One Week In The Life of A hypocrite
What are Sundays for? I bet you already know the answer! Bosun was born on a Sunday morning thirty six years ago, even though – contrary to the typical style of African parents – his father did not include Sunday among the names he had listed in the white sheet of paper he handed over to the officiating priest on the day of Bosun’s naming ceremony. This child will be called Olaoluwatubosun Oluwakorede Oluwajoba Moboriota Ayomide Sanyaolu. The priest wanted the guests to repeat the names after him, and they did, and made them do it once again; and they shouted a loud hallelujah after he had nodded with satisfaction and said, “Praise the Lord!” When he finally got the power to take weighty decisions on the course of his life, Bosun had cut the whole lengthy name story short and decided to be simply known as Bosun Sanya. He did that, long before he started attending a church where people with surnames like Agbabiaka or Ojopagogo or Akarakiri would change their names to something fancier. Now, as a thirty six year old single man, on Sunday mornings, Bosun would wake up at five because a lot would need to be crammed in the few hours between the rise from the bed, to the time of the church service at nine. As one of the movers and shakers of ACLC he would have to be there an hour before the start of the service. This morning, he woke up a few minutes before five, pushed some buttons on the alarm clock so it would not scream at five to tell him to start doing what he had already started, and walked to the bathroom, ignoring – as usual – the obvious push of his erect penis against his boxer shorts, one of the many advantages of living alone. According to his plan for the coming year, he would be married in a few months. All he needed to do was take his lover to his Mum, maybe to a few other closer relatives, and then to buy the things on the list the woman’s father had given him when he visited him to make his intentions known. That was his plan; he had written things down in his diary. He was already ticking the things he had done successfully; he had prepared a list of numbers to call. Like Onyeachonam whom he called his father in the Lord would say, “write the vision, make it plain…” These things have been plain on paper, and plain in Bosun’s mind.
Bosun had been praying about his wedding plans. At least that was what he said when Pastor Onyeachonam asked him if he has been praying about his vision for his would-be family. The girl, the chosen one, Titi, has been praying about the wedding plans too; that was what she said with a shy smile when the pastor asked her if she has been praying about her plan to be Bosun’s wife.
She would never tell the pastor that she did not see this thing as a major prayer point. If it were true love, would it be so complicated? No one prays to be born; no one – except the depressed, or the ones weighed down by severe pain – prays to die; true love was meant to be like a prayer offered by nature. It is meant to be natural.
True love is meant to be a beauty above and beyond the pretty pictures of love songs. Titi had prayed about her life with Bosun, but not in the way Onyeachonam would have expected her to pray. It would seem to her like praying for the soda in your fridge, something easily within your reach, basically a few second’s walk in your own house! You don’t really pray to get your cheese from the fridge; you just do it.
Titi and Bosun met in church on raining Sunday morning at ACLC, the Akure City Light Church, founded and presided over by ever-dapper Pastor Onyeachonam. The pastor and his wife would look like twins in their pictures on social media.
Pastor’s wife would wear suits, crowned with fascinator hats and berets and floppy hats. You would learn a lot by looking at the way her earrings and necklaces and her heeled shoes would match the outfit and the occasion; but if she had had a moustache, if she had cut her hair low like a man’s, if she had had a flat chest and almost flat buttocks, you would have thought of Mrs Onyeachonam as a twin brother to her husband.
Sometimes if you think about it pastor would seem like an actor with a wide range of performances, a veteran thespian in this life drama, a star performer of Judeo-Christian stories. You would see him, his head shaved, or curly Afro; you would admire his well-trimmed moustache, or could disagree with those who would say the hair looked good on him.
You would admire his agbada on special service days when wearing local attire would seem like one grand patriotic act. ACLC would name the day, the worship service, the gathering of Jesus-loving fashionistas, something like Ankara Service or Africa Sunday, as if they are remembering Africa in another continent. You would see the publicity materials of those special days on Facebook and on Instagram and on Twitter. The best graphic designers of the state’s tech and innovation hub at FUTA would meet at the church office to make this happen.
