Short Story: “The Stolen Casket”

    The kingdom of God Suffereth violence and only the violent taketh it by force.

    Hunger and starvation are two different things. It was not hunger that led us into doing what we did. I swear it was starvation.

    When Mr Agbaya, our boss, told us that there wont be payment of salaries this January ending, my heart fled from the office, and I ran to my girlfriend.

    Valentine was by the corner, uju will kill me.

    I started remembering the debts I was owing. All the Garri and kulikuli I had collected from mama Nkechi on credit. All the Bournvita and milk collected from mallam Gobir shop.

    I could see the shocking look on Taribo. His face was full of confusion.

    Confused Taribo raised his hands to ask questions. Mr Agbaya sighted Taribo hands raised and beckoned on him to speak.

    “Excuse me sir. Do you mean all the other workers would not collect salary, but you will pay the two of us?”

    “Who is two of us?” Agbaya asked pressing his hands against the table.

    “Emmm.. Us na im be me and my friend Praises.” He pointed.

    “Taribo you are just foolish. You are foolish gateman. I said all the workers. No salary. Company doesn’t have money. We shall pay by ending of February.”

    Hot urine flowed in from no where. Sweat began to pour down my head like anointing oil.

    Everyone departed when Agbaya walked away from us angrily. It was at that moment Tunde our secretary, started complaining. He told us of how he needed the money to add and buy casket for his dead mother who was still lying in the mortuary.

    “Her burial is this month. O God.” He cried out.

    Taribo who was starring at Tunde complain, suddenly hissed.

    “Tunde I swear to God you no get problem..”

    “What do you mean by that?” Tunde asked.

    “Tunde, we are here finding money to feed ourselves before we turn to corps, and you are there looking for money to bury a corps that is sleeping peacefully in the mortuary.”

    Tunde who got angry stood up to fight. If not for the quick intervention of the staff, they would have exchanged blows.

    Later that night, Taribo and I were both returning back from work, when we saw a beautifully made casket dropped outside of a casket shop. We looked round but saw no security. This was simply God at work. There was no car close, no passerby’s, nobody.

    Taribo stopped and and knelt down with his hands lifted up to the heavens.

    “Thank you father for this provision. Thank you for this sense.” He grinned.

    “Praises God always knows how he provides for his children in this life o.”

    “I tell you my brother.”

    “Look. See that casket? After suffering the violence of hunger, I shall take this casket and sell by force o.”

    “Yes” I supported wholeheartedly.

    “We can simply carry it and sell to Tunde. He will give us what he have. The money he has will feed us this February.”

    Without wasting time, we pounced on the closed casket and lifted it up. Hence we had no car, we lifted the heavy casket on our head and walked all the way to our house.

    We were looking like dead bodies who were parking out of their former grave into a new grave.
    ***RepNaija Story***
    We got home and the casket was unable to pass through the small door into our room. Taribo suggested we kept it outside the house, and wake very early in the morning the next day, so we could take it to Tunde’s house before the tenants and landlord arrive.

    The next morning, Taribo and I woke up very late. We were so tired that we overslept.

    I jolted up immediately and ran to check on the casket outside the house. I opened the door to find neighbours and tenants sadly seated on white chairs in the compound.

    Some of the women were seriously crying. I walked out in surprise wondering what had happened and why they were crying.

    One woman on seeing me started shouting.

    “Oo so na true? So Taribo don die. Ewoooo Taribo. Taribo oooo…” She collapsed to the floor.

    I wanted to tell them it was not Taribo. I wanted to tell them Taribo was inside and we just wanted to sell the casket. But just as I was about to, our landlord gently approached me.

    “Eyaaa Praises this must be a trying time for you. Your twin brother Taribo is dead. God giveth and God taketh. We the neighbours have contributed this small token to support you in the burial. We see you have bought casket already.”

    On seeing the huge amount of money, I nodded my head like an Agama lizard.

    “Yes Oga landlord. It was a painful death. But God has a reason for everything.

    “How did he die. He died in his sleep two days back.”

    More crowds kept gathering outside the house. A police man even walked in to pay his condolence visit to us.

    Taribo who was inside the room and seriously listening to the landlord and the drama outside, did not come out.

    Common sense had told him money was involved and we were going to gain from this death saga.

    I was still explaining Taribo’s Death to Oga landlord, when the owner of the casket opened the casket Fiammmm! And yawned.

    On seeing this, the multitude thought the dead had resurrected.

    Everyone ran through the small compound gate in numbers.

    Oga landlord ran to the toilet and locked himself up.

    “Taribo run o. Run o” I shouted in terror and took to my heels.

    The owner of the casket who stood there confused and wondering how he got to our house, and why everyone was running, heard me telling Taribo to run.

    He immediately carried his shoes, jumped out of the casket and started pursuing me behind.

    Two seconds later, a scared Taribo zoomed out of the house shirtless and without boxers.

    The crowd who knew of Taribo’s death and had come to console me, turned and saw Taribo chasing the casket owner and I behind.

    It was a marathon of the fittest. Police officer threw his gun at Taribo, who was now approaching him from behind in great speed.

    “Why you no Shoot am? Why you no Shoot am?” Roared a woman who was running along with the police.

    “Madam bullet no dey the gun. Bullet no dey” police man shouted.

    At the end of the day, I was the only one who knew what was chasing who, and why everyone had ran the way they ran.

    Written By Praises Chidera Obiora

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    God bless you.








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