The day April Ist became an expensive Joke

“So what prank do we pull today?” I asked my roommate in a bid to snap him out of his bad mood.
We were in our final year and we had planned that our final prank will be the biggest on campus. Bolaji, my roommate is such a fantastic schemer, evil schemes especially.
“I am not in the mood for pranks Jide,” Bolaji answered, uninterested in my proposal. But I didn’t give up, I kept persuading him to liven up. I need a regular Bolaji back for a record-breaking prank. The jovial, mischievous, troublesome and everyone’s favourite, Bolaji.
I feel for the poor boy. He had a fight with his girlfriend and now that he’s trying to make up for being too judgmental instead of objective, she just isn’t ready to listen. He couldn’t understand because, during their four years of being together, they have had greater misunderstandings than this one and their world didn’t vibrate. Just an argument about who the lead actor in a movie is and their relationship is seriously staggering. Maybe he took it too far by screaming at her to shut up. But then I know these two, they say crazier stuff to each other all the time. He calls her bitch and she calls him crazy. It’s fun being around them whenever they call themselves names and it made me jealous.
I kept trying to get him into the prank project anyway, I believed he needed the fun to drift out of his current state.
“Jide, can you believe what Gloria just texted me?” His voice denoted an integration of anger and anxiety.
“What?” I quickly asked like a concerned friend. He tossed the phone to me and I was shocked to realize she broke up with him.
I called her and she hung up after yelling at me. Her words, “tell your friend I’m fed up with his attitude. I’m done. Fuck off!”
Wow! I wondered if this was really happening. Instantly, Bolaji fixed a stick of cigarette between his lips and lit it up.
“Come on! I’m sure we will sort this out before today ends. Please calm down.”
I’ve experienced his emotional rage countless times, and smoking is always the first step to his eruption.
“Can you imagine?” he puffed out smoke as he expressed himself. “I was hoping it would be a makeup message or at least a text wishing me a happy new month. But no! My girlfriend broke up with me few minutes into my birth month. Can you imagine?” His scream lets out an outburst of saliva and smoke.
Another attempt at calming him was magical. It was too easy. He smoked one more stick and proposed that we went to bed.

****
“Hey sleepy head, wake up.” Bolaji’s voice jerked me into reality. Darn it! I was in a strip club. It was 5 O’clock in the morning.
“What is it now? Ah,” I grumbled. I was just about to receive a strip dance.
“The prank, I thought of something.” He sounded ready for business and that motivated me to sit up.
“What did you think of?”
He wanted to play dead and have me make a panic run all through the hostel.
“That will surely be the prank of the year. So, how do we go about it?” I enquired about the details of the devious plan.
“I’ve got it covered. Just Trust BJ. It’s good for you to share in the surprise too,” he joked. I was glad to see him in high spirits again. I stepped out of the room and moved into action.
“Somebody help, Bolaji isn’t breathing!” I ran across the hall, banging on door to door. With tears that could earn a deserving award for the Best Actor in a Crying Role, if there was such award.
Within four minutes of my madness, I was able to gather the whole hostel in front of our room Somehow no one entered the room before I finally forged my way through the mini crowd. I made to open the door so as to reveal that they had been fooled and I realized it was locked. I couldn’t help but wonder if that was another strategy in Bolaji’s plan. Spontaneously, I lied,
“I jammed the door in a rush on my way out. We need to break it down and get him to the hospital now!”
The tension heightened. Within me, I vowed that Bolaji was going to pay for any damage on the door. We finally forced it opened and I screamed “April fool”. But there he was, hanging from the ceiling, tongue sticking out and eyes half opened.
He was dead by the time we brought him down. On the floor below him was a suicide note that read,
“How can I live without Gloria? Tell her I’m sorry and that I love her.”

****
As we transferred his body into the ambulance, his phone chimed. I pulled it out to check who it was that had sent a text message. It was his mum wishing him a happy new month and asking him what he wanted for a birthday gift. Guilt enveloped my conscience. I felt like I was the reason he was dead. I shouldn’t have proposed a prank. How do I bring myself to tell her that Bolaji hung himself? I wept like an infant.
Then Bolaji’s phone rang out. I picked up and before I could say a word she proceeded.
“How can I live without you, Bolaji? I love him. I enjoyed fooling you though. April fool baby!”
I wanted to cut her short but she wouldn’t let me.
“You don’t have to say anything baby. Can you please come pick me outside your hostel? I can see a crowd gathering from where I stand and you know I am the shy type.”
You know who.

****
As we prepare for Bolaji’s candlelight precession, I can’t help but think that life fooled us all and tricked him to die. I am yet to hear from Gloria. The news of Bolaji’s demise broke her. Rumour has it that she isn’t responding to treatments at Yaba left. I sincerely pray that isn’t true. April 1st is just an expensive joke!

Written by Femi Fragile

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