I have dropped a copy of the practice questions with Jelilee at the photocopying centre. See him for your copy and answer the first ten questions, which must be submitted unfailingly by Tuesday morning.
Dr. Okeke’s announcement was met with a huge roar of displeasure from the crowd of students that filled up lecture room 106. Moments later, a very unperturbed Dr. Okeke calmly strolled out of the room with his very famous bouncy strut. Dare and I joined the other students on the mass exodus out of the poorly ventilated and body-odour filled lecture room. Still tired from the activities of the day and night before, I barely heard Dare as he rambled on about how unfair Dr. Okeke’s assignment was. All I wanted to do was get to my room and jump on my bed.
I slept all through Saturday and most parts of Sunday. I slept so much I even missed the Arsenal game on Sunday. Thank God we won though, I couldn’t bear another bout of embarrassing comments from those guys at the taxi park. I wasn’t even in the mood for work. I had more than enough money to last me for two weeks even as I remembered I needed to send some money to Mama as well as change some foreign currency. I decided to rest through Sunday and resume work on Monday.
Work was smooth on Monday. I picked up the car after my lectures as usual. Uncle Mufu wasn’t around so I had to see him later to give him the money for Mama. I changed the $100 with me at Sabo – FOURTEEN K. Yekpa. All this money! It’s even good I didn’t see Uncle Mufu, I’ll have to send more money to Mama. I went round the mainland and took a few trips with some passengers then I drove down to the island. It’s funny how one night can change so much. It was a little over 8pm and even though I had no passenger, I took my time to familiarize myself with names of the streets on Victoria Island. Just as I decided to head back home, I took the round about on Ajose, headed towards Ahmadu Bello and then, I was flagged down by a young man. He was wearing a suit and had his tie slightly loosened – banker, I thought. He had a laptop bag with him and was heading to Akoka in Yaba. Perfect. We settled on one thousand five hundred naira and despite the traffic I was more than glad to make some money on my trip home.
We chatted briefly and he confirmed my guess; young banker, well spoken and good-looking. I dropped him off and he took my phone number after asking if I could take him to work early in the mornings. He leaves home at 6am so that works for me. I could drop him and be back in time for my first lecture. I agreed to the deal and promised to see him the next day. By the time I got to the park Uncle Mufu had left, I parked the car and returned to school. I didn’t see Uncle Mufu till Wednesday evening. A lecturer had fixed a test for Thursday morning so I decided to close early so I could get some reading done. I parked in my usual spot at the park around 5pm and I walked into the park office. I hailed some of the drivers and went in to see my Uncle.
He was alone which was very strange but then I noticed he had some money on his table; that explained it. He quickly put away the money and responded to my greeting. Uncle Mufutao can sometimes be very nice but most times, he’s too stern and disciplined for me. Not my biological uncle, my dads best friend who vowed to see me through my university education after my father died. He taught me how to drive and gave me one of his taxis to use in making a living. Unlike all the other cabmen, I only had to deliver ten thousand every week. Any other thing I made was mine. Most weeks I managed to make just about 13k after taking out the cost of fuel and little car repairs. But this week, I had managed to almost triple that figure thanks to my Friday night ordeal. I gave Uncle Mufu my money for the week with an additional 10k for him to send to Mama.
TEN THOUSAND? Ibo lo ti ri owo (where did you get this from)
I’ve been saving ni Sir. I just want to do all I can to get Mama up and running again.
Uncle Mufu never talked much, he gave me a questioning look and that was all. I told him to send my regards to his wives and kids and with that, I dropped the key and made the short walk back to my hostel. I bought some apples just before I entered the hostel and munched on one as I walked into my room. Dare, my closest friend and one of my seven roommates was in the room already studying for the test. He’s the dictionary definition of a geek. Always reading. He didn’t even notice me come into the room – busy differentiating and integrating. I hit him on the head with the nylon bag of apples and he almost fell off the chair he sat on.
Ha, Azeez, bawo. Ma binu, I was deep into the world of dee y and dee x
Daaaarrreee. Life doesn’t start and end with book o. I’m sure you’ve not eaten all day. Sha take apple and relax your brain.
Its not kuku my fault. You know some of us are not blessed like you. You only need a few minutes to run through all these things and you will understand, he said as he helped himself to an apple.
But wait oh, you have been buying apples on your way back since Monday. Are you fasting or has business been that good?
Hmmm…. Dare. It’s God oh. That is all I can say. Na papa God send me good samaritan. Imagine a passenger paying me in foreign currency. Dollars.
DOLLARS? Did you take her to the moon?
In fact where we went was farther than the moon…..
Just then, my phone rang and it was a number I didn’t recognize. I wondered who it could be even as it occurred to me that I hadn’t heard from Kassy since I dropped her off that Saturday morning. It was probably better that way. I picked up the phone, said hello and a cautious voice responded on the other end.
Hello. Is this AZed?
Yes, this is AZed.
My name is Princess, I got your number from Kassy. I need a ride for later tonight. Will you be available to work?
Erm…. Later tonight. Where is that ma.
Will you be available?
I checked the time – 5:48pm. I saw the puzzled look on Dare’s face from the corner of my eyes.
Yes ma. I will be available.
