It was a quiet Monday evening. Too quiet. Frimpong was lying down on his bed lost in dreamland, fantasizing about sweet Adjeley. That girl always made his heart skip a beat. He was so crazy over her. A fleeting thought about going to lock the gate was instantly replaced by the sweet smile she gave him earlier when he met her on his way to buy bread.
He’d called her and the way she’d smiled so shyly had stolen his heart anew.
Then, he realized how quiet it had become. His house was along a thoroughfare and directly opposite a pub which made noise from 7 pm to 2 am each day except Sundays. He stood up and scratched his chest. He stretched a bit and went towards the bedroom door. A cursory look out the window near the door caused his breath to catch.
2 guys holding guns were standing in front of the pub. One walked in whiles the other, probably the lookout looked around before following him inside. He immediately switched off his light. He crouched near the window sill though they couldn’t see him. He was in trouble. He hadn’t locked the main gate or his main door.
The sudden gunshot made him scramble outside the room. He switched off every light in every room and went to lock the main doors. The crick sound of the key turning had never sounded so loud. He crouched at the window facing the road and nearly groaned. The two were standing just before his opened gate.
His gate was electric but for some reason, he’d been unable to force it closed it this evening when he returned from home. He’d decided to wait for some minutes before going back to close it. Now he realized how foolish he’d been. He’d ended up wasting nearly an hour. An open gate indicated that somebody was home. At that moment, one of the robbers turned and looked towards the house.
Frimpong nearly screamed. The robber had looked right at him but he knew it was impossible to see him since he was in the dark. He went to grab a straight back chair and propped it against the doorknob just in case.
He went around his 2 bedroom apartment with 3 toilets and 2 ensuite bathrooms to check if he’d left a window or door open. He locked the doors of the rooms he wasn’t going to use and came back to the hall. He went to look out of the window and did the cross sign. The two goons had walked away. He was still waiting to see if he’ll see them when he saw Adjeley walking past his gate on her way home he was sure. His eyes widened. She wouldn’t know what was happening until it was too late.
He was confused about what to do next. He ran to the door, grabbed hold of the handle but changed his mind. He needed to know where the robbers were. He ran to every window and looked out but couldn’t find them. Then he stopped at the kitchen window. What was that sound? It sounded like…somebody’s footstep. The person was slowly walking towards the window. He backed away from the window but looked behind him. He couldn’t see clearly. He always kept his kitchen very neat but was scared he might have forgotten a bottle or anything on the floor that could signal to whoever was out there that he was inside.
Then he heard “ekya.” An Akan expression for pain. That voice sounded feminine. Could it be her? It had to be her.
He quickly ran to open the door and looked out. It was who? Adzo? He nearly steuped. His neighbor was a pain in his socks. She was nosy and always using any excuse to visit him. “Oh bro Frimpong, I bought guava in town but, they’re too many so just have a few.” Then, right after that, she’ll say, “Eiii bro Frimpong, it looks like your place has changed a bit oh. Did you reorganize your place? It really looks nicer this way.” And she’ll be poking her nose into everything which was something he hated with a passion.
He exhaled sharply and stepped back to allow her inquisitive self into the room. He was really exasperated because he wanted a woman inside his house at this very moment but certainly not her. She walked in and did what he’d been trying to avoid, hit the side of the island, and caused a bottle to fall down and smash onto the ground. His phone was in his room and there was no way he could see where the shards had fallen unless he switched on the lights which were next to impossible.
“Ohhh,” she started.
“Shhhh. Not too loud.”
Then she moved and, “ekya!” Another exclamation of pain.
“What is wrong with you? Can’t you shut your mouth for once?”
“I’m sorry but-” the sound of a gunshot close to his main door made her swallow the rest of her words. Frimpong crouched behind the island. He could make out her outline in the dark and she was still standing.
“If you don’t hide, I’ll sack you from my house right this minute.”
That was enough to catapult her to his side on the floor.
“Bro Frimpong, I think I’m hurt.”
“I must have stepped on a piece of glass.”
“Is it deep?”
“I don’t think so but when I touch it, I can feel a lot of blood oozing out of it.”
“I’ll go and get you something to clean it but for both our sakes, don’t move.”
He didn’t see her nod but knew that she did so. He grabbed a chair from the dining set nearby and used it to push away any shards on the floor. He wasn’t sure it would work but wanted to prevent any possible harm as much as possible. He’d lied to her. He wasn’t really going to bring her something to clean it. He could by touch alone, find her a paper towel from the very island they were hiding behind. He just wanted to take the opportunity to check what was out there.
