Ghost Notes



Doctor Bilan Altman was the kind of psychoanalyst who liked to vape and doodle on her notepad as she half-listened to her patients bleat on about their boring lives. An old friend of my mother’s, Doctor Altman was that rare species: an I-don’t-give-two-fucks-about-your-bullshit-problems jazz-hound of a Jewish-Somali cognitive behavioural therapist with a deep affinity for smoking dope. I know all of this because I’ve enjoyed many a puff session with the sista at my parents’ house, where she talked shit about all the tedious bitches with broken punanis that she’d boned over the years. ‘Bitches can be tricky,’ was her perennial mantra.


I didn’t care much for Doctor Altman’s clapped-out tun-tun talk but I did relish her company when she was waxing poetic about jazz. Sistren knew her stuff, and shared that knowledge with me by introducing me to the muziki of Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan and Dinah Washington when I was still in diapers. (*editor’s note: Migil was not in diapers when he first heard those records. He may have wet his bed from time to time but he was a grown ass man, gearing up for university. Strict sense, people, strict sense. As you were, Migil. *)


Anyway, Doctor Altman and I were chilling with my hooyo and habo Fahma (my mother’s wife. Keep up, dear reader, or otherwise we’re going to be here all day checking each other’s rectal temperatures). We were in the living room. Doctor Altman was buzzing about the latest bomb pum-pum in her life.


‘You should have seen her. I was giving this woman my best head game and I swear to Yahweh, she literally exploded all over my bedroom. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. My sheets, my walls, my face, the whole room was coated in her –’


‘And stop!’ said Hooyo, reaching for her nicotine patch and plastering it on her bare upper arm. ‘Bilan, with all due respect, must we always blabber on about your boning skills?’


‘We are grown women, darling Bilan,’ added Habo Fahma. ‘We can’t always discuss ess-ee-ex.’


‘Oh, I see what’s happening here,’ said Doctor Altman, passing me the remainder of her joint. ‘You two are deep in the throes of the lesbian deathbed and you want to stifle this sista’s formidable doinking skills.’


‘A grown woman saying “doinking skills”,’ sighed my hooyo. ‘Ya Allah, the end times are here.’


‘Is it worse than Fahma, who can’t even say the term “sex”?’ said Doctor Altman, getting up. ‘You two are slut-shaming me.’


‘Oh, come on,’ said Hooyo. ‘What is this? The mid-2000’s?’


‘No-one is slut-shaming anyone, Bilan,’ said Habo Fahma. ‘We’re adult women, and surely we can talk about other things. Like your fascinating patients, for example.’


‘Fuck my patients,’ said Doctor Altman. ‘Come on, Migil, let’s hepa. There’s a hip jazz musician I want to introduce you to. Unless, of course, your mothers object.’


‘What am I? Twelve?’ I said, getting up. ‘Let’s hit the road.’


After we left my parents’ house, Doctor Altman ripped them new ones.


‘Look at me, Migil,’ she said. ‘I am a formidable, big-boned, juicy ass woman. My sexual appetites can’t be satisfied by one sista. Meanwhile, your mothers haven’t had sex in three months. What is this, the Abstinence Olympics? I’m a proud, sexually incontinent woman and I will not be shamed by two prudes who are too bored by each others’ bird boxes to scale bone mountain together.’


‘Can we maybe talk about something else?’ I asked, rolling up and lighting a spliff. ‘Who is this jazz musician we’re going to go see?’


‘He’s a gorgeous Nigerian brother called Uche Okezie. If I was a bit more sexually fluid, I’d totally give him the business.’


‘Niceness,’ I said, passing Doctor Altman the spliff as we trudged up Rye Lane. I wrapped a scarf around my neck against the chilly autumn night. ‘What instrument does he play?’


‘What doesn’t he play? The man is a maestro at the bass, the flute, the piano and the harp. He’s a genius. I’m surprised you haven’t heard about him,’ she added, a reference to my being a music journalist.’


