On Vacation!

hi guys!

happy new month!

I’m going to be taking a whole month off to work on my book

will be back first week of September, Lord willing

every week I will reblog great posts from other blogs

would love if you share with me your love stories and let me write them for you

oskedascripts@gmail.com

meanwhile, have a blessed month

thanks for your support! 😀

Guns And Roses (In Pursuit Of Kyenpia) by Sally

Get out of dat hous now Leo! sum guys r on deir way 2u!

“Oh Zia, what have you got me into now?” I asked out loud, rereading Zia’s ping.

“What?” Ivy sniffed and pulled away from me.

“Oh, it’s nothing.” I walked to the bed. “Just chatting with my friend.” I lifted my pillow slightly and pulled out a handgun.

“Leo, what’s that? What’s going on?”

“This is a Beretta M9 and…I don’t know what’s going on. I’m about to find out. Tell me about your mom. You don’t seem too sad that she’s passed.”

“Actually, she passed two weeks ago and they’re just telling me.”

“Do you want to learn how to load a gun?” I asked her. “Come, load this one. It’s therapeutic.”

I threw the gun at her and she caught it.

“It’s heavy.”

“Come, sit and load it.”

Still sniffing, she excitedly sat on my bed and I pulled a stool and sat before her. “Put one bullet in at a time on the top opening of the magazine, like this… That’s good. Then slide it against the magazine wall… Good. You sure you’ve not done this before?”

Ivy smiled, “I have not. This is my first time even holding a gun.”

“So tell me about momsie. How come you’re just finding out about her?”

“I…am the black sheep of the family.”

“Engage the safety switch so that red dot is covered… That’s good. You were saying?”

“My siblings and I have different fathers. Momsie never had a husband. Many men came and went. Some lived with us for a while but we never had a stable dad. It was the last boyfriend that caused the rift. The guy was a yahoo guy and had already put momsie in trouble twice. I complained about him and he connived and had me kicked out. I had nowhere to go so I came to Lagos to stay with my elder sis. She helped me get admission into Unilag but it was up to me to pay my fees. Luckily, I met this guy and he was bucked, so he took care of me for four years until last month, he dumped me. The same last month, momsie was sick. I got the news and me and my sister traveled to Benin but that monster man refused to allow me see her. We had a nasty fight and at the end of the day, even momsie herself drove me away. Now, she’s dead and they’ve buried her and no one felt I needed to know.”

“Okay, slide the magazine into the magazine well until you hear a click.”

Good student, she did as she was told and smiled when she heard the click. I took the gun and chambered a round.

“Sorry about what you went through,” I tapped her knee gently. “Life sometimes is like a loaded, unused bullet. You are precious, sitting in the magazine but the moment you’re fired, all that is left is an empty shell casing and someone else fills your place. Your mother replaced you with Mr. Loverboy. Yeah, before I forget, Henry is nuts about you.” I announced and left the bedroom  to the sitting room.

“He’s not my type.”

“What’s your type?” I asked and opened wide the front door leading into the house and peeped out. Nothing unusual to see. I shut the door and turned to Ivy.  She had followed me. She seemed to be doing that in recent times. I noted mentally to have a talk about boundaries with her. “I have friends who would die for someone like you. Tell me what you want in a man and I will hook you up.” I walked back to the room and she still followed.

“I…”

“One moment,” I interrupted her and took Zia’s call. “I can’t see anybody here, Zee. Are you playing pranks?”

“Have I ever played pranks on you?” Zia asked. “I got info that Sugar sent some guys to you. In case you didn’t know, the run-in you had with her and her friends was supposed to leave you dead. She said she couldn’t carry it out in the last minute. Whoever is paying her knows you’re still alive and they still want your head.”

“Me? Why?” I scanned my outside environment from the east window.

“It’s not just you; it’s all of you. Captain has stepped on a really big toe and they want you all dead. You, Ramsey, David…”

As she spoke I spotted two guys on a bike. To the ordinary eye, they looked like a normal couple of guys on a bike, dressed like bankers on their way to work but something was just odd about them. My gut instinct had never failed me and if I was right, they were headed for me.

“I’ll call you back, Zee.” I moved away from the window. “Ivy, I need you to do as I say, okay? Can you do that?”

“Yes” she wiped tears off her eyes. She was still mourning her mom. I gave her a few seconds to collect herself and handed her the Beretta, disengaging the safety switch.

“Why are you giving me?”

“If you pull the trigger, a bullet will definitely fly out and kill someone, so be careful. Move into the bed and aim for the door. Under no circumstance, should you open it. I am locking it and taking the key. Remain inside. If someone breaks in without unlocking it, it’s not me. Shoot blindly at whoever that bastard is.”

She nodded. I wrapped her hands around the grip of the weapon.

“It has sharp recoil, so try not to put it near your face. You’ve watched movies, right? Do as they do. Squeeze the trigger, don’t pull. Squeeze. It is bloody loud and might deafen you but don’t be fazed by the sound. And fire, not once, not twice… Fire until the object in front of you is down and not moving.”

“What’s going on? I’m scared.”

“No questions. No fear,” I said with a reassuring squeeze of her shoulders. Afterward,  I pulled out a shotgun from beneath the bed and walked out. I locked the door, walked to the balcony, lay my back on the couch beside the balcony railing and faced the door.

In all defensive situations, I was trained to observe my vista, see the problem coming and quickly come to a decision on an effective line of action. The best defense is always attack and being in my own environment, I had the upper hand. Those guys didn’t know what they were coming to face because they didn’t see the threat coming, and they were definitely not prepared to cope with my preplanned assault.

Footsteps approached the house and paused. I looked at the base of the door and made out two pairs of feet. I waited. There were whispers, deliberations on whether to knock and come in like invited guests or burst in with a surprise attack.

Dumb asses! How do you come full forced to an invasion with no prior planning? I smiled. This would be an easier feat than I thought.

The door burst open.

“Drop you weapons now!” I bellowed and the shock of my attack coursed through the guy in front and landed on the one behind. Without even a second thought, the one in front dropped his weapon and crouched in utter confusion. The second, a more calculative guy whose sharp eyes were studying me, slowly lowered his gun and raised his hands.

The door was wide open and any moment, Yewande or whatever her boobsy name was would come out of her apartment and either faint or start screaming, and who wanted that type of drama?

“Kick your weapons forward! And you, get up!”

The first guy slowly lifted himself up while pushing his gun towards me and at that moment I recognized him. I said nothing as I waited for the sharp guy behind to push his own gun forward.

“Good. Shut the door.”

The door slammed behind them and I ordered them into the sitting room.

“Take off your suits,” I said, following them in. They did as ordered. I was disappointed to find they had no extra weapons in their arsenal. Sugar could have done better.

“Oya, sit down, let’s yarn.”

They sat.

“I will start with you, Olu. How far with Lola, nah?”

The Olu character leaned forward and peered into my face and screamed excitedly. “Oga Leo!” he jumped up.

“Sit!”

“Ah!” he nudged his partner, “guy, na my main bros be dis! Baale!” he fell to the floor and prostrated flat before me. His partner made a slight menacing movement towards me but I turned the gun on him.

“So, after I don save your life, you wan kill me, Olu?”

“How? Oga Leo, how? No be so. I no know say na you. Walai! If to say I know I for no show. Na Obi…”

“Why you dey call my name?” the other gnarled at him.

“Na hin arrange the every. Me, I jus dey on my own, jeje. Na hin call me. How I go wan kill you? You save my life, nah.”

Actually, I saved his life four years ago when some demon got into him and he stole the captain’s ride from where he had parked it in front of Mega Plaza. Not far from the area, he was caught by soldiers who chased him into traffic and beat him half to death. I was driving home on the opposite lane with his younger sister, Lola, who was my main squeeze then. She was the one who spotted the whole drama and called my attention to it. I crossed over and saved his life. How he didn’t recognize me earlier was a wonder. Were people’s brains that full of mush?

“Abeg, no vex. I take God beg you. No vex, chairman. No vex.”

“You,” I turned to Obi, “na who send you?”

Obi’s nostrils flared at me and he threw his face to one side.

“Oh, you wan play tough guy?”

“Obi, tell am nah! Tell am! You wan die for noting? Oga Leo, hin go tell you. Obi, tell am, abeg.”

Obi squeezed his lips tightly. His defiance and obvious humiliation put him in a league higher than Olu’s. I suspected that he was Sugar’s present boy toy. She liked them tall, dark and Igbo.