If you are young in the city, and you love the fine things of life, and good music, you would want to be at ACLC for their special services. Pastor Onyeachonam had sometimes bought two dozen designer suits, and a dozen designer shoes, and six jeans, and had booked four luxury locations in the city, just for photoshoots for his website and his social media pages.
The man had two hundred and six pictures taken in three days. His wife had reluctantly joined him for some shots on one of those days. She appeared in twenty pictures, managing the required friendly smile in a few, even though the pastor had insisted that only fifteen of the pictures would be released because his wife looked older than her age in five of the pictures.
The pastor may never know about the number of people secretly digging and searching for something scandalous that could nail him. His life had been open, or so it seemed. It would seem he could be trusted; he did not really have any private life independent of his wife. He would keep the secrets that needed to be kept.
Like a god at ACLC he kept some things to himself. But you could keep hoping that something would be found, if only you search harder and do it persistently.
Bosun would hear some gossip from his only male friend at ACLC. He would be told some truth with sprinkles of lies, which is what gossip is about; because he had seen how his friend seemed to expect people – especially the ones thought to be exemplarily upright – to disappoint by unwittingly exposing their weaknesses.
Pastor could be looking at the direction of a distant pretty lady in the church building and some folks would swear they have seen him wink at the lady. Bosun would have to remind his sceptical prime friend about the possibility of living a scandal-free life.
“We should try not to be a crook in the sight of the one who sees all”, his friend would say; but the imaginary perfect man in the mind of the young man is someone living like a monk.
Bosun would think about the simplicity of his life. Work would sometimes take him out of town, and the trips have always been refreshing experiences. You would see Bosun at home in the morning, before sunrise. You would see him back home at a quarter past four in the evening; you could see him in the mall, getting groceries. He could be watching a movie or buying pizza or sharwama. He would go home from the mall. Apart from random visits to the petrol stations, or to the ATM machines around the city, Bosun’s movement around is pretty much summed up. It was only on rare occasions that you would see Bosun do something beyond the norm.
Bosun’s friend was like a brother to him. They would agree, they would disagree; it wouldn’t matter. It was a beautiful friendship.
Titi has been attending the church for four years before Bosun became a regular member. She started as one of the members of the welfare unit before she was drafted from there to become the President of the Single Sister’s Fellowship because the pastor thought she got this thing going on for her, this thing he couldn’t exactly place his hand on, which is obviously a deposit of the ‘spirit’, something that makes her naturally easy to follow.
“Your leadership style is organic,” he said. “And I’ve seen it in action. I know what I’m saying.” You are a natural leader, pastor explained; and she believed him, because she has heard it before from someone who has never met Pastor Onyeachonam. Bosun and Titi became friends about a year after Bosun joined the church, even though he had been admiring her from a distance before that first hello that paved the way to brighter days.
They were those kinds of friends you may think a man and a woman should never be unless there is a plan for the long haul; but the very first time Titi asked Pastor Onyeachonam about Bosun, he wanted her to calm down a bit about this love thing.
“Brother Bosun is a new member, you have to know him well before you make that kind of commitment.” Pastor Onyeachonam had said. And as time went by it seemed easy for any perceptive church member to know Bosun’s place in the church. He was hardly ever absent in church services, and he joined the ‘protocol unit’ and whenever he is there he would treat the man of God like a king while acting like a servant; more like a slave in a designer suit.
I’m sure if the pastor asks him to open his palms to get shit straight from his father in the lord’s ass he would probably do it without flinching.
This, and many more reasons, made him a beloved of the pastor and many in the church. The man of God eventually approved the Titi/Bosun affair, since nothing was expected to keep a man of such private and public expression of loyalty to the prevailing power of ACLC, from marrying pastor’s ‘daughter in the Lord’.
It was then not a surprise – since it was not the first time – when Pastor Onyeachonman called his beloved loyalist and assistant aside last Sunday after the post-service workers’ meeting and said:
“You will be preaching next Sunday on the topic, ‘Old Things Have Passed Away’”. Bosun smiled when he heard this, and lowered his head as if he is unworthy to even speak a word from the pulpit of his ‘father’ let alone preach on a Sunday, but deep down within he had his mind made up based on the opening lines of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” song from the 8 Mile soundtrack.
