Love on the 25th. Episode 5

Episode 5
Debbie
The thick smell of burning human flesh infiltrated my subconscious as the searing heat travelled the length of my Being. Fast asleep, I saw myself standing before the slow roast of a pig and watched gradually as I became the pig, roasting on the large sized grill. Slowly gaining consciousness, I opened my swollen eyes to a dense cloud of smoke suffocating me and immediately erupted in loud cough, scrambling to my feet when I realized I was the source of the smell, and that the tiny shack I lived in was on fire. The thin mattress which was padded by extra clothing had melted on my back, the candle I used for lighting was nowhere in sight. I was literally on fire.
The burning pain registered instantly as I ran out, temporarily forgetting about the fresh pains in the lower part of my abdomen with the fastest speed my legs could produce; one destination in mind – the pond down the gentle hill. With little visibility and increasing burning sensation on my back, I ran blindly to the small body of water servicing the littered shacks up the hill; the little mattress still glued to my back continued to burn.
Throwing myself in the clear water, the fire was put out instantly but the burning sensation stung me the moment my burnt back was exposed to air as I crawled out of the river weakly. My legs barely able to carry my weight now that the pain in my abdomen resurfaced like Legion after he had gone out of the possessed man in the holy book. Still sore from the forced stillbirth earlier in the day, I wept – for my loss, the pains all over my body, for been abandoned, for been abused. Resting my hands on wet earth, I cried for a long time, total darkness surrounding me save the moon that appeared from the dark clouds as I turned to face the heavens. Fearless and scarred, I sniffed in the hiccups and swore to survive. To be more. I was at my end and I knew that I was ready to rewrite my history at all cost. The night was long gone and my burnt skin was raw and prickly as I struggled to stand and take steady steps up the gentle slope. Seeing my shack burn in a distance, I wondered where I’d go to from here.
Just as I walked past a tree, I perceived the distinct smell of burning tobacco. My heart froze and I hastened my leaf-like legs but not before a deep voice commanding me to stop sounded from the dark. The moon had gone under the thick clouds again and soon the owner of the voice materialized right before me. I stepped back, the red butt of his tobacco glaring at me in the face.
“Wia you dey go?” he asked, a deep drawl in pidgin. His voice thicker than sh*t. He reeked of concentrated tobacco and dry gin – a combination I was sure he used to bath.
“Home” I answered holding my breath.
“Wia you from come?” he asked going around me in circles. The long green cardigan I wore felt heavy to my calves but I was exposed where the fire had feasted on my back.
“Waterside” I replied not flinching as the shadow came to stand before me, feeding me the smoke from his mouth. I refused to cough.
“To do what?” he fed my nose directly knowing that I was holding my breath.
“I was on fire”. I said innocently and he gave a growl.
Suddenly, he dropped the lit stub in his hand and yanked on my breasts painfully. I broke out in a whimper as he twisted my sensitive nubs; tears running down my eyes involuntarily as the receding pain came back.
“Ssssshhhh. Lie down” he commanded as he released me slowly but continued twisting my nipples in circles. I stood defying his command. My back was sore, I had just given birth to my premature baby as a stillborn in less than 10 hours and I was sore down my tubes.There was no way I was going to allow this abuse.
It would seem as if this was a test I had to pass and I could feel eyes of the unknown watching my every move as if waiting for me to take the freedom I had sworn I would.
“Lie down” he barked and then attacked me in a sudden move, my raw back touching the hurting sand in a blink of an eye. The pain caused me to cry out as I struggled to get him off me but he was fumbling with my long cardigan, trying to pull on my pant. My body screamed out in excruciating pain as his weight pinned me down, my lower abodmen ached like my insides where being pulled from my stomach walls, my back like I was lying down on a thousand needles and I could feel blood sipping out of my young womb. Death was staring at me in the face and I knew that this was not the end of the road, it was the breakthrough I needed. I snapped, strength surging into me as the moon came out of its hiding and my eyes opened in the thick darkness to see a big stone within reach. My teeth opened and with so much hatred I bit his ear off in one clean bite. He screamed as I tasted blood gushing out of the faceless rapist, rolling off me. I moved swiftly carrying the stone and as he knelt there holding his right ear, I raised the large stone to the heavens in blessing and pummeled him with all the strength at the centre of my Being. He screamed thickly and slumped. I went down on my knees and blindly began pounding the figure laid out before me. This was victory and I annihilated the enemy with much relish. God had indeed delivered the enemy into my hands. I released the hurt and anguish – pounding him into the earth until my limbs were weak and the involuntary jerks from the mass of flesh stopped. I took a deep breath expecting to feel fear, regret or happiness. I felt nothing as I stared at the mashed flesh before me.
Standing up covered in a splatter of warm blood, I could see blood flow from my attacker, wetting the earth and almost as if I was being controlled, I dragged the body down the short distance back to the pool of water and dropped it by the mouth of the cold water. Discarded what remained of my cloth and took a bath; washing away the blood that had splashed on my face, my raw back stinging faintly on contact with the cold water, unafraid of the night. The moon which before hid behind the dark pregnant clouds had moved overhead witnessing the event and shone brightly as a night bird hooted in rhythm, perhaps a song of victory.
Dragging the body after I had washed off his blood, I deposited it in the water and silently walked uphill to my shack in the nude – this time uninterrupted. A surge of confidence and strength guided my legs as I watched what remained of my shack fall to the ground as I approached. Few neighbors standing with arms folded, no one making an attempt to put out the fire or rescue me. I moved noiselessly and grabbed a pair of trousers and shirt dangling from a makeshift clothing line. Wearing the male getup, I took confident steps and headed to the Highway determined to survive and ready to take on anyone who tried to stop me. Fearless of what the night may hold, I walked back into life, an abused woman and a murderer.
****
Sandra
I knew the moment she twisted beside me that she was having the nightmare again and I sat up, watching her as she struggled, cried, kicked her legs and sobbed quietly before the tears flowing from her eyes dried up. The first night I had witnessed it, I had woken her up and we stayed up all night talking about our nightmares and fears. She had lost a child and I had been abused. Of course I knew her story was far from the complete version likewise mine but we understood that people like us held on to the darkest of secrets. I knew she was going to wake up soon and smiled as she opened her eyes, scanning the ceiling as if trying to determine where she was before finding my eyes and smiling painfully.
“Are you okay?” I asked through sad smiles.
“I want a baby. Let’s get a baby” she croaked, her voice belonging to someone else.
“A baby?” I questioned, a surprise laugh escaping me as I made to switch on my bedside lamp. I wanted to be sure she was really awake and was not talking in her sleep.
“Yes, I will get one” she continued, eyes wide staring at me as if daring me to deny her a request I had a hard time understanding. I had never seen Debbie with a man. She didn’t discuss them. She didn’t bring them home. She never slept out. She had no male friends and now she wanted what they had to offer? It was impossible.
“Debbie, Debbie wake up” I tapped her. She smiled as she sat up and switched on the lamp on her own side of the bed.
“I am awake. I think a baby girl will be nice” she said, looking at me with strewn hair.
“I don’t know what happened in your dreams but I don’t think getting a baby girl is a good idea, not now that you will be busy at work and moving to the new house, a new city. The process of adoption is not what I want to do at the moment and I don’t see you getting pregnant anytime soon” I said covering plausible avenues for getting a baby girl knowing she would bribe me to get the adoption process started. But most importantly, I didn’t want a baby. Not now, not ever.
“You are right. I don’t have the time and it will be selfish of me getting you involved” she said looking at me sadly.
“I miss her you know. She would have been 16 today” she continued and her strong eyes watered as she closed them.
Today was the birthday of the baby lost and I knew she was pained.
“I am sorry Debbie” I said as I pulled her close and stroked her hair. She cried quietly, sniffing in the tears and cleaning them off.
“I have cried enough for one night. So are you going to stay with me?” she asked, managing a smile. I couldn’t leave her now and Abuja seemed like fun. Art business could work here. Who was I kidding? With Debbie here, it was going to work.
“Are you kidding me? With my furniture coming in this morning, it would take the military to send me back. All my shoes can finally have a place called home” I said trying humor. She gave a small laugh as she sniffed again, getting out of bed.
“Thank you” she said checking her emails on her ipad.
“We should have PDG at the address before noon” I said referring to the moving company and she nodded.
It was a Saturday and we have been staying at the Hilton for two weeks. The move was today and we were checking out before noon.
The past week was busy for everyone. The new house was perfect but Debbie had refused it because she had a colleague for a neighbor. It had taken the Oshodi story to get her to have a rethink, not Mr. Fatasho’s soft directive to either have that house or pay out of her pocket.
I had gone back to Port Harcourt to send personal effects and favorite piece of furniture and art from both our flats. The girls were ‘handy’ in grabbing clothes off Debbie’s hanger and picking my shoes but helped with supervision as the workmen packed and moved the boxes. I was stiff from the marathon move and taking the last flight last night to Abuja after lunch with the girls. Debbie was not in by the time I got in and I saw my brush in the position I had left it. I knew Debbie. She was overworking herself again. A call to Debbie confirmed she had not come back to the Hotel since I left on Tuesday but was on her way. She came in 11:45pm.
“Can’t believe I am going to leave here today” I said and she laughed, going to the toilet with her ipad, already working.
“I need to pee and try to sleep in a little more” she said.
“Highly recommended” I said following her to the toilet, collecting her ipad. She laughed.
“So how are the girls?” she asked taking a piss. We had not talked since she got in last night in a bad mood and was now catching up on the gist.
“They miss you” I said
“They miss the lunch” she eyed me and I laughed as I filled her in on the latest man in Uloma’s life. Eva was going to Lagos to be with a new musician she didn’t disclose and Tina was all about inheriting items.
“Eva says she will be coming to see our mansion next week and Uloma is still having the Ex slashing her tyre. Tina is good but angry that she had to give back a refund” I reported as I was now taking a piss and Debbie washed her tear stained flawless face.
“I am going to miss them” she voiced and I knew she was. They were her social life and now she was going to be buried in work for a long time.
“You may want to hold on with the missing. They looted some dinner gowns and bowls. Tina took your gold-studded purse” I said, as she simply shook her head.
“She always had her eyes on it” she said as I flushed and followed her back to bed.
Silently remaking the bed, we got in.
“It will be fine” I reassured as I saw her face fall again.
“I know” and with that she backed me, the thin straps of the free yellow night gown revealing the long slant of ugly scar running from her left shoulder to the lower end of her spinal cord She had never told me how she got it and I waited patiently for the day. My eyes closed and a surprising yawn followed as the first drop of rains sounded outside.
****

