So, this episode is really long, so I had to break it into two. Enjoy!
Read previous episodes HERE
Dami was in a good mood. A very, very good mood. She loved it when it rained. She always had a mad desire to run under it like she loved doing when she was little. Uyi nicknamed her ‘wet girl’; a name that connoted more than what the rain did to her.
Monday morning came with an angry downpour that put Uyi in a bad mood. Unlike his sweetheart, rainfall never eased his state of mind or emotions. If anything, it made him worse. He grew up in poor conditions and the rains meant for him then, a leaking roof, a flooded neighborhood with water carrying all sorts of filth and debris, and the fear of being constantly struck by lightning (having experienced it once as a kid and narrowly escaping death from it). Even as a grown man now, he still sometimes found himself scared of thunderstorms.
“Uyi, look! Hailstones! Closest thing to snow around here! I’m going to get me some!” Dami giggled and ran outside like a little child running on jet fuel. Uyi who was lying on her bed, sat up and pulled his laptop to him. He ran his fingers over the mouse, popping up a window on his screen that displayed the face of a man that made him frown. That face was primarily the reason why he was upset.
He had spent the better part of his weekend (when he was not having sex with Dami) tracking down the person behind the totameavirgin website. The first result he hit was a brick wall, leading him to a proxy server used to mask the real IP address of the individual behind the website. But Uyi had his ways and his connections in the IT world and in no time, he traced the site back to Dike. Determined to revive his image in Felix’s eyes, he dug for more and found to his dismay that Dike was good friends with Felix himself. There were pictures of both men’s families in Dike’s Facebook albums and he even discovered Felix had attended the same university and once worked as a business partner with Dike. The thought of them being friends aroused Uyi’s curiosity and he began wondering if Felix ran the site alongside Dike. But that line of thought was ludicrous and Uyi abandoned it immediately. Why would Felix ask him to investigate something he was part of? And why would someone of his status do something so juvenile? To Uyi, he saw a man merely being protective of his cousin and opening a site centered around her sex life couldn’t be something someone like Felix could do. Uyi’s conclusion was that the Dike character that he knew nothing about had to be running the show alone.
And that pushed him further into his investigation. He wanted more dirt on Dike. To him, a forty-something year old man did not start acting like a teenager for the fun of it; Dami must have, in her notoriously annoying way, done something to push him. Hence, on Saturday he contacted a friend working with the mobile network provider Dike was using and asked for Dike’s phone call logs. He got a reply by Sunday evening, an email with an endless list of Dike’s call history in the past year. Uyi ran the list on a program and requested the most frequently dialed numbers. Three numbers appeared—the first, Uyi knew nothing of but the last two belonged to the two women in Uyi’s life. Dami and Temi. While Dami’s was dated six months back, Temi’s was quite recent. In fact, Dike had dialed her twice on Saturday afternoon.
When Uyi had fallen into this discovery, he was very confused. He planned on questioning Dami but he held back and investigated further by hacking into both Dami’s and Dike’s email accounts. However, he came up with nothing. He couldn’t get into Temi’s because of a security measure she had put to track down anyone hacking into her personal files. Hence he compiled his findings, made a detailed note about Dike’s involvement with the site and the process he had used to trace him, and he put everything in a folder named ‘Dike’. Now because Dike was a family man and a friend of Felix, Uyi had no true intentions of sending the information to Felix but he kept it around in case it was ever requested. Still the thought that Temi, especially, could have something to do with Dike bothered him. Was he the ‘boyfriend’ she always spoke about? Was he the one that hit her? These questions bothered Uyi more than the fact that he had a job interview in less than two hours that he had not prepared for.
Outside, Dami was standing under the cover of her roof, chewing on tiny hailstones. Her excitement was closely viewed by her gateman and his wife from behind the frail curtain of their small room by the gate. Dami knew they were watching her but she didn’t care. She was in high spirits. And it wasn’t just because of the two bottles of cough syrup she had secretly consumed in the bathroom an hour before, nor was it just because of the rain. Throughout the weekend, she had carefully observed Uyi and his laptop. For every moment she was not in his arms, he was fixated on the thing. And each time she tried to see what he was doing, he always shut it and pushed it away. But she got her moment when he drifted to sleep the previous night, leaving the laptop on. Stealthily, she took it out of bed and into the sitting room where she investigated what it was that had his attention all weekend. And there she stumbled upon the ‘Dike’ folder and when she clicked it open and read the note Uyi had made, she was stunned. Right away, she fished around for a flash drive and copied the folder before sneakily returning the laptop back to where Uyi had left it. She stashed the flash drive away and nestled into his cuddle, going to bed a very happy girl.
