‘Hello’ he said in a politely calm voice devoid of any impatience.
‘Hello Madam, Good Afternoon.’
‘Feyi Ojo on the line, please how can I help you?’
‘Madam, I’m Yomi Thomas from Nikon Hilson Hotel Glass House’ he giggled a little taking the mouthpiece away from his mouth. The other members of the team looked on in wild astonishment. ‘Why the laughter?’ They wondered. Poor Feyi, she wondered away into the oblivion, thinking of who could’ve called her number from a hotel, when the baritone voice of Mr. Thomas thundered into the phone.
‘Are you still there Madam?’ The reverberation of his voice echoed in her ear.
‘Yes Mr. Thomas,’ she seemed to say with the least strength in her, ‘how can I help you?’
‘Sorry for disturbing you madam’, he smiled. ‘Are you in any way connected to one Dr. Dimeji Onasanya?’ Her heart skipped but she held on to her breathe. ‘Yes’ she said hiding the panic in her voice.
‘Really!’ He raised an eyebrow, and winked sweetly at the rest of the group.
‘Oh yes. He’s my baby brother. Is anything the matter?’ She could feel something fishy, but the puzzle was the arduous task she couldn’t decipher. She took a deep long breathe.
‘Nothing’ was the flat response from the other end. ‘Could I talk to your husband please? Yomi requested politely.
‘Mr.! What’s it?’ She said breathlessly. ‘I’m his sister…elder sister’ she stressed for emphasis sake, can’t you understand?’ Her voice modulation had transcended the range of soft husky whispers to loud-strained almost baritone voice.
‘If you insist,’ he said calmly reading the level of anger and impatience in her voice.
‘I insist!’ She thundered.
‘He was found dead in the wee hours of yesterday morning in his room.’ He paused a little to feel the impact of the news on Feyi.
‘What! Dead? How? What happened to him? She screamed in shock, like she would pass out, but held on, at least for the last moment. ‘Not again’, she said sobbing.
‘Too many questions madam,’ Yomi brawled into the receiver. He took a long deep breathe to regain composure.
‘Calm down Madam’, he said. ‘The result of the autopsy is with the hotel management that you can always find out. Well Madam, that’s not issue. There was this note he wrote before he died to be discharged to Kola Junior. Madam, do you perchance know anybody that goes by that name?’ His voice soft and sullen.
‘Mr.! He’s my son,’ she said firmly. ‘Could you tell me what’s happening for God’s sake.’ Her patience had worn out.
‘Madam… calm down,’ Yomi said soothingly.
‘I suspect there was a game going on between your late brother, your husband, and your son, as you rightly identified the three parties.
‘What kind of game are you suggesting?’ She closed her eyes to her mind’s eye. Fine, they’re very close but…’ She gasped for breathe.
‘Em…Madam’, he breathed hard into the mouthpiece. ‘They were in a sexual relationship.’
‘The letter you brother wrote your son had it all detailed in it.’
‘Whaat! What the hell do you think you’re saying, you brat!’ Feyi name called, she was blind in fury.
‘Madam let me give you a clear picture of what actually happened. Your late husband was sleeping with your brother, who in turn extended the hand of fellowship to your son.’ He chuckled.
His words left Feyi bamboozled she was speechless beyond words. A shock to the marrow it was indeed. Her vision blurred and her speech slurred. How would she cope? Is it the death or the behind the scenes that were perfectly kept away from her, she sat up with the receiver to her mouth mute.
‘Madam! Madam!! Are you still there?’ The voice of Yomi brought her ashore off la…la…land.
‘Yees…yess’, she stuttered.
‘I’m willing to conceal this love quadrangle your family is entangled from the hotel management, if you play game.
‘Mr. Thomas or whatever you call yourself’ she blurted angrily, ‘what do you want from me?’ She said and started sobbing quietly. The last straw that broke the camel’s back it seemed. That was her elastic limit.
