Republished: Slay Queen

Queen

Let me tell you a story.

Our story starts with Slay Queen getting a new notification from Facebook. Ekubo McBrian had just hit her up for the twelfth time today. She had only just accepted his friendship request since he sent it six months ago, but he was fast becoming a pain in the bum. She heaved a deep sigh and placed her phone back in her denim pocket.

“Madam, we don reach the place,” the cabman said.

She looked out of the window. The giant “Eko Hotel and Suites” sign at the top of the towering building welcomed her preying eyes.

“Okay,” she said as she paid the cabman and alighted from his overly comfy Metro taxi. She approached the entrance of the hotel and found her way to the private hall where she spotted her would-be company relaxing in a few seats away. He stood up and pulled the chair for her.

Continue reading

Diary of a Jumoke: Episode V

Thank God it is Saturday. I love the Lagos weather today. So sunny and nice. So here is a lovely post to go with the lovely weather. This is the 5th Episode of Abdulwahab Olajumoke’s “Diary of a Jumoke”. Read and let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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*Five Years Ago*

“Babe I really miss you and I want you so bad”

“Noka I miss you too. But I really need to talk to you. I answered in a very tired voice.

I had been feeling funny for the past one week. I wake up almost every day with a dizzy spell. That morning I had decided to confirm my fears by having a urine test.

The result I got threw me off balance. I discovered that I was pregnant. My mind was in deep turmoil.

What was I going to do?

I was so confused that I called my boyfriend Noka to tell him that I was pregnant. But when he picked the call and I heard his fruity voice at the other end of the phone, the words got stuck in my mouth.

All I could manage to tell him was that we needed to talk very urgently. He agreed and promised to pay me a visit the following weekend.

Noka was a guy I met when I traveled to Abuja to visit an uncle. He was in his mid-twenties and a bit older than I was. He was handsome, light skinned, with a tawny physique and an impressive athletic feature.

We met at the cinema, started talking and we ended up making love on our second date. Since then we had been sweethearts. I fell madly in love with him.

We met during his NYSC and he was stationed at Abuja. He didn’t go into much detail about his life, but he told me that his father was an Urhobo man and his mother an American.

He said they both live outside the country but they come to Nigeria occasionally. He also told me that he was likely to travel out of the country too, after his youth service. He had promised heaven and earth and I was so gullible then that I believed he was my knight in shining armor.

As he had promised, he arrived in my school that weekend. We had fun, went to the pool to swim and we ended up lodging at a hotel later that night.

I was still a bit scared. I didn’t know how to relate the news to him. So we had slept that night with me holding the news till the next day.

We had an early breakfast the following morning because he was leaving as early as possible.

I couldn’t eat.

The rice we had ordered smelled like raw egg and all I wanted to do was throw up. He noticed my clumsiness but I told him I was feeling a bit feverish.

He was all set to go and he drew me up from where I was sitting and enveloped me in a tight hug while he planted wet kisses on my face.

“I’ll miss you sugar bush he had said in a modulated voice.

I knew I had to tell him now or I’ll never be able to tell him again.

“Noka, I have something to tell you”

“I am pregnant” I finally said in a quivering voice.

The smile on his face disappeared.

“Jummy, you are what?” he had asked in a very worried tone.

At that moment, I wished the ground would open and swallow me up.

“How? When?” He asked.

“What are you going to do about it?”

I couldn’t believe my ears.

“I can’t abort it. I am scared” I answered.

He dropped my hand instantly.

“Jumoke, I don’t have time for this” he had said in a shrilled voice that sent shivers down my spine.

Before I could say more, he bolted out of the room, leaving me all by myself.

That was the last time I saw him – the last time I heard from him. He had walked away from my life, leaving me to bear the burden myself.

My mother was devastated when she heard the news. We had both cried our eyes out. She expected more from me and I had disappointed her.

My Father died when I was just ten years old and since then she has been trying her possible best to give me a good education.

We were not rich, but she had always given me full financial support with her petty trade. I had dreams also. I had an ambition.

