Temptation: The Reboot – Part 1

So we rebooted the original Temptation story that was mildly popular on this blog some years ago. This reboot is set 5 years after – some X-men type thing. Just assume Jessica and Nneka are dead … well, because they are both dead to me, now.

It begins *drumroll please*

I hobbled to my seat and collapsed, sweating profusely yet sheepishly happy. I was relieved I did not fall, but I was excited too. I had begun to regain my ability to walk gradually, and even though I still could not move for more than five minutes without pausing to rest, I could move about a lot more freely than the week before when I just got my cast taken out.

Nonetheless, I was feeling giddy because of her. I did not know her name but I knew I had met true beauty as soon as I glanced her way. Her face shone the way I imagine Moses’s did when he came down from Sinai with the Ten Commandments. Her glow was beyond ‘on fleek’ and her eyes – hazel colored and inquisitive, darting around the room every five seconds – somehow also held a deep, soothing gaze that convinced me all was well with the world despite the near-excruciating pain in my right ankle.
Her complexion was what you imagine the person who first described a lady ‘ebony’ had in mind; it was brilliantly beautiful .. and black :). She was not particularly tall but she had one of those absurdly curvy shapes that you could see even if she was seated normally behind a makeshift attachment desk in a crowded classroom. She was not what I would typically classify as ‘my type’ but immediately I saw her, I knew I never really had a type. Yep, she immediately dispelled any myths I had been peddling to myself that I had a type and banished them to the same cerebral pit where the ‘memories’ of ‘Lady Koin Koin’ and the legendary India 100-1 Nigeria football match had been sent to immediately I had any real sense of how reality works.
I had to get to know her. I knew I had to . . . but ‘os courfe’, my rational brain kicked in.
‘Niccur, you’re a mess, half a leg, shabbily dressed, not particularly attractive and a tad geeky… Boy, there’s no way you’ll get beyond a half-arsed Hello in response’.
But like with all stupid decisions I have made in my admittedly short life – despite possessing what I believe to be a brain firmly lodged in the 95th percentile when measured for analytical prowess, I allowed my emotional, eternal optimist brain have its say.
The mad guy was all like;
‘Guy!!!, you’re over 6’5, your limp is clearly one of the best ice breakers in this place, you speak well most times, you are smart, you can act nonchalantly wealthy and you can always project your “effortless” depth if she’s not feeling you from the off … and yes, your looks are pretty limited but you tick two out of the three famous requirements that make up the popular TDH checklist – You can do this, mehn!’.
Of course, the rational brother had to warn me again;
‘Brother, don’t do this to us, eez not by force to talk to this fine girl today, you will just spoil your mind for no good reason when she rejects you’.
Guys, I weighed everything in my near perfect pro Vs con mental counter and decided to ignore the overwhelming victory that the cons fought so hard for. I made a beeline for her seat armed with minimal game, zero strategy, an average smile and a limp that would make even my most optimistic cheerleader predict that I was going to crash and burn. I got to her seat and before she could look up, from the edge of my eye, I saw my mouth begin to produce words I wasn’t thinking. It was almost as if there was some puppet master in my brain I had never met before now pulling my verbal strings. The words I heard were;
‘Hey Mamacita!, come let’s get ma familia (more familiar?)’. She smiled … I was relieved .. then I discovered she had been intently reading something on her phone … she looked up .. ‘Oh, were you talking to me?’ … panic set in .. from the corner of my eyes, I could see a couple of disbelieving stares from some of  the people I would be spending at least the next six months with . . . I could smell the judgement and could hear the inner voices in their heads saying ‘this guy must have a death wish’.
The seconds passed as she looked up at me expecting any answer, my crippling social anxiety was already in cruise mode. ‘Who send you?’ my rational brain asked mockingly.
It was too late to turn back now and I decided to forget all I knew and just talk . . . and talk I did. I honestly cannot remember much of what I said but I know I got many wry smiles, maybe like four full smiles and a couple of genuine big laughs. I know I felt like Picasso painting The Girl Before a Mirror as I spit lyrics I never knew I was capable of composing.
The most vivid memory from the encounter was the wide-eyed shock mixed with unabashed envy I saw resting on the face of the guy seated beside her when I successfully elicited my second big laugh from Uke … Yes, her name is Uke, and yes, I never hexperredit at the time.
It was not a one-sided conversation, though. She was way more intelligent than she was beautiful – and she was breathtakingly gorgeous. Our repartee left me wondering whether she had any blemishes. She had – a wild side – but more on that later. I hobbled back to my seat, refusing to make eye contact with her even though I could feel her eyes tracking my every move. My ‘blaad’ was already throway-ing hailings from his seat as I took mine and within seconds, I had received his ‘Baba!! (with the two raised hailing hands emoji)’ congratulatory Whatsapp message. I smiled and my eternal optimist brain was all like;
‘My niccur! I know say one day you go make us proud. No dey doubt yourself again, mehn! you be bad guy!!’.
Over the next couple of months, I and Uke got really close and exactly a year after I met her, we were engaged and for those of you who I forgot to invite, we walked(no limping anymore) down the aisle last week and I’m pretty certain we will live happily ever after . . .
Okay, so apology time. This whole story is littered with falsehoods. In fact, I think the closest thing to the absolute truth is my height.  I no get the kain sendlessness needed to pull this off yet. Nevertheless, the girl, Uke, is very real and I met her in a class similar to the one I described(or did not) in my tale above. I did not have the balls to even mumble words to her till a couple of weeks later and it was just greeting kind of talk. I still imagine we will eventually start something and end up together in marital bliss but I have been led to believe that I first have to take my conversations with her beyond ‘Hi’, ‘Hello’ level.
Unfortunately, I do not see that happening any time soon. Her beauty dey constantly tie my tongue. I think I will just write her a letter (and add my picture because I’m pretty certain she will not recognize my name) and slip it into her bag when she steps out of class.
Yep, I am as pathetic as that. So for those of you out there feeling bad at your lack of game, just remember that there’s a weird Gareth guy out there who drafted an imaginary story of how he met and got married to a girl that he actually hasn’t met and wrote this full imagination in over 1,000 words on his blog that the girl does not read(or know of its existence). . . Smh, such a loser
By Gareth Glover(… a pseudonym)

