So I’m about as knowledgeable about women as a rat is about massages. Forgive me.
First thing I do that Monday is to look her up on Facebook. Sure enough, there are enough pictures of her there to make for an art exhibition. Nothing sleazy or dirty though. Just…pictures.
I ‘steal’ the most detailed ones and have a small confab with my secretary – the same one who looks at me like I’m Dominoes Ice-Cream. Meh.
Next move? Konga for some quick shopping.
I buy some expensive lingerie…the most expensive I can find. And for an embarrassing moment I lose myself in the sights of delightful intimate female bits.
I sigh and shake my head, pulling myself together. It’s been a while.
I have a moment of misgivings. Is this the best thing I can come up with? What’s the worst that can happen?
I laugh. It’s too late for cold feet now.
Placing the order for three overtly-sensual pieces, I fill in the address and name and then pay via MasterCard. The package is scheduled.
I also ask my secretary; who is turning out to be quite the asset where I can order roses. She blushes, flutters her eyes and scribbles a number for me. I order half-a-dozen white roses and schedule them for delivery after three working days. I assume if everything goes right with Konga she should be getting it around that time.
Grinning happily, I begin the day’s work. We have a meeting with said client Friday.
I won’t be surprised if she does not show up. I hope my boss isn’t.
Many, many many things go bump in the night.
But not all of them are bad.
In the exact same vein, several things go bump during the day.
But not of all them are good.
Take for example.
The first time he bumped into her along the beverage aisle, the first thing that came to his mind was that she was firmly made. They mumbled their apologies and walked in opposite directions.
The second time he bumped into her, it was in the perfume section. It was awkward – but they smiled at each other and he joked about it, a joke she laughed politely to. Her eyes spoke to him where her lips didn’t – they suggested to him that he was lingering so he cleared his throat and took his exit.
When he found himself behind her on the checkout line, he knew he had to do something. He thought about how to get her attention without it appearing as though he was or had been stalking her. As they drew nearer and nearer to the exit, he discarded scenario after scenario, his mind scurrying frantically trying to get out of the uninspired creative maze he found himself in. Nothing came.
And just when he was about to give up, her elbow moved suddenly, knocking the bottle of McDowell’s he was carrying almost negligently from his hand. Her gasp sounded very erotic to him, and he smiled to himself as he stooped to pick up the bottle.
“It’s not broken,” he enthused, grinning into her confused face.
She smiled at him, relieved. He smiled as the relieved look became one of recognition. “Seems I keep bumping into you, or is it you into me?” she asked, guileless eyes shining smoky darts in his direction.
“As long as some bumping’s going on, I don’t care who’s doing it,” he answered. She grinned wickedly.
It was a delight for him to walk behind her, particularly watching the way her hair gently lay on her shoulder. He was sure it was a weave-on, but it was stuck so cleanly to her head he couldn’t see what her own hair looked like – not that it mattered anyway. It gave him a tickle the way the loose strands at the end of the weave stirred and slumped in the air-conditioned atmosphere. It was so erotic, so sensual.
It was the most natural thing in the world to buy her a drink. They sat underneath the area’s mallam drank Ribena and Sprite from cans and spoke about things like Sesame Street, things like Fraggle Rock and Voltron and NTA 2 Channel 5. At the beginning he was constantly looking at the time, but when he noticed she didn’t care he stopped bothering.
Like taking a walk; one foot after the other, so did their conversation advance from safe topics onto ‘dangerous’ ground. He found himself answering her questions about his erotic hot buttons and what nots, found himself paying too much attention to the third button of her blouse – the only obstacle; or so he thought in the cesspool he called a mind, the only obstruction to his discovery of the color of her unmentionables. He didn’t think she observed him observing it – hence his shock when the index finger of her left hand suddenly found itself tangled with that button.
“Will you help me?” she asked him, gamine eyes tickling some parts of him he couldn’t name. He nearly stumbled across the bench to her side – and as he bent over to ‘help’ her, she grabbed the back of his neck and kissed him.
He could swear there was steam rising from his ears as he tried to match her twist for twist – and then suddenly she pushed him away, stood up and grabbed his hand.
