“What is he doing that they should give him a loan of N25 million? This is the third time this week.”
“Him na our man we go support am even if say na the wrong thing e dey do.”
“The Sun is too hot for illogical statements, are you hearing yourself?”
“Abeg, commot your mouth for here, wetin you know? ”
Mr. Logic and Mr. Green Beret were at it again.
It was just 9 am and the sun was already out and blazing. So much so that one could fry plantain on top of any of the cars. Activities were well underway at the mango market. Madam Bolly was already fanning the coals under her plantains and yams to roast them and you could smell her signature pepper sauce somewhere in the mix. Her selling spot was right beside the newspaper vendor under the big mango tree in the middle of the market.
Like Madam Bolly, many sellers strategically positioned their goods around the newspaper vendor because over time, they had realized that his newspapers attracted many people effortlessly.
Every morning, the old man would come with the newspapers, lay them all out on the floor and sit under his small kiosk waiting for his customers. Soon after, one person would come, then three, then nine, and later, 50 people would be gathered at his kiosk discussing the news for the day. All sorts of characters frequented his kiosk but there were three major characters. The buyers, the debaters, and the listeners.
The buyers usually spent the least amount of time at the kiosk. They would arrive, look through the papers, select, pay and be on their way, occasionally, they would pause to listen in on the conversations before leaving.
The listeners were there majorly to hear the recent gist and be entertained. Once in a while, they would buy but most of the time, they would just listen and go.
Then the debaters. As the name indicates they were always there to argue. They would argue different topics until they were tired then they would leave but they never reached a conclusion, and they hardly ever bought any newspaper.
Market trips were never my favorite but my mother had sent me to buy some foodstuff from the market and as a child from a Nigerian home, I had no choice but to go. Today, however, it was mango market. She had stopped sending me to this market because whenever she did, I hardly ever returned on time but today, the closest place to find what she needed was mango market.
“Joke, don’t forget yourself there oo! Buy it and come back. You don’t have to go to the newsstand.”
I had already bought what she asked me to buy, but I decided I would just pass by the newsstand. At least, she said “don’t go” not “don’t pass”.
“Ahn Ahn, no be last week, we buy Ronaldo?”, I could already hear Mr. Green Beret. He was always the one to start the arguments.
“Ronaldo no dey play shi shi na Messi be di guy” That was Mr. Yellow Singlet. He always wore a formerly white singlet that had seen many tough years.
“How many goals wey Messi don score dis season?”
“Mr. Green Beret and Mr. Yellow Singlet, why are you both speaking like you own stakes in any of these clubs? Do they pay you?” Mr. Logic was always the one looking for a logical point in every argument and he often got into arguments with Mr. Green Beret until they both got tired and went home.
Many times I wondered if these men had jobs or if this was their way of getting away from their reality. Was there something more to the arguments and raised voices? Was there peace at home? Or was this part of a major marketing agreement they all had with the old man at the newsstand? These thoughts and many more constantly flew around my head whenever I was at the newsstand.
I had to hurry back home before I got sucked into another conversation spiral. There are many answers I may never get answers to. Maybe there is more to Mango Market than we all know.