The money, the cars and the girls had been the fast life for Clinton Okoye for as long as he could remember. So, his deprivation yesterday night till early this morning was a bitter pill to swallow. He had no access to his money, his car had been confiscated and his girl had left him to go to another club. A terrible nightmare, as far as he was concerned. But not as scary as the one he’d actually had. He had dreamt that the sneaky club manager had somehow found a way to take his house too and that he’d not had enough money for the Uber he took to get home. Now that, was bad.
He woke up slowly, taking in his surroundings. He was in his room. The familiarity of his environment brought comfort to him. It was a relief that the manager hadn’t collected his house, which was a ground floor apartment in reality. He had a serious case of acrophobia, fear of heights which was nothing compared to his aerophobia, the fear of flying. The walls were sky blue with wild designs of red. It was his pride, he had done it himself. He lay on the King sized bed in the middle of the room, opposite of which was the 64’ inch plasma screen installed on the wall. Other walls had framed artworks of different genres hung on them. Sound systems were by each side of the television cabinet which contained the latest game consoles. Clinton didn’t feel like playing any games right now or being entertained in any way. The sun streaked in through one of the giant windows on the eastern part of the room. He shielded his eyes and moved to a part of the bed the sun didn’t reach. Regardless of the chilled temperature, he had slept shirtless. He rested his bare back on the headboard and began to plan his day like he always did. Reaching his older sister was paramount. She would know just why his black card had been declined. He searched for his phone all around him. His all white attire of last night lay in a heap by the foot of the bed. Getting up from the bed, he scanned the room trying to figure out where exactly he had left his phone. Checking his nightstand, he saw his diamond Rolex which he took to consult the time. It read two minutes after one. That didn’t seem right, but then he saw the empty bottle of sparkling wine and all was explained. Proceeding to check in-between the white linen sheets, he found two of the four chains he had been wearing at the club. The rest? Only God knew where they were. Going down on his knees, he searched under his bed for the phone. He saw his various shoe boxes arranged neatly and some sneakers, but no phone. Standing up, he pondered deeply, tying to retrace his steps. The heap of clothes came into sight so he moved towards them. He checked the leather jacket’s pockets and found one more chain. Not what he was looking for so he put it aside. The white pair of jeans were next. By just feeling the pockets, he knew the phone was inside so he reached in and brought it out. The app had notified him, 35 new Instagram followers and 81 un-followers, 27 Snapchat posts, he never bothered with twitter. Why had he been searching for the damned thing? He couldn’t remember, so he checked his Snapchat. He searched till he came across posts from ‘@Slaynthia’, Cynthia’s handle. He didn’t fail to notice she had removed the ‘C square’ smiley suffix which had signified their relationship. The first post was of her and her friends having dancing in a club. His lips broke into a smile. He continued watching the snaps. After a while, he saw himself, partying with them. The outing did start well, he thought to himself, his smile widening. And then he stopped smiling. In the current post he was viewing, she was still in a club but it was a different club. He recognized the VIP section at Club Lavish. She was still partying very happily. The next post, he saw her friends holding drinks and dancing with her. The next post, she was dancing with Stifler. At this point, he couldn’t take it any longer. He rushed to the toilet and stooped over it while he emptied the contents of his belly, rather violently. That sparkling wine did pack a mean after-punch. When he was done, he turned over to the mirror above the sink and looked at his reflection. His beards looked quite tangled and his hair looked even worse. His usual morning-after look. This was when the escapades of the previous night usually came to him. This time was no different.
After his crew had left for Club Lavish, he had grabbed the unopened wine and made his way out of Club Blaze in annoyance. He had opened the bottle and started drinking to drown his sorrows while he ordered an Uber. While waiting, he watched as a valet re-parked the wrapped Range into an enclosed section of the parking lot.
He sighed now, still looking at his reflection. He had failed Cynthia on her birthday. He had to get those cars back. This was when he remembered why he had been looking for his phone earlier. He went back into his room and picked the phone from the floor. First, he sent a text to Cynthia, saying ‘I’m sorry for yesterday. I’ll get the car back, I promise’ then he searched his contact list for his sister’s name. He saw ‘Anita’, her name and then dialled. It rang twice before the automated operator told him the line was busy. She had obviously ended the call. He flung the phone on the bed. She always did this to make sure he came to see her personally. Going to his sister’s house was an extremely bleak thought for Clinton. He held his now pounding head in his hands while leaning against the bed post. “No use crying over spilt milk” he said aloud and then summoning his strength, he stood up to get prepared for his already miserable-looking day.
