Tag Archives: nii

CAPTION IT YOURSELF!

RANDOM AFRICAN THOUGHTS.

Script Title: Caption it yourself

Director: Edwin Oko Lamptey

Location: Inside A “trotro” (Commercial bus)

Imagine yourself in a trotro. The main occupants are usually the driver and his conductor. You join the bus at a bus stop. The conductor employs a few “delay tactics” to get more occupants into his car. Note: It is rush hour and traffic is building up; very fast! It’s past five minutes, the car is still at the bus stop. The driver makes knee-jerking movements, as if he is moving the car.

The occupants start to complain. He calls out to his conductor who pretends not to hear him. Ten minutes in, a couple of passengers get off the bus and hurriedly join another car going towards their destination. The conductor does not want more passengers getting off so he quickly runs back and joins the car. He shuts the door and exchanges words with a few irate passengers. The driver intervenes and calm is restored. Immediately, the conductor starts collecting fares. Your fare is proportional to the distance you want to travel (even though it doesn’t make so much sense sometimes judging by our pricing methods). A few passengers argue it out with the conductor. A well dressed man pays his fare but the conductor informs him that he has to add some more to equal his destination. The man pleads, the conductor disagrees so a “Good Samaritan”, saves the well dressed man from embarrassment by paying the difference.

A woman hands the conductor somewhat of a huge denomination. The conductor complains of not having enough change. He hands the woman her change; but not the exact change. The conductor needs to add the same amount he was asking from the well dressed man to make the woman’s change accurate but he struggles to get it. A few stops ahead, the woman gets off and does not take the rest of the change. The driver moves the car.

A passenger seated at the back alerts the conductor that he would alight at the next bus stop. The conductor nods and pulls his head out of the car to prospect for more customers. The driver zooms past the proposed bus stop and stops the car at another bus stop way ahead. The passenger at the back is fuming because he has to walk backwards to reach his original stop point. He insults the driver and his conductor. The driver pleads and says he can only stop at designated bus stops so he had to do the right thing once he has missed the chance to stop at the desired bus stop. The conductor doesn’t see what he has done wrong. A few seconds after the passenger at the back alights, the driver stops right in front of a “NO PARKING…NO STOPPING”, sign post to pick another “customer”. The other customers in the car accuse the driver and his conductor of being bias. The driver and his conductor “shut them up” by saying, they had to pick that customer because any of them could have been in that same situation when they were in a hurry. The whole bus is quiet.

The driver makes another stop before the main lorry station (which is supposed to be the last stop) and says that is his last stop. Many passengers fume and accuse the driver and his conductor of deception. No matter how much they complain, the driver doesn’t budge, he even turns off the ignition to tell them how serious he is. On the other hand, some passengers are happy because the driver has actually saved them some walking time because their destination is pretty much closer to their current stop than from the main lorry station. They gleefully thank the driver and get off without saying anything foul to either the driver or his conductor. You are one of these “happy bunch”, you get off too and start walking towards your destination…

Now, Let’s edit this script through the lens of REALITY….

Life has a way of offering all of us a “levelled playground” for success regardless of your family background, occupational status, educational background or financial standing i.e (the bus stop)

When the bus of success pulls over at the bus stop, most of us get on. The “hungry ones” (the people with the get-rich-quick mentality, those with ideas that need to be swiftly put into action and the like) cannot stand the long wait so they get off and join a faster bandwagon to success i.e (their destination).

Life will still go on whether you are in a hurry or not.

Life demands from everyone exactly what it wants, you cannot shortchange life if you expect to get to your destination. No matter how much you put on appearances, life would always have a way of exposing pretence. There are days when the pocket is genuinely ‘not good’ but life and success don’t care. They will take from you exactly what you must give to reach your destination i.e ( the fight over the fare)

In life, you are bound to meet many “Good Samaritans”. The mistake we sometimes make is that, we confuse the role of our helpers and make them our sole source of financial and other forms of support. We should sometimes learn to be dependent on our own resources no matter how little they may be.

Life would always demand whatever it wants from you but there are times that what you give out would not reflect what you expect in return. Life can sometimes shortchange your efforts i.e ( the woman with the “big” currency denomination being shortchanged by the conductor).

You need to constantly remind yourself of your future and how big (or small) you want it to be. Life won’t offer you success on a golden platter if you ask for it just once. You need to constantly work on it and make people aware of it. If you don’t do it, you would miss your destination and none other but yourself would have to pay for it; sometimes even after you put in your best and meet all the requirements.

Life can stop you at any point naturally and take something from you but you cannot stop life or even ask for a timeout to get ready for success. You need to make yourself relevant and strive to be significant i.e (the drop off and pick up scene).

Life can sometimes decide how far you can go. It would be entirely up to you to decide at that point what lessons you’ve learnt and what the way forward would be. Life might throw many shots at you. Always make sure that should life decide to “dump” you off at a point you didn’t plan on getting off, you would get off at least with a smile on your face.

THIS IS A RANDOM AFRICAN THOUGHT. EDWIN WROTE IT!

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THE SCENT OF YOUR HEART….EPISODE EIGHT (8).

“What is it?”, Henry asked. “I know you have your own misconceptions about all that has happened and I won’t be surprised if you are biased in your judgment”, Johnson started. “Sandra is not who she claims to be”, Johnson revealed. “So who is she?”, Henry enquired. “She told you a concocted story of how I tried to rape her before our wedding and how her father wanted to take me to court for harming her daughter”, Johnson continued.

“None of what she said is true because she made me do something and when I started questioning her motives, she framed me and had our wedding called off.

At this point, Henry appeared to be very interested because he wanted to know what was really going on. He was now convinced that he had to take steps to withdraw from the web he was trying to get himself into.

“Johnson, before you continue, I really appreciate what you are doing but the information would be of no use to me because I have made my decision to stay away from Sandra for good”, Henry started. “If she had told me early on that you guys had something going on, I wouldn’t have started seeing her in the first place”, Henry said. “I am really sorry for what has happened between the two of you but I’d rather stay out of all this than get myself entwined with such stuff, honestly”, Henry added.

“You might think that saying this would absolve you from any future turn of events”, Johnson said. “I don’t think you know it yet but you are in too deep to back out now”, Johnson revealed.

“What is that supposed to mean?”, Henry asked.

“I know Sandra has told you about the dark secrets of Kaprisky Law Firm including all the underhand and shady deals and has also told you about her father’s incestuous tendencies towards her right?”, Johnson enquired.

“How did you know all of this?”, Henry asked in shock.

“Let’s leave that question for another day”, Johnson said.

“Why are you doing all of this and telling me all these things?”, Henry asked. “What do you stand to achieve?”, Henry quizzed.

“I just want to prevent what happened to me from happening to another person, more so, someone like you who has a bright future ahead of you”, Johnson said.

“Wow!”, Henry exclaimed.

“Listen to me carefully”, Johnson started.

“Wait!”, Henry exclaimed. “Right now I am confused, I don’t know who to believe; you or Sandra”, Henry revealed. “Can I ask you something?”, Henry enquired.

“Sure…go on”, Johnson answered.

“Do you still love Sandra?”, Henry asked.

Johnson looked at Henry without saying anything.

“So I take it from your silence that you still care about her and love her”, Henry said

Johnson nodded his head.

“Do you want Sandra back?”, Henry went on to ask.

“I would give anything to be with Sandra”, Johnson finally spoke.

“Let me get something clear, the same person you are asking me to steer clear off as if my life depended on it is the same person you’d give anything to be with?”, Henry enquired. “Where is the correlation in this?”, Henry interrogated.

“You won’t understand”, Johnson cut in. “Despite what has transpired between us and the misinterpretation of facts, I still love Sandra and I know that deep within her, she still harbours some feelings for me”, Johnson explained.

“So what is stopping you guys from getting back together?”, Henry  queried. “Sandra thinks I am back here to get back at her for what she did to me”, Johnson said.

“You keep talking about what she did to you but you are refusing to tell me exactly what she made you do”, Henry said. “Can I ask another question?”, Henry asked. “Yes you can”, Johnson answered. “Did the two of you ever make love?”, Henry asked.

“Yes we did”, Johnson answered. “Several times”, Johnson added.

“So how come you were accused of trying to rape her if you had already made love to her?”, Henry asked. “That is where the complication is”, Johnson answered. “This is really serious”, Henry said. “You know what, I have to go now” Henry said. “You can take my number and call me”, Henry suggested. “But before I go, I want you to understand that Sandra and I are done”, Henry revealed. “You can have her for all I care”, Henry conceded. “The truth is that, I don’t know which of the accounts to believe and like you rightly said, I am too young to get myself involved in all of these things”, Henry said. “I wish you luck in life and goodbye”, Henry finally said and exited the main gates of Kaprisky Law Firm…

That night, Henry lay in his bed and thought about the countless romantic chats he had had with Sandra nights before. He was missing her but he had to fight off the urge of getting involved with her in any way. He was in love with Sandra but he didn’t want to get hurt. He thought about Julius and his advances, he was fighting wars on many unusual fronts. He wanted to stand up to Johnson and call his bluff so he could fight for Sandra’s love. He was madly in love with her but he could not fathom why Johnson spoke with so much authority and he felt the sense of suspense around whatever that transpired between himself and Sandra prior to his meeting her.

“Edwin and Kennedy would know what to do in times like this”, Henry said to himself in the middle of the night. He picked up his phone to call one of his friends only to find out that he had missed several calls from Sandra and another strange number. He refused returning any of the missed calls. He called Kennedy’s number.

“Hello”, Henry said as Kennedy answered the call.

“Finally, you have remembered that I exist”, Kennedy complained. “I wonder why you always say that”, Henry rebutted. “You can also call me when the need arises but you expect me to be always doing the calling as if I am your girlfriend of some sort”, Henry continued. “Anyway, that is not why I called”, Henry said.

“You are in some form of trouble with your girlfriend I guess”, Kennedy said sarcastically.

“This in more than trouble, Ken”, Henry said. “This is the most messed up case I have ever heard in my few years on this earth”, Henry started. “What is the matter this time”, Kennedy asked inquisitively.

Henry narrated Johnson’s part and involvement in the story to Kennedy.

“This is unbelievably horrifying”, Kennedy said after Henry finished his narration. “I knew that this girl was up to something fishy”, Kennedy confirmed. “Henry, please stay away from her for your own good and the welfare of your entire family”, Kennedy advised. “You are like my brother and I don’t like the way this is going one bit”, Kennedy said. “You know that as for Edwin, he would not ascribe to all this bullshit so it would be best if you don’t inform him about this”, Kennedy advised. “You can tell him about it when all of this blows over and you get this girl and all her troubles out of your life”, Kennedy added.

“I would take your advice”, Henry said.

“You better do because should you make any false move, you’d face the punishment and backlash alone, trust me!”, Kennedy warned.

“Thanks, Ken”, Henry said. “I need to get some sleep now”, Henry added. “Goodbye, Kennedy”…

Ben was sitting in his gigantic living room; the lights were off. He was drinking from a glass that contained some shots of whiskey. He heard some footsteps and quickly turned on the table lamp beside him.

“You startled me!”, Sandra said. “Why are you still not in bed?”, Ben asked. “I can’t sleep”, Sandra responded. “Stop lying to me”, Ben started.

“Dad, do you love me?”, Sandra asked. “What is that supposed to mean?”, Ben asked. “Are you saying this because of Johnson?”, Ben asked. “Exactly!”, Sandra exclaimed. “You accepted him back because you want to have your way”, Sandra accused her dad. “You know full well what his presence can do to me”, Sandra said. “If anyone gets to hear what I did, you know it is going to end me in jail and I know you would not want that to happen so why did you accept him back at the firm when you know how much of a threat he is to me and all of us”, Sandra complained.

“I am your father and I know what’s best for you but if you push me to the wall, I would destroy you without even thinking about it”, Ben said. “So you are doing all of this because of Henry?”, Sandra inquired.

“Yes!”, Ben exclaimed.

“What has he done to you?”, Sandra asked. “I just don’t like him and I don’t want you to have anything to do with him!”, Ben screamed. “You belong to me and only me!”, Ben added. “Is that why you influenced the pastor to say that we could not get married?”, Sandra enquired. “Ha-Ha”, Ben laughed. “Money gets a lot of things done nowadays”, Ben responded. “And is it for the same reason you accepted Johnson back just to blackmail me into doing your bidding by forcing me with threats so I can stay away from Henry?”, Sandra asked. “Yes!”, Ben exclaimed.

“What kind of man are you?”, Sandra asked. “The kind that would do anything to ensure the safety of his only daughter”, Ben responded. “I am beginning to hate you, dad!”, Sandra said and walked out of the living room in tears…

For a whole week, Henry did whatever possible to avoid an encounter with Sandra or Johnson. He gave Sandra the excuse that he was engrossed with work and could not talk much. During that week, he came an hour earlier for his lunch and ate it in his cubicle. Anytime Johnson wanted to talk, he gave him the excuse that he had gotten over Sandra and did not want to be reminded of anything that would arouse his feelings for her anymore. Sandra always tried whatever means to get to speak to Henry. “Henry, I really appreciate what you are doing”, Johnson said in one such encounter. “You don’t have to thank me”, Henry said. “You have what you want and I have to live with that”, Henry added. “I still don’t have Sandra back yet”, Johnson said. “It doesn’t really matter, now that I am out of the way, you can have her”, Henry said and asked to be excused to avoid talking too much.

