The story so far….
Read FISH BRAIN CLAN (1) – AMAKA here.
Read FISH BRAIN CLAN (2) – ONAGITE here.
Read FISH BRAIN CLAN (3) – JAMES here.
Read FISH BRAIN CLAN (4) – AMAKA here.
Read FISH BRAIN CLAN (5) – KYENPIA here
Read FISH BRAIN CLAN (6) – LORETTA here.
Read FISH BRAIN CLAN (7) – BEM here.
Read FISH BRAIN CLAN (8) – AMAKA here.
Read FISH BRAIN CLAN (9) -HABEEBA here.
Read FISH BRAIN CLAN (10) – LORETTA here.
Read FISH BRAIN CLAN (11) – JAMES here.
Read FISH BRAIN CLAN (12) – here.
The FBC story ends here. I must say a big thank you to Sally for giving the permission to feature this story here. I am sure you all have enjoyed it while it lasted.
However, this is not the end of the story….hehehehe. Nah, it is not the end. There came more drama in FISH BRAIN GAMES, the sequel to FISH BRAIN CLAN. Yes, there is a sequel.
Okay! Okay! Okay! I will give you the link…just follow your noses here >>>> FISH BRAIN GAMES to read all that happened to James and his ….errrr….errrrr….
Okay…I will stop right there.
In the time you were reading the FBC, I was on my part cooking up something nice for all of you to enjoy once you finished this series. You will most probably remember my short story PREY(ED) . If not, just click the link back there. So, in that story I struggled to keep it a short story. However, considering the level of readership the story had enjoyed and the feedback I have gotten, I have decided to string it out into a proper thriller series – A TIME TO KILL (For now, that is the working title).
I am going to be doing something very rare, I am inviting you to have a first look at the first few pages of the new story. I will really appreciate what your genuine opinions are before I finish up the story and begin sharing them online.
If you want to read a sneak preview, mail me at email@example.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you copies of the manuscript to read.
It is like showing u draft before the real thing, and you can say – Yes, I saw it before the rest of the world did.
I will be waiting for those mails.
In the meantime, enjoy FISH BRAIN CLAN 13
I made sure I shifted my chair far away from James and used my left hand to block my face. I didn’t want to see or hear him.
How dare he crash my counseling session with Pastor Ishi? So he is following me everywhere now?
I told Pastor Ishi I wanted to meet with him to unburden but the truth was I wanted to report James to him. Was it a bad thing I did to protect Eric fromWatzhername by setting the dogs on her? Why did James have to give me hard time over it? Good thing I refused to speak to him for days.
“Maxy, it’s not that bad nau. Sit close to your man,” said Pastor Ishi and I shook my head. He laughed. “So what’s the problem? Why are you angry like this, my dear?”
“I’m not the one you should be asking. Ask him why he’s here.”
“Oga Haliru, Amaka wants to know why you’re here.”
Trust James; he didn’t waste any time. “I think this girl here needs to take a break from this relationship.”
My mouth almost fell down.
“I have a feeling she’s tired of us. Ever since she got back from the States, she’s this whole new person and I will tell you why. In her words, she ‘chanced’ upon her ex at the airport…”
“In my words? He works there. Go to Murtala and see him there now.”
“Maxy, what ex is this?” Pastor Ishi asked.
“Who else but Adedoyin?” James answered.
“Interesting,” Pastor Ishi mumbled.
“Pastor Ishi, there’s nothing between Doyin and I o, just harmless texting and DMs on Twitter. Sometimes he’s in my mentions and James sees all that. There’s nothing there, at all.”
“See her cheeks? She blushed when she mentioned his name.”
“I did not.”
“Ishi, I blame you. You sent her to discover herself and she went there and discovered Doyin and a sharp mouth which she uses to snap at me like she’s always on her period or something. I thought it was my dressing, that I was too old for her, so I changed my entire wardrobe.”
“To start wearing jeans and t-shirts to the office?” I attacked him.
