Lagos at night scares me but I love the energy that crackles all over my skin and races through my heart, the awareness that swallows my being and wakes up my senses when I walk home. It is dusty and dark, there are no streetlights and the deep darkness breeds shadows, nameless and boneless shadows that slither over roads and disappear in the blinding headlights of vehicles. But, when I walk into the shadows, I smell their day, touch burdens. I see smiles and hear groans and feel fears as they strive to live in this unending cycle of darkness.
Splat! This humongous globule of spit landed on the hot grey tarred road under my bus window. I felt my facial muscles contract as microscopic drops sprayed my face through the window but I was forewarned about this sputum mixed with streaks of yellow green mucus. I had heard the scraping and coughing from afar wondering what being could be making that god-awful noise but I still turned my face, craned my neck towards the retching and I watched in disgust as it was sucked and racked through that scrawny neck, I watched as it landed noisily on the road.
This sputum seemed at home on the dusty road in the midst of nylon wrappers, torn BRT tickets, sucked dry oranges, and egg shells. All discarded like this sputum that had tried to cling but its haggard owner had walked away from. He had brushed the slimy dribble, the remnant of the sputum off his cracked lips before it dropped on to his grey beard, and then wiped the back of his hand on his dirty shirt.
I saw slippers, boots, shoes come into my line of sight. They walked by it, stomped through it, tiptoed round it or simply stepped over it. I watched as it stuck to the soles of shoes, that sputum. They took and took of it until it disappeared from sight.
I am on my haunches, still.
I wish I hadn’t picked my friend’s call.
I wouldn’t have heard his voice whispering though my ear piece.
The air around me has ceased to move. I throw off my jacket – It is hot.
“Where are you” he asked me?
“Ladipo bus stop” I replied.
You are two bus stops from the spot where it happened, it was ghastly…
The challenge here is to: Write a story where the character is in the kitchen and expecting guest(s). Show through his/her gestures that he/she is going through a lot of crap in his/her life.
Grubby nails trail along a page in a recipe book, add 150cl of water into a pot. Gbenga sticks his hand into the cupboard over his head and rummages around for a measuring cup but comes up short. He’s knees creak as he drops unto the cracked linoleum floor. The light from the naked 60 watt bulb did not reach the under of the sink, lined with empty bottles. He squints trying to make out the contoured body of a coke bottle. He reaches for the nearest cobwebby one and groans upright.
“150cl in a pot”, he mumbles and stares at the stack of dirty plates flowing over his kitchen sink. He pries a moldy pot from it depths, washes the pot and places it on the burner.
He tears off a paper kitchen napkin and pats his oil smudged overalls for a pen. He divides 150 by 35 and figures it is 4.2857143.
He fills the pot with 4, 35cl coke bottles of water.
“Less .2857143cl,” he mutters and places the coke bottle aside. He glances at his wrist watch 5:36pm. 1 hour 9 minutes before Gina arrives.
I stepped over Baba Sura to get out of my room.
He died at 69 from gunshot wounds. He was an old soldier, who fought in the Biafra war. After retiring from the Nigerian army, he joined the Nigerian Legionnaires and worked as a gateman in a bank. A gang of robbers mowed him down at the bank gate.
My foot falls echoed as I walked slowly down the dank corridor with my bucket. The water in the well would be ice cold; excellent for an afternoon bath. I walked by eight empty alternating rooms. No. 16’s rusty zinc roof creaked as it absorbed heat from the blazing sun.