Ashawo

“Boy, you do am! You do all. Then you dey trend for telegram”, Doske says when Willy enters the hall, “tell us how it felt, she sweet?”

“No, she dey smell. Check like white.”

“But she be black.” The boys laugh.

“I pull some of the weed then the sex toys”, Doske whispers pulling out herbs and a dildo.

“Yo, you know I’m on suspension. Next mistake and I’m out.” Willy looks around to make sure no one is watching.

“But you have to do it, I told boys it’ll be ready this weekend for entertainment night. It must go down.”

“I can’t”, Willy whimpers.

“You don’t have a choice.”

                 ************************************************************

“Ashawoo!!!!” the students in the dining room scream when Lorlor enters.

“How much?”

“Cheap!”

“We heard it is smelling. Candidiasis? Candy!”

“The tape was leaked. Have you watched it?!”

“When is the next one dropping?”

“Gbele mi,” the boys’ ang Joey B’s popular song

“This one for enter porn hub oo.”

“Boyfriend stealer. Man chaser.”

Judy walks up to her and hits her.

“Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!” the crowd chants.

“You threw yourself at him with your big black ass. Look at you. I know you bought bleaching cream and asked for a refund when it didn’t work. Dirty black whore.” Judy shouts as she punches Lorlor who has curled up into a ball on the ground. Some of the kitchen staff hold up their phones and take videos, climbing on the benches and tables to get a good angle. Judy grips Lorlor’s pants and rips them off.

“Ouuuu.” The boys holler.

“Does it smell?”

“Is it dirty?”

“What’s the size?”

“Here, check it.” Judy grins and throws the pants to one of the boys who catches it between his thumb and forefinger.

“Nice colour but I always preferred red.” He passes it on to another boy who passes it on to another boy and the cycle continues.

“Cheap girl.”

“So will you be sleeping with next?”

“I can’t believe we let her into scripture union”, One of the girls in the group huddled together squeaks-Gina, rubbing between her thighs.

“She is really gone now”, the president decided, “hold hands, let’s pray that God will save her and touch her. Tomorrow’s service will be on repentance and forgiveness. See you all tomorrow.

“It cannot be proven to be a homicide or suicide. Victim: Lorlor Adeze. Age: 19. Time of death: just an hour ago during school entertainment. Cause of death: poison. I can only give more details after examination”

“Cheap killer on our hands then. I want a list of every student at this…..party? A list of dorm mates and class mates. Teachers and housemasters. ASAP. I want her background, history and since this is a secondary school, gossip,” Detective Sheila says.

Interview with Miss Gloria, Lorlor’s Housemistress

Detective: marks on Lorlor’s body show some sort of physical abuse. Some of the other girls confirmed that she was being beaten by other housemates. Why did you do nothing about this?

Miss Gloria shifts uncomfortably in her seat.

Miss Gloria: I had no knowledge of such incidents.

Detective: Really? Because the marks are very visible. I have to question your competence as a housemistress and since I am running this through the headmistress of the school, I am sure you will be fired.

Miss Gloria: no please. You know how it is with these girls.

Detective: I do not

Miss Gloria: it’s only because a murder happened that the girls are talking. There was no evidence of who was beating her.

Detective: You mean apart from the videos showing it. Why are you really protecting Judy?

Miss Gloria: I’m not protecting her.

Detective: it has nothing to do with the fact that you have been sleeping around with her father?

Miss Gloria: ummm..ummm

Detective: The case has not been determined as a suicide or a murder. The circumstances suggest that the girl may have been so bullied she may have taken her life herself but investigation is showing that people had a reason to want her dead. We found a computer in the lab with picture of you and Judy’s dad. She was blackmailing you.

Miss Gloria: yes, but I would not kill her.

Detective: oh but you already did when you allowed her get beaten and stepped on. A recording of this interview will be sent to the school heads. Better pack your things ma’am.

“There is new evidence detective. Lorlor was a virgin.”

