There I was, a cockroach looking for my daily akara, when…
I found an abandoned building not far from Ikate market; a nice resting place for a cockroach after eating all manner of orisirisi from Tinko to Jollof Rice. Before your mouth begins to water, let me continue with my story.
I was in my house just chilling when I heard a knock on the door. Quickly, I ran for cover, you never know who will poke their nose into your business these days. I crept near the door and heard three men talking:
Ol’ boy: “this is the building I was telling you about. We can occupy it immediately.
Americana: “Wow, great. Is the shop yours? It says here on the wall, “THIS BUILDING IS NOT FOR SALE. BEWARE OF 419.” When did you buy it and not tell me?
Tifo: [Turning to Ol’ boy] “Americana don come again o. We don’t have to “buy it” to use it. Get with the program, joo.”
Americana: “what do you mean, get with the program? How can we set up shop in a building that we don’t own?
Ol’ boy: Americana, I beg, don’t harass me. Na so we dey do am.
So, the three men broke in and began to put their things in the shop. My eyes opened wide. Sho, is that how a person ‘buys’ a house? But who am I to complain…that’s how I found this place myself. So, Americana, his friends, and I became co-tenants. Their first problem after occupancy was electricity. So, I heard:
Americana: Man, we need to get the power company to hook us up. Where do we pay for electricity?
Ol’ boy: (wagging his chin in laughter) heh, heh, heh, heh…pay for electricity. Watch this. Tifo, connect the wires.
Tifo: Sure thing. I will hook us up to Umpire Bank next door so that our light will be steady and if there is no light, we will be able to tap into their generator. Really cool.
Americana: [objecting] Not cool at all; it is illegal!
Ol’ boy and Tifo: For where? Na so we dey do am, joo.
My co-tenants settled in and started selling bootleg CDs and DVDs that they reproduced fast with the equipment Americana had brought from abroad. They were making money yanfu yanfu. Americana was happy. He had dreamt of coming to Nigeria to harvest the multiple opportunities there were just there for the taking. Then one day, they heard a commotion outside. The owner of the building had brought police to evict them.
Ol’ boy: Oga, what’s the problem?
Police Officer: show me your papers for this shop.
Landlord: they are illegal occupants. They have no papers. Look, these are my papers for my building and I did not sell it to these hooligans.
Tifo: (handing the police officer a wad of cash underneath the forged title of ownership) officer, these are our papers too. We bought this property from someone who said they owned it.
Police Officer: (turning to the owner of the building and pushing them out of the shop) the papers I see are valid. I can’t throw them out of their own building. You will just have to take them to court.
Landlord: (struggling not to leave) Ole! Thieves! I will see you in court!
All this time Americana was shaking in my corner, his eyes bigger than my own compound globes. After the popo left, he spoke.
Americana: (frightened and concerned) Damn it, what the…?! We are toast! How would we prove ownership of this building in court? Did you really buy it from someone?
Tifo: I beg comot my front. We treat the judge just like the popo and we go on with our lives.
Americana: But…but…but you can’t bribe a judge?!
Ol’ boy: Watch and learn, my man; na so we dey do am.
So they continued their jollification until they heard rumors that copyright vigilantes were coming after them for infringing on artistes’ copyrights. So Americana decided to install a new security system that would drop down a false plywood wall to cover the CDs and DVDs with the touch of a switch. It was powered by increased voltage tapped from Umpire Bank. Everything worked well until the vigilantes were on their road.
As every pirate took cover, Americana decided to flip the switch. All of a sudden, I saw a bright yellow spark from an exposed electrical wire. I ran out of the building. SHrrriirring…KABOOM! You could hear the sound of the explosion from Adeniran Ogunsanya Avenue! Everything went up in flames. “That’s right,” I chuckled to myself, “Na so we dey do am.”