Free Pass

You might get a free pass that day when you show Him why you didn’t believe. With many brilliant theorems, arguments and proofs you might convince Him that He couldn’t have been.

I will never be in that place, capable of denying the wonders of His grace. I have seen Him work through my despair, rescue me and answer my prayers. He has touched my flesh and saved my soul, I would sooner deny myself than let that lie be told.

God is real, though our human minds may not have the range or receptors to seek Him out. But in my heart I know without a doubt, His love and mercy found my mouth. You might get a free pass that day but I must testify of what I know, God is real and good to me.

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Things The Book You Don’t Write Will Never Do

I don’t know
what the book you write will do
but I know the book you do not write
will never win a Man Booker, a Baileys, a Kirkus or a 9Mobile
will never top a list or close a list
will never be a book club rave
kindling debate and speculation the world over
will never have a sequel
never be a movie
or a series
or a franchise
It will make you no millions
earn you no fans
birth you no rivals
It will not make a reviewer shudder with delight
or squirm in pain
it will never be quoted
book-spine story stacked
photographed, venerated, or vilified
It will never gladden a heart or fill one with rage
It will cause no laughter, awe, anguish or shame
It won’t spark friendships between strangers
build bridges between daughter and father
create kinship between old and young
It will do none of these things
That I guarantee.

Forsaking All Others

 

“Some people can’t forgive infidelity, but you would wouldn’t you? I mean what is a little unfaithfulness between soul mates?”

I leaned back in the plush pillows savouring my seedless grapes as I admired Eka, my beautiful wife while waiting for her response. Standing by the windows of our honeymoon suite she was a picture of poise and perfection. Her honey coloured skin, generous figure and cherubic face turned heads everywhere we went. Everyday other men told me how lucky I was, as if I didn’t know that.

Her laughter was shrill, filled with amusement and certainty. “Akan, you will never cheat on me.” And with that she left the window to the her laptop where she shopped, blogged and chatted.

In my entire life, I had never been faithful to a woman. I had never loved a person in exclusion of others, sometimes I liked to think I was polyamorous. At other times I told myself the hard truth: I was a fickle, selfish man ruled by his desires, but such times were rare. I liked to settle for flings, have friends with benefits, be the side-guy to rich women whose husbands were inadequate, roles that offered all of the fun with none of the commitment.

Before Eka, I had just two real girlfriends: Aduke, who left me to marry an eighty year old Canadian man and Nneka whose wedding I stumbled on one Saturday while watching TV. And even during those relationships I had never said no to the occasional roll in the box, moan in the dark, kiss in the hallway.

As an estate manager, I had a lot of time on my hands. Time I spent overseeing housing projects for wealthy clients and chasing women. Most of the projects were successfully delivered but the women were another matter. I didn’t mind though, the game was the game.

When I met Eka, I thought it would be another sexcapade for the history books. She came to see how well her aunt’s house was going.

“You have made so much progress! Aunty Ima will be so pleased, at this rate she will be able to move in by Christmas,” she said walking through the rooms and inspecting the property. I listened and nodded while she went on about workmen and wiring, all I could think of was how good her hips would look, spread out on my bed.

I asked her on a date and she said yes. Soon we were talking and chatting like we knew each other all our lives. She refused to sleep with me, however. No matter how long or hard I begged. I gave up after a while, my side gigs were still on and I never liked sex with a reluctant partner. It reminded me of necrophillia.

Over time we settled into an easy rhythm of weekend dates, daily phone calls and a never-ending chat. When she proposed to me, I said yes.

We were married in a small intimate ceremony in a little church at Lekki. My parents were late and so were hers so there was no one to stampede our idea with an elaborate African reception party with a football stadium filled with guests.

My guys made fun of me and my new status. Gbenga, my best man, led the taunts; swirling his beer glass in front of his pot-belly, “Akan, you are finished, nothing nice for you,” he said, swaying slightly, “Okro soup, morning noon and night. Even Okro soup snacks.”

