Nuel! Nuel! The Angel Did Say

Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash

Emmanuel Okigbo kicked a stone from the bus stop through the sandy path leading to his house. He kicked the stone as he waved to five children playing, playing, for goodness’ sake, by—he looked at his watch—seven thirty-five in the evening. He kicked the stone as he waved to Iya Bimbo who was sitting on an embittered paint bucket. Iya Bimbo’s smile was as huge as her windy wave, which made her breasts convulse. Something must have gotten her excited, but who cares!

Tomorrow morning, at nine, Okigbo would meet the managing director of Pearl Bank where he worked on probation. His new black suit, shoes, and flight tickets were already packed. Soap, cream, perfume, were all accounted for in his box. His flight to Abuja was at six o’clock, and he had to leave his house at four to outsmart the Lagos traffic. This life-changing meeting was nine months late already. The trainee salary afforded him a comfortable, well-furnished house, kept his parents fed, and kept his siblings schooling. This meeting meant instant promotion from trainee to executive trainee. This meeting meant a triple salary increase. Missing this meeting meant automatic employment termination.

His last kick stopped the stone short of striking his gate, much to his chagrin. But his face lit up when he remembered Lola and last night. He pushed the red gate. The compound was void of humans, but light glowed from their drawn curtains. That’s why he preferred black window blinds. Once shut, no one could tell if there was power in the house or not.

The cadence of crooning birds he could manage, but not the buzzing fly! He swatted off the demon. He unlocked his burglary proof. He flicked the switch, lighting his two-foot front porch. He wiped his brown, leather shoes on the brown, grassy foot mat. He opened the door. He closed the door. He flicked the switch.

Whiteness buttered the space, his eyes, his brains. Everywhere looked void and without form until the spirit of reasoning hovered over his senses. With his thumb and middle finger, he rubbed his eyes furiously. When the blur cleared, his apartment was still empty. Was he suddenly blind or was he suddenly in the presence of God hallelujah joy because what’s this? Something was surely joking with him. He pointed, as if he was talking to someone, at a spot where his black cushion used to be. He pointed at the vacant spot that once housed his TV—his new, luxurious, account-scrubbing, plasma TV—and its accompanying black, glass TV stand. And here, he pointed, used to stand a large brick-designed flower vase. The window blinds were gone, restoring their sight!

Okigbo walked backward (like a rewinding movie) outside, flicked the switch, closed the door, locked it, counted to ten, unlocked the door, opened it, stepped in, flicked the switch: shiny white tiles and walls. Et nunc et in saecula saeculorum. Mr. Okigbo walked in slow motion, heel-to-toe. No black ceramic dining table. No dining chairs. He scratched his beard and hairless head. He flicked the kitchen switch. No gas cooker. Empty cabinets. His insides quaked. He rewound his steps, faced his front, and headed to his bedroom. Nix! His wardrobe was in the nude. His packed briefcase? Gone to glory. He must be blind. His toiletries, towel, hanging rope, washing hand basin, even the flush toilet: gone! Something hot burned his thighs. What, Deus carus, might make the room suddenly smell like boiling ammonia? His shoes were in a yellow puddle. That’s right, it was urine from his burning insides that smelled. It’s as if that oozing liquid reminded him that he still had a functional body.

“Eli! Eli!” He capped his head in his palms, widened his mouth like a yawning hippopotamus, and roared. “Eli! Eli! Lamaaaaa Sabachthaniiiiiii! ELIiiiiiii!”

He hotfooted to his neighbour’s. BANG! BANG!

Neighbour opened the door immediately as if his hand was on the knob all along.

“Aminu! Thieves! Thieves!”

“La ilaha illallah! Thieves?” asked Aminu’s wife, poking her head behind her husband.

“Yes! My house! They cleared everything!”

“Oh! That!” They chuckled, relaxing their wrinkled faces. “It’s your girlfriend, nau,” Aminu said.

Aminu’s wife entertained a wink. “Your girlfriend came here. She said you guys were moving out and you asked her to pack everything. She said you’ve gotten the promotion finally. Congratulations!”

“She even gave us a forwarding address,” Aminu said. They stepped out and closed the door in front of their two children.

