The Barrister just fell, crashing on the door’s burglary which left a v-cut on his fore-head! Froth coated with pink-dark grey blood gushing from both corners of his mouth while the four Photographers with open mouth just gazed in disbelieve like rats hypnotized by stoat, watching the Barrister as he slowly joins the mills of his weaving!
For just ten seconds or less, they stood, palarized by fear and unbelief and in another second, Ank, the most senior of the Photographers, dashed outside, jumping over the diseased Barrister, straight to the main road with just a short on and a black singlet torn once at its left armpit.
Terry, the most junior, dashed into the editing room, came out and into the studio, out again then finds his way into the backyard through a byway.
Ahmed, second in ranking, found himself racing towards Mr. Bigg’s, adjacent to 3rd avenue junction taken by Ank.
Ike too, raced after Ank who had since disappeared, stopped a Keke and zoomed off, leaving the dead Barrister in the studio’s reception as a tense melancholic atmosphere engulfed Gwarinpa city like a restless ghost!
These four spirited and promising Photographers found themselves in a state of double bind. They can’t go home for the fear of being arrested and can’t stay, waiting for the unknown. They neither smoke nor drink but focused on their dreams.
Ank, a football fanatic playing for “Gwarinpa Demolishers” had already received a letter to play for Shacks of Ph as an attacking midfielder, completed travelling plans and in three days will be moving as this just happened!
Terry, a young secondary school leaver had applied and gotten his US visa lottery documents and just two more months to travel and has been avoiding trouble even in its iota form but today, they have just murdered a barrister!
Ahmed has been writing jamb for over seven years and had not been lucky to have made any! Reasons being that he refused contributing money for chua chua! Then like what seems a miracle, University of Nigeria, Nsuka-UNN offered him admission to study Law and had completed registration, accommodation intact, school resumes January and today…they have just murdered somebody!
Ike, with the big dream of owning a classic Photo Studio in Abuja Central area, saw that dream coming to fruition as a shop has been rented and being equipped with Photo materials while as a matter of fact, his Mum is yet to return from the Lagos she embarked on this morning with the intent of securing last batch of the materials but Ike have to round off the season’s work with his Boss before proceeding to becoming his own Boss when what is bigger than the Cricket now blocks his hole!
Ank, Terry, Ahmed and Ike needed no magician to pre-inform them that the victory song they were since dancing has slowly now turning a war song! The only option now is the one they have taken because no one wants to spend a second in jail…especially as a Law man is involved!
The Barrister was the second client this morning. He came with his memory card and wanted to print some pictures from it. Ahmed was in the reception table as the lady receptionist, Gladys was yet to resume for the day. He accepted the card, slot into card reader and the pictures displayed for the man to choose. The Barrister selected asked how much which Ahmed told him, what they saw on the man’s face was earnest surprise!
“I just printed most of these pictures… yesterday…over there” He points vaguely at nowhere in particular.
“Sir…” Almed didn’t know what next to say to him.
“I know how much I paid…How yours could be this so lugubriously gegometic…that’s enormous!” He was looking at them as he paused as if to make it known, anger quickening his breath. “It’s ridiculous…I can’t pay that!”
“Please sir” Ahmed said, handling him the price least. “Look at it sir…it’s our normal price, sir.”
He collected and read them aloud;
“Three 5×7 for five thousand, two 8×10 for ten thousand, 8 passports for 5000…t-this broad day robbery!” He wailed, dumbfounded and was just staring at them like they were still bent on convincing him that G is for Jesus!
“So sir… how many do you want to print now?” Ahmed asked as the man turned to the exit door.
“No let me come” He said quickly, murmuring inaudibly and in another second came back. A receipt handy:
“Look at this receipt…I told you I printed some yesterday; 1 5×7 for 200, 1 12×15 for eight hundred and you are hear telling me what!
“Sir, I know but what I told and showed you is our company’s price list” Ahmed said. “So sir how many do you need printing now, sir please?
