It was a journey Mbukpa wouldn’t have embarked upon had he heard the news earlier. He stepped out of his office dressed in black suit, blue shirt and a black-striped tie. Done for the day, he clocked out by 4.00 pm to take his three-year old son home for a time together. They had been on the expressway for over one hour already and covered less than two hundred meters when the local radio came alive with news of accident claiming about fifteen lives. A heavy-duty truck had experienced break failure and ground several vehicles along Abuja-Keffi Expressway.
Gosh! He sighed, distressed, thoughtfully visualizing the countless ghosts skulking around the expressway from accidents that occur almost weekly, and wished the road was straight and less sloped. He was in this trance when his son spoke.
“Daddy, I want to poo.”
Mbukpa turned towards him, consciously weighing the reality. He peered through the rear window, filtering in the vista of cars infinitely stretched out into fading visibility. He turned and looked ahead, with no consoling sight. Most engines were turned off, as was his.
“Sweetheart,” he began negotiating, “we’re in traffic and you can’t poo on the road.”
He grimaced and looked away, his shoulder squirmy. Mbukpa reached out for the boy’s wrist, gently rubbing the palm, wishing either of two miracles would happen – the disappearance of traffic or the boy’s discomfort.
Seeing no miracle in sight, he pulled out his jacket and loosened the tie, still indecisive. Then, he turned towards the son in the backseat. All he could see was himself, in his circumstance, and the threat of unpredictable traffic. He opened the door, led him by the hand and traced a footpath into the adjoining bush. But not without the boy reminding him, “Daddy, my wipes.”