Apr/May 2006  •   Fiction


by Crispin Oduobuk

He wants to come meet you, but you're not comfortable with that. Don't want to risk being seen going out with a strange guy.

So take a taxi to the hotel where he's staying—Abuja's second best, quickly losing the status to sloppiness. Five minutes drive from your office, you know the house drill: ask at the reception for a guest, they'll put you through to him on intercom. Up to him to tell you his room number, invite you there or come get you. If he tells you his room number, you'll have to sign in with the security at the main lifts.

So, before you get out of the taxi at the back parking lot, call him on your cell phone.

"I'm here," you say.

"Okay," he says. "Come up. 927."

Enter the hotel through the side entrance that opens onto the back parking lot. The security man there greets you with a pleasant smile. You know what he's thinking. With your multi-colour braided hair and jazzy outfit, you're a musician. Smile and nod at him, turn left and head for the staircase.

Once on the first floor, double back to the lifts. Unguarded at this level, you can use one all the way to the ninth floor without having to sign in. You like playing these little games of beating the security system.

Wearing a loose T-shirt and casual trousers, "Superlover" isn't as good-looking as the picture he'd shown you on the Internet, and somehow he looks bigger than you'd expected. However, you like his clean-shaven face with the extra-bright eyes seeming to belong to an over-excited kid. Or a drug-crazed maniac.

"Hi," he says.

"Hi," you say.

Shake hands and notice how large and powerful his palms are as he ushers you in. Wonder what he does to have such large palms. He could play Samson and choke a lion with those. You smile. He thinks you're smiling at him and smiles back. If only he could read your mind.

His suite isn't small. But within the same hotel you've been in bigger ones in the course of work, interviewing some entertainment person or the other. This suite has a double bed, two armchairs and a low table with several magazines on it, including a recent edition of the one you work for. There's also a writing desk with a chair to go with it and, of course, a large TV tuned to CNN rests near a dressing table with a highly polished mirror.

Settle into one of the armchairs.

"So you say you're a reporter," he says.

You don't like his tone. It says to you he thinks you're lying.

Pick up one of the magazines; open to page 21; show him your column with your picture and the name you gave him on the Internet, which, unlike his "Superlover," is your real name.

"Ah, so it's true," he says. "You know I thought you were lying."

You see no reason to act surprised.

"So what brings you to Abuja?" you say.

"Business," Superlover says. "What can I get you?"

You don't think you deserve the brusque reply, but you're hungry, and if you were not meeting him, you'd be treating yourself to something nice at a good restaurant, as is your practice on Friday evenings after the mag has gone to bed. So say you'll have fried rice and chicken and a peach drink.

Superlover calls room service, a lord of the manor summoning the help. While he speaks on the phone, pick up the TV remote and indicate to him you'd like to change the channel. He motions for you to go ahead. Flip through until you happen on Macy Gray belting "Time of My Life" on MTV. Sit forward and bob to Macy's funky vibe.

"So you like music," Superlover says, putting down the phone.

"Don't you?"

"I like Fela. And Femi. Especially ‘Beng Beng Beng.'"

Chuckle. "I like Fela, too, and I like that particular Femi song, though when I bought the album I felt a bit disappointed."

"Ah, that's because you've not seen him perform live!" Apparently you've said something wrong. Superlover not only sounds angry, he looks as if you've desecrated a god of his.

Say, "Maybe you're right," in your softest tone. You're not sure this is going right. Wonder if it would be okay to leave. Wonder if you can lie that you forgot the present you brought for him in your car and use that to get away. Then remember you've made him call room service. Think how rude you'd be to just get up and leave. You wouldn't like it if someone did that to you. Think positive thoughts and hope you can at least enjoy the evening. But hell, you can't help wishing you'd gone to a restaurant on your own instead.

Uncomfortable silence while you pretend to watch MTV with more seriousness than a music channel deserves. On the Internet Superlover is usually chatty and funny. He often says the most intelligent and engaging things. Now you're disappointed to find him so bland in person. Don't bother to ask his real name; it might be something irritatingly common like John or Peter.

"You know, you look very cute," Superlover says suddenly, as if he's just discovered this fact.

Shrug. What's there to say? Thank you? You don't feel like thanking him.

"Especially with the way you've done your hair," he adds. "It suits you. Fine chick."

That is both funny and embarrassing. Then he blows you an awkward air kiss, and you throw your head back and laugh because now you know for sure it isn't going right. You've come for an evening of intelligent conversation on art, politics—well, of course, relationships—and life in general. Air kisses aren't in that picture. Now begin to plan your departure.

Suddenly Superlover stands before you with his erect dick in his hand. It's huge and ugly. "Suck," he says.

"Hey!" you shout, getting up. Push him back, step away and glare at him. "What's the matter with you?"

