How the Thief Got Away

  ‘Should I touch?’ the good looking guy asked. He leaned on his Benz, Urie also rested on the sleek car but not with her back. Hence from the side, her beautiful figure was very

 

‘Should I touch?’ the good looking guy asked.

He leaned on his Benz, Urie also rested on the sleek car but not with her back. Hence from the side, her beautiful figure was very visible to him. He wanted to yank it. She rebuffed and giggled. Men wanted to touch it. After their meeting that day, she left with a Naira bundle of fifty thousand.  She kept collecting from him and refused his touch. He had just come home to have a little holiday and somehow Urie thought she must have really charmed him. Every villager could have concluded that he was sleeping with her even her mother till she told her that she hadn’t given in yet and was not planning to. Ego was furious with her first daughter, she wanted her to secure every means to keep a good looking young man with enough money.

‘Urie, why are you still playing? Remember that we still live in an uncompleted building o’

‘Mama leave me. I am not comfortable with him.’ Urie retorted and stormed into the room with worn out cotton across the door.

‘I know it is because of Ejim. Stop that your nonsense love with Ejim and marry Nonso.’

 

Ejim was her all time boyfriend, they were very close and sang in the church choir together before he travelled to the urban side of their state to be an apprentice. When Ejim came home and heard about her village moves with the wealthy Nonso, he condemned her like helluva. She explained to him that she was only using Nonso as a blesser and nothing more. Ejim out of foolish ego argued her into infuriation and walked out on her sincerity. Only her mother believed her.

Nonso refused to reach her for a while or even drive to her home and she was no longer lucky enough to run into him. Ejim also refused to take her calls the day her uncles came to announce that her father’s burial must take place in a month’s time before the New Yam Festival, otherwise things might go wrong.  Urie had battled her home problem recently with the money she got from Nonso yet she knew the amount left will not be nearly enough for the burial. She needed help.

 

Ejim still spoke with her sparsely but at the mention of her need for money, he suddenly began to speak in wishes and philosophy. He made himself distant from her need and that hurt her badly. The following days caught her in a web of melancholy and silent tears. How could she go back to selling and slicing soup leaves in the market, even if she tried, the burial was near?

Before the end of the week, she ran into Nonso on her way out of a salon. She was grateful that he stopped after honking unnecessarily -an attitude of people who enjoyed showing off their cars in the village. She was openly disappointed when he didn’t give her any bundle of money but requested that she visited him in his home the next day. Urie acknowledged his act to take advantage of her through the way he smiled mirthlessly before zooming off.

If going to visit him again could obliterate her needs, then why not? Urie pondered. She didn’t tell her mother or her sister when she left. Her hands matched with her legs, her clutch bag held firmly with her right hand swung along. She was a bit determined to do anything yet she felt she couldn’t. She didn’t trust herself.

 

Nonso didn’t even offer her a drink but waved her upstairs when he stopped mid-way at the steps to see that she had arrived. She followed him with a big lump in her throat, her legs wobbled, she felt like weeping profusely.  She wanted to slap him. Nonso went ahead of her, he was arranging bundles of money in a briefcase when she walked him. He signaled her to sit on the bed with him. She sat but with just a part of her buttocks. She was well aware that Nonso knew what he was doing to her.  After recounting her situation again and deeply pleading for his assistance, Nonso told her that all his money are now in investments including the ones he was arranging. He knew he lied, she too. She sensed the scorn in the way he arranged the money, whistling nonsense to himself. He closed the briefcase securely and drew her closer to him. Urie squirmed, although wishing she could give in. She wanted to, she needed to. The anger in her was beginning to escape its hold when his hands began to circle her bosom. The next action was to slap him, walk out and damn every consequence. Tears accumulated in her eyes, throat and chest, making it impossible for her to breathe. Her hands were around his shoulder in partial embrace, when they heard a sound, he ran downstairs. Relieved a little, she followed him to find out what it was.

The other woman, almost very curvy and plump like her was hugging him tightly and kissing him lavishly when she had a clear view of them from the stairs.

‘Nonso!’ Urie screamed.

He lingered in the kissing for a while before turning to her,

‘Yes? That’s me, the Big Money.’

‘Nonso, who is this?’ The lady asked in a rude demeanor.

‘Who is me? Nonso I thought you liked only me,’ Urie cried.

The lady clapped her hands shamelessly before leaning on Nonso to laugh. Nonso was quiet.

‘Nonso, so this is the reason you abandoned me. For this. I’m sure you offered yourself to her so easily. Shame!’ She was insulting Nonso.

Urie ran upstairs to pick her bag. Her chest burnt of provocation; she paced about in the room. At the apex, she opened the briefcase and took ten bundles.

 

Downstairs, she was more ashamed to see Nonso still entangled with the woman. Her words were lost. As she walked further to leave, Nonso caught her,

‘We need to search your bag.’

The lady supported him and immediately snatched the bag from her hand and poured everything out of her bag by a corner. ‘Make-up, make-up everywhere inside your rubbish bag, chin-gum girl.’ She cursed.

Urie sobbed as they ran their hands through the few things that fell out as if more things were hidden but not seen. ‘You will pay for this Nonso!’ she refilled her bag with her things and departed them.

Immediately she left his building and got to the end of the street, she ran into a bush path by the right, straight to the farm. She found herself in her mother’s farm, opened her bag and poured out the bundles of money. She was well hidden by the flourishing cassava leaves. How the money got in the bag, one must wonder.

 

While pacing in Nonso’s bedroom in anger, Urie had taken ten bundles of money and stacked in her bag, on a second thought, she figured she might be caught. She stared through the open window to think before… Eureka! A smart plan. What she did was to throw the bundles down the window of the storey building one after the other. Once they had searched her bag and let her go and returned to languish in their fornication, Urie slammed the door and looked around. No one else was in the compound and her calculation was valid. She tiptoed to the far end of the building where the window was and picked up the money. She ran like a cheetah afterwards.

 

After counting the first and the second bundles, she found out that the money were in bundles of hundred thousand and didn’t go on to count the others, she was shivering. She counted ten thousand naira each from the 10 bundles and hid it inside the cup of her left breast. Fear got her stupid. Next, she cut some cassava leaves and stacked the rest of the money in between them, found a stick and dug an appropriate hole. When she covered the hole, she added dead leaves at the top and prayed. While walking out, she counted the stems of cassava from where she buried the money. They were 30. Carefully but fearfully, she walked to her church. She dropped the money on the alter as tithe and prayed earnestly for God’s protection.

 

The next morning, news greeted them that there was a robbery in Nonso’s house last night and the lady that was with him was nowhere to be found. Urie could not dance physically. All the excitement swam in her heart like tireless fingerlings. To be so economical, Urie provided two hundred thousand Naira for the burial and moved to the city with her sister to establish an outlet of her own. They sold panties, brassieres and bikinis all through. She and her sisters alongside their curves attracted more customers and visitors than normal.

When Nonso saw her in the village eight months later, he honked and elongated his neck out of his car window to talk to her, Urie did not stop. Like time, she kept going.

 

Also read Money Matters. short story

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