TITLE: Twine EPISODE: 39 & 40
Dad grumbled all the way home from Ibadan. First, we had to pull over twice for me to throw up, secondly the rickety old taxi we boarded broke down at Ojodu Berger and we had to push it for several hours. My mother and Mama Johnson gossiped about everyone that attended the burial. They kept comparing and arguing about who really sprayed much money and whose lace was truly from dubai, this incessant argument grated heavily on my nerves but i had to clam my mouth shut out of respect for both women. The taxi driver stopped in front of our compound and i lept down rushing to the nearest gutter to throw up.
The women carried the things we brought back into the house. I could hear them arguing as they shared the chunks of fried beef from the party. The party had lasted a whole week because Aunt Eyitomi, who i was named after was an influential woman and she was a great philanthropist who had touched many lives positively. Her will was read the second week and i was willed a greater portion of her assests because i was her favorite niece and she had no child of her own.
” Your aunt had to die when we least expected it. What is she rushing to heaven for?” Dad muttered under his breathe, she was his only surviving sibling and he was trying to hide how hurt he was.
” Let me run home Mama Tomi. I will come back to help you tidy up” Mama Johnson said, she had followed us to Ibadan and spent that first week there. She had come back home and returned just the day before to help my mother.
” OK o….Oshey” Mom said. ” Wa re ni sefun iwo naa o”
I went into my room and collapsed on the bed. My mom opened the door and entered.
” Pele oko mi ……..i know you are tired.” She said with motherly concern.
” Thank you Mom”
” Tomi……you know you can always talk to me”
” Yes mom, i know.”
” Alright” She said, before walking out of the room.
TITLE: Twine EPISODE: 40
The letter was the first thing i saw on opening the door, It must have been pushed underneath it. Maybe it was from Kelvin. I have tried to put him out of my mind but he keeps sneaking back into my thoughts. Another thing left for me to do is to send Tosin Williams my letter of resignation. A fat tear dropped out of the corner of my eyes. My life was such a mess and despite my resolve to be strong and fight for what was mine, once again i was running back to my hole to hide. I picked up the envelope, slip out the folded paper encased in it. A smile flickered on my face, the letter was dated three weeks back.
I know it has been long you heard from me but what can a man do? A man needs to hustle and by hustle I mean, carve out a life for himself. I know I am like one of those regular guys you see in school who had things going on for them. You really do not know me as you think you do. Don’t be scared, I am not a serial killer and my name is still Dantata. But there are many things I did and have done that I am not proud of.
I love Victoria and it is only expedient if you know that ever since I had seen her, I wasn’t able to get her out of my mind. There is this tender spirituality that emanates from around her and one can easily get infected with the goodness of her heart. Yes, I had once gone on a paid date with her. I charged her the sum of two hundred thousand naira which she did not hesitate to pay or so i thought until i opened the envelope and saw twenty thousand. Yea i give it to her, she got me good.But do you know the truth? The money and the envelope still lies in my wardrobe in the house. I did not touch a dime in that envelope. What i did for her, I did from the goodness of my heart.
I have done things that I am not proud of. Not because I wanted to but because I needed to. By needed, I mean, to satisfy and feed the ego of my mother and sister. We are not really who you think we are and my family do not own a chain of businesses. What we have today is gotten from me selling myself with the help of my mother as a sugar-boy to older women. I have never experienced that thing called love. Meeting Victoria kind of triggered that dormant part of my heart. A feeling that I never knew was there started flowing through my veins and it was like I was born again. I realised that I had believed in a lie all my life that a man got to do what he had to do.
Catch your breath Tomi. I have a confession to make. Do not hold it against me for keeping it away from you since you have shared your heart and your utmost fears with me. From that bully of a pompous child called Richie down to that silent killer (I know what I am talking about, I have seen his eyes) of a hunk called Kelvin. Your pains, your gains and your intermediary confusions. You told me everything, yet know so little about me. To you I am Dantata and my father Alhaji Aliyu died in a plane crash many, many years ago. First, how would one die in a plane crash that was not broadcasted on television or even on newspaper? Why was there no government representative on the day of his funeral? And why did my mother overcome the grief of his death so quickly that made her start partying with the bigger women the very next week?
All these are questions that are begging for answers. Answers which I shall provide to you. Answers which I just came to find out about some weeks ago. Answers that even made me doubt my very existence. Now I had to leave home, away from those whose heart is set on the ideals and cares of this world. Those who wouldn’t hesitate to put a dagger to my heart when they find out I am about to spill the beans on them. They are my mother and sister, Surraiya. It is painful that I had to leave those who had truly loved me too and would have stood by me through thick and thin. Those in whom I saw hope through in this whole hullabaloo. You and the rest of them.
