Pandemonium

The night was filled with shouts and cries from McGriffin Hostel. The jock boys were at it again, they were always the ones disturbing the peace of the hostel. Craig opened the door of Room 42 to see other boys rush by in a hurry; they were going to see the jock boys pound one another to a pulp as they provided entertainment for the boys of McGriffin Hostel with their occasional night fights and squabbles. ‘What’s going on this time with those jerks?’ asked Max, Craig’s roommate. The noise generated from the fight happening in one of the rooms below had disrupted their video game. Seated next to Max was Lance who seemed in a hurry to get back to thrashing Max in the game. Laying on one of the beds in the room was the fourth and last roommate, Ryan. He was reading a book and he seemed unperturbed by the noise. He was used to them, the jerks who always felt as though they owned the school. They disturbed the hostel with their loud and deranged music, quarrelled every now and then but were hardly confronted by anyone. The hall wardens never bothered to check in on them as one of them had ended up in the hospital with a broken nose three weeks earlier. He had earned that while trying to separate a fight that had ensued between two jock boys. In addition to the broken nose, he also got two fractured ribs and a battered face. The two miscreants were of course expelled from the school but no one wanted to be a martyr. Everyone just seemed to mind his business whenever the jock boys were around.

Just the other day, some second year students were found beaten and bloody as a result of crossing paths with some jock boys. Earlier that day, some jock boys were beaten by the second year students but later that night, the jock boys retaliated and exacted sweet revenge back on the poor fellows. The beaten boys refused to disclose the people responsible for their predicament but everyone knew the jock boys had their imprints written all over it but still remained mute.

The shouts and cries at the hostel intensified as many onlookers and spectators gathered to see the rascals batter their faces. The occupants of Room 42 however remained in their room. Max and Lance resumed their video game but their minds weren’t in the game anymore; they wanted to go and see the fight down below. It looked like people were gathering but no one was ready to separate them. ‘Who could blame them anyway?’ thought Lance to himself. Craig suddenly stood from his bed saying, ‘I have to go and see this fight, this noise is deafening. Having said that, he walked to the door, opened it and walked out. It wasn’t long before Max and Lance followed suit, dropping their game pads on the floor. They all left the room except for Ryan who seemed rather pre-occupied with his novel in hand.

The crowd surrounding the fighters egged them on, cheering them on as the two jock boys involved in the fight kept battering and ramming into each other. The taller of the two boys held his opponent in a tight neck grip and pummelled the living hell out of his face. The second jock suddenly found the first jock’s foot and twisted it. A sharp cry of pain tore through the night as the first jock went down in a heap. He hurriedly let go of the second jock who instantly landed a swift kick on to the face of the first. Blood erupted out of the face of the first jock as the second jock added two more kicks to his temple. The crowd was now chanting for the defeated jock to get up and continue the fight as his opponent kept delivering blows, punches and kicks. The jock on the floor suddenly rushed and grabbed the second jock by the torso, lifted him up in the air and with a loud cry, threw him on the floor. Loud cheers and whoops emanated from the crowd. Lance and Max were screaming themselves hoarse, congratulating the first jock. Craig stood at a corner watching the whole fight. He wondered what people enjoyed in it though, the fighters could get themselves killed but yet people found pleasure in it. He soon felt that he had seen enough and made his way back to his room. Max and Lance would return when they‘ve had their fill. He got to his room, opened the door and was greeted with a cold dark silence. The lights in the room were off. They had all left Ryan in the room with the lights on. Maybe, Ryan had decided to go to bed and had switched off the lights. He had better turn them on. He groped along the wall, looking for the light switch. ‘Ryan, Ryan’, he called out but he met with no response. Alas, he found the light switch and turned it on. What he saw, he wasn’t prepared for. Ryan laid on his bed, his throat slashed and his face stabbed multiple times. The book he was reading lay on top his chest soaked in his blood. A part of his cheek had been cut off and his nose bashed in. Blood dripped from the bed and pooled all over the floor.

***

“Pandemonium” was written by Onadeko Akinwande, an aspiring writer, biochemist, lover of reading, music and fun. He is also a graduate of Bowen University.

 

***

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CLUELESS – EPISODE 5

“Good morning, beautiful.” Tobi said, as he pulled the curtains back, allowing the rays of sunlight to bounce off Sharon’s face perfectly. “You slept quite long.” He continued, as he took his seat. “It’s been a while since I had anyone use this room.” He added. “My mom uses this room whenever she comes around.”
She stared at him. “Is there a time you don’t talk too much? I mean, I understand it comes with the job and you get to talk a lot when you are on the job arguing football and whatnot but is there really a time at all in your life when you don’t talk?”

Tobi smiled as he ran his eyes over her body. “I am sorry I disturbed you, but I hardly have anyone around here to talk to and so I am just excited to have a new friend.”

Sharon caught his gaze all over her. “Friend? Dude, don’t sweat it. I am not your friend.” She replied, crouching up on the bed, using the blanket to cover her legs.

He nodded. “Yet you are lying in my bed and you ate my food last night. That automatically makes us friends.” He replied.

“What do you want?” Sharon asked, starting to dismiss him. “Isn’t Dapo back yet?”

Tobi shook his head. “He is still pretty much hung up on Jadesola and maybe he wouldn’t be returning with the laptop as soon as we thought.” He replied. “So, I suggest you get back to your sleep or you go with me to church.”

Sharon chuckled. “So that the blogs could bare stories of how I went from the side chic to the girlfriend of a celebrity sports analyst in less than twenty four hours, right? Thank you, I decline.” She replied.

Tobi’s phone buzzed. He smiled as he saw Dapo’s name on the Caller ID. “It seems our friend, Dapo, might have had a change of mind after all.” He said and then tapped the answer button. “Hey man, what’s up?”

“Tell your overzealous security man to let me in.” Dapo said and then hung up.

Tobi stared at Sharon with a smile. “He is here and the security man won’t let him in because I have a habit of not entertaining guests on Sundays.” He said, dialling on his phone. “Please, let the gentleman in.” He said as he put a call through.

“Why don’t you allow guests in on Sundays?” Sharon asked, getting off the bed.

He smiled. “It’s a day I dedicate for my rest.”

She hissed. She had hoped to hear something more intriguing but as usual Tobi would not disappoint her with his excessive desire to create an impression of himself which was clearly not impressive to her.

“Let’s go and welcome our friend.” Tobi said, leading the way out of the room. Sharon followed closely. They arrived in the living room to meet Dapo who was setting the laptop on a table. “Good morning, Dapo. We didn’t think we would be seeing you.”

“We? You both are now an item?” Dapo asked, staring at them. “Trust me, it won’t last. I thought mine would.”

Tobi chuckled. “Don’t be so negative, man.”

“We are not even an item.” Sharon protested. “What is wrong with you, Tobi?”

Dapo stared at them. “Make up your minds. Sharon, can we get to work, please? Tomorrow is Monday.”

She nodded. “Of course.”

***

Jane was tossing and turning in her bed. She didn’t have a good sleep. She was worrying about Sharon and maybe it was her fault for trying to be supermom and have everything all knit together. She hoped she wasn’t getting more paranoid with her recent decision taking. She got out of her bed and made for the living room. She was sure her Mom would be in church by now, giving her room to have a moment alone. As she arrived in the living room, she gaped upon seeing her mother and husband standing by the door. “Chike?” she said, shocked.

He took a deep breath and walked over to her. “I have missed you, Jane.”

“What are you doing here, Chike?” Jane asked.

He ignored her, hugging her tightly as he absorbed the smell of her hair. “Lavender?”

“I haven’t even showered yet.” Jane replied, pulling away from her husband. Chike was quite the tease. “You didn’t tell me that you were returning home.” She said, staring at her mother who tried to avoid their glare.

Chike nodded. “I didn’t think I needed to be home too but Mama thought otherwise and I think she is right.”

“Chike? Mama called you and you came home?” Jane asked.

He led Jane to the sofa. “I have been meaning to come home for a while but you know how it is, right?”

“I know how it is and that is why I am surprised that you found some time out of your schedule to see us. What could be so important that you left your busy schedule to be here?” she asked.

“Jane, you know why I am here.” He replied.

She shook her head. “No. I don’t know! I am not paranoid and I am doing very well. I don’t know what my mother might have told you but I am not going to allow you commit me to an institution.”

“Don’t accuse me wrongly. I have not said anything that you did not do.” Mama said. “Maybe you need to get back to seeing your Doctor.”

“Chike, I do not need a doctor. I agree I have been tensed up of late and maybe my Mom thinks I am having a lapse in judgement but that is because she is overwhelmed by Sharon leaving.” Jane argued.

“Why did you have our daughter robbed?”Chike asked.

Jane took a deep breath. “Chike.”

