Category Archives: Short Stories

What is Cheap might End up Costing More than Expected

Rango has never understood the meaning of the saying “what is cheap might end up costing much more than you expect” until last weekend after his encounter with a Nairobi goon.

He was walking along Moi Avenue towards Hilton tower when a young man approached him with a smart phone for sale.

“Hello gentleman. Would you buy this phone? It is Samsung S 3 and it is in good condition. I will sell it to you at a good price.” The man advertized.

Rango has for a quite some time been without a smart phone and has the intention of buying one recently. Although he hate buying stuff on the street which he believe could easily have fallen off the back of a truck, he decided to ask for the price. The guy told him it will go for 15,000 Kenyan Shillings (that is about 180 USD).

The price sounded too good to be true. Perhaps it may be a Chinese phone. He collected the phone to examine. He dialed some code to verify if it is genuinely Samsung brand and it indeed was. As he was observing other features, the man, probably thinking that Rango did not want to buy, said, “15,000 is not the final price though. There is room for bargain.”

Rango was further thrilled. At this point, he was certain the phone was not clean. The price was too cheap for a Samsung Galaxy S 3. But then, the avaricious part of him wants him to buy. “If it is stolen, then the damage has already been done. The guy will sell it anyway.” And then there is a room for bargain.

“I will give you 9,000 Shillings. That is the only money I have.” Rango pleaded.

“That will be difficult for me. Because I need the money, I will give it to you at 10,000 Shillings.” The man responded.

“9,000 is what I can afford. If you don’t agree, then here I go.” Rango said, attempting to move.

“It is a deal then. 9,000”

Wow! Rango is soon going to own an S 3 with his 9,000 Kenyan Shillings. He told the guy that he needs to insert his SIM card so that he can make call to confirm everything is working fine. The guy did not hesitate. They found a phone shop close by where they cut Rango’s SIM card to micro SIM size and put in the phone. He made call to two of his friends and it was fine at both ends. Now it is time to pay out.

The guy collected the phone as Rango was trying to take out the money. He counted 9,000 Kenyan Shillings and handed over to the man. The man gave him back the phone which he threw into his pocket and hurried away happy with his luckiest bargain ever.

Lucky bargain or worst experience with Nairobi boys, he had to decide few minutes later when he met his friends at KFC. He brought out his new phone to show them, only to find out there was no display. He thought the battery had run down but he remembered seeing the battery meter full. He tried to open the cover of the phone but it was so hard. He knew right away that he has been duped.

He was sold a dummy phone.

Rango's phone

The inside of Rango’s phone after we opened it

“My SIM card together with my contacts are now gone.” Rango lamented finally.

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The Mystical Phone Call

Rango and I didn’t get complete Raka’ats of Magrib prayer. While we were making up, somebody was addressing the people inside the mosque. I didn’t hear any word except the commotion that followed. When we finished, people were coming out, many of them in bewilderment.

“Yes, immediately you receive the call, that would be the end of your life.” Somebody was saying.

The person by my side, when I asked him what was the matter, summarized it all.

“The speaker was warning brothers about a recent development in the country. No one should answer call from the number 09141. It is believed to be a secret cult group in action. They will call you with that number, immediately you answer, that will be the end of you! About 10 people have so far died in Jigawa state.”

I lost word to say and my heart skipped a bit.

As we were going out, Rango showed me a message he received earlier from a friend. The message was warning him not to accept any call from the number 09141. I was imagining how could a person be killed through phone. Witchcraft? Cultism? Coincidence? I inclined to the last but then I remembered the 10 people reported dead!

“This is nothing more than a hearsay. Has anyone seen someone who died from the phone call in reality? The news is only heard in text messages, why should I believe it?” I heard someone saying.

He had just answered my question.

“Rango, only God kills, so don’t believe in any of that” I told him.

His phone was still with me when he asked me to direct him to restroom to ease himself. Before he came back, I edited my contact in his phone and changed the name with 09141! That was how it started.

We trekked together to the school’s main-gate, refuting the rumor on our way. In my mind, I was telling myself that I will verify whether this guy believes in the crap or not.

After about an hour, I knew my friend must have been through with his Iftar (he fasted). I made the first call.

Booooom.. booooom……booooom… booooom……………….. the phone was ringing. I was delighted that he was afraid to answer then suddenly it connected. I pushed the phone to my ear and listened. 2 seconds, and it went off. “That is one” I murmured.

I called for the second time, no answer. I laughed and dropped the phone. I knew he will call me. Almost immediately he did through my globacom line. I forced myself not to laugh on the phone.

It called me Sada….” He started, terribly confused.

“What…. what called you?” I cut him, trying to sound indifferent.

“That number!. I swear it called me and I mistakenly picked up at the first time. You see, I was leaving Daula restaurant when they called. The phone was in my pocket so I couldn’t pick up on time. When I brought it out, afraid that it might cut, I accepted the call, then I saw the number almost immediately. I terminated the call instantly. They called again, but I refused to pick up.” He narrated.

“Subhanallah, I pray this thing is not serious.”

“Yes it is! You know the bizarre thing that happened? There was a thunderous spark of high tension electric wires just ahead of me and everybody  was scared. It coincided with the time I was answering the call. If I hadn’t stopped to answer it, the spark would have been on my head.” He continued.

