Flash fiction


They said he was found strangled. A thin black lace thong gripping his neck to the bed post like a choker. Odunsi the engine’s soundcloud had been on repeat for two days before Mr Lekan insisted Mama Kofo break in to tell that unrepsonsive young man to change the konji music and take out the dustbin. Police began their short investigation. Everyone spoke about the suicide in hushed tones. Some uniformed cleaners came to clean the BQ, I saw the instagram logo on their white van. None of the neighborhood agbales wanted to clean a deadbodi room. Officer Maduka, questioned everyone in that compound. They felt it wasn’t suicide. I’d walked by the akara woman and got catcalled. ‘Na woman go kill you!’, the busty ankara wrapped woman had admonished the bros. He got upset saying he didn’t like being cursed like Lanre.

By the time I strolled back from the Paga shop, the white van was being loaded with big black nylons bags, bed frame and large metal and plastic containers by two silent women and a stout man in grey jumpsuits and green hairnets. I greeted the team well done and entered the rusty brown gate. My slender fingers handed over the soft wad of one thousand naira notes to my Mother watching Zee World. What is that smell she asks. They’ve come to clean Lekan’s room. ‘Thank God o’, she mutters as her thick ringed fingers flick the naira notes in a quick count. Continuing, dropping the cash beside a glass cup of smoothie on the stool, she turns to me her bubu making her look stuffed. ‘Thank God, you listened to me when I said I don’t want that Corper around you or my house. Nkechi, my instincts never lie!’ I nod obediently and excuse myself.

I stripped off my black joggers and orange ‘African Queen’ crop top. The habit of not wearing underwear didn’t come from the need to breathe. A child’s palm can cup my breasts. They are that small. Its a habit that made Lanre and I’s quickie quicker. In the shower I massage the fade stretch mark soap up and down the curve of my wide hips. Absentmindedly rubbing my damp thighs and hips. I think back to the last time I saw him. He had been laughing outside the yard with taller lady and her weird hairstyle. Jealous I’d spotted them together that morning from my father’s bathroom window. I turned away and continued scrubbing the white tiles marked cream with age. I knew that laugh. Its a laugh that I’ve emitted whenever he tells bad jokes after toe curling sex. Later that day I’d seen another woman, his ‘friend’ Queen, leave hurriedly. She seemed annoyed but stopped to chat with Mama Kofo before hopping a bike. No one saw Lanre that evening at the Suya man’s place. I asked Nana the next day when I went to her Auntie’s shop to buy matches. I thought I heard his door creak in the middle of the night in my dreams.

The next day the Police closed the investigation ruling it a suicide. The previous evening, loud prayers, shouted amens and incense had floated out the next compound. I kept getting asked if i was okay by my father. He’d praised my cooking, less salty and lumpy. I slept fantasizing about Lanre. His lips, were they deeper pink or pale like harmattan cracked lips in death? Did his erection quickly go flaccid like a punctured balloon? Or was the body transported from the morturay to Oshogbo with its penis erect like Ma’s mini pistel used to pound Egusi? A suicide? I’d seen the tall woman with the shiny black hair in knots in my dreams last night. She’d bent over me, the coiled knots on her circular head shadowing the glow from the pale peach ceiling bulb. Her bent fair breasts which had hovered over Lanre’s lean chest hung over mine. I’d seen them when I’d carried his frozen ice-cream bowl of Ofada stew to the back window to knock. She’d closed her eyes in concentration as she rode moans and oos out of his arched dark brown form on the rumbled faded floral sheets.

I’d walked away from the back window to the side door at the kitchen and called out his name several times. I still don’t know if my irregular breathing from my breaking heart was the reason my shouts wavered. He’d come to the black metal door after I’d heard the bang of the front net door. Davido’s rap slipped out of the room into the clean, small kitchen. One of the things I dislike about relationships is sharing your favorite music with the other person. The past week since his death I couldn’t listen to Happy Hour, erotic Desire or Odunsi’ Divine jams. We stared at each other for 40 seconds before we both spoke. I raised the white plastic in my numb left hand to his eye level then dropped it on the wooden cupboard filled with food stuffs. That plastic had been my ticket out of the house that Wednesday.

