Saturday, April 4, 2009

Chapter 2: Adventures With Aunty

The interview was coming to an end. Mr. Heem (my boss) looked up and asked me one last question. "How do you like traveling?"
I replied, "Like it says on my CV sir, traveling is one of my hobbies..."

Drama In Real-Life

When my few friends seek my advice concerning matters of the heart, I usually don’t tell them to pray about it. No, I do not doubt the veracity of prayer. I of all people should know that prayers do work.

The problem you see is not the efficacy of prayer but the fact that like I always tell them, God does have a very good sense of humour. And I should know. He is my Father.

In the course of my job, I have done my fair share of traveling, transversing the country from one hospital to another. Whenever I get into a bus or any other means for transportation for a very long journey, I usually say a short prayer for journey mercies and a particularly long one for the person who will eventually sit besides me. It is very necessary because I happen to detest being yoked with a totally unpleasant character as a fellow seatmate for the travel span of more than 2 hours.

My prayer always goes something like this:

Dear Lord, please may a very beautiful, totally un-shy, bootylicious, appropriately-aged young lady of very sound intellect and great sense of humour who will engage me in very brilliant, varied and entertaining discourse be my seatmate for the duration of this journey. Amen!

But my Father like I said, always has the last laugh.

Only once has this request been ever granted and even though Nike wasn’t particularly beautiful or bootylicious, she fulfilled all the other above requirements perfectly. It was too good to be true! My heart was already dancing a rhumba to Ron Kenolly’s “Jesus is the Winner Mon” by the time Nike asked me for my phone number as we alighted and I was too overjoyed to think it odd when she refused to give me hers.

The very next day, MTN knocked my number off their network and even their Engineers can’t fathom till today why they can’t recover it for me anymore. After yet another failed attempt to recover the line, I looked up to the skies in exasperation and heard a celestial “Ha ha”.

Anyone who makes the journey from Bida to Osogbo knows that you might have to first stop at Ilorin and switch vehicles. Thus on this particular trip was I burdened to say the same prayer twice. My seatmate who shared the front seat with me from Bida to Ilorin was a man who was very determined that I share every eating experience with him. No, he didn’t offer me anything but he did make sure that a portion of the egg-roll, biscuits, egg, Viju Milk, egg (again!) and pure water that he drank somehow found a way to stain my shirt.

Ilorin to Osogbo was bound to be a far better experience and my Daddy didn’t disappoint. Seated next to me in the bus was a fat Yoruba woman (emphasis on woman, not young lady) of multiple complexions on her hands, neck and face. Luckily, she didn’t smell and seemed to keep herself within her seating space meaning she was “self-contained” and I wouldn’t be buffeted into suffocation by her mammoth upper arms or similarly-proportioned bust.

Thanking God for the respite I closed my eyes and settled down to relax and enjoy the journey only to be jolted awake by “Aunty” rummaging in her handbag. “Oh no!” I thought. “Not one of these drug sellers, surely?”

“Take it easy, my son” I heard the heavenly voice say. “You know I don’t hate you that much, don’t you?”

Comforted I turned to look as Aunty narrated to anyone who cared to listen (which was everyone in the bus by the way) how her shop “purson” had stolen her earnings and her handbag and run away. She had just only recovered the said handbag from the Police Station where the robber was cooling his or her heels off (she kept mixing up he and she so I couldn’t figure out the “purson’s” gender). Aunty then proceeded to show us her torn savings book with several leaves missing where purson had tried to withdraw her money from the bank and her two stolen now-recovered cellphones none of which cost over N3500 in my opinion.

Fully caught up in the heat of the story by now, she then pulled out two battered textbooks to prove that she had even been helping purson by sending him/her to school and yet the ungrateful wretch had been siphoning funds from her CBN. I caught a peek of one of the books she was waving in the air like a truce flag. The title read “Community Health”.

After all the hmmms and haaaaaaas had accompanied the story and Aunty had put back her recovered belongings in the Dolce & Cabana (sic) handbag I closed my eyes and settled back to my reverie. “Thank you, Father” I mouthed.

Aunty was quick to pounce. “You talk to me?”

“No” I muttered still with my eyes closed.