“Crap, which means she is not the girl in the video. Ran the video through experts and let’s see what we can get out of it. Let’s find out who really is the girl in the video.”

Interview with Willy, Judy’s Boyfriend.

Detective: what do you remember from that night?

Willy: which night? They have been so many good nights.

Detective: Cheeky huh? What do you remember from the night you allegedly slept with Lorlor.

Willy: Allegedly? It cannot be allegedly. It happened and it was consensual.

Detective: describe Lorlor.

Willy: Lorlor was an attention seeker. Desperate for even a glance in her direction. She acted the part of the holy girl and all but we all know now what she really is……

He keeps his hands down, constantly scratching between his thighs.

Detective; so let me guess, you think your little incident with her made her popular.

Willy: it sure did but it was not anything she didn’t like.

Detective: were you drunk?

Scratching noises from Willy fill the room in a moment of silence.

Willy: no

Detective: Really? That’s not what Doske said.

Willy: no, he wouldn’t say that. He wouldn’t.

Detective: we spoke to some of your house boys. We threatened to run a drug test and guess who squealed about you and Doske selling drugs. Doske said it was all you. As a boys’ prefect I expected him to do that. So, my guess is almost all the student population was high that night. Including you. examination proves that Lorlor is a virgin which means she is not the girl in the sextape. We also know after thorough sweeping of the school computers that someone was threatening you about exposing your little drug empire. And a few hours later, Lorlor is poisoned.

Willy: if I didn’t sleep with Lorlor, who slept with me?

Detective: are you really asking me that? Lorlor was killed with antifreeze which is very easy to make in you school’s laboratory. I would have said per your academic records you are too dumb to do that but I guess google makes you all smart so she wasn’t poisoned at the party. Meaning the killer slipped it in probably the day before. Which means it has to be someone she’s comfortable with but you’re still a suspect.

Willy: I didn’t even know who was threatening me. So, it was Lorlor?

Detective: the username suggests so. It is consistent with a certain name she uses in her diary-Agni. Then again, she might be referring to someone else.

Willy: I can’t be a suspect. I’m the hockey team captain, we have a match and I already have one strike for the disciplinary committee.

Detective: should have thought of that before getting involved in all this. Now the video has come to the attention of you school authorities. All the best with that too.

Willy: I didn’t have a choice.

Detective: we all do. You did when you let her get beaten by your girlfriend and called names. When you isolated her. I’ll get back to you later.

Interview with Judy, Willy’s girlfriend.

Judy: I didn’t do anything.

Detective: no one said you did

Judy; but I know what you are all thinking. The videos of me beating Lorlor and everything. I know the other girls snitched on me too. That I put sand in her bathing bucket and putting poop on her bed and all that. I will fight for a man but I won’t kill for one.

Detective: Lorlor was a virgin.

Judy: what? No. she was in the video.

Detective; no, she wasn’t. you assumed she was.

Judy: well I couldn’t see the face but the figure and colour was like her.

Detective: well, it wasn’t her. You hit on the wrong person. It wasn’t her.

Judy; why would she protect someone else?

Detective: no one knows for now. Did Lorlor ever retaliate during after any of your……” pranks”?

Judy: someone did. But I don’t think it was from Lorlor. Lorlor was a very secretive kind of girl. She had no close friends except the scripture union people she walks with. But she stopped going after the news and all that spread.

Judy itches underneath her abdomen and scratches her head.

Judy: It’s not like I blamed Lorlor for sleeping with Willy. I blamed him too. He doesn’t have sex with me for about a month and I catch him in on it with someone who is not even as sexy as me. May her soul rest in peace of course. I dealt with him.

Detective; but there are no videos of you beating him or bullying him.

Judy; I mean, it’s not like it was him. He was high and drunk.

Detective: and that is enough reason to beat the girl? How do you know she wasn’t too? Why is she the whore?

Judy: well I mean, well……………………….

Detective: well you made a mistake. Did you know your father is having an affair with your housemistress?

Judy: what!!

Detective: were you threatening her?

Judy: why would I do that?

