“ l am so sorry, those guys didn’t deliver the products, l consulted some of those firms, they said hmm……”
Frank’s heart was beating faster. He was scared.
“ They said, those guys are con artists, the money is gone “
Frank dropped the phone and stared at the wardrobe next to the bed. Why? He asked himself. He had invested all he had in the proposal. Joel brought the business proposal and he invested, now the expected poultry feeds and the money are gone. Where should l start from? He thought. Frank stood and walked to the door, he opened it and walked into the hotel alley that connected with the beer bar. He walked briskly and didn’t return greetings. He walked to the bar. The middle-aged bartender smiled and held out his hand, which frank shook absentmindedly. He was fighting a great battle in his mind. He thought the brown bottles would help in his defense.
“ Frank you don’t drink beer. Why is today different?” the black, bartender said and smiled, and turned. He took beer bottles from the freezer beside the shelf.
“ l am tired” he replied and rubbed his temples.
“ Then take energy drinks, beer won’t help you”
“ Just give me the beer,” he said and squeezed his hands.
“ Frank….” the bartender arranged the beer bottles in a white tray and a mug beside them. “ Frank what happened. You see, with your good behaviour here, unlike the rest, l love you and l have children like you. Why are you different today?”
“ my business just failed and all the money l burrowed, up to fifteen million Naira is gone. I don’t know where to start. “ Frank said and swallowed hard. A guy came and ordered two bottles of beer.
“ l am so sorry and l feel your pain. But in this world, sometimes you learn, sometimes you win. I know what l am saying sounds silly, but life is worth another dry” The bartender said and patted Frank’s shoulder. Frank stared at the man and forced a dry smile. He dragged a stool and sat on it.
“ You might be wondering why l am saying this, believe me, l was once in your shoes” the bartender said and wiped his hands on his white apron. “ l was a businessman years ago before l was duped, l lost everything l had in this incidence, my wife ran away and l was lost in despair. My loss of capital made me what you see here today. What you need is hope. I know why you want to drink this beer, you want to get drunk, then commit suicide. If you die the problem won’t be solved…..please don’t try it”. Frank nodded, he started at the sage man for a while and he carried the tray and returned to his room. He sat on a sofa and opened the first bottle and gulped the beer. He sniffed. The deep sour smell of the beer nauseated him. He rubbed his lips with his hand and drank directly from the bottle again. He thought about the proposal and his head pounded harder. Chief Adeleye’s voice rang in his head :
“ The money is for the community project. Since everyone needs poultry feed here in Ore, l would give you the money for the investment”
Tears gathered in his eyes as he reminisced. He thought about his family. He was the eldest of a family of seven children. His father was an office clerk and his mother a petty trader. The belief they had in him made them offer all they had for his progress.
I have failed, he said to himself. Why should this happen to me, why?. He opened another bottle and gulped the brown liquid. He dropped the bottle beside the sofa. He took his phone and checked his account balance. He glared at the giant goose eggs beside the Naira and Kobo. He felt some movement in his finger, he jerked his hand and his stomach tightened. He ignored the pain and took the bottle from the ground. He drank what was left and opened another bottle. He stood walked to the only table in his hotel room. He held unto the table and his reflection on the mirror scared him. He smiled and rubbed his eyebrows with his smelly fingers. His face was a perfect death mask. His eyes were red like those of Vampires from Twilight Zones. He walked slowly like a giant, walking with the limbs of a mosquito to the wardrobe. He took his keys with his shaking fingers. He was dizzy and the room was spinning. He tried to insert the key but the lock was rolling. He laughed and tried again. In his present state, he was very drunk and couldn’t realize that he was inserting the key into the window blind beside the wardrobe. He staggered to his left and fell on the sofa and he drifted off to sleep. And then…………….
The air was cold. The balcony was tiled and there were chairs and tables of different colours. Flowers in little brown vases were arranged by the sides of the burnt brick dwarf walls which had railings. Frank held his bottle in his hand. Chief Adeleye’s voice kept ringing in his ears. He shook his bottle and nodded. He danced some steps and laughed hysterically.
My end is here, he said to himself. He wiped his eyes with his smelly fingers and cried. He started at the rooftops of other buildings close to the hotel and the ones that dotted the landscape in the distance. He staggered to the railings and the bottle fell and shattered into tiny bits. The brown beer flowed to the bottom of a brown vase close to him. He shut his eyes and coughed. He crossed the railings and stood on the ledge. He looked down and was struck with fear. The vehicles that were driving at that time were like tiny toy cars and the asphalt road a tin line. He held unto the railings of the balcony of the twelve storey building of Diamond Hotel and shook his head. He took few steps from the ledge, his heart was beating faster.
Now or Never!
He was sweating, he jerked his hands and dived. He was diving faster than he had thought. As he coming closer, the vehicles became bigger and then…
Frank Fell from his bed to the ground. He blinked, he was sweating profusely. “ Thank God, it’s a dream”, he said. His phone beeped. He stood and staggered to the sofa. He saw a message on the screen. He clicked and the message was:
Your account has been credited with fifteen million.
Oladejo Victor Olayemi is a budding artist and a secondary school
graduate. He lives in Ore, Odigbo, Ondo state and wrote in via email@example.com