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The Good Man by Victor Oladejo

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Wura scooped what was left of the fried eggs, then she gulped her water and dashed for the bathroom. It was 9:00 pm already and she had ignored Juliet’s call twice. They had agreed to leave now and she was yet to shower.

She dried her body quickly and wore her dress, took her makeup kit, and applied her makeup. She stared at the mirror and smiled, the wan faded that second. She dropped her head, sagged her shoulders, and grabbed the wooden edges of the mirror. It felt untrue and strange, this life of hers, she wished she could pull off the dress and grab Edu 101 and sit all night, but she couldn’t bring herself to it. Just the other day, she had lied to her mum over the phone that she was sleeping in her hostel, when she was ten miles out of town. What amused her was she didn’t get that feeling, the sudden throbbing of the heart and the constant warning of the little voice in her heart.  Her change within three months into her second semester was swift, and she didn’t see herself dropping this life anytime soon, not with Joe studying in this school.

Her phone rang again and she picked it up, it was Juliet.

“Gal, I don’t like this, we are close to your street, you don dress?” Juliet said with her voice laced with irritation and a pinch of surprise in it.

“Sorry, let me lock the door”, she said and dropped the phone. She checked herself in the mirror. She picked her keys from among the scattered clothes on the bed and made for the door. I will arrange them when I come back, she said to herself,  little did she know that she would never come back to it.

She slammed the door and went outside.

Few minutes later, Juliet parked her car in front of her house, it was a Benz and she couldn’t make out which model it was. “Why did you keep waiting na?” Juliet asked.

“It’s my gas o, the thing is so slow. I was just cooking yam o, even the egg…”

“You and your wahala,” Juliet said and brushed at her wig. “ Enter make we go”

She opened the door and entered. The inside of the car was cold and she hugged herself.

“Don’t you like the Ac?” Juliet asked and turned on the ignition.

“In this weather, haba, the rain just fell”, Wura said and sniffed.

“Simple drizzle”, Juliet said and sneered.

“Joe is coming?” Wura said and took her phone.

“Yes”, Juliet replied and took the bend.

Another car took the bend and followed them.

                       *

“Babes”, Joe said as he stood from the chair he sat on. “Welcome”.

“Hi”, Wura said and hugged him. He released her from his embrace and shook Juliet’s outstretched palm.

“Let’s go inside”

The party was just starting and the Mc was introducing some VIPs when they came in. They found an empty table and took their seat.

“What should we start with naw”, Joe said and took his wallet from him his back pocket.

“Stout for me, I no know for Wura, she still get Church vibes”, Juliet teased.

“Same for me joor, don’t mind her,” Wura said and pinched Joe’s hand.

Joe stood and went to the bar.

“I want to use the toilet”, Wura said and left for the toilet. The alley that led to the toilet was only illuminated with a single bulb. She switched on the torch on her phone and walked to the toilet with a sign that said female.

After she was done, she flushed and pushed the door. The alley was dark now. She reached for her phone to turn on her touch when two hands gripped her neck.

2.

Grandpa Felix wasn’t wheeled into the Care Home when Peter found him one hot afternoon, speaking to his flowers. Dr. Frank their family doctor recommend a Care home to which their father had objected. It was until the night he chased Wura from her bedroom, chanting a war cry that he was convinced by their father.

“It’s like a Hospital too, you just spend three weeks and you are back.”

“Let the doctor treat me here, I don’t want to go,” the old man said, dragging ‘go’ like a toddler crying for his candy.

“Just three weeks Baami, you are back”, Mr. Ebenezer said.

The old man was watching the TV when a Nurse came in.

“Papa, you have a Visitor”, She said and walked to the chair he was seating on.

“Who is here?” He asked and took the Remote control. His shaky fingers all wrinkled tried to find the pause button.

“Let me help you”, the Nurse said and collected the Remote Control.

“A young man, he said your son sent him”, the Nurse said and dropped the Remote.

Grandpa Felix sighed and shook his head. “When you are young they come to…to…you for everything, once you are old they keep you somewhere far from them. My daughter, pray you don’t get old”, He said.

