Men of the Cloth, their Raincoat and their kind of God

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It often bothers me how Men of the Cloth, yes, the ones speaking in hot tongues and casting out devils while asking for bribes tithes and sacrificial offerings, refuse to allow the Church – people question their modus operandi and contradictory sermons they spew on their holy altars. One moment they are on the mountain seeking for powers to perform miracles, the next they can’t even heal the sick. Did someone say raise the dead?
It is disappointing especially when they preach half-truths as whole and when confronted, they say they prophecy in parts while opening their heavy bibles to where they have marked for such occasions as this. We don’t know it all – they say. Why didn’t you say that on the pulpit when you were vibrating and calling down fire? Perhaps there is need for these Men of the Cloth to have caveat emptor on their signboards and bills.
Come and See the Power of God
P.S if He wills for I know in parts and prophecy in parts”

Fake Prophet

Chapter One
Tithing Vs. Abundance

The charismatic, vibrant, power-gushing young man of God is saying heathens are prosperous, the children of the world are succeeding while the children of God are paupers, the next he is saying only tithing can give you the amount of riches the heathens have.
???
Question: Did the heathens pay tithe for their riches?
Question: Have God visited them with plagues and collected their riches because they did not tithe?
Question: Could it be that they simply work hard or smart – whatever or they were born with diamond spoons and teeth?
Certainly not all the rich heathens are *shedding the blood of the innocent ones and even if they are shedding or pounding new born babies in mortars, there is God and He is yet to cut them down. Infact He just may be planning on how to save them.
You see, when the issue of tithing is brought up, many cringe – some cringe because they pity you for not paying it and others cringe because they know the 419 collector is at it again.
People pay tithes and bad things still happen. BAD things.
Question: Why was the devourer not kept away from their pockets?
Men of the Cloth: Because they sinned one way or the other
Question: But you said if they paid my tithes, He will keep away the devourer and they’d experience abundance. Why is their resources dwindling and their suffering knowing no end?
Men of the Cloth: You see, the word of God is not entirely exclusive. You have to be 100% perfect. Moreover, there are times for tribulation. Doesn’t matter if they pay tithe or not, tribulation is going to come.
Question: Why didn’t you say this on the pulpit?
Men of the Cloth: I prophecy in parts….the grace of God is abundant. Amen.

FakeProphet

Chapter Two
Pain Vs. Backsliding

When your loved one dies – doesn’t matter that the doctor literally murdered them or a brainwashed suicide bomber decided to do some blowing – Men of the Cloth says nothing outside the will of God happens. He allowed it because He knows best. He creates, He takes. Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust….glory to His name.
I am not even going to ask if His will includes the rest of us still living…..like the rest of us whose lives and existence has been shattered by His will. Men of the cloth says who am I to ask questions……to ask questions is seen as an act of disobedience – so shut up and take the pain like the humbled believing servant you are supposed to be. It doesn’t matter that Jesus’s disciples asked questions every step of the way and with all the answers Judas betrayed Him and Peter denied Him when it mattered the most.
When you lose a loved one, you are supposed to be stoic, praise Him continuously for taking them away and serve Him with all your heart and all your might if not, you are as good as an unbeliever ….in most cases worst because you have known the truth. and he who holds the plow and turns back will be burnt forever
A woman is raped by a man at 15 years of age. God is watching but does not do anything. People rape people everyday. No biggie. If Eve didn’t eat the forbidden fruit, we won’t even be talking about rape. Say what?
Question: Wasn’t it all part of the master plan – His will – like the one where your loved ones gets to die and there is nothing you can do to stop it?
Men of the Cloth: You dare open your mouth with His breath inside you and ask questions…..are you mad? You want His wrath?
The woman gives birth to a daughter.
The rapists starts raping daughter at 11 years of age. He has developed taste for younger fish lips girls
God is watching. The man is prospering – he has married another woman and has two beautiful children. He is a respected man in the society. He is a church goer and a tither.
The girl is rescued at 16 years. After 5 years of abuse and several suicide attempts.
The law does not prosecute.
The society is quiet.
The family eats kolanut.
The man goes back to his life.
The girl with pain, destroyed life and smelling vagina is asked to forgive her father because God says people who don’t forgive are not His children, infact He demands that we forgive….she has no choice, she must forgive.
Question: Why is God more interested in her forgiving her father-rapist than in punishing the beast?
Question: Is God a man?
Question: Where are the angels He gave charge to watch over her so she doesn’t hit her foot against a stone? I mean so she doesn’t get brutally fucked raped repeatedly?
Question: Why is God still blessing the works of the rapist’s hand? Getting promoted at work, building new houses, paying tithes, serving as an elder?
Men of the Cloth: You see, God is never late. Leave it to God and see what He will do.
Question: What if God forgives him?

Men of the Cloth: God works in mysterious ways. It is not His will that any of His children perish
Question: What happens to the persons whose lives have been wasted, destroyed?

Men of the Cloth: God is multifaceted. We can’t simply question Him. His will be done
Apparently, if you are dealt with a bad hand in life, you move on and die when your time comes. It doesn’t really matter if you get justice or not. Justice is for those who can take it without being caught….like killing the doctor who murdered or the thief who shot your husband. If you can revenge and not get caught, by all means go ahead and come ask for forgiveness.
He forgives all because when these evildoers find God, you will be the only one left with the soiled plate. The rest is blot out by the blood.

