They liked to call themselves bad
guys; but she knew Toju. He wasn’t one of those bad ones. He
only talked tough and acted like them so he could fit in. With her, he was
gentle and sweet and sensitive, just the way she liked her men. He had only
joined those cult people for protection; he didn’t want anyone to ride on him.
And he wasn’t even that active in Triple X sef. He just coasted
along; present enough in their midst to be seen, absent enough to be forgotten.
That was what he said. She didn’t bother to ask how come, then, he had become
the Capo’s right hand man.
If it hadn’t rained that day several
weeks ago, they might never have met. She had been walking home from Ofirima
Hall—the queues at the bus stop were too long—when a car had sped past, bathing
her with water from a puddle that had formed beside the road. As she recovered
from the shock and got ready to scream, ‘God punish you!’ at the car, she’d
noticed it reverse, making its way back to where she stood. He had stumbled out
of the car, stuttering apologies and trying to wipe her down with his
handkerchief. She’d let him drive her to the hostel.
It had rained again, a few minutes
ago. Not the kind of rain that made the weather cold; the kind that seemed to
cause heat to rise from the ground. She lay on her bunk, fanning herself with
the handout she was supposed to be reading. She wiped her forehead with the
back of her palm. There was no electricity on campus, and the generators would
only come on at night. She picked up her phone to call Toju for the fifth time
that afternoon, wondering if he was still in class. She wanted to go to his
room off campus, at GRA. He had air conditioning there, and his own generator
just in case. Her phone beeped. There was a text message from her friend,
I herd cult boyz attackd
one guy. Dey hav taken d guy to teachin hospitl. Dey sed its TriplX dat did it.
How far? Was Toju ther?
She tossed her phone on the bed beside
her and stretched. Tumini just liked to spread gist, verified or otherwise. And
even if it was true, she wasn’t bothered. There was no way Toju was involved.
He was not one of the bad ones.