what a dying man sees
by Oladimeji Ogunranti
Dying Man is full of life. Dying Man lives on a street just like yours, he cheats on his girlfriend, he is the loudest fan of Chelsea football club, he likes the songs of Davido, he complains about the government, he promises to pay his NEPA bills but won't pay on time and the idea of taxes have never occurred to him. Sometimes he posts a grainy picture of himself in a red shirt and his trusted 'Adidos' shoes on Instagram to tell his three hundred and seventy-five followers that he's living the fast life. And at other times, the picture shows him in that same red shirt at a table drinking Orijin with the caption am a baller for life. Enemies cn go 2 hell. However, that antic does not get to you, because you know that tomorrow he is going to ask you to lend him two hundred Naira for him to pay his okada fare with a promise to pay you back upon his arrival. You are sure that he won't return it. Not because you know that he does not have the money and he is trying to pull a fast one on you, but because he is going to die today.
So, Dying Man wakes you up in the morning because he has the loudest home theatre set in the area. You cannot do anything about it because Dying Man is the emperor of his small room in your face-me-I-face-you compound. I’m sure that you know that he lives in the most prestigious part of Lagos called Okokomaiko. When he came to knock on your door, to your great relief, you hand him the two hundred Naira note and you wish he goes to the remotest parts of hell.
You wake up in the afternoon and step on the balcony. You see the familiar yellow of a danfo bus come into your compound. You are stunned when you see Osas and his friends from the police force coming into your compound with insults, guns and beer bellies. You step out of their way and run to your room to get your phone. You are thinking of the hashtags to add to the video you are recording and how many people will follow your account after the video starts trending on Twitter. OMG, you're finally going to be a star after all.
As for Dying Man, all he sees is his door open and that pisses him off. Next, he sees blue sparks from the harsh introduction of his face to the greetings of the police in the beloved form of a dirty slap. He feels the stubby fingers of Osas and it slips into the waistband of his trousers and the waistband tightens leaving him unable to escape not because Dying Man cannot run, but because nobody outruns fate. Dying Man finally knows that all handcuffs are cold when those governmental bracelets are introduced to his wrists. He is thrown on the floor of the danfo and left there as and your landlord asks Osas about Dying Man’s crime but Osas never gives a clear answer.
A friend of Osas picks up Dying Man and asks him to go home. Dying Man does not understand what sort of providence this is. Yet he is taken home with his hands shackled. Osas calls Dying Man by name and Dying Man turns around. All Dying Man sees is a rusty AK47. All he feels is a cold spine and a burn in his chest. All he hears is, Police no dey waste time. All he sees is a blur of grey and red.
Here, in front of your house, in his red shirt, lies Dead Man and in a moment of epiphany, you realize that you are a Dying Man. You pick up your phone and the old hashtag that everyone uses in situations like this comes to you. #EndOsas
Oladimeji 'Qasoomah' Ogunranti was born and bred in Lagos, Nigeria. He is an Obafemi Awolowo University alumnus of literature-in-English. He is also a photographer, filmmaker, and art curator. He intends to use his works to induce people to have conversations about the hard truths of society. He is previously the Deputy Editor-In-Chief (Production) of the Association Of Nigerian Authors, Obafemi Awolowo University. He edited and published Why I Sing Great Ife At Weddings, an anthology of poetry from the students of Obafemi Awolowo University.