The next morning, she was in a bus heading for Port Harcourt. The instruction had been given. Speak to no one in the bus. Do not open the parks of cornflakes. At the motor park in Port Harcourt, some man in a pair of yellow trousers will walk up to you. Give him the packs of cornflakes without any conversation. Then go to another motor park and board a bus back to Warri.
To her, this was easy.
In a couple of weeks, Ghenero sat back to take stock. She had made three trips to Port Harcourt and another three trips to Calabar to deliver packs of cornflakes, two trips to Lagos to receive packs of cornflakes. She had made two trips to Abuja to deliver packs of cornflakes. She had been busying in and out of Warri with packs of cornflakes.
Her aunt was beginning to quarrel raucously of her movement and absence from the house most nights; that if she thought she was grown up enough, she could as well just pack out of her apartment to live all by herself.
Ghenero’s joy was that she had started making money; a lot of money by the week. She should be happy. But she was beginning to get curious. She began to wonder what it was about these packs of cornflakes that she would have to travel to deliver them. Couldn’t whoever they were meant for just buy them from any store in their towns? And how come delivering three or four packs of cornflakes was earning her as much as twenty thousand naira or more on each trip? These were no ordinary packs of cornflakes, she concluded.
Ghenero would be traveling to Abuja this time to deliver cornflakes again. Stanley had given her three packs. He had told her that once she got to the bus terminal at Gwagwalada, a man wearing a black hat would walk up to her to collect the packs.
The time was seven a.m. she had just come out of PM Hotel where she had passed the night in the suite with Stanley. She was surprised that in all the nights they had spent in that suite, he had not as much as looked at her in a manner that suggested any moiety of eroticism talk less of having to touch her. She had noticed that Stanley carried with him, a sound aura of discipline and responsibility. Perhaps that was his secret.
She was to head for the bus terminal at Deco Road. But her curiosity got her thinking of a quiet spot where she could open the packs to see. At least she deserved to know what it was she was carrying. Stanley had always warned her to remember that curiosity killed the cat. She remembered the warning even now. But to hell with the English proverb.
She decided to take it home to her aunt’s apartment to check quickly before embarking on her trip. Her curiosity was getting the better of her.
She whistled signaling a motor bike rider to stop.
‘Where?’ Asked the rider as he stopped just by her. He was clad in a shabby overall. He had his helmet on.
‘The other end of Omatsola Road, she replied. ‘It will cost you two hundred naira.’
She just climbed on the motor bike and it rode off.
It was past seven when she got home. Her aunt was out already to attend to her own business as she had calculated. She had her key with her so she quickly opened the door and got in to satisfy her curiosity. She held out one of the packs and carefully began to open it. She took her time to ensure she didn’t tear it. She successfully opened it and smiled. She dipped her hand in the pack to bring out the content.
It was cornflakes packed in the usual air tight cellophane.
She up turned the paper pack to see.
A powdery lump tied in transparent cellophane dropped from the pack. Ghenero picked the substance slowly to have a better look wondering what it was.
So this was it. But what was it?
Her aunt bumped into her in the room.