To read WHILE WE WERE YET KIDS (Part 1), click HERE
The next morning could not come fast enough. So at the crack of dawn, we were awake and rearing to go. In the daylight, the ugliness and utter dilapidation of the environment in which we spent the night was stark.
One of the runs I came to see, a married guy, had called me the previous night, and I informed him of our relocation from Iyana Ipaja to Shomolu. He offered to come pick us up and drive us over to Shomolu.
So the morning saw us inside the perfumed, air-conditioned, plush-leathered Honda of the man I met for the first time that day, chattering and quickly recovering from our horrendous ordeal the night before, as he drove us to Shomolu. His wife was out of town, and he actually offered us accommodation in his place at Ikeja. But as appealing as that was, I wasn’t ready to curtail the freedom this trip to Lagos was offering. I’d go to stay in his place, and the next thing I’d know, all the excitement I was out to get would take a nosedive. The man (let’s call him Mr. Big) actually believed he was the one reason why I came to Lagos. #shakingmyhead The sheer naïveté.
Mr. Big dropped us off at Chibuzo’s friend’s place at Shomolu, and after we all got acquainted with each other, he drove off, leaving me with his word that he’d come back in the evening to pick us up for a date.
Chibuzo’s friend is, um, Ikenna, and Ikenna happened to be squatting with his gay cousin, Chris. Chris was this deliciously good-looking dark-skinned young man in his twenties. He had a vicious boyfriend who had his eagle stare trained on Chibuzo and me from the moment we stepped into the house. Two pretty thangs moving into his man’s place? He’d be damned if he’d sit back and let us fool around with him. He wasn’t Chris’ live-in lover, but we saw him every waking hour we spent in that house, as he wagged his hips by day to the then Beyoncé Beautiful Liar hit track, and wagged them hips again by night to Chris’s thrusts.
But that was none of my business. Chibuzo and I were here, in Lagos, to make a business out of our pleasure. No time for long things, well, not Chris’s anyway. We spent all of an hour on getting acquainted with our environment that first day in Chris’s house, before retouching our appearances and sauntering off to peddle our market in the gaybourhood. All day we were out, soaking in the sights of the city. It was a fun outing, and we came back in time to have a bath, change clothes and get ready for Mr. Big’s date. When he came to pick us up, we waggled our fingers in goodbye at our hosts, and were promptly whisked off to another round of fun.
#sigh We were young and bright-eyed, eager for the decadent good life that Lagos promised. And we got a good share of it. We also got quite the hefty amount of drama that went with it.
Like the evening we were all set to spend with two banker acquaintances, in the house of one of them. We’d just settled down to drinks and the crooning of Luther Vandross in the background, when the madam of the house (you know, the madam with a cock, not the one with a pussy) barged into the house, into the parlour, and ruined the ambience with his enraged shrieking. And boy, could he yell. He yelled at his boyfriend. Scratch that, his partner (I heard they sealed their love in an elaborate wedding ceremony in Ghana). He yelled at his partner’s friend. And he was getting around to us, the two interlopers, with his eyes mad and his expression twisted, when we fled. I didn’t even have time to lace my shoes; I just took up the footwear in my hands, and we ran. Literally. Life was too short to have our good looks ruined by a douse of hot water.
Or acid. #shudder These Lagos ‘wives’ are just not joking with the side chicks at all at all.
Eventually, it seemed we were having too much of a good time, which was rubbing Ikenna and Chris’s vicious bitch the wrong way. Chris was a darling, and genuinely enjoyed the stories we came home with at the end of our sexcapades every day. But Ikenna and the vicious bitch didn’t like us, and they wanted us out. Never mind that we had nowhere else to go. Never mind that I’d burned my bridges with Mr. Big when he came to pick me up one day without priorly informing me, to meet my absence and Ikenna’s loud mouth.
No, they didn’t care. They just wanted us out.
So while we were out each day having fun, they were in, whispering poison in Chris’s ears. We should have seen it coming. The moment Ikenna’s disposition toward us soured and he started to bicker with Chibuzo at the slightest provocation, the moment the vicious bitch started to drop offhand remarks like, ‘Ehen, when una talk say una dey go back East sef?’ – that was when we should have known our days were numbered in the house. Even if I, on some subconscious level, knew Ikenna and the vicious bitch were plotting to oust us, I trusted Chris’s sunny smiles and genuine warmth too much to worry.
So, we were blindsided when we returned one evening to meet Chris’s apologetic demeanour. We had to leave, he said. His vicious bitch had given him an ultimatum – us or him. Well, whatever he had in his pussy must have been matchless, because Chris chose him. To add insult to the injury, he told us we had to leave that night. To add aggravation to the insult on the injury, Ikenna tried to act regretful to see us go. And he wasn’t even that good an actor.
