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7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 1 of 42

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Author’s Comment
When I started this project late last year, I just wanted to write. That was not an easy goal, especially with the day job so I set my self a target; twelve short stories before December, at the rate of one submission per month. The collection was to be titled 12 Lies and Other Stories because one of the stories I was inspired to write will have that title. 12 Lies as a story has however developed a life of its own and will now become a chapter in a fictional novella I intend to finish next year. As you can see, I was able to write seven stories and my mind is already into other projects. So I am renaming this blog 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories. I thank all the bloggers and readers who have taken time to visit this blog and read my work. I also appreciate your kind comments (which encouraged me) and criticism (which enlightened me about my weaknesses). Special thanks to a particularly harshly critical blogger who am sure will prefer not to be named. Because of your reviews, I have come to my senses and will still be keeping my day job J Please dear reader, when you read these stories, if you feel like expressing an opinion or a comment, you can still use the comment box or send me a mail at kiibaati (at) gmail (dot) com. I love you all.
7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 2 of 42

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CONTENTS Page The Vagrant The Legend of Andrew Zubair Call Me Delicious A Night with Friends The Area Boys Strike The Test Blind spot 4 9 16 20 26 33 39

7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 3 of 42

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The Vagrant
I watched the sphere of red blood widen from my left breast, broad and free, until you could not tell the source of flow. I felt no ache; just a numb feeling that started from my toes and is spreading all over my body, towards my head. I am lying in the snow with my back flat against the ground. Like a film reel, images from the past flash before my eyes as I experience what an imaginary onlooker may rightly call death throes but is really not different from an overdose of morphine induced bliss Two Years Ago "You have to leave now, Tade," she said. "I am married now and this has to stop" I am sitting on her husband's sofa, butt naked, drinking his best chardonnay, laughing hysterically. Fifteen Years Ago "Tade, do you love me?" "Buki, do you still doubt it?" "I can never get you to answer straight. Are you evading me? "A moment ago, I was sure you are the one doing much of the dodging. Now if you would come back inside, I will show you the best I know of declaring uninhibited love Fourteen Years Ago "Hello, Tade" "Hi, baby"
7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 4 of 42

It depends on the choices you make" I deleted the message immediately but could not forget it. Buki" "Of course I know it's you. Say what you have got to say" Ten Seconds Later "Buki. Thirteen Years Ago "Buki. I didn't mean that way. Did you think there was any one else?" "Am sorry. we need to talk.May be freely distributed. Five Years Ago I dialed W-I-S-D-O-M on my cell phone for the quote of the day. "There is nothing like a good or bad death. Anyway. But there is a good life and the vagrant life. I can't stand the suspense. A second later I got a text message. are you still there? " "Yes. how could you have done such a thing? How could you have gotten rid of our baby? Without asking for my permission? How dare you? " 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 5 of 42 . I am" "Then do your talking" "Tade " "Yes?" "Am Pregnant" "Bitch" I dropped the phone." "We are talking right now" "I mean face to face" "Buki. "It's me. Commercial publication is prohibited.

"I am in Ibadan on business" "All the junk magazines are carrying the news " "I thought maybe we could see each other again" "About wining and dining at you second wedding. she is still alive. She has been dead to you and you are dead to us.May be freely distributed. Chief The Honorable." She hung up on me. Ten Years Ago "Buki. She is the emir's daughter and marrying her is my guaranteed ticket the Federal House Of Representatives. I don't love her. I am leaving for Canada with my Baby. Three Years Ago She wrote me a letter. She has grown up to be a smart young lady. 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 6 of 42 . You have to understand that what we share is different. I am just doing this for my political career. But don't worry. And I slapped her. Commercial publication is prohibited. Buki. I'll be there for you" "Tade! Tade! Tade! Do you take me for a fool? How come it's now easy to say I love you when I can see it means absolutely nothing? You don't love her but you have already impregnated her. I still love you. hello.. congratulations oh." "Hello. plus a wedding ring" "Stop it woman before I descend on you. "I don't want to see you again.. You are beginning to piss me off" Five Years Ago "Hello. And she gets to keep it. it's me" "Ah. Yes.

" "Tade. in my matrimonial home? Tade. "Is that what makes you a man? To forcefully take a woman? Rape me. about six feet going seven. don't tempt me" I laughed.. I don't want your money or power. The door was opened by a white Caucasian male. partly to himself. I am writing just to let you know I want you to leave us alone" Two Years Ago I slapped her again and again. He was talking partly to me. You have taken so much from me. belly bulge and all. you have outdone yourself!" I laughed. Twenty Minutes Ago "Hello. And then a thunder storm of blows. Commercial publication is prohibited. Five Minutes Ago I rang the doorbell and heard Buki ask. just thought I'd give you a call.. who? Is that Tade?" "Yes. 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 7 of 42 . with the build of Hulk Hogan. He kicked pushed tossed me out of the house back into Manitoba's winter. Don't come after me or you would make me do something I will surely regret. I replied. am in town. Through her tears she said. it's me" "You.May be freely distributed. "Tade?" "Yes".

Surely. neither your government nor family knows you are here. And when am done. and then realized the first shot was just to get my attention. They say you are an ambassador now. He was aiming to shoot me from the front. You have guts. I'm not gonna arrest you. Then two years later. I turned around. Then he stopped and walked into house.May be freely distributed. am gonna write you up as the vagrant that been going round this neighborhood. "You have guts. I thought of some last words but all I could think of was one word. you come back knocking at my door. Vagrant. I didn't hear the second shot. not today. You are getting none of your immunity. You may be god all mighty in Nigeria but you're a bleeding vagrant in Manitoba" More punches. 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 8 of 42 . a cop's home. I was crawling my way away when I heard the first gunshot. Commercial publication is prohibited. leaving me in the falling snow. you rape my wife. You come to my home. you get a red neck vengeance. Bet nobody knows you are here. I only saw the solitary bullet flying towards me. Today. You are supposed to be in Bolivia.