Democracy – The Nigerian Illusion

Hello World, it’s been quite a while. Well, here’s a new story on a theme we’ve never shied away from covering on this blog.  It’s a personal experience of a close friend of ours. It is both enlightening and thought-provoking. Enjoy your read . . .

Gist Editor, Gistoscope

Now I’m scared that my Nigeria . . . Our Nigeria, may never be better.

I had a firsthand experience that has eroded my faith in our government, its policies, and its numerous ‘feedback mechanisms’ to know the people’s plight.

Two weeks ago, I was chosen to represent Zamfara state Corpers in Abuja during the National Corpers Forum aimed at getting feedback from serving Corps members from the 36 states of the federation and the FCT on how the scheme could be improved from the Corps members’ point of view. Four delegates per state were selected and 6 from the FCT. For  three days, we sat and pointed out pertinent issues bothering Corpers security, welfare, community development projects improvement and mobilization issues. On each of these topics, we made observations and resolutions which we typed and submitted to be moved on to management for consideration.

From the welfare communiqué group, we told them blatantly that a transport allowance of 1000 Naira and bicycle allowance of 1500 Naira was unrealistic; as times have changed, that sizes of Corps members should be collated before mobilization; so that we could stop the shameful practice of giving people oversize or undersize kits, that either they pay a certain amount as medical allowance monthly or implement a health insurance scheme for Corpers like most schools are doing now; instead of having me pay my medical bills and then start writing to Abuja for a refund which may never come. We even said they should stop using Corps members during elections as cheap labour since it exposes them to risk of loss of life, as, more often than not, violence erupts. We had a long list from the welfare point – from issues of inadequate camp facilities, to lack of accommodation provision by employees. Other groups made their resolutions too.

To my chagrin, however, these people had come up with a resolution they wanted, and threw away all that we said and put in theirs. They even said we advocated for better taekwondo in camp! Whaat???! Next, he was moving a motion to adopt our resolutions as amended!! Right in our faces!!! Some of us cried out immediately. I jumped to my feet and told him with all due respect that this final resolution had been greatly watered down, and that it did not represent what my people had sent me there to say. A couple of people raised their hands and came out to voice their opinions that a lot was missing from this resolution. The Corpers who produced the final document confirmed that a staff of the NYSC was set on them, and he was the one who literally produced the contentious resolution.

Furthermore, and in a bid to mock democracy even more, the chairman said all those with issues about the resolution should come out. He then gave us the mic to each say what we wanted. Then he sat, locked heads with his colleagues and kept gisting away, barely listening to us, till the last of us ‘riffraffs’ made our point, with him taking no notes or cognizance whatsoever. Then again, he moved for the adoption of our resolution as amended.

By this time, the Director-General had come and gone, the press had taken their pictures and video clips and gone and there we sat, helpless. Next on the news. we’ll hear a Corper say a word, then a couple of short videos here and there and they’ll show a Corper moving the motion for adoption and Nigerians will think – their voices have been heard, the international world will say – ‘Wow!, the people really have a say in matters affecting them.’ I smiled to myself and said ‘this is Nigeria and this is why we are where we are today’.

The chairman told us our welfare demands were frivolous . . . as if he could boldly say the bicycle he bought his son cost him 1000 Naira, or that transportation from Lagos to Abuja costs 1500 Naira. He told us it was ‘impossible’ to make uniforms and boots to size. My question is – ‘If I can fill in my date of birth, gender, course of study, LGA etc before mobilization, why can’t I fill in size 45 as shoe size so they can know how many size 45 shoes to send to each state? Why should a graduate be paid 19,800 Naira . . . when he’s an equivalent of a grade 8 level officer in the civil service, buying from the same market, and in a strange land, all in a bid to heed the clarion call?

Now friends, I’m not just angry because our voices were not heard. No, I’m bitter because they knew they would do this. They knew they didn’t want to listen to us ab initio. So, why make us all come down to Abuja for a forum such as this? Why feed us for days, provide ‘conference materials’, sit me down for hours, pay our transport and give us other financial benefits, wasting taxpayers’ money in the process; just to come there, hear us rant and then do nothing about our most pressing needs. Friends, they knew they would not listen to us, they knew they already had their resolution, they knew our opinion did not matter one bit, so why make us come? What if one of us died in transit? Would it be for this? This sham?

This is what we inherited, friends – a nation that pays a lot of money to NOT listen to its people.

So next time you listen to the news, kindly take it with more than a pinch of salt.

By Anyiam ‘Don-Moj’ Nnaemeka . . .  A guest writer and a true patriot

He’s on Facebook too, so check him out when you can.

Temptation: the Story, Part 4

This is the fourth installment of this story . . .

Here’s a link to the first part Temptation: the Story →

And here’s one to the second part Temptation: the Story, Part Two →

And for the third part Temptation: the Story, Part Three →

PART FOUR BEGINS HERE . . .

