God’s Favorite 

Imagine his surprise when he walked in and met his wife in bed.


For a moment, he did not speak. No, his silence rang longer than mere seconds. He’d rounded the steep corner spitting into the king-sized bedroom feeling positively giddy. A brown leather case matched the rhythm of his steps, sleek and smooth. It was what got him the attention of the regional coordinator. The sleek pace.

“How can a man walk so attractively?” the lady with grey twigs for hair had asked.

He’d smiled and fumbled with his pockets. The lady slouched in her seat, twined her fingers and began to twiddle them. They held each other stares, stupid grins keeping them company. That type of grin a fifth-grader concocts when he’s about to inform his inebriated mum that he got two C’s and a gob of red lines.

But he’d only manage to maintain that posture for thirty-eight seconds before he asked the ninety-million naira question, “Why did you call me here, Lauren?”

The lady’s smile immediately faded. She looked at him and at the door allowing a few inches of air into the room and at the round clock with emerald handles and at the letter on the table, the table cut from sleek birch.

See, sleek. Again.

The man’s heart picked up pace. He stared at the lady. Here was the lady who could, in a spark of fury, thumb her signature and have him out of the company, a decision that’d irrevocably produce a loss so gargantuan heartbreaking would be an understatement. Heartbreaking for him because of the hours he’d poured into the growth of the fortress like a chef pours coffee beans into water.

Heartbreaking for the company too.

He was considering the company’s loss if such a situation aroused when hands grabbed his jaw. Naturally, nothing was wrong here. I mean, it could be a bouncer come drag him out. Really, his first thought was, Here we go, seventeen years of hard labor washed down by a cup of icy tea.

But.

The fingers pressing into his mandible wasn’t a bouncer’s, except the supposed object of terror was feminine and at the verge of climax. The man willed his eyes up. They met the lady’s. His brain shrilled into his skull. Heat exploded down his ribs and, unfortunately, settled into the space between his legs.

“The door,” he whispered.

Never had Lauren moved so fast. One would think she was planning an escape. And then, she was moving fast again. Only he was the victim this time. She yanked off his Armani suit, the silver buttons scattering like hurriedly-ejected bullets. She’d only gone past two when his hands stopped her. The palms were cold and rough and felt like a cocoon. Lauren’s palms reminded him of his wife.

He did not think again. He just plowed on, like a cursed laborer. When Lauren said, “I have considered the proposal, and, it’s a yes,” he lost his hold on reasoning.

Ninety-million naira was enough to do such a thing as this. Even his wife would praise him. It reminded him of a day early in their courtship when they stumbled upon a picture on Instagram. The question had been, “If you were offered fifty-million naira, would you agree to cheat on your spouse?” His wife had punched in, “I’d kill him if he doesn’t sleep with the woman.” Good old days when they were so neck-deep in debts he thought they’d raise their children on Salvation Army merits.

God was faithful. Two houses towering like palaces. A 2017 Camry model and another Lexus idling in the garage. If all went according to writings, he’d change the Camry.

The man began this thought at ten minutes before news at nine am. Shy of two hours after, he carried Lauren’s limp body, dumped it gracefully on a fur bed pushed into the south quadrant of the office, covered her legs to neck with a silk sheet bleeding purple. At her chest, he stopped and marveled. He swallowed.

God was good.

He was out of the office a couple of ticks later, his composure only a tad different from when he’d entered. Of course, he left with the proposal. Never forget that. No one accosted him or challenged his affront.

He left a word with his secretary and dashed the Camry out of the company. He would go home, fall on one knees and beg his wife’s forgiveness. God’s forgiveness wasn’t an issue. “He forgives all men,” his pastor would say. And in moments when he just handed a check covering all expenses for the church’s renovation, the pastor would add, “Especially you, God’s favorite parishioner. God delights in forgiving you.”

He knew, of course, that the validation was established on the basis of his donations. So, why waste that? He could as well put a slug into the president’s brain and fall on his knees and plead for forgiveness and put another slug into his own brain. His welcome to paradise would be on golden horses.

He reached home before his organs could settle, swung his briefcase out and marched into his edifice. The gate parted in one swipe. Lights glowed from the kitchen in the first floor – there were just two. More like upstairs, but, who cared?

His wife was home. All was good. God was favoring his favorite. God was good.

He’d ignored the urge to squash down a glass of Burgundy. Wife first. He was still swimming in calculations when the latch eased under pressure from his fingers and his breath grew rancid.

Moans slammed into his hearing. His gaze instinctively swept to the stool beside the bed – never mind it’d been kicked out of position in the heat of passion. The pack of protective rubber was still there, though the man could swear it was two short from complete.

This was his home. His room. His wife, sandwiched between a man and a woman. All was not good.

