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BN Prose: The Small Print- Excerpts from a Novel by Abimbola Dare




The moment he stepped into room 101 and saw Jennifer Lennox sitting behind the polished mahogany table, Wale Ademola knew he was a dead man. He shut the glass panelled door behind him with a click and glared. It had to be an illusion. He checked again. Nope. This was for real. She was here. What on earth was his ex-wife doing in his office?
“Good morning Wale.” The woman sitting next to Jennifer spoke first. Her name was Coleen something from HR. She’d interviewed him only last year, at the start of his job as a temp administrator. She peered at him. “Is something wrong?”
He started to come forward, stumbled and bumped into a stationery cupboard. “Sorry. I… I must have the wrong room. I am here for a promotion interview for the trainee project manager position.” It had to be the wrong room.
Coleen waved a piece of paper at him. “You didn’t get the confirmation email?”
He nodded. His mind swirled with questions and he tried his best to look relaxed. Had Jennifer traced him to London? Or was this a nightmare?
Coleen gave a reassuring smile. “It will be over before you know it.”
My life will be over before you know it. “Uh-huh.”
Jennifer gave nothing away with her expression, and when she glanced at him it was like she was looking right through him. As though he wasn’t even there. She shifted in her seat and the aqueous floral scent of her perfume smacked his nostrils. He coughed, spluttered. He’d given her the fragrance for her twenty- eighth birthday last year… a day before he – should he say left her? He dropped his gaze to the table.
“You look a tad bit uncomfortable,” Coleen said, concern brimming on the edge of her voice. “Take a seat.” She gestured at the only vacant chair in the room.
In front of Jennifer? God forbid bad thing. He sagged into the chair like an invalid. “Thank you.”
Beads of perspiration beneath his armpits prickled. Trouble had landed in his backyard. Jealous enemies from his village in Nigeria had chosen the best time to strike their juju, African black magic. Wale mentally sent a curse in return. Thunder fire them all. Including Jennifer Lennox.
Jennifer tossed a stray lock of curled blond hair away from her face and held out her hand. Obviously, his curse did not work. “Mister Ademola,” she said. “An absolute pleasure to meet you.”
Mister? Her performance deserved a standing ovation. He sat up straight with a tight grin, convinced his expression must look like one on a mug shot. “Same here.” His hands remained on the table, numb. If Jennifer noticed, she didn’t react. She turned to Coleen. “Ready when you are.”
“We almost cancelled the interview when Maryann called in sick.” Coleen gave Jennifer a grateful nod. “Thank your stars that Andrea came in on a short notice. She will lead the interview.”
Andrea? A chill spread across his body. Jennifer changed her name? He swallowed. “T-that’s fine.”
Jennifer pointed to the jug on the table. “Water?”
Her nails were perfectly manicured, as always, metallic blue with silver sparkles.
Rat poison would be perfect. “No. No thanks.”
She sipped water from her glass. “I will allow you a few minutes to get yourself together.”
Wale squinted at the window. Determined rays from the sun streamed into the room even though it was barely ten. Somewhere down below, a car tire scrunched against the asphalt. The engine of a bus shuddered to a stop and the doors hissed open. Stall owners’ voices were faint in the distance as they paraded sun hats and ice-lollies. A perfect summer day. Why hadn’t he called in sick? Cancelled the interview?
“Did you bring your identification documents?” Coleen asked.
He snapped his head up. “Documents?”
“Yes. I included the list of acceptable documentation in the email.” She looked a bit irritated. “Your passport?”
Crap. He’d been hoping she’d forget. “Do you have to see it now?”
Coleen’s apologetic smile had a life span of about a nanosecond. “Immigration rules.”
“Uh, of course.” Wale shoved a reluctant hand into his breast pocket. He fished out a passport that had once been vibrantly green and shook it lightly. The frayed edges coughed out a small cloud of thick, black powder.
He forced a smile. “I dropped it in a pile of soot on my way here.” Yeah right. More like good luck charm from Nigeria to distract immigration officers at Heathrow from staring too hard at the passport. They were usually wary of visitors like him coming into the UK: Immigrants with no prospects of ever returning to their country of origin. The charm had worked. Despite the filth, they hadn’t asked a question when he’d presented it. He placed the document into Coleen’s open hand. “Here you go.”
“You are a Nigerian citizen?” Coleen asked. She blew away some more of the black powder and flipped to the middle page. She studied the page for a long moment. Wale kept his focus on the space behind her head. To the right was an old Xerox photocopier churning out documents with an industrious hum. He stared at the papers as they floated unto the receiving tray, counting in sync with slow eye movements.
“Your UK residence permit is a temporary one? Expires in eight months?” Coleen’s eyebrows rose in a probing arc. “This is a permanent position.”
Wale swallowed, wiped his palms on his thigh. “I will be entitled to a permanent residency real soon.”
Jennifer suddenly perked up, fluffed the ruffles of the stripped orange shirt underneath her suit. “You certainly will. Won’t you?” Her Irish accent was more pronounced than usual. As it often was when she wanted to be sarcastic