“I am the boss; I can wear whatever. And do small boys like Doyin wear Armani and Lacoste?”
“Who wants you to dress like a small boy?” I lashed.
Pastor Ishi laughed and pushed his chair back. “You guys are not even married and you’re already doing this? I’m so glad I don’t handle married couples. I for don die.”
James pointed at me with his thumb. “See how she dresses? Her clothes are getting shorter and tighter.”
I looked at what I was wearing. It was aiite. I was all Amaka without the Mary. Who wants to be dressing like a funeral?
“And she still goes out all Thursdays through Saturdays on her girls’ night out with Fiyin and Kyenpia…”
“Kyenpia?” Pastor Ishi asked. “My Kyenpia?”
James nodded and I wanted to twist his mouth. King of amebo.
“Kyenpia still goes out clubbing?” Pastor Ishi pressed.
“Not always,” I told him. Kyenpia was my best friend whenever her work allowed her. Pastor Ishi had a massive crush on her but she put him in the best friend zone for years.
“Then all she cares about is Eric,” James continued his report. “To Amaka, as long as Eric’s in that room, I’m not there.”
I bit back. “You know what’s worrying James, Pastor Ishi? He’s horny.”
Pastor Ishi pointed to a poster on his wall that read: “NO PILLOW TALK HERE. THE BED IS OFF LIMITS TOO.”
“So, what’s your problem with James, Amaka? I’m all ears.”
I heaved. To me, the whole meeting was wash. All I saw was two friends ganging up on me and if I knew James well, he wasn’t even angry. He was up to something really fishy; I was yet to find out what. Anyway, I was ready for whatever they had up their sleeves because I was mad as hell.
“James is angry at me for setting the dogs on Watzhername…”
“Onagite,” Pastor Ishi corrected.
“As you already know, there was big kasala that involved James, his momsie and Watzhername’s brother. And I was in the middle of it. Mama Haliru wanted me out of James’ life for good, the other one wanted me in jail for attempting to murder his sister, and instead of Oga Haliru here to defend me, he made me feel like a wicked person. And he hasn’t apologized yet, considering I was protecting his son.”
“Onagite will walk around with a limp all her life,” James broadcasted.
So she still has legs.
“Do you know what that will do to her?”
Reduce her market value? Too bad the dogs didn’t chew her lady parts.
“See, James, if you’re pitying her, go and marry her and leave me the hell alone! We’re not tied to each other. After all, she’s the mother of your child! You never told me she was pregnant. I found out only when I saw her with her big stomach chasing you up and down. If you love someone, Jamie, don’t you think such news is important to the person’s ears? And talk about double standards! When we were still having sex, you kept on insisting that I should not get pregnant but you go and knock her up? Is that how much you loved her, how much you wanted to be with her? Was I just some flesh to you because you were my first?”
“And that information, I didn’t need to know,” Pastor Ishi murmured.
“Jamie, we were together three good years and you never proposed to me but you date Watzher-freaking-name for just eight months and pop the question?”
“Amaka…” Pastor Ishi said in a calming tone but I was just started. Someone had gone and blown a fuse in my head.
“But I took it all in, cried my tears and nursed my broken heart jejely and when I thought it was all over, you showed up again with your charms and diamond ring, using my sisters to have your way – again! And stupid Amaka! I fell for everything! Then to top it all, Eric is thrown into the mix…”
“And you ran to New York,” James said snidely.
“I left because I needed time away from you because I swear to God, I wanted to cut off your balls and feed them to your dogs!”
The anger in my voice and eyes chilled James and his look showed he was somewhat sorry, but nothing moved him that easily. He had scales for skin. I waited for him to bite back but he didn’t. I had more to say but Pastor Ishi was already looking at me like I was mad, so I shut my mouth and the office became silent.
“Maxy, are you done?” Pastor Ishi asked and I murmured something.
“James?” Pastor Ishi called.
