I actually visited Union Bank, Bori! You needed to have been in my heart as I decided on that journey. I was terribly afraid of what the outcome would be, triumphant or disastrous. Would the old building collapse on me as I walk in to the banking hall? Would the workers be so old they can barely hear my utterances? Would it be like:
“Hello ma’am, I’m here for a transaction”.
And an old woman would push up her large glasses to get a clearer view of my clean shaven face and request slowly.
“Do you live with your parents? Why do they let you out of the house with a bushy face like that?”
And I would reply; “Ma’am, my face is shaved. And seriously, I am here for a transaction, not doctrines”.
And she would say, “See him, the perdition one” pointing her old fingers at me. And maybe out of frustration I would scream down the building, pull my hairs, chew the stones that make up the wall with my teeth and maybe run to the road, nude.
I also thought about the state of the ATM, would it be made of wood? Talking about analogue; how would the process of payment and the entire transaction be? I wondered within myself, hopelessly, until I took the courage to visit the bank located on Hospital Road.
Bori is a pretty funny place. Everyone is a comedian in its capacity. The students of the Polytechnic dress to depress. The food sellers wish to cheat you to death. But I found one that wouldn’t. I woke up, did the usual, got dressed and took my bag over my shoulder. I pierced my eyes through the activities of the people to find a desired food seller, and then I found it, a place by the roadside. The woman had her three children helping her. The eldest child is an angel. I requested to buy balls of bean-cake, Akara, and a bottle of Coke. I sat in front of a locked shop and downed the entire content. Perfect. I enjoyed the meal and the young lady who kept smiling at me.
As a woman, Bori is average in height, not beautiful, not ugly. She can make a man want her. A sight at her could bring you closer to her strong creamy dark thighs until you are erected like a storey building. As a place, you can find inspiration trekking up the streets looking for whose heart is empty and ready to be embraced. The noise from the market women makes music to even a deaf man.
Bori is a home to a lot of great things. The late icon, Ken Saro Wiwa grew up in her cuddles. Ken’s dad traded in palm-kernel on its street. And the men in the city plied the now major road on bicycles. Bori now has cars, few though. The sellers of products concentrate on their goods and customers. If the audio is taken from their conversations, you could see mouths moving and hands demonstrating seriously. Pretty funny and engaging! In Bori the lazy people lurk around like millipedes on special parade. Bori is for writers, what a soapbox is to a preacher.
There are two ATMs in Bori. I was shocked when I could not access money because the only functional ATM rejected my card. Mine is of a different bank. I guess banks have differences too, maybe a face off or something similar.
I flagged an Okada – commercial motorbikes fly in Bori like apprentice wizards learning the tricks of flying – the rider, a mature man. I toldl him all I could speak. My K’ana language sucks. I speak it, anyways and you make out the meaning. That was what I did and the man nodded. Ignitions are always on. I threw a leg over the seat and adjusted my dark butts on it. I tapped him to signal a flight. The man flew. I could hear myself praying to my ancestors for safety and all there was. But safely we arrived the premises of the bank and the security, a man in his sixties, signalled the biker to come in. In Bori bikers are treated with dignity. They should. They are the source of revenue to the police officers who lurk around like children in dark clothing, practicing robbery with toy guns.
I was shocked in awe at the security door. And the mini queue I joined into the bank. At the counter I saw beautiful ladies, actually working in Union Bank, Bori. Wow! Bloody bastard me to have thought otherwise. The ladies smiled so wide you could live happily on their faces like a fat fly on a dump site. I diverted. The ATM machine sat comfortably on a side of the bank awaiting my card. I brought it out, slotted it in and the machine welcomed me. It requested I followed instructions. “I am not so dumb!” I raged silently as I typed and punched the keys.
The notes fell out of the machine in colours. I turned around to see if anyone was looking at me. Of course, the ladies were. I folded my money and pocketed all. I could not take a second look at the workers, younger men and the ladies. I punched for the last time; my card flushed itself to surface. The button at the door, silver and sexy, I punched it. A man who seemed rejected by the bloody detector of metal wouldn’t be allowed entrance. I passed through the door in awe. “Some changes could come in several forms oh”, I cried to myself. I signalled the rider of the bike. He turned his ignition key and headed out like a stunt man. I told him to fly to the Council’s secretariat where a lot awaited me for the day. He did. And in no moment we were at the secretariat, a place where politicians, lovers of the local Government Chairman, lovers of good things spend the day in their flapping trousers. Its building is one of the finest in Bori with uninterrupted electricity from a generator, of course.
I paid the Okada man and ensured his tips too, for seeing me withdraw some money.
I walked into the council in a well pressed shirt, courtesy of my friend, Mr Ken. I had borrowed it when I found out that I couldn’t leave for Port Harcourt the previous day. The Corp members who flocked the council secretariat complex like colourful docks passed me by. The ladies looked at me and the glory I walked in. I looked at them too. They admired what they saw. I admired the steps they took as they walked ahead of me. I uttered no words to them. “I am a celibate who should avoid even conversation with women so I can make heaven”, I reassured myself as I walked in the company of me.