TOSIN SILVERDAM SHORT STORY CHALLENGE: STORY 3
A short story written by Oyin Oluwatosin Emmanuel…
Thomas took in a cup of water to push down the last lump of Eba he had just taken with the insufficient okro soup. Thick salty liquid dropped from his neck into the washing bowl as he washed his palms
He pulled off his shirt and threw on it the mattress which laid in his room, rushing out of the room and the face to face house without bothering to clean up where he had just eaten. He picked up another shirt on the rope and wore it hurriedly before heading for the garage which was just fifteen minutes walk from his house.
Just after walking for three minutes, the Nokia torchlight phone vibrated in his pocket as he was about to cross the road, he brought out the phone and found out that the flasher was Shukurat, the new chick he was trying to woo. He returned the phone into his pocket and faced the road but the phone vibrated again. Shukurat again.
He stopped by at a corner and checked his account balance, the airtime left was insufficient for him to call. He dipped his hands into his pockets, searching furiously for money to recharge his line but the only thing he found was a piece of paper containing the address of a place he made a special delivery to the day before. The flash came again the third time.
His mind searched for a solution, he needed to call Shukurat back and hear what she wanted to tell him, at least to prove that he was a dependable man.
He cursed in his heart as he recalled the previous day’s event. He was given a special job by a rich man to deliver some goods from a factory to various warehouses with his bus. He and his conductor jumped at the offer, seeing that it promised more and quick profit than the usual passengers business.
As expected, he made up to five times his daily income in less time and with less stress but the income did not get home with him.
Immediately he received the payment for the job, Fredo’s phone call came , inviting him to a special night out in the beer parlour. Thomas didn’t object, he had money with him, so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to flex a little after making so much money.
He accepted and went with his friend to their usual joint, the fun got into his head and he smoked heavily and drank to stupor. The only thing he remembered was that a girl sat on his laps and ordered for more bottles of beer in his name. He didn’t remember how he got home nor how the remaining money in his pocket disappeared.
He came out of the corner and stood by the road side, still pondering on how he could raise a hundred naira for airtime. He thought of going to the park first and lending money from his colleagues but he discarded the thought, no one would borrow him anything knowing fully well that he made so much money the day before, rather they would line up to collect from him.
An idea struck his mind as he saw an handicapped recharge cards seller, rolling the wheelchair in his direction. He smirked as the lame man approached , smiling and waving the recharge cards at him.
‘Oga, give me one thousand naira Mtn’ he smiled as he spoke to the unsuspecting man who quickly detached one of the cards from the others and handed it over to him.
Thomas dialed the pin and it entered successfully, he now had one thousand naira airtime on his phone. He looked around to check if anyone was paying attention to them but everyone was busy, rushing to their offices and places of work. He turned back to the man, frowned his face and returned the already scratched and used card to the man
‘This your card na fake o, e no gree load’ he said bluntly.
‘But Oga, I see you now wey you day… ‘ the seller did not finish before Thomas crossed to the other side of the road.
The disabled man struggled and shouted, but Thomas did not turn back to take a second look at the man,he just continued his walk to the garage. It wasn’t the first time he did something like that, he always got away with it because he was greatly feared in his street, nobody dared touch him because he controlled several other bad boys around.
He was able to speak with Shukurat and call Fredo before his phone switched off due to low battery, after which he walked into the garage. His conductor was already waiting for him beside the bus, the look on the guy’s face showed Thomas that he must have been waiting for long and was already getting impatient. He apologized and the day’s work began.
They had no problems getting passengers as the conductor’s voice and cheerfulness attracted people to the bus quickly. They worked for several hours till three thirty pm in the afternoon when they decided to go the last round before taking a break
The traffic got hectic at that time and several bus drivers tried to find short routes to their destinations. Thomas was not left out as he also decided to take a short route along a residential area when he got held up along the Volks- Iyanaba road. He had gotten halfway through the route already when he noticed that the route was unusually deserted, he saw another driver who took the route returning with his passengers.
‘Hey! Wetin dey happen? Why you dey turn back?’ He called out to driver.
‘Boys dey para for there o’ the driver replied him with a serious look. ‘I no know wetin happen, them say dem no let anybody pass since afternoon’
Thomas argued in his heart whether to turn back or not, not because he was afraid that anything could happen to him but because of the passengers. He himself was too ‘mouthed’ to be touched by anyone on the road.
Just as he got free space to turn back, he saw some boys who carried several instruments moving angrily forward.
One of the boys pointed to his bus, ‘ na one Quick Money bus be that’
Quick money was the name of the garage where he worked and therefore, the label was at the car’s front view and sides.
Before he knew it, several boys had rushed in great fury to his bus, cursing loudly as they raced towards him. His conductor and some passengers fled immediately but it was too late for him to flee, he was caught and brought out of the vehicle.
Several blows and kicks landed on his body he was dragged and pushed violently to the ground. They surrounded him, he saw one of the boys lifting up two pictures; one was the picture of a man and the other a woman carrying her baby. He recognized the man to be the handicapped recharge cards seller he cheated earlier that day.
The lame business man, who had refused to resort to begging was loved by everybody around his home for his hard work. It shocked the people on his street when they heard that he had been crushed into pieces by a Quick Money vehicle when he was trying to pursue and collect his money from someone who cheated him that morning. Just that afternoon also while the man’s wife returned from work with her baby strapped to her back, having not heard the sad news of her husband’s demise, she was hit by another Quick Money bus that was trying to evade traffic by passing that route. The drivers of the two guilty vehicles were said to have escaped untouched.
The tragic event infuriated Gardon, a neighbor to the lame man who was the head of the area boys in the whole state and he sent his boys to vandalize any Quick Money Bus or Vehicle that was seen that day and also pass judgement to the driver’s and conductors.
‘Una no know me? Na me o Thomas’ Thomas pleaded as plywoods of different sizes landed on his head and body.
‘Make una burn am, see tyre for here’ someone shouted among the boys.
‘No, na im head we want’ another one shouted in the crowd.
He was dragged away from the middle of the road to the left side, his clothes were torn away, his head was placed on a bag filled with sand.
A machete was lifted up.
***THE END*** PLEASE KINDLY COMMENT BELOW IF THIS SHORT STORY DESERVES TO WIN THE CHALLENGE
oyin oluwatosin emmanuel is a blogger and writer who hails from kwara state. he began blogging and writing at the age of sixteen and has several stories to his credit.
his works includes several short stories and a blockbuster novel, ‘inseparable’. the e-copy was released in july has been downloaded by hundreds of readers in and outside of nigeria. inseparable has also received hundreds of views by readers on the blog.
His ongoing project is Tarasha, an action thriller which is updated on the blog every week on specific days. www.youngicee.blogspot.com