I Saw Him Again

Eben entered my room. He was carrying a bag on his back and a broad smile on his face. “Baba na,” I said. “At last, you come.”

“Walahi, traffic no gree.” He dropped his bag on the stool and asked for something cold. I opened my fridge for him. “Kai, your fridge full o.”

“Na package.”

“This one pass package o.” He took a bottle of LaCasera. “How is Chika?”

I smiled. In campus, Eben would run into me and Chika seated by some kiosk eating buns with LaCasera and dreading some deadline. “She is fine.”

“You suppose marry that girl o.”

“She pass my power.”

“Stories.” Eben sat down.

I looked at his bag and tried to guess what was in there. Someone’s ongoing project, a copy of Ben Okri or Chimamanda, a poetry book, his laptop, his student’s assignments, a flash drive. Etc.

He took a sip. His mouth was wet with stories. We have a lot of catching up to do. I didn’t even know where to start. Politics. The delay in appointing ministers, Atiku’s petition, the Supreme Court ruling on Davido’s uncle, the drama in NASS. Sports. Women World Cup, Super Eagles AFCON journey, Lampard in Chelsea; Arsenal, all. Marriage. When will you settle down? I saw a girl on your Whatsapp DP: Is she the one or do we expect the coming of another?

We have a lot to discuss. Eben sipped from the bottle. I couldn’t wait. I can’t wait. 

“Guy, put CNN na.”

I reached for the remote. I wanted to say something mean about Trump but decided against it. Not now, Trump should be the last thing we talk about, the AOB aspect of our discussion. There are more important gists.

Richard Quest was talking on the TV. Smart dude, Quest. Not that smart. He may be that smart but not today, not in the presence of Eben. I watched Eben. He wasn’t nodding to what the presenter was saying which meant the presenter wasn’t making sense. I said it, he isn’t that smart.

As I made to sit down, two things happened. Car tyres screeched then crashed in a blast that shook the windows of my sitting room. “Accident,” I said. Eben’s phone began to ring. He snatched the phone out of his pocket as though it was live coal and snapped to his feet. “It’s important,” he said. He opened the door.

“Your drink–”

Eben slammed the door behind him and left me in a state of confused surprise, left behind a whiff of sadness. He left his bag behind. But the bag wasn’t here. It had disappeared. The bag was never here. Ebenezer was never here. I was dreaming while wide awake. I saw him but I didn’t see him. I may see him again but I will never see Eben again.

Eben passed away exactly this day two years ago. It was a painful event, his death. It still echoes with disbelief and rings bitter sorrows in my heart whenever I remembered my dear friend and mentor. He came back to my life today. I saw him, we talked, we sat together, we watched TV together. We had more to talk about then he suddenly stood up and walked away from my life forever. He forgot to say goodbye.

Rest in Peace, bro.

You may wish to see the First tribute for Eben and then the one-year remembrance tribute.

Eben

 

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Catch 10 (Short Story)

So I finally come around to doing this. A short story. After a generation. Planned something for Christmas but it didn’t make it, so I did this to reflect the last days of the year. Meet you at the comment box. Enjoy.

*

On the 30th of December, 2016, Okwudili sat down on the bed in his Emene one-room apartment with a pen in hand and went through the year. He asked himself a simple question: how many girls did I lay this year? 
He wrote their names down. Lucy whom he met on Facebook and who came all the way from Kaduna to lay him. Uche the Twitter noisemaker who came to Enugu from Uyo. Beatrice, the girl whose number he stole from his cousin’s contacts and whom he travelled to Abeokuta to collect from, as he would brag to his friends. Nine girls in total. The best year for him with girls. He laid seven in 2015, six in 2014, and just two different girls in 2013. He was making progress.

Next year I will hit fifteen girls, he vowed. But first, this year, he had to reach double figures. One more girl tonight and he would end the year as an Oloye. There’s no sense asking any girl out today. From his experience it took an average of three weeks after a successful toasting to take a girl to his bed. The easiest was the girl he met at the ATM point and took to Shoprite then home the same day. The hardest was one UNEC student who accepted his romantic proposal but didn’t play ball for four months.

There is no need initiating a fresh runs today. He would go straight to Otigba Junction and carry a girl home. The girls who stand at the various hotspots in Enugu at night are not prostitudes, Okwudili had always told himself; they are part-timers. Real prostitudes live in brothels. There is no shame in using a part-time player to complete his squad this year.