“Why did you tell Mama that I was in on it when I had no idea about this?” he continued. “Do you know what how much danger Sharon could be in?”

“I have it all covered.” Jane replied.

He sighed. “You have it covered?”

“Yes, I have some men on ground.” She replied. “She has no idea what life is out there. The robbery is just to teach her a lesson and make her come back home.” She argued. Her husband looked displeased while her mother kept staring at her blankly. “Chike, none of us wanted her to leave. This is a chance to have her back. She would focus on her job like we always wanted.”

He shook his head. “I am forced to agree with Mama. You might be taking things out of hand and maybe you need to calm down.” He replied. “You can’t be in control of everything. You can’t control her life.”

“I am not trying to.” Jane protested. “All I ever want is to be sure I don’t make the same mistake my mother did.”

Mama sighed. “Jane, I am not responsible for the bad choices you are making.”

“I am not making bad choices.” She replied and turned to her husband. “Sharon would be back tomorrow.”

He stepped back. “No. She would stay in Lagos as long as she wants and you are no longer going to have a say in this. If this is how you want to help your daughter, I suggest you stay away from her and if you are not going to do that willingly, I am going to help you.”

“Chike, you are hardly around. Do you think you can make the rules now?” Jane asked. “All I am trying to do is get our daughter back home.”

“Don’t you get it? She wants to take this time off from us and from everything around here. We owe her that. Stop getting in the way. Tell your men to get off her back and I would be decent enough not to tell her what you have done.” He replied and made for the stairs. He stopped and turned to her. “One question, do you think Sharon is going to love you if she knew what you did to her?”

Jane nodded. “It’s for her good.”

“Then you are more deluded than I thought. Tell your men to stand down or you are not going to like the outcome of this.” Chike replied. “Tomorrow, she is going to pick up her life and we all are going to keep this between us. That’s the only way you get to keep your reputation as her mother.” He concluded and turned away.

“It’s a little too late.” Jane said as she watched her husband walk away.

Chike turned as soon as he heard those words. “What did you do?”

“Jane? What have you done this time?” Mama asked, shaking her daughter’s arm vigorously.

Jane yanked out of her grip. “I froze all her bank accounts.”

***

“So, what have you been up to since I left for church?” Tobi asked, taking his seat opposite Dapo. 

Dapo looked up from his phone and stared at him. “Just working with Sharon. She is doing something for me.”

“Who is she to you? Your employee?” Tobi asked. 

Dapo shook his head. “No. She is erm… she is a friend helping out with a job. I have a deadline for tomorrow to submit it.”

“Why are you not doing it yourself?” he asked.

Dapo smiled. “She is doing me a favour.”

“Hmmm… A favour that one way or the other saw you end things with Jade?” Tobi continued. “Don’t you think you guys should sit and maybe work things out?”

“Jadesola was fooling me. I don’t want to talk about her. She is engaged. I was the fool. I have moved on and I would appreciate it if we don’t dwell on this topic.” He replied.

Tobi nodded. “So, if she is doing your work for you up there… is she defending it for you as well?” he asked with a cynical smile. “Dapo, your parents might have paid your way through the University but we both know that you are not made for Architecture. You don’t know anything about it. You bought your grades. Men like me who worked hard didn’t even get a chance at good grades.”

Dapo shook his head. “I am not responsible for your problems.”

“No, you are not but why are you making Sharon do your work just because your parents have the money?” Tobi asked.

“Tobi, can you stop nosing in my business?” Dapo said, returning to his phone. 

Tobi laughed. “It’s my business! You are in my house and sitting on my couch.”

“Seriously?” Dapo said, stunned by Tobi.

Tobi exhaled. “Look man, I understand the pressure to make your folks happy but if you are not good at it, it’s fine, you don’t have to be a fraud and have someone do your work all the time.” He replied.

Dapo clenched his teeth. “Are you done?”

“I just think you should find your niche and stop keeping up appearances even when you don’t fit. There’s going to be a day when you won’t have a Sharon to do your job for you and you are going to be standing out there embarrassed.” Tobi said. “I don’t want to be you that day, brother.”

Dapo rose to his feet. “I’ll just be on my way.”

“The truth is bitter.” Tobi said. 

Dapo laughed. “Have you ever wondered why no one watches your lame show? You don’t say anything with sense.”

Tobi smiled. “Pardon me if you are mad that I didn’t find a more sensible way to call you a cheat.”

Sharon joined them downstairs. “Dapo, your work is done.” She said, holding the laptop out before him.

“I didn’t mean for her to hear that.” Tobi said. “She must have been eavesdropping.” He added quickly.

Dapo stared at him. “Thanks for the hospitality.” He said and then turned to Sharon, taking the laptop from her. “Thank you very much.”

“You can still get out, you know?” she said. “Tobi is right; you could do something else instead of hoping you are always going to have someone do your work.”

Dapo swallowed. “I will send your clothes from the hotel down here. I wish you all the best in Lagos. You’ll need it.” He said. “You’ll never see me again and I am sorry I made you do this.” He said and walked out of the house.

“Can I sleep here tonight?” Sharon asked.

Tobi smiled. “But of course, you already slept one night. I am sure I can accommodate you for an extra night.”

“Thank you.” She replied. “By tomorrow morning, I’ll be good to go.”

He shrugged. “I don’t care if you want to stay here much longer. I can use the company. I am here all alone anyway.”

“I appreciate your help.” She replied.

He blinked as she turned to leave. “Sharon, do you… do you want to see my art studio? I… I have a studio upstairs where I do my painting. I… I noticed you showed some interest in my work. I hope you don’t mind checking out where the process takes place.” He said, stuttering. 

“Okay.” She replied with a smile. 

***

Chike and Mama watched Jane as she spoke on the phone. They had ensured that she called the family’s accountant to reverse the block on Sharon’s accounts latest first thing in the morning and now they were listening to her speak to the men she put on Sharon’s tail. “Tell that idiot not to follow my daughter anywhere!” Chike said, impatiently. “I will have them locked up.” He continued.

Jane hung up and turned to her husband. “May I remind that they won’t be the only ones going to jail if you report them? I would be sent to prison as well.” She said.

“Is it done?” Chike asked, ignoring her.

Jane nodded. “Yes.”

“That’s the end of it, I believe.” He said, rising to his feet. “Mama, thank you so much for calling me into this. I appreciate it.”

Mama nodded. “Ifesinachi is my girl.”

“Which of us?” Jane asked. “I remember being called that name too.”

Mama smiled. “Jane, you know I love you.”

“But you love my daughter more and wish she was yours, but, it’s a shame because she’s not your daughter.” Jane said, rising to her feet.

Chike stared at his wife. “Don’t speak to your mother in that tone.”

“She never had time for me and now she doesn’t want me to be there for my own daughter. She wants it all-squared. I won’t be her. I am going to be a better mother.” She said, heading upstairs. 

Chike turned to his mother-in-law. “It might be time to call in her Doctor.”

Mama took a deep breath as she reflected on Jane’s paranoia which was largely becoming evident. “What are we going to tell him?”

“We tell him what we can see. She is being paranoid and we don’t want it to escalate, so it might be time to take her in for a while.” Chike replied.

“What would we tell Ifesinachi when she calls to ask of her mother?” Mama asked.

Chike had not figured that part out but he was going to come up with something when the situation presented itself. He was not going to risk his wife losing her sanity over a trauma from her childhood. 

***

“Is that woman confused? First, she asked us to rob the lady, she then told us to keep an eye on her, then she calls us to let her be and now she wants us to be kidnappers. Does she really know what she wants?”

“I tire o! The thing just dey vex me. I go dey follow person up and down every time like person wey no get work. It’s not easy na.”

“Your job is not to complain. Your job is to do what you are told to do and be at peace with the money that appeases your bank account at the end of the day.” A certain Mr John said, walking in on his boys. “We can all say that we have enjoyed quite a good sum from her. Let’s finish this job well.” He said.

“So, do we do this tonight?” one of the men asked. “Or tomorrow night? We have had a long weekend.”

Mr John nodded. “Now is a good time.”

           ***

Sharon smiled as she pushed her fingers against the last canvas in the room and took a deep breath. “This is breathtaking.”

“Thank you.” Tobi replied. 

Sharon folded her arm. “Why don’t you exhibit these works?”

He swallowed. “I am scared.”

“Of what?” she asked.

He shrugged. “Of not being accepted. I paint for the hobby. I am sure there are people way better than me at exhibits.”

“Really? You are scared of putting yourself out there?” she asked. “There would always be people better than you.”

He nodded. “I am already comfortable as an analyst; I don’t want to bash my reputation in case I am not accepted.”

“Then you are the biggest coward ever.” She replied. “You can’t hide behind your relevance. If you have got something that the world should see and you don’t show them; that’s a disservice.”

