Glaring at the bike rider before him as he drove, Gabriel resisted the intense urge to run this reckless man and his bike over with his own vehicle. Quickly shaking off such grim thoughts, he glanced at his friend beside him on the passenger seat.
“Screw them!” Afiz blurted out, shaking his head in anger as he now faced his friend. “For the thousandth time, Gabriel, no! Like I said, I was minding my business at that bar when Morenike showed up. We had a drink and the next thing I knew, she was ranting about Mamus and his constant cheating, and all the texts she found on his phone and….blah, blah!” He blurted waving a hand.
“And all this time you were quiet?” Gabriel asked.
“And very much uncomfortable, I swear down!” Afiz added as his eyes shot out. “I mean…why was she telling me all of this? We aren’t even close like that; her only connection to me was her dumb boyfriend. Anyways, I simply told her and I quote : “Wow! If this is how bad you feel, then talk to your boyfriend about this,”
“And that was it?” Gabriel asked looking serious.
“Gabriel!” Afiz called. “I swear on my car dealing business. Come on! You know me now! As much as I never agreed with how he kept stringing that girl along, I would never snitch,”
“It’s cool, Afiz,” Gabriel said nodding.
“Mamus thinks I snitched simply because I’ve been the only one calling him out on his constant cheating, unlike those ass-kissers around him. And now, he’s going about tarnishing my name to every frigging Tom, Dick and Ade that’s willing to listen. Dammit! He is such a child!” At that, Gabriel stifled a chuckle as he drove on. “You know what, bro? I cannot bother myself anymore. This is all my fault for knowing that douchebag – in fact, those two actually deserve each other. A daft dynamic duo! That’s what they both are.”
Gabriel simply shook his head and sighed.
“Na wa o!” he muttered and Afiz faced him. “I love my life,”
“You know what, Gabriel? You’re right. I wish I could be you right now, bro,” he stated. “Maybe, I should adapt this your misanthropic lifestyle from now on, so nobody can gets the chance complicate my life with their unnecessary bullshit. All I’m chasing now is money. I really don’t need anybody’s stupid drama!”
“Come on, Afiz,” Gabriel said throwing him a grin. “You? A whole popular-jingo like you? We both know that’s impossible. To hell with those two! Block their contacts if need be and stop giving yourself a migraine over those deadbeats.”
Gabriel pulled left into a street, made a stop and looked about. “What’s your Google Map saying?”
“This should be the street Ify described,” Afiz said looking at his phone. “Emm…something Badmus Road. I know we’re close. Let’s ask someone.”
They glanced about the road and then Afiz’s eyes befell the figure of a man not too far ahead, crouched before a gutter. At first, Afiz assumed he was taking a dump and attempted looking away in disgust, but only to catch sight of what the man had in his hands, and then the loaded wheel Barrow right beside him.
“Mother of demons!” Afiz exclaimed at once as his eyes shot open in shock, grabbing for Gabriel’s arm. “Gabriel Orji! See! See what that mallam is doing.”
“What?” A puzzled Gabriel asked pulling off his shades and gazing ahead. “Wait, Afiz! Is that man…..”
“Washing his carrots and cucumbers in gutter water,” Afiz concluded in horror; and without warning, he brought down his glass. “Hey! Aboki! What are you doing there? You no dey fear God at all? Haba! How can you wash….” But both friends were shocked as the straight-faced northerner simply hissed back with disdain and continued with his business like they were not there.
Afiz would have gotten out to confront this man, but the glare that had been replied him had him reconsidering.
Both friends stared in perplexed silence now.
“People,” Gabriel muttered shaking his head. “This guy isn’t bothered,”
“No! This is unacceptable!” Afiz called taking up his phone. “That guy should be locked up and the keys thrown away for life. People eat these stuff, for crying out loud,”
“You’re not getting down to confront him, are you?” Gabriel asked with a questioning stare. “What if he has a dagger on him? You know how unpredictable these….”
