The third and last book in this volume of the Lẹ́bẹ́ series is out – finally!
Now, see below for a preview:
Lanre nodded. Calculator raised the baton and brought it down, slicing the air with it.
Lanre smacked Kolo across the face with a left fist, splitting his cheek and drawing blood. Kolo swung a backhand – Lanre ducked underneath it and gave a rapid one-two punch to the side, danced backwards from an uppercut – and caught a devastating punch to the chest.
He slammed into the wall and barely threw his hands up to ward off another heavy punch. Fending off a second one with his left forearm, he delivered a punch to the jaw. It wasn’t at full strength given his position, but it was heavy enough to push Kolo back. A second one sent him staggering.
Regaining his balance, Lanre moved in on Kolo, leading with a hard right to the body and following with a two-handed blow to the head. Kolo staggered, shook his head and smiled. The crowd cheered, screaming and patting each other on the back. Lanre could hear some of them placing bets and grinned wryly.
Such was the life in prison. Live now.
A quick punch from Kolo set Lanre’s head ringing. He staggered back and spat, noting the red in his spit. He tasted blood in his mouth, and he weaved backwards, working for some space. He realized Kolo punched technically instead of relying on brute strength, a sign of his; Lanre’s training. He grinned again.
The fight was going to be tough.
Kolo threw a punch towards Lanre’s head. It looked like a feint, so he ignored it and focused on the other hand. Sure enough, his second hand flew towards Lanre’s groin and would have done considerable damage had it landed. He blocked it with his elbow, caught Kolo’s wrist, and pulled him forward into a clothesline.
The bigger man did not go down.
He bent over however, hacking and coughing, trying to get air through a bruised windpipe. As Lanre drew nearer, he suddenly rushed him about the knees and straightened, bringing Lanre crashing down on his back. He hit the floor with the back of his head and for a moment, sight and sound were stars and bells ringing.
That moment, however brief was enough for Kolo. Sitting astride Lanre, he slammed punch after punch into the upturned face. The first one hit his left cheek, the second was knocked away, the third hit his forehead, and the fourth –
The fourth never landed.
Lanre turned his head – and Kolo slammed his hand into concrete. There was a sound of something breaking, along with Kolo’s scream. Mustering all his upper torso strength, Lanre sat up and upended Kolo. He bounced to his feet and moved back, giving the man room to stand.
“E don do you?” he asked as Kolo struggled to his knees and then, his feet, cradling his hurt hand. It was clear the hand was not joining the fight anytime soon; it was already its original size and a half.
Calculator came between the two, looked at the hand, and then at Kolo. “Can you continue?”
Click here to buy a copy of The Final Act!
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!
Sometime In April…
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.
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An amateur boxer is put in prison for getting on the wrong side of a rich man and roughing up police officers. Of course, he is forgotten there. Sometime later, he does the cousin of a colonel a favor and the colonel gets him released into his custody as a companion for the Colonel’s cripple son. Unknown to the colonel however, his son was the protégé of a murdered hero and he has been searching for a replacement. The amateur boxer, in exchange for help finding his wife and child helps rid the streets of a new designer drug and in the process, learns what it is to be a hero.
Lẹ́bẹ́ is a street-level, crime-noir pulp magazine-type publication and will be available on OkadaBooks from Monday the 13th of March for five hundred naira (N500). Thank you for the support!