Why are these passengers looking at me weird?” Well maybe they are not even looking at me; I’m probably the one being weird. You can’t blame me though; I’ve not gotten into a “Danfo”(local public bus, usually very rickety) in at least 6 years.
The last time I got into one was during JAMB lessons. That was a major highlight for any secondary school (high school) graduate in Nigeria. On my last occasion of dealing with a “danfo”, we had finished classes, and my crew and I were headed to a game house (where you pay to play Play Station and Xbox games). We were almost at the game house, when we saw people running all over the place! Sheesh! Lagos city and its madness!! I could have sworn that someone just saw something funny and screamed, started running and others followed suit, without knowing the cause. But no! This time was different: there was a reason- Masquerades! They were dressed in their regalia holding and lashing out their canes and whips (or “Koboko”). Apparently, they were asking for money and harassing people. We came to quickly learn that if we didn’t want to be harassed, we had to settle them. “Awon werey” (Mad people)- one of my friends hissed. Let’s just say he’s still traumatized from the aftermath of that comment, as one of the masquerades heard him. Ha! As the chaos was going on, some soldiers were passing by. Trust Naija soldiers with their hardened-always-angry-unfriendly faces-but-always-ready-to-exercise-power personalities; they jumped on the chaos that was going on! They accosted the masquerades, collected their whips and commanded them all to lie flat on the scorching hot rocky road. “Shebi you think you are mad”, the fair skinned military man barked out at the now sweaty bunch of “masquerades”. After some time, they told them to do frog jump. That was the funniest thing ever. A crowd gathered, laughing at them. Nigerian law enforcement officers are made in China, however: they don’t last. So they told the masquerades to continue frog jump and go their way. The moment the soldiers got into their trucks, masquerades took over. Trust us to scramble once again.
My crew scattered. Trust my Kito sandals to be there for me. But it looked like the masquerades were gaining momentum. Luckily for me, a danfo was picking up passengers so I hopped into one and I was safe. The area still had them around, so my only bet was to follow the danfo. Choi! That’s how I was taken from Ikeja “under the bridge” to Egbeda. I used my game money to pay the fare. Thank God I knew my mother’s phone number, as she was the one who came to pick me at Egbeda.
‘Alaye, owo e da’. The conductor jerked me back to reality as he requested for his fare. I took out the 150 Naira I’d kept in my breast pocket and gave him- you must not carry last in this town. The remaining money was safely stored in my deep holed trouser pocket. Every 30 seconds, I would check my pocket and if the person beside me touches me, I would touch my zipper region stylishly. We’ve heard too many tales of disappearing penises and boobs and the likes by an ordinary touch, especially during Christmas period. The desperation for money had no end. And God knew I was not about to become a victim.
I got off at my bus stop and took a bike as my colleague had told me. Okada riders know everywhere, so that was my best bet to the office. I kept wondering how the gateman would look at me as I arrived the office, getting off an Okada- a whole omo Otunba, taking okada. I’m sure that Danfo had drained all my Calvin Klein Euphoria perfume. I had some sweat patch at my armpit region.
Of all days for this gateman called Ochuko to be outside, he chose today. Buying bread and akara on a Monday morning. Why couldn’t he be inside, so he would not see me get off an Okada. Abeg, I would tell him the car had a fault down the street.
‘DJ of life! How na? Which one be Okada today na?
I knew it!! He had to greet me with the Okada line. Bad belle! World people!!
As I was paying the okada rider, one Toyota Corolla pulled up at the gate.
‘Is this T n T Global Services’, asked the make up on fleek-nerdy glasses-no-cleavage-showing-lady.
Ochuko spoke to her for some seconds and opened the gate for her. I clutched my laptop bag to my back, went in and sat directly under the Air conditioner near my desk. While cooling off, I reminisced on the events of the weekend.
Grill at the Pent (GATP) is a Sunday all night clubbing event on the island in Lagos. You only find a set of people there – Children of all these politicians who have stolen all our money for their kids, Some Malaysian ‘I just got back’ crew, Or children of oil barons. If a banker attends GATP, he would go with about 5 friends, and they must be ready to spend half-month salary, each. The cars parked there are enough to make you reconsider going in.
So my guy, Bimbo, who is a Prince, said we should go to GATP. His sister had gotten married two weeks back, so his share from the money from various governors and senators must be plenty in his hand. He came over, parked his car, and we took mine. I must not dull. The night went well. We popped two bottles of Moet and bought one bottle of Ciroc. That’s good enough for 4 guys at a table. If you think otherwise, come and beat me!
We paid the bills. All went well.
We drove home, even though tipsy. All went well.
It was time to park my car. All didn’t go well!!!
How I managed to think D was R on the gear amazes me. I crashed into the Mikano generator. And it went off. Now, it’s not like the car was badly damaged but the impact was enough to make the generator go off. And Otunba came down. Picture me now, tipsy, my hands interlocked on my head! “Gbese”!!
Otunba is my dad. Otunba looks like Idi Amin. Huge, big tummy, and always frowning! Even his laughter still has frowns in it. I try to explain what happened but he won’t hear it. I don’t know why I bothered. He never listens to you when you do wrong. All I remember is him saying ‘don’t touch any of my cars again’ and after some 10 minutes, he drove out to sleep in a guesthouse nearby, which he owns. I guess his judgment comes tomorrow.