Tobi stared at her. “Why do I feel like you know better about these words?” he asked. “Dapo is using your design to empower himself. That’s a disservice on your part.”

She chuckled. “I don’t really care about that. It is the least of my worries.” She replied. “What Dapo and I had was a business transaction so I am not sad that I worked for him.”

“So, what is your greatest disservice? He asked.

She smiled. “I used to paint.”

“Used to?” he asked. “How is that even possible? If you were once a painter, you are always a painter.”

She shook her head. “Not in my case. I am quite rusty and I am not sure I would ever get back to where I once was.”

“What happened?” Tobi asked. “You sound like the bigger coward.” He added. 

Sharon looked around her. “This is the life I wanted. I wanted to paint. I wanted to go to exhibitions. I wanted to be just Picasso.”

“Then what’s stopping you?” he asked. “Architecture?”

Sharon stared at him. “Maybe Architecture. Maybe the pressure to do something better. My parents never wanted me to paint and so I couldn’t. Maybe that’s why.”

“Maybe Fear?” Tobi asked.

She nodded. “Yes, maybe fear.”

He joined her by the door as they both leaned against it. “So, let’s do something together. I am scared of putting my works out there because I think I’ll fail and you think I should and I also think that you shouldn’t let your parents stand in the way of your light, so, if you would be my teammate, we both could do this… together.”

“I don’t understand.” She said.

He took her by the hand. “We’ll work together, we’ll paint together and we’ll show our works together.” He said.

Sharon’s heart raced fast as she listened to him. She had yearned for this. An opportunity to get back into the world she always wanted. 

“What do you say?” he prompted. The door bell went. “It seems like we have a late visitor.” He said as they walked out into the living room.

Dapo was standing in the living room with a bag in his hand. 

“Dude, you said you wouldn’t be returning.” Tobi said with a chuckle. “You can’t even keep your word.”

Dapo kept his gaze on Sharon. “Can I please have a minute with Sharon?”

Tobi took a look at Sharon. “Are you sure about this?”

“Dude, I am not going to kidnap her, am I?” Dapo asked.

Tobi smiled and obliged them.

“Sharon, I am sorry.” Dapo started. “I took advantage of you when you needed me the most and I am sorry.”

She shrugged. “Dapo, I don’t consider it as a wrong deed.”

“I consider it as one and maybe I shouldn’t be here faking what I am not but it’s all I have known how to do. I just wanted to get by and make my parents proud and that’s why I have been hiring people to do my work for me. I am a fraud and a cheat and I took advantage of you, I am sorry.” He apologized.

She nodded. “It’s alright. Are you ready for the presentation?”

“That’s the second reason I am here. I would love for you to please do the presentation.” He started.

“You want me to impersonate you?” she asked.

Dapo smiled. “No. I have replaced my name with yours. If you would love to make your first buck in Lagos, the presentation is yours tomorrow.”

Sharon stared at him. “You are skipping on your big day?”

“It’s not my big day. I don’t deserve it. You have the slot, all you need to do is say yes.” He said. “Would you do the presentation?”

She took a deep breath and nodded. “Yes, I will.”

CLUELESS – EPISODE 4

Clueless

Clueless

Sharon wasn’t ready. She had seen crazy ladies but then, they were Maitama rich kids crazy scratching at each other for silly issues like unshared blunts and boyfriends, not Lagos crazy. She stared at the lady who was ripping Dapo apart with her tongue and wished she could diffuse into the earth instantly, but it was too late! Some jobless folks at the mall had started taking videos and pictures of the showdown; they were going to make it to gossip blogs in no time and possibly trend on Twitter. She was officially screwed!

“Jadesola, please, calm down.” Dapo said, as he stared at the crowd. “It is not what it seems like.” He said.

She laughed as she clapped her hands. “Ehen?! Do I look like I have glue in my eyes? Are you not here with that skinny piece of meat?” she asked, staring at Sharon who was standing metres away from them. “Panla, I am talking to you!”

“Jade! Stop this nonsense. We are in the public!” Dapo said as he tried taking her hand. She wouldn’t let him. “Let’s go and talk about this outside.”

“You told me you were going to work for the weekend. Is this the work?” Jadesola asked. “Look at the babe, this one is not work na.” She added, accessing her body frame. “I am work.” She said, firming her hands against her buttocks. “This is work.” She said, emphatically.

Dapo exhaled as laughter rang across the room. The onlookers were definitely having fun with this. He turned to Sharon who was clearly embarrassed and mouthed. “I am sorry.” He said. Sharon nodded and turned away from them, heading downstairs.

“Where is she going?” Jade asked as she tried going after Sharon but was restrained by Dapo who grabbed her firmly and lifted her over his shoulder. “What are you doing?” she cried. “Put me down!”

He was having none of her theatrics. He had seen enough of it, and unfortunately, this wasn’t the first time. Other times, he had learnt to walk away but this was not one of such occasions. He was at fault. He ought to have told her that he wasn’t alone and maybe that would have made her less dramatic…after all, there was not one drama-free woman, yeah? He released her as soon as they got to the car. “Get in.” He ordered, looking over her shoulder in Sharon’s direction. He could still see her walking down the road. But, she was not alone. Tobi was closing in on her. He hated that guy!

“I am not going anywhere with you until you tell me who that lady is.” She replied, in an unusually calm tone.

Dapo scoffed. “Why didn’t you speak like a proper human being up there? If you had this humane part of you, why didn’t I see that part? Aren’t you going to continue raging like a madwoman?”

She flipped her hair over her shoulder. “Who is she?” she asked.

“She is a friend who needs my help and thanks to you, she is out of sight” Dapo replied. “Now if you would please, get into the car and let me drop you home.” He said.

Jade took a deep breath. “I can’t.”

“Why not?” he asked.

She sighed. “I have a date.”

***

“Sharon!”

Sharon stopped walking and turned towards the person that had been calling after her. It was Tobi Adebiyi. The TV Presenter. Now what could he want? An Interview? She could only ask the Heavens to help her so she wouldn’t be rude towards him. She had had enough for a lifetime and the only thing she could think about now was getting on the next flight to Abuja on Monday morning. “Yes?”

He smiled as he stood before her. “I was on my way out when that episode happened up there and I would love to apologize on behalf of my friend and his psychotic girlfriend.”

“Name calling? That’s classy.” She replied and started to turn away from him. She couldn’t be interested in anything that had to do with Dapo or his girlfriend.

Tobi hurried after her. “I am sorry about that. I usually come off wrong some times.”

“Well, this seems like all the time.” she replied.

Tobi chuckled. “You can’t judge me by one incident.” He replied. “Where are you off to? I could drop you.”

Sharon paused and then realized that she had no idea where she was off to. She couldn’t return to the hotel. She wasn’t the registered user of the room and she was sure the receptionists would be more than happy to turn her back. Maybe it was time to get off her high horse and call for help. Lagos was going from bad to worse. She was sure that her parents knew people in Lagos who could camp her till Monday morning. She was going to return to Abuja and get her job back. She was not all rusty with her skills on AutoCAD, she was halfway done with helping Dapo out so she knew she still had it in her even though it was not what she wanted. She loved to paint but her Dad was not having that so she settled for the closest thing to her art skills – Architecture. Her parents were delighted. She was going to make them proud and of a truth, she did. She had hoped to find something special in Lagos but it seemed as though every step she had taken was akin to taking two back. Her trip was pointless. Her rediscovery process was pointless. She was going back home. She took a deep breath and stared at Tobi. “Can I use your phone?”

He nodded as he fetched it out of his pocket. His phone buzzed just as he was about to hand it to her. “Dapo is calling.” He said. “One second.” He added and answered the call. “What’s up, man?” he asked and paused to listen. He nodded. “You want me to take her to my place?”

Sharon stared at him. “I am not going anywhere with you.” She replied.

Tobi passed the phone to her. “He wants to speak with you.”

“What do you want?” Sharon flipped. “I get it. You are sorry, but I don’t want to go anywhere with him. I don’t know him.”

“I am a good guy.” Tobi intercepted. “I am better than Dapo. You can bank on that.” He added, staring at a black jeep packed a distance from them. He had noticed the driver staring at them so he waved at him. For all he knew, the driver could have been a fan. He then turned to Sharon who was done with the call. “My lady, what say you?”

“Let’s go.” She said.

He smiled. “Of course.”

***

“Sharon is fine.” Jane announced as she took a seat opposite her mother on the dining table. “I just got off the phone with one of my men in Lagos. He is keeping a close watch on her and I am sure he would prompt her if necessary to be on the next flight.”

“Just out of curiosity,” Mama started. “How much did you pay those men to watch over Ifesinachi?”

