The man wearing a threadbare T-shirt stopped to stare at the besuited stranger who had accosted him in the street.
“Please, can you tell me how to get to Adekoya Street? I’m told that it’s somewhere around here.”
“Adekoya Street?” T-Shirt replied suspiciously.
“Yes, Adekoya Street. Or do you not know of this street?”
T-Shirt ruminated for a while. “Adekoya Street… Adekoya Street… The name is familiar – I think it is around here. Wait, let me think.” He bowed his head in thought, then he exclaimed, “Yes, I remember it now. But it’s far o!”
“Are you sure?” asked Suit. “I was told it was not more than five minutes’ walk from here.”
“No-o.” T-Shirt shook his head vehemently. “It’s far. About twenty minutes. First, continue going in the direction you were going. Walk until you see ‘Godson and Nephew’ on your right.”
“Who or what is ‘Godson and Nephew’?” asked a bemused Suit.
“You haven’t heard of ‘Godson and Nephew’? Ah-ah, it’s a very popular pharmacy. Very big, too; the building is three storeys tall. Any disease in this world you can think of, they sell a medicine for it.” T-Shirt licked his lips and proceeded to tick off a list of illnesses on his fingers. “Hypertension, diabetes, typhoid, polio, diarrhoea, heart attack, bad blood, impotence, barrenness, nerve failure and even AIDS – they have medicines for all of them at ‘Godson and Nephew’.”
T-Shirt looked like he might continue, but Suit had heard enough of the wonders of ‘Godson’ and his ‘Nephew’, and he prompted T-Shirt to resume giving his directions.
“So ‘Godson and Nephew’ is at a junction. When you get to that junction, turn left. That will take you onto Alagomeji Street. Keep on walking; you will see a road on your right. Don’t take that road o! Instead, keep on walking. You will see another road, also on your right. But don’t take that road. If you take that road, you will miss your way. Instead, just continue walking. Then you will pass one big compound on your left. The compound has a big statue of a soldier holding a gun in one hand and a rocket launcher in the other. They are both very big – bigger than the soldier.”
Suit was curious. “Does the compound belong to a military man?”
T-Shirt shook his head again. “No-o. That is a church – the ‘Holy Army Fire Missiles And Bullets At Satan Ministries’. The pastor is Pastor Igbala; he is very powerful. In fact, any problem in this world that you can think of, he can call down Holy Spirit to deliver you from. He has his…” and here, T-Shirt’s tone took on an added gravitas, “‘Operation Storming Strongholds, Taking Territories and Breaking Bonds’ Night tomorrow if you are interested.”
Suit wondered if Pastor Igbala could safely deliver him to Adekoya Street, but then he thought that maybe that was too trivial an undertaking for a stormer of strongholds. “I’ll think about it if I’m in this area tomorrow. Please continue.”
T-Shirt scratched his head as he recalled his train of thought. “Eh… oh yes. So you are on Isiaka Street…”
“You said Alagomeji Street.”
“Mm… oh yes. Alagomeji Street. So keep on walking. After some time, you will see another road on your right.”
“And this is Adekoya Street, right?”
Again, another vehement shake of the head. “No-o! Don’t take that road. If you take that road, it will lead you to Mama Risikat’s bukateria.”
Here, T-Shirt paused in thought, and Suit knew that if he did not intervene fast, then he would have to hear T-Shirt say how Mama Risikat could cook any meal in this world that he could think of.
“So I keep on walking, right?”
“Yes. You keep on walking. You will see a road on your left, just after this road on your right that you have passed. The road on the right will lead you to…”
“Mama Risikat’s bukateria, yes, I know. Where does this road on the left lead you to?”
“Ah, that is Adekoya Street.”
Suit, who had been dreading another digression into details of another notable local landmark gave a silent prayer of thanks.
“But that is not the Adekoya Street that you want o. To find that you will need to keep on walking until you get to…”
Suddenly, Suit held up a finger as if a thought had just come to him.
“You know what? I just remembered that it’s not today that I should be going to Adekoya Street. I’m supposed to go there tomorrow.”
T-Shirt looked disappointed. “So you don’t want me to finish giving you directions?”
Suit shook his head. “No need. But when I come back to this area tomorrow, I will follow your directions, at least as far as the Adekoya Street that is not the Adekoya Street that I want. It will even be better if I can see you so that I can ask you to complete your directions. Thank you so much for your help.”
T-Shirt nodded his head in acceptance and went on his way. Suit waited until he was completely out of sight, then he hailed another passer-by.
“Please, can you tell me how to get to Adekoya Street from here?”
The passer-by paused in thought for a while, then said, “You are heading in the wrong direction. You need to turn round and keep walking until you pass ‘Drink and be Jolly’. You know, the one where you can get any alcoholic drink in this world that you can think of…”