The Lie I Told Last ChristmasBorn 1989, M, from Asaba, Delta State, Nigeria
It was two weeks to Christmas and the magnificent feeling of Christmas could be perceived everywhere. Very sophisticated Christmas decoration could be seen at every nook and cranny of Lagos, and that gave the city a Las Vegas look. I have never been to Vegas, but they say it’s beautiful. I walked into the office that Wednesday morning, swaying down the hall and greeting some of my colleagues as I walked to my desk.
“Good Morning Bruce, hope you had a wonderful night rest?” Mayowa asked. Mayowa is one gorgeous colleague of mine I admire so much; she is one woman that made me fall in love with Yoruba ladies. She is not so tall but extraordinarily endowed, both in physique and mentally. There is just one thing I didn’t like about her and that’s the fact that she is married to another man. I am supposed to be the lucky man, but no she just had to marry someone else.
“Good Morning Mayowa, yes my night was fantastic.” I replied her as I walked to my seat, smiling back at her,
'Stop asking me about my night' I muttered a ballistic warning to her in my mind.
“Hey Bruce, what’s up” Chuks, another colleague of mine, asked me, and walked towards me for a handshake.
“Bro I am good, hope you’re good too?” I replied him with a handshake and then sat down. Chuks is a cool guy, he is the son of a billionaire but very humble and I liked him for that. He is just working here because he loves to work and loves this company, but I don’t like him for one reason, he is one of the biggest problems I have in Lagos city. Whenever I came across a beautiful lady and I felt like “yes this is my last bus stop”, Chuks always showed up and messed the whole thing up. He is rich and has a lot of connections and also has a lot of celebrity friends and that made the ladies prefer him. I sat down and turned on my computer and started working. We are six staff in the hall; Chuks and Mayowa have their seats just beside me, so we do chat a lot.
Few hours later, after we have all been dead busy with our different activities, Chuks tapped me.
“I almost forgot to tell you, Bruce, I will be having a house party and some celebrities will be there, the likes of Genevieve Nnaji, Linda Ikeji ,Ossas, 2 baba, Rita Dominic, Desmond Elliot, Darey art Alade and P-square. You are invited if you want, or do you have a plan?” Chuks asked me, and I felt so humbled and intimidated. Imagine the calibre of people coming for his house party. I have never got up to a 100 likes on Facebook not to talk of anybody noticing me in that party, I thought in a flash and replied.
“Emm… yes I do have a plan, I don’t think I will be coming for your party.” I replied him with a fake smile, and then tried to pretend to go back to my work, but my thoughts had left my office. Just then Mayowa cut in and brought me back.
“Chuks can I come around with my husband?” she asked, and I don’t know why the question got me angry; maybe I was just jealous.
“Oh my dear you are so welcome, It will be my pleasure to see you there.” Chuks replied her with a grin, then looked at me and jerked his eye brows. He knew I had a big time crush on Mayowa before she suddenly got married.
I will definitely make my own Christmas a swell one, I must think of something quick. I thought for a second and went back to work.
* * *
6:47pm that evening on my way back home, I was so hungry and I didn’t cook that day and God knows I won’t have been alive to eat anything if I had decided to go home and cook. So I decided to stop at a fast food to get something. Just as I was about to alight from my car, my phone rang and it was my friend Felix. He was calling from the United States, trying to do a video call with me on Skype.
Felix and I have been childhood friends; we looked like twin brothers, the resemblance was striking. We went to the same schools from nursery till University until he left for the U.S for his masters and settled there.
“My own brother from another mama” He said smiling as I took the call. I couldn’t help but smile back when I saw how big his cheeks were.
“Felix the bad guy… Chai! Felix what happened to you, look at how large your cheeks are? what are you eating over there?” I replied him smiling and walking towards the entrance of the eatery. Meanwhile two ladies were staring at me while I was going crazy on the phone. It wasn’t my fault, that’s the way best friends roll on the phone. They just alighted from their car and were heading to the eatery too.
“I am doing great bro, I hope everyone at home is fine, where are you?” He asked me.
“Yes ooo, we are surviving, I want to get food from Chicken republic, you know what it is, bachelor things. So what’s with this call tonight?” I asked him, it’s been six months since we spoke last so I was surprised to see his call out of the blues that night.
“Bro nothing much o, I just wanted to hear from my brother. Yes I also wanted to tell you that I had the opportunity to meet Kevin Hart last week, one of Hollywood’s best actor and comedian. I took a lot of pictures with him.” He said and that sounded so nice in my ears I was surprised I didn’t get angry or jealous but I was happy for him.