Chapter three
Level of Grace

This is a favorite of many Men of the Cloth. This is the part where you cannot speak against them because they are servants of the almighty. Who dare speak against the appointed? You going down-down-down….
Thunder Strikes!!!
It is so refreshing to have a cover of grace – do anything and grace covers you. The kind of grace that passes your understanding as a person who has not been called….the kind that only covers the Men of the Cloth when they sin, keep malice with their fellow Men of the Cloth, when they dupe people of their earnings or have sexual intercourse with church members because the body is weak but the spirit is willing.
fake-pastor-cartoon-logo
Question: Isn’t this level of grace available to the girl who was brutally raped and refuses to forgive her father? The one who wouldn’t raise her hands in worship of a God that refused to save her from harm all those years? The one who has been told it is His will that she be abused because in future the purpose of the abuse will be revealed to the glory of His name?
Question: Where is this level of grace for the grieving woman who doesn’t go to church or pray to a God who failed to save her loved one because His will is supreme?
Men of the Cloth do not console. They condemn and tell you to shout halleluyah seven times through tears and blood. I don’t understand why or when serving God became punishment? Why is this level of grace that covers their shit not able to cover your anger, doubts and hurts?
Alas! only Men of the Cloth can access this level of grace….when they goof, the grace raincoat covers them and there is absolutely nothing you can say or do about it. How convenient.
Everyone should have this grace raincoat….. this magical raincoat will all serve our selfish, hypocritical nature.
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Chapter four
Conclusion?

We must come to a conclusion – that perhaps God cannot save us all. Perhaps it is really His will that some of His children suffer and others enjoy for His glory. It doesn’t matter if you are the one suffering or enjoying or having a taste of both.
We must realize that as much as there are those with testimonies, much more are dying with pain and no, they are not heathen – they are His children….#confessed
We must accept the fact that we are strictly responsible for the justice we get….if you want justice, you have to take it by force….just like everything else. If you want a better card than has been dealt? Pick another.
You see, it is simple….there is no need for half-truths. God doesn’t need Men of the Cloth sugarcoating His personality.
He says He kills and makes alive
He loves, He hates
He killed all of Jobs’ children just to prove a point to one of His creation that He has conquered….but He did compensate Job.
He says He has given you choices – life and death, He also says choose life that you may live….emm, that’s technically not a choice…just direction.
There is nothing like free will – it is a myth.
God is not good, God is not evil. He is both and He is what you make of Him.
If you must follow Him, you should know that He is not afraid to hurt you for His glory, He is not answerable to you or remotely concerned if you never make it back to trusting Him again. You talk too much and He will raise stones to take your place. However He is the only one who can give you a semblance of security – after death-wise….and if you don’t believe in the afterlife – then be ready for whatever comes after – if there is.
Perhaps He might decide to change His mind from the everlasting blazing pit – but then again, who knows what His will concerning you is –
There are no guarantees, just choices, hope and time.

****
Uneñ Ameji
Author of Love on the 25th on Okadabooks http://goo.gl/hmsKnv
Follow @UnenAmeji on Twitter

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M.O.T.I.V.E.S Episode 1

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New Series by Uneñ Ameji is finally here. To be posted every Tuesday, Motives is an intense story of hurt, revenge, lust and lucre. A story where Uneñ Ameji, in her usual fluid style takes her readers on a dark journey into what goes on in the life of the rich and famous.

African Stories is most delighted to publish her series and hopes you all enjoy her *love stories.

Episode 1.

Somewhere in Maitama, Abuja – Nigeria
20th February, 2011

****
The sound of clinking wine glasses, bright lights from the outrageously expensive Arabian chandelier reflecting on gold-plated surfaces and deep-throated patronizing laughter coming from stylishly dressed gentlemen and breathtakingly beautiful women in exquisite flowing gowns and blinding jewelry…..ah yes, this was the kind of life Laide Bello was born to live. Ace socialite and fashion designer, Laide knew she was at her zenith and nothing could stop her now. At 27, unmarried and a foster mother to two teenage boys, she wondered when her secret would be found out.
She blinked momentarily as the dark thought snuck up on her. Clearing her throat loudly and looking around for her teenage boys, she smiled as she saw them across the room, her heart swelling with passion and love. What would life be without them at her side? she thought, admiring the men they had become.
“Excuse me Ma” it was the shrill reproaching voice of Kasimu, her frog-eyed butler.
“Yes Kasimu” she answered over her shoulders, watching her guests mingle and wondering for the umpteenth time why in God’s name she always ended up sleeping with him after swearing she wouldn’t spread her legs for his thick piece of equipment.
“There are two police officers here to see you Ma” he said in low voice, coming closer to her than necessary. She stepped away from his hot breath.
“Why are police officers here? Step back” she ordered sharply as he pressed on, not masking her irritation at his boldness. This was the problem with rolling in the sheets with subordinates….they lose sight of drawn lines.
“I don’t know Ma. They said that they had news about your father” Kasimu said, his jaw twitching. He wanted to stab the haughty pig to death, shameless thing. The “shameless thing” was Laide’s alias in the servant’s quarters. The only thing that stopped Kasimu Adesina Adesida was her old man, and until the man took his last breath, Kasimu would continue to be sexually exploited by his disgraceful nymph of a daughter.
“Oooooh God! That man won’t let me be! The old delusional man” she hissed, throwing the content of her glass to the back of her throat and carelessly dropping the empty glass in his hand before walking to her visitor’s quarters at the other end of her impressive 6 bedroom duplex in an large manicured compound. He struggled to catch the glass and took a deep breath to calm down his nerves.
“Good evening officers” she said pleasantly, smiling brightly as she entered the room. Opulent and cold, the room painted in brilliant white with black cushions and steel furniture felt anything but welcoming.
“Madam Laide” it was Inspector Daniel Abati, wearing a summer shirt with two missing front buttons, black and white striped short knee-length trousers that needed a quick press and flamboyant brown hat that had seen better days. Team-Naturals would envy his thick black beards that looked like lush fern in the Amazon. Known for his brilliance and unconventional dressing habit, Laide thought him a complete joker but a friend of the family in his rights.
“Laide would do, Dan. I hear you have a message from my father” she said, correcting the badly dressed inspector and taking a seat while signaling Inspector Dan and his unusually tall colleague to do the same. Her eyes straying to the midsection of the tall police officer and wondering if the bulge in front of his trousers housed a good plowing equipment or simply a pseudo boxer-effect. She smiled at her thoughts. Insatiable.
“I am afraid there is bad news” Inspector Dan said coldly.
“I suppose I have lost another illegitimate sibling” it was a sarcastic question, signaling Kasimu to get her a glass of wine.
“Not exactly. It is your father. He died this morning. His body is being taken to the Castle” he informed her, his eyes watching her closely for her reaction.
The Castle – the enormous 40 hectares estate of business tycoon and political godfather, Chief Badmus Bello, was located atop Idanre hills in Ondo State, Nigeria and known across Africa as the largest luxurious estate held by a single man for personal residence. It was here that Chief Badmus Bello had built his massive mausoleum valued at $2 million dollars. It was rumored that he buried gold and money in his money bank underground and has a refinery somewhere on the premises where he refines oil and sell to marketers across the country and smaller African countries. Although none of these rumors had been proven, Chief Badmus was certainly a force to be reckoned with, larger than life some people say but certainly he was not larger than death.
This place would be his final resting place amidst his mini golf course and farm.
“That man is incapable of dying. I suppose you are joking Inspector. Why really are you here?” she asked as she took a sip of the warm diluted glass of Chapman. She shot Kasimu a look as her tongue tasted the watered liquid in a glass. He had the decency to step out immediately. She hated Chapman, and to be served with the warm and diluted abomination, he knew what was coming to him.
“I am afraid that’s the truth. Your father fell from his balcony today. He is to be buried before night fall according to the rites” it was Yusuf. Yusuf J. Sani, Inspector Dan’s newly assigned partner was a fine officer but was particularly displeased at being assigned with Dan. He hated the Chief and wondered why he had been assigned to the case.
“Fell or pushed?” Laide asked, standing up and turning away from the officers, her mind racing.
‘Could this be true? He finally did it?’, she thought furiously as the two inspectors watched her closely.
“Your presence will be required” Yusuf continued, not answering her question
“Of course. Of course” she answered solemnly, keeping the grin that was about splitting her lips and putting on a pained expression.
“I will be going to the Castle right away Officers, if that’s all. My mother needs me at this dark hour. I suppose there is to be an investigation” she had the graciousness to look forlorn, tears pooling in her round beautiful eyes.
“Yes, we take our leave” it was Inspector Dan. She nodded at their exit before breaking into a grin as she walked back to her party. She felt hot and looked around for Kasimu.
The old bastard was dead. Finally.
“Do you think she is sad that the old devil is gone?” Officer Yusuf wondered out loud as they walked out of her house.
“I don’t think I will be sad if I am to inherit $10m from a scumbag. Would you?” Inspector Dan answered, picking his nose.
Someone had murdered Chief Badmus Bello and Dan had a feeling this was going to be a little too much to sweep under the proverbial carpet.

