monday morning to still maintain the affinity between my back and the multi-coloured bedsheet that I had been too lazy to wash over the weekend; I should be in my slave plantation of a workplace, dazed by the grueling traffic from a few hours before, responding to threatening office mails in servile fashion and flashing plastic smiles to customers with an unnecessarily huge sense of entitlement…..but today was different. The ones who worshipped on Fridays rather than Sundays had their version of December 25th going on, so the federal government pleased all 9-5ers as it rarely did, by announcing a two-day public holiday. Left to me, I would have loved that a search be conducted for another missing moon thereby causing an extension of my days away from the plantation, but no horses were going to have beggars riding them. I scrolled down my phonebook (in vain) for the phone numbers of friends who would have me partake in a binge on those juicy ram parts, and finding none, I opted for another outlet to search for company: my social media timeline.

Being a creative comes with the urge to express your art on social media, being active on social media while displaying expertise in your craft translates to a significantly huge following, and from that ultimately springs up a dedicated fan base. I did not necessarily rate my prowess by social media approval, but if the likes, comments, retweets and shares were anything to go by, I was pretty good with my pencil and paintbrush. Creativity attracts enthusiasts, and sometimes enthusiasm evolves into devotion, some of which would usually flow from the opposite sex…..which allows for flattery…..and flirting…..and the tendency to confuse curiosity with genuine admiration, and in extreme cases, a mix-up of art appreciation with emotional attachment. 

I was aware of the complicated procedure involved in creating new e-bonds; the witty lines, the comebacks, the need to avoid corny statements, the necessity of keeping out small talk, the continual steering of the conversational wheels so they remained in a particular direction (especially if your intentions were not exactly noble, though there was no real way to gauge that), the need to conduct due diligence on the timeline to get a clear picture of their views on issues (like ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion and feminism), the rule of typing in full (relevant in this age of Grammar Nazis), carefully negotiating the line between straight talk and douchey behaviour, the silent prayer to avoid the ones who made every inbox conversation the subject of a status update…..so I opted to direct my sliding tackles to familiar terrain instead. There was no way I could get a new social media acquaintance comfortable enough to pay me a visit in hours. 

I figured that it would be futile convincing Temi to come over; she often complained that I replied her Whatsapp messages after three business days, and only chatted her up when I felt like having her around. Oge was eight hours away, and even a free flow of “extensive physical interaction” with her was not guaranteed. Somto’s crush on me had faded, her calls and texts no longer streaming in like they used to, my uploads of landscape drawings no longer “captivating” enough for her to publicise like she loved to do five to six months earlier, though I admittedly complicated things with my unresponsiveness and mental shut-outs which (coincidentally) began after that two-day visit. I was left with the option I felt would be the easiest, the tempo of our curiosity ride still good enough to secure a rendezvous…. 

********

Cathy was a graduate of Economics from the University of Lagos stuck in that limbo between the end of national service year and that first contract of employment, as well as an art enthusiast…..or at least that was what I could gather from her Facebook timeline. I slid into the fast-flowing river that was her inbox, just at the same time her situationship with Tunde, a writer famed for his cheesy poems often published on rainy nights, had hit the rocks. Being a creative gets you surrounded by similarly wild minds to the point that it feels like a cult, so the friend request was always a question of “when” rather than “if”, and if seeing that we had about four hundred e-friends in common was not going to get me comfortable, Lord knows what would. 

The popular story was that Tunde had got into a heated e-scuffle with online personality Hymar David over a post which the former had perceived as a subtle dig at his craft, and Cathy had unwittingly clicked the like button one of Hymar’s incisive comments. Tunde had gone ahead to unfriend Cathy, who responded with a post about “nursery rhyme scribblers who lacked depth”. Tunde, nursing a bruised ego, composed a long poem on “paper dolls and blondes clothed with dark skin”, and Cathy hit back by uploading screenshots of the many conversations they had, from the downright corny to the ones laced with smut. 

I was aware of all this, and from the first “hello” I knew I had to impress. A long chat history laced with wit and sass evolved into a back-and-forth texting marathon, then the likes on every single sketch I uploaded, then the Instagram mentions, then the 2am voice notes, then the exchange of photos involving mounds of flesh (though I was careful not to send out shots of my ‘German machine’ in sheer over-excitement, who knew where those could end up?) 

A request to stop by and check out some of my new furniture was met with some reluctance from her. Her words were:

“James, you live at VGC, and I in Ketu. See the distance? ”

“Geography means nothing where Desire is involved”, I replied. 

“All these mushy lines you artists use. By the way, I think we’re going too fast, we only started talking three weeks ago.”

“Cathy, I think it would be unfair of you to try dictating the pace of this thing between us, let’s go with the tempo, why interrupt the flow? ”

And when I slowly pencilled out her features on a white cardboard paper while she lay totally unclothed on my mattress, she inquired:

“James, you’d better make sure no portion of this sketch leaves this room. ”

“Baby, you want us to sign a non-disclosure agreement? ” I answered, making a derisive face. 

