She stood in front of the judges, her heart beating like it would burst. She had asked a friend about this once, she said it wasn’t possible for her heart to burst like that. Her friend was a doctor so maybe she was right but it did not reduce the intensity of the beating. Or how nervous she felt. The three judges in front of her were some of the most popular artists she knew and they were all looking at her, unimpressed. She was the last contestant auditioning for the day and she could tell the judges were tired.
“What’s your name?” Phoenix, one of the judges asked.
“Sophia Idowu.” She said.
“What song are you singing?”
“Lose yourself by Eminem.”
“What?” Micky, the second judge said.
The three judges looked at each other and smiled.
“You are going to rap?” Micky asked.
“Yeah.” Sophia said.
Why were they so surprised? Nigeria had several female rappers. They were not helping her with their skepticism. They were tired and now they were also biased against her. Or maybe their low expectation would be an advantage for her.
“Let’s hear it.” Phoenix said.
The music started and she tapped her right foot on the floor. She looked at the judges and two of them weren’t even looking at her. The music got to the point where she was supposed to enter but she missed her cue. The judges looked up.
“Stop the music.” Micky said and the music stopped. “Are you done?”
“No.” Sophia said, wishing the ground could open and swallow her up.
“Are you nervous?” Micky asked.
“No.” She lied. She could barely stand with the vibration she was feeling.
“Okay, let’s do this so we can all go home.”
Sophia nodded and choked back a sob. She could do this.
The music came back on and she tapped her foot and waited for her cue. It came and she opened her mouth.
“His arms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy…” She started then stopped. Her microphone was off.
She looked at the switch button, she’d pushed it down.
“What’s going on?” Phoenix asked, her words strained over a yawn.
The music stopped.
“I’m sorry.” Sophia said.
Her eyes were filled with tears now, she had to be careful not to blink.
“Hey,” Micky said. “I can see you are nervous, you don’t need to be. It’s just one audition, you can always come back next year.”
That did not help her at all. She did not want to come back next year, she’d worked hard to be here.
“Do you want to maybe do another song? A freestyle, maybe?” Phoenix said.
Sophia wiped her eyes with her sleeves. If she could not do the song she prepared, how could she do a freestyle?
“What are you going to do?” Micky asked.
“I’ll do lose yourself.” Sophia said.
“This is your last shot.” Micky said.
The music started and she looked at the judges; they could not wait for her to be done. She wasn’t going to blow these people’s minds, they didn’t even want to hear her. Her cue came and she missed it again. Phoenix stood and waved her off the stage. Micky just watched her with his mouth open. The third judge who had not spoken since bowed his head.
That was it.
Sophia dropped the microphone and ran towards the exit, tears running down her face. She had disgraced herself. What was she going to tell her friends or her little brother who adored her? She was going to be the butt of jokes and memes on Instagram. She got to the door and for the first time in her life, she regretted ever going into music.
She stopped, turned back and saw the third judge, Cool Sunky standing.
“Come back here.” Cool Sunky said.
She looked at the other judges, they were as surprised as she was.
“What are you doing?” Phoenix asked Cool Sunky.
“Come, let me ask you a question.” Cool Sunky said.
Sophia walked back to the stage, wondering what the guy wanted to ask.
“Why are you here?” Cool Sunky asked.
“Because I believe I’m talented and I can win the show.” Sophia said.
She saw Phoenix scoff but she kept her attention on Cool Sunky.
“Why do you think you can win the show?” Cool Sunky asked.
“Because I’m very good at what I do.”
“Okay then.” Cook Sunky said and sat. “If you’re doing ‘Lose Yourself’ then you already know these words.”
Sophia picked up the microphone.
“If you had one shot or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment, would you capture it?” The music started as Cool Sunky rounded off. “Or just let it slip?”
Sophia gripped the microphone tighter and stepped forward.
“My palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy, there’s vomit in my throat already, mom’s spaghetti. I’m nervous but on the surface I look calm and ready to drop bombs but I keep on forgetting…”
She rapped the song like she wrote it. Every beat resonated with her very being. She personalized the lines and spit the verses like it was her story. Because it was.
When she got to the last chorus, she stamped each foot in front of the other, moving from one end of the stage to another.
“You better lose yourself in the music, the moment you own it, you better never let it go. You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow, this opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo!“
She finished and dropped the microphone.
It did not matter what the judges said, she gave her all. She looked at the judges and they all sat staring at her. She waited for a couple of seconds and they didn’t move. Well, that was it. She marched towards the exit. She was almost at the door when she heard someone clap. She looked back and it was Micky on his feet. He was joined by the other two judges. They applauded and she just stood there and just watched them. Her eyes were once again filled with tears and once again her heart threatened to burst.
“Now, that’s how you lose yourself.” Cool Sunky said.
P.S. In case you’re wondering, this is the same Cool Sunky from Story 16. You laughed at him but the boy eventually made it. *tongue out*
In politics as in life, a lot could be decided in one day and today was one of such days for Olumide. He was going to meet a man who would determine how the next few years would go for him. He was ready. He had been told the right words to say, the right way to say them and the right time to say them.
There was a more important meeting going inside one of the inner rooms so he was told to stay outside. He watched people go in and come out. They were here for the same reasons; political advancement. He watched old men walk in with their huge bellies, young men with their smart caps and gold chains. And surprisingly, several young women. A group he was more interested in.
He saw a young lady enter and she immediately caught his eye. She was dressed differently; not very official. She was probably sleeping with one of the politicians inside. He was not used to letting girls like this go, it did not matter who she was with.
He walked up to her.
“Hello.” He said to the lady and she stopped.
“Can I help you?” She said.
“I’m kind of new here.” He said. “I was wondering if there was a place I could wait inside.”
“Sure.” She said. “Come with me.”
Great, he had bought himself more time without looking or sounding creepy.
“I’m sorry but I have to say I’m a little stunned by you.”
“What?” She looked at him with a bemused and confused face.
“I mean, I’ve known you for all of two seconds and I’m already mesmerized by you.”
“Are you hitting on me?”
He smiled and shrugged. She led him inside a room, empty but very open.
“You can wait here.” She said and made to leave.
“I didn’t get your name before.” He said. “I’m Olumide Fernandez.”
“Bunmi.” She said.
“I don’t get a surname?”
