*In Fela's voice* I want to tell you a story......seriously I do.

Saturday, 29 December 2012



Mrs Phillips cast sidelong glances at her grand daughter and great grand daughter as they each sit lost in thought and bouncing softly as the car's wheels encountered potholes. They are on their way to Lokoja to bury her daughter Yejide. It had taken nothing short of  the threat of her dying to get Titi to come back home to Nigeria to honor her late mother. In her eighty years of existence, Mrs Phillips has learnt that every of  life's choices carries a price tag, and that people will always pay for their choices in their life time. As she dozes off, she reminisces about some of her life's choices and the prices she'd had to pay. She remembers how for years after marriage she had been without a child. How her in-laws had made her life miserable. She remembers crying to bed every night in despair. She remembers getting on her husbands' nerves as he insisted that it was him she was married to and he married her because he loved her and not just to bear kids. She remembers following her friend Keji to Iya Efun. Iya Efun assured her that everything would be fine and prescribed a sacrifice to the river goddess. She remembers the sacrifice; one guinea fowl, one mirror, and a  bowl of honey. Then there was the strange dream afterwards.  She'd been at the pool and some lady had tried to pull her under. They'd struggled a while but somehow it'd ended on a friendly note. Her "friend" told her she would have a child but she had to promise to share her. She had flippantly agreed but forgot the dream as soon as she'd woken up. It wasn't until ten years later when her daughter Yejide had gotten missing on a trip to the beach that she'd remembered. It was a picnic, the parents were sitting in the shade keeping an eye on the kids who were picking shells. When it was time to leave, all the children were accounted for but Yejide. For the next three days, Mrs Phillips was inconsolable as they searched high and low without any sign of Yejide. On the third day, groggy from sedation, she'd heard screams and had rushed out to see a beaming Yejide fly into her arms. After several hours of grilling all they could get from Yejide was that a nice,beautiful lady had seen her lost and had taken her in. This was met with mixed feelings as they all wondered why said "nice" lady hadn't tried to contact them since Yejide's picture had been on TV from the very next day. When they probed further, Yejide became extremely agitated. They returned to the beach and combed the shore looking for "nice" lady's house to no avail. They returned home and resolved to forget the incident just glad that Yejide was back home. A day after the shore search,Yejide came out to meet Mrs Phillips in the garden, the story that she told her chilled Mrs Phillips' to the bone. The story was for her ears alone and no one else was ever to hear it as Yeye had instructed. According to her, she'd been playing with a turtle when the nice beautiful lady had called her into the water. She'd asked her to call her Yeye and told  her that she was also friends with her mother. She had been taken on a tour of the sea and it had been so much fun. Yeye had given her a white peacock but had promised to take care of it for her until she was old enough. She told her mum  that she hadn't been there more than thirty minutes and was surprised that they said she'd been gone three days. Mrs Phillips was sweating profusely by the time Yejide was done. she remembered her dream right after the sacrifice, right before she took in.
"What have I done"?
She thought fearfully.
Strangely enough when she approached her again a few days later to retell her story, it seemed like Yejide's memory of the event had been wiped clean. She couldn't remember anything.
Twenty years ago, Yejide had again answered Yeye's call. Unlike her first disappearance, Mrs Phillips knew her child was alive. While everyone worried themselves sick, she waited. She waited for three months then one day a letter came; It was from Yejide. Despite her express wish to be left alone, Mr Phillips made them make the trip to Lokoja to "bring back his child". That it was futile was evident as soon as they set eyes on her in the shrine amidst her peacocks. Mr Phillips returned home broken hearted. Titi, Yejide's daughter never forgave her for abandoning her.

Elaine can't sit still from excitement. They are in Lokoja for her grandmothers funeral but they have been sitting in the car for almost an hour. The twelve year old is getting restless. Suddenly she finds herself out of the car and sitting in front of the bamboo shack, she'd been staring at from the car window a moment ago. Her grand mother is sitting on a stool across from her and smiling at her. She recognizes her from her pictures. They are surrounded  by peacocks. Cradled in her grand mothers arms,  is an albino peacock which she stretches out to Elaine. Elaine accepts the peacock but thrusts it back into her grand mothers arms quickly. It is as cold as ice. Yejide looks disappointed as she shakes her head questioningly at Elaine. Elaine shakes her head  in confirmation and immediately wakes up.

Yejide died on the morning of her fifty first birthday. Devotees had come to meet her sitting among her peacocks, in her customary white and blue cotton iro and buba. Her head was leaned on a bamboo pole as though only dozing. She was stone cold dead, with a serene smile on her face. All efforts to get her to the cemetery had failed. No car would start with her body in it but the same car would, when she was taken out. Eventually devotees attempted to carry her in a donkey drawn hearse. As soon as her body was placed in the hearse, the donkey slumped and died. It became obvious that she did not want to be moved. They tried to put her body in the water but it seemed like the water didn't want it either. Eventually Baba Dupe the fisherman was contacted from his hospital bed in the UK. He told them to get in touch with her daughter, that she would know what to do. Initially Titi had refused to return but Mrs Phillip knew the buttons to press, the most efficient being Gerald, Titi's white husband.

Titi is right upset about sitting at the side of the road in a strange town for close to two hours while her mother's corpse refused to be moved. She had no clue as to Baba Dupes' claims about knowing what to do but here she was. Suddenly Elaine jumps out of the car and races towards her grand mothers bamboo shrine. Titi screams in horror and chases after her but she is no match for the twelve year old's speed. She stops short and watches with the crowd of devotees as Elaine fearlessly picks up an albino peacock from the group of peacocks and sets it in the water. The crowd watch in shock as the peacock swims a little way off like a duck then dips its head into the water and is submerged. As Elaine returns to her mother, the car with Yejide's body starts and the funeral procession drive straight to the cemetery.


Thursday, 27 December 2012


This is a true story.

