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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 FOUR

IT HAS BEEN LONG OVERDUE BUT IT IS FINALLY HERE….

THE SCENT OF YOUR HEART…EPISODE FOUR

“Henry, my dad is ruthless and I don’t want anything bad to happen to you”, Sandra said as she held Henry’s hand tightly in a dimly lit apartment.

“Let’s run away to a faraway place where my father or anyone cannot find us so we can be together forever, just the two of us”, Sandra suggested as she held on to Henry’s right hand even tighter. Sandra had packed a little travelling bag with some clothes and quickly grabbed it from the wardrobe. She launched herself toward Henry as she married her palm with his and they quickly made for the exit.

“Where are we going?”, a puzzled Henry asked as he was being pulled towards the door by Sandra. “We are running away like you suggested”, Sandra answered as she quickly scanned the room with her eyes to see if she had left something behind.

“I suggested?”, a totally confused Henry asked.

“But where can we go without your father finding out?”, Henry asked, now feeling reluctant to leave the room in which both of them found themselves. He pulled his hand out of Sandra’s and started retracing his steps to the opposite end of the room. “What are you doing?”, Sandra asked as she walked towards him. “We are running out of time”, Sandra revealed.

“Stay away from me!”, Henry screamed. “Just stay away from me!”, Henry reiterated.

“Henry, I thought you promised to love me and would stand or fall with me regardless of the opposition we faced”, Sandra enquired with tears in her eyes. “Please don’t cry, Sandra, you know your tears make me weak and helpless”, Henry said as he quickly moved in on Sandra to stop her tears from flowing.

“Then prove your love for me; run away with me, take me away from this torture and stay with me forever”, Sandra said, hugging Henry tightly.

“Give up everything and start all over with me”, Sandra begged.

“This is not how I wanted all of this to play out”, Henry started. “I expected us to talk to your dad, make him understand and ask for his blessings for the two of us to be together”, Henry said. “I didn’t expect that we were going to have to fight to be together, Sandra, don’t you get it?”, Henry enquired.


“Henry, both of us cannot fight my dad even if we tried”, Sandra explained as she looked into a drawer and stashed some money into her purse.

“As it stands now, we can not have everything going our way all the time and you and I know full well that every true and worthy cause faces fierce opposition”, Sandra rebutted. “This is the test of our love and we have to pass it by all means”, Sandra added.

“Run away with me, Henry!”, Sandra insisted.

“Okay”, Henry answered as if he was under  a spell.

“I am willing to lose everything for your sake and even if I have to die, I would be glad I died fighting to be with you”, Henry said in a shaky tone.

He mustered courage, walked up to Sandra and held her hand tightly. “I love you so much, Sandra”, Henry said and pulled her towards the door. Immediately the door cranked open, there was Sandra’s father standing right in front of the opening, blocking both of them from leaving the room.

“Where do you think you are going?”, Ben asked in the most angry tone of voice imaginable. “Where are you taking my daughter?”, Ben asked. “I would make sure I have you arrested for kidnapping and I would personally make sure that you rot in jail”, Ben said in a fit of rage. Ben launched himself at Sandra in a bid to grab her and yank her from Henry’s hold.

As Ben made his attack on Sandra, Henry turned to shield Sandra from any possible attack from her father but in his desperate attempt to shield her, she had surprisingly vanished into thin air.

Sandra was nowhere to be found. He looked around the room and it appeared empty. Sandra’s father, Ben started walking towards Henry. He stretched forth his hand aiming for Henry’s neck and suddenly, Henry woke up.

“My God!”, Henry exclaimed as he opened his eyes and saw himself on his bed; sweat dripping from his cold face. “It was only a dream!”, Henry exclaimed as he made the sign of the cross to console himself. He touched his face and pinched himself a couple of times to be double sure that he was not still having the nightmare. He cast his mind back on the last conversation he had had with Sandra the previous night.

“That portion was not a dream too?”, Henry asked himself as Sandra’s parting words came hitting his conscience. I recall what Sandra told me vividly.

“Oh my God, I am in trouble, please if you truly love me, save me from the fury that is about to be unleashed upon me”, Henry prayed. He felt with his hand all over his bed in search of his mobile phone in the dark room. When he finally reached for it, he turned on the phone’s screen and used the dimly lit device to illuminate the room in search of any figure hiding in the shadows waiting to attack him. “What have I done?”, Henry asked himself. “See where my desire has led me”, Henry continued. He tried to go back to sleep but even sleep had eluded him.

“I am doomed!”, Henry lamented.

“Sandra would be the reason for my failure”, Henry said.

“Sandra is the lady the pastor talked about!”, Henry said. “She was the lady the man referred to in his vision!”, Henry exclaimed.

Like magic, immediately those words came out of his mouth, his mind went back into the past; to many years before that fateful night and the conversation with Sandra…

When Henry completed Senior High School, his mother asked him to accompany her to a prayer group meeting one night. During the prayer session, the leader called Henry and told him this, “You are highly favored and it makes the devil very jealous of your bright future”, the man revealed. “You have many weaknesses”, the prayer leader said. “You have a haughty character and you are quick-tempered”, the man continued as he began to get into what seemed like a trance-like posture. He was however ably held upright by two other members of the prayer group “One more thing, if ever you are going to fail, it will be because of a woman so choose your friends and lovers wisely!”, the man exclaimed and stood at attention after which he asked the people gathered together in the meeting to pray for Henry.

After the prayer meeting, Henry’s association with girls plummeted. He kept more company with guys than ladies and even up until the time he completed university, he didn’t have a girlfriend. He found company and solace in his two faithful roommates, Edwin and Kennedy. Even way back in the university, Henry stood up most of his blind dates and hook-ups set up for him by his roommates. He had made it a point and a rule to steer clear off female friendships so as to avert the fulfillment of the prophecy.

“How come I didn’t see this coming?”, Henry soliloquized as he looked down upon his mobile phone.

It was 2:24 AM.

Henry knew it was only a matter of hours left before all hell broke loose upon him at Kaprisky Law Firm that morning.

Henry went through the  contacts on his mobile phone and called Edwin.

There was no response.

He called a second time and still there was no response.

He then did the next obvious thing; he called Kennedy. Kennedy answered the call after the phone had rang like six times.

“Did someone die?”, Kennedy asked immediately he answered the phone. Before Henry could answer, Kennedy went on again, “Or is it Edwin?”, “Is he alright?”, he asked. “If you called to ask for money, then I am sorry, but you dialed the wrong number, dude”, Kennedy said.

“I am the one who called you so shut up and let me do the talking and stop making these unnecessary insinuations”, Henry cut in.

“You can’t call me at this ungodly hour and bark at me”, Kennedy said out of anger. “My phone is my private property and I can choose to answer it or otherwise”, Kennedy added.