“No, you don’t.” She said and smiled.
He knew when a girl was into him and this girl was. This was not his first time talking to a random girl and this wasn’t the first time a girl was into him after just five minutes.
“I don’t know how much time I have before I have to go for my meeting.” He said. “But can I have your phone number and I will give you a call as soon as I’m done.”
She shook her head. “I’m sorry, I don’t date politicians.”
Yeah right, she didn’t. “No, I’m not a politician.” He could lie too.
“What are you doing here then?”
“I’m a contractor so I deal a lot with politicians.” He said. “So do I get the number now?”
“Come on, why not?”
“I don’t date married men either.”
He lifted his empty ring finger. “I’m not married. Do you have any more excuses?”
She shook her head. “No.”
He handed her his phone and she typed her phone number into it.
“I’ll give you a call.” He said.
She smiled and walked away. It was a good thing he didn’t bring his wife to this thing.
He was ushered into the room like the man he was going to see was the President of the world. It was ridiculous how much power one man wielded. He held no grudge against the man though. How could he when he himself hoped to hold that power someday.
He’d expected a panel of people in the room but only Otunba Bimbo Adetunji was in the room. He walked towards the great man and prostrated in front of him.
“Stand up.” Chief Bimbo said.
He stood. “It is a very huge honour to finally meet you sir. When I was much younger, my father told me stories of how you gave stability to the South-West at a time when the whole country was in chaos.”
“Your father, what is his name?”
“He was nobody you would know, just a civil servant who was grateful for your leadership.”
Chief Bimbo nodded. “Please sit.”
He’d heard that the man only allowed you sit if he liked you. He was sitting, this was going great.
“What can I do for you Olumide?”
How did he know his name? “Sir, I will like to do what you’ve been doing for this country for so long.”
“And what is that?”
All of these was nonsense, he knew. But he’d been told the man loved to hear you sound idealistic and intelligent even though everything usually would come down to money, a whole lot of money.
“In what capacity would you like to serve?”
He was about to answer when the door behind him opened. He turned around and saw Bunmi enter. She said she didn’t sleep with politicians, bloody liar. He waited to see if she would leave.
“Please continue.” Chief Bimbo said.
He looked at Bunmi who had taken a seat not too far from Chief Bimbo. Well, his lie about not been a politician was up. That didn’t matter much to him, it probably wouldn’t matter much to her either.
“I would like to serve as chairman of Somolu local government sir.”
He looked at Bunmi and she looked surprised.
“That is a huge position Olumide.”
“I know sir that is why I have come to seek your help and support.”
“You consider yourself responsible enough to do this?”
The man was asking funny questions but Olumide knew he had to indulge him. He was the beggar here, he had no choice.
“Yes sir, I do.”
“Are you married?”
Olumide opened his mouth to answer then looked at Bunmi and stopped. Her eyes were on him, she was genuinely interested in his answer. Why did she care? She was a big girl, she knew how this game was played. It did not matter, there were a lot of girls out there, there was only one Chief Bimbo and he would not lie to him.
“Yes sir, I’m married.”
‘You’re married?” Bunmi asked.
“He looks too young to be married?” Chief Bunmi asked.
“No.” She said. “He told me he was not married.”
“Why will he tell you that?” Chief Bunmi asked then turned to Olumide. “You want to keep her as your concubine?”
“Concubine? Of course not sir.” He tried to laugh but his mouth was too dry. “It is nothing like that.”
“So tell me Mister Olumide, what do you want with her?”
The chief was calling him Mister. He’d heard about that too, it was not a very good sign.
“Chief, I am so sorry. This is all a big misunderstanding. I did not know she was yours. I will never eat from a plate my elders are eating from.”
“Eat from a plate…” The chief stood. “You think I’m sleeping with her?”
“No, not really.” He was confused. What he was supposed to say now?
“So you come into my house to ask for my help and then you accuse me of sleeping with my own daughter?”
What? He opened his mouth and looked from the chief to Bunmi and back to the chief.
He removed his cap. “Thank you for your time sir, I will see myself out.”
Well, nobody will say he didn’t give politics a shot. It was time to dust up his Microbiology certificate. His soon-to-be ex-wife (there was no way she would forgive him for this) will be so proud.
M.Sc. Microbiology, here I come.
The first thing she saw was the black Benz parked in front of the restaurant. She nodded her approval, it was a smooth ride. Then she looked up to see the guy perched on the car. She gasped. Oh my God, it was MEGAMINDED from Twitter. She’d followed him for more than a year and he always blew her mind. He gave the most savage clapbacks, had the most interesting Twitter fights and trended at least once every fortnight. He was the ultimate Twitter celebrity. She’d always wondered what he looked like in person and now she knew. He was shorter than she expected and his beard was slightly exaggerated on his Twitter avi but it did not matter. He was popular for his mind, not his face.
She wondered if she should talk to him. What if he slighted her like most celebrities do? Or worse; what if he noticed something horrible about her and did a thread on her? It was not worth the effort. She stopped staring at him and entered the restaurant.
She made her order and went to sit. She could not take her mind off Megaminded. She was starting a jewelry business, getting someone like him to tweet for her could boost the business. But was that worth risking her reputation?
She heard someone raise their voice outside and she peeped. She could not make out the words but what was happening was clear. Apparently, the Benz did not belong to Megaminded and the real owner was having a fit because he found him sitting on his car. She shook her head and smiled. That guy had no idea what kind of bashing he would receive on Twitter later that day.
She was about to dig into her food when Megaminded entered the restaurant. He looked in her direction but if he saw or noticed her, he didn’t show it. He walked to the counter to make his order. She had to do this; she had to talk to him.
She took a deep breath and walked up to him at the counter. What was the right way to do this?
“I’ll pay for what he’s buying.” She said to the man at the counter.
Megaminded looked at her. “Why?”
“Because my name is Stephanie and I’m pleased to meet you.”
He smiled. “Okay.”
He collected the bottle of water – that was all he ordered – and she paid for it.
“Do you mind joining me at my table?” She asked.
“Sure.” He said.
She tried to contain her excitement as he followed her to her table. They got to the table and sat. He opened his bottle and took a sip then brought out his phone and started surfing.
“Hi.” Stephanie said and he looked up. “I’ve always wondered what your real name is.”
“Mayowa.” He said.
