Jaiye looked at his wrist-watch and hunched deeper into his black leather Live Mechanic jacket. The harmattan was particularly harsh that morning, so he did not look out of place dressed as he was. The only thing that might have made anyone pay second attention to him was the fact that EVERY part of his dressing was black; t-shirt, jeans, soft leather shoes. Even the strap of the watch he was wearing was black, not because of any particular ‘why’ but because he always wore black. He had considered coming in a vehicle but Island traffic could be complicated as hell and the last thing he needed was a hiccup of any kind. His BMW power bike was parked just round the corner.
He knew the mark would not arrive till ten-thirty but he chose to arrive early because on a job such as this there were bound to be many variables. He eyed the fuel station across the road and wondered for a moment if he would need a distraction. And then he snorted to himself. Things like this were too easy in Nigeria. His position was perfect, standing as he was just under the awning of the Lagos State Municipal Building. From there he could view the length of Adeola Odeku; both left and right. Already activity had started in earnest, particular around and inside the Skye Bank beside the fuel station. He shrugged, and then settled down stoically to wait.
A sharp twinge of pain hit him in the stomach and he grit his teeth, fighting it as he reached in his jacket pocket for the tube of Gnesnig pills. Schooling his face into a look of indifference that caused sweat to break out on his forehead, he quickly but carefully opened it and spilled four pills into his palm. Throwing them into his open mouth, he chewed them rapidly while he quickly scanned the area, checking if anyone was paying him any undue attention. There were a number of people walking around but no one was looking at him.
The pain began to subside and he was able to relax his muscles. The doctor who had saved him had told him that the pain would show up every now and then unless he stayed out of strenuous physical activities. He had eyed his boss who shrugged in response and lay back on the operating table, contemplating a future of sitting still. Mentally shaking his head, he allowed the laudanum take him under.
He shook his head now, thinking about his brother with a little sadness. He’d had Chinwe from intel keep regular tabs on him and the last update she had given him was that his brother had turned the company over to the board for its immediate running and gone out to Thailand, to try and get over the traumatic events of watching his entire family die before his eyes. Well…he would be fine.
Jaiye drew a shutter down on his straying thoughts and focused on the task at hand. The mark was a child-trafficker and pimp, getting fat from trading misery all over the nation in the name of ‘helping’ young girls to ‘better opportunities’. And the ignorant and selfish parents of the victims really did not care as long as the money; pounds, dollars or Euros came in every week like clockwork. Personally he felt that she should not be his target, the so-called executives who received billions of naira for doing nothing while finding it difficult to approve the payment of a measly eighteen thousand naira minimum wage were the ones who deserved to die. But the boss had told him to get her, and he followed orders.
A flurry of activity opposite his position alerted him to the arrival of the Police payroll into the bank. Quickly he moved a few steps away, walking towards a Hausa trader who was carrying a tray full of sweets and bought two packs of Orbit gum, looking all the while at the policemen and wondering if they would be a problem. His mind switched back to a few minutes earlier and he eyed the fuel station again, this time putting together a last-resort plan at the same time remembering the boss’ words; ‘Property damage is acceptable, loss of life is not.’ He turned away from the trader, ignoring the change proffered towards him and walked back to his former position already concluding on a plan ‘b’. He was prepared for any course of action but that was a path he would rather not take.
A sliver-gray Chrysler drove up past him and stopped just ahead. The ‘security guard’ leaning against the door hurried forward and opened the left hand door, at the same time bowing and scraping to someone inside. Jaiye slowed down his pace, unhurriedly unwrapping a piece of Orbit Spearmint and popping it into his mouth, keeping his focus on the open door of the car while taking in every part of his immediate environment. He was aware of the Range Rover that just drove into the fuel station; of the police men who had disappeared into the bank, all of them except one who stood negligently, cradling their customary AK47s; of the little girl who ran over to the trader he had just left. He could sense everything.
The security guard, now carrying a big handbag stood bag as a very fat bleached woman eased herself out of the car. She looked like a cross between an overripe paw-paw and rotting watermelon, head sitting on shoulders that looked like rolls of dough, arms and legs looking like the limbs of an elephant. The make-up she was wearing did nothing but make his overripe paw-paw comparison more valid, and the chains and rings that adorned her neck and fingers respectively made her look like she was headed to the circus. She took her bag back from the guard and waved him away impatiently, at the same beckoning to someone who was still sitting in the car.
He was almost abreast of the open car door when a girl stepped out of it, pushing hair away from her face and shivering slightly. She did not look anything special; eyes that were too close together, a round nose and thin lips made worse by the fact that she looked scared. Her figure however was a whole other story.
The fat woman looked at Jaiye and ignored him, impatiently grabbing the girl’s arm and dragging her along towards the building as the car hummed away to look for a better parking spot. The security guard hustled ahead of them, undoubtedly to open the door. He pulled out ‘Jumoke’; a .45 Special from her resting place in his shoulder holster and held her down against his leg, throwing away the open pack of Orbit with his left hand.
“Hey. Madam,” Jaiye called after the hurrying woman and she looked over her shoulder, frowning impatiently as she slowed down.
“Yes?” She eyed him distastefully, and then frowning as she saw that he had not moved from his position. The security guard who had hurried ahead to open the door now stood, also frowning at Jaiye who, at the moment was standing between him and his one thousand naira tip. The woman continued speaking. “What do you want?”
Jaiye cocked the gun and shot her dead.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is based on a character created by our own Lade. Old readies will recall Jaiye Ojikutu who happens to be my head of security. This is an introduction into his continued story.