The Adventurous Metropolis Part 2 by Barakah Alim


‘Kedu bu nke a!’ The driver roared, amidst hitting the air bag, and halting the car. I opened my eyes lids, and sat upright, to comprehend the situation. Before I could fathom the ongoing event, a man from a bus passed across ours, fumingly opened the car and ranted insults on the driver.

He is the conductor of the bus, as there is still another man behind the static wheel, gesturing at our car, and throwing inaudible insults at its occupants.

‘Una dey craze, una no dey look road, your papa wan die? Abi wetin dey do this wan?’ He said, almost poking his fingers, into the driver’s eyes. Before the driver could utter any response, several bangs on the car caught his urge to do so.

Another man peeped over the car’s window, and shouted.‘What is the problem? Why causing unnecessary holdup? My friend, move this car!’ He ended his statement, amidst repeated heavy bangs, on the car. My head was spinning. The driver rechecked his seatbelt, and drove away. The conductor hissed venomously, and left the spot, with another thundered bang on the car. I shifted to the other side of the chair, to know the driver’s mood. His facial expression was impassive. I rested my back stretching my arms, above my head.

‘Maybe that was prosaic in Lagos,’ I concluded, muttering.‘Sir, how many more kilometers are we to cover?’ I asked the driver.‘We are almost there.’ He replied.’Okay sir.’ I said, and slipped into thoughts. After a while, the car halted, and I was jolted out of my reverie.’We are there. ‘The driver said, at the halt of the car.

I looked sideways across the windows, and curiously asked;’Where are we in Lagos?’Bariga. ‘Let me call your aunt. He dialed the number scribbled on the paper. The phone rang and he handed it to me.’Hello aunty, we are at Bariga, we are waiting for you.’ I hurriedly said, looking at the driver, to know if I had pronounced the location, correctly.’Okay.’ She replied and hung up.

I gave the phone back to the driver I surveyed Lagos and its busy road – how pedestrians walk with sides brushing past, against one another, the charioteer and the charioted, the mallams trolling behind their wheelbarrows containing onions, beans and pepper; motorcyclist, and tricycle owners hurrying to drop conveyed passengers, to their destinations.

Tricycles jingling left to right like the steps of a fatigued choreographer, because of the galloped and coarse road, cars passing back and forth, and people retreating many times, before crossing the road; the staunch smell of foodstuffs and livestock, the pepper- wetted ground, despite the sunny weather.

The frustrated looking young men smoking hopelessly with cigarettes dangling on their lips, a group of guys munching roasted corn with all their zeal, scattered and crudded teeth grasping on dry gin sachets, in front of an alcoholic kiosk; the owner- an obese woman that seems to be using all her profits, in beautifying her coarse and rainbow colored skin.

The beggars passing chanting like a delusional entity, with their old sacks hanging on their shoulders, the wrinkles on their faces like the writings of a quivering palm; the smokes erupting from suya, mishai and, roasted chicken joints; the market women chanting songs, from their lips, euphonically in a loud and melodious voice, according to their goods to lure customers.

An onerous step on my toes spooked me from my thoughts. The person brushed past me without apologizing, I yelled at him, he looked back to retort.’You stepped on me.”Alaye comot yourself for road, jare.’ He hissed and walked away trolling a woman that he has seen buying pepper, to come and grind the pepper in his shop. I hissed and dusted my toes with my handkerchief. I strained my neck to check my sister.

Suddenly, a palm was covering my face, I turned round to see, behold! It is my sister. I greeted her bending a little and she hugged me. She greeted the driver and thanked him and then, he left.

She helped me in carrying my load and gasped at the heaviness of it. ‘Chisome, this luggage is heavy. Are you spending more than three weeks? ‘Probably sister, if I enjoy my stay here.’ ‘I pray you enjoy it oooo, because this Lagos is hardy.’ ‘I am getting aware.’ I narrated my ordeal a moment ago, and she laughed heartily. ‘That is just a welcome. Let’s hurry; my customers would have been waiting for me.’ She carried the load and I trolled behind her.


‘Where dis aunty J go self, I dey hungry ooo.’ My aunt and I could hear the lamenting young man, and see him clutching his stomach, from afar.

My aunt increased her pace to settle her customers, as other people trooped in, to primarily, fill their tummy.’I am coming oooo, my customers.’ My aunt shouted to keep her hungry looking customers calm. We entered the shop, and she served them according to their demands. She served me some food too, and I devoured it, hungrily. As I was eating, a rangy middle-aged man beckoned on my aunt from afar, shouting.’Aunty J, aunty J, I want to buy food oooo. He said, stretching his hands and taking faltering steps. He is dressed in an oversized faded ankara. The stench of alcohol followed him, as he approached.

My aunt stood, brusquely, as if she had been waiting, for him.’Good afternoon Kila. Please tell me it is my money you came to pay and please, no credit today.’ ‘What money? Shey I no dey pay? Wetin be your problem sef?’ He retorted, furiously. ‘If you don’t pay the one you owed me, I am not going to sell food for you.’ ‘I go give you the money na, see as you dey embarrass me, in front of your customers, see as dem turn me, into telefishun. I no like am na. I go pay you.”When will you pay me?”I go give you tomorrow. Sell me food. I go give you the money, together. No dey do like this’.

