Tucked in densely populated Isale Oja.
Once a happy home for his family of 6 and himself.
The neighborhood’s thrift collector.
Wiped off tears that cascaded freely from reddened eyes.
Knowing he had a decision to make
One that left him only 3 options.
Absconding with other people’s money was choice one.
But it was an option.
That left beloved one’s open.
To attacks and endless humiliations.
Derogatory remarks and bawdy wisecracks.
His thoughts tinkered around option two.
Which was not even an option to him.
How could he face the low income earner crowd.
Who entrusted a part of their daily pittance.
To his care.
Like they did his father.
And grandfather before his father.
Option 3 had his left hand.
Instinctively curl round the cold weapon he held loosely.
This cold tool.
Offered him an uneasy warmth.
In a twisted way.
It held a flicker of honor and restitution.
Fingering it absent mindedly.
He let his thoughts wander.
To that sunny afternoon in the recent past.
When while making his daily rounds.
Within the neighborhood and environs.
He decided to stopover.
At Iyá Àlágbo’s shop.
For a cup of herbal aphrodisiac.
The brackishly concocted local mixture.
That was meant to bolster his ageing libido.
A late evening rendezvous.
With his mistress.
It was on that accursed day.
He found out why.
Clients were withdrawing funds en masse.
The stories he heard excited him.
Of people making lots of money.
Investing in this new business.
That had high turnover rates and glowing testimonials.
Even Baba Eleran.
An infamously renowned miser.
Offered him a bottle of cold.
Lager beer and peppered stock fish.
Ascribing his new found.
To this business that paid investors bountifully.
Feeling the neuro transmitting rush of adrenaline in his guts.
Asked a simple question.
“Baba Eleran. How i go take join this business na?”
“Nor worry my brother, just…” replied Baba Eleran.
And so it was.
That he began the journey.
To becoming one of thousands of marks.
Who fell victims to Mavrodi’s brilliant Ponzi deception.
In the network scam scheme.
Popularly called MMM.
Selectively known as tripple M.
Or in the Yoruba catchphrase.
Never a proponent of money doubling.
And prudently distrustful get rich quick schemes.
How did he sacrifice a hard earned reputation.
Built over 2 decades.
Battling the elements and other hazards of his trade.
Compromise passion and integrity.
On a wasteful scam scheme.
Who never toyed with punctual payments.
Disbursing on demand.
Now defaulted payments to clients.
His inability to meet deadlines had not gone unnoticed.
Wagging tongues bred suspicion.
And conspiracy theorists.
Who propounded preposterous reasons why he was now defaulting.
Some of these theories made him laugh.
Others shamed him.
But just then.
His thoughts were shattered.
By voices he recognized as clients.
“Where im domot dey?”
Squealed a voice he recognized as Iyá Àlágbo.
“Ole jàtijàti… iyàrà ë niyën” replied his neighbor.
The knocks became a bang on the door.
“We know say u dey inside, come out Onigbese or we go break this door down”
More tears streamed down his eyes.
What will happen to his wife of 15 years… his kids?
Will they forgive him for failing them?
The commotion outside made option 3 inevitable.
Opening his mouth wide.
Tongue touching cold steel.
He pulled the trigger.