Jane smiled. She was not willing to answer that question. She dug her fork into some beef and started to slice it. “Your granddaughter is fine, but I cannot guarantee that she has been feeding fine.” She started. “That’s what she gets for wanting to do things her way.”

Mama took a deep breath. She was going to ask the hard question she had not asked her daughter in a long time. Jane was dealing with a bi-polar condition but she had been just fine in recent times. However, her recent actions were a cause for concern. “Are you relapsing?”

“Are you going to ask a madman if he is mad?” Jane replied with a cheesy smile. “Mom, I know where you are headed? I am not relapsing. I am fine. And every decision I have taken is for the good of my daughter.”

Mama nodded. “Would your daughter still love you if, when she returns on Monday, she realises that you were behind every ordeal she went through?”

Jane smiled. “It was all for her good. Sharon thinks she is seeking answers to questions. The truth is there are no answers. The only answers are the ones we give ourselves. If you want fulfilment, you have to accept the things you have before you and stop seeking the things out of your reach.” She replied.

Mama took a deep breath. “Fulfilment is wherever you find it and if you think putting a leash on your daughter so that she is dependent on you will be a recompense for the times you and I never had, I need you to understand that you might be suffering a relapse and you are not even aware of it.”

“Are you attacking me based on my mental state?” Jane asked, staring into her tab. “Mama, I am fine. I am only protecting my daughter the way you never protected me. I want to ensure that Sharon never has to leave my sight so that she is safe.”

Mama laughed. “So, I am guessing the robbery plan was to tell her the things she could face without your coverage? Jane, you are mad and you don’t have anyone to tell you.”

“Mama, you are wrong. You just told me and I would like to finish my food in peace.” Jane replied.

Mama rose to her feet. “And when Sharon gets married? Would you like to live with her too, so she is protected from her husband?”

“It’s a good thing she doesn’t see marriage as important.” Jane replied. “You and I know that.”

Mama shook her head. “Jane, you can’t take care of your daughter forever. She is going to take care of you some day. It might be time to let her go.”

“I have decided not to. Deal with it, Mom.” Jane replied. “I am not letting her go like you let me out of your sight. I am not allowing her face the world alone.”

Mama was genuinely sorry for Jane. Now she was sure, more than ever, that her daughter needed help.

***

Sharon watched Tobi as he gave instructions to his stewards before returning to meet her in the living room. “You have stewards for different purposes.”

“As it should be.” He said, sinking into a chair. “Two for the kitchen because I am very particular about my food and gaining weight in the right places.” He started. “You know, the office pays for them. I have one who drives me about and I have one who does my laundry and another for my menial chores.”

“And you live in a rented duplex?” Sharon said, cutting short his enthusiasm.

He nodded with a smile. “The office pays for everything.”

Sharon chuckled. “And I believe they talk a small cut from your monthly salary.”

“Pretty insignificant stuff.” He replied. “Dinner would be served soon.” He added.

Sharon chuckled. “I am surprised you don’t understand the yearly import of that ‘pretty insignificant stuff’ on your annual pay.”

Tobi shrugged. “I don’t care. Life’s too short.” He said and then ran his eyes over Sharon with a smile. “So, what’s a pretty young thing like you doing as Dapo’s chic? That bastard is too sleek. He got Jade on one side and he’s got you as his side squeeze. How is a brother that lucky? Maybe if I was light skin or something. Right?” he said, turning to Sharon.

“You should really put a leash on your mouth.” She replied, standing up. She walked over to the wall and stared at the paintings that adorned it. She smiled as she thought about what she would have been as a painter. She jumped as soon as she felt Tobi’s hand around her lower back. “What are you doing?”

“Making myself comfortable.” He replied.

She shook her head. “Don’t you care about the impression that you make on others?” she asked, dropping his hand. “Most importantly, you are a celebrity. People look up to you. How about you live up to the reputation you have falsely put out there?”

“Now where’s the fun in that? This is who I am.” He said with a smile.

Sharon shook her head as she returned to her seat. “You leave a very bad impression about yourself.”

He joined her. “Fine. I agree. Now tell me, what are you even doing with a guy like Dapo?”

“What do you mean by a guy like Dapo?” she asked. “Because of his babe? She doesn’t define him.”

Tobi laughed. “Nah. Jadesola is a lovely girl except for when her anger buttons are spiked. Dapo is a… he is a weird guy. I mean, he drops off the surface and flies away again.” He replied. “He doesn’t even keep in touch with me and we were like good friends in those days.” He added with a laugh.

“In what days?” Sharon asked. Her hope was that Tobi was another blast from her past. She wondered why she was, all of a sudden, looking for familiar strangers in her life when all she wanted was to run away.

He relaxed in his chair. “We used to be friends way back in the university. We both studied Architecture but look at me; I ended up a sport presenter and that guy, oh well…”

Sharon hissed as her enthusiasm was watered down at the mention of ‘university’. She had hoped to hear primary school. She sighed and thought about home again. It was time to call in the cavalry. She was done with the adventure. “Can I, please, use your phone?”

He nodded and passed it to her. “Who are you going to call? Dapo told us to wait for him.”

She ignored him as she walked over to the paintings with the phone to her ear. “Mama.” She said, tiredly.

“Ifesinachi! How are you?”

Sharon could hear the panic in Mama’s voice. “I am fine, Mama. How is my mom?”

“She… she is very fine. How is Lagos treating you? Is it all you hoped for?”

Sharon took a deep breath. If she told Mama the truth right now, she would have failed…again. Maybe she could give herself another fighting chance. Or maybe she didn’t need to be so stupid and just let her grandmother come to her rescue.

“Ifesinachi? You are silent.” Mama echoed.

Sharon laughed. “It’s just great, Mama. Lagos is just great. I have my own place now and I… erm, I should be…I should be going to an art exhibition tonight to check out some artworks. I might even get my own studio once the week starts and then I think I should get back to painting. It’s just been so long, you know?” she said with a feigned smile.

“Ifesinachiiiiiii, Na like that Lagos sweet reach? One day you don get house dey jump upandan.” Mama stressed. “Should I come and visit you?”

Sharon shook her head. “No, Mama and I have to go now.” She said, taking a glance at Tobi who was receiving a meal from his steward. She turned away from him. “You can’t call me on this phone, Mama. I am yet to set my phone up.”

“Set yourself up? Ifesinachi, you are within Nigeria nau, what happened to your phone?” Mama quizzed.

Sharon blinked as she thought of a more befitting tale. “Mama, I am trying to start my life all over again and I… I really don’t want to have old contacts, so I decided to-”

“-to cut your grandmother off?” she asked.

Sharon shook her head apologetically as though Mama could see her. “Mama, you know I can’t do that. I… I would never do that to you, but I have to go now. I’ll keep in touch.”

“Ifesinachi, God be with you. I know what you are going through. But I know you are stronger than this, okay?” Mama said.

Sharon nodded. Her Grandmother’s words had given her life even though she was sure the old woman knew not what she spoke of. “Bye, Mama. Tell Mom I said I love her.” She said, hanging up.

Tobi clapped as soon as she got off the phone. “That was quite a performance. If I didn’t know better, I would have said you really had your own place and an art exhibition to be at this night.” He said with a soft laugh. “Who is the poor woman you were deceiving on the phone? Who is Mama?”

“You truly don’t know better.” Sharon replied, taking her seat.

He drew closer to her. “Do you really like painting?”

Sharon nodded absently as she thought about the next day. Monday couldn’t come any sooner. She was expectant and she couldn’t wait to get back on track. Maybe she could indeed get back to painting.

“I painted all these myself.” Tobi said.

She turned to him. “Really?”

He nodded. “I like to paint. It’s like a pastime activity for me but it’s something I love doing.”

“They are beautiful.” Sharon said, staring at the framed artworks.

He smiled. “Thank you.”

“Sorry for everything, guys.” Dapo said, walking in. “I am really sorry about what happened back there.” He added. “Can we please leave, Sharon? I need to have that presentation ready for Monday.”

“No.” She replied, “You don’t get to come here and tell me to come with you like nothing happened. I don’t want your Queen tearing at my cloth before the day is over.”

Tobi stared at them. “I’ll just let you two have this moment.” He said, grabbing his plate, disappearing down the hallway.

Dapo took a deep breath. “Sharon, I really want to apologize for everything that happened. I can’t explain right now, but I really need you to come with me so we can finish up my work. It’s important to me.”

“My safety is also important to me.” Sharon replied. “Your Queen looks like someone who could decorate me with an acid bath. I am too fresh for that.” She added.

Dapo found a wry smile in spite of how he felt and sank into a chair. “Sharon, trust me, I am too fresh for stress too.” He said.

She hissed. “How vain!” she said. “So, what happened with Jadesola?”

