“many do with opportunities as children do at the seashore; they fill their little hands with sand, and then let the grains fall through, one by one.”[1] not thuso. he has taken every chance he has been given but two – one was to destroy mompoloki. this night, as he drives home from a company’s end of year party, he gets his chance. the road ahead is dark. he switches on his beam and slows down then his lights pick up a familiar number plate – mompoloki’s. the car is slightly off the road. as he pulls up behind the car he realizes this is the cause of the darkened road. mompoloki’s black series drift mercedes benz c63 amg is nestled, head-first against the street light – hissing. vehicle fluid flowing from everywhere. he parks his car and gets out, his heart pounding furiously – but not in sympathy. he opens the car door, in the glow of the interior lighting, he sees burst airbags, he pushes these aside and sees both of them – unconscious, and presumably dead.

there is powder residue from the burst airbags – there is also blood – everywhere. mostly from her. his fly is open and there are lipstick marks and blood spatter all over his white boxer’s shorts and the white lining of the zipper flap. he is unconscious – and presumably dead. she is lying in an unnatural position a foot or so from him – the impact of the crash must have thrown her against something hard and sharp, she is bleeding from the back of her head. he can tell she wasn’t wearing a seat-belt at the point of impact. she too is unconscious – and presumably dead. he didn’t flinch from the spilled blood – he knows both of them are safe. he peers into the interior of the car again, there are signs of where they have been, and where they probably were going, but couldn’t wait to get there. he brings out his cellphone and starts to take pictures. then he ransacks both of them stripping them of all their valuables. his opportunity taken, he drives away leaving mompoloki to his fate.

three hours later, the ringing of his cellphone wakes him up.

“thuso, mompoloki is dead.” it is his girlfriend – mompoloki’s sister. sniffling. “we think some people hijacked him.” crying. “there was blood all over the inside of the car.” crackling sound, then nose blowing, “but no one was found in the car.” the sobbing resumes, he sits in silence not knowing what to say, and then the phone goes dead.

in his excitement, he missed the last part of what she said. lebo, mompoloki’s sister, before tonight, was going to be his revenge for what mompoloki did to him – that now, is presumably unnecessary. he smiles, and begins to upload the pictures on their social media groups. in a few minutes, his phone is buzzing, the nature of the pictorial scandal has superseded mompoloki’s death. he smiles when his phone rings again – mompoloki’s wife – presumably calling after hearing the stories making the rounds about the pictures. he ignores the call. he gets off his bed and goes to his wardrobe, brings out the black company satchel with the loot, brings out mompoloki’s wallet and removes all the bank cards. he throws the cards on the bed, and returns the black satchel to the wardrobe. he throws on his house-robe and goes into the ensuite bathroom to have a bath – he has a busy day ahead of him, he needs to leave mompoloki’s family unable to bury him.

there is a buzzing sound coming from his wardrobe that stops just as he returns from bathing, and his phone starts to ring. it’s mompoloki’s personal number. this is odd, he muses. who could be calling me with his personal number? he wonders. when the caller drops the call he notices the person had called nine times previously. then the message:

hey bro, it’s me, momps. i’m in deep shit and i need your help. will call back in 5.

he rereads the message, drops the phone and starts to pace around the room. he looks at himself in the full-length mirror on the wardrobe door – he seems presumably sober. he walks over to the bed again and picks up the phone – he isn’t dreaming. he sits on the couch in the darkened room, the light from the cellphone lighting up his contorted face, his heart pounding in his mouth. he feels constricted. what the hell is going on? he asks himself. who the hell is playing such a deadly game with me? did anyone see me? how could he have forgotten to check for mompoloki’s personal phone when he took the company-issued samsung phone?  the phone’s ringing jars him to the present. he looks at it, lets it ring a few times, then picks it up gingerly. he says nothing.

“hello! bro you there?” it’s his voice. he suddenly feels warm. he smiles. then the bitterness of losing gaba to mompoloki froths in him like oil in a frying pan. three weeks to their engagement she tells him she doesn’t feel intimate towards him anymore. a week later he finds out she has been spending time with mompoloki in his guesthouse. he knew she has been spending time with mompoloki at work because she told him severally being with mompoloki makes her happy – but he shouldn’t worry because he is her man, and mompoloki could never make her feel the way he makes her feel. the thought of his stupidity hit him again like a broken leg.

“what happened?”

“haven’t you been on facebook, whatsapp and twitter today? where have you been?”

“i have been sleeping man. you know i had too much to drink yesterday.”

“bro, i’m supposed to be dead.”

“for real?” he smiles painfully. what the hell is going on? he muses.

“where are you?”

“in the guest house. i passed out yesterday on my way home and drove into a street light. when i woke up there was blood all over the inside of the car, and gaba was –”

“you were with her?”

“yea, she asked for a ride from me after you refused – look, man, i don’t know where she is.” i know where she is, i took her there.

“have you tried calling her cell?”

“yea, she isn’t picking.” yea, she isn’t picking because i have her phone with the rest of the loot in my wardrobe.

“man, those pictures –”

“what pictures?”

“apparently, someone took pictures of me in the car with her.”

“i hope they were decent?”

“not quite. you mean you haven’t seen them? they’re all over our twitter, facebook and whatsapp groups.”as the groups’ administrator, thuso had been able to include a number no one else knew in readiness for such an opportunity as today’s. funny how we never check who those nameless numbers belongs to when we group-chat.

“so what are you gonna do?”

“man, i don’t know. i have to find gaba, and find a way of deleting the video from the camera in the car before the car-tracking company … hello!”

“yea, i’m here. what video?” he stopped listening at camera in the car.” his mind is racing.

“i had the company set up a tracking device with camera in the car last week, and i had switched it on before i gave the car to mike to run some errands for the party. i forgot to switch it off. i don’t have my official phone, i don’t have my laptop, and i can’t go to the office to erase the video. i am supposed to be dead, you know.” 

“why would you do a –” he cannot focus his mind on anything – too many images from the night are flashing through his mind simultaneously.

“hello! are you still there?”

“i am.” he clears his throat.

“man, i can’t allow my wife to know i was with some other woman, let alone gaba. that’s her cousin you know.” he knows. she was his fiancé. three years wasted. the bitterness boils up in his stomach again like a pot of oats. soon they will find her body. soon they will find the video. he took his fiancé, now he just took his future.

he put the phone on the bed, opens his wardrobe, opens the safe, and takes out his slimline subcompact 9×19 g43 glock. it is written, “the race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all,”[2]he wished he had not taken his.

Copyright © F-K Omoregie 2016

[1] As quoted by Thomas Jones.

[2] Ecclesiastes 9:11