A Soh Life Goh – Excerpt

Inna Di Bus Series: To Mandeville

It is little over two o’clock in the afternoon. The sun beats mercilessly on the backs of the passengers waiting for the next minibus that plies the Alligator Pond to Mandeville route. The bus park bustles with life and activity. At first, people stand in queues but that is short-lived when suddenly a bright green and yellow bus swerves into the bus park and stops with a jerk inches away from the curbside. Its engine lets out a deep sigh, as though it is preparing itself for the heavy weight it must carry.

Written across the front of the bus is “Flying Atomic Bomb”the name given to the bus by its owner. The crowd begins to swell near the bus. At this peak hour, there is a mad rush. With quick speed, the bus conductor hops from the bus and begins to announce the destination to the passengers.


School children, college students, men, women and the elderly vie with each other to get into the bus. Everyone pushes and jostles with all their might for a seat in the minibus. As the massive crowd boards to fill its 30-seat capacity, the conductor continues to push for more passengers to cram into the bus.

Vilma: (Complains as she is pushed around) Oye! Unu tek time wid granny carn toe! Jesas Kingdom, how unu ole neggah soh haggish fi big people?! Cho!

Lennox: (Reaching for her hand) Come madda! Noh mine. Mikase an come inna di bus an hole a seat. Falla backa mi an mek wi seef wi can fine a seat fi yuh.  

Vilma: (Struggling to keep pace) Lawd, tank yuh mi son. Granny cyaan manage dem yah hassle like wan time. God bless yuh, sweetheart.

Lennox: No problem mam.

The pushing, shoving and jockeying for seats continue. Soon there is no space to breathe, let alone move around. Passengers were still settling down, some sitting fourth on a seat made for two.

Shania: (Calling out) Colleen, weh yuh deh? Mi have seat roun a back fi yuh. Hurry up noh man! How yuh soh slow lacka molasses, gyal?!

Colleen: (Shoving) Mi a come Shania! Mi a come! Di ole crassis people dem woan come outta mi way. BEG UNU PAAS PLEASE!

Godfrey: (Vex) Hey you lilly gyal pickney! If yuh push mi inna mi back wan more time, a gi yuh two Gaza bax straight cross yuh jawbone!

Colleen: But si yah! Mister sar, doan mek mi rude to yuh. Why yuh choose fi a block up di way wid yuh big, slabba self. Yuh si how yuh batty high like cost a living. EXCUSE MI, MI SEH!

Spoogy: (Growing impatient) Yow people! Unu dress dung inna di bus! More people a try come een, enoh. Small up unuself!

Barry: (Hanging off his seat) Ducta! Yuh noh si di bus full areddi. In yah tight like virgin, rasta! Nat even a safety pin can fit in yah soh, boss.  

Spoogy: Nuff space inna di miggle sed way, bredrin. Di lady sidea yuh wid di box food need fi fix har bumpa pan di seat an mek smaddy else siddung inna dah seat deh.

Bebe: (Quarrels) Which part smaddy else ago fit inna di seat, ducta? Inna di bus soh dyam chuku-chuku dat mi cyaan even get noh space an privacy fi nyam mi curry goat box food in peace.  

Spoogy: (Mumbles as he climbs in the bus) Dats why mi noh love load up di bus wid people wid big mackerel barrel batty, enoh. Unu wan always waan tek up tree seat an a wan unu a pay fah. Driver, wi ready yuh hear sah! PRESS OUT!

With a loud honk of the horn, the Toyota coaster bus pulls away leaving some unfortunate passengers behind. With passengers packed in like sardines, some seated and some standing shoulder to shoulder, the bus hobbles on with a trail of black smoke seeping from its tail pipe. The conductor fearlessly dangles on the steps of the bus as it zips past several motorists at a high rate of speed. The bus is traveling so fast that the passing greenery becomes a hazy blur.

The bus is equipped with a heavy-bass sound system that blares unapologetically as the rickety bus races from stop to stop. The reggae melodies from the CD provide a musical vibe that some of the passengers appreciate. However, not everyone is pleased.  

Vilma: (Complains) Lawd driva! How unu can play di blasted Satan music soh loud inna people ears?! Yuh def or someting? Mi noh know how di backside unu ears drum noh buss. Have mercy man!

