The harmattan came that morning, throwing a blanket over the sun and filling nostrils with the smell of Christmas coming. The daytime darkness it caused was unnerving to the people of Eko. Orisha, the white garment preacher who had dreadlocks that looked like writhing earthworms mangled together, attracted a motley crowd that morning at her usual spot along Moloney Street. The end is here she bellowed in her high pitch voice, handing out dog-eared pamphlets. Usually, I ignore her and walk past on the other side of the street on my daily walk to the Baba Ijebu lotto shop, but that morning, I briefly joined her audience and even collected one of the pamphlets mainly out of a fear of the unknown, before walking along.
The Baba Ijebu lotto shop was not yet open by the time I reached there which was unusual. So, I sat on a stone right in front and began to read the pamphlet. The inner page had a number written at the top. A bible verse or an old phone number perhaps, I thought. Because the pamphlet was old, the text was so faint I could hardly make it out until I brought out my reading glasses and looked again. 577961 it was. It did not make much meaning as either a bible verse or a phone number. But when the lotto attendant finally opened the shop and I placed my bet, I gave her those numbers.
All through that day, I thought about Orisha and what she said of the world coming to an end and it filled me with fear. But by evening, when the winning six numbers of the Baba Ijebu lottery jackpot was drawn and announced over the radio, it was my poverty that came to an end.