What she said to me rang continuously in my head for the next few seconds. I have a fiancé. I could not understand it. It couldn’t be true. It was impossible. I glanced at my watch, it was just past seven pm. The serene, pleasant environment in the restaurant contrasted acutely with the discord that tore at the strings of my heart. I returned my gaze to her very beautiful eyes. Jessica looked even more stunning today. An awkward silence had blanketed us and she just stared at me . . . her eyes searching mine for a reply, any reply at all. The silence wasn’t uncomfortable, though. . . Nothing about Jessica was uncomfortable. The eventful circumstances on the night of the day that I met her meant the bond we shared was as good as eternal. Since that night, she had been awarded a very special spot in my heart. No one, no action, nothing at all could cause her to lose that spot. Even this bomb of a revelation. As I carefully pondered the next words to say, my mind cast back to that night . . . the fateful night when Nneka’s life hung in the balance . . .

That night, I had finally begun to shiver when we pulled into the driveway at Helix Medical Centre. Before I could make a move, the tall, fair driver was already carrying Nneka out and hurrying her motionless body towards the emergency section, closely followed by a concerned-looking Jessica. I felt light-headed as I clambered out of the car to follow them into the hospital. I had narrated the bizarre tale to the two relative strangers who had come to my rescue as the driver sped towards the hospital. I glanced at Nneka and she looked peaceful . .  a far cry from the emotions that were running through my mind as I, as best as I could in my condition, explained the events of the night. When I was done with my story, Jessica told me she was almost asleep when she heard Chizzie pick my call earlier . Apparently, she and the driver, who I discovered was her brother, had just come into town for a bit to see some of their friends and they were spending the night at Chizzie’s rather than at a hotel because Chizzie vehemently refused to allow them sleep anywhere else. Classic Chizzie , I thought, as the small salon car sped through the endless network of roads in GRA.

‘Immediately Chizzie told me about your situation, I woke my brother who was sleeping in the living room and with a basic description from Chizzie, we were able to find you’ Jessica had said.

I was grateful, but the prevailing emotion was surprise.  I was surprised that someone was willing to brave the night in a land that was relatively new to him or her to help an individual he or she barely knew. Jessica was truly a wonderful person. After a while, the doctor came out to inform us that Nneka wasn’t dead, but that she had some medical condition. He mentioned some things about a genetic collagen deficiency which led to temporary muscle paralysis probably triggered by a stressful situation. He went on to say some other things I couldn’t process or remember. All I recalled with clarity was the overwhelming sense of relief that flooded me the moment I heard him say ‘She’s not dead’. The doctor advised we left her there for a while so he could study the peculiarity of her case and suggest the best way forward. Soon after, myself, Jessica and her brother left. Before they dropped me off at my house, we first took a detour to Nneka’s place where we secured her property and my car.

The next morning, before heading to work, I got an auto-mechanic and took him to Nneka’s place to look at my car. It turned out that it was a minor problem with the battery terminals which he fixed very easily. I opened Nneka’s room, cleaned the pool of blood on the blue-tiled floor and pocketed the sheet of paper where Jessica had written down her number the day before. I took a few clothes and other basic necessities from her packed bags, then locked up and left for Helix Medical Centre. I was very happy to see Nneka awake though still less vivacious than normal. Her skin was a bit pale especially her face which appeared almost ghostly white. Against my better judgment to let her rest, and as a result of her insistence, I told her everything that went down the day before. She was very surprised that ‘this Jessica'(as she put it) was so willing to help and looked at me funnily when I said Jessica was a lovely person. She wanted to say some more but I urged her to rest and regain her strength. Soon after, her drugs kicked in and she fell asleep. I left her sleeping and went to work.

My mind returned to the present. Jessica had a fiancé. How? Why? How come she hadn’t mentioned it?  We had grown really close in the last two months so it must have been a really difficult task to keep such big news under wraps. Over those months, I called her at least once every two days. On occasion, I would call as much as thrice a day. She was so easy to discuss with, her voice so soft and soothing.  We would talk for hours at times; laughing, sharing funny stories and just allowing our imaginations run wild as we laughed and discussed the unpredictability of the future. While I did the majority of the calling, she always texted me. She would send all types of texts from the short ‘Hey, Wats up?’s to the long poetic messages about how she valued our friendship. I had grown to really care about her without actually seeing her in the course of those months. Now I was with her, it was unbelievable how palpable the chemistry between us was. She had just come into town the day before and I insisted we hung out the next day. She obliged and I brought her to my favorite restaurant- Sky High. I didn’t spend too long on chit chat. Immediately we had ordered a meal, I poured out my heart to her, telling her how I never felt the way I felt about her with anyone else, telling her how badly I wanted her to be mine, telling her how often I thought about her and how I couldn’t keep those thoughts to myself anymore. She looked at me and the expression on her face was one I had never seen before. A sullen, solemn look had settled in where excitement and exuberance once shone proudly as she said;

‘I have a fiancé’

I was shocked. My brain refused to process the message my ears were passing across. I opened my mouth to say something . . . anything . . . but I couldn’t form the words. After what felt like forever, I eventually asked;

‘Where is he now?’

She looked down at the table and replied;

‘Offshore’

And after a short pause added ‘He works on a rig offshore’.

‘Okay’ I said.

