Man In Black Episode 69


Chuks got home around seven in the evening. After showering and going straight to the kitchen to meet nothing but empty pots— which was something at least, since they definitely wouldn’t have been clean hadn’t Segun been in his house just that morning —he wished to heaven his friend was still there so he could work his kitchen magic. Needless to say, the wish didn’t work.

That was why he was out in his street buying hundred naira akara and bread of the same amount from the woman selling bread who had pitched her tent beside the woman frying akara. Chuks had eaten the woman’s akara before, so he knew how good they were even before he smelled the aroma. 

All he had to do was branch a closed shop and settle down to enjoy one of Nigeria’s indegenious sandwiches. And this one na beta sandwich, self. No be all those bread and— shey na cheese abi beef —wey dem dey sell for London. There was light, and a bulb outside the closed door of the shop, so he could see enough to open the bread and slot in the akara, taking care to taste every morsel properly before swallowing it down. He watched people walk past along his tarred street as he ate.

It was not until he had finished that he realized that he hadn’t remembered to buy water. Bread was all right, if you got it with butter in the middle, and akara was good as well, and the way the both of them tasted combined was out of this world. But for all the good points of bread and akara, you had to drink a lot of water if you wanted to eat it and still be alive. The way his throat felt now was as if he hadn’t drank any water all week.

He intended to still be alive after this evening, so he quickly crossed the street and bought one bottled water.

The main reason he had eaten dinner outside his house was because he wanted to go to the gym. He had passed the one on his street on his way back from Anne’s house earlier this evening and remembered that he hadn’t worked out at all since he started living here.

Chuks waited for his dinner to settle properly before he walked up his street. A few cars and bikes were passing the road, so he just stayed safe and stayed on the side of the road. He passed many people on the street, some of them couples, and some of the things he saw made him envy Segun a little. His last girlfriend had been British, white British, before she had gotten engaged, and since he arrived in Nigeria he hadn’t had enough time for a new one.

Maybe there was something about Sunday that made lovers think it was their day, because there was a lot of hand-holding and giggling, and some were even snuggling, right there on the street. Didn’t he just want his own girlfriend right now. But it was just a passing thought, and it passed. Right now he was going to work out, then to sleep, and tomorrow field training would resume. End of story. 

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After five more minutes of walking, he finally got to the gym. It was in a two-storey plaza, number 105 on the street. The gym was on the ground floor, one of the few establishments still open, and he went in.

The interior of the gym was like a school hall. Workout equipment were spread out in the open space, with few walls demarcating different sections. From in front of the gym he could see one or two bench presses and a row of treadmills. He went first to the counter. If this was what passed for a receptionist here, she wasn’t supposed to have the same title as the woman in the lobby of Primeview Hotel. 

The girl was dressed just casual, which wasn’t bad, and neither was the way she was engrossed in her phone. Na make she just close mouth if she wan chew gum. And even then not to pop it as if she wanted to cause a gunshot scare.

“Hey, how may I help you?” There was more than just a trace of rudeness in her voice, and he would have replied ‘I’m here for the marriage counselling’ if not that he respected himself.

“I heard membership is free in your gym,” he said.

“Yes, it’s free. You want to register?”


“Okay, so what is your name?”

“Chukwudi Brown.”

“Brown? Okay, I will put your name in the membership list.” Chuks looked around, wondering where on earth that list could be. Then his eyes fell on the big exercise book on the counter. The way she was doing, you would think the list was on her phone. “Go and do whatever you want to do, you’ll pay as from next time.” She dismissed him with a lackadaisical wave of the hand.

Chuks didn’t even waste his energy shaking his head on her matter.