Loose Ends (I)- another short story

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Do you love crime fiction? Then this story is all you ever wanted.

 

Karo

Karo was looking down with her head bent forward into her mobile phone as she crossed the street. She didn’t have to worry about running into a vehicle that Sunday morning as most residents were either in church or somewhere loafing about between the sheets.

She had taken a quick dash to the store around the corner to her apartment, where she lived alone, to get breakfast. She was an early riser and breakfast was top on the list of her everyday to-do task.

Everything about her latest Instagram post amused her. She had taken a picture with the store owner, who was an elderly acquaintance, to celebrate “Mothers’ day”.

Mama Bolu ran the only store that opened early on Sunday mornings within the neighborhood. Karo thought it was a smart business move that saw her oversee a decent queue every weekend.

The post showed her smiling face and that of Mama Bolu, as she spared her a quick look for the photo, whilst she attended to the growing queue in front of her stall.

Karo’s fresh tattoo, showing a red rose and its stalk, peeked from underneath the collar of her shirt.

Mothers like her, is the reason why we get healthy breakfast.” She had inscribed underneath the picture.

In real sense, she was deftly showing off the tattoo she had gotten a day earlier, that was sponsored by her rich boyfriend.

He had likened their love to a special rose where each petal hugged around the rose bud, protective of its sweet centre – her centre that kept him excited.

The “like” icon underneath the image on her page showed that it was getting good traction, some comments left kind words about her tattoo, others thought she looked pretty on a Sunday morning.

“The trolls”

She had mentally set a target for the number of likes she anticipated. The number was growing, and it pleased her.

Then a strange user liked her post.

“Who the hell is Fatbabygirl?” a puzzled and irritated look distorted her face. “Fatbabygirl” she muttered, as she tapped into the post to retrieve details of the admirer.

That was the exact time she noticed the calabash.

She was within only a few meters away from the door to her apartment when she saw the disgusting large hard-shelled gourd, carved into an open orb, dripping on the sides with red palm oil. A feather stuck out of the concoction just as flies danced around its content. Karo had seen enough by then.

“Oh my God” was all her ragged breath, moving in and out of her mouth at irregular, gasping intervals, could allow. She hastily discarded the loaf of bread and raw eggs that she carried in the polythene bag while she clutched tightly to her phone.

She ran as far as her legs could take her five blocks away and from that vantage position, she scanned all the adjoining buildings for signs of anyone lurking around. She imagined that it was either a dumb prank or some stupid ill-timed joke.

But everywhere was eerie calm. Not a leaf amiss nor a stranger out of place. Everywhere was just as it should be.

The pounding of her heart did not abate as she struggled to focus. Something wasn’t quite right. She suddenly started feeling cold.

“A calabash. Jesus!!!” she knew the dreadful import of it.

While she was growing up in Isara, a small farming community in Ogun state, it was not out of place to see these strange calabashes at road junctions on her way to school in the mornings.

Her mother had warned her to never look at its content and that they belonged to the local gods worshipped by the community.

“But was Alani, the destitute, a god too?” she had asked her mother.

Alani would sit comfortably at the roadside as he devoured with relish every uncooked piece of yam, licking the oil down his arm as it trailed to his elbow. 

She was still waiting for the response to that question till date.

Perhaps Alani was a god afterall.

Now, she had lost her appetite at 9am on Sunday morning and had a calabash full of ritual food right at the door leading straight into her apartment.

Peace had been murdered!

******

Tobechukwu

It was strange that Mr. Briggs didn’t return her heartfelt greeting that Monday morning. It was completely out of character. He was always excited to share a side hug with her whenever he sauntered late into the 6th floor of the building, where he supervised a group of experienced sales and marketing executives.

Tobechukwu was one of the highfliers in the unit. She earned his respect when she surpassed her monthly target for six straight months. No one could figure out how she pulled it off consistently, it was her best well-kept secret – thanks to her boyfriend.

She had sent her presentation to Mr. Briggs late the night before and was convinced that he would be thrilled at the effort she put in and her understanding of the Telecommunication sector as detailed in her submission.

