WHORE Of BABYLON (Episode 5)

WHORE Of BABYLON (Episode 5)

The rowdiness in this place is incomparable to any other I’ve ever encountered. Buses are parked randomly, about market stalls that are arranged haphazardly. There is so much chatter and hollering rending the air, and I keep jumping out of the way of frenzied okada men who clearly seem determined to run me down. As I navigate my way through Gariki, I begin to wonder if I’d accidentally journeyed into a war-torn city.

“Oga, you dey craze? You no dey see road?!” I scream at a dusty young man shoving a battered empty wheelbarrow forward, its rickety edges nearly snatching at the fabric of my denims.

This is the country that someone like me should stress himself to work in?

Mtcheeew!

I get my phone out and put a call through to Iliana as she’d earlier directed me to do once I alight at Gariki. She is a good friend of mine and former secondary school classmate who I haven’t seen in almost a year. As an independent girl doing her own thing with her business as a call girl, she is also the perfect person for me to stay with while I sort myself out. She answers on the third ring, and her voice is full of her characteristic energy as she directs me on how to locate her place. She quickly adds at the end of her direction, “Make sure say na eighty naira highest you give the bike man. All those people too dey tiff.”

“Eh-eh, hollitdia! Just because my market is flourishing more than your own doesn’t mean I’m extravagant,” I retort.

She is still laughing as I disconnect the call to stop an okada.

***

I’ve known Iliana Dike since we were both in Junior Secondary School. Her father died shortly after she was born and her mum never paid any attention to her as a growing child; she was rather interested in jaunting from city to city, ‘babysitting’ politicians. As a result of that, Iliana practically grew up fending for herself. Pretty, petite-looking, and smart, with her signature one-cheeked dimple, which was actually a badly-healed wound she got from a fight with a neighbour who pierced her cheek with a pen, she was quite a head-turner back then in secondary school. It was a characteristic of hers that she was aware of, one which she parlayed into a ‘career’ after we graduated from secondary school.

The day I made her acquaintance was when a group of senior boys in our school waylaid me on my way home. Because of my effeminacy, I was easy prey for harassment and bullying. Because of this, I’d toughened up very fast, discarding the damsel-in-distress conduct for a brazen, sharp-mouthed, finger-snapping attitude to get me out of these scrapes. Sometimes, I got away unscathed; other times, I got roughed up anyway. On that day, somebody else rescued me.

Iliana walked over to the rabble and calmly asked what the problem was. One of the boys happened to fancy her, and the others didn’t want such a pretty girl seeing them for the hooligans they were. And so, I was allowed to go.

Consequently, Iliana and I became friends, bonding so rapidly and so strongly, it felt like we’d known each other all our lives. It wasn’t long into our friendship before she began to pester me with the inquiry of whether I was truly queer like everyone in school seemed to think I was. I was inhibited about my sexuality then, and so, I was evaded her questions. But the closer we got, the more trustworthy I found her to be. When I eventually opened up to her, she squealed with delight, jumped up and hugged me tight to her, whispering in my ear that she’d been praying fervently for me to eventually admit to this.

That was all it took for her to be my soul sister.

We were just started into the university when her mother died from tuberculosis, leaving her with no means to carry on taking care of herself. As a result of that, Iliana dropped out of school and picked up the reins of her mother’s escort business. She became a call-girl and flourished at it, what with her good looks and uninhibited nature, even unwittingly influencing me into being the whore that I am today.

***

I board a bike to her place for seventy naira. My destination is not that far from where I’d first alighted, but the area is no different with the state of decrepitude it projects.

“This has got to be the Ajegunle of Enugu,” I mutter to myself as the okada pulls to a stop in front of an open compound with an old building that seems to have no particular architectural design.

If I am not so determined to show my mother up, this is the moment I would have turned around and hightailed it back home.

As I get down from the bike, I instantly sense the heat of attention on me. A quick glance at the compound confirms my thrust into the spotlight, what with the avid stares from the neighbours lounging in the hardscrabble front yard and verandahs. The unabashed focus is a little discomfiting for me, and I have to make a mental effort to shrug off the discomfort. If I am going to live here, I had better get used to the attention.

I pay the okada man his money, and with a flip of an imaginary hair strand, I put my phone to my ear while side-eyeing the folks staring at my glory.

Nigerians and staring – such synonyms! Hmmph!

“Babe, I dey the front of your house,” I say when the call connects. “Come outside before your neighbours go use look comot the cloth wey I wear.”