“Ken, my situation is getting worse with each passing moment”, Henry started. “Apparently, Sandra is involved sexually with her own father”, Henry, revealed

“Incest?”, Kennedy asked. “What?”, he exclaimed. “I am as shell-shocked as yourself”, Henry confirmed. “As it stands now, he has found out that I may be involved in a way with his daughter and he appears not to like the sound of it and he is said to going to come after me for my foolish courage”, Henry explained. “What is all this trouble?”, Kennedy asked. “Can’t you just stay away from this girl?”, Kennedy enquired “Ask again, my brother”, Henry seconded. “I don’t even know what to think or what to do”, Henry confessed.

Before he could continue, his phone beeped signaling an incoming call, he took it off his ear and checked, it was Edwin. “Hold on, Kennedy, Edwin is calling so let me join his call so we can have a conference call”, Henry told Kennedy.

“Are you having an emergency?”, Edwin asked when Henry conferenced the call. “Hahaha”, Kennedy laughed out loud. “The same thing I asked him when he called me”, Kennedy said. “What’s up?”, Edwin eagerly asked anticipating a positive response. “Henry’s issue is getting murkier”, Kennedy answered. “It appears his girlfriend’s dad is sleeping with  her and is coming after Henry out of jealousy. “This can’t be real!”, Edwin cut in abruptly. “This is the worst kind of story I have ever heard”, Edwin started.

“I think it’s about time we put an end to all of this nonsense!”, Edwin said angrily. “I cant be losing precious sleep over this madness”, Edwin burst out, to the surprise of both Henry and Kennedy. “I think your girlfriend needs a psychologist and I think you also need to stop fueling all her fantasies by avoiding her”, Edwin said. “It is because of the attention she is receiving from you that is making her cook up all these cock and bull stories”, Edwin ranted. “These stories are so bizarre that, it wont fit into any storybook or movie”, Edwin continued.

“Slow down, Edwin”, Kennedy  said realizing how angry Edwin was getting.

“Come to think of it, what proof do you have of her incest claims?”, Edwin asked as both Kennedy and Henry listened so quietly that you could literally hear a pin drop. “Have you had any form of encounter with her dad before?”, Edwin asked.

“Yes, but briefly”, Henry responded with a meek voice resembling that of a child who was being scolded for misbehaving. “And in that brief encounter, did he come across as an incestuous father?”, Edwin questioned.

“No he didn’t”, Henry answered.

“So why then do you let us lose sleep over such fabricated stories?”, Edwin queried.

“But…”, Henry started

“But what?”, Edwin rudely cut in. “To be totally honest with you, this matter is beginning to get on my nerves”, Edwin revealed.

There was a long silence.

“You guys remember the prophecy about me with the girl in it right?”, Henry enquired. “Could she be the one the man was talking about?”, Henry asked with a worried tone of voice.

“That is true!”, Kennedy exclaimed. “How could we have forgotten the hell and embarrassment you put us through because of this unfounded prophecy?”, Kennedy said sarcastically. “And now, you walk unaided into the same thing you have been trying to avoid for years with your two eyes wide open”, Kennedy questioned. “That is the irony of life, we end up crash-landing into the very thing we keep running away from”, Kennedy added.

“I still maintain that the pastor was lucky and just guessed that scenario”, Edwin cut in.

“If it was just a mere guess, why are all the things he said falling in place?”, Henry quizzed.

“Why me and why now?”, Henry questioned.

“Henry, you are making this too hard on yourself”, Edwin started.

“Till Sandra’s dad personally asks you to steer clear off her beloved daughter, let’s just assume that all that you have heard are not true”, Kennedy finally said. “I am beginning to take sides with Edwin on this particular matter”, Kennedy added. “Let’s all catch the little sleep left for us to catch before morning”, Edwin  suggested. “We can update one another as and when the need arises, goodbye”, Edwin said and was the first to end the call.

“Don’t worry, Henry, everything will be fine”, Kennedy said, yawned and dropped the call.

Henry was left all alone in his own dilemma. Instead of going back to sleep like his friends, he lay on his back and looked up at the ceiling fan as it swirled. “It is easy for them to whine and rant because they are not in my shoes”, Henry talked to himself referring to Edwin and Kennedy. “If all this is true, how can I stand up to Ben and Julius?”, Henry continued.

He tossed and turned in the bed and as he was finally about to doze off, his phone’s alarm sounded and he had to get ready for what could possibly be his worst day on earth…

Henry walked through the car park towards the entrance to Kaprisky Law Firm. As he walked, he looked through the car park to see if he was going to see Ben’s car parked among the fleet of luxury cars at the car park.

Ben’s car was not there.

Henry walked briskly past the reception and quickly stood in front of the elevator waiting for it to open so he could go up into his office. As he stretched forth his hand to press the elevator’s button, he realized his palms were very wet from anxiety and tension. He placed his hand in his pocket in an attempt to wipe his hand on the handkerchief he kept there. Immediately, his hand touched the handkerchief, a hand tapped his shoulder and he jumped up like a frightened cat that had been startled. As he turned, he saw an unfamiliar face.

“Oh, I am so sorry to have startled you”, a tall, dark man probably in his mid-thirties spoke. “I am looking for the conference room”, the man spoke. “The lady at the reception asked me to go down this hallway but I can’t seem to find it”, the man said.

Henry’s heart was still racing inside of his chest. “Okay, when you get to that door, turn right and count three doors, the fourth one on the right is the conference room”, Henry said as he pointed and gave directions to assist the man. As soon as the man was on his way, the elevator door opened and Henry rushed into it without second thoughts.

“It was thirty-seven minutes past midday and Henry had heard or seen no sign of Ben or Sandra. Even Julius had not showed up. Henry began to get worried. All his colleagues had gone out to have their lunch already but Henry insisted he was not hungry.

Henry kept thinking of how he was going to face Ben if it so happened that the two of them had to face off in a confrontation. It was almost 5:00PM and there was still no sign of Ben, Sandra or Julius. Henry began to suspect that something had happened to Sandra. He picked out his phone and called Sandra.

He called her four more times and there was still no response from Sandra. “What has happened to Sandra?”, Henry asked himself. In his state of confusion and helplessness, he decided to call Julius and find out if he was going to come into the office that day. Since he knew Ben and Julius were friends, he had the conviction that if anything was going on, Julius would definitely have wind of it.

“Hello sir”, Henry said as Julius answered the phone. “Are you going to come in to the office today?”, Henry asked politely.

“I am already inside the building”, Julius answered. “I just came in”, Julius added. “Meet me in the lobby downstairs”, Julius requested.

“Before you come, I want you to pack your bag”, Julius ordered.

“The hour has finally come”, Henry said as he walked to his desk to pack the bag in which he had his files and documents before making his way downstairs. “At least, I should be thankful that they are just sacking me”, Henry said to himself. “It could have been worse”, Henry said to console himself.

“Good afternoon Sir”, Henry said in a shaky tone as he reached downstairs and met Julius.