“Where are we going?” he asked the moment his lips untangled themselves from his tongue and teeth.
“My house,” she replied firmly in a voice that brooked no argument. Not that he wanted to argue.
And so she led him to her house, fully expecting to have her way with him.
And he followed her willingly, expecting to have his way with her.
Both of them were wrong.
“With persuasive words she led him astray;
she seduced him with her smooth talk.
All at once he followed her
like an ox going to the slaughter”
December 2012 I published an e-book titled ‘For Days and A Night’. If you’ve read it, you’ll probably recognize the story that follows. If you want to read it again – please do.
If you have no idea what ‘For Days and A Night’ is about, please read on.
“But Daddy, shebi if this bread was Nigerian made now, shebi people will start saying they are using juju. See how people are plenty on the line.”
“Baby, the bread is Nigerian made. It is made in Nigeria by Nigerians.”
“But Daddy, shebi you said that Shoprite is a South-African supermarket? Shebi that’s what you said.”
Sigh. My wonderful daughter.
The lady standing in line behind us looks like she’s hanging out with Bovi and Basketmouth at some event. I don’t see the joke.
I wonder why my daughter is standing beside me and not running up and down the aisles like most other kids. Isn’t that what kids her age do? Eerily, she looks anything but her age as she stands beside me with silent dignity, looking up at me with an expression of childish curiosity. I sigh and lean over till my face is on the same level as hers.
“Yes indeed, it is South African business. But you don’t expect them to bring bread down here everyday now, do you?”
She looks thoughtful, posing like the thinking man as though she is actually considering what I’d said.
“But how does the bread taste so different from all the ones we’ve been eating?” she asks.
“Because they probably have their own recipe, imported and all. So what they do is to bring a supervisor who mixes the flour and everything…” I pause to see if she is listening.
“Hmm-mmm,” she nods seriously.
“And then he just supervises the baking. That’s most likely why it tastes different from everything else,” I finish and stretch, wincing from a pain in my waist. This is starting to become an inconvenience, I think.
“Thank you for explaining daddy. Mummy says you’re the smartest man she knows,” my baby says.
That makes me sad. If she thinks I am so smart, why did she leave me?
I can’t find an answer.
Twenty-something minutes later it’s our turn to get bread. I dump two hot loaves into our nearly-full basket and head towards the cash register, my little girl skipping ahead of me. She gets to the fruit stand, raises herself on tiptoes and lifts the largest bag of apples she can carry.
Carefully raising it, she shows it to me, asking for my approval. At my smile she bravely tugs it to the least occupied cash register and waits for me to show up. I get there a few minutes later – having stopped to organize a few surprises for her.
Right in front of us is this annoying young couple. They keep touching each other lightly, teasing, smiling and laughing at each other. They are clearly in love; giggling like two monkeys. The way they are carrying on you’d think they were the only ones in Shoprite.
Some old women and men on the line smile indulgently, recognizing it for what it is. I frown because I recognize it for what it is; two people making fools of themselves over something that is not destined to last. From the left edge of my vision I see my little girl looking at me, definitely about to ask another question. I keep my face straight and frown deeper. She leaves me alone.
Finally we get out.
I ask her to wait by our stuff while I go get a cab from outside the parking lot. You should get a car; I tell myself. Definitely makes things easier all around. By the time I return, she is talking with two young girls dressed as though they are headed for a D’Banj video shoot. I politely but firmly shoo them away and load my daughter and our stuff into the cab.
And then we head home.
“Don’t you like women anymore Daddy?”
You would expect that I would be used to my daughter’s curiosity and strange questioning techniques by now. Sorry to let you down.
“Where did that come from?” I ask, reluctantly turning away from the window to look at my daughter’s upturned face. She really is beautiful.
Her brows gather as she concentrates. “Well, we’ve been together for two weeks now and you haven’t said hello to any woman except the cleaning woman and grandma’s friend.” She pauses. “Mummy says you need female attention,” she concludes.
“Mummy should learn to mind her business,” I mumble under my breath. My ex-wife is a model and therefore attention is the order of her life. And while I understand it is not to make me jealous; it was that way even when we were married. I do not like it.
