MOTEL BLUES (part One)
“I go marry next year”, Bella said in her fabulous pidgin as she busied by the dressing mirror.
I froze as her words hit me. She instinctively turned my way and continued.
“I don dey old for hia. I no for tell anoda babe, buh you be my padi. I trust u finis”.
Her face was angelic. Strands of the Brazilian weave she fixed over her husk-like hair curled around her ear lobes. The undergrowth was showing- stiff and wispy, at the ridge of her forehead. We gazed at each other for a long while.
“Who go marry you?”, I asked, patronizing her.
“Normal things- person go show. But if nobody wan serious, I go kokoma find my way. I still get dey glitz- you know… Oga Chris dey even talk am”, she concluded, turning her face back to the mirror. She was beginning to apply mascara. Something to hide the age-lines that etched across her beautiful face.
I felt pity for her at first.
I’ve known Bella for years, even before she lured me into this unholy trade. As I peeped over her shoulder, I realized she was actually looking older- her image on the mirror was proof. There was a jowl forming beneath her jaw-line. Her buttocks were flatter than I had known them to be few years ago- I knew because I occasionally smooched her behind, the way call-girls do each other. Years of beings constantly ravaged by drunks and randy men had done them in. The skin between her belly and waist-line was dotted with blue hued webbed veins. Stretch-marks littered the sides of her belly, underneath her armpits and atop her sagging breasts. Her shoulders sloped a bit too steep. She looked tired. If she were to retire now, she could save some crumbs for whichever man she would lure into marrying her. But that was bullshit.
Bella had no right to shit-talk in my presence. Call-girls shouldn’t be saying dumb things- like talking marriage. I wouldn’t mind if it were Cindy or some of the other girls that said such. Anyone but her. She had no right to indulge in stupid fantasies. Bella was our “Madam”. It was Bella who introduced me to this body hawking. She, who used to preach that there is dignity in this labour. Dignity and ecstasy too. How could she turn around now?
Then suddenly, an idea materialized. I could see things in a different light. Here was a chance to deny her of the usual service- charge. I had to grab the opportunity.
I stood from the bed and walked up to her by the table. I brushed a weave off her bare shoulders, kissed and fondled her from behind. She giggled a bit as I dropped the room keys on the dressing table and made towards the door.
She stood up after me inquiringly. I knew she expected her percentage from the money I had in the clutch under my arm. Bella was entitled to a tenth part of our earnings. She paid for the room we used- I and the other girls; she arranged most clients for us, even Oga Chris. She was our procurer, and we were mere hustlers on her turf.
I smiled at her as she looked on, cleared my throat and put on my “Queens English with the hyper-inflated accent”.
“Bella, you should lead by example; instead, you talk a lot of shit. I am not paying your cut this time, or ever again. Don’t make a fuss or the other girls will hear about this awesome conversation we just had”, I paused waiting for her anger to build up. She didn’t loose her composure. If she was angry, she didn’t show it. I didn’t mind, anyways. Like me, she was a prostitute, and years of practice should have made her to be proficient in hiding emotions.
I walked majestically towards the door, yanked on the knob, turned and added.
“Prostitutes shouldn’t talk marriage. I’ll be the next Madam after you’ve gone to find a hubby next year.”
She hissed momentarily as I strode out to join the other girls at the bar.
I had four thousand naira in my clutch and I wasn’t paying Bella a dime. After all, it was my body that Oga Chris defiled, not hers.
©Poet Razon-Anny Justin
[Watch out for next Episode]