Archive | October 2013

Eze Goes To School – 1

How’s everyone doing. Here’s another very good writer, Walter Uche. He brings us  4 Episodes of Eze Goes To School over the next 4 Weeks. Reading this episode reminds me of the storytelling skill of Achebe and Elechi Amadi. Uche blogs regularly at http://mymindsnaps.wordpress.com/ and is on twitter @Walt_Shakes. Enjoy…

TL

Eze Goes To School

Gba-gam! Gba-gam! Gba-gam!

The clanging sound of the school bell ripped into my dream, yanking away the image of Anulika as she bent toward me, her lips pursed as she finally prepared to give me that kiss I’d been asking her for in real life, since we entered JSS3 and her breasts started jutting out in tantalizing mounds against her school uniform. Even in the dream world, it wasn’t meant to be.

Gba-gam! Gba-gam! Gba-gam!

I swam up to wakefulness, helped along the way by insistent hands shaking my body.

“Eze! Wake up!” Joseph hissed from beside me.

I groaned in protest as he whipped my blanket from around me. An especially cold draft wafted over my exposed body and I shivered. “Wetin dey worry you?” I growled sleepily.

“Wake up joor! They are ringing the bell for jogging.”

The bed on the top bunk above mine creaked violently as the boy lying on it came awake himself. He was another friend of mine, Ibuka, big, rotund, with the kind of fair, supple cheeks that begged for a teasing pinch every now and then. One day, I’d always worried, his bed would creak one last time and he’d come crashing down on me.

“I don’t want to go for jogging,” he whined.

Duh? Who did? No junior student liked going for jogging. For two reasons. The waking bell was always sounded by 5.30 am. Always. That annoyingly-sprightly SS1 boy, Kelechi, whose job it was to ring the bell, never failed in his duty. I mean, seriously, doesn’t he sleep? 5.30 am is that pre-dawn period when the night cold is at its most delicious, when your dreams have you perched on a precipice, before it sends you hurtling down into a cocoon of fulfillment. Then you awaken. And it’s morning-time. To have that rudely interrupted by the jogging bell was just plain unforgivable. Outrageous. Kelechi needed to be lynched. Beaten properly in a corner of the Appian Way that led to the staff quarters. The second reason was the school prefects – those whip-wielding, stone-faced lords and ladies who stood for the upholding of school rules and regulations. And the assembly of erring students was the unfortunate lot that got to bear the brunt of their wrath.

If you come late to the car park where jogging commenced – thwack-thwack!

If you’re caught strolling instead of jogging – thwack-Thwack!

If you aren’t putting on the appropriate jogging uniform – thwack-thwack-THWACK!

Those canes were to be feared.

So, since I was missing the knickers of my uniform, and Joseph hated – hated – wearing the pink-and-blue attire, and Ibuka could not jog five steps without breaking out into heavy, gasping, blubbering breaths, and since staying back in the hostel and deciding not to go was not an option (the prefects usually came with their canes to drive us out of our beds), my friends and I started sneaking off to the cluster of vegetation that spanned one side of the staff quarters. We would skitter down the assembly ground, cut across the blocks of classrooms, dash down the road leading towards the school borehole, wade across the small spring that cascaded beside the borehole and hurry up the rocky path to a grassy plain. There, in the midst of soil mounds sprouting cassava and maize stalks, we would settle down to snatch back our interrupted slumber from earlier on. The frenzied clamour of students gathering to fetch water from the borehole at sunrise usually woke us up. We would then rise, dust off the dirt and crushed greens from our bodies and hurry down to join the rest of the school in the start of a new day.

Brilliant plan!

It had been working for us for some time now.

And so, on this early morning, as students stumbled out of the bunks, loudly yawning and spreading the wonders of their morning breaths around, the three of us hurried off on our bush rendezvous. It took some stealth. We dodged behind a tree when we spotted Senior Adindu approaching, and acted like we were headed for the car park when the hulking figure of Senior Kingsley suddenly loomed before us. It helped that the pre-dawn darkness hadn’t completely let go of the atmosphere. Soon, the roaring sounds of water from the direction of the spring swelled around us as we approached our hideout. Ibuka’s irritating wheeze resonated close to my ears as he waddled along behind me. Joseph brought up the rear.

The spring was nothing like the frothy cascade of water you see in movies, the kind that falls gloriously over liquid-polished stones. No. Ours was more like a reluctant rush, with an algal-greenish colour which didn’t quite hide the sight of tadpoles dancing about in its depths. Ebenezer, the I-too-know that was in my class, and from Unity House, often opined that there were more creatures lurking inside the murky depths of the spring. When he tossed out names like poison frogs, water-snakes and crabs, Toby, our class bully, threatened him with a good beating if he didn’t shut up. You see, this pathway which led to the staff quarters was a very popular route, and wading through the spring with the water eddying past your feet was part of the journey. Imagine having to do that when you knew that there was a frightful chance of a crab clenching its pincers around the part of your unfortunate legs immersed in the water.

I shuddered now as that thought nudged its way into my mind. I suddenly came to a halt at the bank of the spring, an unexpected move that had Ibuka careening into my back, almost upsetting my balance and tipping me headlong into the water. I swear, this boy needs to lose some of his weight.

I cussed, and snapped, “Watch where you’re going, Ibu!”

“I’m sorry,” he wheezed.

“Why are you stopping?” Joseph groused from behind him.

I turned to him. Joseph was the cool one in our group; he had that lanky build that wore clothes very well, and coupled with his high-cheekboned, proportional features, he was well on his way to being the Don Juan of our set. Girls found him irresistible. It irritated me when I saw some SS1 girls traipse from their classrooms to the JSS3 block to chat him up. Shameless girls! Can’t they date from their own set? Abi fine boys for SS1 don finish? That was why I liked Anulika. She was one of the few good-looking JSS3 girls who didn’t fawn over my friend; she just couldn’t be bothered with him.

The thing is, she just couldn’t be bothered with me either.

“Guy, cross the water nah, make we cross!” Joseph’s impatient voice yanked me out of my reverie. “Abi you wan sleep for here?”

I flushed, embarrassed by what I had to say. “What if Ebenezer is right? What if there are snakes and crabs inside the water?”