“I’m good,” James replied.
“Okay, so…here’s what I think the problem is, and correct me if I’m wrong. Amaka, when I told you to take time off for yourself, it was to get you to prioritize your life. To sit and consider what takes top precedence so that you can work towards achieving or maintaining it. If I’m to go by James’ complains, you’re still shying away from what I asked you to do. You’re this sparkly, happy-go-lucky girl, you like to have a lot of fun and you easily get bored and it’s not bad but time comes when the party ends and everyone goes home. The question is are you still on the dance floor or are you home to rest your feet?”
I looked at James but he was on his phone.
“Maxy, I’m very concerned about your fear of losing your freedom too early in life. That fear can push you to do things you might regret. And I understand, my dear, it’s hard. Suddenly, you’re a stay at home mom with an overbearing mother-in-law—sorry James—and a man who hardly has time for you. You think your youth is fading away fast and you take it out on James by digging up bygones, skeletons from the past (including Doyin), and therefore, complicating simple problems. It’s not supposed to be like that, my dear.”
This Pastor Ishi can melt somebody ehn! His voice was like cold water to my body. I right away calmed down and started agreeing to what he was saying. He turned to Oga Haliru.
“And James, you need to shove all the stress of work and clear your head to make tough decisions about your life entirely and where your mother, Onagite and Eric stand in regards to your relationship with Amaka.”
Pastor Ishi took off his glasses and looked into them before leaving them on the table. “So, here’s what I’ll prescribe. James, take a week off, travel and breathe some good air… and Amaka, your sentence would be to take a week off James.”
What was he talking about? A week off James? And see how he even said it with ease.
“Why?” I frowned.
“I have an assignment for you– for just one week. Meet new people, go out on harmless dates, enjoy being toasted once more.”
Which kain R&B am I listening to here? Can this be the pastor I know? And what is Oga Haliru saying to this?
“Stop looking at me, Maxy,” he murmured.
“Amaka,” Pastor Ishi called, “do you agree to my suggestion?”
I looked at James again and back at Pastor Ishi and saw a look pass between them. It was a trap. What game were they playing?
“Just harmless dates with the opposite sex and also you should meet different people outside your cycle. This Lagos lifestyle has boxed you up and your thinking and behavior is beginning to narrow a little.” Pastor Ishi pressed. “In fact, I have just the right person to help you kick off your one week adventure. What do you say?”
“As long as he has a toned torso, she’ll say yes,” James said and I eyed him the third time. He was thumbing his phone like he had not just spoken and I was convinced more than ever that there was something up his sleeves.
Oh ye gods, deliver me from a naughty fiancé.
“Pastor Ishi,” I stood up, “I don’t know what type of game two of you are playing here but I’m not finding it funny. I’m going home.”
Before they could call me back, I left the office and started out of the church. As I neared the gate, I heard James call. I walked on and stopped outside, beside his car. When he came to me, I dug my hand into his pocket and took out his car key.
“You will walk home this evening!”
I got into the car and slammed the door. He walked to the passenger side and got in beside me.
“Shey you want to play with my heart?!” I boiled. “You think everything is a joke, abi?!”
He said nothing, just stared at me, deep into my eyes for a long time until I calmed. He leaned over.
“You’re so cute when you’re angry.”
I pushed him away but he held my face and kissed me forcefully.
“Leave me!” Tears came to my eyes and I choked up. He smiled and took off my engagement ring.
“My flight is leaving this evening and I’ll be away for a week.”
“Away? To where?”
He opened the glove compartment and took out a plane ticket.
“Jamie, where are you going?”
He kissed me a second time. This time he was gentler and I didn’t stop him. All my shakara flew out the window.
“Wherever you’re going, don’t go. Please, stay,” I begged.
“You’ll be fine.” He stopped my tears before they fell. “Just have fun, boobsy and don’t hold back on my account. God knows I won’t.”
Pastor Ishi walked past us and went to his car.