The rest of the groomsmen laughed at his vulgar humour but I was annoyed. “At least it is my own Okro soup, I have no fear of Jedi-Jedi and other diseases,” I answered frowning slightly. The retort was a low jab at Gbenga’s recent incurable Gonorreah scare. He’d caught the bug from a one night stand and it had only been susceptible to Imipenem, a crazily expensive antibiotic. My barb hit home and he glowered at me over his drink.

“Leave story!” Taiwo said with a smirk. “This one no fit last two weeks. One week and e go dey find tasting up and down.”

“Haba!” Said Ikenna, “You no try for my guy, this is a changed man, transformed by the power of love and the support of a good woman. I am sure he’ll be faithful for at least three hundred and sixty. Minutes.” And they all burst into fits of belly-shaking laughter.

Listening to laughter ringing in my head, realising how true it was, infuriated me, I left my drink on the centre table and went to find other guests to mingle with, useless groomsmen.

*

 

One of the things that had made me say yes was Eka’s job. She worked as a surveillance engineer for an international oil company on an oil rig. The job paid well and came with six weeks of annual paid vacation but those were asides. What mattered most was the intermittent nature of her job schedule: two weeks on, two weeks off. Fourteen whole days! Where I was free to jump, hop, skip and cartwheel anywhere and anyhow I pleased.

I saw this as a blessing, so when she said I would never cheat on her, I made up my mind to keep things as discrete as possible. I was flawed, no saint, but I didn’t want anyone miserable on my account. I did have a wandering eye but it didn’t mean I should have a callous heart. I also made up my mind to keep all my exploits safe: no rubber, no lover style.

Our honeymoon was a pleasant blur of plush hotels, great food and mediocre sex. Eka was inexperienced and unwilling to experiment. I cursed myself for buying the no premarital sex scam and counted the days to her resumption. Then, finally, it was over. Eka was gone for two weeks and I was free to frolick.

My immediate target was a young lady in the estate I managed who ran a small hair saloon in front and drinks/water business behind her flat. She had dropped out from a Diploma program when her parents could no longer afford fees. She was single, slender, not very pretty, but there was something about the way she greeted me that made me feel wanted, gave me hope. Her name was Peace and she was from Delta state. Not that it mattered really, she could have come from Zamfara, Cameroun even, it wouldn’t have changed much.

The first week, I drove by regularly and stopped to gist a little. I asked how business was doing, I helped with minor repairs around the flat. I bought drinks and let her keep the change.

The next week, I stopped at her place and bought drinks for her and her girl. I drew her outside and she smiled shyly while I asked how she was and what her plans were that evening. She would be going for choir practice, she said, but what about the weekend? Would I be free on Friday? There was a nice, new club she wanted to visit, would I like to come along? Of course I would. We talked a little more before we parted amicably, but not before I had given her some pocket money and she had given me a peck.

The countdown to Friday was on.

I spoke to Eka everyday. I told her how I missed her (this was true, our three-bedroom apartment was as lonely as a graveyard), how I couldn’t wait for her to come back (a lie, I could wait, I had a date), how my efforts to find her a tabby cat were going (pretty bad, there were Bull Dogs, German Shepherds, parrots even, but no cats).

When I got to Peace’s place on Friday she was waiting for me. I could barely recognise her in the skintight electric blue dress and party makeup she had on. She hopped into the passenger seat, handed me a chilled can of Orijin and we zoomed off.

The club was overflowing but we found our way in and got more drinks. We danced a bit and I whispered my plans for the rest of the evening into her ears. She nodded with a faint smile on her lips and I felt a jolt in my loins. Holding her hand, I made my way towards the door.

Halfway there, I heard someone shout “Where you dey carry my woman? Ufuoma, who is this?” Looking up, I saw a muscular man at least half a foot taller than I was blocking the exit. I was still wondering who he was talking to when he grabbed my shirt and lifted me off the ground.

