It was very early on Saturday. Chief was awake, “it’s a brown new day,” he sang like a chirping bird, walking around his room aimlessly, whistling and smiling sheepishly. It’s amazing how love revamps a person. Ever wonder how happy people become once they fall in love? Yes, that’s because they actually lose common sense and so they see the world through a new lens, the eyes of love. I’m convinced that people would live longer and happier if they remained in love. Remember smiling all alone to yourself while your mind drifts away, thinking about the one you love? Think about the days you bought expensive gifts to give to your darling even when you were strapped for cash. How unselfish were you then? Recall how hearing his/her voice made you feel? Then things always start to fall apart because people stop trying hard any longer. The emotions wane, the love becomes a corpse flower with a withering stench of rottenness and the adventure of a lifetime ends almost as fast as it began.
Chief never even started the love journey, and so, this was a new adventure for him. A year before now, he had received a call from his 70-year-old mother who had informed him that if he didn’t marry and give her a grandchild in twelve months, he would be her pallbearer before the year ended. She swore to drink otapiapia and end the misery of not having a grandchild. It was an ultimatum given to the Roman man. He was torn between spending millions for a burial ceremony or marrying a wife for less. As an astute businessman, he picked profit over loss. He knew that he couldn’t give his mother a low-key burial but he could afford a low-profile marriage, so he picked the latter, took his mother off the suicide watch-list, and then hamstrung her into finding the wife for him. All he did was arrive a day before the introduction to see what his mother had shopped for from the bride market.
In the eyes of Mr. Romanus, Anurika was just like a young bird trying to take its first flight; innocent and nothing like the evil Lagos girls he dreaded. She was pretty and he knew that his mother had sealed a deal he couldn’t pull himself. He was a handsomely challenged out of shape wealthy mid-aged man with a big nose and puny eyebrows that had been shaved before he embarked on the trip. But the asa nwa, Anurika, didn’t mind his looks and she went ahead to serve him the palm wine at the igba nkwu and then two weeks later they tied the knot at St. Patrick’s Catholic church, Mbaise. “Thank you Jehovah overdo,” Chief’s mother shouted severally as the priest pronounced her son and Anurika husband and wife. When you hear such terms as Jehovah overdo and Jehovah possibility, you are among the Igbo brethren. (Asa nwa – beautiful girl, Igba nkwu – traditional wedding.)
CHIEF peeked from behind his curtain, and the sun was still pretty much asleep and darkness was still hovering over the face of Lagos. The week had been remarkable in every way; so many new things had been learned and it had been one crazy adventure for him. There were things he would have sworn he would never do in his life that Cupid had convinced him to do. A perfect example was the previous day, Chief told a waiter “thank you,” and then went ahead to tip her with 100 bucks. It might sound ridiculous to you that he tipped with such an amount. But Rome was not built-in a day, and just a week ago, Chief would have seen no reason in the world to tip anyone for doing a job they were being paid to do. After all, no one ever came to his shop at Alaba and gave him a tip after he had sold them an electronic device. Instead, they were trying to pay less than what he had requested from them.
Chief was in the mood for Morocco but he knew that Cupid wanted him to get funkier, so he tuned the radio, in search of something that would pass for groovy. The music was nothing close to what he considered ‘original.’ Autotuned voices and people rapping over beats that sounded like a war cry. How could one’s ears decipher what was being said? The younger generation would love it but not Chief who didn’t know any foreign songs except Michael Jackson’s Billy Jims as he renamed it. He believed there was nothing better America could offer compared to the sheer bliss from Morocco and Osadebe; because they made music of ethereal quality.
