Down the Valley

I don’t understand Sonia anymore. There is so much wrong with her these days. Even Clem, my roommate, had commented on her unusual changes. The doggone fool had been stealing glances at her boobs. ‘They are getting bigger, these days. What have you been feeding her?’ he had asked. ‘What else fool, semen and cholesterol, of course?’ My riposte rang out spitefully. I had always suspected that fool to be up to something, anyways. However, am yet to get my hands on his intent. As for Sonia, I am at lost on her general clumsiness. She turns up late for dates and slips into slumber at the slightest inactivity. Yesterday she slipped coffee on my spreadsheet, an additional charge at the laundry!

*****

I am ruined. What am I to do with all this? I don’t possess the control of my body anymore. I feel nauseous, dizzy and irritable.  Even, Frank does not get along with me anymore. Could it be what Suzie had suspected? ‘Sony, your ways these days no pure anymore’ she had asked on Saturday, when I had rushed to the loo for the fourth time in ten minutes. I had told her I would be all right but that didn’t stop her from probing further. ‘Or, has Frank scored at your post?’ The question embarrassed me, though we were only two in the room. That is Suzie anyways ready to trivialize everything. I wanted to find out how true that could be from Suzie but I was ashamed to admit to her that I had deceived her all along. Was I supposed to admit that Frank had been playing on my field, but I wonder if he may have scored?

Suzie is my favourite roommate of the three in the room. Unpretending and friendly; occasionally, she regaled us with tales of her many boyfriends and her escapades with them unbashfully. ‘Sony, wetin you and Frank they do sef?’ She mostly asked at the end of such tales but I had never ventured any information. I was supposed to be a virgin.

I wish I had been lesser circumspective and could confide in Suzie. How am I to broach the topic with Frank when I had raised a false alarm two months ago? It is my cross to bear; let the dead bury their dead.

*****

‘You are not serious are you?’ Frank voice rings out in anger. Sonia tries to pacify him. She has just informed him for the second time in two months that she suspects that she is pregnant but Frank feels it another scare like the pre-valentine stunt she had pull on him. What does she take me for, a fool? He asks himself. Frank is grossly disappointed.

Sonia is lost in thought. Had Suzie not told her of the pranks men play? ‘Men are useless friend, they love you as long as you play ball but once they score they are on their way to the next match.’ She had told her.  She had suggested, to no one in particular, that one should sound the opinion of a lover with a pregnancy scare. Frank had passed her test convincingly. She had wished she could share it with Suzie but she had to maintain appearances.

*****

This lady is hell bent on ruining me. Two months ago, she claimed to be pregnant I played into her hands but found out it was a hoax. Now, few months to my graduation she is back to taunt me. I must do something about this.

*****

Locating the shanty that passes for a clinic is no trouble. Alubarika Maternity Home is notorious amongst the bike men at Apete area of Ibadan. They ferried them down in hurried haste.

They walked into the clinic unnoticed. A female nurse was sprawl on a long bench fondling her phone. She startled at their greetings. ‘We would like to see the doctor’ the male said. ‘Should be here soon’ she explained to them.

Sonia took in her surrounding and was discouraged. The nurse was clad in a milk-like garment, soiled with cockroach droppings at three conspicuous spots, a nightingale cap that belongs more to the grey hue than its original white, thanks to constant contacts with pomade.

Frank’s thoughts wandered from the hall he sat. Here could as well pass for a cemetery or a mortuary but a clinic. With the non-activity of this den, a nurse that looks more like a cook than anything does and the echoes of conversation bouncing back from the corridors that led to the wards. There was dust everywhere. The ward beds were dusty, the reception chairs were begging for usage and everything seemed out of place.