“You’ll catch a cold with what you’re doing.”
Dami turned to see Uyi behind her. She shoved a tiny hailstone into his mouth and he spat it out.
“Come in, Damaris.”
Uyi drew her in with a kiss. Her mouth was cold against his and so was her body as his fingers ran over the drops of water on her thighs. She held unto him hungrily, her hands heading for his boxers but he pulled away and took her hand.
“I’m hungry. Come let’s find something to eat.”
She hopped on his back and wrapped her legs around him. “You’ll cook for me?” she asked, giggling.
“Yes, I will. And you have to eat. No girl should space between her legs like a guy.”
“Girls I know would kill for the space between my legs. People even do liposuction to get it.”
“And yours is natural?”
“Yep. Naturally hot. But I have curves na.”
“Surprisingly. Still I’ll fatten you.”
Uyi dropped her on the kitchen counter and began making breakfast.
“I’m a bit nervous about the interview,” he revealed.
“The job is yours already. Just speak geek to them and you’ll be fine.” She assured him.
“Dami, we’re talking about DPS Solutions here. It’s not Geek Elysium oh. Do you know where we all were when DPS started with the internet in Nigeria?”
Dami shook her head. “Mnh-mnh.”
“We were in the stone age. In short, only rich people in this country knew about computers then. Those that had them couldn’t even use them. But DPS was light years away!”
“Whatever. It’s just a bunch of geeks like you but with a lot of money. They are now fat and lazy and are looking for young blood to do all the work. So just go there and wow them. But first…” she pulled him to her, “you have to wow me.”
“Damaris, not now.” He moved away.
“Why?” she sat up, pouting.
“Because I am not a sex machine. Geez! I’m tired.”
“But I want you.”
“Come on, close your legs; you’re in the kitchen for heaven’s sake.”
She gave up and jumped off the counter. “I have decided to go to work today.”
“Good for you.”
She put her arms around him from behind and rested her head on his back. “But I want to follow you to your interview.”
“No. Go to work, and try not to piss Mr. Enenche off. He’s older than you and you should respect him.”
“I’ll try.” She pinched his nipples before she walked away.
Dike held Kachi tight beneath the soft, blue duvet that shielded them from the cold weather. He refused to let go even as she squirmed restlessly in his hold. She was in a laughing fit and it felt good to Dike to hear the cheerfulness in her voice. He knew she was still bitter at him but he saw that she was fighting it and he was grateful for that.
“Ogbudike, let me go to work na,” she begged, giggling. His fingers were mercilessly tickling her sides.
“Which work?” he asked, not stopping. “It’s raining.”
“Just because you’re jobless…”
“My friend, shut up. Who says I’m jobless?”
“But seriously,” she stopped moving, “you don’t have a job, Dike.”
“I do.” He went for her calf next, running small lines on sensitive spots near the sole of her foot. She wiggled her leg away and sat up, throwing the blanket off. The freezing air coming from opened windows hit her naked skin and she hugged herself as she got off the bed.
“I’m not supposed to announce this but I’m now a secret senior partner at Geek Elysium.”
Kachi turned around at the breaking news. “When?”
“Last week. Felix isn’t so sure how Justice Alechenu would handle it, since Geek Elysium is a family business. So we’re keeping it under the radar. Don’t let Ene find out too. For obvious reasons, she still has reservations about me.”
“Felix told you she has reservations?” Kachi asked walking into the bathroom.
“He didn’t have to. I just know.”
Kachi replied something to his statement but he didn’t hear. He sat up and pushed aside the duvet.
“So when are you moving back in?” he inquired.
“Moving back in?” Kachi returned with her toothbrush in her mouth. “Dike, we’re still in the wooing process. Until I’m sure that you’re hundred percent in love with and faithful to me, I’m not coming back to this house.” She made brushing motions and smiled with her eyes as she saw the sad look on her husband’s face.
