Twenty minutes later I was done with the final draft of my proposal. I dragged myself into my bathroom; I live in a ‘self-contained’ apartment with an adjoining bath and a kitchenette. The apartment is a hell-hole, a tiny window serves as the only source of ventilation and even that is further inhibited by a massive fence separating my compound from the next. My window is a few inches away from the fence making ventilation extremely difficult. I turned on the tap; as usual it was not running. Disgusted, I rushed outside and drew a bucket of water from the Well within the compound. The harmattan was strong; I would have been too lazy to take a cold bath but not today.
Some minutes later, I came out of my compound dressed in my nicest shirt.
“Oga Etuhu” I heard someone shout, of course I knew the voice only that I was not in the mood so I ignored it. Increasing my pace, I expected her to get the message and let me be. She didn’t “Oga Etuhu! Oga Etuhu!!
“Haa, Mama Ada, good afternoon. How business, abeg we go talk later, I get appointment and I don late”
“shey you no wan answer me before ni, I con dey shout dey shout” she sputtered. How anybody with such low income could ever think of having six children has never stopped to amaze me. I asked her once why and how she has so many kids, she replied that children are from God so provisions for their sustenance will be made by the Almighty. Her Husband was a cobbler while she sold some local munchies. Roasted plantain and yam, roasted corn or fried beans cake depending on the season. There must be some level of restriction on child bearing or perhaps we should adopt the Chinese policy though extreme, there are too many Madam Ada in the country. I thought.
“No vex Mama Ada Ada’ I patronised her, she smiled, she couldn’t be older than my immediate elder sister yet she already had six and still counting. I couldn’t determine if the bulge in her tummy was another baby or excessive imbalanced diet.
“Na one question I wan ask you o, the question dey important gan. Who you think make I vote for for this election wey dey come?
I had to stop myself from hissing. “Which kain life be this now, of all things na election this woman dey delay for” I thought in pidgin, it was clear she really wanted my opinion on the matter. I looked at my wristwatch and my disgust heightened but I pushed it back. Politics had never been my thing but this woman was waiting for an answer.
“Mama Ada, look at your children and ask yourself which one of them go make their future bright” I gave a non-committal answer in bad pidgin.
She looked at me like an idiot “Oga Etuhu I no know na, na you go school” she said obviously frustrated
“Ok, make I quickly go see the person wey I wan see first and we go talk for evening” I didn’t wait for an answer, I simply dashed off.
“No forget o, abeg I wan vote for the right person. I don collect my peefeecee ehn. Even sef na one full day I spend dey wait for am before dem finally give me, no forget o” she screamed.
“I no go forget” I screamed back
By the time I got to the Bus stop, my wristwatch told me the conversation with Mama Ada had set me thirty minutes behind schedule; I quietly prayed for light traffic. There was no available BRT, though it was the better option I couldn’t wait for another ten minutes so I took one of the yellow buses. The bus conductor grabbed a sachet of Chelsea dry gin from a road side seller, gulped it, then banged the bus to indicate to the Driver he could proceed.
“CMS one person, CMS” he shouted as the bus took off. “abeg I no wan competition for N1,000 o, make una give me your N200 change”
“Omo na 1k I get for here o, you no talk say you no get change before we enter na” one heavily perfumed girl beside me replied. Whatever cologne she was wearing would have been nice save that it was too much, I was choking. I looked at the closest window to me and it was wide open.
“Shey your brain no tell you say make you hold change ni” the conductor reacted.
The girl immediately went berserk. “Na God go punish you, punish your papa. Punish your mama, punish all your family. Stupid man” she shouted boxing the air as she did.
“I go slap you o, ma lo ro pe mogbadun o, mi o gbadun at all” he returned.
“Come slap me, na Kirikiri you go sleep this night, if na your Mama born you, con try am”
“I know una type, hustler” he hissed.
“Yes I be hustler and I get boys wey go put you for jail”
“Na lie, why you dey enter bus? You be poor hustler. Cheap olosho” He won’t back down.
People tried to calm her, she refused. The verbal word would continue for half of the journey. Then at a point, she said “I don’t blame you, I blame the government. Idiots like you should have been deported from Lagos like your brothers who got deported about a year ago”. This was the first time she said a complete statement in English and I was impressed. I must have assumed she wasn’t educated.
I opened Twitter on my phone.
“Crazy day already and I wish you were in this bus to watch this free Nollywood” I tweeted. Within five minutes, nineteen followers had retweeted it. I smiled, benefit of being a twitter Overlord.
I really wanted to pay attention to the conversation but I soon lost interest.
I had thirty minutes.
By the time I located the Mackles, I was forty five minutes late. I looked round the restaurant and spotted her at a corner. It was as I expected, she was beautiful.
“Etuhu, you are late” she said but I didn’t detect any hint of accusation in her voice.
“I apologise, I was caught up in traffic” I dropped the much abused Lagos excuse.
“It’s fine ok? By the way, how did you know it was me?
“Oh. I forgot Google is your friend” we laughed.
We continued this way for a while and then got down to business. I handed my proposal to her and made my pitch on how to promote her business on the internet. She loved it and didn’t argue the figures. I could hardly believe my ears. Right there and then, she wrote me a cheque. The figures on it made me emotional.
“This is 75% of my fee?
“Yes I know. I believe you won’t dupe me or will you?”
“You can trust me”
“Etuhu, there is one last thing and I think it’s the most important. I want to hire you for something else”
“We haven’t even started one transaction, what is the other?
“My Dad needs a top blogger”
to be continued….
Tosin is a Christ follower, Lawyer, Arsenal fan