“Abel, stop this now, wetin dey worry you?” Ufuoma/ Peace said clutching the man’s shirt.

“Just shut up! Ufuoma, so this is the man you left me for? I fit just waste am here.” Abel said glaring at me with red eyes.

“Ab, relax, abeg,” Ufuoma said and Abel let go of my shirt. With that he turned around and hoisted Ufuoma on his shoulder, he wanted to march past me, I blocked his path, “Guy, you dey craze?” I asked him.

I woke up spluttering outside in a pool of water with some teenage boys fanning me and dousing me with water. The story came in trickles. Peace’s Uroboho name was Ufuoma, she translated it to the English version when she came to Lagos. Abel and her had left the village together to seek a better future in Lagos. They had been going steady for years, on and off, mostly because Ufuoma wanted him to stop drinking and get a steady job and he wouldn’t hear of it. Ufuoma was eager to move on but Abel wouldn’t let go, he swore she would either marry him stay or single. I was lucky to have fainted after the first punch he gave me. That had satisfied him and he left me alone. The last guy he saw with Ufuoma hadn’t been so fortunate, he lost two teeth and a finger.

Somehow, I made my way home and buried my head in an ice-pack. Two days later, Eka was back.

She took one look at my swollen face and made a clucking sound, “these terrible area boys, sorry my love, let me fix you some peppersoup.” I surrendered myself to her ministrations. Somehow, I got Ufuoma out of my mind. Somehow, two weeks passed and it was time for Eka’s crew change again.

On her way out, she walked up to me, looked at me for a minute, gave me a peck, and made for the door.

“Won’t you ask me to be a good boy?” I said, making a lame attempt at some morbid humour.

Again she laughed, “You can never cheat on me honey, I need to go so I don’t miss my flight.” And with that she walked out of the door.

Since Operation Peace had been a colossal flop, I decided to go for something more straightforward. Picking a girl off the street seemed extreme so I decided to look for a runs girl instead. Someone who traded her pleasures on the side while holding a day job or pursuing an education, they were said to be pricier but worth the effort. A few discrete enquiries and I was given a name and a number

Stella picked once the phone rang. She was happy to hear from me and what do you know, she stayed in Lekki too. We made a date for Wednesday and I ended the call smiling. On Wednesday she called to say she had to cancel, could we move it to Saturday evening? I was upset but I played cool, of course we could. We agreed to meet at a the Prime hotel bar by 6pm. I was seated by 5:30pm.

Nothing prepared me for Stella, she was funny and sexy and intelligent too. She smelled of flowers, vanilla and dreams come true. Her pink shorts showed off her lovely legs in the most lustful way. I began to wonder if I had settled into marriage too soon. I began to wonder if I could ever truly settle for one person at all.

We shared drinks and talked about sports, books and music. She told me she was into business but she wouldn’t say more. I told her I was a farmer and we both laughed.

Soon we found our way upstairs to a small but cosy single room. I began to kiss her and she responded eagerly. We undressed each other quickly and pulled of my boxers. Stella took one look at me and let out a scream. I was shocked and confused, her screams were still ringing in my ears as she hastily pulled on her clothes, grabbed her bag and left me in the room naked.

That is when I look down at myself. There on my pubic region were clusters of large angry-looking boils. I stared at them in disbelief. I had my bath before coming and there had it been a trace of them then. My erection disappeared and I slowly wore my clothes. My head was aching. The boils were beginning to hurt.

At the clinic, the doctor listened to my story with a smirk. “Mr Akan James, I have run this clinic for ten years and while I wont say you are lying, the history you have given is highly unlikely. I am placing you on medication for a week. Make sure you abstain during that period. Bring your partners for counselling and testing. Be more careful.” And with that Dr Dosumu saw me out of his office.