In the bathroom this Sunday morning Bosun took his toothbrush – one he had not changed for four months – added some toothpaste, and brushed his teeth with one hand while using the other hand to guide his stiff manhood so that the fluids coming out from it would not miss the toilet bowl.
Bosun was back in his bedroom about ten minutes later, clean, having nothing on except his white towel and his white bathroom slippers. He noticed the screen of his phone as soon as he walked in. He just missed a call. It was Segun Maxwell, another member of ACLC, also loyal to the pastor like a dog.
Segun has consistently hosted his radio programme Daily Pills For Success for twelve years. At ten minutes past seven every morning on weekdays for the past twelve years, regular listeners would hear Segun Maxwell speak about dream, desire, determination and destiny.
Maxwell’s website proclaimed him as a life coach. He had been on the billboards on Akure’s major motorways long before he started talking about his vision for Ondo State, his mission to turn things around, and his decision to contest in the coming election.
His determination to run for public office in the coming election only brought more billboards.
“This is our project,” Pastor Onyeachonam said to the congregation on the day Maxwell spoke – from the pulpit – about his candidacy. The pastor had it in mind to beat the flowery language of the candidate who had just addressed the congregation. He would not be beaten on his own stage.
“This is God’s own project. The church must stand together to make it happen for brother Maxwell, to make it happen for us. All hands on deck! All hands on what?”
“Deck!” the congregation replied in unison, as if it had been rehearsed. Pastor smiled. “Look, listen to me; we are taking over.”
“Yes!” The congregation shouted and whistled. You would see some hands joined together, eyes closed, hands lifted, and fists thumping in the air. They were charged. It was more like the days in 2012 when the Internet shouted Joseph Kony’s name and made all the noise as if the world was coming to an end for one man; and changed nothing. Maxwell seemed to be only popular in religious circles, among the young people who may not even leave their house to go to vote on the day he would need them most. Not with seasons of Gossip Girl, 24, Game of Thrones, and Blood and Water to go through. Maxwell’s only circle of influence was among the educated elite. At ACLC Maxwell has established himself as an independent but committed son. He had earned his pastor’s respect, so it would seem almost anything could be done to make him comfortable.
“The land is ours!” Pastor Onyeachoman continued; his head pushed slightly forward as if he might knock something down with a pair of an imaginary horn.
“Yes!” “This election is a fulfilment of prophecy. The Lord said, as far as your eyes can see! And it is happening right before your very eyes. So, get involved. Turn to your neighbor and say, ‘get involved’ ”
This morning Segun Maxwell had called because he wanted to remind Bosun of the need to talk persuasively about the election and the need to do something to effect the change we have been praying for, since it is the last Sunday before the election, a vital and strategic day.
A vote from all the members of ACLC and their dependents would change the political face of Ondo State. Bosun got to know about this need for emphasis when he called back and said, “Good morning brother Maxwell, sorry I missed your call.”
Maxwell once bought a three million naira Rolex watch as a birthday gift for pastor. The following Sunday pastor had preached about fatherhood, and how Maxwell has been honouring him as a father.
“That’s why he’s going places.” He said, leaning on his wooden lectern. “Don’t envy him. No. Don’t. Just honour the man over your life in this place and you too will start going places.” He added.
By seven-fifteen Bosun was already inside his black Mercedes, with a stomach full of fried rice and spicy fried chicken, washed down with a bottle of Sprite Lite, even though pastor had warned his ministers to avoid eating in the morning on Sunday so that the sated flesh would not overrule the leading of the ‘spirit’ as they minister.
One Sunday, last year, Bosun had entered Pastor’s office without knocking and had been stunned by the sight of the man, lips and fingers smeared with oil, tossing a piece of fried chicken drumsticks in his expectant mouth. Bosun had apologized with a bow for not knocking before opening the door. He had thought the pastor was not in here. He just came to pick the church’s financial record book for the ushers that would have to fill in the numbers for the day.
“I’m on blood pressure medication,” Pastor said after a belch. “I needed to take this.”
“I understand sir.” He nodded, swallowing the saliva in his mouth and suppressing the temptation to ask for a piece. Bosun hated the idea of Sunday morning fast right from the very first day he heard the silliness.