Yejide looks at herself in the mirror; her eyes are blood shot slits in a puffy bed. Her mascara, eye shadow, blush and lipstick are all smeared into a grotesque clowns face. Even her teeth have lipstick stains.  A dry sob racks her slender form. She doubles over again and clutches her hurting stomach. She’d had coco pops at seven thirty this morning but food was the last thing on her mind at the moment. Her chest and throat hurt. She has been crying for four straight hours but nothing has changed. She is still in her wedding gown. There is still no sign of Onome. She looks in the mirror drained to her toes of emotions. Her family had come to knock and plead with her to come out intermittently but she couldn’t face anyone. All she wants is to be alone.
She knows what she must do and it has to be done by her alone.
She braces herself and takes off her wedding gown, splashes cold water on her face and calls her mother who is only too eager to go to her daughter.  Perhaps if she’d taken another look in the mirror, she would have given herself a few more minutes before facing her mum.  Mrs. Phillips’ hurried footsteps falter as she enters the room. She half listens as Yejide tells her she is going off to spend the night at a hotel as she cannot handle the crowd of relatives and inevitable sympathetic advice and commiseration that was sure to ensue should she step out of the room and she no longer feels like being indoors. Mrs. Phillips is petrified; something about Yejide is totally off. It is in her eyes, in the way her words tumble over themselves out of her mouth. 
“Kiss Titi for me. Tell her I love her”.
Yejide doesn’t wait for a response from her mother; she picks up a packed overnight bag and breezes out of the house to curious stares and whispers. She doesn’t blame them. She’s just been stood up at the altar for the third time. Mrs. Phillips leans on the wall and cries for her daughter; tears of fear, of impotent pain and of regret.
With single mindedness, Yejide drives straight to Isheri in Berger, there is a small river there. She had been there to buy fish with her friend Remi, whose husband would eat cotton wool if it had sea food in it. She gets strange looks as she parks and jumps out of her car but she doesn’t care. They said she was possessed by a water spirit. Well she was headed for the water and they would explain to her today what exactly it is they want from her.
Yejide has an MBA in economics but sells clothes from the boot of her car. At Thirty one, she still has no idea of what she wants to do with her life. She’d tried several things but never made a success of anything. She relies largely on her parents for financial help. They never complained but Yejide wished she didn’t have to. With her exceptional looks men were never far away from her but none had ever seen it through to marriage, not even the father of her daughter. She is fed up and must get answers today.
For three hours before dusk, fisher men and traders stare at her in open curiosity as she sits on a jutting rock by the shore, but no one makes any moves to approach her. As it gets darker, people become fewer and fewer until it seems she is all alone. Still she waits. Suddenly a wave seems to pass over her and she realizes that she is all alone in the middle of nowhere by a strange river. Her heart lurches in fear. She looks at the time and it is ten pm.
“Oh Lord, I really am possessed”.
She thinks as she scrambles off the rock. Her legs and bum are numb and barely cooperating but she cannot concentrate on that right now. She just wants to get to her car, if it hasn’t been stolen or vandalized.
As she turns to leave, she sees him. Yejide isn’t sure if her perception is distorted because of her state of mind, but he seems taller than he looks in her dreams. He isn’t any less handsome or well built. As usual his eyes hold her captive. Yejide shuts her eyes tight and opens them again. She must be hallucinating; she’s had nothing to eat the whole day and what a day it has been.  As she reopens her eyes, he is standing right before her. Yejide is sure her heart has stopped beating. A local saying flashes through her mind a second before she is yanked from off her feet.
“Yanga dey sleep, trouble go wake am”.
Yejide gasps in shock fear and wonder as she is lifted off her feet. They seem to be flying for a nano second before they land right in the middle of the river. Then Yejide begins to struggle even though she realizes there is no point. The arm around her waist is unyielding. Holding her breath, she continues to struggle as they zoom deeper and deeper into the bottom of the dark and murky water. Her ears are filled with a loud sound of rushing water. Then it stops suddenly and is replaced with the almost imperceptible sound of a small breeze.
“Is this death?”
Yejide thinks just before a sudden bright light has her gasping in awe….they are in what appears to be a city, the very substance of which seems to be of some aquamarine stone.  She becomes light headed from sensory overload.  Suddenly she can taste the purity of the water on her skin and hear with her eyes the tinkling sounds of the oceans orchestra.  Her ears feel the peace and harmony of the underwater city as she realizes that she is breathing in air and not water.
They are on what appears to be a street with houses hewn out of coral reefs which seem to be alive. The colors are inexplicable as she has never seen such before and their radiance makes her eyes water. Her captor floats gently beside her, observing her as she takes in her surroundings in wonder. His long muscular legs have changed to a silvery fish tail but hers sans her shoes, are intact. The sand beneath her feet look like finely ground up glass, playfully reflecting the colors of the spectrum as the sun from above cuts through the water and bounces off on them.
The doors of a huge coral reef home are flung open and he waves her in. Yejide knows that if she steps into his abode, she would be his forever, so she digs her feet into the beautiful sand and shakes her head vigorously. Whatever it is that this being wants from her, he is not going to get her consent or cooperation.
“Get in”
His voice is gurglly and deep. Yejide is past fear; how much worse could it get? She shakes her head stubbornly. Mr Thing seems to be losing his patience. He flips his hand across the front of the house and the façade peels off like a banana skin leaving the interior of the house exposed like a doll house. Yejides' fear returns in full force. It is obviously a home but it is also a shrine to her.  A huge 7” by 7” painting of her covers the wall on one end and in little Plexiglas shelves reminiscent of those found at a museum are personal items of hers that had suddenly gone missing over the years; a foot of shoe, an earring, a blouse, a bracelet etc.
“Your home.”
His voice has taken on a pleading quality.
“This is not my home.”
As soon as the words leave her mouth, the water warms up and for the first time since the whole incident began, the prevailing feeling of malevolence, disappears.  She senses victory as she takes in his sudden sad countenance which is tinged with reverence and fear? He is looking over her shoulders to the source of the warmth. Yejide turns and encounters an in coming wave of previously absent marine fauna swirling around in excitement.
She bursts into tears of relief as she beholds her, full, beautiful and motherly. Yemoja opens welcoming arms and the water around her bubbles even bluer as the sea takes up a haunting anthem that swallows up every iota of doubt in Yejides mind.  Yejide goes into her arms sobbing in relief.
She whispers to Yejide as she presses her against her soft belly and into a rising vortex.
Baba Dupe the fisherman rushes out of the water and watches the strange waves as they leap higher and higher. He knows instinctively that his life is about to change. Then as suddenly as they began, the waves stop.  At the edge of the river is a young woman who seems to have been birthed by the river.
It’s been twenty years since Yejide was found by Baba Dupe the fisherman at the water side in far away Lokoja in Kogi state. It’s been twenty years since she answered the call and to this day, she can be found ministering to all who seek her help. She lives alone with her peacocks in Yemoja's shrine, a bamboo hut and can be heard whispering to the spirits. How she feeds no one knows but she lives and glows with an ever present smile.


It is said that Baba Dupe built her shrine, where thousands trudge daily to seek for one blessing or another.
It is said that in the early days a few fool hardy men attempted to molest her, they were found drowned 'on dry land'.
It is said that she is responsible for the success of Baba Dupe's sardine packaging company and his sudden wealth.

Saturday, 15 September 2012



Mother’s attitude about the Nonso episode really upset me. I didn’t think she had done any better than me. My father and Danjuma weren’t indicative of her better judgement. She had no right to act that whole “look what you did to yourself because you didn’t have me to direct you” way. It really pissed me off. My chance for revenge came soon enough. Mother went out to run errands and I had no lectures that Friday morning. As soon as her car drove out the gate, I entered her room. Dangana wasn’t asleep in bed like I thought, he was having a shower. As I stepped naked into the shower cubicle with him, he seemed frozen. He had attempted to touch me several times after that night but each time, I fought him off and threatened to let mother know. He’d left me alone after a short while but I noticed his eyes on me frequently. Mother noticed too and hardly ever left us both alone. That day was a rare occurrence. I told him mother was out as I pressed my body to his. He was like a man possessed. On and on and on we went only stopping for Dangana to call mother to make sure she wasn’t coming back any time soon. We went from the bathroom to their bed and on the single sofa in their room. I couldn’t believe how much of a kick it turned out to be. Having sex with my mother’s lover was a trip and some.

One day she came into my bathroom while I was getting ready to go and see a “friend”. She hung around a little uncertainly as I washed up my privates with alum for the tightening effect. I kind of knew why she was there and I knew exactly what I would say to her. Dangana had become stupid of late and would even try to cup a feel with mother right there in a room.

