Wednesday, 8 February 2017

The Dirty,Red-Eyed,Igbo-Smoking Keke Driver 1(Short Story By Royver)

Last week I had an
appointment in Onitsha and
prepared early so I could beat
the usual traffic on the Asaba- Onitsha expressway. I hurriedly
had my bath, rushed my
breakfast and headed out of
the house with my knapsack.


As a rule I do not use my
private vehicle within the Onitsha metropolis for personal
reasons. So I went to the road
to board a Keke-na-pep
(commercial tricycle) that
would take me to Onitsha park.


A few tricycles passed by, all of them full, and for a while no
other keke na pep was in sight.
I guess it was because it was
still early in the morning. I was
beginning to get impatient
when I noticed a solitary and empty tricycle hurtling down
the road in my direction.

I
stuck out my thumb for him to
stop and the keke swerved
sharply unto the side-lane and
screeched to a halt by my side, scattering dust left and right. I
jumped back a bit on impulse
to avoid getting hit.


After a quick glance at the
keke and its driver, my first
reaction was to tell him to keep going. The Keke looked
like it had definitely seen
better days; the windscreen
was broken with the cracks
forming a kind of spider's web
with a jagged hole on the left side of the driver.

There were
bumps and scratches on the
framework and the back seat
was detached and a little
skewed. It looked like a badly
bumped bumper-cart. The driver himself looked like a
villain out of a Nollywood
movie. Thin and unkempt
fellow wearing a dirty yellow
(or was it orange) T-shirt and
rugged jeans.

He was sitting so I couldn't figure his height so
much but he looked generally
small. His facial features
consisted of an uncombed hair,
ragged beard and wild
moustache. But it was his wide red eyes
that were his most prominent
feature. Like someone who
was suffering from a viral
conjunctivitis, although he
wasn't squinting in the sunlight to indicate photophobia so I
knew the redness was from
something else, most likely
marijuana.

He stretched out a
bony hand and beckoned for
me to enter. I paused. In other
circumstances I would have
told him to go, that I had
changed my mind or
something, and jejerly wait for
another keke with a saner looking individual at the wheel.
But I was running late already
and I was thinking of how I
was going to beat the traffic
on the express.

I thought, to
hell with it, what could go wrong, right?
I boarded the keke.
[]He zoomed down the road
like the keke was the Bat-
mobile and it occurred to me
that his driving skills might have been one of the many
reasons why passengers we
passed on the way seemed to
politely refuse a ride and
generally waved him on.

I
resigned myself and settled comfortably at the back seat,
at least with the way he was
going I would be at the park in
record time.


Before I knew it I was at
Ogbogeonogo market. I jumped down from the keke,
grateful to have all limbs still
fully intact. I paid the man his
fare and headed for one of the
buses that was just about
getting filled up.

I managed to bag the front seat (an agbero
that had been pretending to be
a passenger in front had come
down for me to sit) and the
driver started the vehicle. From
the time I got down from the keke to the time I entered the
Onitsha bus couldn't have been
more than thirty seconds.
The next thing I knew I was
overcome by a dreadful feeling.
My right pocket that usually housed my arguably expensive
android phone was unnaturally
light. I felt in it and gasped. My
pocket was empty! My android
phone was gone!
I raised an alarm and jumped down from the bus, searching
for the phone to see if it had
fallen out of my pocket. It was
nowhere in sight. It dawned on
me that it could have fallen out
during my rigmarole ride with the hemp-smoking keke driver.

I whirled around to look for
him and his signature smashed
windscreen but he was gone.

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