Thursday, May 30, 2013

Deep Shit!





I stood in the toilet for over an hour, my legs shook like a volcano and I could hear voices coming from the hotel room. It was Ola’s turn, she was the only model left in the room, others had taken the defecating test and left. I heard her cry silently as the men spoke to her harshly.
“Where is the last one?” They asked.
“I don’t know…” She wailed.
“Do you think we are joking? You swallowed twenty kolanuts; how come there are only nineteen defecated? Other girls swallowed and defecated twenty kolanuts.” Bongo spoke harshly.
I peed in my pants the third time while my ears were glued to the door, my heart beat fast and my breath erupted in spurts.
“What should we do with her?” One of the men asked.
“Delete of course, we cannot afford to be found out and once she’s out, she’ll talk.” Said Bongo.
“Please…don’t harm me, I will not say a word…” Ola cried desperately.
I almost died, since I took the kolanuts one hour ago, I had not even defecated one, I was just urinating and sweating. Immediately, I sourced for a quick escape route but found none, the generator hummed loudly and everywhere was noisy. The toilet windows were too small and the burglary proof was separated by barely an inch apart. I was stuck.
“Take her away and waste her!” Was the Don’s command.

I almost fainted as I heard the girl cry and beg loudly, she made moaning noises as she was dragged from the room. I was the last girl left, the other girls had defecated all their kolanuts and had been given special appointment cards and even been taken photographs as one of the men held a camera.
“Please…no…” Ola continued to cry.
“Wait! Leave her there on the floor, let’s see what the other girl holds in store for us.” Said the Don.
They left her there on the floor, whimpering and making inaudible sounds.
 I still stood in the toilet motionless and jerked when I heard the loud call.
“Model number sixteen!” Shouted one of the men.
I am model number sixteen, so I peeped in my pants again and closed my eyes in fear. The girl who cried in the room opened my eyes to the fact that these men were up to no good. I was even at a worse crossroad, nothing has left my anus since I swallowed the pill, I couldn’t let them kill me, I knew I would one day die but it won’t be today. Pushing the door open, I walk into the room.
“You are the last model standing.” Said one of the men.
Ola still cried as she stared at me with red rimmed eyes. One of the men was busy licking his fingers and counting a bundle of notes, the notes looked like foreign currency.
“Yes sir.” I replied in a firm voice, I had to prove to them that I could not be intimidated.
“It’s no news to you that if you do not meet up to our requirements, you will be sent to your forefathers.” Bongus said, giving me a pointed look.
“I hear am.” I reply.
“Aren’t you scared over your fate?”
“Me! Fate? Wetin una dey yan? Na modelling I come ooo, shio... no use fate scatter my brain.” I say.
“No try area gial for here ooo… we go just scatter that ya brain. Wia ya Kola?” Asked one of the men, walking to stand by my side.“Hmmm…you dey smell like piss…” The man said as he made an ugly face and held his nose.
I ignore him while my gaze refused to stray from the man with the money. One of the men asked me again.
“You no dey fear? Wia ya kola? See dis gial oo, her area runs go soon finish am for here.”
“I no be area gial… na werrreee… una dey see hia so.” I say suddenly changing my tone of voice and giving them a sterner look.
“The Don…see this gial oo…see as im mouth sharp like sugar cane, abeg give us order make we finish am for hia.” Said another man.
“You fit? Una no know wetin follow pesin commot for house!” I warn.
Most of them laugh, while others stare at me in disbelief. Seeing that I have caught their attention, I continue.
“I no from Lagos come… na proper village gial I be.”
“Wetin bring dat yaawa come na?” Asked Bongus.
“I come Lagos for mission…”
“Which kain mission?” They ask.
“Na blood carry me come.” I answer turning to stare each one in the eye, but truthfully my legs quaked in fear.
“Who send you?” They ask, some had fear in their voice.