It was all I could say. The rest of the night went on uneventfully. I dropped her off at Chizzie’s house later on and went home. I undressed, showered, got into my pajamas and lay on my  bed with the lights off, air condition at 16 degrees, everywhere very quiet. I replayed Jessica’s words in my head again and again. I have a fiancé. I could not understand why she hadn’t told me about it earlier, why she didn’t see such a crucial detail as important, why she would lead me on, knowing fully well how close we were growing to one another. As I lay there lost in thought, a shrill sound pierced my fortress of solitude and self reflection. I opened my eyes to see my phone ringing. The caller ID read ‘Jessica’. I let it ring till it disconnected. It rang a few more times but I ignored each. Then after about ten minutes, I heard a different tone, a shorter one, it was a message. As I reached to see the contents of the message, the phone began to ring again. This time, it was a call from Nneka. She told me she had something to tell me which was very important and that she was coming over to see me. I couldn’t say no to Nneka, she was one of a few true friends I still had.

Over the last two months, I had spent a significant amount of time with Nneka. I had informed her office of her health issues, visited her at the hospital everyday till she was discharged and paid her regular visits since she was discharged to find out how she was doing. The doctor had recommended drugs and a strict fat-free diet to help her get back to full fitness – two things she really hated. Owing to this, I felt compelled to visit her regularly to encourage her to stick to the doctor’s orders and to cheer her up. However, I couldn’t fathom why she would be coming to visit me this night. It was strange. She sounded pretty terse on the phone and I was really concerned. I glanced at the big circular clock in my bedroom, it had just crossed 8:30pm. I looked at  my phone and saw that the message was from Jessica. I opened it and saw a very long message. It read;

‘Hey, dear. How are you? I’m really sorry for not telling you about my fiancé. We’ve been engaged for about three months but I don’t love him. I only accepted his proposal because we’ve been dating since I was in high school. The truth is I was really scared of pushing you away and that’s why I never mentioned him. You’ve made me so happy these last two months and made me feel things I haven’t felt about anyone. Please dear, I’m in a very tight situation, give me a little time to work this out. I love you’.

What the hell? I read the message again and still couldn’t believe what I read. ‘Give me a little time to work this out, I love you’ she had written. What did this mean? The last part of the message stirred something in me. I read that part again and couldn’t help smiling sheepishly. Jessica loves me . .Then, I heard a soft knock on my front door. I glanced out the window to confirm it was Nneka and it was. She seemed deep in thought. I gently unlocked and opened the door and welcomed her in. I wasn’t at all ready for what happened next.

As I closed the door and turned to face my visitor, I saw Nneka standing directly in front of me. Before I could say anything, she leaned up and kissed me full on the lips. I pulled away, surprised. Nneka who was like a sister to me had just kissed me in a completely un-sisterly way. I looked into her eyes and saw a fire I had never seen there before. She looked me dead in the eyes and with the confidence I always admired her for, said;

‘I’ve wanted to do that for so long . . . ‘

She paused for a moment, looked around the room, then looked back at me. Her next words would change my life forever. She said;

‘I’ve also wanted to say this for a while . . . I love you’

TO BE CONTINUED . . .

By Gareth Glover . . . a pseudonym

Guest Article 1: My Phone, My China

If you want to write a guest post on gistoscope, check below this article for details . . .

I say ignorance is a virtue. One that gives you freedom. . . The freedom to do whatever you choose without any iota of guilt or feeling that you might be doing things in a fashionably incorrect way. Do note that the fact that an act is classified as incorrect doesn’t necessarily equate to it being wrong(but that’s a discussion for another day).

As humans , we constantly strive to improve ourselves, meaning at almost every point in time, we are in a constant battle against the bliss that is ignorance. With our constant wish to improve and advance ourselves, we need to place ourselves in the best position to take advantage of opportunities that might come our way. In my sojourn into the world of knowledge, I have realized that humans(myself included – I’m not an alien, you know) pick up ideas in every nook and cranny and have the capability of learning the most profound and eminent of lessons from the least expected of places.

Archimedes learnt about floatation and density while taking his bath and Isaac Newton’s relatively arcane Law of Gravitation was famously motivated by an ‘innocent’ apple. That apple could and would probably have hit every other one of the six(abi seven) billion people in the world today and would in probability, not elicit a similar reaction. However, it did for Newton. And not only because he was a genius but because he had  a solid, unique foundation in that field and was poised to take advantage of such ‘luck’. I digress though. Not every one of us is or could be a Newton. However, each and every one of us can and should try to stand out in whatever way we can. I learnt this lesson from the cell ‘phone war’ in my country.

It started in the year 2000 A.D when our dear OBJ allowed the importation of the GSM- for some reason, we still aren’t manufacturing them(sad really and also a discussion for another day). The brand names at the time, no matter what they were, were not placed under any sort of classification by we, the consumers. All of them were classified as GSMs, phones or cellulars. Those were the days before coloured screens, polyphonic ringtones and MMSes. During those dark ages(yea, in hindsight, they were), the phones were not even capable of texting up to 160 characters.

3597870-used-old-gsm-cell-phonesThe first set of cell phones . . nice, right?

Before I get distracted on memory lane and forget the message at hand; the fact is all types of brand names, without any sort of bias were made available to the public whether it was Nokia, Alcatel, Siemens, Motorolla or any other phone. All were appreciated without any favour or fervour accorded to any.  There was equal competition for the massive market yet unexplored and this led to the first ‘Phone War’.

Then the time came when SMSes were no more enough for us. We wanted more and we got the MMS. Soon after, we needed cameras on our phones as well as better ringtones and so many more features. It was at that point my father’s Siemens A35 started becoming antiquated. It was also at that time I started hearing, for the first time, about JAVA. Being an ardent reader, I still wonder how it was that I ever got to misunderstand the acronym to imply a game software or something of the sorts. I guess it was because I kept seeing said acronym whenever I launched a game on a ‘china phone’.

