Badoo closed the door of his room and sat on the bed with a sigh. He wanted his shoes off, he wanted his clothes off; he wanted to get in the shower and get some coolness.
But he was tired. He could do all that later. For now, he could get the shoes off and call Bunmi. He saw 14 missed calls on his phone when he came out of the doctor’s examination room.
He had to jump when he heard a voice. He had thought he was alone. He had no reason to think he was not alone in the room.
Pa Fakunle came out from under the bed.
“Ori iyaa mi o! Pa Fakunke, what is this about?”
“Keep your voice down.”
“Why are you hiding under my bed?”
“This is a serious issue, Badoo. I don’t want your Mum to see me. I came to ask you a very urgent question.”
A quick glance at the door. “What is it for God sakes?”
“Don’t use that tone, son. Don’t be rude.”
“Pa Fakunle, I’m not trying to be disrespectful.”
“Calm down, Badoo. You are a man. Stop behaving like a woman.”
“My mother may come in here and see you. What will you tell her?”
“That is why you should shut up and listen. I want to ask you something very important about your relationship with Sade.”
“What is it?”
“Have the two of you done something that involved blood? Something like a secret agreement?”
“Why? We had sex. There was a lot of blood the first time, which was her first time. Does that count for blood?”
“It does, son. Our people say Omo eni laa ran nise de toru toru.” It is another person’s son that we usually send on night erands.
“What are you trying to say? What does it imply?”
The old man snorted, and smiled, and placed his left leg on the wall. “Badoo, you will reap what you have sown. That is what it implies.”
He was not sure which one happened first. The opening of the door, the smoke-in-the-wind-like disappearance of the old man, the ringing of the phone; all seemed to happen at the same time. He grabbed the phone, held his index finger on his lips to tell his Mum not to say a word and sat on the bed.
“Hello, Badoo.” The words were followed by a sniff. It was a woman’s voice.
“Badoo, your ex called again. Can you imagine what she did? I tell you, that one is a really crazy woman.”
“Are you alright? What did she do?”
“She slashed my tyres! The bitch slashed my tyres. She made my boobs sag.”
“Made your boobs sag? How did she do that? Did you actually see her in the flesh?”
“Long story, Badoo. You have to come immediately.”
Badoo had his hands on his hip as his heart pounded away like a jungle drum. His head felt heavy, he felt he heard his phone ring but when he brought it out of his pocket the screen was blank. No missed call.
He saw the slashed tyres in the parking lot of the complex, he saw the smashed glasses, he saw the writing with a red paint on the wall of Bunmi’s room. It was impossible to miss. KEEP YOUR SLOT AWAY FROM MY BAE, SLUT!
He had tried to play the police; he should be the intelligent man doing his job. The angry writer on the wall would not think about a lot of things. Sometimes anger makes people lose their head. He walked to the man at the security booth.
“I need the CCTV footage.”
“It’s pointless!” Bunmi was somewhere behind him, watching his effort, but her words weighed like the words of a sage. He wished she was not so tragic about it.
“Bunmi, let me do my job. The whole place is within the view of that camera and that one. CCTV footage will nail this bastard. Sade is not like this. It must be an imposter!”
He sat there – in the security booth – for two hours of fast-forwarding, and rewinding and putting video footage on slow-mo, and sometimes asking the boring visuals to freeze.
In the end, there was nothing significant to see. The glass broke, the tyres went bad, slut-shaming words on the wall. CCTV cameras got nothing, but something had happened there because he had seen the way the car was when she drove in and parked.
Badoo sat there with his lips out like a duck as he thought about this violent dead woman.
He saw Bunmi’s breasts. The new state of things. Breasts now like pancakes; breasts that had been like apples. Like oranges. Watermelons. Maybe not as big. The breasts before him that night were fallen heroes.
“Bunmi, you are much more to me than your sagging breasts.” He couldn’t help but mumble it. Right then his body told him to be careful; his heart blamed him for bringing this on a beautiful woman that would have otherwise met a man without burdensome baggage.
“Really? Well, I want to be all that much to you with my breasts on. I did this thing in Los Angeles! Dude, it cost me a hundred thousand dols!”