*****

Mandola Hotels & Towers, Somewhere in Lekki, Lagos – Nigeria
20th February, 2011

Kole sat still, watching the smoke from his cigarette float lazily into thin air. He was high and as he watched the black whore before strip naked, he wondered briefly if her opening was wide enough to take his legs. He laughed at the thought and sniffed his white “dew” some more. She didn’t know what he had in mind when he had picked her from the club hours earlier. She looked wild and greedy too, her eyes sparkling with pure greed the moment he started throwing money around.
He didn’t feel like selling this one to Alhaji for his rituals, she didn’t look pure enough for the rituals either ways. Perhaps he could watch Billy tear her apart or simply plug her to the pleasure machine and film her for his collections. He laughed again.
“You like my boobies” she said coyly, shaking her large mammary glands in his face.
“They are exceptionally beautiful” he all but groaned, taking a drag of the marijuana wrap in between his filthy fingers.
“Mommy is going to make you feel so good” she continued, fingering herself as she climbed the bed and moving her hips in rhythm to the slow R&B music playing at the background.
“And Papa is going to make sure you do” he answered, dialing his phone and dropping it. In few seconds, two hefty men entered his suite and the next hours would be the worst for the girl with the mammary glands.
“Please, don’t do this. Don’t kill me” she begged, crying and shouting as a result of the pain inflicted on her by the hideous men. Her hands had been secured to the bedpost and her legs tied firmly to the foot of the bed.
“Baby, I won’t” he laughed, coughing and sniffing some more.
“Please, Please” she wept as another of the big brute climbed over her.
“You will enjoy this one. I promise” he laughed again as the brute drove home and the scream filled the room, his camera recording the rape scene.
“Hey Boss” it was Zino, his body guard entering the inner room.
“Yes Zino” he looked up as his bodyguard stood before him.
“You have been called home” his bodyguard said.
“Why? What now? Can’t they see I am busy?” he cursed, throwing the remaining marijuana joint on the floor.
“Your father is dead. They will be burying him within the hour”
“How sure are you?” he asked, his eyes turning bright, a smile breaking out on his face.
“It is the breaking news” he answered as he briefly watched the two figures on the bed and turned on the large Plasma TV. It was indeed the breaking news.
“You are right Zino! That son of a bitch is dead!” he shouted, going to pour scotch into his glass and adding iced cubes.
“Cheers” he saluted to no one in particular.
“Hey! Hey you! Stop fucking that loof and go get my car ready” he spat crudely to the man who was almost climaxing. He kept thrusting, not stopping for he was far too gone.
“Zino?” he called his bodyguard angrily.
“Hell” Zino cursed before pulling out his silencer and putting bullet into the large man’s hanging balls as soon as he removed his obscene organ from the girl. A loud scream filled the room before the bulky frame collapsed on the abused girl beneath him. The room quieted except the whimpering sound of a female.
“You would think these men had enough holes” Kole said nonchalantly. Zino shrugged.
“Now you have to take me” he informed Zino carelessly as he walked out of the room.
“Today is your lucky day sherry….., my father is dead. See you soon” he called loudly to the girl on his bed before leaving his penthouse suite.
“Tell Tank to clean up the mess and let her go. I am in a good mood. So he is dead! I can’t believe it” he laughed, pointing at Zino and entering the elevator opened to him.
“He is your father” Zino reminded him as he also stepped into the elevator.
“Who cares? He had it coming. Now I can have my $10m. Whooop!” he danced unsteadily as they reached the underground car park.
“Mr. Kole Bello?” it was a clear police voice.
“Who wants to know? My father is dead” he said shouted, excited; not noticing Zino had taken steps back into the elevator.
“You are under arrest for the murder of Mr. Philip Aguda and Miss. Josephine Uton”
“Are you seriously arresting me right now?” he laughed as they cuffed him.
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do will be used against you in the court of law. You have the right to your lawyer and if you cannot afford one, one will be provided for you. Take him to the station” a dark lanky officer read him his rights.
“I am $10m richer you fools! I can afford the judge” he shouted on top of his lungs as he resisted arrest.
“Take him away” the officer signaled and they pushed him into the police sedan.
“My father is dead assholes” he shouted and broke into laughter.