“Is Dangana bothering you?”

“I don’t know what that means but yes mother, I am sleeping with him.”

Her only reaction was an involuntary twitch at the corner of her mouth....but I saw beyond that as I brazenly applied shear butter mixed with Makari on my naked body. I saw the pain in her eyes and it gave me joy. She didn’t say a word. I didn’t see Dangana until a little over a week later when I saw his obituary in a national daily. We never spoke about it but I knew that she knew that I knew that she had a hand in his death. That was that for Dangana in our lives.

Men are such a bother. For some months after,  I stayed away from sex for pleasure. Mother and I resumed our uneasy business relationship; she had most of Dangana’s links. I became more and more aware of a particular request that mother always turned down; me and another girl, with a “friend”. I wondered why. There was little that I hadn’t done or hadn’t been done to me by “friends” so why was this different. I asked mother and her answer sealed it for me.

“It’s a sin” she said with her face crinkled up in disgust.
Within a few days, I had picked up a girl from the salon. Again the thought of hurting mother gave the situation more appeal that it was actually worth to me. I also believed that I found where I belong. I’m not a lesbian, neither am I bi sexual but as long as I could hurt mother and get some emotion free, uncomplicated sexual satisfaction, I was down with it. It became my habit to have brief intense affairs with women. I chose women who were married as they were least likely to go yakking. My product value wasn’t any less with them, they strove to please me.

When I was twenty four I met Maimuna. I had become tired of my randomness and needed a steady lover and Maimuna was ideal. The pretty quiet ministers’ wife was crazy about me. I liked her well enough and was comfortable with her.


He was one of my best "friends". Mother called him my "resting place". Never has there been a man who worshipped the very ground I walked on like Musa Sambo, the chief of army staff. He spoilt me and mother stupid. Mother suddenly hit upon the smart idea that I become his third wife. I didn't mind, an end to "friends" and the man worshiped me. I had it all under control. Sadly, despite continuous prodding from mum and I, there was no talk of marriage.

In came the black prophet. Mum claimed that he had helped my appeal all these years. He assured me that Musa was mine if I really wanted him. I did; I was ready to settle down. A week before I was to return to find out what the "spirits" wanted from me to make Musa mine, the selfish bitch that is my mother goes and has a heart attack in the middle of the night. I found her stone cold dead the next morning. How inconsiderate. As usual she had acted with just herself in mind. I buried her the next day without much ado as I'm sure she would have wanted. She had no family so I was well and truly alone. I bemoaned my fate and actually drove myself ill from worrying about handling money and responsibilities myself. Mother had taken care of all that and I really did not know what to do with all that business. Neither did I care; I am a beautiful person that should be taken care of. In the next six months I would turn twenty five and still unmarried. That was already one year behind target. I did not want that.


Monday, 10 September 2012



Hajara and Umita were my only “real” friends.  I met them when we moved from Rayfield in Jos to Army Engineers (forget the name; it is really just a housing estate). We grew up together and were kind of close. They were never really bothered about the gossip and mystery surrounding me and my mum, maybe because Umita's mum was also a single mum and Hajara's dad, the area drunk. We were something of a "crew" in the area. They were very curious about me but accepted me as a very private person. I appreciated their friendship as I was used to more wary friendship from other females at a tender age.

I so understand how Adam and Eve felt as they suddenly realised they were naked, my eureka moment?  I was fast asleep one night when I felt hands all over my body. I am normally immediately alert when I wake up but I was strangely lethargic and remained so as the oddest scenario played out. My mother's lover seemed intent on stimulating me. See, despite my extraordinary looks, I was very innocent about the opposite sex. He looked focused and determined as he stroked, rubbed and pinched. I was bewildered. I recognised that it was another transition. I was afraid of the coming stage in my pain filled young life. I was on fire. Sensations crackled in nerve endings I didn’t know I had. I wanted to fight him off but something strange was going on with me. I remembered mother making me a cup of cocoa last night. I thought it was strange considering my strict diet. My moaning seemed to have been his undoing. He started to breathe heavily as his erection stuck out. He didn’t look focused any more. He looked ravenous, like he wanted to eat me. He was breathing heavily and watching me with glazed eyes as I stared up at him, my waist still moving from the over flow of sensations. He pressed his thumb down, applying pressure on my clitoris. I bucked, then I heard her voice and realised that mother had been there all along. She ordered Dangana repeatedly to stop but he seemed like he was going to disregard her as his hands ran over my breast.

"Enough, enough, enough". 

She screamed and dragged him off me. The look on her face as they walked out of my room was my moment. Eureka, I am not so defenceless. I have grown used to that look on the faces of the majority women that I meet.  That night, I touched myself, mimicking what Dangana did to me. I was fourteen, heady with primal sexual need and power. The next day I met the weeping vice president. Even though he hurt me and I was scared silly all through, he met me a willing horny virgin. Even as the feelings ebbed to an anti climax, I finally began to understand the power of who and what I am.

I remained uncomplaining as my life as a sex object played out. I was enjoying being the beautiful one and learnt to twist mother the way I wanted. I was the one whose body men paid to possess. When I turned nineteen I met a boy, Nonso. Nonso was a final year student while I was in my second year. Umita had introduced us to her handsome toaster and I fell for him right there and then. He called me later on in the day to tell that it was me he wanted. I was used to male appreciation but sex for me was an exclusive product which I peddled as a means to an end. I had no time for boys but Nonso was different. He had a small apartment close to school and within a week, I’d moved in with him. Even though sex is something I am good at I had no personal need of it, until Nonso. Not one of my "friends" had ever taken the time to give me pleasure or quench the fire that Dangana started in me. Nonso did and more. We spent our nights in the throes of passion and our days doing same except when we had stuff to do. With Nonso, sex wasn’t just me giving pleasure; with Nonso it was about me getting pleasured. I was over the moon. Mother's reaction was unexpected. She neither looked for me, nor called me again after I ignored her calls a few times. She only sent me a bbm "when you find out what men are really like, you know your way home". Umita reacted badly, very badly. Hajara took sides with her. I couldn't care less, I was in love and so was Nonso.

For eight weeks and four days, I lived with Nonso and hardly a day went by that he didn't give me delirium inducing pleasure. One day he got back from lectures late with an unreadable expression on his face. He asked me if I knew a certain ambassador who was a "friend". Apparently Umita had somehow gotten to him and had given him a version of my life's story that was only close to the truth because she got that I was a plaything for the high and mighty. Senseless from my infatuation, I decided to come clean about my life.
In my unguarded moments, Nonso’s expression still haunts me. Disgust, he was disgusted with me. That night was different; that night, I was with a stranger whose only use for me was for sexual release.
A week later, I was back home. Mother smiled. Dr Williams examined me, performed an abortion and that was that. Except that I became sure that I do not like men.


Sunday, 9 September 2012


I am Estelle. I have never had to take responsibility for my actions. My mother’s greed and lack of morals coupled with my self-indulgence got me here.  Now here I am right smack in the middle of the worst repercussion of my life and the bitch left me to handle it all alone.
I knew I was different from as soon as I could reason. My mother’s fixation with my grooming and appearance was awe inspiring. As young as three years old, I had realised that there is something about me. I only always see me in the mirror but Estelle the analytical sees the girl that makes people gasp and gawk.

