The Thrift Collector

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At this time of the day, the crows have roosted, the dogs in their various kennels sleeping or keeping guard, the cats having their naps and the neighbourhood snoring. Gentle, cold breeze, resulting from the earlier rains was blowing over the area. Everywhere was calm and everyone asleep — well, everyone except Tayo, the thrift collector.

Tayo was unusually tense in this hour of the day, an hour when he is either supposed to be asleep or be on his bed, lay on a corner and reminisce on the day’s occurrences. The reason for this is not far-fetched. Before him are three marauders of the night, obviously armed to the teeth with locally made double barrel pistols and two wielding daggers also. The one who he suspected to be their leader had a gun pointed to his head, and he was already soaked in sweat, like someone just coming in from under a heavy rain. He was still in a state of mental unconsciousness and emotional peril when the leader barked at him again. ‘I repeat, where is the money?’.

{Earlier that day}
Tayo was navigating the streets of Maxwell Ave. on foot, beads of sweat gathering on his forehead which he occasionally wiped with the back of his hand, the sun directly overhead and bearing down on him and his thrift-collecting-bag slung across his shoulders. Tayo is a final-year Mechanical Engineering student at Obafemi Awolowo University who was home due to the ongoing strike. Since an idle hand is said to be the devil’s workshop, he refused to be idle and took up the job of collecting weekly contributions from traders, keeping them and distributing back to each participant as need be, getting some little ‘crumbs’ and interests on loans to fall into his own pocket. He has been doing this for four months before luck decided to run out on him.
Tayo walked past the tall houses in this estate area and continued to the end of the road, where another of his ‘customers’ was. The customer is none other than Kunle, an ordinary tailor. Kunle was a friend he met when he started the business and was introduced to him by someone who loved his services as a thrift-collector. He soon approached Kunle’s shop and the duo engaged in their regular hearty chit-chat. After some minutes, Tayo decided to leave and Kunle threw him a puzzle to go ponder on. ‘Tayo, do you know that you can eat your cake and have it, and even have better?’ Kunle asked. Tayo’s brows crumpled in confusion, as he had never heard of such before. ‘How do you mean?’ Tayo inquired. ‘Well, that’s for me to know and for you to find out’ replied kunle, with a naughty wink. Tayo, used to Kunle’s crazy-in-a-cool-way manner, shook it off, bade him goodbye and left to pursue his business, after which he headed home.
He took a shower, watched some TV and was about to go to bed when Kunle’s seemingly difficult question resurfaced from the depths of his memories. He was still pondering on this when the gentlemen of the night came a-knocking.

‘Believe me, this would be the last time I’ll ask you’ barked the impatient leader at Tayo, who was still on his knees. ‘Its either you tell me where it is, or I kill you, and find out myself’. Tayo, realising this wasn’t an empty threat, caved in. ‘I’ll go get it, sir. Just don’t hurt me, please’. As if compelled by an external force, Tayo moved to his bed, opened up a slash in the side and brought out wads after wads of cash, neatly stockpiled in ascending order of denominations. Amidst tears, he handed over the money to the leader. ‘Hahaha, I knew you were a good boy. See? No one gets hurt this way’, the leader jeered. Hot streams of tears shot down from Tayo’s eyes. Lots of thoughts were playing over and over in his head. What was he going to tell his parents who had advised him against such work?. How was he going to explain to his customers how their money went missing? Even if he ran away, would he be able to live with himself all the days of his life? What if he got jailed for life? What would happen to his career? The cocking of the leader’s gun jerked him back to his senses. ‘Please’, he pleaded, ‘I already gave you what you wanted. Please just go. I promise I won’t report this’. ‘Oh, you ignorant soul’, started the leader, ‘how I wish I could leave you, but my identity would be compromised’. ‘I don’t even know who you are. I swear on my life’ cried Tayo, desperately trying not to lose his life. ‘I think you do’, the leader chuckled, ‘remember, you can eat your cake and have it, and even have better?’.
A cold chill ran down Tayo’s spine and he shivered violently. Hate, fear, betrayal and realisation all hit him at the same time, sending him spinning down a tunnel of mental confusion. He knew the man behind the mask. He knew the man behind the gun. He knew it was the same man he had befriended months ago, the same man that owned the tailor’s shop. ‘What!!’ Exclaimed Tayo, ‘how could you do this to —‘. Tayo was cut short from completing his sentence. The gun gave a loud bang, and before Kunle, Tayo’s body lay limp, lifeless, covered in his own blood. The bullet has successfully registered itself in Tayo’s skull, wasting him.



10 thoughts on “The Thrift Collector

    Raquelle000 said:
    November 24, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    Sad story… Although I must commend the creativity in writing.


      Larry McExx responded:
      November 24, 2013 at 7:39 PM

      Yeah, so sad. Thanks for the comment, and double thanks for the compliment.


    Elo said:
    November 24, 2013 at 8:52 PM

    Wow,seriously its a nice piece,i luv it,keep it up dear bt jst d sad ending tho bt it ws nice


      Larry McExx responded:
      November 25, 2013 at 3:34 PM

      So sad, I’m almost moved to tears too. Nevertheless, your compliment didn’t go unnoticed. Thanks a lot.


    Tolu said:
    November 25, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    nice piece bro…tz xcellent; buh u shuldnt work in hollywood, uld get ate mails for this 😛 *jex kidding bro*


    herreeate said:
    November 25, 2013 at 7:56 PM

    Nice one!I was really moved by the story..keep it up


      Larry McExx responded:
      November 25, 2013 at 8:56 PM

      I surely will. Thanks a milli’


    phummie said:
    November 27, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    Orh,thats cruel….Nice writeup thou 😉


      Larry McExx responded:
      November 28, 2013 at 6:58 AM

      Real cruel. If not for the death of my friend (General Damon) and my loss of contact to my virtual bro (Tommy Vercetti), I’d have asked ’em to go deal with Kunle for me


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