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Archive for January, 2016

#BOOOOOM The Novel Trivia: Play and ‘Win’!

 

Good morning, brave new world!

To…well; sort of commemorate the release of my next book BOOOOOM!, we will be having ourselves a small trivia contest – just for fun. This contest is supposed from 9am – 12noon on the first of February – and then, it will culminate in the release of the novel.

 

Read poster and poster for details….

 

 

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Sounds like fun, no?

 

 

Let’s do this.

 

#BOOOOOMIsComing

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Movie Review: The Revenant

 

At the end of the day, The Revenant is another great movie DiCaprio should get an Oscar for.

Really; what does the guy have to do to be acknowledged by the Academy; do porn?!

 

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Leonardo Alphonso DiCaprio is a GREAT actor. Period.

The Revenant is actually the second feature-length film about the bear-mauling experience of a man known as Hugh Glass; the first being Man In The Wilderness in 1971 starring Richard Harris, and this one starring Leo. It is directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, same guy who helmed the Oscar-winning Birdman two years ago. This time he takes the shoot to Argentina and Alberta, shooting for nine months and putting the cast and viewers in a sub-zero hell.

As I said at the cinemas; if you’re the kind that uses movies to score with women; please do not take the next one to see Revenant.

The camera work grips you from the opening sequences and has you wondering whether you’re actually watching film unfold or you’re watching drama through someone else’s eyes. It’s an effective gimmick; as you realize Iñárritu wants to trap you in this bleak, hopeless ice hell of the frontier he’s created. From sweeping icescape to freezing river, the picture is a visual delight.

But the star of the movie (and almost every other one he’s ever done) is DiCaprio, playing the role of a man determined to live. His character, Hugh Glass (renamed Zachary Bass for the Man in the Wilderness version) is a tracker, hired to lead a pelt-hunting expedition in the woods. His personal life is expanded upon here, giving him a Native American (Indian; if you will) wife (who we meet only through his flashbacks) and a mixed son Hawk. Together, they’re stalking a Bison in the opening scenes when suddenly their camp is attacked by Indians, so they are forced to forge deeper into the forest. Somewhere along the journey, he accidentally stumbles on a bear with two cubs who viciously attacks him in a scene graphic enough to churn the thickest of bellies.

Even though the bear is obviously a CGI creation, it is vicious enough to inspire nightmares. He eventually kills the bear, but he is half-dead and immobilized. They bind him to a toboggan and haul him along – until it is clear he is holding them back. They examine him – and are sure he cannot make it so the caption asks a couple of men to stay behind and bury him when he finally succumbs to his wounds.

Enter the villain of the movie, John Fitzgerald, played with nasty detachment by Tom Hardy.

 

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Honestly, both men deserve Oscars for what they did with and in this movie. DiCaprio in an interview mentioned what he went through; speaking on a number of scenes that were hell to shoot. In following the movie, you see that statement is not far-fetched as it is his performance that makes a classic out of what would easily have been just another man versus nature movie. He eats raw liver, sleeps inside the hollowed out carcass of a horse, crawls and stumbles through ice river and mountain alike, revenge the only thing keeping him going. He scribbles on surfaces ‘Fitzgerald killed my son’ and decides to stay alive; no matter the odds, lights his throat on fire to cauterize it and has about twelve lines of dialogue mumbled through a torn throat. But his determination is entrancing; this movie has Leo stretching his acting chops even further than before.

The Revenant is DiCaprio’s masterpiece; it’s his Sistine Chapel. If he retires after this; I wouldn’t hate him – though I would still want to be dazzled by the deceptively-smiling but hidden genius that is him.

He really should get the Oscar this time; because none of the four other movies in the category even come close to demanding half-as much from their stars.

And if he doesn’t…

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Yeah. I wrote it!

 

And before I forget…

 

#BOOOOOMIsComing

 

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Get Ready.

 

 


For Want Of A Child XX

Masthead 20

 

 

Almost six months after Sofia’s burial, Frank woke up for the first time in his house.

 

It was a few minutes past four in the morning and there was power, so for the most part everything was quiet. The only thing interrupting the silence was the hum of the air-conditioner. He sat up in bed, and then stood up.

 

The curtains whispered as he parted them. Outside, everything was deathly still.

 

It was a short walk to the small cabinet in the corner of the room. He opened it and withdrew a Jack Daniels bottle and a glass. The dash of drink he poured into it barely covered the bottom, which was fine by him. He covered the bottle and replaced it in the cabinet and, carrying the drink walked out of the room and into the living room.

 

He wanted to think.

 

He flicked on the light switch and reached for the remote, wanting to play the Bez cd which; as far as he was concerned was gathering dust in the CD player – and then he abruptly changed his mind. The silence was calming.

 

He turned the light off and sat in the darkness, sipping Jack Daniels and thinking.

 

Some light made their way through the curtains and ended up against the wall, giving some illumination for the room. He thought about the curtains and smiled, mentally thanking Igo for changing them. After finding himself unable to stay long in the house because something about it unsettled him – almost violently, he spoke to her about it. She’d taken his keys, one weekend under the pretext of cleaning out the house.

 

When he’d gone there the following Monday, the curtains and wallpaper were gone.

 

Igo’s image stayed in his mind, long after he had stopped thinking about the curtains. Igo.

 

It made him happy; happy even though he couldn’t explain how they had just fallen into the groove of lovers. They spent time together, saw movies, talked, walked – she came to his shop and he visited at her store. He liked to sit on the shop’s verandah, sip diet Pepsi while listening to her banter with her customers. She always wanted to leave whenever he got there, but he sometimes calmed her and sat with her until it was evening. And then, he would stand and she would bade goodbye to her staff, and they would get in his car or hers – depending on what the plans were – and they would just go.

