Chased By A Past
Jerry wondered, as he walked on to school, if he was not supposed to ever love fair ladies because he could not fathom the reason the two fair and beautiful ladies left him. Today was the third day after he met the beautiful thief that he helped, but he just could not keep his mind off her. Sometimes, when he looks at supermarkets of Ikorodu environment he would see someone whose feature looks like hers, and would have almost touched this person before discovering that the person was not her.
He was an early riser and always made sure he got to the school first. In addition, luckily for him, his street, No. 58 Jacob Odesola Street was not far from his school- trek able. When he got to nine-nine, he was not surprised to see the beggar, he sees on the street, seated already. This beggar was an old woman whose leg had broken or something was just wrong with her leg, he was not sure which. Moreover, he felt enormous pity for her whenever he sees her, and that is the reason he decided that he would always give her a big amount of money every day. Seeing that he had no family member to help him enjoy the money he is now getting, and everything he owns. He saw no arm in giving the poor woman some money, making her day, putting smile on her dry, ragged lips.
‘Good morning’, he said as he brought out a note and gave her absent-mindedly.
‘Thank you my son, the sun of this earth shall not shine like your glory would’, she said with the Yoruba language, as she collected the money with delights in her eyes, her brown teeth matching the colour of her brown wrapper, which was initially white.
He kept on walking, and then paused. He had just given that woman a thousand naira.
‘What is wrong with me?’ he whispered, as he kept on walking on the dry ground, which looked as if even if it rains for ten thousands of years, it would never become, muddy.
The rain, that everyone were expecting, had only sent storm and thunder to announce its impending visitation, and had been doing this for two days now, but it did not come.
He just could not keep his mind off the recent events. His foolish girlfriend might be dead, for all he cares. How will a girl just leave like that? If truly she was his girlfriend, how had he being coping with her and her stubbornness, her foolishness and haughtiness. At least, even though he did not remember his past, he was happy his past was sweet, and there was little or no trouble in it. If not, he would be bearing the brunt at that time, and he was not ready for any wonder to happen because he was enjoying himself here.
After closing from school that day, he decided to hang around and walk home with the Yoruba and P.H.E teachers, with whom he discussed and enjoyed himself.
‘Uncle, we’ve always being talking about our past, but I’ve never seen say anything about yourself. Why?’ the Yoruba teacher said, ‘one eats with a friend because of the pleasure of friendship not because one lacks’.
The Yoruba teacher, Miss Jacobs is tawny lady. Slim, tall and would have been considered beautiful, if not that she wears long, faded skirts; big or flowing blouse and gowns; shoes that are always big, that sometimes there is always confusion in people’s mind on what to call her- a member of deeper life or S.U? Her hair- no, her wig, disfigured her so much that one might be forced to imagine how ugly her children would be. However, she does not seems like someone who cares. Her ear and body, always devoid of jewelleries, and though she was not married, she was looking older than most old women, making many men avoid her like plague. Even Jerry did not really like her when he first met her but hearing her speak: her seasoned opinion, her reliable advice, and her joy always enthralled him that he always feel like listening to her always.
‘Enn…’ Jerry muttered and shrugged, ‘I have nothing interesting to say’.
As they got out of the staffroom and headed towards the gate.
‘Do you mean your childhood was that boring?’ Miss Jacobs asked with the left part of her face wrinkled as she looked at him as if she was seeing a ghost for the first time in her life.
Jerry hissed, and grinned.
‘That means you did not go out of your way to have fun with ladies, and you know what I mean…’ she made a face at him.
‘Ahhh!’ He belched in laughter, and bent forward, covering his mouth as his eyes roamed the street, ‘aunty, don’t let children hear you saying that’.
‘What did she say? The line from which you are taking this thing is too serious. Almost all the men that I’ve ever come across, including me had done it before’, the maths teacher added.
Jerry held on to his handbag and kept on staring at the space. He just wished he could also tell them fascinating and exciting adventures, but there was nothing he could do, nothing to say. Seeing that they would keep on pestering him, he decided to fabricate his past a little. A little dot and brushing would not destroy anything.
‘Well…’ he announced and saw their eyes brightening as they seem ready to hear his confession, ‘I didn’t do anything. You know I was a cool boy, little trouble, no girlfriend, few friends and thing that’.
He saw that the brightness in the maths teacher eyes faded and saw that it had been replaced by an irritating look.
‘Are you kidding me?’ In this year?’.
‘Actually…’ Jerry said, to just give them something to hold, a reason, good enough for them to stop talking about his past,’ I lived with fathers. You know how strict it would be there’.
‘Na lie joor… My friend, Paul, Na there him live, if I tell you how many woman him don climb, you go open mouth and no class’.