Vince
The wet morning had me patiently waiting for my new neighbors. Rolling over in my large bed, I replayed yesterday’s evening. I had been so closed to kissing her. So close but the look in her eyes had stopped me. She looked as if she was going to hurl me at the wall and I had stopped the downward move to her inviting rosy lips. Sandra had convinced her take the house and I was surprisingly anxious to get them settled in.
The past two weeks had revealed an impressive side of the woman Debbie Black really was. The hate was slowly turning to admiration as she worked tirelessly to possibly prove her worth but she didn’t need to. I was over the Passover by the third day and was now preoccupied with getting her in my bed – one fit that was proving to be more difficult than getting my office.
She had been sleeping the office the past week and brought everyone down to the meeting room, allowing the team brings ideas to the table and brilliantly cutting out ideas that were dead without hurting her feelings. Never before have I seen the staff respond to these sessions but all were quick to proffer solutions, take on extra assignments and go out of their way to make sure the projections were almost absolute. Holding mini presentations she presided over, they flocked in to do their best. The number of office sleepers had increased and soon the entire mornings were dedicated to fine tuning ideas and getting the best ads pass through to final presentation.
She was all smiles but I knew she was out of it. Her eyes showed fatigue and as I watched her make an impressive presentation to top management in the same meeting room that she was hired just two weeks ago, I knew I wanted her. I wanted her. I wanted her for me. Nods of approval trailed the presentation and as she sat down, Dad beamed proudly.
“Well done Debbie. I think we are going to have a busy month” he said as he looked at everyone. This meant her presentation was a go and we all had the collective responsibility of making sure it happened.
“It was a collective effort Sir” she said acknowledging the work of her team and smiling at Jacob who was all smiles too. She didn’t know but this was the first time Dad approved on first presentations.
“Let’s tidy it up” he said meaning we all had work to do and soon called the meeting to a close. She was with Jacob the moment Dad left and we went down the floor to the new meeting room they had dedicated to the marathon. Everyone eager for the verdict as she and Jacob who had long established a good rapport with her announced that the presentation was given a go. They erupted in applause and some gave shouts. Filani, an eager project manager in real estate was first to demand ‘popping champagne’ and soon they had drinks and chops flooding the meeting room. Debbie sneaked out and was headed to her office when I caught up with her.
“That wasn’t bad” I said as I arrived at her side.
“I am glad you approve” she said with a tired smile, nodding at greetings thrown at her from staff at the corridor.
“Let’s bury the hatchet. I don’t seem to see a need for it now that we going to be neighbors” she gave a little laugh and looked at me.
“Well?” I pressed and she shook her head, leaving me standing there.
I followed her.
“So now that we are friends, what do I cook for house warming?” I asked, playing the cute card as she matched briskly in high heels to the elevator.
“What?” she asked, then it came to her.
“Oh! The move is tomorrow. I totally forgot. Have to call Sandra” she continued as she dialed.
“Join me for dinner tonight” I blurted as she entered the elevator carrying her to her office.
“Not hungry” and with that the door closed. I stared at the elevator for a while.
Why in God’s name was I bent on getting her approval? Her smile? Her attention? Her insanely curvy self?
I wanted her and it was beginning to annoy me. On a whim, I decided to follow her.
Her door had just closed when I stepped out of the elevator and Idris acknowledged that she was in, waving him off the intercom. I opened the door unannounced.
“Vincent?!” she called as she turned to see me standing in her doorway, losing her footing and tumbling on her settee. I moved quickly to help her up as she found her bearing, frantically looking around for her jacket that I saw on her desk and shoes kicked to different corners. Our eyes met as I knelt down above her, exchanging breath as I slowly traced her mouth, the tip of her nose and tired but beautiful eyes. I longed to plant a light kiss on her well defined lips. Her eyebrows were arched in high fashion with real hair and long lashes blinking in annoyance. She looked dangerously closed to kicking me in my groin as she puffed. It wasn’t time for a kiss yet.
“You should rest” I said as I offered her my hand to stand but she refused to take it.
“Please pass my jacket and next time could you knock?” she said as I made to get her the purple jacket.
“Noted” I said enjoying myself as I watched her struggle into her jacket and jotting her firm chest forward. God! I wanted her.
“What do you want?” she said trying to mask her anger as she stood up, going to her seat. Her question conjured images she wouldn’t approve off – not yet anyways.
“Are we going to have an impressive presentation on how to get back Ele anytime soon?” I teased and she smiled. I had been on Ele’s case for past days at every opportunity.
“A phone call should put that to rest” she answered as her phone rang and she picked.
“Yes. Yes na! I will send him. Hahahhahaa….I know o!!! Okay dear, till you come” she finished.
“Sandra”
“Yes”
“I am guessing you will need a driver. I will be back in 40 minutes to take you to the hotel and have dinner on your account” and with that I left her office wondering why she was so wound up when I entered the office.
Could it be the tattoo-like scar on her back? How did she come about the beautiful scar that looked like a tattoo? She intrigued me some more but the image of her backless white camisole had me imagining how firm her breasts must be to have no bras supporting it – a lurid smile breaking out on my face. Having her as my neighbor was definitely going to be interesting and I had all intentions of seducing the almighty Miss Black, a tent forming in my boxers as the rains increased in intensity.

Love on the 25th is written by Uneñ Ameji. Follow @UnenAmeji on twitter.

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All Fun and Games. Episode 4

Please take a moment to like Tomi Adesina’s facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/moradeadesina and follow @tomi_adesina on twitter. #SupportWriters. Thanks.

All Fun and Games. Episode 4.

Aisha and Moira walked into Hakeem’s villa. Clearly they looked different from the others in their saris which Aisha had chosen for ‘her reasons’. The others wore hip dresses. Even Hakeem wore a polo shirt. Moira had been stunned by Aisha’s decision back home and she didn’t hide her feelings.
“Aisha, why do we have to wear Saris? This is the only one you have; shouldn’t you be saving it up for more important events?”
Aisha ignored her as she applied her eyeliner.
“Aisha, I don’t like this.” Moira continued.
Aisha nodded in agreement. “Me neither, but, have you stopped to think that Hakeem invited us to embarrass us? I gave what you said about me trusting Hakeem so easily a second thought and I feel we should be well prepared.”
“But Aisha, does a Sari solve that?” Moira asked looking angry.
“Yes, it does, Moira. We would look like the traditional ladies that they never thought we could be. Besides, Hakeem would be wearing a Kaftan as usual and I am sure that his friends won’t be any better.” She concluded.
Sadly, Hakeem wasn’t wearing a Kaftan. The only traditionally dressed ones were Aisha and Moira. Moira giggled softly. “Aisha, you should see your face right now.”
The others started to take pictures of Aisha and Moira as they came to greet them. “I love your dress, Aisha. You look stunning.”
“Yeah right! Stunning my a#s!” Aisha replied in her mind as she smiled towards the lady who had complimented her. “How are you?” she asked.
The lady nodded. “I am fine, do you remember me? We used to seat in the same row during the prayers when we were little.”
If there was anything Aisha couldn’t remember, it had to involve prayers. She stopped going to the mosque before her teens. She smiled at the lady as she tried using her memory. “Fatima?”
Fatima jumped on Aisha in excitement. “We were like sisters.”
Moira cleared her throat and held Aisha’s hand. “Don’t get too ahead of yourself, Fatima.”
Fatima nodded in smiles. “Honestly, I am really a fan of you ladies and your achievement and a lot of us look up to you.”
“Obviously.” Aisha replied.
Hakeem joined them. “Hello Ladies.”
“Hi, Hakeem.” Moira said.
He bowed as he took her hand. He then turned in Aisha’s direction. “You are beautiful, Aisha.”
Aisha nodded. “I know that, Hakeem.”
He smiled. “Come with me, let me show you around.”
“Easy man, I am not here for any introduction. I only came to fulfil my own side of the deal.”
He nodded. “I know, but, since you are here, why not have fun? Moira is already having fun with Fatima, you all used to be close.”
Aisha stared in Moira and Fatima’s direction and the pair looked to be chatting away in excitement. “What do you say?”
“Should I get you a drink?” Hakeem asked.
She shook her head in disagreement. “I don’t take alcohol.”
They all took their seats round a large table as food was served. “Before we start to eat, I want to tell us the real reason why I thought we should come together.”
Moira stared at Aisha. “Here it comes.”
“I wanted us to catch up on old times and what others have missed about us. We’ll take turns to talk about families, vacations and all.”
Aisha murmured underneath her breath. “Let’s go now, Moira.”
“Don’t be such a killjoy, we are just about to be let in on juicy gossip.” She whispered.
“You are so dumb, Moira.” She said through clenched teeth. “We are about to be embarrassed here.”
Moira grinned. “Not me, baby. It’s you. I have a lover.”
A coin dropped beside Fatima. Aisha jolted as Fatima sat close to Moira. Hakeem smiled. “Fatima, you are up. You will toss the bottle and the next will speak.”
Moira stared at Aisha. “Get ready.” She said with a grin.