“I just want to spend time with you. You’re the only woman I need right now,” I say. She smiles briefly at that, and then that look appears on her face. Not this time; I think grimly and quickly ward off what I know is coming.
“I have a friend,” I confess, half truthfully. “I would have brought her to meet you but I wanted this time – just you and me. Haven’t you missed me?” I say, acting hurt.
“I have – and you know, Daddy,” she says, sliding across the back seat to hug my arm. “Okay. But when can I meet your friend?”
“She wants to meet you,” I say as I get off the examination table, quickly putting on my shirt again. The belly I’ve grown over the past three months is embarrassing, and I don’t want her seeing more of it than is necessary.
“Your back is bust,” my physician says. “I think you slipped a disc – your hips are slightly bruised. But nothing a couple of injections and medication won’t cure,” she finishes.
I nod, uncharacteristically fidgeting. It is because she has not answered my question, and I understand why. It implies a different level of commitment…one she probably is not ready for. I am not even sure I am ready myself. We have seen each other socially a couple of times, and we are genuinely fond of each other – we agree it’s not serious.
She pushes her glasses back on her nose and smiles. “Why are you hiding your belly? Potbellied men are sexy you know, and haven’t you heard Wasiu’s song, ‘give the money to the man with the belly’?”
I am thankful I do not have water in my mouth. I would have bathed her; the way the laughter is naturally forced out of me.
On my way out after my injections and prescription, she gently lays a hand on my sleeve. “I would love to meet your daughter. When would you want me to come?”
I am proud of my daughter tonight.
Whatever else my ex is, she knows how to raise a daughter. She has done herself proud with ours.
At her first sight of my friend my daughter kneels down to greet her properly. My friend is so overwhelmed, she hugs my baby firmly. When she finally lets go, my daughter asks, “What do I call you?”
My friend is taken aback. She looks at me for help, and when she does not get any she sighs. “Well I don’t stand on ceremony, so you can call me by name. It’s -”
My daughter interrupts. “Mum will kill me if I do that,” she says seriously. “I’ll just call you auntie.”
‘Auntie’ looks over at me, eyebrows raised behind spectacles. I shrug.
Dinner is a huge success. I am the guest.
They get on so well I am amazed. It is as though my little girl is determined to make a point. It is incredible. Finally, after auntie leaves it is just me and my little girl on the couch.
“So…do you like my friend?”
She considers that for a bit, fiddling with the hem of her dress. “That’s not what’s important to me daddy.” She pauses, and then continues, “does she make you happy?”
Slowly, my eyes overflow and tears trickle down my cheeks.
I am crying.
I really hope you enjoyed the story! Download For Days and A Night free here!
Be wonderful as usual!
Remember the ‘A-Less Story’ I posted a week ago (if you missed it please click here)?
It was inspired by a Facebook status – I read it and considered that it could be a story. The author agreed – and so we both decided to write.
You read mine a week ago.
Read the status’ author’s.
The ‘A’ Story
A is for Witch
Dear Lord, there’s like a million words with the letter A in them! It took losing the A key on that useless phone to realize that. Why won’t these village witches find someone else to harass? I mean, I have a large enough family. Oh, you don’t believe witches exist? Walk with me.
It’s 9.30 am and so far I’ve woken up late, sworn at my flatmate and set off the fire alarm all because that useless phone froze and didn’t let the alarm and timer go off. Yes, yes, I didn’t think it strange at the time that I’d woken up four times at 5.30am ‘sharp’ or that the 8 minutes required to boil an egg hadn’t elapsed even after I’d showered, made up and found a clean pair of shoes.
Anyway, I’ve stuffed what I think is my black scarf in my handbag and dashed out. I’m going shopping. Just as I’m exiting the gate and entering the world, I pull out the ‘scarf’ to wrap up. Only problem is I’m not wrapping up in the scarf, I’m wrapping up in my old black bra!
Not even the new wonder bra I bought to entice that cute usher at church (he must see that vision this year), but the old, tired, stretched out one I bought at a bargain store in a moment of dire desperation three years ago (story for another day. And yes, I’m still wearing it, do your worst!). But here I am, emerging from the gate, clutching a tired old black bra in both hands like a weapon of war. I swear I can almost feel everything slow down. Luckily, there’s only one elderly couple around to stare at me in utter contempt. I scurry back in to get an actual scarf.