“Henry, why are you acting this way?”, Sandra asked Henry when it had become obvious that he was avoiding her. “The story might have been different if you were able to muster the courage to tell me about Johnson and the fact that you were about getting married to him”, Henry revealed. “Is that why you are acting up?”, Sandra enquired. “Is that why you are refusing to answer any of my messages or return any of my calls?”, Sandra asked. “Sandra, I am trying to stay away from trouble and it is quite obvious that you and Johnson have some unfinished business which is actually no business of mine”, Henry explained.

“What did Johnson tell you about me?”, Sandra asked Henry. “I don’t know what he holds against you but I would rather you speak to him yourself”, Henry answered. “Come on Henry”, Sandra pleaded. “Please tell me what he told you about me”, Sandra reiterated. “He just said you did something that he took the fall for”, Henry, said. “Don’t mind that liar”, Sandra said. “He is a schemer just like my dad”, Sandra revealed. “I think this conversation has run its course”, Henry said and parted ways with Sandra…

That weekend, Henry was at home in his room when there was a knock on his door. It was his mother. She had come to inform him that there was someone at the gate who wanted to see him. Henry rushed outside bare-chested thinking it was Edwin or Kennedy. He got the shock of his life when he arrived in the hall and saw Sandra sitting in the sofa.

“What are you doing here?”, Henry asked in shock. “And how did you find my house?”, he enquired. “Is that how you welcome your visitors?”, Henry’s mother queried as she was getting acquainted with Sandra. “I came to see you”, Sandra said politely. “I hear she is the daughter of the owner of the firm you are working at”, Henry’s mother said.

“It is national service, mama”, Henry corrected his mother. “Why don’t I leave you two alone”, Henry’s mother said. “I hope you would stay for lunch”, Henry’s mother asked Sandra.

“Maybe”, Sandra answered.

Henry’s mother smiled and rushed to the kitchen to continue with the cooking. In a matter of minutes, she was screaming out Henry’s name. Henry rushed to the kitchen to find out what the noise was all about.

“This is an opportunity for you to be made a permanent worker at the law firm after your national service”, Henry’s mother started. “From the way I see things, the lady likes you, I am a woman and I can tell if a woman is in love”, Henry’s mother continued. “Please be nice to her and always bear in mind that one good turn deserves another”, Henry’s mother added.

“Mama, I don’t want to wade in this kind of conversation with you for now”, Henry said. “When she leaves, we would talk about it”, Henry said and left the kitchen to join Sandra in the living room.

“Let’s go to your room”, Sandra suggested. “I have never taken any girl to my room before”, Henry replied. “There is always a first time”, Sandra rebutted. Sandra managed to convince Henry and he led the way to his room with Sandra following close behind.

She made herself comfortable on his bed and took off her shoes and stretched out her legs fully on Henry’s bed. It was the first time Henry was seeing Sandra’s legs; fully bare, long, slender and spotless. He sat in the only chair in the room and stole glances at her.

“What are you doing here?”, Henry asked. “Like I said, I came to see you so we could talk things over”, Sandra said. “There is nothing to talk about”, Henry fired back. “Of course there is”, Sandra rebutted. “Henry, can’t you see that I love you so much and that I am willing to do anything to see us together?”, Sandra asked. “That kind of talk doesn’t move me anymore”, Henry said. Sandra approached Henry and knelt down in front of him. “Henry, please don’t do this to me”, Sandra pleaded. “Make love to me if that would make you see how serious I am”, Sandra pleaded.

“What?”, Henry exclaimed.

“I mean it, Henry”, Sandra reiterated. “Make love to me”.

“My mum is here”, Henry said.

“Don’t worry, I won’t scream”, Sandra assured and started touching Henry’s nipples. In a matter of seconds, Henry could not resist Sandra’s touches. He headed straight for Sandra’s breasts and grabbed them. “I feel terribly aroused”, Sandra moaned. “I am starting to feel dampness in between my thighs”, Sandra added.

“I feel so horny”. Henry huffed…

WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT? WILL HENRY BECOME ANOTHER VICTIM OF CIRCUMSTANCE? WHAT HAS SANDRA DONE? WHY IS SHE KEEPING SECRETS? YOUR GUESS IS AS GOOD AS MINE. FOLLOW THE STORY FOR MORE TWISTS AND TURNS. MY NAME IS EDWIN OKO LAMPTEY AND THIS IS A RANDOM AFRICAN THOUGHTS PRODUCTION.

FOLLOW THE EPISODES HERE:

EPISODE SEVEN:  http://randomafricanthoughts.blogspot.com/2016/09/the-scent-of-your-heartepisode-seven-7.html

EPISODE SIX:  http://randomafricanthoughts.blogspot.com/2016/07/the-scent-of-your-heartepisode-six.html

EPISODE FIVE:  http://randomafricanthoughts.blogspot.com/2016/06/the-scent-of-your-heartepisode-five.html

EPISODE FOUR:  http://randomafricanthoughts.blogspot.com/2016/06/the-scent-of-your-heartepisode-four.html

EPISODE THREE:  http://randomafricanthoughts.blogspot.com/2016/06/the-scent-of-your-heartepisode-three.html

EPISODE TWO:  http://randomafricanthoughts.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-scent-of-your-heartepisode-two.html

EPISODE ONE:  http://randomafricanthoughts.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-scent-of-your-heartepisode-one-1.html

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THE SCENT OF YOUR HEART…EPISODE SIX

Henry got out of Ben’s car even more confused than before. He walked across the face of the currently stationary car and met Sandra standing at the other side of the car. She was all smiles.

“Things are beginning to look up”, Sandra said, still beaming with smiles.

Henry looked at her and feigned a smile.

“What is that supposed to mean?”, Sandra asked after deciphering the look on Henry’s face.

“What is what supposed to mean?”, Henry asked feigning ignorance.

“The smile”, Sandra started. “It didn’t look genuine at all”, Sandra added.

“Really?”, Henry asked. “That’s how I smile all the time”, Henry said.

“That is a lie”, Sandra said. “Did my father threaten you in any way?”, Sandra asked, drawing closer to Henry.

“Honk-Honk-Honk”, Ben’s car horn sounded, signaling for the two of them to break it up as the driver revved the car’s engine.

“Get in the car!”, Ben ordered Sandra as he rolled down the car’s tinted glass window.

“Let’s talk during lunch time”, Sandra said and quietly got on board the car.

Henry stood there for a while as he watched Ben’s car slowly zoom past him and vanish into the clear.

“What is all this?”, Henry asked himself as he pondered over what had just happened. As he stood there, he remembered that he had to fetch the evidence of threat on his life from Julius’s office.

“Oh my God!”, Henry exclaimed as he made his way into the building and into Julius’s office. He zoomed past the reception without saying his normal “good morning” and chatting with  Audrey, the beautiful receptionist. Audrey looked on in disbelief as Henry walked past her desk and stood in front of the elevator door waiting for it to open so that he could go up.

“Henry!”, Audrey called out. “Is everything alright?”, she asked.

Henry turned and looked in her direction.

“Everything is fine, Audrey”, Henry answered. “I am just running late for an important discussion with my boss”, Henry answered.

“Okay”, Audrey replied. “I thought you were quarrelling with me because I know your first point of call when you come to work is my desk”, Audrey explained.

“Yeah, but I hope I can be pardoned just for today”, Henry said as the elevator door flew open. “I would come down for a chat during lunchtime”, Henry said and hurriedly entered the elevator before it got full.

Henry immediately head for Julius’s office when he got to the floor of his department.

He was so much in a hurry to get into Julius’s office and get his hand on the only piece of evidence that he could use as proof of the threat on his life.

Henry was shaking like a leaf as he walked towards Julius’s door. There were a handful of people on the floor so he timed his entry to synchronize with the blind spot of all who were present. He lurked around the entrance to Julius’s office till the conditions were right for him.

Once he saw that the coast was clear, he barged into the office with alacrity so as not to be spotted by anyone and banged the door behind him.

“What is the meaning of this nonsense?”, Julius yelled as he quickly retracted his hand from the front zip compartment of the trouser of one of the male workers at the firm.

Henry froze at the sight.

“What are you doing here?”, Julius barked.

“I…I…I…I…”, Henry stammered as he was taken by surprise both by Julius’s miraculous presence and current posture. The young and handsome worker jumped out of his seat and struggled to remain calm as if nothing was happening but his efforts were a little too late. “I…I…I didn’t know you were in here”, Henry said.

“That is beside the point”, Julius barked angrily. “Is this your office?”, Julius asked rhetorically. “This is not your office therefore you cannot come barging in here without permission”, Julius continued as he fumed. He was almost going into a fit of rage.

Henry pressed himself against the door not knowing whether to go out of the office or stay and take the bashing. He was literally rooted to the spot where he stood and searched the desk for the piece of paper. The other worker looked on timidly as Julius threw verbal punches at Henry.

“I didn’t know you were in here”, Henry spoke. “I came in to check if the place was clean enough”, Henry said.

“Nonsense!”, Julius fired back. “Is that your job?”, Julius asked.

Henry stood there in silence.

“Answer me!”, Julius screamed.

“No, please sir”, Henry answered. “But…”, Henry wanted to explain further when Julius shut him up.

“I don’t want to hear another word from you”, Julius said and turned to speak to the young man. “Fred, I am sorry for the inconvenience but I guess we have to finish this meeting a bit later in the day”, Julius said, signalling for the young man to take his leave.

As the young man made the effort to leave, he stared at Henry and whispered “Not a word to anyone or else you are dead”, before shoving Henry away from the entrance and walking out of the office, shutting the door behind him.

Immediately the young man left, Julius composed himself.

“Lock the door and take a seat”, Julius said calmly and pointed to the seat in front of him.

Henry could not believe what he just heard. He could not believe that Julius could switch from throwing tantrums to becoming so gentle within seconds. He walked slowly to the designated seat after he had locked the door and sat down, crossing his right leg firmly over his left leg for security reasons.

Julius took his seat and placed both hands on the desk to make them visible to Henry.

“I know why you came running in here”, Julius started. “I thought you would be smart enough to keep the piece of paper as evidence so I also came in very early today to cover my tracks”, I was surprised to find the note still here”, Julius continued. He pulled out his drawer, took out a piece of paper and immediately put it into the little paper shredder that was fixed on his desk. “Your evidence is gone”, Julius said, with a smile on his face.

“I can tell from the look on your face that you met Ben”, Julius started. “And I don’t need a soothsayer to tell me that your encounter with him was not pleasant”, Julius added.

Henry sat across Julius with his head bowed down and looking very timid but alert to any suspicious move.

“I can protect you, Henry”, Julius said wooingly. “I can make all of your fears and frustrations disappear and I can speak to Ben on your behalf to grant you genuine blessings to be with his daughter, Sandra”, Julius counted. “All you need to do is to allow me have you and I promise you, all your troubles would vanish”, Julius said. “I am your friend and as it stands  now, you need me more than I do you, so giving in to my request would be the most humane thing to do”, Julius courted. “It is actually your only option if you asked me”, Julius continued. “What do you say?”, Julius asked

“Sir”, Henry started. “I never thought that it would come to this”, he said. “I am really desperate right now and I really need a solution to all of this mess but even in my desperation, I still cannot come to terms with what you are asking of me”, Henry explained. “If I give in to your demands, it would mean I’d have to be with you and be with Sandra at the same time…”. “Exactly my point!”, Julius exclaimed. “I am not prepared for that kind of commitment”, Henry said, shivering like a leaf.

“I am sorry sir, but I can’t see myself playing such a role”, Henry said.

“Then I don’t think you are also prepared to have your peace of mind because I know Ben and I know he can make your life a living hell if you want him to”, Julius stated.

Henry’s heart sank.

“Sir, please understand me”, Henry pleaded.

“This is what I am going to do”,  Julius started. “Like I did the last time we had such an encounter, I am going to allow you to have a couple of days to think this over”, Julius suggested. “I am the only friend you have left and I can promise you one thing, if you give in to my demands, I would be really gentle with you”, Julius added. “Have a nice day, young man”, Julius said and asked Henry to leave the office. Henry had a disgusted and disappointed look on his face as he walked out of the office

At lunchtime, Henry met up with Audrey. Immediately he was done, he walked back to the office. As he stood in front of the elevator, waiting for it to open, Sandra came running towards him.

“Guess what?”, Sandra started, looking very giddy.

“I am not in the guessing mood right, Sandra”, Henry replied looking and sounding very indifferent. “I spoke to my dad and he wants the three of us to have dinner together this weekend”,

“You did what?”, Henry asked out of shock.

“Relax, young man”, Sandra said jokingly. “He won’t bite”, Sandra teased. “He just wants to get to know you”, Sandra exclaimed. “What do you say?”, Sandra asked.

“It sounds too sudden and I think we should take things slow”, Henry said, thinking about the threats he had to recon with.

“It’s fine”, Sandra reassured. “We are going to have a thrill time together, trust me”, Sandra said as the doors of the elevator parted. “Call me”, Henry signalled and walked into the elevator leaving Sandra standing alone in front of it.

After a lot of persuasion, Sandra finally got to convince Henry to come over for dinner at her house that weekend. Henry dressed up smartly and arrived at Sandra’s house at exactly 6:05 PM.

“You are looking dashing!”, Sandra remarked as she ushered Henry into her house.

“Honestly, my nerves are killing me right now”, Henry confessed.

“Ha-ha”, Sandra laughed. “Is that why you are coming in here all dressed up as if you are going for an interview for the world’s most important job?”, Sandra teased.

“You can have your laugh”, Henry said. “After all, I am in your lion’s den”, he added.

