Friday, July 27, 2012


The newspaper vendor’s hoot came to a halt. His lean frame bent forward, peered and scurried away. The ice-cream cyclist swerved to the other side of the road, bumped into a waste bin. The old beggar  standing nearby hobbled towards the lamp-post. Honks. Clenched fists peeped out of a braking Camry at the flustered cyclist followed by a resounding “God punish you”. A swarm of startled faces turned towards the speeding car and then back at the bicycle-man. He shrugged, adjusted his bike and pointed away. Some pausing to see the source of his distraction, maybe lunacy. 

Nothing else was more evident than the imposing structure of a 25-storey building; Amex Plaza. Some ran gazes along the walls of the building, and its rusted metal-work to its top till their hands visored their eyes.  A few looked back at the ice-cream seller, shook their heads and shifted their feet as more people pushed their way out of the teeming crowd. He pointed again towards the building but at something else. An overweight silver trash can. Worn-out blankets sitting against the grey pavement. Condom packs. Plastic bags. Crisp dry leaves and broken twigs. A bent, folded Ghana-Must-Go bag. Rustling polythene bags. Rats, cats or snakes perhaps. It didn’t make sense to those dressed in suits, whose laptop bags chafed against their buttocks whenever they moved. They left, at first in twos, then in threes. 

”Something there! Maybe bomb” 

He sounded like he couldn’t put his words together as he pushed his bicycle out of the area. A young lady hawking oranges in an ash-coloured tray staggered as  she heard his last words, spilling her trade into the road. Noise was thrown in the air such that it bobbed from Amex Plaza down to Sanusi’s Place  at the far-end of Broad Street. Traffic pooled around the corners of the area. Amex plaza and its frontage stood out like ring worm around kinky hair. People darted as soon as they appeared. Some, because they saw someone else run. Others because the echoes of bomb filled their ears like a surround sound system. They ran towards nearby buildings. They peeped from the stall of the woman selling roasted plantain at the far end of the road. They perched with Olisa, the unkempt, dreadlocked man, that always laughed with himself. They scampered into the Stallion building that stood many yards aloof long-desolate Amex. Alarm systems went off everywhere like those from a Prison Break movie. Nearby buildings came alive. Blinds raised. Windows opened. Necks peeping out, staring downwards, eastwards, westwards. All towards Amex plaza. Some looking with puzzled faces from 10, 11, 12 storey-floors high above the ground, at the dots of heads on the shimmering tar, running aimlessly on a Tuesday morning. The sound of “bomb” faintly carried by the gentle June breeze from a dark-skinned, bare-chested version of Sylvester Stallone gazing up at the skies. Doors flung open throwing the screams of people into the road as they rushed out of their offices to stay a safe distance away. At the car parks, behind balustrades, cobblestoned-walls, they waited. Some glanced at their wrist-watches waiting for Amex to explode into pieces of tine and debris, thrown unto the roof of WBank head office, a few meters away. 

Siren and screeches followed by the prompt disengagement of the Anti-Bomb Squad on the corner of Amex building. They came clad in their Khaki uniforms and bullet-proof vests . Their  shiny, dark-blue helmets collecting the view of the whole of Broad street. All eyes sashayed across the road from the arrogant outfit of the bomb-squad to a grey-haired lady who stood at the foot of Amex Plaza. In front of the trash can. Her feet suffocating a squashed tomato. Her bag, standing next to her on the floor. Her hands clasped on her chest. Her mouth open, frozen in its state.

Go away from there. Move away madam!

The pleading voice of the uniformed men seemed to be drowned by the curses of the onlookers.

Useless woman. Kill yourself.

A mixture of tantrums and pity rolled across the street and stopped at the foot of the woman who bent at the trash. Her hand buried somewhere in the refuse. The men stepped backwards, holding each other at bay. A man standing five buildings apart covered the ears of a lady standing in front of him. She threw her hands round his waist and buried her face on his chest. Some people covered their ears. Some covered their eyes and turned their backs away from the scene. Many put their hands on their heads and yelled one word as though remotely controlled. 


The woman gently worked her hands out of the garbage and slowly and with tears on her cheeks lifted up the exhibit; a living Baby.

1 comment:

  1. OMG! My heart was pumping!whew!


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