Lost By The Furnace
Lost By The Furnace: Once upon an apartment building in the heart of Awka. In an era filled with a series of unfortunate events; countless deaths, failed experiments, numerous sickbeds, failed businesses, crashed economies, and stolen generators.
There lived two very close friends. They found each other just when one was in a very bad place, his name, James. The other, Frank, helped James swim out of the mud he found him in. He spoke to him about Jesus Christ and how much he loved him and how no situation is bigger than him. You know how it goes.
Frank didn’t stop there though; he made a daily schedule to enlighten James and lead him to love. In no distant time, they became inseparable. You know those two pals you see and you think they are brothers? That was Frank and James. Now Frank ran a business in the city. It was a liquor business; rum to be precise. He was the major distributor of the brand in the capital city of Anambra state. He introduced James to his brand and helped James begin wholesale of the product within the city. He really loved this brother man he had found and was willing to help him forget his pains of the previous days and focus on having successes tomorrow. It wasn’t like Frank did not have problems of his own oh. He did. In fact, he owed his boss a very large sum of money and it weighed on him as business was slow and one of his wholesalers hadn’t remitted also a huge sum of money to him. So while trying to figure out how to get out of his mess he was also assisting James. These young men were everywhere together, they did everything together. I won’t go into details of their friendship. I’m sure the little I’ve written can give you a view for the purpose of this story.
Days passed, weeks, and Frank still hadn’t found a way to pay his boss. In fact, things had gotten really bad. So, he confided in James and they began brainstorming on ways they could possibly raise the cash. Ideas came flowing but none looked sharp enough. Until one day, one of the neighbor’s generators goes missing. The dude didn’t even create a fuss. He just shrugged his shoulder and said
“life goes on.”
After a while, Frank gathered all he had left and it amounted to 200,000 naira and he told James,
“This is all I got bro, should I pay it into my boss’s account and be stranded or should I invest in something to get returns and pay up?”
James suggested that they purchase 100k worth of female cloths from his connect in Lagos – Turkish female outfits to be precise. They drafted a plan on how to market and sell when it arrived and how long it would take. Frank gave the money to James with an extra 20k for transport to Lagos. On the morning of his departure, James’ cousin’s generator went missing also. James and his cousin, Dera didn’t see eye to eye; why James stayed in his girlfriend’s room instead of his cousin’s where he initially did. I remember the day his cousin complained that his wristwatch and 5000 naira were missing and he suspected James because he was the only one at home when it happened. Clearly James denied it and life moved on. Now it was his generator and Dera was furious.
That morning as early as 4 am was when he came back out as he had been guarding the generator (since he noticed someone had been cutting the chain gradually) and found it was gone. He almost ran mad. He just saw the gen a couple of minutes prior. He only stepped in to take a glass of water and boom! It happened!
He and some neighbors searched every apartment in the building hoping to find the already gone generator to no avail. They even searched in James’ room. Still Nothing. He traveled to Lagos that morning after that; even missed his bus due to the delay from the search.
Dera wasn’t going to let this one slide, so he decided to visit a spiritualist to find out who took his generator, and a week later he called a meeting for the guy’s living in the building. He bought beers and gave everyone and pleaded that whoever had a hand in the disappearance of his gen should meet him and confess so he can get his gen back. But no one stood up or was forthcoming. An idea I personally knew would fail. So in all anger and anxiety, Dera pointed out to everyone present that the spiritualist pointed out his cousin, James as the culprit and that James didn’t even open the beer he handed him. Everyone dispersed one after the other. No one uttering a single word. I was speechless myself. I just stood and left. And as I was heading to my apartment I bumped into Frank and told him what had occurred. Frank wouldn’t have it. He began to para. He said it wasn’t possible and that James left for Lagos that morning so he could not have been the one. James didn’t say much. Just called home to report to the family what Dera had said about him. Mind you, a few days to the meeting, James got a new android phone. The purchase he traveled to make for Frank was already entering voicemail though, not allowed to cross the border, and Frank had even spent an extra 30k to this effect.
In all the debacle of the stolen generator and the accusation, Frank had a falling out with his friend’s cousin that they almost got into a fight. Frank really loved his friend and trusted him. He even laid out defenses to help his case. Surprisingly, Dera didn’t confront James after the accusation. The whole gen matter died down slowly.
The gen was gone.
Three weeks passed and Frank’s so-called Turkish female designer outfits had not yet arrived. James told him that the driver took it back to Lagos and that they’d have to get it waybill. Also, James had left town, and his communication with Frank dwindled. Frank finally got a friend to help him collect the goods and send them down. On arrival, Frank was devastated. What he saw certainly was not what he expected.
“These couldn’t be 100k worth of goods,” he said to me as he showed me the package and I agreed.
Those clothes were not designers in any way. Frank had been ripped off.
At that point, in his pain and confusion, he began doubting his friend.
Had James pulled a fast one on him? Did he connive with the dealer to sell him poor grade clothing as designer wears, being fully aware of the reason for the purchase? Was his friend really his friend? Had he been helping a criminal? Was he complicit?
He still had his debt right in front of him. His boss would be calling in soon. His wholesaler was still at large. James had also disappeared. Frank felt lost by the furnace.
Did he really know James? Had he been wasting his time and resources? Did James steal Dera’s generator?
Written by Professor Khocee Wilson-Ejikeme