“i’ve heard the rain is the city’s tears”[1] – and gaborone hasn’t cried in months. so the night is balmy as chiedza and mmopi lie in semi-darkness in the third hour of load-shedding, recovering from a sweaty sacrifice of sorts.

we’ve got that gangster love

nothing can come between us (between us)

i know my best is struck

ungowami uphethe mina

let me hold you down

baby let me hold you down

uli sotsha lami

let me show you how mak’shuba ngizofa nawe

we soka lam’[2]

she has just given him what he has been after for nine months. they lie on a queen-sized navy-blue inflatable bed in his candle-lit one-bedroom flat in block 3, a post-coital latex smell hanging about happily in the tiny room. there is also the smell of alcohol in the room – there are twelve empty bottles of cider beside the inflatable bed. one of the bottles is lying on its side, some of its content has bled onto a folded roll of toilet paper. she had needed something to separate her from her senses before the sacrifice. there are balls of toilet paper, some wrapped around scumbags, beside the inflatable bed on the cracked-linoneumed floor. the smell of grilled meat comes in waves from the two-burner stove by the kitchenette. there are books (on different subjects) in stacks of different heights all over the room. there are clothes piled on two camp chairs by the second window in the room. beside the camp chairs are cartons of appliances – the blender, the fan, the stove, the tv. there are shoes, mostly (for him) and platforms, leather pumps and pairs of sandals (for her) neatly arranged just under the second window. he is wearing a pair of dark boxer’s shorts with ‘uzzi’ emblazoned in red on its waist band. she is wearing red thongs – worn specially for this occasion. it is february 14.

yeah-uh, treat you like every day is valentine’s,

fellas i am totally whipped ngini tshela 9-9

and i said that i, would never, said the day i, never mind

i guess the hardest i had a time

used to keep a pair of dimes

now i’m up here a dime came into my life

and really shifted the paradigm

phuma langa sikothe

she hella fine

nag’thengi skelem’ da

angdhingi neskhwele blind

she turns me on when she acts like that

but she gets a little excited

ang’buze into zak’dhala

wanna know about my x-y-z

ngancane kancane x-y-z

no-maan

just know that i will never hurt you

and by virtue of that

you deserve shoes and perfumes

i’m giving you my word boo

no side dish you my main course

i will never desert you

he is half asleep from coital exhaustion and inebriation, his left hand supporting his head on the pillow propped up againt the wall, his right hand, is holding her close and the cellphone from which the song is playing. her head is resting on his chest – she is yellow. for her it has been a nice wait – her legs still haven’t recovered from paying tributes to the ceiling god. she is crackling her toes and stretching. both of them are sweating – she can smell his hugo boss the scent, he can smell her hugo boss woman. the unconventional warm fruity feminine/masculine base tones of amber accords and sandalwood laced with cedar and vanilla were helping the blood flow to his extremities.

            “so, how do you proceed now?”

            “what do you mean ‘how do we proceed now?’ does it matter how we proceed?”

            “it matters because every time we make love more esoteric than it really is, we make life – which depends on love – more complicated than it needs to be.” soon as the words came out of his mouth, she was glad she made the sacrifice. the subtly masculine mix of ginger, maninka, wood, light musk, leather, tangy spices, and hint of restrained wildness of his perfume is playing with her hormones. she snuggles against him and feels his groin stir. hers responds. she crackles her toes and stretches again, gets off his chest, lies on her back and pulls both legs to her chest. the thongs come off. he smiles – ready. without getting off the inflatable bed she reaches across to move the candle to prevent their neighbors from watching their skhandaling in candle-lit silhouette on the curtains, then reaches beside the inflatable bed and gives him a new scumbag …

… baby let me hold you down uli soja lami

let me show you how mak’shuba ngizofa nawe

we soka lam’

gangster love

gangster

gangster love

gangster

Copyright © Fani-Kayode Omoregie 2016

[1] Odell, Tom. (2013). Sirens. Long Way Down. Columbia.

[2] K.O ft Nandi Mngoma. (2014). Skhanda Love. Skhanda Republic. Cashtime Life.

Read this and other stories from my collection of short stories – Deuces.