A Prayer for a ‘Thief’
He's running towards me and others are chasing him, screaming, "Ole, Ole, Ole"
Ole means thief here in Nigeria. It may mean a soap in some other place.
I'm supposed to help keep the society crime free by providing evidence against criminals.
Or catching them if I’m a good catcher.
That's what I'm supposed to do in a sane clime. But this society isn't sane.
So as he runs towards me, I don’t help catch him. I just stand there watching. I don’t even think he’s running fast for someone supposedly at death’s door.
A man beside me joins the chase and tries to block him but he escapes.
I'm standing there, looking at youths chasing a fellow youth who stole some money.
They chase him with so much passion that later, I think why they don't chase these thieving politicians same way. Or their dreams.
My heart starts racing, the headache that accompanied me out of my house after my 5 hours morning shift at my different jobs intensifies.
I tell myself, "You're not the thief that's being chased, so why is your heart racing?"
I think I double check my emotions and lie to myself that my heart's not racing.
That I'm fine.
That I'm okay.
But bleh... Stark naked lies with excuses dangling like a penis on a running naked man.
I'm scared shit because I know Nigeria, this bad part of it.
I know if that young man is caught, these fellas young as or younger than him, chasing him with whips and stones will lynch him and burn him.
I remember so many men and women who have been lynched because this or that.
It's sunny today. I think 32 degrees.
I wonder if he'll get caught.
I swear, I pray he escapes. That prayer sounds off — I mean, to a religious fanatic, it would sound off — and I try to defend it with humanity: why life is precious.
Because right here and anywhere even, humanity is all that matters. Miss me with another reason.
I wonder if he's caught, lynched and burnt, how hot it'll be with the fire and sun.
It's heartbreaking like the time she ghosted on me and our communication dropped from 100 to 0 on rocket speed.
I'm transfixed to a spot. I get myself out of the mini trance.
I attempt to cross the road to board a bus. A woman in her thirties passing by says to me, "If they catch am, they go just kill am sara."
The way she said it, I perceive mockery. Why mock a life - a human life?
I shake my head in my mind.
I cross the road and board a bus.
I'm scared. I open the Gmail app on my phone and start composing a new mail...
I copy and paste.
I post 'A Prayer for a ‘Thief’’.
I’m still scared and in a bus.