Barry: Madda, next time tek wan country bus goh weh yuh a goh. Wan a di main reason why wi tek ‘Flying Atomic Bomb’ a fi hear some wikid chune an ting. Nohbadda come start miserable up yuhself inna di bus. A good vibes wi a defen, zeen?  

Shania: (Agrees) True wod mi bredrin! Bus ride haffi nice an fulla vibes. Wi noh waah inna boring bus a goh a Mandeville.

Vilma: (Scorns) Dats all unu school pickney good fah. All unu do is full up unu head wid dis disgusting slackness unu call music. Dats why nuff a unu goh a school an still naah come out wid noh farm a good education.

Shania: (Fires back) But is why dis tiyad churchie ooman a come chat to mi like shi know nutten bout mi. I would have yuh know dat mi is an outstanding nursing student at Northern Caribbean University. Noh troo yuh si mi look simple yuh tink yuh can come tek libatty wid mi. Oh!

A man flanked in the middle of a crush of standing passengers recognizes the young woman with the feisty disposition going toe-to-toe with the elderly woman. He jumps into the dispute, injecting his firsthand knowledge of her background.  

Rooster: (Adds) Shania, yuh need fi hush up yuh mout bout yuh a good nursing student caah mi done know seh yuh deh a university a warm bench.

Colleen: (Inquires) Shania, a who dah freckle face, yellow bway a jump inna yuh argument soh?

Shania: (Rolls eyes) Noh di wan Paul weh mi use to goh Knox High School wid. Dem call im “Rooster” rouna mi district caah im head tap pinted like dem blooming long mout cock! A soh im love di limelight an noh have noh blasted shame bout imself.   

Rooster: Di troot bun yuh, noh true? Yuh have a nerve a boast bout yuh a nursing student when mi know fi a fact seh yuh nat even know how fi apply band aid pan bruise much less fi have head fi tek up nursing. Mi noh know who yuh a fool but a noh mi.

Shania: (Defiant) Yow Rooster, mi nat even did si seh yuh inna di bus but as usual, if a egg yuh inna di red! Nohbaddy neva invite yuh to di conversation soh please to fine di nearest exit outta mi life!

Rooster: Mi noh bizness weh yuh waan seh. Since as mi know yuh fram di district mi have authority fi set di record straight fi di crowd a people. Yuh fi have respect. Look how yuh a talk to di nice old lady. Yuh dyam head fayvah dem lilly cock yiye pieca breadfruit. 

Shania: Rooster, if yuh know wah good fi yuh, yuh lowe mi an act like yuh doan si mi. A noh mi gi yuh five pickney an mek di whole a dem grow ugly. Gwaan goh hype up pan a nex gyal.

Rooster: A who woulda waan hype up pan smaddy dawk likea yuh? Yuh modda is a decent an respectable ooman inna di community. If shi eva hear how yuh galang like dem ole krebbe inna public, shi woulda limb yuh up pan a guava tree. Matta a fact, gi mi yuh madda numba mek mi call har cause mi convince shi gi birt to di wrang smaddy.

Shania: Hop affa mi cockroach! Yuh fayvah like when puss batty mildrew! Stap chat to mi!

Godfrey: (Disturbed) Jesas Gad! What a lilly gyal peppery fi har lilly size!

Shania: Mista sausage head why yuh shoobing yuh crusty mout inna dis? Soh what if mi is peppery? At least my peppa sweet an yuh sour like lime!

Rooster: Boss man, noh ansa har yuh hear. A soh shi ratchit like knife. Every time yuh bring up har behavior shi ready fi slice.

Godfrey: Bredrin, mi noh have noh time a argue wid di lickle teggereg. (Turns to the passenger standing beside him) But all di same dowe my girl, mi wudden mine if yuh noh hold aan pan di top railing an puddung yuh han pan di seat in front a yuh, enoh. Yuh armpit ago mek mi nose start bleed to plate klaat! Yuh a gwaan like yuh a try bring frownsy inna style.

The bus erupts in a cloud of laughter as some look into the direction of the woman standing next to the offended passenger.    

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