Dike’s phone buzzed beside him and he looked into the screen, his brows gathering in surprise. He picked the phone and walked out of the bedroom. Kachi tried not to bother about the fact that he was taking a call away from her as she continued with her oral hygiene. After she was done, she had a long, hot shower. Wrapped in Dike’s bathrobe, she walked back into the bedroom and found him standing by the door.
“What’s wrong?” she asked, detecting the serious expression on his face.
“Kachi, we need to talk.”
Kachi’s heart sank and her shoulders fell. “Please don’t tell me there’s another girl.”
“It’s Damaris. She was the one on the phone.”
“What did she want?”
“Baby, please sit.”
“No, I’m standing. What did the brat want?”
Dike took in and let out a heavy breath and in very few but concise words, told Kachi about the website. Astonishingly, Kachi said nothing, though he could see her chest heaving and her eyes turning red.
“Why did you do it?” she asked.
“I was in a bad place, Kach. I really had feelings for Damaris then and when she dumped me and exposed the relationship…”
“Affair,” Kachi corrected.
“Affair. When she exposed us, I was terribly shaken. I got mad and…”
“Vindictive. As usual.”
Kachi nodded but her nostrils burned with suppressed tears.
“So she wants to sue you?” she asked. Dike nodded. “Does she have proof?”
“She does. She traced the site back to me. I shut it down on Saturday but it takes seventy-two hours before the host company finally disables it. It’s a precaution for people who might want to change their minds later.”
“So the site is still on?”
“Yeah. But don’t worry. Everything’ll be fine.”
“Everything will be fine? Oh, Dike…” Kachi slumped into the stool before her vanity table. “What are we going to do? You have to tell Felix to talk to her.”
“I can’t. Felix doesn’t know it’s me behind the site and he’s been really angry about it and had even ordered an investigation…”
“Oh God…” Kachi muttered. “Justice Alechenu will bury you alive. They’ll sue you for libel. We have to go and beg before it blows up.”
“Over my dead body.” Dike glowered and walked away from the door.
“How bad is this site, Dike? I want to see it.” Kachi reached for her phone on the vanity table but Dike walked to her and snatched it.
“It’s better you don’t. There are naked pictures of…her there.”
Kachi’s mouth dropped open.
“I didn’t put them. A registered user did but the necessary parts were blurred…”
“Dike, what happened to you?” Kachi looked at him as if she was staring at a stranger. “How did it get so bad?”
“I don’t know. I really don’t,” he replied in honesty.
“Oh God, help me.” Kachi was now in tears, her head buried in her hands. Dike sat on the bed and reached for his phone.
“I have to call my lawyer.”
“Just go and apologize to Damaris and her father.”
“No, Onyekachi. I won’t.”
“But that man will use his influence to ruin you, Nnai. Remember what he did the last time. He’s the reason all your clients dropped you. I know what he can do.”
“I am not begging him, woman!”
“Why did you do that type of wickedness to Damaris na? Why?” Kachi sobbed.
Dike stood, putting his phone to his ear as he walked out of his room. Kachi crumbled completely. She felt the familiar strings of resentment tugging at her heart and prayed to God to help her remain sane.
Anyebe concentrated on the iPad Mini in his hands, his eyes deepening by the minute. Dami sat on his table, facing him, restlessly swinging her legs as she waited for him to devour the evidence before him. He finally raised himself to a straight posture and looked at her.
“Get off my table, child.”
Dami hopped down and stood where her feet landed.
“How did you get this?”
“From Uyi’s laptop to my flash to my phone and…”
“Omoruyi compiled this?” he asked. Dami nodded.
“You see? I told you he’s a keeper and would do well with DPS.”
“Can we sue Dike with this, dad?” Damaris asked impatiently.
“You said you have more evidence?”
“I have screenshots of the site from the very first day it was up.”
“What does that mean?” Anyebe asked, leaning back on his chair.
“It’s pictures taken with my iPad of pages on the site. We can use those as proof.”
“Tell me more about this proxy server thing.”
“Basically,” Dami began, “when you connect to the internet through a proxy server, the home IP address of your machine will not be shown but rather the IP of the proxy server will be shown, providing you with privacy and making it difficult and sometimes, even impossible for anyone to track your real IP address,” she finished. “Can we still get him, Dad?”