‘Madam are you game or not’, his voice like a wicked laugh jolted her out of her reverie. ‘Madam-are-you-game’ he asked again laying emphasis on every word.
‘Mr. Thomas… enough of your joke. Is there anyway I could see anybody on the management board?’
“Madam, tha one na long tin,” he rebuffed her sharply.
‘Then what should I do? Do you expect me to believe your cock and bull story or something? Mr.! you must be out of your mind.’ Her strength was beginning to caress her lips.
‘Okay madam, view this. The story of your husband, brother, and son making the headline of the papers tomorrow’, he said with an accompanying sarcastic laughter, wild like a hyena’s. “The Ojo/Onasanya love quadrangle! How does it feel?
Feyi almost blacked out. ‘What’s this whole mess about? Imagine those crazy guys leaving me here alone to suffer’ she murmured. She had long left the comfort of her bedroom to the toilet, out of earshot.
‘Madam, the deal is this,’ his voice, firm and resolute. Before four p.m., ensure you pay a sum of ten million into this account:
Failure to do that’ll only sink you further in your misery of shame, and your children, what’ll happen to their psychic is better said than imagined. How do you feel about this?’ He teased.
‘Isn’t their any form of negotiation?’
‘Ten million or nothing.’
‘Where should I get such an amount from? Sorry, I can’t dole out what I don’t have in the name of a cheap blackmail.’ She pasted a wry grin. All she could do was bemoan her fate. The very fate that gave her Kola, Junior, and Dimeji. Or what was she to do now? He that’s down fears no fall but she had to play on wisely, although it’s too late to cry. Feyi at her wits end, ‘e no easy.’
‘A hundred thousand or what did you say? Ten million or nothing.’
‘Take it easy my brother. What of half a million please consider me?’ Her voice dimmed with shame.
Yomi’s mouth had begun to salivate. How could he discredit the others of their share he reasoned, although theirs was half of the bargain.
‘Madam, make it five M, just because of you.’ Desperation was beginning to set in, and his voice smelt it.
‘If I could only linger on, this bastard wouldn’t have to swindle me off my hard-earned sweat like that’, she murmured to herself. Strong in the face of adversity, she was prepared for the worst. What could be more terrifying than your husband sleeping with your brother or brother sleeping with your son vis-à-vis? They both were long sticks of abomination from the bottom of hell. ‘Mr. Thomas… five hundred thousand guwo, that’s all I can afford.’ She ended stiffly.
‘I imagine how miserable your whole life would be tomorrow morning, if you find the picture of your family on the front page of the daily tabloids, see you then and rudely cut off the line. He sat on the rug opposite Rasheed and Carol, who had intently fixed their gaze on his every move.
‘What’s up?’ Carol asked antsy.
‘She’s offering far below expectation.’
‘How much?’ Rasheed asked.
‘Just half a million.’
‘Poor her, what’s your decision?’ She asked silently.
The moment Yomi start to talk, his cell phone rang.
‘Hello Madam. Do you’ve any other offer for me?’ He was apt to put two plus two together. If he sounded so desperately in need of money, he could be short-changed but above all, he had to be very tactical.
‘Hello Mr. Thomas, please I’m completely out of myself now, could you in anyway make provisions for us to see, let’s make it a one-on-one discussion.
‘Madam, don’t you see that it could be a little deadly, before we reach a compromise, the news would have been stale. Don’t you see my inevitable sack by the management for holding onto such a vital piece of information? Madam think faster.’
‘Okay, let’s make it a million.’
He smiled. ‘Madam that’s a far cry from the five million I demanded. Push it up ma’am.’ His voice was crystal clear with no iota of emotional lacing.
‘Mr. Thomas, I…I really want to…o play ball with you, but the resources within my jurisdiction is limited.’ She stammered half way through.
‘Ma’am why not make it a paltry sum of three million.’
‘Finally, he has started to oblige me.’ She was jolted out of her reverie by his ‘ma’am I’m still here,’ whatever talk.
‘I don’t see myself going beyond the aforementioned sum,’ she said subtly.
