If you are wondering what is going on here, take a step back and all will be revealed. We are in the middle of a story – and a game here – between you and I. To save you flipping up and down, here’s the Story so far:

Dear Mr. Bomb,

Thank you for your letter. Don’t worry, I’m not mad so I won’t go to the police. The bribe I paid them 2 years ago for my stolen car which they never recovered is still vexing me. I will keep this to myself. Please take care of my darling husband. He likes to eat soft eko in the night, if you can manage it. By now he must have told you about his injections. I know you may not believe him but it’s true: if he doesn’t take his anti-clot injections every night he will just die on your hands – and me I am not going to pay any ransom for the dead body of my husband o. I’m telling you now. It is true that the injection is extremely expensive, and I know you may not have budgeted for it when you were planning this kidnapping, but you have to spend money to get money, not so?  So please let me know what the ransom is and I will pay it. My husband is a good and a faithful man. We don’t have any children and he is all I have. As you instructed, I will stroll down Tosin street at exactly 9 pm, wearing a yellow headtie, and I will give this letter to the first beggar boy that comes carrying a yellow bowl and calls me ‘Ashawo’. But please now, can you choose another password next time? I don’t see the point of being insulted for nothing’s sake.

Mrs. Ashiru Koton

and here’s today’s installment:

Dear Bayo de Bomb,

Sorry o, I wasn’t trying to make fun of your nickname. It is just my lack of experience of things like this. Please forgive me.

About this kidnap business, is this ‘5,000,000’ naira or ‘50,000’ naira I am reading? I think the zeros are a bit too much. Didn’t you know I am just a housewife? Or don’t you people do any research before kidnapping somebody? Anyway, me I also read newspapers as well. The Surulere businesswoman they kidnapped three weeks ago, is it not one hundred thousand naira that they paid? My husband is an ordinary civil servant and you are asking me for five million! I know that the Surulere people took three months to negotiate the ransom down, but look, I don’t have three months. And with the cost of anti-clot injections,  you yourself don’t. Look, the truth is that I am going to Dubai this very weekend and my ticket is non-refundable, so just tell me your ‘last price’. Me, I am offering to pay fifty thousand naira. Please. I don’t have the kind of money that you are asking. If I try and borrow more than five thousand naira my friends will laugh at me. Unless I tell them the truth… first you say I shouldn’t tell anybody, next you say I should bring five million. From where? Does your own housewife keep five million under her bed? Don’t forget that my husband is just an ordinary deputy director in the civil service. Yes he sees a little bribe here and there like everybody else, but it is not the type that you are thinking.

Or do you want me to talk to my husband’s senior brother? He can raise two or three hundred thousand easily. The problem is that my in-law is a senior director at the Ministry of Police Affairs. That is the problem. If I tell him he will just be thinking, Police! Police! That’s the problem. And you know how efficient the police can be when the investigations concerns them personally. – If they arrest anybody, there is no court. They just settle everything with ‘accidental discharge’. I am sending my savings passbook with this letter so that you can see the kind of money that my husband gives me every month. I am not complaining, mark you, because he pays most of my bills. Except that I don’t see the money in cash, that’s all. You know how you men are. Don’t say I’m teaching you your job o, but normally kidnappers will kidnap a child or a mistress or something, not the main man who can raise the money. Anyway, should I send you my trinkets? They are not real gold, but they are very, very pretty (and I know my husband will replace them when he comes back). If you agree, I can pack them up very well and give them to your beggar boy instead of your five million naira.

By the way, Mugu is not much better than Ashawo. I will answer Mugu this time, but for next time, let the password be Sisi Eko. This is not a good home-training you are giving your apprentices, I have to tell you: teaching them to be calling respectable women like me bad names like that.

Mrs. Ashiru Koton.

Now you’re up to speed! Once again, I will publish one ransom letter everyday until the final segment of this short story is published on Saturday 19th November. If I get a total of a hundred comments across all six blogs of this story, I’ll start a totally new 6-day story next week. So – whether for love of literature, or just to see a more grey-haired Chuma – get commenting! Remember there’s a book waiting for the first comment that susses out my endgame.

Related Blogs:

Part 1: published on 15th November, 2010
Part 3: published on 17th November,2010.
Part 4: published on 18th November, 2010.
Part 5: published on 19th November, 2010.
Part 6: published on 20th November, 2010

15 Replies to “The Ransom Letters (Part 2 of 6)”

  1. Abdul Adan says:

    Hmmm…She is upto something. Looks to me she wants them to keep him longer. I don’t think she will pay even 50,000 naira if they agreed to it. Perhaps, if they did, (with apologies for not having done a background research) she would then send another letter, citing bla..bla..is not clear. Eventually the cost of his injections will be too much and they might ask her to take him off their hands. And they will be willing to pay her for it. In that case, (I am most doubtful here) she will accept the money and use it to run off with that new man, leaving them to face a possibility of ‘accidental discharge’ I hope they pay her more money than she is ever owned, which eliminates the need to live with a civil servant…(the heaviest bundle of her life) ahh..I hope I havent strayed off too far.

  2. chuma says:

    You’ve really got into it, Abdul. Naturally, my lips are sealed until Saturday. A few clever readers are probably keeping their bets hedged until day 3 or so when the cards may be a bit clearer. It is like those TV game shows… wait too long, and a competitor (like you) says SNAP! Jump in too early, and you may have missed an essential clue… or projected an inessential one!

    Your suggestion about a ‘new man’ depends of course on whether I introduce a ‘new man’ by letter no.5. Naturally, nothing annoys readers like writers who introduce ‘clever’ last minute handles with which to twist an ending. The perfect twist is the one whose ingredients are right there in the story, so that the writer requires just a gentle flip of the story pan to finesse the finale (if you forgive the wordplay).

  3. uche peter umez says:

    likes it, reminds me of Pretty People with Danny deVito

  4. Jeannie Brandt-Lietzau says:

    Ha……love it Chuma :>))

    Not too sure about the “new man” thing. But, I agree with Abdul’s thoughts as to her desire to have the kidnappers keep her husband for a longer period of time.
    She makes the comment that she is “not complaining” but, indeed she is doing just that.
    Stumped……don’t know yet, but will follow closely.

  5. Chuma says:

    @Ivor, crafty, that!

    @Uche, Pretty People? Not sure I recall seeing/reading that…

    @Jeannie, sure she’s complaining, but the fact that a woman complains about her husband does not suggest that she loves him less. – Indeed the relatively casual tone of her letters might well be a ploy to keep the ransom within reasonable proportions (applying that old Tom Sawyer principle)… just thinking out aloud… and perhaps trying out a spot of misdirection here ;-)!

  6. KT says:

    Hi. This is my first time here. I’m enjoying this so far. I’m hoping that the husband is not the kidnapper himself. Let me read on.

  7. chika says:

    i agree with Abdul: they’ll be begging her to take him off their hands. I wrote a short story on this theme with that kind of twist. Chuma… have you been “copying me in class?” Lol

  8. Chuma says:

    @Chika, I guess we will have to wait till tomorrow to find out how well I ‘understudied’ you! Which story was this?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *