I hate going to the office on Saturdays. I actually don’t like going to the office at all even on normal work days, but you know how it is now, this son of man has to eat. Every day I wake up reluctantly at 5 a.m. to the shrill sound of my demonic alarm, wondering why in the world Adam had to eat that cursed fruit in the first place and get his and Eve’s temptingly cute ass booted out of Eden. Shebi if he hadn’t fallen for that cheap apple trick (I see you Abacha), all of us for dey nonstop groove inside that beautiful garden by now, naked, and without a care in the world as to how food will climb our tables. But brother Adam fall our hand yakata, he chose to get suckered like that and now all of us must pay the price by suffering and working hard to garner the basics of life. This is the only reason why I work.
It’s true that I don’t like work that much, but it’s also true that I like hunger far less.
This particular Saturday in question, I had to be in the office to tidy up some leftovers in order to prevent a logjam on my table during the next week and after two hours of some serious paper pushing without any distractions, I was pretty much done and ready to head back home. Then my stomach started rumbling.
Food gets scarce in Victoria Island during weekends, so that morning I’d eaten the remainder of my dinner from the previous night – some moin moin I bought from Mama Tawa on my street. Being in a hurry to get out and about before all those voluminous agbada and skyscraper gele wearing people attending various owambes around the city of ‘gidi, I’d eaten it without warming it up first and rushed out of the house. That was a very bad idea, as proven by the current conflict in my stomach. Common sense told me not to dare the unpredictability of Lagos traffic and head for home without a resolution, so I decided to discharge before leaving.
Now the toilet in my office wing is not too shabby as toilets go; consisting of a row of eight closets on one side and six urinals on the opposite wall. Usually busy during working hours and kept sparkling clean by a small army of attendants, today it was empty as expected, and I chose the last closet on the far side to do my business.
I’d barely taken a seat on the throne of waste when I started hearing muffled voices coming from one of the stalls beside me.
Voice 1: “How far? S’oo ti yo jade?” (How far, have you brought it out?) Voice 2: “Beeni, mo ti yo.” (Yes I have)
A slight pause…
Voice 1: “Kini ti mo n wo yi ti to bi ju o, se o sure pe o maa wole sha?” (This thing I’m looking at is too big, are you sure it will enter?) Voice 2: “O maa wole. Eeyan kan maa ni lati rora kibo ni.” (It will enter. One will just have to insert it carefully)
Instantly my ears pricked up where I was, and a thousand and one evil thoughts roared inside my skull. The business I’d originally come to do was totally forgotten as I entered full aproko mode.
“Warrisdis? Inside the office toilet? Impossible!”
I couldn’t tell which was more impossible to believe, the implication of what I was hearing or that both voices were male. Now fully attentive, I pressed my ear to the wooden partition separating me from them, straining to pick up every tiny sound coming from their side.
Voice 1: “To o ba so bee. Duro na, bawo lo se gun to?” (If you say so. Wait, how long is it?) Voice 2: “Ko gun pupo, six inshes pere ni. Mo ti won tele.” (It’s not that long, just six inches. I measured it earlier) Voice 1: “Okay, joo rora sha o.” (Okay, please do be careful.)
By this time I could no longer stand or sit still, so I dragged up my trousers and jumped out of the cubicle without flushing, careful enough not to make any noise to avoid discovery and walked on tiptoe closer to the stall where the conversation seemed to be coming from.
Once there, I leaned towards the door and heard a shuffling sound and then some grunting. That went on for a couple of minutes before they spoke again.
Voice 1: “S’oo ti se tan?” (Are you done?) Voice 2: “Beeni moti se tan.” (Yes I am) Voice 1: “Oya fi aso yen nu nkan too da s’ile yen ka jade. A a mo boya eeyan kankan wa n ta to fe lo bi.” (Now use that rag to wipe the stuff you poured on the floor and let’s leave here. Who knows if somebody is outside waiting to use this place?)
There was more movement and then the sound of a zipper being drawn.
Then the door opened.
Standing there, bag and pipes in hand and looking curiously at my eavesdropping self were two plumbers.