Your Reward is in Hell: Message from the Morning Man by Kojo Yankson

Your Reward is in Hell: Message from the Morning Man
by Kojo Yankson
21st December 2015
You all know by now just how much I love movies. I always look forward to buying the Blu-ray disks of movies – so I can see all the extra bits that didn’t make it into the movie. All month, we have been bringing you stories from my book, Messages from the Morning Man. It’s become the most thoughtful gift of the season, as Ghanaians rush to fill stockings and hampers to this year’s blueprint to success. There are 69 stories in that book, but today, in typical Blu-Ray style, here’s one story that did not make it into the book. It’s one of my favourites, but, for technical reasons (it disappeared from our Hard Drive), we couldn’t bring it to you. Here it is now, and it’s called Your Reward is in Hell.
There are two things I simply detest about cheats. The first is that they think they are smarter than you. The only reason why a person would set out to cheat or swindle another is because they believe they can. They believe they are more clever than everyone else, and therefore must take advantage of this perceived mental superiority to deprive their victims of what is theirs by right.
The second reason why I cannot abide cheats, swindlers and dishonest people of any kind, is that they don’t believe in mutual benefit.
Their happiness is never complete unless it is accompanied by the sorrow of others. A cheat can never be satisfied in a deal by simply making more money than you. No. They must also cheat you out of the little that you made. Only then will they feel like they have profited. Their acts are driven by pure malice, and they obviously put a lot of thought into the execution, which means they dedicate time, effort and resources to the hatred of their victims. I like to imagine that there is a small, dark, particularly fiery corner of hell, especially reserved for swindlers, conmen, thieves and the rest of their corrupt kinfolk, where the devil takes his time to marinade, baste and slow-roast them for all eternity. I really hope I’m right…
I’ve always wondered how they do it, how they are able to disable their consciences in order to do what they do. I mean, to deceive an innocent person and then sleep soundly at night is not an easy thing o! Trust me, I know! I tried it once. And let’s say I will never forget my first and last attempt at cheating someone.
I was in Class 4 when it happened. A boy called Lawson had brought a toy gun to school, and I wanted it so badly. Now, Lawson had once got me into trouble by ratting me out to the teacher when I was making noise in class, so I didn’t particularly like the guy, but I noticed he had been eyeing my “Counters Ball” collection of over 200 bottle tops, so a deal was made. I promised to hand over my entire collection, in exchange for Lawson’s toy gun.
The following morning, I thought I would get my own back at him, so I took out my 20 favourite “counters”, and gave Lawson the remaining 180 in a sack (knowing perfectly well that he would not have time to count them), and took his gun in exchange.
That night, I couldn’t sleep a wink. I kept wondering whether Lawson had found out that I had swindled him. Had he counted the bottle tops yet? Would he count them at home, or at school? Why had he said nothing yet? I wanted him to say something. I found no rest that night. Lawson on the other hand, slept like a baby, because he had not cheated anybody.
The next day, I took the remaining bottle tops to Lawson, with an apology. That night, I slept like a baby.
I guess the moral here is that cheats don’t have to wait until they get to hell before they are punished. Their penalty is here on earth in the abject lack of peace they feel every single day, as they walk around town. They never know when their time is up, so they proceed with caution all the time. They look over their shoulders and approach every moment wondering whether it will be their last.
People often use the expression, “the suspense is killing me”, Well, for dishonest people, that statement is true in its most literal sense.
In researching the Ruby Adu-Gyamfi cocaine case, I came across the story of one prolific drug trafficker, who had travelled with drugs almost 50 times, without ever being caught. He was so successful in his crookedness, and was never caught, or even suspected by the authorities. This was because he never allowed himself to live a flashy, ostentatious lifestyle, because, in a cruel twist of irony, he couldn’t afford to spend his own money!
He lived in a half-constructed property, and drove a rickety old Toyota. His whole life, he had to sneak around, pretending to be poor, until he died of high blood pressure in 2012, leaving 60 million dollars in his garage for relatives to fight over.
My people, no matter what you may think, evil does not triumph over good. Neither can it only be punished in the afterlife. This world is perfectly balanced, and consistent in its ability to reward good and punish evil, so choose your path wisely.
Also, if you have ever been cheated or swindled, trust me when I tell you that whoever was responsible did not get away with it. Cheaters never win.
My name is Kojo Yankson, and I love my sleep far too much to cheat anybody.
(Messages from the Morning Man is available in all EPP and Challenge Book Stores, as well as the front desks of Joy and Luv FM. To buy in bulk as corporate gifts and hamper fillers, please call +233 242608824)