the government of the city of Suruleria instituted a scholar scheme for outstanding students in the university entrance exam. in Suruleria University and elsewhere. Commercial publication is prohibited. sufficiently generous to cover other essentials. That year. A. In those days. It is the story of a young man who found out that doing what was just enough was never going to be sufficient but going for the extra notch leads to astounding scores. He was dressed in what might have been military extras. for the entire period of their degree course. he had an important goal in mind. in poverty. Even before he completed his admission process.Z as I came to know him. with all his worldly belongings in a nylon bag. in single mindedness. The Legend of Andrew Zubair In all my teaching experience. this costume he wore always till you began to wonder whether they were really clothes or body paint tattooed on him in that peculiar design. in tenacity. he was at my office to extract the fulfilment of a promise. Over the next four years. had come fifth in the entrance exams and came calling to claim his entitlements. leather hand me down shoes that might have had battlefield experience and a black t-shirt. I remember when he first came on campus. The first five best students get to receive tuition free education and a yearly honorarium. It was my first year as Student s Affairs Officer and those were 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 9 of 42 .May be freely distributed. There four others like him but they were so unlike him. a khaki trouser that was once black but was now light grey. I have never heard of the chronicles of an academic career to rival that of Andrew Zubair in its ability to inspire. The son of a soldier father and itinerant trader mother.

How was I to tell this indigent scholar. there was a new government who did not care much about honouring promises. so this disappointment was a pathetic. that the scholarship he won had been scrapped. 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 10 of 42 . Over the next few years. Commercial publication is prohibited. For some time. the austerity measures were tightened till soon it became tough call getting sufficient funding to pay salaries. Andrew Zubair accepted appointment as a janitor. to convey to this skinny young man with small head and big bulging eyes. Two weeks later. It was all part of my job to tell them (students) the fact as it is. I am just doing my job. If only he could get a job on campus. I promised to help. I remember he told me that he had postponed his further education twice when he got previous admission offers without a scholarship. I was able. He had a little cash saved over the past few years. I never saw them again. If in the process. Endowment of scholarships was a luxury we could not always afford. that he had been sold on a myth? For then. at the end. His eyes lit up like huge megawatts fluorescent bulbs when he heard these. But I found the verve to advise him that if he could somehow come across a way finish the sophomore year.May be freely distributed. all in the name of economic reconstruction. the academic staff had to be right sized. I am able to inspire a few and solve some problems. trying times for the funding of education in Suruleria. Somehow. a hunk of funding was cut off from the education sector. he could compete on merit basis for a yearly scholarship for the best three students in each class in the coming year. Yes. he would be able to pay for the first semester. with accustomed tactfulness. I dispatched the other four also but they were not so indigent. had parents who could sponsor them. In the blink of an eye. I forgot about AZ also. he would go for that challenge.

I was amazed that he could juggle his fulltime job with janitorial responsibilities but a guy had to do what he had to do. The also-rans were advised to strive harder as henceforth. Well. So we started another new year with new conflicts. Only we strive to cure them with the same old solutions. He even got promoted to Janitor grade II. The news of this slight change in the modus operandi of the scholarship scheme was not disclosed to the student populace until the beginning of the next year. Five scholarship slots were eventually approved but they would be competed for at each level by all the departments. that is) about the change in the structure of the scholarships was announced via the Student Affairs Department notice board. only five scholarship positions will be available across all departments each year. the trustees of the endowment fund set up to 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 11 of 42 . and as I learnt. Being a janitor is not exactly sexy but it kept him in the school. Our good friend. Whatever were his misgivings. he did not allow them to affect him as he once again led his class. At some point. new challenges. A. by then had topped his class but was sixth when graded across departments. Commercial publication is prohibited. I had the presence of mind to ensure that three annual scholarships were provided for in each class set as was the custom in previous years. was doing well at his janitor job. and new problems. Unfortunately. The disappointing news (for A. AZ was now in his second year. I would sometimes wonder how AZ might have felt about all the disappointments meted to him. we get to propose but top management dispose.Z. But during the preparation for the next annual budget. by the way.Z. this time coming fifth across departments.May be freely distributed.

might have been looted. It was a first time in the history of Suruleria University. That month s edition of The Campus News carried a banner headline. AZ had scored all A+. Thus. nursing chilled beer and hot spicy pepper soup with my colleagues when I heard of his third year results. no scholarship was offered to AZ in his third academic year. He Got All It From A To Z! You can imagine my peculiar discomfort when it became my lot to announce that there was a suspicion of fraud in the management of the university treasury department and moneys endowed to fund the annual scholarship. I told myself that was no stopping AZ.May be freely distributed. A panel of enquiry was set 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 12 of 42 . an icon of resilience.0 GPA for that year. amongst other such funds. I was at the staff club. I heard that when the news first reached the students. with AZ being carried shoulder high. The University management accepted these recommendations in full and implemented it. who was elated. As a result. he will finally get the scholarship he deserved in his final year. instead of five. They claimed that the funds were invested in stocks which had performed badly in the capital market. a perfect 5. it was prudent to limit the scholarships to the best three students. He had become an unlikely hero of some sort. His head of department. there was a spontaneous procession through the centre of the Campus. Commercial publication is prohibited. finance the scholarship did not live up to their promises. The Campus Press Corps interviewed him and AZ was guileless enough to declare that he was motivated to achieve the feat by the desire to earn the annual scholarship so that he could quit his janitor job. ordered a round of drinks for everyone. in some cases scoring 100% in some courses.

Commercial publication is prohibited. negative karma that was his undoing. I suggested that the Student Union put its money was its mouth is by sponsoring AZ for a year but they appeared unmotivated so to do. As if the emotional effect of his failure was not enough. Even the Kegites Society. his year. In response. he became the butt of disparaging comments from all sides. Ilya Suru added 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 13 of 42 . whether due process had been followed in the management of the funds. It was his bad luck. there would be no scholarship for Andrew Zubair in his fourth and. The Muslims washed their hands off him. If a man could embody temperance. Personally. So AZ kept his janitor job. after all. In short. it must have been his secret sins that he was now making penance for.May be freely distributed. There is a lot of wisdom in the sayings that an orphan should not get wounded at his behind. to identify persons culpable in the matter and to make recommendations for better management of such funds as well as to suggest action to be taken against officers of the University that were found to be fraudulent or negligent. where his arms can not reach to nurse it and that one does not ask for who killed his father until he has learnt how to wield a cutlass deftly. it was AZ. Why would someone named Andrew not come to church? Imagine. up to determine the circumstances involved in the purported disappearance of the funds. ill fated ness. AZ was smart enough to disassociate himself from all planned protests. as it was. if he was a prayer warrior. all the hosts of heaven would have come down to fight his cause. I was directed to inform the student body that the full weight of the University s byelaws as well as Suruleria s criminal legislations will be brought to bear on any one who foments trouble. The Student Union took up his case and threatened to boycott lectures if the scholarship was not granted.

