Writing is about the only venture that gives me joy. Except sex, that is. Not only do I savour the excitement of creating and killing characters at will, I delight in the respect, class and awesome grace it bestows on me.
If you are a final year student of Electrical/Electronics Engineering like me, you’ll certainly get the gist of what I’m saying. To my lecturers, I am a strange lot a la rock–bottom gin in an assembly of exotic wines –untouchable, extremely different, yet wielding so much influence and control over whoever comes in contact with me. To my classmates, I am a confused being, a rarity in the derelict and ungainly corridors of Engineering. I was proud –even arrogant- of my abilities and at every turn, I call myself a Writing Engineer: a perfect sobriquet for an individual seeking relevance in a chaotic and demeaning environment like me.
This day I sit at my writing desk, ruminating about my lot. My final exams (Thank God!) start next Monday and I have not read a page of my boring notes. As much as I try to read something, my mind is distracted by the approaching deadline of the writing competition I want to enter. Ordinarily, I would have forgone the competition for my final exams but a combination of factors would not allow me. First, my CGPA has reached a kind of balance. My ‘draw’, my coinage for the lower credit degree, or 2-2 as it is called, is assured. No matter the number of As or Es I get in each of the courses, my CGPA can’t change by more than plus/minus 0.15. Second, I need money. I owe my landlord cumulative house rent totaling some twenty thousand naira and my group of friends and fiancée some fifty thousand naira each! When you are in One hundred and twenty thousand naira debt, you think of nothing else but the money and any opportunity to make money to pay the debt would be welcome. And this competition is just the perfect opportunity I yearn for. First prize is a thousand dollars, just about the value of my debt. And boy, am I thinking of the cash? Of course I am. But thinking can’t solve my problem; only writing can. And write I must.
Ideas flow in my head, colliding with one another like a herd of confused hungry goats having to choose between a few blades of grass and the peels of cassava. But one sticks out amongst them. It’s a simple story about a harmless ladies’ man who got in trouble with the gangsters of his University when he unwittingly slept with the girlfriend of the Capone. He was to be sufficiently punished by cutting off his manhood.
For the past half hour, I have been trying different openings to the story. I look at my first attempt:
Everyone knew going out late was not unusual to him; coming home late was. So when Jide was not seen at home by his usual 5a.m. the following morning, his hall mates knew something was wrong.
“This does not sound too catchy.” I say to myself as I took a drink from the mug of coffee I use as my writing companion.
“A little break here would do. But what about another angle to it all, maybe a violent opening scene?” I ask myself as the exhilarating after–taste of the coffee hits my mouth.
I sit back, rub my eyes with the back of my palms and pore at my notes, hoping to see some words jump at me. None does but a lot exit my brain and flow to my pencil hand. I pick up my pencil and quickly proceed to try out another opening.
If he had not been cornered, he surely would have run for his life. But where would he run to when surrounded with seven guys looking like zombies from the worst part of hell: eyes narrow and blazing red, lips pursed in a set and determined manner, arms clutching shiny beautiful adzes? He needed no soothsayer to tell him the end is near.
“Brilliant.” I say to myself after reading through the opening lines a second time.
“I could work with this.”’
I pour myself another cup of coffee, sip from it and settle for a creative evening.
Ko ko ko.
A knock comes from the door. I curse the untimeliness of the knock, and swear not to open. I go back to my writing and begin scribbling down the story.
The knock comes again but this time accompanied by that sonorous voice that has turned me to a modern day Pavlov’s dog. I spring up from my seat and open the door.
“Hello darling.” I say as she gives me a hug, her grapefruit breasts nestling around my chest. I feel the familiar stirring between my legs but I ignore it.
“How’s your day been?” she asks as we free ourselves from the hug to let her into the room.
“So far, so good.” I reply, shutting the door behind her.
“I have been thinking of a short story and I just got the idea now.” I add.
“That’s nice. Go ahead and let’s see what you’ll come up with; it’s been long since I read a short story from you. I could use the time to cook some meal for us, I am quite hungry.” she answered with a smile on her face.
“Okay, let’s see how it goes.” I reply.
I return to my writing desk to continue what I was writing. I try to bring myself back into the story. I read the opening line again and begin to put pen to paper.
Slowly, without prompting, he got on his knees and began reciting the twenty third Psalm, a psalm he had not read all his adult life. Not that he believed in the efficacy of the psalm, but he keeps reciting it as some sort of penance for all his godless living over the years. Amidst his recitation, the smell of the forbidden weed enveloping him and the thick stench of a nameless spirit told him his assailants were closing in on him. He opened his eyes just in time to see the shiny heads of their adzes assemble in a gruesome continuous circle above his head…
“Darling…” the voice cuts me short.
“Yes…” I answer cursing whatever makes her need me at this point in time.
I look towards her and I see fear plastered all over her face like the amateur dressings on a poorly-baked birthday cake.
I jump up from my writing desk to see what the matter is. I need not get to her to the see the matter. The matter is at my doorstep, staring back at me, leaning against the frame, a newspaper as his company. It is the chillingly cold face of the alleged Capone of the dreaded Snakes Confraternity on campus.
I could see the newspaper he is holding. It is my favourite, the one I contribute my regular essays to and which has been so magnanimous enough to publish me.
“Mr. Writer…” he says, slowly tapping the newspaper against the palm of his left hand.
“Won’t you invite us in?”
My unspoken question is answered when six other guys stroll into my room, each one of them holding an adze in their hands.
“We saw what you wrote” the Capone says, slowly unfolding the paper. He clears his throat and reads a line. “The guys are brutish, brutal and fatal. They employ all sorts of ways to humiliate, mutilate and, in instances, disgrace their victims. Rape, assault of all kinds, deformation, maiming and even death is not out of their activities.”
He stops reading and folds the paper again. I go on my knees and my girlfriend does likewise.
“We thank you for the compliments, and of course, the free publicity” he says in a hoarse whisper.
“And we would like to pay you back in kind.”
“But, but…sorry” I try to say something but my lips shake like the body of a white – garmented prophet in the throes of a spiritual attack.
“You have two options… and I trust you to choose right.” He pauses to let the words sink into my cranial cavity.
“All six guys here would go one round each on your girlfriend while you watch…”
A gasp escapes my mouth as simultaneously as tears begin to flow from her eyes.
“Or you make love to her, stark naked, while we watch and record on video for our perpetual viewing pleasure. We could even put it on YouTube.”
“Please, please, I beg of you, have mercy…” I suddenly find my voice and beg.
“Mercy? Have you forgotten what you wrote?” He asks rhetorically as he unfolds the paper again, scans it a nd picks out another paragraph to read.
“…they are merciless and gruesome.”
“We are just proving you right.” He adds with a smirk on his face.
“You have sixty seconds to decide.” He quickly adds, the smile melting into the hard visage.
I look at my girlfriend and what I see shocks and saddens me in equal measure. Her thin sexy lips, amidst a stream of tears, are mouthing a clearly visible phrase: second option.
I look back at the Capone and whisper in a voice I don’t recognize. “Second option”
“OK then. Guys, I welcome you to the writer’s cinema.” He announces to the glee of his lieutenants.
Slowly she pulls off her blouse to reveal a pink bra covering her mound of breasts. When she frees the breasts from the bra, I find myself growing hard.
I know this is the worst sex I’ll ever have.