Josephine let her cry. She understood what had happened and in such situations, it was best you allow the individual to pass through the full range of emotions. Then unexpectedly, Maya said, “Has a man asked you to lick his ass before?”
Josephine knew what the correct answer to that was, but it was not what Maya needed to hear so she said “Those things happen. People’s sexual preferences are evolving.”
“But it is okay to swallow sperm right?”
“I guess when you put a penis in your mouth, you should be ready for everything.”
“He wouldn’t let me spit it out.”
“Yeah, some men catch their trips like that.”
“But it feels so wrong!”
“It felt that way because it was a new experience for you.”
“And he kept saying ‘take it bitch! take it bitch! take me you little whore! I am not any of those things!”
“Did he use protection?”
“Yes, he did. He is very particular about that it seems. It was Gucci condoms. He said he only used them occasionally. I know that meant he didn’t use that brand for every girl.”
“He is so finicky. Even after I’d had an expensive spar treatment, he still took me to the bathroom and washed me. He said he liked to wash the plate he licks himself.”
“Did he explain what it was to lick plate to you?”
“Did he lick your plate?”
“The only thing I liked of everything we did. It was out of this world.”
“Good then. At least something to cheer.”
“But the good feeling did not last because it was right after that he told me to lick him where I told you and then he shoved his thing in my mouth and made me swallow.”
“But the actual sex was good?”
“He kept saying dirty things and calling me names and was slapping my bottom. I’m sure I have his palms printed there permanently. I couldn’t wait for it to end. He lasted so long I nearly passed out.”
“It’s not normal right? He’s a pervert right?”
“It was an adult man and an adult woman and it was consensual and there is nothing he did that is unheard of. So maybe pervert is not the word.”
“But Ndi never did it like that. He made me feel like a goddess. He worshipped my body. He was gentle. I even now appreciate those times he would enter and come almost immediately and explain that it was because he desired me so much. But this one, from start to finish he was thrusting like I was a doll. And when I looked in his eyes he looked like he was possessed. I saw nothing of the love and kindness I saw in Ndi’s. His own satisfaction was what he was after mostly. The worst part was him leaving at 5 am after fucking me for six hours and I have not seen him since.”
“Has that happened to you before?”
“Frankly Maya, no. I am a traditional girl and I like sex. I want a natural man who will look at my ass and drool. The type you know just wants to get you pregnant. Then I will guide him and stay in control. I don’t think I can stand a man I’ll offer myself to and then he will have the time to measure my cleanliness and wash me and then have the presence of mind to pick out a designer condom.”
“Oh Nurse. I’m a whore!”
“No, you’re not. We all have our fair share of experiences. You have had Ndi and you have had this man. Now you decide what you want with your body.”
“He paid an unbelievable amount of money into my account. And that made me feel worse. Did he have to do that?”
“He knows you will play everything over in your mind and if you did not like it, the money is there to console you. He has also now told you he is not interested in a relationship. He has picked out something he likes about you. When he desires that type of satisfaction again he will call on you.”
“I will not go.”
“It is up to you.”
“I feel bad Nurse.”
“As I said, it is an experience. That is what rich men do with girls like us. I bet you that with girls of their own class who do not need their money they are more mindful. They will even ask for permission before they penetrate. But we are playthings for them. We are the type they prefer.”
“That guy belongs to a new breed of rich men with deviant sexual preferences who are now on the prowl. Girls now know and some don’t mind. They go as far as Dubai to eat shit for money.”
“You don’t mean it, nurse. Like, real shit?”
“It is a fetish for some rich men I hear. Especially white men. When you see girls of little means who are not trading or who are not holidaying with family going to Dubai, be wary.”
“That is putting it mildly.”
“I will stick to people of my class then.”
“You may really like a rich guy especially if he is good looking and treats you well. There are normal ones still. Just stay woke. It’s your body. Don’t lick ass if you don’t like licking ass.”
“Can anybody like licking ass?”
“You will be shocked. But I say licking ass to mean everything out of the ordinary.”
Maya nodded and put her face down.
“The truth is that nowadays, the moment you give yourself to those kinds of men you take a risk because you do not know what to expect, especially when they take you to exotic places and give you experiences they know you have never had before. You may be scarred for life. They pay well and for that reason, many girls suffer inside designer clothes and flashy cars and dark sunglasses. When by themselves, these girls cry every night. Those who don’t take succor in alcohol and drugs. Unfortunately for some, there is no going back once they have taken that route. Society, social media, and celebrity lifestyle do not even help.”