Detective: don’t ask me. Why did you bully Lorlor? Who even really knows psychology anymore with all these twisted minds? Especially you teenagers.

Judy: I wouldn’t threaten her. I’ll beat her up.

“I think I have an idea on what we are looking for. I have to speak to a few more people.” Detective Sheila says to herself as she sips on a can of Blue Jeans Energy drink.

Lorlor’s mother.

Ma daugta no bi beaten just here. Them beat am before before. Kg and primary. The small small pikin no wan’ play with am cause them fear to turn black. Ma Lorlor black. They no like. They call her charcoal. They no like say her mama bi market woman. them kill ma baby. It bi the boy. I see the picture.

Interview with the S.U group.

 Detective: I gather Lorlor was part of this group?

President: yes, but after the sextapes and rumours came out, we couldn’t take her in

Detective; let me guess, because you’re too holy for us all?

President; actually no, we would have taken her back even if she murdered someone. Pardon the pun.

Detective; go ahead.

President: but after it happened, she changed.

Detective: how?

Detective: she become very closed. Even more than usual. Absorbed with something. She wouldn’t let any of us near. So Gina suggested we give her some space.

Detective: which of you is Gina?

Gina: that’s me.

Detective: okay. So why did you decide to give her space?

Gina: because most of the time when a girl become closed, they just need to think and grow in their own space?

Gina keeps her fingers between her legs, head down.

Detective: really? Not reached out to and helped? What did you people do when she was being bullied?

President: we took her in and became her friends.

Detective: but you did nothing to stop it.  President, what is your name?

President: I’m Peter.

Detective: what was your relationship with Lorlor like.

President: we were great. She talks to me at times, shared a few secrets.

Detective; anything that may give insight on this case?

President: yes, before she went distant, she mentioned that she had discovered someone, new. She never mentioned who but I think it is one of Judy’s close friends in her squad. That group has an inner group. She might have been talking about one of them.

Detective: Thank you.

“Detective the tech team had confirmed that Lorlor was the one blackmailing both her housemistress and Willy as well as Doske. The boys also confirmed that Doske, the head boy used his position to make Lorlor pay for personal grievances. She is reported to have done several punishments for no apparent crime. There is also one more person that was being threatened by Lorlor but we have no idea.”

“And the girl in the video?”

“We are beginning to believe that she was someone hired to do this because the body in the tape was hidden by the boy, all the girls have their hair cropped.”

“Really?” the detective smirks, opening another can of Blue Jeans.

“Gina, you are under arrest for the murder of Lorlor?”

“What?”, the crowd screams along with Gina.

“You were the one in the video. I can tell by the hands always near your privates. In the interview you, Willy and Judy were itching your private. STDs. You’re the one who was in the video. The one Lorlor had discovered. Angi interchanged is Gina. When everyone took it for Lorlor you let it ride on but she threatened to expose other parts of the video she claimed to have. Why did you have to wait for Willy to be high though?”

“We were seeing each other on and off earlier this year. He was getting tired of me but I loved him so much. He was avoiding me. Lorlor took the sextape video to get back at Judy for being mean to her because of being Lorlor and well it backfired. To keep her quiet, I told her about her housemistress’ dirty game with Judy’s father and that Doske, the school head boy sells drugs and sex toys. But then she had to bring Willy into it and started blackmailing me. I had to.”

“Shame on you for ending a life and soul. You made her last years terrible. All of you. her housemistress has been fired and Doske will also be replaced as the school head. Lorlor was guilty of blackmail but only to get fairness she deserved. Shame on everyone who took part or stood by. Gina, you have the right to remain silent, anything you say or do can be used against you in the court of law.

Kubolor

Adjetey won’t you stop playing with car tires and help your mother sell fish?

Your mother helped her mother when she was your age, won’t you do the same?

It was just yesterday, that a ‘trotro’ almost run you over but the driver and mate were not to blame.