He passed his phone to her. “We are now famous on social network sites. Our video has gone viral; you have been tagged the side chic and Jadesola, the ranting wife and me, the clueless husband and I am pretty sure that title suits me well.”

“Except that I am not your side chic.” Sharon corrected.

He nodded. “Fine, you have made your point. Now, let’s go home.”

“Hotel, you mean.” She replied. “I am not going with you.”

He scoffed. “Why? We had a deal. And you had better stick to it.” He said, getting upset. “I don’t know whatever Tobi must have said to you but that guy says a lot of nonsense.”

“I didn’t tell her anything that she doesn’t already know.” Tobi said, joining them. “You guys are trending on the internet.” He said, looking up from his phone. “This is not good.”

“Tobi, you are not saying what I don’t already know. I have shown her the post.” Dapo said, rising to his feet. “Sharon, I think it’s time we left. We only have Sunday left. I need to get this work locked down.”

Sharon ran her fingers through her hair. “You only care about the fact that I am working for you!”

“Forgive me if I can’t think of anything else but that is all that matters to me.” Dapo retorted. “You have to come back with me and finish that job.”

“What job?” Tobi asked with a raised eyebrow.

Dapo stared at him. “Thanks Tobi for taking her in briefly but this business is between Sharon and I.”

“And I insist that I am not going back with you!” she replied.

He smiled. “And where would you go?”

“She can stay here with me.” Tobi said. “There is enough room.”

Dapo smiled. “Tobi is a joke. You don’t want to stay with him.”

“Your girlfriend called me names. She would have ripped me apart. I don’t feel safe with you.” Sharon replied.

“Small comfort in this jackass’ house and you feel safe?” Dapo asked. “Sharon, I need to get my design fixed.”

Tobi stared at Dapo. “Bro, I don’t mean to piss you off, but if she doesn’t want to go with you, she is more than welcome to stay here.” He said.

Dapo clenched his fist in anger. “Sharon?”

“Bring the laptop here. I’ll work from here. I don’t want trouble.” Sharon replied.

Dapo exhaled sharply. “Jadesola is not your problem anymore. I can assure you.”

“No. I am not taking that chance!” Sharon retorted. “Bring the laptop here. I will work from here.” She added. “You have a girlfriend. Respect her.”

“We broke up!” Dapo yelled. “We are done. Jadesola and I are done.” He replied.

Tobi blinked. “Dude, you just ended things with her like that? Na wetin?

Dapo took a deep breath. “She broke up with me. She is engaged to be married.”

“What?!” Tobi gaped. “So na you be the side bobo?

Dapo nodded. “The clueless one.”

***
 

 

 

CLUELESS – EPISODE 2

Happy Friday, guys. Here is Episode Two of Clueless by Tomi Adesina. Enjoy.

Clueless

Clueless

Sharon arrived at Woworx Hotels and Suites with hope in her heart. She hoped that her looks and carriage might grant her some favour. In all honesty, that was all she could cling to at the moment. She had lost all means of identification during the robbery.

“Good evening.” She greeted the attendants at the reception.

The receptionist struck her keyboard with alacrity and welcomed Sharon with a smile. “Good evening, ma’am. What suite would you like?” she asked, sliding a brochure across the desk.

Sharon cleared her throat as she feigned taking interest in the brochure. She stared at the receptionist and then smiled. “I… I erm, I have a situation. I know you might have heard this before and I am hoping you haven’t.”

The receptionist stared at her companion and then back at Sharon. “Ma’am, what room would you like?”

“I understand you are wired to only ask the basic questions but I just got robbed.” Sharon replied. Her heart raced fast she watched the receptionist’s eye register contact with her companion who stepped away from them towards the back of the hotel. “It’s only normal that he has gone to get the manager.” Sharon added. “I would get the manager too if I were you, but all I am asking for is an opportunity to stay here till Monday morning and I’ll ensure you get your money with a good tip too.”

The receptionist smiled. “I am afraid, Ma’am, we do not offer such services here.” She said, maintaining a courteous smile.

Sharon watched the door open into the reception as the man who was the receptionist had now returned, but not without a woman, she believed was the Manager. Sharon firmed up for another round of appealing smiles. She grinned at the woman. “Good evening, Ma’am.” She greeted. “Are you the manager?”

The woman nodded. “How may we be of assistance?”

“I… I got robbed on my way here and I would like a favour.” Sharon replied. “Could I please get a room and I’ll pay my full bills on Monday morning once I get access to a bank.”

The manager smiled. “I am afraid we can’t help you if you do not pay the initial deposit as required.”

“It’s pretty late, ma’am. Are you going to kick a young lady who is new to Lagos to the streets?” Sharon asked, hoping she could appeal to the woman’s sentiments.

“I am sorry, Ma’am. Housing homeless people isn’t one of our social responsibilities. We can’t help you.” The manager replied and started looking through some documents on the receptionist’s desk.

Sharon gaped as she absorbed the insult. She had just been tagged homeless by a manager whose wages she was sure she could afford to triple in one breath. She had to make it through the weekend to Monday when she would have access to a bank one way or the other. She couldn’t afford to call her mother and grandmother who would enjoy nothing than to gloat at her misfortune… or maybe she was being unnecessarily proud. She needed help and if going back home was it, then it was valid to live to fight another day. Sharon wanted to fight this day. She had not come this far to chicken out. She took a deep breath as she stared at the exit and thought about what awaited her outside the safe walls of the hotel. She was scared. She turned away from the receptionists and looked ahead as she approached the door with a thumping chest. She had no idea where she was going and that worried her but she would find a way. She had to find a way.

Sharon slowed down on getting to the door, the onrushing man approaching her wouldn’t slow down. Someone had to be the ‘man’ and show some courtesy but since it wasn’t the one naturally moulded as a man, she would just play the role for him. He brushed against her shoulder as he made his way past her forcing her to shudder at his insensitivity.

“Sharon Ifesinachi Amadi.”

She stopped and turned to the man who had just rushed in past her. He smiled and walked back to her. Who could he be? She was sure she had never met him before. So how did he know her name and most importantly, why did he have to mention ‘Ifesinachi’?

“I knew it was you.” He said as he stood before her with a smile. “Whoa!”

Sharon blinked. The man spooked her with his familiar gaze. He was the only one who knew who both of them were and was having a ‘Whoa’ moment. She wasn’t.

“How…How have you been?” he asked.

She took a deep breath. “I don’t know who you are.” She said bluntly.

He nodded. “I am sure.” He started as he clutched his bag against his arm with a smile.

Sharon thought he was flushing carelessly, especially for a tall hunk with beards. She didn’t expect that from him.

“I sat behind you in primary school.” He said.

Primary School?! Christ! Who remembers anyone from their primary school?! Sharon took two steps backward as she stared at him trying to place a face. There was no way she could place his face. She didn’t even keep in touch with most of her classmates from high school; she definitely couldn’t remember the mister standing before her claiming to know her from way back in elementary school. “Okay…” she said, bulging her eyes at him, expecting some clarity.

He took the initiative. “I used to wear glasses. Really big frog-eyed glasses.”

“Now I see why I don’t remember you.” Sharon replied, getting into the conversation. “You don’t look like someone who could have been wearing those types of glasses.”

He nodded with a chuckle. “Oh sure, I wore them. But people say I have changed a lot. And… and you have too. You are now so beautiful. You used to be really beautiful then but now you—”

“—I get it! Now, I am stunning and it’s clear you used to have a crush on me.” She said abruptly, curbing his enthusiasm. “But, why did you have to call my name in full and how do you even remember the face?” she asked, folding her arms.

He smiled. “I have always known your name, so I guess it stuck and for the face, I… I have been your friend on Facebook for some years now.”

Sharon nodded slowly. “I don’t even know you are my friend on Facebook, how is that possible?”

“Well, I guess ladies like you just accept all requests, yeah?” he said with a grin. “Anyway, it was nice seeing you. I’ll see you around.” He said, turning towards the receptionist’s desk.

Sharon stared at him and then walked towards the exit. She stopped walking and turned to him in an instant. “Mr. Facebook friend!”

He turned to her. “Dapo. Dapo George.” He corrected.

She cleared her throat and joined him. “Dapo, I…I have a situation and I need your help.”

***

Mama stared at her phone as she had breakfast. She had not heard from Ifesinachi all night and it had her worried. Her daughter had told her not to worry about it but she couldn’t help it. Her granddaughter’s number had been switched off for way too long. She knew Sharon could be a deep sleeper on a good day but it’s not as though she had been travelling for too long, she had no reason to claim being jet lagged. She stared at Jane who had her breakfast quietly as she tapped on her tablet occasionally and sighed. “Have you heard from Ifesinachi yet?”

