The Road

The Road

A Story by Charles Kadib

The shop lay near the car park and the park sat alongside the market, seperated by only an unreasonably wide gutter. The park stood on what should have been a sidewalk but the walk did not exist because the road was not complete. It just laid there dented at tight intervals by gallops, pot-holes and gullies, glaring in broad daylight . A constant source of shame and irritation to the people of the commuinity. In dry season dust invades the place, choking the drivers and traders while in rainy season massive pools of muddy water created because the large gutters lead to nowhere appear and settle in the gullies and crevices of the road. Vechicles are forced to drive their cars through these rivers and soon develop complications. In rainy season the cars spend more time in mechanic sheds than they do on the roads.
There was a time when a group from the commuinity went to the government to protest but the governor grew angry at them:
"Go and ask your town elders why your road is so bad." The governor told them as he drove them away.
It is now open secret that the elders had sabotaged the first attempt to construct the road, choosing to accept money instead. The contract was then given to the son of the village chief who used the money to invest in an overseas business,fled the town and was never heard off again.
Sometime later a visionary, strong and intelligent youth arose and gathered both youngsters and elders to discuss 'the road issue'. It was then agreed that they would contribute as well as solicit for funds from the many companies and millionaires living in the area. Attracted by their zeal and commitment a director in an oil company decided to step in and influence his company to foot the expenses of road as part of their service to the commuinity as required by law. The man called the youth to his house to discuss the project at hand and offer the contract to the youth who rejected it:
"All i want is for the road to be built."
Further impressed by the youth's sincerity the man swung everything to full gear and soon a renowned construction company was working earnestly on the road. Then a month after work began a group of young men from the commuinity appeared on the worksite chased away the engineers, seized their machines and demanded what they called 'right of operation' before work can continue. The youth leader was sent to talk to the boys but was beaten with heavy sticks. The uproar by the town was followed by resignation, the men were settled so the work could continue only for other groups to rise up and demand payments as well. Frustrated the company abandoned the project, leaving the director and the youth leader as very bitter men.
At one time truck drivers parked their trucks in the middle of the road to draw government attention. This was after they buried two truck drivers whose trucks were distabilised by the bad road. But the government only maintained a stoic silence that so exasperated the people, in the end the road was cleared so the drivers could resume their business.
Later some youths woke up one morning and decided to barricade the road thus obstructing traffic across the three towns linked to the road. Instantly the governor deployed hordes of mobile policemen to chase the youths into nearby forests and watersides. The road was then declared open for use though no one said anything about building it.
Today as you drive along the road you can see people making their way carefully, jumping from a point to another like frienzied chickens trying to avoid the slime, the dirt and the mud. Cars bump, bounce and struttle precariously like crazy horses. At night, the dark waters hide the moon's reflection and create blind spots that trap unalert and inexperienced drivers,infact along the road several vechicles can be seen at various points muddy, desolate and abandoned like dead soldiers in an open field.
Men can be seen groaning and straining as they struggle to push their cars out of a pond. Chains snap as trucks fail to be released from their traps. Shame and affliction is stamped on each of their faces.
Unconcerned a car bumps along, blaring from its speakers the anthemn of a politician seeking re-election.

© 2015 Charles Kadib

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Added on February 27, 2015
Last Updated on February 27, 2015


Charles Kadib
Charles Kadib

Port-Harcourt , Nigeria

I favour the subtle approach, tiny little details embedded in the work that finally become highly significant in the end..dont know why, maybe cos i like the little guys so much. more..