“Hmm…. you called me ‘baby’……how many of your female fans on social media have you addressed by that term? ”

And midway through our joint bath, before which she had tightly wrapped her legs around my hip, clutching my head as I nibbled at her breast and mouthing unintelligible statements as I ploughed the moist mangrove swamp with the German machine, deciphering the texture of her butt cheeks with my palms, she implored:

“Jamie, none of this makes your Facebook page, even in the most subtle of posts, ok? ”

“I am not a writer, Cathy, only writers kiss and tell….and by the way, it’s ‘James’. Let’s clean up, dress and sleep.”

We didn’t find our clothes, at least not until she left the following evening. We had no need of them anyway. 

*********

12:19pm.

Victoria Garden City, Lagos. 

According to the general “missed calls rule”, I made it a point of duty not to dial a number after two attempts without a response, but I had broken the code for Cathy’s sake, and even after the fifth attempt, all I got was the “no answer” notification, accompanied by that tone which meant that the human at the other end was unable (or unwilling) to pick up. Determined to not appear too “thirsty”, I refrained from dialling for the sixth time. I wouldn’t have lent much thought to all of it if the two text messages from my phone had been met with a reply. Cathy was usually the first to trigger the text-a-thon, so this was unusual. 

I swam through the waters of my newsfeed into her Facebook inbox to drop another chat message (I had sent out a random “hey miss” by 7.52am), and I found that not only was she online, she had seen the words from few hours earlier. She had also posted three updates within the past hour, shared a video, and commented on two short stories. Yea, i caught all the details in totally insecure fashion. 

Cathy was ignoring me. 

There was no need to make a fuss out of it, but I wanted the company.  Cathy’s company. I could feel her butt cheeks all over my palms, and with that flash of thought, I grabbed my phone, scrolled to my Facebook messenger and typed:

“Not quite good at multi-tasking, are you? ”

It was read within minutes, with no reply given, but shortly after lunch which comprised of bread and egg sauce (I couldn’t stress myself to conjure an actual recipe or visit Nigerian Lazy Chef’s Instagram page),  I scrolled down my newsfeed to find a recent status update from Cathy. It read:

“Ultimately, we’ve got the right to choose where we want to be, who we are comfortable with, and for how long.”

I got the message. The novelty had worn off.

 I ceased all communication with Cathy. It was not a conscious effort, but the texts dried up. She withdrew her likes from a few of my sketches, and pulled down the photos of us together taken at The Palms from her wall.

In the following weeks, the social media pages of a young man named Mickey felt the effect of Cathy’s keypads. I knew Mickey, affectionately known as Mickey Strings; he had shared the stage with promising Nigerian rock acts Johnny Drille, Phrance and Nathmac at a number of gigs, played the guitar as well as the harmonica, and the pseudo-elite girls who frequented Bogobiri Lounge couldn’t get enough of him. I stumbled on a video of him rendering a cover of Mumford and Sons’ “Believe”, and while I felt he was trying too hard, I couldn’t deny the talent. Cathy clicked the ‘love’ button on all his posts, shared his videos, reposted his practice sessions on Instagram, gave glowing reviews of his songs (I particularly liked the guitar solo on his hit track “She’s Gone, Gone, Gone”), and was quick to upload photos of them smiling together at Hard Rock Cafe. 

I shrugged inwardly whenever I saw those updates. If i had invested my emotions in the positive social media feedback, or expected anything meaningful to spring from soft-copy affections, then a short scroll down Cathy’s timeline would have got me clutching my chest in agony. It was not that deep, no, it never was. Everything ran its course, from high-octane crushes to weather-induced company, and this was no different. 

“Sometimes you are reluctant to translate e-acquaintance into real-life familiarity because of the difficulty in gauging the level of depth (or lack thereof), as well as the particulars of intent…..and other times your thoughts run in the lines of ‘oya coman feed your curiosity and be going to your house’ ”

*********

7.21pm.

Freedom Park, Lagos. 

“Dude, why aren’t you up there performing tonight? ”

It was the Lagos State International Poetry Festival, and while we were waiting for the headlining acts, we had to make do with a few performances from two “cold-weather poets” who had opted to sacrifice meaning in order to achieve rhyme schemes. Sure enough, there were no rules to poetry, but I just found the renditions abysmally poor. The atmosphere of the event was getting lost on me, causing me to take solace in a glass of Heineken, but I only just spotted Tunde, and I set about to teasing him. 

“Oh, you want me to perform, so that someone will run to her wall and do an editorial on nursery rhyme scribblers”, he cut back. 

I laughed. We both knew who he was talking about. 

“Oh, where is that one by the way.” I was eager for some gossip. 

“I should be asking you.”

“No, we should be asking Mickey Strings.”

No information. This meet-and-greet was getting boring. 

“Talk of the Devil! ”

Tunde had seen him first. I turned. It was Mickey alright, on one of those rare public appearances without a guitar. Dressed in a navy blue turtle-neck t-shirt, beige-coloured trousers and black sneakers, he walked up to us, leading to an exchange of “bro” hugs. 

“Why are you here alone? ” I inquired, wasting no time to put him on the spot. 

“What do you mean? ” Mickey asked, confusion finding home on his face. 

“Usually, you would be here with….”

“Oh!!!! ” Mickey exclaimed. He had finally got where I was driving at. “We don’t talk anymore. As a matter of fact, she blocked me on Twitter.”