“Oh.” She nodded. “Nice name.”
“Yeah.” He said and went back to his phone.
“I’m sorry but I have to ask, how did you get so good at using Twitter? I’ve been on it for so long but I can’t seem to get any traction.”
He shrugged. “I don’t know, guess it just happened.”
“So any tips? Anything I can do to get more popular?”
“I guess you have to tweet a lot. Get in on the right conversations.”
What was going on with him? This was not the guy she knew on Twitter. He was supposed to be a talkative, full of smart words. She wasn’t supposed to the one keeping this conversation alive.
“Apart from Twitter, what else do you do?”
He looked up from his phone. “How do you mean?”
“Is social media all you do?”
“Of course not.” He said.
‘Okay, so what else do you do?”
He looked behind and stood. “Sorry, excuse me.”
She watched him walk away and honestly she was not sure she wanted him to come back. But why was she disappointed anyway? He wasn’t rude, he wasn’t even snobbish. He was just boring. Maybe he wasn’t the real Megaminded.
A few minutes later, he returned but didn’t sit.
“I’m sorry I kept you waiting.”
“It’s fine.” She said. “I’m sorry, I have to ask, are you Megaminded from Twitter?’
“Yes.” He said. “I’m sorry but I have to leave.”
“You have to get back to work?”
“No, I have to get back to school.”
School? He was a student?
Whoever said you should never meet your heroes did not lie, she was thoroughly disappointed.
People love marriage but people’s parents love marriage more. My parents were not any different. I was just twenty five but I was already the prayer point in my family. I was the second of two children. My elder brother was just as single as I was but he was in the UK lounging, just because he was a Doctor. He was twenty eight but they didn’t disturb him. It’s not easy to be a doctor, they always told me: he doesn’t have time. I studied political science and now worked for an NGO so apparently I had all the time in the world. Maybe I had time but I definitely did not have time for the boy selecting process.
Enter my parents.
One day my Mom had sat me down.
“I understand your challenge.” She told me.
She nodded. “Of course I do. That’s why I’m your mother. I know what’s best for you.”
“You should know that already.” She said. “I understand how busy you are with your NGO and other things you don’t tell us about but that is not a problem.”
“No, it’s not my dear. This whole husband matter, can be solved like this.” She snapped her fingers.
“What is wrong with you? Why are you answering me like that?”
“Sorry Mommy, I’m just tired of all this your marriage talk.”
She moved closer to me. “My dear, we have friends, families that I and your father know and trust. Good families. They all have sons; handsome young sons. Let us introduce you to some of them.”
I laughed. “You want to arrange a marriage for me? Mommy, this is not an Indian movie or 1960.”
“No my dear, I’m not arranging marriage, I just want you to meet some of them.”
I shook my head. “Thanks, but no. I’ll find a husband on my own, at the right time.”
That was a good three weeks ago and my Mom had stopped talking about marriage all together. It was a miracle. It looked like an angel had reached down from heaven and erased that part of her memory. Well, all that lasted until yesterday when she called to say she wanted me to come home to meet somebody.
“Is it a guy?” I asked. “Mom, we talked about this.”
“Don’t be a disobedient child. Come home tomorrow.” She said and ended the call before I could protest further.
I arrived at the house expecting the worst. Who was the guy my parents had arranged for me? What would he look like? Was he going to be spoilt Mommy’s boy who thought the whole world ate cornflakes for breakfast? What would he think of me? What had they told him? The questions were so many I knew there was no way I could answer them until I saw the guy.
Then I saw the guy and most of my fears when away. He was in the living room, alone, watching the TV. I stood still and watched him for a while, undetected. From his face I could tell who his parents were. He was a classic example of a handsome, rich guy. I’d never seen him before but I knew his parents very well. Maybe this was not such a bad idea. Standing there, staring at him was getting creepy. I opened the curtains and stepped into the living room.
“Hi.” I said.
He stood up – okay, gentleman – and stretched out his hand. “Hello.”
I shook his hand. “My name is Jumai.”
I chuckled. “Elvis? Like Elvis Presley?”
“I know, right? My Dad was a big fan and my Mom unfortunately could not change his mind.”
“At least nobody will ever forget your name.”
He smiled, showing his perfect dentition. “That’s the silver lining to the very dark cloud.”
“Where are my manners? Please sit. What do I offer you?”
“Don’t bother, your Mom already took care of that.” He said and sat.
I wondered where they were anyway. I couldn’t put it past them to be eavesdropping on our conversation. I wasn’t mad at them. Elvis was great, so far.
I sat on the chair adjacent to him.
“How come we have never met before?” I asked. “I know your parents very well.”
“Well, I was a boarder in secondary school and then I went to the UK for my first and second degree. So I’ve never really being at home.”
“I see.” I wasn’t one to be impressed by international education but I was getting impressed here.
“So, what do you do?” He asked.
“I am head of strategy for a non-profit organization.”
I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to smile. “No, I’m not. You are surprised I’m head of strategy?”
“No, of course not. I recently started a non-profit too. We are working with some international organizations to help local farmers increase productivity and reduce wastage during harvest. Well, that’s what we are doing for now.”
“That’s impressive.” I said.
Maybe I should start respecting my Mom more; she was good at this. Elvis was the kind of guy I would pick myself. He was ticking all my boxes one by one.
“What do you guys do at your place?” He asked.
“Education.” I said but I didn’t want to talk about me, I wanted to hear more about him. “When did you start your organization?”
“Just three months ago.”
“And how’s it been?”
“We’ve been doing okay but we’re not getting as much money as we hoped for.”
“That seems to be everybody’s complaint at the moment.”
“Sometimes I just wish I could stumble on a pile of money somewhere.”
I frowned. “Really?”
He smiled. “Yeah, I blow my whistle and ten percent of the money becomes mine.”
Somewhere in the house I heard a door open and footsteps approaching the living room. I paused and waited for whoever was coming. It was my Dad.
“Good afternoon Dad.” I said.
He ignored me and looked at Elvis. “How are you my son?”
“Very fine sir.”
“You’ve been here for a while, don’t you think it’s time to go?”
“Sir?” Elvis said.
“Dad?” I said.
“It is time for her afternoon nap.” My dad said. “I’m sure you can talk later.”
“Dad, what are you doing?”