++++****++++
Daniel approached Vicky as soon as she walked out of the coffee shop.
“We are closed for the day.”
He smiled as he walked along. “I know, but I thought I could walk you home.”
She stopped and stared at him. “Daniel, I am going to try to be as explicit as possible. I don’t love you.”
He nodded. “I know.”
“And I will never love you.” She added.
He swallowed. “You don’t know about that.” He replied.
“Why?” she asked.
He folded his arms. “Let’s just say because you don’t choose who you love.”
She rolled her eyes. “I may not be able to choose who I love and you are right, I didn’t choose to love Craig. Now leave me alone.” She said and walked off into the night.

++++****++++
Craig closed his box. “Where is that idiot, Daniel?”
Bolu shrugged. “I don’t know, I guess he went out for a stroll.”
“If he doesn’t return in good time, he’ll miss the taxi.” Craig said as he checked his phone. “We have about thirty minutes.”
Bolu took a deep breath. “Do you feel comfortable about this?”
“Who feels comfortable about anything? I got a message from my future wife that I have to get my stuffs and move to a new place; all we have to do is wait for her cab man and go with him.”
“Craig, what if you…I mean we are unable to survive this thing?” Bolu asked.
Craig shook his head. “You are not in this with me, I am in it alone. Coming with me to live in the new house is just to make sure that I am not bored there since I can’t work at the mall anymore.”
The door opened and Daniel staggered in, eyes blood shot. “You are a piece of thrash, Craig. You are a worthless man!”
Craig shook his head. “That’s what excessive drinking does to a man. Be warned.” He said in response to Bolu.
“Vicky doesn’t want me, she only wants you. You don’t deserve her. You don’t.” Daniel shouted as he tried to make it to Craig but he bumped into a seat.
Bolu helped him to a seat. “Take it easy, bro. You have had too many.”
“I have had nothing. Craig has had it all. Get out of here, Craig. Don’t live in my house anymore. Go away!”

++++****++++
Aisha smiled as the bottle top tilted slightly away from her at the next turn. An excited chatterbox took up the mantle and started to talk. “Right now, my husband and I are saving up to get money to buy our own house. We have a little boy and he is so adorable. He wants to go to a new school but we can’t afford to change his school yet but when we afford it, we would take him there.”
“So why are you putting the house ahead of your son?” Aisha asked, cutting in. “Ridiculous.”
Moira stared at Aisha. “Aisha.” She said, through clenched teeth.
“Don’t ‘Aisha’ me. She wants a house for status sake, and her son is unable to go to a good school, isn’t that just dumb?” Aisha said.
The woman took a deep breath. “It is not dumb, Aisha. My son wants a new school and a better one, but he needs a roof over his head first. We have had to patch the roof of our house times without number because water keeps coming into it and you may think that we all seated here are as privileged as you are, but we are not all like that. Not all of us made it. Some of us are still looking up to God for the day we would be better.”
Aisha swallowed.
“But until that day, we would continue to do what we can to take care of our families in the best way we can. It’s my apologies that my son wasn’t born in one of the best hospitals in this world or that my son has not been privileged to have a scholarship like I did which brought me into the same environment as kids like yourself back then in our elementary days.” She continued as she stared into Aisha’s eyes. Aisha slowly started to blink and pant. The woman, unfazed continued as the others were silent. “I will get better education for my son, but first, I will get a roof for his head, so that he doesn’t have to read with the rain dropping on his forehead or sleep in a breeding stream of mosquito made from the rain.”
Aisha’s palms were wet and she looked nervous as the woman continued. “Please stop.” Aisha muttered.
“One day my son would be able to afford the good things of life, but until that day, don’t tell me that I have dumb plans for him.”
Aisha grabbed her bag and ran out of the meeting with Moira and Hakeem chasing immediately.
“Aisha wait!” Hakeem said as he caught up with her pulling her hand.
Aisha yanked out of his grip. “Is that why you brought me here?” she screamed as tears streamed down her eyes. “You wanted me to see other people’s sufferings?”
“Aish-”
“-Don’t!” Aisha yelled. “Don’t say anything to me.”
Moira swallowed as she saw her friend in tears for the first time in a long time, the last time Aisha had to shed a tear was when her mother passed away. She was only thirteen then and her mother had been killed brutally by armed robbers. Alhaja was returning with the girls from a charity event when they were attacked by robbers who made away with her money and car leaving Aisha and Moira in tears. Moira screamed and cried so much while Aisha had hugged her best friend as she sobbed silently. One would have thought that it was Moira’s mother who passed away, not Aisha’s. Aisha always knew how to keep the emotions in, but not in this case. She was in tears as she yelled at Hakeem.
“Aisha, this…this-”
Aisha yelled. “Just leave me alone, Hakeem. I have honoured my own side, stick to yours.” She said and walked out with Moira following her.
Aisha didn’t drive home. She parked the car at a water front and gave the keys to Moira. “You can go home.” She said and walked away.
Moira followed her like a bee. “I can’t leave you alone.”
Aisha took her seat on the sand. “I really want to be left alone, Moira.”
Moira took her seat beside Aisha and wrapped her hand around her. “It’s been a long time.”
“Since we were together here?”
Moira nodded. “Yeah, and since I have seen you cry.” She chuckled. “I miss Alhaja.”
Aisha took a deep breath. “It’s been a while, right?”
“You know Aisha, you are allowed to really cry about it.” Moira said.
“No, I am not allowed.” Aisha said.
Moira took Aisha’s hand. “We can go and see her.”
“I don’t want to, Moira. It’s too hard for me.” Aisha replied. “I wish I was able to defend her that day.”
Moira smiled faintly. “We couldn’t do anything, Aisha. We were just girls.”
“Yes. Weak, Useless and Feeble.”’
Moira’s face fell. “Please Aisha, we can talk about happier things.”
“Like the woman whose son has a poor sleeping and studying condition? The woman who would let her son grow up with the notion that the society robbed him of everything and maybe someday, he will attack someone else like those bastards did to my mother?”
Moira took a deep breath. “Don’t beat yourself up, Aisha.”
“Are you not afraid that this boy might grow up to be like one of those hoodlums if he continues in those conditions?” Aisha asked.
Moira nodded. “What are you trying to say?” she asked with a smile.
Aisha shrugged. “I am going to have someone investigate her family and I’ll see what I can do about it.”
“Are you trying to say that you want to help her?” Moira asked, grinning.
Aisha took a deep breath. “Do I need to speak Mandarin for you to understand?”
Moira smiled.

++++****++++
“Wake up man.” Craig said as the pulled the sheets from Bolu.
Bolu groaned as he dragged himself from the comfortable bed. “I have not slept this well in ages.” He said.
Craig looked outside the window. “I’d get ready for work if I were you.”
“And you?” Bolu asked as he started to get into his trousers. “Are you not coming?”
Craig shrugged. “Very much later. I can’t be working at that place with this new job of mine.”
“Oh…I see.” Bolu said as he picked his toothbrush and reached for the paste.
Craig passed it to him. “What about the bathroom?”
“I’ll be late if I take a bath, can’t afford to be fired. I don’t have a cougar yet.”
Craig hissed. “She is not a cougar and you don’t need me to remind you that this is confidential.”
Bolu nodded. “I am not your problem.” He said.

++++****++++
“So, we have located her family and we would be sending anonymous aid to them today.” Moira said as she placed her iPad on the table.
Aisha nodded as she took a view from the large window.
Moira wondered what her friend was up to that drew her mind so far away. “Anything that I should know?”
Aisha turned in her direction. “Moira, I need to take that guy to see my father soon.”
“Eh, why the rush?” Moira asked taking a seat. She poured herself a glass of water as Aisha took her seat. “What is going on?”
Aisha drummed on the table nervously. “I know Alhaji, when he sets a deadline, he is set to make you fail, now, if I don’t let him know I am serious, I might just be in trouble.”
“No, I’ll say we should wait. If you take Craig to him now, he’ll smell it. Let Craig be the one to come to him.”
“What are you suggesting? That I tell Craig to go and see him?” Aisha asked.
The intercom rang and Aisha pushed the loudspeaker button. “Yes?”
“Alhaji is coming up to your office.”
“Thank you.” Aisha said as she ended the call.
The door opened and Alhaji Ibrahim walked in. “Good morning, ladies.”
“Good morning, sir.” Aisha and Moira replied in unison.
He smiled at them as he took a seat. “I hope you know why I am here, Aisha.” He started.
“We cut more deals yesterday?” she asked feigning ignorance.
He smiled. “Funny? Look Aisha, we had a deal, I am already scouting your replacement.”
“Dad, love comes softly.”
He laughed. “Good to hear you say a correct line about love.”
“You’d be surprised about a lot of things that I know.”
Alhaji nodded as he stared at the pulsing intercom. “You have a call, aren’t you going to take it?”
Aisha waved it off. “It must be something work related, we can handle it later.”
“Good to see you put work aside for family, I am undoubtedly impressed…even if it is for now.” He said.
There was a light tap as the door opened. Craig walked in a black tuxedo. He had the look of one of those ‘Hollywood stars’ and with the dashing smile that he posed, Aisha smiled back. Moira too smiled.
“Good morning everyone.” He cowed in his manly tone.
Aisha immediately rose to make the introduction. “Dad, this is Craig. He is a friend and Craig, this is my Dad, Alhaji Ibrahim Bello.”
Alhaji Ibrahim stared at him as Craig stretched out his hand. “Good day, sir. I am Craig Adegboye.” He introduced.
Alhaji took the hand firmly. “Alhaji Ibrahim Bello.”
“It is an honour to meet you, sir.” Craig said.
Alhaji nodded. “Are you from around here?”
Aisha immediately jumped in. “Oh Dad-”
Craig cut her off. “Easy, babe. Alhaji is not a tiger.” He said and smiled in Alhaji’s direction. “Sir, I am new in town. I have been in Dubai for a while now.”
UBAI???????????? Aisha’s head went into a shock. Of all places to choose??? Her father could be called an aficionado in matters of Dubai and her people. She prayed silently that Alhaji didn’t ask any further questions.
“Good to meet you, son. See you around.” Alhaji said, patting Craig on his shoulder. “Have a nice time. Moira, come with me.” He said as he walked out.
Aisha waited for Moira to shut the door after them before she started her outburst. “I am not paying for you to wear a tux that costs five thousand dollars.”
Craig took a seat. “I didn’t know that there was a price tag on your definition of ‘standard’. ‘Next time you come here, wear a tux’. Remember that?”
Aisha took a deep breath. “I am not funding that credit card once it runs out.”
“I see you put a Range Rover SUV in the house. I am not a fan of that car.”
She scoffed. “I didn’t expect you’d be. It is difficult to buy class, but that is what you are going to ride in.”
“I was thinking I could get a Porsche Panamera, I checked out the details of that car and it is hot. Or maybe a Ferrari?”
She hissed. “Listen to me, I know it is difficult for a man like you to have some pride of his own, but I advise you get some soon. I am not about to allow you ruin my life.”
“You need me and remember you bought me, you need to pet me and take good care of me.”
She nodded. “Where do you want to work?”
“Work?”
“Yes, work. Or what are you going to tell my father next? That you run shipments and I am sure you don’t even know what a wharf looks like.”
He smiled. “I know you have a personal ship, you could give it to me. Or what do you think?”
“You are a fool. That’s what I think. What else can you do with your brain, that is, apart from stealing? I need to complete your profile; my Dad would run a background check on you soon. I can’t be caught napping.”
He took a deep breath. “I studied computer science.”
“Okay then. I can find something for you. You have to head a tech group to make your resume good. Who can I call?” she said, thinking aloud and then dialled from her phone. “Hey man, what’s up? I need a big favour from you man…”