*****

TrueWord Evangelical Church of All Missions, London – United Kingdom
20th February, 2011

The electrifying evening sermon, the shouts of praise, the expectant faces. Martha Chimnomso Bello pitied the congregation as they bellowed on top of their lungs. Pathetic really. If only they knew. She smiled as her face lit up the biggest screen in the auditorium. She really had to talk to the media unit. She hated when they picked her face when she was not ready.
“This week is your week!” it was the man of God shouting at the end of the service.
“Amen!!!!!!”
“This week, your enemies will wash your feet!!!!” he thundered
“Amen!!!!!!” thousands shouted.
“This week, as you go, the devil will not and cannot stop you” he continued strongly
“Amen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” they roared.
“My God will surprise you this week!!” he shouted fervently.
“Amen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” a louder roar.
“As you go, may the favor and grace go with you. The Grace” he said at last, watching the impatient look on his wife’s face.
“May the grace of our Lord Jesus, the son of God and the sweet fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with me, now and forever, Amen” Martha recited the grace as she followed the man of God, her darling husband of 8 years with the security personnel paving way to their office.
“Finally! One can throw away this God forsaken hat” Martha said as soon as they were left alone in her husband’s office.
“Please don’t start. I am tired” Debola said, removing his outer jacket.
“If you were called like you claim, you won’t be tired” she threw hotly at him.
“If the devil is using you, I bind his hold over your life. The God I serve, the same God who has called me will….”
“Oh please, will do what? Raise our children from the dead? All four of them? When He does, I will repent of my unbelief, until then, I believe Lord, help my unbelief” she said sarcastically, standing up and going to the fridge.
“Nomso, you have to let it go. God knows why and it has been 3 years”
“So?”
“So we should try getting pregnant again” he said sadly.
“We? So that your God can kill them again. No thanks” she said, taking the cold water bottle in her mouth and sucking it until it cracked under the pressure. Debola Bello was tired of his wife and honestly had no idea how to continue living with her as man and wife but divorcing her was not an option he was willing to consider.
First son of Chief Badmus Bello and General Overseer of The TrueWord Evangelical Church of all Missions aka TEC, Debola was absolutely tired and heartbroken. He had lost his faith but the last thing he would do was admit his unbelief and disappointment in God to his wife. The death of their four children, two set of twins in a fire accident that left them alive but scared was the beginning of his problems. Nomso had lost her faith and her ability to support him spiritually.
Just then, his phone rang.
“Hello Mami” he greeted fondly. Martha scoffed. It was his mother. She sounded tearful and as soon as she sneezed, Debola knew something was wrong.
“What is wrong Mami” he coerced gently as she cried some more.
“Your father, Baba rẹ kú yi owurọ” she cried informing him that his father had passed away that morning.
“What? Kini” he screamed into the phone, standing up. Martha came close.
“When, how did this happen?” he continued, getting rid of his necktie. Mami cried some more with hiccups as she tried to explain that he fell off the balcony but the police were insinuating he was pushed.
“Why didn’t you call me since?” he said already dialing his personal assistant, Pastor Tayo from his intercom
“You were in service” she cried.
“So what?! I am on my way. No one should touch my father’s body. I said no one” he dropped the call and looked at his wife.
“Your father is dead. Are you going to raise him up?” she taunted wickedly.
“He was pushed or fell from his penthouse this morning” he said gravely.
“That is not good” she replied with a little frown.
“I have to get to the Castle. My uncles are hurrying to bury him according to their rites”
“I will come with you” she said knowing she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see the beast finally lowered into red earth.
“Thank you” he said as Pastor Tayo came in.
“I have just lost my father. Assemble the team, we will be going to the Castle immediately”
“I am sorry sir” Pastor Tayo gasped.
“God is in control” he nodded, his eyes glazed and unfocused.
In their minds, the trio laughed triumphantly.

******
Uneñ Ameji
Author of Memoirs of a Justified Gold Digger on Amazon.com
See new book Love on the 25th on Okadabooks http://goo.gl/hmsKnv
W: http://bit.ly/1Il23U3
T: https://twitter.com/UnenAmeji

******

See you next week.