Over the next one week the boils cleared. Eka came back and I was in prison again. I served my time with honour: cooking my share of the meals, dressing up for silly parties here and there, reading the books Eka bought for me. I could sense she wanted me to make some amorous moves towards her but I just couldn’t, she was more of a sister to me at that point but I didn’t want to rock the boat or spoil anything. Sisters are forever, right?

One week into her time off she was called to cover for a colleague. I feigned annoyance while I threw a mini-tantrum, “how dare they call you up after just one week? Don’t they know you have a family? When are we meant to have time together? How are we meant to have a baby?! I yelled at the top of my lungs and threw my shirt on the rug.

Eka picked it up and walked over to rub my shoulders, “it is okay. It is just for a week honey, I’ll be back in no time.”

I pretended to fuss and fume while she did all she could to placate me. Riding on all the drama we managed to have sex that night but it was still boring and wooden.

When I woke up the next morning Eka was gone. On the fridge was a note:

 

Honey,

Couldn’t wake you, you were so cute asleep.

Your favourite soup is in the freezer.

I’ll call once I arrive.

Love,

Eka

 

Ps: Please don’t try any of that again, for your own safety, I love you.

 

My stomach sank, I say slowly on the nearest chair and read the note again. Eka knew. Or did she? What was that? And why didn’t she bring it up throughout her stay?

Anger, fear and disbelief swirled in me like a boiling stew. Determined to brush it all aside I tore up the note and made myself a cup of coffee, as hot as hell and as black as midnight and sat back to plan my next move.

Since Eka was due back in a week I didn’t have much time to plan or plot anything elaborate. Girls in the estate were out as were any strange women. Our people say that old firewood burns fast, keeping this in mind, I called one of my previous partners, Halima.

Halima was married but I had often warmed her bed when I was single and her rich husband was away on business trips. Usually, I just had to flash, once she saw my called ID– The Tailor– she would find a way to reach me when all was clear.

I called and waited. Two days no reply from her. Three days, no word still. On the fourth day she called and picked quickly, giddy with gladness. I froze when I heard a man’s voice, ” Don’t ever call this number again or I will make your balls into testicle suya, your eyes and internal organs into assorted peppersoup. You have been warned.” I dropped the phone gently and tried to quell the shiver in my bones.

Disappointed and miffed, I decided to go hangout with my guys. Ikenna was out of town but Gbenga, Taiwo and some of the other groomsmen where around. They had already ordered the first round of drinks, I asked for a Heineken and took a seat. They were discussing the Nigerian police how corrupt they were, how useless the Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS) had become, how they beat up innocent citizens and targeted young men with beards and tattoos. I nursed my drink in silence, I didn’t have any personal experience with the Nigerian police. It all sounded kind of anecdotal to me. My dealings with the police didn’t go beyond giving them the N200 they asked for when I drove into the estate. Soft work.

The girl serving drinks came with the next round of orders. She smiled at me and winked. I looks away but I could feel myself respond. Gbenga had seen it too. “Ah! Mr A, that one like you oh! How far I know say be now you don even forget the vows, e no easy!” He exclaimed chucking into his glass.

“Gb, mind yourself,” I replied, my eyes subtly following the girls figure as she strutted across the grounds. There were possibilities there, I thought to myself. If only I could get some one alone…

My prayers were answered as Gbenga’s phone rang. An emergency in his office–he was needed right away– Taiwo had to follow him because he didn’t drive. After he left, the others began to leave as well, soon it was just I and free drinker at the table. I left in search of the girl.

She asked me to call her Pepe. And pepper she was, in the next four hours, she took me places I had never been and showed me things I had never seen. It was like being born in heaven, over and over again, like a feast of all your favourite foods cooked to perfection, like being made into a cup, filled to overflowing with pleasure.

After about the seventh round, I managed to find my way back into my car. It was almost midnight, I thought about spending the night with Pepe but mini- slum didn’t look too safe and home was just 15 minutes away. Basking in the euphoria of a successful evening, I pressed a little too hard on the accelerator, when noticed a motorbike crossing the street ahead, it was too late.

