Scripted potpourri

A blend of topnotch writing prowess, significant issues and scintillating stories!

Something To Offer


Today, I passed by Schizza’s Won and there was no awe and longing oozing out of my eyes as I did so; as it used to be all those years ago when the image of those neoned calligraphic letters on the front of the store clung to my brain like my two times-table. “Skeezas,” I preferred to call it, even though my brother who was twelve at the time, said it was “Sheetzas, not Skeezas.”  The flamboyant boutique opened on the main road, the same road where my mother perched under a large Mirinda umbrella at the hem of a mechanic’s workshop to sell fruits everyday. I was ten, and pretty quixotic for a child from an economically underprivileged family as mine. Truly, nothing was more fascinating than a store that was air-conditioned and had glass sliding doors through which women, who drove their own cars, pranced in and out of. There was something fittingly out of place about Schizza’s that got the whole neighbourhood agog—my mother said the only other boutique she knew was at the city capital, Ikeja, “And those ones don’t even have shine-shine name like this one”, she noted.

One time, I was with my mother at the fruit stall when, along with an orange I was peeling, I sliced my palm without realizing it. “Oghene me!” my mother screamed for her God, before I saw the poor orange sheened with my blood. I was trying to understand how the blood got there when she landed an earsplitting smack on my back—what Yoruba people call abara. “You are looking at that shop again! You are looking at that shop again!” My mother rapped in Urhobo, almost wailing. “Let me tell you something: the people in that shop do not look at you, because you have nothing to offer. You only have something to offer by working hard at what God has given you to do. Alero, God has given us fruits. Concentrate!”

That was exactly what I did for the next four years—peeling and slicing fruits after school for my mother. She later got a small container and added soft drinks to her sales stock, but she didn’t get rid of the Mirinda umbrella that had seen better days. It was right in front of the container, and under it, she roasted ripe plantains, boli, every afternoon. By then, Schizza’s had become Schizza’s Won!, and they had opened a new nicer-looking store, Schizza’s Too, at the extreme end of the same long, now busy main road. Then Aunty Helen came to stay with us.

She was only four years older than I was and had just finished secondary school in Warri. My mother said she was very hardworking and wanted to pursue her university education in Lagos. A few weeks after she came, she told me she was tired of being sales girl at my mother’s fruit cum soft-drink cum boli store. “I get SSCE o.” She announced one day. “A-fit do sales geh for dat boutique wey dey there”. I didn’t bother reminding her that the only reason my mother allowed her to come was because she was perfect for selling fruits and soft drinks and boli. “Tell Mummy,” I said. Of course she didn’t, and the day she was going to apply at Schizza’s, she asked me to accompany her. It was a public holiday. My mother had gone to the market and expected us to open the shop. I was excited about breathing in the air of Schizza’s Too, and even though I was sure that Schizza’s, as sophisticated as it was, would never employ a Pidgin English-rapping person like Helen, I told her this might be her lucky day. Pleased, she bought orobo Coke for me before we went.

I wore my cutest top—my Betty Boop—and my faded but clean denim dungarees. Helen wore a form-fitting stretchy skirt with a scandalous side slit and topped it with an equally tight blouse that had a Rastafarian image on it. I believe it was for this reason that the security man, after questioning us senselessly, told us there was no vacancy. In other words, we were not allowed into Schizza’s. Helen thoroughly cussed the man in wafe. I was crest-fallen. It wasn’t until I watched Pretty Woman a year later that I realised that big boutiques had a policy for turning people back based on how they looked. But at least, Julia Roberts entered that store before they told her they had nothing to offer her.

Meanwhile, the worst thing was happening while we were begging to be let into Schiza’s. The Lagos State task force, who were really ruffians in tacky uniforms, was on their usual rampage looking for roadside traders to harangue and obtain bribes from. But because there was nobody at my mother’s container to give them what they wanted, they ransacked the stack of fruits my mother concealed with layers of sack cloth at the back of the container, made a dent in the container itself and in the process broke my mother’s beloved Mirinda umbrella, before they painted white X’s all around the container. I would never ever forget the spanking I received. Of course, Helen was sent back to Warri but I later learnt that she never went back and neither did she ever go to the university. After the whole episode faded away and my mother found a way to cart her container to the front of the face-me-I-face-you where we lived, I told all my friends at the public school I attended that I had gone shopping at Schizza’s on one public holiday. They believed me.

