Read Part 1 Here
I was like the son Sidney’s dad never had. He took interest in me and gave me a new name: ‘My boy’, he calls me, with pride and approval. He took me around and showed me off; to his friends, business colleagues, politicians, virtually anyone that crossed path with us.
“Yes Alhaji, meet my boy, Jude, a vibrant young man with fire in his bones.” He often says, usually with a friendly pat on my back.
I wonder why he never introduces me as his future son in-law or daughter’s fiancé. Or maybe he just prefers ‘My boy.’ He was always trumping up excuses that will bring me around, sometimes for important errands but most times for frivolities. He taught me business, his business. As if he was grooming me for something great. He was into so many things: from oil business to having substantial shares in blue-chip companies ranging from: telecommunications, pharmaceuticals; media and of course politics. His hands were somehow into many things—almost everything.
He taught me the business of crude oil, the different classes of crude oil; why WTI, Brent Crude are used for market benchmarks. He gave me scoops on why Nigerian leaders and elites have been so adamant in the revitalization of our oil refineries. He said it was the same reason why Oil marketers prefer smuggling their barrels outside the boundaries of Nigeria.
Hounourable also taught me stocks. He gave me reasons why in Nigeria only government bonds are safe bonds. He introduced me to something he called the Black Pool. It sounded like an exclusive stock-exchange trade forum that is reserved only for selected high-brow individuals.
On this very day he invited me over- or should I say ordered me over, for his friend’s soiree somewhere in Banana Island. As expected, the occasion was graced by big-wigs: politicians, captains of industries; foreign dignitaries and top-rated entertainers. He carried me around like a prized hand bag. His hands were nearly linking to mine as we walked. He was on short knickers; a brown-coloured short knickers with an indigo-coloured blue shirt. His sunglass was adjusted to the brim of his nose. I always feared it my fall out anytime he bent down. His sandal was flat and brown-leathered.
Honourable persona is quite different from that of his rich friends. He wasn’t loud. He was calm and mild-mannered; Soft spoken and forward thinking. He has a way around people. He has this cool way of transmogrifying complex issues into norms. His English was quick and clean. The clarity of his vocals was refreshing. They sound melodic. I can listen to him all day without getting bored. Did I mention the simplicity of his diction? His words are simple but very deep, highly articulate.
The party was on a rooftop. We were at its gentrified corner, a special reserve for VIPs. A live band was tuning out beautiful songs to our pleasures. Most of their songs were dedicated to the big-wigs in the party. Their names were coined to the lyrics of the songs. Money was being spread on the band every now and then. Shortly after our arrival, a group of young voluptuous girls were being led in by one macho-looking young man with scary bears across his cheek. The girls were university girls as I later learnt. The scary young man was their pimp, the ‘go-to guy’ if one was ever in need of a girl. They called him ‘Sparrow’. I did my very best to keep my eyes away from the girls. I feared Honourable was testing me.
However, in reflex, my eyes on their own volition, kept wandering to the girls’ direction. I was uncomfortable and unease. Of course Honourable wouldn’t be happy to see his future son-in-law flirting bimbos.
Sidney’s dad commands so much respect for someone of his size and stature. He was stout and brief, slightly gaunt with a tiny waist. His head was bigger than his body. But it’s understandable considering the fact that he knows too much. Big head big brain they say. My mind was saturated. I threaded carefully. I felt honourable, as he was fondly called, was putting me on a test; to confirm if I’m actually the right man for his daughter. He said he saw himself in me, that I remind him so much of his humble days. The days when he toil the grounds to make ends meet. The days when he used to trek from Ikeja to Ijesha just to locate and discover land properties for his clients. He was in estate management.
With Honourable every little occurrence was a prompter for another didactic lecture.
“Look. The level you are now on is the most important stage for any young man. This is your make and mar stage, the stage when your life is defined. From what I can see, I think you are on the right path. All you need now is patience and someone whom has been down the road before to show you the way.” He was referring to himself, obviously.
They laughed at every little comment they made. Even those that is extremely inconsequential. Their smiles seemed fake and rehearsed. Their union wasn’t genuine. Most of them were there either to smooth there ways into one deal or to show their faces in other to further consolidate on the ones they already have.
