I ran out of the house like one chased by mad dogs. Even though I was the dullest student at my village school, I could tell time faster than Queen Eliza of Switzerland. This morning, as I wore the bright red sandals I had borrowed from Janet my roommate, I felt my excitement build.
‘Me! Senorita! Model? Na wa oh for Lagos and its opportunities.’ I mutter excitedly under my breath.
As I race down the street and head to the bustop, I feel all eyes on me and who would blame them? It is indeed rare to see a young slender, curvaceous and beautiful wannabe Lagos babe like me, running as though I had seen the ghost of my late grandfather. Little did they know that I was about to become one of the most popular people in the world.
“Just wait and see!” I muttered again.
It all started yesterday afternoon while I was waving down taxis for my visit to Oga Larry’s place. All that started well didn’t end well as I and Oga Larry spent our ‘supposed’ time together, cleaning up his battered up face. The taxi man had been true to his words ‘he was indeed an alaye’ his fists re-arranged Oga Larry’s face drastically. While they fought, the taxi driver’s friends in the area ganged up and finished what their friend had started. They even ransacked Oga Larry’s friend’s house and took all the money they could find there.
Oga Larry was helped into his friend’s room by concerned neighbours who left as soon as he had been dumped on the chair, as I cleaned the blood pouring from his cheek I kept murmuring.
“E don do…no dey cry like pikin!”
“Ah…yellow…na because of you ooo… I for finish them bad today, I just dey cry sake of say, my yellow go dey wonder which kain man I be.” Oga Larry said through sniffs.
“I say e don do…” I cajoled again.
“Na only you I dey hear so, if not…hmmm.” He said as his useless threats hung in the air.
“No dey talk again, abi dem don pull one of ya teeth comot.” I say.
At that moment, his friend chose to enter the house, a worried expression creased his fine features, I must admit, Oga Larry’s friend isn’t bad looking at all. His tall, dark and handsome features fleeted across my face and for a second I swooned.
“Wetin happen for here?” Oga Larry’s friend demanded.
“Fredriko… Abeg no vex, na all dis mumu people wey full ya street. Dem attack me no be small, e be like say dem dey envy me.” Oga Larry replied wincing loudly while I swiped a dab of cotton wool with spirit on the wound by his eye.
“Envy wetin? Na dat question I ask? See me see tori oh! Wey my DVD player ehn?” Fredriko said as his eyes scanned his small one roomed apartment to rest at the empty space above the television.
“Ahh…mogbe! Dem take am? Chai!” Oga Larry screamed as he placed his hands on his head in shock. I reached out to hold on to his hands but he struggled to free his himself from my not-too strong grip. “Omoge leave me! Yellow, leave me make I go arrange deir face for dia.”
Fredriko saw red, his eyes blazoned in anger and he tapped his feet impatiently.
“Oya comot for my house now or else I go call the same people wey cause havoc for your face for here.”
“Call dem? Why you wan call dem na?” Oga Larry asked fearfully.
“E be like say spirit don draw ya ears reach back… get out of my house now! I never try? Ya babe pursue you comot, na me come carry gbese put for on top my head…Idioscyncrasies…” Shouted Frederiko.
“Na how you wan punish me? I go comot …but wia I fit go na?” Oga Larry mewed like a kitten.
“Enter gutter!” Snapped Frederiko.
“Yellow…make we go…” Said Oga Larry wincing in pain.
“Wia you wan go with my trouser… na ya own? Pull my trouser comot kia kia.” Shouted Frederiko.
I stood there stunned, staring at the man I thought had everything in the world, strip off the trouser he wore and was clad only in a boxer short, a heavy bomb explosion wouldn’t have shocked me more.
“Wey my shirt?” Asked Frederiko.
Oga Larry looked at me to supply the answer to the question, I was numb. He had thrown the shirt to me at the start of the fight with the taxi driver but I had dodged it and it landed in the gutter besides I hadn’t made any efforts to pick it up either.
“Senorita wia the shirt I troway ya side?” Oga Larry asked.
“I no know…” I answered, my voice squeaking in the process.
“Oya gerrout…I no wan see ya leg for my house again. Na so so bad luck you sabi bring, olodo.” Shouted Fredriko as he gestured to the door of the house.
As I stumbled out of Fredriko’s house with Oga Larry, I cautioned myself silently;
‘Abi na wetin you run comot from village be dis? Senorita! You wan suffer so? See as you wan destroy ya life… Oga Larry no go fit match model o, abeg arrange yaself sharp sharp, move to greater things before you begin yan yawa!’
I suddenly felt an urge to speak;
“Larry…” I said, quickly dropping the Oga from the name, it wasn’t worth it anymore.
“Ehnn?” He answered, looking at me with tender eyes.
“I forget my handky for Frederiko room, make I go collect am.”
“Ah…ah, yellow, how much for hanky na?” Oga Larry whined.
“You fit buy anoda one? Even sef, dis one no be my own, na Janet get am.” I inform him.
