Looking for a job in the streets of Lagos is not an easy task of course. Your predicament increases the longer you are at it. This naturally opens you to, much humiliation. Security men will harass you, beggars will assail you and even, the police will ransack you at every stop and search.
This story is an addition to my series of twists. Last Wednesday, I had gone to follow up a concern around Ipaja but the potbelly boss had dashed my hopes. I took it in good faith and moved on.
Walking down a railway track—in a bid to cut transport expenses I had taken a short pedestrian route—a mid-aged man approached me. ‘Why did you cross my boo-boo?’ he demanded. I startled to consciousness, looked at him calmly and continued in my track.
A reviving slap landed on my face. ‘You slapped me?’ I spat out. In this Lagos, I cannot imagine anybody treating me to such a VHP—very humiliating publicity, and going scot-free. I replied him in equal measure, according to Mosaic law. A fisticuff ensued. The Lagos crowd meshed up as I had expected but none separated us, as I had earnestly desired. I had skipped my breakfast to catch up with the appointment.
‘Er, na two mad men dey fight so’ a giggling voice explained. Pitiful ‘Ahh’ sounds follow. ‘What happened?’ A heavily accented Igbo man asked in confusion. ‘Na this boo-boo mad man slap dis other man mad first; na him e sef com fire back’ another voice volunteered. Meanwhile, my empty stomach was not helping matter and my body was wrecking under the weathered blows my opponents was delivering on me. ‘But, this man just turned mad, too.’ ‘Yes, The one in blue shirt’ another voice confirmed.
Wait a second that was supposed to be me the last voice described. ‘Just turn mad too?’ Could I have been proving myself to a mad man all these fifteen minutes? No wonder they didn’t separate us.
I untangled me. Looked for where my shoes were flung, picked them up and fled the scene, amidst the jeering of the Lagos crowd.