Dial Episode 15 is dialling now…
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I stared at this apparition for a long time, and as my heartbeats steadied I realized that yes, she did look a lot like Akos, but there were rather marked differences.
This woman standing beside my car was a more matured rounded edition of Akos. She was older, and had more pronounced curves and rises.
She was spellbindingly beautiful, and I stared at her for a moment, and then, trembling, I put the car into reverse and slowly backed away from the pillars, then stopped the car.
I opened the door and got out.
She came toward me slowly, and stopped within touching distance.
“Are you okay now?” she asked in a gentle voice.
I stared at her through my sunshades with a hostility that was alien to me.
“What do you want?” I asked coldly. “He sent you here to take your pound of flesh too?”
Her expression didn’t change as she continued to look at me.
“No one sent me, Mr. Biko,” she said quietly. “As it is, I really don’t even remember the last time I spoke to my brother. I’m here because Akos sent me a letter I only received yesterday. The postal delivery at the hospital isn’t quite the best.”
I stared at her for a little longer, and then I realized that I was being rude. A deep sigh escaped through my lips as I turned and opened my door again.
“Please, do come in,” I said. “May I know your name?”
“Dede,” she said in that sweet voice of hers. “Dede Nortey.”
“Thought you said you’re Nana Bosomba’s sister?”
“I am,” she said as she walked past me into the luxurious interior.
“And the Nortey?” I asked, following her inside.
“My mother’s surname,” Dede said. “I chose not to use Bosomba. Didn’t want to be called the child of a god.”
She sat down gingerly in the chair, her knees pressed together, and for a moment she reminded me so strongly of Akos again…Akos, so prim and proper.
I sat down opposite her and absent-mindedly removed my shades and my cap. She looked startled as she saw my white hair and eyebrows.
I smiled humourlessly at her.
“Your brother’s handiworks,” I said bitterly.
“I’m sorry for you, Mr. Biko, but in a way you do deserve it!” she said. “You treated Akos badly.”
“Yes, I did, Miss Nortey, yes I did,” I said painfully. “But since then, your brother has more than exacted his pound of flesh, I must say. It might have been better if he had simply killed me.”
She put her head to one side and regarded me.
“That is silly talk, Mr. Biko,” she said softly. “Life, in any form, is preferable to death. This is because once we live, we hope.”
We looked at each other for while.
“Why are you here exactly, Miss Nortey?” I asked after a while.
“Call me Dede, please,” she said with a gentle smile. “I am not married, yes, but ‘Miss’ isn’t a title I fancy very much.”
“So, Akos also sent you a letter,” I said quietly.
“Yes, she was pregnant, and absolutely depressed because you used and cut her off. She was scared to go to her father. You see, my brother had warned her – like he used to do to me – that she would die a most painful death if she ever tried to abort any baby. I was out of the country, and she couldn’t reach me. In the end, she took her own life.”
The tears stung my eyes again as I looked at her miserably.
“You don’t know just how sorry I am about that, Dede,” I said as the tears trickled slowly down my cheeks. “I’ve regretted bitterly.”
“I believe you have, Mr. Biko,” she stated.
“Yao, please,” I replied.
“Yes, Yao,” she said with a faint smile. “Akos forgave you totally. She really fell in love with you, and she begged me to speak to her father because she was sure he would attack you over her death. I wanted to see you and ascertain if indeed he had come to warn you before confronting him.”
I chuckled bitterly.
“He told me I would grow old with more experience yesterday,” I said sadly. “Since then I have begun to grow grey hair.”
She looked at me for a long time, her expression sad, and then she sighed.
“Let’s hope it is only grey hair, Yao, let’s hope so,” she said after a while.
“And what’s that supposed to mean?” I asked sharply.
“I won’t lie to you, Yao,” she said in a serious voice. “My brother is well-versed in the dark arts. I think you’re not only growing grey hair. I believe you’re aging, Yao, and if something is not done about this curse he had placed on you, you’ll die of old age very soon.”
And I stared at her with my mouth slack as it hit me then!
“He could do that?” I whispered with so much forlorn despair that she stood up and walked over, then sat beside me and took my hand, her face concerned.
“He can, Yao,” she said in a worried voice. “I’ve not spoken to him in three years. You see, a young man wanted to marry me, and my brother said no. We went against his wishes anyway, and on our wedding day, when it was my fiance’s turn to say the Vows, he just fell down dead.”
“Goodness me!” I whispered, now petrified. “He killed your man?”
“He’s always denied it, Yao, but I left Wowo the next day and never went there. For Akos’ sake, I’ll go and see him and beg him to remove this curse from you.”
I clasped her hand desperately.
