Emeka, …

After giving it some thought, you upturned the trash can. Its contents formed a pile before you, and you realised that you had exaggerated the thickness of the layers you saw earlier. You knelt and ran a hand through the waste, flattening the heap into a thin layer, but the paper was not there. You peered into one wrapper after another and got the same result – no sheet – nor anything white.

‘Heck! I knew from the start that this search is pointless,’ you lamented inwardly.

“What’s a bouncer doing by the dustbin,” Bolaji’s mirthful laughter flagged down your train of thoughts.

“Hey. You’re back?” you called out.

“I sure am. What are you looking for?” Bolaji answered impatiently – the movement of his lips told you how much he wanted to know what was up.

“Never mind. It’s not important,” you promised, dismissing his worry with a wave and an ersatz smile.

“Says the one who betrayed nap only to turn scavenger,” he joked.

“God! Bola! If I tell you, will you join me in scavenging?”

“You never know. I’m still learning about myself too,”

“Well, I am looking for a tiny ball of white paper. Can Mr Left plus right equals one eye help me with that?” you jested about his eye defect.

Bolaji did not say anything. He scanned the verandah and eventually brought his sight line to rest on you.

“Is the ball of paper you are looking for like the one stuck to your knee?” he asked -your comments regarding his weak sight did not seem to have bothered him.

“My knee?” you felt for your knee, and the paper ball was right there.

“What the,”

“Is that how to say ‘Thank you, Bolaji. You are proof that one eye is better than two’?” he did not let you finish your exclamation.

“Thank you, Mahfouz,” you jumped at him – you knew he always felt special whenever you called him by his first name. Only his dad called him Mahfouz. You never had your friend’s father call him Bolaji until his demise.

“You’re welcome,” Bolaji grinned.

“So, what’s in this paper?”

“Er,” you stuttered as you smoothed the sheet.

“A phone number,” you revealed, showing him the paper from where you stood.

“Whose number?”

“That’s what I’ve gotta find out,”

“Good luck finding out then.” Bolaji gave you a slight shoulder slap as he stepped into the apartment.

In a jiffy, you were in your room. The symphony of your whirring fan and dial pad choked out your thoughts as you entered the number into your phone.

And you hit the green button. The call went through, but no one answered it, and you tried again without thinking. The call had barely rung when you heard a beep.

“Hello,” you said after much hesitation.

A feminine voice responded – you would have sworn the voice was automated, but it did not carry a calculated accent.

“Look who curiosity got the better of,” she joked.

to be continued…

Would you have helped Emeka if you were Bolaji?

Who do you think is on the other end of the call?

What else do you think?

The comment section is all yours; let us read all of your thoughts!

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P.S: This work is purely fictional. Any semblance to actual persons (living or late), places, or events are merely figments of the writer’s attempt at keeping in touch with reality.

✌🏾 Selamat tinggal!

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