Today, my mother is not alive to know that I am a lawyer with the Lagos State Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning. Today, I did not just pass by Schizza’s Won!; my chauffeur drove me past it in my Toyota Camry 2013 model to Schizza’s Too where I have some important business to perform. I would be stepping inside that place for the first time. Today, I don’t have to look across the road from a fruits container or plead with a security man; neither do I have to fabricate my experience there as I did all those years ago. I could have, and should have delegated this assignment to a subordinate. But from the moment I started working on this case, I looked forward to today. Indeed, there was no way I would have passed up the offer to let the people at Schizza’s see me as someone with something very important to offer—court orders for demolition, and my money, with which I bought an Yves Saint Laurent scarf.


You Happen After Life Happens

I first happened upon the phrase, “life happens” from the narrative of a John Grisham novel I read a long time ago. It so aptly captured the point he was trying to pass across that it began to repeatedly pop up in my head without any effort of my will. Not long after, another phrase that meant the exact same thing became the new buzzword. All over social media and even in conversations in real time, people were saying, “shit happens” as a way to express the unexpected askew-ness that is inherent everyday life: in our well-laid plans and aspirations. So let me paint the picture clearly:

ImageOk, so that’s obviously the joke edition (lol!) of what it truly means for shit to happen, or as I prefer it, for life to happen. Life happened to me a lot in 2013. For instance, I decided to become serious with my writing. Those who know me closely know that I am a “runaway writer”: I get excited about writing and come up with nice stories and approvals from my inner circle, but before you know it, I’ve zoned out again, hibernating for my next temporary writing indulgence. Sometimes, it’s the disappointments along the way that make me like that—and trust me, in 2013, I had my fair share of disappointments. Before this “fair share” occurred, I had figured earlier in the year the perfect way to stay committed: I said to myself, “Linda, perhaps if you started writing for a wider audience, you would feel more responsible to them to keep up with your writing.” It was a eureka moment for me and I delved into creating this blog with all the thrill of a trip to the Bahamas. Alas, life happened and my well-laid writing aspirations wilted. The rest, they say, is history.

So let me get down to it. First, my apologies go to those who kept asking for the next delivery of my rare scripted potpourri and didn’t see that happen: I hope this titillates your reading desires, at least. It’s a new year and who knows it just might be a new me.


The writer of this blog is a work in progress..

Second, I am writing to all of you to whom life also happened in 2013. Things did not go as planned, I imagine. But no matter what it was (and I shudder to sound like a motivational speaker now because I know you’ve heard this countless times), it’s NO REASON to give up (well, except you are interfering with the lives of others. In that case, please give up because they have their own plans!). Otherwise, do not, like me, hide under the excuse that life is happening… In reality, it is you happening to life because all those bits of discomfort hurled at you are shaping you to bloom into a positive entity that for the life of you, you could never have comprehended.


Yeah, you heard me. Don’t give up!

Right now, I’m not gonna pretend like I’ll be faithful to this blog, but I’ll try. However, one thing I know is that if I leave it off again, I promise to come back to my senses and continue; that much I owe myself because I know that it’ll do me good in my future. After all, remember, only practice makes perfect, and winners never quit. You are about to happen.

Salude to a new year!!!


Errr… salude means cheers in Spanish. *wink*

Leave a comment »


Conversations between a not so "typical" Nigerian husband and his wife

The African Street Writer

One day an idea will come… Write it!

Pa Ikhide

Father, Fighter, Lover, Troublemaker

Zainab Usman

Sharing and exchanging ideas on governance and development

Thru Lola's Eyes

Inspiring people...

Farafina Books

Telling Our Own Stories...