Diary Of A Shy College Kid – Episode 15
By Kayode Odusanya
The Last Party at Number 14 Ade Street
Second semester went by fast, and before I knew it, it was exam time again. We had fewer courses, so the examination timetable was fixed between a 2-week time-span. It was December 2002, and I couldn’t wait till the last day of examinations. One, because my favourite rapper in the whole world, Nas had dropped a new album titled God’s Son, and I couldn’t wait to listen to it. And two, every December, my brother, my friends, and his friends usually throw an end of the year party. This year’s version was going to be grand because my cousins were coming home from America.
I jetted home immediately after my last paper on the 20th of December, and my cousins landed Lagos the very next day. The party was going to hold on the 24th, and we had very little time to plan it. But we didn’t need much time, because we had money, and we knew all the right people. Every day from the very day my cousins arrived, we would sit in our living room to go over plans for the party. And then we would head out to change dollars and go shopping. We would usually split up; my elder brother would go out with my cousin, Timi, in my mom’s 87 Camry; and I would go in the red regular Benz with my friend, Fola. I left the buying of the drinks to my brother and cousin, while I handled things like renting chairs, fuel for the generator, and food. My friend, Fola’s dad owned a large farm in Otta back then, so we always had abundance of chicken supply for our parties. It was going to be the biggest party we ever threw. But the crazy thing about big parties is that they attract a crowd, and crowd control was something we didn’t really put into consideration while planning the party.
Usually, we did the party on the 24th of December every year, because that was the day my parents usually travelled to the village for Christmas holiday, but they decided to travel on the 25th this time around. It wasn’t such a big issue anyway, as the 24th was also my cousin, Salewa’s birthday, so we just told them were throwing her a party. The day came, and my dad marvelled at the crowd of people we were able to pull. Not just because of the number of people, but the calibre of people. They were rich kids in our neighbourhood and surrounding areas; Kids in their teens and early twenties pulling up in their parents Benzes and Beemers.
We had chairs scattered all around our four-quadrant garden and where people could seat in small cliques. Light bulbs hung from the trees in the centre of each quadrant. There were also chairs here and there on the driveway beside the garden. Drums with drinks were in every corner, and they had labels; Gulder drum, Guinness Stout drum, Don Simon Vino Tinto drum, and so on. Our Lister diesel generator had a full tank of 30 litres, ready to run for the whole day. We got the hottest DJ in the area blasting music as early as noon, even though the party wasn’t scheduled to start till 4pm. Food was in abundance. Everything was in place. Nothing could go wrong; or so I thought.
I can remember talking to my uncle when the first set of people arrived. It was 4:15pm and he was asking me if anyone was really going to show up for this elaborate party we had been planning all week, and then we heard the gate open. When I looked up, I saw my friend Ajoke with two light skinned girls in red. My uncle just smiled at me and said ‘K!’ He gave a thumbs-up before walking off. And from then on, people kept pouring in.
By 6:45pm, my whole compound was filled with people, and the party was in full swing. All the organizers had Roca Wear t-shirts on, with the slanted RW logo in front for easy identification. I was feeling fly with my grey Roca Wear top, navy blue Jeans, and grey Nike sneakers I had on.
In every party we had thrown, there was always a peak hour- when the DJ is slamming the right jams, everyone has gotten food and drinks, and people are just happy to be there. But the time before that point is always the hardest for the organizers, as you have to move around as fast as you can to get everyone what they need; any slight delay, and they might term your party a flop. With this party, that period stretched longer than usual, and I even had to rush down a few alcoholic drink concoctions just to get in hyper mood. But when we finally got in that zone, it was the best time of my life. Everything just fit in place. At a point, I went upstairs my house to the balcony, and looked down at the crowd of happy people singing along to the music the DJ played at the top of their voices. I couldn’t believe we actually pulled it off; the party of the decade. There were more than three dozen girls in the crowd, and this was before ‘oloshos’ took over Nigeria’s social world, so every one of those girls came there to have fun, not because they were going to get paid, or because they thought they would go home with a Yahoo boy. It was a great feeling to know that I could walk up to any one of those girls for a dance and would never get refused, because of whom I was.
Around 8pm, when the party was still full swing, one of my friends from Unilag, Babatope wanted to leave and begged me to drive him to the bus stop. I had been filming the whole event with a camcorder, and when I was leaving, I handed it over to my younger brother. Till this day, I wish I never left when I did; I could have stopped what happened next.
When I got to the bus stop, Babatope begged me to drive him to the next major bus stop as he had spent part of his transport money. After eventually dropping him off, I met a little traffic on my way back home. I was trying to make a u-turn to get off the express and go home through inner roads, when I accidentally knocked down a bike man with a female passenger. I was a bit tipsy, so I knew it was my fault. I got down to beg, and within seconds, Okada men gathered around me, blocking the Camry with their bikes and shouting abuses at me. The lady had to intervene and tell them she wasn’t injured, and that they should let me go. I was gad when I drove off the scene without a good beating.
