Portraits continues today with the third installment. Meet Dayo, Chidi’s (read his story HERE) friend and partner-in-crime.
Chidi thinks he’s so smart. Running off to go and get his dick sucked by that old faggot pedophile in Animashaun and telling me stupid shit like “I’m going to see Ameli.” I could destroy him if I wanted, but that would mean he’d get sent to Covenant, which is much worse than Bowen. At least they let the Bowen inmates come home on the weekends. Okay, I’m more pissed that Chidi’s keeping something that big from when I’m only like his BEST FRIEND.
I like Chidi sha, he’s generous, but not like other kids in his allowance bracket, who practically rub the money in your face and make you feel like a worthless peasant just because they pay for your lunch. I drop the remnants of the blunt that Chidi left and stub it out with the toe of my Timberland boots. Actually they used to be Ekeoma’s Timberland boots, from when I convinced her Chidi was having a phase where he was turned on by tomboys.
“You dont need to change your wardrobe. Just maybe one or two shirts and brown Tims. Trust me, no matter how little you wear, he’ll notice.”
“But see his girlfriend now, Ameli. She doesn’t dress like that.”
“Hahahahahaha!!! Are you kidding? Ameli isn’t his girlfriend, she’s not his type. Just trust me on this.”
I honestly didn’t expect her to fall for that but she did, and Ekeoma is never one to do things with moderation. Two weeks later when I made sure she overhead Chidi tell the boys that he thought she was having an identity crisis because she’d all of a sudden started raiding her brother’s closet for clothes, you can trust that I was in place to ‘graciously’ take the windfall of Timberland boots and plaid shirts that she couldn’t bring herself to sell or give to her girlfriends. It pained me to have to plant the seed of the idea in Chidi’s head and watch him tell the joke and steal the glory for my idea. Till today someone always brings up Eke’s tomboy phase and pats Chidi on the back for his wit and I cringe inside. Some days, I actually want to feel bad about the whole thing then I remember Eke still went and got Chidi drunk and sucked his dick.
I peer out from the corner of the building and check that the coast is clear before I leave. No one else knows Chidi smokes, and with the things I’ve heard about his parents, I don’t want anyone connecting me to his habit when everyone eventually finds out. Smoking only happens around Chidi, and even then he does most of the smoking and I nurse my blunt, one drag for ten of his. Chidi is long gone and the street is deserted. I stuff my hands into the pockets of what used to be Funet’s jeans and stroll leisurely down the street. A lot of what I own are gifts for services rendered and secrets kept. In that way, I am a lot like my father, God bless him. It’s a twenty minute walk down to where I need to be and while I’m strolling, I aerate my shirt and spray on some of the nasty hausa Tulare that I keep on me for occasions like this. My mother on her good days has a better nose than a drug hound.
The cathedral looms before me, all white walls and colored windows, imported from England during the colonial years. My father is seated in one of the offices at the back end of this edifice, hunched over a bibles in different transalations and concordances, threading the broken pieces of his next sermon. It will be ‘exultant’ since we’re in the season of the Pentecost, and he will stand on the raised dais tomorrow and speak to ‘our’ hearts. Their hearts sha, I don’t think he’ll ever be able to reach mine. I walk down the side corridor to the smaller building around the back, where youth fellowship congregates, and where for the last 12 years I have ‘ministered’ as a chorister, usher, drama member and now P.R.O.
There is a small crowd huddled in the back, about eleven strong, both male and female. They grow silent when I enter the room, eagerness radiating off them. I spot Ameli and Ekeoma and the others with whom I have ‘democratically’ rule this youth congregation. I meaningfully scan the room, making eye contact with each person and smiling warmly. A smile that says ‘out of everyone here, you’re my favourite person’. They all smile back and then frown when they realise that I came alone and Chidi is not with me. I don’t blame them, after all Chidi is supposed to be the Youth leader. If only my father really knew the kind of people he has gathered and put in charge of the ‘souls’ of his youth, he’d have a heart attack. I take a seat at the head of the circle where Chidi should be and take a deep breath.
“So Chidi couldn’t make it, he told me he had some final errands to run before he leaves for school on next week.” I say, stressing the ‘me’ with my gaze firmly on Ameli. Her wide eyes confirm that Chidi hasn’t told her he’s leaving yet. Oh well.
“We will miss him when he goes, he’s been such a pillar to so many of us. Especially Eke. But the ministry must continue without him. The first order of business is publicity for the concert next month. How much do we have in our accounts?”
The meeting drags on for about an hour, with the excos volleying ideas and inspiration for the programme. I offer to handle the publicity for the concert alone and give a figure that is two times more than is actually needed. Everyone knows better than to try to contradict me, and the meeting fizzles into little clusters of chatter. Funet walks up to me. He towers over me and reeks of old money.
“You’re evil. You know that right?” He says. He doesn’t need to say it, but we both know he is referring to Ameli.
I laugh and reply. “No worse than you at any store.”
He bristles and stalks off. Just as well. I wasn’t really in the mood for a scene. I prefer to create them and control them to my advantage. I spot one of the newer excos standing apart from everyone, a little unsure of herself. I smile and walk to her, she could use a friend.
I am like my pastor father in many ways; charismatic, unassuming, non-threatening, in a position of authority over a horde of strangers. I know their secrets, every single one of them. But unlike my father, the pastor who learns the secrets of his flock to grant them absolution of it, I know that secrets are only good for leverage.
Am I evil?
I dont know, but I do know that I’m most definitely not my father.