Of course, by the time I get back out I’ve missed my bus so I hang my head in shame for an everlasting ten minutes till the next bus comes and I get in. Right next to me is that same old mean couple. Mrs. Old Couple sits opposite me and just stares and stares. What’s her problem? Is that the 1st bra she has seen? I’m tempted to take off the one I’m wearing now and smack her in the face with it. I pick up the phone and start chatting instead. My sis is online and there’s so much gossip, I soon forget the couple – and indeed myself, because the next time I lift up my head I’m two bus stops past my intended destination. Damn it.
I get off and cross the road and, well; since I’m already here I might as well continue chatting while I wait for another bus. So I chat. And I chat. And I suddenly realise that my sis is giving me one word answers now. I know I’ve overstayed my welcome so I look up from the phone and it’s just then I see the big yellow sign that’s been hanging there all the while: “Last bus 12 noon”.
Of course the useless phone won’t freeze this time. It gleefully tells me it’s 12.34pm.
No problem. I refuse to let the useless phone get the better of me; those village witches won’t win this one. I begin the trek back to the supermarket since I don’t have a dime on me and can’t take a cab. I arrive the store all sweaty and sore, but that’s ok, I just need to get some money from the ATM and I can shop and take a cab back home. Only problem this time is the ATM beeps 3 times and rejects my card.
I try again and the same thing happens. I try a third time even though the lady behind me is giving me the evil eye (she’s skinny and short, I can beat her if need be), this time the machine warns me that if I try one more time it will basically eat my card. At that point it occurs to me to look at the card and I realize I’ve taken the wrong one out. This one isn’t even activated yet. But that’s ok, my flatmate is visiting friends close by, I can always call and ask her to bring some money along and meet me. She’s stingy but I’ll sweeten it with the promise of a bottle of vodka. I like to lie.
Anyway, I get the phone out to call her only to see its frozen. Again. Now, fiddling with it for four to five minutes usually does the trick and get it unstuck, but today I wasn’t taking any more nonsense from it or the witches. So like Moses did the rock, I struck it three times and it came unstuck. So did the letter A key.
I think I vividly remember a village witch whispering in my ear the day I made my phone password ‘AMALGAMATED’.
Elizabeth Ike is a friend, Chemical Engineer and a self-confessed spoilt brat who writes only when she has something on her mind or when she’s alone – which is like once in two years. I need you to please hound her for me; she needs to crank out great stuff like this more regularly.
Or what do you guys think?
You can follow her on twitter here: @zeenike
Thank you! Have an amazing week!
THERE ARE RATS IN SHOPRITE
Kemi was sort of unusual.
That is, in a place where it was as though every girl had baggage and so on, she was a breath of fresh air. When asked, she would smile and say; “I like guys. Sure they lie. Sure they cheat. And we women don’t?”
That is not to say it was easy to be with her. Far from it, in fact.
But she had a friendly way of letting guys down easily – and so even after getting nowhere with her, there were a lot of guys who would do nearly anything for her.
And so it was that Kemi sailed through the first three years of her university education and it looked to a lot of concerned citizens that she would graduate without at least one boyfriend. And then she was in her final year and it looked like a done deal.
That was; until Chika.
Now it is important that you understand; it was not as though Chika was particularly handsome, it was not as though he had something in particular that none of Kemi’s previous suitors had. But there was some measure of sincerity in his declarations – and I honestly think that was what Kemi saw that made her give him a chance.
Of course, she did not tell me anything.
So there they were, two people who suddenly found a reason to spend time together; Chika, happy to be the guy who got to take Kemi out on occasion; Kemi, hiding a lot of what she was feeling behind her Oral B smile. She turned down his gifts, never loaded the credit he bought her, so it was not as though he was her ‘maga’ or ‘mugun’ or whatever term properly described ‘sucker’. She liked him, so she kept him around.
Then came the day school closed for the session and they were graduates. Everybody planned to travel – to forget about school and school related stuff, at least for the next two months or so. Chika desperately wanted a commitment from Kemi, because at this point his feelings had become serious. He needed to know.