“No o, Baba let me grow like you too”, The Nurse said and reached for his arms. The strong smell of urine hit her nose, she held her breath and held him till he was seated in his wheelchair.

“Thank you my daughter”, He muttered and started to bite at his nails.  When they got outside, his friends — James and Buraimo were playing chess.

“Old soldier never die”, Buriamo hailed as he was wheeled past their chairs.

“He is never old, ” Grandpa Felix said and laughed.

“Where is the man? Why did my son send him? Maybe he is Peter, do you know Peter? ” the old man asked.

“No I don’t know him ”, the Nurse said and frowned.

They stopped at the hallway that connected to stairs that led to the second floor of the building when they met the Visitor.

“Peter my son”, Grandpa Felix said and smiled. He turned his head and faced the Nurse, “ This is Peter my grandson”

“He is not Peter, ” the Nurse said.“ You signed as Paul and a family friend sir”

“Yes”, The man replied and stroked his full beard. His eyes and a part of the bridge of his nose were hidden by the shadow the face cap cast on his face.

“He is Peter “, the Old man said with his voice laced with Anger.

The Nurse ignored him and stared at the young man instead.

“Five minutes will do, remember he is old”, the Nurse said and walked away.

*

Mr. Ebenezer was signing some papers when the call came, it was an unknown number and he decided not to pick it up. It might be all these hungry Telemarketers, he said and pressed Decline.

The phone rang again and he picked it up.

“Daddy it has happened o! ”the voice at the other end shouted.

He dropped his pen and changed the phone to his right hand.

“Peter what happened?” Mr. Ebenezer said, his heart beating faster.

“It’s Wura’s Friend o, She said Wura is dead, they found her body at…”

The line went dead. He was about to dial Peter’s Number when another call from the Elderly Care home.

“Sir did you send anybody to us?” the soft voice asked.

“No ooo, I didn’t send anybody o” Mr. Ebenezer screamed, I didn’t send anybody.

“Mr. Paul…”

“Hello? Hello? Jesus Christ!” He decided to call his wife before he made any move. He dialed it thrice but she didn’t pick. He pushed the papers aside assigned his secretary to them and dashed out of the office.

*

The Nurse who had let in the Visitor into the facility dropped the phone and called the security.

“There is a suspect on the facility, I’m going to the third floor”

“They said your father sent you to me, what do you bring?”

The young man walked closer and fixed his gaze on the old man.

“I bring Vengeance!” the man said and brought out a hood from his pocket and threw it over his face.

“Stop there!” the Security barked. The man released his grip, raised his head, and turned to face the hulk of a security man. Satisfied that he wasn’t armed, he decided to change his mission. He grabbed the wheelchair and pushed it down the stairs. He ran into the room close by. The security ran after the old man to save his life.

The Nurse opened the door and peered in fearfully. The room’s window was broken.

3.

Mrs. Ebenezer was putting finishing touches on her paintings when she heard the knock.

“Who is that?” She asked and dropped her brush close to the palette.

“Delivery”, the voice replied.

“I didn’t order…”

She now remembered she ordered for new acrylic paints three days ago.

She pulled the knob and the delivery man who wore tinted eyeglasses came in with the box.

“I didn’t remember I ordered “, Mrs. Ebenezer said and laughed. The delivery man didn’t smile back. She was surprised, it was unusual of the delivery men of the firm she ordered the paints from to be unfriendly.

She turned and reached in her purse for a tip.

“Here is…”, her voice trailed off as the delivery man covered her nose with a white handkerchief.

4.

Mr Ebenezer wiped his eyes with his handkerchief and looked away. A Nurse close by covered the corpse.

“Why is this happening to me?” he shook his head.

“I’m very sorry sir”, the doctor said and pushed his eyeglasses up the bridge of his nose. “Are the Police aware?”

“Yes, they have arrested one of her friends, they are still searching for the boyfriend”

“All this Yahoo boys everywhere ”, He said and shook his head.