My Honda Baby Boy was totalled, the bike man was without a scratch. I broke my femur, I had bruises from head to toe but that was the least of it. I felt numb in my waist and later the doctors told me I might never have an erection again.

Eka took time off work and when she saw me in the hospital wrapped like a mummy she held me and whispered “Why honey? Why? Didn’t I tell you not to try?”

The Agbada That Shook The World

Some people say the Agbada only shook Lekki but I disagree.

Last weekend in a star-studded. celebrity-flooded wedding two Nollwood stars Banky W and Adesuwa tied the knot in a beautiful traditional marriage ceremony. Fans and friends were delighted and social media was filled with warm wishes for the two. One of the guests to the wedding was Ebuka Obi-Uchendo a writer, TV host, lawyer and compère; and he was the guest who wore The Agbada. Since then the Agbada has been called many names including AgbadaX, Ebuka’s Agbada and Agbada-Kimono. But more importantly it has brought a maelstrom of activity to both social and traditional media.

At first glance, it is hard to see what the rave is about, the garment was quite simple, not a glimmer of bling in sight, no flamboyant wings, no multicolour layers, no sequins or beads; but a combination of factors made this garment the talk of the world.

First of all, the AgbadaX was made from an exquisite fabric rumoured to have cost at least fifty thousand naira. It was a luxurious purple colour, reminiscent of royalty. To create a garment like that, the same fabric or something very close is necessary. Many wannabee owners of the AgbadaX are already trying to recreate the look without this vital component, the outcome? Disasters.

Secondly the AgbadaX was made by none other than the renowned fashion designer and trendsetter Ugo Monye. Sources say the AgbadaX was made for 280 thousand naira. Only. They also say Ugo has been making clothes for the very rich for close to two decades. It is clear that he brought his wealth of talent and experience into crafting this signature piece, anyone expecting similar results from a roadside tailor has booked a date with disappointment.

Thirdly, the garment was worn by Ebuka, a tall, dark, fit, handsome man with celebrity status and over 200 thousand Twitter followers. In a word, carriage, Ebuka brought carriage to the AgbadaX and transformed the garment from being just another asoebi to a true work of art.

And of course there were other factors, the excellent photograph by the yet unknown photographer who got just the right shit at just the right angle and  whose work has since gone viral, the dry cleaner( some one said the ironing was done in Malaysia 😂), and the Twitter influencers, On-Air-Personalities, Vloggers and Bloggers who have kept the hype raging for days. So many different factors coming together to create an effect that will not be duplicated soon.

In the wake of this iconic garment, there have sprung a flurry of responses, actions and reactions:

Ugo Monye’s Instagram followers hip has gone from four thousand to twenty-two thousand overnight.

A certain Yinka, a tailor has promised his client he can reproduce the garment. And bets are already being cast about the outcome.

A colleague of Ugo Monye’s, Seyi Vodi has advised against any form of copying or reproduction of the iconic piece calling it a “mind blowing piece of art.”

A feminist blogger has accused Ebuka of employing male privilege, trying to outshine the groom and some other patriarchy related offences.

A failed attempt at recreating the garment has already been posted and was thoroughly lambasted on Twitter.

The Agbada already has a Twitter handle and can be reached @EbukasAgbada

One can’t help but wonder what will happen next on the AgbadaX Diary but one thing is for sure, this is one Agbada that won’t be forgotten in a while.

Tuesday Shorts: The Pigeon’s Nest – Sibongile Fisher

This story was written by an emerging award winning African writer, it is funny, smart, dark and deep. Read and share please.

Naane le Moya

My grandmother could bargain with death. She knew who was to die and it was always up to her to let them die or to trade their life for that of someone else. My turn came twice and both times she traded my aunt Mophi and my sister Limpho. Mophi was her least favourite child. She was not quiet and not shy but somehow unmemorable. Limpho on the other hand was sickly, she seemed the better one to die. When my grandmother found a dead pigeon on our doorstep she called for a family meeting. No one came— not even my mother—who lives two streets away. I don’t remember my mother’s face. She only contributes to my existence by showing up once every three years.