“I don’t have to,” Afiz replied, and with that, he raised his phone and began taking pictures to Gabriel’s intrigue, whom simply rubbed his chin and watched. “He will have to learn the hard way. You’ll never know how many of these guys are out there doing this barbaric stuff,”
“Hmm,” Gabriel muttered nodding. “When you’re done, let’s call Ify, so we can locate her place.”
“Oh, my God! They are here!” The ecstatic Ify screamed out dashing down the stairs and out into the compound. Afiz had already jumped out of the car as well while Gabriel took his time gathering himself. The happy pair were wrapped up in each other’s arms now as Afiz spun her petite form around, both screaming and laughing.
“Okay!” Afiz exhaled now staring her over. “You look good, and you’ve shed some skin. And your hair….an afro!”
“I know,” Ify called playfully striking a pose. “All thanks to my fruit diet. Oh, Afiz! It’s been forever – how many years now? Three? Four? My God! You have no idea how much I thought I would never see you in this lifetime since graduation.”
Shutting the car, Gabriel strode up to them and Ify’s eyes lit up at his tall form.
“Ify?” He called back with a grin, and without further talk, they embraced.
“It’s good to see you again,”
“Likewise,” Gabriel replied as they left each other.
“And you’ve been working out,” she mentioned. “And you too, Afiz. Nice.”
“All thanks to my positive influence,” Afiz chided in with a smirk.
“Shut up, Afiz,”
“I love you too, bro,” Afiz teased and they all laughed.
“And this is for you, Ify,” Gabriel said raising the wrapped gift. It was obviously a bottle. Ify’s eyes were wide with surprise now.
“A little housewarming something from us for the new apartment you’ve been blasting my ears with for the past couple of weeks now,” Afiz added.
“Aww, you guys!” A touched Ify called accepting the gift. “Now, let’s go upstairs. I can’t wait to show you guys the apartment. Oh! And there’s someone I would love you guys to meet.” Then they followed her towards the three-storey apartment building.
Dami emerged from the kitchen with a glass of mango juice in hand. She was about sitting on a sofa when laughter was heard and the door flew open. Ify was the first to step in.
“To God who made me, I never would have forgiven you if you didn’t show up today,” she called and then outstretched both arms in a dramatic gesture. “Ta-da! Welcome to my new and not-so-humble abode. Make yourselves comfortable.” At that, Afiz could not help but chuckle, nudging Gabriel’s arm in the process.
“Hmm, impressive,” Gabriel muttered as he strode forward with a hand in pockets and surveying the lavishly furnished living room.
“Right?” Afiz asked nodding in agreement. “This is lovely, Ify. You really went all out here,”
“I had to,” Ify said approaching him and taking his arm. “You guys should have seen how depressing this place was when I first got it; it could make a blind man cry.” Afiz chuckled. “And let’s not even start on how much I spent on this makeover. It was so worth it,”
“Wow,” Afiz called. “Maybe, I should go into online blogging as well. It’s really done you some good. Ify, show me the way!”
“Silly,” Ify giggled, playfully hitting his arm.
Quietly rolling her eyes, an already awkward Dami forced a cough to draw attention.
“Hello?” She called now waving slightly.
“Oh, Dami!” Ify called out as her eyes went wide. “Guys, this is my girlfriend, Dami. She’s visiting for the week.” Then Gabriel nodded at her. She’s into interior decorating – in fact, she helped me out with this place,”
“Hello?” Gabriel called before heading to a sofa at a corner. Dami’s eyes followed him.
“That is Gabriel,” Ify announced gesturing.
“And I’m Afiz,” Afiz called already flashing his pearly whites as he stepped forward. “And no shakes. This guy loves hugs.” Now amused, Dami giggled as they embraced. “It’s nice to meet you, Dami,”
“Wow, he’s so friendly,” she mentioned to Dami. “Ify has been talking about you since morning,”
“And she’s pretty,” Afiz said.
“And I like him already,” Dami added. Then they all laughed out in chorus.
“Wonderful!” Ify called now raising her hands. “And now that we’re all acquainted, let’s make ourselves comfortable.”
