The Bro Code, written by Great Opara, follows the lives of three long-time friends; Obi, Ayo and Pablo and their relationships, the challenges and obstacles they face trying to make it in the real world, and the realities of living and working in Nigeria for the millennial generation.
The smell of burning bread had been spreading from the apartment’s kitchen for some minutes and had made its way into the dining room and was now steadily slipping under and around the door of the master bedroom to the left of the eating area. It was the room closest to the kitchen and had the advantage of its own bathroom and toilet while the other two rooms in the apartment had to make due with a shared one. The smell which had now transformed into lightly dense smoke penetrated into the bedroom and started to dance around the head of the lone occupant of the bed. Pablo was in the middle of one of his most enjoyable mid-morning dreams of all time, chasing bags of money strapped to the back of speeding donkeys when the smoke hit him like a powerful left hook and pulled him back to reality.
He slowly rubbed the sleep from his eyes and pulled himself up to sit on the edge of the bed. His Casio watch on the bedside table showed that the time was 7:19am, he had been asleep for barely two hours.
Who the fuck dey burn bread this early morn morn nw, which kind wahala be this sef? He thought to himself. Rising from the bed he walked to the door of his room and flung it wide open and stepped into the dining area. The shades in the living room were still drawn, exactly how he had left them when he got back to the apartment in the early hours of the morning. He walked into the kitchen where the smoke emanating from the toaster was now thick enough to be touching the ceiling. Battling back the fumes, he crossed the kitchen to switch on the ventilator and then crossed back to unplug the toaster from the wall socket. Using a napkin to prevent getting burned, he opened the machine and retrieved the four blackened pieces of what was formerly bread and butter and dumped them into the sink.
“See as this animal just go waste better bread like this ehn” he said out loud to himself as he watched the water from the faucet eliminate the last of the smoke. Leaving the gooey mess in the sink, Pablo went in search of whichever of his idiot roommates had almost succeeded in burning their shared apartment to the ground. He stopped first at Obi’s door, decided against knocking and burst straight into the room. It was empty and unsurprisingly neat with traces of the man’s cologne still hanging in the air. The lighter on the table was the only thing remotely out of place which suggested that Obi must have indulged in a few puffs before leaving for work, as was his usual practice. Pablo retreated and closed the door behind him then turned to face Ayo’s door.
It has to be this bastard then, just leave bread for fire go sleep. Na wa o
Again without knocking he grabbed the door handle and pushed it wide open, preparing to scream his tired, sleepy head off at his roommate but the sight of the couple going at it hard in the bed stopped him dead in his tracks. They looked like two animals in heat as they clawed and pawed at each other, completely oblivious to the intruder looking in on their passionate naked tango. Ayo, as usual, was knee deep in someone’s genitals.
Pablo noiselessly walked back out and shut the door behind him. He walked to the living room and sank into one of the couches, opting to just lay there and rest his head while he waited for them to finish. He wanted more than anything to disrupt the activity going on in the room and totally berate them for their careless act but rules were rules, and this was one rule which had no exceptions. He would not be the one to disobey the bro code.
Obi tapped his foot under the table to a steady rhythm while the meeting going on around him continued to degenerate into further chaos. Most of the other people in the room were trading words back and forth and hurling insults that would ordinarily be unbecoming of people in their particular line of work. Or so it would seem to the uninformed outsider. Meanwhile, every single industry insider knew and acknowledged that these fiery meetings were all part of getting the job done.
“Why should we be paying over sixty percent upfront?” Mr Ajibola, Obi’s direct boss, screamed at his opposite number from a rival venture capital firm. “This is never how we do business, I don’t know what farm they brought you people in from but this is not how we do it here”
“But we’re providing almost all the raw materials, which are being flown in and at a subsidized cost as well,” She replied with equal venom
“You can’t bat in the big leagues if you’re not ready to swing hard, this isn’t kindergarten,” Nadine waded in. She had the reputation of being the office beauty but everyone who had dared to underestimate her on account of her looks had ended up with a deflated ego.
“How old are you that you’re talking about kindergarten? Young lady I’ve been in this business since before you were born”
“All that one na for your pocket,” Mr Ajibola eagerly countered before Nadine would have the chance to chop off the woman’s head, “You can’t come in here and tell us how to run our ship, if anything we should be the one giving you pointers seeing as we’re significantly higher on the food chain”
The clap back drew low whistles and concealed giggles from around the room, even from members of the opposing team. Their chief negotiator glared at Mr Ajibola briefly and then at everyone else present as a charged silence descended on the room. Finally, her eyes settled on Obi who was occupied with cleaning a smudge off his watch.
