“Jay and Oh”- Episode 02-” Brown”

I could stare at those twin brown pools for hours, not just admiring their beauty, but wondering what secrets they hide.

“Are you going to say something” she asks, breaking the awkward silence. 

You see, Jane knows full well I’m not a very churchy person. Being the spiritual lady she is, she tries to drag me with her to church every now and then. It doesn’t help that I drink alcohol as well; it’s the perfect excuse for her to preach God’s gospel to me, sullenly muttering about the indecency of drinking alcohol, which by the way occurs freely in nature and is in a way God’s own gift to man. She doesn’t see it that way though. 
I shuffle my feet in apparent discomfort and say, 
“I just didn’t feel like it”. 

A low “Oh” is all she says in reply. 
Eager to move the discussion on to safer waters, I change tack and say, 
“So, Jane, I don’t think you came on a surprise visit just to make me feel guilty about not going to church today. What’s up? Would you like something to eat or drink?”
She looks at me through narrowed eyes and says smugly, 
“Feeling guilty now, are we?”
Her demeanour suddenly changes and she says more softly, her gaze penetrating. 
“You should be attending church, you know that. Will you come to church with me next Sunday?”
Her eyes are all pleading, and her voice suddenly seems too smooth, too soft and just like that, my heart begins to thud. 
She doesn’t know it yet, but I’d do almost anything she asks of me directly. It irks my sensitive ego to be so biddable, but at this very moment, hearing that soft sweet voice, it’s like I’ve been put under an Imperius Curse. 
So as not to make my inner weakness evident, I slowly avert my eyes and pretend to think about the request. Turning back to face her, I try to sound patronisingly haughty but obviously, I fail. 
“Okay” is all I can bring myself to say. 
The smile that slowly spreads across her face is almost worth the dread that’s slowly working its way across my chest, the dread of lengthy, boring sermons, and  humdrum programs. And did I mention the tedious worship and praise sessions? I swear, my knees always ache like hell after standing for more than 30 minutes, clapping to the boring, hebetudinous rhythm. 
I sit beside her on the bed and watch as she picks up her smartphone and begins checking her social media updates and notifications as she’s apt to do between conversations. As usual, I begin staring at her face. 
For you to understand why I have such a soft spot for Jane, you need to know how she looks. Jane has brown eyes. Not black, not contact-lens-grey or hazel, but actually brown. The brown changes shade somewhere in her outer iris, creating a band of otherworldly golden-brown around her pupil, giving her a rather striking look. I could stare at those twin brown pools for hours, not just admiring their beauty, but wondering what secrets they hide. Jane has a broad nose, very unlike my pointy one. Further down, I can safely say that Jane has spectacular lips. The kind of full lips that make lusty eyes wet with even more lust. Her facial features are framed by an oval face. The background is a skin of mid-chocolate-brown tone. 
She seems engrossed with her phone. I take in her face, over and over again until I can see her face even when my eyes are closed.
Slowly, as if by an invisible hand, my face begins to draw close to hers, a human magnetic field, north pole drawing toward south pole as my eyes search out her lips, my mouth moving closer, slowly, searching.

”Jay and Oh”- Episode 01

She cracks open the door and peers in. 

“Is this Oye’s room”?, a small, voice says.
I rise up from my phone thumbing and pause, staring at the doorway, seemingly entranced by the sound of her voice. 
“Come in, come in”, I say, remembering my manners after what seems like hours. 
She steps in, taking in the sight of my room in all its ghastly glory in one quick glance. I don’t quit staring, equally taking in, or rather drinking in the sight of her. She is dressed in a self-made gown- as always- a pretty blue black sleeveless dress with intricate patterns swirling around the front. The cut is so done as to not over-emphasis but rather give tiny, but tempting hints of the delicate curves underneath. She wears no accessories, save for a small yellow band on her left wrist. Her hair is done in a Fringe fix, and she wears a pair of heels that goes well with her fine dress. 
“Hello Jane”, I say, my mouth dry. 
She looks at me and smiles. 
“Hello, Oye”, she says sweetly. 
She moves gracefully from the doorway and walks toward me, closing up the gap until we’re mere inches away from each other. 
My heart begins to thump loudly, deep inside my chest. I lick my lips nervously and take an instinctive step backwards. She pretends to not notice my apparent discomfort and instead says, 
“Goat! I’ve been trying to reach you for the past 10 minutes! Where’d you put your phone?”
I glance down at my phone on my mattress. I dimly realise I must have dropped it somewhere in the moment of excitement/semi-unconsciousness between her walking in and the immediate present. 
I look back at her, “Must’ve been the bad network”. 
I try to sound angry, frowning my face slightly, hoping to achieve the proper effect.
” Why didn’t you tell me you were coming? ”, I demand. 

