Ness had to reduce the sound of Olamide’s ‘DON’T STOP’ song that he had been listening to through the earpiece that was plugged to his ears. When he got to the garage, the bus conductor ushered him into the front seat. Ness observed the bus, it was almost filled up, there were just three or four passengers remaining to fill the bus, including the vacant seat beside him. Ness sighed, he looked outside and beckoned to a young hawker carrying a basin filled with plastic drinks – the drinks were heavily beaded with sweats of cold ice gliding down the sexy shaped plastic bottles owning to hours of refrigerating.
‘Give me one zobo drink’ Ness ordered.
‘Pipty Naira Sah’ The Hausa seller responded.
While trying to get the drink from the basin, a man in suit rushed towards the bus quickly. In his haste, the man knocked down the boy’s offer, but didn’t turn to apologize. He gestured Ness to move aside and in an astonishing swish, the man opened the front door and settled himself clumsily right beside Ness.
Ness shifted a bit, feeling very discomforted. The drink seller was now cursing the man, but he had been smart enough to pick up the drink before it got soiled from the sandy floor.
‘Oga, take it easy naw’ Some of the other passengers at the back remarked.
‘Driver, please let us start going!’ The man yelled, neglecting the voices of the other passengers.
Ness frowned, he wondered if the man could not see the empty spaces at the back seats.
‘My bus go full before I leave this place o. I can’t…’
‘Oga driver, abeg no delay us nah, let us start going’
The drink seller had offered Ness a fresh bottle of Zobo, and in an absentminded response, Ness had accurately paid him.
‘Mista man, calm down naw, why you wan rush driver?’ An angered old woman asked from behind.
Neglecting the woman and the other passengers’ jibes, the man uttered a very strange expression that immediately spurred the driver into action; ‘I will pay for the remaining passengers, just let’s go,’ the man had said.
In an instant moment, the bus conductor collected all the money and the driver started the bus.
Straight went the bus into the nearby distance, not only had the hurrying man paid for the empty seats, he also paid some extra cash to keep the driver’s furious foot on the accelerator.
‘I am rushing to Onitsha to make a business deal, and I can’t allow anything to delay me.’ The man said openly, with an air of so much confidence that one could tell that anything that got in his way would be profoundly battled. Silence engulfed the bus, the commuters were somehow pleased at the unexpected intervention of the man, but his rude presentation impregnated the atmosphere with grumblings.
They came across series of roadside hawkers, running after the bus in the vain determination of getting their goods bought, and the commuters, too, salivated to get hold of some of those items, but the man beside Ness kept yelling; ‘DON’T STOP, DRIVER!’. The helpless passengers including Ness had to swallow their spits in empty hopes.
Finally, there came a reason to stop. In between the long narrow parallel bushes that outlined the edges of the road, some helpless travelers were trying to hike down a motor, a particular old woman appeared extremely helpless and weak. She engaged all her strength in waving down any approaching automobile. The driver of Ness’ bus became piteous of the woman and made attempts to engage his brakes, but the squeaking Mr. rush shrieked promptly.
‘Don’t stop!’ He yelled, ‘don’t stop for anything at all.’
‘Buuu…buh…?’ The confused driver attempted
‘I’ve paid you, so don’t you even dare stop!’
Accumulated disagreements erupted in the bus in murmurs. “As they say,” Ness thought, “he who pays the piper must dictate the tune.” The driver ended up stomping the accelerator hard, with an obvious frown, which showed that the event was apparently against his will.
As the bus raced through the bushes around, only the rushing man seemed interested in the mad speed, many of the other commuters who could not cope improvised by sleeping. Ness observed a permanent mischievous grin on the man’s face.
Suddenly, a cringing sound was immediately followed by a faster speed of the car. In few minutes, a similar noise ensured a greater ease. The third time it happened, the man had focused his eyes in the right direction just in time to observe the occurrence. – Nuts holding the front tyre of the bus was bolting out one by one, and when the third one relieved itself, a greater ease was felt by simple observation.
‘Driver?’ The man spoke quietly, ‘Did you hear that?’
‘Yes,’ a grining response.
‘What is it?’ The, now curious man, asked.
‘I don’t know’ The driver lied, and almost as he finished speaking, another nut sprang into the tarred road. With the dangerous speed still maintained, the tyre now making a disturbing grinding sound against the tarred road, waking many of the sleeping commuters.
‘Driver! See!’ The man shrieked again, ‘The bolts of the tyre beneath us is loosing! The …’
‘No problem Sir…’ an unperturbed driver responded, still maintaining the speed of the automobile. ‘Your business deal in Onitsha would not condone lateness’
As the man tried to feign courage, the tyre beneath him and Ness suddenly gave way and caused that side of the bus to crash to the ground. However, the driver did not stop speeding.
‘This is insane!’ The man yelled. ‘You would get us killed!’
Although afraid, Ness could only laugh at the scenario. ‘This is cool driver, please don’t stop!’
‘Don’t what?!!!’ an extremely afraid hasty man responded in his highest pitch, ‘please stop this bus right now!’
‘Your business deal sir,’ the driver kept saying as he stroked his heavy beard with a free hand gently.
‘Please in the name of God, just stop this bus right now!’
‘Are you sure?’ The driver asked.
The man was sweating profusely despite the overwhelming airy atmosphere, Ness had curled up into a safe end that saved him from feeling the heat of a burning tyre from the back, which the man was now obviously feeling.
‘Please driver, just stop the bus now!!!’
It was an hilarious scene, but the commuters seemed undisturbed by the event, many of them were laughing hysterically as the once bold man became a pleading worm at an expense of getting his desire. Old men and women in the bus were now applauding the driver.
The driver finally but reluctantly pulled over, to allow the heavily sweating man get air, His trouser had suffered a big patch as the tyre had caught fire and burnt off the part he sat on. He flew out of the bus and slept on the road side panting heavily.
‘Driver!’ He said exhaustively, ‘I swear I would never rush again.’
Ness smiled, his own comment was directed at the driver too; ‘You are the best driver I have ever met.’
‘He has not even started driving yet’ An old woman said with a smirk, her response woke Ness up from sleep. He had slept right immediately he got into the bus and the whole impossible event had only been a brief dream.
He smiled gladly, at the still vacant seat beside him.
A man came rushing in beside him in real life, this had the exact stature of the man he had seen in his dreams, and he was putting on black suit too.
‘Driver! Please lets’ start going…’ The man said hastily, as he brought out a clean handkerchief to wipe his sweaty face.
Ness could only swallow the big saliva in his throat loudly.