‘J’adore jazz but my remit is glitchy R&B,’ I said as Doctor Altman passed me the last of the zut. I took a couple of deep puffs and tossed it onto the ground, then stamped it out with my Cuban heel.


*


Ghost Notes was a jazz club located in the bowels of Peckham Levels, a former car park which, thanks to gentrification, had mutated into a multi-storey creative hub crawling with hipsters, club kids, yoga enthusiasts, digital black feminist magazines, bizarro foodies and, of course, jazz fiends like Doctor Altman who rocked up every time there was a gig or event, however recondite or obscure.


As far as jazz clubs went, Ghost Notes was sexier, more experimental and youthful than either Ronnie Scott’s in Soho or the Vortex in Dalston. If you had told me, whilst I was growing up, that there would one day be a hipster-centric jazz club in Slum Village AKA Peckham and that the area would become an alternative club haven, I would have told you to kiss my fat, delicious ass. But, seventeen years later, here we are. (*Editor’s note: Migil moved to Peckham, London, when he was eight. He’s now a slightly underdeveloped twenty-five-year-old. Just in case you were wondering, dear reader. Let’s keep this shit-show rolling. Take it away, Migil. *)


The space was full of Afro-funky, shea-buttered beauties and skinny white art kids of debatable genders jamming to the sexiest bass-line I had heard in a hot New York momento. Doctor Altman went to the bar to get us two Sea Breezes. She returned and handed me the drink. I sipped it, completely entranced by the scene unfolding before me. A tall brother wearing floor-length dreadlocks festooned with lavender flowers and draped around the hips in purple silk was flexing his skills on the bass, his long fingers setting the strings alight. He was shirtless and his basketballer body was a gleaming mahogany-brown, neck adorned with a cascade of crystals, nipples studded with spikes. As he played and sweat slid down his pectorals, goose-pimples canvassed my arms. My peripheral vision blurred, my nostrils flared and my acoustic sense was heightened. All I could see, smell or hear was the bewitching man behind the bass, plucking at all my senses.


As the musician kept playing, I was transported to a lush, synesthetic landscape where azaleas, jackfruits and jasmine grew in abundance. This landscape was home to dragonflies and kingfishers that dove into a pool of holy water and emerged as phoenixes dripping liquid gold. I imagined that I was washing the musician’s dreadlocks in the holy water, anointing him, unearthing the King within him. He kissed me gently on my cheeks, my forehead and my palms. Afterwards, he planted the softest kiss on my lips. He smelled of rose water and tasted of mangoes. I wanted the moment to transcend the tight parameters of time and stretch out to encompass eternity. But the sweetest things never retain their texture for too long. I heard Doctor Altman’s voice echoing in this hallowed place and before I knew it, music and musician evaporated like incense smoke, leaving me nostalgic for a tenderness I had never experienced in the first place.


During the standing ovation that followed, the musician noticed Doctor Altman and me standing in the corner. Slinging his guitar across his shoulders, he stepped down from the low stage and crossed over to us.


‘Bilan, you’re looking more radiant with each moment,’ he said, kissing Doctor Altman on the cheek.


‘My beloved Uche,’ said Doctor Altman, ‘Grazie for your gorgeous words. You smoked the whole joint out.’


Uche laughed. ‘You honour me, beautiful one. And who’s this stunner that you’ve brought into my little lair?’


Dear reader, I swear my heart palpitated and my hands sweated summink awful.


‘This, dear Uche, is Migil,’ said Doctor Altman. ‘He’s a music journalist at this hip magazine called The Afrosphere. Migil is heavily into jazz and funk-tropic vibes.’


Uche held my sweaty palms in his warm hands, his thumbs instinctively finding my mounts of Venus, and pressing on them.


‘Migil, it’s a joy to meet you,’ he said, ‘What did you make of the gig?’


‘Do you want my honest opinion?’ I said.


‘Not if it’s disparaging,’ chuckled Uche.


‘I think you’re fabulous but you’d be even more fabulous on top of me.’


