True story for laughs: When a dead man returns home
Fatou, a 50-year-old West African mother of three children, lays down for a late afternoon nap when her mobile phone rings. She recognizes the number of her HIV-positive 22-year-old son, Abou, and chooses to ignore the call, but the phone keeps on ringing, so she answers it. Instead of Abou’s voice, she hears a female caller who abruptly announces Abou’s death and hangs up the phone. The dumb-founded mother does not know at first what to do or say. She tries to call back several times but in vain.
Then follows an intensive search of Abou’s dead body all over town – in the local hospitals and morgues, but to no avail. A few days later, the family performs a symbolic burial ritual without the corpse. An aggrieved Fatou then flies to Paris to spend a few days with her oldest child who lives there, leaving Abou’s younger sister and a few relatives in the house.
Fatou barely puts down her suitcase in her daughter’s apartment in Paris when a phone call from home informs her that Abou, her dead son, is knocking hard at the door in broad daylight. “Do we let him in?” pleads the frightened voice on the other end of the line. “Absolutely no!” Fatou responds.
It’s not unusual in this part of the world for people to see and carry out conversations with the ghosts of dead people that they are unaware of the death. But dead people never return to the homes where they have left. So Fatou’s family will not let Abou’s ghost haunt them indefinitely. She therefore instructs family members to beat up Abou’s ghost if he returns again to the house. The next day, Abou’s ghost shows up at the door again and he gets the worst beating of his life-beyond.
In reality, Abou is not dead, but at the time of this writing, his family does not know that yet. He has played a trick on his family by having a friend call to announce his death and is paying a heavy price for it.