CORRUPTED!… the second part….
The bark of the bastard dog reverberates all through my journey to Ikeja. I try shelving the pain by seeking inspiration from the fat seasoned novel in my bag but I remain stuck on a line for minutes. A blurt of insult from a passing vehicle pulls my eyes out of the window but there is nothing to behold but the grim faces of Lagosians dreading the strain of the day’s work. I close my eyes and try to do a mental examination of an uncompleted screenplay lurking in my laptop but the image of the bastard dog tears through the emerging reverie. This time it isn’t just a static snapshot, it is a talkie of the dog sucking the teat of a large black goat chewing the cord with gusto. My heart aches as I feel the brunt of sheer disappointment. I suddenly wish I could jump off the bus, fly to my street and save the unfortunate canine.
The conductor taps my arm and orders me off the bus as we arrive at the bus-stop. I look around and it’s nothing like the bus-stop but I am too sad to bicker or exchange heated words with the red-eyed mister with a large Adam’s apple that was a trigger more than prepared to shoot bullets. I jump off the bus and begin my journey to work. Normally I use the walk to the office as a chance to gulp scenarios, dialogue and conflicts to aid my writing. The bickering political and sports analysts by the newspaper stands, the yelling bus conductors with cheap rash infested tattoos, the road transport association workers sucking spliffs and sachets, dusty skinny men and mothers handling twins begging for money to have breakfast, bleached ladies with six piercings per ear and large nose rings, obese rodents plundering the gutters thinking they are sprinters, angry policemen wielding rods…. It’s an endlessly diverse and dysfunctional world seated chiefly as a muse for the blankest of writers.
I sight the halogen signboard of my office and for the first time since morning, relief seeps into my soul but it is too scant to change anything, the sadness soon returns. A short dusty man in torn jeans saunters towards me and I know what his next move is so I change direction to avoid him but like he can read my thoughts, he turns in my new direction and we collide like blind rams.
“Oga no vex” he says.
The torrent of foul odor from his mouth pushes my head the other way and I make to walk away but he grabs my hand, his coarse palm digging into the lushness of my wrists.
“Na you I dey talk to” he says, a naughty smile on his face.
“I don hear na, no problem” I reply and try to pull free but he tightens his grip. I look at him and see his jaw tighten in spastic malevolence. His face is a wasteland of traumatic acne battles and his hair looks like a withered farmland of maize. I am in trouble. I know it.
“Come give me small money” he says.
I feel something slink into my left pocket and I quickly slap the moving bulge.
“I go change am for you o” I say, the quiver in my voice betraying the intention of my warning.
The man smiles and lets go. He crosses to the other side of the road and walks away without looking back. I thrust my trembling hands into my bilateral pockets and pull out my phones. I smile like a lottery winner. I resume my journey to work, still beaming like a lamp, relieved that I had passed my first “Welcome to Lagos” test. A lady pulling out 100 naira notes from her wallet brings me to a halt and I immediately remember I am yet to check my back pocket.
Yes, there is a third and final part…Keep chewing.