‘Excuse me?’ said Uche.


‘Come on, let’s cut to the chase. At some point during our communication - and this definitely won’t be the last time we see each other - you’re going to ask for my number under the pretence of doing a face-to-face interview. And then you’re going to seize your moment when the timing is right and you’re totally going to work my booty.’


‘Uche is a married man,’ Doctor Altman scolded. ‘How dare you objectify him like so?’


Uche remained silent and smiled to himself (you see, dear reader? he’s already thought about this).


‘Ooh, look at the time,’ I said, staring at my non-existent watch. ‘Guys, I’ve got to dip but Uche, here’s my number. Call me when you’re down for that interview.’


I pulled out my business card and pressed it into his hand.


‘Enjoy the night, guys,’ I said, bouncing out of there.


Dear reader, you should have seen Doctor Altman’s face. She looked like she wanted to strangle me with one of the strings on Uche’s bass. Uche, on the other hand, looked amused and intrigued. Now, wondrous reader, the real story begins.

*


Brrrng, brrrng! Hello? Reader, is you there? I know you are. Peep this hotness (or hot mess, depending on your disposition). Bredrin didn’t bell your brother at first. He waited a good week before he dialled my digits. When he called, I was dyeing my afro with a flaming red tint, which should have been called Distressed Drag Queen Tweaking on Tina, and my scalp burned until my eyes started watering.


‘Is this Migil?’ said Uche.


‘Mai oui, sexy,’ I said.


‘You were pretty bold the other week when you came down to Ghost Notes. You’ve got balls the size of ping-pong, I’ll give you that.’


‘So, are you calling about my proposed “interview”?’ I smiled.


‘I’m not sure I can handle your awesomeness right now.’


‘Listen, Uche, I dig you and I’m never looking for anything deeper than good company. I mean, have you seen my sizzling body?’ I said, stroking my expansive belly. ‘It would be a shame if I didn’t share my deliciousness with the world.’


‘You do look fantastic and I like my men thick. But we have to be discreet.’


‘I’m dyeing my hair at the moment but why don’t you come to my house in an hour?’


There was a brief silence on the other line.


‘What’s the address?’ said Uche, finally.


After showering, shaving and perfuming myself, I was ready for my closeup with the cutie who played the bass like it was a lover’s body. Uche rang my buzzer at the exact moment I told him to arrive, not a second later or earlier. I answered the door wearing nothing but a short silk kimono and a Michael Kors scent.


‘Wow,’ he whistled, ‘you look radiant.’


‘Oh, this likkle ting?’ I said, gesturing to the kimono. ‘It’s actually my mother’s old –’


He cut me off and pressed me against the wall. I pulled the door shut as he ripped open my kimono. He kissed me on my belly, licked my armpits and my nipples until my dick bucked. He bent down and gave me the most intense blowjob. My legs almost buckled from sheer pleasure. Brotherman turned me around and slapped me hard on my buttocks, and slapped me again. I wanted to savour him but the sting was unpleasant.


‘Can we stop for a spell?’ I said.


He turned me around, licked my lips and said, ‘Isn’t this what you wanted?’


‘I think we should stop,’ I said.


‘Baby boy can’t handle the heat,’ he said scornfully, unbuckling his belt. ‘I should thrash you and teach you some manners.’


I thought he was going to pull his trousers down but instead he held his belt in his hand and said, ‘Show me your arse.’


‘Fuck off,’ I said.


‘Not so cocky now, are you?’


He grabbed my arm, spun me round and shoved me onto the floor, raised the belt and whipped me on the arse. I didn’t scream. I wanted to but the terror had silenced me.


‘Get on your knees and lick my boots or I’ll strangle you with this belt,’ he said. I believed him, but I wouldn’t acquiesce. Instead I scrambled to my feet, spat at him and kicked him in the groin. For some inexplicable reason this made him groan with excitement. I got up, stumbled into the kitchen, grabbed my ceramic Mufasa mug and flung it at him. It smashed right on his forehead. Shards of shattered Disney dreams tumbled onto the lino.