“Wawu! ” I blurted, feigning shock. 

“Guy wetin happen? You guys were the IT social media couple.” Tunde was hungry for some gossip too. 

“Well, we had this argument. She wanted a song written for her, and she wanted it on her birthday. My muse deserted me at the time, and I couldn’t deliver, so…..one subliminal diss, then another, then one day I go to her Facebook timeline and see “Add Friend. ”

“Na wa o….. ”

“Oh well….. I hear she is crawling all over Femi Laniyan’s feeds nowadays.”

“Who’s that one? ” My ears were now more alert than ever. 

“He is one guy who recently joined the cast of Tinsel, same time as Falz”, Mickey responded generously. “He is tall, dark, team beard gang sef. Played ‘waka pass’ roles in Phone Swap and The CEO.”

“Cathy sha! ” Tunde cut in. “Should we tell him? ”

“Where’s the fun in that? ” I retorted. “Let the girl have her fill. I’m sure we were all just part of a long list.”

“Waking up next to very male creative on your timeline is a pretty tall ambition, but who says a woman cannot dream? ” Mickey was getting salty now. 

“The way they treat some of us creatives like periwinkle ehn….pick, suck and move ahead”, Tunde interjected. 

We giggled.

“The worst part is when they show up, seeming all genuine, and then you make the mistake of pouring your heart out to them. You are left with the feeling of being naked”, Mickey added. 

We slowly nodded in agreement. Poor Mickey, he probably thought he had found someone he could be honest and comfortably vulnerable with when he met Cathy. 

I poured some more Heineken into my glass from the bottle and dutifully observed the bubbles. It was amazing, really, how the foam would appear so thick for a few moments, and then settle back into the glass without warning…..just like social media relationships. I thought about the “hey James, I really like your drawings, they have so much soul” inbox message I received earlier in the day from a lady whose friend request I recently accepted, grinned and took a long sip. 

What These Men Want

It had only been two weeks, but Mr. Isiukwu
Bigwillie, 27, who had only returned to the
country from the annual hustle in Malaysia to
celebrate the Christmas holidays, was getting
bored. He couldn’t believe that in fourteen days,
all he had unzipped his trousers for was to use
the restroom of his suite at Oriental Hotel.
Afterall, he had the wheels, gold neck chains and
multiple rings on his fingers (never mind that he
had auctioned one of his kidneys at Kuala
Lumpur), so why would he spend his vacation
with just his hands for company?

After a few calls
to friends who were familiar with the terrain, he
drove in the direction of The Palms. A lot of
traffic lay between him and Wadbash at Ajah, he
reasoned, and besides he was no cheapskates.

Tekena was all he desired; straight legs,
prominent hips, not-too-flat stomach, breasts
struggling for air in her knee-length dress, with
that ebony complexion to match. He didn’t
subscribe to light-skinned ladies, only hanging
out with them back in Malaysia because over
there, choice was a luxury he couldn’t afford.
After a brief negotiation, she agreed to
accompany him to his suite for thirty thousand
naira. It was quick and Mr. Bigwillie dozed off in
a matter of minutes, but he had got what he
wanted, and even if he did not notice Tekena slip
one of his gold chains into her handbag, he slept
with a smile on his face….

image

Until he woke up the next day, solely clad in a
pair of brown underwear, four policemen
surrounding his bed. Tekena was long gone, and
he was only allowed to wear a pair of shorts and
a yellow singlet as he was whisked into the navy
blue police van , his one round pack on display.
Officers on duty quoted Bible verses as they
pushed him around the counter, and by 10am that
day, he had been arraigned….before the state’s
Ecclesiastical court.

“That you, Isiukwu Bigwillie, on or about the 7th
day of December 2016, at The Palms, Lagos,
within the ecclesiastical district of this court, did
commit the sin of Lust by approaching one
Tekena (now at large), and thereby committed an
offence contrary to the Holy Bible, and punishable
by this court.”

“ That you, Isiukwu Bigwillie, on or about the 7th
day of December 2016, at Oriental Hotel, Lagos,
within the ecclesiastical district of this court, did
commit fornication with one Tekena (now at
large), and thereby committed an offence contrary
to the Holy Bible, and punishable by this court.”

“That you, Isiukwu Bigwillie, on or about the 7th
day of December 2016, at Oriental Hotel, Lagos,
within the ecclesiastical district of this court, did
have intercourse with the use of contraceptive, as
recovered from your hotel room as an exhibit, and
thereby committed an offence contrary to the
principle of natural prescribed by the Bible and
Canon law, and punishable by this court.”

Perplexity would have been a mild word to
describe the look on Bigwillie’s face as he heard
the charge read out to him by the court clerk. He
had no idea that an ecclesiastical court existed in
the first place, and now he was aware of what
constituted offences therein, he wasn’t so sure
how to react. He couldn’t believe that pleasure
had become criminalized, and when he was asked
for his plea, he laughed loud and long before
screaming “guilty as charged!”