My Dad turned to me and whispered. “Casting out every whistle blowing spirit.”
Sukanmi had waited for this day for so long. For six years to be precise.
He was in his final University year the first time he picked up a guitar. He had fiddled with his roommate’s guitar and in the next three months he got better than his roommate. He then saved up and bought his own. The guitar soon became his passion, his life. It got him the jealousy of his roommate but it also won him many friends and even got him his girlfriend of five years. And today all his love and work will become something meaningful.
MAD MUSIC Productions were looking for a bassist and he was auditioning.
“What’s your name?” Monica, the lady interviewer asked.
“Sukanmi David.” He said.
“You are Cool Sunky on Instagram?” She asked.
“Yes, that’s me.”
“You are taller than you look in those videos.” She said. “Finer too.”
“Okay, let’s see what you can do.” Julius, the other interviewer said.
“Is there any particular thing you want or…?”
“Just freestyle.” Julius said.
Sukanmi closed his eyes and placed his fingers on the strings, he waited then he struck a string.
“Wait.” Julius said.
Sunkami opened his eyes. “Yeah?”
“What was that?”
“It’s nothing. Just a little ritual I have, it gets me in the groove.”
“Sounds cool,” Monica said. “Now, play something.”
Sukanmi closed his eyes and placed his hands on the strings. He struck the first string and then the second and the music flowed. He played and bounced in rhythm. The more he played, the groovier his bounce became. Monica was nodding her head but Julius just stared at him. Maybe he did not love bouncy music. Sukanmi transitioned from the groovy rhythm to a slower one. He put all the emotion he could into a guitar into the music. He was hitting deep levels he didn’t even know he had.
Monica was looking at him, tears in her eyes; once again she was loving him. Julius just stared.
“Okay, we’ve heard enough.” Julius said.
Sunkanmi stopped playing and looked at them for their verdict.
“I love you.” Monica said. “The way you hold that guitar, the way you move when you play, the emotions you produce when you pluck those strings, I love everything.”
Sukanmi smiled. “Thank you.”
He shifted his attention to Julius.
“You were okay.” Julius said, not batting an eyelid. “Wait outside, we have a lot more people to listen to.”
Sukanmi knew Monica’s vote was secured but he was in trouble with this other guy. He needed to pay him a compliment. He did not know who the guy was, there was nothing he could use. And then he saw a key on the table in front of him; it was Mercedes Benz key. He’d seen a Benz outside, it was a beautiful car.
“Thank you.” Sukanmi said. “Sorry, was that your Benz outside?”
“Yeah.” Julius said.
“It is a beautiful car.” Sukanmi said. “It is my dream car actually.”
Sukanmi waited for a response. Julius looked at him, face blank, not saying a word.
Finally Julius said. “Leave, please.”
Sukanmi hurried out of the room. This was not going good at all. If he could not get Julius to his side, he had to get him out of that audition room.
He looked out through the window and saw the Benz; it was parked on the road. He had an idea.
He brought out his phone and typed a text.
“Lasun, I’ll send you an address, there is a Black Benz parked in front of it. Help me tow it. Very Urgent.”
He asked for the address and sent it to Lasun. He followed it with a transfer of five thousand naira.
Forty five minutes later, Lasun and his officers arrived to tow the car. Five minutes after the car was towed, the audition room opened and the last bassist came out. Julius stuck his head out and for the first time Sukanmi saw the guy smiling. He patted the last guy on the back and whispered something to him. Sukanmi looked at the guy, there was no way this guy was better than him.
“Please come in.” Julius said to Sukanmi.
Sukanmi entered the room with confidence.
“Welcome back.” Monica said with a smile.
“Can you sight-read?” Julius asked.
“Yes I can.” Sukanmi said. “Sorry, I wanted to come in earlier but you were busy. Your car was towed.”
“They just left and I’m sure you can still catch them if you hurry.”
“How come nobody told me?”
Julius stood and hurried towards the door. He stopped at the door and looked at Monica.
“Continue without me, I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
Julius left the room and Sukanmi smiled – finally.
“So, it’s just you and me, huh?” Monica said.
“So it would seem.”
“You like Benzes? I own one too, maybe you’ll like to ride in it later?”
“Sure.” Sukanmi said. “So, what do I play now?”
Monica stood and moved close to him. She smiled and began to sing. “Oh, baby now let’s get down tonight…”
Sukanmi looked at her, blank and she stopped.
“You don’t know the song? Sexual healing by Marvin Gaye? Come on, play; accompany me.”
Sukanmi closed his eyes and placed his fingers on the strings.
He heard the door open and he opened his eyes. Julius was back in the room.
“My car wasn’t towed.”
“Yes it was.” Sukanmi said. “The Benz in front of the…”
“It was Monica’s car.”
Sukanmi gasped. “What?”
Monica hurried towards the door. “I hate this nonsense.”
Sukanmi watched Monica leave the room and sighed as the door closed behind her. He turned back to face Julius.
Julius looked at him. “So, are you ready?”
Two weeks later, MAD MUSIC’s new bassist debuted at a show, Monica got Sukanmi tickets to come and watch.
NOTE: This story continues from #RandomeBae Story 14.
Adesuwa laughed throughout the day till nightfall. Matthew was so deserving of the prank she’d played on him. He had done this to her so many times it felt so good to be able to get one over him, finally. But by the time it was 10 AM she was starting to get worried. He had not replied her text and he was yet to call. They usually talked immediately he got home from work, it was a routine they had never broken. What if he was truly hurt by her prank? Maybe she could call and clarify. Or maybe he was scheming on how to get her back at her. Calling him was playing into his hands.
She went to sleep feeling like a winner. Matthew would be back tomorrow morning.
She woke up the next morning to a text from Matthew.
Matthew: I can’t believe you are as cruel as to joke with something like this. I could have lost my job today. Heck, I could lost my life.
Adesuwa smiled, she knew what he was doing and she wasn’t going to fall for it. She rolled over in bed and thought about how wonderful life was. Her phone beeped and it was another text from Michael.
Matthew: I’m sorry but I need some time off to think things over. Please don’t call me.
That was weak. If he was going to prank her, he needed to up his game. She typed her response.
Adesuwa: Take all the time you want but be careful with the thinking, it can hurt. Especially if you have not done it in a while.