This, dear reader, is where things get interesting. Uche’s forehead was now bleeding profusely. Without flinching, he started taking off all his clothes. His pierced dick was hard and curved. He started masturbating in my kitchen, scattering beads of his own blood to the floor.


‘Go on,’ he smiled. ‘Throw something else at me.’


‘You’re cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs,’ I said breathlessly.


Whilst jacking off with one hand, he reached for one of the cabinet drawers with the other, yanked it open, fumbled about and pulled out a bread knife.


‘Cut me,’ he said, wanking furiously, offering it handle-first.


‘Will you leave afterwards?’


‘Yes. Please cut me.’ His voice had a desperate ache to it.


I took the bread knife from him, put it down on the counter and instead pinched his pierced nipples. This sent him into a spasm of joy. I pinched his nipples until he came, until the linoleum was glazed in a Pollock-like painting of semen, sweat and blood. He pulled his clothes back on without cleaning himself up and thanked me in the sweetest tone.


‘Never call or come near me again,’ I said.


‘Consider it done,’ he said, and he left my flat.


I locked the door, put the chain across and lay on the floor in pain, shock and exhaustion. What just happened, dear reader? I lay on my spot for a while, contemplating whether to call the police or an ambulance or both. Instead, I got up, broke out the bleach and a bucket, and cleaned my kitchen, scouring away every trace of Uche. When I had done that, I took a Clonazepam tablet and two painkillers and ran a bath. I needed to scrub the day away, and I did. Checking in the mirror, I saw there were scars and bruises all over my buttocks. I dove under my duvet afterwards and didn’t emerge for three days.


*


When I was growing up, my aabo would henna my hands and spin me the most sumptuous yarns. He would tell me about princes who were born different, princes who gave away their souls, every molecule of their beings, to their male courtesans. These male courtesans, handsome though they were, caged the princes’ hearts, suffocated the life out of them. As my aabo painted the most exquisite henna patterns on my hands, I imagined myself not as the prince but as the courtesan. For me, the courtesan had all the power in this dynamic: withholding and relinquishing control as he saw fit, punishing the prince who had been foolish enough to allow his soul to be snared. Even as a child, I knew I was going to be the teller of my own story in a world that repeatedly told me I had no right to do so. It didn’t matter that I was a chubby, thick-waisted lad. The world had ultimately moulded me into the man of my own dreams. By contrast, my father saw himself as the hapless prince who gave away his heart to any bloodclaat boy who showed him the smallest kindness. I knew my aabo and I were different from the world in that we were a gay man and his even gayer son, but we were also different from each other in our worldview. At least, that’s what I had thought until now. Maybe we were both hungry for something that moved beyond romance and entered the realm of psychic restoration. Life was not kind to men like my father and me: queer black blokes, with our queer black bodies and our queer black lives and our queer black burdens.

So, dear reader, are we going to keep playing this record? I’m certainly ready for a new choon after three days of feeling sorry for myself. So, let’s skip the part where I wallow and get straight into the next scene. It’s even more bonkers, if you can believe it. What are you waiting for? Leggo.


*


After my monastic retreat, I gathered myself and went into work. My editor, Ornella (no last name), a six-foot-five trans woman of Trini extraction who rocked bright Brazilian weaves that hung to below her booty, called me into her office. Ornella was wearing a rabbit fur coat, neon pink lipstick, nails like petrified tentacles with sunsets painted on them and blood-orange stilettos. I entered her office tentatively.


‘Close the door and have a seat, Migil,’ she said.


I sat down on the giant polka-dotted bean bag that she reserved for her guests.


‘Where have you been for the last three days?’


In my mind’s eye, all I could see was a belt buckle glinting in the light. I shifted uncomfortably in the bean bag.


