Episode 23 here
Commercial buses fondly called “danfo” are the commonest means of transportation in many Nigerian cities. Motorcycles locally termed “okadas” are a good alternative for better flow of traffic and, maybe comfort. Sadly however, they are very dangerous as their accidents are mostly fatal.
If you move regularly by means of these commercial vehicles, you would have noticed that they are not jolly rides, especially for people like me. Maxi-sized individuals rarely pity their opposite numbers, people who are not generously blessed with ‘body’ like me. I dread times when 3 robust, well fed market women sit at the back row of the bus with me, squeezing life out of me. The annoying thing is that after noticing that I am apparently in pain they would still be making gestures at me to create more space for them. Wicked people!
There are times when I wish I suddenly triple in size and fight for my ‘right’ too. Sadly, wishes are not horses, and these magnanimously blessed individuals take advantage of my slender body structure. It hurts that I still have to pay the same amount of money with them. If I had my way, they would pay for two!!! I jokingly say to myself that one day I would become a human rights activist whose speciality is fighting for the bus rights of the “lekpa” (slim) community.
On this fateful day, I was approaching the bus-stop silently praying that good fortune smiled my way. I was tired and weak as a result of the day’s activities. I tried to salvage the little strength that remained with me and I was not ready to expend it fighting for space on a bus.
As fate would have it I saw a bus which harboured two beautiful ladies at the back seat, they were youth corpers apparently, as they wore NYSC T-shirts. The front seats were also free and naturally would have been the preferred option but only heaven knew the kind of person that would sit next to me. With that in mind, I decided to sit in between the two ladies because the devil that you know is better than the angel you don’t know… plus my case was better it was angels I knew, fellow ‘lekpas’. I wore a smile over my face that conveyed relief, I did not have to struggle for space. Little did I know that I was in for the ride of my life.
I got into the bus in a somewhat majestic style trying to act all cool while I gently took my seat in between the ladies as planned. After waiting for two minutes I leaned over to ask the man sitting in front of me the whereabouts of the driver as he was not on seat. He merely told me that the driver went out for a moment and would soon be back. He also said the bus would move shortly. A while later the man and some other guy got down from the bus. It turned out that he was the driver and he was posing as a passenger to give us the illusion that the bus was almost filled up. This was not sincere but I had to acknowledge that it was smart.
He cranked up the car and we were off. I inserted my earpiece into my ears ready to enjoy cool music during what I expected to be a peaceful ride. It was not long before my ordeal began. About 5 minutes into the drive I heard one of the girls sniff. I Soon realised what she was reacting too as I too started sniffing. Someone had released a chronic pungent odour which soon filled the vehicle like heavy tear gas.
The smell concentrated more around me and I was convinced that this special fragrance must have been released by one of the pretty girls beside me. Yet, they were both muttering comments like “fmm fmm” ,“this is just terrible”.“This is not fair ooo”, another man said, adding “people need to drink hypo in order to wash their stomachs”. Funny enough it was obvious the smell came from my direction and since the two girls beside me where cursing, other passengers started looking in my direction suspiciously.
I shouted angrily, probably borne out of embarrassment “no be me ooo”. I was already holding my nose and gasping for breath with my mouth. Slowly but surely the smell wore off and we reached a bus stop. A young guy who I assume to be in his mid-twenties alighted from the bus. Just as the bus was about to take off we started hearing someone yell “my phone is missing!!!”…
Watch out for part 2 on monday 16th December.
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Faith series still continues every saturday by God’s grace.