After another hectic day job hunting round the streets of Lagos, I returned to my apartment tired and worn out. Hunger was not out of it too.
My mind was filled, after all I had gone through the process of looking for a job without seeing any vacancy. But with my hope , I thought I would be saved.
By who? I don’t even go to church like that. Though originally christened Paul at birth, I believe all of my actions and inactions correlates with that of Saul.
Probably that is why I haven’t found a job yet.
I could perceive the smell of chicken being fried somewhere in the compound and best guess, only three apartments could afford cooking chicken soup; the landlord, Titi and a group of night workers who live together.
Let me describe the compound for you.
A big black gate adorned the entrance into the compound and right at the center is a one storey building which housed the landlord and his family. The top floor is still under construction and rumors flying around is that the landlord intends to marry a new wife once he completes the floor. That would be his fifth wife. For a man in his late sixties.
There is a passageway beside the one storey building which connects with another compound, though a part of the first compound, but we regard to it as Aso rock, while the landlord’s compound is referred to as the Presidential villa.
Whoever is responsible for naming the two compounds must be ignorant of the fact that the Aso rock is the same as the Presidential villa. But trying to educate my neighbors is just like trying to tell a monkey to stay away from banana. Talk of people from all walks of life living together, Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, TIV, Ibiobio, Warri all live in Aso rock. Graduates, corpers, undergraduates, gainfully employed, jobless, illiterates can all be found in Aso rock. It is indeed a villa where everybody is a boss and without a bit of craziness, one cannot survive the Aso rock.
“Who could be frying chicken by this time of the day?” I thought.
How I wish Caleb, my roommate is around. We would have found out who is responsible for the chicken and steal it afterwards. With greed, the guy is just like the biblical Gehazi.
No doubt, the chicken is coming from Titi’s apartment. She lives alone in a block of two apartments which backs the landlord’s apartment. She is rumored to be a banker, after all, she leaves home everyday before anyone else, returns late in the night and the only time her apartment is lively is on weekends. But she is a snob, she is in everyone’s bad book. Even though most of the guys wish they can be friends with her. Me inclusive.
For sure, I knew hunger and starvation is my potion for the rest of the day and the best way to fight it is to sleep from now till tomorrow. And that is exactly what I was going to do.
“Hunter.” A deep baritone voice called.
I looked around for the voice and there he was in front of the block of apartments opposite Titi’s apartment. Segun.
“Baba how far na?” I hailed back.
“Nothing much o Baba.” He replied. “Any catch?” He asked.
“My trap no gree catch anything o. Not even fly.” I replied.
He only smiled. “For this Lagos? All of us go make am.” Typical Segun, always believing that the future is bright. But in a country like Nigeria, where is the light sef?
Segun is an upcoming musician. Even though he is still poor, he has been getting shows and making small amount of money once in a while, but rather than spend the money wisely, he spends on girls and with the mood I met him, it is obvious that Segun is expecting a girl, because he was dropping capsules into a drink. Segun only does that when he is expecting a girl. I guess it enhances his performance.
“Hunter how na?” Another voice hailed.
“Oooooohhhh!” I hailed back. “Obi nna.”
“How far? You looking corporate o.” He teased.
“Baba I dey find work ni jare.” I replied as if he doesn’t know.
You may be wondering why everyone is calling me hunter. Two years ago when I freshly moved into the compound I introduced myself as Akin and when I was asked where I work I said I was still job-hunting. They started calling me a job hunter and over they years it became Hunter. Even though I didn’t like the name at first, I have come to like the name Hunter.
“You dey go out?” I asked Obinna.
“Yes jare. I wan go hustle.” He replied.
By hustle, I knew what he meant. Obinna is one of the guys who believe they can make it through sports betting. But while the owner of Nairabet was able to contest for a seat in the Federal house of Representatives during the 2015 general elections, the regular stakers are getting poorer.
“Nairabet abi Merrybet?” I asked. To be sure of where to find him in case I need to borrow money later on.
“Bet9ja.” He replied.
Every sports betting platform runs in his head.
“No wahala.” I excused myself as I shook hands with him and proceeded into my self contained apartment.
There is nothing spectacular about my room except the flat-screen 21″ TV set, a Playstation console, a DVD player, a mini fridge, a big bed among other things. I used to be rich. You can say that again and again.
I fell on top my bed without removing my expensive suit hoping that sleep will just snatch me away, but hunger and sleep will never thrive in the same place as Caleb would say.
“You are great yes you are, mighty God. Walked upon the sea and raised the dead….” A sweet angelic voice sang next to my window. Even though I have heard the song countless times, but all I knew about it is; the singer is from Benue state.
I stood up to peep from my window and to the glory of the most high, Titi stood next to the well which is just at the center of the compound, but closer to my apartment. She had an angry look on her face.
You guessed right. The drawer is missing again.
This is my chance. I thought as I grabbed an empty bucket with my personal drawer with my suit off this time, but the shirt still on. I stepped outside.
Thank God. I breathe. Obinna was long gone and Segun has gone inside his room I guess.
“Hi.” I wore my captivating smile.
“hello.” Titi replied without sparing me a glance
But at least she replied.
“Could you please lend me your fetcher.” She said.
I have always wondered why people call what is supposed to be drawer, fetcher. Is it because it is used in fetching water as we normally say?
But wait o! Is Titi not a banker?*I asked myself as I have her what she asked for.
“Thanks.” She smiled.
