Two men tugging at each other were caught in the headlamps of the danfo as it slowed to a stop. It was a National geographic moment. Lagos had sent most of her children to their coops, and was already shutting its eyes. It was that time when the only ones expected on the streets were predators and unfortunate prey. We, in the bus, were the potential prey. The predators were the ones having a fight.
The bus driver stopped. For a moment we all paused, unable to respond to this Lagos spectacle. They continued to pull at each other and more like them jumped out from under the bridge to join the tussle. The driver revved. E bole o, the conductor shouted. We jumped down and headed towards the lone Keke Napep (tricycle) under the bridge.
At first, it looked like the others who joined the two-fighting were there to stop them. But they were all having a go at one another. Their sounds were drowned by the Bus’s roaring engine. The driver released the clutch, and lurched forward.
One of the two fighting was taking a nasty beating. His singlet was already torn and he was struggling to get away. He finally did, and started across the black tarmac like a deer slipping out of the sloppy grip of a lion. His opponent went after him, grabbed him by the shoulder, and pulled. He landed on the tarmac, head first. We all paused, again—including the horde fighting.
The driver pushed the brakes and honked. The fighters disappeared into the dark with such speed that made me question if they were there in the first place. The body was still. The stillness of death. The driver accelerated, swerved around the body and sped off.
We piled into the Keke Napep and urged the rider to move. Thank god the driver did not hit him, one of us said. We looked at him and shook our head. One of us even let out a laugh. I turned and asked: was it better that he had his head smashed on the tarmac instead?
Featured image by Dawn Imagination Stables II via flickr