MONEY STINKS BUT I LIKE THE SMELL (a short story)

“Them go hear am today” I mumble excitedly as I pick the sixth can of perfume from my very expensive collection and douse myself with it, pressing the nozzle angrily and running it from my head to my toes and up again countless times, till I am sure the fragrance has soaked into every part of my clothing.

“And one day the man shall wash his clothes with expensive wine…that day don reach” I soliloquize as I take a swab of hair cream and apply to my hair, observing in my mirror of golden frames, as my hair begins to glisten.

“That’s the glow right there baby, that million dollar glow befitting of a million dollar man” I brag unremorsefully

“Today, the boy shall become a man” I swear as I admire my complete Gucci outfit in the mirror.

Down to my socks, everything on me is Gucci designer, and I can swear they have a completely different feel to the skin, almost spiritual, than normal clothes have.

I look at myself in the mirror some more, as imaginations begin to form in my head

“Alas! Introducing the newest member of the Gucci gang, give it up for the one and only Femi Tobiaaaaaaas, also known as: Femi-money, Femi-the-money-is-speaking, money-everywhere-Femi, bag-of-dollars-mixed-with pounds-and-a-little-bit-of euros-with-no-room-for-naira Femi! Let’s give it up for him as he comes to the stage!”

I begin to clap for myself and yell in excitement the way admirers would do, and this lingers for a while

I then prance backwards, compose myself, and in a calculated poise befitting of someone with money, I begin to swagger forward, acknowledging the cheers of invisible fans and blowing kisses to the left and right as I approach the stage. One side of my shoulder is raised slightly above the other as I limp.

Anyone with the eyes of money would see the difference between my limp and that of a handicap. This is called the million dollar limp

I arrive in front of the mirror where I freeze and take off my ray bans glasses slowly for effect, and then lick my lips amorously, as I hear the crowd in my head react excitedly to this move.

We love you Femi Money!

“I love you too baby girl” I coo out a response before I pick the microphone which in actual sense is one of my many perfume bottles littered on the top of my drawer

“Well” I cough and smile and many of the invisible admirers existing in my head cheer out again

“Well” I finally shrug. I don’t know what to say so I would just let the money talk” I announce and push my hand into my pocket, pulling out a wad of naira notes

I increase the music to the highest and then begin to throw the money in the air so with so much majestic aura. In a display of exoticness, I tilt my head to the right and slap the money out of my hands dramatically, while dancing to the music.

With the way the money floats around in the air before slowly resting on the floor effortlessly, I am sure they know their worth. They do not just fall to the floor! They float around for a while, and then gradually come to relax on the floor like they’re trying to let everyone around know that they cannot stress, because they know they are the answers to all the problems of human beings.

“Money does not bring happiness? Show me someone who while riding in a Lamborghini, would feel sad” I begin to preach, as I continue spraying my money all around

“Money is not everything? Well let me still make this money, just in case” I continue with so much excitement

At that moment as I continue spraying the money into the air, boys begin to cheer out and call me their king, and girls walk up to me and begin to dance around sensually.

I spray the money on them as we gyrate to the music, the money flowing endlessly

One of the girls possesses me, and I do not resist as I take in how beautiful she looks. Her face is extremely beautiful, but what is more beautiful than that, is her body.

Daaamn, her body! I don’t know how she does it, but she fits a thick fleshy body stature into a tight mini gown, and as she dances around me, throwing all her goods in my face, I am captivated by lust.

Chai this money is good.

“Oga!” I hear a voice invade the good moment I’m having, jerking me out of my head in time to him standing at the door.

There is a look of bewilderment mixed with longing on his face as he takes in the scene, me elegantly dressed, money littered all over the floor, some remaining few still floating in the air.

“Yes, how can I help you?” I ask, snapping him out of his admiration rudely, and he jerks back to reality

“The car don ready Oga” he informs me, and hurriedly dismisses himself without my permission.

