Book II is finally out and ready to hit your hands…well, technically, your devices which you hold in your hands!
So…I’m not crazy.
If you’ve been here with me before, thank you. You can buy Lẹ́bẹ́ Book II: Second Strike here: Second Strike.
If this is your first time, WELCOME. Check out Lẹ́bẹ́: The Series here: The Series.
And here’s a small taster from Book II: Second Strike:
“I am Sensei Uloma, the master of this dojo. I hold black belts in four martial arts including Taekwondo, Wing Chun, Aikido, and Kick-Boxing. I am honored to meet you,” she said and bowed. Straightening, she smiled. “I have heard a lot of you from him,” she threw a thumb over her shoulder. “However, I would like to see what you can do.”
She stepped onto the mat. Lanre made to follow – but she held up her left hand, palm facing Lanre. He stopped and she pointed at his feet. Only then did Lanre notice she was barefoot.
The Converse he was wearing put up no protest as he untied the laces, and soon he was standing on the mat in stripped socks. Uloma walked up till they were arms’ length apart and stopped.
“This is a light sparring match, therefore no heavy hits. I’ll be mostly trying to touch your chest, shoulders, and head; you’ll be trying to do the same. No kicks, just hands. I want to see how fast and skilled you are.” She paused. “Understand?”
Lanre frowned and turned to his left. “Oga Kelvin, is this the pessin I come and meet?”
Kelvin nodded. “She just introduced herself – she just told who she is. She is the trainer I’ve been telling you about – “ he stopped because Lanre was shaking his head.
Kelvin frowned. “What is the problem?”
“I not fight girl,” was the muttered answer.
“WHAT?” Kelvin said, rather loudly. “What do you – what are you talking about now?”
Lanre had stepped off the mat and was bending over his shoes. “You say I need training, no wahala. You wan’ me to fight beta, no yawa. But to fight girl?” he shook his head this way and that, speaking in time with the shaking. “No, no, no.”
A hearty chuckle stopped Lanre. Uloma walked forward and stood beside him, silently making him straighten. “I understand how you feel,” she said softly, “I also understand this is important. So this is what we’ll do; we’ll do some light sparring for one minute. If you can hit me five times in that minute, I won’t train you. In fact, it’ll mean you deserve more than I can give you. But if you don’t, then you’ll stay and do whatever I ask of you.”
“This is absurd – “ Kelvin began to say.
“Please,” she implored, facing Kelvin. He nodded and she turned back towards Lanre who was looking at her, arms folded across his chest. “What do you say?”
“Five times in one minute, you say?” At Uloma’s nod, he grinned. “That wan no suppose too hard na.”
“So you accept?” Uloma asked.
Lanre nodded, kicked off the one sneaker he had started to put on and assumed the classic boxer stance; knees slightly bent, one hand defensive, the other offensive. He watched the girl closely and regarded her loose stance with puzzlement. She didn’t look like she was about to fight. In fact –
In fact, she looked just like Tattoo Man did before he kicked his ass*.
I hope you enjoyed that!
I’m sorry. I’ve been slow putting this one out here – and its simply because there has been so much on my mind.
So what else is new?
Without further ado, I’d like to share with you a sneak peek into the pages of Lẹ́bẹ́: First Cut!
There were no stars in the sky that night; Chibuzor could tell that much from his position as his vision seemed to dim and brighten alternatively. He was conscious enough to regret not backing up the latest designs for the clothing line company he and his girl were setting up; conscious enough to know the police could see what was happening to him but refused to do anything; thinking about how he was alive with nothing worse than a headache and ripped pants to show for his ordeal. He could hear the clatter of plastic on tarmac and tried to sit up.
A light-headed feeling rushed in on him; his stomach rebelled – he quickly lay on his back once again. From the sounds, it didn’t seem the thieves had noticed him.
Another thing to be thankful for, he decided.
He lay still, feigning unconsciousness, wishing they would just go away. They were mumbling, but for reasons he wasn’t sure about, he couldn’t hear what they were saying.
“Wetin una dey do dia?” said a voice.
Chibuzor’s eyes flew open; the police had come! He stretched his hand, groping for the iron grating of the compound. He found it and pulled himself up, at the same time forcing his swimming vision to focus long enough and seek out who it was that had spoken.
What he saw however made him freeze halfway up.
A figure, a tall and dark figure stood not too far away from the left of Chibuzor. It was what this man was wearing however that made Chibuzor freeze. It was impossible to tell what he looked like because his head was covered with a hood, leaving his face in shadow. He was wearing a dark-colored hooded shirt with a huge, white skull and crossbones printed on the front of it. His hands were wrapped in white bandages; like a boxer would have on before putting on his gloves. Dark-colored jeans and ankle-length black and white Converse sneakers completed his ensemble.