“Wow! That’s good news bro I am happy for you.” I replied him and just immediately something sparkled in my brain and I smiled, that was a good idea strolling in.
The two ladies were still watching me doing my video call and I was wondering what they were saying about me.
“Ok bro I will call you back, let me just finish with what I am doing here.” I told him and ended the call and walked into the eatery to get my food.
“Good evening pretty lady; give me a take away pack of Jollof rice, plantain and chicken.” I made my order and waited for the lady to get it ready, just then the two ladies walked up to me and I tried to access them with my eyes.
They were cute and looked prosperous.
“Good evening, I am Adeola, I hope you don’t mind. What network do you use; I was watching you and your conversation was smooth and no network interruption?” She asked me with her eyes looking straight into my eyes.
“Oh I use glo, and that’s how we roll. Did you just say you have been watching me?” I asked her and pretended like I didn’t notice when they were watching me.
“It’s your attitude and conversation on the phone that drew our attention initially then we noticed you were doing a video call and the network was flowing smoothly.” She replied with a smile.
“Oh, don’t mind me it was my best friend, we haven’t spoken for like six months now.” I replied with a smile too, it was then she noticed my official Identity card dangling by the belt hole of my trouser.
“You are even a glo staff, no wonder.” She said and nodded affirmatively.
“It’s not about that, you can also enjoy this when you get a glo sim. I said and then the cute sales lady called my attention.
“Hello sir, here is your package” I stretched my hands, took the pack of food and gave her the cash; I knew the bill because buying that pack was almost my routine.
“Ahaa! Here we go,” I said after taking the pack of food and turned to the ladies again, “Sorry I forgot to introduce myself too, I am Bruce.” I said and stretched my right hand for a handshake with Adeola.
“I am Ayo.” The other lady said and shook hands with me too. I brought out my core card and handed it to Adeola.
“It was nice meeting you both, I am starving let me run home.” I said and the girls chuckled and we went our separate ways.
At about 9:06 pm that evening, I was chilling in my humble home and had long finished eating my meal. I remembered Felix and I called him back, but not video call this time.
“Bruce, what’s up” Felix asked
“I am great, bro please can you send me the pictures you took with Kevin Hart, all of them. I replied.
“Ok, I will send them now to your mail.” Felix said and then I received a mail shortly.
“I just received the mail; I will check the pictures out.”
“Ok, Bruce you can tell your friends your bro took pictures with Kevin Hart.” He teased me and laughed.
“Ok ok, stay good okay. I will call you some other time.” I said finally and hung up.
“I won’t tell my friends I saw you with Kevin Hart, I will tell them I was with Kevin Hart, they will see me in the pictures.” I said in my mind while looking at the pictures. “Photoshop shouldn’t deprive me of this joy.” I said aloud and then went to bed.
The next day during my lunch break I went to a photo studio and I met this wonderful girl. I told her what I wanted and she smiled.
“But why do you want to do it sir, I almost thought it was you in the pictures.” She said and I smiled back at her with an epic answer.
“I don’t need someone to think it’s me in the pictures, I want them to see me in the pictures… Or don’t you want the money? Tell me your offer I will pay.” My reply felt like cotton bud rolling in her ears and laughed so hard.
“I want the money sir, but I will do this job at home, I don’t want people to know about it.” She said and her reply made me admire her. I narrowed my eyes and looked into her eyes.
“Wow! You are smart, you are loyal, and I respect that.” I replied pointing at her as I made each sentence. Then I put my hand in my pocket and brought out one thousand naira note and dropped it on the table for her.
“This is not part of your bill, it’s just an appreciation, if you do a good job I will bless you even more.” I told her.
“Thank you sir,” she replied still smiling, money is the best comedian, it can make anybody smile. “Let’s go for the shoot sir.” She said again after studying the positions in the picture.
I went back to my office with smiles beaming on my face; I had so much confidence in the photographer because I had seen some of her previous creative works. Just as I was about to step into the building, I saw Adeola coming out.
“Hey Bruce what’s up, I came to get the glo sim. I asked after you and I was told you went for lunch break.”
“Wow, nice to see you today. Yes I went for lunch.” I replied looking dazzled. She was looking extremely beautiful today. “Mayowa can go to hell now” I said in my mind as I admired Adeola.
“You are looking so gorgeous today.” I added, and then I noticed how expensive she was from head to toe. She was wearing very expensive outfit and jewellery.
“Awww! Thanks dear, can we hang out tomorrow evening?”
She asked and I will be very foolish to give a negative answer. “Yes of course tomorrow is Friday, Just let me know the rendezvous later.” I answered with gladness and we shook hands and she left. My joy increased as I swayed into my office.