I have taught my staffs to never stand so close to money since they do not have large bank accounts and cannot relate to the feeling of being wealthy. It is an insult to us that have gotten the money, and so whenever they are in my presence, they are always in a hurry to leave

Not bothering to pack the money on the floor, I step out of its midst, pick out a heavy bag loaded with –you already know what it is – from my wardrobe and begin to march out.

You see, tonight I am going to dwell among the big boys of the city…no, the big men; the big men of the society. I am talking about the men with the real money, and not all these averagely rich people that I have been meddling with for some time now.

I realized a long time ago that I needed to find people of my caliber, and stop mixing myself up with these un-wealthy lots.

Before I proceed, let us get some things straight.

This is my story, and I would tell it how I like, and I’m saying this because I’m already sensing your criticism of my lifestyle.

That’s alright because I do not have regards for your opinions on how you think I should treat my staff, or how I should look at or relate with people, so I would not give thoughts to your criticisms.

Besides don’t you know it is wrong for you to criticize a wealthy man? It is even a bad omen and a curse if you’re aspiring to be wealthy one day.

All in all, lions do not concern themselves with the opinions of sheep, and so I would not bother myself with what you think of me.

I wouldn’t also disclose how I make this money, so don’t ask. And it is about time you stop wondering too, for it is my money and I decide to either say or not say anything about how I am making it.

The only thing I can tell you is that money stinks, but meeeeeehn, I like the smell

I walk down the stairs, taking in the splendor of my mansion like it is the first time, till I get outside and hop into my latest range rover sports.

No no no, I didn’t hop in; that is so disrespectful.

I stepped in

I step into the latest range rover sport which is mine, but before I begin to drive, I perform the rich man’s signature:

I touch my mirror slightly, put on my seatbelt and then rub my hands together as if gathering the necessary unction needed to commandeer this exotic car today. I then switch on the car and absorb the magnificent sound of the engine roaring to life, before I begin to cruise out of my compound and into my street.

On the street, I look at the other houses in my neighborhood with a scorn on my face, wondering why none of them can hustle enough to get money like me and build exotic mansions that can match mine. It is high time I change my neighborhood to somewhere more befitting of my new monetary standard

Okay so where am I going to on this beautiful evening you ask?

I have been invited to the inner circle of the big boys…big men in the city

There is this night club in the city, ‘La Vida Loca’ and it is only open to the wealthiest of the wealthiest.

For one, no one can get into it just because they want to.

No matter how rich you are, a special access card must be sent to you along with directives, and that is what you use to get into the club.

The club rarely gives people the cards when they ask for it, because majority of the people who want to join the league aren’t considered rich enough by the standards of the club

For the first four times I tried, I fell into this majority unfortunately, and these people declined me.

I mean, I had begun making my first millions with evidence to show for it back then when I tried getting in, but I still wasn’t rich enough for them, and it made me wonder, how much level of wealth they needed someone to acquire before they could consider them rich enough.

Three times afterwards, I had tried again even as I got richer, but La Vida Loca still didn’t consider me rich enough, and so refused to give me an access card.

Tired, I had settled for clubs and hangouts for people way beneath my standard. Even though they threw money, drove the best cars and popped expensive champagnes, I felt deep down that I was settling for less, and I didn’t like that. It had to be La Vida Loca or nothing and so I persisted until recently, they sent their access card along with directives, and a short note welcoming me to the family.

As I get to the gate of my street, the gatemen at the gate begin to call out to me passionately. They throw their hands into the air and gesticulate wildly, with so much energy.

I frown at the level of attention they are giving me because that is how every rich man is supposed to respond, even though deep down it gives me satisfaction.

When I get to the gate I wind down my window

“Why are you people creating all this chaos? Ehen?” I enquire exasperatedly

“Aaah, Oga Femi-Money! We dey greet o, your boys are loyal sir!” The gatemen call out while prancing about my car and surveying it with so much commitment

“So that is why you are making all these noise? It’s uncalled for!” I rebuke, but they ignore me and continue cheering and circling my car the way they are supposed to.