I was going to be an Economist; a very successful one. And I was so close to realizing that dream. I was in my 200L in school already. And now the pregnancy was threatening to shatter my dreams.

I had resolved to make the best out of my predicament. I was going to pull through no matter what it takes.

Few months after I gave birth to my baby, my mother’s shop was razed to the ground. Not a single thing remained.

Things began to fall apart. I had to man up and take up the responsibility of feeding myself, my mother and my 5 months old baby.

So in my 300L, I joined the clique of call girls in school. Don’t blame me, I had no other choice or else I’ll just drown in poverty.

Money began to roll in from all angles and by the time I was on my youth service, I had bought a house for my mother and my child.

The life I was leaving was tempting though so I had continued my “business” after university and stopping was the last thing on my mind. I had promised myself that I would be independent and I would never let any man take advantage of me again.

***

Present

I was still busy cuddling my daughter when my mother appeared from my room.

The shock on my face was evident.

“Maami e kaaro” [Mom, good morning] I greeted not knowing what else to say. I had not seen her and my daughter for the past 8 months.

She looked different, a bit older.

She walked towards the couch and answered my greeting with a nod. I knew I was in for trouble because she looked upset.

“Ma, why didn’t you call me before coming? I could have come over to pick you” I added knowing fully that last statement was a big lie. If she had called, I would have lied about being out of town or busy.

She sat on the couch without answering. I sensed something fishy was going on so I told Arianna to go inside my room.

Maami ki lo sele?” [Mom what happened?] I inquired.

“Why are you doing this to your daughter?”

“You left her all these past months without a single visit”

“What kind of mother are you!?” she thundered.

I felt a rush of emotions as she spoke and I was trying hard not to cry. I knew I had neglected my daughter, but I had my reasons. I was working my head off to give her a good life. I had been so busy.

“She was pulling tantrums”

“She wanted to see you badly”

“So I had no other choice but to bring her here”.

“And after what happened yesterday, she started asking questions”

I was alarmed.

“What happened?” I inquired in a worried tone.

My mum sighted heavily and shifted on her sit.

“Adejumoke…”

 Wait! She just called my name in full. Whenever she does that some serious banters was about to follow.

My heart skipped a million beats.

“Noka came looking for you” she said finally.

I felt like punching someone.

“Noka did what?”

“How did he find me?”

“What does he want?” I asked angrily.

I was pacing up and down now.

“He just appeared with his oyinbo mother”

“I asked who he was and he introduced himself as Noka” she continued.

“He prostrated and was begging me with tears”.

“Your daughter witnessed the whole thing”

“She has not allowed me a moment of peace since then”.

I was in another world already – the world where I was planning a million ways to kill Noka if I ever lay my eyes on him. I was not going to allow that beast get close to my daughter. She’s mine and mine alone.

The doorbell jolted me out of my thought.

“Who the hell is that?” I blurted out angrily.

I dashed toward the door as if to give the person there a beating of his/her life. I could really be over dramatic when I was angry

I pulled the door opened and I was transfixed.

“Please kill me already” I thought.

Today is really going to be a long day.

“Good morning Jumoke” he said in his regular baritone voice.

“Hi” was the only thing I could manage to say.

Dapo Badejo was standing in front of me life and direct. I must be dreaming.

 

***

Lexicon:

*NYSC – An acronym for National Youth Service Corps

 

Sent To Golgotha

golgothaI struggled to scribble as much of the events my eyes could behold. My hand shook like the waist of a cultural troop dancer. The old village stadium was overcrowded. The village chief, his elders and their wives occupied the front row; all dressed in royal regalia like it was some feast we were celebrating. Well, yes, it was the New Yam Festival, but no one was here to see any tuber or masquerade. Everyone here came to send the wicked on a journey of no return. They were here to witness the public execution of a varsity miscreant who raped and gruesomely murdered a daughter of the soil. And yes, on a venerated festive day.

“May the Lord accept your soul. Amen,” the pot-bellied Priest said and banged his dusty Bible, the expression on his face suggesting the direct opposite of his prayers. It was obvious he wished the convict baked in hell. A hood was placed over the boy’s head, and the thick noose fastened to his neck.