“Henry, like I told you over the phone, I have spoken to my dad at length and I know this is very genuine, trust me”, Sandra reaffirmed.

“If you say so”, Henry said and they both walked into the main house.

Dinner was brief. They all ate their food in silence. Henry ate his food in silence and with fear. After dinner the three of them moved into the living room to chat.

Ben kept a close eye on Henry’s moves and made sure he kept eye contact with him to make him aware that he was not in any way doing Henry any favours. Henry sat across Ben in a couch and Sandra sat close to her father but not on the same couch.

“Are you a christian, Henry?”, Ben asked.

“This is the weirdest question ever for such an occasion”, Henry thought to himself.

“Yes, please Sir, I am”, Henry started. “My parents are devout Christians and they made sure to bring us up in a god-fearing manner, sir”, Henry answered as if his life depended on it.

“Call me Ben”, Sandra’s father requested.

“Okay sir…sorry…Ben”, Henry fumbled.

“This might sound a little bit forward and a bit rush but I want you to accompany us to church tomorrow”, Ben suggested.

“Wow, this sounds very rush indeed”, Henry said. “I have a program at church tomorrow and…”, Henry said and looked at Sandra.

Sandra returned Henry’s stare with a stern look and mimed the words, “Don’t mess this opportunity up”

“But on second thoughts, I think I’ll pass on the program and go with you to church, sir…sorry…Ben”, Henry said and looked at Sandra again who was now beaming with smiles from temple to temple.

“Great!”, Ben exclaimed. “Then I guess you should take your leave now so you go home to prepare for tomorrow”, Ben suggested.

Sandra saw Henry off and as they walked down the long, decorated aisle leading to the main gate, he engaged her in one last conversation as Ben stood on the corridor watching their every move. “What is the name of your church?”, Ben asked. “I don’t know why my father made us stop attending our church to attend this new church”, Sandra said to evade the question. “It is one of these newly created one-man, prophetic, charismatic churches with those funny string of names”, Sandra continued. “Ha-ha”, Henry laughed. “It can’t be that bad”, Henry said. “What is the name of the church, Sandra?”, Henry insisted. “Promise me that you won’t laugh if I tell you the name”, Sandra pleaded. “Come on Sandra, you should know me by now, moreover, I have no right to question your religious preference”, Henry affirmed.

“Okay”, Sandra said.

“Living Streams Of Flaming Grace International Church”, Sandra revealed.

“I beg your pardon?”, Henry asked as he burst out in uncontrollable laughter.

“Living Streams Of Flaming Grace International Church”, Sandra repeated.

Henry could not control his laughter and struggled to hold his breath to cease the laughter. “That is a mouthful!”, Henry exclaimed. “You promised not to laugh”, Sandra complained.

“I just couldn’t help it”, Henry pleaded.

“Just so you know, my father is the financial secretary and head of protocol at the church and he is held in high regard”, Sandra revealed.

“Why am I not surprised?”, Henry started. “Your holy prophet is going to milk him dry with financing of church projects”, Henry teased. “Get out of my house and don’t be late tomorrow”, Sandra teased and playfully shoved Henry out of the house.

The next day, Henry reported early at Sandra’s house even though he knew they were to attend the second service which was not bound to start until 10:00AM. At half past 9AM, they all left for the church.

Living Streams Of Flaming Grace International Church was a small church with a seating capacity of not more than 200 people. The church was expensively decorated as imagined by Henry and had many pretty young girls. More than half of the congregation was made up of women of all ages. The atmosphere was charged with songs and different dance styles as Henry watched on. There was a brief sermon and then announcements were made. After the pretty announcer finished her piece, the man who gave the sermon took over the microphone and started speaking, “Today’s service is a special anointing service and I would like to invite our financial secretary and his family to the altar for special blessings”.

Ben and Sandra started their way towards the altar but Sandra signalled Henry to follow them up the altar. Immediately all three of them were standing in front of the congregation, the prophet went into a trance.

“The spirit is speaking to me”, the prophet started. He walked towards Henry and spoke. “Young man, you are in love with this young lady, am I right?”, the prophet said, pointing to Sandra.

Henry nodded. Ben’s eyes were firmly shut.

The whole church went into an uproar after Henry’s confirmation.

The prophet continued. “The spirit is telling me something”, the man of God said. “The spirit says that you two will get married but not for long because you are going to divorce this young sister over here and marry another lady”, the prophet revealed. “But we as a church will stand in the gap to break and loose the hold of divorce in your lives in the name of Jesus!”, the prophet screamed and began to pray and the entire church followed his lead. After about five minutes of loud prayers, the prophet signalled for the congregation to be quiet, said a separate prayer for each of them and sent the three of them back to their seats. As they sat, Ben leaned in and whispered to both Henry and Sandra, “The voice of the prophet is the voice of God and God cannot lie, so I would leave you two to ponder over what you want to start”. “God reveals to redeem, Dad”, Sandra whispered back to her father. “We would find a way around this”, she added.  Sandra looked at Ben but Ben shook his head in disbelief and disappointment. “I think we should heed the caution from your prophet because I once received a similar warning from another prophet when I was younger”, Henry said.

Sandra’s eyes began to fill up with tears.

After the service, Sandra rushed back to the car leaving Ben and Henry behind. She did not say a word on the drive back to the house. Henry requested to be dropped off at a bus terminal to continue his journey home. Ben gladly granted his request.

“Baby”, Ben started as he drove both of them home. “I know you are disappointed but it is better to be safe than to be sorry”, Ben added.

“Why do I have the feeling that this is just one of your manipulative strategies to rid me of my own happiness?”, Sandra said.

“Are you calling the prophet a liar?”, Ben asked.

“I know what you are capable of doing and I know that you can buy the conscience of any man”, Sandra said

“Including the conscience of a man of God?”, Ben asked.

“Let’s just drop this topic for now”, Ben suggested.

“Before we do, just know that I love Henry and we will fight this together”, Sandra said.

“Ha-ha”, Ben laughed.

“Didn’t you see the look on that young man’s face as the prophet spoke?”

“I don’t want to be a part of these schemes anymore!”, Sandra exclaimed and disembarked the car to open the gate to their mansion.

For the rest of that day, Sandra  failed in all her attempts to speak to Henry because he refused to answer any of her calls or reply any of her messages.

The next day, Sandra pressured her father into waking up early so they could go to the firm. Ben obeyed Sandra’s command and by 7:00 AM, they were already leaving the house. As the driver of the car  moved into the car park, Sandra saw a man standing at the entrance of the  building

“What is he doing here?”, she turned and asked her father.

Ben had already realized Sandra wanted to say something.

“He called the office last week and requested that we give him a space to do a project and I agreed”, Ben answered.

“You hate him with passion so why did you agree to help him now?”, Sandra asked.

“Let’s just say I changed my mind about him and I am prepared to give him another chance”, Ben said.

“Well that is your choice but I hope our paths don’t cross”, Sandra said and opened the door to alight. “Just be nice”, Ben pleaded.

Sandra alighted and made her way into the office.

She walked past the man without saying a word.

“That was to be expected”, the  man said and followed Sandra into the building.

Henry was having his usual chat with Audrey when Sandra walked in with the man following closely behind.

Sandra stopped at the receptionist’s desk and smiled at Henry. “Henry, we need to talk”, Sandra said. Henry said his final words to Audrey and walked with Sandra towards the elevator with the man still following closely. As they waited for the elevator doors to open, the young man caught up with them. “I am trying to be nice so at least you should hear me out”, the young man said.

Henry was startled.

“Can you just stop following me?”, Sandra pleaded as she spoke to the man. “I can’t really do this right now”, Sandra added.

“But just so we are clear, I would like you to meet this young man”, Sandra said as she pointed to Henry. “Johnson, meet Henry, my boyfriend”, Sandra said before she continued, “Henry, this is Johnson, my ex-fiance…

YOU DON’T NEED TO BE TOLD! THIS IS SURELY A RECIPE FOR DISASTER. MY NAME IS EDWIN OKO LAMPTEY AND I AM BACK!

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THE SCENT OF YOUR HEART…EPISODE FIVE.

Henry’s was startled and confused on seeing the man. The man stood in the doorway to  signal to Henry that he knew exactly what he was doing and sent the indication that he was not lost but was standing there for a reason.

“What do you want?”, a scared Henry asked as he walked backwards and found himself on the other side of Julius’s desk. “You are the one I directed to the conference room yesterday, aren’t you?”.

The man was silent as Henry asked him questions but only looked intently at Henry.

“What do you want?”, Henry screamed to signal to anyone who was in the building that he might be in trouble and needed assistance.

“You remember me from yesterday, don’t you?”, the man finally spoke.

Henry nodded. “The conference room guy”, Henry said.

“What are you doing here?”, Henry asked.

“Yesterday’s meeting was not our first encounter”, the man revealed. “I have been watching and following you these past two days”, the man revealed. “I followed you back home two days ago”, the man said. “I know where you live, I know your family members and I know you would not want any harm to befall them”, the man continued. “I stayed here all day because of you so you should know how serious what you are doing is affecting the one who hired me”, the man said.

“Someone hired you to follow me?”, Henry enquired.

“Don’t be stupid, Henry”, the man started. “I believe you know better than this”, the man added. “Let me explain things to you briefly”, the man said as he walked up to the desk Henry stood behind and took a seat.

“I want you to stop seeing Sandra for your own good”, the man started. “I was hired to scare you off but I guess our encounter yesterday was enough”, the man recalled.

Henry nodded timidly.

“Now tell me, how far did you think this could go?”, the man asked Henry as he placed his hands on the table revealing some scars on the back of his hand.

“How far? “, the man asked. “Just so you know, I am willing to do anything to see to it that my client is happy and I wouldn’t mind breaking a few bones to ensure that I achieve my goal”, the man added.

“There is nothing going on between Sandra and I”, Henry rebutted as he stood his ground.

“I beg to differ but that is not what my client thinks”, the man said.

“Henry, this thing is bigger and messed up than you think”, the man tried to explain. “You are like a very tiny dot in this chain and it would take very little effort to erase you and believe me, the world won’t lose sleep over your disappearance”, the man added. “You are not the first person I have been asked to come after”, the man revealed.

“Henry, I chose to be gentle with you because I realized you were scared senseless yesterday as you are today”, the man said with a smirk on his face. “I’d expect that you listened to me and do exactly as I have instructed”, he added. “Just steer clear off Sandra and we all go home happy”, the man said. “You get to keep your job and if you are dedicated to not having this encounter with me in the foreseeable future, you would do what we have agreed on right now”, the man said and got up to leave. As he got to the doorway, he turned, looked intently at Henry one more time and said. “I am not this gentle and pleasant often so should there be another encounter, you would see my unpleasant tendencies”, the man said sternly. “It’s a free world Henry, so the choice is yours”, the man added and left  the office.

Henry stood at Julius’s side of the desk with his legs quivering with fear and tension as the man finally left the room.

“I am now fully convinced that Sandra was the girl in the pastor’s vision”, Henry said as he tiptoed to the door to check if the man had truly left. He slowly pushed his head out of the doorway and looked in all directions for signs of the man. When he could not sight him anywhere, he quickly withdrew into Julius’s office, shut the door and turned the key twice.

He leaned with his back against the door.

“All of this was real after all”, Henry said to himself.  “What am I going to do now?”. “Do I have to inform my dad that my life and possibly that of my family’s could be in danger should I fail in staying away from Sandra?”, Henry thought out loud. “Should I opt out of this national service and apply next year at another institution?”, Henry said to himself. “Should I involve the police into this matter?”, Henry  soliloquized.

“I think I should seek counsel from Edwin and Kennedy”, Henry said and reached for his phone from his left breast pocket. He dialed Kennedy’s number first and waited for it to ring. As the phone rang for the first time, the was a sudden forceful crank of the door knob leading into Julius’s office. The sound frightened Henry so much that out of reflex, he dropped his phone unto the tiled floor, cracking the screen and causing it to go off due to the impact.

Henry started to back away from the door and the feeling he felt in the presence of his “assassin”, began to come back to him. There was a number of forceful cranks on the knob. When the cranking stopped, the person behind the door started banging on the door.

At this point, Henry knew his assassin had definitely returned to harm him this time. He quickly took cover behind Julius’s desk and frantically looked around the room for something to arm himself with.

Typically of the room he found himself in were stacks of books placed neatly in their shelves. In one swirl movement, he looked on Julius’s desk as the banging on the door continued and armed himself with a stapler and a small statue of  Atlas holding the globe.

He placed his weapons behind him and asked, “Who is there?”. There was no answer but the knocking continued, this time louder.

“Who is that?”, Henry reiterated as he tightened his grip on the stapler in his right hand.

The banging stopped.

There was a brief moment of silence and suddenly, there was a very gentle knock on the door.

Henry began to sweat.

“Please, who is it?”, Henry asked one more time.

“It is me Sir, the janitor”, the voice from the other side revealed. “I want to come and clean the place sir, the voice added.

As Henry recognized the voice, he heaved a sigh of relief as his confidence returned to him and he mustered courage to answer the door. Before he got to the door, he dropped his “weapons” from where he picked them, picked up his cell phone from where it had fallen and unlocked the door for the janitor to come in and go about his business.

“I thought Mr. Julius was here”, the janitor said as Henry unlocked the door.

“No he is not”, Henry said. “He asked me to do something for him early this morning and since I didn’t want to get distracted, I locked myself in here”, Henry explained. “But on your way here, did you chance upon any strange looking man?”, Henry enquired. “No please”, the janitor answered. “I see many strange faces here every day but I don’t pay attention to them because but that is not what I was hired to do”, the cleaner said sarcastically. “My job is throw the rubbish away”, he added.

