“Johnny, abeg nor vex. Di story long but I nor go fit meet you today. We fit arrange for weekend?”
“Weekend ke? Di girl dey here wit me now, you dey talk weekend. Abeg nor fall my hand o!”
“Ah, you for tell me na. I tink say na just me and you go yarn today, then arrange to meet am. I no get money for trans.”
“See dis guy o! You be learner? You no get Oyster card?”
“Oh boy, nor vex na. I get, di ting just mess me up big time. How we go do with di babe? I fit talk to am for phone?”
“No o. You know as dis oyinbo people be.” Johnny come quiet small, e be like e dey tink. “Ok, drop, make I talk to am, explain the situation, see wetin she go talk. I go call you back.”
“Ok, no yawa. Thank you.”
As I drop phone, I begin waka go back house. E bin don tay when I pray but if you see di way I begin beg God say make e just help me for dis matter ehn, you go tink say na me be pastor. I begin quote Bible. Then my phone ring, na Johnny again.
“My guy, e be like say your juju strong well-well. Di babe talk say she nor even need to meet you sef, say make we arrange everything, tell am date, she go meet us for court.”
I nearly drop for phone, I nor fit believe say e go easy reach like dis. I come tell God thank you for my mind.
“Talk true.” Small-small doubt come dey enter my mind. “You sure say di girl no be 419?”
“You nor trust me? No worry, she dey ok. I go arrange everything for you. I go text you di girl bank details. She say she go take 1k upfront, then di balance after everything don complete.”
“Ah, Johnny, God go bless you well-well. Thank you o.”
“No worry na, you be my main man.”
Johnny send me di babe bank details. E tell me say di babe don dey rake, wan vex nor do again. E talk say di babe say unless I pay di full amount, she go waka. Me sef I begin vex, I tell Johnny say make she go, we go find anoda pesin. Johnny beg me say make I cool down. E advise me to pay the whole £1,500. Me sef, I come tink am. I don dey dis matter of kpali almost three years now. I dey live like rat. Every time I hear siren I go dey wonder whether na me dem dey find. I nor fit find better work, na only boy-boy work wey I fit do. I don dey save all dis time for opportunity like dis. Now when e don come make I no take vex spoil am. Na im I come gree for di babe tell Johnny say I go pay all di money.
Fear no gree me do online transfer before somebodi go tell me say di money nor reach di account. £1.5k nor be beans. I waka go bank wit di money wey I withdraw from my branch, pay am to teller, collect receipt. After that last time wit di Oyster card, I keep di receipt for inside my wallet. I no wan hear story. I call Johnny to ask am to confirm wit di babe say she don get di payment. E say e go call am then get back to me.
Na so I wait taya, no call from Johnny. I come begin panic. When I call am, di number dey unavailable. See me, see trouble. Our people talk say, “siddon look na dog name.” Me I no be dog, na im I come decide to go Johnny house go wait am, after all agaracha must to return. When I reach di house where Johnny dey share with like eight other people, na big house sha, dem tell me say Johnny don pack comot. Cold begin catch me even though sun bin dey shine well-well.
I confuse. Dat money na all my savings since three years from all di yeye work wey I do, dey chop insult on top. I nor even know how to reach di babe as I nor get her number. I dey tink wetin I go do, I nor look as I dey cross road. Na im I hear motor as e try to brake, come feel myself dey fly for air like bird. After dat, I nor remember anything till I wake up for inside hospital bed.
As I try open eye, I hear one voice, “Oh good, you’re awake now. Are you in pain?”
Na di nurse. I try to answer am but my throat dry like sahara desert.
“Don’t try to talk. Here, drink this, the doctor will be in to see you soon.” She help me siddon for di bed, come give me tablet and water wit for inside plastic cup. Na dat time I come notice say my left leg dey inside POP.
As di nurse comot di room go call doctor, I begin look around. Four bed dey inside di ward but na only me dey occupy bed. I begin wonder how I go take pay the hospital bill on top of the money wey I don already loss.