“What about you young man, I haven’t heard a word out of you since we began. Don’t you have anything to add?”
Obi smiled brightly even as he observed Mr Ajibola, Nadine and every other member of his team become noticeably calmer.
“Well first and foremost Mrs Daura, you don’t need to refer to me as “young man”. My name is Obi Okorafor and if you’ve been paying attention for the last three weeks you would have noticed that my name is signed under all the financial outlay reports for this transaction meaning that I have done my due diligence and I am better placed than anyone else in this room to give advice on capital financing and expenditure.”
Nadine started to smile to herself, trust Obi to bring the smooth talk with a side of cockiness in order to bluff anyone into submission.
“Secondly,” he continued “I think the most important issue to tackle at the moment would be the expected overhead for this joint project and as the documents in front of you clearly outline and in accordance with the CBN policy dated August 27th, 2018, which you should be aware of, you cannot expect us to fund both initial projections and still put up such a massive sum upfront.”
“Exactly, it’s ludicrous” Nadine chipped in for effect.
“Ludicrous is indeed the right word. And this is what we’ve been going back and forth with you guys over for the last twenty-five days. At some point we have to know if you’re truly in or you want to pull out.”
The room erupted in laughter over his sexual comment but Obi kept his face straight and impassive and for the next twenty minutes continued to argue his team’s point across the divide, educating them all on certain extended concepts in the process. The meeting ended an hour later with Mrs Daura and her people finally seeing the light, signing the documents and leaving in much better spirits than when they arrived.
“I owe you a drink Obi wan,” Mr Ajibola said in reference to the Star Wars character as he aggressively shook his hand.
“It’s no biggie sir, just doing my job, saving the day as usual. But if you really want to owe me something I wouldn’t mind a salary raise of… let’s say… thirty percent?”
“In your dreams boy,” Mr Ajibola laughed as he exited the room
The other team members exchanged high fives with Obi and thumped his back affectionately as they left the room one after another. Nadine waited behind until they had all left then she propped herself up on the large conference table, crossed her legs and eyed him seductively.
“If you keep showing off like that you’re going to take all our jobs soon,” she began.
“Showing off ke? Nah nah, I just wanted to get that meeting over and done with and it seemed all you people were interested in doing was more arguing.”
“So once again Obi came to the rescue and saved the day. My hero, how can I ever repay you?”
Obi caught the look in her eyes and bit his lower lip. He had been after Nadine ever since he started working at Rainmaker Capital some fifteen months ago. From giving him the cold shoulder, her attitude towards him had eventually started to thaw after she discovered that he wasn’t just another empty brained fuckboy coasting through life on his good looks alone. They were now friendly colleagues and even friends, with the occasional sexual innuendo thrown in to their relationship for good measure.
“I can think of about sixty-nine different positions… ways in which you can pay me back, if that’s really your intention.” He had closed the gap between them and was staring down at her dark thighs which had become exposed after her tight skirt had ridden up when she sat on the table.
“Oh really?” Her voice had become a sultry, seductive whisper. “Like what, pray tell.”
Obi bent his head to her face and began to whisper, making sure his lips lightly brushed her ear in the process as he put serious effort into conveying his intentions in the most erotic terms he could conjure up. ‘The tricks of the trade’ as he liked to call them. Nadine listened attentively, clearly excited by the things he was saying and by his left hand sensually stroking her waist. He finished talking and they made eye contact for long seconds as he tried to read her thoughts. As he moved in for the kill and tried to capture her lips with his, she suddenly grabbed him by his burgundy necktie, spun him to the side and pushed him onto the table while simultaneously jumping off of it and out of his reach.
“Ashewo, it’s not me you’ll use to do office gist abeg” she laughed. Then she turned away from him and made for the door, ensuring to wiggle her ample behind provocatively as she left the room still laughing. Obi sat stunned on the table where she had placed him before he too started to grin and then burst out laughing as he shook his head and readjusted his tie and waited a couple more seconds and then left the room. He was going to have her, it was just a matter of time.
Ayo’s guest finished adjusting her dress and makeup in the mirror and then linked hands with her host. They walked out of the room together and into the living room and ran straight into Pablo who had grown tired of waiting for them to emerge and was about going into the kitchen to fix himself something to eat. He glared at Ayo’s guest, then at Ayo, back to the guest, back to Ayo and finally broke into his most sarcastic smile.
“You guys were at it for a while o, you must be famished. Would you like some toast?”
