I quit my job. I have my reasons. Everyone has reasons for everything. Now, time’s gliding, slipping, even though I really don’t have anything to do. Life’s a sloth. I’m a sloth.
N calls me.
“Elegushi tonight” he says.
I don’t want to go. I like a good party. I like drink, and reasonable drugs and people and skin. While Elegushi has all of these things, it isn’t exactly ideal. I put the phone on hold.
“Mum, I’m going to Elegushi tonight”
“To do what? Don’t you know there’s Ebola? Who are you going with?”
That’s the only thing that makes the idea of me roaming about Elegushi beach drunk as Bacchus tolerable. Elegushi is the earth unfiltered. All its pleasures, all its vices, all its temptations are there. The people aren’t of the mummy, daddy, subsidised life variety. The real Lagos is there in a way that it isn’t in my father’s permanently powered house, or my grandfather gifted Mitsubushi Outlander.
I put on a black t shirt from Levis, black Kooples skinny jeans, black Converses and a black NYC hat. I look cool I think. I’ve been wearing black a lot lately. Yohji Yamamoto said, “black says I don’t bother you – don’t bother me.” It’s a nice thought but it isn’t true in Lagos. The only thing that’s above notice is a studied duplication of the mundane. I change into a dashiki, and I take off the converses and wear some Nike plimsolls. I remove the hat and my contact lenses and wear my glasses. I don’t look good anymore. I like this more.
A blue Kia Optima pulls up outside.
“If we see P we leave. “
He nods. He understands. P is my spectre. It is impossible to be social in Lagos and not run into her. I don’t dislike her, I dislike what she reminds me of. She makes me uncomfortable. I don’t have the energy to uncomfortable on purpose, I’m not twenty anymore. N understands this.
“This is Isaac” he says.
Isaac is at the back. White shirt, above the knee beige shorts, and leather slippers, he’s a classic. N’s in a dark shirt, navy blue I think. It’s difficult to tell in the light. He’s wearing blue ripped skinny jeans and green monkstrap shoes. Shotgun’s free (the passenger’s seat), and that’s worth a smile. Riding shot gun’s a position hard won by successful wing-manning, face timing on the toilet, and violent games of squash.
It’s a thousand naira per head, and two hundred naira for parking. It’s exorbitant, the place is a collection of glorified shanties. The music is loud, the girls are fat and the booze is cheap. There are women peddling Alomo bitters outside the shacks. I’m not man enough to try it. I’m convinced that if I do I’ll trip like I’m on acid. Around them are guys laden with spliffs, I’m not rolling that deep. I’ve already chosen my vice for the night, my hand closes around the pack of dunghills in my pocket.
We choose Voodoo.
“It’s one of the better ones” N says as an explanation. I don’t really care. All of them are the same. That’s what my nicotine logic tells me.
We’ve got a table, three bottles of Jack and not nearly enough coke. My night’s sorted. I didn’t come for anything else. It’s a pleasant distraction. Tomorrow or later today I’ll go back to putting the first book together, studying for the GREs and getting fat.
Our table fills with the invited and uninvited now that it’s no longer bare. I fill my cup. At 61 kilograms it won’t take long.
It’s me my Dunhill and my red cup. I’m not thinking about how my stomach looks as it fills, and I’m not thinking about the figure I cut.
P walks in. I look at N. He smiles and shakes his head as he makes sure his keys are still there.