That Friday, I woke up smiling because I knew it was going to be good. I went to the office and worked happily till I got a call from the photographer that my pictures were ready. I then told my colleagues that I was coming and I rushed out. The photographer asked me to meet her at a bar, so that was where I was heading to. I got there and she was seated waiting for me.
“Good afternoon sir. She greeted, it was exactly 1:06 pm.
“Good afternoon my dear how are you, let me see what you have for me.” I replied as I sat down. I had no chill, I thought about the pictures all night.
“Yes of course.” She brought out the picture and handed them over to me.
“What the heeellll! I can’t believe this. You are a magician. You are dangerous.” I was flabbergasted. I bet you this photographer also had a PhD in “photoshopology ” if there is a word like that;. I don’t know how she did it but the pictures were so real. I almost asked myself when I took those shots with Kevin Hart.
“You did a good job girl, how much is my bill?” I asked her.
“Thank you very much sir, your bill is nine thousand Naira only” She replied and blushed at my comments. I quickly dipped my hand in my pocket and brought out money, I counted it and gave her.
“Here is twelve thousand Naira; the extra three thousand is for the good job.” I told her, she thanked me and also sent the soft copies of the pictures to my phone. Then just as I was about leaving I got an alert, I checked and it was a message from Adeola, telling me the about rendezvous. I smiled and walked away.
* * *
7:00 pm that evening I was home already, I had used one of the pictures of me and Kevin Hart as my lock screen wallpaper. I was dressed and ready to go but I had to admire the handsome guy in mirror for a while first. I wore a sky blue T shirt and a jean, on my feet was a white ‘just do it’ and I sealed it up with a mixture of my Calvin Klein and guilty by GUCCI, you can imagine the fragrance. I went outside, locked my door and I was off to Insomnia lounge.
* * *
I got to the lounge and went straight to the V.I.P section to chill and wait for Adeola. The place was looking so good; just about two other persons were inside the V.I.P section with me. The beautiful 42 inches Samsung LCD on the wall was displaying my favourite show on E TV and stole my attention. Out of the blues I saw five gorgeous ladies coming towards my direction.
“This must be Adeola, and her friends.” I conjectured, they looked like the rich kids of Beverly hill. They got closer and I wasn’t wrong.
“My bill tonight is going to be obese; these rich girls won’t ignore the expensive drinks here.” I thought in a flash and wondered why some Nigerian girls can’t just go for a date without their friends.
“Good Evening Bruce, hope we didn’t keep you waiting for long?” Adeola said and gave me a causal hug.
“Not at all, I just got here.” I replied and scanned the other girls with my eyes quickly and saw how blessed I was amongst them.
“Bruce meet my friends, Tracy, Nneka, Kylie and you already met Ayo.”
“Hi girls, you already heard my name.” I said with a charming smile, then shook hands with them and we took our seats. I knew I needed to make these girls happier because they are already happy girls. But what kind of topic will I bring up. I pondered, still smiling and looking at them.
“You didn’t order for a drink?” Adeola asked
“I just came.” I replied with a smile and a little butterfly in my tummy.
“Ok, what would you like to drink?” Adeola asked me and also turned to her friends.
“Well I don’t know what I want to drink for now, you girls should order for yours first, I will order later.” I said maybe I was scared of what the bill will look like when we were done, I don’t know which.
“Well, till you are ready to drink something, we are fine too. I have already paid some money so you can order for any drink in this bar.” Adeola said and I felt like someone poured ice on me.
“Wow! Thank God for that, but I mustn’t let this girls look down on me.” I thought in a flash and covered up with a smile.
“Ahh! You girls should take something don’t mind me, I don’t feel like taking alcohol tonight.” I said, still smiling and I wasn’t too far from the truth. The girls all burst in laughter then Adeola looked at me while I was still smiling and trying to figure out if they were laughing at me or with me.
“This is the first time we are hearing a guy say this, anyways we will drink anything you want to drink. Like I said, I have paid for everything we will take here tonight and will take my balance from the bartender when we are done. So please take something please don’t be embarrassed.” I became somehow speechless and helpless but the show has to go on, it’s not easy to be in the only guy in the midst of girls especially affluent girls like this. I felt somehow uneasy, but I had to take charge.
“Ok, if you insist I will take coca cola.” I just said that not minding what their reaction will be.
“Ok, then we will all take coca cola tonight.” Adeola said with a smile and made the order. They all smiled at me and were looking at me like they were expecting some kind of gist from me. I knew I had to trill them, but what am I going to do. I pondered and then I got an alert. So I brought out my phone from my pocket and checked the message and intentionally dropped the phone on the table.
