CHIMA’S MEDICINE III

What the police and hotel security saw when they entered the hotel room was a naked girl covered in cuts and bruises and blood.
“He raped me, he raped me! Please tell him to leave me alone”. Vivian kept mumbling.
Chima was arrested and detained at Area F Police Command Ikeja, Vivian was taken to Duro Soleye Hospital for treatment. It was not how Chima planned to spend the weekend and public holidays, becoming a captive of the public was not in his itinerary. When the cell bars shut behind him and he breathed in his first lungful of urine scented air, his beards grew rapidly as if it had just received a fresh boost of fertilizer.

The 6 weeks Chima spent as a detainee at Area F Police Command were the most telling. He was often stripped and ‘interrogated’, with batons and boots, curses and starvation. He had nothing to confess, nevertheless the police went about extracting it religiously. By the time he released from detention, Chima knew he would always perceive the yellow-green smell of Area F forever. The pungency of it had clung to the ceiling of his nostrils like cobwebs in an abandoned building. Taken straight to the Magistrate Court, he was charged with assault and rape. Bail was set at a 100,000 Naira and he was transferred to KiriKiri Prisons. The journey to KiriKiri Prisons Apapa was in a rusty old truck, seatbelts were an abomination. Safety was completely ignored like the dental care of a Fulani cattle herdsman.

He was hobbled into KiriKiri, 20kg lighter than when he made love to Vivian. The scars he now bore both physically and mentally did not make him immune to the hazing that ‘Alejos’ or newcomers received when they arrived KiriKiri. Alejos ranged between the ages of 17 to 50, all at the mercy of the ‘Orientation Officers’, inmates who had arrived before them. FEAR THE RICH MAN AND THE POLICE was the most poignant inscription inside the prison cell.

Compared to his Area F incarceration, KiriKiri represented peace after the first night, a peace of the graveyard. It was an Eden of sorts, the prison grounds were full of ‘wildlife’ and fresh air. Lush vegetation combined with regular farming activities and serpents (in uniform and without) made for a more benign passage of time. And time stretched out like the limitless ocean in that inhabited but lifeless world. The inhabitants were like effigies, zombies with seemingly no purpose but hopelessness and a resignation to fate. The emptiness was infinite, the nothingness was unfathomable like the universe before the creation of light. So Chima was now a mere number, he felt like an astronaut of an undisclosed mission trapped in space. Gradually he was running out of oxygen.

The 2 weeks he spent at KiriKiri felt like a decade and he had aged accordingly albeit psychologically. Like a sailor who had survived a shipwreck, he was now fortunate to have been washed ashore. But his Island of refuge was populated with savages. Chima had a hard time re-integrating with the ‘outside’ world. Victor had disappeared initially but made his presence felt through surrogates. He hired a lawyer for Chima and contacted his neighbours, one of them was Humphrey who volunteered to help secure Chima’s freedom. Humphrey who was built like a basketball player but believed it was his duty to save everyone. The bail conditions were somehow ‘perfected’ and Chima was ‘free’ again. His trial continued like frequent asthma attacks, he had no idea if he would survive the continuous onslaught. Physical contact with Victor was impossible. He had skated back to the United States. Phone contact with Victor after KiriKiri eventually tapered from infrequent to non-existent.

The court case lasted for about 13 months. 13 months of jargon, procedure, adjournments and magistrate vacations. Finally, “Commissioner of Police vs Chima Okafor” was dismissed “as the court pleases”. However, the real circumstances that necessitated the termination of the case remained a mystery to Chima.

“Would you like something to eat?” Vivian asked after returning from the ladies room.
“Sure” Humphrey answered
“Who will foot the bill?” Chima asked suspiciously
“I will” Vivian said.
Vivian fawned over them like a mother hen and made sure their gastronomic needs were catered to that afternoon. Later she would joke about Chima’s fine cheekbones. Humphrey would laugh heartily at the joke, Chima would grit his teeth and keep his composure. She would mention that she regretted everything that happened, she will say it was due to an unforeseen attack of delirius tremens.
“That’s what the doctor said it was. He said it was possible through alcohol abuse.
“I haven’t swallowed a drop of alcohol since then, but I think that it is due to something else entirely.
“Do you remember this?”
She waved something in front of them. Humphrey was fascinated, Chima was stunned, for between her manicured fingernails were the remnants of the LSD strip she was holding the morning he was arrested.