As usual I’d said, ‘I’d be with Nana at the shop’. My Mother nodded as Radia swirled in her turquoise sari plotting on the Indian drama series station. ‘I need to give Nana her stew’, I announced to my distracted Mother. I wore my slides at the waiting room door. Nana hadn’t been at the shop so I didn’t need to beg her to cover for me. I went to Corper’s house in the compound on the right hand side of ours. What a surprise I stumbled on! Lanre isn’t cheating with the Bank Cashier Corper Queen. No, he’s doing bondage play with an older woman. She looked married. Maybe she even has kids with those drooping breasts. In his room, I noticed he’d sent her away quickly. How quickly can one untie bond wrists that fast? ‘You’re my desire’, swirls with the warm, dry air the ceiling fan twirls around the neat room like a hurricane of lies. I spotted an inside-out black thong stained with creamy residue amidst the rumbled bed sheet. A discarded condom in the Tasty Fried Chicken nylon at the left corner mocks me. His orange boots and white tennis shoes stood at attention at another corner. Crisp notes in a thick bundle of naira next to today’s newspaper confirm Nana’s suspicions. Lanre began apologizing about the messy bed. He was having nightmares before I called him. He wrapped his hands around me trying to kiss my neck. ‘I have to go. It will soon be time to boil water for Ma’s wheat and warm the white soup’. His baby pink lips pressed warm kisses to the hollow of my neck and I ask. Why did he fight against trying kinky sex but religiously searched pharmacies at Mende for anal sex lube? Wasn’t the 45k I’d given him just this August enough? I could have used that money to start selling make-up with Adaobi on Her_Makeup_Store on our IG campus sales page.. I withdrew his palm from my small breasts stepping back. I walked out on his grave expression and silent eyes. Opening and closing his mouth unable to shout beggings and answers to my retreating hips. He looked like a catfish that had flopped out of a market seller’s basket, scurrying on the dusty concrete in a vicious frenzy.

I’d left him with his bustier, naturally beautiful lover. I’m sure he’d hidden in her in the toilet beside the front door. So why was she in my dreams licking my pink lips? I don’t have pink lips. Why can I hear someone gulp and moan my name before she slaps someone on the bed beside me. In a dream last night I’d dodged the slap. I’d stared in wonder as she gyrated on me, wetness pooled in between my thighs. The next morning while spreading my washed baby pink silk nightie. I’d put the patch my squirt marked a map of Nigeria on up to face the sun. My bony fingers had just snapped on two yellow pegs when I overheard Mama Kofo. She sounded pleased repeating the Police investigation has ended to a quiet person. During the midnight, Bantu knots will slap again, asking if Lanre likes to use women or just me. Why did she sound like me? A faint pleading male voice gasped, ‘Nkechi! you’re hurting me. Bondage-play isn’t forr angahh’. When tiny brown nipples hover above my face reaching for something black, squeezing its coarseness and jerking it.  My fingers grabbed a fistful of my yellow cotton bed sheets while I tossed about asleep. A tiny patch of tears no longer mark the pillow case hanging in the wind.

After returning the bucket to my room I walked past the parked silver CRV out the brown gate. I crossed the road after a yellow danfo zoomed by. ‘Nana! Biko open the gate’, I call into the empty shop through the metal bars. I hear the sweeping sounds pause. ‘Chi?’, a smiling, golden brown, young woman holds a long broom against denim shorts. Sweat sticks a lemon Saved Youth t-shirt to her chest and heaving full bust. ‘I was just thinking of you, come in’. I drink some cold burgundy zobo in the shop. Nana packs sand and dried leaves into a large blue parker her voluptuous bum up in the air. ‘Why would he kill himself? Chi, have you thought about it?” A cleaner, composed Nana inquires. ‘I don’t know..I’ve been having nightmares about him. I wonder what the Cele prophet cleansed away.’ ‘Erotic nightmares..babe you have issues’, her smirk is covered by a raised tumbler. We chat about Nigerians’ attitude towards mental health until a small boy interrupts us. A beep from my iPhone distracts me. I freeze as a text from Lanre airtel, pops open on my screen. ‘Baby, come on! Pick my calls. I’ve messed up. Come back let me make it up to u. Please Nkechi, pls.’ This yeye Glo won’t kill you, my mother always says. That Wednesday afternoon my sticky fingers picked his call on its fifth ring. I’d served hot wheat from the steaming pot into mounds on damp glass plates before responding. I didn’t go back to his house. I’d felt humiliated and used. I couldn’t have gone back! Nana, offers me Panadol for an instant headache. My trembling right palm collects the refilled purple stained tumbler as I ask myself repeatedly ‘Or did I?’




We had done the book squad movie and theatre dates to see adaptations long before Nigerian Movie Producers began adapting bestselling Nigerian literature. We’d travelled first class with just a handbag. Only lace lingeries hidden underneath joggers and Lagos Fashion Week treasured tshirts buys kept us warm. We’d emitted grace, wealth and resilience long before they were bottled in affordable glass jars. We’d been worth millions long before they knew what networth, stock portfolio. mutual funds, trading rates of treasure bills, gold bars meant.