“Sugar. Sugar sent me,” he said and kept his face like the words had not escaped his lips

“Call her. I want to talk to her.”

He took his time fishing for his phone in his pocket. He dialed her and I snatched the phone.

“Is it done?” she asked.

“Hi, Sugar,” I crooned, smiling.

There was a pause. “Looks like you’ve not bitten the big one yet.”

“I don’t appreciate unannounced visits but be sure I will repay the kind gesture. I’m also known to be very generous. You planted a seed. Expect a plantation.”

She cut the line.

“Oya you guys can go,” I gave Obi his phone,

“Eh?” Olu asked, surprised.

“Go, go, go, abeg.”

“Ah, chairman! Thank you, oh! Thank you. Eshe!”Olu sprang up and gathered their suits. Obi also stood up, straightened his shirt and without a word walked out of the sitting room. His eyes fixed on the weapons on the floor but Olu pushed him out.

“Oga Leo, thank you oh!” The door slammed.

I walked to my bedroom and unlocked it. “I’m coming in, Ivy.”

I found her as I left her, armed and ready to kill someone. I laughed and she smiled.

“I want to go home to Benin, and fix that idiot up.”

“With the gun?” I laughed. “Now, see why guns are bad?”

“What do you think? Should I go home?” she asked me as she engaged the safety switch of the gun. I was impressed by how fast she assimilated stuff.

“Why? What’s the use? Your mom’s dead and buried. You can’t bring her back by unnecessary drama and I really doubt that you will find that guy. Just let go.”

“Like you?”

I raised my brows at her. I didn’t understand her question.

“It’s obvious that some people did something to you and you’re getting back at them. Why don’t you just let go?”

“Why’re we having this conversation?”

“Because you feel you have a say in my life and I have none in yours.”

“You know what? Just go to Benin.”

She got up and stood in front of me. “What did they do to you?”

“Nothing.” I tried to distract her by fixing her hair. I loved the girl and I still do. I never had the pleasure of having a younger sister to splurge on. Ivy fit perfectly into that role but like so many girls that hung around me, she had started developing ideas about us being together.

“I will still go home and stay for like two weeks. I’ll miss you.”

“It’s just two weeks.”

“I have lectures by twelve,” she scratched her ear, “ and I won’t be back till late. Do I make something for you to eat before I go?”

“No, Ivy. It’s okay, and thanks for today,” I smiled and pulled the Beretta away from her hand.

“Aww, I like it. Don’t take it.”

“Usually, I encourage people to stick to their guns but not this time.”

She laughed, went on tiptoe and pecked my lips. With a smile at my obvious puzzlement, she walked out.

“What was that for?”

“You asked what type of guy I liked, remember?”

“Come back here, my friend.”

She shuffled her feet back to the room.

“Promise me one thing.”

“What?”

“Don’t fall for me. For your own sake, don’t.”

“Why? I like you, especially your eyes.”

“Eh, everybody likes my eyes but keep your feelings in check.”

She gave a half nod and hurried out in embarrassment.

“You tread where angels dread,” I said to myself.

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  Continue reading Guns And Roses (In Pursuit Of Kyenpia) by Sally

For Better, For Worse by Sally

FOR BETTER FOR WORSE

EMEM (2)

1983

The building was in the middle of nowhere. It stood under a dark moonless sky, aloof and uninviting. There was a high fence, blinding floodlights and a watchtower holding a buff soldier wielding an assault rifle. Igwe looked at Emem and saw her peering at the gate before them with questioning eyes. The Peugeot 504 in front them with his security detail had already driven in and two armed soldiers leaped out and stood guard while Igwe’s own vehicle slowly came to a halt before the entrance of the house.

“Want to join me?” he asked Emem. “I won’t stay long.”

She nodded and both backdoors were opened from outside. Igwe stepped out, waited for her, held her hand and led her through double entrance doors that were thrown open for them. Two soldiers standing in an empty room saluted as he made his way past them towards another room that had a third soldier standing guard outside. The room was actually a library of some sort with rows of books on tall shelves that covered the room wall to wall. The windows were thrown wide open and a smallish man behind large reading glasses was crouched over a wide table reading a voluminous book spread under a reading lamp. He knew Igwe had walked in but paid him no mind as he lifted his pen and proceeded to take notes.

“Take a seat, you and your guest,” he murmured without even a casual glance, “and try not to disturb for the next five minutes. I am about to hit the climax in this chapter.”

Emem knotted her brows and looked at Igwe who just smiled and led her into a fluffy chair in a corner while he sat before the table and waited for the man.

Ten long minutes later, he shut the book with a loud slam, took off his glasses and pulled back his chair to stare at Igwe. “You visit me at such a late hour.”

“Good evening, sir,” replied Igwe.

The man yawned, stretched his hands above his head and looked at Emem.

“Who is she?”

“She is my daughter-in-law,” Igwe said and turned to Emem, “my dear, it is my pleasure to introduce you to my predecessor, President Peter KentoroAbasi. Come and say hello.”

Emem stood up and walked to them, curtsied and stayed beside Igwe who held her hand. “She doesn’t say much.”

“I see,” the other man nodded. “What is your name, young lady?”

“Her name’s Emem.”

There was an uncomfortable silence that followed as President Peter wore on his glasses again and stared at Emem fully.

“My dear, please, give us a few minutes, will you?” Igwe asked warmly and Emem walked out. The soldier outside led her off earshot to some corner where she had privacy to comb through her thoughts.

If the short man inside that room was really President Peter KentoroAbasi, then he was supposed to be in prison as the rumors told. Why was he in this furnished accommodation in the middle of nowhere, not so far from the place where Igwe overthrew him in a peaceful coup d’état just six years ago? Why were both men speaking good-humoredly? Why did Igwe really bring her here?

“Your presence is required.” The soldier at the door walked to her after a long wait and led her back in. The ex-president was now on his feet, leaning on his desk with crossed arms and smiling at her. Her steps slowed when she noticed the smile. She wasn’t sure what it meant. Igwe had a lot of explaining to do later.

“You are a very beautiful, young woman. I heard you have two sons, twins?”

Emem nodded, forcing a smile.

“How are they?”

She nodded again.

“I would love to meet them. Quite handsome, young men, I am told.”

She smiled.

“I hope your husband treats you right? He can be an idiot sometimes.”

Emem blinked uncomfortably, still trying to decipher what the man was all about. Why wasn’t she like Luke who always made sure he kept up with the latest news in the country? He had a room full of old newspapers arranged in chronological order, open to anyone who wanted to research but she had never been in that room and had never picked up a newspaper to read. She had not even, for a lazy, fleeting moment concerned herself with the political tittle-tattle the army housewives always shared at their biweekly tea parties. If she as much as bothered to sit with Luke for the evening news, the television screen stood unnoticed by her as she read her romance novels. It was a shame that she was a member of the first family and didn’t know what the ex-president looked like.

“You were named after your mother, a very beautiful woman, I must say. I knew her a very long time ago and you look exactly like her. I heard she passed away last year?”

Emem nodded.

“Please, accept my commiserations.”

“We have to be on our way!” Igwe stood. “I would love to stay back and converse but I’m afraid my office offers me no pleasures these days.”

“Sleepless is the head that wears the crown,” President Peter said with a wicked smile and he walked to Emem and gave her a warm handshake with both hands. “Please, pay me a visit sometime. This old man gets really lonely, and you should come with the boys. It has been ages since I heard the excited screams of little children.”

Emem smiled back and nodded.

Later as Igwe’s motorcade drove Emem home, Igwe revealed some things to her. She held tears in her eyes the entire time he spoke, looked away from him and stared out the window. At some point she was convinced she would cry but she was no longer part of the world of people that cried. Something had died inside her and like a zombie, she formed a fresh bond, an alliance with her father-in-law but in her heart she held no loyalty to him.

Saturdays were constantly dull for Emem. Luke had relieved her of all the household chores, preparing her for the new lifestyle he was launching her into. He had enlisted the professional services of an etiquette coach in addition to the load of business management lectures she was to begin in two weeks. She had her own dreams but learnt a long time ago that there was only one king of the castle and she was not sitting on his throne. Judith was. Emem felt it was time to dethrone her and stretching lazily on her bed, staring blankly out the window, her active mind was mapping out a strategy to become her husband’s most valuable plus point.

