All posts filed under: fiction

Short Story Excerpt: Family Matters

When Renate checked, she saw that Preye had left a single message. Call Me. It was like her sister to be cryptic and annoying. Whatever it is, why didn’t she just text the entire message? Her hand hesitated over the green call button beside Preye’s name. What was the matter now? It was early evening still. As promised, Adeun had brought her to Freedom Park for the monthly Afropolitan Vibes. The band was still setting up and it wasn’t crowded, yet. Adeun had compared it to a concert gathering but it still seemed rather tame. They sat on a raised porch, facing an array of food bars and she’d ordered ofada rice; one of the few cravings she remembered from childhood. Adeun had tried to convince her the ofada wasn’t all that here. “I’ll take you somewhere else. They grind the pepper by hand.” “I’ll take what I get. When did you say they built this park?” “I guess 2010? I first came here in 2011 and…” He was interrupted by a squeal, “Deun!” He turned, …

The Oba's Word

Disclaimer: This post does not aim to preempt the gubernatorial election results in any state, in any way. Fiction. Strictly fiction, albeit inspired by real events.      The deed had been done. Despite all the Oba’s warnings, the Igbo (aided and abetted by other Yorubas the Urhobos, Ibibio, Bini, Esan, Kalabari, Hausas, Idoma etc.) had voted overwhelmingly against his candidate. The Oba was furious. “You must throw them in the lagoon, Kabiyesi. You promised. You are an Oba. You cannot go back on your word.” The Oba wrung his hands in vexation. “But the logistics of it, Asiwaju. Is the Lagoon big enough for over a million people? Is it deep enough? What if they can swim? How do I round them up?” The council fell silent for a bit. The Asiwaju glanced at the Balogun who studiously averted his gaze. He had counseled against this madness. Now look. “We could ask them to file out and make themselves available at the banks of the lagoon. They’re quite honest people. Just make an announcement …

Conversations With a Gold Digger

But I got bored with Excel sheets, and VLOOKUP and Pivot tables so I decided to doodle instead. And I wrote this. Hope it relieves the doldrums of your Monday like it did mine. Her: I have a date tomorrow. Him: Do you now? Her: Yup! Him: Is he tall, dark and handsome? Her: Yup! Him: Is he rich? Her: Stinking rich. Him: He’s going to use you and dump you. Her: How do you know that? Him: Because guys like him don’t date girls like you with your Erykah Badu hair and your weird political ideas. Her: I do not have weird political ideas. Him: You think Mandela was a communist! Her: But he was. Him: Tall, dark and handsome men don’t become rich holding opinions like that. You aren’t suited for each other. It’ll be all over in a week. Her: You’re just jealous. Him: Of course I am. How can you go on a date with a tall, dark, handsome and rich fella? What if he steals you away from me? Her: …

This Is How.

This is how to break up with the juvenile, codeine addict who fancies himself Goth because he paints his fingernails black and wears black eyeliner. This is how to pretend to be miserable, because you’re supposed to be miserable after a break-up. This is how to blog about it. This is how to live life; a series of Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday-Friday-Saturday-Sundays that never get old, never change. This is how to be a yuppie. This is how to dress like a yuppie, in chiffon blouses and pencil-skirts and kitty heels. This is how to spend like a yuppie; on expensive cab rides, handbags purchased from Dubai, ice cream at Coldstone and movies with friends. This is how to wrap your box braids in a bun. This is how to arch an eyebrow. This is how to smile at a man you like; coy and charming. This is how to smile at a man you don’t like; looking him straight in the eye. This is how to smile at a woman so she feels flattered. This is how …

Flight.