"What do you mean?" he says.

"What do I mean? Please behave yourself!" You're so revolted, you feel like throwing up.

A knock on the door. You're both startled.

"Room service!" a voice calls from outside.

Superlover zips up and goes to the door. Follow him and divert into the bathroom as he opens up. Bend over the toilet bowl and try to barf. Nothing. Close the bowl and sit on the cover. You decide you'll wait in there and leave immediately after the room service person leaves. There's no way you're going to touch that food.

It seems to take forever. Then you hear the door opening and closing, so you come out in a rush and make straight for the door.

But Superlover is waiting for you. Grabs your right arm by the elbow and pulls you against him.

"Where are you going?" he says.

"Home!" you say, forgetting you'd warned yourself not to say another word to him.

"You haven't eaten your food. You can't go yet."

"I'll pay for it," you say, reaching in your bag for your Friday treat money.

"I don't want your money," he says. "I want you."

His grip is hurting your arm. Being bigger, you know he can do a lot of damage to you. Besides, "when overpowered, cooperate until you get your chance to strike back" is a mantra you've heard several times from a friend who takes judo classes.

So follow Superlover back into the sitting area, a sheep being led to the slaughter. He pushes you roughly into the chair you'd been sitting in earlier.

"Okay, now eat," he says.

Glare at him. Let him know you loathe him and what he's doing to you.

He laughs. A deep and guttural sound like something from a horror movie.

"You don't want to eat any more?"

Ignore him.

"Okay, take off your clothes and let's fuck."

Stand up. Your heart is pounding in your ears. This is not happening to you.

"Take off your clothes," he repeats, undoing his pants. He takes off his T-shirt in one quick motion. Look around for a weapon. A tray of food where the magazines had been. The magazines now on the bed. The TV playing "What's Luv" by Fat Joe, featuring Ashanti and Jah Rule. You feel like crying.

"Okay!" Superlover says, slowly taking off his trousers. You can see the bulge where his huge erection is struggling to escape his underwear. Feel sick from the wetness you're sensing down there and the crazy desire to see his dick again. How can your body betray you like this? Yet, as he works the trousers past his knees, you see your chance and jump over the food, but not too well as one foot sends both the tray and you to the floor. Cutlery clatters, glasses break, and food spills everywhere.

You've sprained your right ankle. Plus you've hit your left shin against something hard. You're in terrible pain as you try to crawl away on your stomach. Superlover jumps on top of you. A thick palm holds your neck down while he pins your left hand with his knee.

"Please, please stop," you cry, hating your weakness.

"You think I bought a 20k return ticket from Lagos to come and joke?" he says in a fierce whisper. "You think the bill I'm paying in this hotel is a joke?" You feel his breath hot against your neck as he forces down your silk trousers.

"Look at your big ass!" he says with incongruous joy. You feel a finger forcing itself into you and you squirm.

"You are wet!" he announces with heightened delight.

Try twisting out of his grip, but his palm tightens around your neck.

Meanwhile, two fingers now, saliva-coated. Then three. You feel nauseous as slimy spit slithers down the inside of your thighs. You buck up, but Superlover punches you in the back and you slump down in agony.

Feel the tip of his dick on you and go wild. You raise your head and scream for help. Superlover slams an elbow against your head, and you cut your lip on a spoon on the rugged floor.

"Stupid idiot!" you hear him cursing. "What did you come here for?"

A brainwave hits you as he continues trying to force himself into you. "Use cream," you say. "Use cream!"

You feel him hesitate. Furtively, look around a piece of cutlery. The fork is a little way off to your right.

"Don't move!" Superlover snarls.

The moment he gets up, reach for the fork. He turns and sees you tightening your grip and he tries to kick it out of your hand. Duck, lunge up with all the energy you can muster and jab the fork into his balls. Now he knows within you is an empire of strength.

Blood spills as Superlover holds the end of the fork and screams like a mad man. Pick a plate from the floor and smash it on his head. Now blood flows from his head. Reaching blindly for you, Superlover stumbles against an armchair and falls. He's still screaming, so pull the mattress off the bed and throw it on him. That stifles his scream a little.

Look in the mirror next to the TV. Food is all over you—you are a hapless politician after the rotten eggs have been flying. Superlover is still shouting, so reach over and increase the volume of R Kelly singing "Thoia Thong." There's a lot of noise—an after party of a party that never was.

In the bathroom, use a towel and make yourself as presentable as you can. Your face is swollen around the cut on the left side of your lower lip. You can't do much about that. There's a splash of blood on your right sleeve. Dip the sleeve in water and wash it off.

As you leave the room, you observe Superlover is no longer shouting. Did he just pass out, or is he dead? You don't know, and you don't care. Leave the hotel the way you came in, and put the nightmare behind you.