Nwabueze waved as Dike drove away. On his way home, he stopped off at Pauline’s to reassure her that there
had been nothing to
after all. She was relieved to hear this and wanted Dike to pass the night in her flat.
But Dike wanted to be alone to review his plans. So he kissed her good night.
Back at his flat, Dike wandered around and felt sick about his poverty. He looked at his T.V. set and compared it with that of Otike and shook his head.
He was a man like Otike and yet he had nothing to boast of. He had no video cassette player or fleet of cars, and what was more, He had no money to set up his own business. All he had was a dream of owning
an animal farm. He shook his head again and bit his lips.
No, he had a long way to go, he thought. He checked the money in his wallet and discovered that he had only fifty naira to carry him till next Saturday when he would get paid. How could he manage fity naira for four days? Patience, he told himself, patience.
A patient dog eats the fattest bone. He felt that the end of his poverty was in sight.
Saturday, 23rd December. Dike woke up with a start and glanced at his watch, then relaxed. It was 4.30 a.m.
Plenty of time, he told himself and he looked at Pauline sleeping by his side. She was making a soft snoring sound as she slept.
Silently, he turned and lay on his back. Staring up at the ceiling in the faint early morning light, he tried to take stock of the situation.
Today is the D-day, saturday 23rd, he told himself. The collection would start at 9a.m., and by 2p.m., the job would have been
completed. One million naira would have been collected.
The Big Take! Then few hours, if he had any good luck, all this money would become his and he would carefully stash it away in the scrap metal dump, in a place he had previously cleared as a hiding place for the big money.
Lying still, he recalled how he had spent his time the last few days, and found that time passes quickly. Very early on Thursday he had travelled to one of the outskirts of Minna to see a traditional healer seer. The man was well-known in the area and Dike go to know him when his uncle was poisoned. It was Dike who accompanied him to see the medicine man.
At first, Dike hated the appearance of the man. He looked truly primitive and was utterly dirty. Very disgusting indeed. But when he prophesied or did any of his incantations, one was left in no doubt that the man knew
what he was doing. In the end, the man had treated his uncle and prophesied many other things which came
to pass. That was long ago. But it left a permanent impression on Dike.
Dike had come now to ascertain from the man if his endeavour was going to be hitch-free.
“Good afternoon, Alhaji Giwe”, he said.
“Good afternoon, my son, I can see you’re distressed but take courage, you’ll
succeed in your endeavour but don’t be nervous. I repeat don’t be nervous”.
To be continued….