“Eeeysh, shift from the car so you don’t mess with the body work” I reprimand, and they shift back but continue cheering.

I smirk and shake my head, pitying their condition. Then as if as an afterthought, I stretch my right hand to my dashboard where I pull out a voluminous stack of cash and hand it to them, and they begin to jubilate wildly, muttering endless appreciation and praises.

I do not bother with acknowledging their appreciation as I wind up my window and drive through the gate as a rich man is supposed to do.

You see, when you have too much money and you spare a tiny bit of it on charity, don’t make a big deal out of it. When you are being appreciated for giving out cash, say stuffs like ‘don’t mention it’ but if any of the persons you lend a good hand to actually doesn’t mention it, then mark the person’s face and remember not to ever give such a person your money again. Such a person doesn’t deserve your hard earned money, or maybe not so hard earned as in my case

(shut up and stop speculating)

When you help a poor person in need, and the person is about to throw himself at your feet, immediately react worriedly and go thus “NOOO, you don’t have to do that” then cajole the person until the person stands up. But if you give to any of them, and the person doesn’t thrown himself at your feet, then make sure that person never gets another cash from you. Such a person is ungrateful and not deserving of your hard earned money, or maybe not so hard earned as in my case.

(Shut up and stop making speculations)

Besides, you should also select the kind of people you give money to. Make sure you give first and foremost to those who would shout your name from the rooftops, and not whisper the thank you in your ear. Give to people that when you give them a particular amount quietly with squeezed hands, they would shout out the amount of the huge sum of money you gave them, so you can be able to cringe in discomfort from  the kind of attention it is getting you.

I cruise into the highway, and as I drive through, I reflexively notice other elite cars that share the road with me. The drivers are my brothers, and I am tempted to wave as the feeling of brotherhood overwhelms me. But figuring that it is improper of my standard, I do not do such.

I observe that many of us are also driving the same way; we lean far back into the chair with one hand on the steering and the other by our side, slowly stroking our beards or chin while we nod to the music banging from our stereos.

I can only imagine how envious the pedestrians are. I can tell they are envious because of the way they turn and squeeze their faces whenever my range cruises past while blasting loud music.

Bad belle people

The drive to the club of men is quite long, and I get there around eight pm. From afar off, I sight the exotic building significantly standing out from all others around, and I can pick the strong scent of money oozing out of the building.

To be honest, I am excited like I have never been before in a long while, but you see, rich people do not get excited by the idea of glamour and allure, and so I contain myself, and put up the facade that I am used to this kind of life.

I’m driving on quite a speed, but as I arrive at the entrance, I calculate that rich men don’t drive with so much impatience and recklessness, and so I slow down and crawl into the entrance, as the security men at the gate flash me a professional salute

The security men at the gate are professionals, unlike the idiots I have in my street.

The first thing I notice because of its outstanding nature is the parking lot, and by that I don’t mean the parking lot itself, but the cars in it. I am overwhelmed.

There are cars of different varieties, models and colours but the only thing that they all share in common is the fact that they reek of money, and they send the message that their owners know how to spend their money properly

I follow the direction of a member of the protocol team who guides me through the maze, and then halts my car in front of the entrance of the building and not in the parking lot, and I am confused.

A man on a red uniform walks up to my side, where he bows politely and stands smiling with hands folded courteously behind his back. I reply his greeting and wait cautiously for him to say what brings him dutifully to my side, but he doesn’t say another word for the next ten seconds and we just stare at ourselves.

A slight look of confusion flashes on his face for a brief moment before he noticeably recomposes himself and with his smile now back in full motion, he speaks up

“I am supposed to park your car from here sir, while you go directly into the party” he explains in a demeaning manner that I feel is offensive

“And why didn’t you tell me that ever since?” I spit venomously

“eer, uurm…” he begins to stutter, taken aback by my sudden rebuff, and I feel even more offended with the fact that he is a professional, but yet cannot handle my rebuke. Doesn’t he know that we rich men get angry all the time over little things and we like our staffs to be able to handle our tantrums?

