The Paradox (Part 2 of 2)

Tope Babalola sat on his bed, studying the business case his Project Manager sent to his email. As he grew older, he noticed that he needed less and less sleep so he put the extra waking hours to good use. He succeeded in getting more work done. He also succeeded in irritating his personal secretary and his project manager, his right hand men. When he was awake, neither of them could sleep as he had them on speed dial and never hesitated to call when he needed a piece of information or the other. Sometimes as late as midnight. When he finished reading the document, he shut down his laptop and lay down. He knew he wouldn’t sleep for another hour but he had to rest his aching back. It sucks to grow old, he thought. Before long, his thoughts turned towards his daughter, as they inevitably did.
When Nifemi turned thirty and decided she wanted to marry Chuks Madike, her father was wary. Everyone in the country knew his daughter was the only family he had and his automatic next of kin. Even the dumbest guy in the world would see her as the gold mine that she was, a ticket to the big time. Worse still, Nifemi had a long history of choosing the very worst of them. While she was in the university, one boyfriend had stolen her ATM card. The bright crook waited till the middle of the night when the bank’s call centre wouldn’t be available before he made his move. He withdrew the daily limit of 250,000 naira a few minutes to midnight, waited till midnight and then withdrew another 250,000 before he made away and was never heard from again. Another one had tried to extort ten million naira from him with a phony deal he had managed to convince Nifemi was going to fetch hundreds of millions of naira in thirty days. Babalola had to laugh as he remembered that particular episode. Truly, one is born every minute, he thought but the mirth dried up when his thoughts drifted to Chuks Madike.
Stealing from insurance companies, Babalola thought with annoyance, what an idiot. And Nifemi has to live with someone as stupid as that. He shook his head as he snapped off the light and settled down to sleep.
Back in the Madike home, Chuks was on his second cup of coffee when an idea occurred to him. His best friend in the university was a chemistry guru. He was so good at chemistry that his friends called him Ababio, in reference to the Ghanaian chemistry author. He would know what chemical to poison someone with, he thought. One that was rare enough to escape detection during autopsy. He made a mental note to call Ababio first thing the next day and he smiled. He loved his wife but her father had to die. No one insulted Chukwudi Earnest Madike and got away with it. More so, it would only make their marriage better if he was controlling the vast Babalola Empire, instead of having to ask his wife for her ATM card each time he needed money. Two-in-one benefits, Chuks muttered as he raised the mug to his lips.
The next week, Chuks asked his wife to arrange a lunch for the two of them with her dad. As she didn’t know what had transpired the last time the two men met, she happily obliged. She thought her husband and her father were hitting it off and she was grateful. She had no idea. Tope Babalola was not one to refuse his daughter anything and she only had to ask once. Her father agreed to meet his daughter and her husband for lunch at the most exclusive restaurant in town.
The couple stood up when Babalola walked into the restaurant. They had secured a corner table with enough privacy. He hugged his daughter and shook hands with Chuks before they all sat down again. Chuks excused himself and hurried to the bathroom. The door of the men’s bathroom had an ‘Out of Order’ sign posted on it. Chuks pushed the door open and went in.
He looked at the medical student and his brother. The nerves were obvious on their faces. He had told them he was doing a stunt for a movie in the restaurant. The stunt involved drinking a poisonous substance but he had to do it. Their own job was to pump his stomach as soon as he rushed into the bathroom, to rid it of all its contents. The student was initially against such an idea but he changed his tune the moment Chuks offered him a million naira. Chuks knew the boy was putting himself through school and had calculated that the money would pay the rest of his tuition till graduation.
‘Are you guys set?’ he asked them.
The student nodded.
‘And your equipment is in perfect working condition?’
He nodded again, mopping his brow with a white handkerchief. He stubbornly refused to acknowledge his younger brother’s pointed stare.
‘Good.’ Chuks said before walking back to the restaurant. He couldn’t care less about any misgivings they might feel. He was paying them to do a job and he fully expected them to do it.
Before long, they ordered and started eating. Father and daughter chatted about irrelevant things while Chuks was mostly quiet. The combination of anxiety and fear effectively tied his tongue. After the meal, he asked the waiter for a bottle of wine – the 1989 Bolla Chianti.
‘I’m sorry, sir but we don’t have that,’ the waiter responded, somewhat embarrassed, ‘perhaps you would like the 1999 vintage?’
Chuks shook his head grimly while his wife and father-in-law looked on – one with pride at his easy confidence, the other with amusement.
‘There’s a wine shop just across the street,’ he said, pointing towards the shop. It was clearly visible through the glass of the restaurant. ‘I believe they have the ’89 Bolla Chianti.’
‘I’ll get it right away, sir.’
‘Please hurry. I believe the attendant told me they have just one bottle left.’
‘Yes sir.’ The waiter turned smartly on his heels and disappeared into the kitchen. He was soon seen hurrying out again through the front door and across the street to the wine shop.
‘What was that about?’ Babalola asked, ‘why do you have to have that particular wine?’
Before Chuks could reply, his wife spoke. ‘Don’t you know what a connoisseur Chuks is? He has to have the very best dishes, accompanied by excellent wines all the time. I was lacking in that aspect but he’s now helping me to train my taste buds. Right, darling?’ She turned to her husband with a dazzling smile while her father continued to look amused.
Chuks returned her smile, mentally urging the stupid waiter to hurry back before the old man got restless. After a few more minutes which seemed like eons to Chuks, the man arrived and proceeded to serve the wine into glasses.
‘None for her,’ he told the waiter, ‘Just the two of us.’
‘You gave up drinking?’ Babalola asked his daughter, obviously surprised.
She nodded, smiling conspiratorially at her husband. ‘For a good reason.’
‘Oh yeah?’
‘Yes, dad.’ She entwined her free hand with Chuks’ own before she declared, ‘I’m pregnant.’
‘Wow!’ Babalola exclaimed, eyes wide, ‘Congratulations, dear. Ironically, this is the sort of news one should drink to.’
Chuks studied the other man closely and judging by his beaming smile and bright eyes, he concluded that the old man was indeed happy to hear the news. Too bad, Chuks thought, happy for them or not, this was it. He glanced at Babalola’s glass which was still full and silently willed him to take a sip. Drink to the good news, old man.
Babalola signalled the waiter who was standing at a discreet distance from the table. ‘Do you have any fruit wine?’
The man nodded.
‘Please get me a bottle. Preferably something pineapple flavoured.’
The man nodded again and walked briskly off while Chuks stared at Tope Babalola in alarm. He barely heard his wife’s voice but soon realised she was speaking to him.
‘I’m sorry, dear, what did you say?’
‘I said I forgot to tell you that dad gave up drinking long ago.’
Chuks’ face dropped. ‘What?’ he chuckled nervously, turning to Babalola. ‘It’s just a glass of wine to toast the baby. It won’t hurt you.’
Babalola smiled benignly in response.
‘Come on, try it,’ the younger man insisted, ‘it’s fine wine, trust me.’ He grabbed his own glass and downed the contents in one swallow. The wine, heavily laced with antimony, went down his throat and settled in his stomach. He chuckled again as he pushed Babalola’s glass towards him.
‘I’ve not tasted alcohol for the past ten years and I’m not about to do so simply because you asked.’ Despite his resolve to the contrary, Tope Bablola’s irritation was starting to show. He had agreed to come to this lunch only because of his daughter, not her hare-brained husband who was now trying to get him to drink for whatever reason. He looked across the table at the object of his disaffection.
Chuks was now sweating profusely, despite the air conditioning. He fidgeted with the tablecloth and his empty glass in turn. He blinked rapidly several times and loosened his tie. Nifemi soon noticed his discomfort and was in the process of asking him what the matter was when he bolted. He ran straight for the restroom, upsetting a trolley of confectionaries on his way. His lunch partners looked after him in amazement while the waiter pushing the trolley cursed under his breath.
As he made for the student and his brother-cum-assistant, Chuks mind raced furiously. This final step was supposed to be easy, he thought. He had succeeded in lacing the bottle of wine with antimony and had managed to persuade the wine shop attendant to keep it for him until someone from the restaurant came for it. That had been easy enough. He had only needed that legendary charm of his to get the girl eating out of his hand. The final step was getting the old man to drink the wine with him before he escaped to the restroom where the student would pump his stomach, ridding it of the dangerous element. He was supposed to be getting saved while his father-in-law writhed to death in the restaurant. But he had botched that part. How was he to know that the old fool was a teetotaler? As he pushed the door of the restroom open, peace descended over him. His salvation was just behind the door. I’ll just have to come up with another plan, he thought.
He entered and closed the door carefully behind him. He turned to face his saviours but what he saw sucked the calm out of him. The student was lying on the floor while his brother stood over him, sprinkling water on his face. The scared boy looked up as Chuks came towards him.
‘He fainted just now,’ he told Chuks, ‘he forgot to bring his inhaler. Please watch him while I go for help.’
Chuks made to grab the boy as he dashed past him but he saw two figures. He made for the wrong one and fell headlong to the tiled floor. His head screamed for the boy to come back but he was having difficulties forming the actual words. Ababio had told him he had three minutes max before the antimony killed him. Silent laughter racked his body as he realised his time was up. He was dying while the woman he loved, who was carrying his child, chatted about nonsense with her father, the man he hated.



