Episode 7 here
It had been threatening to rain all morning. I kept watching the clouds, willing it not to rain. I needed to join my friends in Balogun market. We were shopping for ankara materials that would be used as aso-ebi for Kike’s wedding. We had agreed to meet in front of the Oando filling station on Marina Street at 10 am and then head to the market from there. It was already 7.30 in the morning and I knew I had to head out before the Saturday morning rush began. The traffic that is a major feature on the roads leading out of Ikorodu town always forces you to leave the house hours before the time that you are meant to. I hurriedly took a bathe, hoping to eat a quick breakfast and get dressed before 8 am. At 8.15 am, I was already standing at Agric bus stop, praying that a bus would come around in a few minutes. The clouds had cleared and a lot of people were already waiting; petty traders were mounting their wares on the kiosks by the roadside. Noise everywhere.
I looked at my watch, it was 8.35am. Worry set in; I started to do some mental calculations as to how long it would take me to get to the island from where I was at the moment. I saw people running towards a particular direction, nothing seemed to be chasing them, but then I turned and saw a danfo trying to make a U-turn into my own side of the road. Obviously the people were running in anticipation that the bus would call for passengers. The conductor hadn’t even called out any location, but I joined in the mad rush praying that he would announce that he was heading towards CMS.
The conductor stood up and started screaming
“Obalende, Siemess, Obalende, Siemess. Hold your 250 change. I just dey come out o’’. Before the bus stopped, people were already rushing into the bus. I wasted no time in jumping in too. Those ones that were going in a different direction hissed as they came down from the bus. Why did they jump in when they clearly heard the route the bus was taking? I thought. I settled into the back seat close to the window, dipped my hand into my bag and brought out “Cause of Death”, the Patricia Cornwell novel I had been reading.
I was still turning to the page where I stopped when I heard someone talking to me.“I really like the character of Kay Scarpetta. I wish our police will one day get to that level of crime solving.’’.
I turned and looked to see a young fair-complexioned man sitting beside me. He was neatly dressed, and I could catch a whiff of a nice smelling perfume. I wasn’t in the mood to talk, but I liked discussing my novels so I indulged him.
“I really like her novels, this is the fifth one I am reading. I am more into Dean Koontz books though’’.
“Well that’s another good author. Have you read Unnatural Exposure?’’
“Is that by Dean Koontz?’’ I asked.
“Oh no, that is Patricia Cornwell. Very nice book. You should look for it’’.
“I will. Thanks’’. I hoped that was the end of the discussion. I needed to continue reading.
We were just approaching Owode Onirin when the bus started to jerk, I looked towards the driver and heard him speaking in Yoruba language as he tried to get the bus to stop by the side of the road.
“Iru oshi wo leleyi ke?’’ What kind of nonsense is this? He said as he came down from the bus.
The conductor who had been on his phone talking about a draughts game he had played the night before quickly ended the call and came down too. He had been so engrossed that he had forgotten to demand for our fares.
“Iwo ko lo fa ni? Shebi mo so fun e?’’ Is it not your fault? Didn’t I tell you?
An argument ensued between the two of them but by then the other passengers had started screaming and demanding to know what the problem was. I looked at my watch. It was 9.05 am. I took my phone out of my bag to call Kike, then saw that the connection showed SOS, I tossed it into the side pocket of the bag making a mental note to check it later. I came down from the bus. Smoke was coming out from the back of the bus, so I knew that the bus would probably not leave anytime soon. Some of the passengers had started walking to the nearest bus stop, I was glad we didn’t have to go through the stress of asking for a refund, so I joined them. I had taken a few steps when I felt someone walking beside me. I was irritated. More so when I heard the voice again.
“All these buses in Lagos are useless. I’m sure they knew that the bus was faulty before they came out with it’’.
I merely nodded.
Just as we got to the bus stop, a Coaster bus pulled up and announced that they were going to CMS. “I no stop for Apongbon o’’. He screamed.
I ran the rest of the way. The fair-complexioned stranger followed suit.
I sat at the back once again, and the stranger chose the space next to me. He started up the conversation again. By the time we got round to discussing my Dean Koontz novels, I had relaxed somewhat. After we picked up passengers at Ketu bus stop, the conductor demanded for our fares.
“Oya o, bring your 200 naira change. No 1,000, no 500 change ejoo’’.
As I reached into my bag to bring out my wallet, the stranger leaned towards me and whispered.
“Aunty, I am sorry to disturb you. But can you please help me pay the transport fare. I don’t have any money on me’’.
I was disgusted just to hear him say that. So is that why he had been interested in talking to me? This guy is not serious, I thought.
“Aunty please’’ He pleaded. I hissed. A full grown man calling me aunty. I was irritated, but I reached out and took out a N500 note from my wallet. After passing the money to the conductor, I turned to my novel again. I didn’t even respond to his word of thanks. I prayed that the journey would be over soon.
We got to the Leventis bus stop at exactly 9.55 am, I quickly alighted from the bus, eager to make it to the meeting point as soon as possible. As I approached the Oando filling station, I saw no sign of my friends waiting for me. I had an opportunity to laugh at them because they had predicted I would be the last to get there. I reached into the side pocket of my bag to bring out my phone, it wasn’t there. I started panicking when I couldn’t find it in any other compartment of the bag. My mind immediately went to the stranger. He must have stolen my phone. My 2 month old Samsung Galaxy S3. I am still sure of it.
Oh, what a well dressed leech.
The writer is @kontactrita on twitter and her personal blog is http://www.kontactrita.wordpress.com
Watch out for Bus Tales 9 and 10 by @saymalcolm @nykelodeon next week and Face me, I slap U (Ajadi returns) on monday 4th August.