The day was cloudy and gloom – reminiscent of his mood.
It was a good day to kill.
He didn’t much go for the idea of performing his duties in the dead of night. Too many things could go wrong. Besides, these days with all the streets having some sort of security – from OPC to uniformed guards and in some cases; the police, getting in and getting out might be an issue.
But in broad daylight it was easier. Go in, do the job, come out and blend with the one thousand and one faceless hustlers trolling Lagos streets.
And another million in the account. Easy.
But as he watched the house he was headed into from the store window opposite, Seyitan couldn’t quite disperse the gloom hanging over him. He thought it was the weather – and then he realized it wasn’t just that.
Something no pure about this one; he thought.
He drank from the Orijin bottle and smacked his lips. And then, feeling his waist for his G43 Glock 9mm, he crossed the street and into the building, negligently tossing the bottle in the dustbin in front of the store.
The smartly-dressed security guard opened the door, waved him inside without checking for ID or anything – and then closed the heavy metal door behind him. He made his way into the lobby –
And he realized his instincts were right. They were waiting.
The first thing he saw were two heavily-armed soldiers leaning against the far wall of the lobby, making small talk and eyeballing him with hard, bloodshot eyes. On the raised landing in front of the target’s office, three guys in suits and shades that looked like wannabe CIA spooks were lounging – they couldn’t be any more obvious.
They hadn’t noticed him yet.
Damn that Collyde guy!
He knew his only chance of making it out was the element of surprise. Why they weren’t arresting or shooting him yet he didn’t know – but he would capitalize on that. With a grunt, he whipped out his pistol and shot both army guys in the head.
They went down smoothly – like they were taking orders to fall like a log. The suits scrambled for their guns; but only one succeeded in getting his out.
And it did him no good.
Six more times the gun in Seyitan’s hand coughed, six more times as he executed his would-be executioners with a move he learnt in a Keanu Reeves movie; one for the heart and one for the head.
He didn’t miss.
Jumping to the landing, he kicked the door open and dived onto the floor, expecting a rain of bullets.
He needn’t have bothered. The target, a slim light-skinned man in a business suit was cowering behind his desk, blabbing incoherently into a phone he could barely hold. He froze as he saw the killer rise from the floor – and he dropped the phone, raising both hands in supplication.
Seyitan shot him in the head.
As he made his way out of the door, something white-hot lodged in his neck – and then echoes of a gunshot rang in his ears. He fell forward, gun coming free of his loose grip. He held his neck as his lifeblood ran out – and as his sight dimmed he wondered who had shot – who had killed him.
Who did I miss?
His fast fading sight identified his killer – a killer whose shaking hands dropped the still-smoking pistol, Seyitan died with a smile on his lips at the ridiculousness of the situation – having not died from the hands of soldiers or professional bodyguards…
But at the hands of a bloody secretary.
It was a good day to die.
I just want to drink you away;
Forget I ever met you
Forget that at some point
I did call you special
Forget about forgetting
That you were ever here to –
But it’s crazy
I can’t forget the smell of your hairdo
Coconuts and oranges;
You left them everywhere boo
The room, the books – and all inside my head too
Ran away from it all
No longer know where to head to
They say love is crazy;
Oh right. You done heard too?
You were afraid; I dig that
Yes, I was scared too
Should have shared my fears
But I was too scared to
So I kept shut
Pretended I didn’t care too
Acting like a model
Don’t know where the catwalk led to
So I put tears in your heart
All the while my eyes bled too
Bedsheets were white
Fucked till they became red too
Got caught up in myself
Forgetting you were here too
Now imagine the gall of me asking
Where are you?
Where. Are. You, My Heart?
I love how you love me; love mi
Here’s a best gift for you love; me
Forget thinking this is not how love be
Give it a chance; tell love; ‘be’.
And then we’ll see.
Comes…an exciting new series…
Don’t Miss It!!!!
His new shoes pinched.
In fact, everything pinched and scratched – one way or the other.
Kehinde frowned at the rain as it pelted the streets and people alike, with raindrops that sometimes felt like hurled stones. From his perch under the arch of the Baptist Church – the perch he shared with some other characters – he brushed off his new suit, poked his finger in his shirt neck to get his neck more space.
His armpits scratched. His waist, thighs and feet itched as though someone had doused his new clothes in scratching powder or werepe; the leaves of an herbal tree his mother liked to talk about a lot. Hopping from one foot to the other, Kehinde hoped the other people wouldn’t be too concerned with his antics.