“Na my mama wey dey fly for night!” I reply.
“Ya mama na witch?” One of the men asked me perplexed.
“Ofcourse! I suppose bring five men come for am, we wan use deir head do juju.” I say.
“Ah…” Shouted the men in alarm.
“Since I come, I never see orobo man wey be like una, infact una don make my work easy like chewing gum…” I say.
“Ah…the Don, na witch we recruit ooo…” Shouted Bongus in alarm, while turning to face his boss.
“Are you mad, what kind of witchcraft does she boast of?” The Don replied, rising from his chair.
“The Don, abeg you carry juju follow body so… dis gial wan finish us for here!” Said Bongus.
“I no need juju for this small gial. My juju dey house.” Said the Don, changing rapidly to pidgin.
"Wetin ya juju dey do for house?" One of the men asked the Don fearfully.
"You don see person wey dey carry juju waka before?" The Don asked in disgust.
“Don… I no fit ooo, dis gial fit kill us for here. E no better say we use the fourteen gials wey we catch so? Abeg make we kukuma leave dis one ooo… I get family, I no wan die.” Shouted Bongus, with eyes wide.
“She’s bluffing.” Spat the Don.
“Don, you no hear am? Na mission bring am come Lagos.” Said one of the men. They had all dropped their foreign accents and ploughed pidgin.
“Boys…” Called the Don in a stern voice.
“Sir!” The men all answered.
“What brought us here?”
The men looked at him with uncertainty and shrugged.
“The Don…this na life matter ooo… no be our plan be dis. We be wan use gials export cocaine, we no agree say we go use witch ooo.” Bongus continued.
“She is no witch ,that is what I can assure you of. Where is the passion guys? I don’t want to die a poor man! The nation is corrupt; the government doesn’t attend to our needs. We have decided to search for greener pastures and it all starts from here. Are we going to let this young girl change our plans? The cargo arrives in one week; two thousand, five hundred and fifty wraps of hard drugs will be enroute to Togo through these girls. This is the reason for the kolanut exercise, it is supposed to test the strength of their stomach, any girl that can swallow kolanuts comfortably can swallow coke. Once they cross the border by road, we start processing their papers to transport them to other countries with our merchandise. I have paid a huge sum of money for these goods, it will not help us to abandon this project just because of this girl.” The Don said.
I began to get unnerved, my plan was not working, but trusting in my sharp mind to do wonders, I suddenly switched to my native dialect and throwing in some pidgin to spice it up, I did a little trick of my own.

“Mama I never fail you before, I no go fail you lai lai… na dis men I be wan catch for you…. abeg no vex….they wan form sharp for sacrifice. Use dem Mamma…suck their blood, troway their mind for bush. When I shout MamaSenorita three times, appear for their front, carry dem go!” Pursing for a while to make sure my warning sank in, I inhaled and screamed; “MamaSenorita! MamaSenorita…”
They didn’t even wait for me to finish, the men shouted in fear and rushed to the door, each one taking to his heels and outracing the other in a helpless struggle. The man with the money flung the money away and fled for his life. The door was forced open and everyone including the Don himself was out through the door in minutes.
Ola who was still on the floor, looked up and stared at me in fear and apprehension.
 “You no go run? Abi you wan see witch?” I asked.
The girl scrambled to her feet and raced out of the door in haste, I breathed a deep sigh of relief and kneeling down with my hands in the air, I silently mouthed my thanks, heavenward.  I rose up and made to leave when I saw the heavy wad of notes in a helpless heap on the ground. I quickly make my way towards it, grab the heavy sum and dash out through the door! Saying to myself;
“Na shikere waka dey carry snail reach London; with Senorita, no slacking lai lai.”

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Senorita meets the DON!



Na so dem open mouth dey look me! Na so me self give dem eye!” I said triumphantly to the listening ears of my roomie Janet.
“Ehen… wetin come happen na?” She inquired further.
“As dem see say my eye don red, dem arrange  deirself wella.” I continue.
“You self be mumu, why you no tell me say you don land modeling contract, I for teach you dat waka wey dem model dey do… err…wetin dem dey call am again…. CATWALK!”
As she stood and gave me some steps of her own, I stared on but my mind was far away. I remembered the auditioning and everything that happened earlier at the modeling agency vividly.