 

He liked to be around her.

 

Watching her talk was some kind of pleasure to him – it was like listening to Tuface sing. He liked how her lips moved when she pronounced words; how she cocked her head when listening, how she flicked her fingers impatiently when she was listening to something she didn’t agree with. He liked how she wore her clothes; how she didn’t wear them…

He liked the last one best.

 

He had avoided asking her if she was seeing anyone; it didn’t look like she was considering she always had time for him, was always willing to see him no matter what time it was. But he didn’t want to assume. He had learnt the worst way that you never knew with women.

 

What if she wasn’t seeing anyone? What did he want from her?

 

He was in love with her; he had stopped trying to figure out when that happened because he realized he had never actually stopped loving her.

 

That was unsettling. As unsettling as the suddenness of his phone ringing.

 

He took the call; Fola.

 

“Oga you no dey sleep?”

 

His friend laughed. “Man, I just remembered I didn’t tell you something Stella asked that I tell you.”

 

He was out of the hospital; had been out for some months now. He and Stella were living together in the same house, still husband and wife. They seemed to be making a go of it; he liked that.

 

“What’s that?” he asked, sitting up and cursing silently as he almost spilled whiskey on himself.

 

“She’s cooking some kind of treat later today and wanted me to invite you guys; ‘you guys’ being you and madam.”

 

“Okay. We’ll be there – what time would be good though?”

 

“I’m thinking six-ish.”

 

“Sounds good. Tell her we’ll be there, and thanks for the invitation.”

 

“Oga, tell her yourself. Me, I want to sleep.” The phone clicked.

 

Standing up, Frank downed the last of the whisky. And then he went to the kitchen, rinsed the glass in the darkness and carried it to his room.

 

And that was it for the day.

 

 

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The bed was rocking a bit too sharply for him to sleep in it comfortably. “I like what you’re doing but you’re doing it too fast,” he mumbled. “Slow down baby.”

 

The chuckle that followed his words were completely unexpected. “Wake up jare!”

 

He snapped up to find Igo regarding him with a smile, looking as though she’d stepped right out of his dreams. She looked good in light blue blouse and white jeans that hugged her curves quite closely, with a black scarf wrapped around her neck. He mentioned how beautiful she looked; she blushed and kissed him softly.

 

“Thank you,” she said.

 

Rising off the bed, Frank stretched. “What time is it?” he asked.

 

“Something past ten, I think. James had made you very lazy, abi? You hardly go to the shop anymore,” she said teasingly.

 

“I think you’re right,” he answered, looking serious. “I have been relying on him more and more lately. Maybe – “

 

“Maybe nothing,” she interrupted him. “I was teasing – besides, there’s nothing wrong with taking things a little easy. Life’s too short.”

 

He nodded his agreement. “What me to make you breakfast?”

 

“No o. Breakfast ke? What I need you to do now is to have your bath and dress up. We’re going out; there’s something I need to show you.”

 

 

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“Where are we going?” Frank asked for the hundredth time.

 

“Will you be patient?” Igo grinned at him. “You’ll see when we get there – which will be soon.”

 

They were driving along Adeniran Ogunsanya, and for a small moment Frank thought they were going to their old house. As though she could read his mind she said, “That’s not where we’re going, though I think it would be nice if we said hi to mama. She would like to see us – if you don’t mind.”

 

“I wouldn’t mind that.”

 

Before long, they were driving into a side street. Igo parked behind a huge palm tree and got out of the car. “Come,” she said, holding his hand and running across the street.

 

“Here we are,” she said as they stopped in front of a building with a locked space in front of it. She eased back her shades and reached in her bag for a set of keys.

 

“Close your eyes,” she said to him, bubbling over with excitement.

 

“What?” he asked, more surprised than anything.

 

She giggled. “Trust me jo!”

 

Nodding, Frank closed his eyes. He could hear the turning of the key in the locks, the click-clacking as they opened, and then he felt her warm hand in his again.

 

“Come, and walk carefully,” she breathed in his ear.

 

They walked slowly, he leaning heavily on her as she guiding him carefully. They made it into the room without bumping into anything, Frank observing that his feet were now on a smoother surface – similar to tiles. He heard a light switch click, and then Igo spoke.

 

“Oya open your eyes.”

 

He blinked at the harsh fluorescent – and then his mouth dropped open.

 

They were in a store, a store way larger than her other one. There were aisles and rows of stuff upon stuff – he was impressed.

 

“Baby! Wow – when did you put this together?”

 

She smiled prettily. “Well, I’ve been wanting to expand for a bit now but I wasn’t sure. You coming back…” She looked away – and then looked back at him, trying not to cry. “I just knew I had to do it. It was time. It felt – feels right.”

 

He pulled her close and kissed her. “I’m so proud of you. Well done.”

 

Her hand fluttered excitedly as she led him from aisle to aisle, talking him through stacks of product after product. His smile was genuine when he reached over and hugged her again.

 

“This is impressive, darling. When does this come open?”

 

She rested her head on his shoulder. “Hmmm, you know I haven’t really thought about it, but maybe in two weeks or thereabouts.” She shrugged a pretty shoulder. “I just want some…some other things cleared up, so I can jump into this with both feet.”

 

Frank thought he heard a note of uncertainty in her voice but wasn’t sure.

 

“You know, maybe you should pick a bottle of white wine – or maybe red for the Akanjis for when we go there later,” she perked up again.

 

“That’s – that sounds good,” he responded. “Let me go find a bottle.”

