You must have seen some very fast chaotic movie scenes where suddenly everyone just stops moving, and all you hear is the narrator’s voice saying “wondering how I got here? I’ll tell you” which is followed by a quick flashback to some hours or days earlier. That was exactly what occurred the moment I found out my phone was gone, only that this time- it was real life. Neither a movie nor a drill. Within the millisecond of when the bus parked to organise the change for the passengers alighting and when it began the next journey, I ran numerous scenarios in my mind as to what really happened.
I remember holding the phone when I got to the bus stop, I remember putting it in my pocket as I laughed at the lightning speed my new-found friend in a shining black suit used to get into the bus – flinging his suitcase around like he was wrestling, I remember feeling the phone resting in my pocket as I made a decision to join the hustle once the next bus pulled up. What happened next? Then I remember struggling to enter the bus, the problem now was I could not remember feeling or sensing the presence of any device around me. Think again.
With one swing of my head like I just saw something, I quickly came down from the bus since it was not moving yet. I walked about a stone-throw away and guess what I saw? I did see something; my phone’s shining case, surrounded by a group popularly known as the true owners of Lagos, garage agbero. To be honest, I did not check well enough to see if that was actually my phone or not. I did not even know what to do. Maybe go there prostrate and speak some queen’s English make them pity me and give me my property? I had done enough of thinking and I was under stress so I opted for the option that in the life of me, would never cross my mind; I ran towards them.
Yes, I charged towards them but even in my “hard guy” state, I was still careful, it would be very foolish of me not to respect Lagos street, after all it has taught me. They formed a semi-circle backing my bus and I, probably discussing what to do with what they were holding. I sneaked up behind the one holding the phone and…. snatch! If you are thinking I waited around to get a reaction from them or explain how the shining thing belongs to me, you’d better think again, I am sure before you are done thinking, I was already on the bus.
I was panting hard yet calm, still trying to process what just happened, I was seven scared of looking back even as the bus was already in motion. As I was still trying to understand the whole movie scene with my phone clinched tight in my two hands, someone tapped me from behind, I turned and it was the conductor, he said “Alaye, your mama prayer dey work oH!” Apparently, he saw all that happened and he told the driver to speed off when I ran back to the bus. See God.
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That was probably the most adrenaline-charged moment of all the experiences I had in Lagos. Even on my way out of the city permanently, some weeks later, I kept smiling at the events that had kept my life busy in Eko. I could not keep up with the scores between the yellow city and I but I was sure that regardless of the experience and score, there was going to be a rematch one day. This time around, instead of a frown, I had a big smile on as we passed an old friend; the electric signboard that said “This is Lagos”. It felt like she was telling me “It was an honour; I’ll see you later” as I held the smile and drifted off to sleep.