I mean, if he knows he can’t be professional enough to deal with my temper, then why did he choose to work here in the first place?

“My apologies sir, I just assumed and took it for granted that you would know this already. This has been the routine here for a long time, and I just thought…” his voice faded

Is this bastard subtly reminding me that I am new here?

After more apologies from him, I step down from the…my car and hand my car keys to him. I am about to ask him how I would get my car keys back, but then I remember that I am rich and should not be so protective of one car. Blindly putting my faith into the man on red, I walk into the club fully stashed.

As I walk in, I make a mental note to deal with the guy on red the way rich people did. When I am giving everybody tips later on, I would intentionally not give him any

Well, the interior of the club is adrenaline-charged. There is a gold plated tunnel that leads to the interior, and as I walk in and take in every activity going by in a blur, I feel light headed, and suddenly frightened.

I shake it off, reminding myself that this is where I am supposed to be, as I follow the protocols, and soon I am led to a lounge with outlandish upholsteries and a golden table, with some items on it.

“The space is all yours sir” the lady politely says as she turns to walk away. I am barely seated when some ladies skimpily dressed with penetrating gazes begin to saunter around, making erotic gestures at me.

I invite them over, and they flood my space with their larger than life presence, making me fool good about myself.

A waiter comes around and I order for the best of drinks in excess, more than I or anybody on my table would be able to finish even in the next two days.

For those of you planning to be rich some day, know that whenever you want to buy drinks as a rich man, buy in excess, just to prove to everybody that you have the money to buy them.

As time passes, the music in the club changes to an energetic beat, and everywhere gradually turns into frenzy.

As the drinks begin to arrive in their numbers: Moet, Campari, Rosette, Tequila, Hennessey, Magic Moment and many others and fill the table, I get the rush of satisfaction.

Some of the girls flooding me stand up and begin to dance seductively, and I know what to do. I pull out money from the stack of cash I came with, and I begin to spray melodiously at them, using the money to smack their bosom in a gesture of lust.

I look around while in the middle of my lavish display, and I see that almost the same thing I’m doing is what is attainable in other tables.

The club is on fire; there are those who are carried away by the mad beat and are working it out on the dance floor, while there are those who sit at their corners and flirt, while smoking shisha. There are those who spray their money at intervals, and continue to gyrate.

I breathe out as I savor the feeling of finally belonging, realizing that all my persistence to get into the inner circle has eventually paid off.

As I throw more cash into the air and on the body of the dancing girls, smoking my shisha all along, I experience a form of emotional fulfillment.

I take my display a step further,

I begin to enter a silent competition with others around, desiring to outspend them as I realize that there is nothing better than being a king amongst kings

My gestures become loud, my countenance is exuberant, and my behaviour is attention seeking as I begin to double my spending efforts, ordering for more drinks and throwing more money on anybody who comes around to be a part of my company

It is then I begin to realize something about money; even the rich submit to the richer.

Nothing makes me feel the way I do, when other wealthy people begin to acknowledge my presence as they come around, and we interact and throw money in the air together, with them submitting to my leadership

I begin to call the shots as I interact with my new friends. We playfully rival each other in popping the best champagnes, caressing the finest girls while spraying money on them, and just feeling good generally.

Our debauchery intensifies as we begin to get nasty, pouring very expensive drinks on our expensive wrist watches which aren’t water resistant, just to prove how we don’t care about anything because the money is in the picture.

I soak some of the ladies in wine but they do not complain, but rather squeal in delight as I stick naira notes into their clothes

The energy intensifies and I’m so indulged in my lifestyle that I do not notice when the time passes and its way past midnight as the intensity of our immorality increases.

I am still in this moment of frivolity when I notice two men step into the club with sunshades, even in the dimly lit space

They take in my mini party, smirk to themselves and then walk to their own corner and sit down.

I feel intimidated with their presence, and I do not know why.