Immediately I had jumped up in the air and licked the dust off my palms, the man who had given me the flier beckoned to me and I followed him to his office to the displeasure of the other girls. The office wasn’t well furnished, there were cobwebs everywhere and dust particles on the seat. He brought out a handkerchief from his pocket and dusted a chair which stood behind a very odd looking table and sat down. I sat down as well but didn’t dust the chair; he avoided my gaze and produced some papers from his drawer and a pen.
“What is your name?”
“Senorita!” I replied full of confidence.
“Was that the name you were given at birth.”
“Shio…see question!” I answer.
“Do you have an I.D card?”
‘Dat one na tori, no be wetin you yan me yesterday be dis oo.” I say.
“Okay… I am just trying to help you fill your form.” He says.
I shrug and look away, angry at myself and him. How could he act the way he did at the reception? Why did he embarrass me that way?
“Are you still interested in the position?” He asked.
“Why I no go interested?” I answer, giving him a hurting look.
He took a deep breath and exhaled, piercing me with his gaze, he asked.
“I hope you understand that modeling is not for the lily livered.”
“My name na Senorita, Seno for short… I no tell you say na Lily livere.” I protest as I felt he called me another name.
“That wasn’t what I meant but err… I’ll look past it. Could you give me your house address? Where do you stay?”
“E no far… abeg no dey waste my time, do this modeling sharp sharp, I wan comot go meet my bobo.” I say nonchalantly.
“You dey craze? You tink say dis place na for play play? If you no wan do model comot for here… na serious business we dey here so. If na my Oga you meet, e for slap you comot for here quick!” He warned as he rapidly changed to pidgin.
“Oga abeg no vex… I never tey since I come Lagos so… I need help. Na for my friend house I dey crash, sometimes I dey see food chop before I waka reach bed. Helep me Oga, I wan model abeg.” I plead, falling on my knees and crying profusely.
“E don do… I hear you, na ya kain pesin we dey find…if all de gials for reception be like you ehn… Naija go know say, models don land. But I wan ask you something…”
“Ask… Oga mi ask abeg.” I said, wiping the tears that clung to my eye lids with the back of my palms.
“You fit keep secret?”
I jump up from my kneeling position and beat my hands on my chest hard, looking at him, I say;
“You never no Senorita! My mouth no dey gree open once secret cross am!”
“Okay… that’s all I need to hear.” He said switching back to English.
“Shebi I don get the modeling job!” I ask quietly.
“Hmmm… well… it depends on you and my reports, but come back tomorrow…. I’ll give you a solid response, I just need to take a look at your file again.” He said.
I fall on my kneels a second time and plead.
“Oga…anything, I fit do am! Abeg give me modeling make I do… I no fit dey for poverty again.” I cry.
He opened his drawer and brought out a sharp razor blade, I stared on as I couldn’t understand what was happening. When he beckoned to me, I walked over to him.
“You will take this oath of silence, all that will happen to you from now on will be a secret, the day you utter the words to anyone, you will die.” He said, emphasizing the last word of the sentence.
“Na today I begin die?” I said, sounding tough.
Using the razor blade, he drew a sharp line on my right thumb; I didn’t utter a sound but watched as my blood dropped to the floor rapidly.
“You can go…come back tomorrow by eight am for the proper auditioning.” He said.
I nodded and fled through the door running home as though my life depended on it.
I was still engrossed in my thoughts when Janet nudged me roughly;
“You dey here so? Seno….” She called.
Janet had a problem in pronouncing my new name, it wasn’t a difficult name to pronounce but somehow I feel she is jealous because I found a better name than hers. Janet used to answer her native name during our village days but when she came to Lagos, she too changed her name as well. When Janet returned to the village last year to give me the details of Lagos, I was thrilled and excited to follow her to the exotic city she had so vividly described. Arriving at her one roomed apartment had been wonderful as I had never seen a city so complete like Lagos and I was too happy to lounge in the house she called her own. However, my true nature beat me to my senses as I began to get fed up of living with her, I started to wonder how she had lived in Lagos for over four years and was still living in a small one roomed apartment. I made up my mind to change my living conditions once I had enough money but the issue is; I have never had more than two thousand naira in my life.
“I dey jare my sister… make I sleep small, dem say I go waka reach deir tomorrow.”
‘Dem teach una catwalk? Ya picture nko? Dem no snap una picture?” She asked.
“No… dem just give us form, add question join body …dats all.” I reply, yawning and stretching.
“Ah… dat one no be modeling ooo… e be like one chance!” she said sounding disappointed.
“Abeg Janet, I wan sleep…which kain nonsense one chance you dey yan.” I snap.
Janet shrugged and lay down on her bed to sleep while I stretched out on the floor. Since I moved in with her, Janet had guarded her bed like a mother hen. She had never for once offered me the warmth of the bed even on cold nights. The hard ground hit my back like ice cold water and I muttered to myself;
‘My time to hammer don dey near, after dis modeling, my body no go ever touch ground again I swear.’
****

The time for the second day of audition was supposed to be eight am but I was at the venue at 6am. I waited alone till it was ten minutes to eight o’clock before some girls started trickling in. The woman at the reception walked in at eight am at the dot. We were only ten girls and I was too happy to be among the privileged few. She asked us to write our names down again and one girl helped me spell my name, I quickly memorized the spelling using the commonest things I could remember. Putting my nursery school ABC rhymes skill into practice, I quickly formed spun a song from my name; vowing that no one would ever write it down for me again.
"S for Shepe, E for Efo, N for Nothing shele, O for Ogi, R for rice, I for I no go die for Lagos,T for tori and A for akamu…dats spells SENORITA!"

At ten am, a bus arrived the modeling agency and we all boarded the bus, we didn’t really know where we were going, all we knew was we were going to be models. The driver took us to a big hotel quite far from the audition venue, I was so overwhelmed by the beauty of the place. We alighted and went into the reception area were a young lady spoke to us in a very funny accent, I didn’t understand, I just kept nodding and repeating the response of my fellow models who seemed to have no difficulty in understanding the tongue twisting language of the receptionist.
We were ushered into an air-conditioned room where we were given different foods to eat and drink. I mentally insulted myself for not carrying my Ghana-Must-Go bag to the place so that I could pack all the leftover foods and drinks. The food kept coming and even when my stomach was full, I couldn’t stop eating, I vowed to eat for the next day as I wasn’t sure of food. The other models watched me and laughed, and then one of them said to me;
“Shio… you wan burst?”
“Wetin consign you?” I spat.
“Models no dey chop plenty ooo…abeg softly…”
“Food na shit… e go soon empty for pit…” I retorted.
I looked around for a polythene bag but could find none, the food before me was too large to waste and I couldn’t bear the thoughts of the receptionist and other workers in the hotel, eating my food while I go home to soak garri without fish. I cleared my throat and asked one of the waiters who had come to clear our table.
“Abeg una get cellophane?”
“No ma…” He replied.
I rejoiced silently at the ‘ma’ he added to my title, ‘Senorita don step up sha’, I say to myself.
“Una mean say, for dis big hotel so, una no get shikere cellophane.” I asked again.
“No madam.” He replied.
I rejoiced again at the title ‘madam.’
“Okay ooo but I no go leave dis food for here lai lai…” I warn.
“Eat as much as you want, we have no polythene bags ma.” The waiter said and walked away.
The other models had began to chuckle and make jests of me but I ignored them, I gave all who cared to listen a firm warning as regards my food, especially since the waiters were all around the place, clearing tables. Standing to my feet with my very full stomach I walk to the reception where I ask for the way to the toilet, the receptionist shows me and I follow her direction. 

