“Abeg you help me see my phone” was the first thing I said to the guy sitting next to me. He feigned not hearing under the disguise of the huge head set glued to his ears though I had the hunch nothing was playing. I tapped him and inquired again, this time with a shaken voice because the fear of my phone missing and gone away, never to be seen again, had gripped me.
“No, I no see am, he replied. Which kind phone?”
“Ehm, it’s a Blackberry 8520“, I said, trying to conceal my fear. I heard someone scream somewhere around the front seat…
“Ah! Blackberry ke“.
It was close to five hours into the journey and already in Benin City except that we are yet to reach the stopover at a popular filling station in the ancient city.
“Have you searched under the seat?” came another voice.
“Look under the seat” someone said in a commanding but almost assuring tone.
With the way he sounded convincingly, I would have thought he planted the phone there under my seat if he wasn’t sitting in front, beside the driver or if I truly found it hiding carefully “under the seat”.
I became restless and sweat started oozing out of my forehead. I don’t usually handle pressure well; let alone a loss of this magnitude. The heat, of never having the opportunity to chat with some beautiful people (family and friends) via BBM or my newly downloaded Whatsapp, or access my Facebook and Twitter anytime I like, was burning me up inside.
I kept searching over and again even to the level of removing my shoes and checking inside my socks (Trust me, miracles do happen). I looked around and all I seemed to see were suspicious faces instead of the cheerful and innocent faces I thought I saw right before I slept off and before the missing phone case came to be.
“We will search well when we reach the stop-over“, came another voice, this time from the back seat.
I was sitting on the second to the last seat.
With unsettled mind, I settled for the official searching at the stop-over. Ten minutes drive can take as long as a day if you are anxious to get something done. I almost wet my pants due to the tense situation I was going through as the bus made to stop close to a Barbecue spot. The spot that would have been a temporary “abode” for me if all were okay now smell like cow dung.
We all alighted.
“Nobody should go yet oh, let’s search for this guy’s BB first”
That was the voice of the Good Samaritan I later got to know as Jide. Tall, built but has a colored eye that almost made him one-eyed.
“I need to wee wee” came the instant harsh reply from one of the female fellow passengers whose back I can only stare at as she had already moved.
“Bring out all the bags” Jide commanded.
In a flash, the bus was empty aside the bags in the booth.
“Ah Jesus! People are wicked oh. They have stolen this guy BB just now in this bus” came from the same lady who screamed earlier.
“We will find it, just relax Bros“, Jide assured.
His words, like a two-edged excalibur, pierced through the fear and skepticism in my mind and somehow, I felt a little bit relaxed.
“Let’s open the booth and check” came from a guy who has been silent since the whole drama started.
“Bring down the bags“, he added.
And it was done.
All the bags were removed to make sure the phone wasn’t “stuck in between the bags” like someone claimed.
“It is over, my phone is gone” I muttered to myself. “Camp will never be the same with no BBM, Facebook, no camera, no media player and sadly to break the camel hump with the straw of no calls”
Jide dragged out a “Ghana-must-go” bag which was, to our utter dismay, a bit open and opened it fully. He dipped his hand to feel the stuffs inside and we got the shocker.
There it was, carefully “hidden away” with the battery and memory card “dismembered”. The battery was later found somewhere inside the bag but the 4gigabyte memory card had vanished into thin air.
“Na who own this bag?” someone angrily asked.
“I’m the owner” came the voice of Joke, the girl who have been screaming and venting anger for the phone theft.
Ironical isn’t it?
Except she possesses supernatural powers, there is no way possible that she could have been the “phone thief”. Not because she has been raining invectives and maledictions on the pilferer but for the fact that she was sitting far away in the front seat, away from my pocket nor her bag in the booth of the bus. Possible thing is, someone on the same seat with me or from the back seat must have picked the phone when it allegedly “dropped’ and when “he” realized that there’s no way of getting away with it, carefully planted it in the nearest bag.
I explained that to everybody and thanked them for standing by me during that very difficult moment. We all moved on except for Joke, who kept imprecating the “phone thief” because of the obvious mortification and ignominy it would have caused her if she were sitting anywhere close to where I was.
Relieved, I made for the restroom close by, eased myself and sauntered off to the barbecue spot to do my thing. Call me a cannibal or a hyena and you won’t be far from the truth. Aside writing, there’s hardly nothing I love more than meat, though it’s hard to explain why I remained slim.
We assembled back at the Stop and boarded. The remaining six hours was filled with boring times with absolutely nothing to do. I kept my phone glued to my pant and vowed never to doze off, let alone sleep. Lost battle it later became few minutes after crossing the Niger Bridge, as nature won flawlessly again.
I was awoken by a sudden noise, sound of excitement. I managed to open my eyes and what I saw made my brain recover quickly. In between the walls that looks like the Wall of Jericho was a gate with a big logo and a big sign board with inscriptions bold enough for a blind bat to read.
WELCOME TO THE PERMANENT NYSC ORIENTATION CAMP, UMUNNA BENDE, ABIA STATE.