++++****++++
Aisha ushered Craig into her house with Moira following behind. “This tour is for you to be up-to-date with everything here, I don’t want Alhaji surprising any of us.” She said as they walked.
“You live in this place alone?” he asked with a great deal of surprise.
Moira cleared her throat. “I live here too.”
“There must be a pool somewhere here.” He said.
Moira nodded. “Yes. There is one in the backyard where we have the barbecue stand and all.”
“The rooms are upstairs.” Aisha said. Craig motioned to the stairs. “Where do you think you are going?” she asked.
“To see the rooms. This is a tour, please make it complete.”
Aisha shrugged and led him upstairs to the rooms. “Satisfied?” she asked as they left her bedroom.
He nodded. “Beautiful room you have there.” He said as he approached a door.
Aisha stepped ahead of him. “You can’t go in there.”
“Why is that?”
“You just can’t.” Moira echoed.
Aisha pointed to the stairs. “Shall we?”
He nodded and followed them.
Aisha knew what she was getting herself into and what mattered the most to her was her money. She would be ready to do anything to get it and her investment in Craig looked like it might be a wise one after all. She had gotten him a job and a new life but he didn’t need to know her little secret, the only thing she could really call ‘her’.

Earliest Civilization: The Kushites : Meroe : Nubia.

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During the time of ancient Egypt’s glory – during the third and second millenia B.C. – the influence of Egyptian civilization was strong in the land to the south, the eastern or Egyptian Sudan, often called Nubia and known to the Egyptians as Kush. The
northern Nubians, darker skinned than the Egyptians who may have originally come from Asia and those further south were Negroes. Egypt traded with, fought with, and to some extent ruled over these peoples.
early Africans
A Kushite civilization in Nubia, with its capital at Napata, flourished from the 11th century B.C; and at the same time Egypt entered into a long period of weakness and divided rule.

About 750 B.C. the Kushites began the conquest of Egypt, and in 715 established there a Kushite dynasty (misleadingly known as the Ethiopian Dynasty). But about 50 years later the Kushites were driver out of Egypt, after some tremendous battles, by invading Assyrians. The Kushite kings retired to their old capital at Napata, where they continued to rule until early in the 6th century B.C. They then transferred their capital to Meroe, 300 miles further south, perhaps because Meroe was situated in an area rich in iron ore.

The Kushite Kingdom of Meroe lasted for eight centuries, until about A.D. 320, when it was destroyed by the King of Axum, the rising power in Ethiopia. The Kushite civilization vanished completely. It was not until very recently that knowledge of it
has been compiled, from inscriptions in tombs and the ruins of Meroe and Napata.
NubianMeroePyramids30sep2005(2)
The Meroitic writing has been partly deciphered, though the language is dead. The Kushites were great traders – from Red Sea ports to the east, and through Egypt where their relations with the Ptolemies in the last centuries B.C. were generally
friendly. The Kushites were skilled iron workers; and their armies gained strength from their horsed cavalry and their taming and use of the elephant. Meroe was a splendid city, with a magnificent palace and a beautifully decorated Temple of the
Sun.

About 200 years after the destruction of Meroe the Nubian descendants of the Kushites were converted to Christianity by missionary monks from Egypt (where at that time Christianity was widespread). There then existed for many centuries
Christian kingdoms in Nubia, where the people appear to have led a comfortable life.
laoe
Good farmers and craftsmen, they were also greatly interested in learning. They developed a modified form of Greek writing suitable for their own language, and built
schools and libraries. After the Moslem conquest of Egypt in the 7th century (see chapter 4) the Nubian Christians continued on friendly terms with Egypt until about 1250, when their kingdoms were invaded by Moslem Arabs and African neighbours who had been
converted to Islam. By the 14th century this Nubian Christian civilization had faded out.

This short history has been compiled from the study of a number of works, including the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Encyclopedia Americana, Every-man’s Encyclopedia, W.L.Langer’s “Encyclopedia of World History”, other reference books such as Whitaker’s Almanack and The Statesman’s Year Book, “The Last Two Million Years” published by the Readers’ Digest, and “Discovering Africa’s Past” by Basil Davidson.

New episodes of Love on the 25th by Unen Ameji and
All Fun and Games by Tomi Adesina

Farafina Creative Writing Workshop 2014

The 2014 Farafina Creative Writing Workshop, sponsored by the Nigerian Breweries PLC., will take place August 5 to August 15 2014 in Lagos, Nigeria.

According to the press release:
“The workshop will take the form of a class. Participants will be assigned a wide range of reading exercises, as well as daily writing exercises. The aim of the workshop is to improve the craft of Nigerian writers and to encourage published and unpublished writers by bringing different perspectives to the art of storytelling. Participation is limited only to those who apply and are accepted”.

To apply, send an e-mail to udonandu2014@gmail.com

Your e-mail subject should read ‘Workshop Application.’

The body of the e-mail should contain the following:
1. Your name
2. Your address
3. A few sentences about yourself
4. A writing sample of between 200 and 800 words. The sample must be either fiction or non-fiction.

All material must be pasted or written in the body of the e-mail. Please Do NOT include any attachments in your e-mail. Applications with attachments will be automatically disqualified.

Deadline for submissions is June 30 2014. Only those accepted to the workshop will be notified by July 22 2014. Accommodation in Lagos will be provided for all accepted applicants who are able to attend for the ten-day duration of the workshop. A literary evening of readings, open to the public, will be held at the end of the workshop.

Orange Prize winner, Chimamanda Adichie is the creative director of the Farafina Trust; and together with some other notable writers like Kenyan Caine Prize winning writer, Binyavanga Wainana and Aslak Sira Myhre, they will run a ten-day writing workshop.

So, time to get your ink flowing. Goodluck!!!

Love on the 25th. Episode 4

Read episode 3 of Love on the 25th by @UnenAmeji

Episode 4
Vince.
I took her frail hand in mine and watched as a mix of emotions played out on her face. Running a facial recognition memory scan, I came out blank. I knew I had seen her somewhere before but the place and time eluded me as I fought hard to recollect. The awkward handshake had gone on for more than five seconds and I released her hand, smiling self-consciously.
Perhaps a one night stand, a fling? I scanned furiously, bent on finding out where I met her as Debbie introduced us. Her luggage was carried to the boot and I played my dazzling smile reserved for awkward situations as I now found myself.
“Nice to meet you Sandra” I said holding the door opened for her as she got in still looking at me. Soon we were driving out of the airport amidst their laughter sidelining me as I sat as the passenger.
“Dinner anyone?” I asked aloud, cutting the exchange between the two short. I was rooting for Debbie to refuse.
“No” it was Debbie.
“Yes” it was Sandra. Both had spoken at the same time. I smiled.
“Well?” I coaxed.
“I am tired. Need to retire early” Debbie who was sitting behind me explained.
“Sandra?” I called.
“Well, a short one will be alright. Kind of hungry” she said with a smile, a cleft appearing on her chin.
“Great. We drop Debbie and get to it?” I asked, relaxing visibly.
“Debbie?” it was Sandra.
“Yes. That will be perfect” she said and they continued with meaningless gist. We arrived at the Hilton 30 minutes later after series of private laughs and quick questions as to how Abuja works and how safe residents were.

Debbie was out of the car almost immediately carrying her legendary briefcase and taking a call.
“So you two have fun. Bring back some grilled chicken, will you?” she was saying covering the mouth piece as Sandra came round to give her extra large handbag to the bellboy before extracting a purse.
“You should come you know” she persuaded as Debbie continued on her phone call.
“Tomorrow I promise” she said covering the mouth piece again.
“Yes, yes sir” she continued waving us off.
“See you tomorrow” she directed at me with a nod and walked away in fascinating steps that had her backside giving me dirty thoughts. Almost disappointed, I focused on task at hand.
“Shall we?” I asked holding the door for the lady I was eager to identify.

The drive to Grills&Bar in Wuse II was in complete silence and I wondered if this was a case of a broken heart I had no idea of.
“A great place” Sandra finally voiced out as I took my favorite spot at the far end of the large room.
“You should wait for the food” I replied easily. The attentive waiter approached and soon the table had two trays of sizzling grilled seafood mix and a bottle of Pinot Noir littering it. I was more interested in finding out where we met and barely touched the tray set out in front of me.
“So I take you want to know where we met” she said cautiously as she chewed on the mix.
“I was looking for a better way of approaching that” I tried a charming smile. If she was going to throw the bottle at me, I was buttering her up to reconsider.
“You could have asked” she said swallowing and flushing the mix with a large gulp.
“Obviously” I was playing cute. She was serious and tensed now.
“Remember the homeless stranger you always gave N1, 000 every Thursday at Oshodi Bridge some five years ago?” she asked suddenly, looking at me straight in the eyes.
“You?!” I was shocked; looking at the beggar – woman who I thought was dead; memories that eluded me earlier threatening to flood my senses.

