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The things that happen on the high way

He pushed the window back to receive fresh air
as the bus sped off the wet road.
His face wore a reminiscent smile as he thought
about all the activities and events that had
happened at the Orientation Camp: the new set
of people he had come to call friends, the
numerous visits to the mammy market, the
early morning drills and the endurance trek.
He slid his finger across the screen of his mobile
phone, going through the pictures that he had
taken during the period.
His face beamed with smiles.
The bus halted for a passenger to alight.
He called out to a hawker across the road.
Without minding to look out well for
approaching vehicles, the young boy sped
across the road to sell his wares.
“Always look well before crossing the road,” he
said to the boy as he paid him for what he
bought.
The boy nodded, hastily—he was more
concerned in collecting the money he was
extending and passing him his change.
Without warning, the driver zoomed off and the
poor boy had to complete the transaction on a
chase.
Chidi had prayed hard not to be posted to the
North for fear of losing his life to the ongoing
terrorist attacks happening there.
Here he was now, in the bus to Akwa-ibom
where he’d been posted to, smiling and feeling
grateful.
He remembered his father’s advice to stay away
from the indigenous women and his smile
enlarged.
The old man believed that women from there
use diabolical means to have their way with
men.
The woman beside him was carrying a baby that
had been crying all the while they started the
journey.
Rheum trickled down from the child’s tiny
nostrils.
The mother bent over, sucked the discharge and
spat it out on the road.
“Jeez!” he screamed, flinching.
The mother waved her hand at him, a gesture to
mean that she
was sorry.
He looked at her sternly for a while, and then
munched on the gala that he had bought
earlier.
The snack tasted different in his mouth. Perhaps
it was what the woman had done.
He sipped his Lacasera and tried not to think
about it.
The bus jerked, slowing.
“Na police dey cause dis traffic jam sef,” the
driver hissed.
He turned off the ignition of the bus and waited.
As soon as the vehicles in front of him began to
move again, he kicked the engine back to life
and drove down till he was abruptly stopped by
the police man at the check point.
“Where are your particulars”, the officer asked.
“Here!” He handed over some papers to him.
After some seconds of scrutiny, the officer
returned the papers to him.
“Can I go?” the driver asked.
“Go where?” He waved. “Oya park well!”
The driver swerved to his right and stopped the
vehicle.
He came down and walked up to the police
man.
They discussed in low tones for a while and the
driver dipped his hands into his pocket and
offered the officer a clean 50 naira note.
The officer cast an angry stare, making no
attempt to take the money.
The passengers in the bus were murmuring
now.
There was annoyance and heat and impatience
in the air.
Chidi sipped the last of his Lacasera and flung
the bottle across the road.
Just then the driver stormed into the bus and
started the engine.
But as he was about speeding off, a shot shook
the air.
The bus halted.
People were screaming as they ran down.
Chidi sat motionless as the other passengers
scampered into the nearby bush for safety.
The driver got down and was about to cross the
road when he saw a figure leaning to the seat
with ear phones plugged in his ears.
The driver reached and dragged him out of the
bus.
He screamed as the body fell limply to the
ground.
“This yeye police don kill dis corper because of
50 naira!” a middle-aged man at the scene
shouted.
But there were no more officers in sight.
***

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