‘I was –’


‘Let me stop you right there,’ said Ornella, holding up a bejewelled finger. ‘Do you know why I like you, Migil? Do you know why I always give you the best assignments? One, you have never bullshitted me and I admire that. Two, you can spell, which is more than I can say for the Oxbridge graduates who waddle in here like sub-literate baby walruses. I mean, what’s the point of an Oxbridge education if you don’t know the difference between “their” and “there”? In any case, I like you, so I’m going to spare you the embarrassment of trying to bullshit me and skip straight to the point in this narrative when you reassure me it’ll never happen again.’


‘It’ll never happen again,’ I said. Having few transferrable skills, dear reader, I really did need this job. Or at least a decent reference from it.


‘Well played,’ said Ornella. ‘Now, on to business. I’ve been hounded by the publicists of this hot Nigerian jazz musician for a feature and I want you to interview him.’


‘What’s his name?’ I said, my heart on my tongue.


‘Uche Okezie.’


I tensed up, remembering the daubs of Uche’s blood and spooge on my brand-new linoleum, the smell of his breath, the sting of his belt on my buttocks.

‘Is there a problemo?’ said Ornella. Her face was tense, her smile bright.


‘No, it’s just that I -’


A chirruping sound interrupted me. ‘Pause, s’il vous plaît,’ said Ornella, quickly checking a text on her phone. She dimpled, smiling like someone with a sexy secret. At this point, reader, it’s worth mentioning that Ornella gets more play than Naomi Campbell did in the nineties. If this sista wanted to, she could schedule a bounty of booty calls for the rest of her life. But she enjoyed the cat-and-mouse thrill of toying with the hot pieces of tail that constantly tailed her. She put the phone down and stared at me with the expression of someone who knew exactly when her next orgasm would be coming through.


‘Where were we?’ she said.


‘Uche Okezie.’


‘Right, the interview is this afternoon. You’re going to his house to do this profile. He lives just around the corner. If you bring the sizzle, it could be the cover story. Get me a Fader-type deep dish and don’t skimp on the sauce. Off you go.’


I struggled up from the beanbag, my mind ablaze with apprehension as I left Ornella’s office. You might, beloved reader, be thinking that I had delved into this deep funk on my own accord, and on some level you’d be right: I did proposition Uche, but I wanted a saucy booty call, not a Thrilla in Manila-style ass-whupping. How should I play this, dear reader? Compliant and courteous, simply sophisticated, or vexed and vengeful? Buckle up, beauties. This is going to be a baaaad trip.


*


AN INTERVIEW WITH MY SEXUAL ASSAULTER


BY MIGIL BILE


The man who sexually assaulted me lives ten minutes away from my home. How do I know this? Because his publicist gave me the directions to his place. I’m going to my assaulter’s house to interview him about his blossoming career as a jazz musician. On paper, anyway, this is why I’m standing outside his ground-floor council flat, admiring the bean tree, the bougainvilleas, ginger lilies and bear’s breeches that he has planted in his front garden. But the truth is I’m here to confront this man and ask him, on the record, why he abused me. At this point you’re probably thinking that this is a fool’s errand, that I’m here for retribution, and okay, you’d be half-right. I want this man to look me in the eye and tell me exactly why he came to my house for a romantic evening only to end up repeatedly whipping me with a belt-buckle on my buttocks, leaving me distraught and terrified to leave my apartment for three days. This is why I’m really here. Am I afraid to be assaulted again if I go into his house? Yes. Will he deny everything and tell me that I imagined the whole encounter? Let’s find out. I ring the bell and hold my breath.


The door is opened by a tall, striking Thai woman in her mid-twenties with flowing, Indian-ink black tresses, her arms and neck adorned with tribal tattoos. There is a piercing above her lips and she is wearing earrings that have expanded her earlobes like the Maasai herdsmen who used to walk their livestock along our pothole-riddled road in Nairobi. She smiles effusively and introduces herself.


‘Hi, I’m Lamai. You must be the journalist that Uche has been talking about non-stop for the last three days. Migil, right?’


‘Yes,’ I say, slightly disconcerted. My hands tremble and I shove them into my pockets.