The Barrister ignored the question and was just staring at Ahmed…then panned to Ank who was standing awkwardly and fidgeting then shrugged in the affirmative to the man as Ike came from the exit door.
“Let me have my card” He demanded. “I’ll do it somewhere else”
“Haba now sir…you can do it here…we are good and will certainly get you satisfied with the output”
“I said let me have my card” he said with gritted teeth. Ahmed passed the card over to him.
“Foolish people!” the Barrister said. “You won’t see me here again…”
“Pleases sir, I don’t want you to feel bad…”
“No wonder you people don’t have customers here”
“Sir please it’s…” Ahmed tried explaining when the man turned in the spur of the moment dashed Ahmed a thunderous slap!
“Why do you have to slap him!?” they quipped in unison.
“Sir why?” demanded Ank as he slipped in-between him and the advancing Ahmed. “If you don’t want the service you go, it’s not by force!
“Why did you slap him sir” demanded Terry, also advancing, bunching his fists.
“Foolish people, you are asking me questions?”
“Why won’t we ask you questions, who are you?”
Ahmed asked as Ank shouted at them to stand down as they were now all on edge.
“Sir please come get out” Ank said barring the three boys from further advancing towards him.
“Sir we will let you go because you are old enough to be our father, if not…”
“It’s okay Terry” Ank said as they see the man to the door.
“You rats are playing with fire” he gave a short laugh that shook his shoulders as he shakes his head as if he had the power to turn them blind. “I will deal with you all”
“No problem sir” said Ahmed, nursing his jaw.
“We shall be waiting for you sir” Ike chipped
“Me” the barrister beat at his chest “I…barrister…” he fell face down in a heavy thud and started vibrating on the floor! Nobody touched him!
* * *
Ank got to Zuba to find out that he has no more
Money but on and on he has told himself he had to go that is if he won’t be lucky to escape! So he sneaked on a Van covered with yellow tarpaulin packed beside a fuel station which soon zoomed off towards Lokoja.
The dreamy look on Ank’s face lingered as he remembered what happened yesterday, to him, it was like a dream and the feeling a Lion feels licking his fingers reflecting on the good memories of big animals he has killed and eating was the likes Anks now feels amidst the Van’s wu wu wu towards Lokoja. He had been over-glad on the turns of events at Timi’s place yesterday and nothing else he had thought of except Timi, not even Sharks of Port Harcourt. Ank is the selective type more so with ladies/girls, to him they are all trouble and as his Uncle Adofi use to affirm that; “Lie is women and women is lie” Though Girls-like and as a Photographer in the tick city of Gwarinpa, Abuja, he has seen umpteen and in the pit of his belly, they are all the same.
It happened one sunny Monday afternoon in the studio. The din that accompanies early morning customers who needed quick passport were on the limit when through the Studio’s tinted sliding glass door, Ank’s eyes caught a feminine creature whose intent was entering the Studio and so his eyes was pinned to her till some inches to the door even when the Girl threw her right hand towards her left should as pion pion sound escaped from the red Toyota Camry 2011 model she slid out from then stood aside, turning his back to the door before she came in. Ank took an appraising look at her back physique as she was being attended to by the receptionist. Tall, willowy…slender like a Dan-gun with a masculine square face, her head low-cut with two giant loop ear ring dangling on her both jaw, this specie Ank concluded matched his choice of specimen and by quirk of fate, she, ongoing in the studio, looked at the four Photographers, rejected Terry whom Ank motioned to go have her snapped, pointed Ank. That was how it all kick started.
For four months, Timi always visits Ank in the studio and often waited for him to round off for the day by 8pm so he would walk her home.
Today, she came in the studio, demanded Ank come with her.
“Where are we going luv?” Ank asked, removing specks from her head, his left hand settled on her right heap.
“To my house”
“Ah Timi, have I told you not; that your house we won’t go until more of our selves we have known?
With pouted mouth, Timi said, “Ank I don’t like it when you talk this way…how much of ourselves have we not known? let me borrow from you”
“No tell me, you are busy weaving worlds like basket”
“Alright, but Timi, I’m at work…just few minutes please”
With a smug smile Timi said; “As His Majesty wishes”
“After you Lady” Laughed Ank.