“No.” Jane replied, turning to Mama. “It’s Saturday, Mama and I am sure she is still in bed. That girl can sleep!”

Mama shook her head. “Jane, I am worried. She didn’t call us last night and her phone is switched off. What if she never got to the hotel?”

“Come on, Mama! What could possibly happen to her?”

Mama clattered her fork into her plate. “Many things! She could get kidnapped for a start. She could lose her way. She could even get killed, God forbid!”

“You seem to forget that this girl is twenty-five years old. At twenty-five, I was one year into my marriage and pregnant with her.” Jane replied.

“And so? Does that mean we should be so nonchalant about the fact that Ifesinachi might be in trouble?” Mama asked.

Jane exhaled. “She is not a kid anymore.” She replied, picking her tab.

“And how would you know that? You were barely around to see her grow up so you shouldn’t assume that she is all equipped because her age says so.” Mama retorted. “I am worried about her and if you are not worried about your own daughter because you are too engrossed to look up from that thing in your hand, then I believe you still don’t know a thing about motherhood.”

Jane took a gaze at her mother and rose to her feet. “I am meeting up with some friends at the salon, do you want to come?”

Mama looked away.

“Alright, have a good day.” Jane replied. “It could get really boring around here without Sharon. We should start getting used to it and maybe we could finally bond as mother and daughter.” She added, heading out of the dining room.

“Jane, is there something you are not telling me?” Mama asked.

Jane turned to her with a smile. “What could I possibly not be telling you?” she asked and walked out.

***

Dapo kicked his foot against the wall as he tried to stop himself from falling asleep. He turned towards Sharon who was sleeping pretty in his bed; the bed he had a paid a fortune for while he sat in a chair by the window. He shook his head as he thought about how he had believed her story of being robbed and having no place to go. She had always been the smart mouth from primary school, winning debates with words; he wasn’t surprised she had worked her way to getting him to give up his bed for her. It was only for last night, he had promised himself. He would set her off on her way as soon as she opened her eyes. He had no idea what she would have been doing in the hotel that night with nowhere to go, but it was none of his business.

He tapped on his laptop and stared at what had driven him to the hotel the previous night. He had a job to deliver to a client by Monday and he was far behind. He had no idea of how to get around the project and the dude he typically contracted for it had gone AWOL. He hoped for some peace in his house but it was not habitable, hence, he took the easy way out and avoided the constant drama that plagued him at home.

“How long have I been asleep for?”

He turned to Sharon who was stretching her arms out. “Long enough to be on your way.” He replied, placing his laptop on the table. “Would you like me to run you some hot water?”

She nodded. “Yes, please.” She replied and watched him walk across the room towards the bathroom. “Dapo, can I please get a shirt?”

“I… I am sure my shirts would not fit.” He said. “Why don’t you just get one from the mall downstairs?”

“Is being a complete gentleman against your rules?” she asked, getting off the bed. “Plus, I don’t have any money on me, remember?”

He nodded. “I should have something that fits.” He replied, thinking about the financial implication of getting a new top from the mall.

“Thank you. Can I use your phone?” she asked.

He pointed to the phone on the table and stepped into the bathroom. He watched her as she dialled on the phone. She turned towards his direction, prompting him to look away.

“Hello, Mama.” Sharon said, as she stared at Dapo’s laptop screen. She took a seat in the chair, crossing her legs. “I am fine, I had a great night.” She started. “Lagos is just great! I had the best night ever, Mama. You should see my suite, exquisite stuff.”

Dapo shook his head as he listened to her lies. He was surer than ever that she had lied to him about being robbed. She was so comfortable deceiving whoever was on the other end of the line about a fantasy night when all she had succeeded in doing the previous night was scamming a gentleman into giving up his bed. It was not like she had put a gun to his head coercing him off his bed, he was willing to give up the space for some company but she had been a terrible roommate the previous night. As soon as they arrived in the room and she said her thank you for the umpteenth time, she crashed into the bed and only just woke up this morning.

“Thank you.” Sharon said, placing the phone on the table. “Sorry about that. If I didn’t tell my grandmother something soothing, she’d be flying down here to save me.”

Dapo returned into the room. “Don’t you need saving? You are in a room with a man you barely know, you should be scared.” He guffawed, trying to sound intimidating. He was anything but intimidating. If anything, he was intimidated by people…and especially by his fiancée, Jadesola. She was the reason he had to leave home and sleep in the hotel to get work done. She was his nightmare and still the reason for his smile. It was intriguing to see how anyone could be both personas in one person. For now, Jadesola wasn’t here and he had to bully someone. “You should be scared.” He reiterated.

Sharon chuckled. “You don’t scare me, Dapo.” She replied. “I am a walking STD disburser and I have got nothing to lose.” She added. “So, jokes on you.”

“No, jokes on you.” He said with a laugh. “I have not said I wanted to sleep with you and if you think every guy you get holed up in a room with wants to sleep with you, then you have a problem with your mentality.”

Sharon could feel her heartbeat racing fast. She was getting scared.

Dapo took his seat on the bed. “That STD trick doesn’t work for a serial killer or why did you think I gave up my room?”

“Serial killers have motives and you don’t have any reason to kill me.” She replied. “They usually have a vendetta of a sort or a weird mission they hope to carry out or crusade or something.”

He chuckled. He could hear the fear in her tone. “You are beginning to take this thing too serious.” He said, reeling in the excitement of getting her frightened. “You should go and shower so you can be on your way.” He said, pulling his laptop towards him.

“I have no place to go. I have no access to money and I need you to help me.” Sharon replied.

He turned to her. “You don’t have to keep lying.”

“I was robbed on my way from the airport, okay? I don’t have to lie about that. It’s my first time in Lagos and I don’t know where to go.” She replied.

He cleared his throat. “You have never been to Lagos?”

“No. I am here for personal reasons and I just have to make it through the weekend so I can go to a bank on Monday and withdraw some money over the counter. The guys who robbed me took everything from me. I am stranded.” She said. “If I go back to Abuja because of this incident, I would have failed…again.”

He took a deep breath. “What’s your story?”

***

Mama stepped away from the window as soon as Jane’s car pulled up in the driveway. She had thought about going back to the east in the few hours she had spent alone at home. She was worried about what she’d find back there. A good number of her friends had passed on. Jane made her feel lonely; that was a feeling she didn’t have with Sharon.

“Mama, shouldn’t you be upstairs?” Jane asked, sinking into a chair. “I will call the stewards to get your drugs.”

“Why don’t you get my drugs, Jane?” Mama said, taking a seat opposite her. “Did it occur to you that I might have been extremely bored all day?”

Jane nodded. “I know and I am sorry Sharon is not here but there is nothing we can do, she chose to go to Lagos and even chose not to call us, we have to start getting used to her absence around here.”

“She called me.” Mama replied.

Jane blinked. “She didn’t call me.”

Mama shrugged. “Is that a surprise?” she asked.

“No, Mom. But if my daughter is calling you before she calls me, that is not fair.” Jane replied.

“Or maybe that is because I have been more of a mother to her.” Mama replied.

Jane scoffed. “You are trying to make up for your sins. Don’t use my daughter as your cleanse, okay?”

“Jane, what do you want?” Mama said. “I might have made mistakes with you but that is no reason for you to put Ifesinachi through the same cycle. Be there for her. Show up for her. You don’t get these memories twice.”

Jane nodded. “I won’t dispute that but I would make progress if you could also step out of the way.”

“Inasmuch as I want to go back home, I won’t be running away because my daughter doesn’t want me around my granddaughter.”

“Technically, your granddaughter is gone. She lives in Lagos now.” Jane replied.

Mama stared at her. “Sharon didn’t call me from her phone. I am worried.”

Jane shrugged. “I wouldn’t read much meaning to that.”

“Why not, Jane?” Mama asked. “Why couldn’t we reach Sharon on her phone and now she’s calling from another phone?”

“Maybe she needed to switch her lines. Fresh start. Mom, we don’t need this discussion.” Jane said, rising to her feet. “I am going to rest.”

“What did you do, Jane?”

Jane exhaled sharply. “Mama, do you want me to confirm what you already know? Yes, I had Sharon robbed.” She replied.

***

Sharon smiled at Dapo as she held out two tops before him. “What do you think of these? I think this colour is pretty loud.”

“I am just here to pay.” He replied with a shrug. “And you are going to pay me back too.” He added quickly.

Sharon managed a giggle. “By Monday, you’ll have your money back.” She replied. “So, what do you intend to do about your job?”

Dapo shrugged. “I don’t know yet, but I am not you who can just quit her job because she is unhappy and thinks her purpose is elsewhere.”

“Now you are using my words against me, that’s really low, Dapo.” Sharon replied.

He immersed his fingers in his forehead. “I am sorry. I didn’t mean it to come out that way.”