The toilet wasn’t what I expected, the beauty of the place brought tears to my eyes, the whole place was confusing as it was beautiful. It was decorated with mirrors and small toilet seats beside the mirrors which I was to learn later that they are wash-hand basins. I walked over to the wash-hand basin and tried climbing on top of it but it was too high for me. I jumped but my buttocks couldn’t reach the small wash hand basin, in the process of my jumps, one lady walks in and gives me a funny stare as she couldn’t comprehend what I was doing struggling to sit on the wash-basin which was obviously hand wash. She opened one of the doors directly opposite the mirrors and wash-hand basins and entered the small compartment which I recognized as the toilet as I sighted the toilet bowl through the door she had just opened. I had initially thought the doors led to rooms within the hotel but since the woman had proved me otherwise, I entered the toilet and sat down on the loveliest bowl I had ever seen. It was the same as the one in my compound but neater and better. I got down to business as I struggled to empty my stomach of all the garri I had soaked before leaving the house and if possible all the unpalatable dishes I have ever eaten before today. I ended up filling up the toilet and walking out of the restroom without flushing or cleaning up.
I arrived at the room where I had sat earlier with the models, thankfully, my food was still there but all my fellow models weren’t in the room anymore, they had disappeared. Remembering some of their names, I screamed;
“Nene! Ojiugo! Lola!”
I ran back out into the reception and kept calling to the alarm of the receptionist and waiters. They all ordered me to keep quiet.
“Why I go quiet? My models…I no see dem again… my own don finish today. Senorita! Food don kill you ooo…” I wail loudly.
The receptionist keeps speaking to me in a reassuring voice but I don’t understand a word of what she says, I keep screaming till the man who had given me the flier yesterday emerges from one of the rooms. I rush into his arms, nearly hugging the life out of him.
“Calm down…what is the problem?” He asks.
“Na shit ooo… I run go shit kia kia… I return, I no see dem!” I wailed louder.
“Keep quiet, they are with the Don, pull yourself together.”
I begin to lift the hem of my shirt over my head hastily.
“What are you doing?” The man demanded.
“You talk say make I pull… I wan pull na…” I sniff in reply.
“I didn’t say that… come with me, the interview has already started.”
I nod and follow him into the room he emerged from, the room leads to a staircase which we climb till we get to our destination. He opens the door to one room and ushers me in, my fellow models are there with some hefty looking men, smoke fills the air as a result of cigarette smoke.
“Is this the only one left?” One of the men asked.
“Yes Don.” The man with me replies.

I quickly scan the room; there were atleast five men while the others are the models. Some of the models were drinking liquid while struggling to swallow some kind of lump-balls, a few others looked shaken and scared. I shuffled my feet and stared at them, regretting my decision to visit the toilet earlier, suddenly, it seemed as though my stomach was empty.
“What is her name?” The Don asked the man who brought me.
“Senorita!” The man replied.
The men laughed and some of the models laughed too, the Don remained silent and after a while, he looked at me and said;
“What did you audition for?”
“Modeling sir.” I reply.
“Hmmm…before modeling, you must pass the test…” He said to me.
“Test… err…shebi e no hard?” I inquire.
“Give her the kolanuts…” The Don said, turning to the man who brought me, he asked.
“Bongo…has she been sworn to secrecy?” For the first time, the man’s first name was used.
“Yes Boss, she knows that if she talks…it’s straight to the blazing fire of hell!” Said Bongus trying to sound threatening.
“Good.” The Don said looking at me quietly. “Senorita!” He called.
“Sir!” I answered quickly.
One of the men walks over to me and gives me a bowl of over fifty kolanuts, I accept with thanks but don’t understand what it’s for.
“Swallow them all… if you want to use water, fine! If you want to use beer, fine! But you must finish them and defecate them in due time.”
I watched as pills were given to the other girls and they quietly swallowed the pills. I was relieved that I had emptied half of my bowel already before coming.
“Those pills are to help you defecate them quickly.” The Don proffered.
As I popped the heavy kolanuts into my mouth and struggled to wash them down my throat I wondered;
“Wetin consign Kolanut for modeling? Abi dem be Padi?”

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A call to audition!