He looked out of place considering the evening heat; there was nothing friendly about the way he stood, in the way darkness somehow clung to him.
The thieves looked at each other and then the self-elected spokesman for the group said, “Oga, waka dey go o. Na we reach here fest. We don even obtain am finis, tomorrow fit be your – “
Chibuzor wasn’t sure what happened. One moment the tout was trying to discourage the stranger, next moment he was staggering backwards trying to keep blood in his nose with his hands. The hooded guy was standing in front of Chibuzor now.
“Oya, drop everything wey you collect back!” the man snarled.
The other touts jumped forward, the smoker pulling out a kitchen knife from the waistband of his jeans, the second wielding a plank. Hooded guy slowly moved backwards, drawing them away from Chibuzor who couldn’t believe his eyes.
God! I must have banged my head real hard, he thought.
Nevertheless, he watched as his savior sidestepped the descending plank and hit its wielder with a left uppercut. Chibuzor winced as he heard the clear crunch of teeth clashing together in a not-so-nice way. The plank wielder went down and screamed through mashed lips and blood-soaked hands. The one with a smashed nose straightened from his crouch and, grabbing the plank, joined the knife-swinger who just sent the knife towards the hooded guy’s midriff in a stabbing move.
A left forearm knocked the knife-holding hand aside and a right jab to the throat put him out of the fight permanently. The knife fell to the tarmac with a clatter and he held his throat with both hands and staggered, thudding loudly beside Chibuzor, breath rattling in his throat.
The loud blaring of a horn drowned out the coughing sounds and a danfo screamed past. “See dis mumus wey dey fight for night!!!” somebody, probably the conductor, yelled.
The plank wielder and the hooded guy circled each slowly, like boxers looking for an opening – and then the plank went up. At that moment, a sound interjected and Chibuzor realized that a phone somewhere was vibrating. The next moment he was once again focused on the tableau before him, forgetting what he’d heard.
He watched as the hooded figure moved aside to avoid the plank with a smoothness that reminded of Michael Jackson moonwalking. He blinked – and the hooded figure was close enough to the plank wielder to hug him. Instead of a hug however, the hooded figure hit him with a swift right-left combination that would have made many a professional boxer envious. In this case however, the street lights were enough illumination for Chibuzor to see the tout’s face change color – and then, he turned his head away as the tout threw up.
The tout fell to his knees and continued to throw up, blood dripping from his nose and mixing with the puke.
Chibuzor was disgusted.
“How you…are you alright?”
Chibuzor stayed against the wall, frightened into immobility. He stared as though hypnotized at the man’s face – at least, where a face was supposed to be. The man’s voice was gruff, uncultured…not too different from what the thieves had sounded like. Chibuzor didn’t move, his heartbeats thunderous in his ears.
“E for beta if you begin dey go o, because dem go wake soon,” hooded guy said, waving in the direction of the touts who were slowly moving again, holding parts of them that hurt. The tout throwing up had stopped, but he was bent over on his knees holding his stomach, rocking back and forth and making moaning noises. Chibuzor left the wall and staggered a bit, feeling for and finding a lump on the back of his head, aware his headache was now a distant pain. He looked at his savior with disbelief.
“What are you, Daredevil…or what…?”
The hood swung his way – and even though he couldn’t see inside it he felt a burning stare.
“Carry your tins dey go,” the voice from within the hood said.
There was a cold finality to the sentence that started Chibuzor moving. He looked around, and spotted his valuables scattered amongst the groaning bodies. Quickly he darted between them and scooped up his laptop, phone, wallet and twenty naira one after the other. Stashing them into his bag, he turned towards the hood who was pointing back towards the busier side of Opebi – the left side from where they were standing.
“Selfie?” Chibuzor asked.
Click here to buy Lẹ́bẹ́ First Cut for only N500!
I have this recurring dream.
I am traveling down a slippery slope – driving; actually. I am driving down this slope and I suddenly realize; I am the one behind the wheel but I am not the one driving.
The car suddenly makes a sharp left turn – and I am thrown out.
But instead of hitting tarmac, I fall into this huge pit beside the road. I fall, screaming – and then wake up in my bed, sweat soaked, gasping for breath.
Writing is a lonely endeavor. It’s almost like a child trying to take her first steps – she keeps trying and keeps falling. At times, the parents – or at least someone – is there; other times not so much. Rarely do parents ever get to watch the miracle of that.
What they; the parents call ‘first steps’ is actually ‘first steps in their presence’. They have absolutely no idea what or how long it took the kid to arrive where she is.
