A Typical Night Of A Dope Hustler

Kofi stood at his usual spot on the Pakistan field. At the mouth beside the goal post closest to where the thatched and decrepit face-me-I-slap-you houses were situated. Close to the local Akpeteshi bar at the far corner of the field that hosted a committee of neighborhood drunks laughing as loud as seagulls and catcalling women. Where Kofi stood was a very good spot, a walk through, whoever passed found him.  Kofi kept his dope in a knapsack he threw on the floor.

He smiled when he saw you. He picked the knapsack and took the money you handed him, and then he gave you dope wrapped in brown papers. He took a good look at the stash he had left, and then he looked at where the sun sat in the sky. It would be a long night he must have thought to himself.

Most times you took home the purchase , but that night you stayed back. To observe the surroundings, listen to conversations and to clear your head; a cool evening breeze was blowing.

Kofi came prepared to hustle; it wasn’t the first time you noticed. He wore a hat to cover his face and maybe to keep his head warm, or to cover his dreadlocks, a jacket for when the cold wind blew and sneakers for running. He was the best-dressed hustler in the field, like sunny in the City of God; the rest looked like two-bit hustlers hustling weak dope that gave you a bad chest cough and sore throat. It was even because of Kofi’s dressing and how well he controlled his surroundings that made you patronize him.

You sat and rolled. You paid close attention and studied the typical night of a dope hustler. You took note of the customers and their personalities. Some were students, some locals, some blue collar workers looking for something to ease the pain.

The Junkie: You had a fly on the wall perspective of the perimeter but he appeared from nowhere. The sun had said goodbye and disappeared. A dark skinned man, you couldn’t see his face. He wore a front-button butter shirt, tweed trousers that were jumper and rubber slippers, he braced himself like he caught a cold and he walked slowly like he was in a desert and his feet sank into the sand and prevented him from walking faster than he intended. When he got close he took out a squeezed one cedi note and handed the folded bill to Kofi. Kofi took it and unfolded it, picked his knapsack and took out a wrap and dropped it back on the ground. Normally Kofi handed the wrap to the buyer and he or she left, but it seemed like there was a pre-existing relationship between him and this special buyer. He unwrapped and rolled a blunt, after which he handed it to the man with a match box. First try, second try, third try, up to a fifth and what looked like it was going to be up to an umpteenth time. The match lights, but his hand shook against the cool wind blowing. Kofi knew his matchbox would run out of sticks, he took the matchbox and lighted it for him. The man took it and took a long drag, he inhaled deeply and then took another without expelling the smoke from the first drag, it made him grunt, and he caught the rush and shivered as he slowly blew out the smoke. He went and squat in a corner and took incessant drags, shivering and rocking back and forth.

You take your eyes away from him. Your smoke burned out while you were busy watching the junkie, you took out your lighter to spark it. Just then a guy came to borrow the lighter, and another, and another. The drunks burst out into laughter and then broke into a song; you glanced at them and then looked away.

The Free Bee: A busybody bee buzzed to where Kofi stood. Judging by the handshake and shoulder bump he gave Kofi you figured maybe they knew each other. The bee seemed vibrant, smiled and laughed a lot, touched Kofi as he spoke, and couldn’t stand on his two feet for a second. He told a lot of stories about where he had been and how his day was without being asked, he sang and did small dances, laughed a lot more, played some new music for Kofi. He even came over to you and introduced himself, he talked and you replied halfheartedly. You never cared for the company while you smoked; to you, it was a solitary activity, except among the company of trusted friends. The bee was elated that you were Nigerian; he told you he always wanted to visit Nigeria and that he had heard a lot about the place. You nodded but said nothing. He told you he knew your girl and he was in love with her, he said he loved her skin color and the way the sun kissed it, he said he had never seen a girl so light skinned and after he saw her, his life changed. You laughed. He said if chose the skin he wanted he wouldn’t pick a dark skin. You laughed. The bee asked you if you had siblings and you told you had a few. He let you know he was an only child, and he had just his mother and he worked hard to fend for her, he told you his father was white and had a lot of money but he disappeared after impregnating his mother. He was a love child of a sex tourist was what you heard. It happened all over Africa.

You told the bee to take it easy and carried on with smoking not minding his intrusion. Still, He stood beside you and said nothing, he shifted his weight from one foot to the other, after a while he went back to Kofi and bothered him some more. They bickered in local dialect until Kofi picked up his knapsack, he took out a wrap and reluctantly stretched his hand out to the bee, the bee smiled, praised him and acted like he didn’t want the freebie, and afterward he grabbed it and buzzed off.

It was dark; the moon in all her glory had taken her position in the clouds. There were no star out, which was normal, sometimes it felt like midnight at Seven P.M when the moon refused to come out and there were no stars to represent her. The wind grew extra chilly and you felt like calling it a night.

Trap Queen: Users sidled one after the other to the bench to rest their tired feet. Most of them had conversations with Kofi in the local dialect while some talked among themselves. Kofi spotted her and slinked into the darkness.

She swaggered over kicking dust in the air. She wore a mini skirt, with the zipper, and a floral patterned blouse. On her head were rubber rollers trendy among women. She took stock in search of Kofi and then took out a Nokia phone she had wrapped inside a white handkerchief. After she dropped the call she sauntered closer and greeted everyone, and they greeted her, most of them knew her. She came close and asked if you could share your chair.

Her skin was cool and soft against yours and her buttocks took most of the space. She pressed on her phone and with the reflection you saw her lashes were long enough for levitation if she blinked too fast. She turned and asked if she could smoke with you, you gave her. The freebee approached yet again. When he got close he gave you a handshake, and then grabbed her cheek, they knew each other too. They broke off a conversation in the local dialect and with the replies the Bee gave you noticed she spoke of Kofi. She seemed upset. She took out her phone whined about the receiver not picking.  She cut the call and passed the smoke back to you. The Bee without being asked told her you were Nigerian; she replied and said you looked like “Chukwunna”. A sound escaped your throat and she laughed, a cackle, just then Kofi appeared. When he arrived he took a wrap from his knapsack now fastened around his waist and rolled a blunt, lit it and gave it to her, without any questions asked or words were spoken. She took it. The bench was now free and Kofi sat there after he sat she got up and sat on his thighs. That was my queue.

End.