By Josiah Winifred
~~ The JAILBIRD PICTURE STORY
Chris threw the knife he had sliced a bulb of onion into the sink. He washed four stalks of plantain and picked up the knife again to slice them when his phone started ringing.
“How are you doing?”
“Have you taken dinner?”
“Not yet.” He replied. “We will be going for the conference tomorrow.”
“Nice, that’s nice. I told Effe to come and stay till the end of the weekend at your house. She will help you cook and clean.”
“Thanks but I don’t want her to come.” A frown appeared on his face.
“Why? You should forgive her. She has apologized, I see no reason why you should keep holding on to what she did.”
“Mom, she blackmailed me, she made the university to almost sack me, I lost my visa to get my p.hd after four failed attempts and she eventually ran a car over my leg now you are asking me to forgive her. Did I have to remind you of everything? I can’t believe you’re saying this.” He was visibly angry. He switched off the gas and sat on one of the kitchen stool.
“I understand. You see…”
“And come to think of it that it was actually your fault. You had always told her not to mind how other people felt, I unfortunately became her victim.”
“Chris Dawa you shouldn’t insult me, I’m still your mother. I only gave your sister an advice which she used wrongly and…”
“Yet you want her to come to my house. To do what? Kill me? He raised his voice.”
“Why are you acting so tensed and angry? This is not as serious as you’re taking it”
“Now you’re going to make me look like the bad person here even after I told you I don’t want to see her anywhere near my house. I will be leaving for the conference tomorrow, if I get back and see her anywhere close to my house I will run my car over her legs. You will be happy to have two children with artificial legs I guess.” He said and ended the call.
He couldn’t understand his mom, sometimes he wondered if she was his birth mom, she was always taking sides with Effe and it had cost him a lot especially after their father’s death when he was just twelve years old.
He was hungry but he needed to talk to someone. He lighted the gas again and dialed his best friend’s number, Baaba. She was the same age with him and they had been best friends since childhood.
“Hello somebody.” Her cheerful voice spoke from the other end.
“I’m good. just wanted to check up on you.”
“I just wanted to talk to you o, to see how you are faring. Friendship concerned.” He wasn’t sure if he was going to tell her what his mom had suggested, it could get her very upset which will end up not make him feel better.
“Hahahahaha. When you are done lying to me Chris, only you will use your mouth to confess.” She laughed.
“It’s nothing you should be worried about. How were your classes today?”
“Same as usual, stubborn students. Anyway, how are you preparing for the conference?”
“I’m almost done packing. I’m having a weird feeling though.”
“Maybe it’s because I’m not going with you. Don’t tell me you’re scared.” She teased him.
“Not at all. I keep seeing that professor in my dreams.”
“That man doesn’t like you.”
“Is he going for the conference too?”
“Of course. He is the H.O.D of our department.”
“There was silence.”
“Have you prayed about him?”
He smirked. “I won’t pray to a God that watched while my sister tturned me to a puppet.”
“I’m not arguing with you this evening, just take care of yourself and stay out of trouble.” She told him. “I got work to do, bye.”
The energy to cook was gone. The beans was ready to be eaten, it was just the plantain left to fry but since it was ripe he decided to eat it like that without frying. He was such a lazy cook.
The next morning, Baaba called him as early as 7am to check if he was already on his way. He was and according to him, he was feeling very well. He was not having his usual motion sickness.
In the evening of that same day, he called her and said he was going to have a drink with his colleagues and they were going for a swim too. They talked for sometime before he hung up. Few minutes past 10pm, Baaba was lying on her king size bed with her eyes wide open then a call came it. It was an unknown number.
“Hello, is this Karen?”
“Who is asking?”
“Dr. Jeffrey. A young man by the name Chris was rushed to our hospital some minutes ago. He was involved in an accident. Your number was the last in his dialed list”
“What? Jesus Christ!” She screamed.
He gave her the name of the hospital and advised her to calm down. She left for the hospital as early as 6am the next day.
“Thank God you came early, he had been asking after you.” The doctor attending to him said.
“What happened to him?”
“He was drowning.”
She didn’t reply. A nurse standing with the doctor directed her to the room.
“How could you drown yourself Chris? Why would you do that?” The tears formed at her eyes. “Do you want to kill yourself?”
“I was poisoned.” He managed to talk. “By Cugar”
” My God!
“Shh, listen Karen.” He paused for a while. “After I got the award of the best lecturer of the year for the faculty, I notice they started giving me attitudes. The conference was a setup from the English department, they had been planning this for a long time but I never understood it was me even after all the clues I got. They will make this look like it was an accident but don’t let them get away with this. Avenge my death Karen.” He coughed, holding tightly to her hand.
“You’re not going to die.” She joined her hand to his, the tears gathered at her eyes didn’t stop flowing.
She held tightly to his hand until she was sure he had slept. She took her phone outside and dialed a number.
“You shouldn’t have involved drowning into it. He is a very good swimmer. I hope the police don’t get to find out.”.
“It won’t. How’s he?”
“As good as dead. How’s my husband doing?”
“Fine. He should be the next best lecturer for the year.”
“Sure sir. Will be coming to the house today, please say me well to mommy.” Then the line went dead.
She had never forgiven Chris for what he did. Only her knew what happened and she vowed never to tell a soul even after she had been avenged.
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