The best part of being a mate is collecting the bus fare especially now that not one pesewa will go to any charity case.
It was one of those good days for Red. The bus ran agreeably, no unexpected stops to re-spark the engine, the traffic lights were changing readily in their favour from red to a green and if it was yellow, it paused long enough for them to pass.
Even the air was less polluted and smelled fresher. The day was going that good. Already on their sixth trip at just a few minutes past ten, Red basked in the warmth of a full stomach and an already healthy purse.
I don’t think so. Are you sure it is genuine?
‘Yes yes! Yes of course!
The hushed back and forth had been going for a majority of this trip and although Red is no gossip.
That’s a mountain of lies and you know it! As always his conscience will remind him of all the upright morals his mother raised him with.
Although Red is not a gossip, he continued ignoring that small voice within. At least no one can accuse him of bringing one. He was particularly interested in this discussion.
During his round for the fares, some sentences had danced to his ears and if he was as good at dishing out change as he was at deducing situations like his peers claim then this has everything to do with earning a quick cedi.
Err boss oh!
Dressed in a good looking suit and shirt one will wonder what such a fine attired young and good-looking person will be doing riding a ‘troski ‘if everyone was not aware of the current state of the economy. Things make rough as Red will say.
Sparingly the young man did not turn an angry look his way as most white-collar job holders do to him on a normal day.
Even his teeth are Close-Up commercial-worthy; Red thought, momentarily blindsided.
Sorry boss! Your teeth make nice waaa oh! Erh!
The passenger laughed, blessing Red with another glimpse of God-given thirty-two bling.
Erhu charley! Ibe why I dey talk am sey.
Ehi mate! Mini! Why you dey come talk for our matter top! Will you concentrate on finding more passengers for your Master instead of interrupting conversations you have no business in?
Oh oh oh oh oh oh, went the general murmur of passengers.
Red studied this one who just spoke closely. Dressed nicely he was, but in the casual sense- expensive-looking black jeans topped by a body-hugging shirt that had a picture of Drake on it.
Where Close-Up guy was of a darker hue, loud-mouth was almost as fair-skinned as Red but fortunately for the world, the brightness did not extend to his dentition.
So badmouth was seated in the next row of seats right behind the young woman both men were trying to catapult into whatever business proposal they were selling.
You too why?
Red just disliked men like him. They think they are better than everyone else because of their educational background and positions held at work.
I don’t blame you, fool! Arguing with an illiterate.
Shaking his head as if ashamed of the temporal insanity, he harrumphed, fair face twisted in anger, badmouth turned to the driver hoping to garner support because the entire bus had gone wild after that insult. Driver, talk to your mate!
Driver mini! Eh driver mini? Namo cho driver, boo? Oy3 s3k3 aloo!
Red was aware Massa will never respond to such a call. As long as the issue at hand did not affect his bus fare and no one was dying then his only concentration was getting to the next stop. He had been trying to reign in his anger before that last comment.
Oh but you too, why will you speak to him like that?
That was from a motherly plump looking woman. You don’t have relatives who are illiterate eh, or you think people like them [pointing to a still fuming Red and then Massa] don’t deserve respect? She indeed was the mother type.
Yes brethren we must remember that which the good book warned about, love thy neighbour as we wished to be loved, A preacher man who had been quiet for some time now added his voice.
Red suspected the only reason this preacher spoke again is just for an opportunity to begin his already ended sermon.
You don’t know where you might bump into him tomorrow, the girl seated next to him by the window included her voice.
Seeing that he was outnumbered, he mumbled a reluctant apology that Red was not even interested in.
Oh my friend, don’t be angry eh. Just continue what you want to say and I will answer all your questions. Just tell me, don’t mind him eh.
Oh, he make me vex. How he go dey talk me say me be illiterate! Me go school oh!
Where did you stop, class three?
Hey yakakanaabu! If you joke I go slap your mouth ruff!
I will just sue you for assault.
Oh shut up young man you’re just a poor representation to your peers and a bad son of an unhappy mother am sure!
Ei madam, don’t involve my mother in this else I will forget that you are an old lady.
Rising from the back seat the old lady stood up and popped the young man on his face. Shut up Osei!
A shock of recognition appeared on the slapped red face. Aunty Abi! What? You’re supposed to be in Lagos.
I just arrived in Accra and the nice young man you insulted helped me when the station boys tried to take away some of my things. Should I remind you your father is literate today because I dropped out to do business just to send him to school?
Oh be quiet! I couldn’t go to school but I sent my little brother to school.
‘Aunty Abi let’s not air laundry in public. An unclean one too!
I see. You called him an illiterate, so is that what you call me behind my back too?
The ringman was now silently tearful at the look on his aunt’s face. The entire bus was quiet in the wake of the unexpected drama and as if to dismiss this important climax the bus coughed to a stop followed by a shut door. Massa left in his wake the most anti-climactic parting words to such a solemn gathering.
Red! Offload the bus. Am going for an early lunch today.
To be continued…….new episode every WEEKEND. Subscribe to receive notifications. Leave your comments below.
By Jamila Abdul Wahab Follow on Twitter @activetvgh