To say I wanted to commit suicide is an understatement! I just wanted to leave the sad world and join Mama and Papa wherever they were resting; the world had bruised me enough. Moses was already outside waiting for me to leave his house the next day. I had nothing to carry except the souvenir hand bag he had put my medication (panadol), I thanked him for his hospitality and headed for the streets.
As I walked, I thought of anyone who could accommodate me that night, but no one came into my mind. I walked up to the express aimlessly, I stood, watching how cars passed in a flash, children hawking at very tender age, mad men and women moving without direction just like I. the monster in me was out, I was fearless and ready to die…I prayed for death to come take me.
“Young lady, where are you headed?” a man in a very dark vehicle parked in front of me and wound down his tinted glass
“Young lady, are you ok? Can you hear me?” I refused to answer
I knew I wanted death to come, but he looked like a kidnapper. Fear gripped me for a second.
Man: “Young lady, isn’t it late for you to be going on a journey? Are you going to Abuja? He asked
I still did not respond, I stood there staring at him like a possessed evil spirit
“Are you ok? Madam?” he came down from his car and I still stood, staring
Man: “My name is Godfrey. I know this is totally weird, but I am going to Abuja. I so hate to travel alone. If you are going my way, can we make the journey together?” he asked
Yes! This was exactly what I was waiting for; someone who will come take my life for good. With my mouth closed, I followed him into his car. It was chilled; the fragrance felt like I was in heaven, I looked behind and saw his suit hung by the side of the door. After taking a proper look at the man, I presumed he was either a serial killer, a lawyer or a banker. I leaned comfortably on the cold seat and slept like a one who had been depraved of sleep for years; snoring.
“Buy bread” “buy pure water” “buy orange”…
I was woken by the hawkers on the Express, we had approached a military checkpoint so he wound down the glass for proper check.
Military man: “Hey where una dey go?” he bent his head and gave us a stern look.
Godfrey: “We are heading to Abuja!”
Military man: “Na your madam be dat? Fine woman abi she be deaf and dumb? How fine boy like you go marry deaf and dumb” he teased
Godfrey: “No be my fault o. Na my mama force me” he teased him too.
Military Man: “Okay na! wetin you carry for boot?”
Godfrey: “Nothing na just books and spare parts,” he said mildly as he pressed the lock close to the door and the trunk flipped open, the military man walked to the trunk and after a minute exchanging glances with his partner who stood under the tent they had built, the partner had a more gentle face. The military walked to Godfrey’s window and leaned on it,
Military Man: “anything for us?”
Godfrey: “Maybe next time. Na only fuel money I hold!”
Military man: “Okay na!” he hit the car “carry dey go!” he drove off.
Godfrey drove so fast, we were already approaching Kogi state. I did not know what time it was, but he told me we were few hours away from Abuja and he warned me not to unlock the door
Godfrey: “So many armed robbers in this state. I really don’t know what the government is doing. This state is just there, let them add it to my state so we can help them improve” he chuckled
“Do you know how to identify people from Kogi State in the Federal capital? They are the Okada riders, the drivers, police men, security men…” he laughed so hard
I refused to say a word in response to what he had said, I had already began to dislike him. what kind of man speaks ill of his fellow humans? I was starving, my mouth had been shut for hours, I knew that making my first expression would send him the wrong message. Then I thought, if he could not perceive my smelling anus, how then he would be able to perceive the odour from my mouth. I kept quiet anyway.
Godfrey: “So, are you ready to talk now?” he asked like he had just read mind
“Well my name is Godfrey, I am from Kwara State but I grew up in Portharcourt. I work as a media consultant in Abuja. I live alone and I got connections with the presidency, I mean real connections” he said with pride
“So, spirit woman, won’t you talk? Even the spirits in Nollywood talk. Hahahaha” he laughed noisily
His attitude disgusted me, were there really people like this in the world; so proud and annoying. I saw it as a chance for me to live again. A media consultant, in Abuja, that was real money. I sat upright, adjusted the seat belt and finally spoke
Me: “My name is Shiberbena. I am from Bayelsa state. I have never been to Abuja, and few hours ago, I never thought I could be in this car on my way to Abuja”
Godfrey: “What the fuck are you saying? You mean you were not going my way? Why did you even get in my car? Nawa for Naija women o. We suppose dey send una go fight war to defend this country. Una too get mind” he looked at me, driving carelessly
“What if I wanted to use you for money ritual? Ehn?”