K: I’ll pick you from the airport. Me: No, thanks. 10 hours later, I wonder how I’ll find my way from the airport. What if “Something” happens? What if my flight gets delayed and I take a taxi to my destination late at night and I get robbed or Something because I’m this petite, light-skinned woman (read: easy mark)? It’s impossible that I could be strong, you see. No one thinks you can be, not when you’re fair and petite and female. I should have taken K’s offer. Why do women like to be chased? Airport. The boarding announcement comes on and we all shuffle to the tarmac. All of us will be dead in 100 years. And it should evoke some sort of camaraderie, shouldn’t it? But it doesn’t. We are ignoring one another. It’s strange, considering that we could be deathday mates. What if? What if our plane, this plane that Arik has christened “Michael” were to fall out of the sky? We would die together. Approach the pearly gates together. Our families …

How To Make The Perfect Jollof Rice

O.,   How do I make the perfect Jollof Rice?   R.     Dear R.,   Are you expecting a recipe? I have none. I do have a few tips I don’t mind sharing.   Cook for at least 4 people. Invite your friends/family. Or invite the strangers that you met at the bus-stop the last time it rained so heavy, you got to work at noon. Do you remember? You exchanged numbers with the guy and his sister and eventually hitched a ride with them when her fiance came to pick them. You’ve never gotten around to calling her. You should.   Blend a lot of onions into the tomatoes, don’t use tinned tomato puree. Add a quarter of a ginger root. Monitor the water, add it a little at a time.   Pretend you’re on a cooking show. Maybe Maggi Kitchen ( is that show still on air?) or Shokoyokoto. Say each step to yourself out loud. “Now, I’m adding a dash of Cameroon pepper.” It’s a lot of fun and no, …

Brother's Keeper

 If you asked me, it, the beginning of the end, started one Sunday evening, with a phone call from my brothers’ principal that said Datonye and Damiebi had been suspended for a month. They could have been twins, my older brothers. Odd, considering their different mothers. Datonye, my half-brother, was a year older than Damiebi and the result of a fling my father never spoke about, not even to my mother. If she resented this or him, she hid it well. Damiebi – her firstborn, her pride – was, after all, my father’s legitimate heir. If Datonye resented this, he hid it even better. They were close, for half brothers. Best friends, confidants, twins if you didn’t know better. And so perhaps, you understand why they did what they did. “What offence this time?” my father asked, his face a mask of irritation. Two boys had been sighted kissing in an empty classroom on Friday night. Both had escaped, one without his ‘D. Carpenter’ monogrammed sweater. On one hand, there was Datonye, with his tattoos and love for …

Some Stories Shouldn't Have Titles

There are many ways to destroy a life. Stop. It’s just life, you see. Just life. Everyday. Wake up, eat breakfast (rice), fight with little brother on the way to school, sit through boring classes, get caned by the soldiers ’cause we’re all such noise-makers, go for lunch break (meatpie and Coke), sit through more boring classes, submit assignments, go home, wash dishes, wash uniform, eat dinner (eba and okro), watch the news with Daddy, gossip with Mommy, sleep. It’s just life. Stop. Ordinary. Boring. Simple. Sitting in mass and wondering. Wanting more. More. More of something that doesn’t even exist. The sameness. God, the sameness. Homework. Books. Dirty socks. Missing earrings. Why is life nothing like American movies? It just happens. Someone’s birthday. Something different. Not so different, these parties are all the same. Too much rice, chicken fried too dry, Coke, Fanta and because someone is feeling cool, the occasional beer. The music will be too loud, and everyone will shout, “YAY!” every time the song changes. And sixteen is too young to …

Dear Random-Guy-Who-Asked-If-He-Could-Share-My-Mini-Umbrella-At-The-Busstop

Dear Random-Guy-Who-Asked-If-He-Could-Share-My-Mini-Umbrella-At-The-Busstop, I don’t judge you for not having your own umbrella. I don’t even hesitate when you ask if you can share mine, despite seeing how small it is, and how it really is only meant to shelter one small person from the rain. Me. I don’t complain that I have to raise it really high now, to accommodate your hulk, or that my genuine L. Credi bag is now getting wet. I don’t complain because I’m only doing the Christian thing by sharing. There is love in sharing etc. etc. etc. However, you stretch my charity  by presuming that because I’m sharing my umbrella, then I am open to conversation. Please understand. Do not feel obliged to fill the silence. It may not be companionable, but it is certainly not awkward. I was lost in my thoughts before you came along, I will continue to be lost in my thoughts. Your attempts at conversation are, at best, distractions. At worst, annoying. “It’s like you’re not in a good mood,” you say after giving …

