My innocence, my guilt.

We've had no light for months now. The new bakery stopped because of the high cost of running its services without electricity. I wonder why they had to stop because of such a silly excuse; not considering the huge sales they make on a daily basis as it was the only bakery in the neighborhood. 

 

On second thought, I think they're right. A total black out for months is not one of such excuses I should refer to as 'silly'. The cost of fueling a generator alone is so exorbitant. The cost of lamps too at the market are high. They'll have to purchase as many lamps as possible since the bakery is a big one with many chambers.

 

At first, I felt so exultant because it's friday. Yes! Fridays are for delivery to my street. So I'd expected the usual toasted bread and meat pie which I considered the most frugal. But then, the bakery has terminated its activities. I feel so bad!

 

I had no choice. I made Noodles for the morning. I picked up my laptop to create very catchy visuals. I forced myself for a while, then I stopped. Let's say I'm having a blue day. I feel so sad. I feel so depressed. I can't concentrate. You can call it mood swing. I can't account for my feelings right now and that's very bad to the core. Many scary thoughts and imagination occupied my cerebrum. But why? I don't know. I'm pretty sure I've had no thesaurus with anyone. No threat from anyone either. I couldn't help but mint so hard to discard them from my memory.

 

"Ouch!" The sound of that came simultaneously with that of my crashed phone screen on the floor. The sleep cleared from my eyes. One who watches me sleep might conclude that I fight "kung Fu" with my bed. Most times when I wake up, you'd see one of the pillows down at one side of the bed, the other too at the other side of the bed. You'd also see the bedsheet curling helplessly on the floor. You might think it's a rag for cleaning the floor. This time, I've just kicked off my phone. But the truth is that even with my cracked phone screen, I feel better now; after all, my phone is still in a good working condition. Just the crack!

 

As I trekked down the street that faithful evening, I noticed the street was not as busy as usual. It's scanty. I saw a man walking very unseriously to a woman roasting corn by the roadside. He seemed to have been arduously on a long journey. He looked so tattered. What's my business with this man? I don't even know. Why spend my energy staring at him? "Anyways, let me buy roasted corn for myself as well, then continue my journey". I said to myself even when I had no place in mind. 

"Please Ma, can you please give me corn to eat please. I'm very hungry and tired please". I heard as I approached the corn seller. The woman looked at him as if she had caught a childhood enemy.

"Ma please give him the corn, I'll take care of the bills". I can't believe that was coming from me.

"God bless you sir, thank you so much". The man smiled beautifully at me.

 

I watched him devour the corn mercilessly. I noticed he wasn't satisfied, so I signalled the woman to give him another.

 

"Ahh! God bless you my son. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it." The man recited as he set to continue his journey even in the cloudy weather.

 

Where on earth is this man going? Though the sky is dripping water already, he still had the courage to leave. Anyways, where is he supposed to stay to let the rain stop? 

At first, he called me "SIR." Then after winning a gold medal for an outstanding battle with the corn, he called me "MY SON".

Comical! Unbelievable!! Indescribable!!!

 

I was lost in these thoughts. I realized myself when I noticed thicker droplets on my body. These droplets are warmer than the usual water. I faintly heard the voice "Madam put two! Madam put two!! Police dey come". I turned, only to see a very prodigious man behind me. His head is rigorously bleeding. I was confused. I looked down on myself, my white polo has turned red, and my hands are filled with blood. How?

Before I could raise my face to question the man, a motorcycle arrived at full speed and the man climbed. They sped off. 

 

"They're the ones that robbed the bank! Some women yelled almost in unison.

"Robbed a bank?" I was more confused. My dad works in the bank. He ought to have returned at 2pm, since today is Friday. He does few menial work at the bank on Fridays. He didn't even drop a call. He didn't tell me any plans of going elsewhere after work.

I just hope he is safe. Let me call him right away. My heart was heavy and my brain was thinking really fast.

"Yes! Robbed the bank." A policeman answered from behind as if I had directed the question exactly to him.

"And for your information, you're under arrest." Another policeman shouted, pointing at me. I became dumbfounded. Tears tried rolling down my cheeks but I was just strong enough. I was surprised to see this number of men in black uniform here within a number of minutes. My greatest confusion is that I never noticed any of them till now.

