CHAPTER TWO: http://mrstanleynwabia.blogspot.com/2013/02/reference-prelude-httpmrstanleynwabia.html
THE RED CRUDE OIL: CHAPTER 3
GRAND LAGOS SHERATON HOTEL- TIME: 9.30 PM.
The banquet hall of the grand Lagos Sheraton hotel was filled with top dignitaries, the hotels parking lot was congested with several armoured jeeps and luxury cars, armed security personnel loitered every corner. Everyone had come for Joe Mambilla’s retirement party which coincided with the New Year’s Eve celebrations. Inside the hall, smartly dressed invitees criss-crossed the entire space, for some reason most of the guests were dressed in white and black attires. Those who wore traditional Nigerian dresses had black and white combinations on; others who picked European went strictly black, the men in tuxedos and women in long dark gowns, some dark red. Perhaps there may have been a dress code instruction to all guests. The event was a cocktail, Buffet and Dance party all rolled up into one, the food was in abundance but the guests didn’t seem too interested in the food, socializing and exchange of pleasantries was the order of the day or night rather.
Joe Mambilla arrived at the venue and was greeted with a thunderous applause from everyone. The apparent master of ceremony picked up the microphone and began eulogizing the celebrant. General Ben Musa started by calling on everyone’s attention to himself, “May I have your attention please, lovely ladies and gentlemen. It is indeed an honour and privilege for me to be doing this for my best friend Joe.”
General Ben Musa poured himself a drink as he continued, “Joe Mambilla and I have been friends for over fifty years, we joined the Nigerian Defence Academy together as young teenagers, and we also fought side by side in many peace keeping operations. Here’s a secret I’ve never shared with anyone, during the Nigerian civil war, Joe saved my life several times, there was this one time were a Biafran bullet found its way into my left buttock,”
This revelation got everyone in the hall laughing, those who had drinks in their mouth spat it out and continued laughing.
“I am not going into details as to how Joe pulled the bullet out of my buttocks,” said the General, “but all I can say is, if not for this man, my Ass won’t be here right now.”
A loud applause interrupted General Ben Musa’s speech, but he signalled to all that he hadn’t finished, “Here’s a toast to a great man, a true Nigerian hero and the best friend anyone can have. To you, Commander Joe Mambilla,”
General Musa raised his glass towards Joe as he proposed the toast, the entire hall followed suit. When the toast was over, General Musa, once again called for everyone’s attention.
“On behalf of myself, and every member of the Nigerian Defence and Security Service, I present this gift to you” said the General, “it’s a six month all expense paid vacation to the Bahamas.”
Most of guests went “WAOW”. General Ben Musa concluded by saying, “Joe, you once saved my Ass many years ago, now we are sending you over to the Bahamas, where you can find more REAL Ass’es to save, if you know what I mean.” Once again the entire banquet hall went into applause frenzy as the event continued.
Joe Mambilla walked towards General Ben Musa and gave him a big hug.
A couple of hours later it was time for Joe Mambilla’s vote of thanks but before that he put a phone call through to his son Mamman. “Young man, where are you?” Joe queried, “So you are really not coming to my retirement party?”
Mamman responded, “Daddy, why are you wasting your phone credit? I am already here, looking at you.”
Joe gazed his eyes towards the entrance and saw his son already holding a glass of red wine in his hand. Joe went up in front of his guests and began to give his vote of thanks. “On behalf of me and my son Mamman -” Joe said this pointing to his son’s location as all the guests automatically looked towards Mamman’s direction.
Mamman was putting on an unkempt dark fitted blazer with faded gold buttons, his inner shirt was also dark and ‘V’ necked, his dressing from the top was not impressive, but his lower half was an even bigger disaster. He wore sky blue faded jeans and brown timberland boots. Mamman looked back at the guests as if to say ‘haven’t you guys seen enough already?’ The guests quickly refocused their attention back on Joe.
“To my good friend General Ben Musa, I say thank you for not telling them how I got that bullet out of your bum’- Another applause followed as Joe continued. “I thank you all for coming, I urge you all to stay with me as we usher in the New Year. And as for this gift, a vacation to the Bahamas,” Joe sighed joyfully, “I guess this is the best thing that can ever happen to an old but ‘still able’ widower like me. I really appreciate this gift. I thank my people at the NDSS, and I want to assure Ben that I will not disappoint him in the Bahamas, if he knows what I mean.”
The merry mood amongst guests continued as Joe concluded his vote of thanks. He immediately walked towards his son, Mamman, grabbed him by the wrist and dragged him to a corridor leading to the rest rooms. “Mamman, are you telling me that you could not find something decent to wear to this occasion? Must you disgrace me at any given opportunity?” Joe shrugs some dirt off Mamman’s shoulders as he continued rebuking his son’s fashion sense.
Mamman moved an inch backwards and said, “Listen Daddy, I’m very comfortable in this, okay? Forget about my dressing and let’s just enjoy this party, after all it’s your night and not mine, right? By the way I think I’ve just spotted one hot sexy lady,” Mamman looked over Joe’s shoulders as if to catch a better view of the lady that caught his attention, “Please excuse me Dad. Meanwhile, this is a great party, happy retirement sir!” And Mamman went off to mingle with the crowd.
Joe Mambilla stayed back and buried his head in his palms with despair.
“What is it old friend? Are you missing your old job already?” asked General Ben Musa as he walked in on Joe Mambilla offering him a Cuban cigar.