She therefore expected a comment or two about the deck when she greeted him that morning. Instead, her “Good morning” was returned with a steely stare that had an ominous import.

She shrugged it off. He was probably having a bad start.

Then, he had barely settled into his office when she heard him calling her name.

“Tobechukwu Anyanwu”

He had never called her by her full birthname. Never!

Something was definitely amiss.

She hurried off to see her supervisor.

Then he thrusted over a printed sheet of paper at her. He picked it off the printer on his desk.

“What is the meaning of this?” His voice was shrill, spine-tingling like nails on a chalkboard.

Tobe shivered with fright, unsure what to do.

“I don’t understand sir”

Anger curled hot and unstoppable in his gut, like a blazing inferno that wanted to burn him from the inside out as he dropped the sheet of paper on the floor.

Tobe quickly picked the paper from the carpeted floor close to his desk.

It was an email addressed to Mr. Briggs.

“I can bet my two-month salary on the fact that Mr Briggs Penis is smaller than my pinky finger. Na why he dey always vibrate like small generator whenever he sees Madame Angelina….lol”

It ended with a caricature expressing the thoughts graphically and succinctly. The scrawl looked like an oversized head with spindly limbs, arms, and an unmistakable dot for penis.

The sender of the email was Tobechukwu Anyanwu.

“Mr. Briggs, this has to be some joke. I had absolutely nothing to do with this”

“Really! I wonder what the Group HR will think about this level of indiscretion and irresponsibility” He barked and clenched his fist angrily.

Confused, Tobe wondered how a joke she had documented in her mobile journal, while she took a dump in her bedroom toilet last weekend, ended in her email box. It was just not possible. There must be some sort of explanation for this.

She remembered sending the email after attaching her powerpoint slides to it. There must be some mix-up.

Her dark eyebrows crinkled together, as the haze of confusion thickened.

“I do hope you know what the Handbook says about this….this nonsense? Need I say more?”

Tobe’s pleading eyes were accentuated by the deepening of the furrow in the middle of her eyebrows. She tucked an unruly lock of hair behind her ear, as sweat beads broke from her forehead.

“Jesus! what is this?” Perplexed, she quickly got on one knee to plead with Mr. Briggs. “Dear sir, I don’t know anything about this. I didn’t send this email. I can’t explain what is going on. Please understand me. I beg of you sir. Please don’t take this too seriously.”

He let out a loud growl of annoyance before pointing at the door. “Get out of my office!”

Dara

Dara was having a relatively good Tuesday. Everything about the day was her regular routine. She worked from home as a customer success executive, and so didn’t have to bother much about work pressure or the need to make her hair or dress up fancily for work. Cladded only in her nightgown, she hopped from the couch to her makeshift desk and then to her bed to catch a powernap.

On one hand, she had a movie flickering on her handheld, while she refreshed her email inbox repeatedly for new customer complaints. Tuesday was typically less hectic than Mondays, so she spent some of the idle time between the movie she had been seeing on Netflix for over a week and wishful thoughts of the great sex she had with her boyfriend the evening before.

She had sent him a couple of messages which were not replied yet. But she didn’t have to worry much, since he was a busy executive.

Oh, what an explosive evening” she thought. The soreness she felt when she peed was a constant reminder of how passionate their love making was. It was a small price to pay for the way he set her body on fire.

How was it even possible not to love Ernest the way she did. He was God sent and gave her life meaning.

Her attention flashed to her phone as it rang. It had to be the delivery she had been expecting all afternoon. Pizza!

Excitedly she raced to the door.

Follow the story into the second part here.

Please, don’t just read and go, drop your comments too. I would love to know what you think about the story.

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14 thoughts on “Loose Ends (I)- another short story”

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  4. Your writings are so illustrative and reminds me of the good old days of the Pacesetter series and greats like Cyprian Ekwensi.. please when are you publishing in print?

  5. Adedamola ilori

    Waooo… really nice Akin, I’m enjoying it, now you’ve got my heart racing in different directions.

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