Her hand was so soft, so perfectly formed. Her fingers were sleek, long, and delicate. It felt good holding her hand.
“Please, Dede, I beg of you, do that for me!” I whispered tremulously. “Two men of God couldn’t help me! I’m now going to see a third one. Actually, I was on my way when you showed up. I’m praying that I can find a solution to this!”
She stood up abruptly, dropping my hand suddenly, and brushed a lock of stubborn hair from her brow.
“My brother is powerful, Yao, and I don’t think any of those fancy pastors can really do anything to help. If you must see a pastor, it must be a really staunch and power-filled man of God. Well, I’m getting late for work, Yao. I’ll go and ask for a couple of days off, from my accumulated leave days, and go and see my brother.”
“Thank you very much, Dede,” I said despairingly. “Can I come with you?”
She shook her head.
“No, not yet. Let me see him first, and then we would take it from there,” she said and picked up her handbag.
I drove her to the hospital she had recently been transferred to. She had insisted on getting down along the way, but I insisted on taking her.
A few days ago I definitely wouldn’t have done that; I never showed such crass kindness to women I had no intention of adding to the Dial List.
When she was getting down I reached out suddenly and held her hand.
She turned and looked at me with those wonderful, beautiful eyes.
“Listen, Dede, I’m really sorry about what happened to Akos,” I said softly. “I would like to go and see where she was buried, and maybe erect a monument over her grave.”
“That wouldn’t be necessary, Yao,” she said with a sad smile. “Maybe a flower on her grave, that would be okay. Yes, I’ll take you to see her grave, after my talk with my brother. I’ll keep in touch.”
I watched her go, and watched that amazing body of hers twitching. She was so ethereal, so beautiful, so indescribable…a very perfect candidate for Dial Listing…
But of course, I wasn’t in that frame of mind anymore.
I sighed, and drove fast to see Prophet Doctor Ekow Dadzie.
Maybe, with the Prophet’s help and Dede’s supplications to his wicked brother, my frightening aging process would be reversed…maybe!
He turned out to be a most imposing-looking man.
He was huge, built like a bulldog. The man of God was completely bald, with a barrel-chested appearance and a pugnacious chin that reminded me of one of those WWE wrestlers.
Wearing a free-flowing African agbada dress, which gave him extra width, he was a most imposing man indeed.
He was already having a Miracle Hour programme inside his gigantic and well-designed church auditorium. I was aware that the programme aired on some of the television stations every Sunday morning, and so I wasn’t surprised to see television cameras inside the auditorium.
I was however uncomfortable because I didn’t want to be made a spectacle on television. The programme, from the little internet research I had done on my phone whilst waiting, was a popular one in the country, watched by millions.
One of his assistants came to call me, and then he took me inside the church auditorium.
“You’re aware, Mr. Biko, that as soon as you’re healed of all infirmities you would have to make a generous offer to the Lord, don’t you?” the assistant asked with a little gleam in his eyes. “Your case is a special one, and mostly we take special advances to intensify heavenly prayers, but the Prophet says we shouldn’t take anything from you yet. He wants you to get well first, and then afterwards, out of your own volition, you would contribute something towards the kingdom business of the Lord!”
“It’s not a problem, man of God,” I said without much interest. “If he does this for me, money will be the least of your thanks.”
He smiled broadly and walked with new swagger in his steps.
“Certainly, Mr. Biko,” he said. “God bless you, Mr. Biko. Come this way, come this way!”
And then, bang, I was in the gigantic podium filled with thousands of people, and then cameras were swinging at me.
I was completely disoriented. I had thought they would send me into a smaller room to meet the man of God. It was a shock to realize that the door I had been shown through led straight to the preaching podium of Doctor Prophet Ekow Dadzie.
He was sweating as he preached, and he wiped his face with a huge face towel. He was passionate and vociferous, whipping the congregation up into a frenzy of volcanic spiritual explosions.
“Halleluuuuuuuuujah!” the man of God screamed.
“Aaaaaaaaaaamen, aaaaaaaaamen!” came the thousands of voices in the auditorium.
I hesitated, acutely uncomfortable and terribly exposed. I licked my lips and turned toward the door I had come through, but the man of God screamed behind me.
“Mr. Yaw Biko, Mr. Yaw Biko! Come here! Don’t be ashamed of the Lord, and the Lord will not be ashamed of you! I have been waiting! The Devil is a liar! You shall reclaim your lost glory today! And someone give me an aaaamen!”
“Aaaaaaaaaamen!” the many voices screamed.
He came toward me.
I was not a midget myself; I was six-foot two, and well-built, standing head and shoulders over a man, but this giant was a full head taller than I was, with a frame so massive that he made me feel like a midget.