Already seated with his legs crossed, Gabriel already surveyed the assortment of wine on the glass table before them.
In the next ten minutes, they had unwrapped the bottle of Spanish wine and appetizers had been served on a glass center table before them. Ify dragged Afiz to sit with her on the couch.
Stepping out from the kitchen with a large plate of Samosas, Dami saw both Ify and Afiz laughing hysterically and she shook her head.
“So, what is funny this time?” She asked dropping the plate before them.
“Oh, Dami,” Ify called laughing. “Afiz is killing me here. He’s still as funny as ever.” Quietly nodding, Dami sat on a nearby sofa.
“Dami, did Ify ever tell you we almost dated?” Afiz asked and her eyes grew wide while Ify nodded along.
“Thank God that didn’t happen,” she added facing Dami, and then she took Afiz’s hand. “Eventually, we got to realize how much better off we were as friends instead,”
“That’s nice,” Dami mentioned.
“Damn! This was really needed – a get-together,” Afiz said. “And now that you live in town now, hopefully, we’ll get to see each other more often. Isn’t it so, Gabriel?” At that, all eyes turned to the corner where Gabriel quietly busied himself refilling his glass with more wine.
“Yeah, of course,” he muttered without looking up. Dami quietly threw him a glance.
“And this time,” Ify said to Afiz. “There will be no more excuses of being too busy. If there’s something life has taught me, it’s that life is short, guys. So, let’s make out time for each other whenever we can,”
“I hear,” Gabriel muttered with a glass to his mouth.
“Did you say something, Gabriel?” Ify asked and he paused.
“Oh no,” he shook his head. “I was just talking to myself.” Then they watched him take a sip.
From across the room, Dami quietly arched a brow this time.
“Typical Gabriel,” Afiz said chuckling. “Oh yeah, that reminds me! Gabriel and I saw the most shocking sight on our way here, isn’t that so, Gabe?”
“Hmm,” his friend mumbled with his mouth occupied with wine.
“Spill already!” Ify curiously urged and Dami nodded. Then Afiz got on his feet like he was about delivering a theatrical performance. And then they watched him exclusively narrate their encounter with the vegetable seller and his misdeeds.
By the time, Afiz was through, both ladies shared similar horrendous stares.
“Okay, pause!” Ify called out raising a hand upon hearing enough.
“I’ve been hearing things about these people doing such,” Dami mentioned. “It’s wickedness!”
“Afiz, where did you say you witnessed this?” Ify asked and then Afiz gave a disgusted scoff.
“Why the heck am I talking too much?” he said pulling out his phone. “You can see it for yourselves,”
“Wait, you recorded this?” A surprised Ify asked exchanging a stare with Dami. “You had time,”
“See for yourselves!” Afiz called thrusting the phone into their hands, then both ladies drew heads together and watched.
Jaws dropped and eyes flew open, then Afiz watched both ladies stare at each other in silence. Afiz noticed.
“Ify?” Dami called also alarmed. “Is that not…..”
“No!” Ify called out instantly jumping to her feet, holding her tummy. “Oh, my God! I’m going to be sick!” Then she began pacing.
“Ify?” Afiz called confused now as he took his phone. “Are the pictures……”
“No, no, no, no. No!” Ify called abruptly shaking her head.
Now really worried, Afiz threw Dami a questioning stare and she sighed heavily.
“The thing is….” Dami started. “We know this man.”
“Oh…” Afiz muttered in surprise as his brows arched while Ify suddenly got all histrionic now fanning her face with her hands and panting out. Dami nodded at Afiz who then approached Ify while Gabriel quietly watched with a raised brow.
“Ify buys fruits from him,” Dami continued to Afiz’s astonishment. “In fact, we bought some carrots and cucumbers last night for her smoothie she had this morning.”
Then Ify screamed out in horror grabbing at her hair, no longer able to bear this sudden revelation.
Shaking his head in the corner where he sat, Gabriel gulped down what was left in his glass and shrugged at Afiz.
TO BE CONTINUED………