Ibuka let out a small whimper of fright, which came the same time with Joseph’s bark of scornful laughter. “Ebenezer is a fool. He may be a genius in class, but what does he know about the spring. Did we not cross it yesterday? Did anything bite us? Students have been crossing it for years, still –”

“Every day is for the student,” Ibuka interjected, “one day is for the crab –”

“Shut up, Ibu!” Joseph snapped. “You boys are not serious. Let me pass joor.” He shoved past the two of us, approached the water and lifted his right foot to dip into the water.

The faint gleam of the dying moon bounced off its slick, green flat-top head as the water snake reared from the spring at that precise moment, its snout yawning, its fangs unfurling menacingly. The timing was perfect, and it sank the fangs into the front of Joseph’s rubber slipper, inches away from the beginning of his toes.

“Aarrgghhh!” he shrieked and recoiled from the water, staggering back into me. I caught him before he could fall to the ground and began pulling him backwards. The movement caused the snake to slither out of the water, onto the ground. Its moss-green length whipped about on the ground. Joseph began jerking his feet about, hoping to upset it into releasing its fanged grip on his slipper. But the snake held fast. He had stopped yelling, but the echo of his shouts was carried on by Ibuka, who kept on darting about behind me, fluttering his hands, whimpering, screeching, “Help him, Eze – kill the snake! Help him – Heu! Joe don die oh!”

That guy is just hopeless.

For a brief while, one that seemed to stretch interminably, we did the macabre dance – I kept pulling Joseph staggeringly from the water; he kept on shaking his foot; the serpent slithered about, holding on fast; and Ibuka cried and ran about in circles behind us. Finally, the snake unclenched from the slipper, whipped around and slid back to the spring, disappearing inside the water in an instant. Silence, broken only by our heaving pants and the dying sounds of the early morning, stretched around us as we stared after it. All thoughts and traces of sleep had vanished from our minds and bodies. The current of the spring now eddied and sluiced down ominously, and we envisioned all sorts of other monstrous creatures lurking inside it. Waiting. Watching.

“Please, let’s go for jogging,” Ibuka sniffled.

The motion was passed and granted. We turned and started back for the car park.

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Burnt – Episode 8

Here’s an annoucement that you MUST read before going on. If you’ve been following, Finding Hubby is read on Inspiration FM 92.3 every Friday between 11:35am and 12noon by T.I.T.I and as expected, we’ve got the whole of Lagos talking. So here’s the deal, we’d like sponsors for that 20minute slot when 20million people are listening. Call 08038205282 or email ajileyeb@gmail.com for more details. I’m counting on you guys to make this happen. Enjoy this week’s episode of Burnt.

TL

BURNT WITH WORDS 3

Jason was sweating profusely inside the air-conditioned room. His mouth was dry and he didn’t know what to say. The tension was heightened because Brian did not say anything beyond that chilling welcome for minutes. He just kept the gun trained on Jason and looked at him through glazed eyes that said nothing of whatever emotions were raging underneath them.

Then without warning he simply dropped the gun and ran up to Jason, and hugged him tightly. He began to cry, the dammed emotions finally breaking free. He only reached Jason’s waist and he looked up through the tear stricken eyes.

“I didn’t know it was going to be so gory and bloody and messy. Did I really kill her? Is she really dead?” the questions tumbled out of the little boy as he tried to say so many things at once.

Jason fell on one knee, visibly relieved that his little brother hadn’t shot him. “But what happened? Why?” he asked, still confused.

“She beat me. She made me touch her. She touched me. She did nasty things to me. Everyday. She threw a knife at me and it cut me here,” he touched his face where the knife had cut him and Jason saw it for the first time.

“What! When did she do this? For how long? That bitch! I will deal with her…”then he remembered that he had just left her corpse in the living room and the reality sank in. There would be no dealing with her.

He was lost in thought so he didn’t realize when Brian suddenly bolted away from him and raced towards the bed. It took some moments for him to recover from the push and a split second after that to realize where his little brother was heading. He tried to catch up with Brian but he had taken too much time to recover and move. Brian reached the gun before him and grabbed it too suddenly. His hands squeezed the trigger and a shot rang out, lodging itself into the opposite wall. Jason jumped back at the sound of the shot and Brian turned around, trembling with the gun in his hand again trained on his elder brother.

“Stay away from me!” he screamed.

Jason was puzzled and convinced that a screw had definitely gone lose in his brother’s head and left him unhinged. “What is the matter Brian? Why do you want me to stay away and point a gun at me, your brother?” Jason asked, trying to appeal to Brian’s sensibilities.

Brian shook his head vigorously “no! You are the reason all this happened to me. It was you that did all the bad things to Aunty Clara that she now came to do to me. It was you, you, you!” he shook in anger as he said this and Jason was truly afraid. He tried to placate his brother “but Brian, I’m your brother. You can’t shoot me now? Think of mummy and daddy; what will you say to them when they find out you shot me?”

“They don’t care too! If they did, they won’t leave me alone with Aunty Clara every time so she can do bad things to me.” Brian shouted

“Brian, this is Nigeria. The police here are not like the American cops, they are very mean to children. If you kill me, they’re gonna torture you and kill you.” Jason said. He had to do some quick thinking. Fear crept into Brian’s eyes.

“What am I gonna do?” Brian said, bursting into tears. “I’ve killed one person, so they’re gonna get me right?”

“I can help you, but you have to put the gun away first,” Jason said.

“No!” Brian said emphatically. “If I do, you’re just gonna beat the hell out of me and then call the Nigerian cops to come and get me. I want you to call mum and dad. They should come back now!”

Jason was perplexed. “But Brian, they’re out of town. We don’t know how long it will take them to get here or if they can come and…”

“I DON’T CARE!” Brian shouted, raising the gun. Jason realized he didn’t really have a choice. He called his dad. It rang out and he told Brian so. “He never picks up anyway. Try mum, she’ll pick up,” Brian said, much calmer than before now that Jason was doing what he wanted.

Jason dialed his mum’s number from memory and she picked up before the caller tune got to the noisy part. “Hello Jason, how are you?” He held his breath.

*************+++++++++++

“Aunty, I want to know how to touch boys so that they like me and only me,” Inya asked.

Aisha was sure now that she had heard correctly. Her mind had deciphered what the little girl was really asking, but the rational part of her refused to believe it.