“Of course. Nobody ever means what they say.” She replied. “Anyway, I would let it slide. Now, how do you intend to meet the Monday deadline?”

“If you would let me sleep in my bed for a while, maybe I would have enough strength to pull an all-nighter.” He replied, as they walked over to the cashier.

“Good day.” The lady at the counter greeted.

Sharon handed her the bag and turned to Dapo. “What if I help you? I could do some while you do the rest. I have a little knowledge of Architecture.”

He shook his head as he thought about his truth. He had evaded that when she asked him about his story. He had gone on to tell her how much he had to do under little time but couldn’t come around being honest with her. Maybe it was time for him to take advantage of the fact that she could actually help out. She was an Architect and he could use the help. “That’s the problem.” He said.

“What problem?” Sharon asked.

He swallowed. “I am a fraud.”

CLUELESS – EPISODE 1

Hi Haroldwriters! (is that even a thing? Sounds d*mb. I know, I know. Can someone please help me out with a better catchword? The Pen Whisperers? Yeah? Nah).

It’s been a minute. Following from the huge reception “Guilty” got, I have been contemplating writing a sequel to it. A lot of people have asked me to, anyway. Thing is, I am not really a sequel writer. Time and experience has taught me this. I would rather do flash fiction…Well, maybe if I was paid a million dollars, I could write sequels everyday.  Hehe.

So while I  cook up something as a follow up to “Guilty”(by the way, I got this badass idea whilst having my bath last night. You will love it. Eureka!), here’s a work by my very good friend Tomi Adesina. In the coming weeks, I’ll publish episodes of “Clueless” by Tomi Adesina. I know you will enjoy them. This Episode 1 already got me on the edge. Kindly let me know what you think by dropping your comments in the comment box below. Thank you.

***

Clueless

Clueless

Sharon woke up on her new year feeling a little less clueless than the last one. It was not as though she had everything all figured out this year…the truth is, she never had anything figured out and that did make her quite the ‘most-clueless-25-year-old-of-the-year’. She slipped into her slippers that always sat pretty by her bedside; that was one thing she could always rely on to be there for her. She took in the calm breeze that sieved into the room through the window and smiled. It was going to be a good day. She could feel it in her bones. It was a new year for her and it was going to be the start of new things in her life; this she knew…or better still, she hoped for.

“Happy birthday, Princess!” Her Mother and Grandmother chorused in unison as they flung the bedroom door open.

She smiled at the loveliest women she had known all her life; she had indeed met many women and if she were to choose the women who would play a role in her life again, it would be her mother and her grandmother. Her Grandmother practically raised her from when she was five. Her parents were diplomats who worked for the Government in different countries as ambassadors; so she barely knew them. On her twentieth birthday, her mother had resigned to spend ‘some time with family’. Such good timing. Her father, on the other hand, had taken up another job which took him farther away than when he was a diplomat. Technically, her grandmother was the only parent she knew. Still, she loved her mother. She was a workaholic whose success inspired her. This was not because of the wealth she had amassed down the years but because she found fulfilment in what she did. But who wouldn’t find fulfilment in travelling the world in a private jet?

Sharon was searching for fulfilment. She was not sure it was in her Architecture Degree and it definitely wasn’t in sleeping and waking up in her parents’ Asokoro mansion until she found someone to marry and whisk her away from that life. She had decided to do something different that year and when her father made the ‘King Herod mistake’ of telling her to ask for anything she wanted for her 25th birthday, she played the prodigal son’s script and requested to leave home and start her life elsewhere. Today was the day she had waited for, she was going to start her life all over…in Lagos.

 

***

Mama watched her granddaughter pack her bags with so much enthusiasm. She was on the fifth bag and wasn’t looking to stop. She was cleaning out her wardrobe, squeaky clean. Maybe Ifesinachi, as she loved to call her, was right about never coming back. Sharon never liked being called Ifesinachi and that made Mama love the name more. She had given her the name during her christening as it was one very dear to her. The name had been passed in their family. Sharon Ifesinachi Amadi was not going to be the exception.

“You still have to come back, you know?” Mama started, breaking the silence between them. Sharon had found joy in cleaning out her closet while the older woman was becoming bored with everything around her…maybe even the air she did breathe. She found purpose in Sharon – she had spent the last twenty years watching her grow from a girl into a woman. She had not changed much. As beautiful and adventurous as ever; By God, she loved Sharon as though she had carried her in her own womb. She was sad to see her leave and was afraid that her life would be purposeless without her. Sharon was not only her granddaughter, she was her closest friend. Both women spent time at the salon together, fixing their hair and gossiping about other women in their lane. They went to the mall together, picking out groceries and checking out the cute men in the stores. They went to church together and carried on with their petty talk about pastors’ wives and their ‘hats’. Mama was not going to be fine without Sharon. She didn’t even have this bond with her own daughter!

“Mama, I don’t want to come back here.” Sharon replied as she folded a gown. She settled the cloth into her box and stared at her grandmother whose evergreen smile had started to fade since the day she told her that she was leaving. It came as a rude shock to the one woman she had told all her secrets but she had managed to keep this one away from her. Mama was one person who had a hold on her; she knew telling her about her plans could only mean that she wasn’t serious about ever getting to know Lagos. She had read about the town. She had seen pictures. She was fascinated by it; but she had never been there. Since her twenty-fifth year on earth was all about new beginnings, there was no better place to start over.

“How could you be so insensitive?” Mama asked as a tear broke down her left eye. She had promised herself that she wouldn’t attack Sharon for wanting to leave but now she couldn’t help it. She had to play the blackmail card. “Who is going to do your ponytail? Who is going to go with me to the mall? Who is going to write letters with me to your grandfather? Who is going to play with me?” she continued as the tears flowed freely, now from both eyes. “Who are you going to tell about a new boy? And maybe your first job? Who is going to cry with me?” She asked.

Sharon looked away as Mama’s nostalgia got to her. She hated seeing tears fall from her eyes but her grandmother knew how to melt her heart and she did it effortlessly too. She ran into Mama’s arms and hugged her tight. “It’s okay, Mama.” She whispered softly as she stroked her hair.

“No, it’s not.” Mama replied as she pulled away from the hug. “Stay.”

Sharon shook her head. “I want to go away…far away.”

Mama smiled. “Lagos is not so far.”

“Traffic makes it far.” Sharon said.

Mama chuckled. “Traffic in the air?”

“You have been to Lagos before, Mama. The traffic is not a myth. You’ll get tired before you find me.” Sharon replied.

Mama took a deep breath. “I am not going to be able to make you stay. But can I come and play with your kids once you start having them?”

“You’ll have to kill me first.” Jane Amadi said as she joined them in the room, her eyes firmly fixed to her tab as she typed on it. Her daughter and mother were not going to be thrilled to have her around but she was Sharon’s mother and didn’t enjoy her mother playing that role. “I’ll just send this mail.” She said to herself as she pushed the send option. She dropped her tab on the side table and pulled out one of the folded gowns from the box. “If you take all your clothes with you, which one would you wear when you come home for weekends?” she asked, staring at Sharon.

“It seems you didn’t get the full part of the memo, Ifesinachi is not coming back.” Mama said, yanking the gown from her daughter and tucking it into the box.#

“It’s Sharon.” Sharon corrected. Mama grinned back at her. She knew it was pointless correcting her grandmother but still she would try. Someday, she had to call her Sharon. Was she ashamed of her roots? No. Or maybe she was just overtly colonized and loved her foreign name. Why couldn’t Mama understand that?

“Is it true that you wouldn’t be coming home for weekends?” Jane asked her daughter.

Sharon chuckled. “Of course. I am not going to a boarding house where I get to come home on weekends.”

“Don’t get married without telling us.” Mama said, rising to her feet. “I have to go and take my drugs now.”

Sharon blinked. Mama took the drugs whenever she wanted to sleep for hours. “Mama, aren’t you coming with me to the airport?” she asked, her voice trembling.

“No. I can’t. Do you want me crying my eyes out there?” she asked. “My heart can only take so much. I can’t watch you leave.” She added and then stopped at the door. “Have a good life, Sharon. I’d probably be dead before you are back.”

Sharon swallowed. “Mama.” She mouthed softly as she watched Mama walk out of the room.

“I guess this is a sign that Lagos isn’t for you.” Her mother said, picking her tab from the side table. “I don’t know what your father was thinking when he gave you that option.” She continued as she focused on her tab. “You’ll be back in no time, I’m sure.” She added.

“I am not so sure.” Sharon replied.

Jane smiled. “A mother knows these things, Sharon. We always do.”