Anybebe was in deep thought for a while. “If we can trace the proxy server back to him, why not? I wish your mother were here. She was the computer genius. She would have figured out what to do.”
“Well, she’s dead and the company lawyers are very alive.”
“I’ll see what we can come up with by the end of the day.”
“Dad, please hurry. The site is shutting down tomorrow afternoon. Registered users have already been sent alerts.”
“Damaris, stop getting ants in your pants. Relax and let me handle it.”
“So we’re suing?”
“But of course.”
“Yay!” Dami did a little dance and hugged her father, leaving a peck on his forehead. He gave her a calm smile and patted her cheek. As she picked her iPad Mini and left the office, she did not see the angry mien that settled on his face.
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“You do not dump me! I DUMP YOU!!!”
Punch! Slap! Punch! Slap! Punch! Punch! Punch! Punch! PUNCH!!!
“I am the one who says it is over! I am the one who ends it! I am the one who screws you over, Leonel! Me! Not you, you small rat!” Stella, raging like mad bull, got off me and with a force prepared for disarming a football team’s defense, gave me a kick in my side in her stilettos that tore my flesh upon impact, perforated my lung and stopped me breathing temporarily. She thrust out a second kick and a third, and then my eyes shut on their own volition after the fourth.
Everything was blank and silent.
It was as if I was in a coma but I was very aware of everything around me. In fact, my senses were heightened. My skin felt so thin, I could actually feel the blood running beneath the surface. I smelled it too. It was not like the fresh, nice-smelling plasma juice one gets when he accidentally cuts himself with a shaving blade. No, this was the real shit spurting out of me in gushes. It smelled of death. I had faced this type of agony a few times but believe me, you can never come around to tolerating it. By and large, I don’t feel pain so the pain was not an issue but it was the state of Casablanca I was in.
In the dark underworld I was sometimes raised, there were two things you did to someone who hurt you.
- Casablanca: Not really a place in Morocco but a state of mind of abject torture so bad you will beg for death. First coined by the captain after suffering a terrible ordeal in the hands of his enemies in Morocco, Casablanca became not just a term but a rigorous training he inflicted on all his underlings to teach them the techniques of putting someone else in the same condition.
How many times have I walked past a building or a small apartment or even driven past a car and not known someone was dying within and all I needed do was open the door and become someone’s savior? My savior was out there in a housekeeper’s uniform, wheeling a cart past my suite into the elevator or maybe it was the couple in the other penthouse suite opposite mine or was it one of my exes who loved to dropped unannounced for the occasional booty call. Someone had to be out there for me.
I heard Stella wearing her clothes. In a short while they would be gone and so would every chance of my being rescued alive. I was willing to do anything, if I could, to be free. I screamed out but it ended all in my head; no one heard my voice.
“Stells, you have killed him,” Buckteeth whispered and there was silence from Titi and Angie who had been talking about the asebi they were to wear to a wedding soon.
“Check if he’s breathing!” Angie said.
Stella bent over me and put her ear to my nose and mouth.
“Is he breathing?”
“Is that how to check if someone’s alive?” Sugar asked in irritation.
Stella felt my pulse through my wrist. “I…don’t know if he’s breathing. I don’t…”
“Check his neck!” Angie ordered again, desperately. Stella put her fingers, now shaking, on all the wrong spots on my neck, felt around blindly and mumbled in an about-to-sob voice that I wasn’t breathing.
At this point, the thick silence I was feeling around me was the panic in their heads.
“Oh my God! He’s dead!” Angie gasped.
“He’s not,” said Sugar and walked to me. She felt my femoral for a pulse and having found a thready one, announced, “he’s alive. Stella, you’re just a fool. So you don’t know how to check someone’s pulse.”
“Am I a nurse?” Stella sighed in relief.
“So is me that’s a nurse abi? Please, let’s leave this place. Our job is done. Em…you, Amina, drop your phone and come and untie him.”
“You didn’t participate. You sat down there the whole time filming everything. God help me, I will break your phone.”
“What’s your problem with me, Sugar? Stells, abeg untie your boyfriend oh.”
I heard feet shuffling in a hurry and figured they were leaving. Stella climbed over the bed and loosened the ties they had used to bind my wrists and ankles and releasing a deep breath, she bent over and whispered in my ear, “next time, don’t mess with me.”