“Alright”, Henry answered.

As Henry exited the office, he remembered the wording in Julius’s warning in the file and it sent shivers down his spine…

That day too, Julius, Sandra and Ben didn’t show up at the office. When the day was over, Henry left the office for the house but this time, he gave every little occurrence on the way back to his house grave attention. He flawlessly made the effort to ensure that he was not being followed by anyone. When he got home, he went straight to his room and locked himself inside…

Sandra was under a mild form of house arrest by her father. He had taken her cell phone from her so that her contact with Henry could be minimized. She lay on the bed with tears in her eyes and memories of Henry in her mind. Every thought of him made her heart miss several beats and sent sweet tingling feelings through her entire body. The feeling gave her a sense of reassurance that she was meant to be with Henry.

She was now convinced that she was madly in love with Henry.

As she lay in her bed, there was a gentle sound and the door to her room slowly flew open. Ben, appeared standing in the door way with the light from the lobby assisting in casting his shadow unto Sandra’s bed.

Ben had dark brown hair, which was thick and lustrous. His eyes were mesmerizing. His face was strong and defined, his features molded from granite. He did not look as old as he really was. He had dark eye brows, which sloped downwards in a serious expression. He usually put on a playful smile which sometimes drew a hard line across his face. He possessed strong hands which had become slightly rough from working hard jobs as a young man.

He walked into the room and shut the door. His voice was deep, with a serious tone.

“Sandra, are you still crying?”, Ben asked as he walked up to her and took a seat at the edge of the bed.

“No, I am not crying”, Sandra said in the most sorrowful tone of voice imaginable. “So why are you sounding that way?”, Ben asked.

“It’s nothing, I am fine”, Sandra responded.

“Sandra, ever since you were born, I have made it a point to protect you in the best way that I know how”, Ben started.

“Your way has been wrong all this while!”, Sandra rebutted as she sat up on her bed revealing her red, sunken eyes.

“What we are doing is wrong, daddy”, Sandra said as she wiped away tears from her eyes. “I want us to stop it”, “I want to have a normal life”, Sandra started. “I want to be free to choose my friends and not have you interfere with it”. Sandra revealed. “I want to talk to someone”, Sandra said as she started crying. “I want to be free”, Sandra added.

“Sandra”, Ben started. “The world is full of liars, cheats, gold diggers and opportunists”, Ben said. “They are just waiting in the shadows to pounce on you once they realize how vulnerable you are”, Ben revealed. “This young man you are getting yourself attached to falls within the category of people I am talking about”, Ben said. “Because he knows whose daughter you are, he wants to take advantage of you, can’t you see?”, Ben said. “I don’t want you making the mistake of entrusting your future to such a person”, Ben continued.

“How can I tell who is good for me or who is not if you don’t allow me to go out there and experience things for myself?”, Sandra questioned. “Allow me to make my own mistakes and then I would concede defeat that you have always been right”, Sandra pleaded. “Just this once dad, allow me to do this on my own without your interference”, Sandra begged as the tears flowed freely from her eyes. “Are you asking me to wait till you get hurt before I protect you?”, Ben enquired.

“Daddy, people get hurt, cheated on, lied to and betrayed once a while and they eventually get over it”, Sandra explained. “Should I get hurt along the line, I would cry but trust me, I would get over it no matter what”, Sandra preached.

“In all the years we have been together, I have never seen you this adamant and strong-willed”, Ben disclosed. “What has come over you?”, Ben queried.

“Nothing”, Sandra answered.

“But let’s just say something I have never felt before has been awakened inside of me”, Sandra said with pride written all over her face.

Ben was adamant when he spoke.

“There is no telling that no matter how many times I try to convince you, your mind has obviously been made up and my words are going to mean virtually nothing to you”, Ben opined. ”

“I have never been so sure in my life”, Sandra said. “Daddy, please give me this chance to prove to you that I can do this and that I am strong enough to face the world on my own”, Sandra added. “I just want to fall in love like every other normal young lady”, Sandra stressed. “Even if I don’t peace while I am at it, I would know that I was advised against it and I refused to listen”, Sandra revealed.

Ben looked at  Sandra with awe. “That’s a first”, Ben said. “I have never seen my little girl so happy like this in a long while”, he added. “I am convinced that you know what you are getting yourself involved in and I am prepared to let you have just one shot at this”, Ben explained. “But let me throw this caution to the wind, should I get word of any foul play, that young man would be as good as dead”, Ben added.

“None of that is going to happen”, Sandra said confidently.

Her father went further up the bed and hugged her. “I know what is best for you and I would expect that you listen to me”, Ben said.

“I can do this”, Sandra assured him.

“You know I would always be here for you when things go bad right?”, Ben said as he began to caress her.

Sandra’s first instinct was to break his hold but she didn’t want to do anything that would jeopardize her being together with Henry. So without putting up a fight or showing any signs of disgust, Sandra quietly  sat on the bed as Ben caressed and fondled her breasts. He soon took off her clothes, placed her on the bed and gently parted her skinny thighs. As soon as he was on top of her, she closed her eyes and all she could imagine was how making love with Henry was going to feel like. Tears run down her cheeks as she lay there, motionless. She clinched the bed sheet firmly and whispered, “I love you Henry, I really do”…

The next day, Henry was almost running late for work. He spent the whole night on the phone with Kennedy and Edwin updating them on the happenings at work that day involving the alleged assassin. Edwin advised that Henry stay away from Sandra for good per the man’s instructions. Kennedy even wanted to have the matter reported first to Henry’s parents and then the police to ensure their safety but Edwin and Henry vehemently disagreed. “I would have none of that!”, Henry remarked. “I don’t want to get my parents involved in this thing”, Henry added. “Moreover, the people we are fighting are far more powerful and wealthy so the police would deem it a foolish case at best”, Henry explained. “Even if I really wanted to get the police involved, what sort of evidence do I have to back my claims with?”, Henry asked.

“You can use the note from Julius’s office”, Edwin suggested. “I don’t have it”, Henry said. “Where is it?”, Kennedy asked. “I left it in the file on Julius’s desk”, Henry answered. “Are you kidding me?”, Edwin asked. “You have to get that file before Julius or anyone gets it and ends up destroying it eventually.

“Okay”, Henry started. “My boss didn’t turn up at the office yesterday so I would wake up very early and go and pick it up before anyone else does”, Henry said.

It was that same morning that Henry was running late for work.

When he entered the premises of Kaprisky, it was almost half past seven in the morning. As he hurriedly made his way to the main entrance to the building, he had a shock of his life as Ben’s car pulled up right beside him.

Henry kept walking.

The driver was ordered to follow him. When the car got close to him, the left back door of the car flew open, “Henry, get in!”, Ben ordered. Henry declined the offer and slowly backed away out of fear.

“Get in!”, Ben ordered, this time very sternly.

“I can’t sir”, Henry said.

“Henry please get into the car for Christ’s sake”, a female voice spoke from the passenger seat in the front. Sandra pushed her head through the seats and signaled for Henry to get into the car. On seeing Sandra, Henry was at ease and slowly entered the car, although all of his confidence had deserted him in the process.

Immediately Henry entered the vehicle, he was orders to shut the door. “My daughter has spoken to me at length about you”, Ben started. “Even though I have my own reservations, I am going to allow the two of you to be just friends and nothing more”, Ben explained. “She seems to have a lot of faith and confidence in your friendship and I hope that you have the endurance to keep it that way”, Ben continued. “Therefore, I give you permission to be her friend but be warned, should she come complaining about your attitude, be sure to brace yourself because you will witness hell on earth”, Ben promised.

“Stop it Daddy”, Sandra screamed.

Henry sat in the back seat of the range rover like a newly-confirmed mute.

He did not say a word.

“Can you excuse us while I have a word with Henry?”, Ben asked politely looking at Sandra.

Sandra knew that she would not like what her dad would say to Henry but she had to obey him. “Every worthy venture comes with great risks”, Sandra said to herself and disembarked the sports car.

“Sir please I don’t understand all of this”, Henry started as Sandra shut the door. “If you care to know, I was threatened yesterday by some guy who was asking me to stay away from your daughter”, Henry remarked. “Today, you are telling me to do the very thing I was threatened not to do”, Henry added. “I just don’t get what is happening”.

“I am glad you received that message yesterday and I hope you would know what is best for you to do what is expected of you”, Ben said.

“So why are you asking me to go against your warning just to put my life and that of others in danger?”, Henry queried.

“My daughter seems to believe that she is in love with you and so are you”, Ben said. “She doesn’t want to listen to me, her father, who knows what’s best for her so I am letting her hear what she wants theoretically but in practice, I would never allow it to happen”, Ben added.

“Now I am confused”, Henry said. “What exactly do you want me to do?”, Henry asked.

“I want you to make her believe that all is well between you two”, Ben said. “Again, I would expect that you say nothing of what ensued yesterday with our mutual friend or details of this conversation to Sandra”, Ben warned. “I hope you can do that without any difficulty”, Ben said.

“Yes sir, Henry replied.

“You are a smart young man and I know you would figure out what’s best for all of us and not cross the line”, Ben said. “I think we are done here so get the hell out of my car”, Ben ordered…MORE SOON

CAN HENRY KEEP UP APPEARANCE? NOW THAT SANDRAIS MADLY IN LOVE WITH HIM, WOULD HE SUCCEED IN GETTING HER TO STAY AWAY FROM HIM? THE WEB OF SCHEMES IS JUST ABOUT TO BEGIN…STAY TUNED. THIS IS A MASTERPIECE FROM THE STABLES OF RANDOM AFRICAN THOUGHTS. MY NAME IS EDWIN OKO LAMPTEY.

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THE SCENT OF YOUR HEART…EPISODE THREE.

“I beg your pardon but what did you just say sir?”, Henry asked out of shock, surprise, wonder and horror all mixed in one.

“I am asking you to sleep with me like a woman sleeps with a man”, Julius reiterated. “I mean I want to make love to you”, he rephrased.

Henry’s heart missed several beats.

“Sir please I can’t do that”. “It is out of place and equally out of this world for you to think up something of this magnitude”, Henry said as he backed away but was stuck between the wall and Julius. “I am sorry if you picked up the wrong signals but I don’t do men”, Henry blurted. “I have never considered sleeping with a man before and as a matter of fact, I never consider doing that, never, not even for all the money in the world!”, Henry exclaimed.

Julius just kept staring at Henry seductively as he went on in his ranting spree. “More so, I thought you said I was like a son to you so why would you even think about sleeping with your son?”, Henry quizzed.

Julius laughed out so loud after Henry’s submission that it made Henry look and feel so stupid.

“Sir please this is not a joke”, Henry said as he started to get uncomfortable in Julius’s presence.

“I know”, Julius responded. “That is why I said you were like a son to me not as if I was insinuating that you were my real son”, Julius explained with laughter.

There was a long silence as both Henry and Julius stared intently at each other. “Or is this some form of sexuality test?”, Henry asked as he began to feel that Julius was just playing a prank on his sexuality to ascertain whether he had more than one sexual preference.

Julius laughed out even louder.

“Tests are conducted in classrooms and not in bedrooms”, Julius said with a smirk on his face. “This is the real deal, Henry”, Julius confirmed. “I can see that my actions have taken you by surprise but it is not as if it was not to be expected”, Julius started. “I saw this from miles away so your reaction is nothing new to me”, Julius continued. “You know another thing that is not new to me?”, Julius asked rhetorically. “Just like all the other young men before you, you would come begging and crumbling at my feet to crawl into my bed”, Julius said.

“The comment sent shock waves down Henry’s spine.

“I am not the first?”…”He put others through such an ordeal?”… “Why did they choose to give in to him?”… “What would he do to me if I told him that I would never be interested?”, all these questions flooded Henry’s mind as he took in the shock from Julius’s last statement.

“Sir, please I want to go home”, Henry pleaded. “I promise not to tell anyone about what just happened here”, Henry said. “After all, I have signed a nondisclosure agreement so whatever I say can make me liable for punishment”, Henry added.

“You are very smart”, Julius started. “In fact, you are too smart for my liking and I’d give you credit for that”, Julius continued. “The others didn’t resist this much so let’s see how long you can keep up with your hard-to-get antics”, Julius added. Julius backed away and gave Henry some space to pass. Henry quickly seized the opportunity to move clear off Julius. “You don’t need to be scared”, Julius reiterated. “I would see you in the office on Monday”, Julius said as Henry started his way towards the main gate.

“One more thing”, Julius started. “I’d be having someone come over next week  and I can make you watch to see how we do it, that is if you don’t mind”, Julius suggested.

“I do mind and I still can’t believe all of this is real”, Henry said as he turned to listen to his boss. “Sir, I would very much appreciate it if you stopped giving me gifts”, Henry said. “I feel patronized already”, Henry said out of disgust. “The gifts are in no way linked to all of this”, Julius inveigled as he walked over to where Henry was standing. “It is still the same thing to me”, Henry countered. “I would like to take my leave now”, Henry finally said as he picked flirtatious signals emanating from Julius body posture as he approached the place where he stood. Henry quickly rushed to the entrance leading out of the house.

When he got to the gate, the gatekeeper looked at him suspiciously as he made his way out of the house. Henry also returned the favour by giving him a very stern look as he opened the gate for him to let him out of the house.

Immediately Henry stepped out of the house, he pulled out his phone and called his two friends, Edwin and Kennedy and asked them to meet up with him at his house.