“Money is not everything nurse. Look at me now.”
“I agree. I realized that a long time ago.”
Castro found Irikefe at the shop. He was sawing wood, there was sawdust on his hair and he was coughing like a person who was smoking weed for the first time. He looked pitiable.
“So my guy, you really dey take this carpentry seriously?”
“How I go do na? My papa no go let me enter house if I no open the shop.”
Irkefe noticed that Castro was contemplative.
“What is it old boy?”
“Guy, na Iniquity or whatever he calls himself.”
“You are still frolicking with him?”
“See, I admire him I won’t lie. He has this charming carefreeness. To think that he lives with his parents and those ones don’t give a shit what he does. That is the life I want.”
“Your father is not an Alfa with ten children who has no time to be pursuing one about.”
“Whatever it is, today, I have started to look at him differently.”
“Do you know what he suggested that we do?”
“He said we should go to Bar Beach at midnight and try to beat some babalawos to diamonds off anacondas that come to the shore to rest.”
“Wait. Repeat that.”
“He said big snakes go about with diamonds. That we can go and steal the diamonds from the snakes. Cobras and anacondas he said.”
“Okay so wetin concern babalawo inside?”
“He said the babalawos also know that the snakes carry diamonds and they too want the diamonds. So in effect, we will be in competition with the babalawos.”
“Okay so what about that?”
“What do you mean by what about that? The babalawos will just blow powder and we will disappear. Not to talk of the snakes swallowing us. I told him we should just steal Maya’s pant instead.”
“You are a fool.”
“I just knew it.”
“What did you know?”
“That you will like something like this. After all, you have been a yahoo boy.”
“See, you don’t know what rich people do for money. Forget what you read on Forbes magazine.”
“He said the exact thing! You guys are more similar than you both know.”
“I don’t know about that but I would give this diamond heist a shot. You don’t think I want to shut my dad up once and for all? Is this a life?” He said with a sweeping hand gesture.
“Are you serious Irikefe?”
“Or course I am.”
“Like, you will go to the bar beach with him?”
“Let us ask him. I am sure you have not heard the full story or you didn’t give him time to say.”
“Let’s talk to someone else about it first. Maybe Ndifreke.”
“Leave that one alone. Toto has turned him into a donkey.”
“I don’t understand the bros anymore. But this is not what I will be discussing with him.”
“So you want to talk to Iniquity?”
“You think we should do it?”
“Let’s get the full plan. I don’t believe he is stupid. Usually you are the stupid one.”
“I don hear. Make we go find am.”
He saw them walking towards him and he stood and started walking down the street. He did not want to have anything to do with the stupid boys. He had heard there were proper guys at number 35. He would go to those ones.
They were beckoning on him to stop. He decided to lure them to the uncompleted building. He still had dope. So he lit up as they caught up with him.
“The Iniquity of the people!” Castro teased.
It sounded stupid. So he didn’t even bother to acknowledge.
“Okay, guy, this is what it is. I told my gee about it. He wants to do it,” Castro said.
Iniquity still would not say anything. Then Irikefe spoke up.
“Iniquity. You just came here. I know you have confidence in yourself and all but you don’t know who we are and what we have done. The introduction did not go well but that does not mean that we can’t be a team. I have done things and I have seen things. I want to do this.”
Iniquity studied him.
“I am serious,” Irikefe said.
Iniquity turned to Castro and said “But you want to steal pant.”
“We can forget about that for now. I want an adventure. Pant is too razz joor.”
“I know it will be risky. I know no one undertakes such a mission empty handed,” Irikefe said.
Iniquity continued to nod.
“I misjudged you,” he said to Irikefe. Then they pumped hands.
“You are right. We just don’t wake up and go to the beach. I know a man at Idimu who will prepare us for the mission. Will you come with me to see him?”
“Sure. I will tell my dad I want to go and buy things for the shop,” Irikefe said.
“And you, what will you tell your dad?” Iniquity said to Castro.
“I will tell him I am going for a crusade. I am a part time born again.”
“Good for you.”
“So when do we go to see this man?”
“First thing tomorrow morning. So we can return before night.”
The council of elders took their position. This time the Alfa was in attendance. They greeted themselves Happy Easter. Then someone said: “Alfa. Do you celebrate Easter?”