The cook walked in with breakfast. There was cereal and a glass of orange juice on the tray. There was also a freshly plucked red rose. Emem knew Luke was home. He had been away for three days and was back with an apology. The rose was supposed to express words he would be too proud to say.

She dismissed the cook and her tray away and rolled off the bed. Six years living as an affluent woman and she still had not gotten used to the idea of eating in bed. In her previous life, she always breakfasted in the small, moldy room she shared with her mother. They ate cold fufu every morning with afang soup mildly warmed from the previous night’s smoldering embers. Her mother would chose that particular time of the day to sing a long hymn and pray a long prayer and Emem would wait patiently because she was trained so. The one time she had tried to sneak a finger into the soup during prayer, the old woman had smacked her hand so bad it was swollen for days.

Emem smiled reminiscently; she missed the old woman these days.

She took a long, hot shower, slipped into something clean and sexy and waited for Luke. The moment he walked in, she flew into his arms and he lifted her easily off the floor.

“You refused my breakfast and rose?”

She kissed him fiercely.

“What do you want, Em?” he asked, laughing as he placed her on the bed.

“Igwe took me to see the former president,” she signed and pulled him back to her.

“Repeat what you just old me,” he slightly moved away to see her hand gestures properly.

“We went to see the former president,” she repeated.

“Why?” he asked.

Emem disregarded the question and watched as his face become very serious. “Have you eaten or did your mistress give you breakfast?”

Having put his mind into deep thought, she smiled to herself and walked out to make his breakfast and for the whole day, observed him as he searched her face for answers but pretended she saw nothing.

Later that night, she joined him in bed. As usual, he was lost behind a newspaper but his moving toes indicated he was too restless to concentrate on what he was reading. She took away the paper and looked far into his eyes.

“My father is in prison and will continue to remain there until Igwe says he should be released,” she signed.

“What are you talking about?” he asked.

“Igwe told me that the ex-president is my father. He was married to my mother but after six years without children, he left her for another woman. He didn’t know I was on the way.”

Luke wanted to speak but she stopped him, “I know you know about this and that was why you forced yourself on me so that I will have no choice but to marry you. Igwe also said that you and Judith paid my brother to bring me to Lagos.”

“He’s lying, Em,” Luke said gently, stroking her cheek.

She bent her head and sighed, instant tears filling her eyes. “I don’t know why you’re using me like this…”

“Is that what Igwe told you? That I am using you? Didn’t he tell you that the person you believed was your elder brother was actually working for him, collecting money to take care of you and your mother? Why do you think he appeared from nowhere just two years before you came to Lagos? Did you ever ask your mother who he really was?”

“I’m not fighting with you, Luke,” she signed and restlessly scratched her eyebrow.

“Then why are you bringing all this up?”

She ground her teeth. “I thought you loved me. I thought…” her hands fell and she started crying.

“But I do love you, Em. Why are you allowing that man fill you with all these lies?” he pulled her to him but she moved away.

“Why didn’t you tell me who I was?” she asked.

“Would it have mattered? What would it change? Will it change the fact that you he abandoned you into poverty most of your life?”

“Yes! Yes it would have changed everything!”

Luke grunted in exasperation and got off the bed.

“Where are you going? I am talking to you!” she threw a pillow at him.

“Em, don’t start. I am not in the mood for your nonsense this night.”

She threw another pillow and ran to the door to stop him from leaving.

“What is your problem?” he asked calmly.

“No, what is your problem?” she signed. ‘What do you want from me? Why did you marry me?!!”

“Emem, please…”

She hit his chest, pushing him backwards.

“Okay, you want to know? You want to know what I want from you?” he took her hand forcefully and pushed her to the bed. “Sit and listen carefully, because after today, after this night, things are going to change for you but you must not reveal what I tell you to anyone. Understood?”

She looked at him with wide eyes.

“Understood?”

She nodded very fast.

“I married you for political reasons, Emem. My family was not always this rich. Igwe was a soldier with three wives. Though high-ranking, he was still struggling to take care of his ever-increasing family because the army makes provision for only one wife and her children. Let’s not forget, too, that the children he had outside with other women compounded his daily problems. I remember once Sam and I had to share a room with Jamila so that Princess and her sons could move into ours. Those were difficult times. Nonetheless, Igwe was a fine soldier, the finest there was in the army and he had friends were it mattered. Having a strong alliance with Westerners was not coincidental; it was in his plan from the beginning. He knew it would pay off one day and pay off it did. Do not be fooled by what you see. Our country is not ruled by us. It never was and never will be as long as you have men like Igwe in power. His carefully masterminded coup was financed and supported by the same people that groomed and trained him outside the shores of Nigeria. Without them, he is nothing.”

Luke put his hands in the pockets of his pajamas and went quiet for a long time. Emem waited patiently and when it seemed he wasn’t going to say any further, she got off the bed.

“Sit. I am not done.”

She obeyed and he continued. “Your father is a man of integrity, a man who worked tirelessly to free not just his people but the whole of black Africa from the bondage of poverty, illiteracy and backwardness. The dreams he had for Nigeria were grand and glorious but his reign was cut short by Igwe.” Luke took a slow, deliberate walk round the room.

“I am grand dreamer, a wishful thinker but it is my desire to bring KentoroAbasi back to power and you are the only one I see facilitating that. Igwe did not just overthrow a president, he overthrew the most powerful man in West Africa and we are going to get that man back into power with your help.”

Luke walked to Emem, stooped before her and took her hands. “I know he abandoned you and I know I used you but  it was necessary. I need you to look beyond all that and whatever Igwe told you to ruin the love we share for each other. Put aside all that and work with me. I do not plan to destroy my own father but if he will sell us for a pittance, then he has to be gotten rid of, understood?”

Emem nodded slowly. All that Igwe told her Luke was going to say came pouring out like the words of a book she had read before. The next page, however, came like a twist.

“I know he told you I would say all these things.”

She looked away immediately.

“All the same, we have to make him believe you are on his side.” He got up and walked to his safe. Without hesitation, he unlocked it and pulled out a shoebox. He had a rotten addiction for black shoes and had their whole closet filled with boxes of unused pairs. Once in a while, he would take out a box, discarding the shoes and often she wondered what he did with the box. Now she had an idea. The safe in the wall contained a good number of them.

“I want you to give this to Igwe,” he slammed the box in his hand beside her. “Tell him you found the combination to my safe in my portfolio and you opened it and found this.”

Emem looked at the box labeled ‘Samuel 3’.

“Inside here are recordings of phone conversations I had with Sam concerning what truly happened to Evelyn’s sister. There are also other phone conversations and a certain video footage he will find interesting. Samuel killed that girl, you know? It wasn’t a mistake. He killed her in cold blood because she knew too much about him and was threatening to reveal all.”

Emem gasped and covered her mouth.

“Don’t act so shocked. At least not now when you will begin to find out that every member of this family has skeletons in my closet.” Luke laughed and walked back to his safe to lock it. “The box should solidify the relationship you have with your father-in-law and in turn, it will help my cause. In exchange for it,” he turned around, “ask him to release your father. I doubt that he will say no but insist that he does it.”

Emem carefully lifted the lid off the box. There was nothing much to see but two small tapes, a Betamax tape, few photographs and the late woman’s jewelry. She covered the box.

“You’re on my side, right?” Luke asked, his voice having a menacing tone in it. She nodded and he sat beside her. “You have nothing to fear. One day, you and I will rule this country. Not on the throne like the puppets do but behind it. You know, to rule the one that rules is the most powerful place to be.”

And with that, Luke walked into the bathroom, leaving Emem with the strange thoughts in her head. There was a place in her heart these days, some form of shoebox where she kept her impractical feelings, and her love for Luke was going there. Her reasons were he never really had feelings for her and it didn’t matter how much he tried to make her believe otherwise, that first despicable act he performed on her would forever be stamped on her mind. For the past three days she had stayed in bed, brokenhearted, struggling to let him go and it hadn’t been easy but now he had made it awfully clear what she should do.

Slowly, an irreverent excitement grew in her. She was supposed to be anxious but all she felt was pleasure. She had already accepted her present existence and there was no need to be a coward about it. She was now part of the whole picture. It was either she played her role, or got eliminated like Evelyn’s sister. A time will come when she would confront the lies and be the person her mother strictly raised her to be but now, lives were on the wager. This was not a normal marriage or a normal home where children were born and grew up to continue their parents’ legacies. On the contrary, this was beyond even the players themselves. Igwe, Luke, her father, herself, they were all pawns in the game and she didn’t recall seeing anyone playing too close to the heart. She wasn’t ready to take a fall like Patricia and Evelyn. She would be the last woman standing; even Judith had to be eliminated.

