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April One

(A short story)



By Darlington Chukwunyere



Copyright 2019 Darlington Chukwunyere

Smashwords Edition



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   Thrilling\ Intriguing \ Suspenseful \ Romantic 
           

      Darlington Chukwunyere’s 
   

       April One 





































April One


Michael gazed into the bathroom mirror, watching his naked reflection fade away to a slow rising vapor from the look-warm shower tap. Dripping wet in gentle bubbles of aromatic water from the spray tube, he parted, and then stroked his foaming beards as if to headcount the surviving hairs from the day’s stress. This gentle warm bath was all he needed to seal off his long-day.

His wife’s birthday was tomorrow, the notorious April-fool’s day. Michael imagined how his wife Ose would be feeling presently, knowing that she would be celebrating her first birthday without him for the first time since they got married. Again, his mother was visiting for the first time in his absence— both women don’t see eye to eye… or rather, his mother Mrs. Nwanguma is practically a no-big fan of his wife’s—he knew it wasn’t going to be a smooth ride for the two “love birds”.

He’d not spoken to his wife since today, and she must have become very upset. Michael grabbed his cell, there were eleven missed calls from her already. He must find some very-good excuses, or... well, he dialed her line. She didn’t pick, as expected. He dialed again… three more times… no answer. He needed to know if his mother actually moved in as threatened, in addition to the fact that it wasn’t his tradition to sleep without hearing from his wife. He redialed many times before snoozing eventually. 

***

Michael had already concluded the first four months of his Six Month Course in Hong Kong with no Skin-Pain. Everything was perfect. Most evenings, he would take some quality time off his Suite to savor the flamboyance of The Peninsula Resort. The breath taking scenery of the prestigious hotel confirmed his suspicion about the mystery of the infamous city where most African politicians chose to spend their secret vacations. He had only seen a little similar beauty and flamboyance at Transcorp and Le-Meridian in Nigeria. The temptation of relocating to Hong Kong was becoming so strong, but then he thought of how his wife Ose would feel about the idea of migration and... Speak-of-the-devil… his Phone began ringing.

He'd assigned a pleasant ring tone to Ose.

“Hey beautiful, what time is it over there” He teased.

“Are you kidding me right now? What time is it? Village man!”

Ose was also as playful as he. No wonder they were a match for each other.

“Well, it’s time to speak to your lonely wife, young man!” and they both laughed, again.

“Seriously honey,” Michael said, picking up the conversation.

“I heard, one can always tell a first timer abroad by his conversations with loved ones from back home—they always want to know what the clock is saying in Africa, like they’re going to miss some urgent village council meeting or something.”

“Yeah, that’s why I called you a village man… Come, I hope you are not even disgracing me publicly there? Hope no one is listening to our conversation?”

“Absolutely not honey, I’m right back in my suite, so cold, lonely and.”

“Horny? Yeah, me too baby. But don’t speak of it a’ beg; it would only make things worse for me here. Remember, you have already spent four months out of the whole six months. You just have two months, to go”.

Ose got it all wrong with her anticipation. Michael had wanted to use the word ‘…Excited’ and not … ‘horny’, but he never insisted though. Instead, he played along….

“That’s the point baby. These four months are like four years. Spending these long nights here without my lovely wife is really killing me.”

Suddenly, his doorbell chimed.

“Must be the room service guy, I placed an order… baby I got to go check the door. I’d be right back, don’t hang up…” Michael prattled, and then pressed the red button.

Earlier on, I’d mentioned that Michael toured the resort, but I am yet to also disclose the outcome of his tour. Actually he’d met this hot Russian blonde Trish Chekhov, along the Gulf-Lake as he toured the Vast Course. She eventually became his Tour Guide the rest of that day, and also guided him back to his Suite the same night. Michael was obsessed with white ladies, especially the Blonde ones, since his childhood days. He’d often fantasized about them from the American movies and had dreamt that one day he would have his fantasies come through… this was before he got married anyway, but since the opportunity to at least hang-out with one is here, it’s certainly not a bad idea after all.