E nor too tay when di doctor come. But no be only am follow. Two police follow, one man and one woman. Two other men wey wear suit follow too. Their suit be like something wey carpenter sew. Even if pesin dash me sef I nor go wear. Before I fit wonder wetin all of dem dey find, doctor begin explain my condition. E tell me say I dey very lucky say I nor injure pass dis. E say I break my leg and e go dey inside di POP for six weeks. Apart from that, e say na just small-small wound where my skin scratch comot as I land for di coal tar. E talk say e go discharge me the next day. E tell me say as na pesin jam me, I get to make statement to di police and say di two other men na lawyer before im waka comot leave us.
Fear dey catch me to talk to police but I understand di reason why dem come but di lawyer nko? Wetin be their own for here? Na so I begin wonder which kain trouble I don enta wey lawyer find me. Whether na di arrangee wey Johnny plan for me? Abi na Johnny nor pay di babe na im she send lawyer to find me? Na so headache begin worry me from all di question inside my head.
As I bin dey give police dem my statement, na so my voice just dey shake.
“Take your time, Mr Johnson. Tell us everything you can remember.” Dem bin dey reassure me, dem nor know di ting wey dey do me. “Whatever information you can provide will help us track down the hit-and-run driver.” Anyway I tell dem di one wey I remember. Dem give me card, ask me to call dem if I remember any other ting before dem comot.
“Mr Johnson, I’m Chris Hudson and this is my colleague, Michael Price. We’re from Injury Lawyers 4 ‘U’. We help victims of accidents get compensation on a no-win no-fee basis.”
Excitement begin bubble for my chest but I just calm make I dey sure wetin dem dey talk. “Ok?”
“If you’re happy for us to represent you, we can guarantee compensation of up to £17,000.”
As I hear that one, I nearly jump comot for di bed begin dance Azonto. I tell them say I gree make dem represent me na im dem give me form make I sign. I sign dem quick-quick. E be like say God don butter my bread back and front.
Two months don pass since I comot hospital. Doctor don comot di POP. Di leg dey heal small. My lawyers dem help me take my case go court. Dem warn me say insurance companies dem no like to pay out money, say dem go look for every excuse not to pay. Dem ask me whether I don commit any crime or whether police don arrest me before as that one go disqualify me. I lick my finger, point to the sky, swear to God say I never commit any crime.
Anyway, I win di case but the judge say im go give im ruling in two weeks’ time. Every day, I dey wait make the lawyers dem send me letter to tell me how much the judge award me for my compensation. Na so, this morning, letter land.
I read di letter again. I don already read am many times but I no fit believe wetin I dey see. £20,000! Na im be how much the court talk say dem go pay me for di accident. Di lawyers go collect 25% for their fees but I go still get £15k.
“Come and join me sing halleluyah, Jehovah Jireh has done me well.” Na so I dey sing, dey dance for inside my flat. I begin tink of all di tings wey I go fit take di money do. I don dey plan how I go go shopping buy myself beta cloth. I don dey calculate how much I go send to my mama and brodas for Naija. My belle just dey sweet. Finally, after all di suffer wey I don suffer for dis Jand, my own dey better.
When pesin begin bang for door, I nor answer, I tink say na my panla neighbour. I continue to do dey sing and dance. Na when I hear, “Mr Johnson, open the door, it’s the police,” na im I know say wind don blow, fowl yansh don open.
I open door. I nor even fit count how many police dem dey there. All of dem wear bullet-proof.
“Yes, that’s me.” Before I fit say ‘Jack Robinson’, dem jack me up, turn me around, put handcuffs for my hand, anoda one chain me for leg.
“Mr Johnson, I am arresting you for overstaying your visa and remaining in the country illegally. You do not have to say anything but it may harm your defense…” I no fit listen again. Blood rush go my head, e be like say my heart dey beat inside my ear. As dem push me go di van, I begin cry. Chei! My £15k don go be dat. Na im I know say true true, oturu beke, yawa don gas.