“Lai lai! I know what I counted! How can Kolade lie like this? ehn?! Oti o! ahn ahn” Shade fumed and tied her wrapper again for the third time during the meeting. The elders of the church were moving in and out as they awaited the arrival of the pastor and Kolade the head usher. Deaconess Labake stared at Shade in disbelief for a long time, in fact, through out the argument. Although she couldn’t argue, she had no doubt Shade knew something tangible concerning the whole drama.
“So you’re saying you’ve never noticed any abnormalities in your calculations?” Brother Ezekiel asked again
“ahn ahn! emi ke? if not that I say I shu count the money again naw! shey i do mistake to tell you people ni?” Shade asked baffled
“Nobody said that o! ma’ foro si mi l’enu o jare! (don’t put words in my mouth)” Brother Ezekiel snapped
“Issorai! me I know that the Lor’ Go’ almighty will fight for me o! let that Kolade be coming o!” Shade warned and sat down at last
Labake turned her gaze away from Shade and sighed. If she decides to speak now, they’ll say she has spoken! She continued sucking her “agbalumo” absent minded. What was her business with the ushering department? If offertory money is missing, whose headache? why not let the people in charge take care of it? On the other hand, it was a large sum of money and if it’s true that this has been going on for a while, the culprits should be brought to book. She eyed Shade and continued with her fruit. Shade definitely knows something!
“Ah look at him o!” Labake yelled mistakenly dropping her fruit “ooooooo oti je ki kini mi jabo (he’s made my fruit drop)” She hissed. Everyone seemed to be talking at the same time ignoring Labake’s faint voice or the fact that she had seen him first.
“wait joor! let him talk na” Brother Ezekiel said in a harsh tone trying to calm the others down.
“I don’t understand what’s happening o” Kolade finally said midst gasps for air.
Everyone chorused simultaneously “ehn?!”
Kolade almost wet his boxers! They all looked like vampires ready to devour his very soul. These weren’t the same people he usually saw on Sundays! Truly the world is so wicked! To think he could rely on them in times of trouble. He tried to talk, he kept mumbling words… nothing seemed to come out.
“You better talk o! because pastor is coming! me I will not take rubbish o!” Shade added angrily
“How much did you say is missing?” Kolade finally asked
“Five thousand naira!” Shade replied tying her wrapper again for the umpteenth time
“This is serious” Kolade sighed
“O serious gaan o!” Deacon Labake interjected.
“Ah! Pastor good afternoon” Brother Ezekiel greeted, bowing a little as a sign of respect to the pastor. Everyone showed respect in various ways and sat down after the pastor sat.
“So I’m hearing stories of stolen money, what is that about?” The pastor finally asked
“Pastor” Ezekiel started “Shade called me this morning and told me the offering money was not complete. She said she collected ten thousand instead of fifteen thousand naira. As a man of God, we know you will not play with the offering so the mistake can be from Kolade that gave you the money or Shade who collected it. From the records, this has been going on for long” Ezekiel concluded.
The pastor shook his head pathetically and stood up slowly.
“Brethren… Shall we pray”
They all stood up and prayed for a long while. Everyone was sweating it out already before the Pastor made an end to the prayers.
“You see… We are all children of God and stealing will not be condoned. Kolade, my spirit tells me you may have to be suspended. Even if you have no hand, the devil is trying to use you!”
Everyone made funny remarks.
“Another revelation!” He continued “Shade when he comes back you will go on your suspension! I see the devil pulling you…”
“devil kor… Satani ni” she hissed quietly.
The intercom rang
“Brother Ezekiel please help the pastor pick the phone so that he will not lose connection with God! He is in the spirit” Labake suggested
“I can handle it” the pastor said nervously
“Pastor, just go on, I’ll answer it” Ezekiel said as if to finalize the argument.
“Hello” Ezekiel greeted
“Goo moreen o. Pastor I af put the five thouson’ nera. Kai! offering money was nor plenty like that o! but it is in your acant” the caller said in a hurry
“Ah! Who am I talking to?” Ezekiel asked anxiously
“Pastor! Na me na! Deji”
Eziekiel turned around and smiled at the pastor after hanging up.
“Pastor, Deji said he has transferred our missing five thousand naira into your account” he said sarcastically.
The pastor swallowed more saliva.