The penalty was two weeks of supervised Bible
study and spiritual counselling as well as two
weeks of cleaning cathedral pews, and was to
begin the following Sunday. Bigwillie shook his
head repeatedly as he left the courtroom, and
when he finally got hold of his phone and other
personal effects, his first reaction was to log on
to Facebook and update thus:

“This is why I hate coming to Nigeria. So now, to
dey straff don turn crime? What are our
legislators being paid for sef? Naija and stupid
laws! Tsk tsk…”

Later that night, the men in black visited him
again, this time at the room he booked at Protea
Hotel. Apparently, his Facebook update had been
perceived as malicious, his phone had been
tracked, and he was to be taken away for
questioning, in line with the provisions of the new
Social Media Act, which had been domesticated
by all the states.

image

After 24 hours of slaps and mosquito bites, he
was transferred to Alagbon, where he was to
remain “until investigations were concluded”. He
realized that he would be sharing the same cell
with the likes of Chris Nwandu (Head of the
Nigerian Bloggers’Union), Walter Ude, Nathaniel Jonas and Elsie
Godwin, who had been called in for “inciting
statements” on their respective blog posts. Linda
Ikeji had only just been released on bail few hours
earlier.

***********
Meanwhile, at a large mansion in one of the more
secluded parts of the capital territory, Senator
Needo Melanin was laughing with another beer-
bellied senator over glasses of champagne. The
other senator was faithful to his usual dress code
of blue jackets and over-sized black trousers.
Their giggles struggled to negotiate upwards from
the fat in their necks, and they knew what they
were celebrating. The case involving foreign accounts filed against Senator Melanin had died a natural death, the media house that did the investigative journalism had gone under, and the respective bills they
sponsored had grown into fully operative laws.

image

Hymns From Badore

image

Six months had passed since I last set foot into a church building (my last appearance being Easter Sunday), but I did not feel for a moment that I had missed anything. The reading of the bible passages reeked of dour formality, the officiating priest churned out recycled sermons, the chants were the same, the hymns had not changed much, and I pretty much knew which activity followed the other.
Continue reading

Too Much To Ask

wpid-imagessil.png

 

“Chidinma, it’s really cold. I need you here.”

“Awwwwww.”

“How’s it been over there? Do you even get to go out?”

No o. I get to be indoors alone. It’s so boring, from the house to the office and back. I just came in now. I’m so tired.”

“Ouch. Coming back this late. Your boss is just being mean. I’m so sorry Baby, I wish I was beside you.”

Hmmm….me too. When will you be back from Lagos? It’s been three weeks.”

“I’ll be home to you soon. Stay beautiful. I love you.”

“Me too.”

Yeah,  that was Chidinma’s new way of responding to my sweet-nothings. “Me too”, because the words “I love you too” were a little too stressful for her tongue, or probably consumed too many micro-seconds. I smiled as I hung up, not because of any giggly sensations generated by the phone call, but because of the unfolding of events. Continue reading

The Literal Rule

“I want your body sleeping in my bed….”

Those lyrics from one of Wizkid’s hit tracks resounded in my ears as I stared at the lady seated opposite me at this restaurant table. I could not have been blamed for playing the song in my head. It was Good Friday, it was dark, it was cold, I was bored, and I intended to mark the Passion of the Saviour in my own way. In the end, all that would matter was the word “passion”, never mind how it was applied.

Interestingly enough, it was our first official rendezvous. I had found her three weeks earlier on one of the social networking sites, Badoo to be precise. There is this thing about Badoo and linking up people in the same location, and on further scrutiny I discovered that we resided in this same city. Her profile picture had been quite the sight, and when I tried to chat her up, she responded nicely. We began to learn more about each other (at least what we chose to reveal), exchanging photos now and then, and after an exchange of numbers plus a few raunchy chats, we had finally agreed to meet.

It’s said that pictures don’t lie, but whoever said that probably did not have Photoshop, Filters or other enhancements in mind. I was disappointed as I dialled her number and saw her pick her phone at the entrance of the restaurant. Where were those assets that got me drooling whenever I zoomed her profile picture? Where was that defence? The attack? Heck, she looked a shade darker than the photos she usually sent to me. I felt “catfished”, but then a remedy existed. She looked nothing like her pictures, so I would drink until she did. After all, everyone looked beautiful by 2am.

She glanced at the menu and beckoned on the waiter, making her orders at random, without recourse to the bill. The size of my wallet was of no concern to her. I had heard stories of how ladies deliberately set out to embarrass men on dates, and for a moment I felt that was the case here, but I kept my cool. She held nothing back in her quest to bore a hole in my pocket, and I almost wanted to say, “We’re splitting the bill”, but that would have ruined plans for the night, so I kept my lips sealed.

I tried my best to strike up a conversation, but her lack of interest was remarkable. I threw in all kinds of topics, from Fashion to Music to Politics to the few Nollywood movies I could manage watching, but her disinterested eyes and absent-minded nods succeeded in deflating me. I shrugged inwardly. It was not like I arranged this rendezvous for the conversation anyway.

“So, what’s it going to be?”

I looked up. Apparently, she was done with the meal which she would never have bought with her own money, and she wanted to know the next money-sapping adventure. If she could see my mind, the huge frown there would have scared her.

“What would you like, Dearie?” I asked, putting up the fakest smile I could come up with.