A moment after I end the call, I sight someone bolting from the compound. Iliana is screaming as she races toward me. I grin at her, realizing how much I have missed her boisterousness. She swoops down on me and engulfs me in a fierce hug. I hug back and then we step back to give each other the once-over. I observe that she has gotten slimmer and more light-skinned. If it was even possible, she’d gotten more attractive, with a cleavage that makes me want to ask her if she’d gotten a boob job.

I also notice that she looks a little tired.

“It’s been almost a year, sweetheart. Look at you!” Her eyes are sweeping over my body admiringly as I make a show of myself by spinning and genuflecting, ever ready to be in the spotlight.

We both hear a hiss from somewhere in the compound.

Taking that as our cue, Iliana says with a grin, “Oya, let’s go inside abeg and give these people the chance to gossip about you.”

I laugh and saunter off after her, both of us lugging my bags behind us. The residence is a face-me-I-face-you construction, twelve rooms in total, six on either side of a narrow walkway. There is a sour-faced, middle-aged woman with a wailing toddler in her arms seated just before the pavement leading into the lodge; her wares are spread out before her, miserably beckoning to customers. I do not even bother to greet her as Iliana and I file past her into the walkway. There are dirt-smeared children in bedraggled half clothes either playing or just hanging around in the lodge. I smile inwardly as I imagine my sister, Kamsi in their midst, looking just as unkempt. The imagination is a satisfying payback for the part she played in my showdown with Mother last night.

When we get inside Iliana’s room, it is almost startling to see the contrast between her domain and the outside world. The woebegoneness stopped just short of her door. Her room is all bright colours of pink, green and yellow blending beautifully from the walls to the carpeting and curtains respectively. Her bed is queen-sized with the kind of downy bedding that makes you want to sink into sleep – or sin – the moment you lie down on it. The doors of her closet is open to a wardrobe of well-arranged, stylish-looking clothing, and the vanity table beside the closet is an assortment of cosmetics that very apparently rivals mine. There is a large art work hanging on one of the walls, a depiction of a man carrying a child and straddling a mortar, with a pestle in his hand.

So Iliana has become a feminist too, I think with a noncommittal roll of my eyes. “I didn’t know you were into art,” I say as I admire the smooth, flowing lines of the paint work, checking down at the bottom right of the canvas to see that the artist signed his name as James.

“Not so much into art,” she says with a shrug. “I just like this one and the message it’s passing across. Besides, e dey help me pursue all the yeye boys wey think say to fuck pussy na marriage.”

We both share a laugh at that.

The next few minutes as spent with us getting me settled, while we catch up on the innocuous details of our lives since we last saw.

“Are you hungry?” she eventually says to me. She is putting up some of my clothes on hangers in the space she’d created in the closet.

“No. Not now at least. Let me bathe and rest a bit biko.”

“Alright,” she replies as she hangs the last of my T-shirts.

A body-hugging top I got on that my shopping spree in Lagos sponsored by Chief Uduak, I think, smiling at the pleasant thought.

“Hmm, this one wey you dey smile like this,” Iliana says, arching her brows at me, “I know say tori plenty.”

A laugh gurgles from me. “You see you eh, if prick no kee you first, amebo go do the job.”

She joins me in laughter.

***

It has been almost an hour since I got here. Showered, eaten and rested, Iliana and I have been gisting about all there is to talk about, with her catching me up on her life more than me. It seems she has been in an off-and-on-then-off-again relationship with some guy she met on a trip to Akwa-Ibom. Simba is his name.

I find the name so odd when she first mentions it, and find myself chuckling as I imagine this boyfriend of hers as a character in The Lion King.

Upon my chuckle, Iliana looks quizzically at me. “This one you are laughing, don’t tell me he has banged you?” she says, an unfathomable emotion fleeting across her face.

Hian!

“What kind of talk is that!” I exclaim. “I haven’t done all the guys in Nigeria bikokwa. Which levels na?” I am a little ticked off by her remark.

“No be you again?” She smiles placatingly. “Na only ask I ask sha.”

She goes on to tell me how much she likes him, to the point of confessing to him what she does. She says the guy likes her a lot too, but is predictably urging her to quit her profession, but she has refused to heed him because she has gotten accustomed to the luxury that Simba can clearly not afford for her, considering how he just got a job as a doctor in a private hospital in Uyo.

This is obviously the cause of their issues.

We are spread out on the bed, our faces turned to the ceiling as she talks.

“So you can’t compromise for this guy?” I ask. “Don’t you love him?”

She turns her head slightly to me, giving me the side-eye. “Who love epp?”

I give a short laugh. After listening to the clock tick away a few times, I say, “The guy must truly love you to still hang around, you know.”