“Okay…I go wait you for junction, run come quick you hear? No tey.” He said.
I nodded and dashed back to Frederiko’s room , the door was locked so I knocked hastily, a surprised Frederiko opened the door and stared at me. I didn’t waste time, I entered the room, closed the door behind us and jumped on my newest conquest, Oga Larry could wait for all I cared. I didn’t come to Lagos to play hide and seek!
The pleasant thoughts of yesterday with Frederiko spurred my resolve to make a career of modeling. I had run past several streets in frenzy gathering onlookers in my wake, I didn’t care that they stared. Who sigh?
Frederiko had given me one thousand naira yesterday evening and a promise that he would end his relationship with his current girl. I was his present number one and I made a resolve to do all it takes to keep him by my side as long as the money pumped, Oga Larry had become stale news. When I returned home later that evening, I didn’t see Oga Larry but I heard his voice a few hours later when I went to the compound kitchen to boil water for eba. He was begging Shade to take him in.
“Abeg Shade… na devil hand dey my mata.” He cried.
“I no wan know! Comot for my dormot!” Shade shouted.
“Lai lai, if you no take me, I go kill myself I swear.” He cried louder.
“Die na, no be you follow that village girl dey pose? Wia she dey now?”
“I no know, I neva see am since… I no even dey talk to am again.” Oga Larry lied.
“Since, you dey waka with am, you forget say na me dey feed you, na even for my brother motor park you dey work, for Ilorin.”
“No vex abeg… devil na liar.” He cried.
I didn’t listen any further, they weren’t my biggest priority at the moment. I had to strategize on modeling skills because I had no clues of what to do at the audition.
I keep running till I slow down at the cheap sign at the entrance of a barely completed house. I knew it was the place the agency man had directed me to yesterday because of the flier placed at the entrance which was indeed a replica of the one I held in my hands. I smell my sweat as it pours down my face and with the courage I have instilled in myself over the years, I go into the house.
I walk in and perceive the foul odor of urine. The place is crowded with girls who stare at me in pure envy, curiosity and nonchalance, some sit on benches while some stand as there are no more spaces to sit. Eyes turn as I walk to the receptionist to make inquiries. The woman at the receptionist could pass for my aunty, she wore a stiff brown shirt and a loosely fitted dark red skirt, she didn’t tell me anything but continued sifting through endless papers. I introduced myself quickly.
“Alos, my name na Senorita.” I say.
“Have you registered?” The woman at the receptionist desk asks.
“Na wia I fit register.” I ask.
“You have to pay an unrefundable fee of one thousand naira and provide a passport photograph.” She said.
“Past wetin?” I ask.
“Are you here with your money?” The woman says looking up at me for the first time since I arrived, she was obviously more interested in my money.
I bless Frederiko inwardly for instinctively arming me with enough money, I proudly give her the one thousand naira in my pocket.
“Fill this form.” Said the woman, handing me a paper and a pen.
I look at the woman and stare at her in a confused manner.
“Abeg… you fit help me write my name?” I ask.
“Can’t you spell your name?” She asks irritated.
“I fit spell am but err… the name no be any kind name… na big grammar.” I stammer.
“You no serious!” Hissed the woman changing rapidly to pidgin.
Ignoring me, she walks to the other girls and hands out forms to those she hadn’t given earlier, they quickly scribble their names. I stared and prayed that my opportunity hadn’t passed me by.
Surprise and joy couldn’t have come any sooner as I saw the man who had handed me the modeling flier yesterday, walk into the dirty reception. He had totally transformed and had it been that I didn’t have a telegraphic memory, I would not have recognized him. He wore a navy blue suit and a blue stripped tie, quickly I ran to him as opportunity comes but once.
“Sir! Oga!” I scream.
He turns and stares at me as though he has never seen me in his life and with the softest Queen’s English he says;
“Do I know you young lady?”
“Yes sir… no be you find me for junction?” I ask flashing one of my mega smiles.
“What? Where? What in the world are you talking about? Please young lady I hope you are aware that this agency is world class, we do not tolerate nonsense.”
“No be nonsense ooo… I know you well well, I see you yesterday na. No be you talk say I get fine body?” I say, sounding a bit confused.
The man ignores me and turns to the woman with the forms.
“Has she paid her registration fee?”
“Yes sir, she has.” The woman replied.
“Has she filled the form?”
“No sir, it seems she can’t write.”
“What? We don’t need her kind in this place…” Said the man, suddenly feeling too important.
My eyes almost popped out of its sockets. Jumping high in the air and landing on my two feet, I slap the ground with my palm and lick the dust off with my tongue.
“If una no arrange unaself for here ehn… una go see craze in action! Wetin una mean? After the money wey I pay for form, you dey yan me yawa. E no fit happen lai lai… I no gree… I go be model, weda una like am or not!”
The man stare at me as well as the woman and the wannabe models, shock stands written on their faces but I don’t care, as far as I am concerned;
‘Yawa no fit gas Senorita for Lasgisi…who dem be?’