Like Dancing Chairs…

I had gone through this route before. Countless times, but today I connected with it all.

When the traffic lights turned red they marched in a procession toward the shiniest cars. It was like a game of dancing chairs- who could get the most money before the lights turned green. Except this was not a game, it was a fight for survival.

The little ones, bare feet and unassuming moved through traffic quickly trying to reach as many cars as possible. I was sure they were timing themselves- 15 seconds, or less if the driver was ignoring them.

The disabled were there too, plenty. Few on wheelchairs, many with long walking sticks while double amputees were on make shift ‘planks-on-wheels’. The latter had it hardest, rolling their way through traffic to salon cars, avoiding the 4 Wheel Drives- too high to get any attention- only the very ambitious  bothered.

I saw the able bodied- mostly young men, with worn out glass cleaning wipers and Eva bottles filled with green foamy liquid. Though fewer in number, these ones I could tell pride themselves in their ‘service’. They were in search of ‘dirty windscreens’ and of course spare change. In spite of it all they were no different from the others they ignored the dirty commercial buses and taxis favouring only the shiny cars.

The clock was ticking; the lights would change in no time. The little ones had just about gone to all the cars, while the adults played catch up.

 In this race, this fight for survival they had to contend with the vendors. They were the undeniable winners of attention, with many more willing to trade than empathise.

The vendors were more than them- men, women, children hawking  plantain chips, biscuits, mints, garden eggs, books, drinks, yogurts, inflatable beds, teddy bears, handkerchiefs, tissues, stationary. There was an endless stream of them; all moving fast only stopping when there was interest. They were attentive and ready to jump off the road when the lights turned green.

Just as with dancing chairs, the music stopped, the lights turned green and everyone ran to  the kerb, the disabled first, the traders last- always trying to hold up traffic.

For everyone it was a two minute hustle on repeat every six minutes when the lights turned red again and every participant was ready to try their shot at this hustle till the night came when the grid-lock began and they were more cars to visit.


Daily Prompt: Use it or lose it

The engine went dead, and so did my heart. The car rolled down the hill faster than I anticipated. I tried to restart the engine but it didn’t budge. I hit the break hoping for a miracle; the car slowed down only a little, but not for long, the hill was too steep.

My rear mirror showed more trouble; two cars were racing up the hill, oblivious of my situation. I horned repeatedly but they kept coming toward me.  I turned the steering wheel attempting to get the car to steer into the other lane; thankfully it worked. I tried to slow the car a little more, tapping on the breaks gently.

It was only a few seconds before traffic streamed into my lane; the motorists  horned furiously at me in unison. With every second I kept searching for a way to crash the car into a pavement, but it was moving too fast. I also thought of ditching the car and jumping out like James Bond would.

I had reached the bottom of the hill; People could finally see what was happening. I suddenly could hear screams as the car headed toward the busy intersection.


“Lola. Lola. Wake up.”

I was sweating all over. My eyes were wet from tears. It was so hard to believe I imagined it all; as I trembled on my bed.

“You will be fine honey, these are the temporary side effects of…”

I couldn’t care less what the nurse was saying. All I really wanted  was to stop shaking. I knew it was only a dream, but I wasn’t certain it was. What if this was a memory?

I shivered some more finding it extra difficult to stay calm.

“Would you like some more pain killers for your arm?”

I looked down at my arm , then looked back at her trying to decide once again whether I had just imagined the car incident.

“What happened to my arm? Did I really do it?”

She held up some tablets and a glass of water, “oh, my dear I thought we’d never come back from that one.” She watched me carefully and continued, “Just drink up, you’ll feel better I promise.”

I did as she asked, without a protest.

“Don’t push yourself Lola, your memories would come back to you”