Did he really do what he was convicted for? I thought. Was the Judge unduly pressurised by the village to pass a death penalty on him?

When the case was assigned to me by my Editor, I reluctantly accepted it. My last Crime Report on the country’s first use of electric chair left a sour taste in my mouth that I vowed never to cover death sentences again. I still remember the experience like it was yesterday. It was horrifying.

 

The first jolt of 1900 volts passed through the condemned prisoner’s body. Sparks and flames erupted from the electrode tied to his legs. A large puff of greyish smoke and sparks poured out from under the hood that covered his face. An overpowering stench of burnt flesh and clothing pervaded the room. Later, two doctors examined his body but declared he was not dead. He was administered another doze of electricity. His hood burst in flames, revealing a blackened face. Again the doctors examined him, but declared his heart was still racing. A third charge of electricity was passed through his body. The blackened skin exploded, revealing a bone of skull streaming with blood. The doctor checked the third time and pronounced him dead…

“Aww!!!” the cry of the crowd jolted me out of my thoughts and brought me back to the present. The boy had just been hanged. His head hung askew over of his neck. I could see his eyes had also popped out of their sockets. His tongue hung out as well.

Then a car sped into the arena, causing pandemonium in the crowd. A man ran out of the car, holding a court document in his hand. Ten minutes later, the word spread in the crowd. The court had just ordered a stay of execution. New evidence revealed the wrong person was prosecuted and convicted. The actual criminal – the boy’s twin, had turned himself in to the Police and confessed to the crime.

***

PS: I originally published this story on Naija Stories on November 2010.

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The Random Girl

young man on call“Salaam-Alaikum!”

“Wrong number.”

“Salaam-Alaikum!”

“Wrong number.”

“Salaam-Alaikum!

“Wrong number.”

That must have been the one millionth time he would be saluting me over the phone. And each time he did, I would respectfully tell him he had got the wrong number. But no, his call would wake me up by 3:00am the next day and all he had to say was Salaam-Alaikum.

***

It was a hectic day at work; Femi and my humble self had just attended an exhausting meeting with a demanding client and we were on our way back to the office when Femi decided to conduct a quick transaction at the Bank. Femi was our Senior Account Officer and he needed to pay the contractors who had come to do some structural adjustments to our office space the other day. Whilst he proceeded to the banking hall at the third floor to make the transfer to the contractor’s account, I waited patiently for him in the banking hall downstairs. This particular hall was designed for low scale transactions. And as was usually the case, this hall was crowded. Tellers sat at their respective counters, attending to all and sundry.

As I sat in my seat, I could not help but notice the faces of everyone who came into the bank. Each face told a tale. Some were tales of expectations, others were tales of frustration. Then I saw this particular young, beautiful female face which bore both tales. I could see the young face wanted something and the face was sad that it did not get what it wanted. It was such a disheartening sight. I could have sworn it was the most beautiful, sad female face I had ever seen, but that would be a lie because I have a girlfriend who is the most beautiful woman in the world and I have seen her sad a few times. So yes, this particular face was beautiful and sad on this day – just like my girl’s on a few occasions. And my God, she was shapely too!

So, what does a busyless young man who was sitting in a crowded banking hall do with a sad beautiful face that reminded him of his girl? Brighten her up.

The lie I told myself for deciding to hit on another woman: help brighten her up.

 

She is sad and the only reason God put you on this earth is to come be her saviour and help relieve her of her sadness. When you were formed in your mother’s womb, God already knew that, a day would come when you would meet a young sad woman in a banking hall and it would be your God-ordained duty to make her happy.

Bollocks.

So, I stood up from my seat and started approaching my God-ordained target. She had just been attended to by the Teller at the counter and apparently, he gave her some bad news. Maybe she wanted to make some withdrawals from her account but she did not have sufficient balance. God forbid that this was the reason for her sadness. I did not have a kobo to spare on a random stranger, irrespective of her beauty and shape.

Before I could make my way through the crowd to where she was standing, she had already made her way out of the banking hall and into the street.