The legend of Andrew Zubair. a soft sell magazine had carried his story with a front page rider. Mayan! AZ was not distracted by all this. as well as he was part of its past.May be freely distributed. So all of Suruleria came to see this myth-i-fied man they had read about. not only in academics but also in life. he walked towards his Excellency. The report was made up of half truths and bare faced lies because the editor relied mainly on hearsay and popular rumours but the naked facts were still evident. the crowd was agog. he expressed the usual courtesies to the dignitaries present. Done with his speech. I 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 14 of 42 . If he felt awkward about the crowd gazing at him like he was daemon. Indeed. A few days before. perhaps tongue in cheek. for educating him. On the graduation day. it somehow seemed to strengthen him. a new prayer to the coterie of their customary rites: May your case not be like that an uninitiated student. Commercial publication is prohibited. he thanked the school. First Class. of a young man who did what he should do but whom life dealt unfairly with in return. In his speech. and expressed a desire to be part of the future history of the school. As the class valedictorian. Prime Minister of Suruleria to collect his scroll. his comportment did not show it. and as the overall best graduating student. He continued to report at his janitor job until he went for youth service. I did not see him often after that and we did not converse person to person till the graduation ceremony. who passed his exams A to Z but never got the prize on prize giving day. He finished his final year on top of his class. had spread abroad by word of mouth. the paparazzi snapping away ala rock star. graduating with Bachelors Degree in Mathematics.

Excitedly. Indeed. So I turned on the radio on my cell phone and listened to the latest premier league result via my Bluetooth earpiece.. 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 15 of 42 . it was a boring rite.May be freely distributed. did not pay much attention to that part of the ceremony. the crowd had risen in excitement to give a standing ovation. But I noticed the clapping did not subside.. she replied with a smile from here to there. Many were snapping away with the camera on their cell phones. who was also standing. I could not see the dais through the standing crowd so I asked my partner. what had happened. I expected that the usual handshakes and a short photo session. Commercial publication is prohibited. The Prime Minister has just announced the appointment of AZ as a junior minister for youth development.

I gym sometimes. Tick. We were just too many teenagers trying to hoodwink supposedly dim-witted white men with the same scheme of scams. It cost me fifteen naira to send a text to a tabloid newspaper. After years of trying to be an online fraudster. Tick. I am lazy and I know it. gradually came to realize that I am not going to get rich that way. Tick. Call Me Delicious I sat in a corner in Mr. Tick. Tick. Bigg's. Delicious I am a 19 year old body builder with an appetite for life. Commercial publication is prohibited. I. Maybe it's because I lost my mum at an early age or because I grew up an only son amongst seven sisters but I have this huge crush for older women. Tick. Now what am I good at? I can read and write and speak good English like six million Lagos teens. waiting for her. swimming instructor. I have a nice smooth face. I can't dance and I know it. My brain must be in the red like my bank account was. This could be my big break as I imagine it. a Red Cross van with its ringing siren For the first time I had the time to notice that mud was some shade of red. gardener. you are eighteen only once. 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 16 of 42 . red danger signs. It took me but a couple of minutes to discover I certainly could pursue a short career as a stud to a rich and bored sugar mummy. Tick. I love the company of women. I can be your driver. red lipsticked lips of teenage girls. as thick as I am in the head.May be freely distributed. I am physically fit. So maybe I turn my mind towards honest labour. She said she'll wear a red scarf and all afternoon I have been seeing red cars. Legal is not around. If you need another man when Mr. I can't sing and I know it.

leafed through the magazine and saw my ad. date. If you want to be my mummy. We would just take care of each others needs discretely like good friends. So why should Sandra be on my case. I sent the text anyway. And in between. what was her problem? The magazine's Find True Love page was full of teen girls looking for Mr. unless that's kinky to you. stupid boy. Sandra. Well. go to university. stop smoking hemp and stop yahoo hustles . read my books. Psycho!. 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 17 of 42 . I wondered if nobody will see it. they did see it. You don't have to smother me with mother love. hours and days till the next edition hit the stands. Must be Sandra's friends. minutes. Commercial publication is prohibited. Go and read ur book. counted the seconds. It looked smaller than I expected and for a second. Rich Dark Tall and Handsome and nobody begrudges them. And I promise. Now. and keep only one girlfriend apart from sugar mum. call me and I'll be your sugar. am delicious! It must be the ganja. am not normally as expressive as this.May be freely distributed. Then nothing. I prayed to Jesus that my ad will attract just one Sugar mummy who will sponsor me and I'll be a good Christian. I just want to be there if and when you want a man around. lover. I got a lot of other texts saying I need Jesus. whatever I want to entertain you when you are bored and tickle you when you are not. Bought one. She kept flashing and calling but I'd saved her number and didn't pick it. Same day I got a text.

that's me.May be freely distributed. When can we meet?' "What about tonight?" 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 18 of 42 . Europe or wherever rich people go to for holidays. you sound cool too. I mean.' She giggles nervously. Ah! Just kidding! You know. And then Jesus heard my prayer. I am as ugly as a frog. I might become your prince charming' 'You are charming me already. The lady had an accent like those women who act been-to roles in home videos. my phone rang. slender like a pole and well built. 'Tell me about you" she said. em. My only flaw is. But if you kiss me. I'd like to see for my self. 'I hear that all the time. 'Hello' "Hi. delicious' 'Hi. Been-to as in been to America. You came across as sexy and intelligent' I laugh. 'I am six foot two. You must have seen my advert' 'Yes. can I talk to. education or when they want to escape persecution from their political enemies. Commercial publication is prohibited. And am not just saying it to get fresh with you.

