#Blogfest 2:0 , Day 3 – #30dayscountdownto2016
I lie there in the dark corner of the room, under the bed that creaked loudly every time any human weight rested upon it. The darkness shrouded my dirty, torn, worn and old battered body and it was with indifference I watched as the rat seeking food nibbled at a tip of my body trying to figure if I was edible enough to serve as a meal. After satisfying its curiosity that I wasn’t delicious enough a cuisine, it scampered off at the sound of the door opening, its little rat paws leaving a tear in my already battered body.
The opened door causes light to spill into the room and some of the illumination finds its way to my dingy corner under the bed. The shrill voice of Bimbo came from above as I heard her plop on the bed with the poor bed creaking in protest in its usual fashion.
“I am yet to find my money, you have to give it back Funbi.” The room was suddenly dark again as Funbi, her brother stood by the entrance of the room, his body blocking the source of light into the room. His shadow fell across me and I heard him reply “I have told you, I didn’t take your stupid fifty naira note. Who would accept that dirty money from you anyway?”
Shame welled up in me as I heard this description of me by Funbi. The rascal I thought to myself. Indignation rose in me and I felt like screaming from my position under the bed that I wasn’t stupid or dirty but I knew that would be useless. I had not always been dirty as he called me after all I came out of the mint house clean, fresh and sparkling. The envy of all eyes, after all I am one of the first fifty naira notes made out of polymer. Oh the beauty I possessed then as the old fifty naira notes stared in blatant envy as the minters handled us with utmost care and packed us up for distribution but sadly that glory was short lived. My being new and rarity that had been the reason for the other notes to be envious soon became my curse.
My woes started the moment we left the safe haven of the Central Bank of Nigeria and got into the mainstream spending market. I was at first sad to be separated from other fifty naira notes of my kind but then it seemed fate already had me singled out for doom. At my bank of destination, a man came to withdraw money and asked if he could get a single piece of the fifty naira, the cashier with her polite smile obliged his request and if I had known what was to come, perhaps I wouldn’t have been so happy to have been picked. I most likely would have attacked her and cut her with my crisp, sharp edge just to see that silly smile wiped off her face. Oh, the curse of ignorance. He didn’t put me among the other notes, but I went straight into his wallet and as he closed the snap of the wallet over me, my journey of doom began.
When the wallet was finally opened again, I breathe in the fresh air that hit me and I sighed in pleasure. You should therefore imagine my horror when I got plucked out of the wallet unceremoniously and to my chagrin my new owner immersed me in a bucket of black water that had some foul smell to it. If money could be drowned, I believe that would have been the death of me. As I lay supine in the water, chant like sounds came to me from above and I could barely make out such words like “Let this new money bring new things to my life. Let it take away all the pain, suffering, poverty and failure in my life. All the bad things in my life I deposit on this money.” I gasped for air as I was brought out of the smelling water and he began to rub me all over his body from head to toe. The prayers continued and then I got dumped in a corner of the bathroom as he quickly took his bath. After he was done, he picked me up gingerly as if I had some contagious disease and went to dress up. Off we went looking for a beggar to bequeath me to and I cried silently at the slime I felt was crawling over my body.
At last he found his victim, a blind beggar sitting on a side of the street begging for alms. He dumped me brought me out and brought me close to his mouth as he whispered some few more of diabolical gibberish to me before dumping me into the beggar’s bowl. I stared daggers at his retreating figure and if looks could kill, he surely would have dropped dead that instant. He however left unscathed leaving me with my ego badly bruised. I looked at my new abode and studied my new companions; a tattered ten naira note that looked like it had seen better days, a five naira note with oil stains all over it that you could barely make out the note again and three ancient coins that didn’t look like they had much value. Sighing in resignation, I tried to block out the song of the blind beggar that was my new owner as he droned on and on in his appeal for alms. I was beginning to doze off when I felt another note land on me and I cried out in mortification. “Watch it stupid!” It was a twenty naira note and half of its body lay across me in the tiny bowl that the beggar was using for his alms collection. It was bad enough that I had to share the space with the filthy five naira note, the old ten naira and the useless coins but at least then I had my own space.
“Look, what we have here, if it isn’t the clan of polymers. My apologies for resting on you your highness but sadly as I cannot move myself, you would have to endure my burden.” The twenty naira note’s mocking tone infuriated me further and I hissed to show my displeasure as I held my tongue. Unlike me the twenty naira note soon started a conversation with the other monies and soon had them cheered as they traded gossip of where they had been and what they had been through with their different owners. I longed to join in the conversation but held myself, after all I had more value than all of them put together and they should have had the grace to treat me with more respect.
