Friday, April 13, 2012


Have you ever told a lie? Of course you have and claiming you have never told a lie right now has just added another feather to your cap of lies. LOL. Now, I’m not going to dwell on how many lies you have told or how many more you intend to tell but one thing that constantly leaves me wondering is the length we often go to cover our tracks when we lie. Mehn! It’s an entire ordeal on its own and usually, when we walk that road called ‘cover up’, we find ourselves wishing we had never told the lie in the first place. Sometimes, we create a maze or web of lies that we get lost or entangled in and practically believe our own lies. In a bid to impress a girl, I once told a lie that I had gone on dreadlocks for three months and had to cut it because I was going to take up an official appointment. Of course, she was impressed (ridiculous, right?) and somehow she told someone else who told someone else and before long, a good number of people believed I actually had dreadlocks at a time. At a point, I practically believed it too and had to remind myself on a few occasions that I never had dreadlocks at any time! Unfortunately, I’m still yet to let those people know they believed a lie and I hope they don’t read this post someday. On second thought, I wouldn’t mind as that would give me a chance to clear the air on the ‘dreadlock story’.

I have often wondered why the Ten Commandments say nothing about lying. 
After all, we have ‘Thou shalt not steal’, kill, commit adultery, and all that but how come we do not have ‘Thou shalt not lie’ Maybe it’s not wrong to tell a little white lie after all, right? (Like there’s a black lie or green lie or lies in various colour shades). You might as well ask why it was not written that ‘Thou shalt not sneak into your girlfriend’s house at night when her parents are asleep’ or ‘Thou shalt not visit a brothel to sleep with prostitutes’ and all the other vices you can imagine. The fact is, we all know the difference between right and wrong and it is definitely wrong to lie. Perhaps one of the punishments we often get for lying is the ordeal we have to go through while trying to cover it up and the unfortunate event of getting caught sometimes. 

As I sat in a bus on my way from the bank to the cybercafé, a myriad of thoughts ran through my mind. Had I just lost three hundred dollars? It was particularly ridiculous considering the fact that I had not even laid hands on this money yet. I experienced a trance of some sort as two entities conversed in my head.
“Come on, you really didn’t lose the money. After all, it was not yet yours,” the first person I would like to call Geebaba pointed out.
“But it was already sent to you?” the second person, Geebizles countered. “All you had to do was collect it so it was yours already. You lost it.”
“Okay, let’s face it,” Geebaba said, “It was illegal money anyway so you can just brush the dirt of your shoulders and move on.”
Geebaba’s words made sense to me. True, I was actually swindling Miles Peck of his hard earned money so maybe it was best I let it go without any hassles.
“Rubbish!” Geebizles countered. “How would you let three hundred dollars go? That’s about thirty six thousand naira; an amount you could only possibly make in three months!”
“Come on, Geebizles” Geebaba said, “Don’t poison his mind!”
“Oh shut up Geebaba! You want him to throw away his investment just like that?”
“Investment? What investment?” Geebaba queried.
I wondered too. What investment was Geebizles talking about?
“The amount spent on his cybercafé airtime and the hours he has spent building an all-too-willing maga in Miles Peck!” Geebizles clarified.
“Oh, ok. You have a point there,” Geebaba agreed eventually. “He shouldn’t throw it all away just like that although I still have my reservations.”
“Better keep them to yourself, brother!” Geebizles snapped.
And that was the end of the conversation. I looked up and realized I was close to my bus stop.

I settled in a comfortable corner in the cybercafé and when I went online, none of my magas were available for a chat. I was not surprised anyway. It was barely two p.m and the eight hour time difference meant it was about six a.m in North America. I read offline messages from each of them. Miles Peck had asked if I had collected the money. Dean Flank had written that he was dying to chat with me again and hoped I could get a laptop soon with the money he would send so we would be able to chat at anytime. Luke Pine had written that he would be coming to Ghana for a medical conference the next month and would be glad if we could meet there or perhaps he could squeeze out time to come down to Nigeria briefly. He hoped we could chat about this later. He added that he had not forgotten about the money he was to send me to get my international passport and he would send it before the close of day. The last message hit me like a bag of bricks. Close of day? I looked at the time he had sent the message and confirmed he sent it at 7.41a.m. That would mean 11.41pm on the previous day in North America. I prayed ‘close of day’ meant the present day and that he had not already sent the money. If he had, I would have a heart attack!