Do I go after her? What if Femi finishes with his transaction upstairs and cannot find me?

Prior to today, it had been eons since I last chased after a random girl in public. What do I say to her?

Hi. I saw you a while ago and I like you. I think you look like Esther in the Bible …Can I have your number?

Please “Epp” me.

Just like that?

Well, today was the day I found out if I still had it in me. The thing about staying faithful in a committed relationship is that you begin to lose your “market” ratings.

So, I decided to go after this young beautiful woman. The closer I got to her, the farther she walked. She turned into the next street, and then the one after that and the one after that. I walked some distance behind her, buying time and calculating what I would say when I met her. I did not want to come out as some stalker – which obviously I was fast becoming.

She walked into a “business centre” complex. I waited at the gate of the complex, my head bowed, thinking my game was up. There was no way I would walk into the business centre with her, to start my silly misguided chat. Not with the crowd of people that were likely to be at the centre.

As I pondered over what could have been, I saw her walk right out of the business centre and headed for the gate where I stood. This was my chance.

As she got to the gate, I decided to be the man my father thought I was and stopped her in her tracks.

“Hi,” I said in my most upper-class accent.

She looked at me with puzzled eyes.

“Sorry for doing this,” I said, licking my upper lip. There was something about licking one’s upper lip when talking, especially if one is a guy. I had heard girls find it attractive. “I saw you in the banking hall a while ago and I thought that …umm…”

“You were at the bank?”

“Umm, yeah.” I said, smiling sheepishly.

“And you followed me here?”

The smile drained from my face.

“Before I could walk up to you in the banking hall, you had already left,” I said, a little flustered. “Umm, hi, I am Michael. I noticed you in the banking hall and there was this part of me which longed to talk to you.”

I waited for her aggressive and cold response. Even I was not convinced by my own pick-up line. It sounded jaded and off-point.

There was this part of me which longed to talk to you? That should be the worst pick up line she had ever heard.

To my surprise, she smiled at my attempt at being cool. She smiled beautifully. She smiled beautifully at me.

I smiled back.

“A part of you longed to talk to me?” she re-echoed with dimpled cheeks. Her dimples were flawless.

“Yes.”

“What part of you is that?”

“My heart. My heart longed to talk to you.”

“Wow,” she said, almost inaudibly. I could see she was impressed. “And you came all this way…”

“To talk to you,” I completed her statement, squinting my eyes. Sexy as mad. “But I can see you are somewhat in a hurry… If you don’t mind, I would like to have your number so I can tell you later in the day, what my heart has got to say.”

The guts.

I could not believe I had just asked for her number. I, who was in a committed relationship, had just hit on a random woman and asked for her number.

“Oh, umm,” she stuttered. “Umm, okay. Can I have your phone?”

I gave her my phone and she keyed in her digits.

“And…. you will be?” I asked.

“Christabel. Christabel Ugo.”

“Christabel Ugo, right. You looked a little disturbed at the banking hall…”

“Yes, I wanted to pay my tuition fees but I was told my school did not have an account with the Bank. I just got an admission into the National Open University and I have to pay my fees today as today is the deadline.”

“Oh, so what are you going to do now?”

“I came to the business centre to get some information from the school website about another Bank…”

“Ah, I see. Any luck?”

“Yes, fortunately for me, the school has an account with another bank just down this road. I must really be on my way now.”

“Oh yes, you must. Thank you for your time and I’ll give you a call…”

“My phone is switched off at the moment..”

“I’ll call later.”

And with that, the second most beautiful female face I had seen walked away.

As I rushed back to the bank, I tried to dial Christabel’s number so it could be stored on my phone call log. I would save the number later.

Just as I dialled the call icon, I lost network connection on my phone for a split second. That split second proved to be costly as, my phone did not store the call attempt in the call log. The hairs on my neck stood, my face became red and I started sweating. All my efforts had just gone with the wind.

But I would not give up so easily. I decided to go around the street, searching for any bank. I saw a few and quickly scanned their banking halls but Christabel was not in any. After about twenty minutes without success, I gave up and headed back to the bank where Femi was already waiting for me in the car at the car park just in front of the bank.

