Night Runs – chapter 12 – Rage

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Chapter 12

Rage

There was a traffic logjam again, and it was quite hectic this time. It was also the third consecutive day that it rained. That was the tragedy of heavy downpour in Lagos.  Flash floods soon inundate every inch of the carriageway, concealing pockets of potholes and open drains, leaving drivers and commuters with the unenviable task of finding a path in the water.

If they choose to go too far to the road curb on either side, they would find cars toppled over the open drain, if they stay smack in the middle, they would endure an uneasy descent into a crater-like pothole that would leave their car bonnets in thick white fumes, that is, if its engine managed to survive the muddy plunge.

In its wake, the traffic snaked along the carriageway on both sides with the long lines of steel and tire averaging only about 5kilometer per hour in a stop-start fashion.

Adio was stuck in that traffic too. He had been in it for nearly three long hours. It was now 12midnight and one could have sworn that it was just dawn with the number of cars and pedestrians strewn across the road. Everyone, it seems, were hurrying home to grab a few hours of sleep before the cock crowed at the real dawn.

He was now at the last section of the pothole-ridden road and he knew that once he negotiated that bend, nothing but a blessed tragedy could stop his free movement for the rest of the trip.

The road ahead was starved of cars and that excited Adio.

Don, you ask!

He had gone into hibernation again. He was not one to hang around during boring moments. Even the car stereo did not help, let alone having Don hum endlessly into Adio’s ear drum.

In the thick of the traffic, Adio’s concern was more for the needle of his fuel gauge than for Don. Traffic was bad for fuel!

Beside the traffic, this was just another trip on a rather listless evening. His passenger was a middle-aged man who sat quietly all through the traffic logjam, swiping through the screen of his tablet intermittently. He was very engrossed in his self-absorbed world and barely spoke a word to Adio. When the screen of his tablet dimmed from low battery, he switched to his mobile device and stayed glued to the smaller screen.

Aside his deep breath, occasioned by the rising and falling of his chest with the sedative qualities of a lullaby, the night was rather quiet that Adio could hear each breath with ease.

“You are a mad idiot.” Adio cussed at a driver who had suddenly cut him off as he tried to maneuver into the adjoining road.

The driver mouthed an inaudible response, followed up with a finger-to-the head gesture, suggesting that Adio wasn’t using his head or thinking.

“You are very stupid.” Adio shouted back in anger just as the whirling sound of his side window opened to the outside. “You are very foolish and useless.”

“Something must be wrong with your senses.” The other driver’s husky voice could now be heard as Adio sped past him in a swift move forcing the other car off the road and almost into a stationary truck parked at the edge of the road.

“Foolish man!” Satisfied, Adio looked into the rearview mirror as the other car pulled into an instant halt.

“Can you just imagine this poorly trained drivers that ply the road these days.” Adio started, hoping to grab the attention of his passenger, who had now ditched his devices to watch the unfolding drama on the road.

“He drove badly that one.”

“Yes, he was right behind me and suddenly he thinks we are in a race to get ahead.” an animated Adio responded. “We are not even going to the same destination, and no one gets a prize for getting ahead.”

“Perhaps the stress of being in traffic is taking a toll on both of you.”

“No! No! I was driving carefully on my side of the road. He was the one trying to be funny.” An adamant Adio took a cursory look at his rearview mirror, as though hoping to find the other driver again. But there was nothing on the dark horizon. He wondered if the driver rammed into the truck after all or perhaps the car went off and refused to start after the ordeal. It didn’t matter as long as he got to drive on peacefully.

“Yes, I agree, but you shouldn’t have pushed him into the road shoulder too. That was dangerous driving.”

“He started it, and I only gave him a taste of his own medicine.”

“What if his car rammed into the truck?”

“That’s his business. He should have thought about that before driving like a crazy and deranged person.”

“Please be careful and circumspect next time. There are indeed lots of mad people out there.”

“Yes, I agree sir. Mad people everywhere.” A brief pause ensues before he then adds “I apologize for the inconvenience sir.”

“It’s fine. No issues.”

The conversation died a natural death and was buried in the silence that followed.

Nothing of interest could stir the peace in the car as Adio sped through the night with the tires hissing loudly on the asphalt road. Several residential estate buildings zoomed past on both sides of the window in dizzying speed as he enjoyed the pleasure of the super performance of his engine.

As Adio slowed down the car to carefully drive over a set of crudely molded concrete ramps designed to slow cars down as they approached the central business district in Alausa, his car was suddenly jolted from a rear-end impact that shook the sanity of the silence in the car.

“What the hell!” Anger swelled in him as he wondered how on earth anyone could be careless enough to hit his car from the rear.