Writing is lonely endeavor. Most often than not, you have no one cheering you on – at least; not during the creating process. You keep doing, you keep going – and what you share with the world; most of the time is a finished product. Only writers like you can even begin to appreciate the rigor that goes into it – but even they don’t exactly know; simply because writing is as individual – as personal – as a thumbprint.
At least ideally.
It’s almost like sex – more specifically; sex with intent to procreate. A million sperms are released; but only one makes its way to the egg. And then, the man keeps hoping and hopping from one foot to the next; not exactly knowing how it works (or maybe he is a brilliant surgeon) but hoping something; someone would make his efforts count – and something of himself would be left in this world.
Writing is a very intimate endeavor. Like sex.
To me, I mean.
I don’t take it lightly; writing – I mean. I still don’t believe I’m any good at it, so I stay in school, paying attention to all the available teachers – the bloggers whose works are praised as crap, the ones whose works are criticized as ‘perfect’, the books that didn’t sell a single copy, the not-so-best bestsellers and the actual ‘bestsellers’, the dreamers who just want to ‘dream’ on in their space; yes, even the ‘attention seekers’, the attention whores – yes; all these people are my teachers and I pay rapt attention to them while I scratch my internal head and wonder why I’m not as good as them – why my writing isn’t any good.
Maybe I’m not meant to be; I console myself with.
Writing is lonely.
There’s always that frightening reality that no one actually understands what jargon I just spent hours scribbling. That understanding that humans are fickle – today we scream ‘messiah’ tomorrow we’re yelling ‘crucify him!’ That awareness that sometimes – all I do is to put the words together in an interesting way – that what I wrote really does not make an iota of sense.
Well. I’m paranoid.
Understand; this is not some attempt at humility or anything close. I hardly ever like anything I write simply because my stories rarely come out the way I see them. It’s frustrating – but I’ve learnt to accept it –the exact same way I’ve learnt to be grateful. I’m really privileged to make a living; a comfortable living off something I enjoy doing – even though I really suck at it.
Something that gives me great happiness. For that alone; I will always be thankful to God.
Writing is sharing. A piece; a story – a thought is simply saying; in a manner of speaking – here; I thought about this and I wanted to share with you, in the hopes that it connects and resonates with you in some unspeakable manner. I hope this helps you makes some sense of your world, I hope it helps you escape some drudgery and boredom, I hope it broadens your mental horizons – and I really hope; at the very least, it makes you smile.
It is to invite a random stranger to step in your shoes for a moment; a minute, a second, an hour – a day – or even for longer; see the world through your tortured/lonely/tormented/inspired/fired/tired/suicidal/haunted/happy/distracted/excited/traumatized/crazy/insane/colorful eyes.
To love a writer is to know pain. To let a writer love you is to live forever.
Em. That’s a shameless plug ashually.
And you read something – and you laugh; pound on your table at work in excitement, or you’re angry at the stupidity of another human being (a character, actually) – or you tear up – happy or sad tears depending – or you’re struck speechless and people around you are wondering what the matter is –
But you would have; for a moment, seen what it is like to live another life.
Such is the power of the writer.
And; in the will-live-forever words of Uncle Ben –
With great power comes great responsibility.
I have this recurring dream.
I am travelling down a slippery slope – driving; actually. I am driving down this slope and I suddenly realize; I am the one behind the wheel but I am not the one driving.
The car suddenly makes a sharp left turn – and I am thrown out.
But – instead of falling into some bottomless abyss, screaming all the way, I find myself going upwards.
I am flying.
At first; it’s a really strange and odd feeling. But, as is the way of humans, I get used to it. I look around, marvel at the beauty of night – of millions of lights; if NEPA allows it – and I smile.
And I wake up in my bed. Laughing. Beating the pillow and screaming into it.
Another demon exorcised. Another mountain climbed.
And – as it will be till I die…
Another story to write.*
*This piece was originally published in my second short story collection Love Drops. If you haven’t read it, click here to download – it’s FREE.
One of the people I had the privilege to speak with for the purpose of the Love Drops collection is a little girl who I imagine ardent readers of this blog would know quite well. Let me recreate the scenario of said interview:
I walk into her room and find her sitting beside her bed, legs folded into each other in a yoga pose. She’s wielding a crayon much like I would a pen, and she’s scanning two books placed side by side in front of her. She looks up as I enter, and then rises.
“Good afternoon,” she replies primly, curtseying. Mother says you have some questions you want to ask me.”
I nod, feeling one kind. The child has a way of unsettling me. “Indeed. I would just like to ask you what you think about love – how would you define love?”
She resumes her former position and picks up the crayon – and then looks at the open pages. I have a moment wondering whether to repeat myself or to just wait – and then she suddenly starts to speak.
Isn’t she interesting? What do you think?
