Monday, April 8, 2013


Dear friends, so sorry for the absence yesterday. Was really really busy u know *winks*. But here is my promise:- The concluding part of the  PLEASE, DO NOT URINATE HERE, BY ORDER story.
Enjoy it:

I was in such a dash to find relief for my predicament that I forgot to pay the Keke fare. On realisation of my oversight, I turned around as the charging keke rider closed in on me, craving my attention and going for a grip.
“heys, heys… Ogbeni… Ogbeni, san ‘wo re… ahaa, Oga pay me my money joor!”
He was going for my collars to ge a retraining grip on me, thinking I was running away with his money. He missed my collar because I wasn’t wearing a collared shirt. I had on a traditional attire of Lagos Jump and a shokoto. My shokoto, like all traditional shokotos, was tightly secured to my waist by a string of cloth that had been sewn into the waistband of the trouser. Woe betide you if the knot of your shokoto string get tangled or snagged when you need to take a leak fast. The furious bull missed my collar and went for the waist of my shokoto.
“Oops! No vex oga, I dey in a hurry gaan ni, e joor e maa binu, here’s your money”.
I apologised as I handed him a new One Hundred Naira note. He let go of my shokoto as he stretched out the naira note, holding it up against the rays of sunlight. Crispy Naira notes are regarded with suspicion in Lagos. New currency notes especially those of higher denominations, are possible fake. The streetwise test for authenticity is to hold the note against strong light and look out for the watermark; in the absence of light, you crumple the note in your hand and release it to observe how fast it stretches out. If it if it stretches out too sluggishly or does not attempt to stretch out at all, be sure it is a fake. It is more sure to accept limp dirty naira notes. The older the note the better. The older ones actually have that amonia smell that used diapers have. And that is the smell of money the common man can identify with. The keke driver was still authenticating the One Hundred Naira note when I walked briskly away, foregoing my change of 50 Naira.
The doorman at the Fastfood joint on the intersection of Broad Street greeted me familiarly. Maybe he’s seen me before. I used to be a regular customer of the place when they offered coffee on their breakfast menu. But these days, I only drop in to use their men’s room. Although, the convenience of that place is not top-notch. It doesn’t even come close by a remote chance. I am sure they are glad that I still patronise them. Although, there are a better choices of convenience compared with the myriads of public toilets, and filthy walls in the environ.
There was that cloying tang of antiseptic cleaning liquid in the air. The noisome smell was hanging so thick in the air that breathing was a arduous chore. Put off as I was, I needed to go or I burst. There was this very large lady whose frame was blocking the entrance to the toilet. I asked her to excuse me that I needed to go, “please”. If looks where thunderbolts, I would have been roasted on the spot. I guess she was the janitor as she was wielding a mop,
and lugging bucket that was brimming over with dirty, soapy water. I ignored her cutting stares and tried to cut a path around her, to access the urinary. She shoved her lumpy bums backwards and at me in a bid to bar my way. “Shuo, wetin be this, wetin dey worry this woman sef?” I said to myself. It would have been a certain disaster if her thrusting mountain of buttocks had connected with my crouch. My bladder would have exploded on impact, and both of us would have been soaked to the skin with my piss. She succeeded in stopping me, and asked me rudely:
“For where you dey go, oga?
“Em… I want to use the men’s room na”
“Mess kini? Abeg comot joor the toilet wey I done clean well well, finish?
“Ahaa, but I wan’ piss na, haba…”
“Ogbeni, abi you no hear word ni? Go piss for outside joor.” She reiterated, pointing the soppy mop in my face. I surrendered, putting my hands up, and started to back away from the offensive sentry. She lowered the menacingly dripping mop, and pointed it at my midriff:
“Oya, wear your shokoto and comot for here” she admonished.
I looked down to see what she meant by “wear your shokoto…” Then I saw, to my consternation, that my shokoto had sagged to my knees. I couldn’t remember loosening the string of my shokoto. But I retrieved the sagged trousers, attempting to secure it, I saw that the string was broken. It must be that keke driver, who’d grabbed me to demand for his fare. Prompted my the scowling “witch” and her soppy mop, I turned around, bearing my near-bursting underbelly-tank of urine away.
Outside. I couldn’t relieve myself outside neither: the almost serene ambiance of the front yard was a deterrent to such uncouth habit of peeing into the gutter, or up against the wall. The need to go was practically killing me at that point. By some gift of fortitude, I held on and did not piss in my shokoto. The holding string was broken, but I held on, and didn’t let it sag down.
The public toilet at the Ajah park in CMS used to be open 7 days a week. And the touts that operated the place would be cajoling you to come and shit or piss, enticing you with the mouth-watering price list of “Piss na 10 naira, shit na 20 naira, I go give you discount sef”; but they were not open. I wasn’t surprise, I was only dismayed. I wasn’t surprise because since the institution of the Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) to help check such beastly attitude of Lagosian as urinating on walls and defecating into gutters, patronage has increased, and the customer is no longer king. They now open when they like, and charge higher fares. “Piss na 20 naira, shit na 50 naira, if you no like am carry your own dey go”