15_27_08_Motorola_Talkabout_180There was a time when this was the symbol of ‘swag’

Did I say ‘China phone’ ? Of course, I did. I can’t believe I got there so soon. Well that single name was the cause of a lot of controversy at the time. How it came about is as mysterious as practically every other market trend. In other words, you could find out for yourself as I have absolutely no idea since these were not the only phones which were made/manufactured/coupled in China. But what I saw happen, although not a phone owner at the time was this;

china_phonesClassic China phones

The first casualties and victors of the first ‘Phone War’ emerged. The victors worthy to be mentioned were Motorolla, Samsung and Nokia. Of which, only the latter two still remain of relevance in the contemporary Nigerian phone market.

Soon after, we began to have the stand-out brands and imitations. At that time more people could get their hands on phones,  and as is typical of all mass propelled actions, the issues of fashion came into play. True, the imitations or ‘china phones’ as we called them were not as good as the brands. They were known only for their unnecessarily lurid lights and similarly strident sounds. Nevertheless, they were not as bad as most made out and still displayed admirable creativity. After all, they did introduce the Two-Sim idea and produced significantly cheaper phones. However, despite mine or any other person’s opinion, you could not be a ‘fly guy’ while using a ‘China phone'(crowd mentality, huh?).

Since then, the market has evolved and Blackberries and iPhones(hopefully, I’ll live to see the iPhone 5,000s) are the big dogs who now run the roost with the aforementioned duo of Nokia and Samsung offering stiff competition. Funny enough, most ‘fly people’ now use a branded ‘China phone’ that goes by the name of Techno, and at the rate this ‘China Phone’ is growing, they could be a major player in the market very soon.

Futuristic-iphone-concept.previewNow, this is a game changer . ..

So what’s the moral of this relatively long-winded story? Well, here it is: no matter who or what you are, no matter the sector or area you find yourself in, distinguishing yourself will always place you at a distinct advantage over bias of any sort. So, be unique, try to stand out, carve a niche for yourself, be known for something. The moment you have your own forte, your own brand, is the same moment you start your journey down the glorious path to greatness. It is only then you become truly noticeable, significant and worthy of discussion. As a famous Nigerian musician once sang; ‘If nobody talks about you, then you are nobody’.

‘By Chika ‘GC-Cgp’ Obani  . . . A guest writer

You could find him on Facebook @facebook.com/obanicd

N/B: For Interested Guest Writers;

Every Wednesday . . . hopefully . . . we’ll post an article from a guest writer. So, if you feel you’d like to contribute, just send in your article and it will be published on the next ‘available’ Wednesday. By available, we mean there are some regulations we follow when posting guest articles and the next ‘dated’ Wednesday might not be ‘available’. Therefore an article sent in on Friday this week, for instance, might not make it up to the blog by next week Wednesday. 

Also, please endeavour to write articles between 500 and 1000 words on ‘relevant’ subject areas. The editor will get back to you with the final piece before it is posted on the blog.

Here’s the email to send in your guest posts- rainbowsixplus@gmail.com .

We look forward to receiving your posts. Happy Writing.

Gist Editor, Gistoscope

Temptation : the Story, Part 3

This is the third installment of this story . . .

Here’s a link to the first part – Temptation: the Story →

And here’s one to the second part – Temptation: the Story, Part Two →

PART THREE BEGINS HERE. . .

Terror gripped me as goose pimples appeared all over my body and my heart rate accelerated exponentially. There on the floor was Nneka, normally vivacious but now just lying there, still as the sea with blood dripping down the side of her mouth.

Nneka!!!!!! I screamed again.

Still no reply, no twitch, no signal of recognition, whatsoever. I rushed to her unmoving body. Years of seeing movies dictated that the first thing to do in these situations was to check for a pulse. I immediately grabbed her right arm and tried to see if I’d spot the pulse.  I couldn’t feel anything probably because I didn’t exactly know what to look out for and had no prior experience looking for one. My fear increased even further as I thought of what to do next. It then occurred to me that I should have paid more attention during those first aid classes we were given when we were much younger. . .  ‘I would definitely have to go for one of such after this encounter’ I thought to myself. Once more, based on a solid background in watching movies, I decided that mouth-to-mouth resuscitation was probably the best line of action but the blood was beginning to form a small pool on the floor beside her so I was a tad disheartened to try it. My brain was blank, I couldn’t think straight as I stood up to consider the next best line of action.

‘What on earth could have happened between me leaving the room and now that could have caused her to black out completely?’ I asked myself, as it occurred to me that pouring some water on her face might do the trick. I rushed into her bathroom to get the water I needed. I sped in, slipped on the wet floor, felt my head strike something dense, saw blackness gradually cover my eyes and passed out . . .

After what seemed like forever, I opened my eyes to utter darkness as I immediately discovered that I was lying on cold, wet tiles. ‘Where on earth was I’?. Then, everything flooded back.

‘Oh my God!’ I muttered to myself as I struggled to get back to my feet.

The back of my head was throbbing painfully. I reached behind to feel if there was an open wound there. There was none, just excruciating pain. I looked at my watch in the darkness, the two glowing watch hands indicated the time was 10:12 pm. ‘Thank God’ I thought to myself, hoping it was still the same day. It was apparent that there had been a power outage sometime during my black-out as the formerly well-lighted bathroom was now as dark as a dungeon. I brought out my phone and switched on its torchlight as I groggily stumbled into the bedroom. Nneka was still on the floor but wasn’t bleeding anymore. The pool of blood beside her wasn’t much bigger than I remembered so I assumed she had not bled to death. I grabbed her petite body and lifted her onto my shoulders. I carried her to my car, opened the back door and laid her carefully on the seat. I ran to the gate, opened it then ran back to my car. I got into the driver’s side, stuck the key in and turned. The car sputtered a for bit then went off. I tried again and got the same reply. ‘What the hell is going on today?!!’ I cursed angrily.