Ok. I will call you later to tell you where to meet me.
Even before I cut the call, Dare asked
What are you going to be available for? Aren’t we supposed to go to the library together this night? And who is AZed?
It’s one of those customers I can’t say no to. I’m sure I will be back in time to meet up with you at the library.
Before Dare could respond, I dashed out of the room and quickly walked back to the Taxi park. Uncle Mufu was out by the time I got there. As I got into my car, my phone rang and it was Princess again.
AZed. Do you know Parkview Estate in Ikoyi?
Yes I do ma.
Ok. Meet me at the estate gate at exactly 7pm. If you get there earlier, you’d have to find somewhere to pass time but please make sure you’re at the gate by 7pm. And please stop calling me “Ma”.
Yes Ma. I mean… Yes Princess.
It was just about 6pm, I quickly cleaned my car and hit the road. I was lucky traffic was light. I got there about 5 minutes early so I took the long drive round Bourdillon and turned around at the end. By the time I got back to the Parkview Estate gate, it was exactly 7pm and almost as if she had rehearsed it, a young lady casually dressed in jeans, tee shirt and heeled slippers walked out of the estate gate carrying nothing but a simple hand bag. She noticed the cab almost immediately and she walked to the car and sat in front beside me. I tried not to stare but as simple as she dressed, she looked remarkably beautiful.
As she put on her seat belt, she mentioned Kassy didn’t tell her I drove a painted cab. I asked which way we were heading and she told me to drive towards Lekki phase 1. As I drove, I noticed she kept on stealing glances at me, as if she was sizing me up. She kept to herself all through the ride. She only spoke when she directed me. A little over 7:30pm, I parked in front of a massive house somewhere deep inside Lekki Phase 1. High fenced with electric wires running round the top. Princess asked if I could give her a moment outside the car. She moved to the back seat as I exited the car.
Moments later, she came out looking totally transformed. She now had on a very very short dress that showed off her figure. She had let down her hair and all of this made her look even more beautiful. While I was still caught up with her ‘new look’, she snapped her finger to get my attention and I noticed she had on a smile.
It’s almost 8, please meet me back here at exactly 11pm. Once you get here, just press the bell and tell whoever attends to you that you’re my driver and you’re here to get me. But please don’t be late.
She didn’t even wait for my response. In a matter of seconds she had pressed on the little knob by the gate, the smaller door on the gate opened up and she vanished into the huge fortress. I stood there for a few minutes wondering what I would do till 11pm. If only I had brought along my Engineering Mathematics textbook. I got into the car. I listened to the radio. I drove down the road. I bought a drink from a roadside Mallam. I drove back to the building and it was still only 9:44pm. I didn’t want to risk going on another trip while I waited. She was very specific about me not being late.
I reclined my seat and rested my back even as I replayed the events which opened me up to this new world. I remembered picking up Kassy and Debby, the trip to Badore, the wait outside YNot, Kassy giving me 10k, the long drive back to Badore and ….. Kassy. Yes, Kassy. When we got back to their place at Badore, she invited me in but I declined and told her I had to rush somewhere as I had my assignment on my mind. She tried to rub the back of my head but I held her hand away and pleaded for her to let me leave. That was when she looked at me and said:
AZed. AZed. Me I like you oh and if you come inside, you will enjoy all of this. (She said this as she used her right hand to point out her breast)
She then caught me unawares as she rubbed my chest down to my groin area. I almost jumped off my seat. She laughed and laughed and said:
Are you a ‘firgin”? Come on. AZed, don’t disappoint me oh. Anyway…. Let me not keep you, just think about what I said… (she said as she put her hand into her purse to produce $100 which she handed to me)
I hesitated initially but she more or less stuffed it in my hands and told me it was my payment for the night.
What a night that was, I shook my head as I snapped back to reality. 10:54pm. I got out of the car and stretched. Lingered a bit and at exactly 11pm I went to the gate. I pressed the little bell button and waited. Instead of a face, I heard a voice asking who I was and who I was there to see.
I’m Miss Princess’ driver. She said I should come and pick her here.
I heard nothing for a while.
Did you hear me.
Miss Princess says you can leave. She will be in touch.
Leave? After waiting this long? Just like that? I shook my head and walked towards the car even as I silently murmured my protest. Before I got to my car, I heard the gate open. I looked back and I saw a hefty looking man walk out of the gate. He was about 6 feet tall and very well built. He looked like one of the bouncers I spotted at YNot the previous Friday. He gestured at me to come. I cautiously approached him and noticing my caution, he looked at me and said, “Please come inside to wait for Miss Princess”.
I walked past him, through the gate and began to marvel at what I saw. Lush green lawn with beautiful flowers everywhere. I looked up and noticed a small bungalow far off in the middle of the compound. I turned to ask……..
My eyes fluttered open as I felt a sharp pain in my head. Arrggghh… Everywhere was dark and I heard voices around me.
Shut her up
It was at this point I realized Princess was beside me. I moved around and tried to make sense of where I was. We were in the backseat of a car, blindfolded. The voices around me kept talking…
Go with Zino. Make it fast. I want you guys back here before Chief leaves.
With that, I heard the sound of two doors slamming shut. The car started and then zoomed off.