Misadventures in Lagos: The Quixotic Escape from Escape



 I was going to write a blog, then I forgot what I was going to blog about. (Insert frowny face). This is one of the problems with being mad, you're the least reliable narrator. It's alright when there are several other people around you who are happy to tell your story for you. But when it's just you, and maybe your mum, things tend to get a little bit testy. I shall begin this blog post again. It's lacking a certain OOOOMPH!!!

Hello, my famzers, my friends, my enemies and the people I loathe. Lagos, has taught me that it is better to loathe some than it is to love some, and that it is possible to be a better enemy than you are a friend. Yes, I have rag dolls of a few people by my bed, and I include them in my prayers. It's like Christian Voodoo but not. I go, "Lord, it would be very nice if this person got irritable bowel syndrome, and diarrhoea and food poisoning tomorrow night, and, it would be particularly amusing if that person's trousers split from pubic hair to ass crack mid conversation." (Insert evil chuckle). Am I not a lovely enemy, always thinking of you in the worst way possible? In fact I dare say I am a far better enemy than I am a friend. To be friends with me is to be a devout believer in the sayings, out of sight out of mind, and, no news is excellent news, and, I am fighting with my phone so if you cannot be bothered to email me, text me, skype me, call Mama Afam, call Papa Afam, and harrow brother Afam, then it must not be very important and I shall not bother. The times, they are hard, but I shall prevail just as I prevailed when my tyre burst in the middle of third mainland bridge.    

Living in Lagos has been meh. I've been here for a year, and that's a bleurgh. Don't ask me what meh, and bleurgh are, because I don't know. What I do know is that I live from moment to moment, and that moments don't necessarily happen every day. I don't live every day even though I'm alive and this is a SHAME. I shall work on this. I am Afam, the epic, the smart, the occasionally lazy, the stupendously happy, the felicitous and the light. Yes, shine forth the mini sun inside my breast. Shine forth and dispel all traces of darkness. Shine forth and conquer all traces of bastardy and villainy. You get the picture. My heart is shining now, so I shall move on. 

I like to party. I mean, I really likes to party. (Intentional addition of s for emphasis people). I likes to get down, and get up, and drink my weight in booze (62.3 kilos. The wicked chef Caderrouse brought me down to  58.1 kilos. We are making progress). I thought that at 24, I'd stop liking to get up and get down, and drink my weight in booze, but that hasn't happened yet. All that's happened is that I routinely ask myself at 9:00pm on every school night why it is that I am not getting up, or getting down, or drinking my weight in booze, then I remember that I have a job, with obligations, and demands, and that I actually have to do shit. And even when it's the weekend, I sit at home more often than not because, the thought of spending another Saturday writhing around in my single bed hungover reeking of whisky and cigarettes is too tragic to bear. And even when I don't drink, I'm stupidly tired and stll smelling of cigarettes. There's no win to be had. Everyone's a loser, especially me, and I know this because I live inside my head. 

The last time I went out was over a month ago, and this is what happened. 

I'm a little confused about where to go from here. Do I tell you about the juicy bits, or do I tell you about the whole thing? I suppose the story will tell me how it wants to be written. Yes, this is good. I heard somewhere that it is good when a story possesses you. This is good. I feel more like a writer already. Story possess me!!! 

It was a Friday night, and the sky was dark... dark and what?... It was a Friday night and the air was dark and smoky. Nice, nice, what next?  I walked the two hundred or so metres to Agberos flat. I walked with purpose... That's all very well and good, but I'm getting bored. Well I'm not bored just yet, but I think I'll speed this baby along. Sub headings will be necessary.

Agbero: Agbero is a young man that I've known for half my life. He's a great chap. He's 6 foot 6 and he's basically white. I mean, if he told you he was mixed race you'd tell him to go shove it somewhere. You'd think he was a WASP (white Anglo Saxon Protestant) claiming that his great grand mother was one-sixteenth Navaho. The thing about agbero is, even though he's fairly white, the guy's a ruffian. He's always good for a fight. If you piss him off, or try to steal from him (this happens a lot) he'll deck you first and ask questions later. It's actually surprising. One minute, you're talking to this soft spoken guy, with a neutral English accent, and the next you're dealing with the albino hulk from Ajegunle. Let me give you an example of what I've had to deal with.

