…But got something else.
Looking at your severely cracked full-length mirror situated adjacent your iroko-strong but old door of your equally severely tattered one-room apartment, standing as naked as your shattered soul, made you reflect upon your life. Two days ago, you came back from a failed job interview. The day before that, you were on your way to another job interview which never was because there was a riot at the venue. You are an ardent reader of job offer ads and of literary arts on national dailies and you have travelled twice to the west to answer job offers, returning back with empty promises. You feel that your creative writing career is ebbing because inspiration comes and goes like tiny ulcers. You are an English graduate of five years and counting, of Enugu State extraction. The institution of graduation is immaterial.
This was the period your girlfriend of three years chose to “ebb” as well. Ify’s parting words were: “Judas, I can no longer take care of you because you seem not to take care of yourself. It was stupid of you to eat my money so freely. I am not a charity organisation, Judas. I am still in school, trying to finish. Do not take advantage of the fact that my father is so rich. Now I can see that your braininess cannot put food on the table. I pay your rent, your water bill and your light bill. Enough is enough.” Another reason she gave for leaving you, which shocked you inwardly and stuck to your mind, is that your extra-large penis embarrasses her and causes her extreme pain. “I repent from pretending that I enjoy sex with you,” she cried out. “You are too impossible!” In spite of everything, you still ogle at her slender back and firm buttocks as she departs from your room with her things and slams your old door shut. The following day, your good pal Medua who works in the newsroom of the state Ministry of Information visits you and pulls you out of your room, out of your face-me-I-face-you compound at Umudaike quarters and drags you to a nearby eatery at Ibusa Road, close to the commercial bus washers.
A chronic bachelor like yourself, Medua just got paid, seven months into the job and still very giddy about it, and besides, a global holiday season just walked in. He has the money to burn, so you soak up five bottles of Gulder lager beer in order to drown your humiliation. You drank so irresponsibly. Medua grumbled aloud: “Abeg, Judas, make you forget dat girl. Me I no say I no go allow babe troway me. Na me dey troway babe. No be your situation wey cause am? Forget!” That night, both of you stagger back to your room, you the more inebriated, and collapse on your ruffled bed.
And now, you stand in front of your mirror in the nude. After taking a hot cup of ginger drink that Medua bought for you (and three Vicks Apple Plus sweets) before he left, you stand there idly combing the forest of hair on your huge, tall chest with your fingers, battling unsuccessfully with a terrible hangover which the ginger drink aggravated rather than diminished. The image of you is in pieces. You feel as ruined as your mirror. “Christmas will soon come,” you mumble. “Humph! Where is the mood?” After a while, you go down and finger yourself, the taste and smell of the spicy sweet ginger drink bringing a sly smile to your face. You remember the last part of Ify’s parting words and laugh briefly. You also remember her intoxicating vaginal spit. “Kai!” you exclaim. “She was always wet for me. How come she is saying that I ache her?” Wondering how long your penis is, you scatter your small room the more in order to find a ruler with measurement in inches. For you, inches rule the world. But instead, you find a transparent, maths-set ruler of centimetres and millimetres. Damn! How horrid!
The ruler’s highest measurement is fifteen centimetres. Disappointed but desperate, you had no choice but to use it. You return to your mirror and measure. You discover that your limp penis is fifteen centimetres complete. God, what a surprise for you! “I am a man,” you utter, almost imitating the lead man in one of the popular Favour & Camelite paint TV adverts. “How can Ify make me less of a man?” Your mind went straight to her, her lissom body sweetly trapped under you when you make love. Sexual heat in you comes like an avalanche, and you get an erection. Quickly, you place that ruler on your penis again. This time, you don’t know. It is way off the mark. But it is thick and lovely, and bent.
You pant with want. You want to fuck somebody. You grab your erection. You need a woman. You feel dumped. You live in a dump. “How could Ify make me feel this way?” you say. You are angry. “Who the hell is Ify anyway?” you bark out. Suddenly, you realise that you never really knew her. The only thing that you were sure of was that you were somehow going to pay her back for all that money she spent on you. Fucking her was a sign of gratitude.