Ten minutes later and the only sound in the bus was the noise of the excessively loud engine and the protesting shock-absorbers as we hit the potholes in the road. Another five minutes later and Aunty was rummaging again, only this time it wasn’t in her handbag but on my shoulder! Groaning very loudly and giving her the full blare of my weary stare (if there was such a thing) I sat up again to see a half-eaten banana poked a few centimeters from my mouth.

“I don’t like banana” Aunty said as her colossal jaws chomped on the other half in her mouth. (Poor banana).

Wearily I said, “So why the heck are you eating it then?”

But Aunty repeated the same statement: “I don’t like banana”.

I looked at her stupidly for a while before it slowly dawned on me that she wasn’t making a statement. She was actually asking a question.

Sitting erect, I turned to face Aunty as the poor half-banana suffered mastication in her mouth which seemed to duplicate the spin-action of a washing machine.

Aunty still poked the other half in my face. “I don’t like banana?”

“No,” I replied, “I don’t like banana” And before she’d be quick to offer me anything else edible or liquid to suck (including her tits for that matter) I added, “I don’t like anything”.

But she wouldn’t let me go so easily. “Why?”

“Because I don’t take anything whenever I travel.” And before she’d ask why again, I decided to let her know. “My tummy gets upset if I eat anything while I’m traveling”.

It was a lie of course. I had just consumed 2 Galas and a bottle of La Casera but Aunty was probably too slow to challenge that. The conversation as far as I was concerned was over and to prove it, I brought out my phone to text my sis. Aunty however wasn’t done with me.

“I like your phone”

“Oh yeah? I like it too.”

“And is Samsung!” she exclaimed. “How mush (much) you buy it?”

“It was a gift.” Case closed. That was the end of it. Or was it?

“Who are you texting?”

“I am texting my sister”. God, this is becoming a bit too much for me oh!

My stereoscopic vision turned mono-scopic all of a sudden as my right field of vision went pitch-black. It didn’t take me long to realize Aunty had leaned over to press one of her Ndi Okereke-type breasts on the right side of my face!

It did take quite a fight to come up for air and I was surprised to see the smile on Aunty’s face as she tried suffocating me yet again so that she could see better what I was typing on the phone. I guess that was when I really lost it.


The two girls sitting behind me who had been watching the unfolding drama burst out in peals of laughter. Aunty’s face suddenly became shrouded by a rain-cloud. It closely matched the sky on a rainy day in May. I couldn’t care less. When I boarded this vehicle and carefully chose my seat I had planned to take a journey to Osogbo and not into the Great Beyond. Besides imagine how the newspapers would have carried my obituary: Man suffocated to death by mammoth breasts!”

I thought my cold treatment would be a put-off for any normal person but she definitely wasn’t normal. She was still looking for a fight. She seemed to reflect for a while as I spied at her face out of the corner of my glasses. She caught me.

“Why you look me like that?” she accused. I denied ASAP. “I wasn’t looking at you”. Her face became cloudier still. I rejoiced.

“You don’t like me,” she declared after another spell of reflection. (Finally! At long last she had taken the hint). With the biggest smile I could muster on my face I said “Yes, I don’t like you”.


“Because you’re disturbing me and I want some peace and quiet on this trip.”

“But me, I like you. Where do you live?”

WHAAAAAAT! I shot up straight from my seat as if a bolt of lightning had zig-zagged down my spine, cracking my head on the roof of the bus in the process while turning to look the woman square in the face. Behind me, the two eavesdropping girls couldn’t prevent their guffaws from escaping.

“I LIKE YOU!” Aunty repeated very loudly. What kind of horror trip was this turning to? Instantly I had gone from relative anonymity to becoming the cynosure of 15 other eyes including the driver who spun around and craned his neck to catch a glimpse of my rapidly-shrinking self.

The bus suddenly turned graveyard quiet as even the engine and tyres tuned in to eavesdrop on the drama between Aunty and me. I felt like screaming at the driver “Face the road jo!” but I knew it’d be no use. The angels in heaven were probably rolling in stitches at my discomfiture while the devil was most likely calculating if by adding to it I would be more easily convinced to trade my soul just to be anywhere else but here.

PS: Like all bad Nollywood movies, this story is To Be Continued...