It was the sun’s day. The elements cringed, as did the people. Many young men diligently pumped their bicycles down the tarred roads. They all had a large cooler of ice-cream sitting on the face of the bicycle, from which they flung their products into the hands of ravenous children. The children smiled as their refreshments slowly melted onto their tongues.
People who had no business outside stayed in. Maruwas, okadas and the water truck vendors a their wheels. Blood from the butchers’ knives flowed down the abattoir’s drain and coagulate on the now dirty slabs. In the day’s swelter, Beth sat with the abnormals, smoking under the whip of the sun. As the sun stepped down from its pedestal, they’d clean up, for now smoking pipes and cigarettes while bickering about the economy seemed a wiser option than working in the baker’s oven outside.
She’d counted three herds of cattle pass. Their horns were massive, and they staggered with such a boldness that they brushed on peoples’ shoulders without flinching. She was in Lagos, but the cows reminded her of Ibadan. She remembered how Tolu, her elder brother fried garri in Iya Nafisat’s rickety shed; he gracefully turned and flattened the ground cassava, never pulling his broom from the open flame for too long. She remembered how she went to Bodija abattoir to collect cattle manure for mama’s farm.
Beth had taken the day off to investigate a recent kidnap near an inexpensive estate, many of which had been cropping up very rapidly. She checked her wrist watch; a rhinestone faced black leather strap watch with a picture of Nancy Drew. 3:30; time for the meeting with her informant. She bought a bottle of Coke from a young girl, and then set off.
Beth crossed the hole-ridden road and greeted the stranger standing in a yellow cap and black shorts.