“What are you thinking about, Em?” Luke emerged from the bathroom, drying himself with a towel.

Emem shook her head, took the towel and dried him soothingly. She made him a stiff scotch, selected a suitable outfit for the night but when she handed it to him, he laughed and held her.

“Do you know what I’m thinking? I’m thinking that I should stay home tonight and sleep in your arms,” he said.

She smiled.

”I know you will very much like that. So turn off the lights and come and lie beside me.”

She held him while he slept and only closed her eyes at the first light of dawn. When she heard him jump out of bed for his daily jog, she smiled distantly. Everything was still normal. There was no part in her that felt culpable, no guilt for who she was becoming. Maybe this was supposed to be her lot after all. Didn’t her wedding vows say it was for better or worse? For six years she had wallowed in the ‘worse’ but now she was looking forward to the ‘better’. The way she saw it, she was covered; every major character needed her. What was it Igwe told her that night?

My dear, you are in your prime.

Yes, she was in her prime. She smiled again, hugged her pillow and slept the sleep of the young and carefree.

Related Posts–> Emem, Evelyn, Luke, Jamila, Jamila (2)

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Shey You will Marry Me?

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“Will you marry me?”

“Oh God…” Vicky mumbled, shutting her eyes with her thumb and forefinger. “Why? Why are you doing this?”

“I didn’t get a ring because…” Michael scratched the nape of his neck and got off his chair. “Vicky, you will make the perfect life partner for me. I mean, you complete me. Here, in the office, you make my work worth the stress and I know that if we take it to the home front, we will merge like magic. You really do make me happy and you’re… you’re so beautiful. Look at your smile…”

“I am not smiling,” Vicky whispered.

“You are now.”

And she smiled.

“Just say yes, baby.”

“Baby?” She smiled again. “Excuse me, sir, I am still your employee.”

Michael laughed and took her hand. “Say yes, Vicky.”

“Michael, I… This is so sudden. You took me by surprise.”

“I know but when you see something you want, you just go for it. You don’t hesitate, especially if that thing is priceless. You are priceless and I will do anything to have you.”

“We’re not even dating!” Vicky exclaimed.

“I know but we belong together.”

“I can’t say yes and you know why.”

Michael crouched before her and with her hand still in his, he gently stroked her thumb. “I love you.”

She shook her head. “No, you don’t.”

“You know I do. From the moment you walked into my life to this today, I have loved you. Now, I hold nothing back when I say I want you to be mine. I will give you time to think about it and I promise that I will be the perfect, clueless gentleman around here. No one will know what is going on unless you tell them.”

“So I don’t have to quit my job?”

He laughed and kissed her hand lightly. She pulled back a little but the tips of her fingers hooked in his. “Michael, this is wrong. I have…”

He leaned forward and kissed her. The right thing to do would have been to stop him but she didn’t. She let herself feel his tongue because she wanted to know if his kiss was genuine like Kole’s. It was not. She pushed him away and sprang up.

“What is wrong with you?” she asked, showing annoyance.

“I am sorry, Vicky. I just had to.”

“Now you’ve made this working environment very uncomfortable for me. From the proposal and then to the kiss.”

“I am sorry,” Michael said, “and please, don’t let our work relationship suffer.”

She said nothing further and walked out.

Seconds later, there was a knock on the door.

“Come in.” Michael settled into his chair behind the desk and wore on his office comportment.

Vicky walked in again and stood by the door. “Sir, I’d like to take the rest of the afternoon off.”

Michael leaned back. “Why?”

“I don’t feel so well.”

He scratched his beard with his little finger and nodded. “You may leave.”

“Thank you, sir.” She opened the door.

“Vicky?”

Vicky shut her eyes, her hand gripping the door handle.

“That kiss was the best thing I have done in my life. Think about my proposal.”

She hurried out and walked to her office. The door was wide open and she knew she didn’t leave it that way. She walked in and found her friend and colleague, Aisha, waiting for her.

“Babe, how far?” Aisha asked in her usual bubbly manner.

“I dey.” Vicky shut the door.

“So what did he want?”

“Who?”

“Oga, na. He said he wanted to see you. Was it work related or something else?”

Vicky walked to her desk and leaned on it, facing Aisha. “He kissed me,” she whispered. Aisha put her hand to her mouth and popped out her eyes.

“Iz a lie!”

“He asked me to marry him.”

Not able to restrain herself, Aisha shrieked.

“Shhhhh!”

“Are you serious?”

Vicky picked her laptop, handbag and umbrella.

“Be serious na. He really proposed?”

“Lower your voice, babe!”

“Where are you going?”

“I’m going to Kole’s office.”

At the mention of Kole, Aisha hissed. Vicky dropped her shoulders. “I still love him, babe.”

“But does he?”

“He does. He’s just going through a rough time.”

“With what? He recently was awarded a contract for heaven’s sake! Isn’t that supposed to make him happy? See, you already know how I feel about that guy…”

“He is that guy, now? He and Bello are best friends.”

“And that is the biggest reason why you shouldn’t trust him. Bello is a dog!”

“Aisha!”

“What? He’s my boyfriend. I know him like the back of my palm. He has spoilt Kole for you. Be there forming love for somebody that doesn’t send you. You will lose in the end.” Aisha propped up her huge breasts, straightened her shirt and got up. “Me, I’ve told you. Michael is a real man. Money, he’s there. Behavior, he’s there. Looks, he’s to die for! Tribe, he’s from your place. Did I say he’s hot?” She fanned herself and Vicky laughed. “Maturity, he’s there. Not like that your stupid Kole who would be throwing crass jokes and laughing like a horse on heat.”

“Aisha?”

“What? It’s true na. Kole…”

“Is a perfect gentleman. Crass jokes or not. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go and give my horse on heat a little surprise.”

“I pray you catch him red-handed in that his office.”

“You are not nice sometimes,” Vicky opened the door and they walked out of the office. As Aisha disappeared to her cubicle, Vicky entered the elevator.

“Hold it, please!” She looked up and saw Michael rushing to her. He squeezed through the sliding elevator door and stood behind her.

“Vicky…”

“Sir?”

He hit the emergency button and turned her to face him. “I know you have somebody but I don’t care. I want to prove to you that I am the better man for you.”

“Let go of me, sir,” She pushed him away angrily and released the emergency button. Seconds later, the door opened.

“Vicky?”

“Have a nice day, Mr. Michael.”

“Okay, how about a ride home?”

Vicky signed out at the front desk and left the building.

***********
“I’m here to see Kole. He works at engineering.”

An unfriendly girl with Goldie-like eyelashes and an oily face pushed a hardcover notebook at Vicky and settled back to her seat to gossip with her colleague. As Vicky signed in, she noted that the reception was unusually noisy. People who were supposed to be in their offices hung around aimlessly. Some were chatting, others were heading out of the building while the rest seemed to be waiting for something or someone. Her eyes scanned the human throng for Kole.

“Wait, did you say Kole?” The eyelashes girl stood up, leaning forward on her desk.

“Yes, Kole Abayomi.”

“Oh.” She looked at Vicky from top to bottom. Vicky was very used to this reaction. She knew her looks did nothing to flatter Kole’s, and as much as he always told her she was beautiful, she knew she was not as striking as he was. She was extremely fair in complexion, if that counted for something, but he was without question, every woman’s dream. “Kole is not in. He just went out and I don’t think he will be coming back again today, o.”

“Do you know where he went?”

“No. There was a fire incident earlier on, so everyone evacuated the building. All I know is I saw him leaving with Tina.” She turned to her colleague. “Shey na Tina Kole dey waka wit da’ time?”

“Eh, na Tina.”

Tina! How that girl had become a part of their lives still remained a mystery to Vicky. Kole had sworn there was nothing between them, but she knew there was more than he was letting on.

“Thank you,” Vicky smiled as the girl at the desk continued with her gossip. Vicky dialed Kole for the hundredth time. His phone was still switched off. She strolled out the building, hit the streets and took a cab home.

