I used to be so famous!
He pronounces the word “famous” strangely. I think it’s amusing.
But he is looking severely despondent right now- I cannot afford to laugh. In fact, I do not think I am capable of laughing right now- I myself am not in the most flamboyant of situations.
All over this island. Everybody knew me. Calling my name everywhere.
Famous! Everybody knew me!
He is hungry.
I just made some rice. I put some spice and cloves and chopped garlic in it. There’s this interesting seasoning I’ve been trying recently. It’s in a bright yellow pack. It’s really tasty. I put some of that in the rice too. And then I broke some eggs over the rice when it was almost done. I’m not quite sure what that method of cooking eggs is called. I don’t think that’s poaching.
He takes a spoonful.
Mmm. This rice is sweet.
Usually when someone from Nigeria describes food as “sweet”, they mean the food is delicious.
Thank you very much.
I am glad he likes my cooking. I know the food tastes good and so I am not so much in need of his culinary validation, but at least the compliment could be perceived as some sort of compensation for my shortened ration.
We keep talking.
I am trying to get some perspective on what happened to him in the first place.
How did all of this happen?
I don’t know, I don’t know!
He is dejected. And confused. And disoriented.
I feel sad for him.
I was kicked out of the apartment because I was behind in my payments. Now I have no place to stay!
That Cape Verdean girl never gave me rest. Always causing me trouble and spending my money as quickly as I was making it. Ah!
He is staring into the blank space ahead of him, like his past is right in front of us.
He looks like he has a bitter taste in his mouth.
Where is she now?
She left, she disappeared once there was nothing anymore!
Oh man. Oh man.
Did you love her?
He did not even wait for me to finish.
He is wringing his hands.
She is not the woman of my love!!
The woman of my love is in Praia!!!
Oh man. Oh man.
We keep eating.
So what’s the plan now?
Ah, I just need some money.
He begins to gesticulate with his hands.
Once I mix the four gram with the eight gram, I’ll begin to multiply the money. I have my people. My people know me. Once I tell them I’m back, they’ll begin to come. Once that begins to happen, things’ll gradually get back to normal.
He is talking about grams of cocaine. He is extremely confident in his proficiency as a cocaine dealer. I can see him already counting the money with his fingers. He just needs some capital.
I have some research funds coming from an NGO in Nigeria in a few days. It’s not much, but it’s something.
I caution myself, so I do not begin to actively consider a possibility involving a narcotics investment.
We keep talking. I try to offer some words of encouragement. Ask some critical questions with the hope that they would inspire some proactive, optimistic thinking. Try to up his mood and motivation somehow.
He looks at me with a faint smile.
Ah! You are the one I should have been talking to since all these days!
All the people I used to spend my time with, they would never tell me anything like this. They would never ask these kinds of questions. Ah I love you so much!
I’m not quite sure how to feel about his compliments. I am going to need all of these evidently laudable cognitive qualities to convincingly prove themselves in my life first.
Mister Smart Guy whose life is not smart.
We keep eating.
Image Credits: https://alert-ab.ca/public-safety/illegal-drugs/cocaine/