 25 years ago, a young prostitute named Grace landed a big fish. A French expatriate with an oil servicing company. She was his common law wife for six years. Four of which they shared with their daughter Estelle.
One day he upped and left never to be seen again. Grace was shaken. She had become complacent and existed as a housewife grateful for her position.Theirs was a peaceful home. There was no indication of  Jacques Duval's intentions. He had simply gone on a very usual trip home and never returned.

He used to cuddle me and kiss me and call me Princess. He told me stories of France, and taught me to say "viva la France". I loved kissing and cuddling with him.  The smell of tobacco on his bushy white beard spelt safety for me.  I couldn't believe that he would do that to me. I couldn't process it and so I waited but  on my sixth birthday my heart broke into tiny pieces as it finally dawned on me that he was gone and wasn't coming back. It was obvious he didn't want to be found. Mother was stunned. She wore her bitterness like perfume, it was every where. He rejected us.

My childhood memories are filled with pain. My childhood was filled with pain. Mother poured all her venom and energy into Estelle the product. She told me often how I was lucky to be "half caste" and that because of that we could and would never go hungry. It was years later that I understood. She sold the house, which he bought in my name and we lived on the funds realized. At six I started wearing a "back board" to "correct" my posture. I wore it for twelve hours almost everyday until I was ten years old. My shoes were also always a size too small for as long as I can remember, the result are a pair of dainty feet; prone to excruciating aches and pains but pretty and small. I had a palm oil rub applied to my body every fortnight after which I would spend an hour soaking in fresh milk in the bath tub. By the time I turned twelve, I was easily the most beautiful child for miles, everyone wanted to be friends with me. That wasn't perfect enough for mother; I spent my thirteenth birthday and the three subsequent weeks in bed,  on my side in a rented apartment in Florida. I had just had a Brazilian butt lift. All the extra fat from my stomach and back was refined and injected into me to produce one of my biggest assets. Of course I had to do the procedure all over again when I turned eighteen because my body had reabsorbed about a quarter of the  fat.

Then I began to wear a waist training corset. There are few more uncomfortable things. I protested, with my heart and soul but I was no match for mother. I got into a fight at school because the other kids thought there had to be something wrong with me for wearing such an undergarment. My teachers were shocked when mother rushed in, in response to their calls and was only concerned that I wasn't bearing and I wasn't going to be bearing any scars. I remember in the early days, I used to sleep with my hands tied to the bed post so I wouldn't take off the itchy, itchy corset.  Mother was scathing in the cruellest way and I quickly learnt the value of staying on her good side.

So you see, to Estelle, pain is a woman's life. To give pleasure to men you must endure pain.  Three months before I turned fourteen, it started. Estelle the commodity was birthed. I finally found out what mother's lover Dangana did for a living. He was a big time pimp with powerful connections. His racket was procuring kids and teenagers for the high and mighty..... paedophiles. I have to give it to mother and Dangana though, my "friends" were only cream of the crop, bonafide power brokers, visiting world leaders etc. They were very generous; and very sick men. I was surprised at my first "friend". He was the serving vice president of a first world country. He slobbered and wept as he took my virginity. I was used to pain, what was his story?

The rewards afforded us a good life style. One time, when I was fifteen I remember having sex with a fifteen year old boy for the viewing pleasure of the president of a West African country, half way through he joined us. To cut a long story short, this is my childhood.


Tuesday, 28 August 2012


I am Estelle. I have never had to take responsibility for my actions. My mother’s greed and lack of morals coupled with my self-indulgence got me here.  Now here I am right smack in the middle of the worst repercussion of my life and the bitch left me to handle it all alone.
I knew I was different from as soon as I could reason. My mother’s fixation with my grooming and appearance was awe inspiring. As young as three years old, I had realised that there is something about me. I only always see me in the mirror but Estelle the analytical sees the girl that makes people gasp and gawk.

