I wasn’t always a big girl… I smile as I dab at my lips with the napkin, acquired skills come with an acquired taste. I really would have preferred Mama Tolu’s ewa agoyin with some agege bread but that’s a meal too razz for my person. Modinat or Modi-boo as I prefer to be addressed is a bacon-eating, sausage munching toosh babe. The waiter interrupts my thoughts and I barely spare him a glance as I pay my bill idly tossing in a five thousand Naira tip which causes the awed waiter to fall over himself with profuse gratitude. As I step out of the 5 star restaurant where I have become a regular, I glance at my reflection in the glass door and unconsciously suck in my belle. There she is, the perfect big girl, no dulling. The valet hands me the keys to my red escalade and I drive off.
They say money doesn’t buy class, whoever said it was a broke ass, self-absorbed punk! Look at me now. My image goes beyond my European hair or my Hermes bag or Vera Wang Limited Edition dress (red to match my red escalade) I always love to colour code my outfits with my cars. Yes I have several. When you are large, you are large. Now back to class. It’s so easy to acquire class. Three months after I hammered big time, I bought my first Dstv decoder and after a week of watching African magic back to back (I couldn’t believe I could watch so many movies without renting them, back in the days it was 50 Naira per movie and woe betide you if the movie was sweet and had part 1, 2, 3 and 4), I realised that I wasn’t fulfilled. People still didn’t take me seriously. A stupid bouncer at a club didn’t let me enter VIP when Lynxxx was there and he was allowing other girls. I even tried tipping him and he laughed in my face and hissed and then spoke Yoruba to me, asking me to go and join my kind. It was my first time out alone and as I drove home in my Camry, I cried angry tears. Why had I been rejected? My clothes were more expensive than most of the girls there and I was a hot chick. What was wrong? I sat on my couch, the light from the television illuminating my mascara streaked face as I brooded and pondered about the disgrace I had received. I had just begun to entertain thoughts about the possibility of the bouncer living in my former area when I heard Dolapo Oni on 53 extra. I was broken out of my reverie and at that moment the pieces of the puzzle began to make sense. This was what I lacked! Her demeanor, mannerisms, conversation style and accent were very Americana. She was cultured and toosh. I was filled with envy as I watched her. I began to take notes. I was going to transform.
Three months post disgrace, I was a changed person. I spoke softly. I spoke with an accent. I kept watching “Jennifa” and “53 extra” reruns because to me they were my past vs my future. I watched Jennifa because as a sharp babe I knew there were some pronunciations that were synonymous with razz Yoruba babes and I knew I was guilty of them so everytime Jennifa said something familiar, I’d make a mental note to hear how Dolapo pronounced it. It was all I did for 3 months. I didn’t have to work per se. Alhaji’s political campaign kept him very preoccupied. Hadn’t seen him in a long while and I hoped to impress him the next time we met. On Friday the 15th day of June, I knew I was ready. I dressed slowly that night. My Malaysian weave looked great and as I adjusted my cleavage, I unconsciously dared the bouncer to misbehave. I had butterflies in my tummy. It was the anticipation, the excitement, the fear of rejection. I felt like a debutante. I decided not to take the Camry. It was pure water. Alhaji had parked his jaguar in my house when EFCC was snooping around and tonight it was my ride. I left the house with the overpowering scent of Marc Jacob’s Lola pervading the air around me. I felt powerful!
They say money stinks on you. The club security let me park inside. Lynxxx was there again and we happen to arrive at the same time. He parked just beside me and flashed me one of those his killer smiles. I wasn’t there for him tonight, I was there to prove a point. I deliberately sat in the regular part of the club and ordered a bottle of their most expensive champagne. I paid cash even before the waiter had taken my order to erase any doubts from his mind. I must have caused quite a stir or maybe it was the 250k bottle of champagne that did it, the next thing I knew the manager was coming to very sweetly and politely upgrade me himself not to VIP but to VVIP. As I walked past the bouncer, my heart began to pound. He had his back turned to me and as he turned I flashed him my most confident smile. Alas it wasn’t my guy… The new bouncer ushered me in very respecfully and I was crestfallen the rest of the night. I was determined not to leave. Maybe the dude would show up later. I was nursing my champagne alone in the corner feeling like victory had been denied me deliberately when a voice caused me to look up.
“Hi pretty, you’re a sight for sore eyes, did someone break your heart? Why so sad?”
It was Alhaji’s son. What a coincidence! And the brat didn’t recognize me. He had almost knocked me over with his car some years ago and when a policeman had intervened, he had arrogantly announced that he was Alhaji Mamzer’s son and the policeman had cowered in fear and apologized. The boy hadn’t even apologized to me or checked to see if I was ok. He had just hissed and warned that I had better look where I was going next time before driving off and splashing dirty water on the policeman and I. Well I was his father’s special aristo chick and could get more money from the old man after a good roll in the sack than his bloodline could ever fetch him.
“Nah…just bored. The DJ isn’t really on point tonight”
And he had used that as an opportunity to make himself comfortable beside me. After listening to him prattle on for an hour, I was more than ready to leave. He insisted on getting my phone number and I obliged. We exchanged phone numbers and I left before he could insist on walking me to my car. I couldn’t risk him recognizing the plate number on his father’s ride. I sang loudly all through the drive home. Mission accomplished, I could definitely kiss my old life goodbye.
A year later I was a confirmed Lagos big girl. Alhaji’s unlimited funds had made sure of that. As I was about to pull into my lavish Lekki phase 1 compound, a car caught my eye. I realised the car was the same one that had been driving behind me since I left the restaurant. As a smart babe, I drove past my compound ignoring my pounding heart. I didn’t know who they were but I wasn’t taking chances. I drove around town for 15 minutes and the men followed. It was ridiculous. I was weighing the odds and seriously contemplating driving into the nearby police station though there was no way of knowing what side of the law these men were on. I saw traffic up ahead, it was usual for Lekki cos of the new toll gate and fear clutched at my heart as scenes of driveby shootings flashed before my eyes. On a whim, I took the first turning off the road and alas the horrid black baby boy followed me. I looked at the dead end in front of me and screamed. How could I have failed to notice I was driving into a close. They were rare in Lekki as most streets were interconnected. I made sure my doors were locked and feared the worst. I watched the men alight from the car and walk towards my car. I said a silent prayer and saw one of the men fiddling with his phone. My phone began to ring and as I glanced at the unknown number I knew it was him.
“Modinatu Salami why you dey fear like this? Na me Samuseedin”
I dropped the phone as I heaved a big sigh of relief and unlocked the doors.
“Sammy you scared me jare, I-” my voice trailed off as I saw the gun pointed at me.
“Revenge is sweet, kneel down there!” He barked.
As I got on my knees, the other guy rushed at me and the last thing I saw before it all went black was a white handkerchief.
………………..To be continued…………………………….