**********
“Cee?” Vicky took off her shoes and shut the door. “Cecelia?” She called out to her neighbor who had practically moved in and had been living with her for the past week.

Cecelia emerged from the kitchen, cleaning her hands on a napkin.

“Ow far?”

“Cee, Michael proposed to me o.”

Cecilia pulled back and shook her head in a dazed expression. Unlike Aisha, she kept a cool exterior and a gentle manner.

“Are you serious?”

“I don’t know what to do.”

“Come, come, come,” Cecelia took her hand and led her to a couch and they snuggled in together. “Which one is ‘I don’t know what to do’?”

“I’m confused nau.”

“How? You still love Kole, don’t you?”

“I do.”

“But he hasn’t officially proposed to you.”

“If saying ‘shey you will marry me’ is a proposal, then he has, a million times. There is no ring on my finger yet and every time I bring up marriage, he brushes it aside and even gets angry when I press on the issue.” She lowered her tone into a whisper. “I don’t think he wants to get married.”

“Why will you say that?”

“He’s been distant in recent times and when last did you see him here? He picks me from work, drops me off outside and doesn’t come in. We don’t talk like we used to… I just don’t know.”

“You do realize that you’re just a lucky girl, don’t you? Two grown men want you.”

“Be serious, Cee. What do I do? Michael says he loves me and he’s willing to get married today-today if I say yes.”

“But what do you know about him other than work?”

Vicky made no reply.

“Pray about it.”

“You have come with this your prayer thing now. This is a serious situation.”

“That’s why I said you should pray and talk to Kole. Find out what is on his mind. Meanwhile, someone invited me for dinner on Sunday at that new hotel. I made you my plus one.”

“I don’t want to go.” Vicky pouted.

“Okay, I will dash you that my new dress.”

Vicky brightened up, “seriously?”

“I’ve not returned it yet, so you can have it. I don’t even know what made me buy a bigger size.”

“Awww…thanks, love.” She hugged her and stood up. “Is your door open? Lemme get the dress.”

“It’s open.”

Excited, she rushed off to Cecelia’s apartment.

***********
Vicky pumped her lips, spreading her red gloss into even tones. She adjusted her strapless bra and considered her figure. Being very conservative, she didn’t like wearing clothes that exposed her shoulders and arms. But this was a gift from Cecelia and she couldn’t say no. Besides, at thirty-one, she wasn’t doing bad at all. Kole once told her red looked good on her. Too bad, he wasn’t going to see her. She shut her eyes, vanishing thoughts of him.

Cecilia walked in. “Wow, Vicky! Okay, I am officially jealous.”

Vicky beamed.

“You look like a dream. Why is Kole misbehaving, na?”

“I wonder, oh. Useless boy.”

“Wait, lemme snap you,” Cecelia took a photo of her and immediately updated her Facebook status to ‘Dinner in a bit…’ “Posted on Facebook!”

“Ah! Facebook? What if Pastor sees it? He will start preaching about indecent dressing next Sunday.”

Cecelia hissed. “Abeg, joor.”

Vicky turned her hairbrush into a microphone, made a funny face and began mimicking the pastor in question. “Some sisters here will be so holy in church on Sunday morning. They will wear looong skirts and cover themselves from head to toe, but by evening you won’t recognize them. Do you know that red is the color of sin?”

Cecelia broke into laughter.

“Yes! Satan is red color with black horns and tail!”

Cecelia roared louder.

“My brothers and sisters, come and see this sister I’m talking about in that devil color, wearing ‘show me your front and back’. If she carry her hand up, we will see her armpit! Who wants to see ya armpit, Sister? Put ya hand down! I say put it down! If a man die and he is on his way to heaven and you raise that ya dirty armpit and the man see it, he will tumble and fall down to earth!”

Cecelia fell to the floor, holding her sides. “Abeg, Vicky, no kill me for here. I take God beg you. Please, stop.”

Vicky ended her performance and began brushing her hair while Cecelia got off the floor and peered into her phone. “Our ride is here!”

“Really? We even have a ride? Please, what is this dinner about sef? Who invited you?”

“Just a friend.” She smiled.

“Who, who ,who?”

“A friend. Let’s go.”

Vicky turned off the lights and they exited the house, coming out to the street outside their building.

“Na wa o. who is bringing limo to this type of area?” Vicky asked, staring at a sleek, black limousine parked a few feet away from them.

“I wonder o. I think the car missed road.”

They both laughed as Cecelia led Vicky towards the limousine.

“Where is our ride na?”

A man dressed in an exquisite black suit stepped out of the driver’s side of the limousine, came all the way to the passenger side that faced the ladies and opened the door to the luxury vehicle.

Vicky pulled her friend back. “They’re opening the door for us,” she whispered.

“Then we go in. You first.”

“No, you first.”

“Vicky,” Cecelia grit her teeth, “don’t disgrace me here. Enter.”

Vicky hesitated, still clinging to Cecelia who pushed her forward.

“Good evening,” the man in the suit greeted with a smile.

“Good evening,” Vicky smiled back and let herself into the limousine. The door immediately shut behind her. “Hey! Cee? Cecelia!” She looked out. Cecelia remained standing, waving at her. “Come in, na!”

“Victoria?” a familiar voice beside her gently called and Vicky turned.

“K-kole? What are you doing here?”

He laughed.

“Oh, I get it! Cecelia set me up. There was no dinner. And the dress…” She covered her eyes in a blush. “Are you for real?”

“You look so beautiful.”

Her smile was shy.

“It’s hard to believe you’re all mine,” Kole said.

The limousine went into motion and Vicky looked around her. “What’s this all about, Kole? It must have cost a lot and I know you also bought this dress…”

“Shhhh… You talk too much. Just enjoy it.”

Her phone rang and she reached for her purse, but he shook his head. “What if it’s an emergency?”

He shook his head again and moved closer. There was no attempt to touch or hold her. He simply gazed into her eyes.

“I’ve been very busy of late and I might have come off as distant, aloof or even mean but believe me, you were always on my mind, Victoria.”

For the past few nights, Vicky had sleepless hours pondering over a list of sentences to express her frustration at his behavior but at the moment, all she wanted to do was hold him.

“I am so sorry, baby. I still love you. I heard you swung by the office the other day?”

“I did.”

“I took Tina to see the doctor. She’s…pregnant. And no, it’s not mine.” He laughed when he saw Vicky’s expression. “You can relax. She was fired by our boss after she made a scene in his office on Friday. He’s the father of the kid, by the way.”

Vicky gasped. “It’s a lie!”

“You should have been there. Major drama. I always say it that office romances don’t work.”

“No, they don’t.”

“So, what’s with your boss kissing you, sef?”

Vicky opened her mouth and shut it.

“Aisha told me.”

“Aisha, Aisha, Aisha….”

“Were you going to tell me?”

She looked into his eyes and saw him trying to conceal his irritation. “It was a mistake,” she said honestly.

“What part? Him kissing you or you kissing him back. What part was a mistake?”

“Kole…” Her voice shook slightly as she pushed a strand of hair behind her ear, “I thought this was supposed to be a date, not ‘escort me to the station for questioning’.”

“Do I have to be repetitive and say I’m a jealous man? Your lips are mine. I hardly even get to kiss them again and you go and kiss Michael?”

“It was a mistake.” Vicky stressed.

“How is a kiss ever a mistake? You people’s lips accidently locked together when you were ten feet away from each other or when you were lost in his arms?”

“God!” she snapped. “Are you a ten year old?”

“Remind me that you’re older than me!”

“No, you remind me that I am. You know what? I will show you what ten feet away means!” Vicky moved to the seat that faced the one they were seated on.

“And he even proposed. Did you say no?”

“If you were doing your job as a man and loving me the way you were supposed to be loving me, would my keen-eyed boss notice I was lacking in the love department and make moves on me? If I was sure about our stance, wouldn’t I have told him straight away that I wouldn’t marry him?”

“Well, Madam Faithful, I heard you on radio the other day too. You called and asked some dumbass love doctor to give you advice on what to do, on whom to choose. What were your words again? ‘I don’t want to break my boyfriend’s heart but I also don’t want to lose my boss. Who do you think is the right guy for me?’”

“I needed help. I called an expert! Deal with it!”

“So, you’re not sure I’m the right guy for you? I’m now on the same pedestal with your boss, who by the way, just wants to get in your pants. I’m sure you know that. You’re not that stupid.”

