The Hustle

Lagos at its Prime.

Have you been out at 6am?

Have you seen my city?

Did you see that man in the white shirt?

Moving faster than he would have liked ?

The paycheck is too little to be cut from

And did you see that girl, at 8, trying to dodge the woman who decided to wash her pot by the road side?

We can’t get palmoil stew on this skirt

Did you see the man sitting comfortably in the back of his car enjoying the view of hawkers trying to sell him what he’d never buy and wondering if the traffic could move any faster?

Well…

I saw them all

I saw the lady at her desk who was half asleep on a Monday morning and unapologetic

I hear she worked all weekend and that she’s tired enough for a whole village

I saw the man at 10, whose eyes were cast down as he realised his ATM card had nothing to give him

I hope it’s not something that can’t wait

I saw the lady at noon, who looked like she had picked her lunch date out of a sea of admirers

And I saw this admirer eager to please

Then I started to wonder how she could have so many and how this man’s options could seem so few

Time went much faster after and I did not notice until I saw the accountant stare at the clock

He looked at it so long it almost seemed like he was hoping he could move that 4 to 5

“Traffic is building on third mainland bridge”, He must be thinking

I hear he leaves in Mowe

If the earth was flat, Mowe would be at its edge

The receptionist was doodling now, What doesn’t kill her will have her wait another hour

I saw the security too. He was very small for a guard and had seemed like a 100 naira tip was enough for him to step out of the way for any criminal

I hope I’m wrong

I saw a bus,

I got on it

There was a boy I saw, he carried a little girl in his lap. And chatted with her the whole ride through

And there was a man in the back causing a racket who wouldn’t pay the conductor his due

There was a woman on the phone, she spoke a language I didn’t understand and very loudly too

And the conductor seemed to like to stretch over my nose, giving off a terrible smell and a not-so-pleasant view

There was a man who fought the conductor to be given money he had not worked for

He punched him even

It wasn’t bloody but the conductor sure was dazed

As the man jumped off the bus

I got off

Too dramatic that bus

I wondered if people always struggled this much to get through every day

“It’s too much”, I said

And then I looked up

And saw a man picking passengers in his tricycle

His crutches beside him, he made ends meet on one leg.