“Do you know that sharks never sleep nor blink?” Honourable husked into my ears, slightly bending closer to me with a mischievous grin on his face.
“Funny enough, I’m aware sir.” I replied sounding as formal as possible.
“Very well, it then means you are aware that whoever that it’s in a shark inhabited sea dare not blink nor sleep.” He said and chuckled gutturally.
“Do not be deceived by all these whitened teeth around, they will bite you at first chance.” He added before reclining back into his seat.
There is this dent of pride that shows on his face anytime he quipped something to me. I was like a blank sheet where he writes his history on. He was giving me keys. That’s what he calls it.
Sidney’s dad admires me but I adore him more. He was also like a father that I never had. My dad died when I was nine. I still see his face in my head sometimes. My mom did all she could to fill the void, but some things can’t ever be distorted. She was a woman not a man. She doesn’t know the feeling of waking up in the morning and to your astonishment, felt sperms gummed in-between your thighs. She is not aware that the sun isn’t the only thing that comes up early in the morning and that you don’t wake up a young boy in the morning and expects him to jerk up and rush to your beckon. If truth must be told, I have always needed a father-figure in my life.
It wasn’t long as our discussions, expectedly, veered into politics. Most of their opinions sounded frivolous, a frivolity that suggest something like “anything they like let them do; we will still be on top.” They talked about their preferred candidates and why their friends should support them. I discovered something in their discussions; that there are two classes of people in Nigeria: the rich and the poor. Not Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba. Not Christians and Muslims. Not party A and party B, just the rich and the poor. Nothing appeared serious to them. They were men of authority. They were men of power. Money was their bitch. And oh! That their laugh. That hypocritical laugh. Stop it please! I cried inwardly.
Sidney’s dad despised weakness to the hilt. It reflected in all his actions. He said that I’m strong but haven’t discovered it yet. There was a day I came by to their house to accompany them to a business luncheon. I sat at the sitting room wringing my fingers while waiting for them to come down. honourable was the first to come down.
“My boy you are already here.” He retorted with ebullience. “You know punctuality is one of the cardinal principles of successful men. He added, collapsing into one of his arm-chairs in the room.
The ladies took a while before coming down, especially Sidney. She was beckoned more than thrice before she finally came down-still fiddling with her earrings– unfinished.
“Bae I think the skirt is too short.” I blurted. She paused and stared at me. She was stunned. That was the first. Her eyes remained on me as if she was trying to confirm if I actually said what she thought I said. I was shocked at myself too—the temerity of the rebuke. Honourable and those at the scene were astonished as well. The room was slightly charged up.
They waited for our reactions with bathed-breath.
“Go back up and change into something more decent.” I quickly added, still maintaining the heavy pitch of my inflections.
“Okay I will be back in a jiffy” Sidney said, as she stiffly climbed up again.
“And don’t waste anymore of our time!” I threw to her back. That one was unnecessary. She stopped and gave me a second look, squint her eyes, and continued.
“My boy, walk me to the car,” said Honourable with a wave of his left hand. That was a bold gesture you just displayed there—I like that.” My soul was largely edified by that remark. To me, honourable’s approval is next to God.
“You know, it still appalls me why these women will thoroughly lock their doors to dress up only to still come out naked,” he said in a fleeting tone.
“And whether they admit it or not, women admire men that go hard on them. Like the stunt you just pulled.” He continued.
I wanted to tell him that it wasn’t a premeditated act but I stopped my lips half-way. Honourable’s vote of confidence was too sweet to my ears. Meanwhile I think that was the day he officially inducted and accepted me into his family.
“You know if Obama had done little of the things this trump man is doing he would have long been impeached.” One of the men in the table pointed out.
“That’s the gospel truth.” “Indeed it is.” Others supported.
“The gross look-over of Donald trump’s administrative impunity is a pointer that racism is still very much alive in America,” said honourable.
“They are just trying to conceal It.” another man in the table noted. “Sometimes I wonder if the man actually knows that he is a president of a country; let alone a country like America. Just too insensitive!!!” the man added.