Life as a Barack Boy. Episode 3

Episode 3: Iya Rasaki
Read all Episodes of Life of a Barack Boy by Ojay Aito Here
I will introduce some people in this episode but elaborate on their identities in latter episodes. One is Iya Rasaki also called Iya Adijah, or Iya Memunah. In fact, calling her by any of her children’s name would do and she had nine of them that I knew of: Sule, Memunah, Isa, Sikirah, Sala, Rasaki, Adijah, Rakia, and Ramoni. One could say she had nine names plus one.
The thing is, this family lived in our Boy’s Quarters. Their father, Baba Sule had two wives: Iya Rasaki – with her nine children and Iya Bose with her three children. Don’t ask me what Baba Sule did for a living because words fail me and I have no intention of going into that today. Today is about how Iya Rasaki interfered with our life which was a constant….good interference, bad interference.
Once upon a time during one of our holidays, we were all at home – my siblings and cousins – all boys. The girls had travelled out of town. We had serious plans of playing football that morning but had to wait just a little while so that our neighbor’s father, Baba Nalegu, would leave for work. He was the Assistant Chief Medical Doctor of the Division. Not that he would have stopped us from playing soccer, but if he found out what our early plans were, he would allocate portions of farm space for his own children to work on so that they wouldn’t have time to play and so we all waited eagerly just for their sake. Not that we waited idly, no.
Bruno, my cousin who was also called Mudiaga was on the deck of the house, trying to pluck mangoes. At this height he didn’t need to stretch for any of the sumptuously ripe fruits. It was a “Twist and Chop Time” – TCT we named the time we spent on the deck. My plan was to join him, but I was a little scared – the fear of superstitious beliefs. I had just drank a cup of garri to top the breakfast we had eaten at 8 am. So I was trying to calculate how long it would take my intestines to digest the garri before I climbed up to the deck for TCT. My siblings were in the house dancing to the song, Mister Morrinson, Shaba…remember that song?
My elder brother, Jerry was glued to the cartoon showing on TV. Thank God for AIT, they were the best thing that happened to Nigerian television broadcasting. Collins who was my partner in crime was trying to do his assignment mostly because our home-lesson teacher would come in the afternoon and there was Desmond (my eldest cousin), Efe, Kingsley, Jo (my youngest brother), and me, Osas. The Seven Lucky Kids!
At about 8:30am, our Doctor-Farmer neighbor left for work, but we knew better than to start playing immediately. The old Doctor was full of surprises. I decided to climb up to meet Mudiaga, after deciding against going to pick Iyeye with Rasaki and Damusa, our BQ tenants. Mudiaga welcomed me with a seductively ripe mango and I quickly forgot about the superstitions my mum scared us with. We talked about so many things at the same time, one topic not necessarily leading to the other but finding expressions as soon as they came to mind. But one thing that stayed longest in our conversation was the topic about Sala, one of the daughters of Iya Rasaki. Mudiaga liked this girl like crazy, he could do anything for her, but he was always tongue-tied whenever it was time to talk to her. I discovered that the six wonderfully sexy mangoes set aside from the rest were for her. Oh boy. Don’t ‘axe’ me how old we were then. Age is just a number they say and I believe you’d agree with me.
Our attention shifted down the street where we saw couple of girls coming up from the stream. We stood straight so we could get a good view of these young barrack ladies at the distant. Mudiaga was already thinking aloud. He wished he attended Army Children School were all the mature girls attended, instead of the Command Children School which was filled with too many Ajebotas, and mummy’s girls (the word Ajebota wasn’t used in our early). We watched as they came closer. They knew us, our names and all, but because they couldn’t speak correct English, all they did was smile and hoped we would say something to them. Or so we thought. Just then Mudiaga shouted “Good morning.” The reply was spontaneous and simultaneous, which meant we could say something more deliberate.
I was thinking of what to say but Mudiaga was way fast in ideas. “Anything for me?” He asked. First, we heard some rumbling, and then someone among them hissed.
Anything from where?” One of them asked.
Nothing for you o, na your type dem dey talk?” another added. That was below the belt and the little remark cut a deep wound into my cousin’s ego. He wanted to jump down from the one storey high deck. He’d done it before, in fact we all had done it before but that was when we had a high dose of adrenaline pumped into our blood stream. Mudiaga always had excess of adrenaline in him, so I didn’t blame him for getting angry; all I did was to put a hand over his shoulder to calm him. He shoved my hand aside…
All of una dey kraze,” Mudiaga shouted.
Na you and all of your family dey kraze!” shouted one who seemed to match my cousin in stature and words. That sparked the fire in Mudiaga. I felt like saying something in hot refute so that my cousin didn’t feel alone (not that he needed me anyway, I tell you, he could take on a battalion if necessary) but I didn’t know what I might say that would cause real damage.
See you o, you no even fit waka well, you get one bow leg and one K-leg.” Mudiaga seemed to shift into gear two and he moved to the next before any of them could respond.
See this one, the br***s wey you carry for chest big pass the basin you of water you put for head. Idiot, fat pig.” I began to laugh, my cousin was winning the battle of wits and it was hilarious to watch. They didn’t hesitate too long to reply as they came up the hill,
“Na your mama be fat pig” Now this got me angry, ‘how dare you abuse my mother?’ I wanted to say F you, but I knew it wasn’t applicable with this set of Bs.
You dey kraze, all of una dey mad.” I said instead.
Mudiaga came back on point, “Why una wait? Una t*t* dey smell dey, make una dey go, or I go release dog for una.”
“Na your p***s dey smell
” they all at once started casting profane words
All of una mama t*t* don sour” Mudiaga said and we laughed at that.
Your father, your mama, and all of una for una house dey kraze.”
When your papa come resume duty for our gate, na bingo I go send make e chop him p***s.” Now that was the killer bomb from my cousin. The profanities continued till the girls moved on to the front of our compound. I felt it was enough, but Mudiaga saw another opportunity. Still on the deck, we went round to meet them. They were now walking ahead, turning each time to send a curse.
See that one big y**sh! Mr Abu for School 2 go don nak you taya. As you old reach, na still primary 2 you dey. Before you reach primary 4 you go don born 3 children…” Mudiaga continued.
