Akosua was in a hurry looking for a bus to board.

“Sister, can you give me something small to buy koko with?” an old man living with a disability called out from where he was kneeling on the ground.

“Don’t come and disturb me this morning if you have nothing doing with your life,” she said angrily.

Akosua glared at him through her cold brown eyes and turned away. She was on her way to work and was very late. Being the one who had instituted the payment of GH¢5 if any worker turned up late, she had just 20 minutes to reach the office or cough up her lunch money.

All the buses converging at the bus stop before her were going in directions different from hers. A bus finally drew up close to her

“Circ-l, Kaneshie,” Alfie the mate yelled.

Without a word, Akosua quickly ran towards and elbowing an elderly man, got in. She was the only one who boarded. A tiny smile played around her lips as she watched the others look on in disappointment as the bus drew away from the bus stop.

She removed her phone from her bag and tapped on the IG button. She wondered what Jackie Appiah and Fella Makafui were wearing today. She didn’t hear the mate calling for the fares until he tapped her on the shoulder.

“Yes?” she asked in an irritated voice.

“Your fare,” the mate demanded.

She rummaged for a moment and took out a GH¢50 note

“Here,” she said as she handed it over to him.

“Do you have a smaller note?” he said as he reluctantly took the note.

“Do you think I would give you this note if I had a smaller note?” This mate is just being irritating, she thought.

“Don’t get angry. I just wanted to know because I might not have enough change…”

“Listen, I don’t have time to listen to you. It is your job to get change for passengers,” she countered angrily.

“Lady, calm down. He just wanted to know if you have smaller notes,” an old woman seated to her left chipped in. Grabbing her earpiece from her bag, she inserted it into her phone and clicked on the music app. She wasn’t interested in listening to anyone. Konkonsa (gossip) she thought as the opening sequence of Burna Boy’s Ja Ara E filled her ears.

She didn’t hear the mate calling out “50 ghana,” some minutes later. Calling out the denomination was easier for him. Whoever claimed it was given the appropriate change. Akosua didn’t hear him and remained oblivious to it.

She looked up from her phone some minutes later and seeing the bus approaching her bus stop said, “bus stop.” The old woman said something but she still ignored her. ‘Why is it that some people don’t want to mind their own business?’ she thought as the bus slowed to a stop for her to alight. She removed the earpiece from her ears and tucked it into her bag as the bus sped off. A young mother trying to calm her fretting child called out to her, “sister.”

Akosua pretended not to hear her.

“Sister,” she called insistingly. Akosua finally turned towards her.

“Yes, you called,” she said.

“Did you take your change from the mate?”

Akosua’s eyes balled out from the sockets when she realized what she’d done.

“The woman seated by you asked if you had taken it but you didn’t mind her,” the young mother continued.

“I didn’t hear her,” was said with a note of desperation because that was all the money she had on her. Money that was supposed to last her the entire weekend.

“Well, sorry but you should have remembered to take it,” she said as she walked away. Akosua ran in the direction of the bus but stopped after running a few meters. The bus was nowhere to be seen. She looked around to see if she could get a taxi to chase it but none was around. No bus too appeared on the road. She waited hoping desperately for a vehicle to pass by. She needed to chase that bus down. She didn’t check the number plate but was sure to recognize the mate if she saw him. She waited for long minutes but no commercial vehicle came. She looked at her time. She was getting late for work.

With tears in her eyes, she turned towards the street leading to her office. She didn’t know how she was going to get home today. How was she going to face the rest of the weekend? She reached the office and entered the reception area. She grabbed the attendance book and grabbing her phone groaned at the time. It was 10 past 8 am.

Then one question struck her? How was she going to pay the lateness fee?



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Comments to: The Lateness Fee
  • April 13, 2020

    Nice piece!

    • April 13, 2020

      Thank you very much Kofi

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