My father is not dead. He is very much alive. Hold on, do not get excited. It is better I tell you the story from the beginning, maybe you might understand the mystery surrounding his death and resurrection.
Aliyu knew only how to do one thing. Gamble. He was notorious for that in faraway Kano where his roots and origins are. He did not see it as a sin against his religion since to him, it was a sure and easy way to make money. It was also clean money since he wasn’t robbing someone that did not want to get robbed.
From rolling dice, to the boring WHOT then to the ever sure poker. He had mastered all the tricks in the game and could easily flip cards without you noticing. This is a man who had spent many a night up, playing against himself and calculating all the possible moves of his opponents. Consider how he could easily make money and carve out a niche for himself on the gambling streets of Kano and the headquarters of all gamblers located at Zoo Road.
Aliyu had seen people rise from nothing to something. He had seen rags to riches and riches to rags. People had deliberately jumped into the hyenas cage in the zoo and had gotten torn apart when they realised that they had been soaked in debts that they would not be able to settle even in a hundred years. Men who were once rich and affluent had been reduced to nothing. These same men took the easy way out. A shot of carbide in their drinks of fura da nono.
These didn’t deter Aliyu as he learnt the rope and proceeded to climb up the ladder of success. He got his first Kawasaki bike from gambling and instantly became the toast of the town. From the regular karuwai (commercial sex workers) to the dan-daudus (male prostitutes), all wanted to be in good records and flaunted their assets before him. The ladies, their boobs and their buttocks, the men, their flat chests and their ability to cook delicious meals. Then being feminine wasn’t frowned upon by the Kano State government.
Late ‘80s, a crack began on the gamblers all through Kano state. The agitation for the full implementation of Sharia laws had begun. Those who were considered unfit for the society, the karuwais and the dan-dandus, were locked up. The Hisbah (Sharia police) constantly raided gambling spots. There was no prolong court cases as the judge had a powerful backup. The holy book. From there judgments were read and meted out to erring individuals. Those whose hands were amputated went through the blade. Those to be beheaded disappeared mysteriously and those to serve jail terms and prison sentences were in their hundreds. The Goron Dutse Prisons was filled to the capacity.
Aliyu was one of those who escaped the onslaught of the rampaging religious fanatics as he liked to call them. He packed all his money in a Ghana-must-go bag, shaved his beards and his hairs, went to the train station and boarded a Lagos bound train. He wanted to start afresh in a new environment, away from his past and maybe make some legal money for once.
Aliyu landed in Lagos, with the only shirt on his back and a bag full of money. The environment and the language was strange, as everybody spoke Yoruba to you without first considering the fact that you could be from another part of the country. He had to speak English in return to be able to communicate with ease.
Ajegunle was his place of little beginnings until he met his wife, Chinenye. It was in a nightclub in the highbrow of Lagos. Beautiful, curvy in the right places and had a sultry voice. She danced with him all night and by 4:00am, took his hand and led him through a dark alley to a point where she went on her knees and gave him an earth shattering orgasm through a blow-job.
The sex that followed was one that lingered on Aliyu’s brain for a long long time. He kept going back; taking more money with him for the demands of Chinenye was growing by the nights. It was the fifth week, during one of their rendezvous that she, wrapping her hands around his neck had whispered in his ears:
“What’s your name?”
Aliyu was taken aback. He knew her name for the bouncers and club attendants always referred to her with it.
He had replied. A kiss greeted his moist lips. His hands was handling away her breasts.
“Alhaji Aliyu you mean?”
She asked him. Aliyu smiled from where he sat behind her with her buttocks grinding slowly against his pelvic region.
“No. I have not made the pilgrimage to Mecca yet.”
She turned to look at his face. Aliyu wondered what was racing through Chinenye’s mind.
“Mecca or not, to me, you are Alhaji Aliyu.”
And so Aliyu was rechristened. Chinenye took him to places he had always dreamed of going. His money was fast going down for the life was fast or Chinenye made it fast. He needed to get money. He only had his National Diploma from Kano State Polytechnic and going after a clerical job wouldn’t make him keep up with the society or so he had thought. He decided to return to the only thing he knew how to do.
Lagos people were smart but he was smarter. He won cash on the streets, won them in alleys and finally in Casinos. It was a thriving business for him. He hardly lost and recovered all he had spent almost immediately. Chinenye agreed to become his wife on the condition that he moved from Ajegunle to the high brows. He was blinded by love so did not realize that Chinenye was blinded by money and the lust to be among the high and the mighty.
