So I told you I would bring Fish Brain Madhouse to you this December. Well, my promise still stands. We have few hours left on the clock.
Are you ready for it?
But while you count the hours, enjoy excerpts from the book.
NOTE: All profit from the sales of Fish Brain Madhouse on Okadabooks will go to charity. More details to come up soon.
First of all, nobody told me that labor was painful like hell. Which kind life!
And I blamed Kyenpia for it. Not for the pain, though. I blamed her for the whole process not going by my terms. Remember I once told you I can’t be held liable for many things, so let’s hold Kyenpia liable, shall we?
By association, she made my baby come two weeks earlier. Back in the day when she still had her periods, hers will always come first and then my own, like a mumu, will follow. Unknown to me, the thing had graduated to pregnancy and childbirth, and my baby came two weeks earlier like hers did.
But shouldn’t I have been happy whether the baby was early or not? No!
And that was because I was alone in the house (the housemaid was with me but she didn’t count). And there was this kid too; Bosco, whom we loved to call Boss. Please, permit me to introduce this new character into my story.
Boss was this twenty year-old second year student who lost his parents and grew up with his aunt. The woman sexually abused him and threw him out of the house when he threatened to report to his uncle. Yes, Nollywood kind of drama. So, Boss hustled on the streets for some time and worked in a hotel to survive. Fortunately for him, he got admitted into Unilag. Unfortunately, he sold drugs to pay his fees. In the end, he became a drug addict himself and dropped out for a whole semester. One glorious Sunday, he wandered into our church and the ushers gave him a seat at the back and some refreshment. During the service, Pastor Ishi took him aside and listened to his story and brought him up on the stage so that people could assist him with financial help. He gave him the microphone to share his testimony and when he did, we all started crying.
Okay, only me cried sha. Kyenpia and James were looking at me as if I was doing something bad. But I was only deeply moved by the Spirit. The moment Pastor Ishi asked if anyone was led to help Boss out, I stood up without James’ consent and went forward. I did not only promise to complete his education, I offered him accommodation as well.
And this was what happened at home that day:
JAMES: Are you mad?! You’re bringing a stranger into our house under the name of being led by the Spirit?!
ME: Why are you shouting? It’s as if you don’t know the Holy Spirit well-well.
JAMES: And you, you know?
ME: Not like that sha. Just small. But today, I heard him well and that was why I couldn’t just leave Boss there like that.
JAMES: He is now Boss?
ME: That’s what he says they call him. James, free me biko.
JAMES: Four thousand plus people in the church and you alone decided to get up to help Boss, Chiamaka!
ME: (Confused) I said the Spirit was moving me nau. Why are you against spiritual things? Don’t you know the Bible said we should not grieve the Spirit?
JAMES: I don’t like the look in that boy’s eyes, Chiamaka. I am warning you now. Be very careful. I won’t fight with you and this your spirit. Be careful. And he better stay in the boys’ quarters.
“Hi Doyin,” I said into the phone and made an unexpected swivel, catching Boss ogling me. He looked away the moment our eyes met.
“Dinner’s ready. I’m waiting for you, baby.”
I got a few seconds of silence from Doyin.
“Fi, I’m really sorry but I have to cancel. I just can’t leave the bar now.”
I dug my teeth into my lip as my eyes went moist. “Doyin, this is like the fifth time you’re doing this to me. What’s going on?”
“Baby, I’m sorry. I will make it up. Just don’t cry because I can hear the tears in your voice now. I’m sorry…”
I didn’t let him finish. I brought the phone call to a rude end.
“Boss?” I looked up. “Take as much soup and eba as you want and go home. Thank you for everything. You can take my car with you and return it tomorrow.”
I headed out but when I made to walk past him, he stopped me, taking my hand gently.
“Go home,” I repeated.
He pulled me back. “He shouldn’t be treating you like this.”
“You shouldn’t be putting your mouth in my business, Boss. It’s between Doyin and I. Go home.”
By now, tears were doing a number on my face.
“Can I hug you?” the twenty-year old asked from nowhere. I was on my way to giving him an answer when he tugged me closer into a comforting hug. I wanted to pull away but the way his arms held my waist and supported my back felt like something Doyin would do. It made me realize how much I wanted to be held and loved. It broke me down. And I cried ─ for a long time.
