Short Fiction

Beside Kam Salem by Adédoyin Àjàyí

I had been dining in Ma Mabel’s bar for three months before I saw Bimpe. But nobody spoke about her. They all spoke about Ma Mabel. Yet it seemed no one knew her. Her bar was on Moloney Street, near the police academy. It wasn’t too far from my workplace in Marina. Everyone came to Old Ma Mabel’s bar. Different people, from various walks of life, Lagosians troubled with Lagosian problems – financial worries, overbearing bosses and cheating spouses, not to mention the long lines of traffic that lined Third Mainland Bridge every other day. No one knew Ma Mabel. Her bar had been near Kam Salem for longer than I remembered. Some of the patrons said she had died, others said she was an old woman confined to a wheelchair, and only came out of her house at night. She was elusive, a poor imitation to Fitzgerald’s Gatsby. I doubt she had Gatsby’s boundless charm though.

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