“Ogima.” She called him by a supposed respectful (but what he considered an) insensitive mockery of his name. They dragged the O and I so much that the name came out sounding like or-gee-ma. “You sent her, didn’t… Ah!” She clapped. “Is this water or urine on your trauzeez?”

By this time, the other three neighbours had rushed out. Aminu nudged his wife and blinked an eye at her.

“Kini o ti ṣẹlẹ?” one of the neighbours asked, knotting her lappa under her armpit.

“I don’t know why Ogima is screaming,” answered Aminu. “Didn’t his girlfriend tell us they were moving out when she came here?”

“Oh, yes,” answered another one whose hirsute legs disappeared into his red boxer shorts. “Ṣebi she said they were moving to VI so that they can be close to his office.”

“Correct! VI!” said the husband of the lappa-knotting woman, smashing a mosquito on his arm. “The forwarding address she gave us,” his phone lit up his face, “is plot thirty-two million, Independent Avenue, Abakpa Nike Crescent Drive, Victoria Island Express Road, Lagos.”

Lappa-knotting woman swatted her palm across her nose and sniffed. “Hmm, what’s that stinging smell?”

The stinging smell, in Okigbo’s world, was the innocence in their eyes and voices. Plot thirty-two million? As in thirty-two million? How were they all so stuuuuupid? Independent Avenue and Abakpa Nike were towns in Enugu, not VI, to say nothing of Lagos. Okay, okay, let him assume they don’t know Enugu, no problem. But avenue, crescent, drive, and express road, in one house address? Kidding him? Christe!

“Let me call her,” Aminu’s wife said. She harvested her phone from her cleavage and pom-pom.


The number you have called is not available at the moment. Please try again later. Thank you.

“Maybe her phone is dead,” said Lappa-knotter.

“Maybe, her battery ran out,” said Hairy-legs.

Okigbo’s head was a spinner.

“I even called Emma to congratulate him, but his number no go,” said Lappa-knotter’s husband.

“Yes, it will never connect because he always turns it off and submits it to his supervisor daily,” said Hairy-legs.

“You sent her, didn’t you? Eeh, Ogima, ṣe o ti gbo? asked Aminu’s wife.

“But Ogima…”

“Emmaaaaanuel!” Emmanuel Okigbo screamed. “Emmanuel! Nuel! Nuel! The angel did say! Stop! Calling! Me! Ogima!”

Their voices vamoosed. Okigbo fisted his palms and widened his mouth like a yawning rottweiler, but what could he say? His tongue dried up, yet his lip hung down. He started nodding like agama. His fist dropped first before tears hared off after tears. They rolled into his mouth and salted his tongue. His neighbours were flummoxed.

Okigbo dashed inside, opened his door to its widest, and banged the living daylight nightlight out of it. He melted like exposed ice cream. His boohoo sounded like a howling Santa. The neighbours knocked, asking him to talk to them, did she lie, should they call the police?

Lola. Lola! Ogun will dehydrate those watermelons on her chest! Her pumpkins-in-flesh were what caught his eyes while she filled out a deposit slip on his desk. Her blouse was so V-necked that it exposed, what he best described as, the great, juicy buttocks on the chest. She caught him staring, but rather than frown, she grinned. Her gums were as black as her irises. She said she was in town visiting her uncle. She scribbled him her number.

For sixty nights afterward, despite his attempts to take it further, all he got were snores, the type that sounded like boiling porridge beans. He did not ask her what her uncle thought about her moving into his house. He enjoyed quitting restaurants, house chores, dry cleaners—he no longer had to wear his underpants until it smelled like Corpse then turned it inside out and wore it until it smelled like Evil Spirit before he washed!—and pillows (her breasts did the job!). What more could a man want? Vagina. Which he finally conquered last night. It was the largest, wettest, sweetest concave his penis ever entered. His rod hurtled, safe whatever may betide it, in the hollow of her dish. She pinched his nipples. It hurt, but even he had lost control of his senses; his penis was in charge.

She whimpered, “Oga…oga…” as if she was a dying thing.

Clarity returned to him. “Please, don’t call me Ogima.”