Immediately I pulled into my street, I knew there was something wrong. The whole place was silent; there was no music playing, and I knew there was no way in hell the party had ended that quickly. I started hearing people calling out my name left, right and centre. They were running along to tell other people, “Kunle is back.” One of my friends ran up to the Camry to tell me some guys had come with boys to scatter the party. I was shocked, because the people he mentioned were my friends.
Why would my friends do that? I also heard that they had abducted my elder brother. Another guy was on the other side of the car, telling me not to trust anyone. He was someone I held in high esteem in the neighbourhood, so I opened the door and asked him to get in. He repeated his words again, don’t trust anyone, and asked me to drive. He didn’t tell me much, just that he was taking me to see some guys. We got to a particular roadside bar, and I got out of the car and we crossed the road to get to the bar. I recognized the people there, and as I walked in, I saw a certain look on their faces. I didn’t know if it was fear, or shock, but it left me confused. I greeted all of them, and they started saying things that left me more confused. They were asking me why I would let my friends beat up a particular person that was at the party. I didn’t understand what they were talking about, and the guy that brought me there pulled me out of their midst and told me they weren’t my friends. At that point, I started getting angry at him for talking in codes. I just wanted him to tell me what exactly happened and where my brother was.
We crossed to the road back to where I had parked, and then someone I knew from the area appeared from nowhere. He started saying something about wanting to beat up the guys that beat my brother. My eyes popped grew bigger as I didn’t know anyone had even beaten my brother. The guy was what you would call a one-man army, but he was drunk and rambling. I knew he would always be on my side, but I had to leave the scene when he got into an argument with the guy that had brought me there, and scuffle broke out. I got into the Camry and drove back home.
I got the full story when I got back home. So, this was what happened. We had two sets of friends at the party- let’s just call them Home Team, and Away Team. Some one in the home team, a very aggressive guy, had asked my friend, Fola for a drink, and didn’t like how Fola responded to him, so he started hitting Sola on the arm with an empty bottle. Even though Fola was my closest friend at the time, he was considered someone from the Away Team, and that particular guy didn’t like the fact that Fola had more clout than him at the party. My brother and I were the connectors between these two crowds, so my friend started looking all over the party for me to calm the guy down. But I was stuck in traffic at the time. So, one of my other friends from the Away Team called Chuka called Fola aside and told him he didn’t like the way the aggressive guy in black disrespected him, and asked that they go and confront the guy.
Chuka was not a troublemaker of any sorts, but at the time, he had two muscular sidekicks that followed him everywhere. When Fola, Chuka, and his sidekicks stepped up to the aggressive guy to talk, he felt they were testing his gangster and started shouting at them. He felt he had home advantage as he had his goons everywhere. But when he made the mistake of trying to hit Fola again was when things escalated quickly. Chuka didn’t have to act- his sidekicks went into full beast mode. To them, anyone that stood beside Chuka was also to be protected. They beat up the aggressive guy, and when three of goons showed up, they beat those guys up too.
The fight didn’t become an all-out brawl between Home and Away team; it was just between a few people in both teams. After the instigator and his goons were beaten up and disgraced, they got in their black Benz and drove off in reverse gear, knocking down my neighbour’s bread stand in the process. Chuka knew they would return, so he stayed back a while. But after 30 minutes, he had to head home. Five minutes after Chuka and his sidekicks left, the black Benz returned with like 7 guys in it- the four guys that had been beaten up, and three other guys from the neighbourhood. They wrecked the party, beating up everyone in sight, and breaking windows all over my house. I was not around. Thank God, because they probably would have killed me- Death before dishonour- that had always been my motto. Even though I was a skinny guy, I was uncontrollably violent while angry, sort of like Bruce Banner turning into Incredible Hulk. The guys that did all the damage at my house were the three guys I had seen at the bar before I heard the full story. The reason they had been shocked to see me walk into their midst after all they had done at my house was because they thought I had come to fight them alone; they were as confused as I was.
My brother resurfaced later that night, and the bumps on his face made me want to go hunting for those guys again. My uncle had to talk me out of it. In the end, it was a misunderstanding and a thing of egos. They were all people I knew personally and would have called friends before that unfortunate incidence. There was a lot of bad blood between Home Team and Away Team for many weeks after that party incidence, but I had to become a peacemaker so that someone didn’t get killed because of something that started at my house.
We had thrown the biggest party of our lives on the 24th of December 2002, but it ended up being the last party we would ever have at number 14, Ade street.
To be continued