She stood from the bed and stretched. She felt some kind of euphoria she had never felt before. Pranking definitely felt good, now she wasn’t on the receiving end of it.
Everything was normal until some minutes after 9 AM. Someone knocked on her door, she went to check and it was Mark. She smiled and opened the door.
“Mark, you won’t believe what I did yesterday.” She said.
“I know what you did.” He said. “That was very stupid.”
Adesuwa frowned. “What are you talking about?”
“Matthew called me.” He said. “He told me you said I’d gotten you pregnant. Why on earth will you say that?”
“It was a prank Mark, it was just a joke.”
“Why drag me into it? The guy didn’t like me before, now he hates me. Whatever you thought you were doing, it has cost you a boyfriend.”
“It was all a joke Mark.”
“Do you see me laughing?”
He really wasn’t laughing. Was he serious? Was Matthew truly taking this serious? She picked up her phone and called him, the call did not go through.
“This was just a joke.” She said, dialing the number again. “He pranks me all the time, why is he taking this one serious?”
Mark looked at her, he still wasn’t smiling. “You never tell a guy you are pregnant if you are not. And for a guy he already considers a threat?”
Adesuwa looked at her phone, the number was still not reachable. She typed a text.
Adesuwa: Matthew call me, we need to talk.
She had barely pushed the send button when her phone rang. It was her elder sister.
“Hello?” Adesuwa said.
“Are you mad Adesuwa?”
“What? What happened?”
“You told Matthew you were pregnant?”
“Oh my God, he called you too?” She could not believe this. “I was just joking. He did the same to me about two months ago. It was just a prank.”
“Are you okay? You joked with something like that?”
“He told me he was in an accident. He did not tell me it was a joke until I was at the hospital. Why am I the bad person now?”
“Look, the reason I called you, Daddy will call you in a few minutes, don’t answer the phone. He is very angry.”
Adesuwa sighed. “It was just a prank for God’s sake.”
Her sister hissed and ended the call. She turned to Mark.
“I need to find Matthew and you have to help me. I can’t lose my guy because of one stupid prank.”
Before Mark could answer, her phone rang again. This time it was Matthew’s Mom.
“I’m in trouble now for sure.” She said then answered the call. “Good morning ma.”
“Hello my dear.” Matthew’s Mom said. That wasn’t a bad start. “How are you?”
“I’m fine ma.” Adesuwa said.
“So, I heard about you and Matthew, he called to tell us.”
Adesuwa wanted to punch the wall. What kind of person was this Matthew? He’d called everybody?
“I’m sorry ma.” That was the only thing she could say.
“There’s no problem. Matthew is at our place at the moment, come and we will settle all of this.”
That was a relief. “Thank you so much ma. I will be right there.”
She ended the call and hugged Mark. “His parents have intervened. Thank God.”
She entered the compound and got the feeling something was up. Matthew’s parents were outside and they started smiling when they saw her. They loved her, she knew they did but this smile looked different. It was as if they knew something she didn’t.
“Good afternoon sir, good afternoon ma.” She greeted them.
“Adesuwa, how are you?” Matthew’s dad said. The smile still on his face.
“Welcome home my daughter.” Matthew’s mom said.
Welcome home? Home? She’d never called her daughter before. Weren’t they supposed to be helping her apologize to Matthew?
“Where is Matthew?” She asked.
“He is waiting for you inside.” Matthew’s dad said.
She nodded and headed towards the door. She could hear soft music playing and suddenly she got scared. What was she scared of? She didn’t know exactly but something was up and she hated that she didn’t know what it was.
She opened the door and she understood. Matthew was in the middle of the living room on one knee. He held a small black box in his hand and on the table beside him, there was a small but beautiful cake. She stopped and covered her mouth with both hands. This was the best prank ever.
“Matthew.” She whispered, tears welling up in her eyes.
“I’ve seen a lot of people fall in love and get married,” Matthew started. “But I never thought that it would happen to me until I met you. From the first day we met, when you tripped me in the bank and I fell flat on my face, I knew you were the one. I’d fallen on my face but I’d also fallen in love with you.”
Adesuwa sniffed, how could she have known that embarrassing moment would lead to this beautiful one?
“I know you know what’s coming.” Matthew said. “I have a question to ask you.”
“Yes Matthew, what’s your question?” She couldn’t stop crying and she couldn’t stop smiling.
“Before I ask my question, close your eyes, I have a surprise for you.”
She snapped her eyes closed. She could not wait to open her eyes to see the beautiful ring he had in his… WHAM! She felt something soft crash into her face. She tried to open her eyes but she couldn’t. She tried to touch her face but her hand touched something else instead. The cake! He’d thrown the cake in her face.
“Matthew, I will kill you.” She growled.
“Now to my question.” Matthew said. “Darling, who is your Daddy now?”
Which of them is the worst prankster?
Matthew woke that morning to thirteen missed calls on his phone, all of them from his girlfriend; Adesuwa. He wanted to call her back but then he didn’t. It was an important day for him at work, he did not want anything messing with that. He left the phone and got ready to go to work. He was having his usual breakfast; bread, laced with several layers of butter (screw ‘em pimples) and tea, when he got a text. It was Adesuwa again.
Adesuwa: I’ve been calling you. I’m sorry Matthew, I got pregnant for Mark.
Matthew dropped the slice of bread in his hand and read the message again. He wanted to call her immediately but he paused. He should think about this. This had to be a joke. He had played a prank on her some time ago. He’d told her he had an accident and his head caught on fire. She called him from the hospital thirty minutes later and he had laughed and laughed. This was her revenge; that had to be it. Mark? He was her stupid bestie. He’d always complained about him. This guy wasn’t just trying to be her friend, he wanted more. He’d always known this. Still, this did not make any sense.
He did not have time for this, he had a major presentation at work, she wasn’t going to ruin it for him. He picked up the slice of bread then dropped it; he had lost his appetite.
He was about getting in the car when another text came in.
Adesuwa: I’m very sorry. It happened one time. I still love you.
She still loved him? He shook his head and entered the car. He’d never even had sex with her: they were keeping themselves for marriage. They’d been in this relationship for more than three years and he was already shopping for a ring. His siblings knew about her, his friends knew about her and most importantly his parents knew about her. Why were women so wicked?