Sunday, 15 July 2012


There is a lump in Tim’s throat, he cannot speak. Almost as chilly as that weird scene from his imagination is the look on Christie’s face.  His docile, mousey Christie has fire in her eyes. She walks out angrily through the front door. He turns around and Ufuoma is walking towards him with Mama Ekene. Tim closes his eyes tight and opens them, hoping he can change his dream but...it is not a dream. Mama Ekene wants to talk with him but she won’t enter his house. She has come all the way from Onitsha to see him. Tim takes one last fearful look at the living room before stepping out. They decide to talk at a buka just down their street. He asks Ufuoma to join them as she had mentioned being hungry.  As soon as they are seated a few tables away from Ufuoma who is gratefully giving her order to the waiter, Mama Ekene asks,
 “Wey Christie?”
“She went out”
He responds irritably. Mama Ekene never liked Christie and Tim is in no mood for idle chit chat.
“Who be this?”
 She enquires pointing rudely at an oblivious Ufuoma. This has stretched long enough; Tim demands an explanation from Mama Ekene. Her pause seems unnecessarily long and this annoys Tim further. He cast a glance at Ufuoma who despite her cries of hunger is playing with her food. Mama Ekene begins to speak bringing down Tim’s life to a matter of the next few hours. There is no doubt about her story, it all adds up. Tim is cold and sweating profusely. For the second time in his life, the second time in the space of one hour, his heart beating hurts.  He struggles to swallow the lump in his throat.  He wills the rushing sound in his head to stop.
“So will you do it?”
Mama Ekene asks, with tears in her eyes.
When Tim is finally able to speak, his voice is a strangled croak.
 “Do i have a choice?”  
Back at the house, Tim watches Mama Ekene stroke her dog gently. They had left the dog behind when they’d moved and Bingo is very happy to see her. The dog is trusting and at ease as Mama Ekene places a finger by his eyes and scopes out the white discarge at the corners of the eyes. Ufuoma is dozing off blissfully on a bench in front of the large mango tree in front of the block of flats which housed Tim. She is totally unmindful of the goats resting just by her feet. Tim cringes as Mama Ekene rubs the whitish substance on a piece of chewing gum foil and stretches forth and rubs the inner corner of both his eyes with the same finger. He shuts his eyes as she tucks the folded foil in her bra.
Tim opens his eyes fearful of what he will see. His scrotum and scalp tighten up as his already cold blood turns colder. Three very old people; two male and a female are crouched in the exact same spot where the three goats had been just a moment ago. They are chatting casually and eating from an earthen ware bowl filled with frothing blood and what looks like entrails. A shrill crow’s cry moves him further into a new realm of fear. He looks up at the crows and the object of their fascination catches his attention. A decapitated human head is hanging from the tree above Ufuoma. The head’s eyes are darting around in fear as it mimics the crow’s cry. Mama Ekene taps him on the shoulder. She looks equally shaken but determined. As they walk towards the building’s entrance, a gnarled old dwarf drags a hand cart into the gutter at the side of the house. Tim’s thoughts race after his heart beat. Will he survive this? If he does, he will never again see life normally.  his heart sinks impossibly farther as they walk into his living room. He is sure he will not survive this. The char burnt figures of a man with two kids; a boy and a girl are standing looking out the window wistfully. Their aura is very sad and angry. At the corner of the room in the same spot where Tim had seen his shadow is another burnt figure of a little boy. He is crying and exudes such melancholy that brings tears to Tim’s eyes.  Mama Ekene lets out a groan of pain as she sees him. He looks up to her and his eyes light up though the tears don’t stop. The burnt figures turn and in the twinkling of an eye, the man and the boy are upon Tim. The man’s hands fix firmly on Tim’s neck while the little boys teeth come down repeated on his calf. The little girl is standing before the crying boy and snarling malevolently at Mama Ekene.  Tucked securely at her waist, secured by her wrapper is a small gourd which Mama Ekene loosens quickly. She tips a bit of the powdery content into her palm. She makes to blow it at the little girl, who darts fearfully away from her sight. Mama Ekene with determination tucks the gourd into the waist of her wrapper and brings out a worn wrapper from her bag. She lovingly tucks in the crying little boy. His smile grows lucent as his tears cease. The world stands still as he is enveloped in a blinding white light. He calls out “Mama” as he waves at Mama Ekene. Motion returns and the little girl immediately shoves Mama Ekene hard from behind as the man and the boy continue with Tim who is struggling on one knee. Mama Ekene stumbles and the gourd topples over. She screams as she watches the gourd smash and the contents spill. She grabs a chair from the dinning and swings hard at the little girl with all her might. The chair lands heavily on the girl throwing her across the room. She lay stunned on the floor beside Tim who is clawing desperately at his throat. He is lying on the floor with the man and the boy upon him. His eyes are popping out of their sockets and little red veins appear around the outer circle of his iris. The man is sitting on his chest and maintaining his grip on Tim’s neck while the little boy is sitting on his leg. He is no longer biting Tim but giving Mama Ekene a snarling malevolent look. Mama Ekene rushes towards the spilled contents of the gourd.  The little boy hurls himself at her. She is slammed into the wall by the force. She yelps in pain and crumples to the ground. Tim’s legs freed, he is once again on his feet and grappling with the man. They all pause as the door is flung open. Ufuoma walks in tentatively. She is instantly scared at the picture before her; also she can feel them, they are here. She looks up as she hears a wild screech just before the air is knocked out of her by the little boy who hurls himself at her, catching her with the full force of his weight in her stomach. She falls down hard but quickly picks up herself. The little boy is crouched at a corner getting ready to hurl himself at her again. Ufuoma wants to run but she can’t. She looks down as Mama Ekene repeats “The ash, the ash”. She places one hand in the ash just as the little boy hurls himself at her. As she falls backwards, she reaches out to the source of the weight on her. The little boy falls just beside her screaming and crying in pain. Her hand print is coal read and smoking on his side. Ufuoma hears his cry but cannot see him.  She looks around in fear and asks mama Ekene what is going on. Mama Ekene brings out the chewing gum foil from her bra and slides it to Ufuoma, instructing her to rub the content inside in her eyes. Ufuoma hurriedly obeys. She screams and burst into tears as she suddenly “sees”.
Christie’s growl is feral as she stands at the door and takes in the scenario. She turns to Ufuoma and screams.
 “Why aren’t you dead?”
 She dives on Ufuoma, the first blow drives Ufuoma to her knees. She screams in pain and terror as Christie rains blow after blow on her.
“I won’t fight you Christiana.  If killing me will appease you then kill me, but I’m sorry. I’m sorry Christiana and I love you and I miss you like mad. It was all my fault, my carelessness, I’m sorry”
 Her crying is pitiful. Christie stops, tears are running down her face as she decomposes at fast forward pace.  The room becomes unbearably hot with an accompanying smell of heat as she points at the door.
“Get out. All of you, and never come back.”
Mama Ekene and Ufuoma struggle towards Tim who is lying half dead on the floor. The man looks down at him and with a grimace which is actually a smile; he pushes the fridge down on Tim. Amidst the crash is the distinct sickening sound of bone cracking as the fridge lands on Tim’s right leg.  Christie gathers her family together and they walk inward as the heats rises in the room. She turns at the door .
“This is our home, do not come back here”. 
The curtains catch on fire as the door is broken down by neighbours who'd heard the sounds from the apartment.

Two days later, mama Ekene and Ufuoma are sitting beside Tim’s hospital bed completing the puzzle.
Ten years ago, Ufuoma had come to Lagos to stay with her older sister and her family.  All was well until her sister’s husband and two children fell ill to typhoid fever all at the same time. On that fateful day on the Eighteenth of December 2000, her sister Christiana had gone to work leaving her to care for her sick family. Ufuoma had put beans on to cook while she hurried to the pharmacy to get some drugs. One her way back, she met her new friends from around the neighbourhood and had stopped to chat. Two hours later, she heard news of a gas explosion and fire at flat 3b Johnson close. With her heart in her mouth she ran back home to witness her sister fight off bystanders and rush into the house to save her family. They were already dead and roasted. Christiana died of asphyxiation three hours later at the hospital. Ufuoma never told anyone that she had been the cause of the fire.

Mama Ekene’s son had refused to be buried. Each time they tried to bring him out of the mortuary, something happened. He had died at the hands of Christie and her family as a warning to Mama Ekene for her snooping around. His spirit had lingered with them and needed to be set free.

                                                               THE END

The new occupant of flat 3b Johnson Street, smiles with relief as she shows her new house girl to her room.
“Tiana, you sleep here.”

Saturday, 7 July 2012


It is a still night. Not hot, just still. Even the nocturnal orchestra is reluctant to serenade the night.  It is a dark, dark night; even the moon is in a mood. Ufuoma pulls hard on her cigarette. She is shaking; her eyes and her throat are dry. She pulls at the last drag of the cigarette as though to a life line. She stubs out the filter on a packet of matches, and then sweeps the residual ash into the match box, followed by the crushed cigarette butt.  Her movement is deliberate but her hands are shaking. She looks at the tray of food and her stomach responds with a reminder that lunch was ten hours ago. She wills herself to ignore the food. She would put it outside the door but the night is unfriendly. She wraps her arms around her bent knees and tucks her chin between her knees. Ufuoma knows instinctively, that she should not touch the food or the water. The aura is all wrong here. The room contains only a single bed with a wafer thin mattress. Even the curtain is a thin piece of cotton. Something is definitely not right. Ufuoma makes up her mind to keep vigil till the early hours of the morning when she would go straight to the park and board a bus back to Aba, where she had taken off from this morning. It had seemed like a brilliant idea when she woke up this morning; but right now with all her heart, Ufuoma regrets. Her intention was to surprise her boyfriend Kunle by arriving into Lagos a day before his birthday.  The idea was to call as soon as the bus got to the redeemed camp on Lagos Ibadan express way, as that is her land mark. She had called and called and called but the message from Kunle’s phone was consistent; the phone was switched off. She had been to Lagos to visit Kunle only once before but she knew she could find his place, so she got into a taxi and off to Ogba she went. She got to Kunle’s place at six thirty pm but he wasn’t home and his neighbour insisted that he had travelled that morning to Ghana. She left Ufuoma to go to church. Ufuoma was tired scared and confused but she chose to wait. She and Kunle speak every day and they had spoken just last night. If he was travelling, he would have told her. Kunle’s neighbour returned home a little after nine o’clock to meet Ufuoma sitting outside Kunle’s apartment. She asked Ufuoma to leave the premises and did so quite aggressively too. The only other person Ufuoma knows in Lagos is her late sisters, former neighbour. She’d hoped that they would let her spend the night in their home and first thing tomorrow morning, she would be off, back to Aba. Ufuoma was standing at the junction waiting for a cab to go by when she heard her name.  The time was a quarter to ten and Ufuoma was hungry and tired. She almost passed out from relief when she saw who it was. Edet was her campus roommates’ boyfriends, best friend.  They had actually tried to match make them to no avail. Even though they had had a passionate night of smooching, it hadn’t gone beyond that. Ufuoma always felt that there was something not quite right with Edet. Edet lives with his parents and they are having a family vigil but he offered her a room at their boys quarters, which Ufuoma quickly jumped at; a bird in hand. Edet’s family obviously have a lot of money. Their home is humongous with two separate guest chalets, a chapel, swimming pool and a boy’s quarters. The boy’s quarter is dark and deserted but beggars can’t be choosers. Ufuoma thought it odd that their bq would be without electricity but she was grateful for a place to lay her head. Edet had assured her that it was okay to smoke since the main house was far away and for that she was extra grateful. As soon he left though, a sudden overwhelming sense of foreboding washed over her and seeped right in through her flesh to her bones. The young girl who brought the meal was obviously sleepy. She dropped the tray and hurried away.