We are sitting under the apricot tree when the news of My Uncle Boy’s death came. He died digging for gold in an old mine…

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Ex From Hell 1

I came back from work to meet my wife sitting on the verandah with her ex. Not just any ex, but Nathan. The one she couldn’t forget and always compared me to. The one that was taller, sexier and better hung; my nightmare.

They didn’t look up as I walked past.

The kids ran to me and I scooped them up and planted kisses on their cheeks. As I walk-hopped to the kitchen, they told me how their day went: Akan had an extra star for excellence in maths, Akem learnt a new stroke in swimming.

I microwaved yam porridge and chicken and ate it in bitter silence. I wanted to go to them and disrupt their little chit-chat. I wanted to call the police. But Nathan was taller than I was and probably stronger, the police would only laugh at me, extort me and add me to their stories- that- touch- the- heart files. Nah.

I put the children to bed and walked into my bedroom to find Nathan and my wife there.
“Hi Victor”
“Hi, get out of my house!”
“Easy,” Nathan said holding up his hands in mock surrender and in that moment I hated him more than I knew was possible. I wanted to make him scream and squirm in pain, I wanted to wipe his memory from the face of the earth in the cruelest, slowest possible way. I took deep breaths and gripped a chair to steady myself.

“Let’s take this outside, Nikki is asleep, she needs some rest.”

I scowled at him but left the room to the sitting room and slumped into a chair. Nathan walked up to the fridge and got himself a can of beer and tossed me one. I caught it and dropped it on the side stool in front of me, “I don’t drink.”

“Then why do you have them in the house?”

I ignored him.

He opened his, drank it all in one everlasting gulp and dumped the can on the floor. “So, Victor, I have come to take back Nikki.”

“What? Why?”

“Well, for starters, she is mine. Yes I loaned her to you for a while but I want her back. I need her back. She was the only woman I have ever loved and I have spent the last eight years looking for her in everyone, everywhere. When she was right here. I want her back and I am here to take her.”

“Get out of my house!”

“Please. You have said that already and it didn’t work. I am not leaving until I get what I came for, with your blessing of course. I ll give you some time to get used to the idea and say your goodbyes. Tidy up your accounts. Have some farewell sex. Whatever. But in three days I am leaving and taking Nikki with me.”

With that he got up and walked into my guest room and locked the door.

I ran upstairs and tiptoed in to the bedroom, Nikki was fast asleep. I got into the bed beside her and stared at the ceiling long into the night.
*

The next morning I woke up late. Nikki was gone and in her place was a brief note on rose coloured paper:

Good morning Love,
I am off to work. I have taken the kids to Mama. Food is in the warmer in the table.
Love you,
N

I jumped out of the bed and bounded down the steps two at a time, I was hungry and curious, was Nathan gone too?

Nathan was in the dining room, polishing off my breakfast. He belched noisily when he saw me. A volcanic rage began to bubble inside me.

“Morning Vic, I figured you could do with some intermittent fasting.” He laughed at his lame joke.

“What are you …”

“Oh this? Thanks man. Who would have known we were the same size in T-shirts. It is more of a singlet on me but whatever.”

“You will not wear my clothes and you will not eat my food!”

“Duh. Already done. But there is cornflakes if you care.”

I grabbed the cereal bowl and made a plate.

“I have been thinking, we need to find a gentleman’s solution to this problem. A mutually amicable way to let all parties leave the scene with some decorum.
Do you play chess?”

“No”

“Can you shoot?”

“Never held a gun in my life.”

“Table tennis?”

I stood up and banged the table sending a table mat flying. “Look, Nat or Rat or whatever you call yourself, I am a busy man with things to do and people to see. I don’t have time for this. Don’t have time for you. And if you don’t mind I would really appreciate you leaving my house, my life and my wife.