He drove to work, thinking of all the good things he had done for her and all the bad things he could do to her now. And Mark, the two faced bastard, he should just kill him. He’d already told the idiot he was planning on proposing, not knowing he had his own agenda.
He arrived at work in a mood to kill but he was sensible enough to know they were not the ones who needed to be killed. He was hurting yet he was powerless to do anything about it. He dragged his feet as he walked through the office. He was relieved he’d prepared his presentation the previous night, his brain could do no such thing right now. And thank God it was Friday, he had the whole weekend to mourn his loss.
He’d barely sat down when his boss came in, rushing.
“Matthew?” The Boss called.
“Morning sir.” Matthew responded, his voice barely audible.
“Is your presentation ready?”
“Is my presentation ready?”
He looked up. “What?”
His Boss came closer. “Okay, I’m sorry. I was out last night with some friends and somehow I didn’t get around to that presentation. You drew out my talking points, why don’t you just design my presentation? I’d owe you one.”
Owe him one? “Sir, I designed your last presentation.”
“Exactly, so you know how good I want them to be.”
The boss patted him on the back and left his office.
He wanted to scream and he wanted to throw things but he remembered a lady had been fired for doing the exact same thing. He powered his computer and stared at the screen as it booted. He did not want to do anything about his Boss’ presentation but that would put his boss in a lot of trouble with the Top bosses. Maybe this was his problem, he cared too much about others. He did all his boss’ work and got no credit. He allowed Adesuwa keep her horny bestie and see where it landed him. Well, there was nothing he could do about Adesuwa but he could do something about his boss.
It was four o’clock and the meeting was done. He could not believe what happened. He’d done a very terrible job with his boss’ presentation. He mixed up slides, made a lot of spelling mistakes and even skipped an entire talking point all together. He’d walked into the meeting feeling terrible for what he’d done but also happy because for once he was the one on the giving end of evil. But nothing had gone the way he expected. His boss had presented the first two slides – the only good ones when he was told to stop. Those first slides had answered the questions the top bosses needed answered.
Matthew sighed. Nothing was going well for him. He could not even be good being evil. He packed his stuff into his bag and got ready to leave. Closing time wasn’t till five but he did not care. He actually prayed someone got in his way, he was itching for a fight. Unfortunately, no one seemed to care he was leaving early. Even his boss saw him leaving and thanked him for a job well done. He was not going to catch a break today.
He got into his car and wondered what he was going to do. He didn’t frequent bars but maybe he would this once. He could get drunk and numb the pain. Or maybe someone would get on his nerves and he could throw a few punches meant for Mark and Adesuwa at them.
His phone beeped. He’d gotten a Whatsapp message from Adesuwa.
Adesuwa: Pregnancy test. *Image attached*
She had the nerve to send him the pregnancy test? What was that supposed to do for him?
His phone beeped again, the image had loaded. He looked at the image and paused, this wasn’t a pregnancy test. It was the meme of a girl getting cake thrown in her face with the caption ‘In Your Face’.
What was this? He typed a reply.
Matthew: What is this?
Adesua: Hahaha. You think you can prank? Who’s your daddy now? Suck it!
P.S. This is not the end of this story. Part 2 drops tomorrow.
It wasn’t his first time breaking up with a girl and he was sure it was not going to be the last. Mary was just another stopover in his long journey to finding the right one. Maybe she was even the right one, maybe not but this was definitely the wrong time. He knew she was into him so this could be a little trickier than he was used to.
Girls usually went out with him for his looks, or his money or his looks or his money, so withdraw those from them and they will drop off like flies. Mary was different. She looked better than him, many people had testified to this. She had more money than him. He’d never seen her account balance but he knew where she worked, he saw what she drove. She seemed to like him for him but that did not matter. He had a rule, every girl had to go after three months. Mary had stayed two weeks longer than she was supposed to.
He was meeting with her at a lakeside restaurant. He’d found out the sound of the water had a comforting effect, it made things easier. He brought only his most difficult cases here. He was meeting her at night. This way she wouldn’t cry for long till she fell asleep. She would wake up the next morning, hopefully with some perspective. He’d also bought a bowl of Ice-cream, well, everyone knew what that was for. He’d been smart enough to ask her to come on her own. It would be awkward if he had to drive her back home after breaking up with her.
He smiled. He was getting so terribly good at this, he should open shop as a break-up artist.
Ten minutes after he got to the restaurant, Mary arrived.
“Hey dear.” She said to him. “Have you been here long?”
“Ten minutes but it’s okay, you are on time.”
“You know I hate to keep you waiting.” She said. He liked that about her.
“You look beautiful tonight.” He said. Start with a compliment, get her in a good mood.
“I look beautiful all the time.” She said with a smile. “Have you ever seen me not looking beautiful?”
He shook his head. “No, I haven’t.”
It was time to get good food in her; that would soften the blow of the breakup. Hunger fuels anger like a gas leak fuels fire.
“So should we order?” He asked.
“No, not for me.” What! “I don’t want to eat anything. I just came to hang out with you. You order if you want.”
No, he wasn’t the one who needed food.
“Are you sure? Because these guys make the best everything.”
“I’ll like to watch you eat.”
Oh no. He wasn’t even hungry. “I guess I won’t eat too.”
“Since we are both not eating, maybe we can take a walk instead of just sitting here.”
“Take a walk?”
“The sound of the water is making me sleepy.” She picked up her purse and stood. “Come on let’s go.”
“What about this bowl of Ice-cream I already bought?”
“Keep it in your car, you can eat that at home.”
The night had not started well for him. First, no food, no sound of water to sooth her, now the ice-cream?
They got on the highway and walked for a few minutes in silence. He loved this about her, it did not matter if they were talking or just quiet, she was always a good companion. She moved closer to him and put her arm around his. She smiled and he smiled back at her.
No, this night was not going as planned at all. He had to do something.
He opened his mouth to talk, looked at her and the words disappeared. This was bad, he could not believe this was happening. This was his expertise and he was lost for words? He might have to soldier through this one.
“So, we’ve been going out for more than three months.” He started.
“Yeah, I know. All my friends told me we will never get past that three month mark. They said it was a tradition for you.”
He swallowed. “Oh, really?”
“I told them it was because you’d not met the right girl.”
Was that it? That wasn’t it. He was not ready for a commitment, it was not about the girls. Although he’d never had a girl he really liked, Mary was different.