“Erm, it’s Friday. Why don’t we hit up the club, you know, turn up?”

I wanted to tell her that it was “club” and not “crub”, but I did not want to put her down on account of her accent, so I just smiled and said, “Club it is then”.

We walked out of the restaurant after I had taken care of the N20,000 bill, and I took her by the hand to the direction of “my” car, a 2009 Model Toyota Camry. My friend Tola was away from the country, and he had handed me the keys.

“Ahn, where is the other one na? The Jeep?”

She was referring to the Honda Pilot which I had sat in, taken a photo and sent to her. I could feel the disappointment in her voice, and I was glad that she felt shortchanged too. I had anticipated the question, and I quickly lied that I had needed to effect some internal repairs. She responded with a resignatory “ok o”, and I could not tell whether or not she bought the lie (not like I cared), but she fixed herself unto the passenger seat of the Camry, and we got going.

My wallet had been rocked a bit, but I was still able to afford entry into a decent club not too far away. We got in, and I ordered a bottle of Magic Moment. The idea was to get intoxicated, burn out the alcohol with some dancing, and get intoxicated some more. I watched her as she drank, studying her level of composure. She was definitely not new to that level of alcohol. The DJ was in good form that night, and when that track from Wizkid came on air, I held her close as we danced and whispered in symmetry with the lyrics, “I want your body sleeping in my bed”, to which she giggled in response.

We left the club at 12:45am. We were by no means sober, but at least we were reasonably aware of our surroundings. We got into the car, and I soon switched on the ignition, but not before trying out the taste of her lips for a few minutes. She responded appropriately, letting my fingers glide along each end of her chest.

“Where are we going?” She asked, as she heard the sound of the car come to life.

“Where do you think? My house of course”, I replied.

“Are there no hotels around?”

“Baby, I don’t want to treat you like a hoe. I won’t just fix you up in some cheap motel, I’m not that kind of guy. I think I like you, and I want to make you feel comfortable. You could spend the entire weekend if you want, I’ve got makeshifts outfits you could change into. Let’s go to mine.”

She was taken in by those lines. My apartment was a forty-minute journey from the club. Her tongue loosened, and she began to regale me with tales of stingy rich men, and how girls easily got pregnant in her neighbourhood. Of course she didn’t disclose the abortions she had carried out, but I could infer from the tone of the conversation that she was no angel.

PHCN proved to be kind to us as we arrived at my place. We kissed again at the door of the apartment as I fumbled with the keys, and as I got in, I put everything in place. We had a bath together, and I turned up the volume of my home theatre. The CD was a mix of various songs which I had burned from a laptop, so there was the switch from blues to rock to metal to Afro-pop.

I pulled out a pair of handcuffs and chained her to the bed. She seemed so excited. We would play out Fifty Shades of Grey, it seemed. BDSM in Nigeria? She would relive the experience for a lifetime. I took out a belt and began to work on her with it, our bodies unclad.

“Punish me, punish me”, she yelled.

“It’s punish, not ‘polish’ “, I said in my mind, but I just smiled and went about the business of the night.

I stopped whipping her after a while. I went to the cupboard at a corner of the bedroom, observing the lust in her eyes. I pulled out a plier and slowly walked up to her. Her facial expression changed.

“What’s the plier for?” She inquired in an apprehensive tone.

She found out soon enough. I didn’t have to respond verbally. I crawled to the fingers of her left hand, fixed one in between the edges of the plier, and despite her struggles, successfully yanked one off. The pain was excruciating, and her screams turned me on. She kicked and kicked, but i balanced my full body mass on her legs, slapping her into submission as i took off a finger from her right hand, my ears digesting the corresponding screams.

“You monster! I hate you!” She cried.

“Not for long, sweetheart. We won’t be long”, I replied.

I was sure that to her, I sounded like the Devil himself, but I could not be bothered. Two fingers gone, a lot more flesh to go. I pummelled her with my fists, and when she was weak enough, I went to the cupboard, brought out a dagger and went to her again. I threw up the dagger, caught it in mid-air, and with the descending velocity, sank it into her left breast.

She screamed again, and this time I got a hard-on. The beautiful thing was that the music from my home theatre drowned her voice, so nobody could guess what was going on. Moreover, I had caused the bulb to be dim, in line with the night’s task. I dragged the dagger sideways, and with it came a huge mound of flesh. I let the blood gush out steadily, scooping a bit of it with my tongue. I then proceeded to where I perceived her heart would be, sending the dagger through. The screams stopped. I had set her free.

I grinned widely as i transferred the two chopped fingers and the breast to my refrigerator. I was almost feeling guilty, but then I was merely teaching her a lesson, one she had not learnt from Facebook and the Cynthia Osokogu experience. Social networks were made up of all kinds of people, some not particularly fitting into the description of normal, and one had to exercise discretion when dealing with strangers. It was pretty unwise for her to have just decided to hop into bed with a man she had only just come in contact with via Badoo, but then, there were many out there just like her.