“Inya, when you say touch, what do you mean,” Aisha asked, still smiling so that she could coax the clarification out of the girl.

“Well, I know if I touch a boy on his peepee and I do this,” she ran her right hand repeatedly over her right middle finger mimicking a movement. Aisha recognized it instantly and she winced unconsciously, dumbfounded.

Inya continued “the boy will shake after a while and if he is big boy, gooey stuff comes out as he shakes, but nothing does if he is small. But I know that’s not the real thing so I want to know what the real thing is and if you will tell me how to do it.”

Aisha’s jaw was nearly on the table. “Who taught you all this and what makes you think I’m the one that can teach you anything? How did you even know this?” she wondered if the little girl had ever seen her and Idris having sex in the house unnoticed.

Inya would have recognized the look in Aisha’s eyes if she was older but she plodded on “I have a boyfriend too, and my uncle taught me how to make him shake the way you make my uncle shake too.”

Aisha’s eyes narrowed. She had been thinking something totally different about how Inya had learnt these things before the last statement. Now it hit her flat in the face like a sledgehammer. “How exactly did Idris teach you?” Aisha asked.

“Teach her what?” Idris asked from behind Aisha. He had come through the back but hadn’t heard what they had been talking about.

Aisha was startled; she hadn’t known when Idris got there. She searched his face to see if he had heard beyond the last statement but there was no indication there. She looked to the living area and saw Hajara and Laraba laughing away, chatting, while Oyiza curled up in between them, reading a book. Had he been teaching Oyiza too?

“None of you is going to answer?” Idris asked, then shrugged and said “anyway, let’s go Aisha”.

Aisha wrestled with the urge to go and break the news of what she had just discovered to the girls’ mum right now. But she knew that would be difficult, she wasn’t even a member of the family. Things like that typically got handled in family ways, and that would be it. She decided against speaking with Hajara right away. “Inya, we’ll talk later,” she said, dismissing the little girl and then turned to Idris and spoke more coldly than she meant to “let’s go.” It was then she realized that he disgusted her.

****************++++++++++++++

The Okwurahs were on their way to Ibadan when Jason’s call came in. They had flown into Abuja from Egypt the previous day to attend a function and then into Lagos this morning to connect Ibadan to attend another function. Conrad had been asleep when his phone rang out. When her own phone rang right after that, Adaku knew it had to be one of her sons. She took the call, ready to scold him for using a phone in school when the rules said he couldn’t but he cut her short and relayed an unbelievable story. Adaku Okwurah shook her husband awake and put her son on speaker.

“Adaku, what is it now, can’t a man sleep again?” Conrad said with irritation

“Your house is on fire and you are sleeping?” Adaku asked, annoyed.

“Fire? Where?” Conrad asked, not yet fully awake.

“Daddy, it’s me, Jason.” Jason’s voice came over the phone’s speaker.

“Jason, you set the house on fire? What are you people saying?” Conrad was annoyed that his sleep had been disturbed. He was so tired but breaking into Nigeria’s political circles after being away for so long was a lot of hard, tiring work and these functions were part of it.

“Daddy, Brian is about to shoot me if you don’t come home now,” Jason said in response.

“What? What pranks are you people playing?” Conrad asked gruffly. “If this is a joke, you will know that we are not in America where I cannot deal with you again,”

“Daddy, he isn’t joking. He has shot the maid dead and I don’t think he won’t do the same to me if you don’t come back. Please where are you?”

“Very close, very close,” Conrad responded, now fully awake.

On the other end, it was news to Jason that his parents were close by. He thought they were out of the country. Those two just did as they liked these days.

“Okay, daddy, how long do you think it will take for you to get home?” he asked.

“I’ll be with you within the hour,” Conrad said. He hung up and shouted “turn around and head straight to the house, you!” The driver did not need to be told a second time. He quickly looked for a spot where they could make a u-turn and they were speeding towards Lagos within minutes.

Back in the room, Brian was getting tired. As time passed, the gun was getting heavier. “How long?” he asked simply. “One hour,” Jason responded. They were both tired but couldn’t back out of the drama any longer, at least not until their parents came. So they waited.

**************+++++++++++++

When they were in the car and near the taxi park, Aisha suddenly asked Idris to park the car.

“What’s this drama now, why should I park the car?” Idris asked. Aisha had been acting funny. Yes, they had quarreled and were trying to make up, but this was a different kind of funny.

“I want to talk to you.” She said.

“Aisha, what is this now? What’s so urgent that you didn’t talk about it in the house and cannot wait for us to get to where we are going that it has to be here on the road?”

“Park the damned car you fucking pedophile!” Aisha burst out.

Idris slammed the brakes and swerved so suddenly he nearly hit a bike. “What the hell are you talking about Aisha? Are you mad?”

“You call me mad? You really have the mouth to call me mad? You are so pathetic Idris. I was going to ask, but I’m sure now. I don’t need to ask anything, you are really doing it. You are sick! Lord!”

“Is that what you were discussing with Inya?” She saw the fear creep into his eyes.

“Yes! She was asking if I could give her further lessons from where you stopped. You are a disgor! Now I regret not confronting you there so that Aunty Hajara can find out how you have been repaying her for all she has done for you.”

“Get out of my car, you idiot. You call someone disgor, yet you think I don’t know about your ‘uncles’ that you routinely service abi?” Idris tried to shoot back.

“You are comparing shagging old men for money to molesting little girls? I didn’t hide that I do runs from you so shut the bloody hell up. I’m going to tell Aunty Hajara.”

“You will do no such thing, Aisha.” Idris said assuredly.

“And what will you do to stop me? Rape and molest me? I’m not eight and even if I can’t come to the house, I know Aunty Hajara’s makeup place. I will meet her there. Arrghh! How did I end up dating a sicko like you?” Aisha responded angrily.

“Of course I know you can. But you will not. You have forgotten the videos we made at home yeah? I still have them on my laptop and you better be a good girl and go home, otherwise those videos and all your nudies will make their way to the web and of course it’s all my plenty twitter followers that will see it first. I’ll be nice enough to make sure someone shares the link with your brothers until your parents see them. That is if you squeal. Actually, I was going to break up with you, so I don’t want to ever see you again.”

