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“Desperation” — A Flash Fiction by Chukwuebuka Harrison Aninze

Jenny was not sure about how to feel when a red hummer finally pulled over. She was grateful to have a customer but hated both him and herself for what she was about to do. She hurried over before she lost her nerve.

The darkly tinted window slid down to reveal a sweaty man with small, piggy eyes wearing a red cap.

“Hello baby,” he said with a leer. “Hop in.”

He pushed the door open and she hurled herself in.

“What’s your name?”

She beamed him a smile then shifted her gaze to the floor. “Tiffany,” she lied.

It was difficult enough to work up the courage to do this, why must they all be so repugnant? He was so fat that his belly pressed against the wheel as he drove.

He pulled into a seedy motel and they got out. The man wrapped his arm around her waist as they walked down the dimly lit breezeway, sliding his hand up and down her body possessively with every step.

The room was cheap, with stained curtains and cigarette holes in the table; it had wood-paneled walls with a squeaky ceiling fan turning lazily overhead. Wasting no time, he flung the bedspread to the floor and pulled off his shirt. Thank God the sheets looked clean.

Jenny felt her lunch rise. “Give me a minute to freshen up, babe,” she said shakily and darted into the bathroom with her handbag.

“Don’t be too long now, you hear?” His tone was teasing but his tiny eyes were hard.

Safe inside the bathroom, she opened her diary and hastily wrote:

“Dear God,

I pray for your grace tonight. You’re omniscient so you must have seen this coming but did not stop it. So is it really that bad? You are testing me, as you did Job, and I do not question your wisdom, but this is so hard. You have to understand that I can’t lose my mother as I did my brother. I can’t lose the last person you have left me and I have no other way to make money after losing my business. Everyone has turned their backs on me or cannot help. I ask only one thing of you tonight. Please let this man be the last. Make him generous, oh Lord so that I will have enough for my mother’s hospital bills, and forgive me for the sin I am about to commit.



In the sweltering afternoon, Jenny’s skin burned beneath her sweat soaked blouse as she sank into the taxi.

She slouched in exhaustion and relief. God had answered her prayer. Now she had the five hundred thousand naira in her bag. Now her mother would live. She closed her eyes.

Slowly the bustle of the crowded street fell away. The quiet made Jenny uneasy. She opened her eyes and discovered the driver had made a detour onto a deserted street.

“Give me the bag!” the driver barked, pointing a gun at her head.

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