Henry got home after an hour and waited for his friends to arrive. When they did, he asked that they spoke outside the house.

“I am in deep trouble”, Henry started.

“What is the matter?”, Edwin asked.

“This national service posting will eventually do me more harm than good judging by the bizarre turn of events”, Henry said.

“Henry, just cut the chase and get to the crux of the matter”, Kennedy said impatiently and out of worry.

“I wasn’t supposed to tell anyone this but you two have stuck with me in times that no one else did and you guys are more like brothers to me so I suppose telling you this won’t hurt anyone”, Henry started.

“What are you talking about?”, Edwin asked.

“What have you done wrong?”, Kennedy chipped in.

“As it stands now, the only thing I have done wrong is accepting to work as a national service personnel at Kaprisky Law firm”, Henry started. “From what I hear, Kaprisky’s integrity as the whole world knows it is just one big fat lie, a scam, to say the least”, Henry recounted.

“What is that supposed to mean?”, Edwin cut in. “You’ve been at the firm for barely a year and you know all this?”, Edwin quizzed.

“My informant is no other than the daughter of the owner of the firm”, Henry revealed. “According to her, the supposed flawless reputation of Kaprisky is  built on a foundation of lies, trickery, underhand dealings, coercion and corruption”, Henry revealed.

“Wait a minute”, Kennedy cut in. “Are you telling us that you believe her?”, Kennedy asked.

“I don’t think she can lie to me”, Henry said.

“Really?”, both Kennedy and Edwin exclaimed.

“Henry, ask yourself this question”, Edwin sat and spoke. “Who would say such damning things about her father’s line of work to someone she barely knows and expect that person not to have his or her own reservations about what is being said?”, Edwin asked. “And come to think of it, did you bother to ask her why she chose you besides all her rich and powerful friends to reveal this to?”, Edwin questioned.

Henry looked startled as the questions kept hitting him.

“I really don’t know why she told me but I am yet to find out if there is an ulterior motive behind all of this”, Henry said. “That is even the least of my worries, Kaprisky can be the mafia for all I care”, Henry continued. “There are more serious and pressing issues that I need to deal with now”, Henry said.

“My boss is gay and wants to sleep with me”, Henry revealed

“What?”, both Edwin and Kennedy exclaimed.

“You heard me right”, Henry said. “I am just coming back from his house and he came unto me without warning”, Henry said. “He said he was in love with me and wanted to sleep with me”, Henry added

“Prior to today, he always gave me gifts and spare change when I ran errands for him and I thought he was doing it out of goodwill but I realized that these gestures were all part of his schemes to get me to go to bed with him”, Henry exclaimed

Both Edwin and Kennedy looked shell-shocked as Henry narrated his ordeal to them. “He even said that he had slept with countless young men before me and he knows that with time, I would eventually give in to his demands”, Henry added.

“This is crazy”, Kennedy said. “But are you sure you are not making all of this up?”, Kennedy asked.

“You know me to be a lot of things except being paranoid and exaggerating stuff like this”, Henry said in his defense.

“I have never seen myself this scared and confused all at once before”, Henry said.

“So what are you going to do about this?”, Edwin asked. “Because obviously, you can’t continue to be in the same office with a man who has such bizarre sexual intentions”, Kennedy said. “I think you should quit”, Edwin suggested.

“No!”, Henry exclaimed. “I can’t quit”, he added. “What am I going to tell my father if I quit?”, Henry asked rhetorically. “He would definitely want to know why and I can’t see myself telling him the truth”, Henry said. “So what are we going to do now?”, Kennedy asked.

“I promised him I was not going to tell anyone about this and I have also signed a nondisclosure agreement with Kaprisky Law Firm so anything I say that is out of place can be used against me”, Henry said. “The last thing I need is to be engaged in a legal battle with Kaprisky as the opponent”, Henry conceded. “So I intend to stay on at Kaprisky and see out my national service with them and leave the place immediately”, Henry said. “From Monday, I would do my best possible to steer clear off my boss and avoid his advances to the best of my skills and ability”, Henry said.

“How long do you think you can keep up with this plan?”, Edwin asked.

“For as long as I can and I am determined to see it out”, henry said getting back some assurance in himself.

“These people are very powerful and would go to any length to see to it that they get whatever they want so you better tread cautiously”, Kennedy advised.

“I won’t lie to you guys for anything but the mere thought of all of this sends shivers down my spine”, Henry confessed. “I just hope that things go according to plan so I can finish this service quickly and get the hell out of that place”, a determined Henry said.

“All of this wouldn’t have happened if you were humble enough to have accepted your earlier posting but you vehemently turned down the offer and now look at the mess this God-given posting is doing to you”, Kennedy said sarcastically and they all broke out onto laughter sending some of the tension out of the conversation…

On Monday morning, Henry’s heart sank when he heard the sound of his cell phone’s alarm. He contemplated calling in sick or going to work. On second thoughts, he decided to reluctantly get out of bed and get ready for work. After forty five minutes, he was having some breakfast and getting ready to leave the house.

He arrived early at work and set up his boss’s office. The photocopying machine in front of their office had ran out of paper so he decided to go down to the storage room to get a refill. He decided to use the stairs instead of the elevator so that he did not have to go through the ordeal of meeting his boss on his way up to the office.

It was a long flight of stairs but Henry cared less. After descending five floors, Henry found himself on the final flight of stairs leading to the ground floor of the building. He looked down the staircase from where he stood and saw Julius ascending the same stairs that he was on.

Henry had just walked into the very thing that he dreaded and had taken pains to avoid. His first instinct was to go back up the stairs because Julius was yet to see him. Henry looked up and could not see himself undoing what he had just done by choosing to take the stairs instead.

He decided to face off with his boss.

“Why did he choose to take the stairs today of all the days?”, Henry soliloquized. “Is he also trying to avoid me?”, Henry asked as his legs trembled as he decided to go down the final flight of stairs.

“Good morning sir”, Henry stammered as he and Julius met on the same stair.

Julius did not respond but kept ascending the stairs as if Henry was not even standing there.

Henry was startled.

Henry stood on the staircase and watched his boss go up the stairs. After a few steps, Julius turned. “Henry, see me immediately after you are done with what you are doing”. Henry’s heart missed several beats and he stood there speechless, only nodding with his head to signal to Julius that his request was heard.

Henry trembled as he went back up the stairs with the papers in his hands. He was so tense that he could not feel his feet. He walked into Julius’s office and with a stern face, Julius gave him a tall list of duties to finish before the day ended. Henry grabbed the list and quickly dashed out of the office like lightening.

“So far as I am far away from you, that is all that matters to me”, Henry said as he looked at the tall list in his hand to accomplish…

Henry and Sandra kept contact with one another and their bond kept growing. Henry never mentioned his encounter with Julius to Sandra even though the incident had taken place over two months ago. Henry had started developing feelings for Sandra but anytime he wanted to tell her about the way he felt about her, his intuition told him not to. “She is way out of your league”, the voice in his head would often tell him. “You don’t expect to get yourself involved in more drama than you already find yourself, do you?”, the voice in his head would ask.

One night after work, Henry decided to tell Sandra about the way he felt about her. He called her and started, “Sandra, there is something I really need to tell you and I need you to pay close attention”.

“What is it?”, Sandra asked with laughter. She had come to know Henry as one who always joked around so more often than not, she didn’t take the things he said very seriously.

“Talk to me”, Sandra pushed.

“Sandra I am in love with you”, henry blurted.

“Hahaha”, Sandra laughed out hysterically.

“This is not one of them jokes, Sandra”, Henry said, feeling very embarrassed.

“I know, I know”, Sandra responded still laughing ridiculously.

“So why are you laughing?”, Henry enquired.

“I am laughing because there is no such thing as love and my father has made me see over a thousand and one times that love does not exist”, Sandra said.

“Love does exist!”, Henry rebutted. “What I feel for you can attest to that fact”, Henry said.

“So how do you know that you love me?”, Sandra asked.

There was a brief pause.

“It is a feeling you have”, Henry said.

“Ever since I was a child, my dad kept me from mingling with guys”, Sandra started. “He has been very protective and he would do anything to see to it that I am safe and happy”, Sandra added. “What is more, I have never had a boyfriend my whole life even though I know it sounds embarrassing at times”, Sandra said.

“My dad always finds a way of driving any guy that comes lurking around me out of my life and I have learnt that way of pushing people out of my life”, Sandra explained. “Don’t be surprised if I tell you that we can’t be friends anymore and that I can’t talk to you again because I know that day will surely come and even though it hurts me, I cannot do anything about it because…I have to go now, I will see you tomorrow”, Sandra said and hang up in the middle of the conversation.

Henry lay on his bed and wondered why Sandra would allow her dad to control her life at her age. He was lost in thought. “Maybe I can talk to her father about her”, Henry thought to himself. “That would be suicidal”, Henry said on second thought. “I am pathetically in love with Sandra and I would stop at nothing to get her to love me”, Henry said to himself…

The next day, Henry was going about his normal routine when he met Julius in the lobby.

“I  still haven’t heard anything from you concerning our arrangements”, Julius said.

“What arrangements, Sir?”, Henry asked feigning ignorance.

“You know damn well what I am talking about!”, Julius exclaimed.

“I get it now”, Henry said. “But like I said earlier sir, I am not interested in it”, Henry said.

“I can see you still need more time”, Julius said. “Do well to see me in my office after lunch”, Julius added and walked past Henry.

After lunch, Henry rushed to see Julius in his office because he did not want to do anything that would merit being reprimanded. On his way into the office, he met Ben, Sandra’s father coming out of Julius’s office.

“Good afternoon sir”, Henry greeted politely.
“Good afternoon”, Ben responded and continued to walk past Henry.

“My regards to Sandy”, Henry said as he turned.
Sandra told Henry that it was only his father who called her SANDY.

Ben stopped, turned and looked at Henry before nodding his head.
That night, Sandra called Henry and was furious over the phone. “What did you tell my father about us?”, Sandra asked fuming.

“Relax, I just told him to extend my regards to you”, Henry said.

“Are you out of your mind or something?”, Sandra asked. “What is that supposed to mean?”, Henry asked back. “I told you about my dad and the best thing you could do was to ask him to extend your regards to me?” “Why did you do that?”, Sandra asked. “Can you just stop freaking out and listen to me?”, Henry pleaded. “There is nothing to listen to!”, Sandra said. “Why are you making it seem as though I have done something so terrible?” Henry asked.

“Henry, please listen to me carefully”, Sandra said as she started to cry. “I would be a liar to say that I don’t have any feelings for you”. “You are patient, funny, gentle, kind and hardworking and I could not have asked for someone more as a potential boyfriend but I  wanted all of this to be hidden from my father but now, he knows that I know you”, Sandra explained.

“What is wrong with that, Sandra?”. “Isn’t that rather a good thing; that your dad knows you have a boyfriend? “, Henry asked

“Everything is wrong with that Henry, everything is wrong with that”, Sandra reiterated.

“This is a part of my life that I have not shared with anyone but I don’t know why I feel I have to tell you”, Sandra started. “I think it is because I am in love with you too”, Sandra conceded.

“Here is the thing, ever since I turned eighteen years, my dad had been obsessed with me and for a long time, he had brainwashed me to sleep with him several times”, Sandra revealed. “He would never allow me to keep male friends because he said he was going to provide all my needs including my sexual needs”, Sandra continued now crying uncontrollably. “I have realized how messed up I am and I am putting a stop to it that is how come I chose to become friends with you and I have fallen in love with you”, Sandra revealed. “Now that my father has found out that you are just a friend to me, he is going to come after you and he would do anything to you to get you to stay away from me forever!” Sandra added. “I am sorry Henry, but my father is coming after you”, Sandra said…

HENRY IS ABOUT TO GET CRUSHED. HE IS DEALING WITH ADVANCES FROM HIS BOSS AND NOW HE WOULD HAVE TO FIND A WAY OF SURVIVING ANOTHER ONSLAUGHT FROM ANOTHER RUTHLESS FATHER AND LOVER… MY NAME IS EDWIN OKO LAMPTEY. NEED I SAY MORE? JUST BUCKLE YOUR SEATBELTS! THIS IS ANOTHER THRILLER FROM THE STABLES OF RANDOM AFRICAN THOUGHTS  ®.

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RANDOM AFRICAN THOUGHTS IS ONE YEAR OLD!!! HIP! HIP!!l HIP!!! HURRAH!!!

THE STORY OF RANDOM AFRICAN THOUGHTS  (R.A.T)

 

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When we started writing, we did it as a hobby. I wanted to impress the friend who asked me to create the blog. Personally, I had no idea about blogging but I started anyway. I created a group on WhatsApp where I shared some of my posts. I knew I had the capability of putting words together but looking back some 12 months ago, I did not know we were going to evolve so quickly. For the record, I am not a motivational speaker. Truth is, sometimes I need motivation more than anyone. It takes me longer to get things done and it is a part of me but when we started taking the blog and writing more seriously, it changed our lives in many ways. I am not famous or a millionaire yet, I have not received any nominations but the truth about all this is that, there is a sense of satisfaction that comes to you when you accomplish something worthwhile. Satisfaction, to me, has not been monetary value or possessions but the fact that people are being touched by your work. Take this from me, if you want to know how good you are, start something on your own. You don’t need to always have capital to start but just start it and put your passion and back into it. I never wanted to share this story but I guess “Desperate times call for desperate measures”. I used to share my pieces frequently with my colleagues at work. One day, my supervisor called me and said I had to put a stop to sharing my work because my colleagues read my stories more than they did his mails. I was astonished but I had to obey. I couldn’t possibly tell my colleagues the main reason for hoarding my work from them but eventually, they got so puffed up and almost lynched me. So I started sending the work to them individually. The recipients kept growing and almost everyday, I got a new mail from a new colleague asking me to add them up to the mailing list. I wondered what made them so intrigued and one of them told me, “The suspense is too much so I can’t wait to see what will happen next”. I learn a lot from them when they sit to chat (unknown to them). The moral here is, sometimes, you don’t need to find clients, just do your best and your clients would find you.

