The Case of Almost by Victor Adakole was submitted in March 2022 to Challenging The Writers Writing Contest #2 based on the writing prompt: The story starts when the main character receives an email that begins with “congratulations you have…”

Congratulations, you have won CAD1,000,000.00 in the Canadian Lottery Online Lucky Program held on Tuesday, January 4, to promote the globalization of the internet and online draw worldwide.

Your email address drew the winning numbers 07-08-13-20-25-26-48 Bonus 36, which subsequently won you the lottery in the 2nd category. An overview of how OLG is…

Efe couldn’t go any further. As a matter of fact, he berated himself for having the calm presence of mind to read the mail up to this point. It was the sound of an email dropping on his phone that made woke him from the sweetest dream he ever had. Yes, he was expecting the chief to approve the financing for his latest project; and, yes, his dream was in line with his desire: he was on the verge of receiving the long-awaited cheque when his phone pinged. 

Moments like this forced Efe into a dark, dark place. He grew up with the belief that he was the unluckiest fellow in the entire world. Ever since he could remember, there was always a curveball waiting just at the edge of his breakthrough. His pencil would break apart when he was about to write his name on the exam paper…at the very second the examiner screamed, ‘Pen up!’. Worse still, the examiner happened to be a member of a church with strict adherence to morality. His pleas fell on deaf ears. 

At another time, it would be that he arrived at his bus stop, only to discover that his wallet had been swiped. He had found himself rooted to the spot, praying for an avalanche of oratorical inspiration that would convince the scary looking, burly conductor that he had had money with him…in his wallet…at the back pocket of his trousers, when he entered the bus. He would go on to swear on his mother’s grave. 

A series of misfortunes had finally convinced him that he was cursed with a plague called ‘near-success syndrome’. This disease was beyond the prayers of the most powerful deliverance prayer men; it was also beyond any human solution imaginable. So, Efe lived with this disease, scavenging for the tiny bits of rewards life reserved for people like him. 

Finally, he settled in the reality that his usefulness was fulfilled doing the odd jobs–which surprisingly came easy for him. Efe would apply for the position of a senior executive and get passed up, even after successful interviews; but the waiter jobs, the plumbing assistant jobs, the errand jobs, came easily to him. 

It was at his rounds delivering food to customers, as a waiter, that he met Chief Bode. Overweight, a few inches shorter and he would have been a dwarf. It was obvious that his companion was not his wife, and neither was the date going well. Chief Bode signalled to him when he expertly placed their order on the table. As Efe bent over at the waist so his ears could be level with his face, the man whispered something to him. They both shared an awkward smile, leaving the young lady at the table guessing, trying to figure out what had just transpired. 

Efe, following instructions, went outside and had the valet guy bring Chief Bode’s car to the entrance of the restaurant. He then called the chief, who pretended to receive an important business call, leaving his companion back at the table. What the chief lost in height, he made up with his quick feet; his spindly legs covering as much ground as humanly possible. He swiftly got into his car and drove a little distance, before remembering his partner in crime. Chief Bode reversed and signalled to Efe, who thought that once again, he was losing another big chance. His curse had that kind of painful grip on him.

“Get in!” Chief Bode breathed gruffly under his nose.

Efe carefully closed the door as gently as possible, without so much as a sound.

“You are a smart boy, eh.” The smile was beginning to slowly engulf the chief’s face. “How did you even get my number? I thought you would slip me a note or something.”

“Actually, sir, I realized that we keep the contacts of our most loyal customers. I simply went to the register, and called.”

“That is not entirely good to hear. You mean anybody who lays hand on that register can have access to me?”


“When we are done here, go and remove the entire page on which my name is written. You hear?”

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