Adjetey it’s enough swimming for today at the beach with more rubbish than sand,

Staying at the smelly shores, cartwheeling and imitating live bands

You don’t repair your father’s fishing nets; you would rather join the boxing spectators in the sun.

Adjetey, Accra is a starving widow that eats the left-behind alive

The only English word you know is ‘sea’ but that is not the matter; the matter is that you don’t try

All you know is your little boy gang, all you know is the kenkey and shitor on fire.

Adjetey, houseflies swarm around the sore on your leg; the one you got from joining the motor riders as they screeched in town,

Come, carry your mother’s goods on your head

Back home to your shack; it’s late and the mosquitoes are gathering.

Adjetey, tomorrow you can join you father’s boat go

You know, the one with ‘Gold Coast’ painted on it in rich yellow

Tonight, I hope you dream of mermaids and ships.

How to go Mad

The truth is Yara has never had a problem with men. At six, she had broken the hearts of two boys. And after that, well let’s just say she knew she won’t be wearing white to her wedding.

She liked to think of herself as Everybody’s Girl. Totally unselfish.

Now, Yara tries on a midnight blue backless dress, then a see-through bright yellow one. Finally, she settles on a black short silk dress with half her chest on display. She wears black underwear under it and it fits like a second skin. She picks out a pair of red daring heels to match her bold red lipstick. She puts her brown faux locs in a big bun, black drip glasses sliding ever so slighting down her nose. Finally, her golden hoop earrings. She picks up her phone and takes a picture. Caption: Hide your men. She posts it on her WhatsApp status.

They haven’t met very often but the few times have been great. She meets him at odd places like university hotel rooms during the vacation. He drives there in his black Kia with his tinted windows rolled up. Tonight, they meet at a little shack that might be called a bar if a bar sells cheap alcohol with terrible live band. His wife calls, asking what to cook for dinner; she sounds quite happy. Almost has happy as Yara is at that moment. There is something about knowing you have something someone thinks they have to themselves, that makes everything so much more pleasurable. He follows her on Instagram under a different name, almost always the first to like every picture of hers.

Solo holds her hand. The right one with four rings.

“I’ll take you home with me tonight”, he says, pink lips perfect in the awful green light.

“Won’t your wife be home?”, Yara asks.

“Exactly, where is your sense of fun?”.

“You know all my five sense are fun. I’m sure if you’re sure”, Yara replies with a smirk quickly forming on her face.

“Let’s go.” He grabs her hand and they stumble out into his car to break a heart.

Maybe it’s the irony of white sheets or that his wife is next door but Yara feels so high.

“Hey, Solo”, his wife says, standing by the doorway.

Yara knows it’s her because she’s been stalking her for months. Yara knows she graduated from UCC and opened a tailoring shop. Yara doesn’t cover her naked body, a smug smile forms on her lips. She turns to see Solomon smiling too.

His wife, Judy, walks over and hugs him.

“I’ll bring the food in”, she says.

“Hey there.”

‘Hey there? What does that mean?’, Yara thinks.

It’s takes a moment for her to understand. Solomon never looked nervous when they were out, he never spoke about his wife being suspicious. A sickening realization dawns on her. Suddenly, Yara knows she has been cheated on all these years. She was not the one who knew she had something someone thought they had all to themselves. She was not the one stealing. She picks up her clothes, feeling she’s already wrapped in a web of hurt and lies. Solo doesn’t even try to stop her. He watches quietly. Yara wonders how many more there are, like her.

She sits in an uber; pieces of her heart floating above her but they stay there in the uber with her because they have nowhere to go. She’s mumbling something. Our girl Yara, has gone mad. She throws her hooping earrings out the uber window. She cleans her now bloody-no longer bold- lipstick with the back of her hand. She deletes her twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp account. She deletes all pictures of him, of his wife, of him and her. She looks quite insane with her lips smeared red and mascara spread around her eyes. You can tell she is going to build a shrine. she picks every dress she’s worn to see him out of her wardrobe and straight into the little fire she’s built.