“Jesus did not die on the cross. He was born of a Virgin but he is not the son of God. He did not redeem the sins of mankind. He healed the sick, opened the eye of the blind, talked in his cradle and proclaimed his mother, but he was only a prophet and a proper Muslim.”
“You speak so well Alfa.”
“I am an Islamic scholar.”
“So you don’t believe in the crucifixion?”
“In Surah 4 verse 157 onwards, the impression we get is that Jesus was not crucified by his enemies. His enemies did not succeed in killing him. Different scholars have different views of what happened that day on the cross but they are unanimous about the fact that Jesus was not crucified. But the Quran says God raised Jesus to himself. So we agree that Jesus ascended to heaven but we do not believe in the crucifixion.”
“You say Jesus was a Muslim? You believe in Jesus?”
“He was a prophet of Allah. Ninety-three Quran verses refer to him. Only Muhammad is spoken of more in the Quran. According to the hadith, Jesus will return at the end of time in the East of Damascus with his hands resting on the shoulders of two angels. When the Antichrist sees him it will dissolve like salt in water and Jesus will rule the earth for forty years. If you do not believe in Jesus you are not a Muslim. We love Jesus and Mary. We name our children Isa and Mariam which is Jesus and Mary. You only name your children after people you love.”
“But you don’t believe that he died for us at Easter and took away our sins.”
“No we don’t.”
“So what’s the point?”
The Alfa said nothing. He had made his point. A Muslim should never argue about religion.
“Last year Cosmas was telling us Jesus was crucified but it was murder and that he did not even rise from the dead. Why don’t you people leave our Jesus for us and believe in your own gods?”
“The only thing that is dead and needs to resurrect are your indolent spirits. For thousands of years, you have been asleep. We are approaching that great cosmic point where everything that is indolent and not swinging in the will of the Almighty will be annihilated and they will cease to exist. There is no greater woe for the human spirit. Everything obstructing the rhythm of this creation must perish and be cast off. You don’t have time. Let that be the only truth you wake up to this Easter,” Mr. Cosmas said.
“Okay that is enough. When we die, we will all know how far,” Mr Zubi said.
Akunna whispered to Mr. Zubi “Oya, tell him about his children shitting everywhere and his wife’s smoking and the way they block the entrance to the compound when they are praying and the way they have been using the bathroom. I will soon break one of his children’s heads if he does not do something about them.”
Mr. Zubi was uneasy. Seeing the Alfa the way he came today, speaking so well about his religion, he did not wish to spoil the feeling with compound squabbles. Instead, he said
“They convicted Onnoghen. Some group said it was a Jihad against Christianity. What do you think Alfa?”
“It is politics. I do not comment on politics.”
“They even barred him from public office for ten years and seized all the monies in the accounts he did not declare.”
“He has appealed the judgement.”
“He is wasting his time. As his lawyers said, the judgment was premeditated. The result of the appeal is also already written. Poor him.”
“Someone said it was karma jare. He was present in the gathering where Buhari said he would put National security before the rule of Law and he said nothing. He did not know that allowing the judiciary to be so ridiculed would be his doom.”
“They said he was the one that let Saraki off the hook. They have been planning for him tey tey.”
“I heard also that the head of the CCT that convicted him has a pending bribery case before the EFCC. It was either he convicted Onnoghen or they reopened his file.”
“The judiciary is corrupt. The nation is corrupt. What happens is that when you play bad politics they will now open your file. We will not hear of the CCT chairman’s travails until he too steps on a powerful toe.”
“Meanwhile Buhari has extended the tenure of the acting Chief justice by three months.”
“He can do whatever he bloody hell wants. They have taken care of their problem Onnoghen.”
“The only good thing he did last week was signing the new minimum wage bill into Law.”
“Only six states have indicated that they will pay. Don’t forget that many are already owing 18,000 naira. Watch the crisis that unfolds.”
“Aisha Buhari said she wants to establish a Muhammadu Buhari University.”
“With which money? Didn’t they say they could not afford twenty-five million naira to buy form for the presidency the other day? Where will the money come from?”
“Will they need WAEC certificate to gain admission? I’m asking for a friend.”
“Speaking of which, Buhari came out to say that he is even more qualified than Atiku. He mentioned all the courses and training he has received both home and abroad. They really want us to forget about this WAEC thing.”
“Anyway, posterity will judge all of them.”