***

Sharon couldn’t wait for seven p.m. Her flight was for seven p.m and that meant she still had another couple of hours in Abuja before heading to the airport. Was she nervous about her new adventure? Yes. But it was one worth taking. She had studied Architecture just to get a degree and several attempts at stability in a firm had proved abortive; not like she couldn’t have stayed but she knew she wasn’t made for it. But what was she made for? That, she had no clue about and that was what the journey to Lagos was all about…rediscovering herself. She hoped to find something there. Hopefully something much bigger than her.

Luckily, she had few friends in the Nation’s Capital city. They were just buddies she downed Vodka over some fish with. No attachments. She had no need to say her goodbyes. It was not as though they added value to her. They only enjoyed maxing out her credit card; she had no problem with that. Money was not a problem. She wanted something much more than money. Of course, that’s easy for a girl who has had a lot of money…try telling that to a broke man.

She absorbed her empty bedroom and exhaled. Her bags had been carried downstairs by the stewards. She would try again to have a conversation with Mama who was making a fuss about her going away. She drummed lightly on the door and waited for Mama to tell her to come in. No response. Maybe Mama was right about using those pills after all. Still, she would check. She turned the door knob and stared at Mama sitting in her chair with the Television on. She walked over to her and took her seat at her feet. “My ponytail, please.”

Mama scoffed. “It’s Brazilian weave, child.”

“It can do a pony, Mama.” Sharon protested. “Please.”

Mama nodded and started to weave the pony as she hummed to one of her favourite tunes. “Remember when we used to think your Mom was uptight?” she said, starting a conversation.

“I still think she is.” Sharon replied with a laugh. Her mother went about the house in tailored skirts and chiffon tops and her tab as she controlled her other businesses. Sharon often did wonder what lightning of conscience struck her mother and forced her back to Abuja five years ago. She loved her but didn’t miss having her around because she never had the feeling of what it was to have her around.

“I think you are going to be just like your mother if you go to Lagos.” Mama continued. “You are going to start wearing those silly skirts and white shirts and maybe a ribbon around your hair.” Mama scoffed. “A ribbon. Maybe polka dotted.”

Sharon rolled her eyes. Her Grandmother was not going to stop. It was so typical of her to go on and on about a topic until she had the last say. Sharon’s chest thumped. She was beginning to reconsider her trip after all. Grandma did tell her that her daughter, Jane, used to be so free spirited until she met her husband in Lagos; both decided to create a dynasty that would outlive them and unfortunately they forgot how to live. Lagos made them. And eventually, the Government asked for their contribution nationally which rewarded them with appointments that further enriched them with better connections. Sharon loved life. She loved Friday night fun and she had heard Lagos was better in that aspect. She was going to see that for herself and draw a conclusion. She wanted to go horseback riding and listen to good Jazz music while she figured her life out. That was her great Lagos plan!

“Your Lagos plan is quite dumb!” Mama said as though she had read her thoughts. “Everything you want there is here.”

“I want a fresh start.” She said, turning towards Mama sharply. “I love you so much and I am going to miss you but don’t make me feel bad for my choices. I want this. I don’t know what I am going to meet on the other side, but I want to try something out for me. I just want to do something different.”

“What is it?” Mama asked calmly.

Sharon shrugged. “I don’t know.”

“You are really clueless, Ifesinachi.” Mama said with a soft laugh. “But it’s alright. You are daring, I have to give you that. So I am sure you are going to figure things out.” She added. “I hope it’s not when you are forty.”

Sharon chuckled. “I hope it’s a little earlier than that. Maybe thirty nine?” she asked with an eyebrow raised.

Mama nodded. “Thirty nine sounds just right. And, I hope you meet a man that you won’t end things with you six months after.”

“It’s three months.” Sharon replied with a smug look. “Three months tops.”

Mama smiled. “I don’t understand how anyone dates for three months and ends things.”

“Mama, we are not talking about my love life.” Sharon replied. “Let’s just leave my love life out of everything.”

“You don’t even have one!” Mama retorted and then took a deep breath. “Alright, let’s get you set for your rediscovery mission.” Mama continued as she finished the ponytail. “You look absolutely beautiful.”

“I am absolutely beautiful.” Sharon replied.

Mama nodded. “You are vain and clueless about a new life you are about to start. What a combo!”

Sharon laughed. Her Grandmother had quite the sense of humour. It was quite a marvel why she never passed any of those traits to her own daughter who, on the other hand, was stoic and could hardly force a laugh…except of course, it was something cynical.

“You are going to do just great, Ifesinachi.” Mama said.

Sharon exhaled. “Thanks, Grandma!” she replied, hugging her. “Now would you please come with me to the airport?”

“No. I have seen too many goodbyes.” Mama replied and planted a kiss on her granddaughter’s forehead. “Now, run along.”

***

There’s always that airline that cancels on you the last minute! Sharon stared at her wristwatch as she wondered why she had not further exercised her rights as an only child to ask for the private jet. Well, that would be overdoing it. She tapped her feet nervously as she watched the hour mark approach eight. The new flight had been rescheduled for nine pm. She was sitting in the airport alone as Mama had made good on her threat not to go with her to the airport. She knew her mother wouldn’t be coming with her anyway, so she didn’t ask. She had more important things to do. Quite frankly, she couldn’t guilt trip anyone for not coming with her to the airport. She wanted to start her new adventure alone and this was the right way to start. She looked around her and hoped for something familiar. There was the want for something that filled her soul; it was the want that had made her leave Abuja. She wanted to be something more than what she was. The same girl she had been in the last years stressed her. She had a routine. Wake up, eat, take a drive to the mall, receive monthly allowances from her faraway father, take Mama to the salon, weekend getaways, date and break up with men, party till she was stoned, the list was endless. She quit every job she got after six months and eventually decided that Architecture was not for her. It was not as though she hated Architecture, maybe if her father didn’t think she could do better as an Architect than an Artist, she could have found some more joy. Maybe if she started off elsewhere without much, she’d understand what it was to have a drive and own a dream. Yes, that was it. She wanted a dream of her own.

Two hours later, Sharon was standing on Lagos soil. She pushed the trolley carrying her bags out of the airport. She was approached by several taxi drivers and eventually had to go with one who promised her a space bus which could accommodate all her baggage. “Woworx Hotel and Suites” she said with a smile. It was the most successful hotel business in Nigeria, and she was sure that even though she had not booked a reservation, she would have a suite to sleep in regardless of the time. She settled into the back seat and pulled out her phone, she sent a message to her grandmother and mother informing them of her safe arrival to Lagos. She would send the next message on arrival at the hotel, that way, her folks could rest easy.

“Ma’am.” The driver started.

She looked up from her phone into the rear mirror. “Yes?”

“I would like to take a leak, please.”

She exhaled. “Of course.” She replied as the car pulled up by the side walk. She focused on her phone as the driver went to the back of the vehicle. She looked around and absorbed the city she was going to live in for the next year. It looked beautiful from her view. She tapped on her phone and checked for the direction to the hotel. From her navigation system, they were only ten minutes away from the hotel. She couldn’t wait to get into her room, take a shower and sleep. She had plans for the next day. It was a Saturday and she was going to attend a music fest and on Sunday, she’d just sleep in and make calls to a realtor. By Monday, she would be sleeping in her own apartment. The plan was sleek. The driver’s door opened simultaneously with her door and the passenger’s door. Her heart raced fast. She was joined by the driver and two other men. Everything was happening so fast. This was looking dangerous.

“Can we have your phone?” The driver said. “Do it fast.” He added.

She assessed the situation as a gun was pointed at her head. “Sir, what is going on?” she asked, trying to remain calm.

The man who was in the passenger’s seat laughed. “What did you think this is? A party? You are getting robbed.”

As the man by her side cocked the gun, she immediately passed the phone to him. “Y…Yes, Sir.” She said, stuttering.

The driver started the car. “Get out.” He said.

She blinked. “Wh–what?” she said, without thinking. She swallowed as the driver’s cold eyes met hers.

The man who had settled in beside her didn’t do much talking. He grabbed her by the hand and tossed her out of the car into the road. She watched the door of the space bus close and the car speed off raising dust in her face.

She looked around her. She had no idea where she was and no clue on how to get to her intended destination. Her handbag was taken from her along with her phone and the luggage in the trunk. “Savages!” she hurled as she picked herself up from the floor, examining the bruise to her hand from the fall. Thankfully, it was just a scratch.

Maybe her mother and Grandma were right after all. Maybe she would be going back to Abuja sooner than she thought. She ran her fingers through her hair as a thought resonated through her mind. The thought that she would never be able to figure out what she truly wanted from life. Maybe she was silly for even thinking Lagos held the answers to her questions. Much ado about it! She walked back and forth, trying to get a grasp of the situation and eventually took her seat on the sidewalk. Lagos hasn’t especially been welcoming.

She looked into the city ahead of her and cried.