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9 Feb 2017

The Dirty,Red-Eyed,Igbo-Smoking Keke Driver 3 (Short Story By Royver)

There was
a nagging feeling at the back of my mind but I kept shaking
it off. I was now very late for
my Onitsha appointment which
was supposed to start by 8
o'clock. I called the number
again, twice, but this time there was no response. And
that nagging feeling kept

By now the motor park touts
had noticed me. I guess they
were wondering why I had not entered any of the buses. I
ignored their stares and
focused on all the Kekes
coming down the road,
checking them all, broken
windscreen or not, for the thin unkempt driver, my knapsack
held loosely in my left hand.
From the corner of my eye I
saw someone approach. He
was obviously one of the touts.
He walked up to my side and stopped, it appeared he
wanted to do something but
was hesitating.

By now I had begun to boil with
rage. It was finally dawning on
me that I was being played. It was obvious I was being
watched, I had had the feeling
for about ten minutes. The tout
by my side finally turned to me
and at the same time I faced
him squarely. I don't know the kind of look on my face but I
saw his eyes widen in surprise
and he warily took a step back.
I turned away from him and
pretended to still be scanning
the horizon for the keke but in reality I was trying to come to
terms with the fact that the
Igbo-smoking keke driver had
deliberately kept me here to
either make his getaway or do
something more sinister. I didn't know whether to
continue my journey to Onitsha
or to go back home.

I didn't know when another
tout came to my other side.
Suddenly I felt a hand on my shoulder.
"Bros…" A deep, guttural voice.
I turned to face him. This guy
was huge, dark, well built,
clean-shaven with a faded
silver ring on one of the fingers of the giant hand he was now
resting on my shoulder. He
sported a green polo shirt and
khaki trousers.
"I am waiting for someone!" I
said as I gripped my knapsack tighter.
He removed his hand from my

"Sorry bros, I just wanted to
know if this is your phone."
I looked down at his other hand and there was my android
phone! I had cracked the
screen down the middle and so
I recognized it immediately. I
grabbed it from his hand and
then looked back at him, puzzled.

"But, you are not the one that
took my phone."

"Sorry bros," he said again
politely, "The guy dey there.
Him dey fear say u fit vex for am na hin he come say make I
give am to you."

I turned around and lo and
behold, there was my dirty
looking, red eyed igbo-smoking
keke driver, standing nervously in a corner and smiling most
genially at me.
I was totally confused. I walked
up to him and he came
"Bros no vex…" He began. "Where is your keke?" was the
first question I asked as I
made another quick look
around at all the kekes in the
vicinity. He smiled some more.
"I pass you, not up to ten minutes ago", he replied. "I
been dey wave but you dey
check your time. I come meet
you but be like say you dey vex
as you see me, na him I waka
go one side tell my oga make he come approach you."
He was the first 'tout' to
approach me! Why hadn't I
recognized him? Had I been so
blinded by rage?
I listened in amazement as he told me his story. He had
dropped me off at
ogbogeonogo market and had
immediately made a U-turn
back towards Infant Jesus as
that was his usual route, carrying passengers on the
way. He had just dropped off
the last person, a well-dressed
female passenger, when he
heard the phone ring. He
turned around and saw it lying in the gap between the back
seat and the metal frame of
the keke; at the same time the
woman stretched out and
collected it. He became
suspicious because where she sat was nowhere near where
the phone was. He had grabbed
her hand and asked her if the
phone was hers to which she
had replied an emphatic Yes.
He asked her to prove it by opening the combination lock
to the phone (I had put a
combination lock to stop my
kids playing with the games in
the phone, not that it was
helping, they had long since decoded it), she now said the
phone belonged to her brother,
that she was taking it back to
him. It was while they were
arguing that I had called the
second time and when he told her to answer it she left the
phone with him and walked
away. That was when he
picked the call and answered
with his cool 'Yes?' He had
picked up some passengers on the way back which was what
had caused the delay.
I listened to his animated
speech with great fascination.
Here was a guy that looked like
he would steal the clothes off your back if he had the chance
and he had gone to all this
trouble to return my phone.
Sure he might have returned it
hoping for a prize but then
again he could have simply thrown away my Sim and
memory card, flashed the
phone and sold it for a very
good price. I looked at him and
for the first time a smile made
its way to my face. I realized I hadn't even thanked him.
"Thank you", I said, feeling a
little ashamed.
"No problem sir," he replied
with a grin and turned away.
He was going to leave like that?
"Wait!" I called after him and
grabbed his arm. I tried to take
him away from the group
ofmotor-park touts that had
surrounded us by then so we could be alone but he didn't
seem to understand my moves.
So I brought out my wallet
right there, pulled out some
naira notes and squeezed them
into his hand. "Thank you sir!" he shouted
gleefully and was immediately
surrounded by the other touts. I
hesitated for a moment and
then walked away. I looked
back and caught one more last glance of him as he joyfully
shared his reward with the
It occurred to me there and
then that one should never be
too quick to profile people just because of the way they looked
or where there worked.
Now I understand fully what it
means to Never Judge a Book
by its Cover!

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