Without warning, I grabbed her hand and she let out a shrill scream and struggled to be free from my strong grip. After staring hard at her through my uninjured eye, I let her go but she delivered a slap, the one that finally tore my lower lip and stormed out.
There were tears in Idara’s eyes when I finished my narration. She fished around for a Kleenex and dabbed her eyes.
“Why are you crying now? If I didn’t tell you it would have been another thing.”
“Didn’t you know about Sugar and her gang?” she sniffed and held her nose lightly. “They do this to all their men and any rich guy who falls into their trap and nobody can touch them because of Sugar’s family. Have they contacted you yet to ask for money?”
“One of them usually claims she is pregnant for you and demands millions–”
“None of them have called me yet,” I said gruffly.
“How do you feel, Leo? Do you want to talk–”
“Don’t try to psychoanalyze me, Idara!”
“I am not psychoanalyzing you. I just want to help. You went through hell.”
“And I am fine and will feel better when I am healed but I do not want to talk about it.”
“But you just talked about it.” She crossed her arms and peeled off my male ego with her stare, exposing the helplessness that was behind my eyes. I looked away. “You told me only what Stella did but I want to hear the full story, I want to really know what went down that day.”
My phone rang and we both stared at the thin pillow on the bed where it was resting.
“Aphrodite,” I said walking to her with an apologetic look, “I have to go. I’m sorry.”
“We will do this tomorrow, won’t we?”
“Yeah. I’ll call you and next time,” I said, staring at her cleavage, “give us a sneak peek.”
She hissed and switched me off. I stood before the plasma TV on the wall and wished she was with me and not in Kenya.
My phone had stopped ringing. I didn’t bother to check who it was, certain it was family. I unlocked the door and let my secretary in. She gave me a few final documents that needed my attention and I sighed in exhaustion. It was 8:30am and we had been working for three hours and I could hear her stomach growling in hunger as she stood beside me, waiting patiently.
“You are really starving,” I smiled.
“I didn’t eat last night.”
“Neither did I but you don’t hear my stomach complaining.”
She didn’t know how to respond to what I had just said so she rested her weight on the ball of one foot and shifted to the other restlessly.
“Find something to eat, get back to work and under no circumstance should you call me today, well unless the hotel is burning.”
I followed her out, signing the final paper in my hand. When I stepped out to the balcony, I found the chick from last night, still dressed in her oversized tee, thumbing her phone and paying neither of us any attention. She had some nerve. I slammed the door behind my secretary deliberately to rouse her attention but she gave me a slide glance as if I was bugging her and resumed what she was doing.
“Mademoiselle…” I began but she raised her hand to stop me and put the phone to her ear. I waited for her and when I realized that the phone would stay too long where she left it, I snatched it off her hand. She dropped her jaw, revealing milky-white lower dentition over dark gums.
“That was very rude.”
“Don’t you have a home to go to?”
She looked at me and drew her knees together to rest her chin on them.
“You are a mean person, not like Goke.”
“The one that smells like fuel?”
“Is he not your friend?”
“What’s your name sef?” I gave her back her phone.
“It doesn’t matter.”
“What’s your deal?”
“What is your story? What are you doing here? Why did you sleep here last night?”
She batted her eyes and went back to her phone.
“Didn’t I just ask you a question?”
“I’m squatting with my friends downstairs. It’s not my place so I get uncomfortable.”
“I already figured that out. What I want to know is why you were crying last night. You were disturbing my sleep.”
She tossed me a look that immediately firewalled my question.
“Yewande told you?”
“Who?” I formed not knowing who the Yewande person was but I remembered loosely the double Ds and the flat bum.
“Please, can I come and live here?” the question came from nowhere.
“What?” I asked my unwanted guest a frown, the type with a hostile arching of my brows, that usually scared her gender away but she didn’t seem to care.
“My flatmates want me out by tomorrow and I have nowhere to go. Can I stay here, at least until Goke comes back?”
I thought about it briefly. “What do I get in return?”
“What, you want me to sleep with you now?”
I looked at her fully, trying to use both my x-ray and night vision eyes to see underneath the tee and on a good day, I would be hitting what I found there but I haven’t seen a good day in a long time. Sex and women at the present were not on the agenda; revenge was.
“Let’s do it this way. I will flip it on you and ask you to stay and in return I will put a substantial amount of money in your account and all I need from you is a few favors.”