There was no time to waste, so, Chief hurriedly took a shower, and dried his body with one of his Isiagu tops that he had turned into a towel. Cupid was not there with him but for the first time he felt ashamed that he did not have a towel and he hadn’t cared to get one. “nwanne echi, next tomorrow, ” he said out loud, convincing himself that nothing in the world would stop him from purchasing a new towel come Monday. The Roman man had started becoming conscious of himself; wanting to smell good, combining the right colors and even glancing at the mirror before he jumped out of the house. (Isiagu – an Igbo native attire)
They say ‘New York is the city that never sleeps’ but Lagos I think should be ‘the city that never lets you sleep.’ It was still a few minutes past 5:00 am but the bus stops were already buzzing with life. Women frying akara sitting close to loud comrades selling agege bread. Young ladies preparing ewedu soup and ewa agoyin for customers with large appetites who wouldn’t wait for daylight before having the first meal. Bus drivers yelling at the top of their voice and conductors chanting what seemed like a demonic chorus to attract the hordes of people trying to get to work on a Saturday. Agberos with egos larger than life. Policemen breaking the law they swore to uphold. What a city! But Chief was en route the Island to meet up with Cupid and nothing could bother him today. (Akara – bean cake, ewa agoyin – cooked beans with sauce common to the Yoruba fam)
Chief was giddy with excitement, “Coopeedi,” he said, standing erect with his arms akimbo. It was a few minutes past 6:00 am and he was outside Cupid and Sam Inc., feeding his eyes on the architectural beauty, the edifice before him. “Coopeedi,” he said again, amazed at how a young man could accomplish so much and yet be so reasonable, personable and likable. Most of the wealthy people Chief knew were very arrogant. Talk about Hon. Cornelius Azubike, his friend who had never been anywhere near a local government office or house of assembly, but added honorable to his name as soon as he opened the third shop in Alaba. Or is it High Chief Nebukadineze Nwankpa? That one added high chief to his name as soon as he started importing from China. But Cupid, the CEO of a blue-chip company, was simply known by his first name. No titles. No one carrying his briefcase around. No bodyguards or escorts to shield the peons away. Chief was much impressed with the young man to the point where he had already begun considering offering his sister, Akudo, as a mate to Cupid. “Free of charge,” he said out loud, deep in thought, still pondering on how easy he would make it for Cupid to marry his sister. That would have been something remarkable because it’s not easy to marry an Igbo girl for free of charge, especially when her brother is Chief Remigus Romanus, the Okosisi of Mbaise. Akudo was clocking 24 and Chief knew that soon, his mother would start another otapiapia episode. What kind of mother uses suicide to threaten her children?
It was a few minutes to 7:00 am and Chief noticed that there were no signs of activity around the building, just an armed police guard and two broad chested lively blokes wearing black suits. So, he decided to ring Cupid and find out when the office doors opened for the weekends. The phone rang but Cupid was fast asleep and didn’t want to be disturbed. So, he pretended he didn’t hear a thing and proceeded to adjust his head on the throw pillow, and snuggled under the duvet. But Chief was dogged and kept dialing until Cupid got frustrated.
“Coopeedi,” the Roman man called out, still sounding as excited as he had been since waking up at past 4 am. “Good morning, Nwanne,” he greeted, twitching with much adrenaline.
“What happened to the word coach?” Cupid asked, still infuriated that his sleep had been cut short. That was uncharacteristic of Cupid not to even greet back before lashing out. But sleep is sweet and when someone messes with it, it gets personal. “I’m sorry, Chief. Good morning and how are you today?” Cupid asked, in a sleepy voice.
“Coopeedi, ina ehi ura?” (trans – are you are sleeping?)
“Chief, I asked how you are doing?”
“Ayam fine, butu ina ehi ura? Chief repeated. (trans – are you are sleeping?)
Cupid was wondering why he was so concerned about that, but he replied: “It’s Saturday Chief, I sleep a little extra on the weekends.”
“I’m at the office waiting for you.”
“You see, instead of listening to me yesterday, you were busy looking into everybody’s eyes like a psychotic, even after my warning to you on Wednesday.”
“It’s a brown new day. Nna, hapu ihe psychotic.” (trans – forget that thing about psychotic)
“Ok, Chief. I had informed you that we would spend the day at my crib.”
“My residence. The place where I live.” Cupid almost screamed but it dawned on him that he was talking to a client who had paid a million Naira and familiarity would start to be the bane of his success with his clients. So, Cupid sat up on the settee, “Chief, I’m sorry, it’s a little too early for me because I slept quite late. But you would need to meet up with me at home.”
“Coopeedi,” Chief murmured as if it were Cupid’s fault that he had not listened to the instruction Cupid had given him the previous night.
“Do you need someone to bring you over?” Cupid asked, hoping that he could easily request a favor from one of his security details…
“Nwanne, just send me the address, I will find ya house.”
CUPID thought he could sleep a little more before Chief would show up, but Sam called in too.
“What’s up bud,” Cupid replied, happy to hear from his pal.
“I’m aight, bro. What’s on the schedule for today?”