I turned and turned the ignition but like a mule, the car stubbornly refused to start. By now, it was almost 10:30pm and everywhere was quiet. ‘Nneka isn’t going to die like this’ I said to myself while my ever logical side wondered if there was a better way to die. I ran to the next house and banged incessantly on the door while shouting ‘Help, it’s an emergency’. There was no reply. It was then I realized the room was locked from the outside and recalled Nneka mentioning her neighbour travelling during her call earlier in the day. It was G.R.A, so I was almost sure there were no taxis still moving around at that time yet I ran out to see if I could find any. The closest main road was a ten minute run from there and my head was still pounding. I was definite that I would faint if I even considered running that distance in my condition. After five fruitless minutes of waving at every passing car(which subsequently accelerated on seeing a supposedly mad man aggressively waving at them) while shouting for help, I brought out my phone and started scrolling furiously through the contacts. I tried the emergency numbers I was given at an office security briefing but they were all ‘unavailable at the moment’. I tried to remember friends who lived around that area who could come to my help as fast as possible. Mexy’s name popped in first. Right from our school days, I knew him to be a light sleeper so I was positive he’d wake up easily even if he had slept. I called him immediately and true to form, he picked on the first ring sounding as alive as ever.

‘What’s up?’ He asked.

‘I need your help, man. Abeg, drive down to 23 Eligbam Close for G.R.A now, It’s an emergency, I need to take someone to the hospital’ I hurriedly said.

‘Sorry, man but I’m out of town. Work wahala o. Call Ayo na, he should be able to help’.

I hung up and dialed Ayo’s number but unfortunately, it was switched off. I continued to scroll through the numbers on my phone as I soldiered through the pain back to Nneka’s apartment. Then, it hit me. Chizzie lived very close to this place as well. I never really enjoyed her company but I was in no position to choose. I called her and she picked on the third ring. From her voice, it was apparent that she had been sleeping for a while.

‘Hey, what’s up? why are you calling so late?’ She asked calmly.

‘I’m sorry to disturb but I desperately need your help. A friend of mine needs to get to a hospital now and my car is messing up badly. Please, could you drive down to 23 Eligbam Close as soon as possible to come pick us up. Please, I really need you to’. I pled with her.

‘I’m really sleepy o, plus I took cough medicine earlier this night so I don’t think I can drive in this condition’ She said before adding;

‘But I’ll call someone to come there as -‘ the other end of the line went dead off all of a sudden.

I looked at my phone and the screen was dark. I pressed a few buttons but nothing happened. The battery was dead.

‘SH*T!!!!!!!!’ I cursed angrily.’ What the f*ck did I do to get myself into all this?’ I pondered, as I stepped into the still open gate. I got to the car and Nneka’s lifeless body was in the same state I left it – it was still as still as death. I looked at my watch, it read 10:53pm. The pain coming from the back of my head was becoming more intense so I rested on the side of the car. Numerous memories of Nneka flooded my head – from the day we met to the day we drove seven hours to Osun for a mutual friend’s wedding. Nneka was certainly one of the few true friends I had. She was caring, intelligent and, as I told her so many times, ‘she understood me’. For so long, I thought about asking her out. The timing was never right and as we grew closer, such feelings gradually morphed into something else and I began to see her like a sister. Nevertheless, now ‘my sister’ lay in my car and for all I knew, she could already be dead. The word ‘dead’ lingered in my head. The closest person I had lost before now was my grandmother and I was still a kid then. My mum had told me my granny had gone to heaven and in my childish innocence, I actually thought she’d come back one day. Losing Nneka would tear a big hole in my heart. I was too sure of that.

As I rested my groggy head, I waited in more hope than anticipation that whoever Chizzie was sending would come while I was still conscious. Then I heard something, I raised my head to look at the source of the sound and I saw car headlights. I prayed the car would turn in and it did. As it turned in, the lights blinded me temporarily. As my eyes slowly adjusted to the light, I realized it was a small salon car. The car ground to a halt beside me and the driver’s and passenger’s doors popped open almost at the same time. Two figures emerged and ran over quickly to where I was. The pain and light had clouded my already overloaded senses and meant I couldn’t be certain who the two people were. However, from the little I could make out, it was clear the driver was male and the passenger female. I motioned the driver towards Nneka and he immediately started attempting to carry her out. The female figure ran straight to me and asked;

‘Are you okay?’

I recognized the voice instantly. It was unmistakable. It was the most soothing voice I had ever heard. It was the voice of Jessica.

TO BE CONTINUED . . .

By Gareth Glover . . .  A pseudonym

Temptation: the Story, Part 2

If you were not able to read the first part of this story, here’s a link to it – Temptation: the Story → .

The second part begins now . . .

PART TWO

Before I got to Nneka’s house, it was almost 8:30pm. Nneka’s house would normally be a fifteen-minute trek and about 3 minutes of a traffic-less drive from where I was. However, some truck had spoilt a few hours back and the general impatience of workers returning home meant crossing the spoilt truck was a herculean task. Nneka had already called twice asking about my whereabouts. She was getting impatient but I assured her that I would make the wait worth it. I honked the car horn two times before an exasperated Nneka opened the gate to let me in.

‘What took you so long?’ Nneka said with both a hint of worry and suspicion.

‘Nothing, dear  . . . just some crazy traffic jam down the road’ I replied.

‘Are you ready for me?’ I asked.