“Good afternoon, my boy”, Julius responded giddily.

“I want you to close early today because I want you to carry out a task for me very early tomorrow morning”, Julius revealed.

Henry heaved a heavy sigh of relief.

“They are not going to terminate my appointment?”, Henry thought to himself as he listened attentively to Julius.

“I am going to work on a case but I am sure it would take me late into the night”, Julius started. “I would leave the finished work on my table but the client and his lawyers would pass by  very early for it so I want you to report to work tomorrow earlier than usual so you can hand over the file to them”, Julius explained. “I would call you and give you details of the file after it is done so please keep your phone close to you”, Julius added.

Henry was so shell-shocked by Julius’s request that all he could say was, “Yes Sir”.

“I will call you tonight so be sure to get some rest”, Julius said and held the front door open for Henry.

As Henry walked out of the premises of Kaprisky Law Firm, he could not believe what was happening. He knew within his heart of hearts that something bad was going to happen. He just kept his faith, went home and immediately after getting something to eat, went straight to bed. He sent messages to Edwin and Kennedy updating them on the happenings of the day and they assured him that nothing was going to happen.

Around 10:38PM that night, Julius called Henry and gave him details of the file in question and asked him to be sure to be in the office before 6:30AM the next day so that his clients could pick it up for an early court hearing.

The following day, Henry obeyed his boss’s instructions and showed up at the main gate of Kaprisky at exactly 6:20AM. He quickly went up to Julius’s office to pick up the file in anticipation of the clients. It took him no time to get into the office. The building was virtually empty save the two night security guards at the gate. When he picked up the file, he realized it was so light in weight and wondered why it had to take Julius so long to work on.

Out of curiosity, he decided to take a quick peek at the work Julius had done.

To his surprise, when he opened the file, written in capitals were the words, “WE KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. WE ARE CAPABLE OF MAKING LIFE FOR YOU AND YOUR UNBORN GENERATIONS A LIVING HELL. KNOW YOUR PLACE AND STAY THERE FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!”.

Henry’s heart sunk after it had missed several beats. He turned to leave the office but there was a figure standing in the doorway.

Henry froze.

The figure approached Henry.

Henry recognized the figure instantly. It was the man whom he had given directions to the previous day… MORE SOON!!!

HENRY IS IN TROUBLE. HAS HE BEEN SET UP? FIND OUT MORE IN THE NEXT EPISODE OF  THIS CHILLING SAGA. MY NAME IS EDWIN OKO LAMPTEY AND THIS IS ANOTHER STORY FROM THE STABLES OF RANDOM AFRICAN THOUGHTS.

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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 THIRTEEN (13).