A Really, Really, Really Brief Writing Workshop

In a few weeks’ time, two writing workshops will begin. The first is organized by the Farafina Trust and hosted by Chimamanda Adichie. The second is organized by Fidelity Bank and hosted by Helon Habila. Understandably, not a few wannabe authors are anxious about being selected. The hosts are big names in the industry and for many people, yours truly included, the opportunity to interact with them is one to die for. Almost. The truth is that not everyone will get in. Sucks big time. Word on the street is that Farafina Trust received about four hundred applications. Only twenty people will get picked. Daunting odds. My stomach goes all funny at the thought of it. And so, to take my mind off it, I am reviewing everything I’ve learned about creative writing. If I don’t get in for either of the workshops (sigh), I’ll re-read John Gardner’s Art of Fiction and hope I get in next year. 🙂 So here goes. My mini creative writing workshop.  I won’t say I’ve been faithful to them …

I Was Going To Write A Story (Really!)

So I plugged in  my trusty Azure (she’s a solid black HP, not blue like her name says), booted her up and opened a new page in MS Word. My story was quite a simple one. A love story. A heroine. A hero. Boy meets girl. Crisis. Attraction. Love. Marriage. The End. Your typical M&B. Only Nigerian. My heroine was called Edel. Short for Edelokun. Edelokun means The river can’t ever be greater than the sea. A typical Ishan name. Wantonly boastful. I liked the name Edel, still do. It sounds exotic, doesn’t it? I mean, a girl called Edel, what would she look like? You see? Edel, however, did not like her name. “It sounds French, Osemhen. I prefer Elokun. It’s a more appropriate name for a proud, black, African woman.” And just like that she went from being a slightly light-skinned, tall, slim, size 6 chick with a fantastic Brazilian weave to being the colour of burnt sugar, with a size 14 figure and a full head of beaded dreadlocks tied up in …

Ugliest Girl In The World – Elaine Irabor

On a lighter note, please welcome guest writer, the incorrigible Elaine! All opinions expressed herein are solely hers, and I”m hereby indemnified against any liabilities 🙂 For as long as I can remember, since I was old enough to be compared, (the instant I left that embarrassing A-cup stage), it’s been, ”Your Mommy is finer (sic) than you”. I smile and say thank you, at least it’s nice that one’s Mom isn’t an embarrassment. I try my hardest to ignore the second meaning, which is that a woman who has birthed four children, and is more than twice my age, still looks better than me, who’s supposedly in her prime.  I got used to that though, and saying my thank yous  that is until my little sister started growing breasts. I’d always known she was going to turn out better than me: It’s the curse of the first child to sit back and watch younger siblings get the best gene combinations. All the ”errors” in me are corrected in my little sister: My crowded teeth …

Hashim's Story

She was the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen. Hashim approached the counter holding a loaf of bread and a can of insecticide. Yesterday, it had been a bottle of bleach and a six-pack of Imperial Leather. The day before that, a year’s supply of candles and two tins of Kiwi polish. Tomorrow? Detergent, cereal…and maybe, maybe he’d work up the courage to ask her out. ‘Nicole’ her name tag said. She looked … like a Nicole. Artful make-up, perfect manicure, caramel complexion, thin braids that cascaded down her back. When his turn came, she flashed him a quick grin. “Hello.” He decided he liked the lilt in her voice. “Hi.” Say something more, you doofus! – Like what! – Like… say something! “It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?” Seriously? Are you kidding?!! That the best you could do? “Yes, it is.” She scanned the insecticide, arched a perfect eyebrow. “You were here yesterday, right?” “Uh.” Great! Now degenerated to muttering grunts. Perfect, Hashim! “Yes… Nice shirt.” Dude! –  It’s a blue shirt! I like blue! “Thank you.” She …

