The Final Day
The day was Saturday…
It was getting to the end of November and Seun had not yet been paid his salary. Seun was a very impatient young man, and he needed the money as urgently as fish out of water needed its hydrogen. He was up to his neck in debt that he owed so many people who he’d borrowed from and had promised to pay when he got paid. When the time finally came for him to get paid, the bastards told him that they were still trying to balance the company accounts before any staff could be paid. That had been a week ago. Seun had been stretched to his limit. He was hungry for money and could surely do anything for it at that moment.
While Seun was going through his shirt and trouser pockets for the umpteenth time that week, trying to find if he might have left some cash in them that he could at least feed with, his phone began to ring. He was always apprehensive of the sound of his phone ringing because of the many people he owed who usually called to ask him about their money. He knew it was one of them calling him again. He didn’t bother checking it till it stopped ringing. But a few seconds later the phone was ringing again. Seun walked up to where the phone lay on his bed and picked it up to check who was calling. It was a strange number. He suspected that it was one of his creditors calling him with an unknown number since he had been avoiding their calls all week. He still didn’t pick. He dropped the phone back on the bed and continued searching his pockets. But the phone rang and rang and rang…until Seun decided it was time to face his fears. He picked up the phone, answered the call and listened…
“Hello, is this Mr Seun Alako from Okota?”
Seun was more apprehensive now than before. Who could this be that knew him by his full name and knew the area where he lived as well? Was it the police? Had one of his creditors decided that the debt he owed and couldn’t pay was now a matter of National Security?
“Hello? Is someone there? Hello?”
“Yes, yes, this is Seun speaking. Who is this?”
“This is Mr Patrick calling from the Customs Unit at MM1. We need you to come over and clear your parcels, Sir”
Seun was not sure what he’d heard, so he asked again. And Mr Patrick repeated the same thing he’d said before. There were two big boxes of items that had been sent from the United Kingdom with his name being on the recipient section. He was expected to come to the airport as soon as he could to clear his things, that any further delay would attract more charges. Mr Patrick also told him that clearing the boxes would require just a minimal amount of N15, 000. Even though Seun knew that he didn’t have as much as N500 to his name at that moment, this news was too good to not be true. These were no scammers or 419ers. Mr Patrick had sent him pictures through Whatsapp to his phone and he saw the two big boxes and his name, Okota (where he stayed) and his very own phone number written boldly on the sides of the boxes. What could be in those boxes, he asked himself. But the sooner he got that N15, 000 naira and go claim them…
The only person he could ask for that money who would give him that very day was Gloria, his ex-girlfriend who owned a boutique down town. But he already owed Gloria N30, 000. He still went ahead and dialled her number. Told her he needed to see her. She told him to come over to the boutique and Seun went there, sat down with her and told her everything. He even showed her the pictures. Gloria was extremely sceptical about everything and warned him about scammers and the things they do. Seun convinced her that scammers would never go through such trouble just to get N15, 000 out of somebody. She saw reason with him, and agreed on just one condition; that she would follow him to the airport to clear the boxes. Seun didn’t want to agree at first, but when he saw the look on her face and the fact that he already owed her a lump sum already, he did agree…
They got in Gloria’s car as she drove them to the airport. Seun was restless throughout the drive there. He didn’t know if to be happy or overjoyed, and he hadn’t even prayed to God that morning, but it seemed He was being good to him despite all of his shortcomings. He clasped his hands together, bowed his head and said a short prayer of thanks. Gloria saw him do this and chuckled. She liked the man sitting beside him in her car right now, and would even like him more if they succeed with getting whatever it was that was within those boxes…
On arrival at the airport, they both hurried towards the Customs unit. Seun was almost running while Gloria tried to keep up with him. She had been with him for 3 years but had never seen him so excited and impatient about anything before. They got to the desk just under a sign which read “CUSTOMS DEPARTMENT” hanging from the ceiling. Seun was panting as he tried to explain why he was there. He told the uniformed lady sitting at the desk about a Mr Patrick who had called him. She picked up her desk phone, dialled a number and inquired about this appointment. After a few seconds pf speaking in a hushed tone, she replaced the receiver and told them to follow her. She went in through a door behind her, and they were in a dimly lit passage way. They walked about ten feet before they turned right and stepped into a room. The room was deserted but for the table and a few chairs. The uniformed lady told them to sit down and wait for Mr Patrick. Seun and Gloria exchanged glances, and then he asked the lady why they were waiting. She told them not to worry, and left.
Seun was getting more impatient than ever after he had waited 30 minutes and yet they hadn’t attended to them yet. He was pacing, and fuming almost. Gloria was getting worried, as well. She wondered what they could be waiting for. Even by Nigerian standards, this was too much of a wait.
“Do you think something is wrong?” she asked Seun
“What could possibly go wrong?” he replied. “They were the ones who told me to hurry over here so that the charges for clearing the parcels will not increase”
“But Seun, do you really mean it when you say you don’t know who sent you the parcels?”