Did she just smile? She has a dimple too? Wonderful! And a set of white teeth.
“Sometimes I used to think you are a ghost.” I finally started a conversation.
She smiled. This is the mad house, you don’t take offense.
“What makes you say such?” She asked.
“Since I moved into this compound, I have never seen you during daytime.” I explained.
“My job is to blame for that.” She replied.
“Is there a reason you are at home today. A Wednesday?” I asked.
“Leave things.” She replied.
“At first I thought the economy is responsible.” I joked in reference to the recent surge in the mass sack rocking the banking sector.
“You are very funny.”
Finally she thinks I am funny. I think I don’t need food for life after this.
I offered to help her draw the water and by the time I was done, we were gisting already.
“I never knew you read o.” She said.
Now, not many people see me as a serious human being. Till date, my dad still ask how I made it out of the University.
“I used to think you are one of those other jobless guys.” She added.
Well, I am jobless. So, what else?
“Can you come by to my room later to pick up some books?” She asked.
“Of course.” I replied, letting my brain do some calculations.
The time is 3pm. By later, she probably meant in the evening. Say 7PM. I will just gist with her till 9pm. Common sense should tell her to offer me something. If there is one thing I can deduce for all these it is the fact that dinner today is sure! Chicken. I can’t remember the last time I ate one.
“Guess we will see later?” She asked.
“Hunter, abeg show.” A distressed voice called.
I turned to see Robert, another occupant of the compound. But where is Robert standing? In front of Segun’s room? When did they become friends?
I excused myself from Titi and left to meet Rob, cursing under my breath as I walked.
“Yawa don gas o.” Robert whispered as soon as I was within earshot.
Yawa for this compound, dem no fit.
“Wahala dey o.” He added.
By now, he has successfully painted a picture of the situation. I knew there was trouble with the way he is sweating.
He moved even closer as he whispered something into my ears.
“Jesus!” I screamed.
“Baba keep your voice down.” Robert said.
I knew it. Aphrodisiac has it’s immediate side effect. Why use them in anticipation and not certainty. A girl told you she is coming, then you went to swallow tramadol and Viagra. Knowing that the average Nigerian girl must have booked an appointment with several other guys. The richest and of course the best performer will win her presence. I guess by now you have gotten the scenario. Segun has used some unknown enhancer and unfortunately his girl disappointed him. The drugs are now starting to react.
Robert led me into Segun’s room where he lay naked with his turgid member pointing upward. “eew! Gross!”
“Pour him cold water na.” I suggested.
“Where the light?” Robert asked.
True! PHCN gives light once in a blue moon.
“You fit call that babe, Titi to give him a round or a blow job just to make him release.” Robert suggested.
“You are mad.” I cursed. “You didn’t talk about the prostitutes living in this compound, but a respectable decent young lady.”
“I don’t want to die o.” Segun was crying now.
The thing is, he needs to relieve himself within a certain amount of time or he is going to die. Segun dying before his glory days, I cannot stomach it all.
“Go check if Nkechi and her friends dem dey house. We need one of them to service Segun here.” I instructed Robert who left immediately.
Fifteen minutes later, he returned with the bad news. Prostitutes rejected the opportunity to relieve a distressed young man and getting paid.
“I will suggest we take him to a brothel o.” Robert suggested.
We managed to lift Segun up and half dragged, half carried him out of the compound through the back. We stopped a cab which took us straight to the nearest ATM stand.
“Akin, abeg withdraw 10k. My pin na 3695.” Segun said.
I rushed out of the car, walked into an ATM shed and began with the transaction.
First of all I checked his account balance. Boy had about 60k in his account.
“mehn! Segun get money o. And he no fit borrow me 1k this morning.” I whistled.
I proceeded to making a withdrawal, but a glance at the back told me to change tactics.
The ATM stand is too much in the open, someone outset he bank’s gate could see what is going on at that particular stand. I canceled the transaction and went to a more secured stand. I withdrew fifteen thousand Naira, pocketed five thousand Naira and I was sure that not even Robert who is not in pain could see me pocket something, unlike the first stand where every action is clear to them.
Five minutes later, we got to a popular brothel and I proceeded into negotiating with one of the available girls.
“He fit tear my toto.” She said casually. “But I will risk it and take 4k.” She said.
“4k until he returned back to his normal size ni o.” I put my negotiating skills to use.
I have heard that even after ejaculation some guys still remain turgid. So I needed to clear that before the deal goes down.
“7k.” She replied.
“5k last.” I disagreed.
“O boy, the job is difficult, I just wan do am cos no market since. Your friend fit die sha.”
“Okay, 6k.” I added another one thousand Naira. “Mesef suppose cut na.” I winked.
“Sharp guy. But you must buy me a drink o.” She finally accepted.
I quickly counted six thousand Naira for her as I waved my hand. Immediately, the cab started coming closer.
I stayed back to settle the cab man while Robert helped Segun go inside with the lady.
I wore a satisfactory look on my face. After all, I have made enough money under an hour. I was going to inflate the money spent. Mathematically, the lady collected 10k, the bikeman collected 2k as against the 6k and 1k they took respectively. The excess added to my 5k. You know sey money no be problem in Sarkodie’s voice.
“Guy, no even think am.” A voice sounded from behind. “I see as you cut money for the ATM and right here too. We go share am 50-50.” You guessed right, it was Robert.
Did he really see me do all that he mentioned? Or he is just playing mind games?
Welcome to THE MAD HOUSE.
To be continued…