Tobi was very excited, he was finally going to get his chance to get back at Nne for all the years of emotional torture she put him through on April fool’s day.
He had sneaked into the country from Birmingham, where he is an undergraduate at the state university. Normally, James would be waiting to pick him from the airport, but Tobi wanted to be discreet. If he was going to get his grandma to shit herself, his arrival needed to be a shocker.
On the cab ride home he explained to the driver how much horror he had gone through as a kid on April fool’s day.
“When I was nine, my grandma once made me believe that we lost all our family money and we were going to be living on the street. I gathered all our staffs and was telling them to be strong. I was in tears because I didn’t want to sleep on the street but I also didn’t want our staffs to suffer. With snot dropping down my nose like a water fountain, I told them that the family would bounce back and pay them. Whereas my grandma was laughing profusely as she caught everything on video, she sent the video CDs to all the family, they started calling me snotty Tobi.”
“Oh No,” the driver said, laughing.
“But that is not all, she once made me believe my friend was dead. I cried my eye out. Later that day, my friend came over and she told me he was a ghost.”
“What!” The driver exclaimed, still laughing hard.
“I was 11 then,” concluded Tobi, but the cab driver seemed focused on another driver on the road. He gave the man a middle finger as the man mouthed words to him that they couldn’t hear because of the rolled up glass.
The cab driver was rough and kept breaking traffic rules as cars continuously horned at them.
“Are you trying to kill me?”
“Kill you? How the hell would I get paid if I do that? Besides, I am enjoying your stories.” Tobi took a deep breath.
“You are a sick driver.”
“I am a Nigerian driver,” The driver replied.
Tobi was eating plantain chips he got from a vendor on the road side, there was a massive traffic. The driver interrupted their silence.
“So why are you coming home now, today? I mean, do you miss being traumatized or what?”
“No she’s sick,” said Tobi as he continued in-between some chips in his mouth. “You see, I have not been home for over two years, but my Nne is sick. We don’t talk so much again, but I heard she has been forgetting things. So it is now or never.” Tobi concluded.
“So a revenge on the sick woman?” The driver stressed.
“Don’t guilt trip me, my grandma is a strong and active woman who has a controlling interest in over 10 companies. She is the meanest person alive, except for April fool’s day. She picks a target and traumatizes them. She calls it her relief day. And the crazy thing is that people have tried to get her back but not successfully. But now she’s sick, her brain is not as sharp as use to. If I can scare her to death and catch it on camera, I will be fulfilled.”
The cab driver looks astonished,
“One little question” he lifted a hand as he swerved the car to make a U turn with the other. Tobi’s chips pored all over the car as he looked at the driver who didn’t seem to notice.
“Dude, where are you hurrying to?”
The cab driver looked at Tobi, “To see your grandmother, I guess,”
“Not funny Mehn,” Tobi interjected as he wiped the stain of chips off his body.
“Sorry Man, but I want to know, how does your parent feel about you trying to kill your grandmother?”
“My parents are dead,” said Tobi.
“Oh, so sorry,”
Tobi waved the apology, “it’s okay, they died in a car accident when I was four, then my Nne took me in. Besides, I am not trying to kill her, just a minor heart attack would be fine for the grand witch.”
“I really don’t think I want to be in your family. You people are weird,” said the cab driver.
Tobi looked at him in a sly manner, “For my eighteenth birthday, Nne gifted me the latest Mercedes convertible, that car was really fast.”
“Well,” the driver tilted his head, “I guess being rich has its peeks,” they were quiet for a while before they both busted out laughing. “Please don’t say it, I know I sounded ridiculous.”
Tobi just smiled on.
They drove for a while and turned into an empty street. Tobi was having a soft drink, and then he said.
“I had once tried to prank her,”
The driver looked at him, a little surprise, “Are we still talking about this?”
Tobi ignored his sarcasm “It ended badly for me.” Tobi took a gulp from the drink and by the side of the road, he saw a banner that read, ‘Welcome home snotty boy, mama missed you’ he closed his eyes and opened it again, but nothing was there. Tobi looked at his drink in suspicion as the cab driver interrupted him.
“So I guess we are still talking about this, okay, what did you do and what did she do?” asked the cab driver.
Tobi was lost in the conversation. The weird vision had disrupted him, so he asked, “What?”
“You said you pranked your grandmother, and it was bad for you, what happened, how was it bad?”