“So you think I’ve met the right girl now?”
He did not answer and they walked on in silence. Suddenly she stopped and looked at him.
“Oh my God, you are breaking up with me tonight?”
“I overshot the deadline by two weeks but you are breaking up with me anyway.”
This was his chance. He could say ‘yes’ and that would be it. He’d done it this way before.
“Are you going to answer or not?” She asked. “It’s okay, it’s not like I’ve told my Mom about you or anything.”
Just say yes, his stupid mind screamed at him. Just say yes, it’s not like you will marry her anyway. But what if he wanted to marry her?
“Give me a second please.” He said and walked a few feet away from her.
This was supposed to be very easy. He’d thought about everything before and he was sure a breakup was what he wanted. He looked at her standing there, hands in her pocket, looking away from him. Maybe it was time to increase his relationship threshold. Maybe six months. Or maybe six years. He walked back to her. Or maybe sixty years.
“So, now you’ve consulted your ancestors, what is the verdict?” She asked.
“My ancestors seem to hate me at the moment. I believe one of them called me a fool.” He moved closer to her. “But they seem to like you. A lot.”
She didn’t smile.
“We are not breaking up. But on one condition.” He said.
“I don’t think you are in a position to be making demands right now.”
“Just something simple.” He said. “Could you tell your Mom about me?”
When I was wheeled into the hospital I wanted to die. My right leg was definitely broken and my left leg was bruised. Why me? Why did my bike have to slide into the gutter? Why was the ground wet? I was very angry but I had no one to direct the anger to. I hated bikes, I’d always hated them but my car was faulty and I had to get to the office. I was not getting to the office now.
The pain oozing from my legs to every part of my body was more than all the pain I’d ever felt in my life combined. I needed something to ease the pain or else I would lose my mind.
“I need to see a Doctor.” I said to a nurse.
She either did not hear or she just chose to ignore me. To her, I was just another motorcycle victim, nothing special. I tried to adjust on my bed and my leg felt like it was going to fall off.
“I need a Doctor.” I screamed. I was going to kill somebody. If I did not die first.
I heard her voice and I turned to see who it was.
“Can you please tell me what happened?”
I stared at the doctor and for a moment I forgot the pain, I forgot the fracture, I forgot I had legs. Her glasses, her pink stethoscope, her tired but smiling face, they made me forget.
“Are you okay? Can you talk?” She asked.
“Yes I am fine, thanks.” I said.
“So can you tell me what happened?”
“I was on my way to work, my motorcycle slid on a slippery part of the road and we fell into a gutter.”
“Okay.” She said. “I see your bruises have been stitched. You are going to require a scan of both legs immediately. Do you have someone to help you?”
I answered all her questions on autopilot. I don’t know if it was the near death experience or the extreme pain I’d gone through that morning but everything she said sounded like heaven. I did not take my eyes off her until it was time for her to go.
“You are going to be fine, okay?” She said and turned to go.
“Don’t leave me alone.” I whispered.
I watched her go from patient to patient until my brother arrived.
“Bayo, what happened?”
Those questions broke my reverie and I suddenly became very aware of the pain in my legs. I groaned and clenched my teeth, I wanted to die again.
It turned out I had an undisplaced fracture in my right leg and I was going to spend six weeks with a cast around my leg. I did not like this, I did not like it at all. The kind of care I was getting was not helping too. Everybody I met in the hospital seemed to have something against me. They did their jobs but I could have been a piece of wood and they wouldn’t have treated me with any less emotion.
It was the third week of my incapacitation and I was having a sore morning. Arsenal had lost again the previous night and my brother had mocked me till I slept. I’d woken up to a text message from my boss insisting I work from home till I was able to walk again. To crown it all up, I was going for a checkup in the hospital. There was nothing in the hospital that enticed me. I’d not seen the pretty doctor since that first day. I’d given up on seeing her. Maybe she was not real anyway. I could have been hallucinating.
I arrived at the hospital with my brother not in better spirits. On our way to the hospital, we’d listened to Soccer News on the radio and they relived the defeat of the previous night, my wicked brother insisted we listened. It had set me up for a terrible time at the hospital.
I hopped out of the car and removed my crutch from the back seat and tried to find my balance. Like a flash of lightning across the sky, something bright caught my attention and I looked; it was her. The pretty doctor was getting into her car. I smiled, finally something good. I wanted to run but I hopped instead towards her car. I knew I looked terrible and a crutch wasn’t exactly sexy but what were the chances I would see her again.
As I got closer to her car, I noticed she had started the engine of her car. I hopped faster and now I was starting to feel pain in my good leg. I got closer to the car and I saw the reverse light come on. I hopped on, I could still make it before she left.
I’d gotten so close when suddenly her car moved backwards, towards me. I stopped but she kept coming. Oh crap! I tried to hop out of the way but the car came closer.
The car was a few meters from me and I screamed. “Hey!”
The car came to sharp stop and she came out of the car.
“Oh God, I’m so sorry.” She said. “I thought there was nobody behind the car. Are you okay?”
“Yeah, don’t worry about it.” I said, trying to smile. “I’m kind of used to my leg breaking now.”
“I’m so sorry.” She said again.
“I was actually coming to you.” I said.
“You don’t remember me?”
“I’m sorry, no.” She said. “Were you my patient?”
“Three weeks ago, broken leg, motorcycle accident. Ring any bell?”
“Yes it does but so many bells, I don’t know which one of them is yours.” She smiled. “Is there something I can do for you? I’ve had a long night.”
I knew what I wanted to ask her but suddenly it all felt very stupid. I was this silly guy with a broken leg who had almost gotten the leg broken again and she was this pretty doctor who was busy saving lives. This was a big mismatch if ever I’d seen one.
“I’m sorry, I think I’ll just let you go.” I said.
I turned around and hopped towards my brother. I’d done the right thing, she probably didn’t need the distraction anyway. And it wasn’t like this was the last time I’ll break my leg, there were other doctors to be met. I paused, that was just plain stupid.
I turned around and she was almost in her car.
She looked back at me. “Hello.”
“If you hit me just now, what would have happened?”
“Well, I don’t know, I’m just glad I didn’t.”
“That makes two of us.” I said. “I want to take you out to celebrate my escape certain death.”
