Lagos Danfo Valentine cover design

No matter what anyone said, he just turned a deaf ear to them all
When some got tired of begging, they began to hiss out loudly
Others simply began to step off the bus
While a few still hoped that their appeal would get to him
Unfortunately, it didn’t
When the driver realised that the young man was not cooperating
His voice suddenly took on a very soft texture
And he began begging the guy the way he would have spoken to a lady
He was polite, courteous and subtle with his words and body language

Five minutes passed and nothing had changed
The young man remained sitting in the bus
“I’m not going anywhere,” he thundered
“Nobody or anything can take out of this bus till you take me to Allen.
That was our agreement…”
“But Sir, I have explained everything to you…,” the driver said for the umpteenth time

In all of this
One of the things I found strange was the nature of the driver
He did not look or sound like a typical Lagos driver
He was neatly dressed and spoke good English
These were two qualities that one might need to consult an Oracle to find either of them in a Lagos driver
Yet, this one possessed both
And to worsen my state of momentary confusion
He had been extremely polite to the young man all through despite his glaring biological seniority

At a point
I was forced to look at the unyielding passenger a bit more closely
He was also well dressed
Wore a Nike branded wristwatch
Had a big headphone just above his collar
But was listening to loud music

As I wondered why he couldn’t just vacate the seat he had stubbornly occupied for so long just to let peace reign
His phone rang
And when he picked dipped his right hand into his pocket to retrieved the phone and receive the call, I couldn’t help but eavesdrop

“Baby, I’m sorry…
Don’t worry I’ll be there soon…
Yes! I’ll be with you in the next one hour
…I know I should have been there but you can’t blame me…

All along, the driver had ceased begging to avoid disturbing the young man’s phone call
Right until the young man used a word that pulled me back into his telephone conversation
“Na this bastard driver come park me for Maryland o and no gree move o…
That’s how these fucking bastard Lagos drivers behave o…
The son of a bitch is still here with me o.”

The driver’s next line came in the form of a question
And it has just seven words
“Did you just call me a bastard,” he asked

I looked at the driver and felt bad for him
He just stood there and slowly shook his head three times
After the third shake, he left the side of the young man
Opened the door to the driver’s seat
Went in
Killed the ignition
And exited the bus

A part of me really wished the young man had agreed to get off the bus
I reckoned this would have saved everyone a whole lot of trouble
But apparently
The young man did not share my chain of thoughts

I was jolted back into the scenario playing out before me by the young man’s voice
“What do you think you’re doing?” I heard him ask aloud
Right about the same time, the driver went into the bus the same way a passenger would and sat right next to the young man

That struck me as odd
But what I even found more astonishing was what the driver did next

Right after he took a seat beside the young man, he shut the door of the bus
And instantaneously had both he and the young man locked in
Commuters who had witnessed the drama to this point exchanged curious glances

And then the young man spoke again:
“Driver, what’s the meaning of this nonsense?”
By now, he had anger plastered all over his face

The driver said nothing
His eyes fixed on something straight in front of him that only he could see
When I looked at the driver’s face
My heart felt like a feet bumping into a hard object in the dark
His face was completely devoid of any emotion I could name

I was still trying to comprehend why the driver’s face looked so blank when he spoke:
“I begged you as much as I could yet to chose to ruin my day
My friend, you will regret what you have done.”

The young man’s reply was swift
“Bros, no dey threaten me joor. Na for your pocket you dey talk all that one…”
To this, the driver replied
“I’ll show you how bastards act.”

The young man’s voice rose to a thunderous pitch when he impulsively said,
“Are you mad?”

That was the last time the young man spoke that evening
Because everything that happened next shocked everyone into silence
The driver began to shed his shirt
Unlaced his shoes
When he was done, he shed his brown pants

And just when everyone looked on in wild anticipation
The driver pulled aside a part of the driver’s seat
And what came tumbling down from a concealed compartment of the backseat fleetingly made by breath cease
They were clothes but not just regular clothes

Apparently, the young man who was now trapped in the bus was the first to see it
And his countenance abruptly changed
I could have sworn that the young man had lost his voice

In a space of one minute
I noticed his face was covered in beads of sweat

The driver paid little or no attention to the young man
Rather, he began wearing the clothes that had tumbled out of the driver’s seat in a hurry

He wore the pant
Then put on the shirt
Buttoned it from bottom to top
Tucked the shirt in
Wore his stocking
Pulled on a pair of black shoes
And then wrapped up his transformation with a cap that had the unmistakable colour of men saddled with the responsibility of taking and protecting lives
Men who fight as part of an organized land-based armed force
Ladies and gentlemen,
The man was a soldier
And that’s probably why no one said a word when the first slap sent the young man’s head crashing against the window
The second sent his head flying forward
And then there was a third
A fourth
A fifth
A sixth
And I lost count

When the door of the bus slid open
The soldier had his right arm tightly gripping the young man’s belt and pant
Forcing him to move in a very awkward position

Once again,
The young man tried to break free
But the next slap must have shifted a few things in his head
Because he fell to the floor
And began crawling around on all fours searching for an object that was never lost in the first place
Or one he could ever possibly find

When the man pulled him back up
The young man burst into tears
And then began to chant the same line of appeal he had turned a deaf ear to moments ago
He said ‘please’ over a dozen times but he might as well have been soliloquising

The irony hit me when I realized no one made the slightest move to speak on the young man’s behalf
They simply watched both men
A few were bold enough to bring out their mobile devices to steal an image or a 20-second clip of a civilian being dragged away by a huge soldier

I knew the young man’s Valentine’s plans for the day would forever remain locked in his mind
The soldier had just taken the place of his girlfriend who was still expecting her sweetheart to show up
I wondered if she would ever see him on this beautiful Valentines Day

As I kissed baby girl that night
I suddenly realized that there was a military barrack very close to the bus-stop where the young man’s Valentine had gone ugly
And I wondered how hard the young man must have chewed on the apple of regret
Upon realizing that he had become an unwanted guest to soldiers
On a Valentine’s Day that once held so much promise

By Samod Biobaku

5 thoughts on “LAGOS DANFO VALENTINE (Part 2)” by Simply SAMAD (@SamodBiobaku)

  1. Aderonke Daramola (@Shovey)

    That serves him right. who dares plead on his behalf? I love the flow of the story but wait o, the narrator waited to see all the drama? chai! 9ja pple can look! #bystanderabound

  2. Hmmm He sure would never forget Vals day and to think that an army barracks was close by.
    Nice one.

  3. namdi (@namdi)

    Is this prose or poetry?

    I only read the first stanza–paragraph?

  4. Folakemi Emem-Akpan (@Folakemi)

    good for the stubborn man. He got the valentine he deserved. Still going to comment about the outlay though. This still reads poetry, not prose. Please work on it on your next story.

  5. simisolaade (@simisolaade)

    I’m sure that the young man can never ever make the same mistake.

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