Tracy then sights my screen saver and picked up my phone.
“Wow! You mean you have met Kevin hart one on one, Oh my God I love this guy, I love all his movies.” Just as she said that, Adeola and the other girls rushed to see and they were all smiling and talking about Kevin Hart and his movies. Immediately I knew I had become a celebrity too, then I smiled.
“He used to be my best friend till l left the U.S; we still chat and do video calls, but once in a while.” I added and showed them some other pictures of me and Kevin Hart and that was the gist for the night. Just the way fishes like shinny objects, girls love celebrities. We started talking about the movies Kevin Hart had featured in while sipping our coke and that night was awesome. The girls said they were going to be having a house party on the Christmas Eve and they invited me as their special guest. I felt so esteemed, not that Chuks party were I won’t be recognised. In this party I am the celebrity. From our conversation that night, I found out that these girls all come from wealthy family backgrounds. They are all fixed in top places and are earning armed robber salaries. One thing I liked about them is the fact that they didn’t let the money get into their heads.
* * *
I resumed work the next Monday morning feeling like the biggest boss, Chuks and Mayowa haven’t seen me that happy in two months, they wondered what possibly transpired over the weekend but I never told them. That was my secret, if they know about it; Chuks most especially will ruin my plans. Everything was going smoothly until Adeola called me on Thursday evening and said she and her friends will love to wish Kevin Hart Merry Christmas at the party, and I will have to do a video call. That request made me feel like someone held at gunpoint.
“What am I going to do, how am I going to achieve this. If I am not able do it I will loose everything, my new friends, my new status. Why did I even go into this in the first place.” I pondered throughout that Thursday night.
The following day at work which is Friday, I went to work with a low spirit. My status and my new friends are at stake here. Chuks and Mayowa noticed my mood and got confused. Just on Monday I was very happy and on Friday my mood changed, what was wrong with me, they wondered. Each time they tried talking to me about my worries, I just changed the topic and tried to act normal again but I was seriously thinking of a solution. This problem is beyond the powers of Photoshop.
* * *
That Friday evening I called Felix and explained everything to him to see if we could work out something.
“Why did you pull that kind of stunt?” Felix asked me.
“This is not the right question to ask me now, how are we going to save me. Is the question you should be asking? I don’t want to lose Adeola and her friends.” I replied hitting my head and trying to restore sense to my brain.
“So you mean she will break her friendship with you if you don’t get them to speak with Kevin, and she finds out you were joking?”
“She will break the friendship because I lied to her and her friends and made a fool of them. I wouldn’t want that.” I answered, looking befuddled.
“I will try my best to see what I can do; I think I know someone that can help me get to him here.” Felix says and I felt a little bit relieved.
“We just have few days to get this thing done.” I said finally and hung up. I had started falling in love with Adeola, we did a lot of chatting and we could both feel the connection. I lied to her and her friends and I knew I was going to tell her the truth someday but I must first finish up what I started, I needed to make it possible somehow.
* * *
Before I could say Jack, it was Christmas Eve. I wasn’t as vigorous as I used to be after Adeola told me that it was the wish of her and her friends to say merry Christmas to Kevin Hart through a video call at the party. I was thinking of what to do, and it wasn’t easy for me.
It was a half working day, so by twelve pm we closed from work that day then I went home to prepare for the party.
At about 8:00 pm, I looked at my wardrobe and I didn’t know just what to wear, I knew everybody at the party would appear very gorgeous and very expensive and as the special guest I am suppose to look very gorgeous too. I thought about it and decided to look simple and amusing. I wore a white shirt, a navy blue trouser with red suspenders, then I wore a Santa cap and looked at myself in the mirror. I saw a very cute guy in the mirror and it happened to be me and that made me smile. Suddenly my phone rang, I have been expecting a call from Felix so I rushed to check and found out that it was Adeola calling.
“Hey Bruce where are you, my other friends and my family members are waiting to see you. Don’t forget you are the special guest of Honour.” Adeola said, and I could hear how excited she was. I don’t know what she has told her family and her other friends about me but I mustn’t disappoint them.
“I will be on my way soon, I am trying to look good for you guys, so don’t rush me okay.” I replied her and it made her laugh, then she hung up. My worries increased again, just as I dropped my phone then another call came in and this time it was Felix.
“Bro what’s up, any good news?” I asked in a haste.
“Not really, we have been trying to see him but he is very busy and the protocol is just killing.” He replied me and that increased my fears.
“I just wanted to let you know the situation of things, but don’t worry just be cool.” Felix said and hung up. I just kept my phone in my pocket and drove off to Adeola’s house.