‘Come on in, please,’ says Lamai, leading me into the hallway and closing the door behind her.


The hallway smelled of sage and scented candles. Mounted on the walls, framed posters of Sun Ra, David Bowie, Missy Elliott and Erykah Badu commingled with an array of tastefully shot black and white wedding photos. Here were Lamai and Uche Okezie, my assaulter, in traditional Thai and Igbo garments exchanging vows on a beach, flanked by their photogenic family and friends. Here they were again, feeding each other cake at the ceremony. As I stared at the images I wondered what kind of arrangement they had. Did Lamai know of her husband’s predatorial edge? Was she an accomplice? I would soon find out.


Lamai led me into the living room, which was minimally furnished: two white leather armchairs facing each other, a cream carpet, fresh lilies in a crystal vase, white candles on a handcrafted oak coffee table, a silver statue of the Buddha on the mantelpiece. A jet-black Fender Rhodes bass guitar hung on the wall: a rebellious symbol in an otherwise sterilely House & Gardens home. I sat down on one of the armchairs.


‘Can I offer you a drink?’ said Lamai, brightly. ‘We’ve got tea, sparkling water or maybe something a bit stronger?’ She winked as she said the last bit.


‘I’m fine, thank you,’ I said, tersely.


‘Are you sure I can’t offer you something? You know in my culture, it’s rude not to indulge your host’s attempts at hospitality.’


‘I’ll have a glass of tap water, in that case.’


‘One glass of tap water coming right up,’ said Lamai, heading out into the kitchen. ‘Uche will be down in a second. Uche! Migil is here. Come on down.’


I immediately felt my butt cheeks clench at the mention of his name. Footsteps came slowly down the creaky stairs. My heart was in my throat. Uche Okezie walked into the living room wearing a big smile and a floor-length floral kaftan, his overflowing dreadlocks held in place by a fishtail braid.


‘The fabulous Migil,’ he said, leaning in for a hug. I held out my hand instead. He quickly composed himself and shook my hand. What was this man playing at? Did he have a personality disorder of some sort? It seemed that way. Why was he so happy to see me after what he did to me? Was he testing me to see if I would be seduced by his charm and forget the reason why I was here in the first place?


At this point, reader, I think it’s necessary to offer some context.


Okezie and I met at Ghost Notes, the Peckham jazz club. I was introduced to him by a mutual friend after he played his set. The man was sexy and he wore this sexiness in his hair, in his clothes, in his scent and jewellery. He smelled of sex and, in a moment of desire, I propositioned him and invited him to come lace me sometime. So far, so “Hood Nora Ephron-esque”. After a few weeks, he took me up on my offer and showed up at my house. The minute he walked into the door, we pounced on each other. He gave me a blowjob and licked every inch of my body, before turning me around. This is where things took a turn. He removed his belt and began whipping me with it on my bare buttocks. I told him I was uncomfortable and didn’t want this. He wouldn’t stop, however, and despite my very clear statement, continued thrashing me until I fell onto the floor. I smashed a mug in his face, cutting his forehead. I ran into the kitchen and he followed me. He was naked by now and jerking off as if the blood and the pain from the cut were a delicious aphrodisiac.


Okezie then opened one of my kitchen drawers and pulled out a bread knife. He begged me to cut him with the knife as he jerked off. Terrified of the consequences of this action, I took the bread knife from him. He looked like he was desperate for some kind of release – from himself, from his demons – so I pinched one of his pierced nipples. This sent him into a state of ecstasy. He came all over my kitchen floor, which was now speckled with semen, sweat and blood. I told him to never call me again and he put his clothes back on and exited my life.

Or so I thought.


After three days of fear, pain and paranoia, I finally left my apartment and went into work. My editor called me into her office and told me that I was going to interview Okezie that very afternoon. Even though I was afraid, I wanted to confront the man who had violated me. And this is why I’m here in his home, spoiling for a fight as his wife serves me tap water.