His first response was to kill the engine, before pulling up the handbrake with so much strength one would have thought he wanted to yank it out as a weapon.

His second response was to look into the rear-view mirror.

When he did, he suddenly realized it was the same driver that he had cut off earlier that was behind the wheels of the car.

“Who is that crazy bastard.” His passenger was not taking the incident lightly.

Adio sat still, watching the rearview mirror intently.

The other driver had opened his door and the faint and inaudible invectives was nothing compared to the rage on his face.

“Come down and face me, if you are born of woman.”

Adio sat still.

“What is he saying?” his passenger looked confused. “Is he supposed to be spewing rubbish or apologizing? Why are you still in the car?” Anger had crept into the last of the three questions.

That was his cue, Adio turned the ignition key, revving his car at the same time into the three sets of concrete bumps. As he sped away from the scene, his eyes were no longer on the windshield, but the rearview mirror.

“I ask again, what the hell is going on?” His passenger reached from the backseat to tap him on his shoulder twice.

“Oga, that bastard is asking for trouble, and I am not planning on giving him any.”

“Who the hell is he?”

“The same stupid man that I cut off earlier sir.” Fear, maybe even guilt had started to dance around his last words.

Adio couldn’t afford to have his only source of livelihood damaged beyond repairs. He had very few choices. He either outruns this crazy driver or park his car to confront him.

He opted for the former.

He matched the gas pedal to the floorboard, asking his engine questions about its torque, performance and loyalty. His car responded in kind, but somehow, he had underestimated the speed of the car behind him. As he sped ahead, the car behind him nudged his rear again and again. The sound of broken glass and plastic rent the air.

His passenger was livid and it showed in the way he kept looking through the rea windshield while gesticulating to the driver in clear terms that he was either mad or stupid.

This spurred the mad driver on.

Adio started to honk noisily as both cars sped through quiet neighborhoods with intermittent bumps at the rear. Adio feared first for his life and then for his car. But his passenger was spoiling for a fight.

“Park this car. He must be very crazy. I will deal with him.” His passenger started to remove his wristwatch and bracelets, slipping them into his laptop bag. “I say, park this car right now.”

Adio’s eyes were still locked on the rearview mirror as he turned the steering wheel violently to the left, tossing his passenger against the right door.

“Jesus!” the man screamed.

“Park this car. Park this car.”

The urgency could not be ignored. Adio slowed the car to a halt at the side of the road closest to a busy bus stop, where a handful of commuters waited for a bus under a shelter. He was hoping that should the confrontation degenerate into fisticuff, there would, at least, be witnesses to corroborate his side of the story or even intervene.

How wrong he was!

The moment both cars screeched to a halt, all the commuters took to their heels.

Lagos is too crazy to stand around till the threat become visible!

His passenger was the first out of the car.

“Nonsense. He would not try it ever again.” was the last Adio heard.

He sat still for a moment staring into that same rearview mirror, his heart pounding hard, threatening to burst out of its ribcage.

He watched as his passenger approached the other driver just as he opened the door.

Words were not exchanged. Their fists did the talking.

It was his passenger who threw the first half-a-dozen fistful of bony fingers.

Satisfied that it was under control, Adio opened his door to assess the damage to his car.

There was no more room for brute anger, unlike his passenger, fear permeated every cell of his body. He started to shake.

When he examined his car, he noticed that both taillights were damaged beyond repairs, his fender was also hanging precariously on a few pins and his trunk was badly bashed-in already.

“This is bad o.” He muttered.

Instinctively, he turned to watch the fight as the grunts and punches from both men continued within close distance. The view was discomforting. His passenger was now getting beat. He was at the receiving end of several kicks from a violent and raving mad man.

 All the punches and kicks thrown was directed one way; into his passenger’s face or torso.

His passenger  was now on all fours on the tarred road.

When the man’s gaze turned from the unfortunate passenger to Adio, he knew just what he needed to do.

*****

As he sped off, his eyes were still fixed on that rearview mirror till he arrived at his house.

It was a very close encounter, but he counted himself lucky that he had left his car engine running, because as soon as the mad driver started to come towards him, they both raced to his car.

At home, he wondered what to do with his passenger’s laptop bag that contained all his devices.

Continue reading Adio’s night runs here.

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2 thoughts on “Night Runs – chapter 12 – Rage”

  1. Adedamola ilori

    Oh dear! Akin, you just made me go into several episodes of intense laughter.
    Lagos, the way you pictured it was not lacking in definition and Adio’s story, more than anything helps see the plight of transportation jobs and the drivers. You have to feel sorry for them.
    This episode is so relatable, every detail is well appreciated, also able to learn a few more words and also got clarification on a word I thought I knew, thanks for the fun and education your writing delivers.
    Great job and well done brother

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