There was a brief silence before I cut in:
“Gentlemen if I must add. I don’t think we are being entirely honest with ourselves on our assessments against Mr. Trump.”
Honourable readjusted in his seat and glued his gaze at me. I was on the spotlight and I had to shine.
“I think people have not been able to develop the capacity that will enable them to dispassionately criticize him.” I continued.
“There is a reason why Trump has not been impeached considering the magnitude of his so-called countless executive misfiring that his administration has been foreboded with. Trump is speaking the mind of white Americans. He is saying what most of them want but don’t have the courage to say. Trump is saying the mind of majority of Americans including the democrats even though they will never admit so. They can’t impeach him. They are glad that someone is doing their dirty jobs for them. Secondly, in respect to his stand on immigration, I think he is doing the right thing. People must learn to stay and fight for whatever misnomer that plagued their lands. A man whose house is on fire does not just pack up and cleave with his neighbours, he stays back to fight the fire and afterwards move back his belongings. Is a shame how people easily pick up their bags to sojourn in another man’s territory all in the name of greener pastures. When the Americans had their challenges, like the great depression, you didn’t see them scampering around neighbouring countries in search of crumbs. They stayed and fought their way. We must learn to stay and fight.” I stopped, abruptly.
There gazes were still on me like they were still expecting more.
“Honourable this your boy truly has fire in his bones o” remarked one of the men.
“He sure does” Recanted Honourable.
“Wow that’s good” Said another at the table.
“But why is he not drinking?” said another at the table; with his eyes popped out in surprise.
“Ah, I don’t drink…” I retorted.
“Whaaaaaaaaaat!” yelled one of them.
“Honourable you mean he has not been baptized before bringing him to our table?” said another gentleman.
“Gentlemen I’m as surprised as you all are,” replied honourable with a smirk on his face.
“I knew he was clean but not this squeaky clean. My boy don’t you know that drinks are sacred chords that connects men? Hearts are shared when bottles are shared, or don’t you know that?” Asked honourable, with what seemed like a disappointed tone.
“Enough of the talks and open one for him let’s get him baptized,” said another on the table.
“Beer or liquor? He asked.
I slowly tilted my head around like a boy who is shy of a taking a candy dangled at him.
“Beer.” I said.
“Beer it is” honourable seconded.
They opened one for me, with an exaggerated eagerness. They waited in silence as I took the mug to my lips. As soon as I gulped the beer, they roared “Yesssssss!” a roar that suggested a completion of an initiation.
“Bring the girls! Bring the girls! Sparrow!” Honourable ordered, waving to the burley looking pimp.
My jaw dropped instantly as I spasmodically spat out the beer in my mouth. I didn’t see that one coming. Not in my craziest of imaginations.
The girls came and shared themselves amongst the men. Two were reserved for honourable; Chelsea and Brandy. They sat on his laps. Brandy caught my fancy. Honourable noticed. She was skinny but busty. Her lips were naturally pouty. She wore a sleeveless gold-minted see-through short gown that revealed her chocolate silky and succulent skin. Her face was glowing. One can see his reflection on her skin in direct gaze of the sun. And she carries herself well. She was a polished whore. Her black high-hills perfectly complemented her smooth and spotless rangy legs. I think she dug my vibe as well. Judging by the way she stared at me. But then again, girls like her are masters of the art of seduction. I’m sure that’s how she stares at her other clients.
Honourable sensed my sudden stiffness and tapped me on my left bicep for attention:
“Look, my boy, you don’t stay faithful to women, you stay loyal to them.” he said, sounding very chilly. Go ahead and have fun” He nudged.
“Brandy is a sweet girl; just like her name. She is one of my favourites but I’m willing to skip her for you.”
“Well, sir, thanks for the offer but I must decline. If you wouldn’t mind.” I pleaded.
“No it’s okay. I understand. But don’t forget what I told you that you stay loyal to women not faithful.” Honourable said.
Brandy gawped at me after the refusal and shook her head in indifference.
“Too bad—I would have made it a memorable night for you.” she said.