“Wetin dey do you? You dey craze?” the full bearded taxi driver cussed at Udoh before returning into his car and driving off. He left Udoh rising to his feet in a cloud of black smoke. Passers-by, prepared only a few seconds before to attack the driver, resumed their businesses. Udoh stood in the middle of the busy road coughing.
“Commot for road, idiot!” someone shouted. He still looked dazed. It was the boy who had followed him from the shop that led him off the road. “Uncle, you dey okay?” Blood trickled from Udoh’s temple. His headache had tripled in intensity like a hammer banging on the table he was resting on. He recognized his father’s dusty feet first. “Wetin happen? Are you okay?” the elderly man’s deep baritone cut through his unconsciousness. “45, 8… 45, 8,” Udoh chanted in reply. No one understood. “Make we go hospital,” someone suggested.
When Udoh regained full consciousness, he was in a chair at the health centre. They had taken blood samples from him and also done a quick sugar test. “It’s normal,” he was told. His father laughed when he recounted how Udoh chanted the numbers nonstop for an hour.
“Ehen, na wetin do 45 and 8?” He was about to explain how he had accidentally switched his lucky numbers for his glucometer strip code when his mother bursted in with a bright smile on her face. “Udoh, Udoh, my son, sorry eh.” She was panting like she had been jumping or lifting weights or had climbed stairs. Both men were even more surprised at the tender way she called Udoh’s name. “Mama, hope nothing o,” Udoh said. “Ah, nothing. Are you well now?” She went to stand by his bed and gently touched his forehead as she spoke, completely ignoring his father’s presence.
“Fine o. Sorry eh. It was that boy beside your father’s shop that met me on the road and told me about your accident.”
“Okay. Where you dey go?”
She giggled like a little girl at this question and gave him a you-should-know-why wink. Udoh remained confused, her behaviour was very strange, and he was going to ask where his mother was. Maybe some crazy spirit had possessed her. “That money wey you win eh, we go wash am o,” she said.
Money? What money? Udoh wondered. Then his eyes fluttered open to their widest and his heart jumped so hard it almost broke out from his ribs. Grabbing her sturdy arms, he hurriedly sat up and searched her face for some explanation for his luck. His phone was suddenly ringing, his father was speaking loudly and patting Udoh’s back roughly, “Na my son be that. Sure boy!” and he could hear his friends chanting his name somewhere outside the hospital. He had won.
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