He was lucky to have bought a house, furnished it according to the taste of Chinenye and moved in immediately. The first child was given birth to and life was good, no hitch on the fast lane that they were travelling. Chinenye had also made a name for herself parading as the wife of Alhaji Aliyu. Alhaji Aliyu was well known in the inner circle as a great gambler but to the outer circle, he was a great businessman like his distant Cousin, Aliko Dangote. To make people believe he was remotely related to the great business tycoon, he named his second child, a boy, Dantata. This he said was in honour of the cousin of Dangote whose father had provided the capital that had made Dangote the household name he was in the northern part of the country.
Instead of progressing as Aliyu had envisaged some three years later after the birth of Dantata, things took a nose dive. The magic touch left Aliyu and the money stopped coming in regularly, they came intermittently. Instead of Chinenye to understand, she became more demanding and also increased her social circle. His daughter was spoilt too like her mother for she demanded for the most expensive toys and new clothes every week to put on show in school in order to showcase the wealth of her father.
Aliyu had not planned it. No, he just knew that he took Chinenye with him on one of his gambling spree. There he was, facing Bulla-dabba, an old opponent who had relocated to Lagos too from Kano. The game was going in the favour of Aliyu until he was nudged by Chinenye. He threw all his chips in, every single one. What was the result?
Bulla-dabba won that game. Aliyu was devastated. Chinenye kept her cool. Bulla-dabba had been taking lustful glances at Chinenye from the beginning. He brought a suggestion.
“Aliyu, why don’t you play your wife to regain your money. If you win, you get your money back. If you lost, I go home with a new bride.”
Everybody around the table laughed, except Aliyu. He was seriously considering the offer.
“Okay, just a game.”
And so Chinenye served as the ointment to soothe the bruised ego of Aliyu. Did his Midas touch help him? No. Instead his wife changed places. Aliyu was devastated, but someone was mortified. Chinenye.
Maybe it was a stroke of luck or chance. Chinenye spoke for the first time.
“Why don’t I play to bail myself and also make some money for myself?”
She asked. Bulla-dabba agreed. Chinenye won her freedom and also money for herself. As for Aliyu, he lost the respect of his wife that day. The money she made, she kept for herself and her children, or just her daughter. The boy, Dantata was Aliyu’s responsibility. He took care of him until he was ready to write his senior certificate examination. That was when he had a huge quarrel with his wife.
She told him blankly to his face that he wasn’t a man. He was a woman and she was the man of the house. He was broken but that night, he made a decision. He would leave the house that he had bought and would go ahead to build a legacy for himself using a new name and a new identity. To his son, he travelled but to his wife and daughter, he ran away cowardly.
I was contacted by my father some weeks ago. It was strange at first but it later dawned on me. A ghost wouldn’t call me from the other side using a Ghanaian zip coded line. I was convinced that my father lives.
I had tried my best to win the heart of Victoria in the following weeks but Tosin proved a stumbling block, an obstacle I wasn’t able to surmount. Maybe, just maybe, Victoria loves him and I, Dantata, a gigolo (something I am not proud of) is incapable of loving. Who would even believe I have a heart. I have something to be thankful to Victoria though, she opened the channel to which I now view the world. I can now love.
Forgive me dear Tomi but also pray for me in return as I include you in my daily prayers. Kelvin is a good man and I know (don’t start having silly ideas now) that the altar would be your final destination. Forget Linda. I finally had a go at her but she wasn’t worth it. Don’t judge me please, a man got to do what he has to do to keep body and soul together. Did I forget to mention that it wasn’t worth it? She is arrogant, sick and talks about nothing other than power and being in control. I pray her father realizes this quick and seeks the help of a psychiatrist. That girl needs true love.
Ghanaian girls are beautiful my dear but I am too busy making money for my dad (which is same as making money for myself) to care about the king size buttocks that they flaunt. I hear they like Nigerians because of their sexual prowess but what do I know? They may just like us because of the money.
I will write to you sooner or later when I find the one that makes my blood pump faster than usual. If I don’t find a Victoria here, I will return and add another black eye to Tosin’s for stopping me from getting Victoria. I won’t tell you how it happened my dear, just know that I have a slight scar underneath my lips. That guy can fight for Africa. He met a match in me though.
From the deepest part of my heart, I wish you a great life ahead. Naija and Ghana is one. We would definitely see someday.
My father is legal, very legal so don’t think that using Dangote is one of those things. He just has a new identity. There are comforts though that comes with parading yourself as the niece and cousin of Africa’s richest man…
Hope u guys enjoying the story..?
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