I was a barman in one of the renowned clubs in Enugu. Serving drinks to men and women and smiling to please them even when I shouldn’t was my duty. I was twenty-four, broad-shouldered, tall, and with an Afro that was always perfectly groomed. People said I looked dashing. I always tried to look my best. It boosted my tips, anyway.
In my profession, you will meet all kinds of people: from the grumpily rich to the embarrassingly wealthy. You may be wondering why I referred to them as embarrassingly wealthy. Its because these set of people could spend more than half a million on liquor, but they would never tip you.
Occasionally, they would give you their cards which, most certainly, you would accept with both hands like golden eggs, only to later question the importance of the card. Yet I never got discouraged. I regarded anyone that entered the club as a “big boy” that might just be my ticket to the “big league. And it was through this way that I met Mr. Cindero
Mr. Cindero by my measuring standards was a “big boy”. He used to come with his friends who were in the habit of binging on Hennessey. He was an extremely lean guy with obviously feminine mannerisms. One night, while I was returning to the bar after serving a few tables, I saw him gesture for me to come over. I thought he wanted a drink so I brought out my docket, prepared to take his orders. But he waved my docket aside and said, “I like your chest. Do you gym? Although, it had been long I had been to the gym, my skin-tight bar uniform magnified the bulging flesh.
“Yes, sometimes. I replied.
He looked at me for a while, and finally said, “I want to help you. I’m highly connected and I could hook you up with a better job”.
On hearing this, my soul flew into a somersault and stayed hung in the air of euphoria. My joy could have filled a truck and busted the tires. It was what I had been waiting for: an opportunity for the big league. Without thinking much, I told him how grateful I am, and how Ill appreciate whatever help he could offer me. He collected my phone number and promised to call.
I became restless after that encounter, always having my phone close by, waiting for that all-important call that would raise me to grace. You may not understand why I was that anxious. If you’ve been in my condition before, you would understand. As a barman, all you do is stand in front of the bar like a statue, watching people having fun, eating, drinking, dancing and enjoying themselves.
All you do is watch and wish to be in their shoes. They come into the club looking exquisitely resplendent in their extravagant dresses, their attitude a supercilious cocktail of haughtiness and suaveness, while all you do is look and hope they’ll give you some lousy tip which rarely comes.
Mr. Cindero later called after having me wait for two weeks, and told me to meet him somewhere along New Haven. You could imagine the speed with which I responded to the call. Thirty minutes later, I got there. He was with three other men. He introduced them to me as his friends and we all shook hands and entered the car afterwards. Where was our destination? I didn’t bother to ask. How stupid of me?
The journey into Agbani began. The men were discussing, though not in clear terms. They were talking about theirsex-capades, but not with ladies. I began to listen and observe more intently. Then I got to realize that Mr. Cindero feminine mannerisms were too pronounced to be normal. He wore very tight jeans that accentuated the bones of his lean waist and a body-hugging T-shirt that stuck to his lanky body. And the way he twisted was certainly a deliberate attempt to get a man’s attention. I concluded immediately that they were a bunch of homosexuals. “How would I leave?” I pondered, before concluding that once this was all over, I’ll ensure I stay away from Mr. Cindero.
The car parked in front of a gate around Agbani and we all got down. Mr. Cindero came down last, though he led the rest of us into the compound. I had a clearer view of him then. His jean trouser was on his buttock and he was actually cat-walking. Honestly, he was trying to make his angular waist roll.
We got into the house. In my mind, I knew it was dangerous – me against four men! Would I be able to resist them if they attempted to rape me? The situation called for utmost diplomacy, and my naturally diplomatic mind began scheming, and seeking a way out of the trouble my over-ambitiousness put me into.
We sat down on the bed since there was no chair around. Then the three other men stood up and said they were going out, and they left Mr. Cindero and me. The whole situation reminded me of what we used to do when our friends girlfriends came into the room — we would excuse them, knowing what would happen once we were gone. So, Mr. Cindero and I were being excused. What was the plan?
Akuns Chima Kingsely is a graduate from the prestigious Ebonyi State University. He is an avid reader and a book addict. To him, reading is almost like a way of life. During his free time, if he isn’t reading or writing, he plays around with computer codes. You can reach him on Facebook via Akuns Chima Kingsely.