Afrosays to me

…random excerpts from my communions with the AfroMuse

Deflect September 30, 2011

Filed under: Scenic — afrosays @ 10:00 pm
Tags: ,

Dear villagers, thatDarkBetty and I especially appreciate your support for The Decades II project. It was a huge success and you made it so. Thanks for telling friends and family about the tales we tell around the fire that burns in the town hall.

Remember @edgothboy? He shared the thriller Project S.E.E.K. The Hit with us just before The Decades Project II began. We promised more art from him and we deliver on our promises.

Here’s Deflect. It’s a bit long but be patient, you should love it.

...elle pernicious...

Thwack! A glob of spit hits recently constructed sidewalk. Saheed careers out of its path and mentally makes a sign to ward off evil. This is the third time he’s almost committed an act that will bring bad luck. That in itself is evidence of bad luck but Saheed isn’t thinking too clearly about superstitions, tonight his thoughts are focused on his impending career change or as he’d prefer to call it, ‘diversification’. That’s the problem with being a pimp. Too much time on your hands between clients. The boredom would have killed a more industrious man. He can practically smell the naira notes that will grease his palms, the way he’ll vaguely dismiss questions about his frequent disappearances and how he’s getting ‘all this money’. Yes, life is about to get very glamorous and mysterious for him. Tis a good day to become an informant.
Ten minutes later, Saheed arrives at the pre-arranged spot; he’s early, he wants to make a good impression. It’s a pyschiatric hospital. He makes his way to the counter, signs in for a two hour visitation as Chibuzo Anago. The nurse looks him over, with his tribal marks and his sing-song voice; he looks nothing like a Chibuzo. The dashiki isn’t helping either. But she presses the buzzer to let him in anyway. It is stupid but not uncommon for these husbands to squirrel away their crazy wives here under false names, Nigeria isn’t very tolerant of lunatics in one’s family tree. Saheed trembles as he makes his way to ward C, flinching at every sudden sound. He doesn’t like hospitals, especially ones with crazy people. He can’t see the point of packing them together like sardines and fighting the spirits that possess them with drugs when any babalawo worth his salt can flog the demon out of them for a fraction of the price they pay here. Even in his fear, his mind begins to make estimates for a referral service for exorcism, he’ll take a commission to find babalawos for desperate relatives and wouldn’t even have to lift a finger to do any ‘real’ work. Besides getting a protection charm every now and then would be child’s play, if he did business with babalawos.
Room 6 is the only occupied room in ward C. There is a circular pasted on the notice board at the mouth of the corridor. Saheed recognizes most of the words on it but he doesn’t bother with what it means. The words ‘HEALTH HAZARD’ and ‘EVACUATION’ are all that interests him. He pulls his dashiki over his nose and uses a cloth covered hand to open the door. He is immediately assailed by the smell of disinfectant and underneath that, urine. There is a young woman in a power suit lying on the bed, hands behind her head, a pair of expensive looking aviator sunglasses over her eyes. There is something unserious about her, as though she just came from a party or some other informal gathering. Saheed feels the urge to whistle, with skin that light and natural hair that long, she’d make an excellent prostitute.
“Shut the door behind you.” she says. There’s something dangerous in her voice that makes him swallow the off-hand comment he was about to make. Maybe a brothel madam not a prostitute, he amends in his head. He straightens his dashiki and takes the visitor’s seat. They stay like this for nearly twenty minutes, the rhythmic tapping of her foot against the steel bedframe punctuating the silence. Abruptly she she swings off the bed, startling Saheed and goes to lock the door. She plops onto the bed and crosses her legs in a very unprofessional manner. From underneath the pillow she extracts a manila folder. In it are a 9mm pistol, a voice recorder and a sheaf of official looking papers.
“Oya, we’ve wasted enough time. Let’s get this done and dusted.”
Saheed meaningly turns his gaze to the door. She is quick on the uptake.
“Expecting anyone else?”
Saheed replies in broken, yoruba affected english. “Yes. The men who I am supposed to selling my ‘information’ to.”
The woman shrugs. “No men. Just me.”
