“Please, where is the way to the restroom sir?” Munachi asked the security man standing close to the entrance of the beautifully painted building. “I hope I won’t have to go in like this o? this queue is not here.”
“No ma’am” the man said gesturing to a narrow walk way by the right which led to the back of the building. “Oh thanks!” she hurried past him and felt a churn in her stomach. The glum on his face was enough to decipher his mood. Not only was he looking exhausted from directing the crowd at the early hours of the day, he was weak and frustrated. Munachi while on the queue had heard him telling his colleague that “Orderliness and these impatient Lagosians are soul-tie enemies”.
The orange and white coloured bank was known for its incessant parade by its users; from the first day of the week till the end. During and after
banking hours, the ATM area took a new shape with elongated queues that most times transcended to the main road. One will see humans curved like graphs of the letter L and U on queues in attempt to make withdrawal. No doubt the bank has a lot of customers but over the years, there had been complaints that another branch be created within the same location to reduce the turn up of people at the ATM stand. Seemingly, no action as regards that had been made.
. . .
It was 3:45pm and as Munachi headed back to join the rest, she noticed that one of the queues which she left had broken off into two. As she made her way hurriedly to inquire what had led to the division, she sighted a pregnant lady who had a striking resemblance with someone she knew.
The chubby lady looked funny with her protruding belly. “Tosin!” Yes, her
eyes couldn’t have been deceiving her. Tosin was the best graduating student from her set in the University of Lagos, three years ago. They had both served during their NYSC days at Enugu before she finally relocated to Ibadan to take care of her sick mother. Being the only child, she was a ray
of sunshine to her family and everyone who related to her.
“Oh my God!
Toss, na you be this? See as your double decker full ground?” “Muna! seriously?” She replied shyly. “You and this your mouth ehn you’ve not changed one bit!” “hahaha….change keh? when I’m not Buhari. What’s up now? That’s how we lost your contact. Come come” she held her arm. “Eh see how pretty you look babe” “ Leave fine for face, come and gist me
ahbeg” whispered Muna. Just as she was about to pull her out of the line, a lanky elderly man behind them who had apparently been enduring the disturbance of their chit chat gestured to Muna indicating that they should move away from the line. “Aunty e bo s’egbe jare e ma Fi ti yin da wa duro. the line dey move” he said trying not to sound too disrespectful and desperate. “I still dey your front o” Tosin smirked as she stepped out of the queue and followed Muna to the car park beside them which had small sign boards of “CARS PARKED AT OWNERS RISK” boldly written on them. At least, the car arena was less populated.
Vincent, at the other side of the road had just alighted from a Danfo. On Friday noons like that, the Abule-egba overhead bridge was always congested with vehicles going to and fro; hawkers displaying their wares in traffic and pedestrians clutching on to their bags and valuables while using the road. He needed to make a quick withdrawal at the GT bank across the road. However, he had earlier spotted another bank adjacent to where he stood but was undecided about risking 65 naira deduction from his
account balance. He had done three different withdrawals from other banks that same month and to worsen matters, he got debited of the extra change he had for bank sms notification charges. The patience to wait in long queues at the ATM stand wasn’t his forte. He wondered why withdrawing at the bank was always stressful. On seeing the situation of things at the Gt bank from a distance, he took a moment to meditate, with his hands akimbo. The dilemma had eaten him up as he stood by the roadside lost in thoughts. An Okada rider raced past him and he jolted from his reverie. The cold breeze puffed out his strongly starched T-shirt. “impatient fool! They are always speeding” Vincent yelled.
He thought about the number of hours that will be wasted if he joins the queue and how much balance will be left of him if he finally withdraws from another bank. He glanced at his wristwatch and saw that it was past 4pm already. There was no way he would enter into the banking hall and opt for a withdrawal slip to perform his transaction faster. “What kind of problem
is this Lord?” He mumbled trying to pull his nerves together. His boss had just transferred his salary the previous day and fifteen thousand naira was no amount to boast of for Vincent; coupled with the fact that it was not enough to cover his bills and other necessities. He felt his phone vibrate in his back pocket and reached for it. It was a whatsapp message from his sister. It read, “Where are you? Please hurry up. The doctor insisted that he’ll only attend to me when you’re around and have made a cash deposit” At this point, he resolved to withdrawing from his bank. The only money left with him was his t fare back to the hospital. Pheew! he sighed plugging his hands-free into his ears and switching the phone’s music player. All he wanted at that moment was to shut out the noise from the road and listen to something comforting. He bit his lower lip at the sound of Travis
Greene’s Made a way and slid the phone back into his jean pocket. His plan was to get the money, rush back to the hospital and pay so the doctor
could commence treatment on her.
Whilst making his way through the hawkers on the express road, he bumped into a roughly dressed lad. “Oga, you no dey see road ni” “ehhh sorry jare” Vincent snapped as he retraced his steps. Immediately he crossed, he noticed that the music had stopped playing. It was until he felt his back pocket, it dawned on him that his phone had been neatly moved.
Munachi walked briskly to locate her line. Tosin had rushed off after their intended brief but lengthy conversation. She had evening prayers to catch up with at church. Luckily for Muna, the young man behind her earlier was now the eight person in the line. Some moments ago, that particular ATM had stopped dispensing money so majority on the queue drifted to the next.
“I was here, remember?” She said sounding more or less like she was mastering her lines for a drama and not asking a question. The fellow smiled as he adjusted for her to make her way in between. Just then, somebody shouted from the back. “make nobody enter that side again o if una no want wahala”.
Vincent’s queue moved faster until the lady in front of the machine decided to practice her good samaritan skills. She was about to slot in the fourth card which intuitively wasn’t hers when Vincent attacked her in annoyance. The poor guy had been battling with taking his mind off of his stolen phone and there right in front of him was another mood spoiler. “Are you now lord of the cards ma or don’t you realize that people have other things to do than waste time here? He shouted. “I’m sorry, this is the last one my brother” She said. “Taaah taaah comot
there before I scratch your face” retorted the other lady behind Vincent. “I don’t understand why people will just be selfish with something that is meant for everybody” said another lady who had been watching the whole scenario steadily. “woh e jor yin po! Who is the next person?” yelled a middle aged woman who had just ensued in an argument with the person beside her over the proper way to chew gum. “I’m done, the machine is all yours now” the lady said as she walked off “Look at her toothpick legs…if you fine now, e for better”. That came from the back where no one cared to trace and spot who said such but they laughed.
Another argument was heating up on Munachi’s queue as she struggled to endure the smell of the stench which had clouded the blouse of the woman in front of her. She felt sticky and hot. She craved fresh mint air. “I’ll be out of here in the blink of an eye”. She assured herself. At the back, a young girl of about sixteen had accused the guy behind her of intentionally resting his loins on her backside. No doubt the queue was tight and the curves of the girl was enough to keep the eyesight of every man in auto focus; the guy denied and told as many as were interested in the argument that it was the girl who had been leaning on him and stiffening him. “Orisirisi” said Muna who had just heard the gist from another fellow in her line. “People and wahala ehn”
Two, three, four, five, she counted the 1000 naira notes cautiously in her purse. “Are you the last person?” asked an old looking woman who walked up to her.” “No o, I will never be the last”. Muna snapped. That’s the last person on the queue. She pointed and moved farther from the ATM area as she gracefully headed to the main road