FICTION – The Starlet (II)



In a frenzy of passion, they undressed and cavorted in the sitting room, in the bedroom, in the bathroom-and in the toilet with utter abandon. They left it to Sunny’s infra-red mobile-phone camera to record their one and every pose-the equestrian, the posterior, the-heel-over-head, as of a ballerina, and the full-frontal-in the inky dark. It was all over in thirty minutes.

Busybody turned up in a sweat shirt, a peaked cap and plus-fours. He rushed at Beebee but she jumped out of the way. He crashed to the ground, taking the cushion chair along with him. Southerners! Beebee was horrified and Sunny delighted by it all.

He knew that the starlet preferred “dusty” northerners, living on the fringes of the Sahara Desert, to “sweaty” southerners, basking on the edges of the lagoon of Lagos.

“Beebee!” the Lagosian enthused. “Welcome to Nollywood!” He rushed for her again.

“I’m not here to stay,” she laughed, hiding behind Sunny. “I came with a business proposition.”

Suddenly, Busybody became alert. “What is it?” It was a shark smelling blood.

“We have a mobile video piece we took in the nude-”

“Why didn’t you cast me in it?” he wailed.

“Want to be Hausa?” That was the best defence she could think of to exclude the southerner.

“Never!” he said, swallowing the bait. “Remember the case of Miss Ngozi? The ‘Ausa easily go on a rampage.”

“So do your kith the Ifes and their kin the Modakekes,” she insulted him in turn. Anyway, Sunny-”

“Busybody,” said Sunny, handing him the cell phone. “Take a look.”

“My God! When did you buy this hand set? The Galaxy 15! It’s the latest model on the market as well as the most expensive!” He switched on the camera. “You see! It automatically takes both stills and moving pictures!”

“It did?” Beebee came forward to have a look.

“It did!” said Busybody in glee. “These pictures could fetch you more than a million!”

“How?”

“I’ve a clandestine mobile phone outfit.”

“That’s why I called him,” Sunny explained.

“It’s a one-man operation. I’ve no subscribers yet, but if you give me some phone numbers, I can flash a               picture to advertise the whole piece. People in their thousands will start buying in a jiffy. Because my phone company isn’t registered, the Police will never trace the pictures to me.”

“How will they pay us?”

“They will credit my account and once the money is in I send the pictures over. This is the first of its kind ever. Neither Hollywood, nor Bollywood and Nollywood have ever seen anything like it before. Beebee!” He clawed at her but she hurriedly backed away.

“How much should we charge?”

Beebee looked at Sunny.

“Make it Nl,000-85% for us and 15% for you.”

“No,” said Busybody. “Make it N5,000. Isn’t it a Galaxy 15 Series you used?” He laughed. “Take it or leave it: 75% for you and 25% for me.”

“Did you hear the news from Kano?” Sunny asked Beebee two days later on their way to Lagos Airport.

“You were away shooting most of the time,” she pouted. “What is it?”

“The Cabinet Office has condemned the pictures and ordered Kannywood not to cast you and I in films anymore.”

“That is tame,” said Beebee dismissively. “Has anybody bought in Kano?”

“Many have,” said Sunny with a laugh.

“Have Police wanted posters gone up for me?”

“No, but you shouldn’t go to Kano: it’s too hot.”

“I’ll go to Abuja then.”

“Lie low there,” he said, as he parked his sleek Mercedes E500 at the Airport parking lot. “Kanoites are everywhere. You’ve really shaken the City of Dabo to its puritanical foundations.”

“As far as dancing isn’t outlawed in Hausa films-”

“Is it dancing that led you-”

“No, but it attracts disparaging names for us film stars,” she said, as they approached the ticket window. “We resort to desperate measures to retaliate. I did what I did to burst the anger that had welled up in me. I’m now at peace.”

“No,” said Sunny. He embraced her before she boarded the plane. “You and I are in the same boat: we’ve lost our northern roots, our ‘Ausa ancestry.”

“I’m not sure of that,” Beebee disagreed heatedly. “I’m still Hausa. As for you, you’ve begun to drop your aitches like the Yoruba. You’ve gone native in a place where you know I know you don’t really belong. Otherwise why did I refuse to stay with you?”

She watched him staring glumly after her as the Virgin Air jet taxied and took off in the direction of the North, where she truly belonged.

 

Kamal lives and writes from the ruburban Ungogo of Kano.

08065438300

aliyukamal@gmail.com

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