Saheed gives an her incredulous stare. “I will only talking to your oga. I cannot doing business with small small girls.”
The woman points to the door. “Then you can ‘leaving’.”
Saheed stands up to leave then his eyes zero in on a small rectangle of paper he’d missed earlier. It’s a signed cheque, addressed to him. The other than his name and the signature, the cheque is blank. Even he has watched enough American films to know what a blank cheque is. He slowly slides back into his chair and steeples his fingers, trying for a disaffected look and failing miserably.
He cocks his head in its direction. “Is that cheque my own?”
“Maybe.” She replies cautiously.
Saheed’s practically salivating at this point. “Why do you not write the money inside it?”
“Because how much you get, depends on how much your story ‘inspires’ (she makes air quotes around the inspires) me.”
Saheeds rubs his hands in anticipation. It is more than he’d hoped for.
She pushes the cheque under the pillow and whips out a ball point pen. He frowns and reluctantly stretches out his hand for it. She raises an eyebrow.
“That’s why there’s a tape recorder. I’m just taking notes.”
Saheed sighs in relief. He’s always hated writing, it is almost impossible to feign ignorance in text. he loves signatures though because most times, they meant money was coming in.
“Where do I start?”
She gestures for him to wait and switches on the recorder.
“Tell me about yourself.”
“Saheed Saworoide. 31 years. My mama is from Ibadan, my papa is from Ondo. I come to Lagos with my mama’s sister. I use to manage girls for Alhaja. Before I use to sell igbo at Oniru beach. Before that I use to pickpocket at Obalende. Before…”
“So you’re a career criminal?” she concludes. he nods.
“Level of formal education?”
“Secondary. I didn’t like it.”
“please state the nature of your association to the secret service?”
“I want to be selling information to the SSS.”
“What kind of information?”
In that moment Saheed wishes he’d brought along one of the more educated girls in his harem. With every question, he’s found it harder to formulate a response that doesn’t expose his literacy.
“I know many secret things about Mallam Bash. Many things that he will kill me if I tell.”
The agent makes clucking sound. “Yet here you are.”
“People didn’t last when they are working for Bash,” he gives a crooked smile. “I am taking Insurance.”
“Please explain the circumstances that occured to make you privy to this potentially volatile information?”
She pauses the recorder. “I know you understand what I just said. Just stop this idiotic act and answer the fucking question.”
She resumes recording and repeats the question. He’s sighs almost imperceptibly, coming here might not have been a good idea after all. He drops the illiterate ruse and gives a surprisingly intelligent response.
“I was recruited by Alhaja about three years ago. No, she never gave a first name and yes, I know better than to ask. She liked how efficient I was with my marijuana business and thought my concepts would work better with girls. I negotiate the deals, keep the girls supplied with weed, booze and condoms and in return I get a 40% commission and I get to break in the virgins.”
He pauses, waiting for a response. The bit about virgins isn’t true, he said it to get a rise out of her. All she does is fish out a cigarette pack from her jacket pocket. She offers him one and lights it herself.
“Go on.” she urges.
“I’ve always known Alhaja reported to someone else but as far as it didn’t affect me personally, I didnt bother myself with the details. Two months ago, I got summoned. They sent a car with tinted windows, blindfolded me and put a gun to my head. We drove around for at least an hour, then went to Badagry.”
She interrupts him. “How are you sure it was Badagry?”
“The driver stopped to refuel. the attendant spoke the Badagry dialect of Yoruba.”
“Earplugs.” She muttered to herself. Saheed pretends not to hear.
“I met Mallam Bash for the first time that day. Apparently Alhaja had just been ‘transferred’. She was getting too independent. Mallam Bash knew I did all the real work in Alhaja’s outfit and we are making three times as much as she did before I joined so he offered to let me take over. I accepted.”
The agent looks up from what she’s writing. “Can you give me an accurate description of Bashar Ibn Jaleel’s appearance?.”
Saheed lies smoothly. “I said I met him not that I saw him, they didn’t remove my blindfold the entire time I was there.”
“So you aren’t completely sure it was Bashar Ibn Jaleel you saw?”
