Fiction ~ Cemetery Joint ~ Jerry Adesewo

Pic: Aminu S Muhammad

December 31st, 2008 was the last time I ever went to a joint, club or bar.  That day, I had joined three of my childhood friends to Impression, a popular joint in Kubwa where I had bitten more than I could chew. I am not really a ‘beer person’ but I do enjoy the fellowship of my friends. I am always on the drinking table with them, in the name of brotherhood.  

“Relax man. You don't need to drink beer, but we don't want minerals or malt on this table.” Santos, our ringleader told me. “We are big boys and we have to appear as such. You can at least take Smirnoff. It is softer than any soft drink you can think of.” He added as he signaled to the barman who re-appeared a few minutes later with four cans of Smirnoff which he placed before me.

I took the challenge and before you could say, Jack Robinson, I had downed all four cans and requested for more. “Na wetin una for don tell me before be dis. No be to dey force me drink alcohol. This one na bottled palm wine.” I said, and my friends all laughed; Santos labeled me a JJC while the others commended me for daring to be a man.

What followed that bravery I could not tell, but I was informed when I regained consciousness the next day that I had messed up the entire joint, harassed the ladies - slapping their buttocks and pinching their breasts. Obviously, I had gotten too drunk to remember this story even now, not that I doubt its authenticity though. That was the last time I touched a drink or went to a bar. “I don't have the anointing for drinking,” I would say jokingly to my friends whenever they proposed that we go out for drinks. That was four years ago, until frustration forced me to make a detour. This time around, it was the Cemetery Joint, behind Apo Legislative Quarters.

February 14th is always Valentine’s Day, and being a work-free day for me, I was home all day, expecting my girlfriend who had agreed to spend the day with me. “What’s your plan for Valentine? Are you coming over tonight or tomorrow morning?” I had enquired the previous night. “No baby. I can’t spend the night. You know daddy won't allow me to stay the night out unless for a very cogent reason he approves of.” Dizot replied, promising to be the one to wake me up the next day.

In the last two years of our relationship, I have never had any reason to doubt Dizot’s loyalty and commitment to our blossoming affair. And that was why we were talking about exchanging marital vows. If there was any reason to not meet up with an appointment, she would call to explain the situation of things. But this time around, not only did she fail to call, her line was switched off. Out of desperation, I put a call through to some of her friends.

“Hello Uncle Jimmy, bawo ni day yin?” Biola responded from the other end. Without paying any attention to her greeting, I asked if she had seen her friend today. “Yes now. I just left her house a couple of minutes ago. She’s fine.” She added. Ordinarily, I should be happy that my Dizot is fine, but no. I was pent up with anger, I felt cheated. I felt abandoned. I concluded that Dizot had chosen Valentine’s Day to dump me for another lover. My sense of humiliation got the better of me. I wept and cursed and pulled down everything in the house. I turned the settee upside down, pulled down my shelf and lay dejectedly on the pile of books whimpering like a hungry child.

I remained in that position for God knows how long. Then, I heard a loud bang on the door and dashed for it in the hope that Dizot had finally arrived. I opened the door full of excitement, but was instead blessed with the smiling faces of my friends. I stared blankly at them.

“What’s the problem with you, man? You don't pick up your calls anymore,” Kanayo queried as they pushed their way in. “What’s happening here? Jimmy, abi you dey relocate from here without telling us?” He added on seeing the mess I had made of my room.

“You are, funny, man. You mean you do this to yourself because Dizot didn’t show up? Abeg no fall my hand jo. Wetin?” Finyo yapped, after I had explained what had happened to them.

“You know what? This room is too messed up and stuffy for us to settle down for any meaningful discussion. Why not change into something nice and let’s go out for a drink. It will help you get over your frustration. Then we can think of the next step to take. I am sure something must have happened for Dizot to have behaved like that.” Kanayo offered.

For the first time in four years, I heeded their call without persuasion. I threw caution to the wind, dashed into the bathroom, ran a quick shower, got dressed up and followed my friends out on a harmless drive around town.

After driving around the city, like some ‘Johny Just Come,’ on a sightseeing adventure, Santos suggested, “I think we have done enough of sight-seeing. Let’s settle down somewhere and take one bottle each before heading back home?”

“Brilliant idea,” I was the first to sanction Santo’s suggestion, much to the surprise of the others. “I need more than a bottle if possible. You know now.” I added. We branched off to Apo legislative quarters area, behind the Gudu Cemetery, to one of the most patronized joints in Abuja.

