“Falling in love is great. Being in love is a disaster”
― Fools Die, Mario Gianluigi Puzo (October 15, 1920 – July 2, 1999)
I was writing my term paper for the MBA 827 class on the office computer. Mergers and Acquisitions. I was still trying to figure out if the Standard Trust Bank and UBA deal was a merger or an acquisition when I heard Iceprince Zamani ; “Gimme the kush , gimme the badman…….” My ringtone. I picked it up, caller ID restricted, oh well, depressed a key and brought it to my temple.
“Where you at, fool?” It was Osu. It had taken me a while to get used to his Atlanta-speak. Why those fools called themselves ‘fools’ was anybody’s guess. I had given up fighting with him about it.
“No be everybody Adenuga dey overpay, wawa. I dey office na, its Friday afternoon in case you didn’t notice.” I had resolved to calling him ‘fool’ too in Hausa, not that he noticed.
“Probably watching porn on your laptop.”
“You have a reason for this call? And why’s your number restricted?” I asked patiently without rancor, most of my attention on the machinations of Tony Elemelu. Osu was my best friend, partner in crime and general gadfly. The ten or so years he spent in the US after our secondary school, had not smoothed out his Warri rough edges.
“Ah forget, I been call one ashi like that. I no wan make she get this number. Who you dey carry come the parry?”
My brow furrowed. I had all but forgotten. Yinka’s housewarming. “Not sure, I can call up Halima.”
“Abegi, call better person. You go come dey vex say them no gree give you do for morning. How about Genevieve, that girl fine die. If not to say you don chyke am, I for do something. But I still dey wait make she dump ya sorry broke ass.”
I smiled. “You go wait tire. Yeah Genevieve it is, Halima get red flag sef. OK, what time is the do?”
“So you dey even know when she dey on sef. You’re sick! Do I look sound like your PA? Call Yinka abeg, then swing by and pick me up.”
“Where will you be fool?” I could almost hear him smiling.
“I’m meeting Baby at 6 at Lizzies. Give me till 8 ish to dismiss her then come by. And can you do me a favor and pick Dorothy on your way in.”
“Who be Dorothy again?”
“The ashi wey I call, that one wey dey live near ya house.”
“OK o.” I cut the call, shut down the computer and pulled up Genevieve’s contact on my Q10’s BBM. Three seconds after I pinged her, she replied. “Hi baby.”
“How was your day?”
“Dry. Missing you.” then there was a string of yellow emoticons. I winced.
“Are you still up for tonight?”
“What’s happening tonight ?”
I forgot I hadn’t told her. Heck, I hadn’t remembered myself. I shook my head and wondered what were the signs a man gave a woman to let slip she was a side chick?
“I told you na, G. Housewarming at Yinka’s new place. Then YOU are dinner.”
“OK boo, I’d like that.” she messaged back acquiescingly. “What time?”
“I will pick you up about 9 ish. Wear that sexy little black dress.”
She LOLed and I pocketed my phone.
Unconsciously I began to hum “Its about to go down”
Yinka Badmus was one of those guys you just knew were most likely to succeed back in school. By a combination of charm, street smart, brains and pure luck, the guy bought into a nascent communications deal that came good. The long and short of it was that he just built an insanely expensive duplex somewhere in Lekki and as usual he was rounding up the usual suspects. Anything for a party. So I picked Genevieve up at about 9 swung by to pick Dorothy and got into Lizzies at about 10. Osu’s Kia Cerato was at the drive in parked next to a blue Toyota Landcruiser I recognized. Seyi Martins, Osu’s immediate boss at the telecommunications company. I frowned. I didn’t particularly like the short round guy, disasters seemed to follow him around like a shadow and I had lost count of the times we had to extricate him from one problem or the other. Sure enough when we got into the lounge, he was there at the bar drinking from a bottle of Black Label. He motioned us over with exaggerated flourishes of his hands. It was evident he wasn’t quite sober.
“Omo aboki, social mallam, come over here ” he bellowed in his loud voice attracting the disapproving glances of some patrons. But he didn’t notice. We navigated our way through the population and came to rest around him and Osu, who was grinning like a fish. I noticed Seyi never for one minute take his eyes off both Dorothy and Genevieve. I didn’t blame him though I was slightly irritated. The girls were dressed to kill, Genevieve’s figure fleshed out in the right places in the little black dress, Dorothy in a silky figure hugging mini.