“Dis kain rain no dey quick stop o,” a woman who looked and smelled like a fish factory said. Kehinde agreed gloomily, realizing she was correct in her assertion. It was the kind of rain that looked deceptively light – until you stepped in it and got drenched within seconds. It was the kind of rain that fell the whole day – no reprieve whatsoever.
It was going to stay a while.
Dismally, he looked at the carefully wrapped parcel he was carrying – the parcel that represented his entire savings minus transportation for the rest of the semester and some change for miscellaneous expenses. He couldn’t afford for it to get wet – and he couldn’t stay underneath the church awning forever.
An image of Tokunbo trapped in her room, her friends unable to show up because of the rain decided him. Quickly he shrugged off his new grey jacket and carefully wrapped the parcel snugly. And then, keeping his head down, he dashed into the rain.
Because Tokunbo’s house wasn’t too far from his, he ignored the Keke Napeps as they slowed down beside him earlier. The lightness in his pocket had also helped make him decide to walk to her place instead of riding. But now, in the rain he wasn’t sure if that was such a hot decision. His new shoes squelched and squealed as he ran – but he wasn’t worried. They were leather. They would survive their baptism.
He had felt self-conscious buying the suit and shoes. He didn’t trouble his mother for money that session because his sister would be sitting for WAEC and JAMB soon enough – that was burden enough on mother. In fact, he had taken menial jobs – laborer, handyman and the likes – so he could have enough money for himself and still pitch in at the house.
He felt stupid buying the suit for so much. But he knew the kind of girl Tokunbo was, the kind of guy she was used to. That she gave him attention was enough for him – and when she had agreed to be his girl he had almost died from pleasure.
He was determined not to fall her hand.
There was a smidgen of worry nudging his mind – something about her reaction when he’d told her he wouldn’t be able to see her that day. “Why?” she’d asked, and he had told her he was sick.
“Okay baby. Rest up, I’ll miss you.”
It bothered him she hadn’t offered to come over, but then – it was her birthday after all. So he had made cooing noises weakly and she’d laughed. He smiled now; thinking about her laughter.
That had to be the most beautiful thing about her. That; and her smile.
And her eyes. And lips. And boo –
“Okay, that’s enough.” He chided himself out loud – and then spluttered as rain water ran into his open mouth. Spitting out, he wiped his eyes – his mouth, and then slowed down as he rounded the corner to Tokunbo’s house.
His heart started to thump heavily and he stopped for about nine heartbeats, steadying his breathing and getting himself together – as much as a drenched chicken could compose itself before dying. And then he started to walk slowly – past a shiny Honda Accord parked in front of the building – and down the path that led to his heartthrob’s side of the house. Some soft music was playing from – where; he couldn’t tell but it sounded familiar.
He stood on the doorstop and listened for sounds of activity. It was all quiet – but he knew she was home because she said she would be. Carefully, he unwrapped the parcel – grinning happily when he saw it was still dry. He placed it between his thighs, flapped the suit to get some water out of it before shrugging it on and shivering in the wetness.
And then he knocked firmly.
After some time he knocked again, pounding the heavy metal door a lot longer than before. He looked around; to see if there was someone he could inquire about her whereabouts from and then he realized the sounds of the rain hitting the roofs were making quite a racket.
“She dey house.”
He looked to his left – it was Alali, one of Tokunbo’s housemates, a guy with a permanent scowl on his face. Kehinde waved – but he had disappeared.
He grinned and turned back to the door. Only then did he realize the soft music was actually coming from Tokunbo’s part of the house, and it was a little something by Asa. He lifted his hand to knock again – and then decided against it.
He walked along the wall of the house – past the living room windows and then turned to the left to where her bedroom was. The music was getting louder – and Kehinde’s smile widened. She was home indeed.
He stopped by the bedroom window. “Tokun – “ he started to say, and then something inexplicable put a chokehold on his throat and silenced him. It had to be something inside the room; because he looked – looked; and couldn’t tear his eyes away.
The room was just as he remembered it – the little he could see but that wasn’t what arrested his glance.
His sight was riveted by the couple who were doing a dance as old as time on the floor, after making a mess of Tokunbo’s usually impeccably-laid bed. Familiar sounds and moans struggled to be heard over the music – and the rocking up and down motion could only mean one thing – except some guy was doing pushups on some girl.
His mouth opened – but no sound came out. His limbs unfurled, and he staggered backwards, letting go of his most precious parcel. It fell and hit the edge of the concrete pavement, smashing the only way a Samsung Dual Phone could smash.
But Kehinde did not notice.
Holding his head as though trying to physically keep it from splitting open, he weaved a drunken pattern past the main door and away into the street, rain mingling with tears on his cheeks and staining his new suit, shoes still squealing and squelching – but not the same way as before.