“Got the Roman man coming over. He should be around anytime soon. And as for the rest of the day, it would depend on my mood.”
“I’d come over tonight. It’s been a while I enjoyed the comfort of your beautiful house. You know I have a nice house, but my house still wants to be like yours when it grows up.”
“You silly, bro. Yes, it’s been a while I’ve had anyone over here. Guess you can’t save the world and have too much fun at the same time.”
“Superman!” Sam muttered, he was the only one who understood how much Cupid loved helping people. “We could watch a movie or two, and just spend some time not discussing work, failed marriages, and the plans for the merger.”
“That sounds like fun. If I had a helicopter we would have flown around the city enjoying the night view and eating suya in the sky.” Cupid liked being in the sky very much and he enjoyed sky-diving in the Canadian and American skies. He never dared to skydive in Lagos. The fear of Igbobi orthopedic hospital was real.
“Wouldn’t that be something?”
That really would have been something, and Cupid had imagined for a long time how much time he could save by having a helicopter. No more traffic stops. No insane drivers behind the wheels cursing at him because he drove a Maserati or other expensive cars. He was not a politician, but their little minds could not imagine anyone being wealthy who hadn’t plundered the coffers of the government at the Federal, State or local level. “It’s going to be a good tool that would free up some extra time for me,” Cupid said, solidifying his intent to get a helicopter.
“The office can take care of that for you. Just say the word.”
Cupid walked to the kitchen, the phone up against his ear being supported by his right shoulder because his two hands were busy with fixing pre-breakfast. “No, bud, I can take care of that myself. The office can take care of the helipad.”
“We’d get that done by next week.”
“Do you have a girlfriend?” Cupid asked.
Sam laughed for almost a minute. “Where did that question come from? We were just talking about something exciting.”
“Exciting? Is the question depressing?”
“Ok. I’d tell you all about it later.”
“How about you, our Superman!?”
“I’m still saving the world,” Cupid said with a sadness laced in his voice.
“You deserve the best wife in this world. Someone who could give back the love you have sown into so many people. I wonder what goals I would be pursuing today if hadn’t met you. Meeting you really changed my life. I’m yet to find someone with a heart like yours.”
“At least, I’m sure that with a name like Samosa, you could be managing a KFC or Chik-fil-a franchise abroad,” Cupid replied and went ahead to laugh at his friend. “Ok, this conversation is getting too mushy. Go fight some karate or taekwondo man. Stop getting emotional on me.”
“See you in some hours.”
Cupid poured himself a glass of soya milk and sat down to enjoy his pre-breakfast. It was Saturday and there was no reason not to pig out. While eating, he thought about his mother and wished she was alive to enjoy the fortune he had made off making other people happy. It was legitimate wealth and nothing to be ashamed of. Hard work pays. “I would have built you something out of this world and named it utopia. It would have been the slightest resemblance to my idea of heaven. Beautiful.” But he could not do any of those things now. For a moment he wondered if he could at least do something nice for his father even though the man had failed him in every way one could fail a child. So, he googled his father’s name – Kelechi ‘Nwokeoma’ Orji. But the fear of what Google might pull up made him close the page before it would fully load. “Maybe someday you’d change pops,” Cupid said. He had avoided any contact with his father so as not to tarnish the good name he had worked really hard for. Forgiveness required an extra-large heart and Cupid was willing to forgive his father for abandoning him and his mother, although he didn’t expect any close relationship to evolve. His extended family also never really cared when he was down and out, so he learned to live like a hermit. Now everybody loved the illegitimate child they had previously despised. He was free-handed and so he kept sending money to anyone that needed it, but he kept them at bay.
ANURIKA was up by past 7 am and had noticed that Chief had left the house already. It was an opportunity to go into his room, to find out what was happening to Chief. Whatever it was, she knew it was good, but she was curious. “Chief!” she exclaimed when she tried to open the door and it was apparently locked. Chief kept lots of money at home, in his room, so since the night he returned and found Anurika in his room, he started locking his door with two padlocks. The man loved his wife, but apparently, he also loved his money. “Nwanne, be kiaful with ya money. If I keep small change, even if it is two hundred Naira, my wife will take it,” High Chief Nebukadineze had told his friend Okosisi during a marriage counseling session. This was a disaster counseling another disaster. But birds of a feather hang out together. So, Chief took the counsel to be wise with how he kept his money. But he always had a tendency to overdo things and so he took it to a new height. He went as far as collecting the list for what was needed in the house and he became a gofer, sometimes he sent his boys to do the buying, and that was something they both hated. Anurika could live with for the first two months and then it became irritating when Chief wanted to start buying even the relaxer she needed to curl her hair.