Agbero likes his Suya after a night out. He doesn't just like any Suya, he likes it fresh from the road side. He likes the kind of Suya that you eat with a prayer. 


"God I know this thing I'm eating isn't beef but please don't let me pay for it in blood."

Aboki hands Agbero the N 2 000 Suya, then Agbero does a routine tap down. Head, shoulders, side pockets, back pockets, penis, toes. This is Africa, you're always a pneeeeew (the sound that all magical spells make) away from losing your penis.  

Agbero: All of you guys here line up!

Aboki: Eccsccuse me sah, any problem.

Agbero: One of you fuckers here took my phone.

There are five men standing around...

Agbero: Do I look like an idiot? Wasn't it last week that you took my iPhone 5? Now you want to take my iPhone 4, are you fucking crazy?

It was probably a different group of abokis that took his phone, but Agbero casts his net wide. Lagos is to blame, all the abokis in Lagos must pay. 

The men look left and right making exaggerated signs of innocence, and genuine signs of wonderment. They haven't seen this kind of white person before, and neither have I. I mean I know Agbero, but how well can you know someone? I had thought that he was a buttered ex public school boy, and he'd morphed into this behemoth of anger and frustration. I never experred it. 

tense change... possibly clunky, maybe alarming, but necessary I think. 

The inaction isn't making Agbero any happier, so he grabs one of them and jacks him high. You know how to jack a person don't you? You hold him/her by the collar and pull him up to your chin. Always up, never down. Short people don't jack people. I would know. 

Agbero: Where is my phone!!

Chorus: We don't know sah.

Chorus: Put him down sah.

Agbero: I should put him down eh! I should put him down when one of you bastards took my phone?!

Agbero flings the bagger like a sack of something. It's surprisingly brutal. Somewhere else this would be assault, but here, in Lagos, it's only fair. He makes for his next victim, but before he grabs him, the culprit comes forward.

Thieving Area boy: Take it jare! Look at all the wahala you're causing for one tiny phone. Don't you have shame?

We all feel the backhand coming, and he does too. There's a collective silence that could only mean one thing, a haymaker's right around the corner. Luckily, Agbero remembers that he's a civilised chap (a very drunk civilised chap). He ignores the rude chap and inspects the suya, and then we leave. 

Fine Boi: Now I haven't known Fine Boi for very long at all. I've only known him for a year and a bit, and when you've known everyone around you for at least a decade, a year's nothing. This is a little tragic. I don't want to call it high society but it is. Socialising is like moving through a series of intersecting venn diagrams. Maybe socialising is always like that, but life here's weird. I can' really remember any of the lives I've lived before. They're like dreams. Yes, before's a dream, and the only reality, or my only reality is this reality. It's not as bad as it sounds... And back to Fine Boi. Fine Boi is exactly that, a Fine Boi. He's the voice of reason between the rambling madman and the well dressed ruffian. We're a weird bunch, but it works. Fine Boi, is a master of collecting and receiving free drinks. This is a skill that cannot be overestimated. In fact, it's charitable! Think of all the livers you're saving with your humility and absolute refusal to buy by the bottle.

It was a Friday night, and the sky was dark and smoky.  I walked the two hundred or so metres to Agberos flat. I walked with purpose. The plan was set. It wasn't anything revolutionary. It went something like this.

Get to Agbero's flat: Drink.

Wait for Fine Boi to arrive: Drink.

Fine Boi arrives: Drink.

We're Leaving: Where the Tennessy Honey at? Drink.

Pick up WWAE (That's what's in my head when I think of him so that's that I guess?): Sip tea and then drink. (It was awful, some Ribena vodka thing).

Get to club/bar (Spice): Drink.

While in Spice: Drink.

Leave Spice: Drink.

Walk the hundred or so yards to another club (Escape)... and this is where the real story begins.