“Don’t worry. Ify will soon ache for me,” you laugh out, trying unsuccessfully to feel good. You look at yourself with moroseness. You know you can’t forge credentials. You know you can’t steal. You know you can’t kill. Your upbringing won’t let you do these things. And your people would “banish” you if, as the first son, you don’t bring back home money and a wife. Or you would be branded the biblical betrayer. And besides, you haven’t sent them a kobo since you left them. A moment later, you slowly walk towards the mirror and gently rub your erection on its badly broken surface. This brings about little bruises on your penis, but you don’t care. The sexual heat inside you is as hot as a cooking pot. Ify was the only woman you have faithfully fucked for a long time, though she was not the one who disvirgined you.
So, it is her in your warped mind as you caress your dick on your mirror till the point of ejaculation. The semen on your mirror looks like baby vomit. “Shit!” you bellow, a headache approaching. Then, you prepare to bathe by tying a wrapper to your waist and pouring ice-cold water into a huge iron bucket and your soap dish ready. You walk one and a half metres to the makeshift bathroom and toilet adjacent each other, made with ever-rotting zinc. But as you bathe, a righteous refreshment envelops you. The terrible hangover sips away. The streaks of red in your eyes are gradually no more. Sincerely, you were building plans for Ify, so convinced that what she did for you came from her heart, not knowing that she was stalling for time. You just wished she didn’t bitch about it. For a moment, you felt quite honoured that someone as blue-blooded as Ify could go for someone like you.
But as you stepped out of the bathroom, your internal inanity grew in droves. You marched back to your room and dressed into a brand new white T-shirt and brilliant sky-blue jeans trousers Ify got for you from her father’s company. Right now, nothing mattered except your loneliness. You left your room wide open as you depart from it. The thought of anyone coming to take anything from a pigsty of a room like yours, hoping to find millions, made you laugh briefly.
Stepping into Ibusa Road, after unsuccessfully avoiding the “graves” your landlord’s numerous chickens dug by your front door, you walk towards a home video rental kiosk and sit on the bench in front of it, the first person this late morning to do so. Few minutes later, the slender female attendant steps out of the kiosk and greets you musically because she knows you.
“Hi, Judas. How now? How you dey?”
“Ify don troway me.”
Becoming attentive, she sits next to you. “Na wa-o! How come?”
“I no blame am. She don try for me.”
“This is not the time to get rid of you.”
You turn and look at her. The morning sun made it impossible for you to see her face clearly. “So when do you think is the right time to get rid of me?”
“Both of you have come a long way.”
“Well, that is the sad thing about life.” You pause a little and watch one or two little groups of children dressed in their best and latest holiday wears, chatting and laughing away. “And to think that Ify dumps me before Christmas. She knows I won’t be able to get her anything for Christmas.”
Both of you laugh together, but she laughs so deliberately hard that she falls on you. That was a sign. The sun must have shifted, so you see her clearly, and then her body. She is slenderer than Ify, her face is opaque and her mouth an apology. But she shifts closer to you, batting her curvy eyelashes, her lips ajar. Another sign. A smile creeps up on your mouth, and idly you caress the small but full patch of hair just below your lower lip. You do that when you meet a woman you fancy. You did that when you met Ify. You were grateful that your bathing had washed off the tiny blood streaks on your penis. Then, it won’t be that painful if you fuck this agreeable female attendant, except maybe that sweet tightness of her pussy. But won’t she be put off by the sight of your room when you take her there?
You don’t care. All you want is to fuck her. Your entire brown-yellow-skinned being is agreeing to this, and she appears to agree as well. But when you grab her and attempt to kiss her, she gives you an unexpected slap and stands up. “You dey mad?” she barks at you and enters her kiosk. You stare after her, and sigh, unlocking exhaustion. Gosh, women! Perennially and irredeemably ununderstandable human beings! They give you a sign and along with it comes trouble. Gosh! Your eyes return to the street, idly watching children laugh and play.
As you turn your head sideways towards the road, there is this little girl of about five, dressed in bright colours, which reminds you of biblical Joseph as a child. The little girl, turning to a scene of excitement, leaves other children and enters the road. The tallest child (another girl) in the group shouts at her to leave the road. From afar, you hear a truck tipped with sand thundering by. The smile you had on your face watching the excited little girl is no longer there as she walked across the road unaware of the speeding truck.
