My friend, Titi, always said the head witch in my village has my picture in her hands and that she was always staring at it. I had always refuted that claim, but today after five neglected signs, mistakes and doom, I accepted without any fuzz.
The First Mistake
The Monday morning started well. You know when you wake up from the right hand side of the bed and everything is falling into place. As I woke up, I smelt vapours from a hot tea steaming in the kettle at the kitchen. As I approached the dining table, I saw sliced bread and butter on it. Momsie must have really been happy with me to have done all that for me. It had been long since she cooked breakfast. Our food supply wasn’t much, and my hustles weren’t enough to break us out of that food dudgeon.
To cut the long story short, I haven’t being able to give answer to why momsie cooked breakfast that day. Anyway, I smiled as I ate- the day was showing signs to be a very good one, so I ate with delight.
The previous day, a Sunday, was a very good business-wise. I should have told you the nature of my business, but I don’t trust you. Your mouth looks like one that runs like a headless tap. Nevertheless, the deal was between me and Chigozie. It was a N150, 000 profit thing. I was to collect the money from the client’s office at Victoria Island, with the promised to help Chigozie deposit his own share of N75, 000 in his GTB account. He had travelled to Benin that morning after the dealings for an important family issue. The dealing was sort that we couldn’t transfer the money online because the client didn’t want the trace of the money moving out of his office to reflect. Like I said earlier, I would rather keep the nature of our business hush-hush.
Now imagine getting to Victoria Island from Mainland Lagos. Not Ikeja mainland o… I mean the outskirt of Lagos mainland. I lived at Alakuko, very close to Ogun state. The traffic jam that Monday morning had never been so terrible. From Pleasure bus-stop to Iyana-Ipaja was a gridlock like a solved jigsaw puzzle. After spending about an hour in that terrible traffic jam, we had a small, or let me say minute breathing space before our bus hit another grave traffic jam from Mangoro to Ile-Zik. I had never experience anything like it prior to that day. We spent three hours. If not for the fact that Fashola banned all these Okadas from highways, I was pretty sure many pedestrians would have disembarked from the buses and mounted one to get them to their place of work on time. Enough of my ramblings, the real gist was that we spent three hours! Imagine that on a Monday morning. Work don finish na.
I should have stopped and gone back home, but I didn’t – that was my first mistake.
The Second Mistake
It was already getting to 12:00pm, and I hadn’t gotten halfway to my destination- chai I don die. Stress made me tired and confused. The gridlock gave me headaches. The over-complaining woman beside me irritated me- I was getting near to being legally mad.
Then the respite came. We got to the place where the holdup seemed to have engendered from- then we saw them- the two culprits who had delayed and destroyed so many business dealings that morning- a Molue driver and a ‘my car’ woman. The duo were shouting on the top of their voices, while the ‘my car’ woman, whose car was the victim- if you see her car; it was as if a Dangote trailer hit a Volkswagen- It was smashed beyond recognition. She was promising all the whole legal punishments she could conjure in her dandy head. The Molue driver, backed by his conductor, were sniffing their nose and telling her in a mixture language of tout Yoruba and unbalanced English, that she couldn’t do anything.
We passed by them lashing muttered curses on them as we passed. Only the over-complaining woman, sitting beside me, rented out her coarse, market woman voice, cursing them as she expressed her grievances.
The road was free as we passed through Ikeja, Third Mainland Bridge before we reached the island. I was sweat drenched, exhausted and couldn’t wait to collect the money from the client.
The client was very sensible and he attended to me promptly. I even drank cold water in his office before I left- I think that was what caused the problem. My body welcomed the cold water with an involuntary body jiggle as it hit my esophagus. It swelled my stomach, and it asked for more. I gave it one more cup before refusing its ‘Oliver twist’ nature more water.
That was my second mistake- I shouldn’t have taken that chilled water.
The Third Mistake
With the N150, 000 in my hands, I was obliged to send Chigozie his share that day as he had a crucial thing to do with the money, and also save my own share since I had no immediate use of the money. I should have saved it there in the GTB branch at Adetokunbo Ademola Street, but I wanted to get off the island as quick as possible before any closing hour traffic jam started- that was my third mistake.
The road was partly traffic free and the breeze from the road as we sped past induced me into a long sleep. God saved me, but the saving would be trouble-in-disguise in a short while. I woke up. Nobody jerked me, I just woke up. The bus pulled to a stop and I got down right there at Abule-Egba, very near to the GTB branch there.
Except from the queue for ATM use at the side of the bank, there was no other queue outside the bank, and that was so unusual of GTB. Most of the times I had gone to their various branches in Lagos, there was usually a queue for the security door.
There was a rising ecstasy inside of me as I walked through the security door. The entry door into the bank refused to open amidst the custom voice of, “Go back and leave all metal objects into the locker.” I got out, switched off my phone, dropped my bunch of keys in the locker, and I re-entered. Still it didn’t open- that was the third sign I neglected and I’m still whining inside of me. I called the security man and that useless thing called a man told me to take off my belt. It said it has iron. I swear the guy mad die. I didn’t want to create a scene because I was just too tired, so I complied- I removed my belt and dropped it in the locker.
The Fourth Mistake
At last, the cursed door opened. You should see what I saw- crowds and terrible queues. You should have seen the one for deposit- it was as long as from here to Shomolu. I gasped, filled my deposit slip and I joined the queue. By then, tiredness was enveloping me the way clouds swallows the sun just before twilight. I caught a glimpse of a water dispenser and my throat started singing ‘Oliver Twist.’
I left the queue for the water dispenser, and I drank four small cups to kill off the hunger in my throat. That was when I saw her. You should have seen her- picturesque and a lust crafting lady. She was cladding a pink tube gown long enough to cover her knees, but not to long enough to cover the stiletto heels she stood gracefully on. She was around number five on the queue- very close to the teller.
I had just taken the fourth cup when the idea popped up-
Why can’t you tell her to help you pay in?
It was a brilliant idea because the lady looked like one that would understand my plight, because ladies by their primitive nature are emotional. So I approached her.
That was my fourth mistake.
The Fifth Mistake- The Baddo Of Them All!
The lady was the nicest person I had ever met. She didn’t create any fuzz, and she accepted it from me. She told me to go and sit down, and that she would give me the customer’s slip once she is through.
You should imagine how ecstatic I was. I went to the water dispenser and took one more cup before I went to sit. You may be thinking I’m not well for taking so much water. Don’t mind me, apart from the fact that I was tired, and the cup was very small that even ten cups wouldn’t be sufficient to quench my thirst.
The queue was moving slowly. The lady was the second in the queue. That was the last thing I remembered before slumber carried me off on an unwanted voyage.
When I woke up, the queue had reduced. I ran my gaze through the queue- she wasn’t there. I looked again- null. I sprang up and started looking for her. Nobody seemed to be aware of her existence in the bank hall. I was hysterical, troubled by her disappearance. It was the security man who saved me- he told me she had left.
I ran outside, and all I saw was the busy crowd, in thousands, in the ambiance.
Till date, I still await the SMS alert that N75, 000 has been credited into me and Chigozie’s account, but I know it is a pipe dream.
My friend, Titi, always said the head witch in my village had my picture in her hand and that she was always staring at it. But today, I agreed that she wasn’t only holding my picture, she was fanning herself with it.