“You see that minstrel over there, who will soon relocate to our side? Do you know that he belongs to the generation of the Sunny Ades and Ebenezer Obeys of this world? I learnt he grew up here in Mushin, and that in the 70s, his musical band was the rave of the moment.”
“Kay, you mean it? Imagine the man with his solo guitar, twinning and singing away gleefully and chirpily, not minding the fact that his shoes are sloppy, to the extent that they resemble the ones that have seen many distressful trips to the archetypal archipelago.”
“Charles, that’s uncharitable of you, to a man who is still coming to drive away our sorrows. But what I learnt of him is that three things ruined his musical career: women, gambling and Indian hemp.”
“But now that his career has nose-dived, what is left to completely ruin him is excessive drinking. The man, after his singing session, can relax in a corner and finish one carton of beer. Imagine, a man that is above 70.”
“Well, I will prayerfully offer him two bottles, and perhaps some wads of naira notes; because I can see that he is happy the way he’s living his life. Apparently, it’s not likely the man is feeding family members or is being fed by the latter. He, as far as I’m concerned, is a one-man riot squad (laughter).
“Kay, remember you’ve cheated me out; you are on your second bottle, while my only bottle is long dead, without signs that there will be a successor; or are we not in the era of change, when the economy is supposed to have improved? At least, this is the seventh month into that era.”
“Well, in the first place, you are very close to Mama Chika, the massively built lady who owns this beer parlour, as well as her bar girl, Lynda, who is an attention-seeker with the way she swings her hips. So if you need any credit facility, they will easily oblige you. But I will spare you the ordeal, and give you a bailout fund to drink two additional bottles; and they must be criminally cold, mortuary standard.
“That’s my man, Alan Kay, a man of timber and calibre, caterpillar and bulldozer, iroko and mahogany…but you have not reacted to my concern on why money is not flowing in town. To get any government contract these days is tantamount to the fate of the biblical camel trying to pass through the eye of a needle.”
“Charles, you pester me a lot about this Nigerian politics thing…anyway, all I can say is that the ministers who are supposed to release money have come, but let them settle down. Remember that our President is very pious, he wouldn’t like to touch money so nothing will soil his hard-earned reputation.”
“But one of the ministers too, while being screened by the Senate, said he doesn’t sign cheques, that he had never signed a cheque while in government. And to think that this man is put in charge of three sensitive ministries!”
“Beautiful. What did I say? Beautiful. If he doesn’t sign cheques, let him mobilise you with cash, anytime you are able to secure a contract from him. Again, I know of another minister who detests corruption so much that he would never seduce any young girl sent to collect contract cheque from him. The best he would do is to smile broadly before her.”
“Kay, guess you are becoming tipsy…And why did you send away that babe yesterday? After having spent so much? Remember you bought her four big bottles of beer, two plates of cow-leg pepper soup, a basket of pre-Christmas hampers, and then, I think I saw you squeeze some wads that counted up to 10, into her crispy but hawkish palm. So why?
“Thank you my good friend. I’m sure that as God lives, you would not like to attend my wakekeep service at this age. You know there was a time she came here with one lachrymosely irresponsible guy, who she said was the ex-boyfriend she was supposed to marry but had to separate from one year ago because of incompatible genotype.”
“Yes, yes, yes. I remember I had to allow you to tolerate the guy so we could, from his body language, know if he was still dating the babe.”
“Again, thank you. Do you know that as we were about ‘to go and rest’ in one of our recent outings, she got a call that the guy had died? They said he died of HIV/AIDS.”
“Oh, your parents’ ‘heads’ are with you, and your God is very much alive. Suppose ‘you had executed the project’ before you heard of the fella’s death, I would simply have asked you to write your will and start donating money to charity homes, so as to gain heaven. This is because, I know your indulgence: no condom; which is a bad habit.”
“Well, thank you Charles, this is the only planet that I know, and I’m not in a hurry to depart it. So, since you are broke, let me celebrate my narrow escape for you. Let us take one bottle apiece, toasting to long life and prosperity.”
“With a proviso, that you amend your ways.”
“I hear, bad boy.”