“Oh, okay. About 3 years ago, I had planned with some of the staffs and even if they were scared, they played along because they liked me. I had called my grandma who was at work. I had told her that armed robbers just robbed the mansion, that I was badly hurt. I told her to come soon. She panicked and agreed to come soon. I went back home to wait with a decorated fools banner, I had big smiles but everything metamorphosed into a frown when police helicopters started circling the house and heavily armed officers started to troop in. They arrested everyone, except me. I was so scared that I had put everyone in trouble. I couldn’t reach Nne on the phone, so I took my car and started to drive. I was speeding without caring and almost got hit by a waste truck. When I got to her office, all the elevators were down, strange but I wasn’t thinking straight. I was in a hurry, so I climbed up seventeen floors to meet my grandma. As I entered her floor at the tower, I was panting like a racing horse without a finish line. I looked up, and I saw my grandma staffs holding a banner for me that read, “snotty Tobi have been tuned like a fool again.” Nne was at one corner of the office. She was holding a big camera and was laughing hard. She later posted it on the family WhatsApp.”
“Damn! Your mama sounds badass.” The driver said.
The driver turned toward the entrance and stopped, there was a giant clock by the gate side.
“59, 60, 1, that time is wrong” Tobi said, the driver looked at his watch.
“Maybe the battery ran out.”
Tobi looked through the gate barrels and saw an old woman from within the path looking at him, he looked intensively as he mouthed “Nne” but the person fades before his eyes and nothing was there again, “What the h…,” a security man knocked at his glass side, he rolled down his glass.
“Good Morning Master Tobi, welcome home Sir,” Tobi looks dumbfounded.
“Good Morning stranger, I don’t know you.”
“Yes Sir, I’m new,” replied the security.
Tobi looks at the driver,
“I am going to take it from here bro, and you can have this.” he extended the half drank soft drink to the driver, “it’s making me weird.” The cab driver took the drink and said.
“Good luck Man,” They shook hands and Tobi came out of the car. He didn’t feel so good, everything was strange. He could feel the ground shaking and wind freezing. Nothing felt right but he was here now and there was no going back. He had a detailed plan and a banner and a camera. He had simulated the process with his girlfriend, and she even had a fake heart attack. He stepped towards the gate as it automatically slide wide open like it was welcoming him to doomsday. He maintained a brave face but deep down in his heart, he was scared.
As he went through the pathway, an old woman appeared from within the gardens, it startled him. She was carrying a broom. He closed his eyes and opened it with hopes of the lady disappearing, but she was still there.
“Welcome home Master Tobi,” she said as she continues sweeping.
“Good Morning Ma and I don’t know you, why don’t I know anyone?” Tobi asked as he passed her slowly.
“I’m new,” she said, without raising her head as she swept the passage slowly.
“What’s going on?” Tobi said to himself as he rushes towards the house entrance and flipped the door wide open. The first thing that caught his eyes was the big painting of his grandmother opposite the main door. The painting has been there forever. It was a very ugly painting but Nne liked it like that.
The sitting room was spacious with a lot of African sculpture. Right in the middle was a glass elevator that took them to the East wing, beside the elevator was a round step that just went up and up. It was strange for everywhere to be empty he thought, Where is James? Where are the chefs that never stop cooking even if nobody was eating? But he was exhausted, his grandma was probably at work. He was just going to lie on the chair and wait for her. He was about to sit when he heard his name from behind.
“What are you doing here, Tobi?”
Without looking back, Tobi already knew who it was. James, his worst nightmare, he turned back anyway.
“Mr James, nice watch,”
“Thanks, it’s Audemars Piguet,” said James
“I’m sure it is, but get it fixed. It’s slow.” Tobi turned at the sound of people behind him only to find the other staffs lined up, all the cleaners, drivers and cooks. They looked worried. “Hey my people,” he walked towards them and hugged them as they returned his hug reluctantly. “What is going on? Why is everyone acting funny, are you people not happy to see me? Where is my grandma?” James cleared his throat to get his attention. Tobi turned to face James again.
“Speak up James, what is the matter?”
“They are not responding because of you sir. They are worried.”
“About what?” Tobi fired back.
“I know you don’t remember, and you are probably confused but you are sick, you have been in and out of the rehab facility for the past two years, the whole thing started after your grandmother died.”
Tobi busted out laughing, “All you crazy clowns, my grandma put you up to this right, so where’s the “snotty Tobi is a fool” banner?”
James interjected, “Master Tobi, I love you so much. It hurts me to see you like this, please can you stop escaping from the rehab every chance you get? Please finish your treatment, so you can come home and rightfully control everything your grandmother gave to you.”
“What do you mean, escape rehab?” Tobi asked curiously.
“Let me show you” James walked out of the house as Tobi followed him along with the other staffs. As they moved in quiet, Tobi saw his grandma standing in the garden in between some roses. He shouted,
“Nne” as he jumped into the garden but she was gone. He was stumped and turned back to every wary eye on him. James walked up to him.