The day wore on and we all lay there in the sun, listening to the beggar’s pitiful cry. Alas he broke off his cry for help as he heard the sound of a food vendor advertising food. He called out to the vendor and asked her if he had enough money in his bowl for her to sell him fifty naira worth of rice. She told him yes and sold out the food before plucking me out of the bowl. I smiled gleefully and said a quick prayer of thanks to the heavens for getting me out of a society that was beneath my class. My new owner, the food vendor looked at me in wonderment as she turned me here and there inspecting every part as if to confirm I was real. She smiled like a woman who had just seen her lover and I soaked in the attention happily. Now this is how to treat royalty like me. “I no go use this one for chaangi” I heard her say to herself in pidgin English and folding me gingerly, she tucked me into her bra. The foul smell of sweating skin mixed with soaked fabric assailed my nostril and I screamed silently in protest. This was like jumping from frying pan to fire. In the beggar’s bowl I at least had fresh air but being crushed between this food vendor’s breasts with her mammary glands pressing on me heavily I wished for the weight of the twenty naira note on me once again. I would happily suffer their company and bear the twenty naira note’s weight on me than this crushing weight that felt like a trailer was over me not to mention the nauseating smell.
I suffered in this condition as she went from street to street hawking her food. I listened from my prison as she boasted to some of her customers that she had the new fifty naira note and is among the first people to own it in the country. I wished throughout the entire period that she would at least bring me out to show off so that I could breathe in fresh air but each time she was asked to show me, she would pat her breasts affectionately and reply in the negative saying she had it hidden somewhere safe. I did not get released from this prison till much later in the evening, when she was home and decided to show me off to her children. They gathered around me where she lay me like a prized treasure and I watched the wonder in all of their faces. They each had their turn to feel me, examine me from head to toe. My old feeling of importance came back as the illiterate mother and her little children practically worshipped me.
“Maami, shey e le fun mi?” Tunde, the youngest son asked his mother in Yoruba. He looked about ten and his little child eyes pleaded with his mother silently. She looked at him sternly as if he had asked her to buy him a car and she scolded him sharply for being greedy. “Ki lo fe fi aduru fifty naira shey. Oloju kokoro.” The family settled down to their dinner and after all was set for bed, she put me gingerly on the only table in the dingy one room apartment. My only companion was the single candle that acted as a source of light in the room with the snores coming from the sleeping figures breaking the silence.
It felt like only minutes after I had settled down into my own sleep when I suddenly felt a hand grab me and I woke up groggily to stare into the mischievous eyes of Tunde. He had a smirk on his face as he looked at me and then tip toeing to where the candle lay he teased the burning flame with a tip of me. The eager flame leaped at me and I felt the heat of the fire but he quickly withdrew me just before the fire could touch me and he smiled happily to himself. This game continued for a while with me closing my eyes in fear each time the fire came near till alas, he was a bit too slow and the fire kissed my tip eagerly. I curled up in pain as Tunde stared in horror at what he had done. His gasp of fear must have woken his mother because she startled awake and seeing Tunde standing by the candle with me in his hand, she leapt up from her place on the mat and smacked him hard on the head for his mischief. He started crying but a threat of a severe beating with if he didn’t stop his noise put an end to that and I was put back in my place. I was damaged and I cried myself to sleep.
The next morning, the food vendor angrily told Tunde that as his punishment he was to keep me but not to expect any meal in the house for that day. After apologizing to his mother for last night’s mischief and then he headed off to school with me safely tucked in his pocket. My appeal had quickly dwindled with the new burn scar on my body and he didn’t hesitate to hand me over to the conductor as he paid his bus fare. The conductor looked at me suspiciously and just to confirm my authenticity, he squeezed me and left me all wrinkled before adding me to the other naira notes. My stay with the conductor was however short lived as he soon handed me over to another passenger as change.
My new owner Bimbo is the one currently questioning her brother Funbi about my whereabouts and for the sake of all of us I really hope she does not find me. I am tired and been through enough as it is. She had dumped me unceremoniously in her room and perhaps Mother Nature herself has seen that I have suffered enough, she had been kind enough to send a gust of wind to this hiding place under this bed.
“Have you checked under the bed for your money?” I quaked in fear as I heard Funbi’s voice. I heard the bed creak again as Bimbo got off it and her shadow descended over me as she peered under the bed on bended knees.
“There it is,” she cried happily as her fingers grabbed me. Another journey about to begin I suppose. My life as a fifty naira note is apparently not yet over.
Written by Akinwale Akinyoade – Website name: www.penastory.com