As he made for the door, he was very sure Trish had arrived as scheduled, so he didn’t even bother to check before he whisked the door open—neither Room-Service nor Trish stood in the door-way. 

A busty white lady stood in his way with thick curves, and very aggressive cologne. Michael fed his eyes, ravaging her skimpy costume as the shape and size of her revolting cleavage threatened fire and brimstone. 

Michael recalled he’d shared a joke with Ahmed, his regular room service guy the other day, telling him he used to be cold and lonely at ‘nights’—and Ahmed had promised to help—it was a joke.... unfortunately Ahmed is a man of his words. Michael swallowed hard. Both parties silent, and faking smiles... The luscious lady blinked endlessly, waiting for her cue to step in. 

“Good evening…” she greeted in her deflated Indian English. 

“Hello… and you are…”? Michael stuttered.

“Anika… Anika Gandhi… Ahmed sent me to ‘e-lp’ you…” She again replied in her husky English with a deep Indian tongue. 

“Oh, okay then… please make yourself comfortable… what do I offer you?” he stammered.

“Eni tin is fine, daddy… anything hard… I love it ha-rd and ho-ot…” Anika replied, biting her red lips with a perfect dentition.

This was absolutely not what Michael meant when he told the Ahmed guy that he was lonely. He certainly wouldn’t dream of cheating on his wife no matter how obsessed he may be with any other woman. Quickly, he began to think of how to discharge his unwanted guest without offending anyone.

“So, where are you from?” Michael continued…

“I from Mumbai—but I born and grow in New Delhi... also I school my elementary in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. I come to Hong Kong seven years ago in search of job.” 

Her English was not as perfect as her physique. Though she looked so much like those actresses who sing and wiggle their waists in the Bollywood Movies, she just didn’t sound like them at all. 

“Ehm… hmm. So, how’d you meet him? I mean Ahmed your friend?” Michael began… 

“My friend? No, he’s not my boyfriend o. He’s my brother. He said his friend is lonely. Him beg me to sex you.”

“Oh, I see… he’s such a nice guy…” … Ahmed continued, trying to find appropriate words. 
Anika peeled off her sleeveless top… 

“La-yk wot you see?” She asked, in her bad English.

“What are you doing… please don’t… No please, don’t do this Miss… I can’t, no offences meant, I am a married man. You should leave now. Leave!” Michael roared, but Anika grinned at him… 

“It’s hot in hee-re… I need to cool off…” 
she reeled toward Michael who dodged her contagious grasp.

“Hey, I didn’t mean to have him bring me a prostitute okay? I just needed someone to talk to, that’s all!”

“But you tell my brother you want to do sex? Now sex is come, you run. Why?”

“I’m really sorry for the misunderstanding okay? I was only joking… I am married, I cannot have sex with you because you are not my wife!”

“Look, people are no joking wid tins la-yk dat heer! You must pay me! Sex me or no sex me!” Anika raved. 

Michael was realizing the trap he was stepping into, and was threading with caution. He absolutely knew that patronizing prostitutes was a luxury he couldn’t afford considering his marital status and he also knew that such a habit, once cultivated, never expires. 
Obviously however, his orders seemed to had fallen on deaf ears as Anika totally bared her gorgeous body… and at this, Michael couldn’t resist looking… suddenly he disengaged his gaze. He was aware that it would absolutely require a miracle to stop his crotch from bulging up soon if he continued looking at the panorama… (He wouldn’t be able to control what might happen next), he knew this fact, and so he activated ‘caution’. 

“Okay, I will pay... How much do you charge?” Michael asked calmly.

“My money is Hundred Dollars.” 

“What! You take that much? But I didn’t… well, never mind…” and he pulled out a Hundred Dollar bill from his wallet.