He draped an arm around my neck.
“Please, I don’t want to be recorded for television please!” I said desperately to him.
He smiled and thumped me in the back.
“If you reject the Lord today, He will also reject you, Mr. Biko!” he said into his microphone, his voice heard all over the gigantic and well-lit auditorium. “What will you like, Mr. Biko? To be healed by spending a little time on television, or to go on suffering?”
Well, put like that, I had no option, really.
I nodded sadly.
“Please, let’s do this,” I said.
“Halleluuuuuuuuujah!” he screamed, and then he whipped the hat off my head and before I could react he knocked my sunglasses off too!
There was a collective gasp from the congregation as my white hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, moustache and half-beard came into view!
The television cameras zoomed in to get full capture of my face.
“This is the day the Lord has made!” he screamed vociferously. “And this is the day glory shall dawn! This man has been cursed by the evil forces with premature aging! Look at his grey old man’s head! He has gone everywhere but with no results! Today, Doctor Prophet Ekow Dadzie is going to prove that the devil is a liar! And the anointed shall give me a halleluuuuuujah!”
“Halleluuuuuuuuuujah!” the impassioned voices of the congregation roared.
The Apostle looked at me with a broad smile.
“Mr. Yao Biko, the devil is a liar! I say the devil is a foolish boy! The devil is a gutter boy! Today, I shall prove to you that power pass power! Oh, the devil is a gorgormi eater! The devil has met his match today! We’re going to reverse the demonic attack on your life! The curse of an old man is on you, but we’re going to break it to smithereens….oh, shabala gbabagbu shikotolo mangusey! Shabababababa pimponuuu!”
He stretched out his hand and put it on my head, and then I heard a terrible slapping sound!
For a moment I thought he had slapped me and I hadn’t felt it because I heard the sound really loudly in my head!
But I heard the Doctor Prophet giving a moan of pain.
“Nyeeee agyeeeeiii!” the man of God said, his face suddenly scared.
And then the slapping sound came again, louder and fiercer, and this time I saw his head moving savagely on his neck, and he fell down heavily grabbing his right cheek!
There was utter silence in the room.
Doctor Prophet Ekow Dadzie was lying on the ground grabbing his right cheek and staring up at me with a horror so great that I felt like crying.
I moved forward and reached down to help him up.
“Heeeey, heeeey, stop it! Don’t touch me, you devil!” he screamed loudly and moved back on his buttocks away from me. “Stop the television! Stop the television right now!”
Unless he meant that the television cameras should stop rolling, I really didn’t get what he meant by those last absurd words.
He was suddenly surrounded by his wife and his assistants!
They grabbed him and raised him to his feet.
“Ei, Pastor!” cried the assistant who had shown me in.
He was standing in front of the stooped pastor, blocking my view.
“Eiiiiish! Awurade, my love!” the pastor’s wife cried as they stared at the pastor with shock.
“What? What is going on?” Doctor Prophet Ekow Dadzie asked, and then the assistant stepped aside, and then I saw them.
Doctor Prophet Ekow Dadzie and all his assistant pastors now had very white eyebrows and eyelashes, and those who had beards and moustaches were all grey now.
And, looking at that array of white faces, I knew then that Nana Bosomba of Wowo was really Nana Bosomba of Wowo!
“He’s a devil!” Doctor Prophet Ekow Dadzie screamed, pointing a trembling finger at me. “Sent to destroy us! He will not succeed! Beat him! Lash the devil’s agent!”
“Me, a devil? Me?” I asked softly.
“Beat him up! Why are you standing there? Beat him up!” the Doctor Prophet screamed.
Fact was, no one moved as they stared at me.
The congregation was as quiet and as subdued as corpses!
They had never seen anything like this!
And no one dared to touch me.
Then, acting on a hunch, I took a step toward them…and they all began to run away from the platform.
I couldn’t help it!
Even in my predicament, and my deep agony, I couldn’t help it.
I chuckled as a bout of silly giggling hit me.
Dede had been right.
Not all pastors were real pastors…there were fake ones, and I was beginning to realize that now.
I turned and walked dejectedly toward the door I had come through. Another dead-end, another fiasco, another round to Nana Bosomba of Wowo.
Dede was my only hope now. Maybe she would be able to get through to Nana Bosomba and let the curse be taken from me…or she might lead me to a real man of God.
My giggles stopped as soon as I was out of the church and sitting once more in my car.
As I drove away I looked at my hands…and saw that the skin at the back of my hands were beginning to wrinkle like an aged man.
Yes…I began to cry silently…again!
I couldn’t help it!
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