By this time, Efe and Jerry had come outside to see what was going on. Some of our neighbor’s children too had come out.
“Na all your sisters go get belle for Mr Abu” Shouted the girls.
“Make I throw one mango target that your big y***sh, make the thing burst” Mudiaga said. At that moment he threw one unripe mango at the girls, and lo and behold it went straight at the rubber basin on one of their heads. It broke the basin and the water emptied on the girl’s body like a baptism. I couldn’t believe my eyes, not even Mudiaga or any other person.
At the instance, I saw a flash forward, a terrible one. All the girls immediately poured their water away to defend their friend. They called for Mudiaga to come down from the deck to buy another basin and fetch back their water. Before long, Mudiaga was physically fighting with the fat girl. Everyone was outside trying to quell the upsurge. Nothing was working, some of the barrack girls and gone to call for back-up. Things were really going to get bad.
You go kill me today o, you go kill me” the fat girl was shouting, with one swollen eye, holding to Mudiaga’s torn shirt. They tried separating them and it was like they were glued together. It was an opportunity for the boys to pull the girls away, touching and feeling their ‘vitals’. If you saw me at this time, you won’t have an inking I was part of the instigators of the fight. I sat calmly and innocently by the threshold of my father’s house, watching free home video.
This was the moment IYA RASAKI came into the scene. She demanded what the matter was, and 15 minutes later, the girl had a clean blouse on, a new and bigger basin, and all of them had clean fresh tap water in their basins, instead of their stupid dirty stream water. They were ready to continue their trip back home. This was when the troop that was sent for by the girls arrived, but once again, the peaceful and wise Iya Rasaki settled everything… We thank God, ahhh…
But we knew better… Two hours later, all seven of us sat in the living room, planning. There was still going to be an aftermath, but we wanted to cushion it…so we planned and because all the ladies in the house had travelled about a fortnight ago when our holiday began (I think they went for a wedding in Enugu, can’t remember exactly), the house hadn’t been anywhere near parity when it came to cleanliness and tidiness. This always made mum shout when she gets back from work. She called my aunty and sisters to cut short their holiday and get back home.
So our plan was to make the whole house sparkling. The duty was shared and we began work, all seven of us, Rasaki and Isa coming to assist. We swept all the rooms, stores, kitchen (except our parents room which was locked), and mopped.
Cleaned the poultry, fed the chickens, manicured the flower beds, raked the dry leaves from the lawn, washed the dishes (and the plate rack we seldom washed), cleaned the louvers and windows, dusted the balcony furniture with damp cloth, washed our own clothes and kitchen napkins, took away cobwebs, fed bingo and locked him up in his cage, washed the toilets and bathrooms, in fact we would have painted the house if there was paint in the store.
We waited for our home lesson teacher, but when he didn’t show up at 3 pm, we thought it a splendid idea to call mum at work and ask her what she would like for dinner when she got back. She just said it casually that she would like fried rice, but she would be too tired to prepare it when she got back. We didn’t tell her we were
going to prepare it. So Sala and Rakia were called on to prepare the food, with close supervision from Mudiaga of course.
A quarter of six in the evening, Mumcee returned from work. And she was amazed, dazed, astonished, astounded, thrilled, surprised, flabbergasted and boggled. She was dumbstruck. When she went into the kitchen to find what to eat, an alarm system went out in her head.
“Who cooked this food?” she asked.
“All of us,” was the answer we gave her. She stepped back from the pot of food and looked at us squarely in the eyes. We just smiled sheepishly. She didn’t trust us, but looking at Jo, my kid brother, all suspicions evaporated. She enjoyed the food and demanded for more. Then she noticed we all sat in the sitting room watching TV and reading something, none of us were outside playing football, or Hide and Seek. Her prayers were being answered, she must have thought.
“Why are you children not playing football?” she asked. We all rumbled different things at the same time.
“Well, I’m so impressed with all of you. Collins, give me my bag,” she stretched her hand towards the cushion where her bag laid. She opened her purse and gave us N20 each. Now it was our turn to be flabbergasted and surprised. This wasn’t Christmas day, we had to remind ourselves. Then she asked us to go play.
We didn’t play football for long because we didn’t want to be caught unawares. We expected Iya Rasaki to come report the happenings of the day. So Desmond was stationed at the door to intervene. At 8 pm, it was time for the national soap,Check-Mate, on NTA. Iya Rasaki never visited after this time, so we all let down our guards and patted ourselves at the back for a job well done.
Half way into the soap opera, everyone including my dad, glued to the TV, enjoying the suspense, a crooked knock sounded on the door, followed by the heavily accented Igbira voice of Iya Rasaki, the first wife of Baba Sule. All seven of us froze in time and space… this wasn’t happening. It was Mudiaga Mumcee sent to go open the door. It took like ten years before the key in the key hole turned and finally opened. By the time, all of us except Mudiaga had vanished upstairs into our room.
The whole story was told my parent in Iya Rasaki’s version. Mudiaga was in the middle of the parlour, hands at his back, receiving tongue lashes from Mumcee. My Dad didn’t utter a word.
We were all called downstairs and received serious warning of our lives.
“Sorry, ma,” we all mumbled.
“Sorry for yourselves. No wonder you people poisoned me with that stupid rice.
“Desmond,” she called my eldest cousin, “Since you people have shown you are capable of doing house chores well, from tomorrow, you would be the one washing my clothes and Dad’s clothes instead of over working the girls.”
“Yes, ma,” Desmond said, and was about leaving.
“No, no, I’m not through. Tomorrow, all seven of you will harvest the cassava in the farm, peel, and take to the grinder, then fry. All of you, including you, Jo. If you like shed crocodile tears from now till next year.”
“Yes mum.”
“All of you, you are dismissed.” She finally said after some seconds of silence. That was the first and last time my mum used the word ‘dismissed’ for us. And that was the first and last time in my life I peeled cassava and made from cassava garri.

