"Truth is stranger than fiction" - Unknown
This post has nothing to do with the movie franchise of similar name. It just seemed an appropriate caption for this picture taken by our friend Kofo. Somewhere in the mix, I forgot to put my hater blockers on (Whatever ey?). Big ass shout-out to Exschoolnerd No. 1, Laide for hosting this post here.
We went to SATB (Sundays At The Bay) penultimate weekend 8-| And we had fun 8-|. We hadn't been out and about in weeeeks -- Efa, because he'd been aggressively putting in studio time. And I, well, I was on my usual grind. So what better way to unwind than SATB, no?
Oh wait, quick one: I'm 'Jibola (On the left). Some people know me as @JibolaL, and some others remember me as the dude who wrote Raw and Six8Ten - The Story. Efa (On the right) (aka @EfaGuevara, ) is my wingman and a rapper by profession. And you probably know him from his cover of Mo'cheddah's If You Want Me and his work on DJ Klem's EP: Try Again
Back to the Beach! It was worth every effort we made to be there. It wasn't just the fact that we were "reuniting" with our ol' buddies that we hadn't seen in a long bit. But there was just something about the beach breeze, the beautiful women and seeing old, familiar faces that just did it. I can't for the life of me, remember sooo much about what happened (No, I'm not blaming the alchy, thanks).
But there were a few things that stuck out. Like how the sun was BURNING when we first got to the beach. Something also struck me about some guy that kept looking over at the table where Laide, Efa, Justina and I sat. He was quiet, sat alone and didn't talk to so many people. He was non-descript to say the least, but what stood out about him was his grey plaid short sleeved shirt and a matching wrist watch.
He was to my left at this point, hence this picture.
Efa noticed him too, by this time, he was directly behind the photographer. It's just unfortunate that Kofo (Formerly known as Captain Swag *insert barf sound here* Now known as The Immortal Teddy-bear *insert cool smiley here*) didn't catch him on camera. It's funny though, how an unebbed flow of alcohol and stimulating conversation can make you forget such concerns in a jiff.
Anyway, the real story began when we left. Maybe it's the clarity that accompanies the cool evening air blowing in our faces. Efa noticed it first, "I think we're being followed"
"That Silver Baby-boy (2002 Honda Accord) behind us is on our tail" He said.
"Dude, we're still on Ligali Ayorinde!" I retorted, "How can you already tell that someone is following us"
We were headed back to the mainland, so the cabbie made a left onto Ajose Adeogun, and the car behind us did the same. I shrugged it off for obvious reasons, I mean it could have been going anywhere. But Efa was adamant.
"Guy, why so paranoid?! Who do you think you are sef? 2pac? Why would anyone be following us?"
At the last minute, I decided to humor Efa and told the cabbie to turn right, in front of VCP Hotel and then right again into Muri Okunola and then another right that brought us right back to Ligali Ayorinde.
"Paranoid ass buruku" I said after we passed Amazing Grace plaza and the car wasn't behind us any more. I closed my eyes to let the cool air blow me into the arms of the slumber that awaited. I'd only began to doze when EFA tapped me.
"Dude, fuck off mehn, I wan sleep"
I aimed at 40 winks, and probably got 10, so you can imagine how cranky I was. But I looked back all the same. Seeing the same car like that, right behind us just cleared the sleep away from my eyes.
It's a coincidence. It has to be.
I was still reeling from that when Efa said something that seemed to make matters worse.
"Jibs, it's that guy from the beach"
"It is… look at his left hand on the wheel"
"Dude, the bloody thing is tinted I can't see anything. Plus"
"Just try" Efa said
I squinted, and all I could make out was the left hand on the steering wheel and a grey strapped wristwatch on it. I struck a gong in my head but I couldn’t pin point exactly where I'd seen it.
"Wait!" I had it. "It's that grey plaid guy!"
"Exactly" Efa replied.
"But why the hell is he following us?"
"I must look like I know abi?"
"We need to find out"
"How?" Efa asked. "I just think we should find a way to lose him"
"No… we need to get him somewhere we can park and have ample time and space to be able corner him and ask the right questions. The question is where?"
We sat back in silence for a few minutes, both thinking about the situation. We had gotten past Adenuga Towers on Adeola Odeku and the Honda was still behind us, albeit a car behind. Efa said suddenly, "Driver, take us to City Mall"
"Yes! Exactly!" I said, "But what's the plan?"
"Here's what we'll do: when we park, we both get down and walk into the mall itself but part ways and stay on the phone so we're in radio contact. You'll go right and then up the escalator. I'll go left and up using the second escalator. He'll follow one person. Whoever he does follow will have to hold him till the other person comes."
"What if he has a weapon?" I asked, "Cuz even though it's open, there aren't so many people on the first floor seeing as it's Sunday."
"Why would anyone want to attack us? Who are we?"
"I got slapped in front of Koko Lounge (refer here: Ifoti to Gbono) cuz some angry girl thought I was you. So don't even get started."
"Yeah focus. How about this: I go ahead and then you follow. Hopefully he's gonna follow after you, even if he does follow me, you can block him. But here's the catch. We both go right, into KFC, so eitherway I can loop back through KFC back into the car park and block him. At least he can't try anything in there where there are people"
"What if there are other people in the car?" Efa asked. I suddenly looked back at the car which was behind us at this time. We had just passed the front of Onikan stadium and were negotiating the curve of the roundabout that led to City Mall.
It occurred to me to change my BB stat, just in case anything happened to us. Something along the lines of "Someone is following behind our car" or "If I don't change my stat in an hour, call the police, I'm at city mall". But then I imagined replies like "a bus load of puerto rican girls abi?" or "who wants to be following your jero?", so I dropped the issue.
By this time, even the taxi driver seemed to be getting antsy as well. I silently hoped he wouldn't "jabo" us and run away. We parked a couple of feet from the entrance and the Silver Honda had to park on the other side but a few cars to the right, facing the entrance and watching out every move.
"3..2…1… Go!" Efa commanded.
I alighted from the taxi and walked towards the mall. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the driver's door open slightly but no one stepped out.
"Yo, did you see the car open?" I said into my phone as I walked into the mall.
"Yeah I did"
I turned right and stood in front of the sporting goods store. "Oya, start coming." I said.
"He has stepped out of the car!" I heard Efa shout from the other end of the line. By this time, I'd walked through the side doors of KFC. "Oh shit! Are you out of KFC yet? I think he has something in his hand"
"Dude, no mehn." I walked briskly out of KFC's entrance and broke into a small jog. And what I saw to my left, where the Honda was parked stopped me in my tracks.
"Efa, we might have a problem here."
"What? What's going on?" Efa answered frantically
"Come and see for yourself."
Both the Grey Honda and our cabbie were gone.
It was easy to get another cab in front of City Mall. But we puzzled and puzzled over the why and the how and also possibly the who. We didn't mention it to anyone hitherto (I mean, people think we're crazy enough as is). And if at anytime you have reason to ride with me, and you catch me checking the rear view, you know why.