Maxwell hugged Alberta so tightly that he started reminiscing on the past emotions they had for each other. “Max, please don’t let go of me”. “I cannot live without you”, Alberta pleaded as she basked in the warm and firm embrace of her one time lover. “Alberta, you have to stop doing this to yourself”, Maxwell said as he broke up the embrace and put his hands on Alberta’s shoulder so as to have a better look at her. Alberta looked very pale and Maxwell felt that he was partly responsible for her current state. “Have you been eating at all?”, Maxwell asked, weighing Alberta’s arm in his palm. “I cannot eat well”, Alberta responded. “You are always on my mind and the thought of you doing all the things we used to do together with someone else makes me sick and the subject of food is the last thing that comes to mind when such thoughts fill my mind”, Alberta said, looking intently at Maxwell as if she wanted to be shown pity. “Albie, I thought we were way past these things and feelings”, Maxwell started. “I cannot do this anymore with you”. “I think you should leave now”, Maxwell added and looked at Alberta one more time before he started walking away. Alberta ran after Maxwell and held onto his shirt, “Maxwell, do you have a conscience at all?”, Alberta asked. “Have you forgotten so soon that this womb of mine once carried your seed?”, Alberta asked, touching her tummy. “I am well aware of that fact and truth be told, it is an episode that I am not proud of, so stop talking about it”, Maxwell said and continued walking on towards the entrance of his hostel. “Maxwell hold on”, Alberta pleaded while she tried to catch up with Maxwell. “Alberta”, Maxwell stopped and started to speak. “The last thing I want is for us to create a scene here”, Maxwell said, looking closely at Alberta. “If you are here to create a scene, I would not be party to it because I have had enough already”, Maxwell added. Alberta took Maxwell’s arm and placed it on her breasts. “You feel how fast my heart is beating, don’t you?”, Alberta asked, trying to effortlessly position Maxwell’s hand between her two firm beasts. “My heart beats this way only for you, Max”. This heartbeat yearns to be at rest in your loving arms”, Alberta said as she pressed Maxwell’s hand firmly against her chest area. “I see where this is going but it is not going to work”, Maxwell said and swiftly pulled his hand from in between Alberta’s breast. “I don’t understand what you mean by what you are saying”, Alberta fired back. “This is just a way of seducing me to make love to you right?”, Maxwell asked Alberta. Alberta, with the little strength left in her, gave Maxwell a slap on the cheek. “How dare you say that to me?”, Alberta asked, feeling very disappointed in Maxwell’s comments. “I won’t stand here and have you insult me for any reason whatsoever”, Alberta said and backed away from where she stood. “That didn’t come out right”, Maxwell said when he realized that his words were in a way harsh. “I am sorry”, Maxwell apologized. “I didn’t expect such words from you”, Alberta said. “You will never change and I will not force you to change”, Alberta added. Maxwell drew close to Alberta and said, “Honestly, I didn’t mean to cause you all this pain but things are just not working between us and I would not want any of us to be unhappy in a relationship”, Maxwell explained. “I understand you now”, Alberta said and turned to leave. “I wish you luck in life and goodbye”, Alberta turned and said as she signalled to stop a taxi to take her back to the bus terminal. Maxwell had complete confidence in the fact that he had finally managed to close Alberta’s chapter in his life. He had not heard from her or seen her around his campus and with the days that passed, he felt that was very comforting. It had been eight long weeks since Maxwell heard anything from Alberta. One evening, he was going through his lecture notes when he received a call from Alberta. “Hello”, Maxwell said and kept silent to hear what Alberta had to say. “Hello, Max, how are you?”, Alberta queried. “I am doing well”, Maxwell answered. “Are you hungry?”, Alberta asked, after they had exchanged pleasantries. “What kind of question is that?”, Maxwell fired back. “And even if I was hungry, what can you do about it?”, Maxwell asked, getting up to peep through the window if he could see any sign of Alberta but it was too dark to see anything. “You still haven’t answered my question”, Alberta insisted. Maxwell decided to think up a dish that would be ‘impossible’ for Alberta to produce even if it was the case that she was on his campus. “If I was to be hungry, I would love a big pizza and a bottle of coke to wash it down”, Maxwell said. “Okay, I would have it delivered to you”, Alberta said and hang up the phone. In about two hours, Maxwell was standing on the balcony in front of his room engaged in a serious debate with many of his hostel mates when Alberta came walking towards them with Maxwell’s pizza and a two-litre bottle of Coca cola in her hand. Maxwell was dumbfounded for minutes and was rooted to the spot until his roommates and other hostel mates asked him to invite Alberta into his room. He reluctantly agreed and acted as a gentleman and ushered Alberta into the room and he followed suit, leaving the others outside the room. “What are you doing here?”, Maxwell asked coldly. “I thought I told you not to come here anymore”, Maxwell added feeling very much incensed by Alberta’s presence. “They say that time is supposed to heal you but I can see that with you, the passage of time makes you detest me the more”, Alberta said and placed the pizza and bottle of Coca cola on the table. She walked to the door and turned the lock, locking Maxwell’s roommates outside. She then started to undress. Maxwell could not believe what was happening. “Maxwell”, Alberta started, “Let us play a game”. “I am going to give you two options”, Alberta added as she continued undressing. “The last time we met, you accused me of being a whore who was only interested in sleeping with you”, Alberta continued. “But today, I am going to offer my body to you and I want you to make love to me”. Maxwell was sitting on his bed and tried hard to shut his eyes so as not to be tempted by Alberta’s half-naked body as Alberta started walking towards him in an unusual way. “That is one part of the game”, Alberta added. “The other option available to you is that you can refuse my offer but I would walk out of this room stark naked and accuse you of mistreating me and throwing me out of your room without any clothes”, Alberta revealed. “Bear in mind that all your male friends are standing right behind this door and you would not want to disgrace me in such a manner, will you?”, Alberta asked as she finally sat on Maxwell’s laps. Maxwell, still with his eyes closed, tried to fight off Alberta’s advances. “There is no way in hell or on earth that I am going to sleep with you, Alberta”, Maxwell said. “You are free to do your worse”, Maxwell added and pushed Alberta off him. “Okay, suit yourself”, Alberta responded and started for the door with her breasts dangling in front of her. *Clock*clock*, Alberta started to unlock the door when Maxwell rushed to the door to stop her from going outside naked to the full glare of the crowd that had gathered right outside the door. “Alberta please stop this”, Maxwell pleaded when he managed to prevent Alberta from opening the door. “You just called my bluff and I was going to show you that I was up to the task”, Alberta said. “I know you will not cause me to do this”, Alberta said as she touched Maxwell’s cheeks. “Are you going to make love to me or not?”, Alberta enquired. “Albie, you know that I can’t do this with you anymore right?”, Maxwell explained. “I have moved on and I know that you have moved on too”, Maxwell added. “Okay, step out of my way then, I want to leave”, Alberta said. “I would only allow you to leave with your clothes on”, Maxwell fought back. “Then you know what to do to get me to put my clothes on”, Alberta said. “It is either we go and lie on that bed together”, Alberta said, pointing to Maxwell’s bed. “Or, I walk out of here alone, without my clothes on, Alberta said, pointing to the door which Maxwell had managed to bar with his fists”. “The choice is yours to make”, Alberta added. Maxwell stood there is if he was in a trance and contemplated on what to do. In a matter