This morning, like most Monday mornings, my prayer was “…give me this day my daily breath… lead me not into temptation, and deliver me from Eve”. I meant every word of that prayer because I take Mondays very seriously, and my Mondays starts at 0400hrs GMT. After “Good Morning Lagos”, I say my prayers. If I wake up one minute later that the last stroke of the godless hour of 4am, then I will start my prayers with “forgive me my trespassing…”. My prayers end with “Let thy will be done. Amen”
Every other day of the long hard week, I skip the “NOT” in “lead us NOT into temptation” The Good God knows why I do that. But on Mondays, Lagos don’t take any “Igba ku gba bullshit”, that is why I stress “not into temptation”. But Lagos Monday is rife with temptations, plenty of it.
I was tempted to ignore the sunshaded, red-lip-sticked Money-Smelling cherub sitting by me on the bus today, Monday the 18th day of June, The Year of Our Lord. I regret my restrain, I rue my resolve to respond to her overtures to strike a conversation with me, which may have led me into temptation. Maybe She only wanted to chat during the uneventful bus ride to VI. What could be wrong in a chat with such sweet dream of a winsome lass? But despicable me shunned her, I spurned an angel to my injury. I must do penance for this.
The EDGE network bar had gone amok like it is wont to do whenever I needed to find escape in the internet. I was pretending to be busy on my Blackberry curve 2 that has seen better days. The beautiful work of art on my left seems agitated, frowning at the top-of-the-line Blackberry Storm 1she was clutching in those nicely manicured talons (her BB must have been custom-made for her, the thing was so sleek, so chic and rich-looking).
She asked at me, in what sounded like a canary singing,
“pardon me, but do you use MTN?”.
No, I use MTEL. Mumm. I said nothing in reply.
“Bros, do you have network on your bb…?”
Yes, NTA Network News. Mumm. No reply came forth from my grimly clenched lips. She is aware I wasn’t a mute, because few minutes to our one-sided exchange, I had engaged the bus conductor in a negotiation on the hiked bus fare. And I wasn’t deafened either, since I wasn’t wearing a headset or ear-pieces.
What made me ignore her must have been the Bad Devil. I hate that Devil now. I really hate that Devil. I reconsidered my stand, letting down my guard to make small talks with her, even if temptress she might be. but she clamed-up on me. My caustic mood must have gotten to her: looking virtually blue and rumpled in the face. A formidable mien, A no-go area this time. I could have breached her armoured visage, but for those menacing long-drawn hissss she was emitting, each time I take my eyes off my stupid bb and glance her way.
Well, I lost that one. So be it. “She may even be a ekwensu, who knows?” I counselled myself. But I don’t know that for sure. I could have confirmed for myself, had I seen the colour of her shaded eyes. She’d remained cycloped all through the uneventful bus ride to the money-sodden swamp of Victoria Island.
You don’t know who is who, so don’t ignore people without a good cause. The Holy Bible admonished somewhere that good christian men must not refrain from entertaining strangers, for Angels come as strangers. That was a lesson I learnt only too late. I wish that wisdom had occurred to me before I met La Femme Mysterio, this hard-going Monday would have been less nasty, less brutish and less Long. It would have been shortened by half, as half my work would have been half done.
She turned out to be a Media rep, and media reps constituted the first 100 items on my to-do list for today. She could have been a heaven sent. But I blew it.
The bus got to the last Bus-Stop at Eko Hotel Round-About. Her phone rang, as we were alighting from the cramped bus. I can remember that ring tone- it was Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”. I like that song. She had the phone pressed to her right ear, after flicking her “human Hair” Weave-on back. I wasn’t looking, but my attention turned on her quickly like some lime-light when I heard her say “come by today to pick up your cheque, we don’t do Cash… I’m sorry… No, you can’t dictate to us… There are many begging me for adverts, I have chosen to deal with you amongst many… Ok, do come by today… Ok…(Blah blah blah” I have heard enough. I walked up to her, smiling, a real sincere smile. I allowed her to end the call, before saying Hello.
the look, the pout of those well sculptured red-lips. No verbal response. She walked on her pencil-heals pecking on the hard concrete sidewalk. Koi, koi, koi like that, fanny wagging.
“Hello sist, my name is Chris, I am an independent marketer for Some Lagos based Lifestyle Magazines… Yak, yak, yak”
The assessing, size-up-and-cut-down look, the long-drawn hissssssss that followed, and the fanny-wagging walk-on-by. Fuck you! That was the subtle message I got from Miss Attitude. I felt like I have shitted my pants for that unbecoming feedback I got for my well-rehearsed, well-intended open gambit. I practically felt her cyclop eyes burn holes into my sweaty forehead. I could almost hear the sizzle that time. The head felt some heat.
“I think I recognized your face; you work at Whazzitcall? Media Incorporated?” I tried again.
“Excuuuuus me?” The frown wrinkling the flawless skin of her forehead, is more legible than the handwriting on any wall.
“Em… Em… I… Uh… asked if we have not met before during one of my adverts hunting trips around here on the Island?” I spurted, grinning like a silly cat.
She turned her face away, set it imperially straight ahead, emitted the nastiest “Go Fuck Yourself” hisssssssss I ever done got from a lady in all my cavalier days. If she wanted me to feel ashamed for what I did to her, then I was really messed up. Two nicely suited, corporate-looking brothas brushed past me from behind then, they turned to look at me straight in the eye, shaking their heads at me and I saw the smirks on the faces. I saluted them with the middle finger sign. La femme Mysterio chose that blasted moment to turn to look my way, she saw the middle finger of my raised right hand, pointing to the sky. She said to me
I can swear on Hitler’s grave that the finger wasn’t meant for her, but I was derailed by her sizing me up and down with a soul-piercing dagger look. She crossed the road, moving towards The Zenith Bank Headquaters. I tried to follow, but jumped back with great alacrity as one aboki okada-from-hell zoomed past, nearly knocking me down. Bystanders had raised a cacophony of woebegone cry of jeeeeesoss!
I was in a multiple shock. By the time my heartbeat-rate started to normalize, and I begin to recover from my shock, the mysterious lady was gone.
There is a lesson here for young, single, hustling, Lagos Brothas: “MAN, KNOW THY SELF!” Lagos no dey take nonsense on Monday Morning.