Does it mean the spirit needed mainly hungry or physically weak people for use? Bosun had seen many activities of hungry people and had concluded that his pastor’s position on skipping breakfast on Sunday was lacking in philosophical or scriptural merit, but anytime he hears Onyeachonam talk about it he would nod solemnly as if he could see the words were dripping with sagacity life fresh juice.
Sometimes the church would declare a seven-day fast for members, which would be compulsory for all unit leaders who had to be in the church auditorium daily at five in the evening for an hour-long programme; Bosun would be expected to be without food till six in the evening.
On a few of such occasions he would eat at home, wipe his mouth clean, and would look – in church meetings – as sober as a hungry righteous man is expected to look; and he would sometimes wonder if he was the only one putting on a show.
As he drove to church this morning Bosun switched on the radio, expecting to hear some gospel music as usual; he started tuning. He pressed the ‘next’ button for every time he heard the voice of a preacher, or of a newscaster, and had settled for a music station when he heard – before he could switch to the next – a jingle announcing the station as the nation’s number one hit music station. This happened as he drove through the ever-busy Oba Adesida road at Oja Oba.
He had been so aware of his surroundings; aware of the careless pedestrians and the reckless drivers and the general chaos of this crowded portion of the six-lane road. Then his mind called his attention to the fact that “Nneka wait, open for daddy” was the song playing on the radio.
He almost ran into a pedestrian for the swiftness of his move when he tried to drive with one hand and change the station with the other hand by pressing ‘next’ on the dashboard. The pedestrian was one of those idiots who would walk casually across busy roads as if they were made of iron.
Bosun had always found it stupid. This reckless relinquishing of the responsibility of one’s personal safety in urban spaces to the choices and sanity of numerous impatient strangers driving cars. Bosun thought about brother Maxwell. Maxwell’s new car, a white Mercedes that cost him 14 million Naira, had almost all the controls on the steering.
A radio DJ could actually have the guts to play ‘Nneka wait, open for daddy’ on a Sunday morning in Akure oloyemekun?
“The last days are upon us indeed”, he said to himself.
Titi is not in church today because she has gone out of town for a cousin’s wedding. Bosun missed her, but he still felt very much at home at ACLC, with all the sexy sisters in knee-length tight skirts, and figure-hugging blouses, and high heels, and all shades of lipsticks, all calling his name here and there, to greet him, or to have a cleverly flirty conversation, or to acknowledge his presence, or to tell him something as simple as, “Brother Bosun, pastor needs your attention”.
In this gathering, in this vicinity, there is always a performance, a projection, a package of 21st century trendy fashion and posh behavior that would make you believe that the chaotic Nigerian economy would answer to the neat business ideas promoted by American motivational speakers and their African clones.
In this space it wouldn’t be hard to spot the ones who are the closest to the pastor; and the closer you are to the pastor the more godly you appear, the more desirable you become, the more power you have, and the more influence, and the more enemies you would have, because of the ones who, despite the innocent looks, wish – in the secret places of their heart – that they could outdo you in this dignified religious slavery, this almost self-deprecating show of loyalty to become the pastor’s beloved.
Bosun kept going through his plans for the delivery of the sermon in his head as Kiki, Titi’s best friend (at least that was what it seemed like), led the songs for thirty minutes before the sermon. Kiki was rocking the stage like a step-down version of Tiwa Savage, and Bosun had to keep tossing off the dirty thoughts that would stray to his mind as she sang. Old things have passed away.
He met Kiki before he met Titi, at a three-day lecture series on sexual reproductive health and responsible sexual behavior for teens in Jos. They were the only invited speakers for the three-day event. Bosun loved the beautiful co-speaker as soon as she saw her picture beside his own on the event’s publicity pamphlet he got a day before the event. When he saw her backstage on the first day of the event, before one of the organizers introduced her to him and they shook hands, he had thought it would be hard to get her to have a drink with him.
As guests from out of town, sitting beside each other for three days, whispering mundane observations about the event and the topic being discussed in each other’s ears, and smelling each other’s perfumes, got them having funny feelings.
On the last day of the event, after the teens and the organizers had gone they were together for hours, sharing a bottle of wine in his hotel room and talking about life.
