...the diary of a hustling girl
This morning, i didn’t experience the normal urge of ‘money haunt’ i traditionally get any morning i wake up broke. I haven’t really lacked money for the past two weeks; mi Sucre (the pet name i call my boyfriend) had my back for like two weeks now. But lately....he’s been encountering bumpy roads, so automatically the funding paused. And i am back to my broke season.
Now being in a state university isn’t fun in Nigeria....compulsory purchase of text books before submission of assignments got me bugging. With just a day to go for me to buy two texts that costs at least one thousand six hundred naira each plus other personal needs, i need to clock at least seven grand today. The task has been set, here comes the hustle.
Normally, i would have just burrowed from my working-class student neighbour. Yeah; she will do me the favour, but that would be after she had finished her sermon of how useful i could be to myself if i had a permanent job. I usually go to her any day i think i could do with a little bad day or I’m in a desperate situation. For today, i think I’m going to skip the ‘yap-tolerance method’ and go for another unforeseen plan. So i called Nekky (another of my hustling friend always strapped with cash and got my back twenty-four-seven), after loads of convo, she hooked me up with a job going down in a week’s time. Well at least I’ve got an insured upper week. ;-). I still needed fast cash today though.
After series of calls, i exhausted my airtime with nothing to really show for it. The morning was already half spent and i am still home...i got off my worrisome mood and freshened up for school.
At school, i barely had my head in the lectures. That’s how i typically get whenever I’m broke. It was a Wednesday; students didn’t usually show up considering that most Wednesday’s school activities are not intense. Being that most of my friends didn’t come to school, i hurriedly left after lectures.
At the bus stop waiting for a bus, i ran into an old friend ‘Emily’. (Emily was in my department in our first year, but due to some kind of fraud in her admission she had to drop and change to another school). It has been long...Emily had really changed. Fat hand bags and heels, heavily painted face and fake lashes. I couldn’t stop starring though i wasn’t admiring her. After a long convo Emily uttered some interesting words. She said her boyfriend’s friend was coming from outta town; she invited me to hang-out with them that evening and to also keep the visitor company. It was an easy task considering the amount of affluence these dudes got to propound. I accepted the offer and we exchanged our cell-phone numbers. She promised to call me when the time is right.
Although my excitement for an achievement wasn’t for the educational achievement, i was delighted i went to school.
With the candle of hope lit in my heart, i went home in high spirits, washed off the school stress and took a long nap.
That evening minutes after i woke up, Emily called full of excitement demanding my home address. I gave her my address and she asked me to get ready that they’re already on their way.
Within minutes i was already in a car with Emily and two guys that i hardly know. The two guys were seated in the front seat while i was with Emily behind. Emily was busy informing me of my requirements of the guy. She wanted too much. She wanted me to make the guy happy in any way he wants, that was when i knew that my journey with these pilgrims of sinners might turn out bumpy.
At this time of my life, i wasn’t really a virgin but I’m not about having sex with nobody for money not to mention a stranger. So as Emily enlightened me of their expectations, my mind started wandering on the issue. I imagined the worst and prepared myself for a verbal altercation with Emily when my reality sets in.
Like i actually expected, Emily’s boyfriend ‘Emeka’ and his friend ‘Eddie’ had so much to spend. They bought things and left their change, after a nice dinner in a fancy restaurant they tipped the waiter fat. I was consciously observant.
After the whole hanging out and much drinking Eddie ‘the visiting friend’ insisted we go clubbing that same night. My reality started creeping in because although i appear like a girl that is always about fun i hated clubbing. I see clubs as a whore house for the affluent but uncultured. Because clubs around here admits any rich person no matter the class and I’m the type that doesn’t believe in the ‘money is class’ theory, I really prayed hard Emily would refuse the offer but she seemed rather incredibly excited about it. But what can i do? If i could get half of what these guys tipped the waiter I’m good to go. But the crazy phrase ‘the end justifies the means’ couldn’t let my greedy mind think straight. At the end of the day i found myself clubbing again for the second time this year (the first time i was drag by my friends).
The club was fun to an extent i must say. Eddie’s company was great that night. I guess after getting drunk he loosened up to his normal self besides the up-tight tough gangster he is when sober. He was hilarious with jokes and crazy with dance steps. I saw the remaining twenty percent i want in a boyfriend in Eddie and for a second i actually thought he had the eighty percent my boyfriend had too. And at that moment he could have me with just a kiss to the forehead. But i snapped back to reality when a fight erupted.