I gotta go home. May be she came without the scarf to check me out then changed her mind. 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 19 of 42 . Around six PM. Commercial publication is prohibited. Bigg's __________.May be freely distributed. Let's not rush it." "I'll wear a red scarf. Next week Friday. "No. At Mr. Is that cool with you?" "Yeah . They are closing shop now. I'd never know. So here I am waiting for the past four hours. Gotta go home. Maybe she freaked out and didn't come. The only thing I know is. See yah!" And she dropped.

company executives in their three piece suits filled everywhere. The twenty four year old Oxford alumni had just 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 20 of 42 . Ours was the VIP table as Ayo would call it. He had told us about Dorothy. Ayo was telling us why he has also decided to employ a personal driver. and am not just talking about the traffic . Listening to him tell a tale is like watching a practiced hand pour lager into a tumbler. Ayo. he continued. You will not imagine what I go through sometimes. A few bachelors came accompanied but like most other Fridays. drinking and talking noisily as they awaited the start of an Euro Cup Match on the 36 inches flat screen television hanging on the wall behind me. while drawing stick figures on the chilled film surrounding his tumbler with the tip of his mid finger. A Night with Friends My friend. On my right and left were Afam and Zikeyi. the tiny bubbles rising up to form a glistening and inviting foam head. Ayo s Chairman s eldest daughter. Ayo s sex life. it was just the closest to the television set. Sometimes I envy them. like an umbrella top shaped cloud. Commercial publication is prohibited. both engineers in the Oil industry. Ayo was an insurance executive. was the soul of any party. We were at my place. for instance. Our quartet s friendship dated to our college days when we used to live and read together. You know I was telling you about my new madam . was probably as interesting as what you could find strutting into the revolving door at one of my Night Clubs on Ladies Night. We all laughed. It was Thank God its Friday Night. Ayo had a new boss. They were still single and free.May be freely distributed. it was unofficially the Gent s Night at The Beer Parlor. The Beer Parlor. Actually.

They had barricaded the road with disused tyres and set a few on fire to serve as light beacons. Must have been half a dozen of them. returned from her scholarly endeavors and daddy had seen it fit and proper to impose her on Ayo as his assistant so that she will learn about the business . Sometimes. in distress. Any way. I wonder if he already has. you know those on and off drizzles that make you wonder if the rainmaker in some village was confused. if trouble comes. here I was driving by. As I driving back to the other side of Lagos where we the masses live. perhaps in the form of a 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 21 of 42 .May be freely distributed. this particular damsel. Her car had malfunctioned and the driver was lost regarding what to do. like a proper gentleman should . they were causing a traffic hold up almost a mile long but business was good. So. in spite of her obvious aesthetical challenges. Is this cup leaking? I signaled a waiter to take care of that. lo and behold. raising it up. What is so funny? he asked. he could recognize a next chairman in the making. a street tout who was collecting. Ayo knew better. even if she was light years away. one day I was driving home from work when. neat and crispy fifty naira notes from commercial vehicle drivers as they drove by. That way. my story is not even about her. they even had an agbero. Ayo continued. He drank down his half empty glass. looking askance. looked at me and said. Those guys. Plus it was one of those days in September when it rains as if it was not raining. I ran into a police checkpoint along Apapa Road. I saw her. Commercial publication is prohibited. on their behalf. and considering that in my circumstances. a little eye service could go a long way. You see. We sometimes joked that Ayo could enhance his career prospects by mowing her lawn. So that was how I went out of my way and ended up dropping her off at her suite in Apapa.

I could see his uniform was wet dirt road dirty.I was just looking at him. C Caution Sign ? Yes. Fire extinguisher? Yes. It vexed me plenty that he spat at my car. But he had hungry eyes like a mangy stray dog. the agbero will disappear into the adjoining streets leaving no evidence of their extortionate activities. a mixture of dried sweat. Commercial publication is prohibited. special police task force happening on their operation. Yes. he barked that I opened the booth for inspection. His black uniform hung on him like he was a scarecrow. cool and calm like salad in the fridge. Even in the darkening evening light. Done with that. picked a piece of stick from the road side and proceeded to wash clean the dirt off the chassis number in the engine of my car. When he was done with staring. And he reeked of something cheap. Boy cop brought out torchlight. he spat at it. maybe still a teenager.May be freely distributed. But they were many and some of them carry guns. it was empty anyway. What followed was a first experience in the checkered history of my life in this Lagos. Spare tyre? Yes. I complied. he asked me to open the bonnet and I did. 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 22 of 42 . I looked up at him as if to say. he started drilling me with such detail. hoping to find a mistake versus the particulars. stale beer and cigarette breathe. You know how they like stupid arguments like that is supposed to be . Boy cop audited the booth like it was a crime scene. so I was down for whatever. The boy cop stared at them so long. When he was done. I had almost driven past their barricades when one of them asked me to stop. It was always better to give these goons what they want and fast too. using spittle as a solvent. he must have crammed a checklist. I wondered if he couldn t read. What are you? He was a lanky young man. I parked by the roadside and gave him my vehicle particulars even before he asked for it.

By this time. I gave him a photocopy. He will simply hold on to it until you pay up.And that means you are driving without license and fake particulars Fake? What do you mean? I have been using this car for three years What do I mean? You know english and law? I will impound your car and charge you 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 23 of 42 . he wanted the original. Commercial publication is prohibited. Boy cop said we have to go to the police station.May be freely distributed. To settle in local parlance means to offer a bribe. He would probably have charged me for attempting to compromise an officer of the law . Etcetera. I would have . I started to wonder for which of my sins were the gods of the road punishing me.30 ish. I was bursting at the seams. I should have twenty four hours to do that Are you a lawyer? You can get one month to bring it at the station But you have seen the photocopy I replied. about 9.. and then we started arguing like two kindergarten kids. laughing. Ayo replied. And when he was done with drilling me. It was getting late. We all joined in the laughter. but no. But this guy had such a hard look on his face. Why? I ask. Produce the original? Boy cop asked back. Now every driver in Lagos knows you must not give a policeman your original drivers license. Me. he was not satisfied. etcetera. You have to show me You have seen the photocopy It is not clear! It is! . But why didn t you just settle? Afam asked. he now requested for my driver s license. He continued.

