TELL A PHONE It is nighttime at the Abuja female hostels at the University of Jos.

The hostel blocks have three floors and stretch almost 200metres in length while it has a width of about 18feet [a passage space of about 4.5feet]. The rooms numbered to 113 and so it could be called big by some standards. Two girls giggle in room 53, which is located in the middle floor, as a small wireless phone vibrated on and off, all the while displaying the caller ID as ‘Bayo Yankee.’ Then one girl answers it;

Girl 1- “Hello” Boy- “What’s up.” Girl 1[winking to her mate]-“Nothing much. Sorry, whom am I speaking to?” Boy- “I’m Bayo. We met on the bus to Yankari or don’t you remember?” Girl 1- “Bayo, Bayo oh yes I recall now. You would not let me swim peacefully when we got there. How are you?” Boy- [laughing] “Fine, fine. Though I don’t agree with the way you put it, I’m still glad I made an impression. The weather’s kind of harsh here sha.” Girl 1-[curtly]”I stay in the same town, I think I should know what the weather is like.” Boy- “Sorry I did not mean it that way. It’s just, I live in Bukuru and you stay all the way in the hostel. Change of topic; how are your studies coming along?” Girl 1-“Alright, we’ve had some tests but everything is okay. I even have one coming up on Tuesday but I have too much to do in too small time or even…” the bait is set. The boy notices the grammatical error but is too gallant to call it to her attention.

Boy- “ Even what.” Bait swallowed. Girl1- “Well my dad was supposed to send me money through my Delta bank account. He did but due their merging problems, I haven’t been able to

withdraw or even check my credit balance. The situation is giving me a big… financial headache.” She started filing her nails, it was all routine now. “[sharply] I’m not begging for money oh, my father is still alive.” Boy- [chuckling] “Haba now, there is reason to start shouting and all that. What’s wrong with me sending you a little assistance in your time of need?” Girl 1-“Nothing. It’s just I don’t want to sound like a gold digger.” She stifled a laugh as she saw just how hard her roommate was trying to do the same. Boy-“A what?” Girl 1- “A gold digger.” Boy- [shocked] “Wow! You didn’t even ask for anything, why would I say… please just erase those thoughts. Okay I’ll just send some credit cards to you instead, take it for my sake. Maybe when we are more acquainted, I can make a more profound gesture.” The girl gives a thumbs-up to her roommate who continues laughing into her pillow. Girl 1-“Well thanks.” Boy-“You’re welcome. Also if you’re free on Friday night, we could go clubbing or have a nice dinner, your choice.” Girl 1-“Sorry. Friday is a no-show. A friend has a production in the open air theatre; she’s a theatre student, so I’ll have to be there for her.” Boy- “Hey I respect your loyalty to your friends, it’s commendable.” Girl 1- “No, it’s me.” Boy- “Well I hope you don’t have anything planned for Saturday night.” Girl 1-“Let me see, um, nothing, no. Yes, I have free time. Boy- “Great. I’ll pick you up at around eight o’clock.” Girl 1-“Yeah sure. You know it’s cold outside so should I bother with a jacket or you’ll be a gentleman?” Boy – [laughing] “I’ll be a gent since you want me to be one. Dress nice and casual, depending on where we heading: club or dinner?”

Girl 1- “Bone the dinner, let’s club.” Boy-“Yeah that’s for sure. See you Saturday and see your credit in a minute. Bye.” ‘Click.’ She checks the call duration on her phone. Girl 1-“6 minutes. Well he tried sha.” Girl 2- “You’re such a player. I know he promised you credit.” Girl 1- “For sure now. You think I would allow him chase me and I no pursue him money, babe, I no sabi slack.” Girl 2- “Is he handsome?” Girl 1- “Yeah, only say I no sure if him get big stuff. I been see am swim one time.” She giggles hard. Girl 2- [laughing] “Men, you’re bad. Come, who is having a production on Friday?” Girl 1- “Rimcit has one.” Girl 2- “That’s on Thursday.” Girl 1- “Well Jambites have. And that guy, John, is a member isn’t he?” Girl 2- “But you said you were going to see a ‘she’ not a ‘John’ didn’t you?” Girl 1- “Please forget his side. Honestly, I just didn’t want to sound too eager. All that hard to get stuff.” Girl 2- [aside]”Yet you are the easiest-to-get whore in the hostel. [To Girl 1] “Well you try sha. Did you even breakup with that other guy from town, what’s his name, Seun or Segun?” Girl 1- “Shehu. Nope. The bros still dey. I tried to hint it but he just dodged the topic.”