‘Of course, I’ve been ready since I called you, come inside’ She said as a smile began to form on her pretty face.

Nneka was one of the nicest people I had met in my life. We met on a trip to a picnic that I was dragged to by Jeff, a friend who at the time, desperately wanted me to ‘get out of the house some more’. I wasn’t keen but there was nothing worth watching on TV that day and I was bored to death with the ‘Weeds’ series I was following at the time. I was still in the University back then and the picnic was an interdepartmental trip to a very popular mountain. The view was breathtaking, the air – serene and the intense smell of nature – simply exquisite. However, the passengers in the bus taking me there were the exact opposite. All the passengers except one. From the little interaction I had with a few of them before we took off, I could tell they were not people I really wanted to have discussions with. My phone battery had been dead for almost an hour, yet my ear piece was firmly stuck in my ear as a strategy to discourage potential ‘chat-ups’. The jokes they enjoyed were needlessly vulgar, in poor taste and mostly just ‘dry’. They spoke in unnecessarily loud tones and laughed odiously. I didn’t notice the dark, beautiful girl of average height who had blended in but who, as I later discovered, was similarly put off by the crowd’s weird sense of humour.

Four people had to seat in each row, meaning we were going to be very tight at the back row which seemed significantly smaller than the other rows. I got in first, stuck my earpiece in, pressed play and turned the volume to the highest. In about twenty minutes, the battery was dead and I was then subjected to the bus’s ‘banter’ that I so despised.

‘You don’t want to be here, do you?’ The dark girl sitting beside me asked, a tad rhetorically.

I pretended not to hear her since supposedly, an ear piece was stuck in my ear playing music. She tapped my shoulder lightly and I turned to her and removed an ear piece while making a show of being impatient and ready to stick my ear piece  back if what she said wasn’t worth my time.

With a charming smile and a lovable air of naiveté, she said;

‘I know your battery died a while back but you’ve been pretending to still enjoy your music and I know why’

I was impressed with both her confidence and the way she spoke, clearly enunciating every syllable of each word. I smiled and asked sarcastically;

‘So tell me, O dear psychic, tell me why . . .’

‘You’re an introvert’ she said, still smiling. ‘You’re too shy, you think I’m very beautiful, but you’re too shy to tell me so’ she added.

She was actually very beautiful but it was the way she said it that had me instantly charmed.

‘How could such a witty person be right beside me all through while I subjected myself to the inane ramblings of  these ‘dullards’, I thought to myself.

‘So what’s your name?’ She asked, interrupting my thoughts

‘Bruce Wayne, but you can call me Batman’ I replied. She burst into laughter. After she had collected herself, she said;

‘You’re funny, I think this picnic will be more fun than I expected’. ‘I’m Nneka’ she added. I smiled, removed the ear piece that was still stuck in my other ear and turned back to her. I told her my real name and from that day, we grew to become really good friends.

I held her hand as we walked into her self-contain apartment. A cool gust of breeze hit my face as I stepped in. It was a very neat and orderly apartment. Her bed sheet, curtains, rug and most other features of her room were the same shade of blue. The room had just one window beside the door and didn’t get enough air circulation. Nevertheless, she must have repaired her air conditioner recently as the contrast from the last time I visited was like that between day and night. The room was practically freezing.

‘Let me go change and freshen up a bit’ she said as she walked into her bathroom. ‘And don’t start without me’ she added with her trademark smile.

‘You know I won’t . . . at least, I hope I won’t’, I replied.

I looked around the room and then, out of the blue(see what I did there), she was back in my head. Jessica. The fair goddess, the beauty, perfection. Her eyes-deep enough for you to swim in-, her shape-with curves that a French curve would struggle to replicate, her complexion. Jessica was all I could think about. I brought out the sheet of paper I stuck into my pocket earlier. Those eleven digits stared back at me as I began to drift into her world.

I heard the lock of the bathroom door click and quickly stuck my phone back in my pocket and the sheet of paper into my other pocket. I wasn’t quick enough.

‘What was that?’ she asked.

‘Nothing’ I instinctively replied, ‘Just a sheet of paper, dear’. I know I didn’t sound convincing and she knew.

Her eyes pierced me for the truth for a moment more. Eventually, seemingly satisfied, she said;

‘Okay, we can start now . . . ‘

‘Where would you like me to begin?’ I inquired with a smile.

‘Anywhere, dear. I’m very tired. Let’s do this quickly, though. I have to get to work early tomorrow’ she replied.

‘Cool’ I said as I walked toward her. . ..

I walked past her, picked up the heavy Echolac box in the corner and carried it out of the room to my car.

Yes, she was moving out. Her current building, regardless of it’s nice location in the G.R.A was too far from her work place. She was spending too much money and time on transporting herself every day across the town.

No, she wasn’t moving into my house. She was moving to a new one-room apartment she had located some weeks earlier, very close to her office. I was there to help her pack and move smoothly. Our friendship was purely platonic but as much as possible, we tried to steer away from conversations about our relationships, as for whatever reason, it almost always led to awkward silences.

As I put the box in my car boot, I dug into my pocket to check the sheet of paper I had been looking at earlier. It wasn’t there. . .

‘Sh*t!!’ I exclaimed. She must have picked my pocket as I struggled to lift the box. I’m sure she wanted to see what it was that had me so uncharacteristically uncomfortable when she came out from the bathroom.

I rushed back to the room and slowed down just before getting to the door so she wouldn’t ask me why I was in a hurry. I now wish I had run all the way through.

I got into the room and nothing could have prepared me for what I saw next.

There on the floor, was the sheet of paper. Beside it, sprawled out, unmoving, was Nneka. Just lying there motionless.

