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She walks to one of the taxi drivers who look at her suspiciously because of the way she is dressed. The other guy standing behind the driver, like an agbero winks at her, she notices and frowns at him then turns to the driver,
Funke: “Take me to the airport.”
Taxi driver: “Na Five Thousand Naira be your money o.”
Funke: “Ah, Kilode? Five Thousand Naira ko, Five Thousand Naira ni. How much did I pay from Ibadan to Abuja? Hehehe” She asks him, sweating nervously as she observes the strange looks from passengers walking towards the other taxis.
Taxi driver: “Abeg abeg, if you no go pay, carry your badluck waka from here. I no get time to bargain. Na Abuja you dey so and na person wey get money dey go airport. If fine geh like you no fit pay 5k to airport, naim be say this world don spoil o. You wan tell me say your boyfriend no give you this money to spend? Abuja babes, una stingy die!” he picks a rag from his car and start cleaning his side mirror, expecting her to walk away.
Funke: “Okay, let us go but you need to work on your temper and the way you talk to people. You don’t have to be rude.”
Taxi driver: “Enter car make we go, all those one wey you dey yarn na English. Time na money.” He opens the back door for Funke and walks to the driver’s corner, hanging the rag around his neck.
They drove to the airport without saying a word to each other. When they got to the airport, Funke comes down and is walking away when the driver calls her back thinking she is trying to escape”
Taxi driver: “Where you dey go when you never pay me my money? “
Funke: “Oh, sorry I forgot. I don’t have any money on me. You have to wait for my uncle to come, I will collect money from him and pay you.”
Taxi driver: “Which kind yeye talk be this? You no get money and you dey carry drop come airport. Say make I wait for your uncle, wetin concern me with your uncle? Na your uncle I drive come here? Na so, I go tanda dey wait make your uncle come when passengers boku for here wey I go carry?”
Funke: “I am sorry, I didn’t mean to waste your time. I thought he would be here before you get here.”
The taxi driver grabs Funke on her hand, his eyes bloodshot and his body shaking with anger.
Taxi driver: “Give me my money before I disgrace you for here. You think say I no know how Abuja prostitutes dey behave? Which uncle you dey wait for? No try me, I go tear this under-wear wey you wear commot beat sense into your head.”
Funke: “Oga, you are embarrassing me, I promise to pay you as soon as my uncle gets…”
A young man steps out of a car and is heading to the departure wing of the airport with a man who appears to be his driver walking behind him holding his traveling bag. He stops on sitting Funke struggling with the driver.
Man: “Excuse me, what’s going on here? This is no place to fight.”
Taxi driver: “Okay, tell this prostitute that I drove from Berger to this place to pay me my money.”
Funke: “Watch your tongue, you illiterate, I am not a prostitute.”
Man: “Okay. How much is the money?”
Taxi driver: “Five Thousand Naira.”
He counts out Seven Thousand Naira and gives it to the driver. “Here, Seven Thousand Naira, Five Thousand Naira for the money she’s owing you and Two Thousand Naira for the time wasted.” He said.
Taxi driver: “Baba o, thank you very much. In fact, I dobale for you.” He bows, making it look like his head is about to off.
Before Funke could express her appreciation to the man, he walks away.
Funke enters the plane and locates her seat number. A man is already seated on the seat next to her and she didn’t bother to greet him because she is preoccupied with her thoughts.
“Fasten your seat belt please, we are just about to take off”, she heard the air hostess say. After takeoff, Funke goes to the restroom to ease herself and when she gets back, her man sitting next to said ‘hi’ she raises up her head and behold it is the man who paid the taxi driver. She didn’t know where to hide because she remembers the look on his face when the taxi driver referred to her as a prostitute.
Kenny: “Hi. We met before right?”
Funke: “Yes, ern, at the…before the…?
Kenny: “Of course, I know where we met, you were fighting with an ordinary taxi driver who called you a…?
Funke: “Sir, don’t mind the useless and worthless taxi driver. The guy can lie for Africa. I am not a prostitiute and he didn’t pick me up from any club.”
Kenny: “Its okay, I really don’t mind the details only that you shouldn’t be fighting in the public as a lady. It is very wrong. And to think I didn’t even notice when you came and sat next to me. I was so busy reading Bliss Stories on facebook, that’s one sure Page for interesting stories that will keep you longing for more.”
Funke: “Oh,. Bliss Stories , I love his story so much, its my daily companion, even back then in school, Mr Bliss was reigning among us. His stories can make you forget your pot on the fire.”
Kenny: “Yeah, especially with the economic situation in Nigeria, such rib cracking updates and stories with moral lessons are good ways to find humour, relieve tension and catch your fun.”
Funke: “Okay, I hope I will be able to access the page from America, sha. I can’t imagine not visiting that page in a day.”
Kenny: “Of course you can, you are so funny. My name is Kenny, Whats yours?”
Funke: “I am Funke.”
Kenny: “Okay. So, what are you going to do in America?”
Funke: “I am going to study. I got a scholarship.”
Kenny: “Really? You must be a very intelligent girl. Well, I live in the US and I work there too.”
Funke: “Okay, what about your wife and children?”
Kenny: “I am single. My parents live in Abuja, I came to visit them.”
Funke: “Where do you work in America?”
Kenny: “I am a business man, I am into importing and exporting. We will talk about my kind of business as we get to know each other more.”
When they get to America, Funke feels tired and dizzy. She had spent a good part of the flight talking to the stranger and she feels like she has known him all her life. She had also slept briefly but she couldn’t sleep properly because she is afraid that the plane will fall off from the sky should she close her eyes in good sleep. When they are approaching the arrival wing of the airport for security checks, Kenny, her companion said to her.
Kenny: “You are going to hold my hand luggage and pretend that it’s yours. I will go first for the check and you come after the person behind me. I will be waiting for you outside.
Funke: “I don’t understand. Why should I help you carry your hand luggage and pretend that it is mine? I wasn’t the one who held it for you in the airport at Nigeria.”
Kenny: “We are friends now, aren’t we? This is America, stop thinking the Nigerian way. In America, friends help friends hold their bags, its not a big deal. After all, we are going to spend the night in my house tonight. I want to show you around and introduce you to my friends.”
Funke: “But, we didn’t talk about following you to your house tonight. I need to go to the University, an accommodation is there waiting for me and I need to begin my registration at the University early tomorrow morning, else, it will be assumed that I have forfeited my scholarship and it will be given to another person.”
Kenny: “You don’t worry about that. I live close to where your University is located, I will drive you there tomorrow morning.”
Funke: “Okay, since the University is close to your house, no problem. But about your hand luggage…”
Kenny: “No but, take it and if the security personnel question you, tell them it’s yours.”
Funke didn’t know if she should be nice to the man who paid the taxi driver that was bent on embarrassing her or she should refuse to carry the bag since she didn’t know what is inside. She remembered all the advice her parents gave her and stories she read and heard about how people were set up in situations like this.
To be continued……