“Okay, there you go, bye-bye, thanks for coming” 

“Okay, thank you too…” Anika replied, happily collecting the money. Then she transposed to a friendlier composition…

“You don’t want my number? Phone me later, if you want sexing. Tell Ahmed, him give you my number, in case you later changing your mind. Call me anytime you want to sex, okay? I will sex you well…” she concluded, giggling along to the door… and then she shot the door behind her. 

That was really close! Michael quickly gulped a glass of chilled water to help catch his breath. His heart was racing so rapidly, as he had never been this close to breaking his nuptial vows. But he sure learnt his lessons. He would never say anything he doesn’t mean to anyone ever again. So many men find themselves sharing or cracking silly, sensitive, and sensual jokes especial to the opposite sex without minding that they may be sending negative signals which could eventually result to unwanted reactions—He sure was one of those men, but would never do so again, ever!

Few moments later, the doorbell rang again. He knew it would be Trish Chekhov the Russian Lady… thank goodness she didn’t have to meet the Indian prostitute. Michael quickly ran to the door, and this time it was really Trish, in flesh and blood.

“Dabro provalivay! He greeted in disjointed Russian, intending to say ‘welcome!’ But it sounded Hilarious to Trish… and she chuckled at him….

“Do you even know what that means?” Trish said softly.

“It means welcome, does it not?” Michael justified.

“In your mind, yes, maybe... But judging by the tone and actual meaning of your pronunciation, you just asked me to Get-out!”

Michael and Trish shared a brief laugh, then Michael cut in.

“Oh my god I didn’t mean that. But at least I tried, considering the fact that I’ve never been to Russia. Besides  I only gave you what they gave me at school in Nigeria."

“Wow, are the Nigerian schools that bad?”

“I haven’t said that, but you won’t be far from the truth if you say so. To have quality education in my country, you must have quality money” Michael replied trying not to sound too unpatriotic.

“Wow, so you mean the poor don’t go to school in your country?”

“No. On the contrary, the poorest students are usually the brightest. It’s amazing how Money can’t buy brains. Take me for example. I come from a very poor background, but I was so determined. I hustled, took on several menial jobs to augment the little I received from home. And I succeeded”

Michael beamed with smiles as he divulged his underprivileged university days.

“Wow, Interesting.” Trish applauded. “Apparently, hard times are needed sometimes to push someone to greatness.” She summarized.

“Oh yeah, you can say that again…”

And then Trish continued.

“So what do they do with all the oil money in your country since the poor can’t even have an average life?”

Michael didn’t respond to this interrogation. He absolutely knew where this would lead them and wasn’t ready to take on such a complex conversation with a foreigner. He unequivocally believed in his country. As a matter of fact, he wouldn’t have been where he was if it hadn’t been for his country… he wouldn’t bite the finger that fed him… he wouldn’t sell his country to a foreigner no matter how corrupt the world purported "Her" to be. He knew this very mistake most Nigerians make when they meet foreigners. In order to induce empathy in them and probably gain some favors, they spread their dirty linens before them and ironically receive nothing but contempt, disregard, and derision in return often times.

“What do I offer you, Me Lady?”

“Oh, hmm… Anything, water, juice, anything soft. Thank you."

“Okay then, just a minute.” And he went to the fridge opposite his dressing mirror.

From the mirror, Michael watched as Trish licked her fingers while gawking at his strappings. This made him a bit uncomfortable though, but he chose not to show it.

“Your country needs more people like you, you know” Trish’s voice echoed in the background.

“Oh yeah? I’m flattered, but thanks."

“I mean it. All the Nigerians I’ve met in the past were practically embarrassed of their country, but look at you, you're so proud of your country despite all the bad names.”

“The truth is, every country of the world has bad people who do bad things. My country Nigeria will not be the least. However, for whatsoever crime any Nigerian commits, such a culprit must have done so on his own accord and for himself alone. Such acts absolutely have nothing to do with the rest of us, as well as should the resulting consequences,” Michael politely reiterated.

“Well, I wish the world could see things the way you do”. Then she took a brief pause, before adding, "so, where is she?”

“Where’s who?” Michael inquired curiously.

“The lucky woman.”

“Oh, my wife? Nigeria."

“What does she do in Nigeria?”

“She’s a banker”

“Wow. You’re really a lucky man. I heard Nigerian women are housewives.”

“Then you heard wrong! Our women are the most hardworking in the world."

“Hmm, I love this guy… your wife must be such a lucky woman too. How many kids do you have?”

“Ahhm… still trusting God."

“Oh dear… why don’t you two opt for an adoption? It’s cool.”

“No way! In my country, adoption is only a last option for any man.”

“Why? Is it illegal?”

“No… only a matter of choice. Besides, I’m not impotent.”

At this point, he wouldn’t mention that he had once been diagnosed of reproductive organ dysfunction. 

In a brief moment Trish paused her questioning, but then broke her silence by asking:

“So, tell me, do you always defend your country like this?” 

and Michael replied: 

“No matter how ugly a baby monkey may be, his mother would always find him attractive.”

And then he served her a glass of orange juice.

“Here, madam… hope it’s not too chilled?"

“Thanks, I’m fine with this. And… please don’t call me madam, it makes me look older”

and they both laughed, loudly. 

“Hey, I must confess…” Trish continued, “you have struck a good number on me. I think I’m attracted to you. Yeah, I gerit. You’re married. But it’s just the truth.”

“Wow, I like you too… but, as you rightly said, I’m married… so we can only look, but no touching…” they both laughed again.

“Oh, you’re such a great guy. Your wife is such a lucky one.”

“Oh yeah? You can say that again.”

“You mean you are always faithful to her, at all cost?”

“Damn strait. I am, baby.”

“Even if I offered you a hundred thousand dollars to sleep with me you still wouldn’t?”

“Hell no way baby! Even make it half a million dollars, I still wouldn’t damn think about it… I love her that much.”

“Hmm… Okay. What if I said, and in fact, I am saying… I can pay you as much as a million dollars to make love to me right now, you still wouldn’t?”

“Hehehe, I’m not moved by money Trish… wait a minute… one million dollars? Who would offer you that for sex anyway?”

“I am!” I could wire a million bucks to you right now, if you agree to pound me.”

“I thought they said you guys don’t joke with things like that in this part of the world?”

“Yes you absolutely heard right! And I’m not kidding you.” She grabbed her Android Tablet. “Call your Bank Account Number…” 

Michael was becoming nervous. If this was true, that means he would be made for life. One million dollars? He knew Trish could afford it. She was the sole heir to her father and the business name Peninsula was the least of her inheritance. He got to find out about her true identity when he read through one of the Hotel’s handouts few days back, and had also confronted Trish who in turn confirmed it. She was such a humble person, so humble that one could barely tell her worth by merely looking at her. Certainly, one million Dollars should mean nothing to her. But for Michael, it would absolutely rewrite his entire life’s story.

On the other hand, it could have been destiny that has brought them together. Michael thought about so many reasons why this would have been possible and finally arrived at the conclusion that it must have been Gods plan for him all this while. Wow… Shall I say “God is indeed a perfect planner. Could it be God finally wants to reward him for being a good man? God obviously works in mysterious ways, as people say.

“Take it, my master card details…” Michael finally decided “5199-6578-9200-8233. Sky Bank.”

“Alright, there you go…” Trish acknowledged as she continued typing on her device. Few seconds later, Michael’s international domiciliary account was credited with the sum of one million dollars.

“Is this for real!” Michael screamed upon receiving the shocking credit alert.

“Come on, don’t keep me waiting… give me what I’ve paid for, will you?” Trish commanded lasciviously… And Michael slowly climbed on top of her… While his adulterous hands caressed every ounce of Trish’s silky body. As their lips traveled on each other's body, Michael's glanced at a caption on the daily Hong Kong Express, (a sensational magazine that was brought to his suite every Thursday morning). The caption read: “Every Man Has A Price After All.”

Michael woke up very weak the next morning. Trish was fast asleep when he crawled out of the cozy duvet, careful enough not to wake her,  and then stepped across to the glass reading-table opposite the bed.

He took pen and paper and began to scribble something. His face glowed even brighter than the illumination coming from the fancy light bulbs in the suite. He was penning down his official resignation. Who wouldn’t anyway? After hitting a Jackpot of one million dollars? Certainly one million dollars when converted to Naira would give someone a very good life in Nigeria. 
There was no use working for anyone anymore. At least now, he would finally be as close to his wife as he’d ever wanted, with no more asunder from work. The only thing that bothered him was the means through which he made his fortune—he knew the scruples will dissolve with time, since after all he did it for the good of his family. He hastily signed off his letter and stapled it.

Next, he hurriedly prepared tea for his guest. Packaged them in the Diamond-glass tray and moved to the bed. 
For a moment, he stood by the side admiring Trish as she lay in the bed with her eyes closed. What a generous fellow. One million dollars for some rounds of sex? He couldn’t show enough gratitude to providence for his fortune last night. He placed the tray beside Trish, and then planted a soft kiss on her forehead. Just then, he noticed something was very strange about Trish’s body.

Trish hadn’t moved a limb since morning, and again her skin was very cold and stiffened. Michael’s heart jumped out of his mouth… this can’t be happening. Trish can’t possibly be dead? Moreover she was so healthy and lively last night… as matter of fact; Michael practically couldn’t stand her energy last night and was scared she would ask for a refund this morning. So how on earth could she have died in her sleep without even showing the slightest sign of weakness?

He quickly felt her pulse… she was truly gone. 
Few hours ago Michael had celebrated the end of his average life and poverty, little did he know that he had just crucified his virtues for an eternity of suffering… yes, how best could anyone describe the situation whereby a guest of a Five-star hotel coldly murders the CEO of the same hotel within the confinement of the sophisticated security surveillance? Certainly there’s no way out of this. Michael needn’t not submitting the resignation anymore; certainly no employer would retain a staff with such gruesome record.

Speaking of public image; it’s only a matter of time before the whole world finds out his crime… this was a high profile circumstance and would obviously attract global publicity. Michael would not be able to bear the shame back home in Nigeria—that is if somehow by miracle he makes it home alive, judging by the nature of his predicament.

He returned to Trish’s lifeless body as though to know if she’d woken by some sort of miracle. But she was still very much cold and stiff as of before. Michael knew the security surveillance was watching and it shouldn’t be long before they swoop in on him… so he thought through so many options. At first, with the huge fund transfer as glaring evidence, it would be very hard for him to convince any jury that he did not Murder Trish Chekhov. Secondly, anyone could easily justify the motive of the murder as a bid by him, to seal his crime of probably coercing Trish to make the huge transfer to his local Nigerian Bank account under some sort of duress. Thirdly, because of the name Nigeria affixed to his PASPORT, it would definitely be too hard for any jury to believe his own side of the story… beside, what should a married man be doing in bed with another man’s wife? For these reasons, he discarded the options of submitting to the police and pleading not guilty in court. He’d better found a secret way out of the Resort or maybe consider suicide.

Suddenly a thought struck him. His new friend Ahmed, the Room Service guy who’d tried helping him once. Maybe he should try buying his help this time, since he has over a million dollars in his bank account now courtesy of Trish. Michael quickly ran to the glass table, as he could recall Ahmed had left his phone number there. His plan was to tell his the whole truth, and then offer to split the money with him 50/50. This might be his only lifeline… 

Suddenly, just before he could dial-up Ahmed’s line, the doorbell rang. Michael almost dropped dead upon hearing the door alarm. He tiptoed to the door hole and peeped… but there was no one on sight. Again he looked, and then Ahmed showed up. He quickly ran back to the room and covered Trish very well, placing her in a position that could best suggest A Sleeping-Lady-Who’d-Had-It-Rough-With-Her-Man-Last-Night, and then returned to open the door. 

Ahmed was not expecting a third party, so he was surprised to see the figure of a lady lying on the bed.

“Hey boss, I thought you said no sex, not your wife?” he whispered to Michael who in return placed his index finger on his own lips, signaling Ahmed to tone down his voice.

“Oh, sorry…” Ahmed whispered back. “I just came to do your bed and clean your toilet sir, but since you've  got company woman, I will do only toilet now. Then you can call me when the coast is clear... Please enjoy your self” then he turns to leave.

"No, wait..."

Now Michael wouldn’t know from where or how to start presenting his case to Ahmed. He wouldn’t even know if he could trust Ahmed. He just stood there, staring into Ahmed’s face, opening and closing his mouth, as well as scratching the back of his head up and down. Ahmed noticed his strange behavior and then asked.

“Is everything ok, sir? Is there a problem sir.”

“Hmm—uhm…” Michael began, “My brother, can I trust you?”

Surprised though, Ahmed heaved his head, “yes sir, of course. Your secrets are safe with me. Are you in any kind of trouble? Or should I call the security for your safety? You look scared. Let me help.”

“Sec… ah, nooo. No need for security. All I need is your help.” Michael drew closer to Ahmed and then whispered; “you see the lady right there, she’s not asleep... she died in her sleep last night. I swear, I found her dead beside me this morning when I woke up.” 

Ahmed took few steps away from Michael.

"Believe me, I... I didn't kill her" Michael stuttered.

Ahmed stretched his neck towards the bed as though to get a closer view of what Michael was describing.

“She dead?”

“Please don’t freak out on me” Michael pleaded. “I’ll give you five hundred thousand dollars if you help me get out of this hotel.”

“Please, I don’t want any part of this, Mr.… don’t know what your name is. I’m calling in security right away. The surveillance cameras stopped working since yesterday, maybe that’s why you’re not already in jail…”

“One million dollars!”

“See this man o. where did you get that kind of money you’re throwing around? You must be some corrupt politician, as usual…” and then he paused. “On a second thought, I think I will help you spend that your stolen money, but I’m not taking anything less than two million dollars, and you must pay before service!”

“What? Please my friend, don’t treat me like this. I haven’t committed any crime just that I'm a victim of circumstance."

“Look here Mr. Man, I'm not your friend, and this is serious business. I could land in jail for trying to help you, you know that?”

“Please I am not a politician. I am just an ordinary salary earner. And I don’t have up to two million dollars in my bank account... Alright, I could gather everything in my account, an extra sum of thirty seven thousand dollars in addition to the one million. That is all my life’s savings. Please take it and help me leave this place, I beg you in God’s name…”

“Don’t bring God into this matter… He wasn’t here when you killed that girl… whoever she is.”

“I didn’t kill her! We only had sex..."

“Same thing! You didn't kill her, but your penis did the job for you? Well, Save me all the details… how do you want to pay me?” Ahmed had asked indifferently.

“I have my mobile application, or I could make online transfer?”

“Okay, whichever one you want, just get it done quickly, we don’t have much time!”

This came as huge relief to Michael, and he couldn’t hold his excitement.

“Thank you so much bro, I’ll do the transfer right away.”

Michael made the transfer, and heaved a deep breath. Now, he's going to put all hopes on Ahmed. The thought of being betrayed tickled, but he shoved it aside... he couldn't afford being pessimism at this point in time. Ahmed was his only lifeline, and being negative wouldn’t help matters at all. 

“Okay, I have received it. Now we can do business.” Ahmed announced. “Just give me few minutes, I’ll be right back.” and he made to leave.

“What? Where are you going?”

“Relax, it won’t take long. I need to go and get some more hands to convey her body out of this place. Since the Surveillance cameras are not functioning for now. It won’t be easy for anyone to find out soon."

“Crime? I didn’t kill her. Just found her like this.”

“If this is not a crime, why then do you need my help? Moreover if you hadn't overdosed her with that your Nigerian manhood, she would have been very much alive by now.” Wait here! Don’t panic, I’ll be right back.” 