of seconds and with whatever considerations he made, Maxwell started walking towards his bed and Alberta followed him, laughing hysterically. Soon, Maxwell and Alberta walked out of his room together and headed towards the bus terminal to see Alberta off. Maxwell did not say a word throughout the drive to the main bus terminal. Alberta was giddy and all excited jumping around in the taxi like a young calf. “I feel like a million pounds right now”, Alberta said feeling so excited and was already beaming with smiles. As they walked up the driveway leading into the bus terminal, Maxwell finally broke his self-acclaimed silence. “What just happened back there is and will be the last time any such thing would happen between us”, Maxwell said. “The next time you try such a feat, I would kill you before you walk out the door”, Maxwell warned. “I know you enjoyed every bit of it because as hard as you tried to suppress it, I could hear your moans even though they were muffled and I saw how all the veins in your body stood at attention at the sight of my body”, Alberta added. Maxwell did not even wait to see if Alberta had joined the bus or not and left her there and went back to his hostel. When he got there, his roommates and hostel mates were all gathered there waiting on him to return. “Max, what are you still doing hanging around this young lady for?”, Ben, Maxwell’s roommate asked as Maxwell approached the crowd. Maxwell knew that he was going to become a topic for discussion because of his recent escapades with Alberta. “I just don’t know why she cannot stay away from me after all the constant warnings I have given to her”, Maxwell said in his defence. “You need to find a way to permanently cut ties with her before she lands you into a situation where you would find it impossible to break free from”, another guy in the crowd said. “It would be sad to hear that you got killed because of this girl”, the guy added. “No such thing is going to happen to my roommate”, Ben said and moved for the discussion to be brought to an end and managed to diplomatically disperse the crowd that had gathered to save Maxwell some face and give him some peace of mind. When they entered the room, Maxwell’s roommates sat him down and advised him. Ben spoke first, “Max, you are like the brother I never had and I would hate to be in your shoes right now but whatever you have going on, please try and get your act together and act like you know what you are about”, Ben said. “What is that supposed to mean?”, Maxwell asked Ben. “Maxwell, please listen to Ben”, Richmond, Maxwell’s other roommate said. “We are supposed to look out for each other like brothers”, Richmond added. “From the look of things, I think we need to step in to avoid the worst from happening”, Ben chipped in. “We have resolved that the next time Alberta comes here, we are going to ask her to leave and that is whether we get your approval or not”, Richmond added. Maxwell agreed to what his roommates said and went to bed feeling very exhausted. In the weeks that followed, Maxwell received the unfortunate news of losing a course mate and personal friend to cerebrospinal meningitis. A funeral date was set and Maxwell decided to attend the funeral to pay his last respects even though the first semester of his final year in the university was drawing to a close. Before Maxwell left for the funeral, he arranged with Nancy for them to meet up after the burial service so they could spend some time together. Just like they promised, Maxwell met up with Nancy in her house and they spent most of the afternoon together in each other’s arms. Maxwell decided to leave and go back to school when it was late afternoon. After Nancy had seen him off and he joined a bus heading to the bus terminal, he gave Alberta a call to check up on her. “Talk of the devil”, Alberta said when she answered Maxwell’s call. “I was just about to call you”, Alberta added. “Is there any problem?”, Maxwell asked. “Yes, there is a big problem, Max”, Alberta responded. “What is it?”, Maxwell asked in a frantic effort to find out what Alberta’s problem was. “I was just kidding with you”, Alberta said. “You are the one who called so I should be asking what your problem is”, Alberta said. “Anyway, I was passing through town and just called to say hello”, Maxwell explained. “So you are in town and you didn’t bother to pass by my end?”, Alberta queried. “It would be out of this world for you to come to town and not come over to my place”, Alberta started. “Wherever you are, please come over because I want to see you”, Alberta pleaded. After much persuasion, Alberta managed to convince Maxwell and took a detour to Alberta’s house. Before he got there, he called Nancy and told her that he was on the bus heading to his campus and that he was going to call her when he got there. Maxwell knocked on Alberta’s door and she opened it and threw herself in Maxwell’s arms. As they sat together, Alberta put her head on Maxwell’s laps and started to caress them. Maxwell asked to be excused to use the washroom and when he returned, he saw his phone ringing and the caller was Nancy. Maxwell could not answer the call because he had already told her early on that he was on the bus heading toward his school. When Nancy called three times and there was no response, she sent him a text message, “Maxwell where are you?…why are you  not answering my calls?…I am worried?”. When Maxwell saw the message, he knew something had gone amiss in the short period between asking to be excused to visit the washroom and returning to see his phone ringing. When Maxwell suggested that he wanted to leave, Alberta was infuriated and angrily left the room and stood outside. Maxwell dug his hands into his pockets and fetched all the money he had left on him. Judging by the time, he knew that he was going to miss the regular bus the plied his school’s route. He knew that to prevent any inconvenience or any unforeseen incident, he had to have additional cash to get him back safely onto his campus. He searched Alberta’s room and found some notes which he picked without Alberta’s knowledge. He stepped outside to see Alberta standing in front of the door. “I have a funny gut feeling that staying here would bring trouble for all of us so I want to take my leave”, Maxwell said and quickly hugged Alberta and made a quick getaway. As he sat in the bus heading back to the bus terminal, he kept receiving calls from Nancy. He could not answer her calls because he did not know how he was going to explain why he was held up and was still in a bus after several hours of leaving her place. True to his speculation, when Maxwell finally arrived at the bus terminal, all the regular buses had left so he had to join a private bus back to school. It was already 10:39PM when he joined the bus which was half full with passengers who preferred to travel at night. Maxwell’s phone beeped from a message received. It was from Nancy, “Maxwell, I am very worried right now, it is way past my bedtime and I just thought I could hear your voice before I go to bed but from the look of things, you are going to stand me up and deprive me of that too”. “Please call me when you get this message, love you bunch”. Maxwell prayed and wished that the bus would miraculously reach his campus in a few seconds so he could get back to Nancy but it was not to be. It seemed like ages before the bus was finally full. When Maxwell got to his hostel, it was almost thirty minutes past 1 A.M. He hurriedly found his way to his room and knocked so hard on the door until his knocks managed to wake Richmond up after he had called his roommates phones several times without any response. He took a quick shower and went to bed, praying for dawn to break quickly so he could call Nancy and explain to her what had happened. A loud knock suddenly woke Maxwell up from his sleep. He checked his time and it was ten minutes past 8 A.M. He hurriedly went to the door and unlocked it. *Clock*clock*clock. When the door flung open, Maxwell could not believe his eyes so he wiped them again. “Where is the money you took from my room?”, Alberta asked….. ALBERTA IS ONE OF A KIND. SHE WOULD DO ANYTHING TO GET MAXWELL’S ATTENTION. WHAT MORE WILL SHE DO? STAY TUNED TO FIND OUT. MY NAME IS EDWIN OKO LAMPTEY AND THIS IS ANOTHER MASTERPIECE……WATCH THIS SPACE FOR MORE DETAILS. MORE AT randomafricanthoughts.blogspot.com

