Paris, prince of Troy chose Helen, wife of King Menelaus of Sparta.
Menelaus was outraged to find that Paris had taken Helen. Menelaus then called upon all of Helen’s old suitors, as all of the suitors had made an oath long ago that they would all back Helen’s husband to defend her honor.
Seeking to gain entrance into Troy, Odysseus ordered a large wooden horse to be built. Its insides were to be hollow so that soldiers could hide within it.
Once the statue had been built, a number of the Greek warriors, climbed inside. The Trojans celebrated what they thought was their victory, and dragged the wooden horse into Troy.
That night, after most of Troy was asleep or in a drunken stupor, Sinon let the Greek warriors out from the horse, and they slaughtered the Trojans.
When my blackberry vibrated in the pouch hanging from my belt, I thought it was a message that just got delivered. I was walking to the company guest house where crew stayed if they had an early flight the next day, or returned too late to go home.
I had asked a colleague to drop my crew bag off the day before since he had a car and had stayed over himself, so all I had was my back pack which contained a fresh set of uniforms.
I pulled the phone from the pouch only to hear D’Angelo‘s “cruisin‘” playing – my incoming call alert. I looked at the screen but did not recognise the number I saw. “Hello, good afternoon.” I said with the phone pressed to my right ear.
“Good afternoon, please is this Franque?” A female voice asked.
“It depends on who’s asking.” I replied.
“My name is Yinka and I have a parcel to deliver to you from a friend of mine.” She said.
I almost laughed in her ear. “Another one, eh?” I thought to myself.
I had received a similar call before, and that time it was some lady calling from a purported Adult store. After trying to get me to divulge my residdential address for five minutes and failing – ostensibly to deliver the parcel to my doorstep – she then told me the ‘parcel’ was actually some sex toys, as if that would help make up my mind quicker. I had been on my way to work that morning and was stuck in traffic, but the mirth I felt and the laughter I bellowed stayed with me in my heart and ears till I got to work. “Wow!” I remember saying when I finally caught my breath, “Someone actually thinks my sex life needs some spicing up, eh?” Another fit of laughter followed before I said to her, “Can I call you when I return from work?” I called the number the next day, but it was switched off. I later found out it was a prank played by a friend of mine.
This time the caller was not asking for my address. In fact, she seemed to know where she was going to deliver the parcel, just not to whom. She said she was close to the airport, MMA2 Lagos, and wanted to know if she could drop the parcel off with a colleague for me.
“Ask for the Crew Line Manager on duty and tell her it’s for me. Tell her to put it in my pigeon hole if it isn’t too big, otherwise she can hold onto it for me.” I said.
“Okay.” Came her reply. “And this is not my number I am calling from, so you can’t trace me.” She added.
Very cloak and dagger.
I was out with a friend lunching on amala when my phone rang. It was my manager. “Hello?” I said into the mouthpiece.
“Ehen Franque, where u dey?” She asked.
“Any beta?” I asked in return.
“Somebody jus bring yor laptop, and I wan kno if you go fit come collect am before I close…” My brain froze at the mention of laptop. Your laptop. My laptop? I did not have a laptop! But I did not tell her this.
“When you go close?” I asked my manager.
“Around 8:30 for night. Shey u go fit come before then? Abi make I ghee am to sombodi keep for you?”
“No worry, I go show before you close.” I assured her.
For the rest of the afternoon, my mind explored every possible way that a laptop could have wound up at the office for me. By the time I eventually got to the office, my head been so over worked, it could not register any emotion when I saw the carton with “Franque Mba“ and my company address written on it. I simply took pictures of the paper, the carton, then reached in and pulled out the laptop. As I opened it, I noticed my hand trembled a bit and I counsciously steadied it. I took more pictures of the laptop, powered it up, read the welcome message, and then grinned a really big grin.
I was about to toss the carton when a note fell out from it. The sender must really have been feeling very “Kane and Abel”-ish. The note was type written and unsigned. It read:
Don’t try psychoanalyzing the rational behind this action, it comes with a free mind from someone who believes you can do better with this and who obviously cares about you.
Expect ting absolutely nothing in return.
Hmmmm… I read the note again, settling on the space and double ‘t’ in “expecting”. Was that a clue? My mind was already doing permutations, forgetting the admonition not to overthink everything. Then there was that word “Psychoanalyzing”; a word I had used recently with only a handful of people – one of whom stood out clearly in my mind. Problem was she did not have my phone number, at least not as far as I knew/know.
I put up a very short “Thank you” note on my BB status and on Twitter. These got me some responses, but not from my benefactor.
The next day when I finally got home, I handed the computer over to my brother.
Now let me tell you a little something about my brother, Jigga. In my family, he is the Jay Z of all things technological. If it stumped you, you take it to Jigga; if it stumps Jigga, take it to Computer Village.
He retired to his room while I watched tv and waited.
I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I knew was my alarm going off – 05:30. I waited till 07:00 before barging into his room. I was halfway across the room when I remembered I did not even knock.
“Emboy any show?” I asked him. No good morning, just curiosity eating me up.
“Wha… What?” He asked groggily.
“What did you find out?” I asked, trying to still my racing heart. I was anxious. What would I do if I found out who sent it? How would I feel if I did not?
A person of fewer words than me, he said “Nothing.” Huh? “Whoever sent you this is good. The hard drive was changed, not wiped clean. Changed. “
I felt nothing, except my heartbeat slowing and returning to normal. With a toothy smile I backed out of his room. Truthfully, there was only my unhealthy ‘need-to-know’ driving this quest.
So now I have given up trying to psychoanalyze, and accepted that once in a while someone will come along and pleasantly surprise me with a kind gesture – and no strings attached.
I christened her Helen after the lady of Troy. I still wake up at night, expecting to find little men have crawled out from inside this maybe-Trojan computer and taken over my neighbourhood.
Until that happens, if it ever does, I will flex her. In the time since she came into my life, Helen and I have written eight articles, edited a few more, and we look set to do even more – maybe even write that book eventually! And each time I power her up, my heart sends a prayer heavenwards for my Fairy godPerson.