“Kizito, oga gi kwanu?” Anurika asked, wanting to know if the chief was at work. (trans – how about your master?)
“Mba, oga hasn’t come to work since this week,” Kizito replied, knowing that he had over-answered the question. But he wouldn’t stop there and went ahead t tell Anurika how his oga sent him to withdraw 7 million from the bank on Monday. That was none of his business. But like Chief suspected, there might have really been an evil spirit disturbing the young man.
“Afam kwanu?” (Trans – how about Afam?)
“O na eri nri,” Kizito replied. (Trans – he is eating food)
“Ok, kelee ya.” (Trans – greet him)
Anurika was really confused at everything but the new chief she was seeing was better than the one she had married and had lived with for an entire year. Just the last night, Chief said thank you and helped her even wash the dishes because he realized that she was tired. Thank you is a word most people can’t imagine saying because they believe it makes them appear weak. But in Chief’s case, it was because he never grew up hearing thank you even if he had walked 700 miles just to fetch firewood or farmed two plots of land in one day. So, he just tried to mirror his father as much as he could.
“Coopeedi,” Chief called out into the receiver of his phone. “Is ya house the one that is glass?”
“Chiefo, you are welcome. Yes, I’d be down shortly.”
Cupid pushed a button and the gate opened up on its own accord. “Nna mehn, lekwanu ulo mmadu,” Chief shouted as he drove in. “Coopeedi, o bu nani gi bi ebe a?” he immediately asked the handsome young love-coach who was dressed in a hoodie and camouflage shorts. (Trans – lekwnu ulo mmadu – look at somebody’s house. o bu nani gi bi ebe a – are you the only one living here?)
“Yes Chief, I live here alone. No neighbors. No relatives or squatters. No wife or kids. No pets, wild animals or even bugs. Just me, living in every square inch of this big house.”
“Nna, You don’t need my money. You will give me discount.” Chief kept looking around the beautiful piece of property that Cupid called home. The magnificent cars. The Olympic-sized swimming pool. The lovely flowers and carpet grass.
“Chief pay for service like a boss, with a smile on your face.” Well, it’s easy to say when you are not the one paying. Have you realized how sweet it is to order for roast turkey with fried-rice and Caesar salad when you are not the one paying? Or how fun it is to chat on the phone when using someone else’s call credit? Chief was the one feeling the pain.
They both got into the elevator, “nwanne lekwanu machine,” Chief said, placing his hand on Cupids shoulder to steady himself because he felt unbalanced as the elevator went up. He had never been in one before. “Coopeedi, you didn’t notice I’m wearing Jims today?” (Trans – My brother see machine)
Cupid hadn’t paid attention to that detail. But the Roman man had squeezed himself into a pair of denim jeans and T-shirt. He didn’t stop there. He wore a papa’s hat and hid his eyes behind dark shades. “You are dressed for the event,” Cupid acknowledged. “You have lost some weight already, Chief,” he said as they walked into the living room. Chief had lost a few pounds and although the outfit seemed pretty tight on him, he was making progress.
Chief was overdoing it just like a teenager who visits the gym for the first time and thinks he is going to tone his body to resemble that of Dwayne Johnson in one day. “Keep your looks simple and classy,” Cupid said to him.
“Alexa, play me something nice,” Cupid said out loud. That command was to the intelligent personal assistant designed by Amazon.
‘Playing a list of songs that I think you would like,’ Alexa replied.
Chief was surprised by the voice and curiously looked around. “Nwanne, Coopeedi, I thought you said that you live hia alone. Who is that girl?”
“She is an artificial intelligence, Chief,” Cupid replied and then he lowered the top of his hoodie exposing his fresh neatly carved haircut. “Artificial intelligence is the future that we all have to embrace soon. I decided to start now so I could keep up with the millennials.”
Por Una Cabeza by Andrae Bocelli was the first on the list, and then it was followed by Conte pa tiro. Cupid had a thing for Italian songs, but Chief grimaced and barely endured as the speakers blared. There’s as much as a man can take, “Anexa, ekwela iwe, nwanne I nwere ike igwu egwu Osadebe?” the frustrated Chief requested. (Trans – Anexa, don’t be angry, please do you have the power to play me Osadebe songs?)