“Nne was buried there.” Both of them went towards the roses, and a head stone read, ‘Mother, Grandmother, World conqueror.”
“No, no, no, this is all a ruse, you are all trying to mess with me.” Tobi was getting agitated.
“Relax Tobi,” James said.
“Don’t tell me to relax,” Tobi shouted.
“Can I still show you what I wanted to show you?” James asked.
Tobi breathing was slowing down now, and then he said.
“Okay,” They went towards the gate and as they got close, Tobi could see the cab he took to the house, it had crashed a half way into the entrance gate. He ran towards the car.
“Who did that?” He went around to check inside the car, but nobody was inside except for the soft drink. “Where is the driver, who crashed his car?”
The security walked towards them, only it wasn’t the formal guy, this was the one he knew.
“Moses, wow, I thought you’ve left us, where is the new security guy I met here? He would know what happened here.”
Moses didn’t look too thrilled, “I am the one you met here sir,” you didn’t come in with anyone, you were driving rough and crashed into the gate.” Tobi shakes his head in disbelieve as he watches everyone look at him like he was crazy. Just behind the crowd, he saw an old woman sweeping, she was Nne. Tobi didn’t go towards her or anything. He just broke down in tears.
“Tobi, your head,” James said.
Tobi touched his head. He felt a sharp pain and when he looked at his hand, there was blood. He looked at the car, there was blood at the steering wheels.
“No, no, this is not real, I’m dreaming.”
“If it wasn’t real, why would you still be wearing your rehab robe?” Said one of the chefs. Tobi looked down and he was wearing a rehab robe and he was barefooted. Overwhelm, he ran back to the house. The staffs came after him but when they opened the door, they saw him ascending with the elevator. They watched him move up with his brownish, creamy robe as he looked down at them. He had dead eyes. James quickly took the stairs to follow him as other staffs followed James.
Tobi enters his room. It still smelt. He removed a postal on the wall and a big hole reviewed itself. Tobi bought out a plastic wrapper, a rope and a pocket knife from the wall. He looked up at the fan as tears roll down his cheeks.
He watched the clock intensively and quietly, listening only to the sound of people matching the stairs. Few minutes passes as Tobi mouthed numbers.
“35, 36, 37.”
When his door flung open, James along with the other staffs rushed in looking happy. They had placards and cardboard sheets that wrote phrases like, ‘Once a snotty, always a snotty,’ ‘Snotty Toby, he thinks he’s Kobe, he got put down by an Oldy,’ ‘Snotty T is a seasonal fool,’ but their smile immediately metamorphosed into a glare when they found out they had gone too far, Tobi was hanging from the fan with his neck bent, his eyes closed and his tongue out.
They stood in dead silent when somebody pushed out within the crowd, it was Nne, on the sight of Tobi dangling lifelessly, her camera fell from her hands and she collapsed to the ground. The staffs rushed her but just then, something strange happened, the song Champion started playing and a banner slowly dropped from the roof behind Tobi that read, ‘Snotty T is the greatest,’ camera flash from every angle filled the room and Tobi opened his eyes as he took out a pocket knife and cut the rope holding him to the fan.
Everyone was dumbfounded as Tobi fell to the ground, his grandma was unconscious.
“Hey, close your mouths before a fly goes in, the rope held me from my chest, the one around my neck was a red herring” They were still quiet and in shock. “Please take my grandma to the hospital. I can’t have her dying on me now,”
James was snapped into reality as he started barking orders at the staffs, “Call her doctor, you, prepare the vehicle, help me carry her leg, we have to get to the hospital.” Tobi just stood there, all smiles.
On the family group chat, Tobi posted the video clips of the event and attached some explanation. He knew his grandma wanted to get him home and had recruited his girlfriend to suggest to him a revenge plan after news was spreading that she was sick. He knew his girl was feeding them informations. He knew the driver was working for his grandmother, and they somehow tricked him into entering the cab. He knew the driver had spike his drink and that was why he was seeing things.
He knew his grandma was going to try and control him by getting him unconscious, unaware and slow. That was the only way she could appear and quickly leave, and he would think she had disappeared. He just needed a counter.
What she didn’t know was that. He had mastered time. He could follow time in his head and whenever he realized there was a discrepancy between the time in his head and what any clock was saying, then something funny has happened to him.
At the end of the note he wrote, ‘snotty Tobi is slick, snotty Tobi is slippery, snotty Tobi is the greatest, Happy April fool’s day Nne’ and he exited the group.