You see the truck thundering towards the little girl, not even blowing its horn. Instantly, people started shouting and signalling at the driver of the truck to slow down, but to no avail. The fear of an inevitable end to her excitement brings out some adrenalin to your veins and you leapt up and sped towards her. In time, you jumped and pushed the girl away from the road and landed flat on your stomach. But you weren’t fast enough to get off the road completely and the truck rode on your left leg … and didn’t even stop. It was when a bench unexpectedly appeared on the road that the truck came to a screeching halt.
The extremely drunk driver got out the vehicle. “Na wetin?” he shouted. “Comot dis ting for here!! I get wife wey wan deliver for FMC.” Within seconds, he was severely pummelled with ‘pure-water’ by the vehicle launderers. Soon, Ibusa Road was fiercely crowded. “Yes! Make im eye clear!!” someone shouted. By the time the crowd’s attention turned to you, the little girl and her little group of friends, you had become deeply unconscious.
You were in a deep lacuna of darkness. When you came out of it gradually, you found yourself dressed in white, on a hospital bed in a single room, your left leg severally bandaged resting on a huge pillow and an elderly man sitting by your bedside, adorned in white lace agbada and holding a big green envelope. “Nurse!” he calls out, his voice well-accentuated. “He is awake.” He spoke like a true British man. In trying to regain full consciousness, you mumble, “Wh-Where am I? Who are you?” Then, gradually recollecting, “The little girl! That little girl!! Is she alright? Please tell me she’s alright.” After a moment, the nurse arrives and the old man tells you, “Yes. She is alright. Nurse, please attend to him.”
After he quietly gets up and departs, leaving the envelope on your bed, you ask the nurse, “Who is he? The doctor?” The short pretty female nurse laughs briefly and shakes her head in response. She takes the envelope.
“You are a very lucky man, mister …”
“Judas. Judas Ani.”
You discover that the elderly man is the grandfather of the little girl you saved. He goes by the name of Chief Larry Isichei, an Asaba man of great influence born in Britain, and the little girl is called Jennifer, whom you have affectionately nicknamed Sweet Jenny.
Later on, the orthopaedist by the name of Dr. Gerald Obi comes by and tells you that your left leg has suffered a severe compound fracture: a severely damaged tibia and fibula and a deeply cracked femur close to your kneecap. Sadly, Dr. Obi announces that the hospital has no equipment to remedy broken bones of this nature. Naturally, you feel so devastated by this medical news, not believing that you would spend the rest of your life limping.
Finally alone in the room, you wonder how you got yourself into this mess. Nobody knows you in this Asaba. God, why should Ify … You get tired of blaming her, and truly feel that you are Mr. Nobody. Several hours later, Dr. Obi returns to your room and makes this wonderful announcement: Chief Isichei took charge of footing your hospital bills and has insisted on taking you to London for better medical treatment. You are so overjoyed with this new news that you feel like jumping.
Within a week, that new news came true. The only thing you worried about was your immobility courtesy of the devastation of your left leg. You hated your partial paralysis and you had to be aided in order to toilet yourself. It is sheer torture throughout the lengthy air journey. You were comatose when you arrived London and were taken to the central hospital. When you wake up, you find yourself on a bigger hospital bed, in a bigger room air-conditioned, with a drip on your right arm and dressed in white as usual with your left leg in a cast and suspended by a sling.
An hour clocked by as your eyes take in everything. Then Chief Isichei knocks and enters, carrying Sweet Jenny. On seeing the little girl, you smile disarmingly.
“How are you, Sweet Jenny?”
“I’m fine, Uncle Judas.”
“Hm. That is good. Always stay fine, you hear?”
“Yes, uncle. Can we go out and play after you get better?”
You raise a hand. “I promise. Thank you very much, sir, for all that you have done for me.”
Chief Isichei shook his head slightly. “No. I should thank you forever for saving my granddaughter’s life. That was rare heroism you displayed, son. This girl is the only grandchild I have. Her mother is my only child. Thank you very much. How are you feeling?”