The truth is that I’m simply unprepared for this visit. It’s totally impromptu. I didn’t expect it. My bedsheets are terribly rumpled. Books , cables and clothes are lying around slapdash. I haven’t had my bath, although it’s nearly 2:00pm today, Sunday. At least, I brushed my teeth in the morning. I shudder mentally at the thought of having to face Jane with a smelly mouth. 
Instead of replying, she plops right down on my mattress, all the while looking at me. 
“I thought to surprise you”, she says, frowning ever slightly. 

“Well this isn’t a nice surprise”, I  immediately reply. Realising that didn’t come out right, I try to soften the blow of my hard words. 

” But then, I’m really glad to see you”

The spoken words work like a charm as her small, delicate lips immediately blossom into a smile. 

I grin stupidly, staring at her. 

“You look really good by the way. Your hairstyle suits you, really it does”

She absently runs a finger through her hair and replies innocently, “Why, thank you.” 

Everyone knows women are strange creatures. The smart thing to do right after that would be to ask her when she had her hair done. Girls like that sort of attention. So, like the smart boy I am, I ask, 
” When’d you get your hair done? ” 

Still enjoying the attention, she replies 

“Oh, I had it done yesterday.” 

I mentally add, “and I decided to come show off my new look today”. 

Everyone knows girls are a bunch of show offs. They purposely dress super-duper-fine and do stunning makeup just to befuddle the minds of guys. And just so you know, my mind is very much befuddled at this very moment. 
Finally beginning to recover my wits, I move swiftly to put the room in as much order as I can muster on such short/non-existent notice. All the while, I can feel Janet’s eyes on me. 
I finish my, ahem, cleaning in less than 5 minutes. Partially satisfied, I face her and say, 
“Sorry about the dirty and unkempt room, I just feel lazy today”
She waves a hand imperiously, dismissing my apology. 
“It’s alright”, she says. 

Like it’s not her fault she came at the wrong time. Imagine! I’m having to apologise for receiving an impromptu guest unprepared. Like I was supposed to be prepared for an impromptu visit in the first place. Women! 

Wisely, I hold my tongue, not trusting myself to give voice to my sentiments without risking her ire. I switch to another topic. 
“How was church service?”, I ask. 
I immediately realise my error, but it’s too late. 

You see, a lot of men make the mistake of thinking they are smarter than girls. That’s wrong, wrong thinking. Even God agrees that females are by far the cleverer sex. They excel at manipulation and are great at twisting conversations. 
“It was great”, she replies. Almost immediately, her eyes narrow dangerously, just as I expect. 
Slowly and quietly, she asks the dreaded question. I almost have to lean over to hear her words, but I don’t. I don’t need to. Because I already dug my grave a few seconds earlier. 
“Why didn’t you go to church today?”, she asks. 

I fall silent.

On Reading… 

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

​Happy New Year!! As we make our New Year resolutions, taking into consideration all of the things we need in this life, let us also consider these… 

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

The above quote is but one of many references to the importance and beauty of reading. Quite simply, it means that knowledge is acquired through reading, subsequently leading to greater achievements. 

The import of reading cannot truly be overemphasised, especially in a digital world where the culture of reading is dying a slow and painful death. Reading brings about intellectual enlightenment, which in turn leads to development. Reading unlocks the human mind, enhancing intellectual perception and interpretation of worldly matters. Reading greatly improves vocabulary… The list of pros of reading is infinite, quite endless. But yet, the culture of reading is fading fast. 

