I think one of the most embarrassing moments I’ve had happened two years ago in Lagos.
I’d gone to the city on a business trip, and on a particular evening, I decided to go to the nearest ATM to withdraw cash. All I had on me at that moment was N100.
As I was walking down a fairly busy street, I noticed Chelsea was playing live. I never miss a match, and perhaps trying to focus on my reason for being in Lagos had made me forget we had a match.
So I entered the bar where the noise of the game was coming from. I sat down jejely, and focused on the TV. And that was when madam approached me.
“Wetin you wan buy?”
I looked around. Everyone had something on their table, so I guessed one must have to buy something. I put my hand into my pocket and brought out the N100 note. I had two options. One: take keke to the Mall, withdraw my cash, and come back for the game. Two: buy something now, after the game, somehow trek to the mall (shebi someone trekked from Lagos to Abuja ni), withdraw, and go home a happy man.
Option one was the best, but then Willian looked like he was about to score, and in the excitement, I quickly said to madam, “Just give me N100 something.”
Madam entered inside, and came out with a bottle of Malt. She came to my table and placed it. So I opened the malt, and began to drink.
Madam entered inside again, and came out with two pieces of meat inside a plate. She came to my table and placed it. I looked at her, looked at the meat, looked at her again, then I took one meat, put it into my mouth, and washed it down with the malt. The match was still going on, and life was good.
Moments later, one rugged looking guy at the far end of the bar shouted, “Madam! Wey my malt nah?”
Madam came out. “Ah! Sorry oh! I think say you be the oga wey siddon for there.”
Me, I ignored their drama. It was almost halftime.
Madam came to my table. “Oga, your money na N350. Malt, N150. Meat, N100.”
“Wetin you mean by how? You no know wetin you chop?”
“But I told you N100 something.”
“Oga no dey speak English. Just pay your money.” She entered inside. The referee blew the whistle for halftime.
I still had my N100. So I turned to the guys sitting close to me, “Make I rush go ATM before 2nd half go start. Tell madam say I dey come now.”
They all echoed ‘no wahala.’
So I started going out. Immediately I entered the busy street, madam came out from nowhere.
“Call that boy! Heshhh!! Call that boy!!!”
Now I’ve turned from ‘oga’ to ‘boy’. So I stopped, and started coming towards her.
“Kai!” She was screaming now. “You wan thief my money abi?”
Lagosians were beginning to gather, but she was not done.
“See you nah… You fine finish, money no dey your pocket. See as you wear fine watch, dey waka like say you get billion for account, nothing! Na so you go dey deceive all these small small girls…”
Madam was raising her voice. I tried to explain, nothing came out from my mouth. I looked at those guys at the bar that I told I was coming back, they all pretended like they didn’t know me. That was when I knew that Yoruba demons were real.
“Oh boy! You no dey go anywhere.” She started leading the way. “Follow me oh!”
I was too embarrassed to talk. I just wished I could disappear. I jejely followed her like a lamb led to the slaughter. She took me to the place where they were cooking and washing plates. Immediately, I knew what was about to become my fate, so I started to beg.
I began to explain to everyone that cared to listen, for where?
I noticed one woman was listening to me, so I said to her, “Please give this madam the amount I owe her, I’d be back before the 2nd half begins.”
She hesitated for a moment and said, “I’d give her.”
I thanked her and gave the madam what we call the look of death, just before disappearing. Ten minutes later, I reappeared. I made sure I withdrew more than I’d planned. In fact, my wallet became very heavy.
I opened it in front of the madam, just so she could have a good look. That was when madam changed face.
“Ah! Oga! See as you dey bone your face. Pesin no fit follow you play again?”
Kai! Thank God for the gift of self control. I ignored her and went to finish the match.
I heard her voice again. “Oga wetin I go bring for you?”
I heaved. It wasn’t a totally ruined day. Chelsea won.