It was really bright outside, Clinton was thinking as the Uber he was in slowed down to a halt in front of a big gate. His sister’s gate stood tall, elaborating a theory she had lived by all her life. “Go big, or don’t go” Clinton said aloud, exiting the white Toyota that was his Uber. “Sir?” the driver, who the app had identified as Ahmed, said. “Not you” Clinton replied simply. The app informed him that his fare had totalled three thousand three hundred and seventy naira but he counted four thousand naira notes from the twenty that was in his wallet and handed it over to the driver through the window. “Keep the change” he said out of habit. This was what his life had come to, measly twenty thousand naira he had scavenged from the shoe box he had kept emergency money. Curse his cashless policy.
He waited for the 2014 Toyota model to speed around a curb and vanish out of sight before he moved towards the gate. Ringing the bell that was high on the wall on the right, he checked himself. He had gone with a blue face cap, blue hoodie, blue jeans and a dark aviator’s glasses. The face cap and the hoodie was to avoid detection by her nosy neighbours, while the aviator’s glasses was to defend his still bloodshot eyes from the sun. He checked his phone and saw the hour’s notifications but that wasn’t what he was looking for. Cynthia still hadn’t replied his text message. Maybe he should message her on the social media. No! He cautioned himself. He had a strict text message only policy on communication. The price to pay for being so introverted.
The gateman peeped through a slot in the gate. “Yes, who are you?” he asked in a dry tone. What was wrong with people these days, he thought and then removed the face cap. “Oga. No vex!” the gateman speedily opened the gate for Clinton who stepped in, muttering “Unbelievable” under his breath.
The house was further proof of his sister’s taste for large things, just like their father. A cream painted two storey house with a small attic on the top. Attached to the side, was a small garage big enough to fit two cars and yet, his sister’s green G-wagon was parked right in front of it. The driveway leading to the house was surrounded with a freshly mowed lawn. Flowers of different shades stood tall all around. Clinton walked climbed the few stairs leading to the door and rung another bell. A woman in a maid’s gown, probably in her late 30s, opened the door. He remembered her from the last time he was here about three months ago but didn’t remember her name. She stared at him blankly. “Oh for heaven’s sake!” he bit out and took off the face cap and the shades. “Mr Clinton sir” she recognized him immediately “Please come in” she said, stepping aside.
The interior of the house was magnificent. Decorations ranging from antique vases to crafted objects were neatly placed all around. The love for art, at least was one thing he and his sister shared. He walked through the anteroom past a staircase into the parlour. A grand room with big draped windows everywhere. The Persian rug looked and felt like real animal skin. A similar 64’ inch television hung above a fireplace. His sister could really over do things. Why she had a fireplace in one of the hottest places in the world, he couldn’t say. The couches were green Corinthian leather and promised to be as comfortable as they looked. He collapsed into the longest one which was directly opposite the television and grabbed the two remotes that lay on the armrest. “I’ll go and get madam for you sir” the maid said curtsying and making for a staircase in the anteroom. He grunted in response and switched on the television using the remote. It was on CNN. His sister’s husband, Charlie, must have been the last to make use of the television. It was like he was addicted to the channel. He watched nothing else. He was an investment banker that always seemed to be busy all the time. Which made sense because he didn’t see how anyone could stand his sister, much less marry her.
The reporter on the news channel was making an announcement concerning recent bombings that had just happened in Syria. So much death for one channel, he thought then made use the decoder remote. He surfed through channels till he arrived at MTV base. A new music video by Xodus was airing. It took his mind back to last year when he had partied hard with the musician and they had ended up buying all the drinks in a lounge in the south of Abuja. Good times.
Two more music videos had been played when the channel suddenly switched to E-entertainment. “Yo!” Clinton exclaimed, his hands in the air. His sister, Anita, stood behind the couch he was seated, the television remote in her hand. Despite it being late in the afternoon, she was clad in a green bathrobe and had her hair tied with a matching green towel. Although she was three years older than Clinton she looked three years younger. “Clinton” she said, acknowledging his presence as she moved gracefully to sit on a couch furthest away from Clinton. “Sister Anita” he said back at her but she had turned her attention to the new channel viewing on the plasma screen. “Clinton, why are you in my house?” she asked, her gaze still locked on the television. “Because you are ignoring my calls” he said, getting uncomfortable. He knew how his sister could be. “And why were you calling me?” she asked, lackadaisically. Oh no, he wasn’t going to indulge her. She had been doing this ever since they were children, trying to make him look stupid. His dropping out of the same business school she had finished, had only made her intensify her efforts. He might be stupid, but he was smart enough not to play her age long game.
