Tega walked towards the bathroom at the passage of his hostel in bid to take a shower. The hostel was unusually silent like a desert. He could hear shouts of ‘up Man Utd’ from the football viewing centre, near his hostel, as viewers celebrated a goal in ecstasy. Towards the tail end of the passage way, something broke the silence. He heard a conversation; a heated one.
“Dare, this is your last chance to proof that you are a Machismo. It was under your guard that stupid journalist escaped. You will lead the hit on the hospital.”
“I thank you for the chance. I promise not to disappoint you this time around Kapol.”
“Good. You strike tonight.”
There was a pause; about five seconds of silence. Then the conversation continued.
“Kapol, how did you manage to get hold of the journalist? I thought he had escaped forever.”
There was a short laugh, and then a voice answered “The Machismo isn’t a small fraternity. We have contacts in the police and the government…”
“Yes, the Government. It’s surprising to hear abi? It is near impossible to get in an office of high authority in this country without being in a fraternity, or having the backings of a fraternity.”
“That’s why you are lucky getting this chance. I have arranged with three other members to go with you. You will strike 8:00pm.”
“Can’t we go sooner? What of if he escapes before then?”
“Escape to where? I’ve got it all covered. Sgt Akingbola did a very good job in fooling him. He said he told him about a scholarship or something.”
“Brilliant! He wouldn’t leave under that circumstance. Do you have a plan for us to follow, or do we workout
“I have a simple plan. You will go to the hospital, ask to see him, and then you exterminate him. It’s a very simple mission. His bed is the first you will see as you enter the ward, and he is wearing the blue hospital dress. I expect no disappointments.”
“We ask to see him… I don’t understand,” the voice said. It sounded puzzled. “Will the nurse grant allow us to see him?”
“I’ve got that all covered. In about 30mins, you will receive a package. In it you will find four police uniforms there. You’ll disguise as police officers. The nurses won’t be a problem that way.”
“Perfect.” The voice sighed.
“I’m sure you still remember his name.”
“I can’t forget that name, Evhoma Chalibury, I still have his identity card with me.”
“Good. Remember, I don’t want any disappointments. Clean up the mess you created.”
The door opened. Tega froze.
“At least drink the red bull I bought for you before you go,” a voice called.
The door closed shut. I must warn Evhoma, Tega thought.
He quickly returned to his room and got dressed. Opening the door, one though struck him: he didn’t know the hospital Evhoma was. After deliberating for a while, he closed the door having made up his mind to look for him amidst all odds.
LAUTECH TEACHING HOSPITAL
Sgt Akingbola had told a nurse to tell me we couldn’t visit the Governor as planned. He said something came up. But he promised that we would go there the following day. The night was here, and I could see its darkness through the window. Oh darkness, the time evils triumph.
I stood up from my bed and walked to the window. The pains were gone, but the POP on my right hand was still there. The doctor said it would take another 6 weeks before they remove it. The two other patients in the room were sleeping like they did, most of the time, for the past two days; I guessed they were in a recovery mode like I was. I peeped through the window checking the compound. I was expecting to see MOPOLS with old AK47 rifles, but phew, I saw none.
Maybe they are in the front of the hospital
I strolled back to my bed. Suddenly, I heard the window crashed open. I jerked backward filled with fear. The other patients who were sleeping woke up.
“Tega,” I managed to say, my voice expressing my surprise. His black T-shirt levelled against the dark ambiance.
The other patients looked on, bewildered.
“Evhoma,” he said, climbing in through the window, “I thought I would never see you. Thank God I finally found you.”
He walked to me and embraced me. I was confused. Is this a dream?
He released the embrace. “We must get out of here.”
“Tega, I don’t understand this. Why did you come in through the window? How did you know I was here? Why must we—”
He interrupted, “I can’t really go into full details now. There is this hostel-mate of mine, Dare, he is a Machismo. I overheard a conversation that they were coming to kill you.”
I wasn’t scared. After all, the hospital should be swarming with MOPOLS like Sgt Akingbola promised.
“It’s not possible,” I shouted, “I am under the Governor’s care and the hospital is protected by MOPOLS.”
“MOPOLS! Who told you that? The hospital ground is clean. There is nobody.”
“But why did you come in through the window?”
“The nurses didn’t allow me in. I have been searching throughout Ogbomoso for the hospital where you are till I got here. So I had to find my way in because it is necessary.”
“But Sgt Akingbola promised me MOPOLS will be—”
Tega cut me short, “They mentioned that sergeant’s name. They said he was fooling you about a scholarship or something.”
“Yes. I was granted a scholarship to Stanford by the Governor.”
Tega pulled my right hand.
“Let go of my hand,” I shouted hitting him with my left hand as pains engendered from my right hand.
He set his gaze at my right hand. “Sorry, I didn’t see that. We really need to get out of here. It’s too dangerous.”
“Okay, if I’m to accept your story, I can’t possibly climb out through the window. Not with a broken right hand.”
Tega looked at me for a while, “Okay, I’ve got a plan.”
The Lautech teaching hospital reception was quiet except for the echoes of the two nurses as they gossiped. Two policemen entered the reception. The click-click sound of their shoes filled the reception and the nurse stopped their gossip facing the incoming policemen.
