The rain had stopped but the drizzle could still do damage to one’s clothes. The streets were all wet and clean but the drainages were bursting at the seams from debris. It stank to high heavens and the eatery that was located close to the main road made it even worse. No one ever walked by and not wrinkle their noses. Even as they walked by right now, everyone spat with disgust at the stench, the lady in the almost wet blue kaftan-like short gown was not left out.
Tola continued walking, hoping the stench wouldn’t stick to her gown, it was one of her favorites. She had tried to wait for the rain to stop all together but she wasn’t ready to risk it so she had made a calculated decision to romance nature. She heard a vroom, it was another of the okadas that had been bothering since she left the junction. She had ignored all the okada riders that had stopped in the hope of a client. Even when this newest one made a comment about her clothes being ruined, she shook her head and walked quickly. She had to get there before he would leave, she thought. One bike man stopped beside her again and asked if she wanted a free-ride, she shook her head with a deep frown on her face. The man informed her that the rain was going to get heavier soon, Tola told him to be on his way and not slow her down, and she said she didn’t have his time. The man said something nasty under his breath and zoomed off splashing muddy water on Tola’s feet. She didn’t falter; she was not even in the mood to waste her anger on the pitiable rider, so she poured the content of the bottled water on her feet. She had other things to worry about, and such thing was about to escape her once again in two months. She walked faster; she looked up at the sky as she made her way down the street, muttering how nature had decided on a bad timing to open its gate. She silently prayed that Tony would not leave again.
If she didn’t get the money that day, that was it, she was going to loose her apartment. There was no way she was going to go back to living with that grumpy woman that called herself her aunt. She shook her head, she had not left the place in the best of terms and she knew that Aunt Tomisin was waiting for her to mess up and crawl back on her knees, begging. Tola unconsciously snapped her fingers over head, muttering that it would be over her dead body. A car zoomed past but stopped a few feet from her and honked. Tola frowned; she didn’t want a ride, why didn’t people just get that? She just wanted to be left alone with her thoughts. The man said something about a fine girl not deserving of being drenched; Tola ignored him and kept walking. He kept honking and she stopped and raised her hand to shade her eyes from the little droplets of rain.
“Please, could you just stop making a nuisance of yourself and keep driving?” Tola said and then she took off again. The man called her a name she didn’t hear but he also zoomed off, but this time, Tola shifted and the water didn’t meet her feet. She smiled to herself, men and their ego, she thought. She had always gotten that kind of attention. She knew it was well deserved anyway; she was a very pretty lady. She was tall, dark skinned and had this cat-like eyes with such full lashes that she knew how to use to manipulate men’s decisions. She dressed well and made sure she had the right kind of attitude. What she didn’t have, Tola had made up for in her communication skills, and she spoke good English. She had taught herself this British accent that she uses when she gets contacted by Johnson for one of the yahoo-yahoo deals. Her accent was her ticket to a lot of things and she held it with such high regard.
Thunder burred again and Tola increased her pace, she had just a few meters to walk and she could already see the roof of Tony’s house just a few houses away. Would she get the full money? Would Tony try and cheat her out of the money again? She then wondered if the mechanic had finished her car and which expense to sort first, the car or the rent. She was about crossing the road to Tony’s side of the street when the street came alive with sirens. Tola stood still at the middle of the road and looked around in fright and confusion. Before she could maneuver herself to a safe distance so as to get an idea into what was happening, the convoy stopped in front of Tony’s house, and with guns being brandished in the air, some men stormed Tony’s house. People started to gather and gossip started to fly out of mouths.
“Ehn ehn, dem don come. I dey always tell una say that boy na thief,” one of the women in the shop Tola had stayed said.
“Na lie, no be thief ooo. E be like say na human trafficker, I dey always see plenty girls for that house,” another one volunteered her own deduction of the scene. Hands were clapped in disgust and necks were stretched. Tola moved with the crowd to get a view of the place, within minutes Tony was brought out in handcuffs, with another lady too being led into the back of the van, and as he made to mount the indicated step, Tony’s eyes met Tola’s and she ducked.
When the commotion died down, Tola retraced her foot step. Well, it seemed she had just been made homeless after all. She thought of the threat the landlord had dropped about coming back the next day to throw her belongings out. She knew she could manipulate him but she didn’t want to bring herself as low as to tangle bodies with such an illiterate ‘money-miss-road’ like the man. But then, she still had an option, Tony’s spare key laid tucked away in her purse. She wondered what time to come back and she hailed a bike, off to Rabe she went. Rabe would know what to do about the situation, at least, giving her time not to be bothered about it till she was done with what she needed to sort first, a night or two in jail wouldn’t kill the almighty Tony and she chuckled.
Tony tried to ignore the fact that Tola had ducked when he had seen him. He wondered why she had ducked, could she had blown the whistle on him? He shook his head, definitely not, there was no way Tola would have risked being a tale bearer to the EFCC guys. Maybe she hadn’t believed him when he had told her to come for 700,000 naira. He wondered if they had seen the money inside his pillow, but no, it seemed they were just anxious to get him out of the house. The only things they took were his three laptops, his two land-phones and the three mobile phones.
One of the guys, who seemed to think himself as the scariest had told Tony that he had come to the end of the road, Tony had remained silent and good advice in the past had taught him never to say a word. Even with his silence, he had been told that they had gotten credible evidence that would give them enough to send him to jail for a very long time, Tony doubted it. He was good at what he does; nothing ever gets traced back to him. They had only been threatening him, hoping that he would say something to implicate himself, and then someone had mentioned Chucks. Tony knew only one Chucks and he lived in China but they had argued over a deal a while back where Chucks had sworn to make sure Tony pays. Could it be Chucks? Tony tried to reason back to see if he could remember anything between himself and Chucks that could be traced to him. He couldn’t think of anything, so whatever was that they think they had, it wouldn’t stick. He had Obojor, and that was a lawyer that deserved every kobo of his exorbitant bill.