"Arrest?" I managed to ask in between a bold and teary voice.

"You heard me the first time, you bloody robber. If you ask me any more silly question again, your family will not recognize you. I said you're under arrest". He roared. This is more serious than I thought.

"For what crime exactly sir?" Here my question goes again. I was surprised at my boldness.

"For robbing a bank, idiot! You must provide all your gang when we get to the station. Now move it. You think you can hide under the umbrella of a corn seller. You look really amateur".

"You even have the energy to go into dialogue with him. Arrest him at once! Save our time." I heard another policeman say in a very strong and serious face.

 

"But... I... I....sir..s...i..r.." The last thing I remembered was a policeman raise his hand; and as the hand gets closer and closer to my face with the speed of light, the earth became void and was without form. Everywhere was dark and it felt like there is no existence. I couldn't see anything, I couldn't hear anything, I'm not sure if I was breathing. 

 

I found myself in a dark room, lying helplessly on the cold cemented floor. I could barely notice three sizable holes on the wall from which light rays penetrate into the room. It seems the outside environment is also dark or getting dark already because the rays passing through these holes are as good as faded, the room remained dark. I felt a very intense smell of cigarette smoke. I'm sure they weren't ordinary cigarettes. It must have been weed as they call it. This intense smell got me sneezing hard and audible.

"See what you have got yourself into. Young and handsome boy like you". The voice sounds familiar. Just then, the police man switched on the lamp and the room was brightened.

"Now that you're awake, let's continue. I see you're still young. You're just 20 or below if I'm not mistaking". The policeman paused to discharge some smoke from his mouth, while still holding the stick of a cigarette. 

"Take this phone now, call your parents and tell them you're in our custody. After which they'll appear here tomorrow morning before the DPO. You yourself, will sign the documents, they too will sign.

 

Then, we'll take up the case. You'll appear before the magistrate and that's where we will determine how many years imprisonment you will serve before your death". I waited patiently for him to finish his poem. I wanted to talk but I couldn't. He was still stretching out the mobile phone.

"Where are the rest of your group?" Another began questioning.

"I swear to you sir, I was just on my own. I know nothing about the robbery or the group." I defended.

"Common, take that phone and call anybody you're calling. We promised not to give you another beating but if you don't follow instructions here, I'll beat you to death. Do you know how many people you shot in the bank? You don't even deserve to live up till this minute." Another roared. If confusion was a person, I was the one. I managed to collect the phone. As I was inputting my Dad's phone number, I prayed the number would go through and that he would pick it up.

 

"Hello, Good Evening to you." An unknown voice said from the other end.

"Hi, Good Evening". I replied.

"Better be careful and go straight to the point, you're here exchanging greetings. Trust me, these greetings will not help you". The man behind me said angrily.

"Are you a relative of Mr. Bryan? The voice from the other end asked.

"Yes. Why? My answer and question was very quick. The policemen became very interested in the call as they concentrated.

"Thank goodness you called, we've been trying so hard to reach his family member but to no avail. Well, I'm a staff in the microfinance bank where he works. And...."

"And what sir? There were plenty of tears in my question. 

"I'm sorry and I know how hard it is to believe but we lost him to the robbers that attacked our bank earlier today. Please take heart. Tomorrow, we'll let you know the mortuary he was admitted into. As for now, just be strong and have some rest. Thank you." He hung up.

For a moment, the policemen were quiet. I can't resist it any more. Felt very hot tears roll down my cheeks. It's unbelievable! All I wished was that I get released and I go wake my Dad if I have the powers. I wept so heartily but not audibly. You'll notice my body vibrating. I was afraid the men with me would give me another beating of my life. As I wept, I prayed that this would be over and I got to see my Dad.

 

"I knew it! This is what you young boys do these days. Gang up with your team and betray your own blood. I'm sure it's because of one or two misunderstandings that happened at home, you took the matter to his workplace". One of the policemen who has bluntly refuse to stop the smoking even when others has stop, broke the silence.

"I suspect his father was aware of the plan and might have been the one telling them where and where to see the money easily".