*****

‘It’s just six weeks old’ He said with a toothy smile. As if, it was an announcement of lottery winnings. ‘It will cost you #5, 000 naira’ he added triumphantly. As if, we had just bargained a discount. ‘Couldn’t you give us some pills? I mean, we are scared.’ I pleaded. For some reasons I didn’t want his hands on Sonia. ‘Fear not, I am good at what I do.’ Again, his ominous smile flashed at me.

*****

He told me to lie down spread-eagle on the bed. I said a small prayer to God. I felt I would be seeing him soon. What a better way of introduction than: ‘I am the lady that spoke with you some minutes ago from the earth?’

The nurse helped with suspending my legs, with a bowl down at my bottom, while the doctor busied himself with wearing hand gloves. He turned to look at me and all his countenance and amiable personage changed.

He produced a hose-like device with some vacuum-cleaner-like handle. I wished Frank had seen what he persuaded me into. ‘Listen, I will be done in five minutes if you’ll cooperate. I will just dip the end of this hose into your virginal and press this end in my hand; it will suck away the trash out of you after three attempts.’

Dying in the hands of quacks because you won't legalise it!

*****

Her scream tore out piercing my ears like a pin through the flesh. I knew a part of her was being taken as the scream escaped a second time. At the third rupture, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I dashed into the ward. I met the doctor hunched over a bowl filled with red liquid and the soiled nurse fanning Sonia’s lifeless body. I saw a figure taking some reddish matter to the mouth through the corner of my eyes. I screamed my throat sore and scampered out of the ward.

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Take a Shot

It isn't this easy for everyone.

On my wedding day, it was time to do the traditional carry-your-bride photo shot and I had agreed even though Lydia was on the heavy side.

At the first attempt, the photographer fumbled with his device to no avail. I put Lydia down after 30 seconds. My nerves sighed in relief.

‘Ok, let’s do it now’ he encouraged at his second trial. I mustered courage and lifted Lydia again. All the while, she was basking in the euphoria of the ceremony and weighted heavier but the photographer fondled with his device, still to no avail. I needed a relief, again.

As I was about to move to the next group for a snapshot the silly photographer called out again.

I just bloody walked away. ‘Do you think it’s easy carrying that cargo?’

Newly Mad(e)

Looking for a job in the streets of Lagos is not an easy task of course. Your predicament increases the longer you are at it. This naturally opens you to, much humiliation. Security men will harass you, beggars will assail you and even, the police will ransack you at every stop and search.

This story is an addition to my series of twists. Last Wednesday, I had gone to follow up a concern around Ipaja but the potbelly boss had dashed my hopes. I took it in good faith and moved on.

Walking down a railway track—in a bid to cut transport expenses I had taken a short pedestrian route—a mid-aged man approached me. ‘Why did you cross my boo-boo?’ he demanded. I startled to consciousness, looked at him calmly and continued in my track.

A reviving slap landed on my face. ‘You slapped me?’ I spat out. In this Lagos, I cannot imagine anybody treating me to such a VHP—very humiliating publicity, and going scot-free. I replied him in equal measure, according to Mosaic law. A fisticuff ensued. The Lagos crowd meshed up as I had expected but none separated us, as I had earnestly desired. I had skipped my breakfast to catch up with the appointment.

‘Er, na two mad men dey fight so’ a giggling voice explained.  Pitiful ‘Ahh’ sounds follow. ‘What happened?’ A heavily accented Igbo man asked in confusion. ‘Na this boo-boo mad man slap dis other man mad first; na him e sef com fire back’ another voice volunteered. Meanwhile, my empty stomach was not helping matter and my body was wrecking under the weathered blows my opponents was delivering on me. ‘But, this man just turned mad, too.’ ‘Yes, The one in blue shirt’ another voice confirmed.

Wait a second that was supposed to be me the last voice described. ‘Just turn mad too?’ Could I have been proving myself to a mad man all these fifteen minutes? No wonder they didn’t separate us.

I untangled me. Looked for where my shoes were flung, picked them up and fled the scene, amidst the jeering of the Lagos crowd.