“I am not sleeping with you!”
“Did I mention money was involved?”
I liked her immediately. She didn’t have that normal pretend thing that girls her age carried about. She was for real and for that fact alone, I wanted to make her rich. With the lack of glow on her skin, her cheap weave, cracked toenails and the aging of her Blackberry, I knew she had seen rough times. She wasn’t so young either.
“If I gave you two million naira just for the fun of it, what would you say?”
“Mtsheeew!” she eyed me and said, “you have two million to spare and you’re staying in this type of house.”
“I asked nicely,” I said and headed back in but she ran after me.
“Be serious. Do you have that type of money?”
“If you can do what I want,”
“You want it here, now?” I turned.
I laughed. “I don’t want it here or now but just say yes and we’re game.”
“Yes,” she smiled. A very beautiful smile. I’m a sucker for smiles and couldn’t help but touch her cheek playfully. I’m a sucker for other things too.
“Go and get your stuff and move in with me. If anyone asks who I am, say I’m your boyfriend. Leo.”
“I’m Ivie. Call me Ivy.”
And that was how our enduring friendship was born. Two years on, sitting and writing this in my car, just from her place, I am reminded of how fast time flies. She is now married and five months pregnant and her husband is the next character you will meet. It wasn’t always lovey-dovey between them because she was fire and he was air, the fuel that made her burn. That first day they met in my jeep, I felt the heat so bad that I was tempted to give them a room to cool off but I needed both of them on a job.
So back to where the story was heading, in my jeep, with the place heated up by Ivy’s bickering at Henry (the future husband). She was claiming he had spoiled her BB and Henry was telling her in a non-challant tone to shut up while he worked. Henry for eight years had been my computer guy. You know those annoying oversabi guys that can hack into anything and just for fun ruin your life? That was Henry. He was short and big-headed but with a genius brain that filled up his whole skull.
“Take your stupid phone!” he slapped Ivy’s BB at her and she hissed and took it back. “Your mates are using better phones and you’re using this backdated mistake of BB.”
“Not that you can afford it!” she studied the phone. “What did you even do with it?”
“None of your business.”
“It’s not even booting oh! Leo, shey you can see this idiot you put in this backseat with me, he has spoilt my phone.”
“Take mine,” I handed the phone to Henry instead of her, “let her use this as an alternative. It fits her role better.”
Henry took the phone and the car went silent. Rudeboy, behind the wheel was filling the car with his cigarette smoke which bothered no one, I was trying hard not to feel the discomfort in my ribcage as I adjusted my sitting a few times and Ivy was fuming silently, waiting for her phone to start working but glad that my own would be in her hand soon. I looked at her through the eye I had at the back of my head—the one that stores and analyses pictures my normal eyes have taken—and I saw her looking lovely in her dress. I had given her a full day to shop and make her hair and I hardly recognized her when she came home. There was an awkward moment when she walked past me and I tried to see if there was any connection between the girl in the bogus T-shirt I met on the party night and the after-version standing before me. I was amazed at how the depressed look she had on had been replaced with a big smile. Naija women! Smh.
“Are you done?” I asked Henry as the jeep came to stop opposite Stella’s highbrow beauty salon on Allen Avenue. Henry handed the phone to Ivy and I turned to her. “You sure you can do this?”
She nodded, “my being in drama group in church is not for nothing.” She picked her Fendi handbag, wore on her Channel sunglasses, adjusted her Prada dress, slipped her feet into a pair of Christian Louboutin and finally, smelling like a million dollars, she transformed into the spoilt daughter of a business tycoon and walked out. We sat quietly in the jeep, listening to her from Henry’s laptop and watching her through the transparent glass doors of the salon. The moment she walked in, all eyes turned to her and I felt a bit uneasy. Entrance was always important, my aunt taught me. If you walked into a strange place looking lost or uncertain or intimidated, your whole stay in that place will be unpleasant as people always tend to take in a lot at first glance and form conclusions about what they find.
