Waking Up in a Brothel at Obalende.

It is about 1am.

Someone is banging on the door.

Come out come out! Una time don finish! Come out come out! Una short rest don expire!

The human being on the other end of the door for some reason assumes I paid for just a few hours. The time has run out now, and I’m supposed to exit the room with the prostitute I’m expected to be spending time with.

I get up from the bed, sleepy and annoyed.

I paid for a full night! I did not pay for a short rest! I think you have the wrong room!


It is about 3am.

Someone is banging on the door.

Come out come out! Una time don finish! Come out come out! Una short rest don expire!

Jesus Christ. What is wrong with these people.

This time I’m too annoyed to properly get up.

I yell furiously at the person to leave me alone.


It is about 11pm the previous evening.

I am at Obalende. I was on the way to Oyingbo on Lagos Mainland, to purchase some replacement parts for my motorbike. Rear brake pads are worn. Entire chain drive needs to be replaced.

Expenses expenses expenses.

The major bridge connecting Lagos Island to the Mainland has recently been under repair. This has led to an immense traffic congestion on the alternate routes connecting the two segments of the state.

I should have gotten to Oyingbo since afternoon, but for some reason I am still at Obalende at 11pm.

Ugh.

I need a place to spend the night.


I am at a bar.

Drinks. Conversation. Flirtatious interactions.

There are lodgings upstairs. This is the lowest-priced in-house accommodation I was fortunate to come across this night.

It’s a pretty interesting room. At least I find it interesting. It’s in one of these like colonial-era Lagos buildings.

Sharp edges. Gable roofs. Windows made of patterned glass panes fitted into metal frames. I spent my early childhood in one of them.

I do not quite understand these colonial buildings though. They look absolutely nothing like what you’d expect of like usual British architecture. I would expect a much higher number of resplendent Victorian buildings and stuff. I mean, there’s the Cathedral at CMS and there’s this Lagos House place close to the Tafawa Balewa Square, but that’s like just about it.

What did all of those British people do when they were here, if they didn’t build like actual legit British empire kinds of structures?

I don’t know. Maybe I just don’t have such a substantial familiarity with British architecture. My only impression is gotten from movies and the internet.

Possibly if I’m in Britain at some point in the future I’ll make sure to pay close attention, and properly delineate commonalities across British architecture and that exemplified in the general colonial-era Lagos buildings.


I am at a bar.

I have been continually extricating myself from the physical and conversational grips of sex workers since I got here.

Handsome man, Sweet Guy, I want you this night, Let’s go upstairs, I want your cassava today, I am going to show you wonders tonight, etc etc.

The usual perfunctory attention and desire that I imagine the sex workers in this place have learnt to express– a consensual façade for what is little more than a largely unfeeling financial transaction.

Woman stop lying, you don’t really like me. Not really.

You have rent to pay. Tomorrow’s breakfast is not sure. That’s why you’re telling me all of these pretentious things. You took one look at me and came up with an estimate of how much you could obtain from me at the end of a night. Now you’re expressing insincere excitement and desire with the aim of realizing your financial anticipation, let’s stop deceiving each other please.

Now I don’t mean to be sanctimonious or anything, but unless there is a brand of masochism where getting paid for having sex with people you don’t like, is perceived to somehow be more enjoyable and desirable than having sex with someone you’re attracted to and who expresses genuine desire for you, prostitution is a pretty sad situation for the sex workers.

We talk about this. Me and the pretentious woman who is trying to get money from me at the end of the night.

Everything is bad. Life is bad. She needs money. She agrees.

She used to be a DJ. Things happened.

I give her something for her time and leave her to go find actual customers. The night is still young.


It is about 6 am the next morning.

Ahhh!! E fuck you four times, him no pay??? Ahhh!!! Na God go punish am!! Ahhhh!!!

I do not understand what is happening. My sleep has been interrupted multiple times in the past few hours. I still need to sleep some more.

Ahhh!! Why you sef no tell am say you no dey okay??!!

There are multiple female voices in the next room. These people are not going to let me catch the last few minutes of sleep I’m aiming for. An additional hour of sleep is just infeasible at this point.

Oya wash the floor wash the floor!!

Someone is scrubbing the floor. The air smells of soap and disinfectant.

Okay that’s it. That’s it, I have to get up.


It is about 8:30 am.

I need to get to Oyingbo.

There was an issue in the room next to me at the very-low-priced-lodging cum brothel. A sex worker was sick, but was not able to take time off work, most likely due to financial pressures.

She found herself with a particularly demanding customer. Their activity ended with feces on the bed. Feces from her body. The unconscionable customer employed his repulsion at the feces as an excuse to escape the brothel without paying for her services.

The soap and disinfectant I could smell was to clean up the room.

It is about 8:30 am.

I just got some gum.

I need to get to Oyingbo.


Image: View from the bathroom window.

One thought on “Waking Up in a Brothel at Obalende.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s