Friday night outings are not usually my thing but for Murphy’s insistence. Murphy was my friend who worked at the State Liaison office – which served as quickie base for me and Toyin – so I couldn’t really turn down the invitation to wash his new ride. He’d also invited a couple of other guys and we all met up at this exclusive joint off Allen Avenue in Ikeja for the mini party. I came directly from work, not trusting the madness of Lagos traffic to allow me get home early enough and come out again. On offer was alcohol of all types – beer, brandy,vodka, whisky et al – point and kill, pepper soup, nkwobi, asun and pretty much anything to make a gathering of jaiye jaiye boys groovy. Soothing highlife music could be heard from the music center standing in a corner and our gathering occupied two long tables placed next to each other on one side of the enclosure while other patrons sat on the other side as the booze and gist flowed freely.
I’d planned to leave the place by 10 sharp, so when my watch hit 9.45 I stood up, excused myself from the table and made my way to the gents to empty my bladder prior to heading home. The passage connecting the main building to the conveniences was not so wide and it was partially obstructed by two guys engaged in an argument. Their matter seemed to be escalating pretty fast as one of them violently shoved the other, making him lose his balance. Not one to poke my nose where it wasn’t invited, I paused for a bit, silently contemplating whether to turn back or wait for them to settle their quarrel before I moved on.
The smaller guy jumped up from the ground and rushed right back at the other one. Snatches of their loud argument reached me where I stood, something about a girl. Meanwhile, the smaller guy was soon on the ground again, having bounced off a wall after another almighty shove. The bigger guy didn’t stand aloof this time but moved threateningly close as if to do more damage.
At that moment, something propelled me forward.
“Oga chill now, you wan kill am?”
Mr Big whirled around at the sound of my voice.
“Wetin be your own if I kill am. I wan teach am sense small say everything no be money. Imagine this rat chooking my own babe, this cockroach dragging babe with me!”
That thought seemed to infuriate him more as he swore and aimed a brutal kick at the floored man. Two more kicks followed in quick succession before I could get closer and hold him back.
“Bros, e don do. Don’t break his bones now.”
My interference didn’t sit well with the guy at all.
“Were n se eleyi ni? Who call you to this matter sef?”
Before I knew what was happening, a balled fist was travelling at the speed of light towards my face. Mr Big had no way of knowing that I had a black belt in Karate. Evading his angry swing was easy and I probably would have let it go at that but he had other thoughts.
“Ehen, you think say you sabi weave abi? No wonder you dey aproko for case when nobody call lawyer instead of going to piss jejely. Okay now, show yasef. Waa mo pe Oji lo n ba e ta.”
He left his supine victim and faced me fully, throwing a combination of punches aimed at my face and torso. If any of those hammer blows had connected, I would have dropped to the ground like one hit by a truck but I just bounced around and dodged them all, ramping up his rage.
Cursing loudly and in full attack mode now, Oji made to grab my shirt in a bid to drag me close and pin me in a bear hug but I again evaded his reaching hands, stepped aside and slapped his monkey face.
“Yeeeeeee! You slap me? O gba mi leti? O gba King Kong??? Iya e ma ku leni walahi!!!”
Like magic, a knife appeared in his right hand and murder in his eyes so I knew i had to end this drama before my blood became involved. He rushed in with the intention to stab but I feinted to his left causing him to aim for that direction then swiftly moved to the right and kicked his wrist, sending the knife flying. There was an audible crack as the kick connected.
Oji screamed, “Owo mi o!!! O ti kan mi lowo o!!!
Now I was in vexed so I landed two quick jabs to his chest before slamming a jumbo into his abdominals, causing him to double over in pain. His face was at a good height for a well delivered knee smash which disintegrated his nose before an uppercut lifted his head and smacked it into the wall behind.
He went down like a sack of stones, battered, bleeding and unconscious.
Breathing heavily from my exertions, I stood there waiting to see if he would get up for more but he was down for the count and out. Only then did I turn to help up his victim who was now struggling to his feet.
Guess who it was? Karishika’s husband!!!
I yanked my erstwhile outstretched hand out of his reach immediately and made to move off but the pain in his voice as he begged for help drew me back. I reconsidered and helped him up.
“Easy bro, just take it easy” I cooed to him as he gingerly rose to his feet.
His lip was split and bleeding and his watch strap was broken but all in all he looked alright although he couldn’t fully stand erect yet due to the pain in his gut. The faint whisper of gratitude could easily have been missed.
“Thanks for coming to my aid bro, that ape wanted to kill me.”
“You’re welcome, I responded. Just thank your stars I hate bullies, otherwise I wouldn’t have intervened at all. What did you do that made him so mad at you though?”
“Let’s leave here and I’ll tell you. I can’t risk him regaining consciousness and meeting us here.”
I looked at where Oji lay on the floor, his face a mask of blood and his mouth hanging open, exposing his bleeding rotten teeth.
“He’ll be out a while, but I get your point. Let’s get out of here.”
I went back outside and said goodbye to my squad, then we drove (him in front and me behind) until we got to Obafemi Awolowo Way before pulling into a lay by. He parked there and waved for me to join him in his car.
“Thank you once again for coming to my aid my brother; I totally appreciate your help. Who knows what that monkey would have done to me without your timely intervention?”
I was still somewhat restrained in my reactions to him.
“You’re welcome, though maybe I probably wouldn’t have if I’d known it was you.”
He smiled at that and slowly nodded.