I9th August 2010
Ufuoma wakes up suddenly, so much for a vigil, she had dozed off.  Her heart stops and she can feel a rush a urine welling up in her bladder. While she dozed, it seemed she had been carried out, along with the bed. The night is silent, like someone pressed the mute button. She tries to rise but she is tied to the bed. She looks around as the most abject fear grips her soul. She is in the middle of a large expanse of land surrounded by a dense fence of trees. It would be a grave yard but for the absence of graves. Ufuoma’s bladder empties itself against her will as she notices a strange glowing circle, just inside the fence of trees, coming closer and closer. Ufuoma can feel her life hanging on a string. As the circle inches closer, she realises that they are candles held by people; about fifty of them. They are dressed in black hooded gowns, which cover every inch of their bodies. The candles are black too. Ufuoma is frozen in fear. One of the figures is holding a large shiny bladed scythe; for some reason, Ufuoma thinks it is Edet. “The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want” She cannot remember the rest. A small cool breeze sails past her right ear “he leads me beside the still waters, he restores my soul.......” Ufuoma repeats after the voice until the end.  Suddenly Ufuoma wakes up. It is a dream. She looks at her phone the time is three am. The moon is suddenly out, letting in a stream of light from the slight parting on the curtain. Ufuoma realizes that she has wet the bed. She gets up to change, thankful that her hours here were few now. She wraps her urine sodden clothes in polythene bag and stuffs it in her travelling bag. As she returns to the bed her foot hits the tray with her forgotten meal. The cover shifts off slightly and huge maggots crawl out of the plate.  That does it. Ufuoma picks up her bags and bolts out of the room.  Thankfully, her flight is uneventful. She raps urgently at the door of the security post. The security mans eyes almost pop out of their sockets as he sees her. He looks around quickly before pulling her roughly into his living quarters/security post. He rattles off in Hausa as he shoves her under the bed. Ufuoma does not understand a word he says but she senses that he is on her side as well as being scared for his hide or life; that she couldn’t tell. She can tell though that she is not alone under the bed; but creepy crawlies are a better fate than that which almost befell her. She hears Edet’s voice enquiring if the security man has seen his friend. The security man responds in the negative. A few minutes later she hears the gates open and cars begin to drive out. For what seems like the next five minutes, car after car drive out of the compound. Eventually, she hears the sound of the gate close. Almost two hours later, the security man lets her out through the pedestrian gate.
Ufuoma says a prayer of thanks giving as she walks to the Magodo Estate gate. It is a little after five A.M and the place is still sleepy. At the gate, she sees a buka setting up for the day. She walks in and buys a bottle of water which she sits to sip very slowly, oblivious of the strange looks from the buka staff. Thirty minutes later, she opens her purse to pay and realises that she has been robbed by the security man.  Luckily she has loose change lying around in her purse. Ufuoma remains thankful.  Isheri is not far away from Magodo. She is sure that if she gets to her late sisters former compound, she could get help. It is not something she is eager to do but she has no other choice as she left her ATM card at home. She flags down a commercial motorcycle. He charges her five hundred naira. With her heart in her mouth, she rides to the block of flats where her late sister used to live. Getting there, there are no familiar faces. Ufuoma is well and truly stumped, sure it’s been ten years but the house next door had been owned by the people in it but it is now a hospital. Her phone’s battery is flat out. She finds herself as if by a magnetic pull at the back door of her late sisters flat. There is a young man standing at the door. She taps him gently. “Excuse me please”.
Tim repeats over and over in his head, “The Lord is my shepherd ...” He hears the voice and feels the touch but he cannot take his eyes away from the sight before him. Christie is sitting at the table, animated in a way he’s never seen her. One of her breast is out of her top and bra. The nipple is moving rapidly back and forth as though going through suction and her arms are crooked as though cradling a baby. She is speaking to the chair beside her, or so it seems. On the wall there are clear shadows of a man and two children sitting around the table and a baby in Christie’s arms. At the corner of the room there is the crouched shadow of another little child. Tim turns to the voice behind him. He listens only half hearing as she rattles off some story. He agrees to help her and hands her five hundred naira to pay her bike. As she leaves he turns back fearfully but there is no one at the table. Christie is peeping out the window at the young lady. Tim convinces himself that he must have imagined the whole scenario. Christie turns to him with a look of malevolent anger on her face. “You are really going to let her in here?”


Monday, 2 July 2012


18th August 2010
Tim is late for work and is very much irritated by Christie’s pace. He normally delighted in her deliberateness but today, he is late for work.  He is also dead broke so skipping breakfast, is out of the question. If he doesn’t eat these boiled yams, his stomach would have digested itself by the time he returns from work at six pm. He feels like slapping her but restrains himself. He’ll save it for later when he knows for a fact that he’d have something to celebrate albeit with apprehension. He wolfs down the food ignoring the searing heat on his tongue. The taste of the food helps. Among Christie’s many talents, is cooking. He stops suddenly; a cold hand just ran down his spine. He looks at Christie. She is cleaning the table top cooker. The feeling passes. He swallows the last of his yam and quickly washes his hand in the washbowl beside his plate.  As usual the water is lightly soapy and warm. Christie is a fantastic house keeper. Ever since she moved in with him, his home is spotless beyond description.  People notice immediately they walk into his self contained apartment, how clean it is. The girl was created for work, even her hips which should be sexy, are the quintessential child bearing hips.  He informs her about Tinu coming to see him tomorrow.  She gives her usual complacent nod. He feels nothing about entertaining other women in his home. It is his home and he is doing Christie a favour, never mind that they have this complicated relationship. Christie seems perfect. Why does she leave him cold? In bed she is pliant and what she lacks in skill, she makes up for with a very tight vagina and a high pain threshold.  Why isn’t he in love with this girl and rushing to marry her? All through the bus ride to Obalande where he changes buses, and on to VI where his office is, he thinks about the date and Christie with growing apprehension.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012


It’s been a week since Osas died......committed suicide.  I’ve been steadily having nightmares; the same one every night. In my dream, I am having sex with Chudi and Osas bleeding away, is staring at us but I can’t stop, I keep going.
I am stretched to the limit with apprehension. There is mention of a suicide note but the family are keeping the contents to themselves. I never got close to his brother/manager Henry. I have called him twice this week but he has neither taken my calls nor acknowledged them. I can’t bear it anymore I need to see Chudi. I need to let off some of this tension.  
Chudi is at the perfect age of pleasing a woman. His skills must have now been fine tuned as against the sheer force and frenzy of Osa’s twenty two adrenalin pumping years. I miss Osas and I am worried that my name is going to pop up somewhere soon.  I had been supremely cautious with cleaning up my tracks, I just didn’t figure in emotional tracks or psychological tracks and cracks. 