It was equally sad that she did not take out time to read, or at least be observant. If she was the type that frequently hunted for knowledge, she would have noticed that the pictures on my wall were that of Albert Fish, Charles Manson, Vlad the Impaler and Jack the Ripper, all cold-blooded murderers in their day. She would have also noticed “The Gospel according to Phillip” and Frederick Nietszche’s “Antichrist” on my bedside table. Philip’s gospel included a passage that suggested romantic ties between Jesus and Mary Magdalene, definitely not part of the 66  (or 73) books of the Bible as we knew it. Nietszche was a well-known 19th century German philosopher, who did not exactly subscribe to Christianity. I would ordinarily fit the perfect description of a weirdo, but here she was, in bed with me, not caring to know more about me first.

Yes, her body was on my bed. I had told her that I wanted my body sleeping on my bed, and that was judt what had played out. I would never know Wizkid’s true intent, but I loved to think that whenever the word “body” was used in describing a human, it referred to a corpse. I had merely applied the Literal Rule, which states that words should be given their ordinary and literal meaning.

I slept off soon afterwards, and woke up next to the dead lady by 7am the next day. She looked more attractive in her state of permanent sleep. I kissed her cold lips, and nibbled at her right breast which was still intact. Yes, i was somewhat sexually attracted to corpses, but which human had the right to judge? I walked to her handbag and took out her University I.D card. I saw her full name: NKECHI GOLDEN OCHENDU, student of Anatomy at the Lagos State University. We had just been through a lecture in her line of discipline, only this time she turned out being the cadaver. Then again, she referred to herself as Nikki in our chats. “Oh well, people had a way of Anglicizing their names nowadays”, I said to myself.

I put her body, her shoes, my blood-stained sheets and her handbag into a body bag. I then lifted the body bag out of the house and hurled it into the boot of my car. I loved my neighbourhood; nobody asked too many questions, everyone minded their business. I started the car and drove towards the direction of the Lagos lagoon. I planned to dump the body bag there. It was fitting. She was Igbo afterall.

(P.S: Happy birthday to Oluchi Ofili and Patricia Oma Edet. They are  good friends of mine, and ardent followers of this blog. They love stories, and this one is for them, as they mark their birthday.)

Lung-Shot

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1st April, 2014.

Three hours had passed. Patience had never been a virtue for Martin, and that night would not be a starting point to cultivate it. Sweat found its way into his palms as he paced up and down his room, located on the first floor of this five-star hotel which he had chosen for what he perceived to be a special day in his life. He had put everything in place, at least as far as his anxious mind could remember. The wine was in place, the glasses were clean, the candle light had been set, and the tiny box containing the ring had been perfectly concealed. Continue reading

Origins

“How dare you! How dare you usurp me and decide to take up a role reserved for me? What gave you the right???”

“I was only helping you, big brother. It needed to be done, and you were in no position to.”

“Not in a position to?! Who said so? What gave you the right to assume, to conclude in that manner? You lack respect, boy!”

“Egbon mi, you couldn’t possibly have been able to. You were unconscious….no, you were drunk, wasted, stoned!”

“What did you just say?”

“You heard me, senior. You were dr…..”

The elder one, now furious, did not let his sibling complete the statement. He swung at his erring brother’s law with his left fist, and when he missed by few inches, he sent in his right fist, delivering the uppercut to perfection. He swung again with his left fist, catching his brother by the right cheek, then he tilted backwards to create ample space to raise his foot, applying his heel to his brother’s face with considerable force. A fall was the inevitable outcome.

He walked towards his younger brother, now on the ground, grinning as he stood over him. He was determined to beat some sense into him, and raised his foot to begin a stomping session, but was caught with a sweep kick from the man on the ground. The elder landed on his backside with a loud thud, and as he tried to get back up, a round-house kick from his younger brother greeted his face.  He was flattened out.

“Egbon, you made me do this”, the younger one said repeatedly, as he looked to see whether the fallen man had totally lost consciousness.

Satisfied that he had repelled his elder brother’s onslaught, he turned his back to him, breathing heavily as he tried to draw back some strength. He had apparently over-estimated the effect of that kick. His elder brother was soon up on his feet and began to crouch stealthily towards him. For some reason, he felt the need to turn again, and as he did so, the elder one rammed into his ribs with his left shoulder, sending him to the ground once again. The hailstorm of punches began. The elder one sent in his right fist, then his left fist, then his right fist again, and applied his left elbow at intervals. He had his younger brother where he wanted him; he would learn never to slight him in any form ever again, knowingly or unknowingly.

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The blows did not last forever. All of a sudden, one of his punches was blocked, and in a matter of seconds, he received a stinging head-butt to the nose. His younger brother had turned the tide, but he didn’t stop there. He gripped him by the neck, and fixed him into a chokehold, bearing down on his windpipe.

“Hey, let go of me now”, the elder one commanded, in a strained voice that showed his struggle to breathe.

“Let you go, so you’ll hit me again, right?

“I said, let me go!”

“And if I don’t?”

The younger one got a response soon enough, but not in words. He maintained his grip, but less than a minute later, he found himself high up in the air. The manner in which he was flung away was reminiscent of the scene of a car explosion. His elder brother had summoned an unusual, external strength.

“I told you not to mess with me, rude idiot”, the elder one roared.