Saheed shakes his head. “I swear on my mother’s grave it was him.” His mother is probably bickering with her neighbors right now but she doesn’t need to know that. “I’ve talked to him many times. It was his voice.”
She is still skeptical. “Say I believe you. I still don’t see how that helps me. This may have been a bad business call.”
Saheed rubs his hand together, this is the part he’s been waiting for. “What if I say I know the identities of Mallam Bash’s daughters.”
The pen the agent is writing with snaps in half. She sets aside the broken pen and the clip board and sit forward on the bed till she barely centimetres from Saheed. She shoves the recorder directly under him.
“Tell me everything you know about them.” She hisses.
“About a month ago I started getting these special requests from Bash, to help him get these exotic girls access to special clients. My contacts from my weed selling days still come in handy. Plus you won’t imagine how many high class hotels need girls and sometimes boys from us, discreetly of course.
“I wouldn’t have suspected but every client I hook them up with either mysteriously disappears or is found dead. Eventually somebody is going to connect them to me, and the police is going to come for me so I might as well win while I’m ahead.”
“How many of such girls has Bash sent to you?”
“Do you have any other evidence about these girls other than your story?”
“I’m not stupid, I have a picture but I won’t tell you where it is till I get the cheque.”
“How much do you want for the picture?”
“I want #50,000 for my story, #100,000 for the picture.”
“Is it nearby?”
He pauses. “No.”
She cackles. “You’re getting #80,000 after I see the picture and nothing for your story. You’re a very bad story teller and you tried to trick me.”
Saheed feels stupid. He should have gotten this stupid girl with the prostitute body to sign the cheque before he opened his mouth to say anything. Now she’s trying to steal from him. Well he still had the picture, it was getting clammy where he hid it. Good thing he had wrapped it in cellophane first.
“Sign the cheque or I am leaving with my picture. You can’t scam me anymore.”
“As you wish.”
She reaches under the pillow and draws out the handgun. Before Saheed can utter a word she pulls him to her and empties the clip in his chest, his wet blood spattering all over her expensive suit. She wipes her gun on his Dashiki as he gurgles to death and drapes his body over the chair. A quick pat down reveals an envelope sellotaped to his thigh. she tears his trousers open to get to it. The picture inside is a vivid photograph of a group of smiling girls. Four heads are circled, Nafis, Zuweira, Amma and Leema. She extracts a phone from her blood soaked jacket and speed dials a number. It is picked up on first ring.
“Babu, the job is done. Your daughters need to be brought to order. I won’t clean their messes again. I’m the eldest, not a nanny.”
“Noted. Any thing else?” comes a bemused reply.
“You’re buying me a new suit.”
She disconnects the call and shimmies out of the blood stained clothes. She uses the bed sheet to clean the residual specks of blood on her face and hair and slips on a pair of scrubs hidden underneath the bed. She throws the tape recorder, gun and phone into a satchel and gingerly steps over Saheed’s body which has now slumped to the floor.
At the lobby, two men walk in. They are dressed as doctors but Hakida sees right through the disguise. They are too stiff, too alert to pull off the perpetual air of fatigue doctors exude. She could teach them a thing or two about blending in. She checks her watch, they are twenty minutes late for the meeting they set up. An unpleasant surprise awaits them at the rendez-vous point. She watches as they make their requests and are buzzed past the metal doors. Once the doors shuts behind them, she walks up to the receptionist.
“Oh shit! I just missed them didn’t I?”
“Who?” The nurse asks.
“Two doctors, tall? In black suits and white overcoats?”
The nurse’s confusion contorts into a grimace. “Those ones are yours? Hmmph! They are so rude.”
Hakida raises her hands in mock surrender. “Na so I see am oh. Anyway they’ll kill me because I got here late. I don’t have the strength to face their wahala this evening. Can I drop this here for them, please?”
The nurse shrugs and Hakida hands over the envelope Saheed’s picture came in. The tape recorder is in it. Most of the conversation has been erased, except for the most important part, Saheed’s assassination. Babu likes to leave souvenirs. She makes her way to a car with missing number plates and a waiting driver. She slides into the seat and the car drives off just as the klaxons begins to ring, signalling hospital lockdown.