You shrug and sigh tiredly. “Strange, but I’ll get used to it. I hope my leg heals.”
“We’re fervently praying for you, Mr. Ani.”
“Sir, please. You embarrass me by calling me Mr. Ani. My name is Judas.”
“And my name is Larry.”
Both of you shake hands warmly. Jennifer’s smile is too contagious. A few minutes later, a white female elderly nurse enters with a large tray of food. You could not hide the look of surprise when a full plate of Indomie noodles with fried egg and green peas and carrots with a bottle of Amstel Malta drink is placed before you. “My mummy cooked it for you,” Jennifer prattles. “But she is in a meeting right now. She cannot come.”
You smile again. “Well, go and tell your mummy that she is very sweet, ok?”
She nods, jumps out of Chief Isichei’s arms and leaves the room. You successfully convince Chief Isichei to eat with you.
“I hear you have been looking for a job.”
“I need a good assistant managing director in my private printing press firm. Will you take that job?”
The food was almost finished when a white doctor with a stethoscope round his neck and a white envelope in his hand enters and tells you that there is no way your leg that badly damaged could heal. He intends to prepare that part of your leg for amputation next tomorrow. Silence reigns after he departs. You wished your life ended right now. “Sir, I – I doubt you can work with someone with one and a half legs,” you stutter sadly.
Quietly, Chief Isichei stands up. “Hope you enjoyed the food?” You nod sadly and he departs. When the next day comes, you are off your white overall hospital garment and left with your white-and-sky-blue check, large Tom Hilfiger boxers. With a little help from the nurse assigned to you, you are off the bed and standing on your left crutch. On your right hand is a walkie-talkie cell phone you borrowed from that nurse to make a long distance call to Medua. You are shouting on the phone because Medua tells you that your landlord has given your apartment away to somebody else and your property is out in the open. The thought of being completely homeless, coupled with the thought of losing your leg, makes you righteously raving mad.
The door to your room is wide open. Quite suddenly, a lady dressed in a three-piece skirt suit enters, but on seeing you, stops at the door and quickly covers her eyes. After a while, she uncovers them and starts fidgeting. As soon as you notice her, you hang up, drop the phone on your bed and grab a pillow to unsuccessfully cover the sight of your boxers from her. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to …” both of you say together, then fall into awkward silence. “Ladies first,” you prompted.
“I’m – I’m sorry. I didn’t know you were on – the – phone.” She gently and slowly sweeps her eyes over you.
“It’s alright. It is ok.”
“N-Nice boxers. You know, Jennifer’s late father was a total briefs man.”
“My ex-girlfriend gave these to me, and it’s nice to meet you, too. You must be Sweet Jenny’s mother.”
The lady had hazel eyes, light chocolate skin, a trim but fleshy, sweetly shapely body (very fleshy at the laps) and rich, curly hair of a bouncy perm. Her face was oval, but what arrested you the most were her eyes. You could see yourself in them. She is not just fleshy, she is fleshly.
“I, eh, should have knocked.” Her voice is just as musical as her daughter’s.
“It’s ok really. Please do come in.”
You struggle to sit on your bed while she elegantly sits on a chair some centimetres away from you, cross-legged, exposing a small part of her laps. You get a whiff of her Alfred Sung perfume, and swallow nervously.
“My father told me everything, Mr. Ani. I’m glad you liked the food I made.”
“Yes. Thank you very much. I really felt I was at home again. It was delicious. Please call me Judas.”
“I’m Vera Martins.”
Both of you shake hands.
“What about Martins?”
“He’s a naturalised Welsh. He died of chronic epilepsy five years ago.”
“Wow! I’m sorry to hear that.”
“It’s alright. Em, I heard about your medical condition. So I suggested something to the doctor before I came here. As he amputates your leg, he also gives you a brand new, plastic one.”
“A new leg?”
“Yeah, very much like a human leg. Won’t you like that?”
Sadly, you look down at your POPed leg and think of Jennifer. “I want Jennifer’s opinion.”
Vera’s sweet smile is slow and she quietly gets up. “That can be arranged,” she laughs. “I have to go to work. See you later.” She closes the door as she leaves. A lazy, boyish smile appears on your face and you caress the patch of hair below your lower lip. You think of her half the day and your telephone conversation with Medua becomes insignificant.
