How to wreck a reporter’s Friday

It was one of those beautiful Fridays, when, after a busy week, you sit before your television, a glass of wine or malt drink beside you. It was not time to think about work. Well, it’s actually impossible not to think about work — about the backlog and the new tasks, about the Lagos traffic and the sun and the rain. But it’s particularly helpful to pretend that there is nothing to worry about.

Fridays are not for urgent calls, but it’s OK to keep your phone beside you. Friends might call just to say “Hi”, you know? So, when on this particular Friday afternoon, the phone began to beep endlessly, nothing immediately suggested it had anything to do with work. Maybe it was just an old friend who had plenty to talk about? Or a jealous lover who needed to let off steam?

No, it wasn’t actually a phone call; it was just that hideous WhatsApp alert tone. Perhaps, it was best to ignore it; after all, if it was serious, the person would call. But when the sound continued, it became necessary to take a look.

A major higher institution in Lagos had been set ablaze by hoodlums, the message which began the commotion said on a Whatsapp group. It was difficult not to be worried: the person who posted it was Mr Efe, one of the oldest and most respected members of the group.

“You mean the entire school?” was the first shocked response.

“When exactly did it happen?” another person queried.

To each of the questions Efe responded: “Write the story, first. I’m almost done with mine. Shebi, I’ve given you the main gist?”

Another person lamented: “I’ve called the PRO; he didn’t pick up. Does anybody live close to the school? My God! And that school is very far.”

“Why did the hoodlums set the school on fire?” another person asked.

“Just write the story first,” Efe said again. “I’m about to post mine online”.

Efe allowed the panic to grow a little longer, and once he was satisfied that he had successfully ruined everybody’s Friday, he posted: “It was just a joke, fellas…”.