Iliana says nothing. Clearly getting uncomfortable with the direction of our gist, she turns the table around. “Are you going to tell me what went down between you and your mother or what?”

I nod in acquiescence and proceed to tell her everything, starting with my meeting with Sage and finishing with my mother’s ultimatum. By the time I am done, she is sitting up on the bed, the anger on her face clearly scripted.

“This Sage is a very stupid idiot!” she spits out. “Such scum!”

I nod in agreement.

“See gbege o. I was even thinking your mum caught you or something. Chai!” She bites theatrically at her index finger, cussing and hissing as she does so. After a long pause, she gets a gleam in her eyes as she says, “What about that soldier guy you banged that time you went to your uncle’s place at Abakpa?”

Besides Kenny, Iliana is the only other person I tell of my sexual encounters with men. Not all of them though – just the ones worth rehashing.

“What about him?” I ask.

“Sage has to pay for what he did to you. The soldier guy could help with that.”

“Oh,” I say simply. Then I bite my lip hard as I remember how horribly I treated him at Celebrities the same day I ditched Sage at the fastfood.

“Mehn, nawa o!” I huff. “You think he will do anything for free? He’ll probably want some action, that penniless human being. And I’m so over doing osho-free.”

“You wouldn’t be doing osho-free,” Iliana counters. “You’d be getting your revenge on Sage in exchange.”

I nod slowly, letting the idea marinate in my mind. Then I I unplug my phone from the charging port and scroll to the contact: Colossus.

Written by Delle

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Previous RANTINGS OF A RANDOM (Gay) NIGERIAN (Entry 65)
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22 Comments

  1. ambivalentone
    December 30, 07:22 Reply

    Lol. This WOB, everyone is invited. I wonder when Mandy, Mitch, Absalom, Denise (abi na Dennis?) will be making an appearance?! Pinky, see ur life? Safe to say LASITC has died and WOB risen from its ashes. Even better, we can catch our subs by our very own names.

    • Pink Panther
      December 30, 07:29 Reply

      My dear, ayam now gingered by Delle to resurrect LASITC aswear. I can see the beginning of subs in the series that is bound to totori my heart. 😀

    • Delle
      December 30, 10:46 Reply

      ??????
      Ambi, I have no idea what you are talking about ??

  2. Mitch
    December 30, 07:26 Reply

    Colossus kwa? Just kontinu oh, Delle, e hear?

    And is it just me or does this episode further emphasize that the company we keep makes or mars us?

    • Delle
      December 30, 10:47 Reply

      Hian. What am I doing?

  3. Mandy
    December 30, 07:28 Reply

    Simba. Colossus. Lol. I see what you’re doing o, Delle. KDians are debuting in this series eh? And Colossus is the broke soldier who wants osho-free, eh? Who’s next? TDC as an Onitsha businessman hustler? Keredim as the oyibo Nigerian deported from London? 😀

    • ambivalentone
      December 30, 07:37 Reply

      Is that a bad thing? Odidi 5 episodes dedicated to just one very misunderstood villain and life’s unfair?

    • Delle
      December 30, 10:48 Reply

      ??????
      Mandy, is this how you want to make heaven?

  4. Francis
    December 30, 09:11 Reply

    ??? hopefully I go get better representation when my turn reach.

    Love the series man. Keep it coming

    • KryxxX
      December 30, 12:18 Reply

      You? Your own representation haff been kpebi”ed and stamped by Chukwu abiama!!!!!!! ?????????????????????!

      By the way Delle, I have never laughed so hard in my life!? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? These subs give life! Hoping Gad and King(Oh! My King????) make a debut too! ?. Nice!

      • Delle
        December 31, 10:32 Reply

        Just negodu gi! Giving me names of people I do not even know exist. Oh church! Kryxx, i biakwa!

  5. Simba
    December 31, 08:39 Reply

    Jeso.. Madam Delle….ur Simba character sounds like the Simba I know ooo… U sure u guys never fucked???

    • Delle
      December 31, 10:30 Reply

      ??????
      Please, you should ask Sizikora

  6. Iliana
    December 31, 11:17 Reply

    Yeah right iliana??Nice one Delle

    • Delle
      December 31, 23:36 Reply

      Love you too baby! ???

  7. Jide
    December 31, 13:38 Reply

    Whore of Babylon (KD special)

  8. shuga chocolata
    January 01, 06:34 Reply

    the real MVPs of KD back then. I kinda miss them
    jarch
    chestnut
    gad
    king
    chizzie
    max
    Dennis
    keredim
    kingbey
    James
    they’ve all been here from day 1 and I know some of them Read’s but never comment’s.

    oh Church I Miss those dramas of what’s not.

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