The following day comes, your leg is amputated and a new one fixed in. When Jennifer enters your room with her mother, you ask her, “Sweet Jenny, do you like my new leg? I don’t like its colour.” Jennifer runs and sits on your lap. You hug her warmly.
“How are you, honey?”
“You haven’t answered my question.”
“I don’t care because I know very soon, you will play with me.”
You laugh and affectionately rub noses with her. Vera and Jennifer become your frequent visitors. There was a time they came bringing in two plates of well-moulded eba and well-seasoned, well-stockfished egusi soup, both plates carefully and transparently cellophaned. Jennifer was carrying this food on a tray with the tray on her little head as she entered your room. You were pleasantly surprised!
“Na wa o! Abeg, garri dey for London?”
Vera places the tray on your laps and carries Sweet Jenny, an infinitesimal smile on her face. “There is a Nigerian market not too far from this hospital, and that market is not far from where we live.”
You slowly shake your head in wonder, looking at them. “Wow! You know I never eat alone. Come join me please.”
At your invitation, Vera and Jennifer partake in this sumptuous meal, even though you wolfed down most of it yourself. One day, Vera comes in alone to find you out of your bed, trying to walk. She halts you in the nick of time when you are about to fall and gives you an unexpected, sloppy kiss, which you return. Quickly, she withdraws.
“I’m sorry. I couldn’t help myself.”
“I feel the same way, Vera.”
“Listen, I – I masturbated after you left, on the first day we met.”
She comes closer to you. “My God, are you always this bold?”
Your eyes burn intensely into hers. “We live in a very bold world.”
“Really? Well, truth be told, those boxers of yours are very nice. Your ex-girlfriend sure has taste.”
“I masturbated on those boxers.”
She laughs lightly. “Shut up.”
You both kiss deeply, sucking on each other’s tongues passionately. After a while, she withdraws again.
“Thank you for saving Jennifer’s life.”
“Jennifer will soon finish school for the day and she’ll be here any minute, so …” The look on your face makes her stop.
You ogle at her intensely. “When was the last time you had real fun in your life?”
She takes another step back. “You are a dangerous man, Judas. I should avoid you.”
“Then why did you kiss me?”
“I wanted to thank you for saving my daughter’s life. Jennifer sees you as a hero. She loves you.”
“You can’t lie very well, as I can see. But one day, I know you will lie down beside me.”
She laughs heartily. Her skin blushes a bit. “You are too impossible.”
“My ex said that to me when we broke up.”
The conversation ended abruptly because Jennifer entered. Within a week, you got used to your leg and fulfilled your promise of playing with Jennifer. The day after, you were discharged from the hospital and took up the job offer Chief Isichei gave you, of which you were to undergo six months’ training. You no longer saw Vera again until one day when Chief Isichei decided to give you a week’s break (Christmas week) and you returned to Nigeria.
You were lodging in a room in Grand Hotel and had just anonymously finished paying back Ify’s money through her bank account. One night, you were in a towel preparing for a Jacuzzi bath when there came a knock on your door, you answered and it was Vera, clothed in another skirt suit. You blink and rub your eyes to see clearly.
“My, my, my, Mrs. Martins! Am I dreaming or are you really here?”
“Surprise, surprise! Em, my father and I were talking one day after work. So, he just casually mentioned where you were, and that was when I decided to spend Christmas in Africa for the first time. I checked in yesterday and today, I discovered you are my next-door neighbour. How inconvenient! The least I could do is say hi.”
You invite her into your room. You ogle at her intensely as she sits on a small settee.
“Did Jennifer come with you?”
“Eh, no. I had to promise her that you would come back and then all of us would go to Nigeria together. I told you she loves you.”
“Me? You must be out of your mind!”
“Don’t worry, Mrs. Martins. The answer to my question will soon come. God, I miss Sweet Jenny, and I was beginning to miss you.”
“You don’t know me.”
“True, and I want to, if you let me.”
She stands up. “I think I have over-stayed my welcome.”
