What Theophilus Did

What Theophilus Did

Lola’s hand was shaking. She stopped applying her mascara and looked at herself in the mirror.

Lola Layinka stared back. Eighteen years old, a very beautiful face.

The eye-shadow was a minus though. Garish. Mummy’s choice. She said it matched the aso-oke. It also matched the flag. Lola hated it.

Her eyes called to her from the mirror. Large expressive eyes drowned in green. They looked haunted, dead. Somewhere in their depths the memory of last night in Daddy’s room lingered.

She couldn’t do it. She had to tell Mummy. There would be hysterics of course. But Lola felt dead. Like a plane on auto-pilot; the real pilot slumped in his chair, lifeless, a bullet in his brain.

“Lolls! LOLA! Hellooooo!”

It was Layo, her identical twin. She was ransacking their jewelry drawer.

“Lolls, I can’t find my cocktail ring. That gold one with the green… whatever…”

“Layo, I’m not going,” Lola said.

Layo stopped. “Why?”

Lola forced the words out, “Daddy is… Daddy is bad.”

Layo frowned. “Bad?”

“He’s corrupt.”

“Everybody’s corrupt.”

“I know. But Daddy… He shouldn’t be in charge of a state.”

“If you don’t go, Mummy’ll kill you. They’ve called all the journalists in the world.”

It was true. The grand photo-op. Chief Theophilus Layinka at the polling station with his wife and pretty twin daughters, everyone dressed in the national colours. Their mother’s idea.

“I have to tell Mummy. I can’t go.”

“Suit yourself.” said Layo.

Lola was at the door of the bedroom when their mother swept in. Five feet eight, matronly, her face bright with foundation and her gele wider than the National Theatre, Mrs. Deronke Layinka looked regal. First Lady material.

“Oh good, Lola, you’re ready.” She turned to Layo. “Omolayo! What is wrong with you? It’s almost time.”

Layo mumbled something.

“Mummy, I’m not going.”

Mrs. Layinka snapped, “Lola, don’t be silly. This isn’t the time to joke.”

“I’m not joking. I’m not going.”

This time she turned to face Lola. “And why is that, if I may ask?”

“I can’t.”

“You…. can’t?”

“I can’t vote for Daddy. He’s… bad.”

“Lola! Are you well? What do you mean ‘He’s bad’? Stop talking nonsense!”

“It’s not nonsense!” Lola was on the verge of tears. The words started spilling out, involuntarily, like vomit. “Daddy is evil! In the night, he…… I…

Thud… thud… thud…

It was the thudding that woke her up. At first she thought she was dreaming, and then she heard it again. Thud… thud… thud…

The thuds came from their father’s room. Lola went there. And saw.

Her father was naked. Kneeling on the floor in front of a mortar. Pounding, pounding. Blood spattered everywhere. Obscene redness. A wizened old man in a bloodstained white tunic spun around him chanting unintelligible words. Chief Theophilus Layinka kept pounding. The old man motioned to him to stop. He produced a gourd, scooped up some of the bloody mess in the mortar and offered it to the Chief. Lola put her fist in her mouth to stifle her gasp, and her nausea. She watched in horror as her father ingested.

The old man grasped a knife.

Lola fled.

She opened her eyes now. Layo’s face was pale, her eyes round like saucers. Their mother’s eyes had narrowed to slits.

“Girls, listen,” she said. “You are very young…”

Layo cut in. “Mummy, you… you knew about this?”

Mrs. Layinka’s eyes were cold. “It doesn’t matter. Girls, forget this. Your father will be Governor.”

Layo stood up, walked to the door, opened it.

“Mummy, get out. We’re not doing this.”

Lola’s hands were shaking.



29 thoughts on “What Theophilus Did” by Gboyega Otolorin (@guywriterer)

  1. Enjoyed reading this Gbenga. Loved the build-up and description. The things politicians would do for power. God help us.

    1. My name is Gboyega, Yejide, GBOYEGA! I hate being called Gbenga, especially by Yoruba ppl!
      Thanks for the comments though! I really appreciate it. And yes o, God will help us in this Naija…. all these horrifying stories you hear, Horrible!