Abimbola Dare was born in Lagos, Nigeria.   She started writing as Bimbylads the blogger, in 2006 before she turned her passion to writing what she calls Fiction With Intention. She has written three novels, all of which have received excellent reviews, including the hugely popular short story The No-Nonsense Wife which has been made into a short film. She attended Vivian Fowler Memorial College for Girls in Nigeria, and has a degree in Law from University of Wolverhampton, an Msc in International Project Management from Glasgow Caledonian University where she was awarded the best performing student by the Association of Project Management, and an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck University. In 2016 and 2017, she was recognised as one of top 100 Most Influential Writers in Nigeria under 40 by the Nigerian Writers Awards Association. She lives in the UK with her family.


  1. channelle

    October 16, 2012 at 10:05 am

    What goes around .comes around. Karma is a bitch

    • abimbola Dare

      October 16, 2012 at 11:39 am

      it is o! lol.

  2. nems

    October 16, 2012 at 10:37 am

    I THROUGHLY enjoyed reading this! However I got a bit lost towards the end, I guess I was expecting a bit more DRAMA.

    • abimbola Dare

      October 16, 2012 at 11:32 am

      Hi Nems, thanks much for your kind comment. The excerpt from chapter one was incomplete due to space restrictions. The novel is available on amazon UK and in major bookstores in Lagos. Thanks Bella Naija and team!! God bless you.
      Abimbola Dare

  3. Phunmike

    October 16, 2012 at 11:02 am

    AMAZEBALLS!!! i read this book in 4 hours…couldnt drop it for a second. Its a fantastic read

    • abimbola Dare

      October 16, 2012 at 11:37 am

      Thanks Phunmike!! Aww, bless you for that!

  4. Hadassah

    October 16, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Nice, i would be needing the book after this

    • abimbola Dare

      October 16, 2012 at 11:38 am

      Thanks Hadassah (love the name :-)). The book is available in Lagos at Laterna, The Palms, Debonair bookstores and online on amazon. 🙂

  5. MissShayee

    October 16, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Fantastic read.

    • abimbola Dare

      October 16, 2012 at 5:01 pm

      @MissShayee thanks so much.

  6. MissAnon

    October 16, 2012 at 11:56 am

    I bought a kindle just so I can read this book! I read it all in one sitting some weeks ago! Twas A-mazing!!!

  7. abimbola Dare

    October 16, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Miss Anon, wow, that’s humbling. Thank you so,so much. God bless you. Glad you were blessed by it. Much love, Abimbola Dare.

  8. Priscy

    October 16, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Wow…I must look for this book o

  9. BIBIE

    October 16, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Me like it, its not fair that you wet our appetites and then leave us hanging like this. Tor, am in Abuja and itching for a copy of my own. Its nice to have Nigerian novelists write like this, inspirational Christian novels (or inspirational romance as i like to call it). I certainly hope the end is what all this my mouth watering. I think I might have just found the perfect bd gift for someone!

  10. laide

    October 16, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    OmG, this book is amazing…a friend of mine got it for me was really a nice present.

    • abimbola Dare

      October 16, 2012 at 4:15 pm

      thanks much Laide! thanks to your friend too 🙂 God bless

  11. D.r Dayo

    October 16, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Bimby lads, you are blessed with the art of writing. I couldn’t put this book down till I finished it. Suspense and intrigues all the way. The ending was just incredible, and I feel this book is worthy of a movie adaptation. Over and above everything else my dear sis, I commend you for being true to your calling by writing a gospel book. A writer as blessed as yourself could have easily written a best selling secular prose. All the best sis!