‘Sorry, I cannot understand that,’ was the reply. Cupid heard Alexa’s complaint from the speakers in the room and practically laughed at Chief.
Walking back to the living room, wearing an apron, “Chief are you seeing the sun that I’m not seeing?” Cupid asked, taking another look at the super dark black lens he still had on. “Wear this,” he added, throwing an apron to Chief, who went ahead to take off his cap, dark shades and embraced the inner cook in him. That inner chef that couldn’t even fry eggs.
“Tomorrow is Sunday Chief, and you are going to surprise your wife with breakfast in bed.”
Chief was displeased and he put on his sad face, and rightly so. There was no telling where this road would lead to. It could start with breakfast in bed and then branch off to mopping the floors and then washing his wife’s clothes. Being 22 years older than she was and having a chieftaincy title, he felt it was beneath his dignity to do some of these things. Don’t open Pandora’s box, if you don’t want to be surprised by what jumps out. “Mbanu, nwanne,” Chief replied and went ahead to take off the piece of clothing he had hung over his T-shirt. (Trans – no my brother)
But the art-of-the-deal joker card could always be pulled out. “Chief, we would make a trip in a few days that would change your life if you will just give me a chance to be the coach I should be to you. There can’t be two captains in charge of a ship. You paid me to be your captain, coach, teacher, boss, and there are a hundred other words that could describe what I should be to you.”
Chief did some reminiscing about the past week and how much it had already revolutionized his marriage. If things kept up the way they were going, Romanus Jr. would be could be conceived soon. “Butu butu-”
“I understand your concerns. Will your wife take the new you for granted and make you her house help?”
“Yes, nwanne,” Chief grumbled sharply, his eyes squinting and his face squeezing into a frown.
“Can that happen?” Cupid asked, and his lips curled into a smile. “Yes,” he added, answering the question. “I can work on you but I cannot work on your wife because she is not my client. Do you want to pay one million a day for her too?”
“Coopeedi, idi savage,” Chief blurted out. “Nwanne, you will teach me everything so that I can teach my wife by myself.”
Chief was still reeling from the 7 million Naira that he had paid already and the balance of 14 million that was to be paid by the coming week. It wasn’t Cupid’s fault that his clients had to pay that much. He was excellent and they all knew it. And if he billed at a thousand Naira per day, he would have the world as his client. But it is always better; one relationship at a time. Chief mumbled some expressions in Igbo and then he put on the pinafore and was all smiles. “Ebee ka anyi na aga njem?” (Trans – Where are we traveling to?”
“Speak English Chief,” Cupid replied, dancing to the kitchen. “And it’s meant to be a surprise,” he informed Chief who was behind him. “By the way, do you have an international passport?”
“Passpot? I don’t have one now. Butu Okey international use to snap passpot near my shop, I’ll branch dia on Monday.”
“Don’t worry about that Chief. It’s not that kind of passport. We’d take a trip to the immigration office on Monday. But for now, let’s cook.” Cupid opened the fridge and out came the green and red ball peppers, eggs, mixed vegetables, and broth.
“Nwanne,” Chief repeated severally, excited that breakfast was about to be prepared.
“Chief do you know how to chop any of these?” Cupid inquired, using the knife in his hand to point to the ingredients lying neatly beside the bamboo cutting board.
“Coopeedi!” Chief said and didn’t offer an answer to the question but instead, he had a cheesy smile on his face, trying to mask his confusion. The man only knew about selling and making a profit. Cupid went ahead to demonstrate to him how one diced pepper and onion. The oven plate was getting hot and the frying pan began to warm up, the groundnut oil was poured in.
“Chief, allow the oil to heat up well, and then you throw in your ingredients. But you have to be careful of spatter, you don’t want hot oil in your eyes or on your skin. Once you have everything in the pan, we allow it to sauté.”
“Ok nwanne. How many minutes will it take to sustain?”
“It’s pronounced saute and not sustain,” Cupid corrected his protegé and then he handed him the silicone spatula. “Gently stir and then you add half a cup of broth.” Chief was enjoying the task so much that his lips just seemed to curl into a permanent smile. “Chief whip the eggs before you pour it into the mixture.”
