Stories have been told about computer village which is in Ikeja Lagos. Some true some not. Some of the stories are funny and others not.
It was said in computer village where merchants of technological gadgets magically made phones appear and disappear at will, some merely tricks while others JUJU. I heard of how the traders there could sell a phone to a person with fufu as the battery and dummy phones for the prices of the real ones. Not every store or shop in computer village is as dangerous as people assume them to be. When I was a boy, I always thought of computer village as a place where men and boys with cocked guns were present ready to shoot and take all my money then later hand me a useless device most likely to be a phone.
Hustling is the reality of what happens in computer village. Some people work there to make ends meet, some also work there on the sole aim of swindling people and others do a bit of both. I think the danger people see in computer village is quite overrated although it is not as dangerous as Boko Haram but trust me it’s dangerous.
Let’s go back to when I was in secondary school; it was a fun part of my life, although at a point in secondary school I was referred to as “Chinese Man” because I had watched more than enough Jet Li and Jackie Chan movies and I’d started exhibiting the skills from the movies in my life at that point. I could do some stunts and impressive moves with my hands and legs from movies I had seen. There was this day I got into a fight with a boy, he had his fists up ready to punch me while I had my hand and fingers straight and was exhibiting the moves from the movie “man of tai chi” .The beating I got that day was not from this planet. I lost fights a lot of times but still watched more movies and believed I could get stronger. I could have been hired as a clown because my face was swollen after most fights. I took taekwondo lessons in school.
On that fateful Saturday afternoon years ago, my friend Wale and I came down from the yellow and black cab with carbon monoxide gas hitting our faces due to the badly maintained commercial vehicles at Ikeja. The scorching sun almost turned my brain to omelette. We walked briskly over the pedestrian bridge to avoid the persuasive hawkers who made their products seem the best to buy in the world. The road was crowded with people as usual walking in both directions and people of all ages advertising their products to passers-by.
“You wan sell or buy laptop” “you wan buy phone” “we dey do phone swap” These we heard immensely as we shook our heads or fingers to show nonacceptance to their offers. We proceeded into the depths of computer village, suddenly I saw a man in a yellow shirt holding Wale’s hand, asking him to purchase a phone he swiftly removed from his pocket. Wale pulled his hand from the man’s grip and declined the offer. At that point I looked at Wale and told him to frown and not show any happy facial gesture.
‘’once this people see say you dey smile, they go wan dey hold you, dey tell you may you buy their things, but if you do you face like spoilt moin-moin, they no go even follow you talk’’ These words in pidgin English fell softly from my mouth as I spoke to Wale like I was his father and a professional at visiting computer village. Wale looked at me with the belief I knew the nooks and crannies of the place. We walked back and forth in search of the best phones to purchase from big stores to little shops (We had to be bad guys the following term in school).
We didn’t find the phones we were looking for, so we decided to leave before it got late. Suddenly it started raining and we stood in a store and checked out products as the rain fell. It rained for almost an hour and stopped. We left the store but it was a bit late which made us walk fast. Wale walked faster and was ahead of me when suddenly I felt a tap on my shoulder then looked back and frowned at the man who tapped me, then asked him what he wanted. He said someone was calling me, the man calling me was a few steps away and I thought something had fallen from my pocket, so I went. As soon as I got to the man’s front, I got pushed into a corner; at least if I was fat it wouldn’t have been too easy to push me into the corner. I frowned as the man spoke Yoruba to me ‘’oya gbe was si ta, gbogbo nkan to wa lo wo e’’ which meant’’ bring out everything on you’’ Scenes from movies just started flying in my head and made me think of fighting. ‘’I have nothing on me, let me leave’’ this I told the man and his five lout looking boys behind him. ‘’you dey blow fone for me abi’’ the man said but I cared less because of the movies I had been watching. The worst mistake I made that day was slapping the man, as my hand was leaving his face, the beating started immediately, they punched me mercilessly and also used objects to hit me( I started to think, did I kill the man, I only slapped him now). At a point, I thought I was Jesus and was going to get nailed to a cross after the beating.
The beating was over which left me unable to walk and they had taken my wallet and phone but I still had my life.That was the very perfect time Wale showed up. He helped me up and since that day I vowed to stop watching Chinese action movies.
A WORK OF SEMI-FICTION