“It looks harmless” Humphrey said
“It is harmless, at least to some extent” Vivian responded.
Chima who had lost his voice just stared as she went into a long narrative.
“I found it in my handbag after I was discharged from the hospital”.
She told them how she was upset and ashamed at what had taken place, but that one day while doing some research for her final year project, she had stumbled across an article on LSD. “I realised that I had blamed you wrongly for having it, but for what it’s worth, it may have cured my alcohol addiction”.
Chima and Humphrey who really had no idea what she was talking about just nodded and she continued.
“My parents had forgiven my reckless behaviour but my conscience was killing me. I had to do something”
She told them how she had confessed everything (except the LSD) to her father’s Personal Assistant, and how together they were able to convince her father to drop the charges.

“I’ve had your number since that night but I’ve been afraid to call.
“Please don’t hate me” she implored with tears in her eyes.
After a moment’s hesitation and an awkward moment of silence, Chima decided to unburden his mind. He quickly related the events of that fateful night and his struggle since then.

“It’s good to see you again” she said when he had finished his story. She marvelled at his resilience not knowing he had contemplated suicide several times without the will to carry it out.
“I am really sorry for all the pain I have caused you and hope you forgive me” she added.

Chima knew the pains of the past will never be undone, he also knew he had to allow himself a chance to heal. He tried to ignore the rise of her breast, her female scent and the seductive sound of her voice. Instead he chose to ignore the alarm bells ringing crazily in his skull. The desire that was growing inside him every time she spoke, everytime he caught a whiff of her perfume was driving him insane. A complete recovery from his affliction was only possible if he took the medicine that was before him.

His voice was hoarse when he asked “Are you saying that you still have feelings for me like you did then?” She shook her head.
“I had no feelings for you then, we had just met and it was purely sexual”.
Chima sighed in disappointment. The boner he had been carrying since Vivian returned from the ladies room was suddenly very painful.
“But I have never stopped thinking about… what might have been…”. She let her voice trail off.
“Me too” Chima said a bit too quickly, making both Vivian and Humphrey to stare at him sharply.

She produced a piece of paper with a phone number written on it.
“That’s my fathers Personal Assistant, he will help you to recover some of the things you have lost, it’s the least I can do.
“I have to go now, it was nice seeing you again”.

Suddenly it became clear to him why he’d not been able to move on. Why he had not been able to maintain any relationship since his ordeal begun. His illness had been cardiac all along and Vivian was the remedy. But Chima just sat there as she stood up and walked out of Mama Cass.

His arousal eased finally and after a speechless glance at Humphrey, he ran outside after her.
He approached her tentatively. “Vivian wait!” He said
“I no longer blame you for what happened.
“I’ve always thought about you and also what might have been if you hadn’t gone crazy that night”.
“Thank you” she said without even looking at him.
“Don’t you want to know where I live?” Chima asked carefully sensing an opportunity for complete freedom.
She looked him straight in the eyes and said matter of factly.
“I thought you’d never ask”

THE END

CHIMA’S MEDICINE II

The night of the toad turned out to be a night of sweet dreams. In the dream, Chima Okafor was the owner of a conglomerate with various interests, in short he was very rich. If he had known what was in store for him the next day, he probably would have kept vigil and prayed like a mantis. However he slept, and massive thunderstorms and lightning, soaked in heavy rainfall intensified his unconsciousness. When he woke up the next day, he was suitably vivified for the monotony of his uneventful life.

Work that day was like any other work day. However, the fried potatoes he usually shared at close of work with Angela his colleague, tasted especially delicious. Perhaps it was due to his anticipation of a night out with Victor, an old friend from his UNN days. Perhaps it was the fact that he knew Angela had a crush on him. Maybe it was because it was a Friday that preceded a Monday and Tuesday public holiday, the promise of a long and blissful weekend. He was thus ready to spread his wings, not knowing that the breeze that was blowing that day was the type that plucked feathers.

Chima took an Okada ride from Adeniyi Jones Avenue to Pekas opposite Opebi Sweet Sensation. Victor looked suitably rotund, like someone who had accepted everything life in the United States presented, especially if they were edible. Victor has been a resident in God’s own country for over 6 years and looked like a perfect stereotype in 3 quarter shorts and an Ecko t-shirt. How time had flown, how thick Victor had grown, Chima thought. After the ‘long time no sees’ and ‘look at yous’, Victor introduced him to his friends, Stevo, Femi, Funke, Ugochi and Vivian.

Hennessy, Heineken, Smirnoff Ice and Redbull surrounded a large pile of suya on the table. By the time the fish arrived, they were all inebriated. Victor was fixated with Funke’s ample bossom, Stevo and Ugochi were acting like lovebirds feeding each other, sharing drinks and rubbing shoulders like it was itching them. Femi on the other hand was trying unsuccessfully to maintain a conversation with Vivian who’s head was buried in her blackberry.
“You must find your virtual friends more fascinating than your physical ones abi?” Chima tried to intervene with a mischievious grin on his face.
“No oh!” she responded with a laugh before taking a sip from her glass. She ditched the phone but kept smiling at him whenever their eyes met. Vivian had the right curves and her eyes were gleaming with intelligence and sexiness. Chima sat up more straight in his seat.