When I started the blog, I used to write thinking my readership base was going to be in just my home country but I had the shock of my life when during our early days, I looked at our page view locations and I found 10 people reading from Indonesia. I was so delighted. My pieces really did mean something even to people living beyond the shores of my country. From then on, I fine-tuned my pieces to make sense to people from all nations. Here too, the point is, we need to be versatile in our dealings. Our blog now has readers from over 20 countries and that is a huge achievement. I come from a country where we do the same thing over and over again but expect different results but “Variety is the spice of life”, so dare to mix it up.

Growing up as a young boy, there used to be a gathering of older men in front of a bar every night and I wondered why they always came to sit to drink. I was told they were networking (whatever that meant to me). Out of their nightly drinking, they established a gym and all the men in my neighbourhood go there and the best part is, the drinkers are the ones making money because every new member of the gym had to register and pay monthly bills. Fast forward to my time, when I started the blog, I wondered how my story was going to circulate. I networked with a few people and it was really worthwhile. Out of the network, I got my pieces posted on modern Ghana, a news website, international posts and shares on various sites. Networking is good. Finally, good old determination was an enemy I had to convert into a friend. Sometimes, I had to improvise and write in a noisy commercial car, I had to try to figure out ways of getting new posts, I had to figure out how to design stuff (I still suck at designing). When the pressure seeps in giving up is so easy but just try to hold on. We are all still learning. All my readers have been amazing. This year, we at RAT aim to do something more intriguing and interesting. We aim to share stories of others to motivate and encourage ourselves. Destiny awaits!!! We are all RAT. We also aim to create a network to intellectually assist each other in attaining greatness. RAT IS ONE. MY NAME IS EDWIN OKO LAMPTEY AND HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO YOU ALL. THE DAYS AHEAD LOOK PROMISING. LIKE OUR FACEBOOK PAGE:

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EVEN IF I DON’T FIND PEACE…EPISODE ONE (1)

Maxwell sat in the back seat of the commercial taxi with two passengers flanked on both his right and left side. He was on his way to his family house which was some miles away. Even though he used to be a regular customer of the route he was on, many things appeared differently. It had been ten long years since he used that road and the passage of time had left in its wake, desolation in some places, renovation in other places and at certain places, totally new structures had been put up. He saw an old bar which was called “The Place”. It used to be the talk of the town because at night, all sorts of people gathered there to have fun and especially get drunk but now, it had become a deserted place. The walls of the once famous pub had now been eroded by constant rainfall. His face gave off a smirk when he saw an eatery which was famous for its name and type of food served. The eatery was called “Today be cat”. It literally meant cat meat was the only meat on their menu and surprising enough, the place was always filled to capacity. Most of the customers of the ‘restaurant’ were customers who had been ‘wasted’, from ‘The Place’ and wanted something to eat to deal with their hangover. “This place too is still here”, Maxwell said to himself as he reminisced on how he used to play around that place as a child. Maxwell smiled and said, “The life I have lived”, as the taxi took another turn leaving “Today be cat” out of sight. Maxwell was off from work and decided to pay his grandmother a visit. It had been ten years since he last saw her. He had moved out of their spacious family house with his family to rent an apartment. After three years, he also decided to separate from his parents and siblings because he felt he was growing into a man and had to separate himself from family to start living an independent life. He had been working for the past two years after completing the university five years ago. The taxi manoeuvred a turn into the neighbourhood he grew up in. As the car passed by a kindergarten school, Maxwell looked through the school to see if would chance upon someone he knew as a child. His face lit up as he saw his first teacher, Aunty Rosemary. She had grown into an old woman now. After going on ahead a few blocks, Maxwell ordered the taxi driver to stop, “I would alight here”, he said in his usually cool and collected voice. He paid the driver what he owed and politely asked the passenger on his right side to allow him disembark from the rickety taxi. Maxwell had a masculine figure and was well built. He was dark in complexion and had very tough skin. He always spotted a faded haircut. He loved to wear long-sleeved shirts but with him, he always folded the sleeves to his elbow level. It had become his trademark. As he alighted, he walked back to his first school, ‘Christian Children’s Centre’. As he approached the gates, Aunty Rosemary came outside. “Who am I seeing?”, Aunty Rosemary  blurted out in surprise as Maxwell approached her. “Is that cry baby Max?”, she asked jokingly. Maxwell smiled and remembered being told by his mother how he often would cry nonstop when he was being taken to school as a toddler. “Good morning, mummy”, Maxwell greeted politely. “Good morning, son”. “You have grown into a big boy now and you are even growing a beard”, Aunty Rosemary said as she hugged Maxwell and touched his chin. “Where are mummy and daddy”, the inquisitive Aunty Rosemary asked. “They are all well and are still around”, Maxwell replied to avoid any further interrogation. “We thank God”, Aunty Rosemary said. “So what brings you here?”, she pressed for more information. “I came to visit grandma”, Maxwell replied. “That is so thoughtful of you”. “You know that ever since your grandfather passed, she has been very lonely and it would do here a lot of good if she saw you”, Aunty Rosemary added. After answering a few more questions, Maxwell asked to take his leave and started walking along the dusty path to his grandmother’s house. Maxwell’s family was at war. His grandfather had died intestate so his children were at each other’s throats trying to scramble whatever property they could lay their hands on. It was chaotic because it was sometimes embarrassing how they could engage in a war of words with each other over a dead good man’s property. It was out of this scramble that led to his father asking them to move out of the family house till their differences had been settled. It had been ten years and still their disagreement continued. Maxwell’s grandfather’s property had become a curse to his family. It managed to take out all the love that this once big and happy family shared and replaced it with greed and hatred. Maxwell was trying the best he could as one of the oldest grandchildren not to allow the differences of his father and his siblings to trickle down the family tree. He was always in touch with all his cousins and ensured that they incubated the premature love and affection they had managed to birth in their own small circle. Maxwell’s own life had been shattered into many different fragments over the past few years. He was a happy person and was always there to listen to anyone who needed a listening ear and offered advice freely. His own soul was in need of saving. He was in a constant battle with his pillow anytime he lay his head on it. He had countless sleepless nights. He wanted solutions for his problems but he wanted to find the solutions himself. He was involved with two different women. These women had become his undoing. He allowed himself to be carried away by the pleasures their bodies provided and it had led him into what seemed like a bottomless pit of endless pain and torment. As he walked along the path, he met many faces from the past. He made many stops at shops, homes, eateries and workplaces to exchange pleasantries with people he knew as a child. His famous walk down memory lane was one he cherished because in that moment, he at least got some respite and for the first time in a long while, he felt a sense of peace, love and belonging return to him. Close to his family house lived another extended family just like the size of his. They shared a very big wooden structure which served as a house but lived in harmony. Maxwell knew that they had their own differences but they managed to overlook their differences and more often than not, they agreed to disagree. “Why can’t my family be like these people?”, Maxwell thought to himself as he waved at them. They all appeared hearty even as they sat to have a round table breakfast of a big bowl of porridge. As Maxwell approached the gate to his grandfather’s house, he heard his name being shouted out from a distance. “Max, Max!”. The voice belonged to his childhood friend, Rudolph. Rudolph was more like a brother to Maxwell. Maxwell used to idolize him as they were growing up even though Rudolph was just a year older than him. Maxwell was so fond of him that he would often cry when they made selections for a game of football and he was not in Rudolph’s team while they were still kids. Maxwell’s mother always left Maxwell in the care of Rudolph’s mother because of her busy work schedule. Rudolph’s mother was like Maxwell’s second mother so to Maxwell, Rudolph was like the brother he never had. Though Rudolph had a twin brother, Raphael, Maxwell was fonder of Rudolph than Raphael. When Rudolph got close to Maxwell, he said, “As for today, my breakfast, lunch and supper are on you”, as he hugged Maxwell tightly and patted him on the back. “I miss you my brother”, Maxwell said as they broke up the hug. “How have you been and how is Raphael?”, Maxwell asked Rudolph. “As you can see, this place hasn’t done us much good”, Rudolph replied. Rudolph had been a talented footballer from birth. Right from the get go, he was a joy to watch on the football pitch. His skills surpassed that of the other footballers his age then in the neighbourhood so more often than not, he was selected to play in the ‘big leagues’ while the rest of the children his age, including Maxwell served as ball boys. Maxwell was the least perturbed by his position because so far as Rudolph was on the pitch, he represented all the other children. All his age mates were proud of him and it appeared that Maxwell was not the only one who envied Rudolph for his football prowess. Now, Rudolph had stopped playing football. He was poor but proud. He always saw himself as the best among his peers and that caused his expulsion from the countless football academies he joined. He had now taken to drinking and had even started to develop a potbelly. Maxwell looked at Rudolph’s protruding stomach and said, “I can see why this neighbourhood has done you no good”. “I know what you are thinking but I don’t need a lecture from anyone and that includes you”, Rudolph said to Maxwell. “If only you knew what I was thinking about”, Maxwell said. “So what brings you here after so many years?”, Rudolph asked. Maxwell sighed and said, “Brother, I am going through some personal issues and I want to cool off a bit so I figured coming back here would help me find my sense of purpose because it seems I have lost it”. “I can see that the years have done no damage to your philosophies of life because you are still talking about purpose and all”, Rudolph said jokingly. “There is no purpose in this part of town brother, just a bunch of people trying to get food on the tables and a place to sleep”, Rudolph said. “Just look around and tell me if this was how you left this place ten years ago”. Maxwell took a look around and realized that the neighbourhood in which he had dreams of growing up as a child now stood as a shadow of itself. The only thing that kept them going was their communal nature and sense of hospitality. “Anyway, it is good to have you back, Max”, Rudolph said. “Now, pay up!”, Rudolph added. Maxwell dipped his hand into his back pocket and doled out some notes to Rudolph who greedily counted them wide-eyed and stashed them into his pocket. Maxwell asked Rudolph to join him in the house but he refused the invitation with the excuse of going to buy something from the market. Maxwell pushed the big gate open and started his way down the pathway toward the main entrance to the house. “What am I going to say to this woman?”, Maxwell thought out loud as he slowly approached the main door. “Here comes your prodigal grandson”, Maxwell said silently and with that, he said what seemed like a prayer and put his hand on the door knob…. THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING. MY NAME IS EDWIN OKO LAMPTEY AND I WONDER WHAT WILL HAPPEN, “EVEN IF I DON’T FIND PEACE” WATCH THIS SPACE FOR MORE EPISODES OF THIS MASTERPIECE IN THE MAKING. MORE AT randomafricanthoughts.blogspot.com

BEFORE THE WORLD ENDS…EPISODE FIFTEEN (THE FINALE)

