One weekday morning on a danfo, a young man with funny pointy ears was sitting in the row of seats behind the driver. He had long skinny arms, and looking at him, you assumed his voice would be high pitched, mostly because of his ears. He sat at the end next to the window.
There was another man sitting next to him. This other man was built like a bus stop tout. He was stout with a thick neck and stubby fingers that were blackened at the ends, as if he had been digging earth using his hands as a shovel. In spite of his grubby fingers, he had a neat haircut, a clean shaved head and well-defined goatee and the kicker was that he was wearing a suit.
The bus was heading towards Lekki when it started to drizzle. The light rain faded in and out. It went on for a long time in that undefined weather space between raining and not. The wipers of the bus were off and you couldn’t see any water drops hitting the window, but if you stared into the distance you would see the precipitation making the morning misty.
After getting some dampness in his face, Pointy Ears struggled with his window and jiggled it shut.
The bus moved about half the distance to the next bus stop then it got caught in traffic. Everyone on the bus moaned. Without the forward motion, it got hot on the bus. Grubby Fingers, in his suit, reached past Ears and pulled the window open. The breeze blew in. The bus inched forward in the traffic jam.
Invisible rain droplets pelted Pointy Ears and his ears, he pushed the window closed.
Grubby Fingers reached over again and opened the window. Pointy Ears spoke, and yes, his voice was high pitched. “Why na? Can’t you see the rain is beating me?”
He closed the window.
Grubby Fingers glared at him, stretched his hand and opened the window.
Pointy Ears shut it.
Grubby said, “I am warning you. If you touch this window again…” He left the threat dangling as he opened the window.
The passengers were glad to get some air. Nobody was sure if it was raining or not.
“No,” Pointy Ears said in his squeaky voice, “No, I am the one sitting by the window.” He made a move towards the window. Grubby Fingers grabbed his hand. They tussled.
In their seats, grunting, they locked hands in a tug-of-war. Pointy Ears was losing, his hand was being edged away from the window. He gave up. He tried to stand in the confined bus. Panting, he said, “If you want open window, why don’t you sit next to it?” Grubby Fingers slid past him and took up the seat by the window. Pointy Ears moved into the second seat. His chest was still heaving from the exertion.
The bus was full. The bus was quiet. The fight had been contained to that spot. Some passengers were looking at their phones, others were staring straight ahead ignoring the fight.
Past the Jakande roundabout, the traffic cleared. Now the rain was heavier. It drummed on the roof of the bus. The driver accelerated. The speed blew the water in through the open window. It was undeniable. The driver turned on the windshield wipers.
Over by the window, Grubby Fingers sat stone-faced, ignoring the change. Raindrops ran down his face, pooled in his beard and dripped onto his suit. The rain dowsed him. It blew into his eyes, blocked his nose so he had to part his lips to breathe. But he hung in there, with the window open, like every man before him, trapped by his words and his ego.