“Where have you been?” he asked.

“I came out to use the bank’s ATM but it was not dispensing cash, so I decided to use another bank’s just down the road,” I answered as I searched for “Christabel Ugo” on Facebook with my phone.

The ease with which we lie.

“Oh. I was about lodging a “missing person” report,” Femi teased.

I smiled.

My face smiled. My heart did not.

Just as Femi made to put the gear in reverse mode, I spotted Christabel in the side mirror, walking past our car. In that split moment, I told Femi I had just spotted an old friend of mine from college and would like to speak with her. Before he could respond, I alighted from the car and rushed towards Christabel.

“Christabel!” I called from behind. She turned around.

“Hey,” she said.

“Sorry I did not save your number when you gave it to me…If you don’t mind…”

Before I completed that, she reached out for my phone and gave me her number again. I dialled it this time around to make sure it was stored in my phone’s call log.

“Thank you,” I said. “I’ll ring you.”

With that, we went our separate ways again.

***

Back at the office, I could not wait to share my interesting story with some of the guys. But just before then, I decided to actually save Christabel’s name against her number. I knew I would not call her until after three days. This was the unwritten code of life for men:

Keep her wondering why you have not called. Did you not find her fascinating anymore? Was it her breath? Did it stink when she spoke? Her make up? Did she not use enough make up? Or was it rather too much? How about her…Oh my God.

Whilst saving the number, I discovered that, a digit was missing! The number was not complete. I had just toiled in vain. This realisation made me sick instantly.

Then an idea came to my head – try different number combinations by randomly adding a digit from 0 – 9 at the end of the Christabel’s number. One of it was sure to be hers.

And so my next journey began. I started trying different number combinations by adding random digits from 0 – 9.

Every number combination I tried was invalid. I kept trying the number combination thing. And then, one of such combinations went through. Well, almost went through, but for the fact that the phone was switched off. At this point, I remembered Christabel saying to me earlier in the day,” My phone is switched off at the moment.”

 Yes! That must be her number!

I saved that particular number for later.

***

Later that evening, I decided to check if Christabel’s number was still switched off. The time was 8:31pm. To my surprise, it rang on the first try.

Yes! Yes! Yes!!!

And a voice came on the other end. But it was a masculine voice saying “Salaam-Alaikum, Salaam-Alaikum, Salaam-Alaikum.”

And there began my punishment for hitting on a random girl and getting her number. The masculine voice called every day and night to say “Salaam-Alaikum”. And each time the man did, I would respectfully tell him he had got the wrong number. But no, his call would wake me up by 3:00am the next day and all he had to say was Salaam-Alaikum.

 

***

 

Note: Salaam-Alaikum – Peace be unto you.

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Amicus Curiae 1: Ambulance Chaser

Yayy! It’s finally Friday and here is the first episode of my new series, Amicus Curiae. If you did not read yesterday’s teaser, you can do that here before proceeding to read this episode one. The teaser sets the tone for Episode one. More like a prologue…. Episode two will be posted next week Friday. Let me know what you think of this episode in the comment column below. Happy Weekend, people!

***

AMBULANCE CHASER

 

girls-night-out-drinks-475

 

Folayemi alighted from the rickshaw in haste when it got to Magodo Brooks gate. Today was the first day of the Chambers Attachment – a compulsory programme on the Nigeria Law School calendar – and she was already late. The words of her mother whizzed into her head:

“A good bride must be diligent in all she does.”

These words of her mother – now, more of a proverb – have been used in a plethora of situations – instructional, correctional, motivational and directional. Whenever Folayemi fell short of an expectation, her mother would use the words to caution her – as she would a bride – and whenever she exceeded an expectation, her mother would also use the same cliché as an affirmation of what would be expected of her in marriage. There was no limit to whatever situation the cliché could be applied Continue reading

#NewSeriesAlert: Amicus Curiae

So I have been on vacation in the past month and I used that period to make a strong resolution to start a new series. If you are a regular visitor to my blog, you’ll know  by now that I don’t really write series. It’s such a daunting task. I would rather post a short story and call it a day. Or week. I give it to bloggers like Tomi Adesina and the grand Master, Lord Tunde Leye (though he has stopped now) who post on the regular! Lord Tunde has kinda taken a sabbatical at the moment…

So I have resolved to start this new series titled “Amicus Curiae”. It will be posted every Friday, starting from tomorrow. Here is a teaser subtitled “The Wages of Sin”. Give it a read and let me know what you think in the comment box below. Gracias!