EVEN IF I DON’T FIND PEACE…EPISODE SIX (6).

Alberta and Maxwell had created an amazing long distance bond with the help of technology. Both of them were always on the phone chatting and sharing moments of pain and affection together. They had been talking for two weeks but to Alberta, it felt like two years. In one of their marathon nightly conversations, Alberta made a startling remark, “Where were you all this while?”. Maxwell was quiet for a while and requested for clarification, “What is that supposed to mean?”, Maxwell asked. “Ever since I started getting to know you for who you are, I laugh more, I am always in a hurry to hear your voice when I see your number on my cell phone and I sleep well at night”, Alberta confessed. “In fact, I had been meaning to tell you this way back in High School”, Alberta started, shuddering in her voice. “I think I had a crush on you way back in school but I didn’t know how I was going to tell you”. “The love I had for you was so strong that I didn’t know what to do about it and I ended up hating you because I felt you would never feel the same way about me”. “You were gentle, always neat and it seemed like you were the leader of your all-boy clique which in some way really turned me on”, Alberta added, feeling she was telling Maxwell too much of her obsession for him. “So instead of complimenting me for being such a gentleman like you claim, why did you hate me so much?”, Maxwell queried after Alberta’s shocking revelation. “If only you knew how desperate I was”, Alberta added. “You remember that girl who used to hang around you all the time way back in school?”, Alberta asked. Maxwell tried to cast his mind years back to answer Alberta’s question. “Yes I remember her very well”, Maxwell said. “I hear she got married last month to a wealthy business man”, Maxwell added. “Oh really?”, Alberta asked with a sense of relief in her voice. “Don’t tell me you were jealous of her hanging out with me”, Maxwell said. “Truth be told Max, I hated that girl so much for having what I was praying to have but it seemed you were lost in her love”, Alberta said. “I hated her with so much passion that there was even a time that I wanted her to die”, Alberta added. “You should see the relief on my face on hearing that she is married because it means that I will be having you all to myself”, Alberta said jokingly and the two of them laughed over it. “Max, I don’t know why I am telling you all this because I don’t  usually trust guys so much but there is something about you that gives me so much assurance that you are different”, Alberta confessed, still shuddering in her speech. “I thought that I had gotten over you with the years that passed but having back in my life this past few weeks has rather made me know that the feeling had not been lost but that it had only gone into hiding”, Alberta continued. “Max, are you there?”, Alberta asked after speaking for a while without a sound from Maxwell. “Sweetheart, I am here”, Maxwell responded. Maxwell listened quietly but occasionally gave Alberta verbal nods to let her know that he was paying rapt attention. “What if I told you that the feeling is mutual now?”, Maxwell asked. “Does that mean that you have some feelings for me now?”, Alberta asked. “Maxwell please don’t deceive me”, Alberta started. “Are you saying all this because of what I have just told you or is it that you have genuinely developed feelings for me?”, Alberta asked with a bit of confusion and uncertainty in her voice. “I really do, Albie”, Maxwell said. “I have thought this over several times and I think that I just might have developed a strong liking for you in a special way”, Maxwell revealed. “What kind of special way are you referring to?”, Alberta asked out of curiosity. “I think what we have here can develop into a relationship that can lead to other things”, Maxwell said. “Maxwell, are you asking me out?”, Alberta asked feeling elated. “If what I am saying is anything to go by, then, yes, I am asking you to be my girlfriend”, Maxwell answered. “Wow!”, Alberta exclaimed, “I just can’t that this is happening right now”, Alberta said still in a state of shock mixed with excitement. The two of them were silent over the phone for a while. Suddenly, Alberta broke the silence. “Max, do you know what today’s date is?”. Maxwell looked on his phone screen and realized that it was way past midnight and the date was 14th February. “Wow, I didn’t even realize”, Maxwell said. “You liar, I know you had this well-planned”, Alberta said. “I know you would deny it but I would give you the credit for being romantic”, Alberta said. “Happy Valentine’s Day, Baby”, Alberta said. They spoke more for a while and Alberta asked to go to bed because she had to go to school in the morning. That semester, Maxwell studied so hard during the day and dedicated his nights to talking to Alberta. Apart from attending lectures and public for a, Maxwell did not have a real social life. He was almost all the time indoors laying on his bed either watching a movie on his laptop or talking to Alberta. He seldom called any of his family members. His attitude caught the attention of his father who asked if he was in any kind of trouble but anytime his father brought the issue up on the few occasions they spoke; Maxwell always brushed the issue aside. Soon the first semester in the university had come to a close and Maxwell was so excited about the fact that he had vacated and was finally going to meet Alberta for the first time ever since he asked her to be his girlfriend. Immediately Maxwell arrived home safely, he dropped his suitcase and quickly rushed out of the house making his way to Alberta’s house. When he got to the door of Alberta’s house, he looked at his reflection in her glass window and wiped off some particles that had found their way on his chin. A young man walked out and informed him that she was in another room behind the house. Maxwell followed the directions given by the young man and knocked at the door. “Surprise!”, Maxwell screamed when Alberta opened the door. “What are you doing here?”, Alberta asked looking both surprised. “Don’t just stand there, give me a hug”, Maxwell ordered. Alberta drew close and hugged him. Both of them went into the room and had a long chat. As they talked, Maxwell’s mother called him but Maxwell did not answer the call. Upon calling the third time, Alberta snatched the phone from Maxwell’s hand and answered the call, “Hello mummy, my name is Alberta”. “I know you miss you soon so much but please spare me only an hour with him so that I send him back home to you”, Alberta pleaded. Maxwell’s mother responded to Alberta’s request but he answer was only heard by Alberta. Alberta stayed on the phone for a while and the last thing she said was, “Okay mummy, thank you so much”. She hang up the phone and tossed the phone unto Maxwell’s laps. “What did she say?”, Maxwell asked. “That is none of your business”, Alberta started. “The most important thing is that she has agreed that you can stay for a while”, Alberta responded. The two lovebirds chatted for some time before Maxwell left for his house. When Maxwell got home, his mother and sister were in the kitchen preparing a special supper to welcome Maxwell back home. He went into the kitchen and hugged his sister and asked