Aisha seethed in anger. Before Idris, she had been wise enough to avoid nudies or making sextapes. But he had convinced her and she had been carried away. “Idris, I will leave you and your wretched family. If they don’t find out through me, they will still find out. But if any of those videos get out, I will have nothing to lose. And if that ever happens, you do recall that the police commissioner is one of those my ‘uncles’? Borrow yourself brain.”

With that, she gathered her things, got out of the car and picked one of the cabs in the park. Idris turned the car around. If Inya talked to Laraba… he thought. He would be exposed. He needed to put some fear into that girl.

When he got home, the living room was empty. He had heard Laraba and Hajara talk about meeting with Laraba’s planner so he guessed they had left the house not long after him. He heard some music coming from a corner. Looking into the corner, he found Oyiza practicing her piano. She must be working on her piece for Laraba’s wedding, he thought.

“Where is Inya,” he asked, interrupting Oyiza who answered without looking away from the piano “in the room, sleeping.”

“She must still be exhausted from the asthma attack,” he said with meaning and Oyiza’s head shot up, stopping the music.

He laughed “I am not telling on you Oyiza, okay?”

She looked at him with eyes that looked older than her eight years and he could see the derision in them. Then she went back to playing her music. He left her in the direction of his room, so she would think that was where he was going and then made his way to the girls’ room. He opened the door of the room quietly and let himself in. There in the bed, lay Inya. He sat down beside her and shook her. She stirred a little and then her eyes opened. “Hello Inya,” he said.

ff on twitter @tundeleye

Ariyo’s Dilema

Don’t ask me how I come up with these scenarios o. Read the short story and then take the poll and say what you think in the comments area.

TL

Wedding Band

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” The pastor’s voice brought Ariyo out of his reverie. Ironically, just two years ago, the same pastor had pronounced the blessing that joined him and the woman they were returning to earth as husband and wife. When he had said “till death do us part”, he had pictured that death decades in the future, not a mere two years later. But now, she was gone, to a cruel and violent death which some minister had tagged an act of God. He wished he could strangle her.

He went through the motions and listened to all the sympathizers express their condolences and then went home. The house felt empty, the type of quietness that you can hear. He saw her in every corner, at every turn, in every single room in the house. No, he couldn’t stay in this house, he thought. He picked up his keys and called his mum. “I’m coming,” he said. He got ready to go out and as he placed my hands on the door handle, his ring clanged. Damn, everything brought back painful memories. In anger at no one in particular, he took off his ring and dumped it on the couch before leaving the house.

The moment he got to his parents’ house, his mum noticed immediately. “Ariyo, where is your wedding ring?”

“I took it off before leaving the house,” he responded.

“Ariyo, you want them to say you couldn’t wait for your wife to go cold before you started chasing girls around? To say you used her for something? Young man, go back home and get that ring! In fact, we are going together.” She marched him towards his car as confused Ariyo wondered what he had done so bad to draw his mum’s ire when he came here for comfort.

ff on twitter @tundeleye

Naija Love – Episode 4

Here’s the 4th and final Episode of Naija Love by Esther. Esther is the Head of Music and a Music Analyst for Cool-Wazobia-Nigeria Info FM Abuja. She’s currently working on her book, The Senator’s Daughter due out next year. She blogs at www.memoirsofelsie.blogspot.com. You can follow her on twitter @elsie247  and like the facebook page www.facebook.com/thesenatorsdaughter for updates on the book. Enjoy the final episode of our tlsplace Telemundo…. Feel The Passion!

TL

Naija Love 1

We kissed like starved animals, and I heard his muffled voice from cloud 9.

“Cassandra, I want to be a better man”

He drank of my mouth like I was going out of fashion, his right palm pressed against my puckering nipple,  just then I heard my mother’s shocked gasp. I turned to see her standing with Mirabel behind us. The looks on their faces were priceless, my mum’s voice dripped rage.

“Cassandra I think we should leave now.”

Muna let go of me instantly, looking like a little boy who was caught stealing biscuits, he mumbled an apology and went after Mirabel who grabbed the hem of her gown and stomped out. My Mum’s face was burning with anger and mine with shame. She held my elbow and guided me towards the exit where our car was packed. I felt like a petulant child, why did I allow myself to be caught in Muna’s scandalous mess?

When we got into the car, Mum drove off without a word. You could actually slice the tension in the car with a table knife; I couldn’t take the cold silence much longer.

“Mum, I know I blew it back there, look I’m sorry”

“You blew it? You blew it? Heeeehh!! Oh yeah you blew it alright. Mirabel is one of my most ardent insanely rich clients; didn’t you see him with her? Was there no other male there that you could lock tongues with? Haba Cassandra, Nsi do enyem?”

I felt so bad, I had just found my Mum and I didn’t want some two timing, scheming sonofabitch to come between us.

“Mum that was the guy that helped me from the airport, the one that dropped the note at the reception. I’m sorry, there was already something between us and the rest just happened.”

My Mum’s shock showed on her face and her mouth framed just one word.

 “Oh”

Then her simmering rage overflowed, I could believe that my perfect mother had gone gangster.

“Oloshi, God will punish that two timing bastard, heeehh!! Can you imagine the fool? So its my daughter that he is forming Jack and Rose for Titanic? Listen to me Cassandra, forget that stupid boy, there are lots of them in this Abuja, he doesn’t deserve you. Hah! Imagine the guts”

My eyes were as round as saucers, my prim and proper Mum was ghetto. Seemed every Nigerian had street credibility, even the very polished ones. It was so exciting, seeing my Mum all claws. I couldn’t help imaging her dig them into my step Mum. I mentally jotted down not to tick my Mum off the wrong way.

We got home and watched her favorite soap opera together and talked more about Muna. Mum had calmed down but was still acidic with her tongue. My mind was made up. No more Muna in my life.

                                       ************************************

I looked at my completely made over look in the mirror and sighed with satisfaction. I had been massaged, exfoliated, manicured etc. and my fair skin glowed. I had on a clinging tiny black dress that accentuated my waist and round hips, Funmi had invited me to ‘Club vanity’ in the heart of the city. My first time of exploring the Abuja night life but she warned me that she would likely stop over at other clubs before the night was over. Funmi was my Mum’s dermatologist and a typical Naija girl. She was tall with big bones, with big hair, big laugh and big sassy personality. She was aggressive and sarcastic, constantly teasing everyone around her; they seemed to like it though because they laughed at all her jokes. Over there in US, I would have branded her a bully or bitch but here I had shortage of friends anyway, so I overlooked her overbearing attitude.  Hopping clubs was perfectly okay by me, I was young, wild and free.