“Isi gini?” Chief asked because the sound of the blender in combination with the rock song Alexa was now playing made hearing strenuous. (isi gini – what did you say?)
And so, the heat was reduced and the eggs and corned beef were added. The precious little aroma of bread heated in the microwave and a sautéed egg sauce filled the entire house. “Alexa, play some soft jazz,” Cupid requested and he proceeded to pull out a bottle of Chardonnay, a wine that has a fine bouquet. Everything was perfect. “I’m proud of you Chief,” Cupid said and then he poured some wine into the wine glass and handed it over to Chief. “I make a toast to you, Chief. You are a conquistador.”
“Nwanne, thank you,” Chief replied, and he went ahead to repeat “Konki stadium” quietly and severally. Cupid wondered if he was going to add that to his new lingo just like he had added savage. Time would tell. But for now, it was time to eat, and after a word of prayer, they both ate with enthusiasm and Cupid used the window of opportunity to teach Mr. Romanus about table etiquette and how to eat like a boss.
The food was so sweet, Chief said to Cupid “I esi nri di ka a nwanyi,” and then he proceeded to request for a second round. (Trans – you cook like a woman)
After the meal, Cupid and Chief sat down to watch some soccer and Chief slept off while Chelsea was tormenting Arsenal, so, Cupid also took a nap.
Chief snored while he napped and when he did, it seemed like thunder rumbled. Cupid was awakened by the annoying sound. “Chief, this is bad,” he said, stupefied by the almost impressive falsetto and throbbing vibrato of Chief’s snoring. “You can cause someone to have sleep apnea.” Well, that’s the beauty of snoring; everyone gets disturbed except the one making the awful sound.
“Nwanne, do you have a guest room?” Chief asked.
“Why do you ask, Chief?”
“Nna, I need more sleep.” When you have that kind of delicious breakfast the next thing that usually follows is a good sleep. “Do you have wrapper so that I can cover myself well?”
“You don’t want a pair of pajamas and socks?” Cupid asked before hissing almost silently. “Let’s hit the gym, Chief.” That was the last thing Chief wanted to hear when his eyes were still supercharged red as if blood samples had been dropped into them.
“Coopeedi, Coopeedi, idi troublesome,” Chief replied and then jumping up, he screamed “Eyimba le!” out of the blues. (idi troublesome – you are troublesome)
“Chief, keep your traditional ways to yourself,” Cupid replied, amused at how local Chief was. They both hit the gym and Lecrae provided the motivation. Chief complained that he couldn’t understand what Lecrae was saying. “You are not on that treadmill to listen to the lyrics of the songs playing, but to work out,” Cupid informed him and kept him busy like a tactful drill sergeant would.
Chief’s quadriceps and calves were hurting badly but Cupid kept pushing him to build his endurance. With each exercise session, Chief got better until he began to feel good about the progress he was making in shedding off the excess weight, especially the stubborn belly fat that he had considered as an evidence of wealth.
“Nwanne, I have a sister?” Chief said, sweating profusely. For a moment, Cupid assumed he was talking out of point, just like he had yelled “Eyiimba le!.” But Chief repeated, “I have a sister.”
“Interesting,” Cupid responded. “Is she pretty much like you?”
That question was subtle and Chief was convinced that Cupid was taking a thinly veiled jab at him. “Coopeedi, idi savage!” he replied and then decided to not proceed in that direction. “I will bring her with me to your office one day.”
“Ok, Chief, it would be a pleasure to host the two-”
Chief’s phone rang, “Important call,” he said, subtly hushing Cupid. “Umu darkness,” he said when he realized who was calling. (umu darkness – children of darkness)
“Oga, ndewo,” Afam greeted. (ndewo – an igbo greeting)
“Enyi, kee kwanu?” Chief asked in a gruff tone. (Trans – my frined, how are you?)
“Adim nma. Oga, how is your body?” (Trans – I am fine)
“Why do you ask?”
