Monday, November 21, 2011


Image from here

Mama Bose chased the flies from her ground melon seed with the napkin she used to dust the shelves in her stall. They went away and quickly found a place among her dried peppers. She sighed as she flipped over another page. Stupid flies. 

“Mummy,” she heard her daughter call.

“What is it?” She grunted, without looking up from the book she’d been frowning into.  

“Mummy Caro said you should give her crayfish two hundred naira, that she will bring money tomorrow.”

Mama Bose looked up, her face dangerously calm. “Bose.”

“Ma?” Bose said, taking a small step back even though she was already beyond her mother’s reach.

“Have you gone to where I sent you?”

“Em… no, Ma. It is when I was going that Mummy Caro called me to…”

“So, your name is now Caro?”


“Ehn now, your name is Caro, and Mummy Caro is your mother. That is why you will go on her errand before my own, not so?”

“Ah! No, Ma,” Bose said, bending her knees over and over in apology.

“My friend, will you get out and go where I sent you!”

Bose started to run off but stopped when her mother called again.

“Come back here! The palm oil she collected last week, has she given you the money?”

“Em… no, Ma.”

“Idiot!” Bose barely had time to jump out of harm’s way as her mother’s slipper went flying in the direction of her face.

“It is you and people like Mummy Caro that want to destroy my business. But God will not allow you people. Come back here and let me help you twist that your mouth!” Mama Bose screamed at her daughter’s retreating figure. “It’s not only crayfish two hundred naira. Come and carry my whole stall! Nonsense.”

Mama Bose went to retrieve her slipper and, still huffing, settled down again with her accounts book. Her creditors were getting too many, owing too much, and she didn’t have the mind to chase them. At this rate she wouldn’t have enough to replenish her stock next week. Christmas was coming and the children needed new clothes. She had to send money to her parents; they had been complaining too much of late. She prayed her husband would find a job soon. Things had gotten so hard since he’d been laid off.

“Mama Bose. Mama Bose! You no dey hear?”

Mama Bose looked up to find Kemi, who lived across the street, peering at her.

“Ah, hope no problem o. It’s like you’re not here at all,” Kemi said.

“No, my sister. No problem. How is the family?”

“Everybody is fine o. Your people nko?”

“They are there jo. So what do you want to buy?”

Kemi reeled of a long list of items and Mama Bose rushed to get each one, her heart racing with the thought that maybe she would be able to stock up after all. If she got more customers like Kemi that week. After she had packaged everything nicely, she handed the bulging bags to the customer with a smile.

“Everything is five thousand seven-fifty.”

“No problem,” Kemi said as she turned to leave. “My brother will bring the money on Monday.”

The smile froze on Mama Bose’s face as she stared after Kemi. She managed to call out a cheery “No problem” through her clenched teeth.

There are times when I should have said no to things and people, sometimes with a dirty slap just to avoid any confusion. But I didn’t always. I think I’ve gotten better at saying no, though I’m still not where I should be. Are you able to say no when you know you should, or are you the smile-and-clench-your-teeth type?   

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Image from here

He felt the impact first, and then there was the sound of breaking glass. He glared through the windscreen at the vehicle in front of him and turned off the ignition with one angry turn of his wrist, glad that the offending vehicle could go nowhere. It took him just a few seconds to get rid of his cuff links and pull up his shirt sleeves. All the while he mumbled his fury, imagining what he would do to the imbecile who had just cost him a headlamp. He flung open his door, ready to attack.

In front of him the driver’s door came open, and in slow motion they emerged: two feet in high heels first, and a pair of skinny, silky smooth, light skinned calves that seemed endless. And then came the thighs, deliciously firm and covered midway in a denim miniskirt that rode higher as the rest of her came into view. And then there was her. She was wearing one of those tight black things – tube top abi pipe top? It stood out well against her light skin and moulded every curve. Her head was covered in short, dark curls. She got out of her car and stood for a moment with her right hand on her forehead. Her long face wore an anxious look and her full, bright red lips were pouted. Wahala had never looked so good. She began to walk to him.

His hands shook as he struggled out of the car and into the midday heat, trying to get some sound out through his suddenly uncooperative throat. Surrounded by Lagos rush hour, all he could do was stare, his face wearing a look that he was sure could only be described as mumu-ish.

“Oh my God, I am so so sorry. I don’t know what I was thinking, I’m so silly.”
She wrung her hands as she spoke, her forehead creased and her voice sincere. He could only gaze at her mouth.

She bent over to inspect the shattered headlamp in that distracted, completely unselfconscious way that only the truly confident could pull off – not minding that if the strange man tilted his head just so, he could catch a glimpse of pink lace under that excuse for a skirt. Well, he did tilt his head, and he swore he could feel his legs turning to jelly. Just when he thought he would collapse she moaned in despair and stood upright again.