“What will you have?” he addressed Genevieve directly fawning over her. I turned my attention to Osu, a quiz written on my face. The fool just shrugged his shoulders and pulled Dorothy closer, soon submerging his lips in her mouth, leaving me to deal with his boss. The guy was a serial philanderer who surprisingly was married to the most uncouth Ibadan woman in the world. She had lived up North when she was younger Minna or Bida, I couldn’t remember which and she insisted on practicing her rusty Hausa on me. I had had the misfortune of attending some celebration over at their place and it still left a distaste in my mind.
He and Genevieve were making small talk as he ordered her soda to mix some of the Black Label he was drinking. I frowned again and brought out my phone, making a few totally unnecessary calls that were almost drowned out by the loud music of the lounge. The last call was to Yinka.
“Yes Yinka, we should be at your house before midnight traffic permitting.” I concluded the last call and made a fuss of sipping from Genevieve’s cup.
“Wetin Yinka dey do?” Seyi asked of no one in particular. Osu had to answer him.
“Housewarming oga mi.”
“Ha, that Ekiti boy don hammer. Make I follow una go flex abeg.” I looked at Osu but of course the fool didn’t say nothing. Then Seyi did the oddest thing. He fumbled in his pockets, brought out a late model Samsung smartphone and punched in some numbers. After a quiet subdued conversation with the person at the other end of the call, he suddenly brightened up
“……Iya, you know that stupid boy Yinka wey don thief all of him oga money, he is forcing me to attend his housewarming. I will just pop in and dash out. Yes my dear….no my dear…yes my dear….no my dear…It’s me and that omo Hausa wey dey work for Zenith, ehn, yes, Hassan and my boy Osu, okurinmeta, yes o….okay dear.”
I shook my head in disbelief.
Of course I was already in a foul mood when we headed out towards Yinka’s at about 11pm. Trust Lagos. Traffic was as bustling as if it was midday. So we didn’t get to Yinkas till way after midnight, Seyi trailing my car and Osu’s in a haphazard convoy. The party was already in full swing. Immediately we stepped out of the slightly soundproofed air conditioning, we could feel the house vibrating with music. Genevieve began to bob her head unconsciously. There were several Range Rovers, a couple of G-wagons and a smattering of Porsches among the cars in the parking lot. Lagos at its best
“See money” Seyi said worshipfully. Well, the house reeked of money, I glanced back long enough to deduce that Osu had disengaged his mouth from Dorothy’s at the front of his car and was going for the lower hemispheres that his hands were already fumbling with.
“Are we going in or not?” I snapped.
We did. The main party was by the pool , which had been thoughtfully emptied. But we opted for the cosier one in the expansive marbled-floored living room. All over the place, guests, young men in ridiculously expensive shirts, an overabundance of young ladies in minis and impossibly high heels and a smattering of elder pot-bellied men in traditional dress were dancing or nodding their heads to the loud music. Almost everyone had a plastic cup filled with liquid. And some adventurous ones had bottles. The air stank of cigarette and skunk smoke mixed with a billion different designer perfumes and sweaty bodies. This was Lagos. A huge side table groaned under the weight of a variety of finger foods. Hostesses moved smoothly in and out of the crowd dispensing champagne in flute glasses and were those condoms? Only in Lagos. Trust Yinka. And where was the host? As if on cue we heard a bellow coming from the top of the stairs.
“Abokiski, Osu baba. ” Yinka. Clad in a simple but obviously expensive white kaftan and matching white slippers, he clutched a bottle of Blue Label in one hand and an exquisite exotic looking beauty with the other hand and precariously descended the steps. He moved through the crowd playing the genial host until he managed to arrive at our side. We hugged and shook hands with plenty of back slapping. He had put on some weight but was still basically the wiry feline faced boy we knew from back in our days in FGC Kano.
“Abeg this is your house, feel free, eat drink and chase the girls ” he winked at us ignoring Dorothy and Genevieve. He had always been a chauvinist.
