“Go to hell!” He did not scream it, just said it with the calmness of a frustrated preyed frog. It was the first time Bayo had said anything in reply to muffled voice’s call. There was silence on the other side of the line; his response must have shocked the blackmailer. The sound of a seemingly confused cough, then ‘click’ and the phone went dead.
Bayo was now walking away briskly from the junction where he had alighted from the bus. It was a short walk to his apartment from there, but he was not walking to his rooms on plot 7 Sheyi Avenue, he was walking away from it, sweating profusely; definitely not because of the mild early Katsina sun with impotent rays, he was sweating the way only fear and guilt could cause a man to.
He looked at the text message he had received from his sister moments ago, he did not know whether to direct his anger to his sister for sending him the ill text in Yoruba, (how many times did he have to tell her to always type her messages in English?) Or to himself, for being such a fool and acting upon a mere scare. Murder a governor’s daughter? Now he would never be free. What were police men doing at his door? Perhaps that was what he should have asked his damned nemesis.
He cursed at himself for losing it with the anonymous caller; an old lady standing by the road to get a taxi heard him course and gave him a hard stare meant to prick his conscience, but on meeting Bayo’s stony eyes, she averted hers and raised her little hand to her nose to protect herself from the hard smell of rum as he passed. She was out of his mind in a nanosecond.
Who wouldn’t have lost his cool? The damned blackmailer was pretending not to have seen the papers. He had the guts to ask why Bayo had not picked his call the day before. Was this blackmailer playing a double game? Had he attacked the wrong woman? Questions were racking his mind crazy.
* * *
“That’s him walking down pavement.”
Suzuki pointed from the back of the sienna. Now, Suzuki was not his real name, but no one cared. Just like no one cared about his omission of the ‘s’ sound at the end of words with apostrophes and his refusal to match his speech with the size of his brain by simply adding ‘the’ to his sentences where necessary. All his boys knew was that the fear of Suzuki was the beginning of wisdom and the moment Suzuki smiled at you, your career on the professional dark side automatically received a positive destiny. Sad thing was Suzuki never smiled. That he had come with his boys on this job meant it was high profile.
Bayo’s face was still twisted, his forehead showing lines of worry; his head had also begun to ache, when he felt the tap on his shoulder; a cold tap he knew he would not forget easily. One look at the man in black specs and Bayo turned to flee, only to bump into another just in front of him. The taller of the men put a strong and heavy hand on his shoulder and said in a hard voice.
“One wrong move and you would be swinging from a hang man’s rope faster than you imagine. We are here to help you.”
Although Bayo believed nothing about these men helping him, he had no doubt that the part of the hangman’s rope was as sure as a prophecy. So when the door of the tinted sienna rolled open, he got in.
“It simple Mr. Bayo. We find you a man of great potential. You work for us, but independent of us, don’t worry about police. Her father would see to them. Young lady had caused enough embarrassment to her father and we had to take her out. For common good. Having a destitute boyfriend to clothe and feed, speaking openly about your father’ shady deals, not life of a Governor’ daughter.
“Seargent Duru is a friend, a little dull in the head I admit. So when we talked about parameters in case of two murdered girls, I was immediately unto boyfriend; you. I watched your every move and was just in time for your very impressive drama at Mr. Kofi. About the Governor’ daughter, mo settle easy. It was a tough demo I required but you passed well…”
Like lightning, Bayo struck out, digging his fist deep into the man’s jaw. Before he could even recover from his own action, he felt the sting of a hot slap that immediately filled his mouth with warm blood. His head whirled several times, his vision blurred and he felt faint but did not faint.
The man on the other side of Bayo looked to Suzuki for further instructions; the man in the front passenger seat was looking back too. Only the driver kept his eyes on the road but Suzuki only flexed the muscles of his jaw and continued.
“Try being stupid again and you will be worse than dead.”
Author’s note: I know the story isn’t ended yet, I intend to develop it to a full novel but I doubt that I will continue it on NS. So it’s bye for now, I enjoyed every bit of the storytelling ride with you.