He didn’t know how long he stood there, but it was enough time for his briefcase to slip off his palms – suddenly clammy – and for a fourth breathe to pollute the room. Enough time for him to pull out a long pole placed horizontally against the baked walls.

Enough time for the male partner on the bed to raise his head and catch the raised arms. And in the moments before the man swung, he knew his pastor was eternally wrong.

P.S: My writing consistency has trailed a bit in the past two weeks. So has the reading. The picture is what I discovered the week that closed. Enjoy. 

Imagine That. Now,.. Imagine This. 

​”As a writer, you read all books – good and bad. You learn what works from the good ones. You know the pits to avoid from the bad ‘uns.” – Stephen King (paraphrase)
First, in my opinion, there are no bad books. Badly written ones, maybe. There are books poorly crafted, books with a plot that has been fleshed in exactly the same manner a thousand times, books with grammar so poor you’d think they jumped from first draft to printing press. But there are no bad books. You, of course, are welcome to disagree. 
But that quote did factor into my decision not to read Imagine This by Sade Adeniran as I thumbed through the first pages. 
“It’s a diary?”
My host looked up and shook his head. “Written like one,” he said, and I knew it never would make my reading list. No amount of persuasion, not even having the novel in proximity for two weeks could change that. 


So, one night, when I walked in and spotted the book in a closet, the you-should-read-all-books guy in me said, “You are reading that book.” Sixteen hours on (plus sleeping and eating and tackling a few chores), I closed the last page and sighed; an interesting read. Here goes the review. 
I learned this week that reviews are intellectual and emotional. The intellectual considers the structure – grammar, flow, pace, setting, redundancies, cartoonist characters… The emotional delves into the emotions. Hence, I’d be dividing this in two parts. 
ONE

The best worst thing that could befall a writer is… not writers’ block. It is having to develop a novel through the lenses of one character, that is, one point of view. The author not only did it well, she made it enjoyable. There were instances where I longed to peek at the mind of another character – Lola’s father mostly – but the denial is why people read fiction. They want something. They don’t get it, and neither does the hero –  Lola. 
Lola starts the book at nine, ends at nineteen. She’s the typical I-was-born-in-England-but-returned-home-due-to-some-unpleasant-situations girl, save she doesn’t live with her father on arrival. She’s sent to fourth-finger-related relatives (uncles and aunts from my mother’s brother’s family). She starts the journey with a father and brother and an absconded mother and ends with no father, no brother, and a mother she speaks to in the last chapter. Amazing story. Plot, pace, style, voice, all awesome. I got reminded of some words – asinine, affable, sagacious, antepenultimate – because the hero had to learn new words. Maybe a few cliched events, but heck, there’s nothing new under the fireball that lights the day. 
I have a few issues, however. There are a bit too many deaths, the type allowed in thrillers and horrors but not Nigerian literature – except there’s a war, which wasn’t recorded. Two, as a result of one of the deaths, twelve or fourteen year old Lola fasts forty days and nights, drinking water for the first 23 or so days. Who does that? It isn’t impossible, yeah, but these are spiritual things, not what you do because you want your bro resurrected. And she did pull through. And she did get her wish. 
I’m not saying it’s unrealistic – emotions do get the better of us, but then, hmm… 
TWO
Now, my name is Michael. To be clearer, I’m a Christian. So, when I began to read serious fiction, I steered clear of anything not Christian fiction – Nigerian lit, genre fiction, cross-genre fiction, classics. Only John Grisham squeezed himself to my reading list, and I jumped over every sentence that started with ‘He smoke a pack of Marlboro’ and ‘The beach was warm and swarmed with bikini-clad women’.
Naturally, Nigerian/African lit was the last thing I opened up to. This is why: they have a way of leaving me cracked up. Fiction is supposed to answer questions, yes, but also give hope, joy, gratitude, excitement, encouragement, relief, maybe a little sadness. But if everytime you do something, you feel like you’re at the edge of a cliff and all you see are tracks of tears and you can’t just resist shedding them, you should be careful. 
It didn’t catch me as a surprise when I experienced the same emotions when I finished Imagine This. The character felt like me, too much like me, and she wasn’t exactly happy throughout the story. 
This got me the most – she let her boyfriend explore her for the first time the night before she broke up with him. Twas bad. Looking back, I see it was a literary pun, not to the girl’s life alone, but to the whole script. She gave up what she treasured most and got what she desired the most, albeit in totally different ways. 
Got me shaking my head pitifully. 
But that’s it. I’m done. I’m reading more genre fiction in the coming weeks. Now I can go back to The War is Over by Andrew Wommack and be my good self. Till we exchange again, keep reading. And yeah, there’s an excerpt:
11th August 1979

Dear Jupiter, 

Ronke and I got into a fight and I broke a bottle of ice water on her head. There was blood and water everywhere and Father and her mother have taken her to the hospital. I’ve locked myself in the room… (Page 96.)