He threw the words out, as if he was delusional. My aunt hissed, and served him according to his demands. I wondered why she served him after making her stand that she will not sell it. Well, maybe that is also part of how you do transactions in Lagos.

I concentrated on my food. My attention seems arrested again, when I saw a middle-aged woman dragging, beating and hurling insults, at a teenage girl. They were both coming towards my aunt’s shop. She seems to be hurling insults at the customer that just entered, as the girl that was being beaten and dragged pointed at him.’Where is the fool that impregnated you?’ The middle-aged angry woman blurted out.’We are almost there, mama.’

She replied amidst tears. They finally arrived here.’Kila or what is your name? Come here!’ She beckoned at him to come outside. Kila came outside.’Why you dey shout my name Mama Bisi, wetin I do you?”Wetin you no do me? My daughter said you impregnated her.’Impregnate kwa? Shey I know you? You know me? I no know you abeg, comot yah self from here.’ He said.’Bisi, can’t you talk? I thought you said he is the one.’ She said slapping her several times.’He is the one.”Talk to him. Are you mad? Shey bi na vegetable I say make you dey hawk, na belle you carry kom home.”He is the one.’

The girl repeated, pointing at Kila.‘Shey na only me dey do you, ehnn? Boss k no dey do you? Fati too no dey do you? Even Sako self dey do you. Why you wan kom vomit wetin everybody give you chop kon give me. I no like am oooo. I no fit collect am.’

Kila retorted.’Ah! Bisi, you have killed me. So you don turn yourself into free water wey everybody dey swim inside, ehnn? Anyway, no wahala, do not come into my home, until you see the owner of the yeye pregnancy in you.’ She said, and left angrily.

I do not know whether to pity the daughter or not. I stood up to rinse my hand and wash dirty the plates used by customers. The thought of Lagos being something else clouded my mind, until the end of the day.


‘Chisome! Please be patient with customers, today’. My aunt told me. She is not coming to the market today. She is quite sick and she was on a drip yesterday.

The nurse said she needs some bed rest.’Make sure you attend to my customers very well. You have one more week to spend here and, the money is not complete yet. Or, are you planning to spend more time here?”No aunty.’ I replied jingling my head.’Okay. Please be on your way. Bye!’I hasten my legs towards the shop. I cannot even spend one minute more, after spending the last one-week. This Lagos is dangerous.

I concluded in me. Imagine what happened yesterday; a man came to the shop and demanded his orders, and I served him accordingly. After eating for a while, he beckoned at me. I stood to answer him and he told me that the akpu I served him was too hard.’Haha!’ I howled at him with my hands, on my waist.’Ehnn, what? The akpu dey hard na. He said squeezing it.’Sir, the akpu is not hard. Besides, you have eaten almost all the food, what do you want me to do?’I no fit pay ooo. The akpu self still dey my throat, I no fit swallow am, he too hard.

‘He too wetin…? ‘I tried to speak to speak pidgin but I couldn’t. I resorted to English.’You will pay this for it; your money is #800. Besides, you have not eaten the beef. Should I return it? However, you will pay for the akpu.’Carry the beef, make I see you.’ I bent to carry the plate from him.

A thunderous slap sent me alarmed which make the content in the plate changed their positions.’You wan comot food from my front, you no know me ni? How I go chop akpu wey I no go chop beef? Na me be Boss K. Na me dey control all the maruwa wey dey waka. You wan pack food comot from my front, you don dey chop craze? Your aunty self no fit do that. Your sense no tell you say na anoda akpu you go serve me, ehnn?’

He moved closer to me and I retreated, frighteningly. I shot him a malevolent look, and hissed venomously. He gave me another thunderous slap for hissing and packed the remnant food into his mouth kicking the plate away, he stormed out.


I unlocked the padlock and brought out a broom to sweep. It was dawn so I had to use a torch. As I was sweeping, the tricycle owner that do convey food to the shop arrived.The food was been cooked by my aunt at home, and brought to the shop in one of her customer’s tricycle. I paid him and he zoomed off. After sweeping, I went into the shop to pray to God that we should make sales and that I do not want to attend to greedy customers, today.

It seems like He really answered it. My stay in the shop went well, that day and it was very unusual. Well, I thought I did spend my planned weeks but I was unable to fulfill my plans because of an unfortunate incident that happened. I have five days left to stay in Lagos, but I left on the second day of the week because of what happened to me. A middle-aged man bought food and paid with money that was laden with a necromancer.

I thought it only happens in Africa magic Igbo. Some moments later, after collecting the money, I started behaving abnormally. My sister rushed me to a nearby church. The pastor there prayed for me and poured anointing oil on me.

After a while, I revived. He told my aunt that I would have vanished, if I had not prayed that morning. My sister politely told me to return to the village so that I do not put her into more trouble.

She handed me the money, and I left amidst tears. I promised myself that I would come back to Lagos, and I would behave to the people of Lagos, cynically.

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Pencilmarks and Scribbles Magazine was founded in 2017 by Clara Jack to be a home for African writers, asking them to come as they are and giving them room for growth. The publication aims to give back to the Nigerian Literary scene for the things it has given us.