“Bayo, Abeg borrow me money. Just #10,000, I get three sure games wey go bring #100,000. Na one man from abroad give me the game,” Emeka demanded.
Bayo hesitated but gave him the money. Emeka placed the bet, one game spoiled the bet.
“Nawa oo! This club self!” Emeka exclaimed angrily.
He thought to himself, “If I borrow #20,000 from my bank, I will pay back Bayo his #10,000 and use the remaining #10,000 to win cool #50,000, just 5 odds!”
He thought again, “Instead of using #10,000 to win #50,000, I should just stake the whole money, #20,000 to win #100,000.”
He realized that he will be owing a debt of #30,000 if he lost the bet.
“There’s no harm in trying,” he mumbled.
He took the #20,000 loan from the bank and placed the bet; 4 sure games.
Three games won, remaining one. Cashout option was #86,000. Emeka looked at the remaining game, he had predicted that Barcelona would score.
“This one na sure nah, even the odd too small, just 1.20! E go enter, I must collect the whole #100,000,” Emeka thought boastfully
Unfortunately, Barcelona lost four goals to nothing (4-0) at Anfield against Liverpool in the UEFA champions league that night. Emeka stood Akimbo as the referee blew the final whistle. His face was as long as a fiddle. He was in a state of despondency. He swore never to indulge in sports betting again.
“How am I going to pay up my accrued debt?” He pondered.
That Saturday night, Emeka was gut-wrenched. He couldn’t help but stare blankly at the ceiling. He was in a cocoon of solitude as he regretted placing that bet albeit wishing that Barcelona had scored just one goal.
Overwhelmed by his uncontrollable thought, He couldn’t sleep so He decided to turn on the television. He watched uninterestingly and soon fell asleep.
The next day, Emeka was woken up by the morning chorus of the chirruping birds. As he looked through his window, He saw the moving leaves of trees, which seemed like they were waving at him in an apologetic manner because of his misfortune yesterday.
“Today is Sunday oo, I don do late for church,” exclaimed Emeka.
He hurriedly got up from his bed, prepared himself for church and without much Ado, He left for church.
Emeka couldn’t help but notice the serenity of the church as he walked through the gate. The soft music chorused by the choir and the smell of burning incense gave it a peaceful ambience. Emeka was welcomed by a steward who cheerfully greeted him before he proceeded to his seat.
It was time for sermon and the congregation paid rapt attention. The tranquility of the atmosphere induced an obvious inquisitiveness in Emeka as he pondered on what would be preached.
“God is going to bless someone today!” The pastor declared.
“Amen!” The congregation responded.
The pastor continued “You might have experienced failures in the past, Issues of life may be weighing you down. But, I am here to prophesy to someone that what didn’t work for you last week will work for you this week.”
Emeka thought to himself, “e be like say na me this pastor dey talk to?”
The pastor continued “If you believe this prophecy, jump up and shout a loud amen!”
“Amen! Amen!! Amen!!!” Shouted Emeka as he jumped up from his seat.
At the end of the Sunday service, Emeka went to the altar to pray in anticipation of a favourable week. While he walked home, he pondered on the words of the pastor.
On Thursday night, Emeka carefully forecasted the weekend games. He wrote them out on a piece of paper, though he hadn’t any money to place the bet. He folded the paper and placed it inside his Bible, which he placed under his pillow. He slept off and dreamt of himself driving an exotic car with one hand while sipping a glass of champagne with the other hand.
“Celestial confirmation received!” He said with a smile on his face as he woke up.
Emeka sold off some of his belongings, He also borrowed money from his friends. Soon, He had #200,000.
As he went to place the bet, there was a flickering smile on his face albeit some feeling of trepidation.
“What didn’t work for me last week will work for me this week,” affirmed Emeka as he recollected what the pastor had said.
With high hopes and expectation, He placed the bet; #200,000 to win one million naira.
“Three games, Five odds! E go enter!” he said to himself.
Emeka was excited when he learnt that he won the first two games. Hurriedly, he went to see the remaining match in a viewing centre. It was Liverpool versus Everton, and he had predicted an over 0.5 outcome. This means that at least a goal must be scored in that match for him to win the one million naira.
The first half ended goalless and Emeka became nervous.
“Well, there is still 45 minutes to be played in the second half,” He mumbled.
“Goal! Goal!! Goal!!!” Emeka screamed joyfully as Richarlison, an Everton player, has just scored for his club in the 89th minute. The goal was reviewed by the video assisted referee(VAR) and Richarlison’s nose was adjudged to be offside. Consequently, the goal was disallowed much to the disgruntlement and chagrin of Emeka. Beads of perspiration formed on his face.
The match ended goalless. Emeka couldn’t believe his eyes. Hot tears rolled down his cheek as he rued his misfortunes. Reluctantly, he went home.
Things went so fast, He has lost #800,000 in 5 months. He has been slacking at work, his employers had warned him severally about his unethical practices and soon, he was fired.
Life became miserable for him, nothing seemed to brighten his always gloomy face. Emeka was hugely depressed and he decided to end his life. He opened a bottle of snipper insecticide and drank it.
“Daddy, did he die?” Asked Junior, who was been engrossed by the story his dad has been narrating to him.
“Yes, he did,” replied his Dad, Mr Okonkwo.
Mr Okonkwo continued “I was in an ugly web of gambling at my young age. One day, I saw a movie titled ‘The ugly entanglement‘ whose story I have just narrated to you. After seeing the movie, I decided to quit Betting as I didn’t want to end up like Emeka. Today, I can proudly say that I made the right decision. The lessons I learnt from the movie remain priceless.”
“Junior, it’s time to go to sleep,” said Junior’s mom who had just walked in from the other room.
Junior, who had assumed a lotus position, stood up and everyone retired to their room to sleep.
Michael Ogbonnaya is a graduate of mechanical engineering from the Federal University of Technology Owerri. He is a creative writer who tries to tackle societal problems with his writing and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org