“You don’t know Asaba. If you want, I can give you the grand tour.” You move closer to her. “I wonder why you bury all this beauty I see peeking out of you. If it were up to me, you would be naked all the time.”
“Good night, Mr. Ani.” She departs from your room.
Eventually, you did give Vera a grand tour of Asaba. When Medua saw you, he could not believe his eyes. You expertly blocked the advances he made at Vera. At the night of Christmas Eve, after both of you ate to surfeit in one of the hotel’s restaurants and you escort her to her room, you hold her hand and gently caress it. “I’ll ask you again. When was the last time you had real fun?” you speak sleekly. A whole minute elapses before she answers quietly, “Never.”
You bring her hand to your lips and gently cajole, “It is time to live life, Vera.”
“I thought I was Mrs. Martins.”
“It is also time to let him go.” The tip of your tongue caresses each finger. “You are an extremely beautiful woman.”
She gently takes her hand away from you. “Thank you for a lovely evening.”
You move closer to her, staring dry-mouthed at her luscious lips. “You love your cage, or you want me to break it? Start to live again, Vera. Make this evening lovely.”
She quietly opens the door to her room. Suddenly, she pulls you and kisses you passionately. You grab her buttocks. After, she gasps silently, “God, I just want to see those boxers of yours! They drive me crazy!” With an infinitesimal smile on your face, you say you will.
Within minutes, in her room, both of you tear your clothes off each other and soak yourselves in a hot Jacuzzi bath, making wild love to each other and kissing each other fervently. Vera is the largest woman you have ever fucked, yet her large physique is beautifully trim. She even begs you to insert yourself deeper into her. She clings to you as you obey her every sexual wish. Both of you become naughty and indulge yourselves in several intensely erotic orgies ever imagined. The soap conceals both of you almost completely. With her on top of you, you suck her sweet cunt, and she sucks your huge cock in return. She moans with pleasure as you suck her large breasts and licked the breathtaking, traditional “protection” razor marks close to her erect, hairy nipples that have the colour of her eyes. You even fuck her from behind, spanking and petting her large buttocks occasionally. “God, I haven’t been fucked this way before!” she moans aloud. She thrashes her head from side to side as you roughly finger her clitoris. “My God, Vera!” you moan aloud as she grabs hold of your dick and caresses your scrotum. You suck each other again and again, and re-fuck for hours.
A while after your final ejaculation, both of you relax, blissfully exhausted. Both of you gently lather each other. “I haven’t had sex for six years,” Vera murmurs truthfully. “God, Judas, you are so good!” You wash the soap off her face and say, “Vera, you rock my world. I now know how you feel about me. My question has been answered.” Soon, your week’s break comes to an end, and you and Vera travel back to Britain. A day comes when you summon enough courage and go to the home of Chief Isichei to tell him of your sincere wish to court and marry Vera.
Chief Isichei looks at you with suspicion. “What did you do during your week’s break?”
You shrug. “Nothing.”
“All of a sudden, my daughter wanted to spend her Christmas in my hometown, alone. And you were there, right?”
“Y-Yes, sir. I did see her, but nothing happened.”
“You know, Martins, Vera’s first husband, was a very good liar. I cannot condone that any longer from a second son-in-law.”
You fidget and swallow hard. “Sweet Jenny needs a father, Vera needs a man and I passionately love her. When we were together, I had to express that love. She’s a very beautiful woman.”
With a huge laugh, Chief Isichei grants his permission. The rest of your life flows by so quickly. In your office, in her office, before the wedding reception, after the wedding reception, on the beach and in secret corners, you and Vera find it impossible to keep your lascivious hands off yourselves.
Soon, Vera’s belly is protruded and the loving minimised. Ten months later, to show that your creative writing career has now unebbed, your first novel hits the bestseller list, THE CONVERSION OF JUDAS, largely autobiographical and minimally biblical.
You know, you didn’t have to write that book, Mr. Judas Ani, for I am already writing about you, little old me. You and I are one of a kind, Judas, and you have certainly lived up to your name. You betrayed wretchedness, you betrayed loneliness, you betrayed heartbreak, you even betrayed frustration. Congratulations, Judas Ani! I am right here with you, even though inside you and I, there is this slowly soaring misgiving about a Judas converting.