Edwin’s shares his art usually at Phantom Pages where @weirdo_oo’s dark alphabet clouds are all the weather.

Project S.E.E.K : The Hit. September 15, 2011

Filed under: Scenic — afrosays @ 8:01 pm
Tags: , ,

Dear villagers, it’s always a big privilege for me to meet fellow travelers in this art of gong hitting. thatDarkBetty and I have been bringing some of these artists your way lately. We hope you’ve been finding them very entertaining.

This piece was by @edgothboy, a writer that writes. Strongly.
No need for fancy introductions. Just stay spellbound.

... death ...

Sometimes having the right assets is all you need to get ahead – Mata Hari.
Heels, check. Inappropriate skirt, check. Garish makeup, check. Garter knife and garotte, double check. This is going back to basics, I so love challenges. The mark is in his thirties, typical high flying party animal with a preference for boys and a cocaine habit, the kind of guy I’d off on generally principles. But that’s not why his name has found its way to my lips. He’s wronged the wrong man.
The bouncer takes one look at the little plastic tag hanging from my left earlobe and waves me in. He doesnt notice the blood specks on the underside. The stragglers start to protest and he opens his jacket and flashes his piece. The hallway grows quiet very quickly, just the way I like it. The club is dark and the patrons are smoking up a storm. The occasional flashes of the strobe pierces the haze and reveals couples and groups scattered all over, entwined in orgiastic fantasies. Midgets in loin cloths stand nearby with baskets of condoms in their pudgy hands and ten year old girls in flimsy night gowns walk around holding trays of cocaine, ecstasy, heroin and viagra. In here its almost easy to forget you’re in a third world country. Most of the patrons here are aliens; whites, mulattoes, the occasional Arab. The black patrons are few and far between, Most can’t afford to revel in a place like this. I do a quick head count and survey the exits. Two guards at the pneumatic front entrance and one by the toilets. Four handlers mill around the room, motivating reluctant performers with slaps and kicks. I’m a little impressed, Ekpenyong has really come into his own. This is exactly how I’d run a prostitution ring. I suspect he’s heard rumors of the hit that will go down in his club tonight but I’d like to think he knows better than to interfere in my employer’s schemes; sex clubs which’ve been marked and raided by Mopol squads dont last long. I avoid other ‘performers’ and negotiate the room, offering kisses and terrible lap dances. Easier to explain when I don’t show up again, the good ones get noticed, the bad ones get fired. The handlers pretend not to notice the john protesting that I refused to ‘blow’ him. I spot the mark, he is being serviced by an ugly blob of meat and his exaggerated squealing has attracted an audience, professional voyeurs in the club gathering round like crows on a carcass. I’ll bide my time, a bit.
A john grabs me by the waist from behind and slips his hand into the waistband of my skirt.
“What the fuck are you doing?” I hiss.
He grabs a clump of my hair and pulls backwards.
“Green ear tag na for prostitute wey I fit rough handle now, abi you no like rough play?”
Shit! I know I should have asked that idiot what the color of her tag meant before I buried my garter knife between her fourth and fifth ribs.
Instinctively I pivot on my heel and grab his testicles. It is the best I can do to control the situation without attracting attention. The john is in his forties, with a bald pate, a beer gut and breath that reeks of isi-ewu pepper soup and cheap liquor. In my heels, I am three inches taller than he is. A smarter man would see the odds stacked against him and walk away, but this one isn’t all that bright. I squeeze his testicles and he squeaks.
“Adanna, squeeze it small na.” He begs in a slurring igbo accent. I smile and slap him instead. His smile widens to reveal gums that are beginning to bleed.
“Where does Ekpeyong get you girls from sef? You are like zoo animals.”
The john hits me unexpectedly and I reflexively retaliate with a swift headbutt to his temple and a rabbit punch to his larynx with my free hand. He goes down gagging. He passes out a minute later, he shouldn’t have touched me, literally. I look around but our little dance has gone ignored. I steal a furtive glance at my mark and I see him ambling towards the toilets, a slight limp the only evidence of the manhandling he just received, his pain threshhold must be superhuman. This couldn’t have happened better if I’d orchestrated it myself. My temple begins to swell and I make a dash for the bathroom and ‘intentionally’ collide with the mark and we both topple over. The guard at the bathroom door points his AK47 at us and barks that I help the mark up immediately. I pretend to cower at the gun and help the now bristling man up.
“I’m really sorry sir.” I say loudly.
He spits in my face and stalks into the bathroom, his limp more pronounced. I try to follow and the guard jams the AK’s nozzle into my exposed belly.
“Where you dey go?”
I point to my now swollen forehead. He pokes the swelling and I pretend to flinch. He steps out of my way and as I pass, he grabs at my butt. I spare him a final glance and memorize his face, the next time I see him, he dies.