      1. My brother I am sorry o. Not the best kind of typo and on your first comment too. I truly meant no disrespect. Now the letters “G-B-O-Y-E-G-A” are permanently seared into my brain. Virtual handshake?

        1. Hey Yejide, no problem oh! We’re cool..lol

  2. Lord, I pray these things don’t REALLY happen.

    1. They do man, they do..
      Thanks for reading and commenting. Much love.

  3. Quite horrorful.I pray none should be pounded by our lunatics politicians.

    1. ‘Horrorful’ indeed! Laugh out loud! Amen to that prayer oh! God deliver all the innocents…

  4. Na wa o… All you people won’t let somebody win this contest… HABA! LOL… I really liked this. I love the end as well… The right amount of “incompleteness” that just leaves a reader wanting more… Well done.

    1. Funmi-F, don’t worry you can always come second! Happy you liked it. Thanks for commenting…

  5. Nice one. Don’t think all politicians are bad. Some actually have good intentions. Nice write.

    1. Thanks man… I don’t think all politicians are bad too… Just that in Nigeria, most are corrupt and a few are downright diabolical!

  6. Wow! What a well-written story! At first, I thought the story might allude to Theophilus Danjuma. Then I feared Lola was being sexually abused by her dad. Needless to say, superb suspense here! Superb diction too. Well done! *winks*

    1. ‘What a well-written story!’!!!!!!! Oga Koboko, e seun o! Love that compliment. Happy you picked up on a lot of what I tried to achieve… wasn’t trying to refer to Theophilus Danjuma though….just liked that name Theophilus…..abeg, no make them sue me!!!

  7. Waoh!! this is so lovely, liked the suspense. i really enjoyed reading .

    1. Thanx. Much Love!

  8. very well written… This one na one among the bests…

    1. Idoko man, thanks alot! Make sure you vote for this story o when we get to that stage! Abeg!!!

  9. I WAS ALSO THINKING IN LINE WITH THE KING, SEXUAL ABUSE I MEAN….BUT I WONDER @GBOYEGA, WHAT WAS THE FATHER POUNDING IN HIS OWN HOUSE AT NIGHT? COULD THEY NOT HAVE DONE IT AT THE SHRINE? POUNDING THE ROOM MUST HAVE WOKEN THE WHOLE HOUSE UP…

    ALL THE SAME, THE STORY, THE TELLING AND THE CHOICE OF DICTION WAS COOL…SO WAS THE SUSPENSE…WELL DONE

    1. Yeah, you have a point. This is actually a much shorter edited version of the story (cos of the 600 words limit). In the full version, the explanations for why he did it in the house is there… Might put it up later…
      Mr. Xikay, abeg vote for the story oh! when the time comes…

  10. You told this really well Gboyega. This is among my best entries.

    Well done!!!

    1. Mr. Lawal, thanks a lot for the comments men! among your best…. hmm my head will soon burst…again, thanks a LOT!
      Please vote for the story when voting starts! Thanks.

  11. I like this. I thought at first that it had to do with sexual molestation. However, the part where Lola was tellin gthe story felt a bit disjointed. One moment, she was talking to her Mum, trying to tell her something, the next, ‘Thud…’ I thought the whole thing was a dream, until I continued reading. I’m not saying that part isn’t good. However, the transition wasn’t really smooth and could do with a bit of work.
    Good job though. Very good…

    1. Thanks for the comments…don’t think that bit was disjointed though. it’s like stream of consciousness method… it’s up to the reader to figure out that she’s stopped talking and she’s telling the story..

  12. Nice piece of writing. I like the fact that you didnt tow the predictable path…A good piece, no doubt, a strong contender.

    1. Writing Engineer, thanks man! I’d like to believe that I’m a strong contender too but….hmmm…dis contest tight oh!! 18 stories.. and almost all are topnotch…kai, God have mercy!

  13. I had concluded Lola was being fiddled by dad…the alternative was just as dreadful. You totally nailed it…well done!

  14. Tight Suspense-filled story…The rubbish most politicians do to nail positions are just dreadful..Don’t know if it made its way to the Top in the vote chronicles, It sure made its way into a better place..The NS anthology..Congrats Gboyega..

    1. The great Sibbyl Whyte, thanks for liking the story. And yeah, I’m happy this got into the anthology. We thank God…

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