 

He walked down the aisles again, looking around admiring Igo’s handiwork. He wasn’t surprised about the store; she had always been the ‘doer’ in their relationship. He was content with his tailoring something; wasn’t looking to expand or anything. It was part of why he’d liked her – been drawn to her in the first place. She challenged him.

 

He found the aisle for wines and he looked through; remembering a particular one he’d had back in Priye’s place…Picpoul de Pinet; it was called.

 

Sure enough, he found a bottle and was starting to turn away when; on sudden impulse he took a second one. “Found a good one,” he said as he hurried back to where he’d left Igo.

 

“Great! I was going to ask you to take two, I always feel somehow about giving someone just one of something.”

 

Frank grinned. “Okay, remember that when it’s time to buy me a car!”

 

She laughed. “Let’s go see mama, and then zip home quickly to freshen up before going to see Stella and Fola.”

 

“Sounds good.”

 

 

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“Frank?”

 

“Hmm?” He turned away from his perusal of Ikorodu Road speeding past and faced her.

 

“Are you okay?” she asked, also turning away from the windshield to look at him. Her hair; her natural hair stirred softly in the car air-conditioning; she must have applied a fresh coat of lipstick because they looked shiny. Her brown eyes were tinged with concern; as was her voice.

 

He felt a sudden urge to kiss her.

 

“I’m fine. I’m just thinking how good it was sitting with mama and talking about old times. You know, she knew us during the best years.”

 

“Yes,” Igo agreed. “I could see she wanted to ask us what the next thing is – but she also didn’t want to make things awkward, you know?”

 

“I’ve been thinking that myself,” he said as he reclined his seat. And then, he laid back in it and just looked at her.

 

“Well,” looking away hastily when she turned to find his eyes on her. “I’m happy – more than I have been in years. It’s like I’m getting to know you all over again, and the sex? Oh. My. God.” She pinked around her cheeks and neck.

 

Frank laughed quietly.

 

“What I’m saying is; I like where we are now, and I will follow you wherever you lead. You’re happy too, Frank. Your cheeks are filling out again.”

 

He smacked her thigh lightly. “You would know, won’t you?”

 

 

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“Zip me?”

 

His hands trembled as he placed them on her waist. The ankara gown she had on was of a blue, black and gold pattern; it shimmered as she shivered. She smelled of tangerines; soft and tangy at once and he buried his nose in her neck, covering it with soft bites that made her jump, zipper a soft whisper of sound as he pulled it up.

 

“You better stop that or we’ll never leave,” she sighed as she turned and put her arms around him. “See what you do to me,” she said.

 

Frank held her gently, shaking his head in wonder at the soft tremors that shook her. “You this woman, you love me.”

 

She nodded slowly, keeping her eyes on his. “I do, Frank. I don’t think there was a time I stopped.”

 

He cocked his head, his face an expression of wonder. “You love me,” he said again, this time surprise giving his voice a high note.

 

She pushed at his chest. “Like you don’t know. Go jo,” she said, pushing him again, playfully. “We do need to go, baby. You look amazing by the way.”

 

He turned this way and that, showing the grey buba and sokoto off to her. She didn’t speak again, but the look in her eyes told him everything he needed to know.

 

And then some.

 

 

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Fola looked a lot better than the last time they saw him. His skin was almost back to normal; the dead look that hung around it was finally dissipating. His face was normal again, the only discord note was the left socket where an eye used to be. Now, a glass replica sat in place; but it reflected light in an unnatural way Frank found disconcerting.

 

Whenever he was around people, Fola wore shades but that night being what it was…

 

“Hey man,” he hugged Frank. “The graft is taking; quite nicely too,” he said, waving his arm in his friend’s face.

 

“The kids are holidaying with their grandparents so we have the house to ourselves,” Stella added as she hugged Igo. She; on the other hand was quiet, demure even. She held her end of the conversation; making jokes and laughing when necessary, but there was something different about her, something calmer.

 

Frank mentioned it to Fola when they were done eating and stepped out onto the balcony.

 

“Yeah, she’s a lot different. I guess she didn’t think I would take her back; you know, after…” he waved a hand over his face. “But I thought about it; thought about the kids and so on. Besides, her mother sat her down and talked a lot of stuff into her head. Things are a lot better now, especially since I behave myself too.”

 

“I’m happy for you, man. I like what I’m seeing, and I hope it continues to be just like this.”

 

Fola nodded. “Thanks – and you know, I could say the same thing to you. I saw how madam just held onto your hand and kept feeding you stuff. You guys back together?”

 

“You know, I think I should go see her. There’s something I would like to ask. Thanks, Folly!” he yelled over his shoulder as he darted into the house, leaving his friend wondering what suddenly happened.

 

Frank followed the sounds of the women’s voices; they were in the kitchen. Stella was washing the dishes while Igo stood against the cooker, arms folded over her chest.

 

Stella was talking. “…and have you told him?”

 

“Told me what?” Frank asked, startling both women. Igo recovered first, shrugging indifferently. “What makes you think you’re the ‘he’ she’s talking about?” she asked him, smiling.

 

“Well…” he let his voice trail off as he realized Fola was standing behind him. “Er…”

 

“Are you okay? What is it?” Igo went from asking him to asking Fola. “What did you do to him?”

 

Frank grabbed her shoulders roughly – and then released them. “I’m sorry,” he said, watching Igo wince and rub her shoulders. “I’m really sorry.”

 

Suddenly he knelt down. “This is really not how I wanted to do this, but I cannot wait anymore. He looked up, at Igo’s shocked expression, complete with streaming eyes. “Frank?” she said, “You’re scaring me.”