He was about to leave when his phone started ringing again.

“Not again”, he said and checked who the caller was.

*

Peter got a call from the facility about his Grandpa’s accident(if it could be called one). He wondered why everything was falling apart in a single day. He had just lost his sister and now this.

He wore his shirt, took some wads of Naira notes and left for the Facility. When he got outside he waved a bike.

“Oga where you dey go?” he asked and his mouth odour was strong. Peter pinched his nose.

“Shey my mouth dey smell ni?” He said and frowned. “Maybe you go find another bike.” He reversed and sped away.

“Useless fool!” Peter said and pinched his nose again.

He waved another Bike.

“Oga where you dey go?” He asked.

“Eldercare ” he said.

“You get change?”

“Yes I have…”

A Black jeep sped from across the road towards them.

“Run…jump…”

It was of no use.

 

5.

“Hello Ebenezer,” the voice said at the other end.

“Who is this?”

“Chief Karim” the voice replied and laughed.

Cold shivers ran through his body. Chief Karim of all people.

“Good evening Chief, what can I do for you” He said and walked, made for the door when he got to it, he turned and glanced at the bed again. So she is gone, He thought.

“A lot, a lot”

“Chief something just happened to me, can we have this discussion later” he said.

“Maybe you will like to hear her voice”

Then he heard the distressed voice.

“Dear do what ever they tell you…the..they have me.”

“Are you ready?”

“Yes, yes I’m ready, please don’t hurt my wife”

“You know what to do”

“What? I don’t understand sir.” He said and gripped the phone tightly, he pictured his wife tied down with a gun to her head.

“You don’t play games with me. The video you have and everything you plan to expose about my deal with the asians. Destroy them! Understand?”

“You don’t get it? Do you value your career over your family, with everything we did?”

“Did your men kill her?”

The voice giggled.

“I guess you don’t know how many of us you planned to bring down.”

“So you…”

“Are you ready or not?”

“Please don’t hurt anybody, I will deliver what you want”

“Two of your family are gone, my boys could kill more”

“I will do so”

“Not so fast, not so fast reporter. One of my men will supervise it. Drop your location and he will come. No games, wrong turn then you have three dead bodies in your hand”

“Let him come to my house, I will be there ”, Ebenezer said and his legs began to shake. His eyes became blurry. He collapsed into a chair close by.

“What’s wrong”, a Nurse shouted and ran to him.

“I’m finished! Chief why?”

“Chief?”

He stood up and wiped the tears trickling from his eyes.

“You can’t understand”, He said.

When he got to the car, he inserted his key and was about to turn on the ignition when his phone beeped. It was a message:

“Where are you? Don’t waste my time”

He had always thought of today whenever he picked up stories like this. He had known from the instant he started receiving Insider info on Chief Kareem’s drug deals that it won’t end well. His wife warned him and his parents said he shouldn’t chase the story. But there must be man who would stand for the truth, he was the man and just like his Hero Dele Giwa he must suffer for his love for truth, he must suffer for being a good man.

He drove on high speed till he got home. A black Hilux was parked close to his gate.

“Welcome Oga Reporter ,” a tall black skinned hulk said. “Guys, he is here o”

Guys? He said a man would come, Ebenezer thought.

Three men clothed in black came out of his house. They went outside and brought boxes in, the man who greeted him led him inside.

“Where is the file!”

Ebenezer walked to his shelf, pulled out a brown briefcase and punched his code. “Here, have it”, Ebenezer said.

The stranger took the case and checked its content, after a while he nodded and closed it.

“Where is she?”, Ebenezer asked.

“Who?”

“My wife”

They all laughed.

“Shebi you like to write story abi, you go go join your family for heaven write story”

Then two of the men grabbed him and held him to the ground, another opened one of the boxes and took a camera.

“Set”, he said.

“Wait make I take the knife”

Ebenezer looked away and fixed his gaze on the framed picture of the country’s coat of arms as the knife found it’s way to his throat.

 

 

About the Writer

Victor Oladejo

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