The smell of her cheap perfume and toxic fumes made the air very unhomely. She put the little pride she had left aside and slurped him until he bust a nut. That’s what they call ejaculation. Some of her mates were working in oil companies. Some others were with their husbands or wives and children. There she was rinsing semen out of her mouth. Cursed generation!.
He stood out like a Volvo at a Lamborghini exhibition. A tall, languid Volvo. Hanging precariously on his shoulders was a green shirt he had been wearing for two days. He had eight people in front of him on the queue, and his growing agitation was evident in his body language. He thought he heard someone calling his name. Someone calling out to him. Sometimes, he heard voices he actually didn’t. This one was real, though.
He felt hands squeezing his frail shoulders. “What’s up, bro!” It was Monday, his cousin. The surprise was a pleasant one for Wale. Monday had been out of the country for just under three years. He was sent to the UK by his parents to get a degree in chemical engineering. He ended up coming back with a face tattoo and an accent. Wale left the ATM queue empty-handed. They drove off in Monday’s Hummer H3.
“So, I’m still on this grime shit. The scene’s a little tight right now, but I got mad connects,” explained a relaxed Monday just as he drove through a tollgate.
After spending roughly fifteen minutes talking about how he was on the brink of rap superstardom, he finally asked Wale what he’d been up to. The question seemed inevitable, but caught Wale off guard, anyway. The air inside the glamour truck was moist. Kanye West was rapping in the muffled background.
“Mehn, I’ve just been around. Just here and there. Daddy’s making plans for me to go study in the US,” Wale replied.
Monday went back to talking about how “Monday Madskillz ’bout to crush the competition, bruv.” The face tattoo, which was on the right side, was a drawing of a presumed lion head that looked more like a gargoyle. A couple of minutes later, they were at Monday’s apartment. It was a three bedroom with generous sitting room space and no TV. There were two brown couches, one on each end, that were roughly thirty yards apart. Wale was seated on one side. On the other end, there was a girl moaning uncontrollably. She was underneath a surprisingly agile stranger who was thrusting at an incredible pace. She genuinely seemed like she was about to pass out, but somehow kept yelling out her approval of his performance. In the same couch as them was a skinny girl in fishnets who was dedicated to smoking a joint. She seemed completely uninterested in what was happening inches away from her. Monday emerged from the passageway with a joint of his own locked between his lips. “Hit this good shit, man,” he suggested, almost coughing out the words. Without a moment’s hesitation, Wale plucked the weed from his outstretched hand. He took a puff before sinking into the couch with carefree abandon.
“He bears no fault of his own, the boy.” He casts a sympathetic look on a sleeping Wale. “I warned Sanya against taking Ajala’s widow for himself. Blinded by raging lust, he ignored the prophecies.” He looks at us and continues. “I am Baale Fajimi, the time traveller. I am from the past, but I am familiar with the future.” He looks like one in his sixties and he is slightly hunched over in his red dansiki. It’s almost midnight and we are in Wale’s room. Baale Fajimi resumes his monologue. “In my backyard, I have a wormhole; the plaything of Orunmila.
In my room, scientific hypotheses materialise in full flesh. Nights ago, just like this one, I had an encounter with an anthropomorphic guinea fowl!” He giggles out of amusement. We can see his decaying canines. There is something particularly ominous about the way Wale’s body is sprawled across the bed. He is in his boxer briefs. His breathing is visibly regular. There is an open laptop with the PornHub logo displayed on it and an open plastic vaseline can on the table across his bed. “You should consider yourselves fortunate to have my audience,” he tells us. “I am not being arrogant, if you must know. That is a trait I am void of. I’m just a servant. I am a mortal just like you, but one with the boon of divination.” He sounds eloquent. “The boy is a casualty of the sins of a forefather. Against her will, Sanya had his way with Abeke every night he could. He was tireless, that bald hunter. One night, Abeke stood naked under stark moonlight and cursed Sanya’s descendants. Folasade was a prostitute. Ademola was a notorious thief. Aremu was a life-long drunkard. So was the one with the white name.
