A link to my neighbours/Community · Creative Writing · Fiction · Life · Short Stories Series

HUSTLE Continues….. A short story and a link to my neighbours

Bus Hustle

The first part of the series – Hustle – Part 1

Ego  ne? Ikem asks. Picking up and dropping several T shirts from the pile of bend-down select clothes heaped on a tarpaulin on the market floor.

Hah! I don tell you say na N200 only! Replied the man with the bell.

Second-hand aka bend-down-select cloth sales
Second-hand aka bend-down-select cloth sales

Bros, abeg! I wan buy 2 or even 3 sef, if you fit commot something. Ikem haggles and they eventually settle for N120 each and he happily pays for the three that he chose, clutching his black nylon of new apparels with a bounce in his steps, he leaves for Mama Nwamaka’s canteen.

A plate of hot ‘Garri and Onugbu soup’ with some ‘Show Boy’ and a bottle of ‘small stout’ is just the thing to set his World right today; he has more jingle in his pockets from a few days of work than all the previous weeks put together.

Preceding market days have been grueling but more rewarding. It seems the approach of Christmas has triggered off a flurry of more business and lots of off-loading of bags of garri and gallons of palm-oil has enriched him more than carrying baskets for housewives and their wares.

Some of these women came for their weekly shopping armed with scorpion stingers on their lips and taking out the grouch from their homes on unsuspecting recipients.

The last one had nagged and haggled that he was charging too much, that he was almost tempted to ask her to carry the things herself.

“Is it not just from here to the bus-stop, or are we going to ‘Ibagwa’?” She harassed.

Bitter leaf soup and garri
Bitter leaf soup and garri

Carry that thing well o.” ”Hah all this shaking, my oil will pour o!” She went on and on.

You are going too fast!” “I cannot keep up with you, she argued!” Whilst stopping to greet every single market woman that crossed her path and Ikem stood with her weighted load on his head.

Such women were very trying, but he needed all the money he could make.

He wants to buy several new items and to replace his worn out rubber slippers. Occupying his mind with happier thoughts of the jeans and canvas that he will purchase soon, he tunes out the shrewish woman’s voice.

A belly full of good food and a glass of palmy later- Mama Amaka had fresh supply and he couldn’t resist the intoxicating aroma of fresh palm-wine. It is not every day that you could get an authentic bottle that is not watered down. He hurries back to hustle for more customers.

Show boy aka Kpomo/Kanda
Show boy aka Kpomo/Kanda

A few more bags of rice and basket carrying for market late-comers, it is time to go home.

It appears like a throng or water-fall of humans. Everyone rushing to get done and go home.

Ikem is happy with the days events and as he jostles along with the crowd, an unexpected shove from the back has him turning around to lambaste the pusher, only for the ensuing shouting chant of ‘Ole! Thief o! Onye Oshi!’ rings out in the crowd.

The pusher happens to be a wily young pick-pocket who was trying to make away with a woman’s purse. Out of reflex Ikem hot-foots after the escaping thief along with a several young men.

The crowd impedes the pick-pockets movements and he is nabbed a few yards away and beaten to an inch of his life.

It takes the pleading voices of some concerned women to save him from being pulped to death.

Jungle Justice! Quick to be meted out when the culprit is caught; especially among the poor culprits.

Ikem ponders on this issue as he makes his way home. Wondering why a young man would choose to bargain with his life over a paltry sum of Naira. The culprits face is one of those idling chaps that he sees around the market.

To be continued.. You can read the first part by clicking the link in red ink above!

Quick Glossary for words that you may not know:

Ego  ne – How much is this?

Hah! I don tell you say na N200 only! – Ah! but I told you it is only 200 Naira (note that it is expected to haggle over price in the market)

Bros, abeg! I wan buy 2 or even 3 sef, if you fit commot something – My brother please! I want to buy 2 or even 3, only if you can reduce the price.

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.

Mama Nwamaka – Nwamaka’s mother. Nwamaka is a native Igbo name that means, ”the child is beautiful, the child is good” There are derivatives such as Amaka.

Garri- A popular West African meal made from Cassava tubers.

Onugbu soup – A type of soup which is peculiar to the Ibo’s. It is made from bitter-leaf vegetable and a thickener of coco-yams.

Show Boy also known as Kpomo or Kanda – These are processed cow hide eaten as meat. It is regarded as a delicacy.

Small stout also known as Odeku –  This is a dark beer made from roasted malt or roasted barley, hops, water and yeast.

Ibagwa – Ibagwa is a community located North of the great University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Ole! Thief o! Onye Oshi!’The three words mean the same thing: Ole is Yoruba for thief, and Onye Oshi is Igbo for thief. It is not uncommon to mix English with broken/pidgin language and another tribes language.

