Monday 1 April 2024

Joke's On You (part 2)

‘What bloody evidence?’

At that challenge, Tobi took out his phone and started playing a video, then waved it around so they could all see what was playing on it. It was a recording of their last meeting at Streak’s hotel room where Sesan, Ugee and Ese had instructed Tobi and his girlfriend on the contents of their apology video in details. Streak himself was also very present in many of the shots, acquiescing to all that was being said.

‘This guy, you mad gan sha! So you were stylishly recording us that day?’ Streak vocalized his shock and disgust at Tobi’s action.

The other man only laughed some more. ‘Why won’t I? You think I am dumb and will just let my girl and I be used like that for nothing? The joke’s on you bro! Like, I said you have 24hours to pay me my money or everything will be exposed.’

After long deliberations, Sesan and the marketing guys convinced Streak that the money just had to be paid.

‘We can’t afford to let that mofo ruin everything that is already working out so well, let’s just pay him off. You will make that money a hundred fold in a twinkle, trust me,’ Sesan said out of Tobi’s earshot.

The transfer was made right there and Tobi asked to delete the evidence.

Then Streak demanded, ‘Oya, show us the apology video and let her post it now.’

‘We’ve not done the videos yet; we will do them and send to you when we get back home.’

Sesan and Streak wanted to protest that, but the presence of Tobi’s goons deterred them. They let him and his girlfriend leave with their strange companions.

‘Omo,’ Streak clapped his hands together. ‘See Tobi, see small Tobi o. Sesan, this boy that I knew when you picked him up from the streets to help his life. It is the same Tobi that is blackmailing us like this? I don’t blame him sha, we should have never trusted and made him part of this plan.’

And so, they waited for feedback from Tobi and his girlfriend on the apology video. They waited and waited, hours rolled into hours. Sesan tried calling him severally to no avail. He had said the video would be done immediately they got home and they expected they would have gotten home for some hours now.

‘How long do they need to do a simple apology video?’ Streak cried out in frustration.

By the time it was midnight, they all had to disperse, with Sesan promising that he would continue to follow up with Tobi and ensure the video was posted.

But when they finally heard from Tobi the next day, it was shockingly with more demands.

‘I don change my mind. That 20milla too small. Before I give my girlfriend her share and also the three guys working with me, what is left,’ he announced in the voice message Sesan forwarded to Streak. ‘I want 100,000… dollars. Of course, you fit give me the equivalent in naira.’

Streak almost lost his head at that instant. He flung his phone away, yelling ‘What the eff is this? What the eff is this?’

He picked the phone back up, cracked screen and all, and called Sesan.

‘Sesan, so this your guy wants to be extorting me now. This guy clearly just wants to keep milking me. He is obviously never going to stop,’ he lamented.

Sesan, in a defeated voice, responded, ‘I am more than shocked Tobi is acting this way. He has turned this to an extortion scheme for real. But don’t worry, I am going to get things back under our control. I know some people in the NPF that can get him back in line without anything getting out.’

‘Sesan… Sesan…’

‘Don’t worry yourself, Layo. Sam is also moving in on things. You know he has mad connects... he will sort Tobi out for real. Na small thing.’ Sam was Sesan’s boss; the owner of the record label Streak was signed to.

Streak relaxed a bit when he heard that.

But it was easier said than done; a few days lapsed and things were still not brought under control. In fact, Tobi and his girlfriend were no where to be found, and the 48hours he had given them was fast ticking by. The police looked for them and their three goons everywhere; Tobi’s family house, the girl’s school, their friends’ homes… but they had almost completely taken themselves off the radar. Even a trace on their phone numbers proved abortive as Tobi now switched phone numbers any time he wanted to communicate with them and turned them off once done.

Streak was fed up; the whole business made him feel sick to the depths of his stomach. He had granted a few interviews vehemently denying the pregnancy claim and informing the public that the police was on the look-out for the clout-chasing girl, but he was not at rest knowing that at any minute, Tobi and her could go public with the whole truth.

The fact that his name was still hot on the trends, his streams massively growing and the mega international record deal looming did not console or make him feel better. It was all no longer worth it.