Me: “That would have been fine by me. I want to die anyways…”
We got to Abuja safely; Wuse II precisely. I had eaten so much junk food on my way, my stomach was rumbling, he led me to the restroom. There, I had to figure out for myself, how I would want my life to be; I was a survivor, I had the history of coming out alive in every terrible circumstance; why don’t I do something daring, I asked myself.
Godfrey had ask me the following day what my plans were, I put the ball in his court
Me: “Just think of what I can do to make money in this Abuja. Anything, I am ready for anything…”
Godfrey: “Ok, you mean anything? The truth is, here in Abuja, if you are educated, getting a job is even a problem, now that you said you are yet to graduate then you won’t get a job at all o but I can link you with someone, also from Bayelsa state” he assured me.
The next day, I was up as the early morning sun, eager and ready to paint the world red; I was going to give life a last shot. I went to the living room to see Godfrey
Me: “Good morning and thanks for yesterday”
Godfrey: “Damn!” he held his nostrils
“Is that smell coming from you?” he asked, running from one sofa to another
Me: “I wonder why you didn’t perceive it as soon as I got in your car. I will go for check up, but first, I need a job please”
Godfrey did not wait for me to start my job before taking me to the hospital, he took me to a private hospital where they had all my organs checked. I had a sexually transmitted disease; the doctor said I was lucky to have come early enough. He added that the infection would have damaged my bladder and uterus if I did not treat it on time. I went through a procedure and came out fine after few weeks.
There was a dinner party at the Governor’s lodge in Asokoro; Godfrey, being one of the boys of the governor, introduced me to his deputy, Chief Freeman. The ugly looking man wore a white shirt and Jeans trousers, his nose, as big as that of a baby pig, covered his whole face- he would have been handsome without the nose, I thought to myself. I wore my laced monostrap dress and walked firmly on the red heels. I could see girls staring at me in jealousy, who cared? I was there for business.
Chief Freeman: “Can we talk outside? I can barely hear you” he complained
Held me by the hand, I followed like a lost puppy, I looked behind to take note of prying eyes; I knew I looked gorgeous, I walked elegantly behind Chief.
“I must confess, you look gorgeous, how old are you?” he asked caressing my arm
Me: “Thank you, Chief. I am Twenty-Six. My birthday was last month”
Chief Freeman: “Oh Really? You must be of the same age with my only child. That’s good” he winked, I winked back
“So, how much for a night? He asked
Me: “Ten thousand Naira” I smiled, waiting for him to bargain
Chief Freeman: “You mean Ten Thousand Naira per hour? Done! Let’s go to my room, I’ll give you now before I spend it all”
With a mixture of shock and confusion, I followed him. His phone rang, he picked it up and then stopped to talk to me.
“Sorry Sweetheart, change of plans. My best friend is here, he would curse me if he doesn’t have you first. He’s on his way upstairs. When he is done I can now take over, and don’t worry, he will be a gentleman” he smiled again
“Chief-Chief! The only correct Chief in Nigeria!” a noisy voice from behind called, Chief turned around
“Dan iska Alhajii! The only correct Alhaji in Nigeria” Chief Freeman laughed
Godfrey had warned me not to deviate from my business any time I was with a customer; he had said it would make me look unprofessional and might cost me my job, so I did not bother checking who it was Chief had gone back to greet. I just leaned by the door, waiting for him to brief me on my pay for the night while I admired my shoes.
“Sweetheart, meet my best friend, the one I was just talking about” Chief tapped me on the shoulder
I turned around to exchange pleasantries, it was Alhaji Mohammed Yahaya of Kasham Oil and Gas, the same Alhaji whom I had met through Hajiya Badmus…I stood before him, shaking with fear. Who the hell cursed me this way? I asked my inner self.
To be continued!
Will Alhaji Mohammed recognize his ex-girlfriend Shiber? Will Shiber pretend she doesn’t know him and go on with her business? What will Chief’s reaction be?