Jerry scratched his head as he became lost. The flow of thought had reduced drastically, and his thinking, shallow; ideas refused to form in his brain, they seem to dance a little in his brain but when he tried to form something out of them they show themselves as useless and unfit for his use.
Just then, PDP members campaigning got into the street, as it was usual in the month of October; they have introduced it to the month of November Blaring loud honks, shouting at the top of their voices, and even the music from the speaker in their van was enough to use in a party. Jerry looked up and saw, from the corner of his mouth, with relief, that the maths teacher had open his moth midway. He had been meaning to continue with the topic but the present actions of these campaigners made him angry.
‘What is wrong with these ones?’ the maths teacher complained. He liked to complain about things: people at home.
Jerry, still staring at the people, was not looking at his front when his left leg hit a stone and he moaned.
‘I heard that when you use your left leg to hit a stone’, Miss Jacobs said, ‘that means there is danger looming somewhere’.
Jerry unconsciously snapped his fingers across his head as if the looming danger was dirt on his head and he was trying to dust it off.
‘That is a lie’, the maths teacher countered.
However, Jerry had a feeling Miss Jacobs was right.
He had plans to buy the film the beautiful thief recommended. Therefore, after leaving the two teachers, he boarded a bike to Agric Bus stop.
He asked every of the retailers selling movies for it but he did not see the film and that made him want to know what the film was all about.
‘Bros.’, one of the retailers called him,’ go that side; you go see Chibuzor for there. The film go dey him place. I know’.
And true to the retailer’s word, Chibuzor has it, making Jerry’s heart jolt. He got the film and turned to leave, when he mistakenly run into someone- a sturdy, short man.
‘Hey… Guy, you blind’, the person asked irksomely and seems to be transfixed on his spot.
‘I’m sorry…Really sorry’.
Jasper, the most dreaded shooter among all the criminals of Lagos stood transfixed as he saw who it was before him. He almost shouted and ran for his life.
‘Sorry for yourself’, he shouted as he pushed past him.
Leech was not dead. Leech was still alive.
He shook his head as he watched Leech leave. He frowned as Leech left. Leech would never ever forget a face, never. He remembers face and names more than anyone Jasper had ever met, and Leech, not recognising him, surprised Jasper.
‘Wow…’ Jasper mouthed, and wrinkled his nose as he wondered if that was Leech because Once had killed Leech and doctor had confirmed the death.
Once is his senior in the job of assassination-rather, Chief’s assassinator at Ibadan- who is called Once because he killed once and for all, and had been getting jobs- a lot- from chief, meaning he would be getting more money than Jasper because the more you kill the more you get increase. And, peradventure one discovered that another assassin did not kill a person he was supposed to kill, and one gets the opportunity to kill this person, one would get the opportunity to kill that other assassin with dignity because one of the code of conducts of Nigeria association of Life Taker (N.A.L.T) restricts assassins from killing themselves without an authorization from top men like chief. And, unfortunately, Once had been getting this opportunity.
Jasper had been looking for opportunity to kill Once, ever since the day he killed his best friend’s dad, the man who introduced him into the job that he had gotten many riches and award from. Seeing an opportunity like this again and finding diamond on the street of Nigeria. Both are impossible.
Jasper changed his mind about going to survey the house of the new person he was to kill; he would do that later. He followed Leech and saw him clutching a book, and a film, very typical of him.
Leech boarded a bike and the bike went into Agric.
With his equipment bag dangling from his shoulder, he climbed a bike.
‘Follow that guy’, Jasper ordered as he pointed at Leech,’ follow am gentlely’.
The bike zoomed off. He was happy that he was holding his equipment bag since most of the things he needed to kill Leech was there, now he would just kill him sweet and clean as he does his job. Unlike that foolish Once. With the thought of that he smiled, and licked his lips.
The bike zoomed into Odesola Street and stopped.
‘Stop’, he hissed at the bike driver and dropped, ‘how much?’
Jasper brought five hundred naira and gave it to the bike, his eyes glued on Leech’s back as Leech began to enter a house.
‘Keep the change’.
‘Oga, thank you ooo’.
Jasper felt like calling Chief that he saw Leech, but he did not want to bring the news of Leech being alive, he did not want to spoil the suspense; instead, he would do, as chief had always wanted: that Leech be killed.
Even, if this person was not Leech, he would still kill him, so that he can kill Once once and for all since this guy has all the features of Leech, even his voice and his handsome look.
Jerry looked at the side a little, as he dropped from the bike, and saw the guy he ran into at Agric bus stop getting off a black bike.
He smiled at himself as he strolled to his room.
‘Human. Water’, he muttered.