‘In that case madam, you leave me no option than make good my threat.’
‘My dear, one million is a good offer. Why not sleepover it, money isn’t easy to come by these days. One million’ she reiterated.
‘Madam one “M” five.’
Feyi’s heart leapt for joy. Finally, she can now afford to dole out the sum to cover her nakedness. ‘Mr. Thomas, you’re pushing me to borrow, anyway a beggar has no choice, I’m left no option.’
‘Deal.’ Yomi chanted.
‘Deal.’ She replied softly.
A wild jubilation followed in Yomi’s camp as the trio settled down eagerly discussing how to share the proceeds.
‘Men!’ Yomi screamed in a raw naked excitement.
“Guys we go was am O!” Rasheed said, smiling jubilantly.
“Oga mi! O di necessary ! Carol said happily patting Yomi on the shoulder.
‘Finally, e don be’ Yomi how we go take share am por de kudi?’
‘Sule!’ Yomi screamed annoyingly, ‘I blame you?’
‘Take it easy,’ Carol said softly, we agreed to share it fifty-fifty.’
“Pipty-pipty no chetin”, Rasheed emphasized.
‘Sule.’ Yomi grunted.
The line went off after the hot argument and final resolution that ensued between Mr. Thomas and Mrs. Ojo. She slipped her phone into her jacket and solemnly walked back to her room, ‘Wonders ceaseth not. Imagine Mr. Thomas wanting ten million for what she absolutely knew little or nothing about. Indeed, it seemed like a drop in an ocean of what is to happen,’ she mused silently. Since the death of her husband and brother, Feyi’s life had been a pack of misery unfolding by the seconds. Although, she may not have had the power to choose her brother, what of her husband? Life itself was a misery. Oh! Finally, her dream had come to fruition. She gaped emptily into the white ceiling hanging above her head as the pictures of memories of times they were together whooshed through her like air. Their death was so sudden, as though planned to leave her stranded in this hopeless world. Gently, she placed her head on the pillow and had a good cry till she dozed off.
‘It’s thirty minutes past the hour of eleven today, Thursday night eighteenth day of May two thousand and seven in the city of Lagos. This is Gray power 100.5 FM. Our next programme is the Wednesday blues. I’m your host… da soul surgeon,’ the voice of the presenter oozed out effortlessly from Junior’s Fuze one loader deck. He’d been suffering from migraine for the past few weeks his father and uncle passed away, ‘How I only wish I could turn back the hands of time.’ He murmured. As the words slipped out of his mouth, R-Kelly’s ‘if I could turn back the hands of time’ took over the airwaves. Junior smiled feebly as he tried hard to forget the incident, better still pretend as if it never occurred but it was better, said than done. He looked on forlorn. How would he cope now that it’s over, he wondered. His thoughts were raw and wild gnawing him in the face, as if he was a culprit of a sort. As he lowered his eyelashes, the goddess of sleep looked down on him with mercy. She cleared his mind off the many thoughts and worries thus preparing him for sleep, though still evasive. Gently Faith Evans’ ‘I’ll be missing you’ rented the airwaves filtering in his ears, then Beyonce’s ‘Dangerously in love’. Her high falsetto came out too beautifully on that track. Junior was happy, too happy at least something is filling in for the deceased. He was excited inspite of the numbness he felt in his body. His soul was a life again, even if it was just for a short moment, his heart swirled and swelled happily with joy as the song progressed. Then Fort Minor’s ‘Where’d you go’ and his heart was heavy yet again. As the music reached her ebb, Mariah Carey’s ‘Touch my body’ took over. Like a crescendo of an unknown joy, he bursted into a deep wild laughter, then Keri Hilson’s ‘Energy’ followed by ‘Halo’ another of Beyonce’s song from her ‘I’m…’ side of her latest album, which was crowned by Disapper. The goddess smiled as Junior bowed out meritoriously as the second verse began. Immediately he zoomed off, Melvin appeared.