Reciprok Eight: Crossing the Line

Author’s note: This post is dedicated to Deborah Korboe, an Awesome Person. I love you so much that I used your name. 😉


There are few things that irk the Universe more than human beings’ petty acts of unfairness and lack of morals and/or ethics, for no other reason than just because (full stop). In fact, if you are one of those people who explain your petty acts of unfairness by saying, “Because (full stop, indicating that is the end of the sentence),” you should be very scared.

We have already twice established the mechanics of Reciprok Eight as the Universe’s way of cleaning itself from all the ‘bacteria,’ so to speak, that may be poisoning it from the inside. However, in the rather more stupid and irksome instances, the Universe really has no choice but to respond to the immediate call of Very Intensely Pissed Off People (VIPOP)’s Very Intense Emotion.

To people who don’t really understand how the Universe works, (which is basically everyone), it might seem as if these Very Intensely Pissed Off People simply “make things happen,” and hence, are labelled things along the lines of “witch” or “juju-man.” It’s not magic, it’s just being mad enough to accelerate and magnify what the Universe was going to do anyway.

One such example of a Reciprok Eight event goes as follows. Let’s call it…

Crossing the Line

I’m sure you can tell by the title of the story what the central idea of this event is. In case your mind is abysmally slow and you couldn’t even grab on to all the hints in the preamble, let me give you a fair description of the scene:

It was Tuesday, and it was lunchtime. Tuesday happened to be the busiest day of the school week, and all the lessons and responsibilities of the morning and early afternoon left everyone tired, irritated and very much hungry – all of which perfectly described Deborah.

Deborah had just had a rather frustrating physics class where she had had a classwork at the beginning of the period, followed by a lesson involving millions of equations, none of which she had understood. To add to that, the day had generally not started on the right path. Deborah had overslept to begin with, and resultantly, had been late for breakfast, and gotten minimum time to eat her food, which she hadn’t even finished.

Nothing that had happened that day had served to make her mood any better. So, you can imagine her irritation when she walked into the cafeteria at lunchtime to meet heartbreakingly long lines.

Long lines are generally not what one wants to see in the cafeteria when one is hungry and the jollof smells so good. Heaving a massive sigh, Deborah went to join the nearest line, praying to God that the food wouldn’t get finished before she got to the front.

As she inched her way at a snail’s pace towards the front of the line, it simply got longer behind her, and she simply got angrier and hungrier. Then in walked two of her classmates, both boys and though she didn’t have them in sight then, they quickly surveyed the premises, trying to form a plan to get their food as soon as they could, by the easiest means. Unfortunately for both parties, the one that they settled on was the line Deborah happened to be standing in.

With wolfish smiles that would have fit better on the faces of a pair of ugly, mischievous elves, they approached the person right in front of Deborah, trying and failing to look very innocent. At this point, Deborah was only just beginning to feel some sort of hope for her food. It was rather bad timing when one of the boys, whose name happened to be Joshua, said, with that horrid smile and a couple of horrid “Real G” gestures, to the person in front of Deborah, “Abeg, chale, make we cut small.”

Perhaps Debbie would have left the case for the boy in front of her to handle. Perhaps. The problem here was that he was a junior and Joshua was a senior. He wasn’t a particularly brave and audacious junior, though, so he didn’t have the courage to stand up for himself or for justice. So, Debbie judge, it would be justified if she decided to intervene. All these thoughts ran through her mind in the flash of a second, because before anyone knew it, Deborah was speaking to Joshua, in her dangerous voice – the low and serious one.

“Go to the back of the line,” she said sternly.

The boys blinked as if only just realizing she was there.

“Herh!” said Joshua. “Have you seen how long the line is? By the time we get here, the food is finished!”

Of all the ridiculous things in the world to say! Possibly, Deborah could have tried to control her temper. But if there was anything at all that had the potential to ignite her fury, it was very stupid responses. This was one of them.

Hence, she began to nearly yell, “Oh, really? You think the line is long/ Look at it.” She gestured to the end of it. “Look at it! Take a look at all these people. That’s how many people you’ll be inconveniencing if you cross the line. Do you honestly think that’s fair? Listen, the longer you wait, the longer the line gets. What makes you think you’re hungrier than all of these people, ehn? Please, stop being foolish and go to the freaking back of the line!”

At this point, people were staring, and Kevin, the weaker of the two boys, was starting to look quite shameful. He tugged on Joshua’s sleeve. “Chale, Josh, make we just go to the back,” he suggested hesitantly.

“You can go if you want,” said Joshua. “As for me, I’m getting my food.”

Deborah glared with an intensity that actually made Kevin visibly cower. Unable to withstand it, Kevin conceded and walked to the back. Joshua, however, the obstinate monkey that he was, rudely stepped in in front of the poor junior boy.

Deborah seethed. At that moment, she wished more than ever that she had the supernatural ability to curse people. She’d have hexed him right there and then. But since, as we have already established, there are no witches, just Very Intensely Pissed Off People, Deborah became one right then. As usual, the Universe had to respond to her call.