The conversation was dominated by football and bad roads. Chima found out that Vivian preferred that to a private chat with Femi. Her knowledge of football and politics both surprised and thrilled him. He had intended to have a few drinks with them before going home but Vivian’s vivacity made him change his mind.

Later that night, the party of seven changed location. The lovebirds ferried Chima in the backseat of a C-Class Mercedes while Femi drove Vivian, Victor and Funke in his Honda Accord. They soon arrived at Q-Club, a Nite Club partially obscured by the shadow of the lumbering Oshoppey Plaza on Allen Avenue. Merriment had kicked into a higher gear with more drinks, cigarettes and dancing. The club was packed, the music was loud and the smoke haze was thick. Everyone looked great under the kaleidoscope of colours and alcohol influenced judgement.

In the Men’s Room:
“Chimex, I want to show you something”
At first Chima assumed it was a bookmark, but when Chima took a closer look he saw that the colorful strip of paper not only resembled but also had the feel of a litmus paper.
“what is it?”
“acid” Victor said.

Chima was even more confused when Victor explained that it was a drug called lysergic acid diethylamide, LSD for short. A drug that induced an incredible high once a piece of it is chewed. A trip of ‘acid’ Victor promised, had no notable negative side effects. Infact it was an amazing psychedelic. Steve Jobs is alleged to have enthused greatly about the wonderful feeling it engineers. He further said that Chima could make a whole lot of dough if he would agree to sell it ‘codedly’ in Lagos to affluent customers. That Chima was interested was an understatement especially after Victor told him he had booked a room for him at the Blue Ribbon Hotel. He swiftly pocketed the sample and they rejoined the party.

By the time they left Q-Club, Chima had devised several merchandising plans for this ‘psychedelic’. Femi had decided to leave after Vivian had repeatedly rebuffed his amorous gestures. That was what broke up the party of seven for the night. Victor, Funke, Vivian and Chima all crowded into the backseat of Stevo’s Mercedes. Vivian was practically sitting on Chima”s lap, he didn’t mind at all but assumed it was the alcohol. She leaned into him, asked for and got his phone which she fingered all the way to the Blue Ribbon. Meanwhile he was trying unsuccessfully to conceal the pressure in his jeans. The pressure was both from his aroused member and the strip of paper that was burning a hole in his pocket. Later he will tell Vivian “I don’t want to pressure you” but his expression will betray his desire and he will be consumed by the fire they had both kindled.

At the Blue Ribbon, Chima suggested that Vivian join him at the bar. He said this not only to provide a moment of privacy for his benefactor, but also to find out if Vivian would spend the night with him. She declined his offer. To cover up his embarassment he said,
“Let’s have a drink in my room then”.
Her acceptance surprised him for he had never slept with a girl on the first date before. He had initially thought she was using him to throw off Femi’s advances, but during the ride to the hotel he felt he could score. And now her hands were on his waist as he opened the door to his hotel room.

He made love to her like he had a point to prove, she responded in kind. Her beauty made his heart quiver like leaves in the harmattan breeze. The room was cold from the air conditioner, his throat was dry. His lips were parched from kissing Vivian’s tits, lips, hips and clitoris. Chima was primed to welcome this type of harmattan season again and again. Later Vivian kissed him on the chest before reaching for her handbag, then she padded naked into the bathroom. She urinated quite noisily, he sighed and reached for a cigarette.

She came out dangling something between her fingers. “What is that?” He laughed.
“Hindu Kush”
“Hindu what? You are not serious! Better hide it ’cause the drinks I ordered for will soon be here”.
“Yes Sir” She mocked, but obeyed and got under the duvet as “Room service!” Sounded from the door.

Chima thought about telling Vivian about the LSD but decided against it, the Heineken they were sipping seemed to be hitting her really hard. Nevertheless they smoked the herb and swallowed the draft. He was caressing her when she reached for a cigarette, she took several drags and jumped off the bed.
“What’s wrong?” He asked with his hand on her shoulder.
“You bastard!” she screamed pushing him violently aside. She seemed to be grabbing at everything trying to steady herself, all the while screaming unintelligible invectives in any direction. In her delirium, she seemed to have become unusually strong and aggressive. Heineken bottles became broken Heineken bottles as she knocked down every manner of furniture in the room, her imaginary foes. He received a cut on his left arm while trying to restrain her. Chima Okafor was suddenly scared as he realised too late that Vivian had the LSD strip in her hand.

(To be continued)