“Shit!” they exclaimed together and Ayo put her hands on her head. Dressed in a simple black flowing jalabiya, she looked as beautiful as ever beside her companion who was wearing one of the shortest sundresses Pablo had ever laid eyes on.
“Shit? SHIT? You dumbasses almost burned down the entire apartment because you were too busy fucking. The smoke was so thick that it woke me up from sleep, but apparently not thick enough to pull you out from between her legs Ayotunde.”
Ayo smiled and used one hand to run through her locks. Trust Pablo to exaggerate any event if it would mean he got the chance to play big brother to her and Obi.
“E ma binu brother Escobar ehn, we’re sorry nau,” she said in a mocking childlike voice while her companion remained mute. “We completely forgot about the bread in the toaster and then we got… carried away. Thankfully you were here, so no harm done”
Pablo eyed her from top to bottom for some seconds before he hissed loudly and brushed past the both of them. “Nice one o, very nice. Sha I don’t blame you, you’re kuku just twenty-six. Next time you people should fuck and burn down the apartment o you hear? Nonsense.”
Ayo burst into loud laughter. The comment on her age was such a Pablo-like thing to say. Her friend, seeing that they were not really in trouble and that the angry looking, well-muscled, tall and bearded guy was maybe not so angry after all, attempted to introduce herself.
“By the way my name is Claris…”
“Madam I really don’t care to know who you are,” He rudely interrupted cutting her short. “You’re Ayo’s problem not mine. Thank you for coming. Bye bye”
Ayo struggled to hold her laughter in this time so as not to embarrass her friend as she saw the shocked look on her face. She quickly dragged her to the front door, placed a light kiss on her lips and promised to call her as she held the door open for her and playfully tapped her ass as she went through. Locking the door behind her she made her way to join Pablo in the kitchen who was shuffling through counter after counter looking for something.
“You just had to scare her like that didn’t you?” Pablo turned to face her, a smile tugging at the corner of his lips.
“Scare her? No o, me keh. Never! I just… unbalanced her a little”
“Oh unbalanced yeah? Na wetin we dey call am now?”
Pablo laughed. “Her sef shey she dey craze? Una nearly burn here down and she wan come dey introduce herself to me? Shey I ask am ni?”
Ayo shook her head and chuckled along with him. He was known for how swiftly his moods could change such that he sometimes did it deliberately just to ruffle feathers.
“One day one day, you go finally see the person wey go treat your fuck up. You think it’s by all this gym you use to gym abi? No wahala.”
“Abeg leave story joor. But you this Ayo babe, you dey try sha. Yesterday it was that Lukman guy, the day before it was Natasha. The day before that it was Rachel and before that Obi told me you had one naija Ed Sheeran looking nigga over. Today it’s this one that you want to burn the apartment down with. You just dey fire, shey you no dey tire ni?”
“No boo, I’m an artist and their bodies are the muse for my art. Besides I need the inspiration, I still haven’t finished writing that article for the BBC and it’s supposed to be sent in to the editor latest tomorrow.”
“How will you have time to finish when you’re busy chasing every single thing in skirts and trousers that moves. Inspiration kill you there”
“Don’t hate the player hate the game,” she laughed. “Plus, we can’t all be celibate masters of discipline like your humble self.” She paused to fetch her ringing phone out of her jalabiya and held it up to her ear.
“Hello.” Pablo busied himself with rinsing the pot he had retrieved from one of the shelves and then began to fill it with water from the faucet.
“Yes this is she…” her voice had taken on that official tone she used when talking to anyone not personally acquainted with her.
“Oh my god oh my god, what fucking hospital? Where where? I’m on my way right now please, I’ll be right there”
“What’s up? What happened?” Pablo asked, after trying to make sense of whatever bad news she must have received over the phone that had caused such instant distress to fall upon her.
“It’s Dami… it’s my brother. They just rushed him to the hospital,” she didn’t even try to keep the emotion out of her voice as she dashed out of the kitchen, into her room and out again with Pablo hard on her heels.
“What happened to him? What did they say happened to him?”
“I don’t know… I’m not su… I don’t know. Just give me your keys Pablo.”
“No babe, I don’t think you’re okay. You can’t drive like this. I’ll drive you there, let me just get a shirt and my shoes and we’ll be…”
“Just give me the fucking keys Pablo,” she screamed at him, the tears already beginning to spill from her eyes. He immediately fished the keys out of his joggers and handed them over to her. She half ran, half flew out of the door and slammed it behind her leaving a shocked Pablo standing in the living room with a pot half filled with water, in anticipation of the very spicy spaghetti he was about to prepare.