“You have the nerve to judge me! Just look at you! Where have you been this past one week? I’m calling your phone and it’s switched off! Where have you been? Then you think you can get back on my good side with an uncooked apology? ‘Oh, sorry I might have been aloof, or distant or mean…’ spare me abeg. You abandoned me! You won’t visit me, you won’t take me out, you won’t kiss or touch me, you won’t even call me unless I call you and when I want to have a real conversation with you, all I hear is em, yes, mm, ehen, fine, good, thanks, no, yes, maybe, I don’t know, okay, kk, k …”

“Just stop. Stop.”

“No, I don’t want to stop, Kole! I want to tell you how much you have hurt me! You don’t just love a woman one minute and stop loving her the next without a quit notice. Nobody does like that!”

“I didn’t stop loving you, Victoria,” He lowered his head, “I didn’t stop loving you. I was swamped at work, my mom has been sick – you know that, and I…” He sighed. “To be honest, I have been having issues about the age difference because for the first time, I seriously decided to think of marriage. I needed to be alone to sort my feelings. You are one hell of a woman, and sometimes I feel like love is not a word enough to describe how I feel. Kut I know, for me, it is enough. To love someone from the inside is a cleansing experience. If it is pure, deep, unrestrained love, it will hose out all the unpleasantness and make you want to do right by everyone. That is how I feel every day, Victoria. You make me want to be a superior man, but you know I still have my ways…”

Vicky smiled.

“I hate to give them up but with a love like ours so strong, I will do anything. That thought made me go crazy these past few weeks and though I have been going all the way for you in the past, I now want to go all the way forever.”

“Awwwn, baby.”

Kole slipped in beside her, dug into his pocket, took out a jewelry box and opened it. “Victoria, shey you will marry me?”

She laughed. “Wow! Two proposals in one week.”

“This is the only proposal that counts. Behave.”

“Yes, I will marry you, baby.” She melted into tears and threw her hands round him. “Yes baby! Yes, yes, yes!”

He slipped the ring on her finger and kissed her nose but she pulled back and drew him in long, deep kiss.

“Was Michael’s kiss this good?” Kole asked, his lips stuck between hers.

“Shut up and kiss me more.”

“You know you have to quit your job, don’t you?” he said.

“Kiss.”

“And dump Aisha.”

“Kiss.”

He gently bit on her lower lip. “And make love to me at least once before the wedding night.”

“In your dreams. Kiss.”

“I love you.”

“Mmm…I love you too. Oya kiss me nau.”

 

Casablanca (In Pursuit Of Kyenpia)

Casablanca

The light had been flickering on and off for almost thirty minutes. It was enough time, in my estimation, for the drug to kick into her bloodstream. Her head was bent, long weave falling across her face, beads of sweat dropping to the floor. The room was somewhere above 90˚F, enough to boil her blood but so far, she had held on strong, determined to fight the heat. I smiled. The heat was not the problem, it was the deadly sulfur that was racing to the surface her skin. You see, she was allergic to sulfur and had no idea that she had been injected with a lethal dose of the substance when her abductors had knocked her out cold an hour ago. She was going to itch intensely and go nuts from the itching for almost an hour. During that time, blotches will appear on her skin, red and raw like fresh burn spots and will hurt like she was set on fire. Even if her hands and feet were untied, her situation could not be remedied. At some point she was going to cry to God for mercy but before I get to that stage in my story, let me trackback and tell you how I got Stella into her state of Casablanca.

10 hours ago

I had many hideouts. One was the captain’s safe house where I had deposited Zia after I picked her from the airport. The second was my cousin’s marijuana estate on the outskirts of Lagos. Aaron was a trauma doctor and a drug mogul fondly referred to as Aaron the Baron. He wasn’t aggressive or menacing like most guys in the business but he was never to be toyed with. He didn’t speak much. Most of his interactions were calculated, single words or short phrases uttered unceremoniously without even a casual glance at the other person because he was always hunched over his phone. I swear, he was born with the thing. Otherwise, he was a cool guy and wise beyond his years if he stopped snorting the occasional line of cocaine. Did I say occasional? No, he was a junkie. I would like to say his addiction was not destructive because he always seemed clear-headed but the drug was responsible for putting him out of his job and costing him four wonderful marriages. I wish there was something I could do to help; he was breaking his mother’s heart.

It was 9pm and I was seated with him in his kitchen together with my younger brother, Ramsey, who was a lieutenant in the Nigerian Army and also the captain’s most trusted employee. If he wasn’t in a peace-keeping mission, he was overseeing all of the captain’s underground businesses. The captain always made sure he kept him around, not just to run things but to keep him alive. Ramsey, like every male born to the captain, had a daredevil side that needed to be domesticated.

“She has come,” Aaron’s bodyguard announced peeping into the kitchen and retreating immediately. He was referring to Stella; she had arrived to collect the loan Ramsey promised her. Aaron and I stayed back while Ramsey attended to her in the dining area, deliberately keeping her within earshot. After pleasantries, he told her, much to her unease that the captain was on the phone and wanted to speak with her. There was a slight pause and I heard the old man’s voice over the speakerphone. He sounded better from the last time I spoke with him. He seemed to be recuperating faster than anyone thought he would. Two weeks ago he had his first heart attack after losing billions in the stock market. I mean, I don’t get it. This guy is stinking rich and no matter how much Holy Ghost fire anyone reined on him, it would not touch his money, which was sure enough to sustain my own grandchildren. So why have a heart attack over a few? A little bird told me he had become stingy of late. Na today? He had always been tight. I don’t blame him. His father trained him with a locked fist. He worked hard for all he got and never understood the luxuries of a wasteful lifestyle. He got all he needed, of course, but was never allowed to take them for granted and that same training he passed unto us.

As a teenager I washed cars and walked his dogs and played boring golf with him if I wanted some extra change to impress a girl. Sometimes the tasks he made me do were as silly as toasting a chick my age for him or racing with him in the dead of night in an abandoned military airstrip. I never understood why I had to work for everything but the training  eventually paid off when at the early age of just twenty-eight, I inherited his hotel. Everyone thought I would run the business down but I borrowed a ton of cash from my grandfather and surprised even myself when I turned it into one of the leading hotels in Nigeria with branches located in strategic states and other African countries. Okay, I’m bragging a little here. Back to the story!

“When did you start dealing, Stella?” the captain’s voice was on edge.

“Em…” she began to speak but he caught her off gruffly.

“We have a system. I don’t have to tell you that. We have dealers. If you hit a deal, you pass it unto them and make your cut. You do not go into their territory. Your job is to move!”

“But captain–”

“There are no buts. Stick to your station. The only thing is, an acquaintance here needs the ‘gold’ and that should still put you in business. I will buy it straight from this your Catherine person and give you a certain undisclosed percentage and you will still get paid to send it here to India. Does that work for you?”

“Yes, captain.” She wasn’t too pleased but she had no choice.

“You will handle the transaction, meaning this is your runs. If you screw it up and by that I mean, if my money or ‘gold’ goes missing, you are as good as dead. Am I clear?”

“Yes, captain.”

“I understand that the deal is to take place before 0300 hours tomorrow?”

“Yes.”

“Good. Ramsey will provide you with all the security you need. Let me repeat: do not blotch this operation. Blotch it and go find yourself a hole to burrow in. Last time you messed up, I let it go. This time, you will pay for every cent.”

With that he rang off. Now, what neither he nor Stella didn’t know was that the ‘gold’ in question was from his own personal stash. The bricks were kept hidden at his warehouse which wasn’t a warehouse per se but a local block industry in a remote community called Awoyaya. Who would expect to find cocaine hidden in that type of place? Just a couple of hours prior to this, Ramsey’s boys raided the place and made away with fifty bricks. The news had not gotten to the captain yet since everything usually passed through Ramsey first.

If all worked according to plan, Ramsey and Aaron will keep the cash gotten out of the deal for themselves. This was how they always made money on the side. Ramsey didn’t have an actual business outside the army and the captain. Being the last born of the family, he was extravagant and always looked forward to the deals I constantly landed on his table. Every so often I came up with brilliant ideas on how to rob the captain and in exchange, he provided me with anything I asked for. This time around, I wanted my own cut.

While Stella waited for Ramsey to get the dollars, I dialed Zia and asked for a favor.