    • abimbola Dare

      October 16, 2012 at 4:18 pm

      @My Doc! I didnt know you read it oh, thanks much for the comments! humbled much.God bless you.

  12. Toyin

    October 16, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    This looks like a good read – definitely getting a copy at the end of the month ehm…lol I love the line about I dropped it in soot on the way here…where you see soot for London – you climb chimney? lol

  13. Eunice

    October 16, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Just purchased a copy. Love good Nigerian writers… Well done!

    • abimbola Dare

      October 16, 2012 at 4:17 pm

      @ Eunice, thank you so much. God bless.

  14. Joan

    October 16, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    I wanna know what happened next so I am definitely getting a copy if I can find it on Amazon US! Good job, Abimbola 🙂

    • abimbola Dare

      October 16, 2012 at 4:18 pm

      @Joan, thank you so much. God bless.

  15. yemi

    October 16, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    proud of you as always sis. well done and special thanks to the bella naija team !

  16. X factor

    October 16, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Must read!

    • abimbola Dare

      October 16, 2012 at 4:19 pm

      @X-factor- Yes oh!. lol. Thanks 🙂

  17. cathy

    October 16, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    face your nemesis

  18. Reader

    October 16, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Hi Bimbo, congrats on actually managing to complete a novel! No mean feat, however, I must respectfully comment that I did purchase the book but was unable to finish it as I felt the pace was a little too slow for me! All the best for the future though!

    • abimbola Dare

      October 16, 2012 at 4:17 pm

      Thanks much Reader,- yes no mean feat, but thank God for the strength. Aww, sad you didn’t get to finish it… 🙂 but thanks for buying. God bless.

  19. toyin

    October 16, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    @ Reader………..althought it wasnt your sort of read, im happy you didnt bash the book as we all know some commentators can be really mean so i applaud u for that. ………….(yes i am a friend of the writer)

    • abimbola Dare

      October 16, 2012 at 4:17 pm

      @ Toyin! aww, lol. Thanks dear.

  20. Purpleicious Babe

    October 16, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    ooooo interesting read.. it is ghen ghen.. loves the tease….
    My Christmas list is plying up oh ooo ewoo.. Baba God will provide..

    will try n get the book and recommend it too. xxx

  21. nickyminaj

    October 16, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    bimbo am still looking for this book. where can i get it in yaba or vi axis? i love ur blog btw

    • abimbola Dare

      October 16, 2012 at 5:00 pm

      @ NickyMinaj, Hi, its @ Debonair bookstore in Yaba. Thank you.

  22. nickyminaj

    October 16, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    and when re u going to finish the Aduni series?

    • abimbola Dare

      October 16, 2012 at 5:00 pm

      @ NickyMinaj, Hi, its @ Debonair bookstore in Yaba. Thank you.
      Thanks for asking, the “Adunni” series is almost complete. its my next book release by God’s grace. Look out for it soon.

  23. Maxy

    October 16, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    Please where can i get the book in festac i need to buy it asap.

  24. yemi

    October 16, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    @ reader thanks for your comment, @ toyin thanks

  25. funmi

    October 16, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    Hey, U promised some months ago the books will be in uyo but still haven’t seen it Yet. Still waiting.

    • abimbola Dare

      October 17, 2012 at 4:48 pm

      Hi Funmi, we had copies sent to Uyo, and the bookstore sold out in a few weeks. Can you please drop me an email on [email protected] and I’ll arrange to get one delivered to you, or you could order from debonair bookstore- they deliver anywhere. Thanks

  26. ruby

    October 16, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    just ordered mine on AMAZON now…gonna take a while to get here..sad

  27. anon

    October 16, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    Bimbs ladel, ace writing and book, just ordered mine. I got the memo about this book from a fellow saggy gal peju :p!
    good luck for the future and i look forward to seeing your books in waterstones and major bookstores…….

  28. Elizabeth

    October 17, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    I have a copy *big grin*. Got mine since june. Beautiful read.

  29. oyin

    November 28, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    where is this debonair bookstore in Yaba? is it inside E-centre? kindly advise

  30. Dee Nina

    December 10, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    I love your writing.

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