It didn’t, however, do it immediately. So, Deborah harnessed her pissed-offness for quite a while, lest the Universe dare to forget that she was a VIPOP. With time, all the emotion did was grow…

And so Joshua enjoyed his meal for the time being, while the taste of Deborah’s food was somewhat reduced in quality due to her own annoyance. For the next three days, every time Deborah looked at Joshua, it was a glare, and every time Kevin saw Deborah, he shrank back. All the while, Deborah was wishing curses upon him from all four corners of the nearly spherical earth.

But at the end of the third day…it came. On Friday night, at the end of the week, naturally, everyone was worn out and more than ready to begin the weekend. They were also very hungry. The problem was that food on Friday tended to get finished if one did not arrive early enough, and so by five-thirty, the cafeteria was already packed with hungry students attempting to make lines. Woe betide you if you showed up any later, like at five thirty-five.

Deborah, arriving at five thirty-three, already met a line of at least thirty students long, and even after she joined, the rate at which the line’s length was increasing was alarming.

Lo and behold, Joshua showed up, walking in with an arrogant swagger at (wait for it!) five thirty-six! Of course he didn’t bother trying to join any lines at that point. Perhaps it was the Universe aligning these things in exactly the most dangerous ways (it tends to do that(), but Joshua walked right up to the line Deborah was standing in – right to the front of it – without even seeing her.

But she saw him, alright.

He was wearing that wolfish smile.

Then he began trying to sweet-talk the poor, defenseless junior girl at the front of the line. Her meek personality was no match for his imposing one. She let him cross.

The anger in Deborah’s heart was of such dreadful magnitude that, well, she snapped. Generally, all VIPOPs reach that stage eventually.

In that instant, it was as if a magical wave had washed over the entire room. There was a significant ripple in the air that only Deborah appeared to have noticed. She felt her hair lift for a fraction of a second. Though she might not have fully understood it, Reciprok Eight had begun to take effect.

The food began to be served. Before long, it was Joshua’s turn in the line. But the cafeteria lady looked right through him, as if he wasn’t even there.

Then a more mysterious thing happened. The junior girl who’d earlier allowed Joshua to cross her, stepped into him. His image wavered as though it was a mirage. Deborah gasped. Was she the only one who had noticed it? She looked around to make sure. The only things she saw on her colleagues’ faces were impatience and hunger; no indication that a boy before them had just turned into a ghost.

It dawned on her then that she was the only one who could see him. She watched as the expression on his face progressed from initially shocked to rather confused to utterly bewildered, and then unmistakeably frightened as person after person simply stepped right through him and got their food.

He waved his arms. He yelled. (Only Deborah could hear, so only she noticed.) He stepped backwards and forwards and attempted to even push people, but his hands just went through their bodies and out.

Debbie had no idea how it had happened, but she was thoroughly enjoying herself. Very soon, she was at the front of the line. While acting as if she didn’t realize he was there, she said in an undertone, so only he could hear, “Hello, Joshua.”

“You can see me!” responded Joshua in astonishment.

“That’s true. And I’m not sure I know why. But I don’t have to. I think I like it, either way.”

“I don’t understand what’s happening! Why can’t anyone see me? Why does everyone else get to eat their food? I’m hungry. It’s not fair!”

Deborah nearly choked while making her way to a free seat. “Not fair!” she whisper-shouted back. “You’re one to talk about fairness. You, who would gladly inconvenience so many people for the sake of your own hunger…now imagine what the last person in the line feels like. What do you have to say for yourself?”

“I’m hungry!”

“No kidding.”

“How do I get rid of this…thing? Juju – magic – curse – whatever it is? I need to get my food! What have you done to me, you witch?”

“I’m not a witch. I’m as clueless about your foolish condition as you are. And I’m no expert in the supernatural or anything, but usually, when people want food, they join the line.”

“Isn’t that what I did?”

Deborah gave him a killer glare. “Go to the back of the line, you imbecile!”


“Do it.”

“It’s too long.”

“Do it.”

“The food will get finished!”

“Just do it! Maybe the Universe let you off the hook before, but it looks like this time…you’ve genuinely crossed the line.”

She didn’t know how right she was.

Joshua fumed, and joined the back of the line with as much reluctance as a Kumasi man being made to enter the sea. But, by the time he got to the front of the line, the food was already finished. The very last serving had been given to the person directly in front of him,

Now clearly visible, Joshua clenched his fists in agitation.

Reciprok Eight had done its job.


2 thoughts on “Reciprok Eight: Crossing the Line

  1. Ivana je t’aime tres tres much!! You don’t know how much this means to me, it means so much that i got up from my comfortable webpage stalking position, with full jnowledge that i will not get that same warm spot again, to dance in my room! You truly are an amazing purple person! I love yew 😍😍

    1. OMG Debbie I was literally just talking about how much I love you like thirty minutes ago!! LOL. 🙂
      And erm…I apologise sincerely for your loss of a warm spot. Hehee.

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