I soon find out why some minutes later when there is a general reaction and people in the club begin to gradually tilt towards where they are seated, the ladies going first.

The two men, whose sunglasses are still on, seem very calm and collected, uninterested and incapable of partying, but my perception is thwarted when their drinks begin to arrive.

In five minutes, their table is filled with double of what I and my new friends have ordered since the beginning of my party

They order for the music to be changed, and as new music comes up, the whole club cheers.

Girls immediately take to the dance floor and begin to let all their demons out, leaving me surprised as I had assumed that I had seen the worst of their debauchery.

They are almost naked as they display the highest levels of whorishness, making sure the two men notice them, as the men cross their legs and smirk while nodding.

The men after a bit of drinking from here and there, and smoking a bit of cigar, stand up and walk to the dance floor, and there is a subtle rivalry between the ladies over their attention.

They didn’t come alone, as there are certain people who do their bidding. These people pull out a plastic object looking like a gun and give to them, and in less than ten seconds money starts flying out of the object into the air as this men literally shoot money out of the gun.

That isn’t the wowing part; the wowing part is that they  shoot out dollars, and not naira like I had been doing since.

They grope everything in their sight, and nobody resists their overtures as they dominate the place.

My crowd thins out in minutes as my supposed friends cross camps and join the happening party, leaving me to my drinks and astonishment.

I stand there looking like a fool, wondering what to do with myself, as these men steal all my shine in a few minutes. Their guns don’t stop even for a second, shooting out dollars as they keep dancing and spraying the money in all directions. They make money rain ceaselessly, and as I look at the floor to see the dollars beginning to pile on each other, I realize that in less than an hour since they arrived, these men have spent more than all I have spent since the time I came around.

One of the men drops his gun for a while as he admires girls dancing in front of him. He then picks out the best dancer and hands her a voluminous wad of dollar notes as she screams, and other girls double their efforts. In the next five minutes he has given out wads of cash, at least twice to the thirty girls thereabout surrounding him, and I do the calculations in my head.

The males are not left out as from time to time, they try to playfully outdo the men by spraying money on themselves until eventually one of them runs out. The men of course never run out, and for every man they defeat in this money spraying contest, the man lightly pledges their loyalty to them without a second thought.

I realize I have two options; to either join them and pledge my loyalty to my obvious superiors, or to continue sitting in my isolated corner looking like a fool with every passing second, without any hope for redemption.

I however choose a third option as I stand up and leave everything behind, the drinks and the money, trying to save what is left of my dignity and so, swagger out to the notice of anybody who cares to watch.

As I retrieve my keys and hop into the car, I realize a lot of things at that moment

Money would never be loyal to anybody, and anybody who loves money above all else would never be loyal to anything except money, and to the person who wields it the most.

I rub my face with my hands and as they get to my nose, I can perceive the smell of fresh money mint still on my hands, but this time it doesn’t give me pleasure because I realize that I do not have enough yet to be satisfied

Would I ever have enough?

I am about to rub my hands together as is the rich man’s routine, but in that moment, feeling like an abject pauper in the face of wealthier people, I hiss and pull out of the parking lot, reviewing the list of average people’s party I can go to next. At least there I can feel like a one eyed king amongst blind people.

Beautiful people what’s gooood?

Tell me what you think about Femi-Money in the comment box, would love to hear from you!

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17 comments

  1. This piece really portrays the confusion wealth provides. No matter where you go or what you do, you just feel you do not belong. Very realistic. I enjoyed reading it.

  2. Everything about this is just so relatable and realistic, yet very Imaginative, I felt like I was in a cinema and I couldn’t get enough of because the whole scripts blew my mind away!!! well Done

  3. Femi money, bag of dollars mixed with pounds and a little bit of euros with no room for naira Femi? Where do you find such a person?

  4. I couldn’t help laughing through this one. I’m really convinced Femi is a fool who has stumbled upon money. Apparently money doesn’t eliminate folly. Truth Zombie is back!

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