I ran out of the house like one chased by mad dogs. Even though I was the dullest student at my village school, I could tell time faster than Queen Eliza of Switzerland. This morning, as I wore the bright red sandals I had borrowed from Janet my roommate, I felt my excitement build.
‘Me! Senorita! Model? Na wa oh for Lagos and its opportunities.’ I mutter excitedly under my breath.
 As I race down the street and head to the bustop, I feel all eyes on me and who would blame them? It is indeed rare to see a young slender, curvaceous and beautiful wannabe Lagos babe like me, running as though I had seen the ghost of my late grandfather. Little did they know that I was about to become one of the most popular people in the world.
“Just wait and see!” I muttered again.
It all started yesterday afternoon while I was waving down taxis for my visit to Oga Larry’s place. All that started well didn’t end well as I and Oga Larry spent our ‘supposed’ time together, cleaning up his battered up face. The taxi man had been true to his words ‘he was indeed an alaye’ his fists re-arranged Oga Larry’s face drastically. While they fought, the taxi driver’s friends in the area ganged up and finished what their friend had started. They even ransacked Oga Larry’s friend’s house and took all the money they could find there.

 Oga Larry was helped into his friend’s room by concerned neighbours who left as soon as he had been dumped on the chair, as I cleaned the blood pouring from his cheek I kept murmuring.
“E don do…no dey cry like pikin!”
“Ah…yellow…na because of you ooo… I for finish them bad today, I just dey cry sake of say, my yellow go dey wonder which kain man I be.” Oga Larry said through sniffs.
“I say e don do…” I cajoled again.
“Na only you I dey hear so, if not…hmmm.” He said as his useless threats hung in the air.
“No dey talk again, abi dem don pull one of ya teeth comot.” I say.
At that moment, his friend chose to enter the house, a worried expression creased his fine features, I must admit, Oga Larry’s friend isn’t bad looking at all. His tall, dark and handsome features fleeted across my face and for a second I swooned.
“Wetin happen for here?” Oga Larry’s friend demanded.
“Fredriko… Abeg no vex, na all dis mumu people wey full ya street. Dem attack me no be small, e be like say dem dey envy me.” Oga Larry replied wincing loudly while I swiped a dab of cotton wool with spirit on the wound by his eye.
“Envy wetin? Na dat question I ask? See me see tori oh! Wey my DVD player ehn?” Fredriko said as his eyes scanned his small one roomed apartment to rest at the empty space above the television.
“Ahh…mogbe! Dem take am? Chai!” Oga Larry screamed as he placed his hands on his head in shock. I reached out to hold on to his hands but he struggled to free his himself from my not-too strong grip. “Omoge leave me! Yellow, leave me make I go arrange deir face for dia.”
Fredriko saw red, his eyes blazoned in anger and he tapped his feet impatiently.
“Oya comot for my house now or else I go call the same people wey cause havoc for your face for here.”
“Call dem? Why you wan call dem na?” Oga Larry asked fearfully.
“E be like say spirit don draw ya ears reach back… get out of my house now! I never try? Ya babe pursue you comot, na me come carry gbese put for on top my head…Idioscyncrasies…” Shouted Frederiko.
“Na how you wan punish me? I go comot …but wia I fit go na?” Oga Larry mewed like a kitten.
“Enter gutter!” Snapped Frederiko.
“Yellow…make we go…” Said Oga Larry wincing in pain.
“Wia you wan go with my trouser… na ya own? Pull my trouser comot kia kia.” Shouted Frederiko.
I stood there stunned, staring at the man I thought had everything in the world, strip off the trouser he wore and was clad only in a boxer short, a heavy bomb explosion wouldn’t have shocked me more.
“Wey my shirt?” Asked Frederiko.
Oga Larry looked at me to supply the answer to the question, I was numb. He had thrown the shirt to me at the start of the fight with the taxi driver but I had dodged it and it landed in the gutter besides I hadn’t made any efforts to pick it up either.
“Senorita wia the shirt I troway ya side?” Oga Larry asked.
“I no know…” I answered, my voice squeaking in the process.
“Oya gerrout…I no wan see ya leg for my house again. Na so so bad luck you sabi bring, olodo.” Shouted Fredriko as he gestured to the door of the house.
As I stumbled out of Fredriko’s house with Oga Larry, I cautioned myself silently;
Abi na wetin you run comot from village be dis? Senorita! You wan suffer so? See as you wan destroy ya life… Oga Larry no go fit match model o, abeg arrange yaself sharp sharp, move to greater things before you begin yan yawa!’
I suddenly felt an urge to speak;
“Larry…” I said, quickly dropping the Oga from the name, it wasn’t worth it anymore.
“Ehnn?” He answered, looking at me with tender eyes.
“I forget my handky for Frederiko room, make I go collect am.”
“Ah…ah, yellow, how much for hanky na?” Oga Larry whined.
“You fit buy anoda one? Even sef, dis one no be my own, na Janet get am.” I inform him.
“Okay…I go wait you for junction, run come quick you hear? No tey.” He said.
I nodded and dashed back to Frederiko’s room , the door was locked so I knocked hastily, a surprised Frederiko opened the door and stared at me. I didn’t waste time, I entered the room, closed the door behind us and jumped on my newest conquest, Oga Larry could wait for all I cared. I didn’t come to Lagos to play hide and seek!
The pleasant thoughts of yesterday with Frederiko spurred my resolve to make a career of modeling. I had run past several streets in frenzy gathering onlookers in my wake, I didn’t care that they stared. Who sigh?
Frederiko had given me one thousand naira yesterday evening and a promise that he would end his relationship with his current girl. I was his present number one and I made a resolve to do all it takes to keep him by my side as long as the money pumped, Oga Larry had become stale news. When I returned home later that evening, I didn’t see Oga Larry but I heard his voice a few hours later when I went to the compound kitchen to boil water for eba. He was begging Shade to take him in.
“Abeg Shade… na devil hand dey my mata.” He cried.
“I no wan know! Comot for my dormot!” Shade shouted.
“Lai lai, if you no take me, I go kill myself I swear.” He cried louder.
“Die na, no be you follow that village girl dey pose? Wia she dey now?”
“I no know, I neva see am since… I no even dey talk to am again.” Oga Larry lied.
“Since, you dey waka with am, you forget say na me dey feed you, na even for my brother motor park you dey work, for Ilorin.”
“No vex abeg… devil na liar.” He cried.
I didn’t listen any further, they weren’t my biggest priority at the moment. I had to strategize on modeling skills because I had no clues of what to do at the audition.