‘What will people say when they learn we planned the whole thing for cheap publicity? How will the world see me? I will be known as a complete fraud!’ he thought to himself, as he sat alone in the dark in his living room, ruminating over the whole predicament. ‘I will probably be cancelled… forever.’ He recalled other artistes who had been found out on similar shenanigans, and how it impacted their career for a long time; some never being able to come back from it.

‘But if I am going to go down, I have to go down on my own terms, not someone taking me down or blackmailing me into the hole,’ he resolved. ‘I have to come out clean to the public.’

He started to put a call through to Sesan to let him know his decision, but changed his mind. His manger would only talk him out of it. At that moment, he just wanted to do the right thing and wanted to get it done before his nerves failed him.

He recorded his message as a video. The content was an apology and explanation of how he and his team had planned the scandal at his show to boost his clout and fame. He added how it had now backfired and the girl in question and her boyfriend were blackmailing him for money. Once done, he posted it on his Snapchat, being the only social media account that his management had no access to. His heart pounded uncontrollably as he did, wondering if his action would be what would kill his career forever, but he went through with it. Then switched off his phone.


Streak was downing glass after glass of straight vodkas, trying to induce mindless stupor, when a series of loud bangs and peels of the doorbell reverberated across his apartment.

There was no one in the house apart from him. He had asked everyone to leave the day before, claiming he needed time to do some songwriting.

He was tempted not to answer. Whoever it was, and he could already guess who it was, would go away when they got tired.

But he found himself shuffling to the door in a drunken gait.

Sesan was there like he expected, with Sam… that he had not expected.

‘You stupid boy,’ Sam bellowed, grabbing him by the collar of his Balenciaga shirt. ‘How dare you make that stupid move? Who authorized you to do such; do you know what you have done?’

‘Why didn’t you talk to me before doing this, ehn, Layo? What were you thinking?’ Sesan was saying at the same time.

Streak tried to brush Sam off his body. ‘I did what was right. This is my career and I am tired of being told how to run it. Everything I have been told to do on this plan, I did, now see where it has gotten me. I have to set things right! Get off me, man!’

‘Your career, but my funds. All the money I have invested in you over the years, now that it is looking like things are about to pay off big, you go and pull this stupid move jeopardizing everything? I will sue your ass for every penny you are costing me,’ Big Sam threatened.

‘You think what was happening to you before was bad? Just wait till I am done with you. You piece of…’ Big Sam added and stormed out of the house. ‘And get out of my house before sun up tomorrow!’

Streak wobbled away from the door after they left; almost falling a couple of times as he made his way back to the sofa where his phone was. He turned it on and, in a couple of minutes, was almost drowned by an outflow of messages; everywhere on social media and even offline, people were vilifying him for what he did. They saw his publicity stunt as taking Nigerians and in fact the whole world for fools. The hate was humongous. Tears streaking down his face, Streak was certain now that it was over for him.

Indeed, over the next 24 hours, things went from terrible to super terrible for him. He was evicted from the house the record label had given him, dispossessed of his car and his contract with the label terminated via mail. He was also alienated, his management and marketing team dissociated themselves from him; even the twins stopped picking his calls.

But surprisingly, after 24 hours the public sentiments towards him began to change... people started commenting on how it was good he owned up to what he did, then suddenly he was being celebrated for it. His numbers picked up again, this time almost astronomical compared to previously. People wanted to compensate him for doing the right thing, felt sorry for him for the fact that his record label let him go and wanted to help him get back on his feet.

From most hated, he went to most celebrated, trending much more fiercely than before but now in a good way. A fanbase, Streakers, also emerged and grew very fast to become an army. This fanbase took it upon themselves to find Tobi and his girlfriend and handed them over to the police. Only a small portion of the 20million naira ransom money was found with them, barely 2million. But Streak agreed to let them go after they tendered a public apology.

But the least expected and most amazing thing that happened was the international record label sending him follow up mail, this time expressing very firm intentions to bring him on board their label and inviting him over to New York City to discuss terms.

‘Doing the right thing pays after all,’ he smiled to himself as he read the invitation. ‘Doing the right thing pays.’ 

All Rights Reserved!

Enjoyed this story? Your friends will too, share with them:

No comments:

Post a Comment