The second girl was not as forgiving as the boy on the phone had been; she called her friend’s attention to the verbal error she made. Girl 2-“Evaded.” Girl 1- “What?” Girl 2- “He evaded the topic, he didn’t dodge it.” Girl 1-[Giving her an angry look] “Thanks, I still wonder why you where not best student of English. The way wey you dey use am pose, everybody go think say na you invent am.” Immediately, the door swings open and a tall broad shouldered guy with an above average mark on the handsome measuring scale walks in. Girl 1 then wipes the frown off her face the boy comes over to hug her intimately. Girl 2 rolls her eyes but smiles innocently when they separate. Guy- [to Girl 1]”Hey you.” [to Girl 2] “What’s up.” Girl 2- “Fine just fine. [Aside] “I’d be better with you though.” The Guy sits down beside Girl 1 and starts stroking her arm. Guy - “How have you been?” Girl 1-“Okay. You wicked boy. You didn’t come around all through the day, I thought you would.” Guy – “Sorry dear. I was ‘jacking’ in James’ room.” Girl 1- “Why for God’s sake. We have only a few lectures lined up on Monday.” Guy –“I have an elective test on Tuesday and I love being ready.” Girl 2- [Aside] “You should teach that to your girl friend here.” Girl 1-“Well you know you can’t fail so all that reading is just extra work. You should really have come this afternoon” [she snuggled closer to him] “I missed you.

Guy – [bends down and kissed her] “I missed you too.” [Lowers his voice] “I was reading about the human anatomy and all could picture was yours; sexy and voluptuous.” [Aside] “Not totally true but I’ll manage.” Girl 1- [Aside] “Such a hopeless romantic and he’s crazy about me, I wonder if Bayo is as good as he is in bed. Oh well, time will tell. [To Guy] “You naughty boy. But you have not given me the card you promised oh, abi you forgot? At this, the Guy fishes into his pocket and produces a credit card, which he hands over to a gleeful girlfriend. The second girl decides she’s had enough so gets up and starts to walk out of the room. Guy – “Hey what’s up? Hope you’re not leaving because of something I’ve done?” Girl 2- [Aside] “Nothing you haven’t done since you choose that slut over me.” [To Guy] “No... no please. I want to see someone down the block now.”

Guy –“Sure, see you later.” Immediately the phone of the 1st girl starts to ring, displaying the name ‘Bayo Yankee’. She narrows her eyes and hands the phone to the 2nd girl. Girl 1- “ Your call. Its Bayo.” She winks. Girl 2- “Sure I’ll take it outside.” She exits with phone of Girl 1. The lovers start whispering and necking, but after a while a buzz comes on the phone of the Guy. Guy – [checking his phone] “ Hey sweetheart there is emergency in my room, I’ve got to go. I’ll be back tonight.” Girl 1- “Better come back oh.” Guy – “I will, I promise.” He kisses her lightly and exits the room and walks briskly at first then he slows down and turns into a dark corner. The 2nd girl grabs him and jerks him into the dark all the while kissing hungrily. When she finally lets go, they are both breathless.

Girl 2- “When? When on earth are you going to leave her, I’m getting tired oh.” Guy – “Please just give me some more time, I don’t want break her heart, let’s be easy with her please.” He then draws her to himself and resumes intimate contact with her, all the while thinking how easy it is to have two totally obedient and adoring ‘chicks’. The 2nd girl on the other hand ponders just how ignorant the boy who had her in his arms was, thinking he had either of the two roommates eating from the palm of his hand, she knew just how shallow his thinking was but she was just too hooked to him. He had her but just not in the way he thought. Later on she returned to her room. Girl 1- [excitedly] “So how far now, what did Bayo say?” Girl 2- [handing back the phone] “He sent the credit anyway and he said he’ll pick you up 8:30 pm instead. Forgot some earlier engagement I suppose.” Girl 1- [throws back her head disbelievingly] “Humph! He probably has another appointment with another babe.” Girl 2- “Come on don’t be so pessimistic.” Girl 1- “Pessimism! I’m just being realist oh. There is no way I trust anyone even with a broomstick, talk more of a man. They can’t be trusted at all, even girls. If not that I know you so well, I wouldn’t either trust you with my phone nor… my guy.” Girl 2- [quietly] “Well I’m glad you feel that way. Also your expression was somewhat inappropriate…” THE END