“It’s bad. It’s really bad. That headlight is gone,” she said. She turned to him.

“Look, I don’t know what to say. There’s no excuse. My tail light is bad as well, but hey, this is all my fault. I am so sorry. It’s just… well it’s a new car and I haven't quite gotten the hang of it yet so I mess up sometimes. This is the worst damage I’ve done yet. And your car is clearly new too and really expensive…”

He stood there, drowning in her returnee accent, trying to clear his throat while making as little noise as possible. She took his silence for anger.

“God I am so stupid!” she said, hitting her forehead with an open palm.

“No, no, it’s okay. These things happen. It was a mistake,” his words came out in a croak he could barely recognize.

“Really? You’re okay? You’re not mad?” she asked, her eyes round and pleading.

“Of course not. It’s nothing…”

“Oh my God!”

He found himself in a hug he didn’t see coming. He froze for a moment, and then he put his arms around her breathed her, reveling in her warm, soft feel. She smelled of something wild; tempting, yet elusive. He closed his eyes. When she let go of him he had a stupid smile on his face, but he didn’t care.

“You’re an angel. No! You’re a lifesaver. Thank you so much. I’ll never forget this,” she gushed, striding back to her car.

He stood there, trying to summon up the courage to ask her for her number. He was still there when she started her car and honked. He got back in his car to make way for her to leave, his head still reeling from contact with her. She blew him a kiss, her perfectly manicured fingernails waving at him as she drove by.

He sat there in the car with the engine idling. He’d had his slice of heaven. All he needed now was a good story to tell oga.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Image from here

They wouldn’t do it in their bedroom. No, the bedroom had become way too boring; they’d been doing it there the past fifteen years. So where now? Choices, choices. Dining table? No, the glass wouldn’t feel comfy beneath her; she knew from experience. Maybe if she stood and held on to it? No. She’d always considered standing a tad slutty, which would be fine except she wasn’t in a slutty mood today. She was feeling all tender and womanly. The kitchen? No, it presented a similar problem to the dining table. Hmmm… she could go to his office and surprise him. She’d wear that nice red wraparound dress he loved—it would definitely make for ease of access—and nothing under. Kind of like Nicole Kidman in that movie, what was the name again? No, maybe she’d do that for their anniversary. Today she wanted to be home.

Oh, the new car might work. They hadn’t done it in a car since they were newlyweds. It seemed like such a long time ago now, that time when they were young and free and invincible. They could do anything anywhere, and they had. Now it seemed they barely had enough hours in a day, and none to spare for each other. She couldn’t remember the last time they’d made love, like in the old days, and fallen asleep talking in each other’s arms. And that was why she’d asked him to leave work early today, taken half a day off work herself and come home to prepare.

Yes, the car. The car was a no. She loved the idea of reliving their youth, but how ever would they explain the shaking of the car to Akpan, their nosy gateman/security guard. Actually, he wouldn’t need them to explain at all, and that there was the real problem. She would never be able to look him in the eye again. Or should they drive the car out when it got dark? No, that would be too much work, and it would not be worth the risk of getting robbed.

She strolled into the living room and looked around. Why the heck not? With the feather soft beige rug and matching couches, it was her favourite room in the house. And at least it wasn’t their bedroom. Simple ideas were indeed the most beautiful. She strode to her shopping bag and got out her goodies. She lit the scented candles and scattered the rose petals over the floor and couch. Next, her favourite Sade CD. She took out the new negligee to admire it again. He would love this; she couldn’t wait to put it on, and then have him take it off. But first, a nice soak in the tub, with that sexy body bath that was “guaranteed to have him drooling.” Well, she certainly intended to find out.

She took her bags and started to climb up the stairs, then she heard a key turn in the lock. Oh no, he was earlier than she’d anticipated. No worries, he could share her bath. She turned around, wearing her seductress smile, as she heard the door swing open. Her heart sank as her twins bounded through the door, a weary looking Bala dragging their suitcases behind him.

“Ah-ah, what happened? You people didn’t go to school again? Bala, did the car spoil or what?” she cried, not bothering to hide her displeasure.

“No, madam…”

“Holiday extended!” her son whooped.


“Apparently, schools cannot resume today. They say it’s because of the elections. So we’re here for like another week or so,” her daughter said.

They stopped short as they noticed the candles and rose petals and music. Then, as one, they let out a loud cackle.

“Mummy, what’s this?” her son managed to gasp through his laughter.

“Mummy the mummy! So this is how you and daddy use to enjoy when we’re not around abi. See romantic sturvs meeehn!” Priye screamed. She turned to her brother. “Ebi, see that’s why they sent us to boarding school.”

“Mummy, you’re too much jor!”

She turned and started back up the stairs, their laughing voices following her. She’d call Tonye and tell him not to bother coming home early. Maybe if they were lucky they’d still get to do it tonight. In their bedroom.