SWAP

SWAP

Photo Credits – Google

The phone completed two ring cycles. Yes the caller tune was a funky one, but it wasn’t helping my mood at all.

“Hello…”

Finally!

“Hello. Hello,” I anxiously barked into the mouthpiece.
“Dude, chill. What is it? Did somebody die? It’s past three in the morning for fuck’s sake. You could have waited till later you know?”

My impatience had not factored in the time difference between Lagos and Tulsa. No wonder it had taken forever for him to answer.

“Ha, nwannem, I’m sorry about that. I forgot time. Please forgive me.”
“Not a problem,” he growled. “I’m up now, so what is it?”

The irritation had left his voice, but I could still hear his sleepiness. He’d probably gotten into bed very late. I remember him telling me some time ago that he’d started driving a taxi at night in addition to his regular day job. “America is not beans bro,” he’d chuckled.

Again I apologized.

“Sorry to bother you, my brother…”

He cut in like scissors ripping through old Ankara material.

“….I already said it’s cool. Now cut to the chase bro, I have an early morning and I need to sleep.”

I winced at his brusqueness. Suddenly the call looked like a bad idea, especially its timing. Still, there was no use crying over spilled milk.
I exhaled and then continued.

“Biko, I want my chi back.”
“Well, well, well. So soon? What happened?”

He was calm, much calmer than I had expected him to be considering how much I’d begged before he consented to the switch in the first place.

“Abeg. How do we make it happen?”
“You can send mine by email or at worst fax. The problem I see here is getting yours back to you in Nigeria. He isn’t internet enabled, you know? I only found that handicap out when I got back to America. In fact, he’s almost useless here. As for me, I’m not coming home any time soon.”
“Chei,” I shouted. “I’m done for.”
“Why? What is it?”
“I miscalculated nwannem. I seriously miscalculated. I actually thought and believed the exchange would give me access to dollars and other oyinbo things. Unfortunately, you chi keeps saying error code when I pour libations to it every morning. Plus, it doesn’t clear traffic, bring customers or arrange NEPA. What is a chi useful for if it doesn’t do any of these …”

His laughter drowned out the rest of my pain.

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