Fresh Palm Wine, a local drink in Nigeria

Photo by Bukola James (Wikimedia CC)

The Lagos Life

Ojingiri Hannah

It all started with a question: “Where would you go if the world were to end right now?” Baba Shayo asked his friends, Jagun and Debo. They both looked at each other, contemplating how to answer the question, with flashes of all their past misdeeds. Debo extended his gaze to Jagun’s protruding belly, which resembled a bulging bag of dirty laundry and left him with the image of the Nigerian flag. This made him burst into laughter, saying, “Look, my friends, I think what we need to address isn’t where we’re going after this life but how long Jagun’s tummy will keep growing.”

Jagun took the joke the wrong way and hurled insults, emphatically proclaiming that Debo wouldn’t make it to heaven. As the argument began to escalate, Baba Shayo quickly diffused the tension with soothing words and confided in the comfort of Debo. They left Baba Shayo’s house for a popular palm wine spot, where they encountered women who offered their services with a simple “Omoge, oma fine ke (Hey baby, you look so beautiful).” Generous customers would sometimes treat these women to indomie, and occasionally, they’d receive five hundred naira.

Baba Shayo and Debo secured seats closer to each other while Debo ordered palm wine to be served. One of the women, Kemi, tried to seduce Debo by wiggling her hips and raising her breast with a seductive expression. Debo exclaimed, “Wó! If I take you home, my wife will kill me and leave me for the street dogs to eat.” Without hesitating, she abandoned Debo and moved closer to Baba Shayo. He allowed his tongue to flirt with his lips, swirling it back and forth, while giving a quick wink.

Kemi giggled with the contentment of finding someone with similar interests. Baba Shayo lavishly spoiled Kemi with palm wine before they decided to lodge in a local motel with a large signboard that read “no money, no room.” They entered, and Baba Shayo quickly tried to appear sophisticated as he dipped his hand into his pocket to retrieve his tattered leather purse. Shaking slightly, he asked, “Which room is available?” The receptionist stood up to collect the card and saw Baba Shayo’s prick standing erect, almost hitting the slab front desk. Hastily, she handed him the key to room 501. Kemi took the key and ushered Baba Shayo into the room. It was a steamy night, the whole motel had a bad night with loud moaning coming from their room.

At the break of dawn, the first person Baba Shayo saw was his wife, who was cleaning the room to prepare it for another customer. He exclaimed, “Moku o (I’m dead).” His wife gave a wicked smile, removed the mop head, and chased after him. Without even thinking of putting on his trousers, he ran out of the motel in his underwear, panting until he found shelter at a convenience store. There, he called Debo, who came to pick him up, emphasizing the point, “In the end, everybody go chop breakfast. Today, my friend, it’s your turn.”

Ojingiri Hannah has work published in Brittle Paper, Kalahari Review, Reedsy, Story Mirror and In her spare time, she enjoys reading inspirational quotes and is often found motivating others or spreading joy and positivity through her words. Her efforts were recognised in 2019 when she emerged as one of the winners of the Embracing Our Difference quote. She lives in Nigeria. 

Twitter: @HannahOjingiri