So this actually happened a few weeks ago. It was one of my lazy evenings; I was trying to sew up a skirt for a friend before burying myself in the Under The Udala Trees e-novel I’d finally acquired from Pink Panther.
And then, my cousin Amaka (who knows everything about me) walked in with…let’s call him Alor.
The thing about Alor is, he can sense the presence of the male specimen from, like, ten miles away. He’s like a blood hound whose nasal intuition is attuned only to cute men. Seeing him walk in with Amaka, I just knew why he had come to see me.
“Bachelors,” Amaka mouthed to me silently as she moved past Alor to sprawl on my bed.
“Darling!” Alor was cooing, while fixing me with those trademark exotic eyes of his.
“What now?” I asked, trying not to get my finger pricked by the sewing machine needle.
“Bachelors,” he sang out. “Hot ones.” His smile stretched.
I could tell Amaka was trying not to roll her eyes. ‘Bachelors’ was the code word Alor used when he had sniffed his prey out wherever he or they were gathered, and wanted company to follow him to go on a man-watch.
“I haven’t got time to stalk men right now, Alor,” I said irritably, yanking the skirt away from the machine.
“It won’t hurt. It’s closer to us than you know,” he whined. “Plus I’ll buy us drinks while we watch.”
Fast forward to Amaka and I trudging after the enthusiastic Alor to a quiet eatery a few minutes from my house. We took our seats and ordered drinks.
Alor’s ‘bachelors’ were seated across us – two men in white shirts and suits, with loosened ties around their necks, chatting animatedly and laughing raucously. I had to give it to Alor; one of the two was fiiiiiiine as fuck! Not fine enough though to alleviate my irritation at Alor, who was looking thoroughly pleased, like he’d rather be nowhere else. I observed the two men. They were probably enjoying a little bro moment after work before heading home. The other one was an equally cute guy, who I’d seen in the neighbourhood a couple of times; Amaka had nicknamed him “Great” (a story for another day), and as I observed them, she and Alor were analyzing the two men in muted voices punctuated with breathless giggles.
“Shebi you’ll be in my neighbourhood and never visit me unless you want me to go man-stalking with you, eh?” I queried Alor.
“Haba, loosen your strings joor,” he objected. “I would have visited immediately I concluded what I had to do.”
I shook my head and surveyed the room. The eatery was well-patronized; amongst the patrons sipping away at drinks were two men who had glasses and open bottles of alcoholic drinks on their table.
Soon, a few more people walked in and glanced around, looking for a table to occupy. They were men and women, and one of them, slight and bookish, had intelligent eyes that surveyed the room before they proceeded to a table. Several minutes later, a few more men and women joined them, and soon, their heads were together and they were all immersed in their discussion, clicking away at laptops and scribbling on paper.
I was idly watching them, despite Alor’s persistent attempts at distracting me by pointing out one thing or the other about his ‘bachelors’. However, the other two men seated in a corner (not Alor’s bachelors) caught my attention with the looks I saw them give the group of men and women gathered in their corner. The looks were twin expressions of hate. Disdain. Resentment. Very ugly.
Nearly an hour later, the group disbanded, and they left the eatery, leaving behind at the table two women and the bookish-looking man. These three were laughing jovially now. I was getting tired and I reminded Alor that we had to be leaving.
What happened next came as a shock.
Four police-uniformed men came hurtling into the eatery, brandishing their rusted guns. My heart stopped beating at the sight of them and my tongue suddenly tasted like cold steel. Instinctively, I clamped a hand on Alor’s arm, feeling the instant tenseness in his muscles as I hissed, “Don’t stand up.”
The policeman in the lead walked straight to the table that was occupied by the bookish man and the two women, and hit the bookish man across the face, sending him crashing down to the ground. As they assaulted them, there were shouts of “homo!” from the policemen. Fear gripped me as I prayed that Alor would not lose his nerve and fly into a panic that might draw the ugly attention of the policemen to us. Knowing who you are sort of makes you feel instantly tense with guilt in the presence of policemen, even if they aren’t there to get you. I knew how Alor could be when he was afraid.
I was shocked as we watched the unfolding scene. The policemen grabbed the laptop off the table and threw it across the room. The computer clattered to the floor with a jarring crash. Two of the policemen rounded on the bewildered bartender and marshaled him up the stairs to the upper floor of the eatery from whence startled customers were now coming from. Soon the manager of the eatery was dragged downstairs and, along with the bookish man and the two women, was thrown into the police van outside. The engine grunted and the van swerved and shot off down the road.
For a few moments, I sat there in the wake of the commotion, not understanding what had just happened. Amaka was the first to get up, and was helping a shaky Alor to his feet. I followed suit and we walked out of the eatery, trying hard not to walk too fast. Alor tripped and landed on all fours. We helped him up and soon we were far gone from the eatery.
Once we got home, Alor went into hysterics, clutching Amaka and shaking and crying, while she patted him gently and tried to calm him down. We didn’t know what happened at the eatery, not until the next day, when news began to circulate about how the police had busted a secret pro-LGBT meeting organized by underground gay activists, suspected of furthering the gay agenda. As I listened to these reports, I wondered why the group had chosen to meet in public, and how they were found out. I’d been watching them carry on with their meeting in that room, and I could never have guessed what they were up to.
Then I remembered the other two men (not Alor’s bachelors), the ones with the ugly looks of hate and disgust, which they’d focused on the group. I remembered how, at some point, one of the two had left the eatery for a while, and somehow, I just knew. I knew the capture of the LGBT group had been planned even before they stepped into the eatery.
Written by Kainene