“I totally understand. Our last encounter didn’t go that well. Still, I’m very grateful.”
“That’s alright. Are you okay? Do you want to go to a hospital or something?”
He shook his head.
“I feel just fine thank you. Some slight pains in my tummy area but nothing I can’t handle. Once I clean my burst lip, I’ll be as good as new.”
I’d been fighting my curiosity as to what caused the disagreement in the first place. For want of anything else to say, I asked him.
“What led to the argument sef? I know you normally won’t interact with lowlifes like that.”
He smiled again before he answered.
“I’m a little ashamed of my actions to say the least but I’ll level with you. You know how it is when you normally don’t drink alcohol, then you down a couple of beers and everything female starts looking attractive to your eyes right?”
I nodded and he continued.
“Well, same shit happened to me. I was nursing a bottle at another spot from the one where you met us when one of their service girls suddenly started looking like Kim Kardashian in my eyes. To summarize the story, one thing led to another and in no time we were in my car doing one or two things.”
A tractor could have driven into my mouth and still have enough room to spare for a combine harvester. Madam’s husband was having sex in a car and with a female? How? Wasn’t he gay?
His sheepish grin indicated that he had an idea of what I was thinking.
“Wait, you were fucking a girl? You? Aren’t you…”
He burst into loud laughter at that then shook his head.
“Not at all man, I’m not gay. That performance was just for your benefit, it was a racket, a job. I’ve never been gay, will never be. Matter of fact, I probably love pussy more than you.”
He burst into laughter again.
My shock was so much that words failed me.
“You mean….You’re saying…All that was…shit!”
“Relax brother, just relax. I know it’s a bit to take in but it is what it is. The fact that you just saved my life means I owe you a lot so I’ll level with you.”
I still couldn’t believe what I’d just heard.
“You mean you’re not gay? That you do women and not guys?”
“Yessir, you’re absolutely correct.”
“Wow! Wow!! Wow!!!”
At that point he looked at his watch.
“It’s late now bro, almost midnight. If I start the story now we’ll be here till daybreak.”
He brought out a card from his glove compartment.
“Here, give me a shout on this number one of these days and we’ll get together somewhere where I can download the entire gist for you.”
I took the card and kept it safely in my breast pocket.
“Thank you once again for what you did, trust me, I won’t ever forget it. I’m sure by the time we sit down later and discuss I’ll be able to pay back your good deed. Gotta go home now bro.”
We shook hands and I stepped down from his car in a daze. Waving one last time, he stepped on the accelerator and moved off while I stood there in the orange glare of the streetlight overhead, gazing at his brake lights till he went out of sight.
Getting to sleep when I got home was almost impossible. Karishika’s husband wasn’t gay? Gosh!!! What then had happened that day at their place? Memories of that day played in my head as if I was watching a bad movie. All that was a performance? The coy looks and air kisses that had nauseated me so much? The touches that almost made me puke but which I had to endure because of madam? Hell, he practically wanted to touch my dick at a point but for my aggressive resistance. What if I had let him? All that was just him performing? Shit!!! The mere thought of that day brought my revulsion back in full force. I kept the business card safely in my drawer, that guy was going to have a lot of questions to answer very very soon.
Madam Ayiri’s call woke me up the next day. It was already past ten in the morning and the sun was bright outside while I slept off the revelations of the previous night. I sleepily rolled off the bed and picked my phone off the side table at the third ring.
I tried very unsuccessfully to stifle a yawn.
“Lazy man, na me wake you?”
I yawned again before I answered.
“Yes o. I slept late yesterday, had an outing from which I returned late. That was after a hard day at the office.”
“E ya pele.”
“Thank you madam. Anything? This your call is kind of early.”
“See Seke asking whether anything dey. You didn’t call me as promised na. Sebi dem talk say is if Mohammed no go mountain, mountain sef go advise himself ni? Since you didn’t call and kpekus need blokos, I no dey pose na.”
“Madam oooo. You should be a comedienne walahi.”
“Seke baba, always grammar. This is not the time for grammar sha, na koko I need right now. The way body is doing me ehn, I can chop you raw. In fact if not for our agreement, I for don come burst your place this morning.”
“Thank you for remembering. I’ve been so busy with so much stuff, that’s why I’ve not called you.”
“I know Seke, all those small girls in town are enough to keep you busy. That’s why you won’t have time for an old mama like me…”
“Common on madam, you know it’s not like that now.”
“If you say so, oya lets meet today make you come prove am.”
“Ehen, you’re not at work na.”
“No I’m not, just kind of sudden.”
“Sometimes na the suddenly dey make sense pass. Come make I show you say ori yato s’ori like brother D’banj preached.”
“Kai madam, you’re too funny.”
“On top this matter, girls are not smiling at all o.”
“Okay then. I’ll call you to meet me somewhere later in the afternoon. How’s that?”
“You want to post me again? Another iscoming abi?”
“No madam. Not at all.”
“Ok then, I’ll be waiting for your call.”
I was all set to go out and to meet Madam when I remembered Karishika’s summon to meet up by 2 p.m. For a minute I thought about changing my hastily made plans and going to Karishika’s instead but the thought passed when I recalled the words of her husband on Friday. What exactly did she want to say that couldn’t wait? Maybe it was time to start showing her she couldn’t push me around any how she liked. I typed and sent an sms telling her I couldn’t make it to our rendezvous as previously agreed and switched off my phone.