There was a new look in his eyes, and it was not a pleasant one. He stretched his right hand to the direction of the Sun, conversing in strange languages with no one in particular. His younger brother shuddered. He knew what he was capable of. Trouble was looming.

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Long chain. Snail’s shell containing a handful of dirt. Live, five-toed chicken spluttering about. Palm nut. These items lay around Obatala, eldest son to Olodumare (god of the sky and universe) as he slept on the floor, nearly unclad. He could not be blamed for his slumber though. The day’s events had led to exhaustion.

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It had been a wild party. The gods and spirits that prowled the universe had eaten and danced until their various forms caved in. Obatala himself had been treated to such a good time that he had got a lap dance from one of the female “orishas” (deities), until his loincloth got moist. Drinks had flowed freely, and at some point, the music had spurred the gods to dance with one hand over their eyes and the other hand stretched out. Yes, from time immemorial, the gods had perfected the art of dancing Shoki.

Obatala had not known who hosted the party, and as a matter of fact, he had gate-crashed. At the time, the world was only made of the sky and water, so his father Olodumare had given him a gold chain long enough to stretch down to the (proposed) Earth, along with the palm nut, chicken and dirt. Instructions had been given to create the Earth, but for reasons best known to Obatala, he decided to stop over at the party. They welcomed him anyway by virtue of his position as Olodumare’s first son, let him have a good time, and gave him a lot to drink, maybe too much. He had lasted through the palm-wine, but then, he got to have a gulp of something that tasted like the modern-day Orijin, and he soon began to stagger and speak incoherently, ultimately  passing out. The last thing he could remember was seeing a male orisha flirt with a female orisha, and then hearing the female orisha say something like “Story for the gods”.

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The party had ended days earlier, but the after-effect of the Orijin taste-alike was still evident on Obatala. He was yet to get up, he was nearly unclad, and the other spirits had since retired to their homes. They had opted to leave Obatala the way he was, his member nearly sticking out of his loincloth. After all, he was the first son of Olodumare; he could sleep how, when and for as long as he wanted. It was in this state that Oduduwa found him.

Oduduwa, younger brother to Obatala, had developed a hunch back in the heavens that something was wrong. His father Olodumare was busy with other inter-planetary affairs, and he could not have gone down himself to inquire the reason for Obatala’s delay in returning. Had the chicken died? Had the dirt been too little? Was the chain not long enough?

Oduduwa was quite the eavesdropper, and he had listened closely as his father issued instructions before Obatala set out on his journey. Days had passed and, well aware of his brother’s tendency to misbehave, Oduduwa had sneaked out of the heavens and gone out in search of his brother. Besides, it was a golden opportunity for him to claim glory for creating Earth.

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He had found him, asleep with his mouth open, farting in his slumber, his member in need of covering. Yea, that member which some of the female “orishas” gossiped about, saying that it was “big for nothing” and could not last the night shift……but it was not in Oduduwa’s place to confirm the rumours. He had work to do. He quietly picked the items meant for Obatala’s mission, tip-toed out of sight and hearing, and proceeded to complete the task.

Oduduwa let down the chain. It was as long as Olodumare had anticipated. He then climbed downwards, upturning the snail shell. The dirt settled on the waters. It had looked small in the shell, but it turned out to be just enough to do the job. He then set the five-toed chicken to the waters, so it could spread the dirt. The chicken was a bit haphazard with demarcations, but it did a fairly good job. Oduduwa then lowered himself down the dirt and tried to mould mountains with some of the dirt. He kept fumbling with the shapes, but he was sure that Olodumare would be proud of his effort. He then proceeded to plant the palm nut. He looked around, saw that it was good, if not perfect, and shrugged. As far as he was concerned, his father’s instructions had eventually been carried out. He also knew that Obatala would be livid whenever the alcohol cleared, but he could not be bothered.

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Obatala was determined to teach his brother a lesson. His monologue had yielded dividends, and he had successfully drawn out some fire from the Sun. He contorted the fire into a large ball and threw it at his brother, Oduduwa. The fire went for its target with full velocity, catching Oduduwa.

“Seriously Egbon, fire balls? You are going supernatural? Fight fair!”

“Go on, teach me how to mete out discipline on my little brother”, Obatala retorted.

Obatala kept conjuring missiles from the Sun, and Oduduwa had to keep evading, doing series of acrobatic flicks in quick succession. The punches did not totally stop flowing too. Oduduwa held out until dusk when the Sun went to bed. Night came upon them in due time, and Oduduwa lifted one of the stars in the sky and hurled at Obatala. He had not expected it. The weight of the star sent Obatala tumbling down the night clouds, and the brightness temporarily blinded him.

“ENOUGH!”

The verbal exchanges between the brothers had been thunderous, but what they had just heard immediately caused an earthquake. For a moment, it seemed that the earth which Oduduwa had just created was going to be destroyed. Olodumare’s voice had shaken the universe. The brothers knew better than to continue fighting. They knew what happened when their father disciplined Eshu, the trickster god.

“How long will you keep at this? And over such a petty issue??”

“But Baba, we have only fought for a day…..”

“SHUT UP, OBATALA! One day! One day, you say! You know how long that is, on the earth you refused to create. That is a thousand years! Yes, you have spent a thousand earth years fighting.”