Nathan doubled over with laughter. He held his sides and panted for a while with tear streaming down his eyes.

“Listen, you aren’t going anywhere. I called your office to tell them you won’t be coming because you have monkey pox. I am not interested in your house or your life. But Nikki is mine, she promised me she would love me forever and I did the same. So, if you don’t mind, waddle back upstairs and get dressed. We have a long day ahead of us.”

A small chill ran down my back. My hands began to itch and as I scratched small pustules appeared.

“Oh, don’t worry about the rash, it is benign, just a a little reminder of who is boss here. Hurry up.”

I rushed a bath and watched in horror as the rash spread over my chest and back. My joints ached too and the anger I felt was now a stream running through my veins like lava. I hobbled downstairs where Nathan was waiting beside the TV.

 

“Good. Sit down. I want to tell you a story.”

I found a chair as far away from him as possible and wrapped myself under a blanket like a mummy.

“Once upon a time, there was a young man whose parents died before he was ten. He passed from uncle to uncle until he became fifteen and ran away from home. He found a job as a house boy for an old man who paid for his education. Then he met the sweetest, most beautiful lady ever…”

“Let me guess, Nikki.”

“Exactly, and they would have lived happily ever after if the boy didn’t bungle some things and have to disappear for a while but that is history.

Now the boy has a chance to live happily ever after with his princess and the only impediment to that blissful future is you. So what do we do about you?

At first, I thought of killing you, a nice clean shot on your way home and then slicing off your ears and balls to make it look like rituals. But I thought nah, this man is a gentleman, a reasonable man, he ain’t never done Nikki dirty. He has been good.

Then I considered a kidnap. Nice and quick. One day you are quarreling over how salty food is and the next day Poof! She is gone. But where is the beauty in that? Eh? Where is the class?

So now I come to you as a man. Let Nikki go and I will walk away and you will never see me again. What do you say?”

Asterisked

Idomo surveyed the list of humans he was assigned to destroy with a malevolent gleam in his eyes. It was a long list, six thousand, six hundred and sixty-six beings long. He had all kinds of deliciously wicked things planned for them: accidents, chronic sicknesses, retrenchment, heartbreak, disappointments, and massive crop failures; even a suicide or two. He enjoyed bringing doom on the human race, but nothing gave him as much pleasure as getting a saint to stumble. And no saint on his list had been harder to tackle that the one listed as number seven – Edima Usoro.

He snarled as he asterisked her name and his ugly face turned grotesque.
How he hated that woman. Sometimes the sheer force of his loathing would shrivel his toe-claws and make his insides froth with frustration. It was useless; he could do little to harm her. Her hedge of protection was impenetrable; there were no Bitterness holes or Hatred gutters to climb in through. Her company of angels were vigilant and alert; each morning she galvanized them with her prayers and confessions. He had been monitoring her for nineteen years and so far nothing he tried had worked. He had to discover a way to trip her before the grand assembly at the Bermuda Pyramid on Friday the 13th. If he didn’t, he would be demoted, made a mere messenger demon and sent to the Sahara desert, a homeless placeless nothingness. He cringed at the thought.

“No” he muttered under his breath.

With a sweep of his arm he summoned a translucent screen and typed in her name and number. Instantly, her entire dossier appeared. He lowered himself to sit on one of the giant branches of the Udara tree he was perched on and studied the dossier with a frown.

Edima Usoro was a thirty four year old spinster who taught Literature in Graceland Secondary school, Abak, Akwa Ibom State. She had lost both parents in an auto crash when she was nine and spent most of her teen years in domestic servitude. At fourteen she caught tuberculosis and was scheduled for termination in three days. A travelling evangelist sensed the hit and spent a week prayerfully looking for her. He found her huddled on a mat coughing up globules of blood. He had shared the good news with her and healed her of the disease. Things were never the same after that. He had estimated that she would be excited for a month or two before returning to lap up her vomit as many did. He was wrong. Nineteen years later she was still burning with love for The Maker and his people… Unforgivable.