TOAD’S LIFE

The sky was deep blue and clear, that sunny day. Temperature at around 28.C and the wind gently caressed everything within a 2km radius of the pond. The toad sat loftily aboard his raft, a floating water plant. His baggy throat swelled and flattened rhythmically. His coarse and lumpy skin was moist and clammy, just the way he liked it. He adjusted himself to settle squarely on his buoy, moving his webbed feet around till his visual axis focused on the opposite direction of the moths and other pond insects hovering about him. They were agitated, and rightfully so too. He had eaten about six of their comrades in the last hour and they [as well as he] knew that was not the peak of his appetite. “Ha, life is loving,” he thought to himself. He would just stand, sorry, sit here, till the dumb insects calmed down before snatching another in mid-air. “Brother, I’m bad,” the toad thought to himself again. His attention drew to one bug that had just strayed from the rest and just as he was about to gobble, it he heard their sound. Graceful and enchanting, theirs was the sound of mermaids and sirens, the beauty of nurtured and untainted Fulani dames. They were possibly the most perfect creatures that the toad had ever laid eyes on. His cold heart began racing wildly as they approached. The perfect beauties fluttered ever so lightly, gracing everything and place they flew over or perched on. His throat; bloated and baggy, swelled with overwhelming emotion as the newly hatched butterflies drew to him. His long and sticky tongue slowly drew out of its resting place and prepared to receive the meal of a life time. Then as if in a bad dream he heard the sound of evil itself. “No, no it can’t be” he cried over and over. The sheer sight of them was fearful enough to cause even his lumpy skin to crawl. The wasps were notorious for their destructive and juggernaut ways. They faced any foe with brutal and forceful fury, and with their overwhelming numbers even the brown mammals [humans] avoided them. “No, no, no it can’t be.” He thought. The damned creatures kept flying towards his beautiful butterflies and he knew they would swamp the path for him soon. But he knew if he attempted to swipe one of theirs’ they would turn

on him with a savage vengeance that only they could unleash. They were mindless bugs no doubt but instinctive mindless bugs mind you, if they decided they, could destroy a whole colony of bees [who out-numbered them in the thousands]. Yes the Toad knew just how dangerous they could be but that did nothing to lessen his resentment towards them. In times of anger it is always believed that silence or separating yourself from the crowd is almost always the best solution, just let it ride out and think rationally before responding in any fashion, but this wisdom did not reside with the toad. The toad was annoyed about the intrusion. He quickly aimed at the nearest butterfly and struck in a flash. “I’ve got it, I got it, yes!” he thought to himself, but he knew how wrong he was even before he tasted the hairy wasp’s body. As if on strict marching drill, the advancing party of wasps made a sharp left turn, heading straight for the toad, who still had their scout comrade stuck in his mouth. At first the toad could not fathom the horrid possibility of ending in the torturous way the wasps proposed [being torn apart inch by inch by a score of minuscule insects] but there didn’t seem to be much he could do. All at once the panic set in. “I don’t want to die.” He thought to himself, “I didn’t mean it, he flew into my mouth, it wasn’t my fault!” All these thoughts flew in and out of his head in microseconds as he pondered his fate. He tried to move but for some reason his webbed feet were stuck to the floating leaf he had been rafting on. The end seemed inevitable for him and though he did not feel the situation could worsen any further, it did when the foremost wasp did not turn it’s sting on him but opened it’s mandible to reveal a set of razor sharp shark-like teeth. He tried to swallow the bug in his mouth so he could at least scream one last time when he heard, “Stan, Stanley, wake up, wake up Dumfa don come.” Stanley Eruke woke from his slumber with his heart racing. Nasiru who had woken him up, had already turned away and focused himself on chatting up pretty but stuck up Josephine. Nas had saved him from embarrassing himself in class; because he was certain he would have woke screaming from dreamland. “What a dream.” he thought to himself and

stretched. As he did this, the tee shirt of a classmate caught his eye. William’s shirt read, “Don’t mess with my money, honey.” And had the drawing of a bee on it. “Funny” he muttered to himself and thought nothing of it. That instant, the awaited lecturer, Dr B. Falum, entered the class. Tall, broad shouldered and handsome in a very manly way, Dumfa as he was called [behind his back of course], was as strict as a drill sergeant and randy as a dog in heat season. He preyed on young and willing female students who wanted to earn some extra credit. Janet Samson turned and wagged her finger playfully at Stan and then gave William, her boyfriend, a squeeze. Though Bill played it cool, everyone knew how elated he was because he had Janet's attention and heart. She was not only the nicest girl in class but also the most beautiful [though Hassana was a serious contender for that title] and it was also rumoured that she was a virgin still, moreover it was clear she adored him and he did her, all in all, they were good by themselves. Stan was still pondering Janet's beauty and even though the good Falum had begun scribbling on the board, he concluded she was a butterfly fluttering in the glittering sun. Immediately, he chuckled to himself, knowing why he had made that allusion to her. Nas’ incessant and annoying tapping cut off his lazy train of thought. “Look Stan, see Dumfa, look at Dumfa!” he said, trying had to keep a straight face. Stan turned to the direction of Nas’ finger and saw the doctor staring intently at a clearly naively courteous Janet. When the doctor smiled at her, Stan froze. He [Dumfa], looked exactly like a handsome toad. His swarthy tongue ran over his lips as he bent forward and started speaking in hushed tones to a very flattered Janet. Stanley did not have to look at William to see his reaction.

THE END