My name is Isaac. One sunny afternoon I got haters behind me like green flies on kak.
You mean you don’t know what kak means? Dude, you need an Afrikaans friend.
One of the many haters wondered what the hell I was doing where I was; I had been standing there for like ten minutes, he said. Which was a lie. It could have been about four minutes; definitely not ten.
Another said I could be befuddled by too much beer, or some illegal plant I must have smoked. Youths of these days are so rotten in word and deed.
Another said I could be one of those 21st century-savvy thieves, combining random numbers and not getting through.
“Hey, we are not here to roast in the sun o!” this particular one threw her words at me confidently. “If you know you have nothing to do, just leave the place for God’s sake.
“Bobo ode yi, se ko mo ATM lo ni?” This foolish boy, does he know how an ATM machine works at all?
Look, I know how to use ATMs. That particular machine was just slow that day and it wasn’t my fault, but try reasoning with impatient Nigerians for a few minutes and tell me how easy it is.
A month before then, I had a brief but sweet reunion with an old friend as I was standing beside the road along Oba Adesida road, hoping for a free ride to Oba Ile, because I was down to my last 100 naira. I had not eaten that day and it was already a quarter to six in the evening; so I had planned to use the money to get some garri.
I was hoping for a miracle. My old friend, who came in a new navy blue Toyota and stopped beside me as I was wiping sweat from my forehead with the back of my hand, was the miracle I needed at that time.
After the ‘oh’, ‘ah’ and ‘wow’ and the hugs and the smiles, he wanted to know what I had been doing with my life. He probably wanted my verbal confirmation of the signature of suffering etched on my face in form of wrinkles around my lips and on my forehead.
I had no success story to tell. I swallowed my pride, looked him in the eye and let him in on the bitter truth of the issues I had been grappling with in recent times.
He had been made a commissioner by the state governor, but I had no clue, since I could not get my phone charged for about three weeks prior to that, and I had no time for radio news, no thanks to the burden of survival.
And my phone is not smart, if you know what I mean. Even it if were, how would I be able to do all the internet stuff when something as basic as feeding is like a climb to the mountaintop?
My friend gave me 200,000 naira when I gave him the details about my fish pond and the series of woes that had befallen my past investments in the fishery business. He also gave me 10,000 cash for food and other needs that are not business-related.
About three weeks before I got stinging words fired by the haters behind me I had a little over two hundred thousand naira. Then I went to a church service where the invited minster whose black shoes and matching belt gave mirror-like reflections talked about Abraham, our father in the faith, who gave his Isaac.
Your Isaac is your seed; it is that thing that is dearest to your heart. Pastor Onyeachonam wanted us to wave to the Lord if we believe what he was saying. I waved eagerly, like everyone in the building. Your Isaac, he said, is your ticket to covenant wealth, it is your gateway to unlimited riches from the bank of heaven. It is your exception from the recession, it is your connection.
Pastor Onyeachonam concluded by saying, “If what you have is not enough as your harvest, then it is a seed. Don’t eat your seed. Take a step of faith.
“And what about Isaac?” the preacher continued. “Isaac followed the ways of his father. Isaac sowed in the land where there is famine.”
Then I was so sure the ‘spirit’ was talking to me. My name is Isaac, living through the depressingly dry financial times of Nigeria, and I am a man of faith.
Or maybe I am not a man of faith. Maybe I am a fool, seduced and caged in some religious zoo. That sermon touched me so much that I called the smiling usher in white suit and black bow tie who had a POS device with him. I brought out my debit card and gave my Isaac; the money my friend gave me for my business. 200,000.
I did what I did with the expectation of something instantaneous and incredible; like the stories I’ve heard of people who gave their Isaac and are now swimming in easy money, getting favours like willing sexy young girls with old, ugly billionaires.
So that sunny afternoon, as I stood in front of the ATM with more than a dozen understandably impatient people behind me, trying to see what I could get from the little over a thousand naira that was left in my account after my crazy giving, I had to take in all the insults like a sheep.
When the ATM finally vomited just one note – a one thousand naira note – the pseudo-enemies had more words for me as I shamefully took my money from the metal lips of the machine, folded it, and put it in my pocket.
“So it’s even 1000 naira he wanted to get.”
“1000 naira, can you imagine? All that wahala for 1000.”
“See his head. Olori gbeske.”
“And he is wasting people’s time as if he is withdrawing millions. Ode.”
“If I had known this is all he is wasting time to get I would have given him the money.”
I walked away with my 1000 naira in my pocket, wondering what will happen to me after the money.
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