My affinity for conspiracy theories ballooned and adopted a sophisticated veneer when I first moved here. In 2012, I sold my lucrative practice and waited for the Mayan apocalypse and the downfall of Facebook and the internet to no avail. Reading the Conspiracy Times halted my dejection. Through the mag, I joined a classified mission.
After three years of training, it was time to recruit others. I asked Tyrone to help me set up a Facebook account. He arrived one October day, wearing a navy hoodie with UNLV emblazoned on it.
“Was it easy making your way here?” I asked as I led him to the study.
“Why do you live in this wasteland, surrounded by solar panels? He sighed, “This is beyond frugal, man.”
“UFO sightings, global warming. It is going downhill faster than we expect—”
The teak bookshelf in the corner housed the latest statistics, which proved my point. But I needed my Facebook account more than I need to be right.
“A coat of paint never hurt anyone.” He grumbled and pulled his seat closer to the table. “Choose a password; think alphanumeric.”
“Time to connect to people you know. Friend me.”
He showed me how to send a friend request.
“Okay. Let’s hook you up with old friends—”
“But I haven’t kept in touch—”
“That’s what Facebook’s for.”
I searched for friends and sent requests. I was excited when my requests were accepted and I messaged some buddies from long ago.
We took a break on the porch, eating sandwiches and swigging from cans of root beer. I asked him about the layoffs in his company since the merger.
He shrugged. “A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.” He sprang from the bannister and the porch creaked. “What’s that,” he pointed.
“Satellite dish; they track Martian invasions—”
He shook his head. “Let’s go inside and connect you with some babes!”
I cleared our paper plates. He had created an uneven circular map on the bread slices leaving the bread crusts bereft. Earthlings were so wasteful.
Back in the study, he asked, “Names please?” and cracked his knuckles.
I looked away. “Just show me other things I can do.”
He whistled. “You don’t? . . . For your sake, I hope there are babes in your Mars.”
How could I explain transmutation? The world wasn’t ready for us yet. I hoped to build a small community on Facebook. I pointed to the screen.
“Oh that, look . . . find people you know. . . You can have up to 3000 or 5000 friends, I’m not sure—”
“I don’t want many friends.”
“This is Facebook. You don’t know what you want. Just add all the good-looking people . . .”
I examined each photo and then checked out the Timeline.
“You are too slow. A snail would have reached Utah and back!”
He took over from me and began to add friends at random. His definition of good-looking was at variance with mine. I winced.
“Wait a sec . . .” I placed my hands over his to stop the mouse.
“She . . . she . . .”
His impatience ruled. “Okay, I’ve added her.” And he continued adding. My mind journeyed back. What if?
He patted my back as he left, “You’re all set now. Facebook can be quite addictive. Maybe it’s what a hermit needs. ”
I thanked him and as soon as he drove off, I raced to Dolapo. Nothing on her Timeline indicated that she was married. She was still very pretty. But what was with her name, Yvonne Smith?
I kept checking to see if she’d accepted my friend request, reminding myself that I had joined Facebook to seek out fellow believers. The truth was, I had walked into Dolapo’s magnetic field and become her prisoner. She rewarded my two-week devotion by confirming my friend request. I wrote a message and deleted it.
I went to bed, but threw the covers after four hours of false sleep attempts. She was online. My heart strained against its cage as I typed.
Dolapo? Is that Dolapo?
I am the artist formerly known as Dolapo. I’m called Yvonne now.
Are you related to Prince… who discovered the extraterrestrial bases on the moon?
My performance gives me visibility and I accept many people as friends. No one has called me D for years. How are we connected?
Can’t you see my name?
I can, but it doesn’t ring any bells . . .
You’ve forgotten me so soon?
Pls I meet many people in my line of work…
Can’t you see my profile picture?
I waited. She had seen my message, but failed to reply. So, I went to bed and dreamt about asteroids colliding with the earth. A group of us from the classified mission worked with friendly aliens to rescue people. I scooped Dolapo in my arms and carried her to safety. She kissed me and called me her hero.
The next day, I kept checking to see if she was online. The minute she was, I messaged her.
Hi there? Dolapo?
It’s me David. Have I mistaken you for someone else? Is this not Dolapo? Dolapo Smith? Tani’s sister?
Her silence stung. I carried hope like deflated balloons. I still had not sought out other believers on Facebook. Two full days passed before her response came.
Hi David, please remind me again how we’re connected…
My emotions unsettled me. Love was corrosive, reversing the effects of transmutation. But how could I let this opportunity pass? My hands trembled as I typed.
UI … set of ‘89
When she responded minutes later, I was still sitting in my study panting like a dog.
Ah, that was over 20 years ago. Please provide some context.
What more context do you want? Haven’t you seen my profile picture?
Is that how you looked 20 years ago?
Give me your number, let me call and tease you …
She didn’t respond. My joke had fallen flat. I was wondering how to remedy the situation, when I saw notification for a new message. I clicked greedily. She had sent a photo.
Who did she think she was? A mere Earthling!
Dolapo, I used to visit you in your hostel on campus. And during the holidays, I would buy suya and bring to your house in Ibadan.
David, thanks but I don’t remember.
What do you mean, you don’t remember? A man who came to your room every day and to your house many times? So all this while, I wasn’t even existing for you?
David, have a nice life, I’m out.
Look Dolapo or Yvonne or artist, a man can’t be after a girl for twenty-six years. Enough is enough. You too have a nice life!
I deactivated my Facebook account and picked up the latest copy of Conspiracy Times. The cover stole my attention: Uncovered D-Day 2016. I scanned the article, a familiar excitement racing through my veins. I pulled the receptor from the bookshelf and set it on the table. Then I tinkered with the transmitter. It took a while, but I found the frequency.
I ran outside and stood in the force field created by the satellite dishes. The dot of light in the black sky grew bigger. The grass swayed and plants shook. My legs quivered as the flying saucer hovered above. The blood moon prediction was a hoax, but 2016 was sure. Despite NASA’s denials, the pole shift had started.
I smiled, closed my eyes, and waited for the pull. That will show Mark Zuckerberg and Google and Dolapo. Yes!
The phosphorescent beam penetrated my being. I held my breath for as long as I could. My reflection in the giant eye of the alien who steered the saucer, shocked me. The outline of my human heart appeared first and then throbbed like a living thing. The verdict came through the speakers of the spacecraft.
Abort Mission. All Systems Abort Mission.
Love Spell. Transmutation Unaccomplished.
The saucer rose and receded, twinkling in the night sky. I fell on the ground and cried, “Oh Dolly!”
©Timi Yeseibo 2015
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