See you next week!
****
Ojay Aito blogs weekly at ojayaito.com and he is @1ojay on twitter.

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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Great Week!

Love on the 25th. Episode 1

Love on the 25th 2.-page-001

Alama Dickson. I hated my name from the first moment I knew that the first four letters meant the lower part of a man’s anatomy responsible for global misery – the one tool responsible for the abuse of the defenseless and the destruction of lives. It had come to be my everlasting enemy and the only reason why I had not taken to the streets in search of the four letter word to cut off was because I was contented ignoring the bearers and conquering companies. Oh! The thrill of closing deals, the opposition, the faces of speculators as we fought for the prize, the media… but only for a short while. I wanted more. I thrived on paper chase and there was no life but business.

The old ugly gateman – Johnnie had unzipped his rusty fly that cold Saturday morning and had expertly whipped out what he told me was my name from his foul-smelling mid-section; dark as charcoal and sprouting like the dense Amazon forest, I had seen my name in flesh at an early age of 7. A timid and defenseless child with absentee parents had me at the mercy of the gateman and the new ‘cousin’ – Oman who it was whispered was a bastard nobody wanted. Both men had molested me nonstop whenever, wherever until I ran off with the first man that had gotten me pregnant at the age of 16. There was no report for a missing teenager in the news. It was good riddance.