Deep from inside, I was appreciating the turning up of things. I manage to pacify him mockingly, “Rango nothing will happen in God’s name. No one can do you what God has not wished. I don’t believe it so you shouldn’t either. It is just bullshit.”

“Yes Allah is above them! It is all lie.” He managed to pretend.

I was feeling the guiltiness of what I was doing, but I just couldn’t end the action. I have to give my friend a farewell memoir (we were few weeks to graduation at the time).

I called him with the number about six more times but he refused answer. I knew I had him were I wanted.

When I went out to perform ablution for Isha’ prayer, I called him again with my globacom. This time I told him that the number had just called me too but I refused to answer. I told him the drama is becoming interesting. He agreed but negatively. I told him also that I will switch off my phone and advised him to do the same.

He agreed . Being him alone in the house was what scared him most. He said he wont sleep at home that night. The number was still calling him at that moment according to him..

It should have stopped there. But after praying, I thought of the heart-breaker! I decided to take it to the highest level. I composed the following message and sent to him..

“Brother, the owner of this line called you last. We just found him unconscious outside room58 Akinzuwa hostel. We are taking him to the Sick-Bay, if you know any of his friends in ABU Zaria please notify them”

Yes this brought it to the climax.

After about 30 minutes a friend called me. He sounded petrified and he was surprised to hear my voice clearly.

“Where are you? And what is happening?”

I couldn’t hold the laughter. I knew he must had been told by Rango that I was in the hospital. I told him it was all prank.

He was very annoyed.

“Sada, this is beyond prank. It is not in anyway a joke. I was watching a champion’s league match when Rango called me that you are seriously sick. Do you know how many people I called. I even called Ummah (his mom) to tell her what was happening and she was also horrified. I wont forgive you for this.” He didn’t wait for my reply and he ended the call.

To my ignorance, he, Rango and two more people were at the sickbay at the time.

I later apologized for my expensive prank. It took long before Rango and the other friends forgave me.

Written by Sada Haruna.

A Gift from Heaven

Girrr…girrr…girr…

I watched my cell phone ring for the second time before I answered my neighbor’s call.

“This is a call from Heaven!” Bero uttered with a twisted hoarse voice. I knew he was in the mood for his usual tease.

“My friend, do you even have idea how Heaven looks like?”  I retorted cynically.

“You have been chosen to be a bearer of the bounties in the Heaven,” he continued in the twisted voice.

I wasn’t in the mood for any humor so I giggled and told him to cut the crap. Perhaps I was busy on my computer when he called and itching to return to my work.

He switched to his natural voice. The actual reason for the call was to ask me whether I had enough credit in my phone so that I could transfer 1000Ksh airtime to him. He needed the credit badly but couldn’t go out to buy recharge card because it was raining heavily. I told him there was, so he came over to my room.

He came holding a SIM certificate for he didn’t memorize his phone number by heart. After calling the number to me, I requested for the transfer.I recited back the number before confirming the transfer so as not to make mistake. He went back to his room to wait for the airtime delivery.

He came back to my room after about 10 minutes to tell me that he hadn’t received the credit yet. I showed him the confirmation message on my phone. In fact I was surprised why the airtime hadn’t been delivered.

“Are you sure the number you gave me is your line?” I asked him

“My friend, I got only one SIM card, so this must be the certificate.” He assured me.

We agreed there had to be some technical problem from Safaricom network. He had to be patient and wait for the delivery. I sent another 50Ksh to see if it would deliver but to no avail. He went back to his room and promised to notify me immediately the airtime enters his mobile account.

I called Bero after almost an hour to ask if he had received the airtime. I had just transferred 200 airtime to someone else which delivered instantly. I was certain then that the network was fine. Bero’s hadn’t still delivered!

“The number you gave me is not that of the SIM in your cellphone.” I was positive there was something wrong.

And indeed there was.

He discovered another SIM certificate after perusing his study-desk. It didn’t take him long to remember that his friend, Rango, came to his room with a SIM certificate few days back. He told me that on phone. Both transfers were to Rango’s phone number. He resolved to contact him so that he could transfer back the airtime.

***

Rango’s phone was switched off. Bero decided to leave him until the next morning but then he saw him online on Facebook. Voila! They chatted as follows.

Bero: Hi Dude.

Rango:  O my friend how are you. I am really enjoying myself

Bero:  What kind of enjoyment? Don’t tell me you are at a hotel shacking up with an

           innocent dame.

Rango: O no that’s my problem with you. Your mind is always on that thing. God Has sent

           one thousand and fifty KSH airtime to me from Heaven this night.

Bero: O hell! That’s my airtime my friend. I asked Sada to to transfer airtime to my phone

         but he mistakenly sent it to your number.

Rango: Don’t joke with me dude. I was browsing then my data got finished. No sooner than

            I decided to sleep then received  the message. 1000ksh! What do you expect me

            to do? I bought data

           bundle right away.Another 50KSH came in again. God has seen my despair.

Bero: Are you telling me you have spent all the money?

Rango: Absolutely. I am enjoying man. I switched off my phone so that no one would call me

            to tell me it was a mistake. God is really great! And you want to tell me otherwise!

When Bero narrated that to me I laughed until my stomach started aching. For me it all fits in.

“It is absolutely a gift from Heaven. Do you remember where you claimed to be calling from when you first called me this night?” I asked rhetorically.

Rango was right.