The day had started out like any other Thursday and I had just dropped at Oshodi to take a connecting bus to Bode Thomas in Surulere, when out of nowhere the female beggar who I always gave N1, 000 ran past me to the Express and got knocked down instantly. Immediately, traffic pooled at the scene and as I stood rooted to a spot, I saw her slumped body been carried away in the car that had knocked her down. That was the last time I used public transport to C.D.S and three weeks later after the Passing-Out-Parade, I was on the last flight to Abuja.

“Yes, I was the beggar. I can never forget your eyes. They were so expressive and kind” she said smiling.
“I had no idea…I am so sorry. What happened to you? I thought you were dead, I saw you the day you got knocked down and I just thought …” I couldn’t complete the sentence. How did she survive? Did she go back there? How did she meet Debbie? What really was her story? I sat back totally shocked as I studied her frail frame and perched eyeglasses. It was really her!
“Thank you Vincent for those months. I really owe you my life” she said, now somber and quiet.
“It was nothing Sandra. I mean” I said throwing my hands up.
“You know, you were also the first person I spoke to when I came to Lagos” she said looking at me.
“How is that?” I was confused now.
“A lady asked where she was and you told her Oshodi in the funniest of accent. Can you remember?’” she asked, looking at me with a small smile.
“Well, I really do not remember” I answered truthfully.
“But of course. You don’t even have the accent now. I went back to Oshodi Bridge in search of you and when you stopped that first day to give me money while I sat waiting to see if you would pass by, well, I just couldn’t stand up and tell you to help me. I guess I just sat there waiting for the day I’d have the confidence to tell you I needed help or have you accommodate me. Now that I say it out loud, it sounds stupid” she said avoiding my eyes and trying hard to smile through slowly watering eyes.
“But you should have or gone back home” I said holding out my hand to her.
“I paid to stay under the bridge. It was that way or you know…., pay some other way” she said, eyes fixed on the entrance behind me, leaving out the home part.
“……so the Thursday you didn’t show up, I had no money to pay rent……” she continued, the implication dawning on me. She was running from an attacker.
“You were running” I said sitting up.
“Yes” she took her hand from mine, steadily taking a sip of her glass.
“I am sorry” I apologized and she smiled bravely.
“Oh! It is nothing” she said cheerfully and dropped her glass but I knew she was pained.
“Glad you are alive and doing so well now” I said, feeling sorry for her.
“So what is happening between you two?” her blunt question momentarily taking me by surprise.
“You mean Miss Black yes?” I said formally.
“Debbie. Yes” she corrected
“She is a mean colleague” I made a serious face and we broke into a laugh.
“Not fair! She is so not!” she defended, playfully hitting me on my shoulder as she took a sip of her glass again.
“I mean it. She puts mean to shame” I stressed and she broke out in another round of laugh shaking her head in the negative. The conversation improved after that and the rest of the evening turned lighter with few laughs and a recount of the little stunt Debbie pulled.
“So what are you going to do now?” she asked after the laughs.
“Oh well, I guess it wasn’t meant to be. She is not giving me a chance to explain” I said signaling the waiter.
“I can’t believe I missed it though. Maybe she needs convincing or time.” she sweetly and I nodded.
“From Miss Black” I sounded professional and she was giggling again.
“Maybe” and she gave a small yawn.
“Time to go to bed” I said as she tried to stifle another yawn. A short dinner had turned to a long reminisce of 1,825 days. I was tired too.
“What time is it?” she asked taking a look at her watch.
“10:53pm” I said looking around the almost empty lounge after I had paid for the dinner and Sandra ordered for two extra plates to be packed separately.
“We should go”.
The tired driver smiled openly as Sandra handed him a bag she had ordered for him.
“Thank you Ma” he said collecting it before opening the door for her with enthusiasm.
“I bet she won’t be awake to eat her order” I said we walked into the hotel at 11:08pm.
“She is awake” she said breezily as we headed to the 6th floor.
“What room?” I asked as we stepped out of the elevator.
“She said 414”
“And here we are” I said as we stood in front of the door and she gave a tap. I held my breath, waiting to see Debbie in a night dress.
The door opened but instead of her was my father. I turned to stone as I watched him give her a cold perk and greeted Sandra who was smiling from both ends of her face.
“My friend Sandra, she is here to make sure I get the job done” it was Debbie making introductions and smiling openly.
“Mr. Fatasho” she said.
“Please, Abel” my father said taking Sandra’s hand in his large palms.
“Nice to meet you Abel” Sandra said.
“My pleasure. Please enjoy the rest of the night. It is past my bed time” he said in his usual fashion and both ladies laughed. I gave a grunt.
“How is it going?” he asked me as he joined me outside the door.
“It is ready” I said tensely as I directed a heated look at Debbie in silky night shorts and sleeveless top. Why was she exposed with my father? I had my reservations about my father giving her the position but having him in her room at this time of the night and in that night dress?
I was jealous.
Silence trailed the group. Sandra spoke.
“Well, I am so tired standing in these heels. I should get ready for bed”
“Do come around the office tomorrow or I will have the driver come pick you up for lunch” he said to Sandra taking her hand again.
“Good night Sandra” I said as she gave me a hug and gave a nod to Debbie before turning on my heels.

****
Debbie

‘Green markers indicate profit optimization’
‘Orange needs a little pick me up or rework’
‘Red needs to be cancelled entirely to cut company losses or have new businesses developed’
The whiteboard served to clear my thoughts as I scribbled with the markers after studying the companies under the Group till 2:00pm.
With only my camisole and bare feet, I matched back and forth to map out my thoughts on the white board. Having studied the market and the position of each company in the market, I projected how fast they would respond to capital injection and drastic marketing campaign I was putting up for a small budget. Mr. Fatasho’s words ringing in my head. Zenith Group was in the deep and now more than ever needed failing companies to declare high profits or be faced with options of foreclosing some of them. Amputating-the-cancerous Mr Fatasho had described it.

Out of 12 companies, 8 were in red markers. Sage&Sages surprisingly had the highest rating for a period of 13 months while I was head of the business division. Goidab Nig. Ltd, a manufacturing company was now taking its place. As I walked back to the board to put down my next line of thoughts, my intercom rang.
“Yes Idris” I called somewhat irritated at the disturbance.
“She lives” it was Vincent.
“Vincent Fatasho”
“I see you working on my father” he accused and I took my seat.
“I see you working on Sandra” I teased.
“I am not and you know it” he snapped.
“Don’t get green under your collar. I am busy at the moment. Is there something I can help with?” I asked, turning to look out of my glass wall.
“I bet you are. We are having dinner after work and you are going to work on getting back my fiancée” and with that he dropped.
I smiled wondering what his problem really was. 7 years older than him, I briefly considered giving the ‘seniority-card’ but decided against it. He was just a boy scorned but he would get over it soon enough. As it were, I had work to do.

The next few hours flew as I developed remedies for failing companies, proposed capital injection to companies filing for bankruptcy and reviewed business models being implemented. I called for the meet tomorrow with the team for a brainstorming session and stretched satisfactorily with legs on my table. At this pace, the presentation to Mr. Fatasho would be ready within the week.
Sandra had called to ask me if it was a go to have lunch with Mr. Fatasho earlier and I had grudgingly agreed. She was like my younger sister and I was perpetually on the lookout for her.
The intercom rang interrupting my thoughts.
“Dinner time” it was Vincent again. I looked at the grand wall clock and it told me it was 6:25pm.
“Great. I am leaving the office in 5. Meet me at the elevator” I said dismissing him purposely. I was packed and left the office in 5 minutes.
“Have a nice night Idris” I said as I walked past my receptionist.
“Good night Ma”
“Debbie, you can call me Debbie”
“Yes Ma” he said and I smiled. He was so jittery and fuzzy.

He was waiting by the elevator and joined me on the way down.
“You look horrible” he complimented as he entered.
“Evidence that I am working for your father” I said with a smile as we rode down. I was holding my blazers and was itching to get rid of the heels pinching my toes. ‘Get flats to the office’ I made a mental note.
“I took the liberty of dismissing your driver since I will be your chauffeur for the evening” he stated as we got down and I instinctively looked around for my driver.
“By all means then” I said and I followed his lead.
It was 6:40pm by the time we were parking in front a classy restaurant downtown.
“You don’t wait to have your door opened, do you?” he asked as he caught up with me.
“You were too slow” I told him as we walked to the airy restaurant and sat down. It was visibly empty as we gave our orders to the eager attendant. He returned with the drinks and gave a slight bow.
“So, what was my father doing in your room last night?” he asked after I had taken a sip of the content of my glass known as Frozen Ocean – which apart from the iced cubes topping tasted like diluted palm wine with apple flavor. So much for packaging.
“Confidential” I replied already questioning his choice of restaurant.
“Alright. I’d let that rest for a while” he said.
“Did you deliberately bring me here to have shabby dinner?” I asked as I stared at the Fisherman’s stew and boiled plantain I ordered.
“A little bad food to appreciate good food” he smiled as he took a fork of the content of his plate and made a face.
“Please check” I said to the waiter who was beside us in a moment.
“This place was recommended” he said after he hijacked the bill and settled it.
“I bet it was. So where are you taking me now? I really need a good dinner” I continued as we got into his car. I was really hungry.
“Going to show you your house quickly before dinner. We have all night to work on your strategy on getting my fiancée back” he said as we drove to where he said was Maitama Extension.

