POSTED 02/10/2018 15:46:13
You see this Lagos? It's like a sugarcoated cake without butter and milk, mehn! That’s how whack it is. Like Jacob's porridge it only leads you to your doom. Lagos is a parasite; it saps you completely if you don't understand its survival mantra. Talk rough. Act rough. Less talk more action that is all you need. Woe betides you if you default any of its code as your slowness and inquisitiveness could be sensed from miles. I guess you know what that entails?
Lagos has a way of draining a person's humanity, you're talking to a person the next thing your wallet or your genital is missing just like that. Lagos is a city that needs repentance.
Everything is smart and fast in Lagos, from the feeble looking boy that looks like bone when you've chewed away the meat who sales sachet water at Oshodi, to the seared face conductor whose cigarettes stench mouth is enough to send any monitoring spirits around you packing. Or is it the tall looking buildings that look like they want to vomit in God's face?
Even the ATMs too are sly. It dispenses torn and counterfeit notes to even the one that dispenses less than you requested, but you're debited more than it gave you. No damn thing can be trusted as far as it has breath the Lagos air, even inanimate objects too. Even Jesus wears earrings and has tattoos in Lagos.
But Afam didn't see the signs even though they were boldly engraved on the plinth of the Agba Meta statue that ushered him into Lagos, he was carried away by the fanciful and embellished building. He didn't notice the survival mantra offered free of charged by the Abalagbas.
He was busy nodding his head and giggling to the song emanating from the bus radio, that he didn't even notice the woman seated beside him whose tall gele nearly touched the roof of the car. Neither did he notice the two children in front of him whose heads had well sketched maps of Africa through the ringworm encircling them. All he saw was the uneven and brownish teeth of the conductor who was yelling 'hold your change oo'. Lagos was truly his dream destination.
Afam loved what he saw, like Esau he was ready to give all he had to bed well in Eko. His thoughts were cut short by shrill cry of a baby in the bus who sounded painstaking as if in pain.
'Madam give am breast nah', the woman with the tall gele howled.
'I tire oo!' another passenger responded.
'Na your breast? Una no go mind una business? Amebo.' The mother of the screeching baby retaliated letting out a loud hiss.
'See this Ewu ooo, na me send you? You better respect yourself ooo I get your type plenty yeye!'. The woman with the big gele ignited the almost quenched flames, which resulted into a heated confrontation as 'shameless woman, ashawo, werey, nkita', flew round the bus.
When Afam alighted from the bus he was busy running his eyes up and down like angels ascending and descending on Jacob's dream’s ladder that he didn't hear the 'hold am and Ole' from the angry looking mobs bearing sticks and stones running towards him.
He turned around and was surprised to see the scar-faced conductor and the woman with the big gele pointing fingers at him.
'Where my money? Ole!' the woman with the gele shouted.
Before Afam could open his already confused mouth, the angry looking mob led by the conductor had already pounced on him. As he struggled to regain himself he perceived the smell of petrol and heard someone talking about matches, something about searching him to retrieve the stolen money.
Then the woman with the Gele walked up to Afam and began searching him, she stopped and opened her mouth wide when she touched something in Afam's pocket. She brought some squeezed looking notes out and the mob shouted 'Ole' and Afam felt something liquid being emptied on his already blood drenched shirt.
He was too weak to tell the mob that the money was given to him by Mama Ugonna for her daughter ogadimma who was learning a trade here in Lagos. Neither was he able to tell the mob that his elder brother who he came to see bearing the news of their mother's death was expecting his arrival.
As Afam shouted and rolled in the flames his weak eyes captured an image, the image it should've captured before now, maybe it would have salvaged him from this abysmal death. It was the image of the Agba Meta, the image of the three Elders statue at the entrance to Lagos.
It wasn't just the image of the statue that made up his dying moments, but the words written on the plinth of it;
DON'T BE STUPID! DON'T BE SLOW! DON'T ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE TAKEN FOR A FOOL!
THIS IS LAGOS!
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