Before I could panic, Chibuzo turned to his enviable Rolodex of contacts in his phonebook, and made a call. The person on the other end enthusiastically extended an invitation for us to come over. And we switched accommodation just like THAT! (snapping fingers #InYourFaceIkenna)
Now this new host is a man in his mid-forties, and was to Chibuzo what Mr. Big had been to me – another naïve, pot-bellied Lagosian who believed this young thang from the East visited Lagos just for him. Let’s call him Mr. Another Big. Chibuzo did not let on to him that we’d already been in Lagos nearly two weeks; somehow, he managed to convince the man that we’d packed our bags that very day, hopped inside a commercial vehicle and made the journey to the West just to stay with him awhile, all without giving him prior notice. These damned service providers and their bad networks sef; MTN had been messing up all day.
Amazingly, Mr. Another Big bought it all, hook, line and sinker.
We settled into our new place comfortably. Mr. Another Big was a sweet man and a good host, and he had eyes just for Chibuzo. Which was fine by me. There was no way I was going to let that average-height, paunchy, sweaty man with a heavy breathing and loud laugh anywhere near me. But he was a good man, and I felt a twinge of guilt every time I had to provide a reason why Chibuzo had to accompany me out of the house each day.
But you know, Karma is a real bitch. And she has no patience for clever boys dancing circles around an older man’s head. When she ticked our names down in her schedule and then came for us, her visit was glorious.
The latest runs we had wanted us to spend the night with them at their luxurious apartment in the island. Which was going to be tricky, because, how would we explain a night-out to Mr. Another Big. I still don’t know how he did it, but Chibuzo managed to spin a yarn that cooled the man’s agitation and got his permission to join me in spending the night outside his home. And so, we went out and had one more hoorah for the night. We returned to Shomolu at dawn. As we approached Mr. Another Big’s house, we met someone letting himself out. We recognized him; he was Yinka, a dude we’d seen a couple of times back in Chris’s house. The moment Chibuzo saw him, he stiffened. And then we got into the house to meet the damage that had been done.
Yinka had thoroughly declassified us to Mr. Another Big. Blown our cover. The breeze from his gossipy mouth had blown, and our nyashes that were opened were grimy with dirt and lies. Heu!
Mr. Another Big was in such a self-righteous rage when we met him that morning. He had no words for me. His entire umbrage was directed at my good friend. So you people have been in Lagos all this time, fucking around, and you have been lying to me! Slut! Ashawo! Liar! He threw every expletive his limited lexicon could dig up at Chibuzo. All the pounds on his overweight body thrummed with indignation. And his expression was snarling as he hurled the ultimate shocker at us: “LEAVE MY HOUSE NOW!”
Not again! And go to where? I wanted to screech. And my dismay went up a few notches when I turned to Chibuzo and saw stark panic etched on his face. The kind of panic that told me plainly that we had nowhere else to go.
And that was when I made a decision – to return home that very morning. I didn’t want to suffer the indignation of another probable relocation. So when Mr. Another Big stomped into his room after his declaration, I told Chibuzo my intention: “Let us go back to school abeg.”
But the panic stayed on his face. Why? He had no money for his return fare; he’d been banking on Mr. Another Big’s generosity. He hadn’t even saved a dime from all the sales he’d made in the gaybourhood market. Can you believe this guy?
So, we went into the man’s room after him, to beg him for a different favour – that he should make good on his word to give Chibuzo his fare home. I was fine. I had money in the bank and my account booklet tucked away in my school bag.
We begged and begged and begged this man. We pleaded. Chibuzo genuinely sobbed. I forced out a tear or two. Omo, the man did not budge, not even to yell at us. He simply maintained a stony, silent disposition, one that seemed to say: When you whores have finished begging, and you’re tired, you’ll still get out of my house.
Time was going. I soon got tired of humbling myself so. I signaled for Chibuzo to follow me out of the bedroom. We re-emerged into the living room where I told him I would lend him the money for his fare. I brushed away his thanks, and the next few minutes were spent on a frantic race to get ready. We were bathed, dressed and packed in record time, and left the house without a word to Mr. Another Big. We took a quick detour to the bank, where I made a withdrawal before we hurried to a bus terminal, paid our fare and settled in at the backseat, where we took a moment to shake off the recent trauma. The bus was soon filled, the driver revved his engine, and the doors were slammed shut. By the time we got to the highway, we had bounced back to good humour and were chattering away about our trip to Lagos.
Presently, I think about that experience and I shake my head in wry amusement at all the things I was up to while I was basically a child. And, um, Chibu, if you’re reading this (and I know you are), you know I still love you, but you think you can tell me when you are planning on paying me back that money? 🙂
Written by Pink Panther