I really should tell you.
A certain Thursday night, I was returning home in a cab from Bogobiri. You know, that artsy-fartsy place in Ikoyi where people crowd in to listen to music and poetry, and eat and drink (overpriced) stuff and air kiss each other and generally unwind.
As the cab guy pulled up to my gate, I noticed there were about 7 to 10 guys standing on the other side of the road…drinking no doubt. Anyway, they weren’t my concern, I told the cab guy I was gonna rush in and get my wallet to pay him. I heard shouts as I ran inside, I assumed they were from the driver, I shouted back I’M COMING.
When I got out, one of the guys left the Standing Alcoholics party across the road from my gate and walked over to me, I ignored him and walked up to the cab guy trying to make a U-turn and paid him off. As I returned, the guy blocked me as I tried to pass by, he blocked me each time to the left, to the right, to the left again,and then the right. MARADONA!
He, of course, was stark drunk, and yelling at me. Then one other guy (let’s call him Side-Kick) from Inebriation Nation marched over, and the one in front of me (let’s call him Drunky) told him to hold his drink. Then I really was intrigued.
“So now, whats’s your plan?” I asked him.
“My plan is to change things here” said Drunky.
So here I am, with Drunky and Side-Kick planning to change things there and then, possibly the anatomical arrangement of my face or any other body part they deemed fit. What was I to do? Run? Fight? Tip them? Decisions! Decisions!!
What else could one do? I started vibrating. Not quite sure if this vibration was from a place of anger or fear. But boy, I didn’t care. I started pushing Drunky. And Side-Kick was startled. He never expected it. Like, this boy dey mad? He no see say like 10 of us dey here? He no know say we fit kill am?
Anyway, as I was pushing Drunky violently, another one from the Alcoholic Thugs of Nigeria ran over and held Drunky back. I knew this one, he’s always been nice to me since I moved to this area. So cause I like him and he had no business being there at that time of the night, let’s call him P.B (Passerby). P.B was yelling at Drunky, Drunky was yelling at me, Side-Kick was yelling at P.B, and the audience from across the street was all too chemically-induced to care hard enough to join in the fight, so they just watched from the sidelines and shouted for their team member, maybe someone shouted for me. Who knows? One can’t possibly hear everything with adrenaline pumping through every vein and sipping through every pore.
As soon as Drunky was out of my way, I stormed off, through my gate and on home. Someone was shouting “MARVIN GAYE! MARVIN GAYE!! He better not be calling me what I think he is.
I knew he was calling me, that person has called me Marvin Gaye persistently since I moved to Lawani Street, and I have persistently ignored to turn back to see who that person is…and that night was no different. I failed to turn back.
The Saturday afterwards, some other guy, who I will call Cheekboned Stoic (You will find out why) called me over as I was returning from grocery shopping. He came TOO CLOSE to me yo! He kept talking ’bout how I am a king and I carry myself as such and how he admires me, and how of course he hated what those guys did to me that night…even though if they do it again he would support them. “Ask me Why” He said. “Why?” I droned. Because on your way to becoming a King-maker, there are things you must do. Settle the boys. So tomorrow they will be your fans and not your critics.
The whole while I kept inching back from his foul alcohol breath and he kept inching forward. Our faces were literally at kiss distance. And you know, it’s rude to look away. I already disrespected them once (so to speak), so I couldn’t afford to not look him in the eye this time. Am I mad? Anyway, I noticed he had really high cheekbones, like the type you see on models in Editorial pages of fashion magazines. Hence “Cheekboned” And he was dropping some badass nuggets of wisdom like King Solomon on Hennessy, hence “Stoic“.
He ended his diatribe with “Be free. Live your life. Chop knuckle!!”
That last part confused me until I saw he had made a fist, so I made a fist as well and we bumped fist and that was the end.
And that is the end. Bye.