The Cuban cigar was one of the General’s trademarks, he never left home without it and sometimes even when it wasn’t lit, he still had it in his mouth.” “Aren’t we too old for this?” Joe asked as he put the cigar in his mouth. General Ben Musa and Joe Mambilla were both in their very late sixties, months away from their respective seventieth Birthdays.
“Well, old friend”, said the General as he lit Joe’s cigar, “we are already too old for a lot of things, but what can we do? We are still alive, so let’s live life to the fullest; now tell me what’s bothering you?” Joe sighed and said, “It’s my son Mamman-”, and General Musa cuts in, “that troublesome God son of mine, what has he done lately? I heard he works in a private security firm?”
“Private security firm, my foot,” Joe exclaimed as he puffed out huge smoke from his cigar, “he calls himself a self employed private detective, imagine? He’s busy looking for mystery cases to solve, here in Nigeria, just imagine? My son has just allowed all his childhood fantasies to become his reality and look at him now, in his thirties, broke as ever, a useless womanizer, oh my God.”
General Musa put his arms round Joe’s shoulders, “Calm down my friend, calm down.” “How do you expect me to calm down”, said Joe, “he is my only child, he is all I have, I once had my subordinates at the security service but now I’m retired, I have no one else.” Tears began rolling from Joe’s eyes and quickly the General dragged him to a corner, “Hey look Mister, are you forgetting who you are? Don’t let people see you like this, even though you are now retired, you are still the great ‘Commander’ Joe Mambilla, come on, put yourself together.”
General Musa handed over a white handkerchief to his old time friend, “Listen Joe, I’ll talk to Mamman, I think I may have a job for him.” Joe, sniffing the handkerchief suddenly looked up and burst into sarcastic laughter, “You don’t know my son.”
Mamman had truly spotted an attractive female from the crowd. She was a dark skinned beauty putting on a lovely tight near white cream coloured evening dress made from African prints.
“I think you are going to be the best thing that happened to me this evening”, Mamman said to her as though in a trance with his eyes focused solely on her breasts.
The dresses’ U-curve on her chest area made her look more alluring with her tight bra somewhat squeezing her middle sized bust closer together.
“My name is Mamman Mambilla, what’s yours, pretty lady?” Mamman asked with a devilish look on his face and his left eyebrow ascending higher than the right. The lady look back at him with a curious smile as she said, “Forgive me for asking, but what’s your mothers’ first name?”
“Amina, her name was Amina’, Mamman answered with a tint of excitement.
“Ok”, she said while taking a sip from her glass of lemon juice, “What if I told you that my name was Amina and I fall for every Ade, Chukwudi and Haruna that come my way? In fact I’d even follow them home, same night and have some good wild sex with them, what would that make me?”
Mamman, unsure of what was coming, replied, “A very cheap slut, I guess?” The lady smiled again, this time biting her lower lip in a seductive way, “You are very correct Mr Mamman.” She leaned forward towards Mamman’s left cheek as if about to give him a peck but she halted right close to his left ear and whispered, “It would also make me your mother.” The lady stepped back, turned around and walked away.
“Mad woman,” Mamman thought to himself as he turned around to leave bumping into General Ben Musa in the process.
“I see you are having women problems”, said the General.
“Oh Uncle B, good evening sir,” said Mamman, “great party you guys put together for my old man, I’m really enjoying myself.”
Mamman composed himself trying to put his encounter with the lady behind him. General Musa, looking at Mamman, smiled and said, “I never knew being rejected by a woman has now become a source of enjoyment; I must have really lost touch with modern trends.”
“Anyway,” continued the General, “Miss Amaka has never been a push over, she’s strong willed and confident just like her father.” The General spoke while sipping his drink with his eyes staring at Mamman waiting to see his expression.
Sure enough Mamman responded, “Amaka - Who is Amaka? The silly girl I just spoke with?” General Musa laughed, “Yes, the lady that just nailed you, she’s Amaka Mbanefo, and surely you must know her father Major General Chris Mbanefo.” Mamman, thought to himself for some seconds, thinking aloud, “Chris Mbanefo, Chris Mbanefo”, until General Musa cuts in, “he was the commandant of the Nigerian Defence Academy when you enrolled as a new recruit.” “Yes, yes I remember him”, said Mamman, “he was one wicked bastard.” “He still is”, said the General, “so it will do you a lot of good to stay away from his daughter.” “No wahala (no problem) Uncle B, there are lots of pretty ladies in this joint, I’ll try my chances elsewhere, nice seeing you again sir.”
General Ben Musa held back Mamman saying, “Hey young man, don’t go just yet, give me a minute or two, I still need to speak with you. See, your father and I go a long way and you are breaking his heart, he really wants you to turn a new leaf and become someone great in life.”
Mamman, heads down, took a deep breath, looked up and said, “So my father has sent you to preach to me as well? You guys just don’t understand me.”
General Musa placed his hands on Mamman’s shoulders and said, “I do understand you Mamman, and I want to make you an offer, it’s going to be what you’ve always wanted, adventure, suspense, thrills, it’s an opportunity of a life time.”
Mamman paused for a second before asking, “Uncle B, are you on the verge of handing over ownership of a strip club to me? Cos I really don’t know the ‘adventures’ and ‘thrills’ you are talking about.” General Ben Musa smiled and said, “See me at my office next Tuesday”, as he walks away. Before Mamman could process the General’s offer in his mind, he heard a loud voice from the crowd – “It’s almost time!”
The New Year countdown had begun, “THREE...TWO....ONE, HAPPY NEW YEAR”, it was hugs and kisses as the celebrant (Joe Mambilla) and his guests welcomed the year 2019.