The neat and furnished semi-detached duplex in a large compound of two units was impressive. The green lawn and thick rounded columns gave the house an imposing stance. The swimming pool at the back of the house got me itching to take a swim and the standby 15KVA plant served both houses.
“Now let’s take you inside” he said and we went to the huge front door. It opened to a gallery-like white room with paintings on the wall and a door he told me led to the back of the house.
The white handrails sprawling up the stairs to each room gave the house a Victorian look with polished black wood and artworks littering the walls from the sitting room and kitchen on the first floor to bedrooms on the second and third floor respectively. The space and wardrobes was just perfect and beds already made in white linen made me yawn. I could see Sandra jumping around when she sees her favorite – a Jacuzzi in the master’s.
The furnished house required little move-in effort and I was already making plans to have Uloma help me move my packed boxes without going back to Port Harcourt. I had a lot on my plate but I had to convince Sandra to make the move with me, considering the extra rooms and ample space.
“A good place. I take you like it” he said as the tour came to an end.
“It is perfect” I said as we descended and walked out of the house.

Next, he crossed the small fence and stepped on the lawn of the adjoining house.
“Isn’t it same design?” I asked as he produced a key.
“Not really, I live here. That was Jaja’s house but since he is no longer business head, I guess we are now neighbors and colleagues. Dinner is ready” he said with a big smile as he entered inside.
I stood, temporarily processing the information. Was this what Mr. Fatasho meant by taking drastic budget cut?
“This is not happening” I muttered under my breath as I followed him in.
There was no way in hell I’d have Vincent Fatasho as my neighbor.

****

All Fun and Games. Episode 3

Happy Happy Easter Monday!!!

Enjoy Episode 3 of All Fun and Games episode 3 by @tomi_adesina.

Read and Share……its Easter afterall.

EPISODE 3
“To take out all this anger on that sales man, we actually need to make it there alive.” Moira said.
Aisha stepped on the gas pedal. “I am not going to let that guy get away. He might have gone home for all we know.”
“But we can always return there tomorrow.” Moira insisted. “Why do I feel you have another agenda?”
Aisha nodded. “Agenda? Of course, I have another agenda and I need you to not mess it up with your mouth, okay? Just be cool and watch the pro have a go.” She said as she screeched in front of the Mall. “See? It wasn’t such a bad idea to race down here.”
“Remind me to chauffeur myself another day.” Moira said, stepping out of the car.
Aisha nodded as she closed the door. “Be my guest.”
Aisha and Moira hurried into the big hall down to the utensils section.
“Hello, good evening. Want some utensils?” Daniel said as Aisha and Moira arrived at his desk.
Aisha looked over her shoulder searching for Craig. “Where’s the other guy?”
Daniel stared at them blankly. “Other guy?”
“Yeah. There was a guy who attended to us earlier when we came here, can we see him?” Moira asked.
Daniel smiled. “That must be Craig. Please hang on, I’ll get him.” He said and walked away.
“Aisha, I hope that we are not making a mistake.” Moira said.
Aisha nodded. “Cold feet? You still have time to head out.”
“If we create a scene here, we would be on the gossip blogs tomorrow.” Moira said as she watched Daniel approach with Craig.
Aisha smiled faintly. “Believe me, no one hates a scandal more than myself.”
“Hello ladies, didn’t think I’d be seeing you pretty soon.” Craig said as he smiled.
Moira smiled. “We didn’t think so either, except that my friend here thinks that-”
Aisha jabbed her. “-Please pardon my friend’s excitement, she is a bit overwhelmed to have come down to this store again. Can we step outside for five minutes?”
“Me? And you? That’s interesting.” Craig said.
She nodded with a smile. “Trust me, it is.”
Craig smiled and led the way with Aisha following him.
Daniel stared at Moira. “Want a seat?”
“Sure. That will take forever.” She replied as she motioned to a seat.
Daniel took his seat. “I hope you ladies like the gas cooker?”
Moira nodded. “Aisha loves it.”

++++****++++
“So, tell me? Why would you want to see me?” Craig asked as they stepped outside.
Aisha folded her arms. “Are you really so dumb that you don’t know?” She asked as she hung out the manual and price tag
Craig smiled. “Are you so dumb that you didn’t know earlier?”
She smiled and nodded. “Cocky. I like that.”
“Rude. I appreciate that.” He replied.
She rolled her eyes. “Look here, I have no time to mess around, you tried to swindle me and I am not going to let it slide.”
“You are not going to report me.” He replied.
“Why not?” she asked.
He shrugged. “We won’t be having this conversation. You would be speaking with my boss.”
“So you know you are a thief?” she asked.
He shook his head in disagreement. “I’ll say I have an astute business sense.”
“Changing of tags is not a business skill. It’s dishonesty.”
He nodded. “I know. What do you want?”
“You are going to marry me.” Aisha said.

++++****++++
“How are you, Hakeem?” Alhaji Ibrahim asked as he ushered Hakeem into the living room.
Hakeem took his seat. “I am doing very well, sir. How is Aisha?”
“Aisha is fine. Do you want a drink?” Alhaji asked pouring himself a drink
“No sir. May I see her now if you don’t mind?”
Alhaji Ibrahim replaced his glass. “Aisha no longer lives here.”
“Why is that, Alhaji?” Hakeem asked.
He took a deep breath. “There are some things about her that we need to work out.”
“Alhaji, I understand, but sending Aisha away from here will further distance her from me. I’ll lose her.” Hakeem complained.
Alhaji Ibrahim shrugged. “Hakeem, Aisha is not a kid. She will make a lot of decisions herself; it is left to you to win her over.”
“Alhaji, I understand, but Aisha won’t look at me if you don’t put in a word for me.” Hakeem replied.
Alhaji Ibrahim took a deep breath. “Hakeem, what you don’t understand is that I can’t make some decisions for Aisha. I will try my best to let her see you, but you know her, she is too stubborn. Look Hakeem, I want you to exercise some patience and try to understand her.”
“But we were friends as kids, she just grew up and turned on me.”
Alhaji nodded. “I know. She turned on almost everyone, but I want to assure you that somewhere in her heart, she is still my special little girl.”
“I will see her at the office tomorrow. Could you please give me her home address?” Hakeem asked.
Alhaji smiled. “I don’t have it.”

++++****++++
“You have gone mad! I can’t marry a woman like you.”
Aisha shrugged. “Why? Is it that you like your women submissive and scared?”
“It’s not about that. Is this the reason why you won’t turn on me?” he asked. “You want to report me, please go ahead. I won’t be stuck with a pathetic woman like you.”
Aisha struck Craig’s face with a slap. “If I were you, I would watch my words.”
Craig nursed his cheek. “Second time in a day? I must have bad luck following me today.” He cursed.
“This is an order.” She said.
He shook his head in disagreement. “I would not marry you.” He replied. “And, I have valuable information that I can give the press about you, so if I were you, I would call it even and that’s all.”
She hissed. “You have nothing on me. Mere words. I have proof of your dishonesty.”
“And the gossip blogs don’t need proof of what I will tell them and I am sure that there are photos of us by now, so, you have nothing on me, woman.” Craig said, turning away.
“If I were you I wouldn’t do that.” Aisha said and Craig stopped in his track. “A brief intro won’t hurt. My name is Aisha Bello and I don’t take no for an answer, you may think you have words on me, but I have resources, I have everything in my power and disposition to make your life a living hell. Now you can go ahead and say what you like but I’ll make sure that I take you apart limb by limb until you have nothing left and by then, you are going to wish that you didn’t sell to me.” She concluded and flicked her card at him. “9am sharp tomorrow. I am not kidding.”
Craig watched her as she walked away from him and back into the store. He stared at the card and picked it up. “Aisha Bello.”

++++****++++
“Aisha, I don’t get it. What did you discuss with that guy that had him ruffled?” Moira asked.
Aisha took a peek at her wristwatch and then looked out through the window. “You will know in ten minutes.”
“Aisha, did you threaten him? Is he your bait to get your inheritance?” Moira asked.
Aisha clapped in delight as she turned in Moira’s direction. “I am surprised that you would think that I did that. It means you are not a saint after all. You think it, you can do it.”
“The fact that I can think it, doesn’t mean that I can do it.” She replied. “Aisha, that is cold.”
She shrugged. “Cold? Moira. Cold is when someone tries to rob me of some money. What I did was just take my revenge. Besides, I think he’ll be a very good candidate.”
“Can you hear yourself, Aisha? Is this an examination? Or an interview?” Moira asked.
“Call it whatever you like. I need my inheritance and I think a con artist will convince Alhaji perfectly.”
Moira shook her head. “I know I might have said that we should try random guys but I don’t feel cool about you using this guy, it might just be bad.”
“I am optimistic. You should be too. We have limited time.” Aisha replied.
Moira nodded. “But what if Alhaji doesn’t buy this farce? I mean, it is too soon to have found a man.”
“I know Moira, but we are going to plot this thing really good and I suggest that you start drawing plans for the relationship and the divorce date and statements instead of just sitting here and giving me lectures.” Aisha replied.
Aisha’s intercom rang. “Yes?” She waited a bit and smiled. “Send him in.” she replied and replaced the receiver. “He is coming up now.”
“I just hope this is right.” Moira said as she adjusted her gown.
Aisha nodded. “I know it is.”
The door opened and Craig walked into the office. “9am it is.”
Aisha stared at him from head to toe. “You clean up nice. Not bad for a Sales boy.” She said as she stared from his Pink shirt to Grey pants.
“I rented it. It’s on you.” He replied.
Moira cleared her throat. “Okay guys, break it up. This is serious business.”
Craig nodded. “Apparently.” He said and ushered himself to a seat. “Why else would the great Aisha Bello need me? It has to be serious business.”
“Anyway, Moira would brief you on what is going on and what your responsibilities are.”
He scoffed. “Look, if we are doing this, we are doing this together. I am not your puppy, if you have something for me, you tell me.”
Aisha nodded. “Fine. This is it, we are going to be in a relationship, of course, you know it is nothing serious, but it has to appear to be serious. You will need a good background and a good profile, I’ll set that up. We would eventually get married and then have a divorce shortly, maybe a month. Or even a week.”
“Interesting.” Craig said. “You actually do think that your life can be planned out, don’t you?” he asked.
Aisha stared at Moira. “Let’s get everything ready, your new life starts soon.”
“I get a car, an apartment and a good bank account.” Craig said.
Aisha nodded. “For some of us, money is never a problem. Save up while you can. Now leave and the next time you come here, please wear a tux. Some of us have standards.”
Craig nodded and rose to his feet. “You are really unhappy, Aisha.”
“I have all that I could possibly want in life.” She replied.
He scoffed. “And what about a man to marry? What about real happiness? You can never have that.”
“Wrong. I just bought you for my use.” She replied and focused on her laptop.
Craig took a deep breath and stared at Moira before walking out.
“Aisha Bello, sometimes I don’t even know who you are.” Moira said as she took her seat.
“What do you mean, Moira?”
Moira drummed on the table. “I am not liking this.”
“Why?”
Moira slammed the table. “At least be nice to him.”
“Did you see that guy? If I give him an inch to breath, he’ll kill me. Some people deserve no mercy at all.”
Moira nodded. “And you think you can do this?”
“Look Moira, He already knows. Too late to change spouses now.”
“Well Aisha, I think this is going to be really tough and rough to be honest. That guy won’t take it very easy, he doesn’t look easy.”
Aisha nodded. “I am well prepared. I need something that’s mine and he can help me get it, so let the games begin.”
Moira clasped her head in her hands.