Now, there is the boy. His thirst for euphoria is unquenchable. His parents have tried white medicine to no avail. They are attempting to kill an elephant by throwing pebbles at it.” He smiles while staring out the window. The full moon illuminates his scarification-graced face . He has a protruding jaw. “The need to consult the practitioners of awo looms large, but they are adamant to truth. They choose to prolong misery.” He turns towards us once again. “Let me not bore you with the ramblings of an old man. I believe there is a story you need to get back to, if I am not mistaken…”
“How do I manage to consistently fuck everything up? I had Glory – such a beautiful, dedicated lady – who gave me two wonderful children. I had the construction job I’d chased for over a year. I had the three-bedroom in Ikoyi. I had the lofty societal status my marriage to Glory brought. Weekend gettogethers with the affluent at the opulent houses and hotels. We got through each day knowing we had stability and security – things people I grew up with still dream of. Most of all, I had kicked my drug addiction. All the pastors and alfas had prayed endlessly. How did I end up here again? No! I refuse to blame Glory.
Or should I? If she hadn’t chased me out of the house on the night of the sixth of April, I probably wouldn’t have relapsed. But it’s not like she was the one who carefully drew the lines of cocaine on the glass table in the Sheraton hotel room. It’s not like she was the one who told me to snort the white girl. I shouldn’t have had sex with the white girl, I know, but Glory was never supposed to know. I was drunk and upset. I had failed to land the Setraco contract. I couldn’t even tell her about it. She never cared about the details of my job, anyway. She would vaguely pay attention to my workplace woes while doing something innocuous like religiously scrutinizing her Snapchat filter choices or watching her telenovelas. She knew where I worked and how much they paid; that was always enough information for her. I know she loved me, though.
She stood by me when I was a drug-addled wreck. Without her, I’m certain I wouldn’t have fulfillled my potential. She made me not regret coming back to Nigeria after I graduated from Tufts. She saw a talented, articulate man beneath all the arm-scratching and constant sniffing. She did whatever it took to chase away bad influences, resorting to bitter confrontations when she felt the need. She even called my cousin a ‘failed rapper turned gigolo.’ Now she’s gone. Gone from me forever. God, how long can I hold out? Huh, say what? Just as expected – no response. Just like there was no response when Glory cried to you for help when she was raped to death by robbers in her own husband’s house. You weren’t there for her, just like I wasn’t. At least I have an excuse. You, what’s your excuse? Ehn, boss? You can go to hell! Hahahaha! How ironic. Excuse me while I get my drunk ass into my Acura ZDS. Abi ZDX. I need some music in this bitch. I need a bitch in this bitch. Hahaha! Monday would be proud of me right now.”
He made his way down the narrow, downward-sloping passage sandwiched by mostly godforsaken wooden structures. The ground was still wet from the afternoon rain. He could hear the shameless prostitutes calling out to him, asking him if he needed a ‘massage.’ Some of them feigned familiarity just to draw his attention. “Oga, how now? You no remember me?” Others were less subtle, like the girl who repeatedly patted her groin while licking her lips. The faces were barely visible in the night’s shadows, and some of the voices were drowned out by the loud generators. He was in a white shirt and a red tie. He had become so cavalier that he bothered less and less about consequences. A certified disgrace to his parents, a big mumu. All that money wasted for nothing! The brothel used to be one of Wale’s favourite places before traveling abroad. The spoilt brat was back where he belonged, with people just like him: the morally bereft.
“I’m looking for Osahon,” asked the tipsy idiot.
He was led into a tiny room with a lightbulb whose current flunctuated in unison with the unmelodious inflection of the rusty generator by the door.
“Wale! Na you be dis?!”
Osahon sounded elated, but with visible apprehension in her facial expression. She ditched Pidgin and started speaking English after he told her he traveled. The whore felt the need to meet to up to his American standard, using all the big words she knew to compensate. A monstrosity of a man peered his head through the window, asking to be serviced. His speech was slurred and his eyes were crossed. She told the man to come back later. It had become impossibe to hide her shame and Wale could effortlessly tell. Nobody. The smell of her cheap perfume and toxic fumes made the air very unhomely.