Let it be known that this chick was a psycho. Prior to this, she hated my guts and did insane things to ruin my existence. For instance, she would show up after months of hate texts and emails and demand I sleep with her. I always refused and less than twenty-four hours later, a dead body will pop up in my hotel and I will be left with the mess. She was one of the captain’s hit women and in addition ran the most successful discreet escort service in the country. She was also my girlfriend – fourteen long years ago. Okay, she was not really my girlfriend; she was my cousin’s. We were sneaking behind his back and ultimately she got pregnant. I forced her into an abortion which left her almost dead with zero chances of ever being a mother. She had hated me since; I had hated myself for being in her debt. It wasn’t strange for her to demand a favor, so I didn’t bother when she told me she wanted me to help her lay low for a while when I picked her from the airport. She said she had got into some sort of trouble and was not in the mood to talk about it, she just wanted to hide. I took her to the captain’s safe house and made sure she was comfortable. I was glad she didn’t ask for sex. On a good day, sex was the dose that kept her head above water. With a body trained for sin, she had lived most of her life believing she was God’s solution to any man’s throbbing problem. But in a sick twist of reality, she ended up being the one who couldn’t do without opening her legs. My therapist and close friend, Idara told me I had a curse. I told her to grow a penis and spend ten minutes with Zia in a room.

“I need a favor from you,” I said.

“I’m listening,” Zia said in a cocky tone that always amused me.

“I need you to gossip a little with Sugar for me this night.”

“And say what?” the tone was now harsh.

“Tell her that Stella is running ops right under her nose and give her the following location.” I described a parking garage somewhere in Victoria Island, a quiet space facing the ocean. The transaction between Stella and Ivy was to take place there in five hours.

“Is that all?” Zia asked me.

“Yep.”

I imagined her rolling her feline eyes and biting on her glass nails.

“I will have someone use a proxy number so she will think you’re calling from outside Nigeria,” I added.

“Okay.”

I ended the call and sighed tiredly. My job was almost done. I could hear Stella’s car driving off as I turned to Aaron and said, “50-25-25.”

“30-35-35,” he replied, head still lowered over his phone.

“Yeah, 30-35-35,” Ramsey concurred, walking in.

“Una dey craze abi? This is my deal,” I told them. “I brought it in and masterminded it.”

“And we will see it through,” Aaron said into his phone.

“Yeah, imagine if something should go wrong,” Ramsey said with threat in his eyes.

“No, imagine if something does go wrong and it is traced back to you, fool. 40-30-30. No argument.” Ramsey gave in after Aaron refused to protest.

“But it’s drug money. You don’t do drug money,” he said.

“Before! But now I have plenty use for it.”

“So, how far?” he opened the fridge, “are you done with Ada?” He threw me a canned beer and I caught it but stoned him with it.

“Touch her and I will snap your neck.”

That was highly improbable. Ramsey will beat me to a pulp, that is if a bullet from me doesn’t hit him first. He threw the beer can to me again and I stoned him a second time, aiming for his grinning face.

“Leo, face it. Ada is in love with Ramsey but in love with your swag,” Aaron pointed out.

“Ehn-ehn-ehn?”

He nodded.

“She’s my wife, Ramz. Stay away.”

Talking about wives, Kyenpia called me earlier. She wanted to know if I would be willing to do the show with her every night. I was on the verge of doing a victory dance and screaming a very loud but muted ‘YES!’ had Ivy not appeared at my door with a puzzled look on her face. So I told Kyenpia I’d be glad to. I tried to keep her talking to see if I could triangulate her heart’s location to a point where it met mine but the girl had no feelings for me. To her, I was just a voice without a face, encroaching in her territory. She had no idea what I had in mind for her.

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When A Man Cries (Test-The-Terone)

Test-the-Terone ...for men and the women who really know them

The man came first, so he is automatically the king of the jungle, the head of the home, the stoic picture of what stability ought to be. When he doesn’t get his way, he is not expected to fall on his bed, bury his head in his pillow and cry. When he’s watching Titanic and the tears pool up in his eyes, he is expected to mutter ‘this movie sucks!’ and leave the sitting room. When a strange person of the opposite sex in a bus tries to engage him in a war of words of ugly bantering, cussing and insulting, he’s expected to be the bigger guy, totally ignore her and contain the insults for as long as the journey lasts or else he would be scolded for talking like a woman. When a fellow man beats the hell out of him, he does not dwell on it; he is expected to lie, telling everyone some touts robbed him and beat him senseless.

And I thought we were the ones with issues. Isn’t it easier being a woman? She can be a total nagging bitch in public and will hardly have anyone bothering about her. She can cry from now till tomorrow if her hair is messed up at the salon or if her husband consumes the last piece of her wedding cake, and she will get a shoulder or two on her side. She can throw a tantrum any day, anytime, anywhere, for absolutely no reason and get away with it just because she is the fairer sex.

But what happens when a man tries to do the same? He is, without human intervention, automatically branded a woman! He drives badly, he’s a woman. He talks a lot, he’s a woman. He is sad and depressed, he’s a woman. He doesn’t fight back, he’s a woman… I think you get the idea. Everything a man does that basically degrades him is a sign that he’s a woman and therefore less than a man. His position, as the world has ordained, is always on top and there, he has no rivalry. M.I. says it best in his song Beef “The Super Eagles don’t play against the Falcons”

However, just the other day, I saw a guy break down and cry like a little baby and frankly, it was not an unpleasant sight. Had it not been for the circumstances that led to his breakdown, I would have thought it very sexy. I did not think any less of him but on the other hand, I think he felt he had messed up showing me his vulnerable side. I totally understood. That is the way it is. A man doesn’t give into his emotions; he doesn’t show his soft side. He just swallows everything in and faces whatever life brings him with a rock solid approach.

So the big question today is, when is a man allowed to cry in the open? I know they do it secretly when no one is watching but when really is it okay for a man to just let go, not caring who is watching? Below, I listed a few suitable times when a man is allowed to cry without getting being labeled as a woman.

1.       When He Loses A Loved One

There is nothing masculine about not crying when someone you love dies. People grieve differently but everyone should cry at some point when they face loss.

2.       When He Says ‘I do’

Yes, a man is allowed to shed a tear or two at the altar. After all, that is one of the happiest days of his life. Well unless, he’s crying because he just realized he’s trapped forever.

3.       When His Baby Is Being Born.

The coming of a newborn is the most beautiful event ever. If you have not experienced it as a man, I suggest you do. Chances are you bolt right out of the door but if you man up, you will realize that it is one of the most humbling times in a man’s life.

4.       When He Spends Time With God.

Some people come to God all serious and get very firm with their requests but there are times as a man, you just have to let your hair down, pour out your heart and cry before the other He in your life.

5.       When He Catches His Wife Cheating

Some men say they can never cry for a woman but when a man loves a woman, he holds nothing back. He may not be all giggly and excited like his female counterpart but it doesn’t mean he loves less. Since a man is not wired to be expressively emotional, he does not have the natural self-soothing system a woman has developed along the years that has helped her cope with her seemingly fragile personality and that is why when he is heartbroken, everything about him comes crumbling down, even his very massive male ego.  A study revealed heartbroken men take four weeks to change their Facebook status following a break-up – while women do so almost straight away. The majority of men – 63 per cent ‘prolong the misery’ of updating their profile from ‘In a Relationship’ to ‘Single’ for a month or more, eight per cent fail to do so at all. If and when they do, only a third admits if they were dumped – and even fewer – 15 per cent – reveal the reasons why.

During my research on this topic, I discovered a hidden part of men, a different face that solidified my admiration for them. What a load they have to carry!  I would like to give them two thumbs up but sometimes, as you’ll come to find out from the two true life incidences below, they really deserve to be treated like the wailing babies they sometimes are.

More reasons a man is allowed to cry in the open:

6.       When A Woman Gives Him A Good Beating

Mr. and Mrs. Dexter (actual names withheld) are married with three kids. Mr. Dexter is a man’s man. I mean, you can’t get more manly that him. He hangs with the guys, drinks like the guys, screws around like the guys, spends money like the guys and would probably die like the guys but his nemesis is Mrs. Dexter. It doesn’t matter whether he is the king of the jungle outside his home, when he gets home, he has to deal with whatever she’s dishing him. Upon entering through the front door, the following words meet him:

“Mr. Dexter, is this the time you’re coming back? You are * %&*#$^**&%^#$!!!”

He replies, “Mrs. Dexter. Leave me the f^#k alone! You are a fish brained *@#$##$###!!!”.