I keep running till I slow down at the cheap sign at the entrance of a barely completed house. I knew it was the place the agency man had directed me to yesterday because of the flier placed at the entrance which was indeed a replica of the one I held in my hands. I smell my sweat as it pours down my face and with the courage I have instilled in myself over the years, I go into the house.
I walk in and perceive the foul odor of urine. The place is crowded with girls who stare at me in pure envy, curiosity and nonchalance, some sit on benches while some stand as there are no more spaces to sit. Eyes turn as I walk to the receptionist to make inquiries. The woman at the receptionist could pass for my aunty, she wore a stiff brown shirt and a loosely fitted dark red skirt, she didn’t tell me anything but continued sifting through endless papers. I introduced myself quickly.
“Alos, my name na Senorita.” I say.
“Have you registered?” The woman at the receptionist desk asks.
“Na wia I fit register.” I ask.
“You have to pay an unrefundable fee of one thousand naira and provide a passport photograph.” She said.
“Past wetin?” I ask.
“Are you here with your money?” The woman says looking up at me for the first time since I arrived, she was obviously more interested in my money.
I bless Frederiko inwardly for instinctively arming me with enough money, I proudly give her the one thousand naira in my pocket.
“Fill this form.” Said the woman, handing me a paper and a pen.
 I look at the woman and stare at her in a confused manner.
“Abeg… you fit help me write my name?” I ask.
“Can’t you spell your name?” She asks irritated.
“I fit spell am but err… the name no be any kind name… na big grammar.” I stammer.
“You no serious!” Hissed the woman changing rapidly to pidgin.
Ignoring me, she walks to the other girls and hands out forms to those she hadn’t given earlier, they quickly scribble their names. I stared and prayed that my opportunity hadn’t passed me by.
Surprise and joy couldn’t have come any sooner as I saw the man who had handed me the modeling flier yesterday, walk into the dirty reception. He had totally transformed and had it been that I didn’t have a telegraphic memory, I would not have recognized him. He wore a navy blue suit and a blue stripped tie, quickly I ran to him as opportunity comes but once.
“Sir! Oga!” I scream.
He turns and stares at me as though he has never seen me in his life and with the softest Queen’s English he says;
“Do I know you young lady?”
“Yes sir… no be you find me for junction?” I ask flashing one of my mega smiles.
“What? Where? What in the world are you talking about? Please young lady I hope you are aware that this agency is world class, we do not tolerate nonsense.”
“No be nonsense ooo… I know you well well, I see you yesterday na. No be you talk say I get fine body?” I say, sounding a bit confused.
The man ignores me and turns to the woman with the forms.
“Has she paid her registration fee?”
“Yes sir, she has.” The woman replied.
“Has she filled the form?”
“No sir, it seems she can’t write.”
“What? We don’t need her kind in this place…” Said the man, suddenly feeling too important.
My eyes almost popped out of its sockets. Jumping high in the air and landing on my two feet, I slap the ground with my palm and lick the dust off with my tongue.
“If una no arrange unaself for here ehn… una go see craze in action! Wetin una mean? After the money wey I pay for form, you dey yan me yawa. E no fit happen lai lai… I no gree… I go be model, weda una like am or not!”
The man stare at me as well as the woman and the wannabe models, shock stands written on their faces but I don’t care, as far as I am concerned;
 ‘Yawa no fit gas Senorita for Lasgisi…who dem be?’


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Painting the town to sure levels!



