It is 7:15am. Forty-five minutes short of my planned meeting with Uche. The meeting is important as lying during manifestos, is to our politicians. Should I tell you what the meeting is all about? No joor, I don’t trust you.
Uche’s flight to Abuja takes off by 8:45am. I had tried to convince him to travel by land, but that Uche of a thing has a headstrong behavior that is harder than an igneous rock. I hate travelling by the air. Do you remember that plane crash in 2006? Remember the burnt-beyond-recognition bodies, so grotesque abi? Ever since, I always travel by land jeje, and I stay near the window. Even if yawa wan gas, na me go first escape, hehe.
I take my phone, an old BlackBerry Tour, out to chat with Uche that I am on the way. I lie to him that I am already at Mangoro, meanwhile, the Faragon, I am in, is just passing through Meiran. It is no problem joor- we all tell lies. I should get to him before 8:00am. Worse come to worse, the holdup at Iyana-Ipaja will take twenty minutes, and that one from Dopemu to Ile-Zik will take say twenty-five minutes. Ehn, ten minutes for the free roads. Oh no, I will be ten minutes late by that calculation—wait sef… ten minutes- it is nothing joor.
A brawl in the bus shuffles me away from my thoughts. The conductor, one swarthy, short dude cladding a dirty Manutd jersey- that Sir Alex Ferguson will never be proud of- and a home cut knee-length denim jeans. His black turned brown hairs is bushy and unkempt. His face is wild and scary like a prisoner who just escaped from Kirikiri prison. He is hurling insults at a lady sitting at the back row.
I glance back. Wow, you won’t believe this- see fine girl. See curvy structure, fine face- see what she is wearing sef, Ahaun- dis one go scatter any Pastor or Imam head o. See see, yes- those exposed ample cleavages and the chain dangling at the middle, like em- what is that lady’s name sef… Ehn ehn Karan Igbo. Not the whole Karen Igbo o, I mean from her neck to her to her hips. Don’t mind me o, I be correct man, and I like better women.
But wait o, what did this pulchritude reeking lady do to deserve this kind of insults from this yeye conductor.
“You go pay today today.” The conductor thunders, hitting his balled fist on the roof of the Faragon.
“Conductor please. I misplaced my wallet. Please be considerate.” The lady begs. Her English is sweet to hear- queens. And I love queens English.
So this lady doesn’t have any money. I turn and look at her again- She looks like a correct Lagos ‘runs’ babe. But she is too beautiful than she not having any money at hand.
“Conductor abeg now,” the lady beside the fine lady begs, “She for giv you the money but she forget her purse for house ni.”
“Na you sabi how to beg abi? Pay for her now.”
“I for pay, but I no get change for hand ni.”
“You no go get. See am oshofree.” The conductor pulls his right ear with his right hand. “Better do normal and pay my money, or else I go drop you o. I don talk my own o.”
“Please don’t drop me sire. I will pay you.” The beautiful lady pleads.
“Na who go dash you money? Shey na all dis oshofree abi?” he says, as he gestures with his hands to all of us.
“Who be oshofree ehn?” one chubby lady, who carrying a lady, not less than sixteen years, on her laps says.
“You no be oshofree, and you no fit pay for you and your pikin.”
As soon as the conductor finishes, the Faragon swerves sideways and it comes to a halt. The conductor slides the door open and beckons to the fine lady,
“Madam pay my money or come down.”
Majority of the passengers starts to beg the conductor:
“Help am now.”
“E fit happen to you to, carry her now.”
It seems I’m the only different person in this Faragon. So all these people cannot help this lady with common N150. People no good o.
“Is this why we are stopping?” I shout, forming a big man. “I have a ‘meeting’ by 8:00am.” I lay emphasis on ‘meeting’.
“Make she come down now make we dey go.” The conductor replies.
“Conductor, I will pay,” I scream, “lets go.”
“You go pay for her?”
“I will, lets go.”
The Faragon starts moving.
“Thank you sire,” the fine lady says. Her voice is sweet to hear, particularly when she directs it towards me. “God will bless you for me.”
I continue forming a big man, “Don’t mention ma. It is nothing.” As I say those words, I feel my head swelling like garri Ijebu and my body growing big and pompous like the owner of a big yacht sailing in the Baltic sea. At least I have a connection with her now. I can collect her number when we alight at Ikeja. Imagine me squeezing those two fleshy orbs… kissing her lips… chai, my luck has struck emerald…
“The money,” the conductor’s voice jerks me out of my reverie.
I touch my left pocket, it was flat. Right pocket-flat. Breast pocket-flat. My mind travel back. Back home to my dining table. The picture of my wallet resting innocently on the dining table materialises in my mind eyes. I look at the conductor’s face- it is red hot!