And so he kept mute. Her Samsung s6 edge rang out loud from a pocket in her bathrobe. She picked and spoke swiftly and then ended the call, her mind back on the television before them. An interview of Emma Watson, on her new movie, was going on and both siblings watched, one enthusiastically and the other, uninterested. A few minutes passed with only the television making the only sound in the big living room and then Anita shouted “Helen!” “Ma!” came the reply and the maid appeared in the living room. “Take the boys to the dining room, I’ll feed them there” she said, eyes still on the big screen. “Okay ma” the maid said and disappeared just as suddenly as she had appeared. Anita watched until the interview was over and then got up. “Clinton, why are you in my house?” she asked again as she walked towards the dining room. “Because” Clinton said, getting up and following her into the dining room “My black card got blocked”. There was a dining centre piece in the middle of the room. On it were two baby bottles filled with milk and a large bowl filled to the brim with fruits. Beside the finely crafted wooden table and chairs was a twin trolley. She reached into it lifting a baby, dressed in flowery baby overalls, up into her hands “Did you say something?” He flared up “Because my black card got blocked!” Using one hand to hold the baby suckling on a feeder, she held one finger to him “Don’t raise your voice at me”. He had fallen into her trap, she had made him look stupid yet again. Maybe he was, after all. “I’m sorry” Clinton said in a barely audible voice. “Pardon?” “I said I’m sorry!” he said in a slightly louder voice. She smirked, the smirk of victory he knew all too well. She dropped the baby and picked his twin who was dressed identically and suckling on a feeder. Clinton watched in silence as she sat down on one of the dining chairs and began feeding the baby with a bottle of milk. His patience was wearing thin as expertly consulted his now golden wristwatch for the time, careful not to let her see. Almost four in the evening. He groaned inwardly. “The reason your card is blocked is simple” she began, still concentrating on her child “I had your manager block it” “You what?!” Clinton exclaimed. She looked swiftly at him with venom in her eyes. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry” he said cautioning himself. She turned slowly as if unconvinced of his apology. “You took out nearly fifteen million naira recently. Might I ask what it was used for?” she asked, her attention back to the baby in her arms. “Well” Clinton began racking for the perfect lie to explain his massive withdrawal. He couldn’t very well tell her that he had used most of it to purchase a car for girlfriend. “I saw a good investment opportunity and I decided to…” “It doesn’t matter, really” she said, cutting his explanation short. “Father and Mother want to see you” she said dropping the baby back in the trolley. Clinton swallowed hard, “What?” He hadn’t seen his parents since he told them he was dropping out of business school three years earlier. They had had a massive fall out after his earth shattering announcement. He’d rather not think of it. “Helen!” Anita called out, as if oblivious to the reaction her statement had caused. “Ma?” the maid appeared almost immediately as if on cue. “Finish feeding the boys. Then bring them to the living room” she said, making her way out of the dining room. “Okay ma” the maid said even though Anita was out of voice reach. His sister had just told him Chief Barrister Cletus Okoye and Doctor Mrs Abigail Okoye, their parents wanted to see him. It didn’t sound good, it didn’t sound good at all. He walked as if in a daze out of the dining room. He didn’t know what was going on, but he knew one thing he wasn’t going. He wasn’t travelling to Lagos just to be insulted again. He was going to stay put in Abuja where it was safer. As he reached the anteroom, Anita came down the staircase holding an envelope. “I took the liberty of getting you a ticket and a little cash seeing you are card-less” she said, smiling fully for the first time since seeing him. She was obviously enjoying this. He collected the envelope silently not because of the ticket, but for the money. There was a dire need for it right now. He opened the door, eager to be out as soon as possible. Just before he exited the house, he heard “Oh and Clinton?” he turned to look at his older sister “Pack something old, something new and something borrowed and something blue” she said and began to cackle like an evil witch in a Disney cartoon.
Hope you enjoyed this chapter as much as the last? **Fingers crossed**
Comments and opinions are welcome.
The next chapter comes out Saturday. Anticipate.