True, there are many readers in the world today. Nevertheless, they are merely a small fraction of the whole that see reading as it truly ought to be seen, a way of living. 

In Nigeria today, reading is a dying culture. Even the unit of the populace-students- that should under normal circumstances be the advocates of the reading culture, see the activity as little more than a chore.  

Even the existing educational system does not help matters. Literature-in-English, logically a must in the curriculum of all students is restricted to only Arts students. Students in the Sciences and other disciplines are not exposed to and taught the importance of reading. 
There is also the problem of access to good, quality literature. Most of the available literature is either out of date or of a much lower quality. 

One could go on and on listing the reading problems of their society…the list is quite endless. The trick is to find effective solutions to scale the obstacle.

So, as you go about your daily business, think on these. .. 

A Word. . . 

…what causes these schemes to crash at some point is when too many people or everyone asks for their money at the the same time.

There’s something many Nigerians are currently involved in, something that not only promises, but more often than not delivers on its promise to increase the financial wealth of its participants (to varying degrees). 

In actuality, the entire thing is a clever ploy by some people to swindle an already poverty-stricken, and money-desperate population out of its money. It’s been called various names, MMM, iCharity, M. Givers, all depending on who’s in charge… Simple fact is that they’re all the same, known as Ponzi schemes to those in the know. A lot of participants are painfully unaware of how the scheme works; the perpetrators of any Ponzi scheme rely on the ignorance of participants or investors in matters of simple Economics. But for those of you who are considering participating or have already invested money in the hopes of doubling or tripling capital as the case may be, here’s a typical scenario of how a Ponzi scheme works:

John borrows #50 from Tolu on Monday with the promise that he will not only pay back the #50 owed, but double the money when paying back, an interest of 100%. John promises to pay the the money (plus interest), totalling a sum of #100 the following Monday. But rather than invest the money in some business in order to make profit, John goes to Kemi to borrow #100, promising her exactly the same thing he promised Tolu, 100% interest to be paid the following Tuesday. John then goes on to borrow money from many other people, promising promising to return the money at a later date, plus 100% interest. 

The following Monday, John pays  Tolu #100 as promised not with his money, but with Kemi’s #100! Tolu is happy and gives him another #50 to ‘invest’  for her.  The scheme goes on and on, and John pays people with money inadvertently  invested in his scheme by others! Frequently, he pockets some money, banking on the fact that there will always be new ‘investors’ with which to pay other ‘investors’. The scheme is also dependent on the fact that everyone will not not ask for their money back at exactly the same time! 

This mini-story best typifies how Ponzi schemes work. What causes these schemes to crash at some point is when too many people or everyone asks for their money at the the same time. It is inevitable, as it is a consequence of the greed of both the ‘investors’ and the organisers of the scheme. 

I have tried my best to explain how a Ponzi scheme works. For the the would-be participants and those currently participating… A word. 

To know more about Ponzi schemes and how they work, you can check out the links below 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ponzi_scheme

http://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/ponzischeme.asp

https://www.sec.gov/answers/ponzi.html 

Book Review: Prince of Fools (The Red Queen’s War #1) by Mark Lawrence 


I’ve put off reading this for so long, I’m beginning to regret not having read it all this while. 

Mark Lawrence has always had hype on his side, and now I know why. He writes like no one else, and I mean that quite literally. His brand of storytelling is like no other. His writing is so unique that I think I could very easily identify a piece by him, even if it was penned under another name. 

Prince of Fools chronicles the adventures of an overly carefree prince and his development into a more mature character, all in a setting that greatly resembles that of Medieval Europe, much like Paul Kearney’s Monarchies of God. 

Jalan is a typical 10th-in-line-to-the-throne prince, who lives a life of excesses, safe in the knowledge that he will never be called upon to shoulder the burden of rulership. Inadvertently, he is thrust into the epicentre of a storm that threatens to pull his entire world apart, used as a pawn in a deadly game of death, destructive, otherworldly magic…. and finds out that life is not all about food, drink and women. 

