vaseline lip therapy.

2 min readJan 23, 2024


He knows the ad by heart, he has watched it a thousand times while waiting for his tutorial videos to come up.

GET YOUTUBE PREMIUM, his screen shouts at him. NO ADS FOREVER

The tutorial comes up after what seems like a hundred years, and he gets to work.

Algorithms, scripts, bugs, code, loops — he’s learning to code. When he is done and well educated by the man on the screen, he will make a website, or an app, and tweet about it and that tweet will get him a high-paying job that automatically catapults him into the top 1% in his country.

He can see it in his mind’s eye: cool workplace setup (three monitors!), gym subscription, linkedin posts that talk about the problems his company is trying to solve, nice car, nice house, beautiful wome-

His mother knocks on the door. Food is ready.

Outside their house, not too far away actually, a boy lies down on the ground, eyes trained on a starless sky. He is thinking of food. He cannot remember the last time he had a good meal. He is eight years old and his body is already scarred from numerous fights, and bites from insects native to whatever spot he gets to lay his head down at night.

He can see it in his mind’s eye: Hot jollof rice and two huge pieces of chicken! hot dodo! and a cold bottle of coke. Maybe two?

Above him, nailed to the wooden pillar of the stall he’s crashing in, is a poster. It reads:


Above the poster is a crow, perching on the roof, it’s beady eyes surveying the land before it. If it is pleased, it does not show it. If it is displeased, it does not show it. It just takes in the scenery with indifference.

It is a hot night, especially for Abu and Ladan, who are digging up a grave. The community has decided that the corpse of Mama Yahaya is responsible for the misfortune that has befallen them in recent times.

The day she was buried, the rains dried up. Two days later, a snake sttacked the women in the farm closest to her grave. Just yesterday, Laila fell down the well and would have perished if not for Ponzing who rushed to her rescue!

WHACK! The pickaxe hits wood.

In the distance, lightning fills the sky with colour, and thunder rumbles heavily, announcing the rain.




i was born in aba, so all my life i've felt like a spare part.