if he could help out with the dinner. His mother asked him to wash the vegetables that were already in the kitchen’s sink. “Who is Alberta?”, Maxwell’s mother asked, as he was washing the vegetables. “Just a friend”, Maxwell responded abruptly. “Which Alberta is mum talking about?”, Maxwell’s sister asked curiously. “I hope it is not the Alberta both of us know”, Maxwell’s sister asked dropping the plate she had in her hand on the kitchen counter. Maxwell was silent. “Are you kidding me, Max?”, his sister asked. “I am your sister but I would say this in the presence of mummy that if you have anything to do with Alberta, I would question your taste in women and I mean it”, Maxwell’s sister said. “What is that supposed to mean?”, both Maxwell and his mother asked simultaneously. “Mum, that girl is my friend and I know her better than Max does so believe me when I say she is not the woman for you”, Maxwell’s sister said, turning to look in Maxwell’s direction. They argued over the issue for a while and ended it when dinner was ready. Maxwell was in love and did not want to listen to what his sister was saying. He had spoken to Alberta for a while and it seemed her behaviour with him was opposite of what his sister recounted. Maxwell wanted to ask Alberta if she was hiding anything from him the next time he met her. That night, when he went to bed after dinner, he thought about what his sister had said but in his mind, he was of the view that she was only jealous of the fact that he had managed to win over Alberta’s heart. The following day, Maxwell dressed up and head for Alberta’s. Once again, when he got to her house, she was told that Alberta was in the room behind the house. Curiosity got the better of Maxwell so when he got to the room after being ushered in by Alberta, he asked, “You are always here and by looking around, I gather that this room belongs to a man, you can correct me if I am mistaken”, Maxwell said. “You are right, Max”, Alberta started. “This room belongs to a friend of mine who works in town”. “He leaves home very early so he leaves his key behind so that I can watch TV whenever my brother’s girlfriend comes around and they need some privacy”, Alberta added. “Nothing is going on between us just so you know”, Alberta said. Maxwell did not seem so convinced but he took Alberta for her word. They sat down to chat and Alberta placed her head on Maxwell’s laps. They talked and laughed at each other for hours. Maxwell decided to leave because it was getting late. As he tried leaving, Alberta held on to his shirt and started kissing him. Maxwell pushed her unto the couch and dived unto her chest and they engaged each other in bouts of passionate kisses and caresses for minutes. “Maxwell, make love to me”, Alberta moaned. Maxwell who was in seventh heaven asked, “Like here and now?”. “Yes, now but not here!”, Alberta screamed in passionate excitement. “There is a bed behind that partition”, Alberta said, pointing to the curtains that were used to separate the sleeping area from the living room in Alberta’s friend’s single room apartment. Maxwell followed Alberta like a sheep being led to the slaughterhouse and within seconds, they found themselves on the bed. Alberta started to undress and Maxwell asked, “Should I take off my trouser?”. Alberta laughed out loud and responded, “Max, do whatever makes you feel comfortable”. Maxwell pulled down his trouser and lay on top of Alberta and within a matter of seconds with a few strokes, he ejaculated. “What is wrong with you?”, Alberta asked, as she felt the hot semen inside of her. Maxwell who was so embarrassed responded, “I am fine” and got up from on top of Alberta. He quickly zipped up his trouser and headed for the door. As he made his way out of the room, Alberta run and stood in front of the entrance, locked the door and took the key out. “Where do you think you are going, young man?”, Alberta asked. “We are not done here”, she added. “It’s getting late and I have to go home”, Maxwell said, looking quite embarrassed. As they stood there arguing, Maxwell’s phone rang. Alberta put her hand into his pocket and drew the phone out. “It’s your mother”, she said but before Maxwell could say anything, she had already answered the phone. “Good evening, mummy, Maxwell is here with me”. “What is going on between you and my son?” “I want you to cut whatever ties you have with my son from today”. “I don’t think you are the type of girl he should be keeping company so please stay away from him and don’t entertain him ever again, do you understand?”, Maxwell’s mother continued. “Yes please”, Alberta responded with tears in her eyes. Immediately Alberta hang up the phone, opened her palm and offered Maxwell the key to the door. “Please don’t come back here again”, Alberta said, with tears streaming down her cheeks. “What is the meaning of this?”, a confused Maxwell asked. “Go home and ask your mother”, Alberta responded. She unlocked the door herself and asked Maxwell to leave quietly. When Maxwell stepped out of the room, he was filled with rage and marched home in anger. When he got home, his mother was in the kitchen. “Mummy, what did you tell Alberta?”, Maxwell queried. “I told her what would make her stay away from you because of what your sister said about her yesterday”, Maxwell’s mother responded. “You people cannot decide who I can keep as a friend or not based on some non-existent preconceived idea about them”, Maxwell blurted. “Son, this is life and no matter your level of education, you would need to learn how to balance your academic knowledge with home science to be able to live a meaningful life”. “Just your knowledge about books is not enough to live life”, Maxwell’s mother added. “This fact notwithstanding does not give you the right to interfere with the kind of friends I keep”, Maxwell fought back. “You are my son and I love you so I would not watch you fail and keep quiet about it”, Maxwell’s mother said. After the conversation with his mother, Maxwell went straight to his room without taking his dinner. That night, he tried calling Alberta several times but she refused to answer any of his phone calls. The next day, he left for her house but she was not at home. He waited for a while but when she was not returning, he left for his house. Maxwell did not hear from Alberta nor saw her till he left for school for the second semester of his first year in the university. Even when Maxwell went back to school, he tried calling Alberta but there was still no response. He had gone three months into the second semester when on one night, he tried calling Alberta’s number one more time to see if he would be lucky to hear her voice one more time. As the call was about to time out, Alberta answered the phone. “Hello Maxwell, what do you want?”, Alberta queried. “Alberta, I am very sorry for what happened between you and my mum”, Maxwell said. “You don’t need to be sorry Max”, Alberta said. “I am pregnant”, Alberta added. Maxwell’s heart missed several beats after Alberta’s revelation…… MY NAME IS EDWIN OKO LAMPTEY. STAY TUNED IF YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT IN “EVEN IF I DON’T FIND PEACE”. MORE AT randomafricanthoughts.blogspot.com. SEASON’S GREETINGS FROM ALL OF US AT RANDOM AFRICAN THOUGHTS. ENJOY THE FESTIVE SEASON WITH WARMTH.