saying trash like he has been risking his life since morning because of people like me. Some remainder of my commonsense prevailed. I then suggested that we start going to the police station.May be freely distributed. As soon I started the car. we were leaving the check point. maybe 140. I can not know how difficult police work is. I drove on till we were midway 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 24 of 42 . hinting that we can talk more as I drive along. Other drivers were passing by. he told me that I should drive towards Ojo police station. As calmly as I could. the police are my friend I was just saying yes sir . Please. Boy cop just chilled. I was relieved when he agreed. I started to worry about my hardheadedness. the two of us were causing some disquiet. doing 130. At first. as implausible as it seemed. as is expected. But I had my plan. I said nothing but in my mind I wondered what an Ojo cop was doing in Apapa. Maybe he thought I made a mistake. Sir (the idiots love the Sir word). At least. I did an about-face. heading for Lagos Island. He was cool about it all. Company Executive Shot by Police Stray Bullet . I appreciate you are just doing you job professionally. Boy Cop tried to make small talk till he noticed that I was climbing the Third Mainland Bridge. I said. I apologize for being too forward. The road was now free as we left the road block behind. It was getting rather dark and some of these goons had guns. Visions of me on a newspaper front page flashed before my eyes. He asked me to turn back. Commercial publication is prohibited. this misunderstanding has gone on for far too long. By then. But when I accelerated even faster. leaving me to an almost certain tragic fate. he brought out his cell phone and was trying to call one Ramoni. I pressed down on the accelerator like crazy. saying I was kidnapping him. And you wont believe me.

resigned to his circumstances. like some crazy serial killer in a badass home video. Any unnecessarily stupidity could have resulted in a broken neck. Quietly. I just stared menacingly at him without a word. through the bridge. Which friend? retorted Ayo. turning round my chair to face the television. Even I was scaring myself with eerie way I was silent. I said. I guess he wouldn t want an area boy to find him in uniform on the bridge at that time of the night. give them fifty naira rather than any document and so we can move on 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 25 of 42 . He stared back at my bulk and chose his options carefully. I don t want to run into any friends. Since that time. I put my hands into his pocket and took back my documents back. There and then. I opened the door and let him out. What a way to treat a friend . The Euro Cup match was just beginning. I have not been to Apapa. whenever they stop you. I stopped the car on a wholly deserted portion.May be freely distributed. I took the cell phone from him. he started to remove his shirt. If you saw how placid and cooperative he was. I removed the sim card from his phone and returned it back to him. He wanted to struggle but thought better of it and just let go. you would think he had just found Jesus. Commercial publication is prohibited. His. He tried to open the door but I had activated auto lock. As he walked away head bowed. And I tell my driver.

getting the young ones properly educated is like fetching water with a basket. I am not a politician and so I don t have to be talking to the Press. I am not great with statistics but reality tells me the water pot started to leak before it got to the river. traditional medicine practice. it came to me. Those are the ones 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 26 of 42 . our erstwhile leader. Commercial publication is prohibited. I did not seek power. he chose me as his substitute. that was his name. it will be to educate them to understand that Agberò is a voluntary social insurance organization. And for a long time we maintained the peace until a new police chief was appointed for the city. mechanic. I think she can not understand her problem because she was asking the wrong question. They will learn a trade. Rasheed was chosen to fill a political office. To assure the politicians that the change of baton was done without rancor. When. we invited them to witness the change of baton ceremony at which all our members pledged allegiance to me. just like the mafia. Where do the remaining ninety percent end up? she wondered. But if I ever do (talk to the Press). Lateef. Let me explain. you name it. socially or politically. He was from the hinterland and did not really know Lagos. At the current dropout rate.May be freely distributed. five years ago. A former education minister in this country once stated that only about ten percent of secondary school leavers proceed to the universities. My selection was free and fair. tailor. The Area Boys Strike You see. we were just organized criminals. Unlike her. musicianship. Some will fall by the way side to start one apprenticeship or the other. electronics repair. later went before the Press and declared war on Agberò or Area Boys. To him. and I to the State Governor.

So when Lateef first came and started spitting fire. some buses must breakdown. from time to time. not everyone can be fully engaged all the time. They insult us in the Press but they come back to ask for our 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 27 of 42 . Also. otherwise called Agberò. And nowadays. Some of the rest will become thieves. they pay a fee to the area boys in charge of that vicinity. Really. At best. or the devil will find errands for them. whether engaged or otherwise. we thought it was as usual. with the internet craze. the boys must be accommodated.May be freely distributed. an investor will purchase a fairly used imported bus which can last only two years on Lagos treacherous roads. they prefer to refurbish accidented vehicles. Bus owners are not buying new buses anymore. Hardly are these vehicles roadworthy for more than six months. They join the public transport business. These taxes are borne indirectly by commuters and go a long way in keeping the peace. they serve as conductors. they become drivers. Agberò is a purely voluntary social insurance organization which practices an indigenous form of communal socialism. with correct heads. When they have buses. So from time to time. as our people will say. special levies are required by the upper echelons of our organizations. Commercial publication is prohibited. It s cheaper and the business is not really as profitable as it used to be. we still engaged them. Meanwhile. in the spirit of espirit de corps. When they don t get even that. Government people like to play to the gallery. As I said earlier. There are conventions to which we all subscribe. either of the petty or armed variants. more and more are becoming adept at online fraud. When they don t. And then. So they hang around the neighborhoods and keep the peace. When drivers pick up passengers at road junctions. with lucky destinies. some will become Area boys.

Lateef became an instant hero. hugging the microphones. I realized there was wisdom in retreating and left the city for my rural hometown outside Lagos. We know these things and we keep quiet because it takes two hands to wash clean and discretion is part of maturity. Apparently some ill lead area boys were seeking to extort money from butchers. The Press was full of his praises. In less than one week. arms and ammunitions. Lagosians across all social strata expressed relief in safer streets. The police came out with statistics to show that crime rate had fallen significantly. Even career politicians began to fear the rising popularity of the new Police Chief. Transport fares within Lagos had reduced by half because extortion by Area Boys stopped. the police meant business and so caught us unprepared. First to hit the headlines was a bloody fight at an abattoir. Plainclothes security operatives stormed bus stops and inner city hang outs to arrest our Agberòs with ample incriminating evidence of malfeasance. But the crescendo of hosanna began to falter soon enough. The police had declared war and they called it Operation Sweep. They even declared me a wanted person. since their normal rendezvous at the motor 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 28 of 42 . just add water to taste. At this point. With the initial success of the police campaign. He was going from television to radio station. But this time. Some the armed robbers paraded by the police were usually actually handed to them by us. we had more than a thousand men behind bars. help to make the city work. who was not known to have political affiliations. Even homes of some of our known area leaders were invaded and searched and my men were charged for possession of charms. Armed anti riot officers raided motor parks and bundled our members away in handcuffs.May be freely distributed. Commercial publication is prohibited.

