By Damilola M. Aderibigbe
Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Goke sat in the intestine of a garden, planted in the centre of a round-about, along Onike area of Lagos. He assessed the movement of the cranky sun, with exasperation. He stood up from the stone slab, underneath one of the drooping leviathan leaves, of the green plumped Banana tree he had been sitting for hours, He sat again.
"Mum can't die; I have to just do something. Even, if it means stealing." He said determinedly.
His phone rang; he took it from one of the two pockets of his shirt, stapled to his breast. It was the doctor, calling him for the 4th time. He knew why the Doctor had been trailing him with phone calls, he didn't pick the call. The doctor called again, he ignored still. That way, the Doctor wouldn't be able to hurry him. His phone rang again; it was a message this time. The SMS read "if you don't show up with the money before 4, your mum will be thrown on the street, Doctor".
He returned the phone to his pocket. He sniffed and faced the welkin, he communicated with God to come to his rescue. He brought down his face. On the left side of the pot-holed road, directly to his front, a fair-skin corpulent woman dropped from a red Murano Jeep, she shut the wing of the car, wore the ring-like key-holder into her right pinkie, like a ring. The key dangles like the flabby breast of a grandmother. Goke jumped through the low pavement, surrounding the garden. He gravitated to the unsuspecting woman. He turned back again. He remembered what happened to Saliu his friend, some months ago, when he was disgraced by a wealthy woman, who gave him money to help her fix her faulty generating set, Saliu used the money to treat a mulish ailment that had been battling his lovely unlovely 4-year old daughter, since her birth. He spent four days in detention.
It took God's interception before Saliu was released from the woman's hold. Everybody hailed Saliu for the meritorious misdemeanor he committed. Even he applauded the good man, for his pure-hearted evil, yet no amount of praises could exterminate the unsurpassed torture, he went through. To add salt to his injury, the sickened little girl died before he came out of the cell, at the dreaded Elewe-eran Police station, in the mushin area of Lagos. Known to so many criminals, as a no-go-area.
"This rich people self, only God can make them help you." He soliloquized.
"I'll go to her, whatever she wants to do to me, let her do it. At least, I will know I've done my best." He added. He moved to the woman, who was on her way to a Pharmaceutical store.
"Hello ma, I need your help?" He said soberly, bending his neck forward, to show respect,
"Me how?" She furrowed, scrawls appeared on her spotless forehead.
"My mum is dying, she's bedridden in the hospital, and she needs 30 Thousand Naira to live." He said, blubbering shamelessly. Cars swooshed past from left to right, vice versa. People passed, some noticed, looked and went away, and most didn't though.
"Hey, this is slightly embarrassing, come with me to the car, let me see, what I can do." She said and led him to the car. She entered through the driver's seat, opened the passenger's seat for Goke, and told him to come in. He hopped in. She opened her Bvlgari Purse, counted 1 thousand Naira notes, forty pieces, she stretched it to Goke. Goke snatched the money from her hand, a s famished dog,surreptitiously picks boneon the highway. He didn't know how to begin to thank her, for her splendiferous act.
"Mmaaa, ooonnllyy gggoooddd ccaann rreward you." He sputtered and managed to kneel down, on the foot-mat, between the front passenger's seat and the dashboard of the jeep. The woman was more chuffed, that Goke was a respectful guy. To her, she considered 40 Thousand Naira a trifle, and she had given people more, which they didn't appreciate as much as he did. She told Goke to wait in the car, while she go in, to get the drugs she wanted to get, to undermine her menstrual squabbles, she wanted to go with him to see his ill-health mother. She went, picking 2 pieces of the seemingly innumerable 1 thousand Naira notes. She left her purse in the car, as did Goke. Goke looked the woman through the windscreen, as her fat buttocks and back, were being slashed gradually by distance, until she finally entered into a building. Goke began to ward off temptation of taking the moneyed purse.
"The money in this purse is up to 150 Thousand Naira, it can help me to set up a small trade, from which I can be earning a living and feed grandma with. I can then add some other things." He concluded.
"On a second thought, this woman could actually give me more than that." He said, roving his eyes.
He decided to go with the former intent, over the latter. He picked the purse, opened it to verify, if the money hadn't flown out of the purse, he also pilfered the aureate BlackBerry Bold 5, the woman dropped on the driver's seat.
"At least, this won't go for less than 80 Thousand Naira." He said proudly, as though he had just actualized his childhood dream. He opened the door, and crept away.
He chartered a motorcycle to the hospital his mum was laying on her deathbed.
"Mum, I'll soon be with you, and thanks for the lottery you made me win." He said and smiled, as the motorcycle carrying him, sped through the boisterous breeze. He disembarked on the other end of the road, facing the hospital his mother was admitted, paid off the motorcyclist. He held the purse tightly to his chest, as if someone wanted to steal it away from him. He looked to his left and right, to make sure no vehicle was approaching on the busy road, before he crossed. He ran to cross, a Public bus, which break had failed knocked him down in the middle of the road, and continued running like a mad cow, that has lost control. He fell and lost consciousness. People rushed him, into the hospital his mum laid. A teenage boy picked the purse and made away with it. A middle-aged woman saw the BlackBerry phone, resting on the footpath, beside the room, like a restless shriveled man, taking some minutes off. She stole surreptitious glances around, grabbed the phone, and went on her own.
