‘Ha ha ha! Of course, that was mere coincidence,’ I laughed off the story my roommate had just told me. It was the story of how he had cheated a phone credit seller of GHc 5 and then his laptop got broken mysteriously the very next day.
‘I also thought it was coincidence but Charley, after that incident there have been other ones which have convinced me that cheating other people will just leave me worse off. Take for example the day the beans seller was supposed to give me GHc2.80 but gave me GHc3.30. I realized the error but still took the extra 50 pesewas. The cord of my earphones got hooked on the door knob when I was entering the room right after buying the beans, and it snapped into two equal parts. I guess one part was for me and the other was for karma.’
Kwaku was trying to dissuade me from selling my faulty Sony Xperia Z3 to the buyer who had just called me. I had two phones but this one had a hardware problem that made the network connection unstable so I listed it on an online market. Under the normal circumstance, the price of the phone ranged from GHc 600 to 900. I was selling mine for GHc 250.
‘Ah but Kwaku, who in his right senses will buy a Z3 for 250 cedis? He should realize there is something wrong somewhere.’
‘Oh yes, that is true. But you are obliged to declare any fault the phone may have so that he decides for himself if he still wants the phone in spite of the problems.’
I paused briefly. Then I stated in a tone of finality, ‘If he asks, I will talk. If not, I will not.’ Kwaku only shrugged and entered the balcony. A few minutes later, I was on a bus bound for Kejetia which is Kumasi’s central business district. The buyer and I had earlier agreed to meet there for the transaction. I called him when I arrived at the meeting point. It was an open place I had carefully chosen for security reasons.
When he arrived, he inspected the product for about five minutes but that was not enough time to find the flaw I so badly wanted to hide from him. He was excited but I was even more excited. GHc 250 for a phone I had got for free and used for about a year? I patted myself on the back.
The streets and pavements of Kejetia are usually flooded with human bodies. But the section I was moving from now to go get a car back to school was quite free. I plugged my earphones into my ears and played Eben’s ‘Victory’ to celebrate. I dreamt of the things I could do with the free cash I had just made. Maybe pizza and Coke. Then I’d use about GHc 50 to customize a jersey for bae and myself from JerseyMe!. The name on mine would be ‘HERS’ and the name on hers would be ‘HIS’. All our friends would admire us when we outdoored the jerseys and they would all envy us. What happened to the music? I still had the earphones plugged in my ears but the music had stopped playing. I reached into my pocket to restart it. All my pockets were empty! HOW???
Then it dawned on me that the two guys who had just brushed past me were not random people at all. With the agility that befits a wounded tiger, I spun round to rush onto them to demand my phone and my money but I was too late; they had disappeared.
I was enraged but deep within me, I knew I deserved it. Kwaku was right; karma was real. But this one was too painful. I did not have even one cedi to pick a bus back to school. I wiped my silent tears, threw the earphones into a gutter in anger and began the 15-kilometre walk back to KNUST.