I was still contemplating how to explain to Dean and Luke not to send me any money using my name without making them suspicious when my phone rang. It was my classmate, Nuel.
“Hey Nuel, what’s up? I said as I received the call.
“I’m good bro. Where are you at? I’m coming to your place.”
Just then, an idea occurred to me. It was as though a light bulb suddenly got turned on in my head. It was an Eureka moment. Why had I not thought of this earlier? I wondered. It all sounded so easy.
“Nuel, you have a valid drivers’ license, right?
“Yeah,” my friend answered. “What’s that got to do with anything? Are you home?”
“Look, I need you to come meet me right away. I’ll explain when we see.”
I had suddenly recalled what the banker at the Western Union stand had suggested about getting someone with any of the three acceptable IDs to receive the money. Somehow I had been too grief-stricken to focus on the idea. Nuel had a valid ID and could easily help me collect whatever Dean and Luke were going to send. I heaved a deep sigh of relief.

Getting Nuel in on the plan was pretty easy. I was glad he didn’t try to preach to me or dissuade me from the act.
“Hope you’re not scared, bro?” I asked in a bid to know for certain he was in.
“Scared? What for? I have like three friends doing this stuff now. In fact, I’ll join you guys in this business soon. I wouldn’t mind making some easy dollars too.”
I smiled. I knew I would have to give Nuel a cut out of the cash but I really wasn’t bothered. How much could he ask for anyway? I thought for a second if he wouldn’t try to swindle me but waved the thought off immediately. He wouldn’t dare. If he did, I’d teach him a lesson of his life. Besides, he could see that I had someone like Presido as my mentor in the business and Presido  hardly seemed like someone anyone would try to mess with. I typed away in most convincing way I could reminding my magas that I had just my work ID which was unacceptable for claiming international money transfers in my country so they would have to send the money using my cousin’s name pending the time I was able to get mine. I filled in Nuel’s details and sent the email to Dean Flank and Luke Pine.

I thought about the three hundred dollars trapped in space and Miles Peck’s message requesting to know if I had collected the money. I couldn’t risk losing the money but I wondered if my delay wasn’t a risk in itself. After thinking for a considerable period, I decided to come out open and let Miles know what was happening. I sent him a message that I had tried to cash the money but couldn’t because my work ID wasn’t accepted. I left the message at that and did not bother asking him to resend it. I had a good feeling he would try to suggest an alternative. The guy was in love with me after all. My assumptions proved right and when we chatted that evening he told me how sorry he was about my not being able to get the money. I chuckled.
“AY, do you know anybody you trust that has a valid ID?” he asked.
I felt like break dancing. It was either I was a damn good prophet or this guy was just so predictable.
“I don’t want you to go through any trouble sending me money, Miles” I declined.
“AY I love you and I want to go through the trouble, okay,” he said stubbornly.
I refused to type anything for almost three minutes.
“Are you there?” he asked.
I didn’t respond.
“AY, please talk to me.”
I waited for another two minutes until I was sure his heart was about to blow up.
“Yes I am here.”
“Why are you not talking to me?” he said.
“You just said you love me?” I wrote.
“Yes, I do, AY.”

We went totally romantic for another one hour and I sold him stories of how I had been dumped by the first and only man I ever loved and how I was afraid to love again. He told me stories about his first and second wives and the tough divorces he had to go through. For the first time, I truly felt so close to Miles Peck and I wished I was really the model in the picture. On his insistence, I sent him Nuel’s details and he promised to retrieve the money he had already sent and resend to the new contact. I left the café that day at almost twelve midnight. It was a most eventful ten hours.

By the weekend, I had gotten three hundred dollars from Miles Peck, two hundred dollars from Dean Plank and two hundred and eighty dollars from Luke Pine. In my first week as a Yahoo-Yahoo boy, I had made almost eight hundred dollars! That was almost a hundred thousand naira at an exchange rate of N120 to a dollar in April 2007. Nuel proved to be a worthy partner but at a rather tough expense. I coughed out almost ten thousand naira in total for all three transactions and I knew I couldn’t keep using him. I had to get an alternative, a beautiful female preferably, one whose face I could actually use for future purposes and for prospective magas. I thought of using BG but realized her pregnancy would make it difficult for her to get active in the field if need be. I decided to discuss with BG’s sister, Cher.