“Baba, you can see that Dudu here disrespected…..”

“Shut up, I say! Oduduwa was simply helping you finish the simple task you could not complete. I have looked at it……it’s a good world he made. I am happy that drink knocked you off….who knows the rubbish you could have created in that state of intoxication? Well done, Dudu.”

“Thank you Baba”, Oduduwa said, prostrating.

“That does not mean you are entirely blameless. Eavesdropping is wrong, and you should not have sneaked out. Your punishment will come…….but your action was for the greater good, and so I am placing you in charge of what you helped to create. You will govern the earth. As for you Obatala, you have failed, but that does not mean you won’t work. You will be subservient to Oduduwa, and you will be in charge of creating humans on earth. I want you to make things in our own image and likeness, and put on that earth. If you like, drink again while at it…..but first, you will cook for all the ‘orishas’, tonight!”

Obatala scowled as he set out to the kitchen. He had been disgraced. Oduduwa stuck his tongue out and made eyes derisively at his elder brother.

(Author’s Note: There are many other versions of the Yoruba story of creation. Some accounts portray Oduduwa as Obatala’s servant who proceeded to make the world after Obatala’s blindness, others portray Oduduwa as a female deity. Others completely put Oduduwa out of the equation and claim that Obatala did the job, though going on to create deformed humans. There are also those who use the name Orisanla instead of Obatala. The writer finds this version both intriguing and narrate-able, and some schools of thought even hold this as a more credible account than the Biblical creation story. Well, that is what myths are all about, feel free to come up with yours!

P.S: Apologies are made for any glaring inaccuracies. All blame should be placed on Google, as well as the writer’s secondary school Social Studies teacher.)

Elusive Skin

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Vintage Monday; long day at the office. Nearly four of your active working hours spent at the mercy of
a female judge who could scream at you for not inhaling your God-given oxygen properly in court (her cynicism is otherworldly; legend has it that
she has dressed down a lawyer to the point where he chose to give up legal practice.) You come back
to the office exhausted, and after some more lengthy paperwork, you close from the office at a time when the Sun has retired to bed.

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You negotiate through the traffic, wondering why the roads are so choked up when it’s not Lagos.
You eventually get home to supper that has long lost its heat. You take a glass of cold water, hoping for a clear head, but the result is the direct opposite. Barely managing to undress, you collapse on your lonely mattress and begin to punch at your
phone’s keys. For some reason, you decide to go through your photos for the 52nd time, and while you have seen them all before, there is one
particular one that makes you stop scrolling. You decide to spare a minute (or longer) to stare at a
lady with a very seductive pout. You can never get enough of this photo. Afterall, it’s Naomi’s face in
it.

It’s been just over two years since you first met Naomi, but if your thoughts were race tracks, she
must have run marathons on them. She is over 180 kilometres away from you though, and in your
case, the saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder” plays out to perfection.

You didnt like Naomi when you first met her. You had both met at law school, you had heard about
her exploits at the university (she graduated top of her class), she had this “carriage” you couldnt bring yourself to deal with, and you concluded that she was a snob. But you found yourselves in the same (imposed) study group, and like a flower which sprouts out of
concrete, a friendship begins to evolve against your will.

You find out that she used to dance ballet, and on some cold evenings you crave for private dance instructions. The nose which you once felt was too high up in the air is now the prettiest nose ever,
superior even to Cleopatra’s. You watch how she contributes to group discussions, you watch how she answers questions in class, you watch how she studies in the evenings, and one silly feeling
you cant explain keeps popping up. Her focus, her intelligence and her drive inspire you and turn you
on at the same damn time. She reveals that she
supports your favourite team,  Manchester United. You have attained Candy Crush level 5000….

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But she is so out of reach, at least in your opinion. Whether it’s a complex or just plain nervousness, you can’t say, but you just harbour the belief that Naomi can’t be yours. She is so pretty, and you are not sure if you have what it takes to beat the
competition. As far as you are concerned, she is “high maintenance”, and you dont have that financial might just yet. Then again, there is the issue of calendars; Naomi is most likely older than you (well, she attended a state university which experienced
lengthy internal strike actions.) It’s not a big deal for you, but she has a biological clock, and besides,
society has its reservations.

You have put up her photo on Instagram and BBM as your #WCW (Woman Crush Wednesday) on more than two occasions. You dont mind putting it up as your BBM Display
Picture tonight, but you are in no mood to entertain questions. You look at her pouted lips again; they look like they would taste like sugar,
and you definitely wouldnt mind trying to find that out, probably covered in rain. You come to terms
with reality however, and you sigh in the realisation that you won’t be stroking that hair, that those lips won’t be locking with yours, that you won’t be waking up next to that skin, and that you can only admire and fantasize from a distance (at least for tonight).

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The Carry-Over

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It was a sunny Saturday afternoon, with much for Felix to look forward to. His boss had decided to be nice and not rob him of his weekend by summoning him to the office, his favourite football club (Chelsea) was featuring in an English FA Cup game in which they were favourites to win (they had been pitched against a club in the lower divisions), and Omoye, his girlfriend of eight months, was cooking up a delicacy, in a bid to save the pots in his house from loneliness. Continue reading