She looks up at me, her big blue eyes shiny in the dim light. She wants encouragement and I nod.
“You are kind sir.” She says, “Not like the others.”
I urge her to continue, and she does.
Mr. Johnson died a few years later. Some say he suffered a massive stroke. Others say he was pushed down the staircase of their house by his son during a scuffle and suffered the stroke on his way down. It didn’t matter either way, no one investigated it. The important thing was that he was dead. His son didn’t shed a tear at his burial. Come to think of it no one did, not even his wife. Not even when Johnjohnson, now 21 years old, went into his room after the burial ceremony to play the hit single “freedom” at the loudest volume.
With the last icon of control gone from his life, Johnjohnson became a full-fledged monster. He started beating up his mother for not getting his food ready on time or giving him money. He stopped going to school altogether and would disappear from home for days on end. He easily became the leader of the local cult gang and would lead them on robbery raids on the other side of town. His name became known and feared on the streets as he took to drugs and arming himself with dangerous charms. Any money he made from his marauding he gave a share to his friend in the police force who in turn ensured he was protected from the law. Anyone who gave away information concerning him was severely dealt with.
Soon after the death of her father, Caro left the house. She had been secretly saving money all these years from the little pocket money her father gave her once in a while and from money obtained from doing menial jobs for the neighbours. She knew there would be nothing left for her in the house and so she went out into the world to seek her own fortune and destiny. She didn’t look back on her past with bitterness but rather took it as a stepping stone to make her life better. Mrs. Johnson never searched for her. As far as she was concerned it was good riddance to bad rubbish and one less mouth to feed. Now she could concentrate all her attention on her only son who seemed to getting more and more withdrawn and had dropped out of school completely. Mrs. Johnson assumed this was her fault and did all she could to please him.
And she tried and tried for many more years.
One night Johnjohnson went out on a raid with his gang. He had been informed that a wealthy prospect had just returned from the United States and he had brought dollars in abundance. Johnjohnson and his gang approached the house at midnight armed with machetes and a gun which was handled by johnjohnsom himself. Although there was power outage, the compound itself was enveloped in an island of light provided by security lights which were being powered by a large and noisy generator. The wall itself was quite tall but Johnjohnson didn’t bother himself with that. He and his gang of six simply waited in the nearby bushes until a lexus jeep driven by the intended victim approached the gate. Their informant had told them he would be home late that day. They waited for the gates to be opened and as soon as the vehicle drove in, they swarmed into the compound. Their method was quick and effective, an act perfected over time. They grabbed the security guard by the throat and ordered the man to come down from the car while one of the gang members shut the gate. The man came down slowly but before he could say anything Johnjohnson ordered his men to grab him and bring him before the security guard whom they had forced to kneel down.
As the man watched, Johnjohnson dealt a fatal blow with his machete to the man’s neck. Blood sprayed out unto the tiled garage floor as the security guard’s head fell to an odd angle, a strip of flesh stubbornly anchoring it to his body. As Johnjohnson struck again the man’s body convulsed as the head rolled underneath the jeep followed by a trail of blood.
The man sank to his knees in shock as the security guard’s now lifeless body was dropped.
“Now I want you to answer carefully.” Johnjohnsonbegan, the machete still in his hand as blood dripped from its blade. “Where are the dollars?”
“They are inside the house sir,” the man’s voice trembled, “Wait, let me go and get them for you.”
Johnjohnson used the side of the knife and slapped the man across the cheek with it. The man fell on his face, blood escaping from his nose and mouth, and he began to cry out.
“Ha! This man is not serious oh!” Johnjohnson spat, as his men began to laugh. “You want to shout for help? You want to die abi?”
“No sir. Please sir…you don’t understand…”
“My friend take us inside and show us the money! And be warned, we already know how much is in your possession so if you try to deceive us, you will certainly die!”
One of the men dragged the man to his feet. “Oya oga, move!”
The man went to the door and reluctantly brought out his keys. He knew his wife and daughter would be inside and would not have heard what was going on outside because of the generator. The thought of exposing them to the kind of danger they were about to witness terrified him. He tried to think of what to say to delay these people. He decided to speak out loud; maybe they would hear his voice at the door and know there was danger.
“Please sir,” He began loudly, “Don’t harm me, I promise I will bring out all of the money, I know you don’t really want to be an armed robber and circumstances have pushed you into this…”
“See this fool oh! Who tell you say I be armed robber?!” Johnjohnson replied, slapping him across the face again, this time with an open fist. “I be ‘as-pyarin enterprenor’ just like yourself…”
“Honey? Is that you at the door?” A voice called out from inside.
And the man’s heart sank.
“Please,” He said more quietly and went on his knees. “Please don’t harm my wife and child.”
Johnjohnson looked at him and grinned wickedly.
“Just cooperate with us and we will leave you and your family in one piece.”
“Thank you sir.” The man replied even as the door bolt clanged open from the inside and his wife opened the door.
“Honey, calm down and do as I say,” the man urged his wife quickly in a harsh whisper even as her eyes widened in shock at the dangerous looking intruders beside her husband. “Take Eniola and go and stay in the kitchen while I sort these gentlemen out.”
His wife wasn’t listening to him. Her lips trembled as she stared into the deep menacing eyes of the man wielding a bloody machete.
“Johnjohnson?” She gasped.
Johnjohnson’s mouth dropped open in amazement. He recovered quickly and shoved the man inside as he stepped into their home with his six accomplices. He watched as a little girl no older than six years of age ran up to them and clung to the woman. He looked at her and grinned evilly.
“Hello Caro,” He said. “Longest time.”
(To be continued)