Palm-Oil – a reddish – yellow butter-like oil which is derived from the fruit of the oil palm. It is used as edible cooking fat and also for making soaps, candles and cream.

Palmy – a shortened name for Palm-Wine, which is an alcoholic drink made from fermented palm sap. It is used in major traditional occasions in Igbo land such as Traditional titling occasions, Traditional weddings, burials, child naming ceremony and general entertainment.

The posts that I would like to share because they spoke to me:

When great trees fall: This poem from Maya Angelou featured by JoHanna Massey’s blog spoke loudly to me. Almost felt as is Maya was talking about her demise ”in my mind” because she is indeed a great tree. This is my first time of reading it.

Evening Chuckle: Nutsrok does know how to bring the mirth out of me. She offers rib-cracking laughter each time 🙂

Wordless – Wednesday: I love food. Lucid Gypsy’s picture was pure temptation for me 😉

Value of life is measured: A precious tale from MLou. Bless you Ma’am 🙂

Help a Writer Out: From Christian Mihai. You might be in a position to assist.

How to keep dangerous jealousy and envy from destroying your life: I need not say more.

Going smoke free one year on: Her resilience is quite admirable 🙂

Woo Hoo: A challenge that might interest you.

New EMV chip card scam: A need to know security tip from Tasha.

A butterfly trapped in a school bus: This didn’t put a smile on my face. It made me very sad and ill 😦

Have a lovely weekend folks and God Bless.

Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha


36 thoughts on “HUSTLE Continues….. A short story and a link to my neighbours

  1. Most excellent story Jacqueline. Enjoyed immensely.

    Thank you for linking Maya’s lovely poem, and supporting my website.

    All my best to you.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I enjoyed reading your second part as a standalone but I will return when more time to read the first part and probably then read the second part again. I love how rich with informative detail it is, how dynamic and full of life you make your writing. I appreciate how you’ve clarified colloquial language with translation and especially the explanations of food terms etc. A thoroughly excellent post Jackie, I’ll be back with more time soon 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I positively inhale stories set in Nigeria, wonderful, I’m so glad I found you.
    He must have been absolutely desperate or a complete fool to try to steal in a Nigerian market!
    Hey Sis, thanks for the shout out, I see I am in very good company – I’m flattered 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s an act of stupid desperation because the repercussions are dire. No one waits for the police. The first deal with the culprit and if he is lucky to be alive, the police will take it from there. You are most welcome my dear 🙂


  4. Thanks for linking my post Jacqueline it is much appreciated. I am looking forward to reading the 2nd half of this story when I have more time…your writing is always so captivating!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The pain of being poor and yet trying to make two ends meet – haggling to save what may appear nothing to another, taking chances for what might be small change to someone else! Storyteller, your story makes it so palpable – like I was there watching it happen.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Poverty is the indirect result of illiteracy…it can’t be waved away…it has to be weeded out, blade by grass-blade…then there are the indirect causes too, including the vote-need of politicians. Democracy has its own set of ills – among them one being the slow death of meritocracy. A state in India now has 68% reservation, which means that only 32% seats in education/govt. jobs will now be available on the basis of merit. The need improve one’s abilities and elevating oneself out of poverty through work is dying a slow death in many countries of the world. But then this is a parodist’s opinion – don’t take it seriously.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think I take it seriously. You paint the picture of an idyllic society where things should be based more on merits, but it doesn’t turn out that way does it? It really is unfortunate that a lot of times, peoples lot are determined by which side of the blanket they are born on; the rich or poor side and very few poor people rise from that legacy of poverty. It almost seems to perpetuate itself. It is due to the consistent fall in ethics and values, people have lost value in their abilities to elevate themselves out of poverty through hard work. They rather search for the quick route to wealth even if it involves crookery.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Semi-idyllic is good for me. When I was growing up, there was 18% reservation of seats in education. That was acceptable to most people – but the politicians dangled to reservation carrot in front of the faster-growing segment of the society. Unfortunately, in India, sops are often given on the basis of caste and creed and not on the basis of economic status. There was a time I trusted a doctor, now I don’t. Because for all I know that doctor could be from a quota or from a medical college where merit doesn’t matter, only donation (given to the college by the parents of the student) does. This darkness is so complete that it makes me feel dead. I think I should get back to writing malarkey…it’s an illusion, but it makes me and my readers smile.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Writing does help us get away from these heavy thoughts that can be very oppressive and the truth is that this new unfortunate syndrome seems to be a disease that exists in every struggling society like my home country – Nigeria.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Yes it does – thoughts become oppressive when they can’t be followed by constructive action. I think we understood each other perfectly. Glad to discover that my malarkey has not yet rendered me incapable of serious thought.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Oh no…don’t let Mom influence your decision-making! Without you ever learning what caused these changes, you’ll be sucked into the Mom’s circle of psychological influence…be careful.


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