A guy allegedly grabbed Emily’s breast on the dance floor and Emeka busted the guy’s head open with a bottle. A big fight started because the guy Emeka busted his head was a gang leader and had his boys around. Within seconds Emeka was being attacked as Emily stood aside screaming. I was lost in the maze of tension as i gazed helplessly. I regained my senses from the sound of a gunshot to the air. I took cover like my boyfriend taught me, lying flat on the floor behind a couch, i looked around to see where the shot came from and saw Eddie clutching a nine millimetre smith and Wesson exactly like i see in the movies. I was terrified, I’ve been dancing with ‘Rambo’ my mind wondered. How did he get beyond the club security with a gun? Then i remembered that when you are wealthy in Nigeria, security personnel are like Mexican police.
Eddie scared the gang off of Emeka and started mouthing off. He was drunk so he continued talking until he implicated himself. Eddie was ‘Eddie Dominguez’ a major gangster specialized in organised crimes and trafficking of narcotics. He was declared wanted months ago after he broke out of jail in a state far north. As his name rang in my head as i recalled tabloids and headlines bearing his name on various newspapers then, I had the chill of my life.
As Emeka regained his stamina, he managed to get us all in the car and drove off. Eddie was still angry, yelling and bragging of his deeds back in the days and if he was allowed he would have killed all those guys within minutes.
This time around Emily and i had the mutual feeling of fear. We muted-up and sat motionlessly at the back seat and listened to the guys talk. Emeka was really trying to calm Eddie down but he was too drunk to act sober.
We got home (to Emeka’s house) within minutes, Eddie already calmed down, Emeka was having serious body pains and Emily and i were severely terrified. Sex was the last thing on our minds at least i was positive about that. Emily crawled into the bathroom turned the shower on with her clothes on and started crying sitting under the artificial rain. I wanted to go and cheer her up seeing that she was weaker than i thought but Emeka pulled me back advising i should let her be that she does that whenever she’s upset.
After applying balm on Emeka to sooth his pain from the beating i went into the bathroom for a quick shower. As soon as the soap i applied on my face foamed up i started hearing gunshots and shattering glasses. Those gangsters from the club tailed us home. They were shooting from outside into the house destroying anything their bullets comes across. It was exactly how i imagined the Nigerian civil war when my dad told us his Biafran stories; hot bullets flying in the air from different angles.
I quickly washed off my face and hurriedly ran across the hallway naked into Emeka’s room. Emeka was sorting out guns from a pile he threw across his bed. He already got a shot to his arm and was bleeding slowly but didn’t pay it any attention. I made my way into his closet where Emily was already hiding. “I’m so breaking up with him” was what she nervously repeated as i was assuming a safe position to ply. In my mind though i couldn’t utter a word she had more to worry about than a break up. I didn’t even think we would make it out of there alive. I couldn’t feel my body; i didn’t remember i was still naked, i could only hear Eddie’s voice yell as he fired back at those boys. It was a nightmare.
After half an hour of a bloody fire exchange there was some moments of silence; the remaining boys fled. Emily and i slowly came out of hiding. The next plan was leaving that building; i hurriedly gathered my belongings making sure there was nothing left that could be traced back to me when the police finally make the place.
Within minutes we were set to go. Eddie pulled out two stacks of cash from his bag and gave me. He left the remaining for Emeka and ran off with the other bag. Knowing that the neighbourhood will be crawling with the police soon i went with Eddie leaving Emily and her boyfriend behind.
As we came out of the compound cops were already around the block. Eddie quickly took me by the hand and ran back into the compound. We ran quickly into a thick bush behind the building; the police were already on our tail. I ran behind Eddie as fast as i could. Flinging off my shoes from my feet but clutched steadily to my hand-bag were ‘my money’ was.
As we ran deeper into the bush, i heard Emily’s voice scream and gunshots but we couldn’t do anything because we had like six policemen seriously pursuing us.
Eddie and i continued running for the next hour until we came to a highway in that pitch black atmosphere of the night. We were lucky to see a cab that was willing to take us to town. We travelled slowly speechlessly; i could feel the amount of tension in the cab, even from the cab driver. I knew the cab driver to an extent was terrified. I was even taken aback he pulled up to pick us up in the middle of nowhere, he must really need money or have a good heart or he’s severely stupid. Minutes after we got to town I was dropped off close to my street and Eddie continued with the cab. At this point my head wasn’t focused on a thing. I started remembering how this all started as i strolled slowly to my house. It was funny how my normal paper haunt day turned to my worst nightmare.
I got home really worried about Emily, her safety and whereabouts when my phone rang, it was Emily. I can’t really tell how it happened but somehow, she got away with Emeka and they were already halfway out of town. I was enormously relived and happy.
After moments of thinking and crying I took a quick shower, went to sleep hoping to weak up to realize my experience today was all a dream.
By Nnagoziem ‘The Vyrus’ Udensi