++++****++++
“I have never felt so humiliated all my life.” Craig shouted as he slammed the door of the change room. Bolu and Daniel stared at him as he fumed taking off his shirt. “I just want to break that girl’s neck.” He shouted as he threw the shirt against the wall.
“Take it easy, bro. You can handle it.” Daniel said.
Craig scoffed. “How convenient for you to say! You have no idea what and who I am up against. This lady is going to frustrate my life, how can anyone be so annoying?”
“Look Craig, just take it easy man.” Bolu said.
“I can’t. It isn’t easy.” Craig replied. “All these wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t take his damn job.”
Daniel hissed. “Am I to take the fall for your greed too?”
Craig charged at Daniel but Bolu restrained him. “Come on guys, we should be looking for solutions, not how to fight ourselves.”
“You have always been a loser, Daniel. That’s who you are.” Craig shouted and stormed out.
Bolu leaned against the desk. “Never seen Craig that pissed in a while.”
“Not every woman comes easy, some come in their extra packages. That is Aisha Bello we are talking about.” Daniel replied as he adjusted his shirt.
Bolu nodded in agreement. “Speaking of women, when are you going to see Vicky?”
Daniel took a deep breath. “I am scared man, I don’t want her to ‘wash’ me.”
“If you never try, you’ll never know.” Bolu replied.
Daniel hissed. “She was clear the last time.”
“Things are a lot different now, man. She was just rejected by Craig, she won’t be so hard on you.”
Daniel nodded. “So what am I? Rebound package?”
Bolu shrugged with a smile. “I know you won’t mind.”
“I mind. I love that girl, I want her to love me back.” Daniel replied. Bolu nodded as he started to whistle. “She doesn’t deserve a man like Craig. A man like Craig is made for that Aisha woman.”
Bolu stared at him. “Why would you say so?”
“Believe it or not, Craig and Aisha won’t have it easy. I know Craig is pissed at her and he would want to ruin her and she doesn’t seem easy. Their games have just begun.”

++++****++++
“Yes, you can call me back in an hour, I’ll let you know if we can forward the specs as required. Thank you.” Aisha concluded and hung up.
Her secretary cleared her throat. “Mr Hakeem is here to see you.”
“You could have called me to say that.” Aisha said flipping through a magazine.
“My apologies ma’am, but, he told me to come up here.” She replied.
Aisha shook her head. “When did he start paying your salary? If I were you, I would talk to him about a job soon.” She said. “Send him in.”
Her secretary nodded. “Yes ma’am. I am sorry, ma.” She said and walked out.
The door opened almost immediately and Hakeem walked in. “Hakeem, what can I do for you?” Aisha asked as he approached a seat.
“Aren’t you going to ask me to take a seat?” he asked with a smile.
Aisha rolled her eyes as she stared at Hakeem. She pointed to the chair. “Sit down. What is it?”
“I want to ask you out to dinner. Tonight. At my place.”
Aisha smiled and then laughed mockingly. “You don’t get it, do you? Look Hakeem, I can’t date you. I won’t date you and as a matter of fact, you are beginning to bother me.”
“Aish-”
“-Don’t! You want to go out with someone? Go to Moira’s office. Stop disturbing me.” She replied and focused on her laptop.
Hakeem swallowed. “I have invited Moira too. It is not really a dinner, it’s…it’s like a meeting with a couple of friends, back from the days.”
Aisha shrugged. “Back from the days? I don’t think I remember anyone from the days.”
“I know, and that is the essence of this meeting. Please try to make it. I won’t pester you anymore.” Hakeem said standing up.
Aisha nodded. “Interesting. If that will send you away, I’ll be there.”
He smiled and walked out. Moira walked in almost immediately. “So, going?”
“I see you have cultivated the habit of sneaking up on me.” Aisha replied as she poured a cup of coffee.
Moira smiled as she took a seat. “People will be really happy to see you. I can’t wait to see our friends.”
Aisha raised an eyebrow. “Your friends.”
“Be nice, Aisha. Why are you going if you won’t be nice?”
Aisha shrugged. “Hakeem says he would stop bugging me.”
“And you bought that?” Moira asked. “I am surprised you believe that.”
Aisha nodded. “I believe it. It won’t hurt to give him a chance to say something and mean it.”
“Hmmm…Is that coming from you?” Moira asked.
Aisha sipped her coffee. “We can’t be late. Close up early, Moira.”
“You bet.” Moira said and walked out.

++++****++++
“Last card, check up!” Bolu said as he packed some money from the table. Daniel grumbled as he counted his loss for the third time. Bolu stared at Craig who sat in a corner with his earpiece in his ear and drinks before him. “He is going into those moods again, Daniel.”
“Craig will sort it out. He always does.” Daniel replied.
Bolu nodded. “I know, but he is our guy. We can’t let him go through this alone.”
“I don’t think we should meddle in it either. He really knows how to find his way out of it.”
Bolu stared hard at Craig from a distance. “We should talk to him and know what he plans to do.”
“Okay.”
Craig turned off his music player as soon as his friends approached him. “What do you want?”
“We are playing cards. Want to join?” Daniel asked.
Craig hissed. “I am in no mood for cards. I need Chess right now.”
“What does she really want from you?” Bolu asked, taking a seat.
Craig smiled. “It is serious business. I…I have to be in a relationship with her.”
“That’s weird. Is she a cougar now?” Daniel asked.
Bolu gasped. “Or maybe she does blood rituals?”
“Nah…I don’t think so. A woman like that will find it hard to be in a normal relationship with any man because she won’t just be the kind of woman that most of us want. But I actually like them tough. It makes it a good conquest for me in the end.” Craig said, sipping his drink.
Daniel stared at him. “What are you planning on doing?”
“I am going to date her. I am going to be the man she wants, but in the end, she is going to wish she didn’t pick me.”

Love on the 25th. Episode 3

A beautiful morning! African Stories would like to recommend free books on the Okadabooks app from PlayStore (Awon Android). Hope you enjoy the new episode of Love on the 25th by Uneñ Ameji.

Episode 3

Debbie
It was the Secilles man! The devil is a liar from the pit of hell! Ewo o! See my enemies at work now. What if he exposed me in front of the men in the room? Chineke! First flight back to Port Harcourt na eim be dat na. I pulled on my mental Igbotic panic brake and stood with a rehearsed smile on my face briefly considering a retreat but deciding against it stubbornly. The hot creamy coffee with freshly baked croissants was threatening to defy gravity; sweat sprouting in my hairless armpit and hands clamping involuntarily on my briefcase as I stood suffering shortage of breath.

Clearly frozen as eight pair of eyes rested on me, my eyes traveled the length of the small meeting room with thick polished glass boardroom table sitting heavily in the middle surrounded by men in suits. My eyes stopping on their faces fleetingly before finding his again. There was a deep satisfied smugness on his face that had my wrist itching to wipe off in a smack. Taking cold steady breaths, I approached Mr. Fatasho, nodding professionally at the rest of the occupant in high powered suits, flashing a familiar smile at Mr Sule who almost grudgingly smiled back.
“Mr. Fatasho” I said in a surprised calm voice, stretching my hand for a shake as he stood up to take it, my eyes avoiding the man standing beside him.
“We meet again Miss Black” Mr. Fatasho said with a genuine smile.
“We did. I had no idea” I answered raising my brows in forced surprise, trying my best to keep the real source of my shock in check.
“Well, looks like you are going to be more than my personal assistant” he said and the room broke out in a harmonious low laugh vibrating through eight Adam’s apples.
“I suppose” I smiled, joining in.
“Welcome to Zenith Group Miss Black. I know you have met Mr. Sule Danladi. Mr. Haruna Atobi, Mr. Taku N’jaima, Mr. Okonkwo Jacob, Mr. Ayo Fadare, Mr. Christian Aduku and Mr. Vincent Fatasho” he introduced round the table and I smiled shaking across the table. ‘How cozy? Father and son. Just perfect’ punctuated thoughts running through my mind.
“How do you do Miss Black?” the man from Secilles said taking my hand firmly. I returned the shake in equal measure and he raised an eyebrow surprised at the strength and position of my forefinger touching his pulse. A type of power handshake I learnt from a book Sandra twisted my arm to read.
“I am glad to be here” I said giving him a polite smile.
“Let’s get to work” the old man said as he sat down, motioning me to take the empty seat beside him. Mr. Christian stood up in a robotic manner and made a PowerPoint presentation on companies under Group and the project ongoing on their new site. The brief clip ended with eyes resting on the old man who by now was perched like an eagle gauging his prey. He waited for Mr. Christian to sit down before continuing.
“Black, being the new Business head, I’d like to have your plans on the newly acquired companies in our portfolio. We need new products out there and we need them performing; Jacob is going to help with adverts and marketing strategy. Vincent continues with plans on the merger with First Homes on the real estate front. Njaima, see that the legal team gets the details ironed on the new software buy before we take a Gates-hit. Sule, settle Black in her office and let’s see on the new recruits? I’d hate to see our only lady stressed with incompetency” he said like a commander with a small smile directed at me. He was a firm boss now, not the kind old man on the plane. I braved a look at the man whose name was Vincent and found him scowling like he had lost a bid. Something wasn’t right and the pleased look on Mr. Fatasho’s face gave me an eerie feeling.
“I have a meeting with Tijani from the Assembly. That should be all” he said to the group before standing up and making an exit.