EVEN IF I DON’T FIND PEACE…EPISODE THREE (3).

Maxwell was checking on the lawn while he was still contemplating over his dilemma when Linda came rushing out to ask him a question. “Would you rather have boiled yam with sauce or you are a rice man so rice will do?”, Linda queried. Maxwell, since childhood had always been a glutton. He was devoted to eating and drinking in excess when he had the chance. He carefully looked at the expression on Linda’s face when he responded, “You know what?”. “Add a few slices of boiled yam to the rice and stew and I would very much appreciate it if you poured me a big glass of that pineapple juice in the refrigerator to help me wash the food down”. Linda raised her eyebrows out of reflex at Maxwell’s huge appetite. She immediately cleared her throat and said, “I hope you are not in any way measuring your hunger by the work you are doing because that can be very tricky”. “But I would do as you wish”, she added. Linda turned to go and get Maxwell’s order when he called out after her, “Who prepared the stew?”, Maxwell asked. “Which stew?”, Linda queried. “The one you are going to serve me with.”, Maxwell answered sarcastically.  “I did”, Linda responded. “Do you have a problem eating food prepared by a stranger?”, Linda asked, walking back to the edge of the lawn. “No I don’t”. “I would actually love to taste your food because I have had one too any delicacies from grandma so a change in the menu would be splendid”, Maxwell added, hiding the fact that he did not enjoy his grandmother’s dishes. In a matter of minutes, Linda had dished out Maxwell’s food and served him under Maxwell’s grandfather’s summer hut. The summer hut which used to have four beautiful wooden beach chairs and a centre table which was made of marble was now left with two wooden chairs, one plastic chair and the once shining marble centre table had now faded. As he sat down to enjoy his meal, he heard many masculine voices. He recognized one of the voices as that belonging to Rudolf. Maxwell quickly signalled for Linda to clear the table but he was too late. The boys he grew up with had luck on their side and they had arrived just about the same time Maxwell’s hard-earned lunch. “Heaven is really smiling on me today”, Rudolf yelled as he giddily rushed to wash his hands to enjoy Maxwell’s meal. All the other boys followed Rudolph’s lead and in a matter of seconds, the plate of rice and boiled sliced yams were nowhere in sight. The boys cared less about Maxwell’s grumbling as they devoured his meal with him. When the meal was finished, Raphael, Rudolph’s twin brother grabbed the pineapple juice and downed it on the first attempt. Maxwell almost cried out in pain but he held his peace and kept his cool. Rudolph, Raphael, Frank and Prince, the young men who partook in Maxwell’s free for all lunch had not seen Maxwell in a long while. Apparently, Rudolph had showed off his earnings when he met Maxwell so the other boys had also come to take their share of Maxwell’s give-aways. “Maxwell, we heard what you did for Rudolph and we are here to receive our share because it is only fair that you treat all your brothers fairly”, Raphael spoke, with authority. Maxwell looked at Rudolph who was already slouching in the plastic chair. “Right now, I have used up all my money but I will sort you all out shortly, hopefully by tomorrow morning”, Maxwell said. “That is not good enough, Max”, Frank said and gulped down the remnants of the pineapple juice in the almost empty glass. “Have I ever gone against my word before, Frankie”? Maxwell asked looking at Frank. “I should be the one complaining here because you guys came into my house uninvited, ate my food and you expect me to pay you for it too?”, Maxwell fired out. Frank looked at Maxwell as if he had just been hit by an upper cut and as his finally words reached its intended target, Frank drew close to Maxwell and gave him a tight hug. “It is good to have you back, brother”, Frank said with tears in his eyes. “You are still the straight forward Maxwell I have known since infancy. Frank was the most emotional among all of them. He would cry at the least provocation. He was also the most adorable and coupled as the ladies’ man among the boys. He had busy eyebrows and the ladies often fell over each other just to be with him. He had completed the university two years after Maxwell and had been unemployed ever since he completed his national service. On that same day, he had gone to town to submit his résumé to some firms in a bid to get a job. He was fair in complexion and like Maxwell, sported a faded haircut. Raphael had changed totally, he had grown lean and his face was plagued with pimples.  He was the brightest among all of them. He dropped out of the university in his final year because he spent all his tuition for his final year with his girlfriend, Ruth. She left him immediately she found out that it was his tuition that he lavishly spent with her. Even after dumping him, he still was doing everything he could to still be with her but it seemed that his efforts were getting the better of him. She was one very demanding girlfriend and the boys did not really like her company. Raphael had been advised to stay away from Ruth countless times but he always responded, “You’ve not seen what I have seen because if you have, you will not tell me what you are telling me now”. Maxwell always sympathized with him because he always maintained that his predicament could befall any one of them. Maxwell liked Prince for many reasons but one. Prince had started making advances at Maxwell’s sister and it made Maxwell very uncomfortable whenever he has in their company. His sister too had started developing a thing for Prince and it put Maxwell off. Maxwell had gathered that Prince had recently landed a job as a sales representative for a herbal medicine company. He always complained of how he was being exploited by his employers just because of the prevalence of unemployment. “If it had not been for unemployment, would these baboons even have the effrontery to employ me, a university graduate, to do the work that even high school leavers would reject?”, he would often whine. Prince was the tallest among all the boys and Maxwell was the shortest. Prince and Maxwell used to get along till Maxwell found out about his plans about his sister. “We need your help, Max”, Rudolph spoke as he lifted himself up from the seat. “We are moving from one room to another in our house and we could use your help in moving our stuff”, Rudolph added. “Our father wants to rent out our room so we can make some money to start up a small business”, Raphael chipped in. “Okay, let me grab my shirt so we go”, Maxwell responded with haste. He always wanted to help all the boys out with their issues and they knew he would never let them down. Maxwell rushed into the hall and asked permission from his grandmother to step out for a while. He went buy the kitchen where Linda was washing the dishes and said, “We really enjoyed your meal, thank you”. “Stop flattering me”, Linda said. “I know your huge appetite needs some more so I saved some of the food for you”, Linda added. “You can have it when you come back or better still, I would put it in the microwave oven for you”, Linda said and dished out the food. “You are so adorable”, Maxwell said. “Will I see you tomorrow?”, Maxwell asked. Linda wiped her hand on her apron, turned and said, “I will go to work tomorrow so you might see me the day after tomorrow”. “Okay”, Maxwell replied and stepped out of the house with the boys. On their way to Rudolph’s house, the boys passed by another drinking bar in the area called ‘Cool Running’. It was run by some Rastafarians. It was the only bar that was actively patronised in the entire neighbourhood. As they walked passed the bar, Maxwell recounted how his father used to send him on errands to the bar to buy him two shots of dry gin and one shot of lime whenever he wanted to eat his evening meal. As they arrived at Rudolph’s house, Maxwell greeted Rudolph’s father and as usual, he gave his sons the lecture of their striving to be like Maxwell. As the old man gave the lecture, Maxwell looked straight on and just nodded, in his head, he thought to himself, “If only this man knew what I have been through, he would not wish for his sons to be like me”. When the lecture was over, Raphael gave Maxwell a knock on the head and said, “You see the disadvantages of being too good?” Maxwell laughed off the question and followed Raphael as he led the way to the room. Upon reaching the entrance of the room, Maxwell held his nose and asked, “What is that smell?” “What smell?”, Raphael asked with a surprised look on his face. As Raphael opened the door to the room, the suspicious smell filled the hallway. “What the hell have you boys been doing in this room?” The room was really stuffy with a lot of dirty clothes in it. “So are you guys able to be this dirty and still keep your girlfriends?”, Maxwell asked sarcastically. “I wonder the kind of girls that would date you lot”. “I guess they might be as dirty as you two”, Maxwell added, pointing at Rudolph and Raphael. In about two hours, they had managed to move the stuff from one room to the other. After the work was done, Rudolph picked up his football boots and headed straight to the pitch close to his house. “Do you still play like you used to when we were kids?”, Maxwell asked Rudolph who was already getting dressed. “Follow me to the pitch and you will see me in action”, Rudolph replied. As they all stepped out with Rudolph in front of them, they saw Ruth approaching from the opposite direction with one of the footballers. Maxwell walked past her as if he had never seen her before and sat on a short wall to watch Rudolph play. As he sat, Ruth walked to him and said, “I thought you always claimed that you never forgot faces but in just a matter of years, you have forgotten about me”, Ruth lamented. “I haven’t forgotten about you, Ruth, I am just ignoring you”, Maxwell replied. “You can be so annoying at times that is why we never lasted”, Ruth said and asked Maxwell to hug him which he reluctantly did. Ruth used to be Maxwell’s girlfriend but the two of them only dated for three weeks before they eventually broke up. Maxwell really loved Ruth but he could not keep up with her lavish lifestyle. “What brings you back to this part of town, Ruth queried. “Have you come to apologize so we get back together?”, Ruth added. “Hell no!”, Maxwell barked back at Ruth and broke out in hysterical laughter. “I have seen what you have done to Raphael and I don’t want to end up like him so thank you, I think I am doing just fine without you”, Maxwell said. “Moreover, I have enough on my plate already”, Maxwell added. “Welcome back home, Max”, Ruth said and left him alone. After the football match, Maxwell headed back to his grandmother’s house. When he got to the gate, he heard people arguing inside the house and rushed to see what the confusion was about. When Maxwell got into the hall, he saw his father and another brother arguing on top of their voices. “What is going on here?”, Maxwell asked as he pulled his father back from facing his brother in a fist fight. Maxwell’s grandmother had called her eldest son to inform him that Maxwell had visited her. Her eldest son in turn called Maxwell’s father to tell him to tell Maxwell to leave the house. The argument started over the phone and both of them ended up in the house to face off. Maxwell’s uncle looked at him and asked, “Hey you, do you think you can fight over this property with me?” “I have never for once sat down to think of taking over property from anyone”, Maxwell started. “All I have ever wanted since all of this started is for us to forget about our differences and live together as a happy family and I know this is not difficult to ask. Maxwell’s father, who was already speaking on top of his voice, asked his mother, “How can you allow him talk to my son in such a manner, mother?” “How else do you expect me to talk to him?”, Maxwell’s uncle asked. “You have sent him here to fight in your stead but I want you to know that your plan will not see the light of day”, Maxwell’s uncle added. All this while, Maxwell’s grandmother was in tears over what was ensuing between her sons. “All of this could have been avoided if you didn’t call your beloved son to inform him that your grandson has visited you”, Maxwell’s father said while pointing at his mother. “What have I done?”, Maxwell’s grandmother asked amid tears. “Aren’t you the one who called Donald to inform him that Maxwell was here?”, Maxwell’s father barked at his mother. Maxwell walked to the middle of the room and yelled, “Can’t you people see that you are killing your mother with these arguments?” “Tell, them my son”, his grandmother chipped in. “You people need to come to an agreement so we can all be happy once and for all”, Maxwell started. “This family is dying because there is no love in it”, Maxwell said. “We need to put all this greed behind us and live together as one happy family”. “I doubt if you would behave this way if grandpa was still alive”, Maxwell added. “Now, both of you should leave my grandfather’s house because the only one who is the legitimate owner of this edifice is this woman sitting here”, Maxwell barked, pointing to his grandmother. “You people are our role models and it breaks my heart to see you people fighting one another”. “You people should find a way to settle your differences”, Maxwell added….. IS MAXWELL GOING TO BE THE SAVIOUR OF HIS FAMILY? MORE TO FOLLOW SOON. MY NAME IS EDWIN OKO LAMPTEY AND THIS IS ANOTHER MASTERPIECE TITLED “EVEN IF I DON’T FIND PEACE”. MORE AT randomafricanthoughts.blogspot.com