 

“I don’t mean to, look – “ he scratched his head. “Look, you’ve just been so wonderful to me, you know? I really wasn’t the best husband, and even after we went our separate ways I still went and did – “

 

“Frank – “ she started but he cut her off.

 

“No wait. Let me finish. You have been my friend, my partner, my guy – and I mean that in the most sincere way. I think about the things I forgot, I think about the things I took for granted. How some guy hasn’t seen you out there and took you away, all this time will forever baffle me.

 

“But I’m grateful and I’m not waiting anymore. Igo, will you please marry me?”

 

“Again?” Igo breathed softly.

 

“Again,” Frank agreed.

 

By now Igo’s tears were a torrent that ran into her mouth and off her chin; but, oddly did nothing to dim the brightness of her smile. She nodded dumbly, putting her arms around Frank as he stood up and then they hugged each other like old friends grateful for one another.

 

Frank, liking how he could feel her heart beating against his chest heard Fola comment somewhere in the background; “This is the best yet.”

 

Suddenly, Stella spoke up. “This might be a good time to tell him, ‘go girl.”

 

Frank pushed away from Igo and looked down at her. “Tell me – tell me what?”

 

He could see some fear hovering around the smile she gave him, and before he could query the reason for it she said, “I’m pregnant.”

 

 

 

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That’s All Folks!


Movie Review: Try To Hate The Hateful Eight

 

Only Quentin Tarantino would title his eight movie as writer/director The Hateful Eight.

 

 

 

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If there’s one word that describes this man, it has to be genius.

 

If you’ve seen pieces like Kill Bill, Django Unchained, Reservoir Dogs and/or Pulp Fiction you’ll understand what I mean. Yet, he sharply divides people. It’s either they love him or hate him.

 

But I’m not here to talk about Quentin. No sir.

 

I’m here to share my thoughts about his eight entry into moville – ‘The Hateful Eight’.

 

Starring his frequent collaborator the great Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Michael Mardsen, Tim Roth, Walter Goggins and Tarantino movie-newcomer Chaninng Tatum among others, The Hateful Eight is a movie of blood and gore as only Tarantino can do it.

 

The movie is about a bounty hunter; The Hangman who delivers his bounties alive whether that was specified or not, because he likes to watch them hang. He’s on his way to a town called Red Rock to deliver a woman to the hangman.

 

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The woman’s bounty is worth ten thousand dollars in a time when a man would kill his own mother for a hundred dollars. What could she have done to have that kind of price or her head?

 

Not my business; actually.

 

On their way, they run into another bounty hunter, The Major who is also towing three bounties to the same Red Rock. He asks to hitch a ride with them – because his horse died at some point.

 

And then, the story begins.

 

Another person joins them in the wagon; someone who claims to be the Sheriff of the town they’re all headed to. They all drive on, until a blizzard begins and they almost cannot see their way anymore. They stop at a wayside inn – Minnie’s Haberdarshery – where they run into four more strangers with various stories and the strangest one; a Mexican who states Mimi went to see her mother for a week and left him in charge.

 

Exactly why is it strange? Watch the movie – though I doubt it’ll make it to Nigerian Cinemas. One can  hope; however.

 

Allow me state; the movie is not exactly about The Hangman but about the woman he is taking to Red Rock; Daisy Domergue.

 

The thing about this particular piece of Tarantino magic is; it starts slow. There’s a lot of rambling talk for the first twenty minutes – almost to an hour – and then, you get to see when The Major goads a seemingly-innocent man into reaching for a gun and shoots him dead without so much as a blink.

 

An older man for that matter.

 

If you’re one for dialogues and character depths in your movies, this is a must-see. But if you’re the impatient Transformers/Terminator/Transporter/Expendables type movie fan, do stay away. For at least an hour, you will be bored to tears.

 

It’s almost too easy to assume the movie is just another action piece until you hear the Major (Samuel L. Jackson) say cryptically; “There’s at least one person here who ain’t exactly who they say they are.”

 

As it is with most Tarantino movies; there’s a lot going on – more than meets the eye. Somewhere along the lines, a couple of people drink poisoned coffee and start vomiting blood; and in a scene that’s reminiscent of an Agatha Christie mystery; The Major lines most of the occupants of the cabin against the wall and starts to unravel the holes in the stories of the strangers they met inn the haberdashery.

 

I enjoyed this movie for the exotic dialogue and the strangeness of the characters and the usual craziness in every Tarantino movie – this time it’s about the Major’s claim that he had been pen pals with President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War and he has a letter to prove it. That;s alone is a sweet spot in the film.

 

The Hateful Eight is another notch in Tarantino’s feathered and often controversial cap, maybe one not as strong as Django or Kill Bill or Pulp Fiction (with the bible-verse spouting Jules Winfield), but it is one to watch.

 

You Cannot Really Hate; The Hateful Eight.

 

Unless of course; you do not like Tarantino.

 

Coming Up Next; By Special Request:

 

 

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For Want Of A Child XIX

Masthead 19

 

“Your phone is ringing Frank,” the man to his left said.

 

He shook himself awake. Sure enough, the phone was singing its signature tune; not loud enough to disrupt the going-on but loud enough so the people immediately around him could hear; one of whom happened to be Sofia’s father.

 

“Excuse me,” he said, moving away from the men who were filling the grave and reaching for his phone at the same time. The funeral service was over and people were leaving – not that there were a lot of people, just immediate family and some friends.

 

As he put the phone to his ear, he could see Sofia’s mum smiling at a weeping couple while wiping tears of her own. Strange; he thought now, how she’d even heard of the news.

 

According to Sofia’s dad she called the day after the accident, asking to speak to her daughter urgently. Trying to stall, the man asked what the problem was and she said she’d had a terrible dream and wanted to pray for her daughter.