It was terrible on me. Hanging onto the broken string of my shokoto, holding back my pee. I turned away, and cross the road to the Mile-2 park. Conductors were bothering me, pulling at me this way and that way, asking whether I was going to Costain, or Masha-Kilo, or Ajegunle, or Iyana-Iba or Mile-2. Their annoying patronage was not my concern. I could already see the imposing walls of the parks public toilet. “If I can see it, then I can reach it” I kept exhorting myself. It almost worked. It would have worked too if I had paced swiftly along the few yards that separated me from relief. But things seemed to have slowed down for me at that defining moment. For how long can finite man fight nature and she don’t fight back? Not forever. I have been granted much grace, and fortitude to hold back at nature’s call. It was time to let go, and go. That park also reeked god-awfully of piss and shit. The reality was more stark to me at that moment and all of my senses seemed on red alert.
I saw the wall to my left. It was closer at hand than the public toilet. But the bus parked in front of it was rapidly filling with white-garment-clad passengers, most of them women and carrying fresh palm fronds since it was Palm Sunday. It wouldn’t do to relieve myself on the wall close to the bus, with those Good Christian Women, who’d chattered the bus, looking on. I have good upbringing, and I still have some of my Sunday School Moral Instructions somewhere in my memory.
I walked past that spot. God knows it was an opportunity to not soil my reputation and I seized it no matter what. Blessedly, the next likely spot to weewee on the sprawling wall came up. But as I begin to release my peepee to take that overdue relieving leak, I saw written in chalk, the warning: DON’T PISS FOR HERE…. N5,000 FINE… AND DIRTY SLAP. Adroitly, I clamped down on my shaft with one hand and held on to my sagging shokoto with the other and moved away again, to find a freer spot to urinate.
I just didn’t want to go any further, though the public toilet was just within yards, but I just got to go. I aligned my self up against the wall, and I saw a sign that read in bold, red prints: , PLEASE, DO NOT URINATE HERE. THANK YOU… Order KAI, Eko ‘o ni baje o! The said “please” and “thank you”- I respect that. I packed it in again, gauged the distance between my position and the public toilet and decided the former point on the wall with the warning: DON’T PISS FOR HERE…. N5,000 FINE… AND DIRTY SLAP was closer. That was where I finally let go in sweet, sweet, relief.
I was past caring or giving a fuck about the warning sign that seemed to glare at me: DON’T PISS FOR HERE…. “Pooh…!” I mused as my piss was already gushing out in a mighty torrential flow “…and if I piss for here nko, what’s anyone going to do about it? This is Lagos, we own this town.” My hot urine was coming in such mighty gush that a bush fire could have been snuffed out by the shimmering, hot, golden fluid. I tilted my shaft a little upward, and got some piss splashed on the warning. It was a childish thing to do, I know, but no one was looking. I was shining my eyes and watching my side like a true Lagosian, a Lagosian with agidi. I almost wiped out the “,000″ in N5,000. It wasn’t unintentional though.
Some Area Boy or Jaguda had put up that warning sign. There was no more law backing the warning than “agidi”: the area code, or street law, as made, enforced, and interpreted by Jagudas or Area Boys. I kept looking over my shoulders to see if anyone was approaching to harass me. I was ready to switch on my agidi mode. I would have feigned being a deaf and dumb, or pretended I couldn’t read and would have counter-accused my accuser that he should have read the sign to me, because “I am no sabi book o!” I was ready for a worse case scenario too: I had two thousand Naira in my pocket. If it had happened that I had to buy my way out of trouble, I would have bargained and negotiated the stipulated price on the wall. But no one came forward to accuse me.
However I never stopped to “shine my eyes” and “watch my side”. If the …DIRTY SLAP was coming, I was ready for it too. It would have been a battle of fists or wits. I was ready for any Lagos jaguda. Gentleman no dey Lagos. But since no one challenged me, I remained a gentleman till the end when I wagged the pee-pee to get off the last drops of wee-wee, and packed it in and tucked it away nicely.
I had that prickly sensation that I was being observed. I turned my head around to be sure I was safe; lo! there, standing behind me, was a figure, clad in a flowing white, Church-garment, a lady. Her hand pressing down on her crouch, she slooked somewhat harried. She wasn’t looking at me- I never saw her eyes. Her gaze were fixed on my shadow.
I managed to fix the broken string of my shokoto, and as I walked away, she moved into the position I just vacated, and squat down. I’m sure she’d been pressed to go too. The sight of that christian figure, doing what I did, brought me some validation that I wasn’t the only one culpable to the summons of nature. Unless, of course, she couldn’t read the writing on the wall, like I would have pretended I couldn’t. I wondered, as I walked away, unmolested, as free and as merry as a puppy without fleas.


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