“You should have done it at the medical village in Ondo. It’s cheaper there.”
“Look, Badoo, there are other good breasts out there. Who knows what this crazy bitch will do next?
“Don’t call her that,” Badoo said calmly. “She is not a bitch.”
“Whoever the hell is doing this is a bitch.”
“Don’t say that,” he said, avoiding her eyes.
She snorted. “You know what? Let’s just end this. Okay? I’m getting sick of the crap already. I don’t need any more complications in my life. Not now. Not ever. And besides: your sex sucks. Forget you ever met me.”
He saw Sade in his dreams that night. When she came back from Bunmi’s flat. He winced as he tried to sort through the images that seemed to run like a bad movie trailer. He wanted the dream to come back to him. He knew the story. Her smile, his smile, the way her hand slipped like okra paste when he tried to hold her; the way her face changed when he said she should stop this.
“Stop tormenting people!”
“I think earth is messing with your good heart Badoo. You need to join me now.”
That was the last understandable thing he heard. That was what she said before her words came rapidly in an incomprehensible, seemingly meaningless language. He had thought that that sort of speech had floated away with Jesus.
“Sade, what are you doing?”
The last phrase he heard, “Ke Yooona!” the one she repeated twice, what she said with this breathless excitement–he would find out the meaning. He knew he would.
Sade ended in that peculiar rhythm of language. He must have heard it before. He would ask Boitumelo about Ke yoona.
Boitumelo: that Southern African girl was on her knees beside butt-naked Manini when Badoo got the door open with a kick and showed the wanted crime lord his loaded gun. “Your hands on your head! Kneel down! If you make a wrong move, I will shoot.”
And Manini tried one wrong move towards his gun, which made Badoo shoot him in the ankle. When he was down, bleeding and in pains, Badoo’s men cuffed his hands. That was how the man who had been glorified in fascinating stories of evil exploits ended his reign of terror.
“Are you Manini?” Badoo had asked.
“Look, officer,” the criminal had said like a toddler that had been caned for soiling his pants, “I wont deceive you; I wont to lie to you. I am Manini.”
Then he called Mr Falajiki – who led the team – who claimed the glory of the arrest for himself.
Would a bad man like Manini take a man like Falajiki serious in the face of danger? Such danger as the sight of a police officer? That man – Mr Falajiki – would have to try hard for about a minute to get up from a fall. What can the fat frog do? Talk about a clown. Thank God for black though. Clowns don’t wear black. Or maybe they do on Halloween.
Sade had spoken like Boitumelo – the language, not the voice. Ke yoona! Boitumelo would not speak English because of that policy of Southern African states that the language of the colonists should not be spoken within their borders. Problem is: the language of the colonists is spoken from coast to coast in Africa.
That night of Manini’s arrest Badoo had to keep Boitumelo in his office for about four hours as the PTD three-man team worked on the translation machine that had been gathering dust in the store of the Police Technical Department. The thing had been dead for months. It was in Akure; not in Lagos, not in Pietermaritzburg, not in Abidjan. No one ever thought Manini would be that easy to arrest; and who would be expecting a Boitumelo in these parts?
Boitumelo kept saying she was not guilty; she was just there to help the man with his lollypop. She would take lollypop from any man. It is her job to be paid. The analysis lollypop is not her business. Even if President Ebagum – that ever-frowning man ruling in Zimbabwe – would give her his lollypop, she would suck it. He reminded Badoo of that song on MTV about getting your number baby so I can show you what I’m all about.
It turned out the girl from Potchefstroom was not guilty. There is a difference between a man and his lollypop. Manini was not his lollypop, even if the lollypop is part of Manini. Licking a lollypop is a fundamental human right.
That was six years ago, before Sade’s death. That was the end of Manini and his gun-clutching men who took anything they wanted by force, a gang that had the states down south in the delta by the jugular and made police officers piss in their pants as they run for their lives.
Badoo thought it had been easy to understand Ke yoona well enough when he heard dreamland-Sade say it. But he wanted to be sure. He wanted something more reassuring than Sade’s body language.
