Much Ado About A Bowl Of (Ogun) Water

Inspired By True Events.

This story is very short. Because I was really tired when it happened. Or I’m tired now. I don’t know which. Anyway-

11pm and it’s been a long day and even a longer drive. I just want to crawl into bed with my Orijin 6-pack, a box of Pringles and binge watch leftover episodes of Jessica Jones till 2am, get 2 hours of sleep, then up to go to work the next day. Don’t say it. I know my life is hard. But I digress…

11pm. So it happens that a teenage boy working in a local photography studio has been accused of stealing a mobile phone from a customer. (Who takes passport photos at midnight though?) He promptly denies the crime, violently even, as the phone could not be found on him.

He is flailing his arms, threatening bodily harm on anyone who dares call him a thief; he is very, very vocal about his innocence. Threats of police arrest were useless. The accused also threatens to ‘call’ an ‘SP’, whatever that is.

He repeatedly insults his accuser: “That’s how you people with big phones go around calling people thieves when you are the real thieves!” and so on and so forth.

The phone in question was a Blackberry Passport.

After almost 30 minutes of wild shouting and gesticulation, a local Vulcanizer by the name of ‘Oye’ (meaning ‘Harmattan Wind’) proposed a solution. He appears with a metal bowl filled with water, lays his hands over it, mutters some incantations, and asks the boy to swear over the bowl of water that he did not steal the phone.

The silence is palpable. The boy begins to tremble. Cue Nollywood suspense soundtrack.

Gone are the assertions of guiltlessness. Wild claims of innocence evaporated. In its place are tears and pleading on knees. Ise Esu Ni. It is the devil’s work. The Blackberry Passport mysteriously appears in his pocket. Wonder of wonders. The phone is returned. Several heavy slaps and kicks are delivered. The boy scampers away into the night. I walk over to the Vulcanizer.

What was in that water?

Which water?

The water the boy you asked the boy to swear on.

Oh that one? It is my bath water.

Bath water?

Bath water.

What did you say into the water?

Adura Oluwa.

The Lord’s Prayer. So you are not..??

Ogun worshipper? No, I am Catholic.

5 minutes later, the small crowd had vanished. I love my neighbourhood.



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