Just in case – download Love Drops The Ebook Here: https://seunodukoya.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/love-drops-ebook.pdf
Good Morning! Happy New Month! Have A Great Week!
Sorry. I’m Excited.
Love Drops Is Here!!!!
Here’s Another Sneak Peek:
From a little room. In my house.
Somewhere In Lagos.
8th of February 2015
My Dearest One,
Yes. I mean you.
I try to imagine your state – I mean your ambiance; your feeling as you read this. If I know you well (which I tell myself I do), you’re sitting up in bed, ignoring the noisy backdrop from screaming generators – or maybe generators are reserved for engineering plants and whatnots where you are – reading this and smiling that smile; you know, the one you smile when you’re all alone in your world, away from prying and judgmental eyes. That smile that makes even you; the ‘smiler’ blush.
Well. It tickles to think you’re smiling for me. Really.
Do you remember how we met?
Wait a moment. Are you sure? I’m convinced it was on Naijastories o.
You saw a link on Twitter – or was it Facebook? Oh – someone mentioned the blog? For Days and a Night? Saving Dapo?
Or is this our first time?
No matter. We have a ways to go before this ends; you and I.
I recall; I remember the first words you ever said to me – the first time you got personal with anything I’ve ever done. I cannot recreate or capture the words here, but if I was to simply sum them, they would read something along the lines of:
You write beautifully.
I must have stared at your tweet/comment/post for hours because I found it beguiling to say the least. What exactly do I write that would make someone like you create time and space in your heart and head for someone like me?
Peep The Cover For The Ebook – And Then Download Love Drops Right After The Jump!
Have a great week – and Happy Reading!!!!
Let us not bore you.
Instead – please read the second excerpt from the forth-coming project; Love Drops.
“Mr. Obi – “
He started awake, jerking as though he’d just stopped himself from falling. Wiping his face from sweat and during-sleep perspiration, he looked around – and then finally up at the woman addressing him.
She tucked a stray strand of braided hair behind her left ear before answering. “It’s after nine, sir. I thought you would want to go home today.”
He watched her from underneath his brows, trying to see if she was trying to make fun of him. The lower left corner of her lip twitched as though struggling – and then it gave way to a smile.
In spite of his embarrassment, he smiled back.
Carefully untangling himself from the chair, he got up. “Why are you still here?” he asked the watching woman as he shrugged on his blazer. He finished and turned towards her to find her regarding him with a question on her face.
“You’re still here,” was her answer, and he felt as though he’d asked a foolish question.
“That was a good meeting, wasn’t it?” he asked her, some days after as they drove away from one of their clients.
“Yes it was,” she responded, but he could tell she was distracted. He turned towards the window, feeling somewhat disgruntled and not knowing why.
“Kola, drive us to Tobe’s school, please.” She addressed the driver.
“Yes ma,” Kola responded.
He turned from his perusal of Ikoyi streets and faced her. “Tobe’s school? It isn’t time to pick him yet, is it?”
She smiled at him tolerantly, like an aunt indulging her little nephew. “No – but it’s his birthday so he gets off early.”
The shock that appeared on his face couldn’t be affected. “My goodness! It is?”
In case you missed it – download “Parts Of Me” the first single from Love Drops here: https://my.notjustok.com/track/12783/psalmurai-parts-of-me
Thank you – March Two Cometh!
Hey there again, true believers!
I have so much to thank you for – but let’s get going here first. Good books, good music, good wine – those are some of the finest things life can afford anyone. I think.
What do you think?
Anyways – from the Love Drops EP Ebook project comes the first single “Parts Of Me” by the artist I’m collaborating with – Psalmurai. Interesting name, right?
Well, as you will come to find, Psalmurai is a brilliant wordsmith and a rap veteran in Nigeria. It’s understandable if you don’t know him yet, just give the single a listen and you’ll see.
Peep the single artwork, read the lyrics from one of the verses – and then download “Parts Of Me” after the jump!
Thank you! And it’s still March Two!
You don’t want no parts of me/
That’s what i told the lady/She in love with me/
Passionately/Can’t get enough of me/
But all I think she wants is a small part of me/
That sane part of me/
Girl I’m crazy when I’m by myself/That’s right/
My state of mind not good for your health/
Yeah you heard me/I know you said you can take it/
But when the blow is felt you cry/And start telling a whole different story/
And then – love story go turn to long story/
Exaggerate like I threw you of the 3rd storey/
Long and short of the matter I’m saying you don’t me/
i might be a nice guy but baby i no holy
I’m rich and famous
I’m nice and happy
A creep/A sadist
I might be pedestrian
Or cruising a Mercedes
Yes I’m looking for heaven
But I’m living in Hades