* * *
I arrived at Adeola’s house; she lives in a big compound with a gigantic mansion standing proudly and facing the gate. The compound was well decorated with flowers and Christmas lights shining everywhere. I parked my car close to some big cars as directed by the gateman for guest to park their cars, and mine looked like a sales boy in the midst of bosses. I almost felt intimidated then I remembered that I was the man of the party but then I had a big problem.
Adeola and her friends screamed when they saw me coming in like a boss and rushed to hug me. I felt like the biggest celebrity ever. I wondered what will happen if Kevin Hart himself comes here, these people will die of happiness.
I hugged Adeola and her friends and they walked with me to the living room. The place was busy with Adeola’s family and friends eating, drinking and moving around to exchange pleasantries with the guests coming in.
“You are looking so cool, I love your outfit.” Adeola’s mum said as we approached, I didn’t know she was her mum initially but I conjectured because the resemblance was striking.
“Thank you Ma’am.” I said, then Adeola quickly cuts in.
“Mum meet my friend Bruce, the guy I told you that was very a good friend with Kevin Hart. He will do a video call with Kevin tonight and we will all wish him a merry Christmas.”
“Wow! That’s cool, it’s nice meeting you son.”
Adeola’s mum said and it made me happy and sad at the same time, but I managed to smile back at her.
“Thank you ma’am, it’s nice meeting you too.”
The party was fun, Adeola took me round, showed me the beautiful places in the house and also introduced me to the rest of her family and friends.
Two hours to Christmas, I was so scared I didn’t hear from Felix. I had tried several times to reach him but it proved abortive. The time started running fast and it was thirty minutes to Christmas. Adeola approached me and reminded me that it will soon be time for everyone to gather so I will do the call. Immediately I felt something like ice that ran through my spine then to my knees. How was I going to tell them that it wasn’t real and I that the picture they saw was ‘photoshoped’. Maybe I would have made up an excuse that I have lost contact with Kevin Hart and saved myself this embarrassment; a thousand thoughts flew through my mind.
At about 11:50pm, everyone gathered smiling and waiting for the call. I stood in front of them with my ipad and tried reaching Felix on skype but it still proved abortive. At 11: 55pm, I still couldn’t reach Felix and I felt so embarrassed. Everyone felt so disappointed and looked at me with straight faces. I felt like the ground should just open and swallow me because I knew no explanation will be a good excuse to these rich souls here.
“What is wrong, you can’t still reach him? That’s so sad, maybe we should just apologise to everyone and go on with the party.” Adeola whispered to me. She could feel my pain and embarrassment. I looked at her with apologies in my eyes and said.
“I am sorry Adeola, I didn’t mean to…” before I could finish the statement my tab rang. I looked at it and it was Felix calling, then I looked at Adeola in the eyes with doubt and answered. To my greatest surprise it wasn’t Felix’s face I saw, it was Kevin Hart himself. I didn’t even have words to express how I felt at that moment, it was like a dream and even Adeola noticed how surprised I was.
“What’s up Bruce I hope I am not late, Merry Christmas.” Kevin Hart said to me and I felt like a lady that just got engaged.
“Wow, I am short of words bro, Merry Christmas to you too.” I replied and Adeola replied too as everyone watched us in surprise. Then I turned the screen to them.
“Merry Christmas everyone, it’s me Kevin Hart.” He said to everyone and they were all excited and chorused a Merry Christmas wish back to him. Adeola’s friends were all happy waving at Kevin Hart and everyone wished themselves a Merry Christmas too. Then I turned the ipad back to myself and then Felix came up with Kevin Hart and wished me a Merry Christmas too. Trust me the video call was smooth and glo was the magic.
How did he do it, what did he say to Kevin Hart? My mind was so busy pilling up questions for Felix. Kevin Hart sounded like he knew me in person; I was so happy and thanked them both.
“I will call you later Bruce.” Felix said and hung up. I need to know how he did it, I said in my mind. Adeola turned to me and gave me a wonderful hug and peck on my forehead I wished it was somewhere else though.
“Thanks a lot dear, you have made this Christmas memorable for me, my family and my friends.” Adeola said and then I felt like a hero. Felix is the man of the year I said in my mind and picked up a cold bottle of coke and drank smiling, then Adeola and her friends dropped their glasses of champagne and picked up their bottle of coke and we did a toast.
Felix later told me how he managed to see Kevin Hart and explained everything to him and begged him to surprise me.
So that Christmas went so well and Chuks and Mayowa heard the story and were flabbergasted and wished they were at the party. Now I have just one more problem, should I tell Adeola the truth?