Ahmed left, leaving Michael with no better option than to hope on his word.

Michael imagined how good it would feel to be home again with his wife, without of course divulging any bit of what had transpired in Hong Kong to her… but then the thought was overridden by another thought of his wife at home alone watching CNN, and suddenly his name or image pops up on the screen as the most wanted man in the world… or worst still, as the Nigerian man who killed a rich man’s daughter to dupe the father. Trust Nigerian bloggers, the story could be painted worse. 

Suddenly Michael heard a voice from within the room. 

“Baby? How long have I been asleep?”

The voice was Trish’s.

"Wow, I must have slept for so long, right?” she added, while sitting up and yawning extensively.

"Hope I didnt scare you darling?”

Michael was turn apart. Trish is really alive.  Half excited, half sceptical, Michael jumped to the bed.

“You’re really not dead?”

“Of course I’m not! Who says I am?” and she yawns again.

Noticing the tea cups placed beside her in the diamond tray Trish blinks with excitement, “aww… Are you not such a darling... thank you so much, how thoughtful and Romantic of you. I am really so hungry right now. You almost killed me last night... naughty you."

At this point, Michael confirmed the "dead" had truly come back to life. This was supposed to have made him feel better, but then he remembered the money.

“Oh God, what have I done? I thought you were dead!”

“What have you done? What did you do?”

“I thought you were dead!”

“Oh my god I’m so sorry dear… I never told you I had a medical condition, and I didn’t take my meds last night. I normally go into few hours of intense nervous seizure any time I abuse my drugs, and most times it could develop into a coma which could linger for days even. I’m so sorry if I may have caused you any upsets. Does anyone know about this? I mean… us?"

“Oh God nooo!!! I thought you were dead!”

Michael slumped into the sofa beside him, placing both hands on his head.

“Talk to me, what have you done? Anything I need to know? Do you need anything?” Trish continued.

“Chei! I thought you were dead ooo… The money… it’s all gone! I already gave the money away… I thought you were dead."

“How come?” Okay, now you’re wrong. I’m still alive, so tell me, what have you done with the money already? And who have you given the money?”

“He’s a Cleaner. His name is Ahmed. He blackmailed me to transfer the whole money to him, including an additional thirty seven thousand dollars, my entire life’s savings.”

“Slow down… you’re too fast... You said you gave all your money to this Ahmed?

"Yes ooo."

"How did he know you had that kind of money?” 

“I, I told him about us. I told him about last night. I’m so sorry. I thought you were dead. I didn’t want to go to jail, so I opened up to him. I felt he could help me to safety." 

“How could you have fallen so cheaply? Yes, maybe I have one of the largest number of hotel staff in the world, but I'm very familiar with most names on my payroll, and I don't remember having any Ahmed on my pay-list. Obviously, this your Ahmed must either be a ghost or an impostor."

Thrush paused briefly, and then continued.

"The hardest part now is that I had them briefly disable the surveillance cameras on this block last night because I was coming here. Now it will be hard to track the Ahmed. I never knew things would turn out this way.”

“There’s no problem… since he said he was going outside to get help. He’ll be back soon.” Michael stammered.

“Get help from where? For, or with what? Don’t tell me you’re this naïve? What Con-artist would be foolish enough to return to his victim?”

Trish was obviously not making things easy for Michael at all. For a moment, the both stared at each other without a single word. A while ago Michael’s financial status was given a huge boost… and then suddenly he was staring at the reality of spending a lifetime in jail. Now everything has taken another form, he only wondered what would happen next.

For a long while both parties remained silent, until Trish broke the silence.

“I have to leave now… thanks for your hospitality. I’m really sorry about your money dear, I’m afraid I can’t do anything about it. You should figure that out on your own?” then she bit Michael softly on his lips and whispered… “Boy you’re a damn good fucker…” and she left. 

Michael stood still, trying to come to terms with his predicament. He couldn’t believe he’d just given away thirty seven thousand dollars. He stared at his reflection in the mirror, wondering how on earth he’d allowed himself fall so cheaply. But somehow he was grateful the way it ended.