Fred had gained the admiration of Ellen. On ‘special’ occasions, as Fred put it, he basked in the glory of Ellen’s love. On one of such occasions, Ellen called Fred “Daddy”. That night, Fred could not sleep. He was so elated that he and Ellen were finally beginning to get along. Fred was determined to keep the rapport going. Ellen on the other hand was beginning to also get some liking for her father. She was once praising him to Cheryl saying that she really appreciated the time he spent with them when he was off work. On the eighth day, after the birth of Fred’s son, a plush naming ceremony was held for him. Fred’s eldest Uncle chaired the event. Fred’s father had passed on two years earlier so his younger brother stood in his stead. Fred decided to name his first son, ‘Isaac’, which meant ‘laughter’. Fred’s wife, the ever beautiful Cheryl, could not agree more to this name. When word got out that Fred’s son was to be called ‘Isaac’, the news was received with mixed feelings. Some were of the view that God had smiled on Fred to regain his lost ‘possession’. Another school of thought stipulated that the name was chosen to spite David because Fred had managed to constitutionally take away from him the one thing he so much desired. This, though a rumour, was not far from the truth. Many years passed after the naming ceremony of baby Isaac was held. With the passing of time, many events had taken place. Significant of all these were the many birthdays that were held for Isaac. Ellen could count ten of them. For Isaac, the next birthday was more exciting than the previous one. On his sixth birthday, Fred and his family had two reasons to celebrate. His wife Cheryl had put to bed again. She had given birth to a bouncy but cute baby girl. Both of them had decided to name her Macaria. Macaria was almost four years old on Isaac’s tenth birthday party. Ellen too had made much progress. She was now the manageress of Fred’s fleet of transport companies and was the Director of his luxury car dealership. She had graduated from the university some years back and was very successful at running her father’s business. Many of her customers knew her to be a very shrewd business woman who always fulfilled her part of any business deal. Her father respected her for that. Ellen was still very much in love with her first love, Collins. On their graduation day, Collins managed to make it a memorable day. After the graduation ceremony, both the families of Ellen and Collins hosted both of them at an exquisite dinner to celebrate their achievements. The dinner was held in one of the best restaurants in the city. After the families had all had their fill of the many delicacies served them, Collins proposed a toast and asked for the waiter to bring in the cake he had ordered to crown the evening’s celebration. Before Collins proposed the toast, he asked permission from Ellen’s father to allow her stand by his side. Ellen was wearing an exquisitely made blue evening gown laced with the traditional ‘kente’ cloth. She was wearing a beautiful emerald necklace which was given to her as a graduation gift by her step mother, Cheryl. Fred had gathered from Erica that ever since Ellen started growing up, she had harboured the ambitions of one day marrying a prince to make her a princess so on her graduation, Fred bought a crown for her which she fixed in her hair. That night, Ellen looked like a true beauty queen. Ellen was looking all gay and excited by the fact that she had all her family members around even though Fred disagreed to her suggestion to invite David to the celebratory dinner. Ellen managed to find her way to Collin’s side and Collins proposed the toast saying, “I would like to thank you all for all the support and encouragement over these four years”. “We find ourselves here today because of your efforts and words of encouragement.” “This toast goes to all of you”, Collins added and asked if Ellen wanted to add something else but she was so full of excitement that nothing really mattered at that material moment. The waiter finally came in with the cake Collins had ordered. He placed the cake in front of Collins. Collins asked Ellen to help him unpack the cake as he took a second sip from the glass he had in his hand. Ellen took a little peak and saw that it was her favourite type of cake; chocolate cake. “Wow, It is chocolate!”, an excited Ellen exclaimed. When she went on to open the cake all the way, she received the shock of her life. The cake was coated in creamy chocolate and had little love-shaped toppings. There were some writings on the cake but the cake was turned backwards so Ellen could not make out what was written on it, when she turned the cake to be able to read what was written on it, she put both hands over her mouth in surprise. On top of the cake were the inscriptions, “Baby, Please Marry Me”. “Oh my God!”, Ellen exclaimed and looked at the faces of all the people gathered and instantly knew that she was the only one who was not aware of the surprise they had planned. Collins took Ellen’s hand into his and said, “Ellen, from the first day I met you, I knew that a day like this was going to come”. “You make all my pain and sorrow go away and you are one answer away from making me the happiest man on earth.” “This is my question to you, Ellen, will you spend the rest of your life with me by being my wife?”, Collins asked in a trembling voice. The room was dead silent and Ellen still had her mouth cupped with her right arm. All efforts to get her to say anything apart from “Oh my God” and “Oh Collins” proved futile. Collins started to fear that his proposal was going to be rejected. Ellen looked at all the people gathered again and looked back at Collins. “You are making me nervous, Ellen”, Collins said. Ellen nodded three times in quick succession. “Baby, to make this binding, this is the right time to say ‘yes’ if you are going to accept the proposal”, Collins jokingly said, when he sensed how tense the atmosphere was getting. The people gathered room broke out in uncontrollable laughter and anxiously waited to hear Ellen’s response. “Yes!”, Ellen yelled out. Collins went down on his knees, brought out a ring he had kept in his pocket, slowly took Ellen’s hand and slowly placed the ring on her finger. He rose to his feet amidst cheers and applause and hugged Ellen who was already in tears. Collins whispered into her ears, “Thank you for making me the happiest man on earth, now, we have two reasons to celebrate”. Ellen never forgot the events of that day. Three years had passed since that night but Collins and Ellen had still not walked down the aisle due to Collins’ commitment. He had won a scholarship to study in South Africa. He was already in his third year and was bound to return the next year so that they could finally get married. The distance and time that had passed did not worry Ellen or Collins. Collins was bound to return the following year so they could finally walk down the aisle to merit the title ‘man and wife’. Ellen was always caught up in business dealings. She had somewhat built for herself and her father, an unparalleled dynasty of business. Many business moguls respected her for the unmatched success she had bestowed upon her father’s company. With her help, Fred managed to win a contract from the government to supply vehicles to all the ministries and arms of government. It was the biggest contract ever won by anyone in the transport business. Ellen who knew the terrain and type of competition that was available advised her father to send her step family abroad till the contract was sealed. She was concerned about their safety. Fred agreed and had Cheryl and her children flown to France to spend sometime there. Ellen and Fred then got to work to ensure that they won the contract. On the final day of the presentation, Fred was awarded the contract because of the many recommendations he had managed to get. He wanted to be the first person to break the  good news to Ellen so he quickly sped off in his Range Rover Evoque homebound to celebrate with his hardworking daughter. He got to his gate at exactly 7:30pm on the Thursday night. The whole house was plunged into pitch-black darkness. Fred never spent more than two minutes outside his gate because Ellen was always there to open the gate for him even before he honked. Today was different, he had honked for close to ten minutes but there was still no response from the other side of the gate. He used his copy of the keys to gain entry into his mansion and parked right in front of the main door. He used the light emanating from his IPhone 6 to find his way into the hallway where the main switch to his house was. He managed to get to the switch and illuminated the house into the Christmas tree it was on a nightly basis. He called out Ellen’s name. Upon calling for the third time without a response, he knew instantly that something was amiss. He always had the police emergency line on speed dial so he selected it waiting to hit the ‘send’ button if he suspected any foul play. He walked through his enormous hall looking for signs of forced entry. Upon reaching the side of his giant LED TV, he saw a figure coiled on the tiled floor. “Ellen!”, Fred yelled and rushed to her side. She was in pain and was crying. “Ellen, what is wrong with you?” “Who did this to you?”, Fred asked all at once looking for signs of an intruder. Any effort to get Ellen to say anything else apart from squeaks and gibberish proved futile. Fred bundled her in his arms and gently placed her in the backseat of his Range Rover. He quickly sped off to the nearest hospital which was a few blocks away from their house. As he hit the main street, Ellen managed to finally speak, “Please take me to my doctor”, an alarmed Fred who was trying to dodge the legendary potholes on the road and at the same time trying to save the life of his first child looked back and said, “Please let me take you to the community hospital for first aid then we can go and see your doctor.” Moreover, I don’t know who your doctor is”. Fred then turned to face the road. Ellen spoke again, “Daddy, please, I don’t want any other doctor aside Dr. Johnson”. “He is at the Durban Clinic which is close to the underpass near the new Bayview hotel which is under construction”. When Fred heard the title Ellen used, he agreed and sped off like a formula one car driver heading towards the underpass. The underpass was usually deserted at night. When Fred got to the middle of the dark underpass, another car started approaching from the opposite direction. “Can’t you see me coming?”, Fred yelled out at the oncoming vehicle. He honked for the car to make way but there was no response. He tried to reverse to allow the troublesome driver to pass but when he tried, another car shone its light on his car from behind. “What is the meaning of all this?”, a frustrated Fred let out. Fred got out of his car to find out what was going on. Immediately, two masked men wielding locally-manufactured pistols got out of the car behind him. “Where do you think you are going?”, one of the gunmen asked, pointing his weapon at Fred. Instantly, Fred knew that they had fallen into the hands of robbers because everything seemed so professional. “Who is in the car with you?”, the second gunman barked at Fred. “Please sir, it is just my daughter”. “She is not feeling well so I am taking her to the hospital”. “Please don’t harm us, I would give you anything you want”, Fred said in a trembling voice. The gunmen ordered Ellen out of the car and ordered both of them to lie face-down on the ground. All this while, the occupants of the first car were still inside the car. Immediately both of them were face-pressed to the ground, the door of the first car flung open and a masculine figure started to make his way to the spot where Fred and Ellen were pinned. Immediately the figure was standing over the two captives, Ellen jumped up like a child on an early Christmas morning and hugged the person. Fred was in a state of shock and left confused as he calmly lay on the tarred ground but waited for his captors to make the next move. “Did you ever think that things were going to turn out this way?”, the figure asked. Fred’s world came crushing immediately the last words of the masculine figure touched his eardrums. The words belonged to no other than David, his worst nightmare. “Fred, you left a permanent scar in my heart”. “I trusted you even to the point of death but what did you do?” “You were so selfish and thought of only yourself and your happiness”. “How does it feel now to have the tables turned in my favour now?”, David asked and gave Fred a kick in the stomach. “Ellen took over proceedings. She recounted how they both orchestrated this turn of events. “I have never loved you because of what you did to David”. “Ever since I found out the truth, I have hated you with so much passion with each day that passed”. “I had to be patient just as David said and do my best so that I gain your trust”. “Unfortunately for you, this is the end of the road”. David and Ellen had fake passports made for them and first class tickets bought for South Africa that night stashed on the glove compartment of David’s car. Fred knew his end was near so he let out shrill sounds and pleaded for mercy. “Mercy is the last thing you need”, David said. He requested for a pistol from one of the gunmen and began to attach a silencer to the muzzle. “Before your world ends, I want you to take a good look at me”, David said.  Fred kept his face pressed to the ground disobeying David’s request. “Look at me, Fred!”, David yelled. The pistol began to speak with David’s help *clock*clock*clock. It was 11:39pm and  Emirates Flight 419 was bound to touch down in Johannesburg Airport in approximately 7 hours and 35 minutes. David and Ellen looked at each other as the plane was about to take off. THE END. MY NAME IS EDWIN OKO LAMPTEY AND THIS HAS BEEN “BEFORE THE WORLD ENDS”. THANK YOU FOR BEING A LOVELY BUT PATIENT AUDIENCE. MORE at randomafricanthoughts.blogspot.com

BEFORE THE WORLD ENDS…EPISODE FOURTEEN (14)

