What if finally the time machine – that age-long elusive bit of advanced technology- was invented?
And it had to be that horn-rimmed glasses sporting Ibo nerd, Cheta that unlocked the formula that could make human wave signatures travel backwards or forward in time – taking along the human particles with it.
He collected like a gazillion bucks & disappeared into oblivion.
The buyers, Energy F, had ideas of how to put it to good use – like rewind to the civil war, and halt Nzeogwu from madness or permanently ground Dana air before that ill-fated flight.
But late one evening, the Energy F holding was robbed; five night guards murdered & the machine stolen, along with dossiers of highly classified info.
The thieves, needless to say, had less than noble intentions.
Their foremost mission was simple: to murder the erstwhile president, Goodfate Ebiere Jonah, in his past as an undergraduate to prevent him permanently from running as president in the future and pave the way for his opponent, a former muslim president, to gain the nation’s number one position.
That’s the reason why four men & a lady – two ancient assassins, the MD (a former president) his female personal assistant and an in-house scientist – were seated around a table at the ungodly hour of 1am discussing their plans.
The PA kept prodding her boss who seemed more inclined to contemplating the meeting with both eyes shut and jaw slack.
He’d spent the previous day at two management meetings where his major contribution was looking formidable & important for the press cameras, and this third meeting was a real sacrifice of his rest.
The scientist, Adamu Banjo, an Oxford college- bred intellectual & inventor secretly loathed this former president for his uncouth behaviours – like habitually, fastidiously mining nose gold or expelling astonishing trombone-like farts at public functions.
Now he was explaining to everyone how the assassins would manipulate the time machine to and fro time-lines.
His verbal walk-through was interrupted occasionally by idiotic questions from either of the assassins like ‘why is this button not green instead of red?’
He resisted an urge to smack both men across the face as he patiently went over mundane details again & again, for their benefit.
These were petty assassins whose highest point on profile might be the strangling of the village chic who wouldn’t rid herself of her boyfriend’s pregnancy. They were highly dispensible & available over-the-counter at a kobo a dozen.
These were like the final last last resort. Every other assassin, much younger, much better experienced & highly skilled, either declined or demanded payment in hundreds of millions of naira when they learnt the nature of the mission.
It was obvious they were now desperate, very.
“So you press this red button” for the fifth time. “And enter the date you want to appear in, here.” pointing at a touch-screen LCD counter.
“In this case, it is what date?”
Both assassins, including the MD in a rare moment of wakefulness, chorused ‘1979!’
“Wonderful!” The scientist cooed condescendingly. “Smart boys!”
One of the assassins hesitantly showed an index finger. “Please sir, how did you say we would recognise mr. Goodfate since he won’t resemble as he resemble now?”
There was a 5×8 black & white picture of the president, as an undergraduate, in the office flat files they would be travelling with, he’d earlier explained.
“He’ll be wearing no shoes.” He remarked dryly.
It was broad daylight & the sun was in full glory. So no one noticed the brief flash of brilliant light that ushered the two assassins into the toilet stall of a male student’s hostel in the university of Port harcourt, 1979.
Both men hurried away from the hostel in a daze at their new surroundings.
The strategy was simple enough – ask around for a certain Goodfate Jonah, a final year student of chemistry who habitually wore no shoes perhaps? – but it was difficult to do that and not gawk at the bell bottoms, afro puffs, baggy blouses or the austere thread hairdos and huge glasses on certain marms.
Fate shone warmly on them. They stopped at a school restaurant to have lunch and asked the light skinned, plump food seller about a certain ‘Goodfate Jonah, a final year student of chemistry who didn’t wear shoes for lectures’ as she ladled their beans and yam porridge into bowls.
She fixed them with an odd stare, ladle suspended.”I knows him but he wear shoe o.”
Both men grinned at themselves, not believing their luck.
“Please how can we see him?”
She accompanied them to their table. “He is come and eat here, just waiting.”
Both men threw hot beans & yams into their bellies, barely tasting the food out of excitement, chortling now and then.
Like twenty minutes later, a dark, lanky youth sporting a fedora stepped in. He grinned warmly at the plump food seller who returned the smile, said “they have waiting for you”
“Who?” His face creased in puzzlement. He turned to see a pistol pointed at him.
The blast blew off a quarter of his head, flinging him recklessly like a rag doll across tables and chairs.
Amidst screams, the resulting cacophony, both men seemed to shimmer and then disappear into thin air.
His request was that his time-warp coordinates be tweaked so that he would just appear straight in front of his priest at St.Michael’s Catholic Church, Anambra state for confession.
He materialises on all fours, his face barely inches away from the upturned rump of a prostrate worshipper. Cries of ‘Ashadu an la ilaha ill Allah’ fill the atmosphere.
He leaps to his feet startled at this error but then, discovers he is actually in his beloved St.Michael’s – but converted into a mosque.
He glances up and -horrors!- the presiding imam is actually …father Edwin.
He darts for the doorway, collides with a heavily armed guard in a turban & white flowing gown.
The guard is only momentarily startled and with an ‘Allah Akbar’, plunges a dagger into his throat.