February 4th, 2015.
“Okay guys, I think we’ve had enough TV for one day.”
“Ah, why na? I thought you had Fashion TV, Style Network and E! In store for us too.”
“I know better than to pay mind to your tongue, Jerry.”
Emem finally decided to relieve the men and switch off the projectors. The Telemundo/Africa Magic marathon had lasted for about six hours, and by the time she was done torturing their eyes, they wore the look of people who had been through a nervous breakdown.
“Hey ma’am, I have a question: Why is water white?” Soogun asked, in the tone of one who had lost his memory.
“Who’s the idiot now, Soogun?” Jerry asked, giggling with each syllable. The laughing stopped when he felt Farida’s palm on his face once again. Aidee in the meantime applied some lipstick and strutted her way out of the basement. Promise focused his gaze as he watched her leave.
“Promise, you still get time look, abi?” Wole queried, interrupting his thoughts.
“Alright, play time is over. Let me disclose why we have entertained you here as our guests, never mind the mode of hospitality”, Emem resumed. “Quite frankly, we ladies are more or less tired of your organisation’s existence. What kind of people dedicate their lives to avoiding commitment and eschewing love? Seriously, who does that? Well, here and now, Jerry will sign an agreement winding up this group and putting its activities to a permanent stop. We can’t have you hurting the womenfolk and being stingy with your hearts anymore.”
“Oh really, Emem?” Jerry replied, with a hint of mockery in his voice. “You really feel you can just tell me to put Bachelors’ Anonymous to an end, and I’ll just buy a truckload of Sharwarma in celebration? We love our reputation as successful, non-committal young men, and we wouldn’t give that up for all the ‘okpa’ in Enugu. Not like we have seen any reason to change our minds around here.”
“No reason to, huh? Jerry, your swipe at the girls here is not noticed….but seriously though, you may want to see things from my point of view. Valentine’s Day is around the corner. How about some real love for a change?”
“Fraulein Emem, I’ll sign your tiny piece of paper, but I’ll need to see our girls return from Sambisa first.”
Emem’s phone beeped. She pulled it out and tucked it back in a matter of seconds, but not before a mischievous smile had flashed across her face.
James Becks Roberts made his way through the poorly lit tunnel. To his left were designer handbags, and to his right were all kinds of lingerie. He took short strides forward, resisting the urge to glance at the lingerie from time to time. He knew that he was on a mission to save his brothers, and distraction was the last thing he needed.
He kept going, gun in hand, determined to find and rescue the captured bachelors…until his eyes landed on a figure in front of him. He worked his eyes through the poor lighting and soon made out who it was. A lady, clad in a spaghetti top and a skirt shorter than a pair of NYSC shorts, was standing ten metres away. Her back had been turned to him, but she quickly turned facing him, and beckoned to him with a “come get me” gesture.
The dim lights had not prevented James from taking in the figure with his eyes. “Such shape”, he mused. He knew how dangerous stopping to flirt could be, but for all he knew, a little distraction couldn’t hurt. He quickened his pace, walking towards the lady ten metres away.
If James had been a little observant, he would have noticed the unevenness in the sounds emanating from the floor, as well as the slight weakness in certain spots on the ground as he trod the tunnel. He had reckoned without the trapdoor which lay between him and the focus of his eyes, and as he made a few more strides forward, the floor gave way, sucking him in and quickly closing afterwards.
The lady in spaghetti giggled at the turn of events. She slowly drew out her phone and, in an excited tone, said:
“Hey ma’am, it’s Chinyere Nkemjika. Threat eliminated.”
“But seriously, why should we sign?”
“You’ll soon find out why, Fash.”
Emem snapped her fingers, and the CCTV came on. The men gleamed with excitement as they saw Jargo advancing, gun in hand, through another tunnel littered with sanitary pads. The tunnel was equally dim in lighting, and if any smiles tried to make their way to his face, they probably got lost in transit. He meant business. They could see that, and they were loving the moment. A saviour had arrived.
Jargo soon stopped in his tracks. Aidee had met him halfway. The sounds from the conversation in the tunnel were muffled, but they soon saw Jargo drop his gun and slowly lock lips with Aidee. Surprise was the dominant feeling etched on their faces, but that was changed by Horror in a matter of minutes. Jargo soon began to feel a burning sensation around his entire body, and screamed in agony as his flesh corroded and eventually became free of oxygen.
“Baiser de Mort. The Kiss of Death”, Emem explained, with a hint of mockery in her tone. “On Aidee’s lips is a lipstick made up of some acid, some opium and a bunch of other not-so-healthy stuff. Once her lips touch yours, the reaction is in stages. First you feel like your soul is on fire, that sensation felt by some when they kiss the one they love. That combustive feeling soon extends to your physical organs, and in time, your flesh begins to react like you just received an acid bath. Slowly, but surely, you cross the borders into the After-life. Any questions?”
“Err, what colour of bra are you wearing?” Jerry inquired, chuckling as he did.
Aidee returned to the basement with fresh make-up on. The men shuddered as she walked in; lustful admiration had been replaced with fright. She looked at Jerry and winked.
“Jerry, the truth is, in spite of your mouthy nature, I’ve got some sort of admiration for you”, Emem said, with a tone that suggested appeal. “If you apologise for your impoliteness, and ultimately agree to effect that signature, I could still let you live, and better yet, we could be friends.”
“I’d love to consider your offer, Ma’am, but I’ll have to watch Arsenal lift the Champions League first.”
“Your ego will be your undoing, silly boy!”
Emem’s tone had changed. She beckoned on Aidee and, with a smirk on her face, walked to another corner of the basement. Jerry licked his lips in anticipation. If his life would end that night, he was going to make the most of his final moments.
“Aidee, I trust you’ve got good breath”, he said.
Aidee brought her lips close. Jerry stared thoughtfully and, before he knew it, found himself stretching his head forward and taking her lips into his. Mimi and Julie posed for a selfie, while the men watched Aidee and Jerry with anxiety.
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