He didn’t let go. He consoled me. He adored me with words that I wanted so badly to hear. At some point, I felt he was reaching deep into me to draw out my needs. I needed a man to love me right and being there in his arms, it didn’t take me long to see that I needed him.
It’s a Monday and I am driving out to work and just as the car leaves the house, some hot chick in joggers runs right into me. I screech and hop out of the car immediately.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t see you coming.”
I walk towards the form lying on the ground but when I peer closer, I discover it is Onagite. I halt.
“Were you trying to kill me or something?” she asks as she rises up. A beefy man holding a guard dog is also crouched beside her. He springs up and advances towards me. I remain standing, more afraid of the dog than of him.
He turns to Onagite. “Madam, are you okay?”
“Who are you?” She looks into my eyes. “And how do you know my name?”
I look at her with a frown. “What’s wrong with you?”
“Oga, she asked you a question.” The huge guy maintains a short distance.
“I don’t know you, whoever you are. How come you know my name?”
“Is this a joke or what, Gite?”
“You’re still calling my name. Who are you?”
“Looks like you have time on your hands to play games. I don’t.”
I turn towards the car. She comes after me.
“Please…” Her hand touches my upper arm. I stop. “Tell me who you are.”
There is genuine desperation in her eyes. I decide to humor her as silly as I think the situation is.
“My name is James. The father of your son. Can we now stop playing and you tell me how the hell you ended up on this same neighborhood I live in?”
I looked around and Leonel was not yet back. His phone was unreachable as well. I went out to reception and asked if they had seen him. A porter hanging about told me he had seen him go into his office hours ago. Throwing thanks the man’s way, I went to Leonel’s office.
I walked into the sound of classical music. The posh interior of the office smelled of leather and aromatic wood mixed with Leonel’s cologne. It made me realize how much I wanted him.
I found the place empty but the presence of papers on his desk and a cup of coffee indicated that he was there a while ago.
The only response I got was a violin solo in high pitch. I aimed for a door on my right which I deduced was the restroom. Without knocking, I pushed it open and surprisingly found myself in a suite. The room was unlit but I could make out the décor which was typically dark, Leonel’s style; and also my eyes could pick out other things—like the red bra my feet stepped on and the matching thong that was a couple of feet by a door in front of me.
I died a little, just standing there. Commonsense urged me to turn away but I couldn’t and yet I didn’t have the balls to go further. So I picked a couch and sat, staring at the door. I heard moans above the sound of the violin. I heard a voice screaming out his name. I heard a grunting sound from him I knew so well. And later…much later, I heard the sound of him coming out.
I stood up, the pregnancy test result in hand.
“Hi Leonel,” I said the moment he stepped out.
He stopped moving. And I think I stopped breathing. For that moment, I became Amaka, faint and weak with disbelief.
Words failed me. I wanted the tears to save me but they chose to stay back.
I handed him the paper and turned away.
Let me take you back a little, to when I first saw Stephanie. It was roughly three years ago. I didn’t go to work that day; I was at church. Just to read some books and pray. I chose the church hall instead of my office, got lost in the back row and settled down to read a book. I was deep into it with my earphones plugged in, listening to Mark Schultz when Stephanie walked in through one of the front entrances.
You see, I am a man like any other and I have the same urges all men have. I wake up each morning like every male and my little man has a mind of its own sometimes. The only difference between me and the average male is that I’ve surrendered my desires to God. I get tempted but I don’t see the need to act on those temptations.
So Steph walked in and I got one of those embarrassing but normal moments in a guy’s life when an appendage goes out of order in response to an attractive woman. It wasn’t like I saw her and went ‘Dear sister in the Lord, I love you in the name of Jesus’. No, it was pure physical attraction, of which in response to, I faced my book and decided not to give the devil a foothold.
She sat at the front for a long time and when she got up again, gbam! Aforementioned appendage acted up once more!
Now, that rarely happened. Except it was Kay, of course. For that girl, I couldn’t count how many times the little guy misbehaved because it felt it naturally belonged to her. But this wasn’t Kyenpia; hence, I was curious to know who this stranger was that stirred me so illicitly.
I got up and followed her out.
Count the hours!