We Don Catch Am by Tayo Oladipo | Fiction


Today na Sunday and me and Mary dey enjoy our sef for her house, I mean the place where she dey do house girl. I come dey think say na good tin' e be as dem no dey carry her go church, we com hear horn for gate.

"Haa! Madam don come back," she run comot bed, "my own don kpafuka!"

She look me, come drag my hand, "mumu, dress make you find place hide."

"Shoo! Wetin na? Na your madam wan marry you?"

"You dey craze! Na deaconess she be for church."

"Deaconess wey dey leave house girl for house go church! Deaconess wey dey enter Red Hotel for night! Shior!"

"Na you sabi, Dotman, na business partners she go dey meet there."

Both of us dey laugh for the joke. She stop. E be like say her sense just wake up see say I still lie for bed Madam dey horn for gate all dis time."Ah, Dotman you don kill me today, Madam don kill me today." She shout like person wey dem wan pursue comot house.

"Relax. Carry your mind put for ground, but no confuse me. Who don kill you? Me or Madam?"

The slap wey she package give me for face come make me dey hear my grandma when she dey tell me say 'wetin man fit do, woman fit do pass am.'

"Mary, see as you wire my face," I talk like person wey no get shame.

"If you no stand up from there, transformer go blow for your head."

I stand up find my cloth. She don already wear her Sunday dress. Na one gown like this wey long reach knee she dey wear on Sunday. For other days,  na one big blue gown Madam dey allow her wear.  The gown be like cocoa sack. E fit be say Madam dey use am hide the natural resources wey dey her body.

As she run comot, na im I see say place to hide no dey. The room na store. Foodstuffs dey one one corner. The other corner, na pot and pan full am. Bagco bag wey contain Mary cloths and her bed wey don almost turn to carpet face door for the third corner. The center dey empty, na only one big water container wey dem draw elephant for im body stand there. I open am, I see say small water dey inside.

Dem open sitting room door. Madam voice fly reach my ear. "Where you dey since wey I dey horn for gate?" She dey halla for Mary. I waka like person wey wan tief, go back of door dey peep. Madam hold Mary ear. One man stand like mugu dey look. I no see Madam son. Maybe e still dey outside. But dat man face sound familiar.

"O-ho," I talk for my bele, "na dat man wey dey come buy beer for my hand for night, carry go house."

The man phone ring, "Hello… good day pastor… no, I stopped over at deaconess Oluwatosin's house… no, we want to pray for her house girl who refuses to come to church… amen sir… thank you sir."

Gbege! Madam don go lie on top Mary head for church!

Madam come look Mary. She shock. "Mary, wetin be dis? You no wear anything under dis your transparent cloth! Ah, God catch you. You wan seduce my son abi? Thank God say I send am go shop. Evangelist, can you see what we've been saying?"

So this man na evangelist. World don end. The man turn, smile, com shake head. E resemble mumu wey don see food.

"Anyway," Madam dey talk, "go wear better something come go meet Richard for shop. Make una two bring the tin' wey I tell am to bring."

Mary don dey come her room but my mind no dey her side. Na dis evangelist I dey look. Na wayo man e be. Which kin' evangelist dey sneak enter bar, buy beer, hide am for briefcase carry go house?

Mary open door hit me for face. I fall down like bag of cement, dey hold face. I no fit to shout.

"Wetin be dat o? Wetin you spoil, Mary?" Na Madam dey shout from sitting room.

"Nothing, Madam." Mary answer, come close door. She raise hand wan kill mosquito for my face, na im we hear Madam dey come.

"I don die, I don rotten," Mary whisper, "the winch dey come."

I run enter the big water container. Mary quickly close am.

Door open. Silence. Hiss. Door close. 30 seconds. Silence. I slowly open the container cover, peep, see say Mary don dey comot. She do me waka before she open door comot.

This water dey smell like kerosene. I put am for mouth. Taa! I don soak my sef for kerosene instead for Jesus blood. I don make Madam work easy. Na only matches she go light put for my body. Chai! Na so person dey die?

I wait. 10 minutes. No sound. I comot. I off my cloth squeeze am, I come wear am back. I resemble almajiri wey dey sleep under fuel tanker.

peeping through the door

I sneak comot the room – store, I mean. I no see anybody for sitting room. I hope say dem no lock front door with key. I wonder where Madam and evangelist go. As I come dey waka comot, I reach one bedroom door, I come dey hear one kin' human ringtone. I pause. Listen. Na Madam voice I dey hear.

"Shoo! I think say Madam husband don die? Who come dey sample her?" Na so I talk for my mind.

But Dotman no dey carry last. I open the door. I don die!  Na Madam Deaconess Oluwatosin and the evangelist I see like Adam and Eve for Garden of Eden. Na the forbidden fruit dem dey chop. I DON CATCH DEM!


The Nigerian Pidgin English is exquisitely sweet to the ear and delicious to speak. Perhaps it is the simplicity of its spoken form that makes it a popular lingua franca.

Many writers have written works in pidgin, but I do not remember that  I have ever read a prose fiction written in the Nigerian Pidgin English. I therefore decided to experiment with it. It was a daunting challenge. Dear reader, the story you are about to read is the result of this challenge.

This piece is especially dedicated to Tosin Abejide T-Guy (The Main Man of the department of English Studies, AAUA class '18)

Thank you!


Creative works (literature, art and culture) emerging from Nigeria.

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