She put the little pride she had left aside and slurped him until he bust a nut. That’s what they call ejaculation. Some of her mates were working in oil companies. Some others were with their husbands or wives and children. There she was rinsing semen out of her mouth. Cursed generation!. Wale paid her and left. He drove downtown where he drank again and ruminated about his relationship with his late wife and said some choiced words to God that a responsible child with home training would never say under any circumstance. He got in his car and headed home. He felt a sharp headache and a slight cramp in his right leg. With wet patches around his armpits and a loose tie, the ignoramus soldiered on along the scanty expressway. He didn’t see the gaping pothole in time.
“The relative silence of Orunmila is often mistaken for many things. I once caught wind of a suggestion by a misled fellow who claimed that Orunmila vanished into a mysterious carapace somewhere in the margins of the spirit world after he grew resentful of his own people for adopting the ways of others. Some suggested that he had grown obsolete; that his powers had faded into oblivion with each new technological advancement. As distant as it is from the truth, the former is the closest to fact, I have to admit. I would not say he felt resentful. Betrayed would be the right word. But he is not in hiding, neither is he lurking in the shadows. He does not lurk. His presence looms large over all that concerns him. Ifa, his creation, is its own organism; it is alive and well. So you see, my friends, it is at your own peril if you chose to underestimate the past and chose to think that fate is chosen by men.”
The Other Self:
“Look at us. Just look at us laying lifeless in a pool of own own blood. Look at the blood gushing out of our arm like a geyser. This could be a fitting end to a miserable life.”
“Stop that. Stop saying ‘we.’ We’re not the same person.”
“I said ‘us,’ not ‘we.’ You should pay more attention, Junior. Did that name bring back memories? Perhaps memories of mommy drawing us to herself anytime daddy tried to spank our bumbum. Wale, leave my baby alone abeg. She never layed her hands on us. She always gave us lollipops everytime we asked for them. Do you remember us licking with rotting teeth?”
“I’ve told you before and I’ll tell you again: your opinion doesn’t matter. You’re not real.”
“This is as real as real can be. Your opinion doesn’t matter.”
“What do you want from me? Why do you keep coming back? Just go away!”
“Calm down, you. There is no point in struggling with me and there is no point to be proven. We’re going to be together till we draw our last breath. We’re intertwined, Wale. I am a faction of you. I lurked along the corridors of your consciousness for years. You inadvertently let me in when you let the blow take over. Your parents let you down, and you let them down in return. They let you have everything you wanted without a thought. The toys. The bicycle. The PlayStation. The car. Remember being the teenager cruising around Lekki in his Toyota Camry? The girls loved to ride around with you. They grovelled at your feet. Remember the threesomes in the backseat? Your privileges drowned you in indulgence. You rotten piece of shit.”
“They were just trying to give me a better life. A life better than the one they had in Ilorin. Leave them out of this. It was the cigarettes. The cigarettes blew the lid off. They introduced me to the sensations. It’s Dele’s fault. He sparked the lighter.”
“Fool. So, you’re going to blame this on a secondary school bad boys rendezvous? Always looking for people to blame for your own shortcomings. Just like you blamed Hailey Fletcher for the heroin at the frat party.”
“That wasn’t my fault. That was just once”
“Keep telling yourself that. Who would let a notorious junkie stick a makeshift cyringe full of heroin into his butthole? Wale would. You were always trying to prove you were ‘down.’ Look at the nurses scurrying around to save your miserable life.”
“Could what Aunty Tinuke said about a curse swirling above my family be true? Could I actually be fighting forces beyond my comprehension? She told me about some orishas and their influence on my lineage.”
“You and I know these stories of gods and dieties are folklore. Phones, aircrafts, satellites; Ogun and Obatala and the other story book characters you rever so much had nothing to do with how these things came about. Do you think some Yoruba deity inspired Henry Ford on how to build an automobile empire? These things came about because of the genius of mortals just like you. Or are you going to tell me the powers of these gods are only limited to putting hexes on people. These stories and beliefs don’t mean shit. You can’t deflect the blame. You fucked up. You let your beautiful daughters down. You took your potential and you stomped it flat. You sold your future for the triviality of your present. You failed.”
“If there’s a heaven, I wonder if there’s room there for people like me.”
“Wale Broderick Fashakin, It’s time to find out for yourself.”