She grabbed his waist and dug her fingers into his skin as if she wanted to shake him faster. Her eyes rolled inwards. Her legs, in the air, were at their widest.

“Orgazim…zim…zum…zumm!” She sounded like a kick-starting motorcycle.

He stabbed her tonsils with his tongue lest she attracted the neighbours. His body trembled until he released sperm. The released sperm released his senses. He fell beside her. They burst out laughing.

That was the last he remembered until his alarm rang the next morning. He rolled to his side, turned off the alarm, and sat up. Her chocolate breasts splashed across her torso. He fumbled one, wishing he had time.

She stirred. “Good morning, baby.”

He kissed her. He got out of bed and started sorting out his clothes as was his norm before bathing. She hugged him. Her nipples poked his back.

“Baby, I need some money o,” she said.

He sighed. Girls and money! But this one tried. It’s her first time asking for money.

“How much?”

“Like two hundred k.”

Power left him. “Two hundred naira?”

She hissed. “Two hundred thousand naira, abeg.”

He tore her grip off his waist and eyed her. “Ṣe o ya were ni? Am I a bank?”

“Are you not a banker?”

“Ehen, am I the vault? Kini gbogbo eleyi nau?”

“What’s all this is that I need two hundred thousand naira!”

“You must be stupid.” He hissed and turned back to the wardrobe. “I should give you my three months’ salary because you are who? Greedy mere mortal! Even to the almighty God, I give only one-tenth of my salary.”

“Is it the almighty God that you fucked senseless last night?”

Okigbo, who had consistently tested negative for patience, did not lack a retort. “Goatee like you.”

“Abi o? When you were plaiting my legs like cornrows yesterday, did you remember God? When you were talking rubbish ‘baby, ask zaddy to give it to you, baby dogmatic on zaddy’ nko? Now it’s time to bring money and you are calling me goatee and calling on God.”

“Why won’t I call on God? Is it not God that brought me this far? Where were your Kilimanjaro breasts when I was in the village begging God for a job?”

She slammed her palm on the mattress. “Ogima, if you don’t give me that money, you will not step out of this house tomorrow to go to any Abuja!”

“Ogima, abi?” He snapped his fingers. Since she wanted to provoke him, we shall see. “Oya, do your worst.” He hissed and entered the bathroom.

She murmured all morning, clanking pots, banging doors. She served him breakfast of fried eggs and hot chocolate, murmuring. He left her murmuring. While he counted cash at work, he thought about last night’s lovemaking. He would make her a transfer of twenty thousand when he went home. It was, after all, what she asked for less a single zero. He assumed the money would expel her anger and make her throw her legs in the air again.

Now here he was, a discalced Emmanuel Okigbo.

He wiped his tears and called her. She answered on the first ring.

“Lola, where are my properties?”

She laughed.

He waited. In nomine patris et filii et spiritus sancti.

He waited. Kyrie eleison.

Humility openeth all doors. Wisdom is profitable… Christe eleison.

“Okigbo,” she said. “Call on God.”

About Kasimma .

Kasimma is from Igboland (obodo ndị dike). She’s the author of All Shades of Iberibe. Her short stories, essays, poems, and scripts appear/are forthcoming in Guernica, Solarpunk, LitHub, New Orleans Review, Meet Cute, Mangoprism, The Saltbush Review, The Forge, Afreecan Read, Native Skin, Writers Digest, and other online journals and print anthologies. Kasimma is an alumnus of Chimamanda Adichie’s creative writing workshop, Wole Soyinka Foundation writers’ residency, and others across four continents. You can read more of her pieces here:

Kasimma is from Igboland (obodo ndị dike). She’s the author of All Shades of Iberibe. Her short stories, essays, poems, and scripts appear/are forthcoming in Guernica, Solarpunk, LitHub, New Orleans Review, Meet Cute, Mangoprism, The Saltbush Review, The Forge, Afreecan Read, Native Skin, Writers Digest, and other online journals and print anthologies. Kasimma is an alumnus of Chimamanda Adichie’s creative writing workshop, Wole Soyinka Foundation writers’ residency, and others across four continents. You can read more of her pieces here:

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