So they agreed to meet in their home state, at the newly-opened Ikeja City Mall.
That day, Chika was determined more than ever to get a ‘yes’ from Kemi. He was well-dressed, the fact that he was no longer an undergraduate reflecting clearly in his carefully-chosen attire. Honestly, he looked very well put together – like a hundred naira note. He looked good.
Kemi had always been a looker anyways, and that day was no exception. But there was a different radiance about her smile, a radiance even Chika recognized and acknowledged as a positive sign. His usually jumpy-self had no choice but to calm down.
And so it was, they spent the better part of the day walking up and down the corridors of the shopping mall, enjoying each other’s company. At first, whenever Kemi wandered into a store and picked up a dress or shoes, Chika felt his heart rate increase and he mentally checked his account balance. But after a while and it became clear she was just window-shopping, he relaxed and began to enjoy the moment.
Moments later, they stopped at the ice-cream shop at the second entrance and Kemi ordered three scoops of three different varieties. Chika gallantly attempted to pay for it but Kemi refused so adamantly – you would think there was more to it than just ice-cream. The girl behind the counter who collected the one thousand naira note from Kemi winked at her, and Kemi smiled back…a mischievous smile.
They left the store, Chika somewhat quiet. Kemi offered him a serving from her ice-cream, and as he opened his mouth she shoved the spoon against his nose, smearing his nose with cold cream. She burst out laughing as he scrubbed his nose and snorted loudly, startling several other people. He saw Kemi laughing and he chased after her suddenly.
It was a short chase. He caught up with her just round the corner opposite the Swatch shop and pinned her against the wall right beside the jewelry shop. She almost spilled her ice-cream, laughing hard as he crushed her in his arms. The next thing that happened came right out of a Hollywood movie.
For some reason Chika could not explain, he kissed her. Probably it was her nearness, or maybe the fun he had been having, or maybe the fact that he was yet to have done it, and ‘no time like the present’ as the saying goes. Whatever. He sha kissed her sha, and while Kemi did not resist, she did not exactly respond either. After a few seconds of such an obviously one-sided kiss, Chika backed away feeling as though he had just made out with the back of his hand.
Some indiscreet giggling from a couple of girls watching from across the aisle did nothing to make him feel better. And so he walked away, head hanging while Kemi straightened her dress and followed, still eating her ice cream.
Chika was done. In fact, he was about to tell Kemi he was leaving when she laid a hand on his sleeve, looked into his eyes with that beguiling way of hers and told him she needed to buy some stuff for the house. He followed her into Shoprite.
As they headed into the superstore – specifically towards the baskets, Kemi’s phone rang. She quickly dumped the half-eaten ice cream into a wastebasket and picked the call, indicating to Chika to help get a basket. He got to the basket stand, and as he tried to pull a basket free while carefully watching Kemi out of the corner of his eyes – he heard a small squeak near his hand.
He looked down and behold, there was this fat rat looking at him out of large beady brown eyes.
Now as I had said earlier, there was nothing particularly special about Chika. In fact, for emphasis’ sake he was one of those guys who could not kill a chicken. The sight of blood scared him.
So imagine his reaction, finding a rat staring at him calmly in a place where there weren’t supposed to be rats. He froze with shock, opened his mouth and yelled;
“RATS! THERE ARE RATS…IN SHOPRITE!!!!”
Kemi, who had been speaking with her mother on the phone calmly hurried over, took the basket from Chika’s hands, and in the midst of the stunned silence handed the basket to one of the attendants. And then she turned to her shamefaced escort and…you guessed it; kissed him.
The poor shoppers looked as stunned as I felt; having shock after shock handed to them. In fact, the silence within was so complete that a few people who were passing looked in just to be sure there was nothing wrong. And then, slowly, people started to move again.
They got married not too long after; don’t ask me why or how. I am only the writer of the story after all, and not the chronicler of their lives. I was at the naming ceremony of their first child, and even though Kemi refused to tell me anything, I am almost sure she agreed to marry him the moment he screamed, ‘there are rats in Shoprite!”
Women. Who can understand them?
Happy New Year people! Welcome to the best year of all our lives.