Morning came sooner than expected. I yawned and stretched my body while smiling tenderly as I remembered my ordeal with Shade’s man two nights ago before he left for Ilorin. 
I stepped out of the room and headed towards the small urinal area I shared with over fifty other tenants, the toilet was dirty as usual. Filthy wraps of faeces filled nylon bags decorated the place, flies danced Azonto around the toilet’s brown bowl and not minding the irrepressible state of the place, I squatted and got down to business.
I had just emerged from the toilet when I heard the loud clang of the bell, inquisitive as ever, I walk towards the sound of the bell as some of the tenants were also heading towards the same direction. The sound was coming from the huge centre of the compound, a man wielded the huge bell and rung it at rapid intervals as he spoke.
“Destroy…scatter….finish…. destroy….fire….smoke….hmmm”
We all stared at him in fear, his eyes were red rimmed and his teeth were stained with brown sooth. Suddenly, Shade emerged from the other side of the house, her eyes were filled with tears and in her hands, were her man’s clothes. I gasped in shock as I watched her dump the clothes at the man’s feet. The man started dancing and making snakelike moves, his eyes glazed and shone as though there was real fire within, he started asking questions.
“ Hmm…who has touched the owner of these clothes? Hmmm….whooo?”
Shade quickly stepped out and knelt before him saying;
“I don touch am… na me be im woman.”
“I no go ask dis question again, who don touch the pesin wey get dis cloth wey dey ground so?” The man asked again searching the crowd of tenants as though looking for something.
I stood beside Iya Sikira and Sisi Chianu, my feet solid and immovable, somehow I had suspected Shade’s silence since the day she beat me up for sleeping with her man. After that day, she minded her own business and even when we washed clothes at the tap, she always tuned her phone’s radio on high and hummed along with it. Now I am convinced that she surely has a plan up her sleeves.
“If una know say pesin wey stand by una side fit dey jolly with the man wey get dis cloth, abeg run comot for im side.” Said the man again.
This triggered a response from the crowd of onlookers, they quietly parted from my side, each eyeing me with suspicion. ‘How easily they can be fooled’ I thought, without flinching, I stood my ground and stared at Shade and the intruder. Shade, whose eyes were formerly closed, opened them and turned to stare at me, hatred pouring from her gaze. I hissed and begun tapping one foot. The mad man with the bell, left his spot and started pacing the compound, ringing the bell louder; ‘Gbagam…gbagam…’ I still didn’t move, Shade couldn’t take it anymore, she stood to her feet and walked towards me.
“Na she be dis, na dis ashewo dey totori my man.” She screamed.
The man with the bell stopped ringing his bell and walked up to me, sniffing the air around me as though I had some kind of irregular smell, I scoffed and looked away. The man jumped up and down and kept ringing the bell and singing loudly, after a while, he broke into a run then slowed down and suddenly dropped the bell and started clapping his hands. Shade was getting exasperated, I could feel the hatred burn from her eyes.
“Na wetin you dey do? Abi I pay you one thousand naira to dey jump, shout and ring bell? Break this ashewo hand from my man matter kia kia.” Shouted Shade as she turned to face the man.
“No be wetin I dey do? Abeg cool down…” Pleaded the man, turning to me he said;


“Auntie…err …fine gial abeg…release her man, he fit no be the one for you…fine men plenty for outside even me sef join.”
Shade couldn’t take it anymore, she physically attacked the man, biting, scratching and screaming as well.
“Ole…olori bukruku…give me my money ooo…you dey craze…God punish you…” Shade shouted as she pushed the man to the ground and sat on his stomach, beating him blue and black.
As for me, I hissed and turned away from them, my hips swaying to the movement of my legs. As soon as I entered the room, Janet pushed her phone to my face in anger, obviously, I had a phone call which had disturbed her beauty sleep. I have never had a phone and I use Janet’s to communicate.
 “Alos…” I cooed into the receiver.
“Hmm…my sweet sweet yellow, I dey miss you bad.” Said the voice which I instinctively recognized as Shade’s man’s.
“Oga Larry my sugar… I miss you too…” I whispered.
"Guess what sweetie?" He said.
'Hmmm... wetin be dat?" I cooed in reply.
"I don reach Lasgidi."
"Heyy....Oga Larry, you dey totori my belle no be small... wia you dey? Why you never reach house?
"I crash for my friend house, dat stupid gial Shade send me text message, she dey yarn say, she no wan see me for her house again."
I was puzzled, did Oga Larry mean that the house he occupied with Shade wasn't his?
"No be you dey pay rent for una room?" I ask.
"Na me na... but that one na anoda tori for another time... how you go come see me?" He asked.
"I no get money for transport... na only twenty naira dey my hand, home and abroad." I choke.
"Hmm...no worry sweet yellow, enter taxi come, you hear."
I was so happy to hear that I'd be boarding a taxi for the first time in my life, infact, I have never stepped into a private car before except public buses, barrows and bicycles. Quickly, I take a mental note of the address of his new place and hurriedly shed off my clothes and tie my wrapper around my chest.
My hands itch as I race to the bathroom with my torn wrapper and small iron bucket filled with water. Latching the bathroom door behind me, I scoop water with my hands and pour it all over my body. I scrubbed my body with thick sponge and soap till soap suds covered my face. I later stooped to scoop water with my hands and splashing the water down on my face in a haste, I didn't expect to open my eyes and see Onochie staring at me. He had partly opened the bathroom door and was peeking through its side.
"Onochie! You dey craze?"
I startle and shout as I use one hand to cover up and the other to shield down.
"Aunty I swear... you too fine."
Onochie, is the first son of my compound's landlord and a notorious drunk, even as he spoke, his breath oozed of alcohol.
"Close my door..." I shouted.
Onochie did not bulge but clung to the door like second skin and kept starring.
"I go shout ooo." I warned.

