He jumped up, flung his pillow aside, rubbed his bleary eyes and quickly slipped his legs into his slip on, “how on earth could I have overslept”, he cursed. He looked at his bedside clock, sighed and cursed again in Pidgin English. Outside, the clouds were dark and the wind blew softly as if in warning against the impending danger.
Steven picked up his phone staring at it with unseeing eyes. His mind a cacophony of wicked depressing thoughts. “But it wasn’t supposed to happen this way”, he mused furiously. And as if in affirmation of his dark thoughts, the floodgate opened and the rain burst forth like some tsunami wanting to swallow wheels and legs.
He, who was supposed to be the brightest student in his university days, how was it that he, a Second Class Upper graduate of the Federal University of Technology, was still carrying his Engineering certificate up and down the streets of Ibadan. Many a times, he wondered if he had a curse that had waited till after university to spring on him, or if he had somehow missed the way in a twisted way. Today of all days, having read late into the night in preparation for his interview, Steven felt he actually needed a marathon deliverance session.
Undaunted, after waiting for the present occupant of the bathroom in the dingy apartment he lived in, he snappily bathed, put his documents in a clear-bag folder and wrapped it in a polythene bag, and waded into the rain. “Oh!”, he said to himself, “today na today, if rain like make e sweep me away”. Buses were scarce and the impatient dare-devil motorbikes were virtually non-existent. Getting drenched, Steven had to pay the exorbitant fee being charged by the bus conductor, “no be your fault”, he muttered at the conductor of the bus he eventually decided to board after several tries.
Wedged uncomfortably between two big smelly women, only if Steven knew the day would get worse, maybe he would have happily stayed in bed. The bus went on, coughing its way towards their destination, halfway to their destination and with a final slputter though, the engine gave up. Did hell break loose? Oh yeah! The angry and frustrated passengers began to angrily request for the refund of their money, and one of the big women unwittingly gave Steven a heavy elbow in the ribs, his brain cleared a bit and he wondered, “what the hell am I doing in this bus”, and where exactly am I going?” The driver and conductor as if on a cue from a stage director vanished into the now drizzling rain.
Steven got off the bus, his shirt rumpled, his tie skewed, he at least knew a short-cut to take to his destination, with blank eyes he started his journey wondering what to tell the multinational electronics company of his inability to make the interview. His phone rang, he looked at the caller and picked, “Bayo how far”, he said. Bayo hailing his guy was hollering, “my nigga, you blow dem mind for the interview shey, bad guy!”. Steven was still shaking his head like a mixed ball of flour in hot oil when the connection got bad and the call disconnected. “Typical Naija networks”, he hissed. He looked at his polished shoes which was now caked with red mud and muttered to himself, “I should have just called them on the phone right?” And then he thumped into him, a glaring mass of sinew hulk, as he looked up about to apologize, the unknown sneering man grabbed Steven hard, clubbed him on the head, and threw the unconscious body over his shoulders.
To be continued…