“Did you see how a mere pronouncement by the IMF chair that Nigeria should remove petrol subsidy caused scarcity and queues returned to the filling stations? Is that how fragile our economy is?”
“That was not about the fragility of our economy. That as man’s inhumanity to man. It is why they say people get the leadership they deserve. Ordinary people like you and I heard that and decided to hoard fuel for profit. Filling station owners and common attendants become gods all of a sudden. They enjoyed our suffering in the hope that the government will acquiesce to the IMF and remove the subsidy so that they make profits.”
“It will never be well for some people.”
“They should never try that removal of subsidy. We will resist it with the last drop of our blood. We know they will not do anything with the money they will save other than to embezzle it. When fuel price went to N145 did they not say it was partial deregulation? What did they do with the money they saved then? Let them keep paying. If cheap petrol is the only thing we will gain from government we will take it like that.”
“But a few people will continue to be rich at the expense of the majority!”
“They don’t spend the money alone. They have families and concubines whom they spend on and those ones also give to others and somehow the money stays in the economy. One day I will also get the opportunity and me too will take care of myself and my own.”
Mama Akunna stepped out to the corridor to be sure that there was no one close, then she went back inside. Dozie was seated on the bed with his hand on his chin. He sat like a man. He was tired of playing infant. He could not talk in his infant body. But when Mama Akunna looked in his eye, she could decipher what he wanted to say, and she spoke to him in response knowing that he could understand her.
“You have to be patient. Let us observe the old man. If he is truly a wizard, he will know that he can’t restrict us like this. But we do not want to be rash. Please.”
“I am not being any patient. I can’t survive like this. I want to go to the roof.”
“All by yourself?”
“Come with me.”
“Anyway, I know my way there.”
“I know you know your way there but I can’t come.”
“You are afraid of him.”
“Not like that. We need to watch him and see.”
“But we can’t watch and understand him like this. We need to be out of our bodies to be able to gain the kind of understanding we need.”
“He has warned us.”
“For goodness sake, he is not God. He is only a wizard.”
“You know Dozie. In our world, there is a hierarchy. There are wizards and there are wizards. He has shown us he is higher than us.”
“I still want to go.”
But that night he went out. When he saw that Mama Akunna had slept, he left his body. His old soul needed refreshing.
Papa Efe’s eyes shot open in his bed. He knew they had defied him. He stood up and found his broom and removed three sticks. He also brought a white bowl and filled it with water and took virgin salt from his cupboard and a portion and put a drop of it and some of the salt and stirred. He then stepped out to the corridor. He placed one of the broomsticks in front of Akunna’s door. He then went to the backyard and placed another in front of the backyard exit. Then he went to the front door and placed the last one. Then he sprinkled the content of the white bowl through the corridor and the frontage and the backyard and returned to his room.
An owl hooted. A cat meowed. And the night became silent.
The three boys were the first to leave the compound that morning. It was a long journey to Idumu from Katakata Street. They kept changing buses and the last one drove for almost one hour in rush hour traffic. Castro had never been that far away from home. He began to worry.
“Na travel we dey travel? Na still this Lagos be dis?”
“Abeg keep quiet. You think say to make money na beans?”
Then they passed Egbeda and passed Isheri and kept going. Iniquity made the driver stop after they crossed a bridge. They alighted and stretched themselves after the long journey. Then Iniquity said, “follow me.”
They followed him on the tarred road and then in full view of everyone, they branched into a bush track.
“Won’t someone see us?” Castro said.
“Why should we be bothered about that?”
They walked by the river for which the bridge on the main road was constructed until they reached a small thatch house. Iniquity clapped and waited. Castro made sure to stand behind the two of them. He kept looking around him. The chirping crickets and croaking frogs and the bites of sand flies were driving him crazy. Then a man came out of the small thatch back first wearing only a piece of white cloth on his waist.
He turned to look at them. He was middle-aged, the height of Chiwetalu Agu and dark like coal tar. He had scars from stitches running from his lower lip down to his Adam’s apple. He smiled and his teeth were as white as snow and he even had dimples that immediately brightened his mien. Castro and Irikefe recognized him instantly. Castro wet his pants as soon as he did.
“You!” Irikefe said.
“Wait, you know him?” Iniquity said.
Castro and Irikefe turned to flee but the man stretched his hands and took them both by the collar like rabbits .
“Una be my guest. Una no dey go anywhere.”
TO BE CONTINUED.