…today Friday, January 25 2008, 8.45pm –
- when I received a text from a young friend’s wife saying: “Uncle Jinta, it’s me, B, please call me back, very urgent”. My phone had rung twice displaying a ‘withheld’ number which I never answer unless in a foul mood (and though still in the office, my mood was not foul, after all, it’s a Friday). I consider if you really want to speak with me, you will display your number. Then it rang twice again, displaying a number I did not know. Call me bizarre but if I don’t know your number, I still do not answer the phone unless my mood is dark. I keep all numbers: friend, foe, antagonist, ex-wife, beast, lover, ex-wife’s lover, the wife of ex-wife's lover, assassin, just so I know who to avoid and those I would really like to speak to, etc. I’m also paranoid about taking unknown calls, thanks largely to trauma, which is another story entirely; but I digress.
I had not been in the office all day and got in at 6pm to catch up with my paperwork, respond to e-mails and listen to my phone messages. When I saw the text, I had a premonition that it would serve as a disruption to my Friday beer drinking, but because B is someone I like, I called her back…
“Thanks for calling me back, I could not think of anyone else to call”. I said: before you go on, I do not like surprises – you know my ticker’s weak from the continuous battle with my lovely ex wife who’s determined to clean me out if she can’t kill me with jazz, heart attack or high blood pressure – and I do not like bad news. If anyone’s dead, go bury them, I don’t need to know who it is and if you want me to contribute to buying a coffin, heck, I’ll even pay for the entire coffin and all arrangements, just please don’t spoil my Friday.
“No, no, it’s not that. You know Mr. A was due to return to Nigeria at 12 noon today, he was not allowed to board the aircraft and was arrested at the airport. His wife just made a frantic call to me from Lagos. I tried to call W (my husband) but his phone’s off”. Which airport? “I don’t know”. Why was he arrested? “Oh, his wife wasn’t too clear, but it appears he had a knife and a fork hidden in his belt, he was informed that he has to go to court”. A knife and a what…? Hidden where…?
Now, I had met Mr A, W’s uncle a couple of times on his 9 day trip to London. He appears to me to be a responsible middle-aged very slightly built gentleman who is an engineer in one of the bigger private companies in Nigeria. We even had a Star Lager swigging, marinated chicken and Kebab scoffing send-off for him last night at the Gold Coast Bar and Restaurant, a Ghanaian concern which is local to me at home and at work in South Norwood. I like him. I promised to visit him on my next trip home and he, in turn, promised to exact revenge for me getting him drunk.
This does not make sense; do you see why I do not like surprises? Right now, I’m still thinking of how it concerns me and I have concluded that, whatever happens, W has to come out of hibernation before any movement. I’m literally on my way out the door to do my Friday thing, will be meeting friends at Mahogany something or the other in Lea Bridge Road.