 

The man had started crying and the woman joined in.

 

“…Frank?”

 

“Ah – sorry, Igo. I was…distracted.”

 

She sighed. “It’s fine, Frank. I was just asking if you can talk now or – “

 

“Sure I can. The service is over; the grave is being filled as we speak. I’m just waiting to pay my respects and I’ll be home.”

 

“Okay. I’m making afang – afang and amala. You didn’t have anything when you left the house this morning, and I’m sure they didn’t serve refreshments at the funeral.”

 

“I’m not hungry, Igo. Thank you.”

 

“All the same, you must eat. Hurry back, baby.”

 

He disconnected the call, pocketed his phone and turned – just in time to receive a hug from Sofia’s mother. She held him close and sobs started to shake her all over again, and Frank buried his face in her shoulder, hiding his tears as best as he could.

 

When she finally let him go, she looked closely into his eyes even though he was trying to avert them. She held his hand and smiled.

 

“Oh Frank, you must think me your enemy because I opposed your relationship with my daughter.” Frank started to say something but she held up her hand and stopped him. “Please let me finish.”

 

Frank nodded.

 

“I imagine you cannot exactly feel how it is; a mother about her daughter. But I know you understand. I know you miss her too, Frank. She loved you and I’m sure you loved her; if for no other reason than the child she was carrying. Your child.”

 

She wiped his eyes – wiped the tears streaming from them – and then hugged him impulsively. “Don’t be a stranger, okay? Come and see us as often as you want. You matter.”

 

As she stood back, she noticed he was staring at something – and her face followed his gaze. “He’s been sober since the accident,” she said, referring to Ales who was kneeling beside Sofia’s grave as they filled it. “He’s been sober and feeling some sort of way. He wouldn’t eat; he would sit in his sister’s room and cry. He doesn’t go out any more too.”

 

“Survivor’s guilt,” Frank supplied, wondering why he wasn’t angrier with the brother than he was.

 

She swung his hand playfully – and then let it go. “So maybe some good somehow managed to come out this, abi?”

 

Without waiting for his answer, she turned and walked away.

 

 

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A week after the funeral, Frank was able to talk with Fola in the hospital.

 

“Four months and it still feels like last week,” Frank said, hands in his buba pockets as he addressed the man laying on the bed. “You though, are a sight for sore eyes.”

 

Fola’s laughter was a relieving sound. “I feel better, Frank. Oyinade’s honey and ori solution has been a great help.”

 

Frank nodded, comparing the Fola he was speaking with now with the one he had come to see all that time ago in the hospital. The bandages were off, the skin was a mass of scabs that peeled off in flakes, his face was almost back to normal but for the eye and a huge black patch. His spirits were higher than usual.

 

“It is good to see you like this, Folly.”

 

His friend grinned. “Hey, life goes on right? No be so Afo dey talk am?”

 

“Na so o,” Both friends chuckled.

 

“So, how far with Stella now? I hear she came visiting again last week.”

 

Fola grunted as he tried to sit up – Frank quickly bent over and helped him. “Yes she did o, and I agreed to see her finally. I don’t think she had any idea how bad I was – she just stood by the door there and cried.”

 

Frank looked at where Fola was pointing, imagining Stella standing there, hands choking the life out of each other, tears streaming down her face. He recalled seeing her again two months before and thinking how much weight she’d lost. She did love her husband in her own crazy way…

 

“Frank, how about you? How you dey?”

 

He had given Fola a blow for blow account of Sofia’s funeral but they hadn’t talked about much else. Now, he leaned against the wall and closed his eyes.

 

“I just feel this deep sadness; mostly because she was so young and she didn’t have to die. She died as a result of someone’s carelessness – someone else’s demons killed her. That’s how I feel for the most part. That; and the calm she brought around her.”

 

“Hmmm,” Fola stated. “You know what I find most interesting?

 

Frank shook his head.

 

“I’ haven’t heard you mention the baby once. Isn’t that why you were marrying her?”

 

Frank nodded. “I also thought about that, you know. And I realize at the end of the day, it wasn’t about that – it isn’t about that anymore.

 

“Amen bro,” Fola said. “You know you have to move on sha.”

 

“Move on to what? Everything in due time, guy.”

 

“You still staying at Igo’s place, right?”

 

Frank nodded. “Yeah. I’m afraid I’ve cost her a couple of boyfriends too. But the woman won’t allow me leave – and honestly, I don’t want to. Not yet. I cannot go back to that house yet. It depresses me like you cannot believe.”

 

“Hmmm,” Fola said again. “Hey – how far Idowu sef?”

 

“Idowu!” Frank ejaculated, hitting himself on the forehead. “You know, I’ve practically forgotten about that woman. She has herself a boyfriend now – they’ve been dating for a while sef.” He chuckled. “They should sha give me wedding invite make I fit arrange jollof rice.”

 

Fola chuckled. “When is Igo coming to see me again na? That woman though, she’s like twenty if she’s a day! I wonder how she does it.”

 

“Tell me about it,” Frank said, thinking about the time he’d seen her naked. It was amazing that her breasts still fought gravity off in spite her age. Maybe the truth that they weren’t all that big to begin with…

 

“The company HMO is taking care of the hospital costs o,” Fola interjected. “Those guys are something. You know they refunded the initial deposit sha? So all this time, and it’s not costing me a dime.”

 

“It’s costing you other things.”

 

Fola nodded soberly. “My guy, you have no idea how much I’d give to be out of this bed for good. I dey try waka up and down small daily sha, so that I don’t get bed sores again.”

