Tuesday, 17 November 2009

The things that people do..

He called me and said he wanted to use my computer because his laptop was out of order. I thought this was odd, since the Internet in commercially cheaply available in innumerable places on almost every street. Then I thought perhaps he was trying to save a few quid, but my disquiet heightened sharply when after I'd told him that I would be away at work at the time when he said he'd need to use the computer, he quickly retorted that he would only have to turn up at my doorstep early in the morning before I left home, and that I could then leave the keys of the flat with him..

I left home that morning leaving him in my flat, but with a puzzled frown on my face. Deep down I suspected that he was up to something dubious, but I had no way of knowing what it was. I was trying to be a good friend to a friend who was in need, or so I thought. So I quickly erased all negative thoughts from my mind and focused on my activities for the day ahead. I returned home unusually late that evening and found him still there. I discreetly inspected the flat, but there was nothing to arouse my suspicion or to give an indication as to what he had been up to during my absence. I then dropped him off at home and put the entire episode behind me, although I couldn't stop thinking that it was rather strange that he would insist on using my computer in my flat while I was away. This was almost two weeks ago.

Last evening I was stretched out on the sofa trying to relax after a particularly busy day when my phone rang. I was surprised, since most calls I receive are on the mobile phone. This one was on the land-line, a number that only few people have, none of whom I was expecting a call from. I answered the call to hear a strange voice at the other end of the line greeting me familiarly, asking me why he had not heard from me.. Pardon me?? Are you sure you have the correct number?? He then repeats my number to me and asks me if I'm not Tony (not his real name). Hearing this I was even more surprised. I explained that I know who Tony is but that he doesn't live at this address. To which this gentleman who called himself Mike said that he had been in the flat two weeks ago and that the said Tony had the keys to the flat. Tony had shown him around, telling him that the flat was his. Tony had used my address to obtain a loan from this person, who I later find out is a loan shark.

It took supreme effort on my part to remain calm as I explained to this gentleman what had really happened on the day Tony showed him into my flat. I tried to explain that I wasn't Tony and that I knew nothing of a loan or what he was talking about. At first Mike was having none of it. He didn't know what Tony and I were up to, he said, but whatever it was, I'd better pay back his money or...at this point what immediately flashed through my mind were those stories I'd heard about people who failed to pay such debts and how they got their kneecaps smashed. I was losing my cool..

This Tony person has been a friend of mine for many years and I have looked out for him every step of the way. I could hardly believe what I was hearing, but gradually the pieces came together. Now I understood why he had wanted to "use my computer" while I was away. I'd been conned, or to put it more accurately, my so-called friend had betrayed the trust that I had in him. I gave Tony's number to Mike and told him Tony's real address. I then called Tony and expressed my displeasure at what had happened. A few minutes later Mike called me back to say that Tony was not answering his phone. I tried to call Tony again, but as expected his phone was by now switched off.

I have tried to call him several times today and his phone is still switched off. Indeed the message I get when I call his number is "you have dialled an incorrect number...". Driving home this evening, I drove past his building, but his flat was in darkness. I don't know whether to be worried about him, i.e., whether Mike has come down hard on him; or whether the police have been invited and he's locked up somewhere...but then if that was the case, surely the police would have invited me to make some kind of statement. Then I wonder if perhaps he has gone into hiding..I feel so protective of him and feel sorry that I revealed his real address. But at the same time I'm angry at his callousness and his dishonesty. I really don't know what to think..

13 comments:

Quitstorm said...

I can really understand what your going through,simply be strong,thats the kind of world we live in

Anengiyefa said...

Thanks Quitstorm. True word! Sometimes it takes things like this to open our eyes to the reality that not everyone is sincere and straight-forward. A lesson well learned. Thankfully, I've come out of it unscathed and although I used to be concerned about his well-being, now I don't care anymore, although I can't help feeling a bit sorry for him..

By the way, thanks for dropping in.

Anonymous said...

Anengiyefa, Tony is not a friend, how could he do that to you? He was putting your safety in jeopardy by doing all that business at your house (that place you are supposed to feel safe)so yes you did the right thing.

Anengiyefa said...

Hello Anonymous, I agree with you. When I think about it, I recall that on that evening upon my return to the house, he stated that he was determined to return to Africa, since life in the UK for him had not turned out to be what he'd expected.

Now I can see that the 'loan' was intended to finance this flight back home, but in his shoes, what I would have done would be to discuss his problem with those like me who were close to him, and had been there for him always.

All in all, I wish him well and I hope he gets to read this post someday. Thanks Anon for your comment. :)

Quitstorm said...

Anengiyefa,did tony read this blog? Did communicate in a while?How did you handle the loan guy finally?

Anengiyefa said...

Quitstorm, its impossible for me to know if he read this post. However, I know that he visits this blog from time to time, so presumably he'll read it at some point.

I haven't heard from him nor from the loan guy, so I can only wonder what has happened. My best guess is that Tony has gone into hiding, with a view to escaping the country. I wish him well.

Rox said...

That is plain wrong and disrespectful of your space and your friendship, he is definately not a friend. However I do understand what you're going through, I've recently been conned over 3000dollars by someone I cared about and trusted, it broke my heart. You be strong

Anengiyefa said...

Hi Rox, thanks for your comment. I'm still trying to come to terms with what has happened.

Free Surf said...

How can you be bothered about someone who doesn't give a rat's ass what happens to you after exposing you to a loan shark. Personally I would have called the cops in immediately this happened. Folks especially the Police are biased when the word "Nigerian" comes up in a crime like this. Save yourself the embarrassment.

I say call the cops before shit hits the ceiling.

Mama Shujaa said...

Tony had no qualms about jeopardizing your wellbeing?!! Sounds like you (as is to be expected, being the true gentleman and wonderful soul that you are), value him more than he values himself. He has robbed your relationship of one of its most important ingredients - trust. But I suspect you will not 'cut him off' as my buddy in the next cubicle at work would say! :-)

Be careful.

Anengiyefa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anengiyefa said...

Hi Freesurf, thanks for your comment. I would consider calling in the police if harm had been caused me. But seeing as no real damage was done and Mike seemed to have accepted the explanation that I gave him, I thought it best to let the matter lie.

Hello Mama Shujaa, your words are kind. Thank you. Tony has apologised (by email I must add). At first I was minded to ignore his apology, then I considered how terrible my silence must have caused him to feel. So after a few days of consideration, I replied to his email saying that as a Christian, my duty is to forgive, even as I constantly appeal for forgiveness to the divine authority for my misdeeds.

Also, it transpired that coincidentally an elderly reverend gentleman who knows both Tony and myself, but who knew nothing of this matter, wrote to me yesterday. His letter contained poignant words concerning our duty to protect and care for each other. I interpreted this letter as divine revelation as to what action to take. And it was this letter that prompted me to reply to Tony's email, saying that although I was really angry that he had lied and deceived me, it would be wrong if I did not forgive him.

Tony replied to my email a few minutes later, so it was obvious that he had been agonising over the fact that I'd been silent, checking his inbox every few minutes. Also, having forgiven him I don't feel as bitter and angry as I did before.

Mama Shujaa said...

All is well that ends well, is all I can muster at this time of the night...:-) In addition, at least you did not cast the first stone. At most, your heart led you...

Have a good weekend. You see, mine has started. We have two days off work here in celebration of Thanksgiving, when Americans celebrate nature's bounty and the remembrance of passing on smallpox to the native American Indians is shoved under the rug, somewhere...

I look forward to the free four-day-weekend annually....nawa-o for us Africans, Diasporans!