My Dad's Will

I found this while searching for my birth certificate. My Dad can be pretty wry at times, but this just cracked us up. He wrote this in university, way before he met my Mum. Her name’s not Marianne, by the way. Or Elizabeth! To my wife, Marianne, I leave her lover and knowledge that I wasn’t the fool she thought I was. To my son, I leave the pleasure of earning a living. For twenty-five years, he thought the pleasure was solely mine. He was mistaken. To my daughter, I leave N100,000. She will need it. The only piece of business her husband did was to marry her. To my chauffeur, I leave my cars. He almost ruined them… and I want him to have the satisfaction of finishing the job. …And upon the death of my wife, Marianne, the executors of my will should in no way bury her in her rightful place in the family vault next to me. I want to rest in peace. To one Elizabeth Parker, whom through juvenile fondness …

The Question

(I wrote this at the writing workshop I attended recently. It was inspired by the most intelligent company ever, their intellectual discourse *straight face* and a bus ride :D) They sickened you. You couldn’t explain your visceral recoil at the sight of the IBB posters; your mood soured, your emotions plummeted and you lost your train of thought to a brief desire to kill.  It didn’t help that the campaign posters were everywhere. The aftertaste lingered curiously. Why are you angry? – I don’t know. You were not particularly politics-inclined. You had not been old enough to appreciate the evil the Genius had perpetrated. You weren’t zealously patriotic; the country could bloody burn and you would fiddle! Why did you care so much you lost your peace? And why was the fact that it made you lose your peace so upsetting? The Question haunted you as you circled the city on a bus. It fixed itself in your mind as you ate the sugarcane you filched from a farm. It cooed as you conversed with …

Letter to 10 year old me

So a while ago, I rummaged through my diaries and ‘wrote’a letter basically to me. Ten year old me (she answered to Jennifer) wrote to 21 year old me. You can read it at http://eurekanaija.wordpress.com/2010/06/24/10-year-old-me-vs-21-year-old-me/ This is the reply. Dear ten year old me, Hi, there.  You’ll be happy to know I turned out pretty ok considering what a nuisance you were! 😛 I now live in Surulere (bet you didn’t see that coming!). I’m through with Uni; ended up going to Unilag, oh! It’s not half as bad as you imagine, don’t worry. And no you(we?) didn’t flunk one bit, contrary to what you might think! The next few years are going to be the most tumultous of your life; two major tragedies and a house move. Mega sucks, but you’ll cope. Understatement! You’ll astonish yourself with how strong you are. You end up being best friends with Folake Dosunmu (you don’t even know her now!) and Ebiere Oki. Yes, Ebiere Oki!! And you’ll find them the best things that could happen to you …

10 year old me vs. 21 year old me

Ten year old me was average height, skinny with a slight pot-belly, very tan and had a boy’s cropped hair cut (will locate picture soon). Ten year old had only one wish: more jeans, less housework. Ten year old me had no idea what she wanted to be in future and was flunking Math. Ten year old me held the 58th position (academically) in a class of about 80. (in my defense, the average age in that class was 11 :)) Ten year old was just a regular kid, period. Fast forward, eleven years, and I’m taking stock of my life, wondering if the younger me would approve. The image in my head is of her penning me a letter (email?) so here goes. Dear 21-year-old me, Hi. Glad to see that you (I?) finally figured out what to do with yourself (myself). I would’ve chosen something more glamorous than engineering, though. Oh well… You write? Cool! Can’t understand why you haven’t completed a book, though. Nice book collection, by the way but why no …