Black Stripes at Dusk: Feyi

“… that the current poor state of power supply being experienced across the nation, was as a result of vandalised gas pipelines serving the Egbin and… ” the bus driver changed stations with a loud hiss. “Awon oloshi!” he cursed under his breath.

“… pastor had been accused by Miss Walters of having… ” the driver hissed again as he kept searching through stations. “Leave am for dere na! Wetin?!” bellowed a passenger sitted at the near end of the back row of wooden seat in the danfo bus waiting for a few more passengers to come aboard before taking off from its busstop at Obalende.

The driver searched through stations like no one had uttered anything to him. “Saaboh Yabaah!! Yabaah! Yabaah! Wole pelu shangi e o!” the bus conductor beckoned nearby. “Faif hondred! Wahn tauzon ma wole o! Yabaah!”

“Ogbeni! Na five hundred I get o, make you go find change!” retorted the front seat passenger. The conductor moved to the front door with a ‘do I know this person’ look before taking a few steps back and… “Be like say de winsh wey send yu errand dis eveneen no te’ yu say na dah bos yu supoze enta abi?!”

The passenger didn’t respond, to the conductor’s chargrin. “Whish kain tin be dis na?!” before transferring his angst to the driver, “An’ I bin te’ yu ma’e we no kom load for dis side! See fish brain wey yu wan kari naw?!”

“Call passenger for me jor!” responded the driver in a dismissive tone. He had settled for a radio station where the voice spoke in an indigeneous language, to the annoyance of a few passengers. The front seat passenger had made to retort but the conductor had moved some steps away beckoning on more passengers.

The sun was setting, its rays shining through a cloud hovering by and obstructing the sun from view momentarily. The atmosphere was windy and a rumpled newspaper page with dried oil on it was blown onto Feyi’s blue denim, hugging his right thigh as the wind blew on towards Feyi and the bus.

Feyi simply turned to face the wind and let the paper glide off his denim. “Eskiuz!” said a young woman wanting to board the bus. He stepped back for her to join the other three already sitted in the last row of seat, leaving the bus with two more passengers – one for the other two rows – to board it before it left for Yaba.

The conductor had seen the young woman boarding the bus and changed his call as a result. “Yabaah one! Yabaah one!” he called as he stopped a plantain chips hawker. “Gimme tu!” he said, at which moment two students boarded the bus. “Eizz!!” the conductor yelled at some voices from the bus angrily urging him to get to the bus so they could leave the busstop.

“No be shange I de find for pipu wey winsh send ni!” said the conductor as he approached the bus. “Be like say you wan sleep hospitu this nait?!” retorted the front seat passenger. And the conductor was going to throw a retort back when something else caught his attention.

“Oga… I wan siddon!” said the conductor to Feyi, who had settled on the makeshift seat he had pulled out from under the second row of seat. Feyi looked perplexed and “Or-ga… I say ma’e yu stand hop I wan sid-don!” before he could ask why.

“Driver please let’s go naw!” moaned a woman at the far end of the front row. “Kon-dor make we go na, abi wetin again?” shouted another passenger from the back row. The conductor began gesticulating as “I say ma’e yu commot na abi yu deaf??” he got angrier at Feyi.

Feyi gave the bus conductor condescending look before beheading the cover of his apple drink from the bottle and making to take a gulp. The conductor’s hand however shifted the direction of the bottle so that his nudge of it spilled quite an amount of apple drink on Feyi. Drama.

Feyi, who had left his workplace; he was ‘an assistant’ to a woman who ran a Non-Governmental Organisation from her post-independence era Ikoyi residence, in top of the world mood courtesy of a bonus received from Madam Johnson-Ayinla in the form of a cheque for N45,000, went blank with rage and pounced on the bus conductor.

The front seat passenger, seeing an opportunity to vent his grouse with the bus conductor, alighted from the bus and joined Feyi in pummelling the pleading-to-thin-deaf-air conductor who now was curled up, face covered by hands, on the floor in defeated resistance.

A loose arm landed hard on Feyi’s left shoulder, it was the front seat passenger’s in the motion after landing a blow on the conductor and getting set to land another. But that to Feyi was like speaking Latin to a Beijing native for he interpreted it as a blow.

The conductor’s hands released their grip of his face to allow him peek at just why he was not being pummelled anymore. To his delight, Feyi and the front seat passenger were going at each other; Feyi had just landed a blow on his new adversary’s stomach, making the man retreat two steps and crouch in pain.

“Oga mi de go de go!” shouted the conductor at the bus driver. “Call passe… ” began the driver before stopping himself. The other passengers, flustered by the quick turn of events, shouted at both the driver and conductor to get going and not call any more passengers.

The conductor had hissed at the driver’s suggestion anyway and hissed more at the passengers shouting at him. The driver began driving away with a sinister smile at the fighting men. “Wait! Wait! My wallet o! Wait!” screamed the passenger now fighting Feyi after spotting the danfo in motion.

The conductor looked at the driver, the driver raised his free hand to reveal a wallet. The conductor looked out to the chasing man and shouted “Ashiere!! Na dah winsh don do yu!” at him while laughing.

The bus went out of sight. The man looked back at Feyi, made a ‘this is not over’ hand gesture before walking away while searching his back pocket. Feyi ignored the man and made to button up, then realised the two buttons were gone.

He hissed and began walking away. Some way off Feyi stopped and searched himself like a man possessed. He had only then realised his hands were light. There was a folder on his lap when he was in the bus, a folder that had fell to the floor of the bus when he pounced on the conductor… his bonus waiting for the conductor to discover it.


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