Shops started to close at five in the evening and night life petered out. But that was just the beginning. The consequence was startling in fatalities and gore. only. And that fed fear which lead to mass hysteria. Officially. Commercial publication is prohibited. A pack of boys will just happen like stray mad dogs on a Shopping Mall and start a raid. Lagos has never seen so much violence in the streets before. he requested and got in reinforcement of officers from other states. Resistance from the butchers and rising tempers at being slighted lead to an armed struggle between the two warring groups. The TV stations got the shops to give them their close circuit television footage and. Lateef started to get flack for crime being out of control. But Lateef s greatest undoing was self inflicted. Gradually. were caring out poorly coordinated looting. Lagos was watching crime and sudden death. garage was out of bounds. for the first time. just to make it a day. Many of these incidents happened in broad day light and were covered by a life audience. To maintain order. that it was so much in your face. it sometimes 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 29 of 42 . It was like an unruly army of mercenaries were let loose on the city. He went on air once again. Unengaged area boys. Predictably. although actually. I like to think the level of crime was not really higher that before. not a few in the painful throes of cold turkey.May be freely distributed. Tempers and daggers should never mix. they fell to police fire power. like ripe cocoa fruits being struck by a sharp knife. hugging the mikes. He promised to be tough on crime and he was. People started to say he was too inexperienced to handle the big city. like some sick virtual reality show. live. it was the practice that transferred policemen get paid their relocation allowances after a month of resuming at a new location.

But the commercial drivers were not willing to pay up since Agberòs were not around to enforce cooperation. Then he brought in hundreds of poor unpaid policemen to the city without adequate plans for their compensation. This. At this point. The conflicts kept getting worse. Commercial publication is prohibited. And the police will. he meant it. In one move. the officers tried to make ends meet by carrying out stop and search on all vehicles. Issues came to a climax when the police trade union went to Press to threaten an indefinite strike in support their commercial driver comrades. An otherwise pious officer need not compromise himself in any way to get a piece of the deal. you could imagine. (in the past. When he banned Agberò. look away from time to time to allow area boys settle in-house matters internally. it didn t matter. In addition to this. he declared war on corruption. commercial drivers went on strike to request that Agberòs be allowed back on the roads. Lateef behaved like the proverbial tortoise that ruined his mother s burial party. private and commercial. increased the city s traffic bottleneck crisis by some measure. 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 30 of 42 . in like spirit. The Agberòs collect the takings directly from bus drivers and pass the proceeds off to the senior officer on duty. Lagos was a generous city and a policeman who wasn t spendthrift could survive wholly on tips at the many good road duty points. leading sometimes to fisticuffs. he got rid of the conduit for taking care of the morale of his men. In the past. took up to six months before they got paid. commercial vehicles were left off from police checks because of our mutual understanding) intending to extort money. Our world is a sort of stock exchange in which favors are traded. and unlike others before him. It is like smoking at a fuel station in a munitions dump. Initially. At least one death arising from a police stray bullet was reported.May be freely distributed.

I should behave like an elder brother He went on and on. All the politicians were there. Commercial publication is prohibited. So I went to police headquarters myself. Then I was taken to see the governor and Rasheed. the idiot ordered that I be put in handcuffs. If you start appearing on television like that. as a man of peace. not in uniform. 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 31 of 42 . It was the first time I will see him in mufti. what happened earlier in the day was just politics. laughing and celebrating. the governor saw me on television and sent his aides personally to get me released and bring me to the state house. Lateef arrived. They sent a message to me through my third wife that I should come back to Lagos. He has no career prospects in this state. Apparently. Rasheed. stepped in. That I should not mind him. I arrived quietly but the newspaper boys somehow got the news and dared Lateef to arrest me. showing no respect. saying the same things over and over again. who is now a commissioner. So we made peace. Rasheed said to me. I am not a politician. They laughed and I joined them. drinking beer. I don t talk. Rasheed filled my glass and asked How was the village? The governor asked if I enjoyed my television interview. all trying to soothe frayed nerves. you will soon be a commissioner I laughed at that. I just held my peace. Governor told me that Lateef is coming to join us. but in an agbada gown. calling me names. He prostrated for the governor and sat down with us. All of them.May be freely distributed. They were alone. After arriving unharmed. And then. It was at this point that the governor and my former boss. He called in the Press and played to the gallery. All begging that we sheath the sword and let bygones be bygones as if I started this palaver.

7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 32 of 42 . If I was the kind of person that talks to the Press. I don t talk to the Press. this is what I would say. They said we should leave and we left. We did not plan to cause trouble for anyone. We always cooperate with government and the police. Agberòs did not decide to go on strike.May be freely distributed. Commercial publication is prohibited. But I am not a politician. That is why my chieftaincy title is amuludun. He who brings mirth to the city .

flashing lights and me saying My name is That is how all those adverts advocating against discrimination of HIV positive people used to end. They try to show that AIDS patients are ordinary people in different walks of life. But as we like to say. actions speak louder that words or should I say social discrimination is thousands of decibels louder than any tolerance advocacy. And HIV is not necessarily a death sentence. It was about half past four: soon she will close for the day. a half a dozen microphones. not necessarily prostitutes or drug addicts.May be freely distributed. Commercial publication is prohibited. She d probably drop by at her boyfriend s place on the way home. as if we were two dangerous gnomes. about my age. She raised her shaved eyebrows in exaggerated distress. for now. I wish I could be allowed to write those words a billion times. But I could not. The mischievous sprite got the better of me. My name is Helen ______ and my boyfriend is Tony _____. Excuse me I said. I should be happy he is coming with me but all I could think of was me in front a camera. They try to show that being HIV positive is not the same as having AIDS. so I can let go of Tony s hands and run away from here. like the penance teachers used to give us in primary school. The Test My name is Helen and I am HIV positive These words ran on in my mind a zillion times. pursed her flaming red lips and scampered off without a word. putting final touches to the painting of her lips. We are checking up our HIV test result . and threw him a mischievous smile. By the counter was a nurse. Madness is a normal human condition but nobody wants it in their family. I glanced at Tony standing arms crossed beside me. Either he 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 33 of 42 . We walked into the laboratory facility arm in arm like two lovebirds about to wed.

