Darkness almost swallowed an entire city but for the timely intervention of the moon. The moon aided by her eagle eye, saw from above the imminent annihilation of the city and affectionately sent her glowing hands to push away the aggressor. A half thanks to the moon; the city was partially liberated – of course, not after intense fighting.
In the other half of the city yet to be liberated slept Fola. He was deep in sleep while the war raged on. Rolling in bed apparently in discomfort; his cloth drenched in his own copious sweat while an army of mosquitoes sloshed noisily in air around him like houseflies would do around faeces. No one came to his rescue but his own right hand which played the knight in shining armour. The knight struck every mosquito that feasted on Fola’s body but the mosquitoes were extremely adamant. They would rather perish than give up on his body like houseflies will never give up on faeces.
Mosquitoes bit… the knight struck; Mosquito bit… the knight struck…, on and on was the combat cycle until one cunning mosquito almost successfully pitted Fola against the knight. The knight had struck a wound on Fola’s leg in a sincere attempt to strike another parasite. Fola grimaced at the pain; the knight got the message and quickly massaged the wound.
Soothing was the massage and Fola was now recovering from the friendly fire half-awake. He was attempting to find a new posture so as to go back to sleep when a thought rushed into his head – the job interview at 6:00am!
His eyes flipped wide open and his body suddenly filled with life and vigour. His back rose, standing on his two buttocks and his head spontaneously turned to the direction where a wall clock was hung. He strained his eyes to see the clock but darkness would not let him see. Darkness had swallowed the room to such an extent that he would not find it so easy to distinguish between his right and left arms!
What could he have done to get himself out of darkness stranglehold? He walked gallantly towards the window and slapped the curtain, which was preventing the liberation of the room by the moon, with the back of his right hand. So effective was the knight attack on the curtain that the later collapsed on one side of the window. A few of the moon’s glooming hands consequently gained entry into the room. The room was dimly brightened but Fola could, at least, read the wall clock. That should easily have passed as a thing of joy, however Fola almost jumped out of his skin – the time was 5:00am and he must be at the center of the interview by 5:30am!
“I knew it” he said to himself silently while walking from the window with both hands on his head. He was sweating profusely and his body trembling visibly. “I Knew I will make another mess of this golden and once-in-a-life-time opportunity” he said, dancing aimlessly in his room clicking his fingers this second and biting it the next second. He had got late to few interviews in the past so he would not forgive himself should this also end disastrously.
He hastily opened a drum to get some water to bathe but it was as empty as Nigeria’s foreign reserve. As if nature knew what he needed at every specific situation, the moon was relieved of her duty but would be replaced with something better regarding Fola’s present situation. He walked chaotically around the whole house searching for water he had not kept. Then lightning and thunder struck and roared respectively. He heard the sound and a soothing relief ran down his strained spine. He ran outside in anticipation of the rain. To God be the glory, Fola had learnt his lesson the hard way and now very time conscious. He got outside at the exact time the rain descended!
He dashed out of the rain; ran into his room to change into new cloths he had meticulously selected for the interview; he dipped his legs in turn into his trousers; fasten his belt and threw his right hand, and then his left into his shirt while walking towards the door. He haphazardly wiped off dusts from his shoes with a rag and aggressively forced his legs into them. How he wished he could do everything he wanted at the snap of his finger.
He pulled the door by its knob, took few steps out of the door way and was about to shut the door when he thought he should know what time it was before embarking on the journey –
“No, I can easily make an informed guessing of what the time is” he changed his mind, jammed the door and then embarked on the journey.
He scuttled along the passage; looking at the roofing sheet while his right index finger was dancing in the air periodically with his head. He was apparently doing some guest work. “….hummmnn… it should be 5:30 by now” he made abrupt conclusion for he had thought going back into the room to verify what the time was would have amounted to a waste of time.
He was making the journey half-walking, half-running. His instinct knew everything was wrong but his mind was preoccupied with the interview ahead. It was as if the further he walked the darker the weather became. He had walked few kilometers but yet to pass by any soul. He heard nothing, not even cock’s crow. The whole city was as silent as a grave yard. But he convinced himself that all these anomalies were due to the downpour few minutes ago.
He soon heard strange inaudible sounds but he cared less. He was busy mentally rehearsing likely question to be expected in the interview. “How I wish something could fly me to my destination,” he sometimes thought.
On getting to a junction the sound was clearer – haun, haun, haun. It was something like the wailing from a siren. Before he could put himself together, two vehicles were already speedily approaching him. One big vehicle on which the wailing siren was mounted was chasing another small car. It was clear to him it was not merely a car race but he couldn’t fathom what it was.
The small car ran into an obstacle and came to a halt. Some guys ran out of it, running towards his position while he stood in overwhelmed confusion as the melodrama unfolded. The bigger vehicle also slowed down while men in black with something strapped behind them were jumping off it. Fola was more confused.
“Stop!” one of the men in black shouted.
“Stop or I shoot!” the man reiterated.
Poor boy, what could he have done? He was scared out of his damn wit and now effectively running among those guys. They were all running everywhere but nowhere in particular.
Fola was running and panting so heavily that he had thought his heart would fall out of his chest. He heard something… maybe another threat from the shouting man but now accompanied with a deafening sound.
He was willing to run but his body was tired. His body felt heavier than before and his legs could not muster the strength to carry it. His legs finally collapsed under the weight. He fell on his face and noticed his cloth was soaked and starchy. “Maybe it is raining” he had thought to himself. The men in black were now much closer to him and rays from torch directed towards him. With the aid of spherical shaped torch lights walking on him, he got a clearer picture. It wasn’t even drizzling let alone raining – he was lying literally soaked in his own blood! That deafening blast which accompanied that faint sound must have been a gunshot!
He dizzily looked at the men in black and the pit in his stomach became filled. They were indeed policemen! “So, those other guys were… thieves… or… kidnappe – surely they are criminals!”
The policemen whisked him into their vehicle and zoomed off to a nearest hospital.
On getting to the hospital, three nurses rushed towards them and laid him on a stretcher.
“You must rescue him! He must be resuscitated! He will lead us to other members of his notorious gang!” a policeman screamed.
While Folu was being stretchered, he gazed at a wall clock in the hospital – it was 3:30am!
“No, how could this be?” He screamed within himself. The misery about the time compounded the excruciating pain from the bullet wound. “The time was 5:00am, how on earth could it have been 3:30am by now.” He thought in misery, agony and pain. He was fast loosing blood and at that rate the nurses thought a magical wind would be needed to revive him.
“You are the stupidest person on earth” He got hard on himself even with no strength. He now got the mathematics behind the wall clocks. He noted that last evening the clock in his room had stopped working and he even made a mental note to replace its batteries. How could he have been so absent-minded?
He was in pain and agony and also painstakingly muttering something inaudible. The nurses, now in company of a doctor never noticed; they were between genuinely resuscitating him and regrettably waiting for the inevitable. One of the policemen who had noticed his lips moving shouted from behind “what is he saying?” “He is saying something.” The policeman moved closer to him and placed his ear against Fola’s lips. He heard something like – “I thought it was 5:00am.” The policeman raised is head in confusion and said “I thought it was 5:00am” in a meditating mood. He repeated it inquisitively and asked what that could mean without necessarily expecting an answer from the equally perplexed doctor and nurses.
He placed his ear against his lips again with the hope that something more sensible would be heard but he heard Zilch! His eyes met with those of the doctor in anxiety. The doctor said to him “W… we… are… a… afraid he has given up the ghost!”