It was his first skype call in the new month. Sleepy-eyed Boitumelo had a black bra on, her hair dishevelled; Badoo could see someone under the sheets in the background. Badoo could not be certain if it were a man or a woman.
“This is a surprise!” she said lazily.
“Your English has improved! Wow! You took classes?”
“It was hectic, hey. I had to walk all the way. To Drakensberg. To climb all the way to the top, just to get to a class.”
“I can’t believe it. You are a very brilliant woman! You are getting the words out easily! No one would be convinced now that five years ago you are not able to manage a single word. I knew you shouldn’t be using yourself like that. I mean, making a trade from em…” He searched for a word that could express his respect for her trade despite his disapproval. He gave up.
“I love English, hey. It is just the way they hunt us like game here. English can kill you in this place! There are many people like me who love the language but are just scared.”
“What about that man in bed with you?”
“Who says he’s a man?” she asked with that shy smile of an adventurous woman, that smile that could be an act for the places you could reach if you tried enough. “He is loyal,” Sade said. “He speaks English, too.”
“Boitumelo, a quick one please. I know you are busy. And I have to get to work very early this morning. Ke yoona. What does it mean?”
Badoo sat restlessly outside Dr Masango Masango’s office for about for three hours. He sat on the black plastic chair beside an aquarium of gold fishes; bored, hungry, worried, battling to be hopeful, wondering what could be happening behind the closed door.
The doctor said to meet at two, right after lunch, and he had been sitting outside, waiting from a quarter to two. It is just a test result for God sakes! Call me into your office and lay this thing out like it is.
He stood up to knock the door one more time. He pressed the bell beside the knob of the door; this is what he hated most about his job. A man like Dr Masango Masango is the reason why people were now talking about law enforcement robots.
He sat down again with a sigh. He brought out his phone from the pocket of his trousers, ready to delete Bunmi Affi’s number.
That was when Mr Falajiki called to irritate him with his casualness.
“Badoo, where are you?”
“I’m outside Dr MM’s office sir. I have to get my test results. Remember?”
“Oh. MM cancelled. I forgot to tell you. He said he needed some consultants for insight.”
“You should have told me!”
“I slept. I wanted to send you the text, then I fell asleep. It must have been that Congo fufu.”
“I sat there for hours waiting for nothing!”
“I said I forgot, you fool! I wont take that condescending tone from you! You are to do a hundred push-ups or consider yourself dismissed from the force!”
“Sir.” He could not keep the chuckle to himself. “Can you do ten push-ups?”
“Corporal Badoo! Consider your words all that would be taken so far, of your disregard for authority! This is still the force and there is still something called discipline. You are no longer doing a hundred push ups. You will do a hundred and fifty or quit right now!”
Badoo felt like smashing the aquarium beside him with his fists. He imagined the flap of gold fishes trying to live on the ground beside the broken glass. He would never do that. That could build a strong case against his sanity.
“Sir, right here? Now?”
“Yes. I’m watching you. Do it or get out of the force.”
Badoo was delightfully surprised to see Bunmi’s text message, but he had been learning the mysterious ways of women. She made his phone come alive just when he began to think the day’s drama had ended.
Badoo knew about one man who took women up like oceanography, the man who studied women like space science. He knew Professor Minah with his thick books, and his libraries with shelves up to the ceiling, ten-gig e-books, and numerous publications. The man surely wanted to understand women. He wanted an office at CERN to take his study to the next level. That must be why he ended up more confused.
No one would have realistically expected Professor Minah to ask such a dumb question as: “Why do women paint their faces? Why do they paint their nails and put on weaves to look more beautiful?”
The man is a fake. That was the mass sentence of the cyber universe. A few days after Prof Minah’s infamous words, his office at Yale was locked by the school’s management.
Badoo remembered watching him being thrown out of the office like refuse; he remembered the look on his face when he kept reminding the campus security men of his rights. Human rights my foot! Badoo had been pleased by the Allied Nations’ adoption of African-style human rights. If you do crime, we will be pleased to wipe our asses with your human rights!
He wondered how the law enforcement robots of Nigeria would fare on the human rights thing. One robot had in London tossed a Yoruba chief in the boot of his patrol car when the man came too close, ignored the blinking red lights on the robot’s eyes and the metallic tone bearing warning words, to ask him if he knows who he is.