had just caught a cold or the air conditioner was working too hard.May be freely distributed. For one. as he wiped away another tiara of sweat from his brow with his bare hands. Commercial publication is prohibited. I earned a lot. the only HIV positive individual we could meet through the club was Linda. The last son of US trained academicians. with a gym. an employee of an international foundation 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 34 of 42 . For me. I had to earn it. the kind of guy I am into. No. growing up in rural Lagos was not rough but it helped me to decide that I wanted to do with my life. he aced his school certificate exams and got admission on his own merit. he chose to study in Nigeria so as to be near his parents in their old age. in an old colonial masterpiece that was their family house. If Tony was prince charming. okay. Unlike his elder ones. My smile was turning into a grim grin so I turned away to hide it. America and Asia. Simple as A. My life is now easy but it never was free. a pool and a tennis court. I got introduced to Tony through our mutual involvement in safe sex activism during our pre-medical school days. he grew up well established in the upper class.B and C . You know those fair weather societies that share glossy leaflets about safe sex and STDs. The house. We are both early-twenties medical students at the University of _______. Tony is my boyfriend. It is funny the different ways we react to some things. I thought. is virtually an empty nest now as all his siblings were scattered in far flung cities of Europe. on an acre. then I must be Cinderella. My parents practiced tough love. They lived in Ibadan GRA. give out free condoms and mouth the mantra. if I wanted something. including merit based scholarships. But real life was not that simple. his family was highly connected but he didn t need it. Yes. it couldn t be the a/c. more like he wants to be. He is kind of cute.

like I was looking at a mirror and seeing the future. got the scar. the common practice is to discretely refer to HIV tests as the XYZ test. as I noticed on the test forms filled by the laboratory attendant for myself and Tony. the matriculation exams were done with and I was waiting for admission into university. So I gave some excuses at home. it works best not before or after sex but instead. it was hard getting anyone to come forward for voluntary testing. while jaywalking around the General Hospital in the company of young house officers. But a personal encounter beats the memories of the mind or the faith of the heart. Commercial publication is prohibited. Commonsense taught me that the best protection was a cold bath taken at the appropriate time. we encountered a scene that is familiar in many hospitals in Nigeria. if the result came out positive. I had heard of the what and how of HIV quite early and unlike many people. later that night. But with time. I too had done this and that. was a dreadful deterrent to even teenage virgins. I actually believed it was real.May be freely distributed. arranged unimpeachable alibis and went to see Mr. _______ (I guess am a sucker for men of the stethoscope!) who kept inviting me to come visit him and catch some fun. but promised I won t do it again until I met another guy and the cycle continued. a medical intern at General Hospital. The unspeakable fear of being ostracized. Well. Man. promoting AIDS awareness and she didn t even look sick. And as much as we talked the talk. It was just after secondary school. There are some things we know and others we simply believe. I had an admirer. Up till now. Along the corridor were a band of Christian intercessors. This was the way I lived until an incident showed me how my life was playing out. hands entwined to form a human chain around a 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 35 of 42 .

Since I knew that there were still unoccupied beds. she fell ill during the subsequent holidays and was brought by her parents to a hospital ran by a Pentecostal Christian denomination. at worst. the doctors at this government facility did not consider it part of their responsibility to inform the patient of 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 36 of 42 . It was late in the night and from the chill of the night. I sensed that it could drizzle later.May be freely distributed. Man if it was something he could arrange. As is the practice in most cases. with little signs of remission on the severity of the diagnosed pneumonia infection. bedridden patient who lay on a raffia mat that was spread on the cemented floor. I naively asked Mr. The prayer warriors. put on surgical masks to take her blood sample for an XYZ test. Apparently after a very exciting October-rush first semester. Confirming his theoretic diagnoses with laboratory evidence. She was a sophomore student of Mass Communication at the University of _________. The moment Iranti arrived. with their eyes closed. I thought that. a virology specialist reviewed and decoded the illegible ciphers penned in her case file by the missionary physicians. this latter day Pontius Pilate washed his hands off the case and closed for the day. He ordered the medical interns to wear double surgical gloves. perhaps the patient could not afford a bed space. he narrated to me the case history of the patient I will learn to remember as Iranti. Commercial publication is prohibited. she was referred to the state run General Hospital. were praying in other tongues while their leader exhorted them to bind and cast out the yet nameless spirit that held their patient bound. whence she was placed on admission. I was concerned. And in response. After a month of being hospitalized. Yet obviously this particular patient will have to make do with the stars for a roof.

surrounded by the impotent prayer warriors. But because I was a not a virgin. But what if he tested positive Well. do her laundry or bring home made food for her. I would have preferred that he wait for me. I must be crazy. maybe my love isn t so blind. I have never had the test before and my past is not exactly squeaky clean. But that was then and this is now. By the next day. their diagnoses or the chances of fatality. Mr. If I was to test positive. Really. Since we both don t have any thing to hide. So if I said. But I went along anyway. And this is me and that is my sweet Tony waiting pensively. that argument was not. She would spend the night on the hospital corridor en route to the infectious diseases section where she would be eventually quarantined the next day. In the meanwhile. her mother would be told of the fatality of her illness. Iranti s church members continued to exorcise evil spirits. it is better to start our intimate relationship by first confirming our status. the medical officers in that section have closed for the day. Man felt I was being irrational when I left abruptly the next day.May be freely distributed. to Tony. I saw myself and not Iranti on that native raffia mat. In my mind. d rather die of knowledge than of fear. Things men are willing to do for It was only afterwards that it crossed my mind that I was actually putting my relationship with him at risk. a strong one. The prayer warriors will leave and not return. She will die like she has already died in their hearts. I could not afford the anti viral drugs even if it would safe my life. determined to be valiant in this new trial of love I have laid before him. Even her family will not visit again. Commercial publication is prohibited. Such menial tasks are best left for the lowly nursing attendants. And so yesterday we drove to a hospital laboratory far away 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 37 of 42 . No one will pick up her bills. And sweet Tony agreed.

