Three days in ‘The house’ as they call it and I am always feeling like I am on another planet. Only two things go around the house as I have discovered, sex and money. Sesan’s room which I had thought to be comfy was hell in the evenings when boys gathered to gamble on PlayStation soccer. Fuck it, they gambled and argued on everything in sight. And I have come to accept that the landlord probably infected every tenant. I met the landlord for the first time yesterday and it was really awkward or what more can I say? I had gone out to buy newspapers and on my way back in, I decided to walk in through the main house and not around it. I had not gone more than five steps when I started hearing voices.
“No bet on Madrid o, the odds for this weekend low gan, just bet Chelsea. First to score, Barca over two, Chei, nowadays ManU dey spoil ticket anyhow, I for talk say make we add them”. The voice sounded familiar.
“Hmmm Eleribu ni awon ManU yen, its ok, when time don reach, we go go the kiosk together”. This was a much older voice. The voices seemed to be coming from upstairs. I kept on walking and was almost at the back door when I heard
“Who are you?!” It was the elderly voice, I turned around and looked up to see a fragile looking man of about sixty years old with a brushing wood popularly called pako gently balanced by one side of his mouth. Beside him was one of the guys that usually came to Sesan’s room to gamble, couldn’t remember his name sef.
“Ha, na Sesan cousin be this”, the guy answered for me.
“Goodafternoon Sir” I quickly followed up.
“So that rogue has family, wonders shall never end!” Baba Landlord started, I thought he called Sesan a rogue because his room was more like the coliseum of all gambling in the house. It was later on I found out that the Landlord had his eyes on one of Iya Nuru’s daughter a while back and had been thinking of how to go about it without facing the wrath of Iya Nuru. He had confided his love for the girl to Boka, and in typical igbo boy fashion, Boka had advised him to go get a blackberry phone and give it to the girl as a gift. That from then onwards, the girl would be all over him. The Landlord thought it over and decided to do so. One particular morning he had woken up very early in the morning to go and hassle his tenants that were owing rent so he could use the money to buy the blackberry phone. After going round, he finally got to Sesan’s room. And when he knocked on the door, he was shocked beyond words when the girl he was in love with was the one who opened the door wearing nothing but one of Sesan’s shirt at 7am! The landlord almost passed out. Though no one has still told me any good reason why the Landlord had not sent Sesan packing.
‘Guy, how far, Sesan dey room?” the guy with the Landlord brought me back to the present.
“Yes he is”
“Confirm, I go soon show now” meaning he would come over to start up a bet on something that made absolutely no sense.
“You just move in without coming to pay homage to your elders, what place are you from?” Apparently Baba Landlord wasn’t done with his interrogation.
“I am sorry, sir, I didn’t ..”
“Don’t worry, go and buy one McDowells for Baba”, the guy cut me short. What the hell was his problem?! Does he have any idea if I have money or not.
“Ok sir, sorry! I would get one and bring it over sir”, I bowed to the Landlord.
“Good, omo dada, seems you are more responsible than that cousin of yours”, the landlord said as I turned around to leave. Was already thinking about money, my little cash I had brought to Lagos had depreciated faster than Zimbabwe’s currency. I just made my way back to the room to go get some money then go and buy baba Landlord his drink. Getting to the room and I could tell this boys had started gambling. The door was lined-up with different slippers and foot wears. I just sighed and went in, didn’t bother looking around, there were about four boys all seated around the TV screen. Sesan was standing as always, naira notes in his hand. They were all shouting, and hailing as each player made his move. I went to my bag, pulled out a thousand naira note and went back out. This time I decided to go around the house and not through it. I noticed a lady going in the house though, she looked like one of the girls fighting the day I had arrived. I didn’t pay her much attention, went out and arrived at Iya Nuru’s gate. The few times I had come here, it had been Iya Nuru herself attending to me, such bad luck. I was about knocking when the gate opened and out came the stunning daughter of hers that I had first encountered with Sesan.
“Sorry, I want to buy McDowells” I quickly found my voice to show off my confidence though.
“Oo ok, let me check” She replied me with a smile and went back in. I couldn’t see my face but I was sure wearing a grin as long as the river Nile. I patted my hair to check if it wasn’t that rough, I had been keeping an afro for the past few months. Was still at it when she came back out holding a pack of McDowells. The biggest one! Who said I wanted the biggest oo?! I wanted the small bottle na, I was about weeping inside.
“It’s only the big one we have left or is it the small one you want to buy” that voice and smile again, shit, I was in trouble.
“No no, the big one is ok, how much is it?
“One thousand, two hundred”
I was now seriously weeping inside, one thousand two for what na?! But the smile and voice already had me. I looked at the girl to properly see her beauty. She was about 5ft8 tall, had a mole by the side of her mouth that gave her smile an extra edge. Long hair (don’t know if it was natural) that reached down to her breast which looked average but then her hips was crazy! They were wide enough to make me start wondering how her ass would be.
“Are you buying?” The smile on her face was gone.
“I am but its only one thousand naira that is here with me, would bring two hundred naira later”
“Haa I don’t know you o”
“I am Sesan’s cousin, we came here together the other day to buy card” , I was seriously praying that name-dropping Sesan would work. And it sure did.
“Ok but please bring it today” She said as she pulled out a Nylon out of nowhere and put the McDowells in.
“I will, thank you, what is your name by the way so when I come back”
“Latifah” She replied with that smile again. Chei, her name didn’t fit at all. She collected the thousand naira note and before I could say anything more, shut the door in my face. I shrugged and headed back home. Latifah, Latifah was ringing in my head as I got back home and started making my way upstairs to Baba Landlord’s Apartment to pay homage. Surprisingly everywhere was quiet but then again it was around noon, the responsible ones had gone to work and the not-so-responsible ones was in Sesan’s room. I got upstairs, first time I had been here since I started living in the house. There were about three doors each on both sides of the place leading up to a central door. I figured that must be the living room and started making my way towards it when I passed one of the rooms which door was slightly ajar and noticed some movement in it. I took a step backwards and the sight I saw made me remember Sesan’s introducing me to the house. There was the lady I had seen earlier walking into the house on my way to Iya Nuru’s place kneeling between what I assumed was Baba Landlord’s legs giving a crazy head. I adjusted properly to see if I could see the Landlord’s face but the door shielded that. The lady was sure good at what she was doing because as I turned to leave, I could hear Baba Landlord making out animal sounds. I just sighed and made my way back to Sesan’s room which was now containing over eight fully grown guys shouting and cursing. The guy I had seen earlier with the landlord was here now so also was Boka. I just found a spot on the bed that was free, placed the McDowells bottle by my side and dozed off which was surprising considering the level of heat in the room. Woke up a few hours later, empty room, empty cups, empty McDowell bottle!…..
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