After three months of squatting and receiving a barrage of insults that left me feeling like I was on a lower pedestal than even a vagabond, I was able to secure a one-room apartment from a quiet-looking man whom I believed was far too gentle to hurt a fly. I never knew I had just come in contact with one of the worst evil entities to ever walk this earth.
I had given him two year’s worth of rent and also presented him with a little ‘jara’. Thanking me, he had showed me my room. When I had at last settled in there, I was a bit disappointed. Perhaps, the joy of seeing an apartment at such an extremely low price had temporarily blinded me.
My room(which happened to share boundaries with my landlord’s) was tiny and had a foul stench, as though sexually active male goats had once been kept there. Its darkened walls were crisscrossed with cracks that threatened to succumb to a sudden and fatal crash if the winds became too much.
Anyway, I had found a place to call mine. I remembered I wouldn’t have to receive insults and snide remarks from anyone. There was no feeling as good as that, and I was really glad. But, for just two months.
Things began to go haywire the day rain fell. The winds beat wildly on the walls and before long, my roof began to leak. I brought pots to get the dripping water but soon, the whole room was leaking and soon, it was flooded with my pots floating about. I cursed and hissed, glaring at my mess of a room.
I thought it was over. Well, I was wrong.
In the middle of that night, a crowd of rats and cockroaches, obviously driven from their hideouts by the flood, stormed my room. I am 32, but I didn’t know when I screamed like a kid and fled out. Little did I know that the rain had filled the soakaway to overflowing. I splattered knee-deep into a pile of floating shit.
The very next morning, I stormed to my landlord and demanded that he do something about it. He told me offhandedly to get lost and never be found, that my mates were buying houses in Lekki and I was busy making noise here.
I was speechless with rage.
That day, after baling the water from my room, I went to work. Coming back in the evening and opening my door, I nearly fainted. The wall dividing my apartment from his was gone.
Confused and shocked, I stepped over to meet him, demanding an explanation. He smiled, showing all his teeth and began to explain that there were “new living arrangements”, and that we now had to share rooms.
That same evening, I packed the little property I had, fled the apartment and went back to squatting.
No! I wasn’t ready to die before my time.
AUTHOR: Akpoveta Ovie Joshua