The atmosphere in the court room was charged up with arguments flying all over. Even though Ellen was nowhere to be found, the lawyers for all the parties involved in the custody case were literally at each other’s throats as they tore each other’s arguments to shreds. The case was on recess after six hours of fiery banter among the parties involved. The judge kept asking for the whereabouts of the daughter in question but was told she was not in court. Ellen’s phone had repeatedly rang so much so that when she woke up to pick it up, her battery was almost dead. The night before the court hearing, she spent it with David in his room. They chatted the whole night through. At certain points in their conversation, they reminisced on the old times they shared together and tears flowed at certain points of their emotional walk down memory lane. She eventually fell asleep in his arms and they woke up the next day to realize that they were almost late for the court hearing. David quickly rushed out of the bed and expected Ellen to do same but she was reluctant. David hurriedly took off to the court after Ellen had promised him that she was right behind him. Now, the first day of the hearing was almost over and the person who was at the heart of the bone of contention was missing. After the recess, the judge made it clear that the lawyers of all the parties involved had very solid arguments for the custody of the daughter in question for their respective clients but the sole power of who to decide to be with lay in Ellen’s bosom because she was an adult. However, the judge stated that during the next hearing, Ellen was supposed to appear in court or else the issue would be thrown out of the court. Before the judge could finish, the courtroom doors swung open and Ellen started her way into the court room beautifully dressed in a Yellow dress and had on a black blazer to match the color of her shoes. She quickly found a spot close to her mother and sat down. “Where were you?”, Erica asked. Ellen who was all smiles replied, “I was dressing for the part”. “If all of you want me, I must look the part because you people are at each other’s throats and I am slowly becoming a celebrity for the wrong reason”. “I have always wanted to live an unassuming and quiet life but all of you don’t seem to get it”, Ellen added looking at David and turning to smile in Fred’s direction. Ellen’s presence brought in its wake a little commotion in the courtroom so there were shouts of, “Order in court” and at a point, even the judge had to bang the gavel to stress the need for some order. All three lawyers approached the bench when summoned by the judge to enquire about the cause of the disturbance. Fred’s lawyer announced to the judge that Ellen had walked in and the fact that she was sitting close to her mother could be detrimental to his client’s chances of getting back his beloved daughter. The judge asked for the lawyers to take their seats and said, “I understand the lady in question has finally made an appearance”. All eyes turned to look at Ellen who was behind them. The judge asked that Ellen be made to mount the witness stand. Ellen was summoned and as she rose to her feet, all eyes turned to the back of the courtroom from where she was coming from. It was almost like she was the winner of a beauty pageant. All eyes were fixed on her and she took her time to catwalk all the way to the stand. Ellen had grown so well that she had taken on the bodily features of her mother. She had firm breasts that made a lasting impression to every eye that gazed at them. Her thick lower lip was also a joy to behold. It was quite stunning but just like her mother, Ellen rocked whatever dress she wore and the day in court was no different.  The perfume she had on left its mark in all the rows she passed right up to where the witness stand was. As she mounted the stand, the judge addressed her, “I understand you are Ellen and you are the reason for our gathering here today”. “Yes please”, Ellen replied. “Are you sane in your mind?”, the judge asked amidst laughter from members in the courtroom. “Yes, I am very sane”, Ellen responded with a smirk on her face. “You are not under any form of influence be it induced or word of mouth or bribery or influence whatsoever?”, the judge asked again. “No please, Sir”, Ellen responded.  “This is your first time in court, I can see, but you have to address me as ‘your lord’ when I ask a question”. Ellen nodded and replied, “Yes my lord”.  The judge started, “You are not a witness in this case but I have you here in this box because I want the axiomatic truth to settle this matter amicably”. “Three parties want you but only one of them can have you”, the judge added. “The three parties all claim that they want you for whatever reason presented by their lawyers here”. “Before you mounted the stand, I made it clear to all of these people gathered here that I had no right to decide where you choose to go because you are way past the decision taking age and you just confirmed that you are sane in mind”, the judge continued. “We can all cut the chase and cut the matter short so I am glad you are here”. “I want you to tell this honorable court of your choice because I do not want us to drag this matter for more than a day so Miss Ellen, the ball is in your court.” “You have three separate parties, your biological father, your guardian and your mother”. Kindly tell all of us where you want to belong”, the judge added. Ellen took a deep breath and scanned the faces of the three people involved; she looked back at the judge. Ellen looked again into the crowd. She looked in Fred’s direction and remembered how generous he had been since she got to know the truth about his identity. Fred placed his hand on his chest and whispered, “Choose me, sweetheart”. Ellen looked Erica in the eyes and Erica smiled. Ellen remembered the incident where she was almost raped by the pedophiles when she was a little girl and vividly remembered the look on Erica’s face when she was finally brought home safely. It was a look of a worried mother. David was beaming with confident smiles when Ellen’s gaze met his. Ellen remembered all the good times and bad times they had to push through together. She remembered how she thought she had lost him when he was mistakenly attacked by robbers and she cried when she set her eyes on him on his hospital bed. More importantly, she remembered the conversation they had the night before and smiled back at David. Ellen then shook her head and said, “I choose my father, I mean my biological father, Fred”. Immediately the words came out of her mouth, David rose to his feet to vehemently refute Ellen’s choice. “She does not know what she is saying”, he screamed. “She is confused”, he added. The judge banged his gavel a couple of times and asked for order to be restored. The lawyers for David and Erica were up on their feet to object to Ellen’s choice. Erica moved from the back of the courtroom and engaged in talks with her lawyer to find out what the implication of Ellen’s words could bring. David’s lawyer requested for Ellen to take a break to rethink her choice. The judge asked for Ellen to take a break. Ellen refused the offer. “After the break, I would still choose my dad; he is the one I would choose even if the matter drags on for months, my lord”, Ellen said. The judge then started proceedings to close the matter by saying that “Let it be put on record that Mr. Fred Thompson, will with immediate effect, have the custody of Ellen till he decides otherwise” he then banged the gavel and dismissed the case. David was already in tears before the case was dismissed. He could not stand the fact that he was going to lose Ellen. Erica walked up to Fred and said, “You have won this battle but not the war which is about to follow”. Fred laughed, leaned in and said, “Sweetheart, there is not going to be any other battle or war, you have lost” and patted Erica on the shoulder. Fred walked past David, turned and smiled at him. David clinched his fist behind him and silently watched Fred walk out of the courtroom with Ellen and his lawyer. Per the court’s ruling Ellen was given a number of days to fully move in with her father. She spent a few days with David and a few days with her mother to compensate them for all the trouble they had to go through. The time she spent with David was the most emotional. “I would be visiting you regularly”, Ellen told David as she put the last of her bags in her Range Rover. She hugged David’s father and said, “You would always be my grandpa”. “Please take care of my daddy for me”. “There is enough food in the freezer but do not hesitate to call me when you need some more, I would always come home to prepare more for you guys”. With tears in all the eyes present, Ellen hugged David tightly and whispered into his ears, “I love you so much, daddy”. She walked sluggishly out of the hall and closed the door behind her. She stood behind the door and cried some more before finally driving off to her ‘real’ father’s house. Ellen was moving in with Fred and his fiancée. Before Ellen arrived, they had prepared her room and bought her lots of presents. Fred’s fiancée was a nice woman because she treated Ellen nicely. She always wanted Ellen to feel at home whenever Fred was not around. Ellen felt lonely at times and had to depend on Collins to keep her company. Because they were on their long vacation from school, Collins was almost always with Ellen. The two love birds were always seen swimming together in Fred’s pool or playing lawn tennis in their backyard. Whenever Fred and his fiancée went out, they used that opportunity to explore their bodies in marathons of love-making. There was one night that Fred tiptoed to Ellen’s room to check up on her. When he got to the door, he heard Ellen’s voice. She was speaking to someone on the phone. “I miss you so much”, she said. “How is grandpa?” Instantly, Fred knew Ellen was speaking to David and he became worried. He knocked on her door and let himself in. immediately Ellen heard her door creek open, she quickly hang up the phone. “I thought I heard voices so I wanted to check up on you to see if you were fine”, Fred said. “I just got off the phone with a friend”, Ellen replied. Fred nodded and went out of the room but never forgot that incident. Ellen had now stayed with her father and her fiancée for a year and a half but occasionally, she was allowed to visit David and sometimes she visited Erica. Fred had now become so used to Ellen that he had no more worries about Ellen’s allegiance. They got along so perfectly. Time had managed to bond father and daughter so much that Fred could do anything for Ellen provided it was in his power to do so. On her second year of staying with her father, he decided to tie the knot with his fiancée and officially make her the step-mother of Ellen. Their wedding ceremony was a well-attended event. Ellen was dressed beautifully and attended the wedding with Collins. Soon, Linda, Fred’s wife got pregnant and delivered a bouncy baby boy. Ellen was fond of the baby and always wanted to take care of him like she would her own. Fred could not be any happier. He had all that he ever desired and life had blessed him with a little boy…IS THIS ALL THERE IS TO LIFE “BEFORE THE WORLD ENDS?”…. WATCH THIS SPACE FOR THE FINALE COMING SOON. MY NAME IS EDWIN OKO LAMPTEY.

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BEFORE THE WORLD ENDS…EPISODE THIRTEEN (13).

That night, the same night David engaged in the fist fight with Fred, David went to bed not only beaten but broken as well. He saw fear in Ellen’s eyes. He knew too well that it was only a matter of time for her to break down and be shattered by the struggles that her family had been plunged into. What David feared above all things was the fact that Ellen had suddenly began to take a strange liking for Fred. She did not have to say it to his face. He was the one who raised her as a child so he knew her well enough to know when her heart was turned towards something. David remembered the time when Ellen was a little girl. She had a crush on a certain boy in her class, Jake. David was very good at committing names to memory. She was also mentioning Jake’s name around the house whenever she was home from school. So one day, he called her to his room and said, “Ellen sweetheart, I always hear you mentioning this boy’s name all the time, I think you are in love with him”.  “Dad, stop it”, Ellen said with a smile and a blush all mixed together confirming David’s suspicion. “I just like him because he is nice, I don’t love him like everyone thinks”, Ellen added. David smiled and asked, “So I am not the only one who has taken notice?” Ellen nodded sheepishly. David signaled for Ellen to take a seat close to him on the bed. When Ellen sat, he placed his hand around her shoulder and allowed her to rest her head on his chest. “My little darling”, David started, “Love sometimes makes no sense to its victim”. “Once you fall in love, the world you once knew and the way you perceived it changes completely”, David added. “Sometimes, it can even affect your sense of judgment”. “I know you are too little to understand all these things but I can guarantee you that soon enough, all what I am saying will make perfect sense to you”, David added and frisked his hand through her hair. David never forgot that look on Ellen’s face and on that same night after the encounter with Fred, David saw that same look on Ellen’s face when he asked if she considered accepting Fred’s gifts. The look she had from years back only confirmed to David what he feared most because he knew that her heart was turning towards Fred. That look on Ellen’s face resonated in his mind till he finally struggled and managed to fall asleep. It had been weeks since Erica spoke to David after their exposé. David remembered the text message he had received from Erica. He did not pay so much attention to it. He thought to himself, “What else can she say after all this mess she has caused with Fred?”. David thought up a plan. It was a bizarre plan but he knew that if the idea he had thought up worked according to plan, he was going to get Ellen to himself. The plan involved linking up with Erica. He had decided to join forces with Erica to fight Fred for the custody of Ellen. Erica was Ellen’s mother and she could stand in the capacity as parent and he could stand in the able capacity as guardian. He knew that Erica would want to get one over Fred for sweeping her under the bus and backstabbing her by marrying another woman. David took a deep breath and dialed Erica’s phone number. The phone rang for a while before Erica answered. “To what do I owe this special remembrance ceremony?”, Erica asked, sounding sarcastic. “Cut it out Erica”, David said. “If anyone has the right to be angry, that person should be me because you played me”, David said. “Are you satisfied now after abandoning me for so long?”, Erica asked. “I guess you have called to find out about what I meant by the text message I sent to you earlier, right?”, Erica added. “We would get to that shortly but before that, I need your help with something”, David said. “I want the two of us to sue Fred for the custody of Ellen”, David suggested. Erica burst out into hysterical laughter and for a moment, David thought his words made no sense. When Erica finally had a good laugh, she asked, “What is in it for me?” David sighed and said, “I know you are itching to get revenge over Fred’s snub and if we are able to stop him from taking the one thing he so much desires, he is going to be shattered beyond repair”. “Is that all?”, Erica asked. “I want him to suffer more than that, David”. “He has bitten more than he can chew and I want to make sure that before he knows what hit him, he would not be able to pick himself up from the ground”, Erica said, with so much passion. Erica asked again, “David, is that all?” “Yes”, David responded. “Unless of course you have something to add to my plan”, David said. “I never expected you to ask for my help but since you have, I also have my terms and conditions”, Erica said. David knew Erica always had something up her sleeve. “What are your terms?”, David asked. “Marry me, David”, Erica said. “I can’t wait to see the look on Fred’s face when we send him our wedding invitation”. “When this is done, I would be satisfied”, Erica added. “Hell no!”, David fired back. “You can ask for something else but please, marriage is not an option”. “Erica, there is no way I am going to even consider marrying you”, David said. “Mention any amount and you will have it transferred into your bank account”, David said. “I knew you would say that, David”. “I am not surprised at all”, Erica added. “I hate to burst your bubble but I think I also deserve Ellen and I am also worthy of fighting for custody alone”. “A little bird told me about the fight you had with Fred and I am sure it would be part of my arguments in court that both of you are incapable of taking care of my little girl”, Erica added. “My lawyer would serve both of you with letters within the week”, Erica said. “If you thought that this battle was between the two of you, then you are mistaken because I just entered the ring too”. David was dumb-stricken. He had never imagined for once that Erica would want to stand up to him, let alone, Fred. Now, the three of them were going to face off in what might be a Battle Royale. “You are kidding right?”, David asked. “I have never been this serious”, Erica said. “Let me know when you receive the letter from the court’s bailiff”, Erica said. “Before I hang up, I want you to know that this call was recorded and you have to explain to the court how you tried to bribe me into accepting a token so that I concede defeat in this case”, Erica added. “Have a good day, David and see you soon in court”. David thought he could convince Erica to fight on his side but his plan had blown up in his own face. He sat up in his bed to weigh his other options. Ellen had left school and was heading towards Fred’s car dealership. She had finally decided to choose a car of her own. Many of her mates were showing off in their old saloon cars. She just wanted to prove a point to them so she decided to grab the opportunity thrown to her by her father. “If this man truly loves me like he claims, he should be able to give me a Range Rover if I asked for one”, Ellen thought to herself as she sat in the bus on her way to see Fred. When she arrived at the location, Fred was already waiting for her at the entrance of the car dealership. He ushered her in, offered her some confectioneries and took her round the dealership to show her his fleet of sports cars. As they scanned through the cars, Ellen saw the Range Rover and instantly pointed at it, “Can I have this one?”, she asked. “Which one?”, Fred asked, just to be sure. “The Range Rover”, Ellen said. “It’s all yours”, Fred said, with a smile on his face. Ellen could not hide her joy. She quickly hugged Fred tightly. Fred, who was caught off guard by this unexpected gesture held on to Ellen as she clung to his chest. “We have to do some paper work first okay?”, Fred said as he gently patted Ellen’s back. As they strolled back to Fred’s office, Fred saw a car parked out. As he stepped into the reception, he saw a smartly-dressed, middle-aged man seated quietly in the lobby. He stepped into his office and his secretary, Sharon, signaled for the man to enter the well-furnished office. An overly excited Ellen took a seat in a couch placed at the far end of the office. Fred took his seat and signaled for the man to sit down in the seat in front of him. The man unbuttoned his suit and sat down. “What can we do for you today, sir?”, Fred asked. “My name is lawyer Samuel Johnson, I am here to discuss some matters with you”. Fred let out what seemed like a little laughter before saying, “David is the biggest joker alive, so he really thinks he can win this case in court?”. “Please tell your client that I am ready to face him in whatever court he so desires”, Fred added. The lawyer shook his head in amusement, “You are mistaken, sir”. “I am not here to represent David, I am actually here on behalf of Miss Erica”. Immediately Erica’s name was mentioned, Fred’s jaw dropped and before long, Ellen joined the conversation. “What has my mum done?”, she asked the lawyer. “Ellen, your mum is challenging both your father and David over who has the right to have you”. “You must be one very special young lady to have three people at each other’s throats just to have you”. “Leave her out of this!”, Fred said. The lawyer served Fred with a letter and said, “You must respond before the date stated in the letter”, the lawyer added. Fred quickly tore open the letter and read out its content aloud. “Erica can’t do this”, we should be fighting on the same side and not fighting against each other”. He picked up his phone to call Erica. The lawyer rose to his feet to leave. As he got to the door, he turned and said, “Let me give you a piece of advice, Fred”. “This issue is a legal issue so it would be in your best interest to stop trying to win over your daughter with money or whatever fatherly affection you have suddenly developed because it wont work”, the lawyer added. “It is a gimmick which could compound your problems”, the lawyer said and left the office. “Does that mean I can’t have the Range Rover anymore?”, Ellen asked Fred immediately the lawyer stepped out of the office. “You would have anything you want, my darling girl”, Fred said. “All of these will soon be over, Ellen”, Fred assured. The next day, David was also served with a letter to appear before court on a set date. All the parties involved in the legal battle decided to dig up dirt on each other to make their own claims admissible. Finally, the day for the hearing came and all the parties wanted to make a good first impression. Fred, David and Erica were all seated in the courtroom but Ellen was nowhere to be found… WHAT IS ELLEN UP TO? Find out in the next exciting episode of…BEFORE THE WORLD ENDS. My name is Edwin Oko Lamptey. Stay tuned. More at randomafricanthoughts.blogspot.com

BEFORE THE WORLD ENDS