Jimmy sat on the bed, with his head in his hands. He sobbed quietly, and tears and mucus dripped from his face to the ground. To think that such had happened to him! To think that such misfortune had befallen him! As he went over the whole incident in his mind for the umpteenth time, he smacked the bed in frustration.
He looked at the mess on the floor before him and appeared startled. Had all of that really come from him? He got up and hurriedly began to clean the room. His roommate, Tola, would soon be back, and if he met him not only crying, but also with a puddle of tears and mucus before him, he would laugh till Jimmy almost died of shame.
He cleaned up the room, and wiped his face dry. Soon, Tola sauntered into the room and flung everything around the room in his usual manner. His shoes went under the wooden chair, his shirt went onto the door, his trousers went onto the mattress, and he was left in just his singlet and boxer shorts. He clutched his bag in his hand, that was the only thing he held on to.
“How far, my guy?” he said to Jimmy as he walked onto the mattress and sat down. Jimmy grunted an unintelligible answer; and watched as Tola emptied his bag of its contents. Phones of different models, shapes, and colours fell onto the mattress as Tola shook it.
“If you won’t ask me, i’ll tell you. Business was good today. I just dey pick phone like say super glue dey my hand. People don dey careless o!” Tola said as he began to count and examine the phones. Jimmy just continued watching and said nothing.
“Hmmm! These will fetch me a nice amount. If I sell this one for ten thousand, and this one for twelve…hmmm! Money don come! How market for you, Jimmy?” Tola asked.
“Fine,” Jimmy mumbled. Tola looked up from the phones and turned to look at Jimmy.
“Jimmy, wetin do you? Why you quiet?”
“Nothing? What do you mean ‘nothing’? Since I came in, you’ve been sitting there, looking like you lost money. You troway money?”
“If it was just money, I might not be this sad,” Jimmy replied and hissed.
“So you troway something. Wetin you troway?” Tola asked. “Guy, talk na. Wetin do you? Where your cargo for today, or you no go town?”
Jimmy clutched his head in frustration. If he did not talk, Tola would keep pestering him till he did. Why not just tell him now? Tears filled his eyes and threatened to fall as he began to tell Tola what had happened.
He had gone out that morning to pick pockets as usual. The day had been very good. He had picked three very nice phones; one Tecno C8 Canon, one Samsung Galaxy S5, and one Infinix Hot Note Two. He hurriedly switched them off and went to sell them off. By the time he was done haggling over the prices of the phones, it was early afternoon. He got forty two thousand naira for the three phones. He walked back to the road with a spring in his step and looked out for more potential victims. He used a very simple technique. When he sighted a person with a phone-sized bulge in their pockets, he would wave frantically at them. Then he would run to them and hug them tightly like they were his long lost friend. While the tight hug lasted, he would gently slip the phone out of their pocket and into his own pocket. He would then disengage himself from them, yell goodbye, “Greet mummy and daddy for me”, and other useless greetings, then mount Ahmadu’s waiting bike and speed away. By the time the ‘long lost friend’ realised they did not know him, he would be long gone.
He saw another potential ‘long lost friend’, a young secondary school boy, and did the routine. He hugged the boy, took his phone and sped away on Ahmadu’s bike. When they got to a place where he could examine the phone, he took it out and almost screamed from sheer ecstasy. It was an iPhone 6s. Lord Jesus! What was that young boy doing with a phone this expensive? He told himself he would not sell the phone, at least not now. After paying Ahmadu off, he went back to the road. He began to walk home after telling himself he was done for the day.
As he walked home, he saw a young lady with an impressive bulge in her pocket. He looked at her and looked away. He would not steal her phone, he had already told himself that he was done. However, as he walked away, he could not resist the urge to turn and look back at her. The lady saw him looking at her and also looked at him, albeit warily. She wondered if she knew him. Jimmy could not resist the urge. He waved at her and went to hug her.
“You don’t remember me? It’s me! From secondary school!” he hugged her tightly, and took her phone. “It’s so good to see you again after so many years!” he said as he slipped the phone into his pocket. “I have to rush now. I hope we see again.”
He hurriedly flagged down a bike and rushed away. When he got to the room, he sat down on the bed and began to bring out his cargo for the day. He was shocked when all he could come up with was a “Chinco” phone that seemed to be made of nothing but stainless steel. Yes, it was a touchscreen phone but it was useless. He searched all of his pockets but could not find the iPhone. The money he had made was also gone. All he was left with was a stainless ‘Chinco’ phone! If only he had listened to his mind and ignored that lady!
By the time he was done with the story, the tears were no longer just sitting in his eyes, threatening to fall. They were all over his face, along with mucus. Tola was sprawled, the lower half of his body on the mattress and his upper half on the floor, convulsing with laughter.
“Yeeeeh! Jimmy Jimesco! You thief woman Chinco, and she thief your iPhone and money! Jesus! Na you be the Kabiyesi of all the mumu wey dey this life!”
As Jimmy continued to cry, Tola got into a bowing position and paid obeisance.
“I greet you, your royal highness, King of Mumu Land!”