The toilets are bright and sterile , with industrial strength flourescent lamps and a tray full of syringes for the more discreet cokehead. Three of the five toilet stalls are missing doors and are obviously designed to hold more than one person at a time. Seems the orgies don’t end in the club. I search the stalls, the mark isnt in any of them. The door of the fourth stall is slightly ajar, that leaves the fifth. I position myself at the sink in front of the fifth stall and bide my time. I memorize the layout. Each one has a panic button and the the exit door back to the club doesnt have a knob on the inside. That eliminates a hasty exit. I grab a handful of syringes, fashion them into makeshift blow darts and line them up ; if this degenerates into a melee, sharp objects will come in handy. The sound of a toilet flushing announces his exit and I feel the anticipation build. The door opens and he comes out looking pale. I block his path and kneel in front of him, with my blouse open, my head down and my left hand over my garter knife.
“Sir, my handler has asked me to come show my remorse;” I lift my head till my eyes are level with his crotch, “in any way possible.”
It takes him a moment to connect the dots. He mumbles to himself about women never knowing how to get him off properly but he drops his pants anyway. Typical. He drops the lid on the bidet and sit atop it.
“What are you waiting for? Get to it.” He snaps. I stand up and drop my blouse but I make no move to join him.
That irritates him. “What now?”
I wring my hands. “I’m shy.”
He throws his hands up. “Then close the fucking door, my ass is freezing! Stupid assholes putting AC’s in toilets.”
I bolt the door behind me. He raises an eyebrow but says nothing. I let my panties drop halfway down my legs.
“Who said I wanted to fuck?” The mark asks. “Get on your knees and put your mouth to work.”
As I kneel slowly, I tap my garrotte. He just lost his right to a quick death. Out of nowhere pain hits and disorients me as the mark’s knee connects with my jaw. My vision blurs and I try to back away. The mark kicks me into the door and pulls up his trousers. He slaps me a couple of times and drags me up by the throat and pins me on the door. I don’t struggle, there’s no dignity in that, besides the time isn’t right yet. Like all men, he begins to gloat.
“Bash must be getting soft, sending a girl after me.”
I paint on a look of surprise, if I can get this idiot to spill his guts, I might be able to salvage the situation and explain away this blunder. I’m certain Ekpeyong is filming this, and everything gets back to Babu eventually. He sees the look and takes the bait.
“Oh! You’re wondering how I know Bash was sending someone? Ekpeyong told me of course. He isnt going to interfere, which is why no one is here yet. But he owes me, big time, and I just cashed in. You were so obvious though. One of Bash’s infamous half-caste bastards, bred like prize Pitbulls for his dirty work. You all have one father, don’t you?”
“Then kill me!” I spit. “If don’t bring back your head, I take your place. Better you than them.”
He laughs. “You’ll die soon enough. What’s the rush? Guess how I knew you were the one he sent?”
I stay silent.
He lands a punch to my ribs. “Do what I fucking tell you!”
“How?” I rasp.
He reaches under my skirt and pulls out my garter knife. He uses it to trace the curvature of my lips.
“This little thing exposed you. Ekpeyong just recently installed a metal detector. Of course it has to be discreet so no alarms but it ensures we know who’s coming ready for a fight. You obviously didn’t know none of Ekpeyong’s girls are allowed to carry weapons, did you?”
It’s been more than ten minutes since we entered the toilets, more than enough time. I begin to struggle and flail and the mark tightens his grip on my neck. The muscle relaxant I’d slathered on him when I helped him up begins to travel through his blood, and the effects are instant. The antidote I ingested earlier has already neutralized my own symptoms. It is a last resort, incase Chaos works against me.
His left facial muscles start to twitch, he nudges his cheek with a shoulder but the twitching only worsens. He degenerates into full spasms and his other hands abandon my neck and fly to his face.
“What have you done to me?” he shrieks, though the horror on the left side of his face doesn’t quite match his right. The spasms have travelled down from his face and he is jerking like a marionette. I pick up my knife and return it to its sheath and I pull out the underwire of my bra. Its two feet long and made of fibreglass, the perfect understated weapon. By now the mark is on the floor, still seated only because his back is leaning against the bidet bowl. His eyes are set on the panic button and he doesn’t dare look away. I wrap my garotte around his neck and pull, his gasping and choking increasing in pitch as his body struggles to take in air. His bulging eyes dart around in panic. I put my knee against his back and pull till the garotte scores my palms. When it’s over, he slumps and falls on his side.
I rifle through his pockets and take his wallet as a prize. His identity will fetch me a reasonable bonus. There’s always someone desperate to become someone else. I climb out of the stall and kick out one of the asbestos roof slabs, hold it up with my foot and drop discreetly to the side. I climb in and feel my way to the southwest end of the floor. Its a church office and a change of clothes awaits me in an unlocked cabinet. As I change, I hear the faint din of the alarms go off at Eros. Everyone on the floor is in a panic, they must have misinterpreted the noise as a fire alarm and chaos follows. I embrace the anarchy and disappear into the crowd.
I’ve seen a lot of Edwin’s works at Phantom Pages where @weirdo_oo spins the most clever stories too. I’ve also got one more thriller story by Edwin. Same killer girl, different challenge.
Show some love.

This coming Monday, The Decades Project part II commences. (Watch out for the preview). It’s been a long journey and thatDarkBetty and her team have put together something wonderful. Tell your friends, tell your family. Let it be known that AfroSays’ Decades is back!

We stay as expectant as you.

...coming soon...


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