"Shout..." He said, smiling and wagging his tongue at me.
Almost immediately, Madam Ireti walked towards us and slapped Onochie at the back.
" Who you dey look for inside bafroom?" Madam Ireti asked.
"Mind yaself ooo." Onochie warned turning to wag his finger at Madam Ireti.
Madam Ireti peeked and saw me still clutching my irreplacables in the bathroom while soap suds thinned on my body.
"Ah...na you...I no know ooo..." Said Madam Ireti.
"Madam abeg help me tell am make him comot." I begged.
"Abeg ooo, I no fit put hand for ya matter, see wetin you don turn our compound into... " She let her last words hang in the air as she left me to my fate.
I had to hurriedly pick up my cloth and wrap it round my still soapy skin and pushing the door hard, I stepped past Onochie and left the bathroom area. Onochie followed me and laughed hard while I ran.
"Why you dey run na? Body wey Oga Larry don see tire... bush gial."
As soon as I step into the room, I hurriedly wear my pink trouser and yellow stripped vee-necked top. Begging Janet for her perfume, I hastily bath my body with it to her greatest displeasure.
"Abeg no finish am..." She warned.
As I stepped out of the compound, I breathe a sigh of relief as Shade and her guest had long dispersed. 
Getting a taxi was not so easy as Oga Larry made me believe. The first taxi I saw was driven by an older man in his late sixties. I have never waved down a taxi before and neither did I know how to wave one. Stretching out my two hands I began to wave in a circular motion but the taxi driver didn't stop. Another one passed and another until I figured out that people were looking at me strangely.
I was still waving my hands in a circular motion, this time I dropped my old handbag at my feet while I waved down the fast speeding taxi's, I was still at it when a man approached me.
"Hello." He said.
I didn't know what to say, I averted my gaze and kept on waving.
"Sister I'm greeting." He echoed.
"I resemble your sister?" I ask puzzled that he should call me his sister.
"I saw you from afar and decided that you fit my description of a beautiful model."
"Model! Wetin be dat?" I ask, angry that he is interrupting my taxi waving.
"Shio...no tell me say hot babe like you no know wetin be modelling."
"Abeg if you no get issue, disappear." I say rudely.
"Err...sorry, make I break am down, you too fine, I want make you model for my agency, we go pay you good money, e fit be dollars." He said in smiles.
I only picked two words, the first one was 'fine' and the second was 'dollars'
My eyes widened.
"Why you no tell me dis one since, you dey here dey yarn rubbish." I say to him.
"Sister... no vex, abeg make I give you flier... you go come audition for this venue." He said to me as he pointed to the flier in his arms.
"Raudition? Venue? Wetin be dat?" I ask confused.
"Okay...err...you fit come No 7 Akinkulatun street tomorrow?"
"Wia be dat?"
"Okay...just follow my hand, you go waka straight, after you go bend den corner for the last junction and..."
I listened to his directions and nodded in understanding, he had bad breath and so did I, so I wasn't bothered. After giving me descriptions to the place of audition, he halted a taxi for me. I was too grateful and sat at the back of the car, daydreaming over my new found avenue to wealth.
*****

Oga Larry's friend's place wasn't too far and as soon as the taxi stopped, I alighted like a queen before the building my man had described and screamed his name loud.
"Oga Larry ooo... I don come."
The taxi man and some people on the street stared at me in surprise with mouth open wide. I repeated my announcement again and Oga Larry walked out of the compound in a white T-shirt and blue jeans. I ran over to greet him, jumping into his arms, he held me close and gave me a big kiss on the cheek.
"Sweet...sweet yellow."
"Oga Larry.." I murmured.
As we looked into eachother's eyes with love glowing in our hearts, the taxi man walked up to meet us in anger.
"Abeg pay me my money." Said the taxi man.
"How much?" Asked Oga Larry, releasing me from his embrace.
"Eight hundred naira." Said the taxi man.
"Fear no catch you... how you go collect eight hundred naira for that short waka?" Asked Oga Larry.
"No try me ooo..lai lai, I be alaiye ooo, I fit arrange ya paroles for here." Screamed the taxi man.
"You dey craze...you never see pesin wey craze like cat...come make I show you." Shouted Oga Larry.
Before my very eyes, Oga Larry removed his shirt and threw it at me, I dodged it and it landed in the gutter but he didn't care, he pounced on the taxi man and they fell to the ground in an endless fight. I turned around and walked into the compound with no care in the world, clutching my modeling flier in my right hand and dreaming of millions to come, smiling in glee, I said to myself;
"Senorita don ready to paint Lagos to sure levels!”