Like every of these earthen treasure carriers, she had her struggles, weaknesses and mistakes. The problem was she never built a tent there. She was prompt to repent when she did or said anything incriminatory. She bore no grudges and even dared to forgive people in advance. Even when he got those hard to come by permits to throw a rough spot her way it did nothing. She merely prayed more, gave more and sang praises while she was at it.

He HATED this girl!

She made being a demon hard, hapless, harrowing work.

He had to find a way, he needed a break through. Time was running out faster than a flickering candle. He needed to devise a plan that would work. These were the most desperate of times and they called for the most devilish measures. There was just one thing he could think of. The one thing she still felt shame, guilt, confusion and fear about. The thing she had not soaked in prayers or saturated in daily confessions. The thing she scarcely understood, yet garbled with daily: her sexuality.

Technically she was a virgin but he knew she fantasized about sexual pleasure. She wanted a man. Not just any man though, but one that was strong, honest, intelligent, well to do, sexy and fun to be with. A godly man that would slay her dragons, father her children and treat her like a queen. Someone that would change diapers, take her to see the Obudu Cattle Ranch, give her foot rubs when she got home from the market , teach her a few things about love making and romance. She wanted a cultured man from around those parts who knew his way in the world but wasn’t trapped in it. She wanted a lover, brother, father and friend.

Idomo toggled over to her wants and a faint smile lit up his face. There was a chance after all. She wasn’t an angel, she was a woman. She had a crazy wish list but at least she wanted something. All he had to do was fan that desire and provide a suitable object for its expression. Luciferiously, Biology and Physiology were on his side, they had awakened parts of her she hadn’t even known existed. Her nesting instincts, her sexual impulses, and her desire to feel loved…. all of this was creating the perfect environment for his plan. All he had to do was find the man, one that was a good imitation of her outrageously impossible imagined man. He needed a man good enough to arouse her attention, but bad enough to do his bidding. The trouble was, there were few men like that in the entire South-south region. Most of such men were either working themselves to the bone in the major cities like Warri Uyo and Port Harcourt too busy to take up the demands of courtship, or serving un-noticed in some out of the way locations. They were caught up in the daily grind, slaving for the elusive naira, catering for aged parents, loving the wrong women, ending up jaded, bitter, broken….

Luckily, he had not left his fate to demographics. He had expected this sort of challenge with Edima and prepared accordingly. He knew just the man for the job: Marcus Ekanem Ekpe.

Marcus Ekpe was a forty year old Electrical engineer with a 200 mega watt smile and a natural way with words. The third born and only son in a family of five children he knew more about women than many knew about themselves. He worked for Vodacotel an international Telecommunications company with major operations in the Niger Delta as a Site Engineer. He was 5 ft 10 inches, coconut-shell brown, well built, good-looking in an under stated way and great company. He was a ladies’ man, serial monogamist and one time church boy. He loved the thrill of conquering women that played hard to get. He knew the routine and relished it. Marcus was a hunter who loved every part of the chase. His friends called him the Bullet, he scarcely missed his mark. They even liked to joke that an easy girl was like an antelope that willingly collapsed at a hunters feet; probably old and riddled with incurable disease.

Idomo clapped and his work screen vanished. He knew what had to be done. He had to get Marcus sent to set up the new Vodacotel Telecommunications mast at Abak. It had to be at the start of the long holidays around July 27th. Edima had to be in the middle of her cycle when her hormones were most volatile. Marcus had to have enough cash to fund his seductions so his arrears and upfront allowances had to be paid in full by August 1st. Eno his current babe had to be out of sight and out of touch, aha! NYSC posting to Birrin Kebbi would be just the thing.

One thing still bothered him though.

What if The Maker revealed his plans to her beforehand? How in creation was he going to stop that?

*

Republished with permission