Along one of my usual routes to work, there is a vendor, by the vendor a line of shops, toward the end of the line there is a betting shop, they also sell something wrapped in white paper and squeezed together at the tip – I don’t know what is inside, but these folded papers are arranged vertically in a plastic container with a red cover.
There are also sachets of something called Erujeje – again, I don’t know what this is, but men buy it and shout, laugh, and do what they do best inside this shop.
I pass that road frequently and there’s hardly any trouble, just the occasional scuffle between ticket-money collectors and the Okada riders who use the park. On this recent glorious public holiday, I had to take a break from my couch-potatoing to get food items, and what did I meet at this our shop? A fight. No, it wasn’t agbero boys fighting, neither was it ticket guys and okada man, or okada rider and okada rider. It was a man and a woman. The woman was screaming and hitting the man. She seemed to have come ready for a fight. She wore jeans trousers folded up to her knees, a brown wrapper tied firmly around her waist. The usual customers at this shop, were making feeble attempts to restrain the woman but most of them were just watching and laughing.
The man she was beating up was not making any attempt to defend himself, instead he was swaying from side to side, covering his face, but I caught a glimpse of his eyes. They were bloodshot.
Most of the shouting was done in Yoruba so I couldn’t really follow, but from what I could get, they were husband and wife, the man had stolen the woman’s money but why would a well-dressed man – he was wearing a white long-sleeved shirt tucked into black pants and shoes – be stealing money from his wife?
Well, as a proper amebo I couldn’t just shake my head and go, could I? No. So I went to the vendor lady who was watching with her arms akimbo, mouth open for the gist and this is what happened or had been happening.
The man is addicted to gambling, and this is not the first time the wife had trailed him there to cause a scene. He is there in the morning, there after work and stays till they close late at night. Recently, he became a permanent feature – maybe he was fired, now he is using his wife’s money to support his habit.
I clapped my hands, turned my mouth downwards, to encourage my amebo supplier and she continued with the gist. The man owed some people some money that was how he started gambling everywhere. This is not the only place he frequents. The wife has carried him to churches for prayers but no change (Like APC) now he has used the money his wife saved for rent – rent is due in December.
The woman got tired of hitting the man then sat on a low bench and cried. Other traders there consoled her: “madam e do, madam no worry, he go change,” while the man stood there staring at his shoes like a 12-year-old.
When I passed the road on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, I looked out for him, yup, he was there, drinking Erujeje, smoking the thing wrapped in a white paper. SMH.
I don’t know what the moral of the story is, however even if your village people are doing you, help yourself, too. You cannot double money by magic, or get 30% in 30 days legitimately. And as I always preach if you have a problem, go to church, pray, but also seek professional help.
P.S Can you smell Christmas?
Neither can I