Short Story: The Genesis of Road Madness

Written by Faith Oneya

It is a predominantly cold morning when I wake up to go for my driver’s test at the police station. Yesterday , Maina my driving instructor predicted doom at my test and extorted a clean 1000 bob from me, with the assurance of a clean pass after my test.
The tête-à-tête on my possible failure at the driving test had been going on for three weeks now, where he infused in me thousands of misgivings about my imminent failure at the driving test. This is how the conversation went;

Maina: Madam, si unajua hawa watu (cops) they will fail you deliberately …
Me: Yes, they are so greedy.
Maina: We need to do something about it
Me: What shall we do now?
Maina: Get me 1000 bob; I will see how I can talk to them.

That is the story of my extortion.

Written by Faith Oneya

The chilly weather persists as I board a Matatu to take me to my destination. I am acutely  aware that even after having spent six weeks and eight thousand bob in a shady driving school, I can hardly lift my foot from the clutch. Neither can I tell the parking lights from the indicators and what are all these gears about?

I am now at the police station where a pot-bellied policeman tells us of our stupidities on the road and assures us that we would have to earn our driver’s license. People with intention to bribe are told off completely .I wonder silently if “intention to bribe” is a criminal offence.

An equally if not more potbellied cop tells us to stand in line for the theory examination. I cannot tell one lane from the other, mostly because the policeman glares at me so much that whatever I had insisted on cramming vanishes from my overworked head. I ask him to forgive me as I fumble helplessly with the toy cars, turning them this way and that as he clicks and turn his mouth in disgust. Finally he tells me to get the hell out, but not before I manage to sneak the car into the right lane.

The practical examination now.We are all bundled into a lorry to take us  for the road test. The cop is female this time. I get into the driver’s seat with no idea whether the hand break has been released or not. I start the car as the cop slaps my thighs to rebuke me. I release the handbrake. Now I cannot remember which pedal is the accelerator. I step on it. I step on everything in fact. The car refuses to budge. She hits me with the clip board-I remember to release the clutch .The car inches leaps forward. I have passed the test. I go home with my interim driver’s license.



Author: Faith Oneya

Lover of the written and spoken word.

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