My name is Leonel Afamdi Igwe. I am 32 years old. A psychologist, hypnotherapist and a hotel entrepreneur. I speak Yoruba, Hausa, French and pidgin. I don’t speak Igbo, so please stop calling me your brother. About brothers, I have two of them and they are soldiers. My father is also a soldier, the only field marshal in Nigeria, a title he conferred on himself which no one had the balls to oppose. I once had a sister but she died. She didn’t even know who I was. I have aunts and uncles and cousins I can’t count and a grandfather too rich to imagine, he stopped counting his money years ago when his account read $987, 654, 3210… Everyone’s waiting for him to die but he might outlive us all. Some call him Baba Die-hard.
I love to play football and computer games. I watch movies during the weekend, that is if I am not rolling under the sheets with some hot chick. I am a ladies’ man and I make no apologies for that. I love them; they love me, what can I say? I like my beer, cocktails, fried rice and payback served cold. I don’t have any of those dumb talents like singing, dancing, acting, writing or cooking. I only have talent for making money. #AuthenticIgboBoy. I’m still not your brother. I have tons of friends. Most of them want my money and I am very generous with it if only they grew boobs and vaginas.
I love God, I just don’t show it. Funny thing, I go to church regularly, pay my tithe and all that but the moment the pastor starts over-dwelling on fornication, I’m out of there.
I am normal-looking, quite tall, dark complexioned like my father with a scar on my forehead but it’s my eyes that tag me as ‘handsome’. Girls just want to strip nude when I look at them and I don’t get it. Some chick once told me she was making love to my eyes and not me. I dumped her. Yes, I am like that. Arrogant and nice at the same time; I change like neon lights. I change because I cannot help myself. I have a disorder…
My name is Daniel Afamdi Igwe. Some person called Leonel lives in me. He has for 17 years now. He is a sorry son of a depraved, wanton, vile man. I am not Leonel; Leonel is not me. We are very different. I pray every morning and night because I believe I am a good man but what good I do, he destroys. I dream, he kills it. I fall in love, he makes it. I seek God, he deserts Him. Leonel does his best to ruin my life. Imagine waking up in the arms of some nameless girl with smudged make-up, smelling of sex I never had and demanding that I drive her home. That’s what he does to me. He always leaves me to clean his mess.
I love to write but I have always get blank after the first few lines. How I am writing this, I know not. I love guns and when I hold them, I intend to use them. If there’s nothing or no one to shoot, I shoot myself. I feel no pain but my heart aches for love. I long to be with family, with my mother though she is long gone. I hate my father for this.
I am in love with a girl. Her name is Kyenpia. She will bear my child but she has no idea. I’ll do whatever it takes to have her and she will be mine forever. But first I have to come out and play and leave mines Leonel would step on. I don’t intend to kill him but to weaken him until the time he bends to my will and we merge into one. There is one big problem, though, this other shadow that lives inside of me…
They call me Spirit. Other times, I am called Leonel or Daniel though I am neither. I am a collection of dreams and aspirations a father once wished upon his son. I am what you would call a generational sin, a curse passed down from a forefather. Dormant I was for decades until I found a perfect host. I am ruthless and care not for anything except my desires. I am accountable to no one because I simply do not exist. Call me a shadow and I will remain that way for that is what I really am.
Did I mention I love women?
Part 1: HOW STELLA GOT HER GROOVE BACK
I always seem to be in trouble. I get up in the morning, take my bath, dress up, leave my apartment and jump into trouble. Somewhere in the middle, I have meaningless sex.
Once upon a time when I was 26 years old, I met a woman whose biological clock had just ticked a few weeks past 33. Her name was Stella. She was my type—creamy chocolate skin, full backside, a gorgeous face, fashionable and very bubbly. At first, she thought she was dealing with a child until I re-educated her on what sex was. After our third night together, she said she was in love with me. I thought it was a joke but the chick just wouldn’t let me be from that moment. I was introduced to her friends a month later. Five fat sugar-mommies, horny as hell and desperately looking for cubs like me to destroy. She told them how I double-rainbowed on her every night and they all began to circle round me like jackals surrounding their prey. They asked if I had friends and I lied. One of them joked about all of us having a sevensome and I almost threw up. That night while in bed, not with Stella, I decided to end the relationship with her. When I told her the next day, she was devastated and cried like a baby. Women are all the same—young, old, rich, poor—they are just too emotional. The breakup was nasty and I had to travel out for a while before she stopped stalking me. She promised to make my life a living hell and I thought she was kidding until I saw her in January at a the lounge bar in my hotel.