***

THE WAGES OF SIN

Civic Centre, Lagos www.haroldwrites.wordpress.comIt happened the night before. Bamidele Odusote had just returned from a business seminar organised by the Lagos State Ministry of Commerce at the Civic Centre along Ozumba Mbadiwe road, Victoria Island. Being a young, successful entrepreneur and chairman/C.E.O of Bamz Holdings, a billion naira annual revenue conglomerate that has investments in many facets of the country’s economic ecosystem ranging from oil and gas to manufacturing and energy distribution, Bamidele was invited to speak to young budding entrepreneurs on the myths and realities of operating a successful business enterprise in a difficult ecosystem as Nigeria. He had kept his message precise and straight to the point. He was very critical of the Federal Government for failing to provide enabling environment for small scale businesses to thrive. He was also critical of commercial banks operating in the country for exploiting local business owners.

“The banking system has failed us as well,” he said. “Our banks would give a six percent interest rate to foreign investors who take their loans – and this, they would do without requesting for any security, but would slam a gargantuan twenty-six percent interest rate on local companies who apply for the same credit facility. And of course, collaterals must be provided.”

Bamidele Odusote also blamed local entrepreneurs for being ignorant of certain investment incentives which abound. Then, he went ahead to briefly lecture the crowd on the Pioneer Status Certificate issued to local businessmen who invest in certain business areas.

Jaguar F-Type S at www.haroldwrites.wordpress.com

As soon as he was done with the lecture, Bamidele scampered out of the hall, rushed to his Jaguar F-Type S in the parking lot and drove out of the Civic Centre, heading straight to Club Uno at Adetokunbo Ademola street. He had a date with Bimbo. They had gone three weeks without speaking to each other after she found the nude picture of another girl on his phone. He wanted to make everything right tonight.

E1sXz8P24uPDh2ZqVMQcpN9SJust as he was approaching the gate of the club, he perceived a foul smell oozing from the backseat of his car. He kept driving but the smell became stronger. Then he heard a movement behind him. Bamidele knew he was the only one in the car, so his blood froze for a millisecond. He turned on the inner light of the car and looked into his rearview mirror. The car was dimly lit, but he could spot an object on the backseat of his car. It appeared to be a wrapped polythene bag. With his left hand on the steering, Bamidele reached for the object behind him with his right. The bag seemed to contain some pieces of something firm. At this point, the foul smell in the car had increased. The air now smelled of dead meat.

Bamidele, with dollops of sweat trickling down his face, drove into the parking lot of Club Uno and jolted his car to a stop. He turned around and reached for the bag which emitted foul odour in his car. As he pulled the bag open, the battered, disfigured face of a human rolled out and dropped to the floor of the car. It was the chopped head of Bimbo. At this point, Bamidele could almost feel his heart stop beating. He pushed the bag away as he took short breaths. The weight of his own head grew too heavy for his neck as he felt sharp pangs of pain biting into his skull.

Oh God, Oh God, he gasped.

Red liquid trickled out of the now agape polythene bag, onto the footmat of his car. Bamidele felt his stomach churn in disgust, then vomited at the sickening sight and smell around him. He sat on his seat, shell-shocked for a couple of seconds, trying to come to terms with reality. Then he heard a knock on the pane of his glass window. He threw a quick look at two figures standing by the side of his car. They were not the club’s bodyguards. They were men in uniform. As he lowered his window, the closest of the men to him pointed a card at him and uttered some words Bamidele could barely hear. The man opened Bamidele’s car, pulled him out and placed a cuff around his wrists. Bamidele could hardly fight back. He could hardly breathe.

 

***

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