I wonder why I always add ‘O’ when raising the alarm announcing the presence of burglars.

This particular Thursday, albeit exceptionally beautiful, was just too hot. It was one of those days when I needed the fan on rotate mode, and as soon as I got home and got water onto my body, I submitted myself to that flatbed, with legs at akimbo.

 I had just returned from work, eight blocks from where I lived when they arrived. If you’d been there and had seen how they drove in, you wouldn’t blame anyone for dashing into corners and disappearing. Yes, I too ran because, in my country, you run even when no man pursueth, and more so when mafia looking characters charge into your compound.

I ran upstairs, praying the key to be the first thing my hand mates with as soon as the bag came open. It was. I retrieved the key and just when I was about to open the door, one of them, the only one who didn’t have a jacket, save for a white polo and the camouflage pants. His boots, beautiful as hell, caught up with me and the first thing he did when he entered my room was to retrieve a penknife and carve a sizeable hole through my window net.

The big oaf and for what? All those Abakaliki mosquitoes would have a swell night. I remember thinking “come on officer, this is a valuable property you just destroyed” but of course I wouldn’t say any of it out loud; wouldn’t as much as soliloquize.

And then he went ahead to ask how I was, where I was coming from. I answered him, my eyes fixated on my fingers, intertwining and separating them.

He held my right hand, and I told him I had a wramp on that hand and offered him my left, which he took with a smile.

His colleague came up and asked him the who I was, where I was coming from.

I told him I was a corps member serving at Unity FM and I’d just returned from work.

He, the new friend, took my bag, took out my phone and threw it out the window, not too far, in a way that he could walk over and pick it up. The one who’d arrived earlier, reached for my bag, took out my ATM card and tucked it into his jean pocket. Only then did it dawn on me that these were no friends, these were strategic criminals; apt professionals.

Instantly, adrenaline kicked in and I started screaming my usual anthem whenever we had our unusual encounters.

 “Thief o, thief o thief o”. 

I wonder why I always add O

Nobody answered. The realization hit me a bit too late. The agile boys who would have come were too busy hiding their laptops and wallets; the more advanced were occupied with hiding under their beds for crimes they mostly knew nothing about but were too scared to show face because uniformed men were in the vicinity, the rest was yarn.

Twenty minutes later, they drove off subtly as they’d come, only with their pockets fuller. I knew they were never going to get caught.

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