Fiction · Short story

HUSTLE….A short story

Bus Hustle

Ikem couldn’t stand the penury anymore! He stared at his worn out T-shirt with the words “making a difference” printed on it’s back in disgust and dissatisfaction. He had purchased it three months ago from the bend-down-select aka flea market to add to the other two that he possessed, but frequent use and wash had slackened its neckline and faded it’s vibrant colour. It was time to visit the man with the bell; he sold good second-hand clothes from a heap of clothing on the market floor.

With that dissatisfaction dragging him down, he pulled the T-shirt over his head and shoved his feet into an equally worn out pair of rubber soled slippers. Picking up his wooden pallet, he hastened off, making quick strides to the bus-stop where he could hitch an early morning ride by hanging partially on the side of a Molue. Sometimes the conductors were difficult but on a some good days, they also showed their humane sides.

It is a main market day at Ahia Ogige today and there would be a throng of lorries bringing in goods from neighboring villages. If he rushed, he would probably make a good turn around from customers who needed their goods carried from one end to the other.

Yet, as his strides swallowed the distance from his living quarters at the shanty, to the bus-stop, his grumbling mind would not cease to taunt him. How much difference was it really making in his life, eking out a living that was barely enough to put food in his stomach, pay his own portion of rent and minor bills, not to talk of sending money home to his folks? He queried himself.

Christmas was fast approaching. It would soon be time to go to the village to celebrate, but he wasn’t sure he was up to that this year. He thought he would have achieved more by now and he didn’t want to watch in envy as some of his clansmen came home with their new motorcycles and garbs to show off. Chukwudi had really irritated him last year with all his loud talk of making it big.

His angst grew within him as the day wore on. Wearied of carrying back breaking heavy load for peanuts at the end of the day, he stretched out on his small mattress which had a pride of place on the floor and slept like a log of wood.

Β© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Mini Glossary

Ikem – An shortened version of an Igbo name for a boy; Ikemefuna – which means, may my strength not go missing.

Chukwudi – An Igbo name for a boy and it means; God lives

Ahia Ogige – A market in Nsukka. A town in the Eastern part of Nigeria

Bend-down-select: A heap of mixed used clothing where customers literally bend down to scrounge through the pile and select an item they want to buy.

Molue: Are the locally redesigned and fabricated 44-seat old buses that ply the roads of the city. The original buses are disused school buses imported from other parts of the World

In fulfillment of Writing 101 – Day 12 Assignment: Play with Word Count

I tried to keep my story within 500 words and I think I did it!


61 thoughts on “HUSTLE….A short story

      1. I guess you paid but didn’t pickup your treasures. They are still around. How about renting mom for a few days? I think I’m going to get some blisters from all the shopping she does!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. This post captivates me. Very exciting to see how beautiful it is in an African community. I really love the way you portrayed the African style and their way of doing stuff. I think am familiar with Few of the names in your post like, Chukwudi, and the Molue. I have a friend with that name Chukwudi. We met in North west University, North west province S.A. And the Molue, of course is very familiar when you watch some Nigerian movies on African Magic. You are really good at this.
    Cheers my friend:)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. They say the very hard physical jobs only bring small money while the ones you have use your brain bring money…hmmmn…life’s lessons. Wish life will be easier for everyone but i am told we would always have the poor and the rich…so not fair. Thanks for sharing Jacqueline.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Couldn’t help but feel bad for Ikem. I actually know a couple of people he reminds me of. Like him, they work jobs that pay next to nothing..BUT…they’ve never tried to better their situation by even just applying for a better paying job (let alone acquiring skills for ideal employment). Not that every person is going to get hired just by applying but at least make some kind of attempt. Don’t mean to go off on a rant lol, just my thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The story was just starting…..Please finish it….Pleaseee! I live in the south east of Nigeria so this scenario is one that daily beholds me……had to stop myself from continuing where you stopped. …you are really good at this. Just with this short story, I have embossed on my mind, the picture of that young man called Item! You are strong in developing characters. …jisike!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hello Jacqueline,

    The hustle is real. The annual Christmas migration to the east, the pressure to give the impression that one earned big over the past year. The needless need to keep up with the Joneses.

    I enjoyed reading this short but sweet post. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Grand. These stories of yours Jacqueline, are quite influenced by something African to which I’m not familiar. Makes me winder a lot about your history. Maybe you’d share some of your history with us one day πŸ™‚ I’d love to hear about it.
    As for this story, glad that there’s a part two πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

I love it when you decorate my heart with your words..

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s