Okwudili walked out of the room for the bathroom.

There was one aspect Okwudili didn’t make progress in in 2016 which should bother most people in their thirties. Money. In 2014, he paid his house rent and still had enough money to buy a generator. In 2015, he paid his house rent and starved for one month. In 2016, he borrowed to pay just six months of his rent. The rent would be due in February and he would have to borrow again to pay it.

Perhaps in January this would bother him. For now, he wanted to hit double figures in bed. This was the kind of man Okwudili was. The kind who put his manhood like the horse in the front then drags along his brain, plans, his future and all in a cart of procrastination, fun and vanity.

Okwudili arrived Otigba Junction in a chartered keke at 9pm. There are four grades of men who went to Otigba and other hotspots to pick girls. One, the men who came by foot who rated between F and E. These were the kind of men who fought the girls, take them violently and had the tendency to refuse to pay them. Two, those who came in keke. These ones rated between D and C. They were stingy and demanded absolute satisfaction for every kobo paid to the point of physical and mental exhaustion for the girls. 

Group three belonged to the ones who came by car. This group might have a rating between B and A. They are usually demanding but liberal with their wallets. The final group could be rated between A and A+. They came by big cars. They spent big on the girls and hardly break a sweat on bed; they did not see any pleasure on bed as a way of recouping their expenses, they just spent money. 

These last group of men were rare and the dream of every call girl. It was because of them that men like Okwudili who came on keke didn’t get the best girls this early. The most beautiful and sexiest girls usually waited for these men till after midnight; if they didn’t show up, they could settle for anyone they might rate a weak C.

So Okwudili counted himself lucky when he got a beautiful girl aged about nineteen with the right curves and sizes to follow him home. She must be a learner, he said to himself as the keke drove them home. The girl didn’t say anything about price and she was following him home this early without a stopover at a bar to measure the weigh of his wallet and the speed with which he brought it out.

“You’re a student?” Okwudili said. He was sure she wasn’t and expected her to lie. 

“I am not a student,” came the response. The answer surprised him and disrupted his continuation. “Erm… What do you… What is your name?” He said.

“Chidinma,” she said.

Okwudili suppressed a sigh. He had expected a fancy name like Shirley, Sasha, Sharon, Nikky, Natasha etc. An alias. Even this Chidinma might still be a pseudonym, but that it was in Igbo made it believable and robbed him of his prepared continuation of asking what it meant and giving his prepared speech on how we are still colonized.

He gave up his desire for small talks and decided to think of the pleasure ahead. He reached for his phone.

Okwudili’s room looked like the mess it was. The bed was in disarray with clothes on it. There was a shoe in the middle of the room, a used teacup and half eaten bread on top of his laptop on the reading desk/table. The top of the fridge was littered with odds including a toothbrush, a hairbrush, cloth pecks, a shaving stick, a tub of cream, a wristwatch, ATM cards, a cup containing half drunk pure water, all.

Okwudili cleared the bed off the clothes and begin to do the same to the clothes on his body. “Remove your dress,” he told his guest who stood by the door watching the mess with a small smile of distaste.

She nodded and placed her bag on the fridge. Okwudili now totally nude and harmed with an erection and a condom watched her. She reached for her earring. She unclasped it. She reached for the other one. Slowly, with a deliberate movement that set his belly boiling with anticipation and lust. She reached for her necklace. Cheap, Okwudili judged with his eyes. She removed the necklace and place all on the fridge.

“I hope I don’t forget these,” she said. 

“You won’t,” his voice was hoarse with desire and impatience.

“Okay.” She removed her shirt revealing sizeable  lustily designed with stretch marks and cupped in a pair of push up bra. 

“This is beautiful,” he said. She removed her bumshorts. She had nothing underneath it. Okwudili rose to his feet. “Let me help with the bra.”

“Get my lubricant in my bag,” she said.

The handbag was a medium sized blue foldover. Okwudili opened it and a rattle snake raised its black ugly head and revealed its venomous tongue. Okwudili’s head swelled. He shouted, charged backward, stumbled on his chair and fell heavily on the floor.

“Are you afraid of my little pet?” she said. He watched her walk to her bag, patted the snake lovingly on its head and began to help it out of the bag. “We can have a threesome,” she said. She blew him a kiss and lifted the snake to her neck. She began to wrap the beast around her neck. 

Okwudili had seen enough. His heart snapped and slowly his eyes closed.