“We are here to see Mr Evhoma Chalibury, the patient who was rushed here two days ago,”
“From where,” one of the nurses inquired, her oval face taking a rock shape. “We have orders not to allow anyone see him. In fact, few minutes ago, we sent out a guy, who rushed here, claiming to be his friend.”
“Sgt Akingbola sent us,” one of the policemen replied, “and it’s important we see him right away.”
The mention of Sgt Akingbola seemed to soften the nurse.
“He is in ward II upstairs. Go straight and take the second turning by your right, you’ll see a staircase. Once you’re upstairs, ward ll is to your left. You will see it on a name plate.”
“Thank you,” one of the policemen said, levelling his gaze on her oval face.
“Do you know if all women looked the way you look, we wouldn’t have the word –ugly?”
The nurse smiled. “Thanks for the compliment.”
The policeman smiled and smooched into the air as he walked past her, the other following him in the back. Soon all the nurses could identify as their trace was the sound of their shoes as it hit the tiled floor.
“Wait,” Tega whispered, “I can hear footsteps. What is the time?”
I glanced at the wall clock in the ward, “The time is 8:05pm,” I answered.
“Phew, they must be the one. They planned the attack for 8:00pm. We must get out of here now,” his voice was authoritative, like I had no choice but to accept his command.
Tega opened the ward’s door. He peeped. Feeling assured it was safe, he beckoned me to come. I walked towards him.
“Wait,” he warned. “The footsteps are now near.”
I ignored his warning and moved towards the door. I peeped. Two policemen appeared from the long end of the passage that led to our word.
Tega quickly pulled me inside the ward. Before he could say anything, I quickly said,
“We are safe. Those are part of the policemen Sgt Akingbola promised. Let me tell them about the looming Machismo attack.” I said moving to the door.
“Wait,” Tega shouted.
I disregarded his call and opened the door.
I stepped out. Tega followed me. The policemen were now close to us. Before I could say anything, a bullet ricocheted off a wall sailing past my right ear. Almost instantaneously, I heard one of the policemen shouting,
“That’s him at the back.”
In a split second, we jumped back into the ward .The door slammed shut as Tega pushed it close. He quickly carried my bed and used it to choke the door to prevent an easy entry for the policemen. The other two patients in my ward had gotten off their beds and hidden underneath it, trembling.
“The window,” he shouted
I raced across the ward to the window. Looking down from it, I saw another policeman. Before I could regain myself from the shock, he shot at me, barely missing a headshot as the bullet sailed past my head. I retreated.
Now we were trapped; all our exit points has been blocked with Machismo disguised in police uniforms, and we were also defenceless as we had no knifes or guns. I was an invalid when it came to combat; I had a POP round my right arm which got broken after my escape from the Machismo.
“There is another one at the window,” I managed to say
Tega looked around. He picked up the drip stand, and then he positioned himself near the door, ready for an assault.
“The target is dressed in the blue hospital dress. Shoot him on sight,” one of the policemen said as he took position near ward ll door. “On my word, kick the door open while I cover you.”
The other policeman took position with his arms positioned like a martial art student. His Colt 47 holstered at his waist.
“Now,” the one by the door screamed.
A kick pushed the ward’s door open. The policeman by the door blind-fired his rifle into the ward. After a burst of gunshots, dust filled the ward as bullet holes designed the walls.
“He cannot escape the gunshots,” the policeman holding the rifle said confidently.
“Let’s get his picture evidence and get outa here.” He stepped inside the ward holding his rifle in a combat ready mode. The second policeman followed him.
As soon as he took his first step into the ward, an iron bar swung at him. He was quick to see it coming, and he effectively dodged it, but the other policeman at his back wasn’t so lucky. The iron caught him in his stomach and it threw him backwards to the passage. The attacker tried to regain the iron bar in an attempt to re-attack the first policeman, but he was late. The policeman had got up and he pointed his gun at his attacker’s head.
The attacker began to shiver, and he began to mutter something that resembled a prayer
“Evhoma Chalibury, this is the end,” the policeman announced.
The other policeman had managed to get up, and he staggered to meet them holding his stomach as he grimaced in pains.
“Yea, that’s him,” he said, “He is the Goddamn Journalist. Just as Sgt Akingbola told us, he is wearing the blue hospital dress. Shoot him and let’s take his picture.”
He fired two bullets from the AK47 rifle, each finding a lounge in the attacker’s head. Blood seeped out as camera lights flashed over the corpse.
The policemen spat on him, “Bloody Journalist,” they cursed as they walked past him out of the ward…
The corpse lay still on the floor. Its flesh was still soft as it was still some hours from rigor mortis. I couldn’t control my shivering neither could I believe the sight before me as I gazed at Tega’s corpse from underneath the second patient’s bed.
Minutes ago, he suggested we switch attires so that he could create a decoy, but he calculated wrongly, or rather he was late with the plan.
I moved out of my hiding towards Tega’s corpse.
“You took my death… you—” I couldn’t say anymore as I burst into tears.
The police arrived few minutes later, but I was well hidden out of sight. Trust had lost its place in my heart. To the Machismo, I was dead and I knew I must maintain that status. So I did the most natural thing in times of danger- run.
Maybe one day, I’ll publish my findings, or maybe not.
J.F Kennedy once said, “Forgive your enemies, but don’t forget their names.” The Machismo is something I will remember forever. Maybe one day I will get my revenge, or maybe Karma will do it for me. But Tega— *sobs* may his soul rest in the most perfect of peace.