At the gate of escape, WWAE, Fine Boi, and Agbero made it in, but I didn't. It was a temporary gating. It's what they do when they try to pretend like the club's the poppingest popping place in the history of popping, and that it's super exclusive, so you have to command the bouncer to let you in with a moneyed voice, but general pleading tones. Sometimes, oppressing the bouncer and everyone else, with your manly male aura, and cash heavy swagger works too. Sober me would have waited until the bouncer's hand lifted the moment he realised that I Afam, was Afam, the D lister, the friend to the celebs, the moneyed in name, the writer (these titles are depressing me so I'll stop). Drunk me is an entirely different beast. While I was standing by the gate, I realised that I didn't particularly want to be standing by the gate, or standing inside the club with too many people and too loud music. I decided that I would rather be in bed. I decided that I would walk the 11.2 kilometres from Victoria Island to my house in Lekki.

I don't live on Elegushi beach exactly but it's close enough. It's a little further down, or further up, or further left, or further right, but if you're really keen on visiting, read the disclaimer at the bottom and then don't.  
 Err maa gerrrd. What was he thinking? I can't say exactly but that's what happened. The next thing I knew, I was plodding down Adeola Odeku with a song on my lips and a dance on my hips. It was exciting. I was doing something absolutely senseless and digging it. Everything was going swimmingly, until two men approached me and informed me that I needed to pay for protection. They said that they had spotted some goons chasing me, and that they were the only thing standing in the way of them and me. I nodded once and took flight. I used to be a cross country fiend. If I couldn't beat them, I would run away from them.

The run too was very nice. I was having the time of my life striding along in my Russell and Bromley tasseled loafers, never mind that Lagos has a well documented kidnapping culture, and other equally undesirable undocumented cultures. Everything was fine until I jogged past the toll gate.

Now, I'm jogging past the top gate when two police men call me over. I want to ignore them. I really do, but they have AK 47s. It's touch and go really. I want to say that when a police man calls out to you, you should always respond. And I want to say that police men make me feel safer. I want to say that the police is the arm of the law and all of that romantic stuff but I can't. I never feel sad in front of the police. They're loose unpredictable cannons with guns. Sometimes, they're good, and sometimes, they're criminal. I don't mind this necessarily, it is what it is. It didn't happen over night, and to get rid of it, they'll need one heck of a rebranding campaign. 

I go over to them, and greet them. It's always important to greet. I feel fine. I don't have any drugs, or guns, and it's not like I'm driving drunk, so all I'm expecting is a short conversation and a be on your way. 

Officer 1: Where are you coming from.

Afam: Spice Route. I went out. 

Officer 2: Where are you going?

Afam: Home. 

Officer 1: Sit on the floor.

Afam: Why? 

I don't quite feel it, but I know it's happened. I hear a loud clap, but it feels like it's coming from miles away. I can't say which officer has done it. My face is stinging. My head is turning, and my body is following it. I've been forced into a pirouette. It's a clumsy one. I feel myself sinking with it. A rotation and a half. My arse is on the floor. My ears are ringing but my head is clear. All romantic notions of my moonlit stroll have left my head. It's a classic Houston we have a very very big problem situation. I should be angry, but I'm not. Fine angers aren't the ones that flare up and die. They're the ones that build like a furnace, and explode like a bomb. You don't see them coming. They're well concealed little beasts. I sit still. I sit silent. 

My silence didn't last for long. I flared up, and I swore. I swore like I hadn't sworn in a long time. Officer one became the grand vizier of bastardy, and officer two was the principal fucker of fucked up behaviour. They called their supervisor over, and I put him on blast too. I didn't swear at him the way I did at the others. They said they would take me to the police station and I fake called my lawyer and told them that when we got there my legal team would be waiting to screw them. Then the apologies came, and I didn't want them, I only wanted to get home. They called me a danfo, but I didn't want that either. I wasn't keen on their charity. The remaining 6 kilometres were infinitely more sober than the previous 5, but I enjoyed them all the same. They reminded me of my younger quixotic self, and how that self is dying.

Happy Days,
Afam





  

2 comments:

Mobolaji S said...

Hahaha! This might just be my fav post of yours

Sheba said...

LOL was this not dangerous to do? Would love to hear about the entire walk all the way home.

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