That Sunday morning as Kiki led the songs with sprinkles of Jesus, holy, Lord and worship you, Bosun had to toss off the stubborn memory of Kiki on her knees in front of him while he was on the edge of the bed, and the sweet sensation of his release into her mouth and the way she had licked everything he let out with pleasure and eagerness as if it tasted like ice cream.
The way she licked every drop of his body fluids touched his heart in a way no other woman had been able to do. She made him feel like a special human being, like a god deserving of the best of devotion. After that memorable encounter Bosun, confident of future possibilities with her because he had her number, tried to reach her on the phone for three weeks; weeks of headaches and sleepless nights and anger, and she had ignored all his calls and text messages. He sent twelve carefully and deliberately worded text messages, the best of his poetic self; and he called like a hundred times and clenched his fists and pursed his lips in impotent anger.
Eventually, sadly, he had to conclude that Kiki was probably one of those sex addicts who would do dangerous things or go to extreme measures to please themselves, only to sink deep in regret a few hours later. It was a surprise for Bosun when he saw the beautiful girl he had been desperately trying to reach for months on the stage at ACLC on his first day there; at that time Kiki was just one of the backup singers in the choir.
After the service that day Bosun had hurried to her, breathless, excited, eager to restart something. Kiki greeted him with a moderate smile, a formal friendly way, as if they were ambassadors of two nations with different languages.
He didn’t want to make a big deal out of her response; because formal friendly is still friendly, and something could still be built on that. When Bosun said to meet for drinks sometimes during the week she said a friendly no; and when he asked to know where she lived so he could visit her, she would not give him her address, and when she asked her why she did not take his calls and reply his messages after their memorable time together at the hotel in Jos four months ago, Kiki exhaled, smiled and said:
“Common Kiki, just call me Bosun.” He interrupted, hating the stubbornness that seemed to show no sign of receding. She raised her eyebrow and smiled. “Bosun, we made a mistake.”
“It was not a mistake.” “A mistake fuelled by wine and lust.” “I didn’t make a mistake. I love you.”
Kiki kept her eyes on him for a few seconds. “Well, for me it was a mistake. Something I regret, something I’ve moved on from. Something I will never go back to. I am a disciple of Christ. I hope you are.”
“I’m just trying to be your friend. I’m not saying we should date.”
“We can’t be friends like a man and a woman without the kind of past we have.” That was what she said before she walked away from the prospects of more blowjobs.
All his efforts to be close to her from that day had been futile; she maintained her formal friendly way in all their interactions in the church. He got the message after about a year. With Kiki Thompson old things have passed away.
Bosun loved seeing her hold the microphone on the stage. He would admire her fingernails, usually beautified by pink, black or red nail polish, and her long legs in black, pink or royal blue heels. As far as he was concerned Kiki is a better lead singer than Anita Blake, another beautiful choir member who had been able to build a large online fan base on her social media platforms from the videos of her passionate Sunday morning performances at ACLC. No one would ever know that – once in a while – a microphone in Kiki’s hand, close to her crimsoned singing lips, would become Bosun’s erect penis in his exploratory mind, and he would quickly toss the vivid intrusive thought out of his mind before a real-life erection would make people around stare at him, embarrassing him.
This is the first chapter of One Week In The Life of A Hypocrite, a romance novel set in Akure, Ondo state, and the story unravels in seven chapters, each chapter being a day of the week, starting from the Sunday morning’s trigger message and ending with the resolution the following Saturday, the day of a governorship election in which Segun Maxwell is a candidate.
Below are the links to the online platforms where the novella is
available in ebook and paperback format.
About the author
This is the third work of fiction from Feyisayo Anjorin, whose other works includes Kasali’s Africa (2018), The Night My Dead Girlfriend Called (2018) – which was first published as a short story series on Brittle Paper –; and The Stuff of Love Songs (2020). Feyisayo Anjorin is also an actor, whose film/TV credits includes MNet’s “Jacob’s Cross” and “Tinsel”, South African TV soap “Scandal”, Akin Omotoso’s “Man on Ground”, and short film “Crooked Road”. He is also the podcast host of “The Land of Gulungulun” fiction podcast.