I quickly find the flower pot with Chudi’s spare keys. He didn’t hesitate a bit when I suggested we meet. Instead he took over the reins of the planning.  I like men eager. When Julius and I first met, I thought he was a gentleman. I realised later that shifting the responsibility of any joint endeavours between he and I to me was just Julius being Julius, noncommittal.  Yup, an individual could be married and non committal. When you live with someone like that, over time, he rewires your emotions. You become a complete mess with suspicions and negative self image as constant companions. He is with me but apart from word of mouth, he doesn’t try very much to validate me or my existence in his life. Sometimes I wish he is deliberately cruel, but he isn’t. Julius just doesn’t care beyond what he desires out of life per time. See my predicament?

Sunday, 15 April 2012


If I just sit back and react to Julius, I’ll die before my time.  I have two beautiful children that I should concentrate on. I’m thirty four years old, but I feel fifty. I’m so bloody  tired of the way my life is going. Sometimes I find myself willing my body to fail in some way so that Julius will have no choice but to be with me. Pathetic, how have i become such a mess?
There is that boy again. Ok, well of course I knew he’d be here. I’ve driven by here three times this week. I know he sees me but I never stop. So why am I stopping now? Too late, he is here already. I pop the lock, he gets in.

“Hi”. His voice is like a caress.  He must have seen the hunger in my eyes. He leans forward and kisses me. Really, really kisses me. That is it. This boy is having me here and now in this car, if my phone would stop ringing. The night is quiet, the ringing is jarring.
It is my husband.  Why of all nights does he choose to be home early tonight? Maybe because God doesn’t want me to defile my marriage; hahaha my marriage is already defiled. Not once or twice or even three times, and not by me.  I have to go though. Even though my heart is beating and I would rather do this quick so I don't lose my nerve. I can count on my husband to deprive me of one thing or the other. Or maybe I need time to think it through. Or maybe I am not meant to do this. I try to get Julius to make love to me and he seems ready to go but his southerner member says no. This is not the first time this is happening. He is feeding me the usual "got stuff on my mind" yarns. Wow, my husband cant get it up with me.

These past three weeks have been hectic. I hadn't had much time to think about Osas until last week when I got a text message from an unknown number, requesting for my bb pin, signed Osas. I didn’t even ask how he got my number, I just sent it. I am so sure of what I want from this boy.  Julius has pushed me too far. I need this for my sanity. I need it to bear the sight of my husband. I need it to be a good mother to my children. If I'm going to survive this hell called marriage, I need it.
I like that Osas really seems smitten.  Maybe he needs a friend. We’ve never talked personal but I glean that he seems to hate his famous sibling. Or maybe he wants to see what it’s like with someone older, or......who cares.
He has pinged me every day since then. I am not complaining, the attention keeps me determined and thirsty for him. Like a parched throat needs a long cold drink. A long cold drink from a strapping, gorgeous twenty two year old.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012


I switch off as Julius my husband of three years prattles on about some cocktail with the boss and something, something, something. He just got the information today, he knows I’ll never go out looking less than perfect.....I don’t want to hear his rubbish stories, all lies.  He cast a look at his reflection in the mirror as he exits the room with a spring in his step.
There is a spring in my husband’s step and three years of defeat and loneliness on mine. Oh and neglect, monotony and a husband who is mostly away even when he is physically around. He says it is the kids and my responsibilities as a mum. I try to make him see that the finality of that statement unsettles me but he hears complaining. He used to share my dream or so he said. He said he believed in me. He used to brag about it to his friends. So how is it that three years down the line, I am still running my salon? I’m getting by but I am on the far side of the disgruntled scale. I want to run a spa that is what I spent my youth preparing myself for. I thought they said opportunity comes to those who are prepared. At the time we met, I had concluded arrangements to sign a distributorship deal with a spa care range.
As he leaves, my shoulders slump; I hate him......I think I do.  There is such a wedged between us; each time we try to talk we end up in an altercation. I don’t mind quarrelling as I know that it is healthy but this total acrimony is death warmed and served up on a daily. We are both dreadfully unhappy.  

Sunday, 8 April 2012


According to "The Historic Implications of the Kebra Nagast" in the book "The Kebra Nagast" edited by Gerald Hausman, the authorized King James Bible, which first appeared in 1611, was  going to include the Kebra Nagast, however, the editors were told, presumably by the clergy - although it came down by royal decree - to excise the chapters which included the Kebra Nagast....".

My conviction of the rationality and order of the universe is deep and I yearn to understand this denigration of the ancient African religion and wisdom, I ask again God na oyibo?

I have been researching early eighteenth century Yoruba culture for a historic movie script I'm working on (have been for seven years now). In the course of my research, I have come upon a ton of the most fascinating historical evidence of a far more superior people than we have been lead to believe.

As  a child when my imagination sought for adventure in the tale of the discovery of "The dark continent", I was always disappointed.  Most of what I glimmered (from the scanty research material on pre-colonial Africa that was/is available to African children)resonated with the Oyibo being awed by Africa but underwhelmed by the African. 
We were suspicious and hostile to their overtures but were won over by their baubles.....hmmmm.
Cool story, they were so underwhelmed that if it were possible to cart the whole continent back to their land, they would have.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012


This is a re-write of a note I posted on Facebook a couple of years ago. I recently revisited it because I got on that bus again.

Does God have a preference for Caucasians? God na oyibo? See, this really bugs me.
How did my ancestors commune with God before the missionaries?
Were they really the pagan savages the whiteman tells us they were?
Could my ancestors have known God?
Why does Christianity make you doubt that?
Could God have sent the white man to save us or did the white man see a means to exploit us and used it?

I am a convicted Christian and happy to remain so, but I wonder at the denigration of all things pre-colonial African e.g our spirituality.
It is saying a whole lot if we could not have seen the light but for the oyibo man (pun intended).

Thursday, 29 March 2012


Ene’s dry spell didn’t last. Exactly six weeks in, five weeks after they moved in together his alarm bells went off.
Ene suddenly developed a thing for mouth rinse. On closer observation, Tonye realized that it was a bad sign. Empty bottles of Listerine fluoride rinse littered the bin. He didn’t need to ask. He took a swig from the almost odorless content of the mouth rinse bottle, Vodka. The roller coaster that had stood still whirled back to life. Even her parents sympathized with him. He held on strong though. He loved Ene, through thick or thin.