 

“Yeah. That first month was rough – “

 

There was a knock on the door – and excited yells of “Daddy! Daddy!!” broke out. Frank and Fola, mouths hanging open, watched as Fola’s children rushed into the ward and all but jumped on their father.

 

“Children, you know I told you no rough business. Daddy’s just getting better.”

 

And there she was. Stella.

 

Frank thought she looked more beautiful, but he preferred her with more flesh. He hugged her gently and smiled at her. “It’s good to see you,” he said as she released him. Gently, he wiped the tears that had pooled at the bottom of her eyes and nodded. “It’s okay,” he whispered. “He’s happy to see you.”

 

Fola was struggling to wrap his left arm around both his children at once while a tear slipped out of his one good eye. Frank cleared his throat. “I’ll be outside,” he said but mostly to himself.

 

No one else was listening.

 

*********************************************************************************************

 

“What do you think is going to happen to them?”

 

Frank popped another piece of meat into his mouth. “Hmmm, I really haven’t thought about it. They still love each other; that much is clear. Fola has forgiven her; that much is also clear – what I don’t know is if they can try again.” He picked his teeth and then sucked air through the holes. “Your afang is the standard by which all afang should be measured. Thank you.”

 

Igo blushed prettily. “Your words are a meal of their own, sir. You’re welcome.”

 

He sat back and drank water while Igo cleared the table. And then, carrying his glass he walked to the kitchen where he found her bent over the sink. For a small moment, his glance lingered on the seat of her shorts and how tightly-stretched it was – and then he cleared his throat and looked away.

 

“You know,” he began. “I haven’t gone out in a while. I feel a sudden urge to see a movie. Will you please come with me?”

 

She smiled over her shoulder. “You need to ask? Sure I’ll come – on one condition.”

 

“I know, I know. You get to pick the movie, You know,” he sighed. “I would have thought at least one of your boyfriends would have corrected that behavior by now.”

 

His steady gaze held no guile. Igo smiled again.

 

“You couldn’t change it in twelve years of marriage. What makes you think anyone else stands a chance?”

 

Frank raised his hands in surrender.

 

 

*********************************************************************************************

 

As with most everything else, one thing led to another.

 

It started when, at some point in the movie, Frank leaned over and rested his head on Igo’s shoulder. She put her arm around him and he snuggled closer, liking the soft scent that streamed from her neck. He knew if he looked down he would catch a glimpse of her blue bra; he knew it was blue because he had walked in on her while she was dressing. He kept his eyes on the screen however, trying to ignore her presence – which was as pointless as trying to ignore a fire on the dashboard while driving.

 

Igo, on her part liked how his warm breath tickled her neck, liked how parts of her felt hot and cold at the same time, liked how her nipples tingled as they hardened. She looked down at him; noticing how his whole attention was on the screen and silently prayed he wouldn’t notice the two pebbles on her chest.

 

Suddenly, her breath caught as he raised his head and looked at her.

 

Frank saw moisture gather on her upper lip, saw the tip of her tongue dart out and lick some of it off – he had been married to her long enough to know the signs.

 

It was the most natural thing in the world for him to kiss her.

 

He found her ardor most encouraging and he slipped his hands on her waist – well, as much as the awkward cinema seats would allow – and leaned into the kiss, eagerly dancing around in her mouth with his tongue, tangling her lips with his.

 

She met him all the way, sighing and moaning softly, wrapping her arms around his neck and claiming his stubborn mouth with hers. They kept on, only stopping when they nearly fell out of their seats.

 

“Kilon shele ni beyen?!” Someone yelled from the back.

 

“Omo, won kiss ni sha,” was the whispered response.

 

Frank chuckled softly as he picked his ex-wife off the floor. “Are you okay?” he asked, taking note of her dreamy eyes.

 

“Let’s go home,” she said.

 

 

*********************************************************************************************

 

 

There was some kind of eager shyness about the way Igo closed the door behind Frank, put her arms around him and kissed him.

 

Frank kissed her back, tangling his hand in her hair. It wasn’t as though it was new; after all he had been married to this woman for twelve years. But it was different; and even though it wasn’t the kind of difference he could point a finger to, his every sense told him it was different.

 

It was different.

 

He kissed her – and then started to cough as something got stuck in his throat. He staggered backwards, coughing violently as Igo followed him, fright making her eyes bigger than usual. Frank stumbled into the living room and Igo followed, flicking on the light switch, wringing her hands, anguish stamped all over her face.

 

“Are you okay?” she asked the suddenly-silent Frank.

 

He nodded and opened his hand. There was a half-eaten stub of popcorn resting in it, looking all innocent; unaware it had just almost killed someone. It was obvious where it came from; she was the only one of them both who had any popcorn.

 

She sighed. “Baby, I’m so – “

 

He pushed his lips against hers, aggressively rushing her against the settee. She moaned softly as he took nips of her neck – and sighed as he palmed the bra-supported firmness that were her breasts. His mouth stayed in the hollow at the base of her neck, eliciting breathless gasps from her while his hands tried to figure out what to do with themselves.

 

Igo, somehow sensing his frustration pushed him away, took off her top and danced back into his arms. Together they unraveled the mysterious contraction called bra and stopped in their antics to watch as Igo sent it sailing in the air. Their eyes followed it, watching the perfect arc it described and ended on the arm of the sofa.

 

“Perfect,” Frank said, looking in her eyes and then letting his gaze fall to linger on her breasts. “Perfect just like you.”

 

“Why, thank you sir,” a smiling Igo said, and she kissed him slowly.

 

“Bedroom?” Frank asked.

 

She shook her head. “Sofa.”

 

 


BOOOOOM! The Novel Sooooon Come!