The development of Prince Jal is an interesting one, made all the better with the expert handling of the character by the author. His relationship with the Norseman Snorri is equally intriguing. 

The writing, while direct and quite straightforward, features many moments of hilarious, ironic, sarcastic and altogether literal creativity. It makes for a fine balance between seriousness and humour, as bouts of deadly seriousness are often punctured by moments of back breaking humour and sarcasm. 

The traits of characters is quite brilliant. It’s not easy to write antiheroes. I’ve read quite a number of books about antiheroes, and I can say that Mark Lawrence ranks among the very best in the subgenre of Fantasy with antiheroes. 

It’s a finely developed world. While it’s obviously a chip off Medieval Europe with slight modifications, I’m very much comfortable with it. 

The storyline is great. No POVs, direct and precise, just about enough magic, more than one antagonist, and lots of action. I expect more twists in book two, The Liar’s Key. 

Book Review: On Black Sisters Street by Chika Unigwe 

Reading this book made me reflect on a lot of things about Nigeria: the diversity, the peoples, the hardships and the choices and sufferings of said peoples. 

The story is about the lives of four different African women, forced to trade their bodies for a better life far away from their own country, in Belgium. The sudden death of one of the women finds the other women in shock, and in the spur of the moment, they find themselves exchanging previously untold secrets and chilling, grim tales of the experiences that culminated in them becoming flesh traders in a foreign land. 

Each of the women has experiences that are both unique in their grimness and horrifying in nature. Each of these experiences closely mirrors the realities of early 21st century Nigeria. The prevailing societal vices of the day, as well as a number of the more horrifying atrocities committed by people on a daily basis, and how they affect the lives of five women is the epicentre of the story. 

The story is an expository into how lives are shaped by specific experiences. In the story, all of the four women experience sexual abuse of varying degrees. Coupled with the hardship in the country, and the pressures of religion, society and culture, the women are forced to make a choice… whether to persevere with no end in sight to their sufferings, or to trade their female dignity for European baubles. 

The story is told in the form of a flashback. The effect is an increased depth in the intensity of the experiences shared in the story, and the drawing of the attention of readers to a number of common underlying factors in each experience. 

The characters are revealed with all the attention and intricacy of a highly skilled artist: A gradual unravelling of the nature, and then the experiences that shape each character. The result is a tale that is incredibly accurate in its portrayal of lower-class Nigerian society. Each character is portrayed in all the gory glory of abuses suffered, dashed hopes, false prophecies, and all of the vices that infest human society. 

A must read! 

Book Review: Crystal Storm (Falling Kingdoms #5)


Continuing from the previous book’s cliffhanger, the reins of power in Mytica are now in the possession of the darkly seductive, power-hungry Amara of the Kraeshian Empire. Lucia has gone to seek help in the sanctuary. The King of Blood manages to survive death. The love between Magnus and Cleo undergoes a trial by fire, as their desires and choices interweave with the lives of their friends, and enemies… 

Morgan Rhodes can write. He’s not just written a great story, he’s painted a most brilliant picture of human behaviour. Each character is not only well developed but equally consistent. This unique blend has created a vivid world where fairytales and the real world exist side by side. 

There’s similarities between the plot structures of Morgan Rhodes and Brian Staveley. Both authors organise their storylines to follow a particular layout. The story first starts out small, with only a small fraction of the total plot, then it begins to branch out and expand, each thread built on another. It’s like watching the rippling surface of a body of water. 

The best thing about this series is the characters. They’re just too good. They’re just as greedy, emotional, hateful, loving, murderous, resourceful and intelligent as real world humans. It’s a show of and an excellent portrayal of human character. 

How the author has managed to create vivid realism with mysterious, otherworldly intrigues and elements is quite beyond me. It’s a perfect blend of Grimdark, and traditional fantasy. Game of Thrones and Throne of Glass meet. Martin weds Maas. It’s the perfect literary combo. 

Sadly it’s another cliff hanger…