He stopped pacing and looked at her. “I’m being totally honest with you, Gloria. I have no idea. But God works in mysterious ways dear. And I’m not about to have second thoughts about this”
“Hmm, I’m not saying you should. It’s just strange, that’s all”
“Yes dear. God is strange.” He said, looking at the ceiling, maybe having a silent communion with the Most High.
Just then, a man in a suit walked into the room, and with him were two officers, with guns.
“Hello.” He said, smiling and looked at Seun. “You must be Mr Alako.” He shook Seun’s hand strongly, then he looked at Gloria and said “This must be your wife”
Seun and Gloria said the “No” together. The man looked at them both and introduced himself as Mr Patrick; then he went on to explain that he just had to ask them a few questions before they proceeded with claiming the parcels. Seun was confused. What questions did they need to be asked? Let them just claim their property and get the hell out of there!
“Mr Alako, or can I call you Seun?”
“How long have you been dealing with illegal drugs?”
Seun’s eyes widened. “Wh…WHAT?!” he exclaimed.
“I asked you a question. You cannot reply a question with a question, Mr Alako.”
“I don’t even know what you’re talking about” Seun told him. He was quite bemused. Gloria just looked at both of them, mouth agape.
Mr Patrick, observed them for a few seconds, sighed and folded his hands. He had surely been through cases of denial like this before, but at the end of it all they were always guilty.
“Seun, we found five kilograms of cocaine in one of those parcels. Very well hidden, and impossible to find by our guys. But we had our dogs sniff at it, and they found it…”
Seun was aghast. He wanted to just vanish from this place. His world was spinning with him sitting at that the centre of it. They were speaking but he wasn’t hearing them. He clenched his fists…then stumped them on the table as he got on his feet and yelled.
“F*CK THIS! I WILL NOT BE FRAMED FOR SOMETHING I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT!”
The two armed officers standing just by the door tightened their grips on their weapons and became more alert. The frown on their faces was menacing. Gloria was startled by Seun’s outburst. She was confused more than ever. What could be happening? How had she gotten herself into such a situation? She was rubbing her palms together and pleading to God to save her from this.
“Calm down, Mr Alako. There is no need to raise your voice” Mr Patrick was still sitting; hands still folded and with the calmest of looks on his face.
“HOW CAN I NOT RAISE MY VOICE WHEN YOU’RE TELLING ME THIS?” Seun paused…
Mr Patrick, let me tell you the truth. I know nothing about those parcels. I have nobody living in the UK who could have sent those things. You were the one who called me, and sent me the pictures. I don’t know how this has happened but we live in a fucked up world so I guess shit which shouldn’t have, must have happened. Please, just allow me to go and I will be on my way right this very minute and pretend all these never happened.”
Mr Patrick smiled again. Then he shook his head and leaned on the table with his arms.
“There is no way we can let you leave. This is an interrogation, and we are not done yet. Please, Seun, Sit down and let us finish. You…”
“I SHOULD SIT DOWN?” Seun interrupted him, “WHY THE F*CK SHOULD I SIT DOWN WHEN I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE? I CAN’T F*CKING TAKE THIS. I CAN’T!”
Seun glanced at Gloria, and in that moment, she saw all the wrath of the world in his eyes.
“Gloria, let’s go” he told her and made to leave. Just as he reached the door one of the officers stood in his way and ordered him to go back to his seat. Gloria stood just three feet away, observing. Mr Patrick still sat down, arms still folded, and chuckling. At that moment…Seun clenched his fists again. He was angry beyond words. He’d had a very bad day, and now these morons were trying to be the icing on a cake that was his miserable life.
“Get out of my way, you idiot. Or I’m going to push you out” Seun spat out those words, right in the officers face.
“Seun please, just sit down and answer the questions. I’m sure they’ll let us go when they are through with us. Please…”
“Listen to the woman, Mr Alako. Do as she says” Mr Patrick said.
“SHUT UP BOTH OF YOU! SHUT YOUR F*CKING MOUTHS. I AM NOT GOING TO STAY HERE AND BE REDUCED TO THE LEVEL OF A COMMON CRIMINAL. IF YOU WANT TO ARREST ME, I AM SURE YOU KNOW MY ADDRESS.”
With that, he turned and pushed the Officer standing in his way. The uniformed man hit his back against the door, and in that same moment…pulled the trigger on his rifle. A single shot was heard. The smell of gunfire filled the air. Mr Patrick jumped from where he sat and shot a frightened look at the officer. Gloria screamed, her shrill voice rent the air and her hands were raised up.
Seun staggered a bit, his hands clutching his abdomen. The pain was beyond explanation. He had never been shot before, had never experienced such pain before. He felt the warm trickle of his blood as it spilled from the gaping wound. He took one last look at his shooter, and fell to the ground.
He was dead before Gloria hurried to kneel beside him.