The four letter word represented what had caused me great pain but I had long buried the hurt, neglect and abuse with the premature baby I had given birth to 6 months after running away from home with Caleb. He never returned to the dingy shack nested in the deep valleys of a town and a place I had long obliterated from my memory – induced amnesia. Life had changed drastically after that wet night when..……. loud crack of laughter jolting me from the memories that sneaked up at unexpected times, I plastered a smile on my face and joined the discussion at the noisy table.
“Yes, DICK-son is such a loving man” it was Uloma cooing after the new man in her life. The girls had gathered to celebrate the success of Sandra’s first art exhibition and the constant lewd stress on the four letter word had my drink stopping at my throat and getting hot under my ears.
“Let me go to the ladies” I said excusing myself from the table at the Secilles, memories threatening to overwhelm me, already breaking out in cold sweat. What if I was related to this Dickson guy? Was I paranoid? Yes. Was it possible? Yes.
“Make I follow abeg” it was Tina. She was true to herself and didn’t care about coming off as the most advertised Warri-babe that never took last. Speaking pidgin and chewing gum with her full afro hairdo and bleeding thick lips, she grabbed my hand as we giggled at a private joke at Uloma’s expense.
“I heard you!” Uloma called after us as we walked from the trio still waiting for the appetizer.
“Dickson, Dickson, person no go hear word today again” it was Tina mimicking Uloma. I laughed adjusting the cup of my nuBra and propping my twin towers after mopping my ears with wet tissue. I felt my temperature drop and the sweat receding into my pores. Coming back to the table, the sexy waiter with cute butt cheeks was serving the grilled chicken wings and another glass of freshly squeezed pineapple juice for me and a bottle of American Honey for the girls. Soon the exchange and jabs started, laughter overflowing and loud whispers with white flesh in our mouths. Dickson was forgotten and the evening took the mood I needed to make an announcement I had kept for a week. I cleared my throat and raised my glass. The activities stopped, all eyes resting on me.
“I have a new job in Abuja. I am moving” I said excitedly to the group of five. Sandra, stopped on her drink looked at me with huge eyes. The frail and delicate Being sat obviously overwhelmed at the success of the night and the fact that the person who was behind it all was moving. A sales guru, there was nothing I could not sell if I put my mind to it. All her works had been sold and she had 45 orders to deliver in a month – all thanks to me. She had been talking me into becoming her agent and owning a gallery together but the email had changed things. I didn’t tell her I was moving and had put all mind to the organizing the exhibition after I resigned two months ago. Reason? I was bored at work and restless. I needed new challenge after years of growing Sage&Sages – a business support and development firm.
“Really happy for you” it was Uloma Richards, a fashion designer and owner of a small-scaled bakery who was going through a divorce but had her adulterous eyes on younger men.
“When was this?” Sandra Sani asked, her expressive eyes filled with hurt. We were the closest of the five and I knew she was pissed at my announcement mostly because I kept her in the dark.
“I got the email a month ago. They can’t hold the position any longer. It is good offer Sandra, really cannot pass it up” I told her. The table was quiet now as Uloma, Tina and Eva looked at us.
“But we were planning, the gallery, 5% commission on all sales is for you and….. you just can’t go to Abuja” she said angrily, licking her fingers, stabbing the serviette and balancing her eye glasses on her rather straight and narrow nose.
“I know but we can take this to Abuja and we can make it work” I tried. Of course I knew she couldn’t leave Port Harcourt but I had to try. My best friend was hurt and I felt bad about the move but the package was great. A house, trips, a car and driver and six figure monthly salary plus commission on closure but what was more thrilling was the workload – Business Development for a conglomerate on an international scene! This was business on the frontier. An idea candy shop. I was excited. A gallery wasn’t going to bring all that plus I knew I could still pull some buyers whether I was in Port Harcourt or not.
“Your mind is made up but you should have told me earlier! I already made a down payment for a space” she said, upset.
“We can make it work” I said trying again with a wink. She wasn’t biting.
“So you will be leaving Port Harcourt to Abuja, when?” it was Eva Falana, the rich kid who had no idea what work meant. The idea of hard work or going to an office was foreign to her and she wondered why Sandra and I would want to run a gallery or why I never had the time for a date but had the time to fly across the country for deals at the snap of fingers.
“On Sunday” I said, waiting for Sandra to react.
“Tomorrow?!!! My God Debbie, you have outdone yourself. I am so so out of here” she said dramatically, standing up as she spilled her glass content and struggled to get out of her seat.
Haba Sandra, Common on” it was Uloma and Tina at the same time. Clearly she was past upset and I was guilty as hell.
“No, No, let her be going. Why did she bother telling us, me” she corrected carrying her heavy bag and leaving us at the table, awkward silence following.
“Well, that went well” it was Uloma, taking more wine.
“You sef, you for tell am since na. wetin she go do now?” it was Tina, the advocate.
“She had a better job, she needs to take it” it was Eva. She always sided with me on arguments and even now, I knew she would defend my position.
Shey you go refund am na” Tina continued in her trademarked pidgin.
“I will” Eva said offhandedly and the tension in the air reduced. I wanted to send a message on BBM to Sandra but decided against it. I’d go over to her place tonight.
Just then, a couple entered the restaurant and Uloma sat up, eyes blazing.
“Uloma! Your eyes go make these men fall o” it was Tina Ugulur. A real estate agent, Tina was one known for going after a deal and hardly closing it because she was brutally honest and surprisingly easy with the older men. She must have been the one Sandra had gotten the gallery space from; and being the only one to drive a Lincoln in the group, she preached the virtues of hard work but we all knew how hard she worked.
“Please leave me. Make I feed my eyes nah” Uloma said still staring blatantly at a man who had just taken his seat with a nicely curved lady. I was more interested in the shoe she was wearing than the man that accompanied her. I was off men and my friends thought Sandra and I were lesbians. We did little to dispel the belief and Eva just wanted a part of the action. Oh yes, I knew she was one and had put her straight the night she had come crawling all over my body. Perhaps that was why she was so agreeable or simply because she was still having evil thoughts. Which, I didn’t want to think about.
“I am sure you know how many men are present” it was Eva, winking at the waiter who had served us earlier. I knew she had eyes on him and gave off a joke about having a thing for handsome waiters as he set the orders. He had smiled politely but kept his distance since then.
“There are 13 men present. All but one has made eye contact” Uloma said proudly. It was no news that she was getting divorced because she couldn’t keep her eyes and hands off men but no one said it. We all pretended men were the evil ones and women were well, angels. But we knew better.
“And who is the exception?” Eva asked taking a large sip.
“He has his eyes on the girl with him. 9’Oclock” she said with an evil grin on her face.
“I see him” it was Tina. At this time, I was thinking of how to leave the table and head to Sandra’s before heading home.
“He seems to be begging the lady” it was Eva. She had turned 180º now and was studying the distressed couple without propriety. I had to leave but found myself glued to the seat and still tearing at the large lettuce in the salad.
“I bet he cheated on her and now wants second chance. Am I right Debbie?” Eva asked dragging me into the conversation. Truth be told, I cared less about the couple and was more concerned about getting a good seat with cloud view on the flight at 1600 hours.
“I do not know, you can ask him or just walk up and pretend to be the other woman” I offered sarcastically, deciding on wearing a denim jeans and frayed white top. A large aviator and hand luggage would do me good. I already saw myself walking out of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, being picked up by the company driver and heading to the Hilton. The Zenith Group was known to be one of Nigeria’s largest groups of companies and had the best work environment. I was going to resume as the regional head for Business Development and my track record in sales/marketing was going to work in my favor. How else was I going to put down some real roots if no one bought new ideas I was bursting with. I couldn’t wait for my first meeting. It was exhilarating and I was looking forward to the challenge, long hours, beautiful hotels, interesting people……
“Debbie! Debbie!!” a rude tap.
“Yes?” I tried to hide the irritation from the corners of my mouth.
“Please go do it for me now” it was Uloma, all eyes resting on me the second time tonight.
“Do what?’ I was lost.
“Go as the other woman” Uloma said, her eyes glinting with mischief.
“I was just joking” I said in a laugh and taking a sip. No one laughed but instead stared back quietly.
“I cannot do that” I shook my head as Uloma pleaded with her eyes.
“You are leaving tomorrow. What are the odds that you would see him again? Just go now” Uloma pushed again.
“She is afraid” it was Tina.
“I am not” I defended. Tina didn’t know but she had pressed the right button. I was never afraid of anything and I was one to prove wrong those who thought me so.
“Then just have the last fun night, do something crazy and travel to your new shiny job tomorrow” Eva pressed drinking heavily. Dropping my phone, I powdered my nose slowly and wondered why I was doing their bidding. The dare had left me with no choice and Uloma was right, I was not going to meet the stranger again.
“Get his contact” Uloma urged and I I shook my head as I marched confidently across the room.
“I won’t” and I was off. As I approached, I noticed the eyes of his partner on my long legs before it met my eyes.
“Hey Mark” I said dropping a hand on the shoulder of the man who had backed the ladies all along. I was not ready for the perfection in his features as he turned and I caught my breath albeit briefly. His eyes were dark with anger and he looked ready to pounce on anyone who distracted him but I had gone too far and it was simply impossible to go back now. Or was it?
“Excuse me?” more of a demand than a question, his perfect upturned lips rose like he was trying to be patient but failing terribly.
“Forgotten me so soon darling?” I insinuated, looking at the confused lady already sitting up and thoroughly enjoying the challenge.
“I swear Ele, I do not know this being. I am surprised you doubt me” he said with disdain as the curvy girl stood up and quietly stared at me, her eyes misting just a little. I felt terrible, ashamed of creating the scene but it was for her good. I could smell it on him, he wasn’t a faithful soul.
“I hope you people are happy now, the wedding is off. Goodbye Vince’ the small curvy woman removed the ring and dropped it in his hand before she walked out of the cozy restaurant into the chilly night. The man named Vince stared down at me with venom before running after his fiancée.
I waited a while before walking back to the table.
“That was his fiancée” I announced to the trio who had ordered another bottle and had resumed drinking with a new man on my seat.
“Dickson, Debbie, Debbie, Dickson” Uloma introduced. A thin smile and I picked my purse and silently walked out, all the while regretting not leaving with Sandra. While I wasn’t sorry blowing off the engagement of God’s perfect creation, I was ticked because the trio already had moved on to their favorite four letter word.
I am sorry.
Think about the move with me.
Abuja won’t be bad for business.
See you when I get back.
Night.

Sent.
It was a new beginning and I was ready for it as Debbie Black.