 I chuckled in spite of myself, I didn’t see myself as wild at all but that was my own deeply rooted issue, no one had to know. I teased and fluffed my hair into unruly curls that cascaded down my back. I had long hair but this was artificially enhanced in a way that was not obvious. I heard a light knock on my door and opened it to admit Funmi who was looking very colorful and sophisticated. She took one look at me and burst into raucous laughter, then she tapped me playfully on my butt and said

“See this babe ooh, you wan try? who you wan go kill for club today? Mehn you too badt!! You hot no be small.”

I was happy she approved and we went downstairs to her Honda CRV jeep. Funmi was a crazy driver; it was like she was constantly high on life. She played her music too loud, sang along so vehemently that making conversation with her was near impossible except she stopped to comment on the singer’s flawless delivery. She was playing from the album of some Nigerian highlife big deal, Flavour N’abania. Who she claimed was too badt. It seemed everything was either badt or hot to her.

At the club, it was all sexiness, debauchery and Naija dancehall music. Nigerian girls sure knew how to dress. We found a table and settled down to order some drinks. Funmi rushed over to the next table were some guys were lounging idly; it seemed they were her friends because she hugged them and dragged them over to our table. They came over with their drinks and women and Funmi made the introductions.

“Guys meet Cassandra, Madam’s daughter from USA.”

They were really nice and warm, one of the guys she introduced as Aliyu took the seat beside me. He was the only one without a woman and was acting oddly familiar. His voice was also seductive; did all Nigerian guys have seductive voices? He whispered in my ear

“My love how are you finding Naija? I hope say Funmi dey take care of my love for me ooh. Do you want to bite something? They have some small chops.”

Then he grabbed my hand and pulled me to my feet.

“My baby do you wanna dance?”

Everyone at the table laughed and I almost died with embarrassment, why the hell was this guy acting as if he was renting me for the night? A complete stranger, he had said he was a medical doctor, why was he acting like a crude pimp?  I decided to let it pass, to try and be nice at least to avoid spoiling Funmi’s night.

I followed him to the dance floor and in no time, we were gyrating to ‘Your waist’ by Inyanya that saturated the atmosphere. Aliyu dropped his hands to my waist and then in an unbelievable moment squeezed and pressed me to himself. I slapped him twice and backed away, he was shocked for a second before he angrily twisted my arm, turning me around to face him. Funmi came over and slapped him too. That was when we saw the punch that hit Aliyu from the back; it sent him flying across the room. It was Muna, his angry voice boomed over the music.

“Guy! If you ever lay your filthy hand on my wife again, I will castrate you. Na my wife be this, you hear me?”

Bouncers were everywhere and ordered us to leave; Muna linked his hand with mine and gently led me outside to his car. Inside the car, he took both of my hands and looked into my eyes as he said.

“Babe, I’ve ended whatever it was that was between me and Mirabel or any other girl, yeah there were lots of them. I had to stalk you on face book, saved your pictures and have been using them as my DP on Blackberry; even though you stayed angry with me.

That sent a strong message and all the girls I was messing around with majority of them deleted me from their contacts, nothing else matters because I want to be with you…”

I pressed my lips to his and kissed him, I had suppressed this hunger for days.

Just then Mirabel walked up to the car, she was looking very young and elegant in jeans and chiffon top, she glared at me and turned toward Muna.

“Muna, can I see you for a moment in my car?”

Muna held me protectively and made to close the car door but Mirabel held it.”

“This is ridiculous Mirabel, we talked about this. I told you I need to move on with my life, I nor get time for all these drama now.”

He forced the door close but the window was still rolled down and that was when it happened, a guy in a hooded sweatshirt walked by. His two hands were buried deep in his pocket; he stopped briefly like he wanted to intervene between Muna and Mirabel. Suddenly his hand flew from his pocket like lightening, a black pistol pointed and fired at Muna ‘point blank’; then he took to his heels. Muna swerved and slumped in my arms. I screamed as my heart exploded into a million fragments, I pressed my hand to the rosette of blood gushing from the gaping wound on Muna neck.

When I looked up, Mirabel was gone, so were the Nomadic looking Northerners who every one called ‘Aboki’ who sold roasted meat (suya) by the roadside.

Later someone said I never stopped screaming, begging Muna not to die that I loved him. All I remember was trying to dial my Mum’s number with my iphone that was sticky and slippery with Muna’s blood. Blood was everywhere, on my face, hands, cloths, the metallic taste of blood was in my mouth.

Read the rest of the story on Esther’s blog www.memoirsofelsie.blogspot.com starting from next Thursday.

Baba Risi’s Court – Stella Matter

These people don’t know we know them. Enjoy Baba Risi’s Court.

TL

Baba Risi FFK Stella Oduah

Life was good, thought Baba Risi as he prepared to go on air. If anyone had told him two years ago he would have gone on TV three times in the next two years, he would have laughed at the person. But that his court had done wonders. Here he was, about to go on Channels TV in the next few minutes. They had contacted him a few days ago to ask if he would like to anchor an on air debate/peace meeting between the former Minister for Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode and the current on Stella Oduah over the furoe that their back and forth since the plane crashes and the recent two armored BMW of two hundred and twenty five million Naira that Stella just bought.

Stella was in her usual fine suit with a light brown lace wig. Baba Risi wondered why her makeup was so much but he decided not to tease her about it. Shebi he was here to make peace. Femi was wearing his usual post ministerial agbada and face your front cap. Baba Risi on his own part was in his usual white kaftan and skull cap. The organizers had promised him that he would anchor a presidential debate for the grassroots come 2015 if he did well in this one. And they paid him some good money too, so what was there to lose? In the courtroom, Rosco had rented a projector and the room was packed full with spectators watching their own Baba Risi. Of course, Rosco had made sure everyone paid a fee at the gate before entering.

“Welcome o, Nigerians. Femo and Stella, you too welcome,” Baba Risi began.