From our friends at underline media and blacktext publishing…

 

booooom-police-poster-art

 

Expect it!


For Want Of A Child XIIX

Masthead 18

 

 

It was a quarter past twelve; according to the clock against the wall above the bed.

 

Frank could hear what the old man was saying, but he wasn’t listening. His gaze; all of his attention was on the figure lying on the bed with eyes closed, looking pale as a faded red dress.

 

He wasn’t thinking anything. He wasn’t even capable of thought.

 

“…was high but nobody noticed anything; not even when we said goodbye to mummy. I just came home; she asked him to bring her to you, said a friend of yours had an accident and she needed to be with you. How is your friend by the way?”

 

The older man noticed Frank’s fixed stare, nodded and continued speaking.

 

“As far as I was concerned, they were with you. All I expected to hear was how your friend is doing and when they were coming home. The next thing I know my phone is ringing and it’s a Road Safety Marshall asking if I know so and so…” his voice broke. “Oh God. How do I tell her mother?”

 

The spell that held Frank immobile finally let him go. His gaze was steely; his jaw clenched as he faced the man. “Where is she?”

 

 

*********************************************************************************************

 

The mortuary was cold; colder than Frank imagined. He walked behind the girl leading him, trying not to think about what was waiting, what he was about to go see. He didn’t bother telling himself it wasn’t real; the smell of chemicals that stung his nose and made his eyes water were real enough.

 

Their footsteps rang loudly in the enclosed space, and Frank wanted to tell the girl to hurry it up. Finally, she stopped in front of a set of drawers and consulted the pad in her hands. Nodding to herself, she flexed her fingers in the gloves, snapped the gum she was chewing sloppily and pulled the lower of the drawers out.

 

There she was. Sofia.

 

But for the flaccid whiteness of her skin and an angry gash above her left eye, she could as well as have been sleeping. The calm, relaxed looseness he kissed whenever he woke before her was very present –

 

He shuddered. He had suddenly wanted to hug her.

 

“Something – maybe the car engine block or something crushed her chest. She had to have died immediately. Em…sorry sir, who are you to her?”

 

“Why?” He didn’t look away from Sofia.

 

He could hear the girl fidgeting. “Well, the doctor didn’t tell her daddy because he thought it might not go down well – “

 

“They know she’s pregnant. Actually, it’s my baby she’s carrying. We were about to get married.” He turned away.

 

“Oh. Sir, I’m so sorry sir.”

 

He was almost at the door before he answered; “Me too.”

 

*********************************************************************************************

 

Darkness.

 

“Igo…”

 

“Frank! I have been calling…are you okay? What’s wrong?”

 

“I…think I just hit someone…something…I don’t know…”

 

“Okay, calm down. Where are you?”

 

“I don’t know…I’m just…” Silence. “Somewhere in Palm Groove…I was trying to get home…”

 

“Can you be a bit more specific?”

 

Pause.

 

“I think I’m somewhere around Larex hotel…”

 

“Okay, stay there. I’m on my way.”

 

Darkness.

 

*********************************************************************************************

 

I’m cold.

 

What am I doing beside this river?

 

Where was I before? Where am I coming from? Where am I going?

 

God I’m cold.

 

This cannot still be Lagos; all this fog. The harmattan is not that bad na.

 

Wait. Who is that? Who are…

 

…you…?

 

Sofia?! What are you doing over there? Whose that little girl with…wait.

 

Is that my child? I have a girl?

 

Don’t wave at me like that. Where….where are you going?

 

WHERE ARE YOU GOING?!

 

Don’t take her! Don’t take my girl with you!

 

I’m coming! I’m – YEEEEEEE! This water is burning!

 

Sofia! Sofia!!!

 

 

*********************************************************************************************

 

SOFIA!!!!

 

“Frank! Frank!! You’re dreaming! Hey, it’s a dream!”

 

He sat up, naked torso glistening. He could feel cold air on his arms and chest; at the same time he could feel the wetness of sweat. There was someone sitting beside him, and he reached out with clutching hands.

 

“Sofia?”

 

“No o, this is Igo.”

 

Frank swallowed. “I’m – I’m sorry. I’m…” he paused and looked around. “What’s going on? Where are we and how did we get here?”

 

“We’re in my house, and I brought you here – drove you here actually.” It was dark but he could feel her eyes boring into him. “What happened, Frank? What’s going on? Who is Sofia, what happened to her and how come you drove into a parked car? You’re not drunk – or is it drugs?”

 

Frank swung his feet off the sofa and onto the floor, and buried his head in his hands.

 

“Could I have some water please?”

 

Igo scrambled to her feet wordlessly and left the room. Moments later, the lights flicked on and she came in bearing a bottle of water and a glass.

 

“Thanks,” Frank mumbled softly, taking the bottle and glass from her. Quickly, he poured himself a glass full and gulped it down almost immediately. And then, he put the glass down and looked at his hand. It was trembling violently.

 

“Oh God,” he began, “Sofia is…Sofia is the girl I was going to marry. She was carrying my baby…and now she’s…” he couldn’t continue, instead he kept repeating “Oh God.”

 

Igo cradled him against her t-shirt-covered bosom, her tears mingling with his.

 

 

*********************************************************************************************

 

Sometime later, a much-calmer Frank finished narrating the tale to the listening Igo seated a settee away, long legs tucked under her, her chin in her hands, hair held back with a hairnet, tears glistening in her eyes. Frank himself was rather dry-eyed and steady; something that could be attributed to the colorless liquid in the glass he was carrying, a glass different from the one Igo handed him a few minutes before.

 

Of course, the colorless liquid wasn’t water.

