The atmosphere surrounding him reeked of Indian hemp and the local gin popularly known as ogogoro.
Fighting hard to stay put from letting loose his innards at his friend’s stench seemed to be harder work compared to what they were both about to do that night.
‘Must you always take that shit before we do anything?’
‘Shit ke? Rasaq be careful oh. Na my dietary supplements you dey call shit?’
Wasiu laughed, more in shock than in sarcasm.
‘So ‘shepe’ and ‘Igbo’ na supplement? See as your eye red; see as your belle be like calabash. Supplement ko, sufferment ni.’
‘Look here, mind your own business. And how you go call my source of inspiration shit? May you be the one to harvest shit!’
‘Try sticking to only beer like me and your life will never be the same. Abi you never hear say greatness comes from a bottle of Guinness?’
‘Abegi! make I hear word…’
The brief tirade between them was interrupted by the sight of three figures appearing some distance away.
They crouched lower behind the big roadside shrub where they had concealed themselves and the worn-out Suzuki motorbike they sat on. Wasiu rested his hands firmly on the handlebars in readiness. Rasaq positioned himself and balanced his weapon; a locally fabricated pistol which looked like a sawn-off dane gun.
A few meters away, they could make out three people standing at the bus stop; a woman with a baby strapped to her back and a couple who seemed more pre-occupied with themselves than waiting for a bus.
The street seemed almost deserted with very few cars passed by at intervals. The location was Ayanikoro neighborhood; a part of the city that was void of night life. Unlike other places like Ojota, Maryland and Yaba which remained effervescent at night, Ayanikoro already looked like a ghost town once the time struck about 8.30pm.
Wasiu and Rasaq had cashed in on this opportunity to embark on the mission of dispossessing unsuspecting residents who wandered out late at night of their valuables.
This seemed more promising than picking pockets at Ojuelegba where they had initially lived most of their lives eking out a living as touts for commercial buses, taxis and occasional odd jobs. Both were secondary school dropouts. Rasaq was more educated of the two as he had made it to his fourth year before he got rusticated for two years of faking payment receipts for his school fees. Wasiu had said bye bye to education since J.S.S 3 when he was expelled for stabbing a male senior with a table knife and setting up a female senior to be gang-raped by juniors.
While Rasaq was the offspring of a prostitute who had gotten pregnant when the condom of one of her unknown customers broke, Wasiu was just an orphan who had lost his mum in an okada accident and watched his drunkard father end his life after getting involved in some stupid and senseless community riot.
Both had since then lived a life of hustling on the streets, had gotten tired of doing the same of the same and wanted to try something different and more ‘lucrative’.
That was when Dimeji came into the picture.
Dimeji showed them the ropes of the business and the risks involved. He had been into all kinds of ‘ventures’ and this was one of them. He was the ultimate mentor and had been on ground to give advice until he recently fell into the hands of some female ritualist who cut off his testicles. Ever since then he disappeared from circulation. Rumours had it that he might have emigrated to Coutonou.
A nearby gutter seemed to come to life as a choir of toads began croaking up a cacophonous symphony startling them both.
They composed themselves and scanned their targets taking in the details.
The woman with the baby was carrying a black polythene bag which seemed to hold something promising. She was in a blouse, a pair of slacks and scarf. She had no hand bag.
The couple also had something to offer. He was holding a blackberry while she carried a handbag.
Rasaq tapped Wasiu on the shoulder and he started the motorbike.
Slowly they rode in the darkness, headlamps off, keeping away from lights and main view.
They were just two blocks away when the man with the blackberry spotted them. Wasiu’s hand turned with urgency on the handlebar and the motorbike gathered speed.
But before they got there the man had grabbed his woman by the hand and they had taken off through the gates of a nearby estate. The lady with the baby oblivious of what was happening still stood at the bus stop. She was just turning round to see what the confusion was behind her when Wasiu and Rasaq rode up to where she stood.
As they sped past, Rasaq stretched out his hand and snatched the polythene bag from her hand.
The woman, slightly unbalanced by the sudden incident still stood there recovering from shock of being robbed.
Then she realized it was only the polythene bag that had been snatched from her. She looked in the direction of the fleeing thieves.
She chuckled…then roared with laughter.
In the fleeing distance, Wasiu and Rasaq heard it.
‘Why she dey laugh?’ Wasiu asked surprised at her reaction. Though they had made a clean getaway, it unnerved him.
‘Me too I dey wonder…no be cry she suppose dey cry?’ Rasaq replied turning about, his eyes darting to and fro, checking to be sure they were not followed.
‘Wasiu eventually screeched the bike to a halt after they had gone far enough.
‘I no like how that woman dey take laugh. Abi she be winch?’
Rasaq just shrugged and opened the polythene bag. He put his hand inside to shuffle the contents. Suddenly he gasped, his face twisted in disgust.
‘Wetin?’ Wasiu asked as he caught the expression.
Rasaq said nothing but just seethed like he was about to go into a fit.
Wasiu snatched the bag from him and peered at its contents.
His jaw dropped and he cursed.
Lying stacked together in the bag were five smelly used baby diapers.
*Based on a true story