‘Nneka!!!!!!!!’ I screamed

No reply . . . then blood started to flow from her mouth . . .

TO BE CONTINUED . . .

By Gareth Glover .  .  . A pseudonym

Narrow Escape : An NYSC Experience

The first night I spent in the prison where the Federal Government banished me, it immediately dawned on me  that it was going to be a very lonely year. The prison was a picturesque little village in the backwaters of Osun State with fluctuating mobile network and thick forests that stretched as far as the eye could see. I hadn’t committed any crime, I was just  one of the millions of Nigerian  youths sentenced by the  government to spend a year in the wilderness for committing the grievous offense of graduating from the university.

The remoteness of the location, the horrible network and the dilapidated condition of the school where I was supposed to teach weighed heavily on my mind but these factors weren’t what convinced me that it’d be a lonely year, it was something much different. Earlier in the evening, I’d taken a stroll through the town and while I stayed at the side of the road  to avoid the livestock that walked like the road belonged to them and picked my steps carefully to avoid the pile of faeces that decorated the road, I  took the opportunity to get a sneak preview of the calibre of human resources the village had to offer . . . (Okay, I was checking out the chicks) and I  was very disappointed. A few friends who had completed their own prison sentences had gleefully informed me that babes in the more remote corners of Nigeria couldn’t take their eyes off the ‘Corpers‘ as we were affectionately called. All they needed was to see a man in khaki and you were free to plunder their treasure chests (pun intended). So, I had been understandably eager to view what the town had to offer with the intention of collecting my share of the spoils (don’t judge me) but what I saw made me shake my head in self-pity. Girls wearing wrappers with the classic ‘Simbi’ hairstyle were not what I had seen in my  fantasy. However, those were all I could see. To make matters worse, they spoke the sort of English that would send my sainted primary school English teacher screaming in horror. I decided there and then that I’d rather join a seminary than ‘touch’ any of these girls. Of course, we all know how easy it is to make these sweeping declarations.

Now that’s enough background. Time for the nitty-gritty

For every rule, there is an exception and the exception in this case came in the form of a female named Morounkeji. Keji was a gorgeous, articulate…….. okay, that’s a lie. She was just average and her English was a bullet-ridden mess but at least she made an effort to speak English and she’d spent some time living in Ibadan. In addition, she was a hair-dresser so wasn’t carrying that ‘Simbi’ hairstyle which I hate so much. What I’m trying to say is that, compared to other girls in the village, Keji was a queen. So, I struck up a friendship with her(totally platonic o! I swear!). It wasn’t long before she got comfortable with me and got into the habit of coming to my room to chill and watch movies on my laptop. I read nothing into it until one cold, rainy Friday night when things took a crazy turn.

Ghen  Ghen . . . . *dramatic theme music playing*

I was watching a movie on my laptop with Keji on that fateful Friday evening when heavy rain came out of nowhere. My roommate was hanging out  in my neighbour’s room  so Keji and I were alone in the room. Normally, whenever Keji comes over, I leave the door open because she’s a ‘good girl’ and we lived in a small gossip-infested village. I’d rather not have those villagers use my name to sweeten their gossip chewing gum. But due to the heavy rain that day, I had to close the door. Immediately I closed the door and returned to continue the movie, I got a huge surprise. In those few seconds it took me to close the door and come back to Keji’s side, she had transformed into a totally different person. She literally pounced on me. I’m not going to sit here and lie that I hadn’t thought about getting my hands on Keji (Of course, I’m not gay, folks);  but so far, I’d done nothing to encourage her and I planned to keep my hands to myself no matter how many times I was tempted to make a move (honestly… cross my heart).

But today, that resolution went down the toilet. Immediately she pounced on me, I gave a few half-hearted protests (you know na, I had to *winks*) but she just kept coming so I did what any normal red-blooded male would do. I took control. Before you could say ‘Aragbesola’, hands were moving feverishly, buttons were being popped and zips were being drawn. It suddenly slipped through my foggy mind that my roommate was in the next room and he could walk in at any moment. I mentioned my concerns to Keji and she waved them away with the words “Tony is a ‘soji’ guy na . . . he’s not disturb us” (yes, those were her exact words). Anyway, to my hormone-impaired mind, her words sounded like wisdom from the very lips of Socrates himself and I promptly forgot about my roommate and went back to the infinitely more interesting job at hand.

The groping resumed and the mood was building again but the benevolent one who watches over innocents and stupid youths was not asleep that day because just as ‘the sh*t was about to get real’, the doorknob turned and we both froze. My roommate had come back because he left his phone in the room. As I got up and opened the door, Tony took in the disheveled state of the bed, the half-naked girl under the sheets and put two and two together. He smiled at her, looked at me with a smile  and said in Igbo . . . “okwa e ma na nwa ahu di ime?” which loosely translates as “you know that this girl is pregnant, right?”

I was shell-shocked.

I gathered Keji’s clothes off the floor, handed them to her . . . And walked as far away from the room as my legs could carry me.

Epilogue

Apparently, Keji was pregnant but she wasn’t a hundred percent sure who the father was . . . she kept passing the responsibility between two guys in the area (good girl, abi?). I have no doubt that if I had ‘explored her frontiers’, I would have been a major player rather than a spectator in the drama that ensued when it finally became public knowledge that she was pregnant. I still don’t know how my roommate found out so early about her pregnancy, but I’ll be forever grateful to him for helping me dodge that bullet.

Needless to say, I stayed away from those village girls for the rest of the service year.

By Nonso ‘El Noni’ Udeh . . . Whew! That was close!

Follow him on Twitter @el_noni