“Bros you no easy o, eku nowo.” Seyi said smacking his lips and surveying the target rich environment. Yinka laughed. “Oga Seyi, remember say you get wife for house o” he guffawed and was soon lost in the middling crowd. Smoothly almost telepathically, Seyi latched onto a bottle of Moet and a girl and before we knew it, was dancing with a pack of three wild looking girls. Osu and I and the girls found a relatively quiet corner, some refreshment and dug into the party.
Finally at 5am we sauntered out heading for our cars. The parking lot was empty except for my car, Osu’s and the blue Toyota Landcruiser. The guests spending the night had re parked their cars in the inner lot. Seyi wasn’t happy the party was over, but he had no choice and with the Black Label he liberated was soon negotiating the way to his car. I noticed he was a bit unsteady on his feet so I offered.
“You ok? We can drop you off at home then you come back for your car in later in the day.”
“I be small boy Aboki?” he asked indignantly but his speech was slurred. I shrugged my shoulders, jumped into my passenger seat at about the same time. Genevieve insisted on driving. Dorothy too was doing the driving and we pulled out about the same time. As we headed out, I saw Seyi’s white reverse lights come on, then turned my attention to Genevieve and the anticipated conclusion of the day. We drove past an awakening Lekki, over the Third Mainland bridge and were soon home in my comfortable bachelor pad in Surulere. Genevieve popped into the shower while I lay down on the bed waiting. My phone rang. It was a strange number. Who could that be at this ungodly hour. I picked the call.
“Where is my husband Oga Hassan?”
The alcohol had clogged my mind.
“Who’s this?” I barked into the phone. Genevieve had just exited the bathroom with only a towel scantily covering her shape. I felt myself stiffen. But she was looking at me with a strange look on her face.
“My name is Mrs Foluke Martins and I have been calling my husband since 3am. He told me he was going out with you and Osu last night.”
My heart skipped a beat. How did she even get my number?
“Yes Madam we were at Yinka’s till about two hours ago. He was pulling out when we left. He should be home any moment.”
She ended the call rudely without another word. I dropped the phone and giving Genevieve a quick kiss, I headed for the bathroom. It was a bit strange though. Seyi lived not too far from me, he should have been home by now. I took a long crap, pushed him from my mind and hit the hot water shower. I luxuriated in the refreshing heat for how long I never figured. The knock on the bathroom door, it was Genevieve.
“It’s your phone, it’s been ringing ….”
I tied a towel round my waist and came out. It was another strange number.
“Mr Hassan Habai?”
“This is the DPO Surulere. There is a woman here complaining about you.”
“What the bloody hell?”
“I suggest you come down to the station”
I put a call to Osu and he answered groggily after like 20 rings. In between I called Yinka like 100 times. The fool didn’t pick.. Probably passed out. Seyi’s number was off. See me see wahala.
“Situation dey fool.” I shouted at Osu when he finally picked his call.
Twenty minutes later we walked into the police station. There Seyi’s wife, a rather large woman accompanied by several agitated people accosted and started screaming at us. The DPO looking rather fresh this early in the morning on a Saturday, by now it was almost 8 am, was an elderly man of some experience. He tried to calm her down while asking me and Osu the usual questions.
“We don’t know where her husband is sir, we drove out of Yinkas house together.” Osu said in his best American voice.
“And you said this Yinka fellow’s phone is dead also? Madam be patient. Has he got another wife? We will need to retrace his route back to this Yinkas house.”
All the while Seyi’s wife kept wailing and tying and retying her headdress across her ample waist. From what I gathered, she was accusing us of selling her husband for ritual purposes. If not in those exact words, she was inferring as much. I sighed, Seyi was a fool. God knows where he was now. He had been a bit drunk. Under a trailer? His car drove into the sea? The DPO decided that policemen should accompany us to Yinkas house, and that was how we drove into Yinkas compound. The slender mai-guard perplexed at the intrusion.
There in the drive was a lonely blue Toyota Landcruiser. The car was running, the windows were fogged up, the air conditioning must have been on all this while, but we could see Seyi at the wheel, mouth wide open in deep drunken sleep, his chair leaned back. The fool never left the house. In hindsight he wasn’t such a fool after all.