Okezie sat down on the armchair opposite me whilst Lamai curled up on his lap, contorting her body into a strange shape in order to make herself semi-comfortable. It seemed somehow symbolic there was no sofa, just two single chairs.


‘Did you find us alright?’ asked Okezie, cheerily.


‘Why did you abuse me a few nights ago?’ I asked.


There was a brief moment of silence.


‘What are you talking about?’ said Okezie.


‘The night you came to my house and whipped me with a belt?’ I said. I was shaking at this point, fearing that this was a mistake, that any moment now he would hurt me in some way.


‘I’m sorry you saw it as abuse. I thought we were having fun,’ said Okezie, with a puzzled look.


‘Did he whack you on the booty with a belt?’ asked Lamai, calmly lighting a cigarette.


‘Yes,’ I said, confused by her nonchalance. Wasn’t she supposed to be outraged by her husband’s actions?


‘He does that to me every time we make love,’ said Lamai, standing up and pulling down her pants at the back to flash her buttocks, which were shapely but the colour of a rotting plum. ‘That’s just his thing. It’s not abuse.’


‘How’d you figure?’ I asked.


‘Well,’ said Lamai, exhaling spirals of smoke, whilst pulling up her pants, ‘Uche and I are avid practitioners of S&M. What you experienced with him is usually called padding but with a belt as a substitute. It’s perfectly normal. Ain’t that right, baby?’ Lamai gently kissed Okezie on the lips.


‘But there should be safe words in S&M and you never asked me for permission,’ I said, trying to hold onto my outrage.


‘I didn’t think I needed to,’ said Okezie. ‘You kept pressing me to come over and hook up. I found it to be a frankly exhilarating session. Why else would you throw a mug in my face? A Disney mug at that.’


‘Aww, cute,’ cooed Lamai.


‘Because you were violating me and I was trying to defend myself,’ I shouted.


‘You were into it,’ chuckled Okezie. ‘You even made me come. I hadn’t come that hard in a while.’


‘Oh, baby,’ said Lamai, ‘now I’m a little jealous.’


I looked at them like they were rejects from the Addams Family, hellbent on fucking with my sanity.


‘You assaulted me,’ I said to Okezie. ‘I don’t care what you two do in your own home but you assaulted me.’


‘Darling Migil,’ said Lamai, ‘that was affection in its purest form. In fact, we called you here today with an ulterior motive. Uche so enjoyed his session with you that I wondered if you might join us in our lovemaking. We’ll use safe words and everything. Anything to make you feel comfortable. What do you say?’


‘You do realise that I’m recording you saying all of this,’ I said.


‘We want you to record it,’ smiled Uche. ‘We get off on it, actually.’


‘We know that Twitter and #MeToo will have a field day with this and we don’t mind,’ said Lamai. ‘We welcome the attention. We’re not on social media but if you could email us some of the comments, that would be great. We get off on that shit. Don’t we, baby?’ Lamai kissed Okezie and before I knew it, she was straddling him and he was slapping her buttocks, gearing up for full-on sex in front of me.


As I got up to leave, Lamai said, ‘Do stay, darling Migil.’


I dashed from the room.


As I walked home, shaking and confused, I thought about what Okezie and his wife had said about #MeToo, how they welcomed responses from members of the Twitterati who would be enraged by this story, how the idea of an angry mob at their door heightened their sexual appetite for each other. Didn’t that render retribution futile? As I thought about the strangeness of my predicament, I remembered something my mother had once said, observing how the Black Lives Matter movement was being leached of its life by coattail-riding variations on Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter, Vegans Matter, Rabbits Matter, R. Kelly Matters, Bill Cosby Matters, Harvey Weinstein Matters, Nigel Farage Matters, Donald Trump Matters, Alt Right Lives Matter: nothing but diggity-dark-dark-dark matter and white noise. My mother, in all her infinite glory, simply said this: ‘All discourses can be co-opted and weaponised against you, the victim.’


I believe her now.


***


DIRIYE OSMAN is photographed by BORIS MITKOV.




© Diriye Osman. All rights reserved.