Now 39 and still unmarried, she was fat and depressed. Her friends were with her. One was wearing a wedding ring or was it something her babalawo had given her?
“Leo!” Angie, the slimmest amongst them called and I grit my teeth tightly. I had seen them but pretended not to. I was hurrying outside to meet my guys waiting for me.
“Hello ladies,” I smiled blandly and walked to them.
“Oh my goodness! You are so hawt!” Angie said.
“He’s been hot ever since,” Buckteeth commented. I don’t know her name and that’s because I never saw the rest of her; I only used see her teeth and they were still there staring at me like bulldozers.
“Why don’t you sit with us? It’s Stella’s birthday,” said Titi, Stella’s best friend. Stella looked at me, searching my face. I saw hope in her eyes and crushed it.
“I am sorry, ladies. My fiance’s waiting for me. Happy birthday, Stella.”
“Sit down, Leonel.” Sugar pulled me and sat me down hard on a chair that materialized out of nowhere. Sugar was the leader of the gang; she was heavily wadded and called the shots. She scared the hell out of me. “Just a drink, baby,” she winked at me and her hand stroked my thigh briefly. “I’m sure your sweet, little thing won’t hassle if you got to her thirty minutes late.”
I thought of Ada. She would be dressed in her shorts and tank top, watching TV but seriously wondering if tonight would be the night I would finally pop her cherry.
“So what have you been up to, handsome?” Amina asked. She was the one with the wedding ring.
“Well, you know, this and that,” I answered and pinged one of my friends to inform them to go on ahead without me. Sugar stretched for my phone and took it and made sure her hand remained on mine a second longer.
“No phones when friends hang out ,” she said and that was the last I saw of that phone. My cocktail was brought. It was a Jus de Bissap. Stella remembered it was my favorite. I saw her smiling as I put the drink to my lips and I smiled back. I would later realize that smile meant something sinister.
“Just to keep you updated,” Buckteeth said, “Amina got married…”
“To a complete idiot!” Sugar completed and they all laughed, including Amina. No one dared oppose her.
“Wow! Congratulations, Amina,” I said. She beamed back and they began to tell me all about themselves and what they had been doing these past six years. Sugar got married to her third husband and divorced him, Buckteeth now ran a boutique in VI, Angie was duped by her boy toy who made away with all her life’s earnings, Titi was pregnant for a senator and Stella… Well, I didn’t miss anything in Stella’s life. She was still crazy for me.
An hour into all this update, I started feeling really tickled in my pants and apart from that, slightly woozy. Being a sharp guy and all, I put two and two together and arrived at the conclusion that I had been drugged. The thought amused me tensely. Stella knew me. She didn’t have to go through these lengths to get me to satisfy her. I could last all night and all day if she wanted. All I needed was my ego stroked and dirty talk…
“Are you okay?” Sugar touched my thigh again and I responded in a way demeaning to my person. I sprang up immediately from my seat and pulled my shirt down to cover my crotch area.
“Ladies, I have to go,” I said, steadying myself but Sugar pulled me down.
“That was quite rude, baby,” she smiled. “Stay a little longer.”
And they all burst out laughing. It was supposed to be a dirty joke but I didn’t get it. Their voices were to me a bad song slowing in warbled tones. I knew what they had given me but couldn’t remember the name; it was to make me more compliant. I knew the other was a drug starting with V. Veegra, Vagra, Viagra, Vigran, Vagrin, Viagra!
“Did any of you slip Viagra into my drink?” I asked and they roared in laughter again. I looked at them through half-closed eyes and giggled at first, then let myself go, laughing heartily. I laughed and laughed and laughed. God, I wished I had stopped and saved my energy but I couldn’t stop laughing. Everything was funny and everything else around me needed to be felt. Breasts spilled in my face, soft hands rubbed my body and lips pushed themselves at me and I don’t remember how I left that table and ended in my suite with five extremely randy women. It was not consensual what happened that night. I was abused, manhandled, despoiled, molested and raped brutally. I begged and cried like a baby and begged again for my life but Stella and her friends were cruel beyond understanding and after four endless hours, as I neared the gates of immortality, they left me. I managed to crawl in a pool of my blood to the only connected phone in the suite hanging on the bathroom wall of the smaller bedroom and dialed reception. My last thoughts as I collapsed over the empty Jacuzzi was about becoming a monk if I survived.