Most nights Tonye fell in bed bone tired. Why was he coping with this? They were not even married. She hurtled through life like she had a demon on her heels. 
On those torturous nights when he had to nurse her, his heart broke. And when hangover set in he felt her pain. At those times she’d swear off alcohol, a vow she never kept. She chewed whole peppers, sometimes she insisted on sleeping in the bath tub. On the bath tub nights Tonye’s next working day was hell.
Every day dawned with Ene in stupored slumber. Tonye had the permanent job of hunting and fishing her out of joints (he made her make out a list of her hang outs). Throw in the Lagos traffic and you can only imagine the nightmare that it was.
She’d made friends with a decrepit drunk, Akpan.
Akpan was an alcoholic, a street drunk. He was the type, who got fished out of gutters by good Samaritans, because his family (if he had one) had given up on him. Their friendship was conducted over the phone and in beer parlors. Akpan stuck to Ene like a leech. Free booze.

Thursday, 22 March 2012


Many a family meeting had convened over Ene’s issue. Tonye had become a fixture at these meetings.  Ene remained adamant. He couldn't help but blame her parents; they should have been more attentive. 

He would come back from the meetings brimming with resentment but almost certainly Miss "Life is one big party" had something up her sleeves that triggered his insatiable hunger for her. 
One time it was absinthe. He had never had it and wasn't particularly eager to find out exactly why it had such a bad reputation. Tonye is naturally cautious....but she was wearing the tinniest edible gummy panty. Tonye had been ordered to take a bite as soon as he walked in. From then on, he was a goner. He watched trance-like as she knelt before the coffee table, where her paraphernalia was assembled. He remembered wondering if the edible underwear would hold up. Well, It did until the absinthe was drunk.
She put a special perforated table spoon across a wine glass with the green liquid in it. On the spoon, she put a cube of sugar over which she slowly drizzled cold water. The sparkling green liquid turned opalescent milky green. All of this he observed from the effect of the caress of her voice; "As the water liberates the essences of absinthe, so will it liberate your mind, Tonye". The atmosphere had an unnatural charge like she was putting a voodoo spell on him..She didn't need to. She handed him the milky green drink. It was bitter at the first taste but more herby with subsequent sips and quite refreshing too. He suddenly felt super alive. All his senses were on super charge. How is it that he heard for the first time the exquisite composition of the drawn out guitar riffs of Bon Jovi's "Bed Of Roses"?  Eating the alcohol infused edible underwear afterwards was erotica in more ways than one, the tips of his tongue tingled as he took bites off her and shared with her. Her hands on him was spine tingling, his hands on her, spine tingling; the sexual charge was on a stratospheric level. Wow, no wonder. Absinthe equals magic. Ene equals magic. Tonye was lost. 

On this night of profound feelings and sensations, she gave him the only explanation that she ever would about her distillery dream. She was challenged by absinthe. That was it. 

Mrs. Oga’s love for Tonye knew no bounds. She’d given up on her wild, weird child’s chances of ever meeting a man brave enough to cope with her eccentricity or even that Ene herself would ever be interested in settling down.
She pleaded with Tonye to make her see reason about the distillery idea. It really riled her father up. When Tonye could think rationally, it riled him up too. He tried to appeal to Ene’s better judgment but she remained adamant. He insisted that she at least clue him in on her business plan. She insisted, he wouldn’t understand. He lost his temper and gave her an ultimatum, she begged him to have patience. “The end product will justify me”. 
He succeeded however in getting her to dry up. This was good for his ego. Poor Tonye always felt that as far as they had come, Ene would still heed the call of excitement and leave him without much thought at any time. Her agreeing to dry-up seemed to him a positive statement. Dele, his psychotherapist friend guided her through clearing the common societal misconception that an alcohol problem is a sign of moral weakness. “As a result people feel that to seek help is to admit some type of shameful defect in their nature. While in fact, alcoholism is a disease that is no more a sign of weakness than is asthma.”
The sessions were good for her. She appeared more stable and was keeping clean. The sessions were confidential so all he knew was that she was responding well. As part of her therapy, she "shared" with me how she started drinking. She had started drinking actively at thirteen years old. Being an only child of filthy rich and equally busy parents, she’d been left very much to her own devices. The Oga household was a full one with servants, relatives and all. Despite this everyone pretty much left Ene on her own.

In the past, alcohol abstinence to him, made no sense. Jesus turned water into wine after all, why did he, if we were not meant to enjoy it? He’d been a social drinker, who could hold his drink pretty well. He was a larger man and on a good day could do five to six bottles of beer and still drive home safely. He enjoyed his beer really good. Ene had cured him of that. She’d woken him up to the reality of alcohol. He’d seen all too clearly the dangers, to underestimate its stealthy approach and possession.

Tonye found Ene eerily sophisticated and blasé for a twenty four year old. Her adventures were often over the top, involving globe trotting types. 
She’d recounted the final ritual of the Bacchanalian initiation process in Las Vegas.  The three day celebration and thanksgiving to Bacchus the god of wine. The last day fell on the 14th of June (the anniversary of the lift of the ban on absinthe). This day was chosen for the final initiation rites.
The bacchanalian’s believed that the spirit of the god Bacchus was in essence all about youth, vitality and power. On the third and last day of the frenetic celebration, the six new Bacchanalian’s were blessed and commanded to go forth and excel. That night was the feast of the Bacchanalian. She never really said what they did but later, the younger set had an after party.  Ali brought forth bottles of a 70 percent proof, $2,500 per bottle, ninety two year old herbal liqueur; the Pernod Fils. Ene and Ali would have been the death of each other. According to her, they drank till six am the next day, doing the rounds of clubs and casinos. These people believe that honouring Bacchus releases abundance on  every aspect of a persons life. Honouring Bacchus is revelry.
Tonye never could shake off the feeling that there was a part of the story missing. The original Bacchanalian festivals were not just about alcohol, they were orgies, yes with a lot of sex....., but that was all the information she volunteered about her creed.


Saturday, 17 March 2012


Absinthe is a strongly alcoholic aperitif (55%-72% alcoholic, or 110o-144o). It is made from alcohol and distilled herbs or herbal extracts.
“La fee verte” or “the green fairy” as it is known originally in France and in Switzerland its home country, absinthe was further made notorious by its popularity with artists who were celebrated not just for their talent but their often outrageously bohemian lifestyles, some even went mad.”
Ene paused to catch her breath, while Tonye stared at her in open amazement. “Amazing …” he thought. “What is it about talent and over indulgence?  The mysteries of life ”. 

The Bacchanalia was originated by a group of some of the world’s wealthiest men. They are all connoisseurs of alcohol. Between them they owned most of the world’s rarest and most expensive collector’s alcohol. All of different religions and creeds, they all bow in reverence to Bacchus (Dionysus) the Greek god of wine. They believe he is a generous god. To this cult Ene belonged. Far fetched but true. She’d just been initiated along with three other females, making history in the corridors of the eighty year old cult. The other two women were Caucasian and in their fifties. Ene was twenty five and Nigerian.

All bacchanalian’s were absintheurs. Absinthe to them is the refreshment of the gods . They’d secretly fought for the lifting of the ninety year old ban by the Swiss parliament on absinthe for ten years. Before their eventual victory in July of 2004, they’d worked underground pumping their unlimited resources into bank accounts on the side, and legitimately, on researches disputing the purported “psychoactive” properties of absinthe. Through all this, the Bacchanalia remained what it was. A secret society, their activities shrouded in secrecy. Strange sounding tales to Tonye until she got him to try absinthe.