“its Mr. Fani-Kayode or FFK please. Who is your Femo?” Femi answered indignantly. He was only attending on the insistence of the APC stalwarts who were confident he would floor Stella. He missed PDP sha, these APC people just loved the media too much.

“Femo, calm down jor. We know where dem dey call you Femo now, abi make we begin talk ni?” Baba Risi asked, raising an eyebrow to dare him.

“FFK or I will walk out now,” Femi responded.

“Of course you will look for some excuse to run away with your tail between your legs to your puppet masters,” Stella shot at him.

“So you can see my puppet master through all the layers of caked foundation you have on?” Femi shot back.

“So you know that you are a puppet. Running your mouth anyhow, naming girls you have slept with, claiming fine Ibo women who are above you as girlfriends. You miss your big man daddy abi?”

Femi jumped up from his chair in anger. “You Ibos that we Yorubas of Lagos want to throw out? Or is it because we are accommodating you in our magnanimity?”

“Ogbeni Femo, you dey claim Lagosian? Gbagbe oshi o, abeg, I be Yoruba man, and I no support Femo for that one o. If Ibo no dey now, na so my Angela sef no go dey? Of which, Femo, two of us know now say you nearly beat that boy when he come your side dey sing ‘Sho le, ko le’ the other day because you think say na you e dey talk to.”

Stella burst out into laughter and Baba Risi joined her “so those things you are taking have finally started affecting you there abi? Sorry o”

“What? Baba Risi or what is your name? Are you not meant to be an impartial moderator here?”

“Ah, make una never start now. Oya, I will call you FFK, siddon where you dey.”

Femi relaxed back into his chair, feeling all smug at the little victory he had won. “Oya, make we start, straight to the matter, Madam Stella, why you carry two hundred and fifty million buy bullet proof motor? The motor wey you buy cost past Obama and pope own three times. Who you offend wey you need that kain motor?” Baba Risi asked.

“Thank you moderator. I am the Transforming Aviation Minister, unlike some of my predecessors who don’t even know anything about flying a kite, and some people are not happy about it. They have been threatening my life and we thought it best to provide additional protection to my person, hence the purchase of the car,” Stella responded.

“What in the world are you transforming into? So you are now a transformer like the movie abi? Please transform into an armored BMW now?” Femi Fani-Kayode jeered.

“Yes o, madam Stella, because transformer for our street just spoil and we need light.” Baba Risi chuckled.

“What is this? You people have concocted an ethnic Yoruba gang-up against me?” Stella said indignantly.

Femi laughed almost uncontrollably at Stella. Her makeup was smearing and she was looking red in the face, and the combination just kept him laughing

“Because plane still dey crash or nearly crash, and Femo wey dey laugh person, no be billion billion you sef suppose use for the flying wey we no see? Sikiru, my friend the dealer for Oniru say make I hail you as him good customer sef,” Baba Risi said, tongue in cheek.

“Baba Risi, what kind of accusations are these? Is this how you make peace? We are here to talk about someone calling a tragic crash an act of God and then who didn’t trust that God to protect her and went to buy armored cars of half a billion without any budget and due process.” Femi said, trying to calm himself down. The oga at the top in APC had warned him of this and advised that he should just remain calm. The focus was on Stella.

Baba Risi laughed amiably “Oya back to the matter, make open am before we close am. The question be say why the motor cost like that? Obama wey get Osama people and Taliban wey dey threaten am no need motor wey cost reach your own, even pope  sef your motor na almost three times him own cost. Stella Stella, oya tell me for ear, how much be the motor gangan? You don pay your tithe sha? No go Spain do tummy tuck with the money o, because one Stella wey we all love before with pancake like your own go that side for the thing and e no return”

“Are you accusing me of something?” Stella said.

“Ahhhh, Stella! Kai, I like your boldface sha. Ole o da o, thief no good! If na me sef, my face go strong pass that one. But you know say this car no dey protect for Naija threats o. My baba for Ilisan for don give you one strong gbetugbetu wey nothing go fit touch you and you no go spend two hundred million. In fact, I dey propose now make government stop all this wastage on security come begin use our native security as cost cutting measure. Maybe dem go see money pay ASUU.”

“Yes, yes!” Femi enthused. This Baba Risi was flooring Stella so well he didn’t even need to say anything.

“Baba Risi, what kind of bush man are you? Who would rely on that nonsense that you are saying?” Stella responded, trying to intimidate Baba Risi. She didn’t know who she was dealing with. He burst into uncontrollable laughter.

“Shebi na one of the motor carry you come here? Make we do demonstration now now. Camera, una fit follow us go outside? The director nodded a yes, wondering what this erratic presenter the producer had brought in was up to. He couldn’t deny he had enjoyed the show so far though, so he decided to play along.  Baba Risi got up and said “Stella, Femo, oya, come make we go see say khaki no be leather, bullet proof motor no be nothing if Naija people dey really threaten to kill you.”

They all got outside, with the camera crew and all the social media networks, chat engines and phone lines went on fire, urging people to tune in to Channels TV right away. The producer smiled where he was – this Baba Risi idea was pure genius.

The camera zoomed in on Fani-Kayode’s face and it caught him looking at the car lustfully. It seemed he wished he was the one who owned the car. It then focused on Baba Risi and Stella. “Oya, Madam Stella, shebi the reason for this car na say if you dey inside, nothing, even bazooka from Boko Haram no fit touch you abi?”

“Of course. With the technology, it can withstand a bomb blast. Once inside, I am safe.”

“Oya, enter, lock the door,” Baba Risi said.

The camera followed Stella as a member of her security detail opened the door to allow her in and then she locked it from inside. The camera then returned to Baba Risi, and everyone present and watching at home waited to see what he would do.

“Since I no wan make my enemies know me finish, na still the one wey una don see me use before I go use again, oya ofe, gbe mi”

With that, he disappeared from the camera screens. Everyone wondered what had happened as they looked around frenetically for him. It was Stella’s screams that drew their attention to the car. Seated beside her was a laughing Baba Risi. In Baba Risi’s Court, loud cheers rent the air from all the people watching the projected screen

Burnt – Episode 7

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Enjoy today’s Episode of Burnt.

BURNT WITH WORDS 2

Idris looked pointblank at his elder sister. “I’m waiting for someone to tell me what is going on in here” Hajara repeated, entering the room and shutting the door behind her.