“Give us pepper soup and Smirnoff, please,” Santos announced as we took our seats under a big mango tree. The large open space that was the joint was fenced by rocks and different species of trees, of which mango trees featured prominently. The trees provided enough shade such that it was even possible to patronize the place in the day time without fear of the sun. It was still early in the evening but the trees whistled so loudly as though they were responding to some supernatural orders from Mother Nature. The shrill sound of a dog barking somewhere nearby penetrated my thought. I had a strange, unsettling feeling I could not explain. I was not sure the others felt the same way like I did. They seemed oblivious of any effect the environment was having on me. They were in their own separate world.

“No Smirnoff today, guys”, I announced. “Make it palm wine, please. I ordered the attendant lady standing by our table. She muttered a quick okay and walked away, switching her backside a bit forcefully, with the intent of drawing attention, I was sure. As she left, Santos’s eyes rested on her backside. “Santos!” I cautioned.

“Forget that thing, guy. Today is lover’s day. What is wrong with topping my palm wine and pepper soup with a pepper-less soup like that one?” Turning to me, Santos added, “What do you think Mr Lover boy?”

“Is there really anything called love?” I asked, rather than respond to Santos. That was the unique thing about our group, we were known as The Intelligentsia because whenever we gathered, it was always an opportunity to engage in brilliant banters on topical national and international issues. The deliberations that ensued were soon punctuated by the arrival of a tall pretty girl of about twenty-one years of age. She was an example of a fairytale angel. Heads turned in her direction as she walked towards our side of the joint as though she was on a predetermined mission.

While my attention had been diverted for a bit by another one of my friends whom I had met at the joint on our arrival, I felt a soft touch on my right shoulder and as I turned around to see who it was, a soft voice accompanied the touch, “may I join you, please?” I was speechless. She looked like Hema Malini, the Indian Bollywood goddess. “Oh yes, please, feel free,” I responded, almost stuttering as I dusted the vacant chair next to mine for her. The others also starred in utter amazement at the stunning beauty that had just graced our table.

Her name was Violet, she was an undergraduate student of International Relations of the University of Abuja, we learnt, when eventually she introduced herself to us. She was not only bold but brilliant too, I thought to myself. Soon, she was making meaningful contributions to our conversation, we were all happy to add her to our group. But it was soon time to leave as we had spent about two hours without realizing that time had hastily passed since our arrival at the joint. “Time to check out guys, it's getting late,” I announced, looking at my empty wrist. I had forgotten to wear a watch after hastily leaving the house earlier on.

Violet, accepted the proposal to spend the night at my place after agreeing to a fee of N20, 000. I had never had a cause to price a hooker before, but Violet was such a beauty to behold; I was willing to part with N50, 000 if only she demanded it. My friends too all had their own catches. Soon we were on our way back to our various homes in our separate cars; Violet was however the one driving my own car. I was too drunk to drive as we later realized, and she had accepted to drive me home after confessing that she could drive.  Once we arrived at my house, Violet, without asking me for direction led me straight to my own apartment. Even in my drunken state I could swear I didn’t tell her which my apartment was mine. My room was as scattered as it had been the previously. If she was surprised or angry, I couldn't have known. Like a guardian angel, she led me to the bathroom where we had a cold bath before heading for the bedroom. However, while in the bathroom, I discovered that Violet was transparent. I was seeing through her to the opposite direction, at first I had thought my drunken mind was playing Ludo with me. But it was not a game as I later found out the following morning.

I was awoken from sleep by the wailing voice of the doorbell, I was still dizzy so couldn’t get out of bed at once till the wailing of the bell became unbearable. When I opened the door, Kanayo walked with that weird friendly smile on his face. “Superman Jimmy. How far man? Sure you had a rocky night with that damsel. I jealous you o.” he quipped. It was then that I remembered Violet. “Violet! Violet!” I called as I dashed into the bedroom, she was not there. I checked the bathroom and kitchen but she was not there either. I returned to the sitting room where I found Kanayo looking through my CD rack. “You must be a superman. How did you re-arrange your room between last night and this morning? You get time for your guest so?” Kanayo teased.

At that instant I was sweating profusely. I hurriedly scanned the entire house again but she was nowhere in the house. Everything in the room was back to its original position before I had gone out the previous day. “I’m in trouble, man,” I blurted, “Wait Kay, how did you get in here? I asked, confused.

“What do you mean how...? I got in through the door, of course. And you opened the door yourself. Wait, what is happening? Where is she?” Kanayo’s agitated words further compounded my woes.


Jerry Adesewo is a poet and fiction writer. He is a notable art administrator and cultural expert; he is also the Director of the Abuja based, AROJA Theatre Company, General Secretary of the Abuja Chapter of the Association of Nigerian Authors. Adesewo is widely traveled.