And this goes on and on and on until he hits her face and afterward gives her a good beating. The next morning, he is out the door to run the race of the manly rats and comes home at night to repeat the same madness. He is so caught up in his manliness that he doesn’t notice when Mrs. Dexter begins to change. She grows stronger and he weakens by the day. He chooses to ignore the fact that his children shy away from him in sheer terror, telling himself that the king of the jungle should instill fear in all the smaller creatures. One day, like every other, Mrs. Dexter feels she has had enough and consumes a full bottle of wine as much as her fish brain can contain. Then, she sits and waits for him. He comes in as usual, ready for war but the first slap he throws her, lands him a shattering bottle of wine on his hand, it’s jagged neck aimed for his chest, but he’s weakened now, dazed from the sudden attack and very afraid for his life. Mrs. Dexter, however doesn’t end here. Fueled by her new sense of power, she turns around and gives Mr. Dexter the beating of his life in front of his children. He can’t scream or shout because he does not want the neighbors coming in to find him being humiliated, so he lets her spend herself because he just discovered that all her years of staying home, taking care of the children and working her ass off like a donkey has made her bigger and stronger than he. Finally with the kids pleading for his life, she lets him go and he crawls outside and cries all night like the baby he’s always been, knowing his short reign has finally come to an end. These days I hear he goes about with a scar on his hand and a subdued look on his face.

7.       When A Man Is Emasculated

Okon (not real name, as featured on Newsline) is a poor tenant who falls in love lust with his landlady’s daughter, Miss. Landlady. They are the perfect couple and anywhere Okon goes, Miss. Landlady is sure to follow. To Okon, this is the just what the doctor ordered—free sex, free food and a free house. He is in heaven, well, until he discovers there are other female tenants whose properties, so to speak, are worth moving into and he begins to sneak them in at night for private house warming parties. He is having the time of his life, eating his cake and having it. But not all shindigs last forever. Miss Landlady eventually catches the hapless Okon in bed with one of the girls and it is big drama as her mother, the queen of all angry mothers whose daughters have been cheated on, comes into the whole scene. Now, this woman has long, sharp claws that can rip the heart out of any man but it is not the heart she goes for because she believes Okon hasn’t got one. She goes for his balls which he obviously has in excess and rips it out of him in front of tenants and neighbors alike, lifts it to the air like a trophy and dares any man to come try her. She is not even fazed when the police and Newsline crew show up. She insists Okon deserves what he gets.

The voice of Okon wailing in pain can be heard miles away. As he is rushed to the hospital, he reveals that the cause of his tears is not the pain in his groin area but the fact that his jewels are forever done with.

And finally, the last three times a man is allowed to cry in public.

8.       When he’s Prezzo and he’s doing it to win female votes at the Big Brother Star Game.

9.       When He’s Mark Damascus, Damasus, Dacascos, an assassin who sheds tears after he kills his target in a movie called Crying Freeman.

10.     When he’s Balotelli and he loses to Spain.

Or when he’s Buhari, losing to Goodluck. Or when he’s Chris Brown doing a tribute to Michael Jackson but really crying because he wants the world to forgive him for hitting Rihanna.
One of my favorite poets, Carl Sandburg  said, “Life is like an onion; you peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.” So, to sum it up, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a man expressing his emotions. Sometimes crying lets all the bad out but remember that just because she calls you ‘baby’, doesn’t mean you have to be one.

…and I liked it.

NAVEL GAZING… Beyond What I See

Now here you are rushing here to find out what I liked. There’s no way to take the sting out of this so I’ll just cut to the heart of the gist and say it as straightest as I can. I kissed a girl and I liked it. I would now give those of you who are wondering if this is Sally’s blog a few seconds to absorb the shock before I continue.

Still want to read on?

For those of you who knew me in school, you could say I wasn’t a very good girl. I will not explain why. My past is my past. I had my issues like everyone else. One interesting day, hanging out with friends, I was dared to kiss a girl. At first in my head the idea was appalling but there was this crazy side of me then that just for the fun of it decided what the heck. A kiss is just a kiss, right?

And so I kissed her.

I was expecting to hate it but I kind of liked it. Don’t ask me what I was high on. I can’t remember but at that point, my faith in God and my reputation as a minister’s kid had taken backseat to my pleasures. I don’t know if it was the hooting I was receiving from my friends or the thought that I had done something forbidden that made me like the kiss. Mind you, I didn’t like the girl. A time would come when I would deeply regret my actions but at that point, it felt good.

There are times, as Christians we fall off the wagon and where we fall feels so good and for that moment, you don’t want to hop back on that cart of righteousness and continue on your pilgrimage. I have been there and if you are an honest Christian, you know what I am talking about. I’m writing this piece because of late I have been thinking about the rise of homosexuality in Nigeria. We all know that it is against the law to be homosexual here and the punishment is a fourteen year jail term but just like everything that doesn’t work in Nigeria, nobody’s arresting anybody for being gay.

There are some people who hardly come across homosexuals in our country but there are others who face them every day. I live in Lagos and there are a good number of openly gay people here that I am beyond being shocked at this point. Let’s be realistic, the gay thing will one day be part of us and that law against them will eventually be  gotten rid of. I have fought against this thought becoming reality but deep in my heart, I know we are in a jet age and everything you see in the western, developed world will in due course catch on here. We must understand the disparities in culture when trying to understand some of these sensitive issues. The developed societies I am talking about have had homosexuals for a very long time that homosexuality has in fact, become part of their culture but it is not our culture here. Yes, there are certain lifestyles and sexual orientations that are greatly influenced by a society’s traditional way of life. For instance, polygamy is against the law in places like America but in Nigeria, we know it is not much of an issue amongst some tribes and even with the Muslims. Hence, it is safe to say that when we see the acceptance of homosexuality slowly rising here, it is simply a borrowed culture.

I love Jesus and I am not ashamed or afraid to say it anywhere. I am very flawed and sinful and I seek His mercy everyday as the Holy Spirit convicts me, so my take on the whole gay issue is going to be based on my faith and I am not sorry about that. My God totally abhors homosexuality and He minces no words when He talks about the consequences of sleeping with the same sex. As for me, I take His side. Now, does it mean, I should hate on gay people? no. I mean, NO!!! Someone just last week in a social forum on the web reacting to my take on homosexuality told me I was discriminatory against them. Another said I should _______ choke and die! I found their statements mildly amusing because I had a very close gay friend in school. I didn’t know he was gay then and I should have seen all the signs but he was just a friend to me and that was that. Anyway, eventually, two people at separate times brought my attention to his sexuality and it was then I realized they were right. Did it stop me from being friends with him? No. I still loved him the way he was and I guess as a Christian that comes first. God gave His only begotten Son but it was stated that he loved the world too. So who am I to judge? After all, I kissed a girl once.

Sadly, a lot of Christians have missed the message about Christ’s unconditional love and stay on the side where people throw stones. I have been on both sides—the stone thrower and the stoned and believe me, neither side feels good. So the big question here is how should Christians react to gay people? The answer is simple. Love them.

Very difficult, right?

No, it is simple. Love is the simplest thing to do. How you intend to preach the gospel to them is entirely your own decision. I take the Word of God freaking seriously and I do not for the life of me waste my time arguing about what He says in it. I try my best to stay away from unproductive arguments about sensitive issues especially when it concerns what God has already written. I mean the Bible is black and white with no tinge of grey and if anyone wants to know why I am not gay, I would invite them to an open and honest discussion about what I believe. I will not be bullied to feel I am on the wrong side; neither will I bully anyone who does not take my side. On the social forum where I was told to choke and die, I felt like the one being discriminated against because when a Christian expresses his/ her views about homosexuality, he/she automatically becomes homophobic, bigot or a hater. I have sadly watched my brothers and sisters in the Lord remain silent and lose who they are and what they believe in because they are afraid of being labeled unsavory names by non-Christians.

We all want a world with peace and lots of love but most times, this is easier said than done. No one should hate on someone simply because of what they believe. God does not condone it and neither does common sense. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This is His golden rule, so it is illogical when His followers hate non-followers. I have chosen to serve God and talk about His goodness no matter what anyone thinks about me but at the same time, I have chosen to love as He does because after everything is said and done, LOVE conquers all.

My message to everyone:

LOVE your neighbor as yourself. LOVE those who hate you. LOVE as God loves you.