Now, they mourned too.
As he disappeared, the door he had been pounding on opened and a fully dressed Tokunbo stood in the doorway, looking at her phone screen.
“Kehinde should have been here by now. Or is he really sick?” she said out loud, worry putting a crease between her otherwise beautiful eyebrows. “I better go check on him,” she resolved, as she hurried back into the house.
And the rain continued to fall…
Undoubtedly, superhero movies are the new rave.
With franchises (X Men, Avengers) raking in billions, it is pretty understandably that whoever has the money to get on the bus would be eager to do so. But sometimes, it’s best to step back and view, tame the greed and actually try to tell a story – rather than jumping in with both feet.
Case in point; the disaster movie that is Fantastic Four.
Considering the fact that this is Marvel’s First Family – in that they hold the distinction of being the first superhero team the house that Stan Lee built created, it isn’t too far fetched to expect stellar treatment/performance from whatever studio is handling the rights.
Alas, no such luck. And that hurts a fanboy like me.
Considering also; that the movie – the 2015 incarnation is the fourth attempt at moving these guys to the screen, is it too much to expect something much better? After all, third time’s the charm – and this 2015 version is the fourth attempt.
The first Fantastic Four movie was never officially released for some reason – it’s still alive and well on youtube however. The second and third versions that had Chris Evans and Jessica Alba playing siblings Sue and Johnny Storm respectively collectively grossed a total of $619 million on a budget of $230 million – even though it was a flop as far as critics and fanboys were concerned. This time, an underdeveloped plot, poor dialogue and almost not-there action serves to make minced meat of this effort.
Someone should have told Fox – this is 2015. After three Iron Man movies, two Avengers and five Spider Man cuts, we know to expect more because we deserve it – and it can be done.
This reboot seems to have been doomed from the start. Despite director Josh Trank’s (Chronicle) fighting for Teller to be cast as Mr. Fantastic, there was; reportedly a huge argument between them – they almost came to blows. Trank also didn’t want Kate Mara (House of Cards’ Zoe Barnes) as Sue Storm – but she was forced on him so he reportedly picked on her throughout the shoot. It also did not help that Fox took over production after Trank was done, ordering reshoots and corrections,
This made Trank unwisely take to Twitter to trash the movie he’d helped make – a day before its release.
Whoa. So many words and I still haven’t said what the matter with the movie is.
Starting; as typically all first parts of superhero movies start – with an origin story that takes too long to tell (almost an hour into the movie and we’re still waiting for something to happen), the origin is retconned by having the team (somehow always including Victor Van Doom) travel between dimensions to get their inexplicable powers. Doom somehow gets stuck in Planet Zero for a year – and becomes an altogether all too powerful being – though what exactly ‘all too powerful’ means isn’t clear.
More on that later.
The movie is as disjoint as its characters are – uncompelling and bland. We don’t get to see how they react to their powers – at least emotionally; we don’t get to see them talk or even bond as a team. One Year Later is all we get (something one expects of Nollywood, not its more original Big Brother) – and by then, they all seem to have grown into their boots.
After taking so long to establish origin, the movie then goes into overdrive – as though having passed that hurdle, the film can end now – effectively leaving the viewers dissatisfied with super throwdown that isn’t one.
The portrayal of Doctor Doom with super powers has always been something of a puzzle to me. As far as comics go, this is one bad guy who has an amazing intellect – but is still human. This movie in particular has him throwing around some kind of telekinesis – or whatever that is supposed to be – and it’s not intriguing. Besides, Doom wants to rule this world not destroy it.
It would seem personal if I spend any more time explaining just how bad this movie is – so I would just say; I recommend that FOX return this particular merchandize to the original owners – because so far Marvel Studios have been getting it right. But that doesn’t seem very likely – with a Fantastic Sequel already slated for 2017.
Still.. Maybe there’s hope. Miracles do exist, no?
But if there’s anything for FOX to learn from this, it should be put together in a Powerpoint presentation titled: ‘This Is How Not To Do A Superhero Movie”.
Fantastic Four is showing at Ozone Cinemas; Yaba:
Fri-Thur: 11:20am, 1:15pm, 2:50pm, 4:40pm, 6:40pm, 8:30pm, 9:20pm
I had the privilege of speaking at the first TEDx Unilag event earlier this year – and I spoke on an issue that matters to me; an issue that affects all of us – whether we know it or not.
Rape and Rape Culture In Nigeria.
You can watch the video here – and share your thoughts, opinions and so on.
Also share with your friends, so they can share with theirs.