“You know exactly what this is about” he responded defiantly. Hajara fumed as heat ran from ear to ear. “What the hell are you saying Idris. Do you know what people will say if it gets out that you were in the bride-to-be’s room in this unbecoming position? What got into you?” then she walked up to Laraba and checked her over “did he hurt you? Did he do anything to you?” she asked. Laraba simply shook her head in answer.

“You see? As usual, you have taken her side and don’t care about what I’m going through. You are more concerned about what people will say or not about the situation rather than the situation” Idris said mockingly.

“Are you drunk?” Hajara said as she crossed over and slapped Idris. “Is it me who is housing you, clothing you, feeding you and sending you school that you open your mouth and talk to like that? You are leaving this house definitely. I’m definitely going to talk to Donald about this silly behavior tomorrow morning. Since you have grown wings and want to prove your manhood with Laraba, you are old enough to be a man by yourself.”

“No, Aunty, please don’t involve Uncle Donald in this,” Laraba said for the first time since Hajara had come in.

“Go ahead and tell him! Is it not the same Laraba who molested me as a child right under your noses, you and mum and dad? What did you do about it?” Idris asked.

“Idris, that was in the past, and we did what needed to be done about that. As you will recall, Laraba stopped coming to the house after that incident! And we have all grown up and even Laraba here has forgotten that incident. I thought you would have done the same. And this isn’t even the first time you have seen her since then.” Hajara responded, struggling to keep her voice down.

“All of you might move on. You might carry on as if the molestation never happened. But you see, the victim never forgets. Never.” Idris said at almost a low growl.

“Idris, I am sorry, truly sorry.” Laraba said.

“No you are not. You are sorry because you are afraid I can get back at you and scatter your wedding plans so you are dashing me your sorry.”

“Stop being cocky! And don’t think I will listen to Laraba about not throwing you out.” Hajara said angrily.

“Aunty Hajara, ignore Idris. We have to do the right thing. And the right thing is to keep this within the family. We don’t want Uncle Donald looking at this family anyhow and knowing these things about us. It will affect even the way he looks at you too and that will be bad for us.”

Hajara pondered what Laraba had said and knew that the younger woman was right. “We will have to handle this within the family.” She said, primarily to herself.

“As you always do. You people handled my abuse in the family. So you should also handle this within the family.” Idris said, almost smugly.

“Shut up Idris, before I slap you silly for being remorseless! But you will apologize to Laraba right this moment. And this will be the end to this your madness. And young man, do not test my patience, because I just might lose it and act unreasonably and kick you out!” Hajara’s face was twisted with rage. It was the kind of rage that came because she knew that deep down, they were to blame for how they had swept Laraba’s abuse of Idris under the family handling carpet. Now, even though he was wrong and should be punished, her hands were tied.

For the first time that night, Idris himself was truly afraid. He knew that this time, Hajara was serious and would really throw him out if he put up any further drama. It occurred to him suddenly that if this blew beyond this room, questions might be asked and one of the girls could say something that would cause him to get caught. He imagined that his sister would go ballistic. He meekly said “Aunty Laraba, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to do anything, just wanted to make a point. Aunty Hajara, I’m sorry I spoke to you that way, I got a little overexcited.” He really didn’t mean any of the things he just said, but he thought it best to diffuse the tension.

“Better. Now I don’t want to hear of this nonsense further.” Hajara pressed.

“Yes aunty,” Idris replied.

“You may leave,” Hajara ordered.

Idris quickly left the room, before she changed her mind or asked any further questions. When he was gone, Laraba finally let the dams break and she collapsed onto the bed in tears. Hajara sat with her and comforted her. It never occurred to them that Idris might have started rehashing his experience as a child with Hajara’s girls.

***************+++++++++++++++

The recoil from the gun threw Brian back. It took him minutes to recover from the shock the explosion of the gun caused him. He didn’t know guns were so loud up close. After he recovered, he walked to his tormentor who now lay in a bloodied mass on the couch. She was not moving. Brian had thought he would feel some emotion upon seeing a dead human being, but instead he just felt a deep emptiness. He turned around quietly and went into his room to sleep, still holding the gun his hands. Within minutes of lying down, he was fast asleep, and one could not have imagined he had just killed someone. He dreamed a happy dream where he was skipping along the lake in the town they stayed in Mississippi.

****************+++++++++++++++++

Before eight the next morning, Jason Okwurah let himself into the quiet house. He knew it was only his little brother and the maid that were at home, so he had snuck out of school to come and get some that morning. That school stifled him. Back in the US, they had been free in school and had done as they liked, partying, experiment with whatever drugs they wanted, sleeping with who they wanted. But here in Nigeria, this school they had put him was worse than an elementary school in the States. Every aspect of their lives was regimented. It was all rules, rules and more damn rules. He couldn’t even talk to girls openly, he couldn’t use a mobile phone, he couldn’t… damn, couldn’t think. So whenever he desperately needed to get some, this Clara lady had become his escape latch, his get some for free card. And this morning, he had woken up with that urge.

He passed the backdoor into the house and went straight to Clara’s room. The door was unlocked. He pushed it open and went straight to the bed. He was there before he realized it was an empty bed he had come to. He cursed loudly, “the damned girl has left Brian alone at home to go and see one of her lovers. She’s definitely gonna pay for this.”

He spun around and left the room in anger. The blue balls were getting to him and the prospect of being disappointed and laughed at by his elder brother if he returned to school like this riled him. He went to kitchen through the connecting corridor and had a drink. He decided to quickly check on Brian to be sure she had really left him alone at home. It was possible she had taken him along to one of those wretched church services she went to. He decided to go to Brian’s room through the living room since it was shorter than turning round the corridor.

He sensed it before he actually saw it. It was the TV, still turned on and tuned to Africa Magic that caught his attention and told him Clara was home. His eyes logically went next to the couch she would normally sit in to watch the movies and it was then he saw her, now stiffened with blood all over the cream colored couch. He first instinctively ducked behind the couch, as if expecting someone to shoot at him. Then he realized she would not be stiff if she hadn’t been dead for a while and he quickly jumped up. “Brian!” he thought. Whoever did this to Clara could not have missed Brian. He hadn’t seen or even heard him anywhere. When he burst into Brian’s room he was stopped in his tracks by what he saw. Brian was seated on the edge of the bed with a gun in his hands. It was trained on the door and he smiled as Jason entered the room.