We’d engineered, innovated, destroyed, failed and excelled before they wrote to society, through exams and applications, requesting entrance into society’s conditioning. We’d been fluid with our lives, pursuits, love and appearance..long before hashtags morphed to be cyber-economic-political tools. Seeing them do the things we did pulls out to shove in truth. The truth that life is a cycle. From the iced cloudlike particles from the top of Mount Everest to murky, brown bottom of the Dead Sea. Change circles up and down. It’s a privilege to see you all today, the first colony of African Union delegates take the things we did to Mars.

The pride in the soft female voice didn’t fall like the ozone layer that dissolved over Lagos. The headsets beeped red and the cabin filled up with harmattan fog as the pods closed off. I never flew first class on a shuttle pod in Nigeria, I think to myself as stasis is induced. My last thought was of Ayinke, I knew she and her pink frames would be watching the sunny, blue skies for a bird nestling me and other young brilliant minds from across the African continent.

Her Unusual Snap

Two male nursing students daintily walk out of the wide gates of Alimosho General Hospital Igando manned by stout, dark uniforms. A white clothed pair laugh while walking away from the lawn path where many persons disappear. A short, curvy, glowing-light brown woman gets down from a grey car minutes after them. She locks the door with a clicking key. Then walks towards the lush lawns and green shrub bordering them. Other smartly dressed people hurriedly walk by on the cool, cement coloured interlocked brick pavement. Three old men in faded brown, orange, blue patterned Ankara buba and trousers are sitting on a wooden bench chatting in soothing Yoruba.

It is a calm morning but Lagos hoots, zooming by; trades, exchanging naira notes and bustles about. The wind catches falling green leaves and large, bright, pink petals, swaying them softy to land on the lawn. The curvy woman is walking by the strong, dark, brown branches of my hibiscus tree then stops to admire me. Although nature has plucked a quarter of the flowers, littering the floor under the trees. The floor looks like a bowl of Efo Riro.

Centuries ago, when Lagos was known as the Pepper Station and the Lagoon fishermen trade hub for neighbouring pre-colonial African cities. Long before those metal ships captained by Greed stole safety. Àwa Èmí, we spirits, had to be appeased before our physical properties and hosts were tampered with by curious humans. But even the millennium environmental regulations don’t stop wandering fingers.

My breath slowly exhales through my red stalk as I wait for the usual warm tug-snap of a deathly pluck. But it did not come that way. Snap! A white, square device emits this sound thrice. Through the damp morning air I note that the white is pristine like my petal edge streaks. “Artistic beauty! Each petal is an intricate blend of vibrancy. I’m so going to hand paint a fabric patterned after this large hibiscus.” She says while moving the box around my face.

Finally, she moves away her pretty face and gives her attention to the white metal box. For once the numerous, tiny ants that run in formation on my branches irritate me. I’m jealous this human and her piece of tech, as the butterflies who stop by to pollinate the yellow pollen tell us, are leaving. Butterflies feature in nature shoots unlike me who hardly gets that much attention in front of the hospital.

Later, the wind brought my friend’s usual brunch whispers, the Red Hibiscus tree spirit would narrate what she saw on the inside of the peach wall. While I’d note how many vehicles recklessly drive, carrying Death unknowingly. Sometimes I’d complain of the noise but not dark clouds of carbon large, yellow, burping, danfos emit. Or which child dropped a flower they’d plucked screaming as ants run around, painfully stinging their murderous fingers– punishment for disrupting life. Today I’ll excitedly chat about being immortalised in painted fabric. Out of small, popular red hibiscus trees, it’s exotic white hibiscus cousins and dried purple hibiscus usually featured in Zobo product photography, I get chosen. And of course, the white metal box that snaps without killing!

I could still see the woman pace behind mustard kabu-kabus at the taxi park, holding the white box to her small right ear. Sighing, she’d wait three hours for a male portly medical consultant. The Red Hibiscus tree spirit told me a bespectacled, portly man waited inside the buzzing human populated, sectioned iroko-tall buildings, lush maze-like lawn and murky filled porthole General Hospital compound for her.

Her Unusual Snap is a short fiction piece of African magical realism and speculative fiction that encourages you to respect and care for flowers and our plant environment. Inspired by this unusual but beautiful hibiscus tree and it’s flowers outside the Alimosho General Hospital Igando in Lagos Nigeria. A place I had to stop a small boy from plucking the purple flowers growing at its Laboratory Block.

Image Source: AmethystShotX for Amethyst Saw