Tear Nylon

I was walking to the bus stop this morning. It was early and the sky was dark with a hint of the orange of the day creeping in around the edges. The few cars on the road still had their headlights on.
A motorcycle passed me, slowing as it approached the junction.

There was a passenger on the back of the bike. He was a sturdy man, above average height, broad shouldered with large arms. His beard was carefully trimmed in that fashion conscious way, sideburns drawn down his face merging with the beard and a thin line of hair forming a moustache around his mouth.

He had on a muscle t-shirt that would be tiny on anyone. It was tight around the chest, tight around the arms, choking him. A tattoo poked out of the top of the shirt and crept up the left side of his neck.

He got down from the motorcycle. He was wearing unlaced high-top sneakers, there was a patch of hairy leg and above them cargo shorts that hung down to his calves. The shorts had pockets everywhere.

The okada man was waiting.

The husky man searched for money for the ride. He checked the front pockets of his shorts. Then the back pockets. He checked the tiny pocket inside the front pocket. He bent forward to check the cargo pockets down by his knees.

The man did all of this while carrying a newborn. It was tiny, still wrapped in that white fluffy cloth that brand new babies come in. He had tucked the infant under his arm when he was on the bike. Now, at five in the morning, he juggled it from bicep to bicep as he looked for change.

I stood there staring at him, making no attempt to hide it, watching people as they walked past and thinking, “Is anyone going to stop the man with the stolen baby?”

He paid the bike man. He jogged across four lanes of express, dodging cars as they zipped past. He jumped over the middle divider, and trotted across four more lanes of traffic, protecting the baby’s head as he ran.

Welcome to Lagos, little human.

Shark Tank Nigeria

Hello Sharks,

We all know that self-driving cars are set to be a multi trillion naira industry.

Allow me to introduce an indigenous company ready for Series A funding.

Jamiu Jolayemi Automotive Limited modifies self-driving cars for the Lagos road. Here is how we work:

When your self-driving car arrives at the Apapa port, it comes loaded with all of the features and luxuries that you expect. But is that enough, is that vehicle fit for the Nigerian road?

That is where we come in.

Faced with the Lagos traffic, your Elon Musk approved driverless car quickly becomes overwhelmed. It struggles with the manic merge techniques require at bottlenecks and toll plazas in Lagos. It cannot roll down its window to give a deserving driver a waka, and you, the passenger, are left tapping your own index finger to the side of your head to let a pedestrian know he is stupid.
Our first modification is an AI overlay installed on the existing firmware.

The Like A Danfo module replaces the docile self-driving algorithm with aggressive machine learning trained by simulating the best public transportation drivers in the city.

The AI overlay activates a verbose mode that punctuates every action and intention of your self-driving car with a blaring honk. Your car will wait one microsecond after a red light turns green before honking to let the other cars know they are being too slow. At the end of the day, your car will pull up to your house and keep its horn pressed until your security guard runs out to open the gate, his mouth full of apologies. On the express, your car will change lanes constantly to take advantage of every inch of motion, it will lurch from one end to the other into spaces you did not think it could fit into. And when all the lanes are blocked, it will take to the shoulder and drive off-road, jostling you around as pedestrians flee ahead of it.

Second. Picture this scene you face every day.
You pull up to an intersection, a man with only one arm slouches towards you thinking perhaps of snatching your phone with his good hand. Or maybe he has one leg and 70% of his body covered in burns, or maybe it’s a woman carrying two infants, or a flock of children making puppy eyes at you touching their cupped hands to their mouths in hungry sign language.
Of course, you streetwise Lagos residents know what to do, but your new self-driving car does not. We have you covered.

With our modifications, your car will automatically lock itself upon approach of any lowly types, if you could pardon my language. The system will also play the sound of the doors locking through external speakers so all the panhandlers in the area are aware.
Watch their faces fall as they hear the simultaneous click of four doors locking.
The Beggar B’Ware module will also turn on your windshield wipers and squirt the urchins with wiper fluid to let them know you don’t want window cleaning.

And finally, you are familiar with the popular criminal technique where another car will hit yours and when you get down to argue, yes? Several armed men will emerge from the other car to kidnap you.
We have devised a way of preventing this from ever happening to you.
During the day, in the event of a scratch or slight bump in a fender bender, your modified self-driving car will not stop. How can thieves rob you if they cannot get you to stop, right?
And at night, in the event of a full-on devastating collision, your car will limp on for as long as it is able to move. Our Run after Hit module (patent pending) will keep the tyres inflated and the brainbox active as it delivers you to your original destination cocooned inside the car.

Before you ask, there are no other companies in this space. We are offering the first of this type of service and giving you a chance to get in on the ground floor.

So, sharks, which one of you is ready to be driven into the future and who will be left stuck in hold-up.

We are seeking 1 million naira for 5% equity.

Amuse-bouche

A long famine dragged across the land. The fields had not felt a drop of moisture in years. There were children who were starting to speak that had never seen rain in their lifetime.

A widow approaches the prophet dragging a gaunt child at her side. The boy can barely stand, he clutches at his mother with frail arms. His lips are cracked, his eyes sunken into his head.
“Man of God, help us.”

The prophet asks her, “What do you have left to eat at home?”
“Nothing, my lord,” she says.

“Not even some oil?”
She says, “No, not even that.”

“What about a last spoon of rice, or some grains of garri left at the bottom of the sack?”
The widow shakes her head. The movement knocks the boy loose. He slumps to the ground. His mother is too weak to pick him up.

“What about salt?”
“I don’t know how many different ways can I say this, sir, we have nothing, nada.”

“A forgotten cube of Maggi?”
She says, “I tell you, my lord, yesterday I watched my son lick toothpaste.”
“Wow,” The prophet says.
He strokes his beard deep in thought.

“A can of sardine?”
The widow, clapping as she speaks, shouts at him: “If I had sardines, will I not have eaten it? Will I be here listening to stupid questions that I already answered?”

The prophet raises his hand. “Calm down, there’s no need to insult me.”
She glares at him. “Man of God, I thought you would be someone who would be able to help. Clearly I overestimated you.”

“Okay,” he says, “here is what you should do.”He leans in close to her. “Go to your neighbours. To the ones on your left and the ones on the right. Borrow all the jars that they have.”
The widow says, “Yes?”

“Carry the jars to your house and shut the door.”
The widow nods.

“Take that tube of toothpaste. Press it from the bottom, rolling it as you go up. Squeeze it into all the jars and sell it.”
The prophet kicks off his sandals and starts running, “You can thank me later!”