“Hi Jason. I heard you come in and I knew you would come here as soon as you saw her. I was waiting for you.”

Jason was confused. Waiting to kill him? He was certain now it was Brian that had shot the housemaid. Had his brother gone mad? He did not move a muscle.

****************+++++++++++++++

Donald could not understand why his wife was so edgy this morning. They had gone to sleep happy and all and she had even told him she would go and chat with Laraba a little when he decided to sleep. He kept running his mind over the previous day to see if he had committed any crimes, but he found none. At the breakfast table, everyone was on the edge – that is everyone except the twins. They chattered like parrots, oblivious to the tension in the room. By the time they came back from church however, everyone seemed to have loosened up and Donald waved the morning aside. It was perhaps just tiredness, he thought to himself. Udoh came around and they decided to go to the club together to watch football, leaving the women to their own designs.

Aisha came around that afternoon to see Idris. He had not called her or even pinged her in days and she was worried. She hadn’t just been in the mood for any friskiness the last time and she thought the quarrel was just one of the short ones they normally had, but it had been days now and they hadn’t spoken.

“Aisha, what are you doing here?” Idris asked once they settled in the dining area. Hajara, Laraba and the girls were in the living room watching TV and he couldn’t take Aisha into his room with Hajara around.

“What do you mean what am I doing here? I cannot come and see my boyfriend?” she quizzed.

“That’s not what I’m saying. You shoulda let me know you were coming. It’s a bad time, the house is pretty full. I would have told you if you called me.” Idris responded.

“You weren’t picking or returning my calls mister. Even if I wanted to apologize for refusing you the other day, I couldn’t reach you. You left me with no choice.” Aisha insisted.

“Okay, okay. But we should go out, the house is just too full. Let me go and freshen up. I’ll be gone for five minutes.”

“I’ve made that fifteen already, abi is it not you. You will take forever.” Aisha said, trying to lighten things up with a joke they always made about how long it took Idris to dress up.

With that, Idris got up and left for his room.

*************+++++++++++++++++

Inya had been watching the dining area with the corner of her eye. She had been hoping to catch Aisha alone so she could talk to her without Uncle Idris being there. The moment he passed them, she waited for a few more minutes to see if he was coming out immediately. When he didn’t, she slipped away from her people and walked quietly up to the dining area.

Aisha didn’t know anyone had walked up to her until Inya tugged at her arm. “Idris, why did you creep up on me like that,” she said as she turned around. When she saw it was only Inya, she put on a plastic smile and said sweetly “oh, sorry Inya, how are you?”

Inya’s heart beat fast. Aunty Aisha was so pretty and she smiled so sweetly to her. She would have lost the nerve to ask what she was about to otherwise. She mustered the courage and spoke “Aunty Aisha, I want to ask if you will teach me something.”

“Of course Inya, you can ask. What is it?” Aisha responded. Her eyes scanned the door Idris had disappeared into briefly. He was not coming yet. Inya said something but because her attention was divided, she did not hear what Inya had said clearly. “Sorry Inya, what did you say?” she asked.

Inya didn’t like repeating the question. But Uncle Idris would be here any time soon. She gathered herself together and asked her question.

Financing Greatness

Naira-Notes-600x330

Last week, I pointed out one of the reasons why capital is scare in Nigeria (Read that HERE). Here’s a follow up to that thought.

Whenever we read history, we read of great men who were the explorers and who broke new grounds and opened new horizons, of great political leaders who led great campaigns and conquered new frontiers for their people. There is one element that we hardly read about though, and from a short study of one family I did in the last week, it became evident that this particular factor is one of the keys to the real development of any modern economy. This factor is financing of dreamers, and it is the lifeblood of every nation that has gone from potentially great to actual greatness. In all the cases I have studied of the modern world from the 1800s forward, the finance for expansion (and yes, it is an expansion akin to empire building) has not come immediately from citizenry through taxation – it has come from banks.

The role of banks cannot be overemphasized. I studied the late expansion of the British Empire, and most of the expansion happened not at governmental instance but by individuals and businessmen who ventured out into the unknown. These trailblazers, like Cecil Rhodes, were heavily financed by banks such as the Rothschild Bank. The Rothschild family was a Jewish family originally from Germany who spread to all the major economies of Europe. It was their financing that drove construction of railways and the growth of much of the industry in many of these places. While they made a fortune doing this, they recognized their roles as facilitators of real growth in the economies they set up shop and in many cases their success was tied to how real the growth they facilitated was. It is not amazing that for example the English branch financed De Beers Diamond Mines in South Africa, one of the most profitable expansions of the British Empire and the largest player in diamonds and perhaps a mainstay of the South African economy throughout the Twentieth Century. The role that the Rothschilds played in Europe was undertaken by the likes of J.P. Morgan in the U.S.

To cut directly to the chase, Nigerian banks need to understand the kind of role that banks should play in driving growth in Nigeria. Enough of the fixation on COT. Enough of the lending that does not drive real growth. Enough of getting funds from CBN and customers at single digit interest rates and giving the loans out at about 30% interest rate without counting all manner of fees. This can get you money in the short term, but you will build nothing that will last. It will only create a big fish in a small pond scenario, where you will make the money in the economy but the economy will not grow to create more wealth. The greater the wealth creation that you facilitate in the economy, the greater the share that can come to you. It’s time for our Nigerian banks to play the role that European and American banks played to birth greatness in their capitalist economies. It’s time for Nigerian banks to break free from the tunnel vision of short term financing and begin to think long term. It’s time the cost of funds provided by Nigerian banks to young dreamers who will expand the frontiers of the nation and build the wealth we need becomes reasonable. Nigerian banks should not be content with the fact that they are one of the three industries (apart from Oil & Gas and Telecoms) which can pay a fresh graduate over One Hundred Thousand Naira monthly for starters. They should have financed enough real businesses for them to be in the minority in gainful employment provision. Nigerian banks should not be content with the fact that they are the ones that can afford the big head offices and nationwide spread. It means the real sector they should be financing is not growing, in spite of impressive growth that they post. It’s time for banks and bankers with nation building dreams to rise.

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