Professor Minah was the 96th Yale scholar who had promised to get women all figured out. Badoo knew he was better than the professor. He was the 22nd century philosopher who had known that with women, the only answer is the lack of answers.
Badoo had stared at Bunmi Affi’s text as he would have done to a five-year-old boy dancing azonto. But before OSRC – the state media – began the primetime news at eight – their news on the governor’s most recent tape-cutting event – Badoo was already at the door, lying to his Mum about a meeting of utmost urgency.
“Don’t kill yourself, my son. Don’t die for government.”
“I’m okay, Ma.”
“Badoo, you came in less than an hour ago. You’ve not eaten. Now you are going out. You will be okay, but you have to be careful.”
“Yes Mum. Thanks. Now I have to go out.”
Bunmi Affi looked beautiful in her body-fitted sequinned little black dress; it was flawed beauty but it was beauty any way. He loved the smell of her perfume, he noted her silky smooth legs once again, her chest however, is flat like a man’s. You could only go far with that kind of breast in Hollywood. He knew she would go back to Los Angeles for another one.
Bunmi looked beautiful but scared, obviously trying to get over something with a brave face. He had thought she really meant what she said about ending it.
Orisa kin npe meji obinrin o si. A woman is like a jealous god with an obsession with absolute devotion. The banned book says the woman was made in the image of god.
Conversation with a dead person is enough reason for any woman to flee from trouble.
“You’ve been right all along, Badoo,” she said as she sat on the sofa and crossed her legs. “Maybe someone is trying to play mind games with you. I mean, someone who wants to make you think Sade is doing this.”
“Maybe. I don’t even know what to think. I’m sorry for bringing all this on you.”
“Stop apologizing. Please sit,” she said, patting the space beside her.
“Whoever is behind this, whether human or anjonu, we will win together, Badoo.” She took his hand. “I am not afraid of anything. Don’t worry. Okay?”
“Bunmi, if you leave me to deal with this alone, I won’t hold it against you. I know this is difficult for you. I just want this to end.”
“Don’t worry. I’m afraid.”
“Badoo,” she began with a pouty smile, and then told him about that memorable scene in the 21st century movie called Titanic. She downloaded it last night. She had been so turned on by that scene in a car. She showed him on the visual wall. Love is not just about convenience, love is a life-and-death thing. She could be the kind who would catch a grenade for love.
“Badoo, I’m really sorry for what I said last night about you in bed. Your sex was great.”
“So, officer,” she said with a wink. “What’s your plan? I want to show you my particulars in the car.”
She was soon on all fours; he was behind her, her head down and her face hidden by the spill of her hair or weaves parted in the middle, swaying with the finesse of slim dancers, as she rocked back into him.
He was lost. He was there. He was not there. He was missing something but he was too busy to dwell on it. He would have loved to see her face. He had told himself again and again to stop trying to see Sade in any other woman.
“What the hell are you trying to do?” she bellowed suddenly as if his thing had just turned to a snake.
He was not trying to do something. He was doing something.
“What?” he gasped, stunned by the suddenness of her exit from the car.
“What the hell was that? You want to kill me?”
“I thought you liked it rough.”
“What is the meaning of Ke yoona?”
He exhaled deeply and looked around as if he had been thinking about a secret watcher before she made him stop. “Bunmi, who told you that?”
“That was what you repeated a couple of times before you grabbed my neck!”
“I didn’t grab your neck!”
“Cant you see how you took my neck?”
“I grabbed your waist, babe. I didn’t grab your neck!”
“Yes you did! You grabbed my neck! You could have snapped my neck! What the hell does ke yoona mean? You are losing it, Badoo. I think this night is a mistake.”
“Keep your voice down.”
“Fuck off! Don’t tell me to keep my voice down.”
TO BE CONTINUED…NEXT MONDAY: December 5.
About the Author:
Feyisayo Anjorin is a writer, an actor, and a director. His writing has appeared in Litro, 365 tomorrows, Bella Naija, and Fiction On the Web. He plays the character “Cassius” on Mnet Africa’s flagship TV soap “Tinsel.”