The doctor refused to treat him, until he paid a deposit,
"His mum still owes us 30 thousand Naira; this is a private institution, not a charity organisation." The doctor said heartlessly. Goke began to hiccough ceaselessly. He gave up the ghost within few minutes that followed. The people who brought him disbanded in quick succession, none of them, wanted Police trouble. The doctor asked his empty flesh to be taken outside.
The Doctor almost immediately realised what he did was damnable. He asserted not to know, what hardened his heart when the unconscious Goke was brought to him, to be saved at the border of death. As compensation, he asked his dead body to be taken to the morgue, while he would continue treating his mum in gratis, till she got better and be told of her son's death.
Goke woke up in a dark open ground. Beside him was the back of a dark woman in black, heating a furnace of fire. He quietly put his head back on the ground, for the woman, not to know. The woman knew, she told him to stand up and face his judgment. Goke was terrified with the stygian surrounding. The environment was quieter than the midnight, encircled by an imposing forest, without a single soul, except Goke and the woman.
"Goke!" The woman bellowed.
"Ma" he responded with a wavering voice.
"You caused this to yourself. You were always a faithful person, even as a kid. You didn't use to steal from your mum's purse like your contemporary. When you were a teenager, you didn't indulge in internet fraud like your mates. Why now?" The woman asked.
"I was in dire need of money, not just to pay for my mum's bill, but to start up a trade, since I couldn't get a job, since I graduated 2 years ago." He defended.
"But that woman would have helped you. She was even going to make you a billionaire by inheriting her fortune, when you two get married." The woman said gently.
"I didn't know that ma." He begged.
"Well, thank your stars; it isn't your time to die yet, so you have a second chance." The woman submitted.
"Yes ma." Goke replied.
Goke woke up and saw himself, wrapped from head to toe, in limpid white clothes like a ritual object. Cotton wool, stuck in his nostrils and mouth like a little child's head, hanging between bars of a window, He removed the cotton wool from his nostrils and mouth, he unwrapped himself, tied the piece of clothes around his waist to cover his manhood. He sneaked out of the room in awe. He gently opened the door, so it wouldn't creak, and closed it in similar pattern.
Goke's emergence led to a great hooey in the hospital. The attendants, nurses and patients ran for safety. Goke wasn't astounded; he knew why they were running from him. He took the stairways, and went straight to the ward his mother laid, he was shocked by the vacant bed he met. He sped to the doctor's office, met him trying to close the door. The doctor knelt down, put his head on the ground as the Muslims pray to Allah, when it became a reality that, he couldn't escape from the approaching Goke.
"I didn't kill you Goke, neither did I kill your mother, I swear." The doctor begged.
"What did you just say about my mum?" He asked, pulling him up, violently.
"Yeah, you mum is dead." He said putting his two hands on his bald head, like a thief, caught stealing goats.
"What, how did she die?" He asked, locking up, the collar of the doctor's neatly pressed shirt, with crease as sharp as a blade.
"You see, when she heard of your death, she lost consciousness, I tried to revivify her with the best knowledge of medicine I've acquired in the last 30 years, but she never responded, and died."
He said, quaking like he had convulsion. Goke's anger dissolved like a cube of sugar, immersed by liquid, after hearing what the doctor said. He released the collar of the doctor's shirt he had locked, went over to a leather sofa in the big hall of the hospital, tears rolled down his cheeks interminably. The people who had been running away from him began to come close to him; they scowled at him in astonishment. It became glaring to them, that he wasn't a ghost, for ghosts were spirits, and spirits didn't have feelings. Yet, the doctor was mystified. Goke died in his presence and, he was even the one who directed him to be taken to the mortuary. He called upon two of the hospital attendants, told them to accompany him to the room, where cadavers are preserved, behind the main hospital building.
They didn't see his left-over in the slab, they had kept him.
"Listen ladies, is it that, the guy died and was revitalized by God miraculously or something?" He said, turning to the ladies in white uniform.
"Sir, I guess he was raised from the dead." The first lady said respectfully.
"I think so too sir, you know there nothing God can't do." The second lady added.
"Wow that means he's the new Lazarus." The Doctor replied and left for the hospital, the ladies in white uniform followed him.
At the hospital hall was Goke, seriously crying and lamenting.
"I killed her, I killed mum." He said regretfully.
The Doctor and the nurse look themselves in the eyes, shook their heads in pity.
D.M Aderibigbe is a 23-year old writer from Lagos, Nigeria and an undergraduate student of History and Strategic Studies at the University of Lagos. He writes poetry, fiction, non-fiction, plays and lyrics. Aderibigbe is being published in Vox Poetica, Pressboard press and UP Literature. His debut novel Sisyphean, will be published in America.
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