“As the Prince Charming wishes” Timi curtsies, shrugged then smiled.
“The door is behind you” Ank nudged her on.
On entering their sitting room, Ank was surprised to discover Timi is the first daughter to the National Overseer of the fast growing-Abraham’s Bosom Church here in Gwarinpa! This he knew by the family portrait pinned to the right side of the wall on entering.
“Timi, you never told me this” Ank felt somewhat embarrassed.
“I wanted you to take me for who I’m; sorry… come to my room?”
“I’m alright here”
Timi pulls at his hand “Dear please come on” Ank rejected outright.
“Wait wait…w-wa-it, where is your Dad, Mum…everybody?!
“Dad…mmm…today Zambia, tomorrow Ghana then UK, with Mum, gummed behind him like a baby monkey” Timi Laughed, covering her face with both hands. “Always traveling, they never stay”
In Timi’s room after she had offered him water. They sat on the bed nervously, ogling each other and dawdled, talking and laughing, who will make the first move? At last, Ank dropped a careless “how far” hand on Timi’s lap as she jerked as if it was a lump of burning coal! She took his hand and squeezed it hard. She wanted to say something when Ank covered her mouth with his, his other hand connecting to the busty bulbous but inviting lobs on her chest while Timi moaned softly, resting her back on the bed. Ank for years now after the first girl he ever dated, tried feigning pregnancy just to have Ank married her before the breeze revealed the anus of the fowl, Ank did not just knew she lied but also discovered she was still fucking the five white men she called Boss and numberless octogenarian men all over the place alongside him! But now he wanted this and now here it is! Systematically, Ank, hurriedly sliding his hand down her erogenous zone, it was moisture, dank and foamy…wet…
“W-wait w-a-i-t…Ank” Timi managed to say, through gritted teeth, Ank watching as she stood, stepping out of her Day-Glo stripped panties then her top before the pink tube firmly housing her supple breasts, coming back to Ank on the bed in her pure Birthday suit! Ank went up to her, spread her on the comfortable sin-inducing bed like a plantain leaf, kissed her toes, patting her legs then stopped…
“Ank what is it…please continue” but Ank couldn’t go on. “What is it Ank?” Timi asked wearily, moaning softly.
“What is this liquid-foamy-looking…eh…streaming from eh…!”
“Ank please do…do” she said in tone coated with painful pleasure, wriggling like a dying earthworm. “It is natural Ank do…I will explain latter just go ahead…do…”
“Search the Van, search the Van…” a voice with tinge of impatient shouted bringing Ank back from his day-dreaming as he suddenly now discovers that the Van is not moving no more! He was fished out by the Lokoja-Abuja road Drug Law Enforcement Agency NDLEA. He didn’t know the Driver after loading the bags of the contraband went to have his pay when he sneaked in the Van, so the smart driver sited them at a time the only alternative was to stop and jumped into the bush.
Terry who had taken the backyard had jumped into a canal, heating his head against a big stone while a barb wire gulped out his right eyes, leaving him in Comal before a Baba Mbola saw him and thinking him dead raised an alarm.
Ahmed got to the Zuba-Kubwa express way in a bid crossing was knocked down by a motorist who never stopped.
No one saw Ike or his where about.
The clock on the Studio’s wall reception chimed 9:00 am as the Barrister’s daughter who he told to meet him in the Photo Studio so he could drop her off to school on entering, saw the Father sitting up just as the Studio’s CEO came in followed by a client couple who needed pre-wedding shoot;
“What is going on here” demanded the CEO
“Oh very sorry Sir” said the Barrister’s Daughter. “My father recently developed Epilepsy so at times he would just fall…messed up himself…and…” she started crying, sniffing. “Although this has been so irregular as he came back from London for his medical check few weeks now and since then he has been okay, driving himself…I don’t know what happen again!
“So where is everybody!?” the CEO quipped.