She looks at the map she’s created on the wall, filled with pictures of Solo and his wife. Those she’d printed from the internet. She throws a knife into the map, then colours it all red with the lipstick she wore tonight.

Our Favourite Wife

“When you finish washing the clothes, my mother says you should remember to do the shopping at Kantamanto market for her. She says she would WhatsApp the list of foodstuffs”, Ernest shouts to Maame Esi. It’s a sunny Saturday and Ernest is on the phone with his mother. Maame Esi, his wife of three years is on a short wooden stool sweating. You would be too if you had to wash your husband’s clothes, your clothes, your brother-in-law’s clothes and those of your two children as well. The youngest child is tied to Maame’s back, wailing loudly, runny nose and all.

No, the story doesn’t begin with a smart Maame Esi being forced to give up her schooling to get married. That’s a bit old isn’t it? In fact, Maame Esi wasn’t too bright at all. Like most people, she fell in love at 19 and got married at 23; after school of course, with a third class lower in education.

“Please clean my room, Maame Esi”, her brother-in-law says.

“Of course,”, Maame says, smiling indulgently.

“My toy ma, I can’t find my toy”, Maame’s two-year old son wails.

“Here it is Nana, it was under the chair”, Maame sighs, handing it over to him.

“Darling, my father will be coming this afternoon. You will prepare his favourite mashed plantain, won’t you?”

“Yes, surely”, she replies.

Even though Maame Esi must have once been the brightest girl in the room I remember she had dreams. They were killed at thirteen; held at gunpoint and executed. Maame Esi’s mother would often spend every afternoon after school with in the kitchen cooking. The evenings were spent cleaning. At the end of the day her hands smell like key soap and ginger, too worn out for school.

There is nothing more to say when they buy dolls for girls and race cars for boys. Well, Maame Esi is still our favourite wife.

Black Joy

There is a secret,

Hidden deep in your melanin

I’ll let you in on it,

If you promise to tell others.

The way your 4c hair grows,

Daring gravity, almost like a flower reaching for more sunlight.

The way your skin glows,

Wearing the sun like a perfect fit.

Leave your hair in afros,

Shea butter your skin,

Put Vaseline on your lips,

Be your black and love it.

Sugar Daddy

It’s not everyday you see a sixty-something year old man getting a tattoo of a name of his back. It’s these legon girls; they won’t let him rest.

You see, in secondary school, Reginald and his gang all swore to never get married. What was the point of eating one flavour when there are plenty others? Well, that is what his best friend Ben had heard his father say to his friends when his mother wasn’t around. So, why even bother?

When Reginald left secondary school, all that the girls in his batch were concerned about was growing their 4c hair and social media accounts. Then the girls got to university and decided they might as well have the time of their lives before they get cooped up in jobs with unbearable children. So, the whole of his university years was filled with fun.

In his mid-twenties, all the girls were looking for work. Some started their businesses; others went into good jobs and the rest. Well, the rest started looking for men who could afford them. So, half of the girls were successful women, looking for successful men which Reginald was not yet. The other half also wanted successful men, which again, Reginald couldn’t afford to be yet.

From thirty to now, the women had turned desperate, pressured by family and friends getting married. But for Reginald, the smell of desperation was a turnoff. So, he started looking at the younger girls. That is how it all started. These younger girls were quite the roller-coaster. Reginald dealt with so many emotions and he wished it wasn’t so. To be honest, sixty is lonely and he had grown quite found of Amira, the girl with him in the tattoo parlour. But he thinks she has the same mindset as him when he was younger. He doubts she wants marriage.

So, Reginald is sixty something with one sports car, a vintage Mercedes and trying desperately to keep Amira in his life. Late night visits to campus, the back seat of his Mercedes full of gifts. It’s the only thing he can really give these days; he’s not quite as good in bed. These legon girls with their preferences, it’s not easy to keep up.

Amira just left the room of her boyfriend; 3076 Nelson Hall. She picks up Reginald’s call. He’s here to pick her up for a night beach party. She packs a tiny piece of bikini and one dress. It’s going to be a long night.

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