“Kizito hurugi na uzo. Ya asi na ina ata hu na odika inaria HIV.” (Trans – Kizito saw you on the road he said you are losing weight. It’s like you have HIV)
“Idi babaric. Ibu a wild animal. Anu mpama. ” Chief hissed and cut the call. “Coopeedi, continue from where you stopped.” Cupid laughed so hard his tummy started to hurt. Chief was really an exciting fellow to be around. Back to business; Cupid required Chief to spend the next two hours reading and that apparently seemed more difficult than the exercise session. It wasn’t an interesting activity as being at Eko Hotel eating pounded yam with ofe nsala, looking into people’s eyes, observing their body language and emotions. But Cupid didn’t care how many times Chief yawned and hissed and shuffled his feet; he was going to read that book and learn many new words. (Trans – idi barbaric – you are babaric, ibu a wild animal – you are a wild animal, Anu mpama – a foolish person.)
“I want your wife to look at you and desire to be better too, because you, Chief, are leading the way.” It was certain that marriages and relationships have failed, owing to the fact that neither parties were willing to make an effort, or one of the two made all the effort. If Chief’s wife doesn’t also make changes, it would only take a few weeks after his “rehab” session for things to go back to where they were before he spent 21 million Naira for a makeover. That would be a colossal waste of funds. Not something that the client or his coach wanted.
Chief stayed the course and immediately it was two hours he moved the books away and folded his arms, frowning just like a judge that had recused himself from a case he never wanted to be part of in the first place.
“Chief would you stay back a little later for a boy’s night out?”
Chief’s face was still ruffled like a 10 Naira note that had passed through a hundred hands and couldn’t survive the next exchange. “Gini?” he asked, not understanding what Cupid had asked him. (Gini – what?)
“Repeat that in English, Chief. Good English, precisely.” Cupid responded and completely disregarded the face and body language of his clients. If he spent time observing the participant’s attitude, there would be no Cupid and Sam Inc. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. After a saved marriage or relationship he could tell them how petty they were through the process.
It’s one thing to know what to say, but it’s another to know how to express it in Queen’s English. So Chief took a deep breath, clenched his fist, squinted his eyes, and licked his lips with his tongue. Clearing his throat, “What is happening tonight?” Chief asked.
“Nwanne,” Cupid excitedly screamed, jumping up and jiggling a bit. “You deserve pounded yam with afang soup.”
Chief was all smiles now that pounded yam had been mentioned.
“You deserve it but you would not get it. Fewer carbs and more protein. Remember?”
SAM arrived with a bang, honking so annoyingly that Cupid had to scream “what’s wrong with you man?” Sam decided to honk even louder. “Hey bud, this is reserved location. Why have you got a cell phone?” Cupid asked as Sam drove in.
“That’s the point. It’s too quiet. The neighbors have to know that Superman lives here. Buddy, don’t keep it quiet sometimes. Have fun, make noise, disturb the neighborhood and just have an off-the-regular-you kind of day.” Sam got out of his car with a bottle of Dom Perignon, “I want to be the one to save you, bud,” he said to Cupid. “It’s the least I could do for you.”
“Who told you I needed to be saved?”
“You are Superman to everybody. But I’m your friend, and you are as close to me as a brother. C’mon, let’s go inside and turn up.”
The night was everything Chief had never experienced. It started with video games, none of which Chief could play or was interested in learning to play. So, while Cupid and Sam played, he kept himself busy by calling all his buddies in Alaba. Then they proceeded to watch Fences in Cupid’s mini cinema. After 5 minutes, Chief kept asking “nna, no shooting in this film? Achorom action film.” But the teriyaki chicken, fresh fish pepper soup, and wine was the most exciting part of the night especially for Chief who could not get enough of the feast. (Trans – I want an action-packed film)
“Coopeedi, nwanne, thank you.” Chief opened the door to his car and was about to step in when Cupid stopped him.
“I ordered two pieces of wrist watches on Amazon a couple of days ago. I received both today because I had requested it by priority shipping.” Cupid handed a a box to Chief, “this is for your wife,” he said and then he patted the Roman man on the back.
Chief didn’t know what to say, so he just kept looking at Cupid. “Thank you,” he finally said after what seemed to be forever. “Chukwu gozie gi,” he added, and then he drove away. (Trans – God bless you.)
…THE NEXT MORNING…
Anurika had slept off before Chief returned the previous night, so, she never got to see him for the entire day. But it was Sunday and like most people, a little extra sleep before Church is always a nice thing, and therefore, she kept snoozing her alarm clock. After a prolonged period of pandiculation, she finally stood erect with clear eyes and an alert mind. “My lord, what is burning,” she screamed and rushed to the kitchen. The Roman man was in his apron, and the kitchen was on ‘fire’.
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