When he entered the hall, he stopped for a second to listen. He couldn’t hear anything from the kitchen and hoped Adzo wouldn’t do anything foolish. He turned towards the window near the front door and crept towards it hoping not to see or hear anything from the armed robbers.
Then “have you seen them?” came from Adzo who had crept up from behind him.
“Jesus Christ!” Frimpong nearly screamed. He was so startled that for a second he forgot the situation he was in. “What’s wrong with you?”
“Shhhh.” She shushed him.
He was boiling to such an extent that he could imagine being a covered pot of spaghetti which was boiling over. He had to remind himself of the armed robbers before he calmed down enough to ignore her. Ignoring her was difficult because her breath was literally on his neck. He walked to the window and slowly pushed the curtain to one side. There was no one there. He craned his neck this way and that but couldn’t see anyone. Adzo came closer and also peeked outside. He nearly rolled his eyes in exasperation.
“Do you think they’re gone? Who are they? Do you think they shot someone?”
Frimpong wished he had superhuman strength. He’d have tossed her out of the roof to land on Saturn or Jupiter.
“Woman, would you shut it?” he forced out of clenched teeth. She must have heard the threat in his voice because this time she didn’t utter a word. It was a silence that continued even when he slowly and carefully turned the key in the lock. He opened the door slowly inward and looked out at the yard. Nobody was there. He wondered where Adjeley was.
He stepped outside for a moment and looked around. It seemed the coast was clear. He sensed more than heard Adzo following him outside. Still no sign of the robbers.
“Oh brother, are you okay?” Mr Siaw, the owner of the pub, asked some meters away. The man was holding a gun?
“Have the armed robbers left?” Frimpong asked whiles staring nervously at the gun.
“Yes oh. I was able to stop them with my gun. My son has tied them up inside and called the police. I’m sure they’ll be here any minute from now.”
“That’s a relief,” Frimpong said. When Siaw turned to walk back to the pub, Frimpong followed, curious to see who the robbers were. As usual, Adzo followed closely behind. “But what were they looking for really?”
“They must have had a tip off I had gone to cash out money. I was actually at a forex bureau to buy 25,000USD and cashed some more money at the bank to take care of the expenses. When they entered, they specifically asked for the dollars, threatening to shoot me if I made any mistake. They even shot my security guard first.”
“Oh! How is he?” Adzo asked.
“He’s better now. Far better now.”
“Are all your staff safe?”
“Yes, they were. It was my niece who nearly got kidnapped but I saw it just in time to save her.”
Frimpong said ok but didn’t know who the niece was though he had a suspicion. It could be Adjeley since he’d seen her just around the time of the robbery. True enough, she was the one. He went to her when he saw her and asked how she was. Adjeley was a bit cold towards him and kept nodding instead of answering his queries. He realized that Adzo kept on asking her the same question, “are you sure you’re okay.” After the fifth time, he told her to leave him with his friend. Thankfully, she did that without a murmur.
“Sorry about Adzo. She’s my neighbor and came to seek refuge at my place when she heard the gunshots,” he said. She only smiled.
Adzo realized she was forefoot and went to tell him that she was going home to change.
“Ok. I’m sure my friend will need something to calm her down so I’ll go with her to my place,” he told Adzo whiles hoping Adjeley wouldn’t say no. This was the only way he could get closer to his crush. He also wanted to remove any thought she might have about he and Adzo.
“Oh Bro Frimpong, I can bring over some soup if you don’t mind. Sister, would you like some soup?”
“I have soup in the fridge Adzo but thanks for the offer. Good night.” He watched her as she looked at him, then at Adjeley, then back at him and at Adjeley again. She nodded finally and left.
“She has a crush on you, you know,” Adjeley said with a smile.
“Maybe she does, may she doesn’t but I have a crush on you rather.”
“Hey young man, are you making moves on my woman?” Mr Siaw asked and put a heavy hand on his shoulder. He squeezed him slightly but painfully. Frimpong blinked. Adjeley wasn’t his niece?
“Oh but I thought…”
“That’s she’s my niece? No. Adjeley is my wife to be. Honey, shall we?”
Frimpong could only watch in stupefied silence as Siaw draped a jacket over the girl’s shoulder and went off with her. Adjeley didn’t even spare him a glance. He slowly realized that he was standing in an empty pub wearing only his boxers shorts and walking barefooted.
It was time to go home.