She smiled and for a second, I expected to hear ‘yes’ but then the smile disappeared.
“I’m sorry, but I really can’t date a patient.”
“No, it’s not a date.” I said.
“It’s not a date?”
“Okay, it’s a date but if you really don’t date patients I could change my hospital.”
“You don’t have to.” She said. “Thank you for asking though.”
She opened her car door and entered. I hopped closer to her.
“I won’t be a patient anymore in three weeks, how about then?”
“There is no guarantee of that if you keep getting in the way of reversing cars.”
“I promise not to break another part of my body if you give me your phone number.”
She smiled and dug into her bag. She brought out and handed me a card.
“Don’t call me until you are no longer a patient.” She said.
“I promise not to call you.”
She waved, backed out of the car park and drove off.
I hopped back to my brother and my car. I was going to follow every instruction I was given in the hospital, I would take every pill and do every exercise, I had to be okay in three weeks.
“Let’s go.” I said to my brother with a huge smile on my face.
He looked at me and frowned. “What’s wrong with you?”b
“I met a doctor.” I said.
“That is why you are smiling like you know the password to the CBN Vault?”
I looked at him and in the most philosophical voice I could muster said. “There are some things you cannot understand until you break your leg.”
Ladi Amin was back in Nigeria and he was here on a mission. Five years in Libya learning long range shooting was something that would make him very useful to any army; good or bad. But he was not back in Nigeria to join any army, his mission was not in the interest of National security, it was personal.
He looked through his binoculars and shook his head. She looked exactly the same. Maybe a little more beautiful even. She hugged a tall man whose Identity he was yet to confirm. He did not need any technical training to see and understand how she looked at the man. She used to look at him that way too before she broke his heart. He’d seen many of his friends suffer heartbreaks like this and become serial heartbreakers themselves but he did not choose that path.
He’d left the country after the heartbreak and drifted from one African Country to another until he found himself in Libya. He started military training in Libya, trying to forget about her; it did not work. He dreamt about her every time he was asleep and thought about her when he was awake. Until one day he decided enough was enough, there was only one solution to his situation; he had to get rid of her.
He closed the window of his hotel room and dropped the binoculars on the bed. His hotel room faced her front door. It was about 500 meters away but he could take a perfect shot from that distance very easily and he would. He would do it the next morning. He picked up his gun and held it against his cheek. The gun was cold against his cheek but he soon forgot about the gun as his mind wandered to his life with her.
They were new students in Medical school but it looked like they both had other passions. He loved to take pictures, she loved to have her picture taken. She wasn’t the only one who loved to have her pictures taken but he bonded with her so much they soon became an item. They attended all their lectures together and read together. They ate together and played together. Several of their classmates had joked they leave school and start a modeling outfit. He was great at taking pictures and she looked great in everything.
It was all funny until Kemi started taking the jokes serious in their second year of medical school. First, it was the relationship part. She asked him one day to define their relationship. It was funny to him. They were not kids in secondary school who did not know what they were doing. Neither were they final year students who needed to get engaged. This was what he believed and he told her that much. She said it was okay but something changed from that day.
A few months after that discussion, she started getting serious about modelling. At first, he thought she was joking like everybody else so he didn’t answer all her questions. He got the shock of his life when he saw pictures of her online where she modelled for another student photographer.
He confronted her and she told him to go to hell. One week later he’d dropped out from Medical school and was in a bus headed for Cotonou. He’d always had one question; ‘why did she do it?’
He shook the thoughts off his mind and laid the gun carefully on the bed. His trainers had told him the way to get a clean kill is to detach from the target. Any emotion, even anger was bad. But it was not easy for him to detach from this particular target. He picked up his binoculars and looked through the window at her house again, she was outside talking some lady. Maybe he should talk to her. Maybe instead of just wondering why she dumped him, he should ask her. He shook his head, his training taught him never to contact his target except it helped his hit. Or maybe he should call.
He picked up his phone and scrolled to her phone number, the one she’d always had. According to TrueCaller, it was still her number. He hit the ‘dial’ button and waited as it rang. She answered and he ended the call. That was stupid. He was here to take the girl out, not talk to her. He walked away from the bed and the phone on it.
The phone rang and he ran for it. He answered the call.
“Hello?” Her voice filtered from phone speaker.
He swallowed, he’d not realized the voice would elicit so much emotion from him.
“Hello?” She said, again.
“Hi.” He said and quickly added. “Do you know James Oladele please?”
“Who is speaking?”
“I can’t answer that question until I know if you know him.”
“Yes I knew him, he and I used to date.”
“You dated?” He thought their relationship was undefined.
“Yes we did.” She replied. “Who is this please?”
“I’m a friend of his.”
“Really? Oh my God, where is he? I’ve been looking for him for years.”
It was time he asked his question. “Why did you break up with James?”
“He said you broke up with him and I’m wondering why.”
“I did not break up with him, he left without saying goodbye. Can you please send me his number? I need to talk to him.”
He removed the phone from his ear and sighed. She just said she did not break up with him even though she accepted they were in a relationship.
“Hello?” He heard her voice from the phone speaker.
“Why? Why do you want to talk to him?”
“I’ve dreaming of the day I’d see him again, I really want to…” She stopped talking.
He looked at the phone, she was still on the call. “Hello?” He said.
“This is James, isn’t it? James you are the one of the phone. James?”
He ended the call and put off the phone. She was already getting inside his head. This was why he was not supposed to contact the target.
He picked up the gun from the bed, put it on its stand and set the stand on the window. He had to do this now, he would not have the mind for it in the morning. He adjusted the scope of the gun and aimed at her. She was fiddling with her phone, probably trying to call him back.
It did not matter, she was his target, and he would take her out.
He took aim and placed his right index finger on the trigger. Should he talk to her again? No, this was it. He closed his right eye and aim carefully. Suddenly she stopped looking at the phone and looked up in his direction. His right index finger pulled and squeezed the trigger. The bullet went off and his shoulder took the kickback from the gun.
He hurriedly took off gun from the window and picked up his binoculars. He looked in the direction of her house. The binoculars dropped off from his hands, he sank to his knees and let out a small cry. Had he just made the mistake of his life? It was not intentional, he said to himself but he knew deep down he had done exactly what he wanted to do. He picked the binoculars and looked again.
He smiled, he’d missed.