“I love you.” He kissed my hand and stepped out of the car.
As I watched him walked to Pastor Ishi’s car, I opened my mouth to talk so many times but words just ran away. My thoughts were all over the place.
Which kain madness and temptation be dis one? What did he mean by he wouldn’t hold back on my account? Is he going to cheat on me? And where on earth is he going?
* * * * * * * *
Rainy Saturday evening, no light, chilling at home with my sisters and dashing them some of my old and unused. I tried my best not to worry about James since he said he was going to be fine, but to be honest, I was on the verge of breaking down. So far, it had been a day since he left and so far, his phone had been switched off. Occasionally he would ping, saying. “I’m ok.”
Unanswered questions scattered my brain and I didn’t even have the voice of Pastor Ishi to calm me. That one too had disappeared. I was very upset. Maybe James wanted out of the relationship and didn’t know how to tell me. Maybe he was mad that I stayed away in Yankee for four months and he wanted to pay me back in my own coin. Maybe he was suffering from cancer and was secretly treating himself. Maybe he had another Watzhername in another area code and they were making another Eric.
I sighed and started thinking about what I was going to do for him on my twenty-eighth birthday. It was all part of my journey to become selfless, to give instead of receiving. “Loving wives don’t suck their husbands dry,” said Pastor Ishi. If only he could see the humongous straw in my hand.
Lately, James had been acting all strange. I was suspecting an early midlife crisis. If not, what will make him repaint his house, change his entire wardrobe, start going to the gym regularly and start talking about going on adventures? I had explained to him, “James, Nigerians don’t go on adventures. Our life here is one hopeless adventure.” And he answered, “if you’re not coming with me, that one concern you.” So I let it be and started planning something special for him on my twenty-eighth. I needed to remind him about us, about our past and how we met, how far we had gone, and how it used to be fun in those days before Watzhername came with her private part and scattered everything.
“Aunty Amaka, dash me dis one nau? It can fit me.”
I glanced at our lastborn and gave her a nice knock on her head as I caught her small, fat hands in the air lifting my swimsuit.
“My friend, gaan sleep before I knock you another one.”
“But Aunty Amaka,” she pouted, “ya dashing dem Aunty Bella everything in your woodrope.”
I looked at the girl and shook my head. She was just an old soul. After my popsie and his wife had hopelessly produced three girls, they gave up trying for a boy entirely but Odimma came as God’s last laugh (as if he wasn’t laughing since). At this point, all their good genes had dried out and Popsie was old, so Odimma came out as a leftover with big Igbo nose, a man’s voice and fat genes. I was told popsie had one look at her, sighed and said: “Odimma,” which simply means “it is well.” My stepmother proceeded to name her that but the irony was that the moment Odimma was born, things never went well for them. Popsie secretly started an affair with my momsie and well… who cares about their gist sef? Back to Odimma, fondly called Orobo.
“Woodrope, abi?” I asked the cute, little bugger. “And your parents are paying two hundred thousand for school fees.”
“Aunty Bella say that even if I fail maths, I should try and slim down so that I can marry a maga like Uncle James.”
My mouth dropped open as I turned to my younger sister, Bella, who was busy rummaging through my wardrobe for clothes.
She poked her head out and smirked. She never really had respect for me because I was only nine months older.
“Is it not true?” she put her hand on her waist, there was jealousy in her tone. “With all your chartered financial accountant thingy, you’ll end up being a housewife because you’re marrying a maga.”
“Shh!” I covered her mouth. “Don’t let Daddy hear that I got that certificate abeg. He’ll call James and increase my bride price.”
“Okay.” She shrugged and lifted a flowery blue dress I had not seen in years. “Pretty please, sister dearest, may I have this one?”
I stared at the dress and it took me to a place, five years ago…
========================= THE END =====================
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sally loves to write and has written so many stories and short plays. She lives in Lagos with her husband and daughter. Check out her works on www.moskeda.wordpress.com