because you are about to wed. Dear God. the two medical officers. but it covered all the bases. And today. My mind was going crazy. Minutes ticked slower than I ever thought were possible until a second medical doctor joined us. told attendants that we are about-to-weds and we wanted to do all the normally required tests. The test is free on campus but it was better to be discrete than sorry. Rhesus is a condition 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 38 of 42 . both sat down. They. Sir and Madam. and then the first doctor said. Meanwhile. Commercial publication is prohibited. the doctor paced up and down. why me? . gesturing in that direction. it is very important we discuss this with you as it will affect you later when giving birth. I felt like asking. Then the doctor showed up with the laboratory attendant in tow. This test didn t look like a good idea anymore.May be freely distributed. My mind was all jumbled up. as if he had all the time in the world. looking very romantic. What a way to put it. I even got to do a pregnancy test even though I was menstruating. from campus. God . we began to wonder if something was amiss. carrying what was apparent our case file and appearing busy. Tony. we came back for the verdict. I thought don t let my worst nightmares come to reality! Tony held my hand and followed the doctor who walked ahead of us. After waiting for over twenty minutes. I would like a word with you both in my office he said. We both sat down and waited like condemned convicts awaiting sentencing.

she is still topping the class. we used to play ten-ten. She did most of the talking because she had a lot to say. Funto cleared her O'levels and gained admission to study law. Yes. There were mischievous rumors that a certain teacher was hitting on her but I ll never know because I could never ask. Yes. if you get what I mean. As toddlers. I was satisfied being associated with her. if you get my drift. she was the rare female Guv'nor. naturally. We had only one functional society. That alone put a few stripes up my sleeve in terms of street credibility. she contested for Miss Campus(?) and won(!). I gained admission to study mechanical engineering.. and "Mum and Dad". hide and seek. In many ways. she joined Campaign for Democracy 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 39 of 42 . I don't know whether it was inferiority complex but I gradually felt I did not understand what this mythical goddess wanted with a mere mortal like me. she already had a reputation. take long walk and play catch up on what had happened since we last talked. Commercial publication is prohibited. I saw less and less of her. At the football pitch.. Blind spot I did not see her coming. She was the happening girl and I was her guy. she is in a straight sight of a first class. she was a young girl in a hurry. Yes. she was the cheerleader.. Even then. Yes.May be freely distributed. Well. During the June 12 crisis. Funto is a friend from way back when. the literary and debating society and she was its soul. But during the holidays. she preferred company of we guys to other girls. we would meet.. In class. By the time she got to secondary school. she won the oil exploration company scholarship. While we stayed on in the new sixth form. Meanwhile.

she came from a home where tradition ruled. when I see her on television. was not good enough. she had suitors. opted for journalism. she still managed to graduate with a first class. she was being introduced as a political analyst and commentator on public issues . And Ms. as her name had already become a well known brand. she decided to put the whole thing behind. I stayed at home and read my handouts. You see. I was just finishing my masters. once she got out of campus. walk and talk and she told me of her troubles. too many by the way. Crazy thing was. Commercial publication is prohibited. in which her Mum was always a full term home keeper. it was no miracle that she appointed the Politics Editor of a major blue striped suit economics magazine. She wrote her first book on public policy and a second political economy. We used to meet. By then. in spite of it all. specializing on an obscure facet of mathematics imposed by my professor. she dabbled in student union activism. available by subscription only to it s enlightened but well heeled clientele. When the country came back to normalcy and we got back to school. She served with a major daily and raked up a storm with her cynical interviews and irreverent pen. I guess she had a fetish for competitions because soon after she contested for Student Union President and won. I would listen to 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 40 of 42 . steeped in inherited wealth. Got on first name terms with activists I only see on TV and read about in the dailies. Funto s success was welcome but it was not considered complete unless she also could change her surname and her title. Oh yes. had offered oftentimes to banish poverty from her lineage. She didn t want to be a lawyer any more and instead. Anyway. Her parents were putting pressure on her to settle down . Somehow. and hit the streets.May be freely distributed. Indeed. a popular playboy.

When I was due for my annual leave this year. she came with a security detail. As I was let in into the residence by the now familiar state security agents. So I asked to stay at her flat in Abuja. I however did not turn up as scheduled and arrived late in the night. I heard Funto voice raised in heated conversation with a male voice. Commercial publication is prohibited. Je ne suis pas un imbecile! You can not be playing had to get forever It was. her troubles like a Fulani maiguard would listen to the radio. Please leave. I rarely visited her. she stayed with her parents in the house she built for them in highbrow Gbagada. I am not a fool. only foreign journals are recognized. she had become a long standing patroness of five star hotels across the nation. I could hear her shouting. But Funto and I got closer. After my Masters. his Excellency. the Governor. The pay wasn t great but I set my eyes on winning one of the coveted fellowships in a couple of years. She humorously invited me to come and eat. And he was saying. She would visit me at my official residence on some weekends and we would walk. However. talk and discuss everything.).May be freely distributed. I joined the University as a Lecturer. 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 41 of 42 . (That was one of the problems with academics in Nigeria. I wanted to use the opportunity to finish an article I was writing for one of the recognized journal in some obscure part of China. She had an apartment in Abuja but when in Lagos. She was appointed a Special Adviser on poverty alleviation by one of the South-South governors. It was just like in high school. because of duty demands. except that now. Respect yourself and leave . from the impact of globalization on the macro economy of South Saharan countries to the salacious mating habits of a particular popular actress.

I did not see it coming. Obviously. I had walked into a delicate moment. This is your entire fault. glared at me like something to be hunted down. 7 Lies: A Collection of Short Stories Page 42 of 42 . I think. and left in a huff. then. that he noticed my presence because he turned round. Am I not good enough for you? If you would stay. I went up to Funto. who was now in tears. Commercial publication is prohibited. will they be coming to price me like a hunk of beef? What do they see that you can t see? I guess. I heard her say.May be freely distributed. and tried to comfort her. In between her sobs.