Bad Guys

Uche Okonkwo

They all liked to call themselves bad guys, but she knew Toju; he wasn’t one of those bad ones. He only talked tough and acted like them when he was with them, so he could fit in. With her he was gentle and sweet and sensitive, just the way she liked her men. He had only joined Triple X for protection; he didn’t want anyone to ride on him. And he wasn’t even that active sef. He just coasted along; present enough in their midst to be seen, absent enough to be forgotten. She didn’t bother to ask how come, then, he was the Capo’s right hand man.

If it hadn’t rained that day they may never have met. She had been walking home from Ofirima Hall—the queues at the bus stop were too long—when a car had sped past, bathing her with water from the puddle that had formed beside the road. As she recovered from the shock and got ready to scream, ‘God punish you!’ at the car, she’d noticed it reverse, making its way back to where she stood. He had stumbled out of the car, stuttering apologies and trying to wipe her down with his handkerchief. She’d let him drive her to the hostel.

It had rained again, a few minutes ago. Not the kind of rain that made the weather cold; the kind that seemed to cause heat to rise from the ground. She lay on her bunk, fanning herself with the handout she was supposed to be reading. She wiped her forehead with her sleeve. If only they would bring the light. She picked up her phone to call Toju again. She wanted to go to his room at GRA. He had AC. Her phone beeped. Text message from Tumini:

I herd cult boyz attackd one guy. Dey hav taken d guy to UPTH. Dey sed its TriplX dat did it. How far with Toju?

She tossed her phone on the bed and stretched. Tumini and gist. No wahala sha. Toju wasn’t among them. He was not one of those bad ones.

Written by: Uche Okonkwo


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