 

“It’s just like okada accidents; very rarely do the riders get hurt, but the passengers barely escape with their lives. He was barely scratched; at least from what I could see.” He sighed. “The idiot ran into a parked trailer.”

 

Igo wiped her eyes slowly. “I don’t know what to say. ‘Sorry’ doesn’t begin to cover it.”

 

“I’m just confused. What is going on? Why now – why is everything falling apart all of a sudden? I would ask God but all I have done lately is to blame Him for everything including my own nonsense.” He raised the glass to his lips and swallowed. “The person I feel most sorry for is Sofia’s father. How is he going to tell his wife?”

 

“I’m sorry Frank,” Igo said, sniffing. “I can’t help but wonder why you didn’t tell me about Sofia sha. Why didn’t you tell me?”

 

“We are just becoming friends again, Igo. I wasn’t ready to lose that. And then, it just never seemed like the right time. I’m sorry.”

 

She wiped her eyes. “It’s okay, Frank. I would have liked to meet her.”

 

Frank set the cup down and fished for his phone. It wasn’t where he expected it to be; his hip pocket so he started to pat around him.

 

“That’s strange,” he mumbled.

 

“What are you looking for?”

 

“Eh…my phone, wallet and…” his voice trailed off, his eyes followed Igo’s pointing finger to a side table, on top of which lay the things he was looking for.

 

“You need to tell me how you got me and my car here – or did you leave it there?”

 

She chuckled dryly. “I’ll tell you as soon as you’re done with your phone.”

 

He took the phone off the side table and unlocked it, and then rose and walked to Igo’s side of the room to squat beside her. “This is Sofia,” he said, his voice breaking.

 

Igo leaned forward and looked at the picture Frank was showing her. It was of a smiling Sofia, playing with her hair and laughing at something beyond the camera.

 

“She’s beautiful,” Igo said softly – barely catching the phone in time as Frank suddenly let go of it. Placing the phone beside her, she pulled him to herself.

 

 

*********************************************************************************************

 

“It was Sunny drove me to where you were. When we found you, I just moved you to the passenger seat and drove. Sunny followed me. We also carried you in.”

 

“‘Sunny’ would be…” Frank’s waving hand hung the question in the air.

 

“The gateman,” Igo said simply. “He’s a good driver.”

 

“Well, my thanks to Sunny. And to you,” he continued, looking at her warmly. “I’m thankful, Igo.”

 

She waved away his thanks. “You would do the same for me.” There was a moment of silence, a moment in which she glared at him, daring him to disagree. “What happens now?”

 

“I can’t go home – at least not yet. She did all the décor, the painting – “He broke off and sighed. “I can’t handle that…”

 

She cradled his face. “You know that’s not what I’m talking about, Frank. What happens with Sofia?”

 

Resting his head against her chest, he closed his eyes. “I don’t know, Igo. Maybe they would wait till her mother gets back before proceeding with funeral arrangements or something. I think that’s just going to be a private ceremony – I don’t even know.”

 

“What a time,” she sighed. “And your parents? Do they know? I mean, if she’s pregnant they must have met her, right?”

 

Frank groaned. “I can’t even tell mama. Not yet o, ha. The woman will kill me or something.”

 

Igo sighed. “What a time,” she said.

 

 

*********************************************************************************************

 

“Ah….haba na. No be so we talk am o,” Priye’s lamentations sounded like an auto-tuned artist’s voice.

 

“What am I supposed to do, ehn Priye? The matter no tire you reach me.”

 

“E no suppose tire me reach you na. And then, Folly bin tell me say she don carry for you sef.”

 

At that moment, Frank realized he hadn’t even spared a thought for the baby Sofia had been carrying.

 

His baby.

 

He wiped his eyes and sighed. “It’s almost as though she just came to play briefly in my life, Priye. I mean, what was the point of it all? Is she dead for the sake of a story or what? My guy, I tire.”

 

“I tire join you. I bin wan talk say God know how far, but you no believe in God. To say you send am now, you for see pessin blame. Abi na my fault?”

 

Frank’s chuckle lacked humor. “Actually na her brother fault. The guy bin dey alright when e dey drive am – e don high go far. The guy no come get any injury.”

 

“Guy – “ Priye started, and then kept quiet. There really weren’t words. “Una don find Folly wife?”

 

“There was nobody looking for her – well I wasn’t, but Folly’s dad was just telling me she’s with her parents in PH. The man requested for a meeting, so she might be showing up sometime soon.”

 

“Abeg when she show, just break one of her legs. I go do thanksgiving.” The friends’ laughter filled the semi-abandoned hall of the hospital before Priye continued. “How Fola himself sef?”

 

“Some of the wounds don dey dry, but im face man, im face don dey wrecked beyond recognition. Im left eye no get hope, dat one don blind. But dem get hope say im body go still dey alright.”

 

“I know say nothing go change whether I do Stella anything or not – but man, e go help me feel better small.” He coughed. “You see why me I dey maintain say marriage no be for mi?”

 

“Dat one na just excuse jo. How your people for dat side?”

 

“Ol boi!” Excitement suddenly jumped back into Priye’s voice. “De mosquitos wey dis side man, dem no get part two! As a soji guy I arrange mosquito repellent for hand, but dem militant pass the ones wey dey Lag. I swear, dem dey enjoy the tin!”

 

“Hehehehehehe! Shey una don dey settle di matta sha?”

 

“I no even care jare. Konji wan kill me for hia. All the gehls ehn, either dem too old or dem too young. I no even understand…”

 

“Priye, nothing do you. I go follow you talk later.”

 

Frank pocketed his phone and walked towards Ward 9.