***

A humpy sound began pounding through his ears. The alarm clock he’d set to wake him at 4:30. It was a dream after all?

Michael made for the shower, wondered why it happened again. Could it be another spiritual wife? The last time he'd fucked a fat woman in the dream, his mother had to bring a weird prophet who almost choked him with pigeon feathers and promised he would never again experience such in his lifetime.

The dream was still fresh in his head. Everything replayed vividly as he struggled to gain full consciousness. His bedside clock said 8am. He'd really overslept. Michael glanced around. A triangular electronic calendar sat on his reading table. He checked for an update and it read  "April 01 2015.

Oh dear, those people in the dream land really dealt him an April-Fool to remember.

He also remembered, his wife's birthday was on the April One. Michael searched for his phone at once. 

"Hello baby," Michael said weakly.

“Baby? Are you okay?” Ose asked, sounding worried.

“Happy birthday my love. I'm  fine, just overslept. I'm sorry baby. Please? I saw your missed calls, I tried calling, you didn’t pick.”

“I forgive you darling.”

“Oh, that's my baby. Happy birthday, again!”

Michael was relieved and then thought of sharing his horrible dream;
“Baby, I had a nightmare last night."

“Have you prayed?”

Michael was not much of a prayer warrior, but he had to say something to put his religious wife off his neck. The two love birds spoke for several minutes more, long enough for Michael to augment for his last night's and this early morning's lapses.

After speaking to his wife, he quickly rushed every other morning protocol… his presentation was schedule for 9:30 so he must be in the workshop venue by 9:00 latest. Michael rushed out of his suite, down to the Xiantein restaurant, for his complimentary breakfast. He wouldn’t speak on empty stomach after the long episodes of last night’s very April-Fool’s dream.

On approaching the restaurant, he met a pretty lady standing by the door, obviously a waitress by her costume, but Michael couldn’t place her nationality as she was quite taller and different from the other ladies he’d met in the resort. As usual, he tried being kind with words and so greeted the waitress first.

“Good morning fine lady.” he'd greeted, and the lady replied;

“Good morning sir, happy new month and welcome to Xiantein.

"Thank you," Michael grinned, flashing a flirty smile at the fine lady.

"Do enjoy your meal sir,” the fine Lady replied in a very funny Chinese toned English.

“Oh, I sure will,” Michael jovially added trying to keep the conversation alive.

“What’s your name ma’am?” he added.

“Trish, sir. What can I help you with?"

Michael narrowed his gaze to the name tag strategically placed a little below the chest of the fine waitress, and it really read ‘Trish Chekhov’.

He paused, his nightmare replaying in a flash — Michael peeked again at the fine lady's name tag and yes, it bore a bold Russian inscription superimposed on the translucent plastic tag: “Trish Chekhov”. 

Michael turned around without saying a word, and walked the opposite direction—who would blame him for doing that? Once beaten, twice shy!

End

Author’s Biography

Darlington was born in Owerri. He has a bachelor's degree on film & theatre arts. He's worked as a program officer for the USAID, on a social development project in the Niger-Delta region of Nigeria.

He is a Nollywood screenwriter. Co-author of Kaneth Nwaeche's 'Drive' TV Series,  Uche Agbo's Igbo language comedy Series Eze & Company, and sole author of Uche Agbo's language movie 'Ije Di', an adaptation of his short story Wrong Romance. He also co-wrote Silver Achugamonye's movies Gold Dusk Ikenga, and 'Honorable Polycarp', both set and premiered in Nigeria and London cinemas by his Silverglobe Cines. 

As a poet, his literatures have appeared on Kalahari Review, ONS Klintji, African Writer, The Voices Project, Praxis Magazine, and elsewhere.

You can reach him on WhatsApp: 08129537116. Facebook: Darlington Chukwunyere. Email him at darlingtonchukwunyere@gmail.com




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