Soon the ‘you are welcome’ phrase flooded the emptying meeting room with Vincent fast on the heels of his father. I caught an angry gesture from Vincent as he stood outside the meeting room with transparent glass door pointing at the rest of us, evidently dissatisfied with the outcome of the meeting. Classic spoilt brat syndrome I concluded.
“Let’s get you to the east wing” it was Mr. Sule directing my eyes from the duo who had walked away after few seconds of what looked like a heated argument he wasn’t winning.
“Is there a problem?”? I asked as we left the room and headed to the far end of the floor where Mr. Fatasho and disgruntled son had just disappeared to. The elevator opened just as we reached it and the man from Secilles towered above us, glowering at me a minute longer than necessary. I stood, giving back as much look as I got.
“Miss Black?” it was Mr. Sule already in the elevator.
“Well, see you around” I played, stepping into the waiting elevator with my briefcase.
“See you around” he answered forcefully and turned to watch as the door closed. We rode up one more floor.

The floor was devoid of activities unlike the west wing. With all glass walls, a male receptionist was seated at the center of the large open space like a control operative at a tower with an extensive work desk with connecting monitors and crawling wires. He was clearly a nerd with tiny glasses perching on his long Fulani nose.
“This is Idris” Mr. Sule was saying as we headed to the thick double leaf mahogany door that I was sure led to my office.
“Good morning Ma, Sir” he greeted, standing up awkwardly.
“Good morning Idris” I replied enjoying his shy stance.
“You are welcome Ma” he said timidly, his long lashes fanning his nervous eyes and impeccable dressed self as he looked at his shoes.
“Thank you Idris”.

The door opened to a rich royal blue interior in contrast with stark white fittings and glass walls overlooking the busy city and traffic jam several floors below. Temporarily overwhelmed, I took in the sight as I walked, touching the fabricated large expanse of desk and state of the art electronics. Mr. Sule produced a remote control to drop a wall over the sight and walked to an inner door. I followed to the private quarters and noticed it was a live-in home with a big bedroom, mini-kitchen and bathroom. He seemed to be reading my thoughts.
“You may want to move in some clothing and food here. Mr. Fatasho is a driver and hates work left undone. Better to be at the office taking a vacation than actually working at home” he said with a huff, hoping I’d join in on the private joke. Few seconds later, I played a delayed giggled. I thrived on work and was purely ecstatic at having a home in the office.
“This is lovely” I said as we came back out and he took a seat in front of the desk right after I sat on the comfortable executive swivel armchair.
“You just got Vincent’s position, why he wasn’t told earlier? I have no idea. I suppose he is not so happy at the moment. It would do you well to avoid him and plaster the rest of your genius brain in blue papers for the boss; he likes value for his money you know. Now, I have to go take vacation in my little office before starting another round of picking your graduate workers” he said standing up heavily and walking out without a backward glance.
“Thank you Mr. Sule” I called after his departing bulky figure.
“Danladi” he corrected and closed the door behind him. I was finally alone.

I relaxed visibly, taking deep breaths. The position was way above my pay grade but here I was at 32 and head of Business Development for Zenith Group. Who would have thought? Standing up, I took a walk around the office, touching surfaces, taking in the feel of the furniture and opening the stocked refrigerator. The mini 5-seater table facing the projector stand at an approximate distance of ten meters from my desk looked like a private presentation setting. I made a mental note to get acquitted with team leads and staff directly responsible for smooth running of the office tomorrow. Today was to make sure I did not exhibit the cluelessness-syndrome at the meet tomorrow.

Raising the wall curtain to stare at the sight before me, I felt a mix of emotions – trepidation, a surge of confidence and what felt like empty happiness. I was grateful but reservedly so.
What if I couldn’t deliver? What if I failed? What if …… a knock interrupting my thoughts.
“I am sorry to bother you Ma but Mr. Fatasho is here to see you” Idris was saying with his lean body almost inside my office and legs outside.
“Sure” I said dropping the remote control and rubbing my hands on my suit as he walked in and closed the door firmly, turning the door knob. If he wanted war, I was going to give him the holocaust.
“We can start by you unlocking my door Mr. Vincent” I stated taking my seat calmly. He stood, taken aback.
“I see you have the sharp mouth as I fondly recall” he retorted, coming to stand in front my desk.
“and unrepentant too” he continued under his breath but I caught it.
“I would rather we start on a more friendly note seeing that we are now on the same team” I said opening my briefcase and taking out my personal laptop.
“We are not on the same team and I would be friendlier if you didn’t worm your way into my office” there he was out with it. Insinuating I wasn’t qualified. A wicked grin spreading my face, he had triggered the shotgun.
“I must apologize for the Passover Pharaoh but it would seem that your father thought me more qualified and perhaps, emotionally ready for the job” I gave back, meeting his glaring eyes. He was miffed and containing the irritation under his impressive cut of a suit.
“Oh! You would think so but no cupcake. You my dear will not last a fortnight and you had better not get comfortable. This is not over” he said heatedly and walked out of the office.
I shook my head in a slow laugh. He had no idea who he was dealing with. I didn’t do well with threats. If anything, they only spurred me to surge higher and for this cause, I was ready to go just a notch higher.
The line was drawn.

****

Vince
The effrontery, sitting in my office and giving me the mouth about being more ready for a job I had practically waited for since Jaja’s declaration to go to Pastoral college. At last I was going to have some input in the old man’s company, make him proud of me for once but no, he had to go bring a sisi, a sexy tease to torment me. This was definitely not over.

Pacing in my office with unbuttoned shirt, I knew Dad’s decision was final and the only way up to that office was getting her out or making sure she didn’t go anywhere with the staff. The thought hitting like a punch below the belt. Certainly, there was a better way to teach her a little humility lesson. A smile breaking out on my face as a thought formed.
I called the agent.

****

Sandra
The wait at the airport was painfully annoying. A 7:15am flight had been delayed till 4:45pm and I boarded the flight with a face so squeezed my pimples came flying out on their accord. Okay, that was an exaggeration but it pained me to have to get to Abuja this late and have Debbie come pick me up.
Debbie, my hero. She was really the next best thing to my messiah…..the memories of past life washing over me as I stood outside of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport.

“Leave! Get out!! Ashewo…. Man snatcher….shior! Na God go punish you, Ekwęsun” the names came pouring in like rain and hard slaps like thunder striking my face and head. Tears blinding my eyes, I struggled to get away from the trio attacking me after a terrible night.
“I did not do anything! He raped me, they raped me” but their shouts and beatings droned my voice. My flesh hot, my eyes swollen and my parts bleeding but the girls were more interested in killing me. Yes, I worked my body for sustenance. Like the son of the carpenter, I was the daughter of the village prostitute and I grew up knowing that I was going to take over from her someday.

The day came at the age of fifteen. It was painful but only for a while. The tubers of yam were enough to last a week and soon, I was going out to getting food supplies and money for clothes. It was simple, a money-for-hand, back-for-ground arrangement.
And then the day my mother’s favorite customer came to the house in search of mother. Mother had gone to the market and he wouldn’t wait. With his wallet filled with notes, I had taken to do mother’s bid to get the money for mother with his prompting. And it was in that position that mother had found us. Elder Ikana plowing like the farmer he was. The next hours had me kicked out of the only hut I had known and asked never to return. The laughs, the mockery, the fear. I walked aimlessly only but with a wrapper filled with my clothes and monies earned from dirty handiwork I now hated. I moved but I was lost.

The journey to Lagos, blurry. I couldn’t remember entering the car but only came to myself once I came down from the bus and was pushed around by the sea of bodies flowing around me.
Plise wia I dey?” I had asked a uniformed male in white crested shirt, green khaki trousers and abnormally large orange boots with thick black heels.
“This is Oshodi” he replied with a funny look on his face as he studied me and I looked away ashamed of his stare. I walked away, turning back to see him staring at me.

For days I roamed the ever busy streets, lost in my thoughts. Ashamed of what I had become and wondering if I would ever see my mother again. She had cried. I had too. But tears were not enough to mend broken hearts. After weeks of roaming the dangerous streets, I was on the lookout for a roof and had stumbled upon Mama Kimbe’s joint. I begged for work as a dish washer, not long after I was serving as a waitress. The hands started landing on my small rounded backside, soon the fondling moved to my chest and barely a week later I was on my back, doing what I knew best.

I was home.

The blare of horn brought smiles back to my fallen countenance as I saw Debbie stepping out of the black Toyota Camry in a hurry.
“I am so sorry” she apologized, taking me in a hug. I squeezed back. Grateful that she was here.
“Finally” I said as we untangled and she helped with my shoe box.
Abi o. Since morning fa! This airlines sef. We no go dey use dem again” she said as a man opened the rear door and walked towards us.
“Good evening Sandra, I am Vincent” he said taking my hand delicately to his lips. My heart stopped beating, eye fluttering. It couldn’t be. It just couldn’t be.
“Vincent” I said slowly, air escaping my lungs as I held on to the hand of the man who was wearing the abnormal orange boots.
It was my Oshodi man.

****
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