“Mushin Olosha! Mushin, mushin wole!!” hollered the conductor who draped on the yellow bus horizontally stripped with black. I had boarded the bus minding my own business, when the bus came to an abrupt halt. In my mind I had cursed the driver because I nearly hit my head on the pew before me. “What’s wrong with all these agbero drivers in Lagos?” I murmured later. Raising my head, I saw the reason the bus stopped. A lanky dark man, average height, with eyes reddened and mouth blackened from years of cigarette and igbo, was approaching the bus. “Hope say no b for my side this one go dey,” I grumbled. Normally fellow agberos hung on the bus, but this one had levels so he sat on the only available space which was beside me.
I tried shifting to the side because I sat by the window but there was no space left. The agbero in torn jeans and black singlet which revealed dark arms burgeoning unshaved underarm, delved into his seat.
“Alaye how far na?” came his croaked voice offering pleasantries. It was a derogatorily dicey question. If I reacted harshly, he would be offended and rain insults on me. If I snubbed him, he would do the same. So I cursed him first in my mind then responded.
“Who be Alaye, abii I resemble Alaye for your eye?” I said still keeping my voice cool. To my amazement, he was quiet but unknowingly to me that he had revenge under his sleeves. The saying, “Actions speaks louder than words,” was true. In fact, it was felt.
Everything was going fine, until the dude beside me intentionally raised his left hand to touch the roof of the bus and the most nauseating odour I’d ever perceived struck me like lighting. I couldn’t revolt but prayed he’d bring the hand down. On the other hand, the time it took from Ojuelegba to Mushin tripled because of the traffic. “I’ll die here o, God help my life” I said in my mind.
“Olosha Bus stop o wa o” The croaked voice came again. He was going to alight at the next bus stop. Then the car came to the same abrupt halt and his hand came down.
“Ahh, thank you God. It is finished.” I said in my mind, after I had suffocated for 15 minutes. Then he stood up to alight. I had even forgotten to curse the driver, that wasn’t necessary now.
Still in my thanksgiving mood, he dropped the final bombshell. He bent towards my face and I discovered that his trousers were sagged, revealing the topmost part of his dark buttocks and the line that divided them into halves. Inches to my face, I tilted my head backwards and pinned my nose between my thumb and index finger to evade whatever came from there. I couldn’t imagine he would go to that length.
The bus moved and I popped my head out of the window, raining insults upon him and watching him gradually go out of sight. It was a horrendous experience, I knew I would have nightmares about that day and I vowed never to go to Mushin without sitting beside the driver.