10 thoughts on “The Paradox (Part 2 of 2)” by Sir Sam (@mcsnol)

  1. Here it comes @ayobare. I hope you enjoy it.

  2. *whew…i am so glad Mr Babalola didn’t die…the next part please *waiting excitedly

  3. Errrr… Sorry to disappoint you but the story ends there.

  4. seriously seriously seriously enjoyed this. Did you notice how many times I said seriously? That’s because I seriously enjoyed it. Part 1 was a tongue wetter, and part 2 did not disappoint. kudos

    1. 5 times! I’m seriously delighted (is there such a thing?) that you seriously enjoyed it. Thanks @Folakemi.

  5. lolx…and that is how our enemies will taste their own poison IJN! haba! is this how it is? greed? stupidity? na wa o!…

    I must say i truly enjoyed the story however i have few observations if u let me..Wen i first say the piece, i was scared to read it basically because it looked so long…so tasky and so congested..so please next time u plan to write such amazing stories…employ the use of paragraphs. they help me relax wen reading….

    Also, the plot was kinda hasty…more like..could just one single unsuccessful encounter with a rival lead a person down such a path? fine the man refused the ruthless plan to cheat the insurance company, could murder suddenly become the next plan of action?

    I dont know i kind of expected more turn downs and sizzling hatred but i guess Chuks was one of a kind….

    nice story dear….

  6. lolx…and that is how our enemies will taste their own poison IJN! haba! is this how it is? greed? stupidity? na wa o!…

    I must say i truly enjoyed the story however i have few observations if u let me..Wen i first saw the piece, i was scared to read it basically because it looked so long…so tasking and so congested..so please next time u plan to write such amazing stories…employ the use of paragraphs. They help me relax wen reading….

    Also, the plot was kinda hasty…more like..could just one single unsuccessful encounter with a rival lead a person down such a path? fine, the man refused the ruthless plan to cheat the insurance company, could murder suddenly become the next plan of action?

    I don’t know but i kind of expected more turn downs and sizzling hatred but i guess Chuks was one of a kind….

    nice story dear….keep them coming!

    1. Thanks a bunch @kyceeq for the nice comment and critique. About the prayer, amen and amen. About the paragraphs, I do use paragraphs but they somehow disappear when I copy and paste to the website. I’ll have to find a way to rectify that. About Chuks, he also wanted the man dead because of the vast empire that would become his wife’s (and automatically his). Thanks again, I’m glad you enjoyed the story.

  7. Loved this story, its unfortunate that he actually loves his wife but is still an idiot, and peple wonder why rich men only want their daughters to only marry wealthy suitors. *self and wealth preservation*

    1. @ivie9ja, I see your point. I’m really glad you loved the story. I think you’re the most consistent “lover” of my writing. Lol. Really appreciate it.

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