Zikoko walks into a cabana with loud music booming from the speakers and a hype man standing in a corner. She’s led through the back to what can only be described as paradise.
Zikoko: Okay, what is this?
Oniru Beach: It’s a private residence of some sort.
Zikoko: It’s shiny.
Landmark Beach: [turns to Elegushi Beach] See? Told you a little sweeping and dusting is all you need.
Elegushi Beach: [mimics Landmark].
Zikoko: As much as I love this free day with you lot.
[Under her breath]
Because God knows it would’ve taken my entire salary to come on my own.
Can we start this, so I can leave early and not sleep in the traffic Landmark has piling on from the gate?
Elegushi Beach: [chuckles]
Zikoko: No offense, but you’re not better.
Oniru Beach: [snickers]
Zikoko: Actually, you’re all birds of the same feather.
[points at Elegushi Beach]
You don’t know how to say no to people, so everyone’s always at yours making a mess.
[points at Landmark Beach]
You keep hosting parties and causing roadblocks. People might as well make reservations before visiting. You’ve basically become an Island restaurant.
Landmark Beach: I take exception to that.
Elegushi Beach: Ehn?! There’s one restaurant over there.
[He points left]
[He points right]
[He points behind him]
Oniru Beach: Don’t you have restaurants too?
Elegushi Beach: Not as much as him.
Landmark Beach: So it’s just jealousy.
Zikoko: Okay, pause. Why is that even a thing?
Oniru Beach: What?
Zikoko: The endless restaurants. A beach is supposed to be for peace, relaxation, a little quiet time before you return to the “Hope this meets you well” emails. But there are bars, clubs and restaurants on every beach in Lagos. Also, how many of you am I actually interviewing?
[Zikoko digs into her bag]
Landmark Beach: You don’t want to eat at the beach? See, all the restaurants, bars and clubs you’re complaining about is not for us o. It’s for you.
Zikoko: Okay, but Lagosians are saying they don’t want…
Landmark Beach: No, Lagosians are not saying they don’t want. They’re saying they pay too much for them.
Zikoko: So you guys know it’s too much money?
Zikoko: [Shakes head] There’s no blue water, the sand isn’t that white, and they’re already paying for everything else. Including chair to sit on.
Oniru Beach: That’s not true
Landmark and Elegushi Beach: [shake head]
Zikoko: They pay to park, enter, sit, drink, eat…
Elegushi Beach: No. They can bring whatever they want to eat.
Zikoko: Not in the new ones, they can’t.
Elegushi Beach: Which new ones? Ehn, they should not go to those ones now.
Zikoko: They’re nicer.
Oniru Beach: So why are you not interviewing them?
Zikoko: Because you people didn’t bring them.
Landmark Beach: Technically, I’m a new one.
Zikoko: Landmark, no offense, but we’ve seen you finish. You don’t count.
Oniru and Elegushi Beaches: [laugh]
Oniru Beach: Help us tell him.
Zikoko: I’m not on anyone’s side.
Elegushi Beach: See. There are over 30 of us, so I really think you should tell Lagosians to pick the one they like and be going there.
Zikoko: Okay, I understand what you’re saying. But that doesn’t change the fact that you all want to finish Lagosians with billing.
Landmark Beach: That’s a heavy accusation.
Oniru Beach: Exactly, we aren’t forcing anybody to come to us. It’s a choice they have to make.
Zikoko: Some people like the peace and relaxation the water gives.
Elegushi Beach: Like mami wata?
Zikoko: No, the water is supposed to be calming.
Oniru Beach: Ehn, they should pour water inside a glass and be looking at it. This is Lagos. Nothing goes for nothing, and we, the beaches in charge, have set our price.
Elegushi Beach: It’s not like we’re even asking for plenty money, just ₦2k here.
Oniru Beach: ₦5k there.
Landmark Beach: Sometimes, it might be small ₦10k.
Zikoko: ₦10k is not small o.
Oniru Beach: How is ₦10k small? I’m with Zikoko on this one.
Elegushi Beach: Count to ten with your fingers. Isn’t it plenty?
Landmark Beach: But Twitter people said…
Zikoko: [Lays back in her lounge chair]
Oniru Beach: What’re you doing?