"I disagree with you officer. If what you said is true, why did they shoot him at the end? 

"Well, I can't just say".

 

"Hey boy! Take your phone, your mom is calling". One of the policemen said while stretching out my phone which I think they'd seized earlier without my notice.

I wiped my tears immediately and collected the phone with full confidence and positivity.

"Hello Mom". That was me.

"Hello my son. Where are you? Is it true? Are you with your dad? Is he still alive...?" I noticed the same tears in her voice. She kept asking me questions without even waiting for me to say a word. At that point, I knew definitely that the report I received earlier was likely to be true. It is finished. 

I broke into tears uncontrollably.

"Mom, I'm sorry but I can't believe it too. Right now, I'm at the police".

"Police? What are you doing there? Do you have any suspects?"

"I am the suspect".

"Son, what do you mean?"

At this point, I just had to cry like never before. One of the men had to tap my shoulder continuously in consolation.

"I was arrested, Mom..... I... I.... But.... Ju-st.... Infact..." I stammered in the midst of hot tears. 

 

"This is not the son I raised you to be. I can't believe you right now! You betray me! You hurt me! You disgust me! I HATE YOU! " 

 

"Trust me Mom, I'm very much innocent". Who do I run to? Even Mom suspects me. I'm finished. I've never been in such a condition before. What a bad day! 

 

"Officer, you've seen it right? Let's just give him the beating of his life. If possible, let him join his Dad too. This boy seems to be too wise, he might take up this matter later against us. And you know we dare not betray the Ex Governor". 

"Yes, let's kill him right here, dispose of his body tomorrow, simple."

 

"Please don't kill me.... Please, I beg you... I'm innocent... Please..." The more I cried, the more I received beatings. Finally, I was beaten to death. I kept crying even in death. I had only a little life left which the policemen were not aware of. I'm sure if they noticed I still had a very miniature life left in me, they would have taken it too! What an injustice! Wait a painful way to die!

Lord God, please accept my soul.

 

"Mehn... Mehn... Cheers! Cheers! It's time for merriment! Now, nobody has any trace of what happened today. Those two boys really did a great job. The back security injured one of them seriously but he was smart enough. 

Permit me to announce to you all that Senator HABIB, THE EX GOVERNOR has filled his pledge of Five Billion Naira.

He'll trust us to carry out similar operations for him. 

I want to assure you all that there's no trace of this act. If at all there is, believe me, nothing will be of it.

The money will be shared accordingly among us and the other two boys, thank y'all for your cooperation''. 

 

I waited patiently for the Policeman who seemed to be their leader to finish his own side of the story before I breathed my last.

 

So I am innocent after all. My Dad is innocent after all. Other people that were killed were innocent after all. The Senator (my political leader) is guilty after all. The policemen that were supposed to protect me were guilty after all. They were bribed!

Change has to come! 

Something has to be done! This is injustice!

A failed government!

 

I engaged myself in the above thought, pending when the miniature life left in me will vanish completely.

 

 I can't believe I'm dieing on a Friday. SAD!

 

"Is anyone in? Who is in please? Open the door. I'm the delivery man from the bakery. I have with me the order of Mr. Frederick. Please open!" The knock continued banging on my door. I managed to get up from my bed. I looked at the time and it was 9:00am already. I slept late the previous night, perhaps the reason for waking this late.

"So these are dreams? The policemen? My dad? The robbery? The corn seller?" I asked rhetorically. 

"Oh shit! I can't believe I've been dreaming since morning". I said as I opened the door.

"I am so sorry Mr. Frederick for disturbing your sleep. However, this is the toasted bread and meat pie you ordered for". The delivery man said, handing over the bag to me.

"Wow! Thank you so much! How much is the bill?"

"Three Thousand Naira Sir".

"Okay, have it". I said as I handed over the Money to him.

"Thank you for your patronage, see you next Friday". The delivery man waved BYE.

 

"So I didn't die after all". I said, beating my chest. Then, bursted into laughter even when I don't find my dream funny. 

 

 

 

 

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Comments
@PhilJuris - Jan 9, 2023, 12:38 PM - Add Reply

📚 Just continue your passion. Have a great day co-lodpost writer! 👌

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