Dis work come be like say e go simple die, thought Pinto. His mind was already circling in on what he would do with his share of the goodies that was most definitely coming his way after this. He looked at the two men standing in front of and beside him. The three heavily built men faced each other as they talked.
Pinto had known Risky since they were kids. They’d grown up in the same neighbourhood and now, they were ‘handymen’ together. Pinto could kill (and had in fact killed) for Risky. Risky seemed to be a smart fellow and kept moving up the underworld ladder. Pinto was always happy to tag along. Risky was by no means lean or weak but everyone knew Pinto was the muscle and Risky was the thinker. Eye Patch was a friend of the family. He was a fun guy and they liked his company. Plus, he was helpful when he had to be.
“Guy, wetin you tink na? Make we step abi make we dey look till the place toast finish?” asked Eye-Patch (often pronounced I-Pash by his friends).
“No o. We gats wait small o,” Risky intoned
“Ehn, but guy see time. After 2 in d morrin. My baby don dey my house since around 7. She don flash me tire and I sure say by now she go don dey crash,” Eye Patch pleaded.
“Ehen?” Risky again.
“Ehen? Guy konji wan tear my sumtin now. Which one be dis ‘ehen’ wey you dey ask me? You be small pikin? No be your fault now. Na because your babe no dey gree you rest abi?”
“Omo if na dat one ehn, Boma no dey gree me see road o! Sheeeet! That babe ehn, if she don smoke weed come meet you ehn…”
Eye Patch interrupted: “God forbid, she no go come meet me…”
“Shattap! Who dash you? I say if she don gbana come meet me ehn, guy na die! I don dey find where dem dey sell correct manpower drug sef. The one wey Oshogbo people dey do. Una get idea?”
“Manpower drug?” Pinto finally joined in the conversation. The other two now stared at him incredulously like they just found out that he was born fitted with female genitalia.
“Dis one na mumu sha,” Risky snorted, “Anyway we gats go round just make sure say every every dey alright…”
“How every wan dey alright when we dey TOAST person place?” Eye Patch butted in mirthfully.
Risky continued, “Me, I go go round this side. Pinto, you take this other side. Eye Patch, you just relax here. When we do finish we go begin step. Me sef don tire gan. D work dey boring na.”
“Ehn o, no action, no action! Ahh! Remember that job wey we go do for Benin last month? Omo I never fight like dat for my life. Wallahi tallahi.” Eye Patch was becoming slightly more animated now, memories of a nighttime melee flooding back.
“Omo boy dat racking too mad. See where bobos dey break bottle like say na egg. Omo I need dat kind moves o,” Pinto had apparently regained the use of his tongue.
“Of which, eyin boyz cool down make we yan,” Risky seemed to bring calm with his whisper and they all almost huddled in close as he began to speak once more but in an even lower register.
“You see this envelope?” he started,
“Ehen. We dey see am,” the others practically chorused. They’d been befuddled by it since the evening started. While they had set about getting the flame up, Risky had stood back clutching the envelope as if for dear life but they knew not to ask. If they needed to know about it, they would get to know eventually.
“Oya make I yan una wetin dey inside…”
They had dispatched themselves and were now circling the building. Risky, still clutching the envelope, moved rather briskly: money on his mind. This was going to be the easiest money he’d made all year! When he’d gotten the text from his contact in the East, he’d thought it was going to require more men and more planning. However, his preliminary surveillance revealed that the place was completely uninhabited and there was no security as well so two others persons was simply overkill. He just thought to bring them along for companionship and to allow them partake in an easy payday. He kept switching the manila envelope from hand to hand always feeling that one hand was safer than the last hand that held it. He slowed down as he approached the back of the building. It seemed like there was movement up where he saw something like an opening in the wall for an air conditioner. However, he couldn’t make it out properly even though he was almost directly beneath the said hole. He now remembered that they had left the one and only torch brought on this operation in the hands of Eye Patch who was manning the front. But wait o… Risky thought. He remembered now that his mobile phone had a torch light. He began to check his pockets with his free left hand. Realizing it was not in any of the pockets on his left side, he moved the envelope to his right hand and, head down, continued fumbling about for his handset.
He heard a swooshing through the air and then looked up but it was too late to sidestep as an extra hard, extra aggravated, extra desperate ultra high speed knee collided with his head and neck… thus breaking Okro’s fall.
Risky went down almost without a sound, collapsing in a heap under the weight and velocity of his assailant’s attack. He was still conscious but only just. As he moaned unintelligibly, a torrent of fists rammed into his lungs stifling even his whimper.
Pinto was at the right side of the building daydreaming when he heard the noises coming from the back. His first instinct, which he obeyed, was to call out: “Risky, wetin dey para?” When he got no answer, he called out again. This time, he was louder, “RISKY, WETIN DEY HAPPEN FOR DERE?” Still no reply, he began to run to the back. He found Risky sprawled on the floor and writhing in pain. He quizzed his boss for the day furiously, trying to find out what had just happened. Risky could barely mumble any words. Pinto began to look around frantically suddenly realizing that someone else was out here and worse yet, the person was dangerous enough to incapacitate Risky.
“Eye Patch! Eye Patch! Eye…”
“Wetin, wetin, wetin?” Eye Patch was already bounding round to the back when he heard Pinto yelling his name. He now knelt beside Risky. “Wetin happen here?!” he screamed.
“Omo, I no know. I just hear something come pick race only to reach here come see Risko for ground level,”
“Who go dey here? Wetin him do Risky sharp sharp wey we no hear on time? Why anybody go wan do am like dis sef?” At this point, they looked at each other suddenly realizing one possible reason. Quickly, they frisked Risky. They found it underneath the injured man. Still sealed, seemingly untouched. Risky seemed to gain strength seeing the envelope in Eye Patch’s clasp.
“W-w-w-w one boy. E w-w-w wear only b-b-b boxers,” he whispered in a stutter blinking furiously as he tried to battle the pain.
“Where him go? Where e dey?” Pinto inquired obviously agitated and ready to rumble.
“I no kn-know,” it was obviously a struggle for Risky to even speak.
“We go get am. Boss, u just manage. We dey come. We go get am.” Pinto now looked at Eye Patch, “Guy, give am d tin back.” As he said this, his head motioned towards the man lying on the ground. Eye Patch obeyed and Pinto continued, “As u dey front, anybody commot dis place?”
“Correct. Dat bastard fit still dey unless e commot as we dey here.”
The time for words was over. Pinto and Eye Patch rose, eyes fixated on each other as they came to a wordless understanding.
They both reached down into their shoes and drew knives. Both were ensconced in leather which they almost simultaneously peeled off and pocketed. Pinto hooked his finger indicating where Eye Patch was to cover. He moved in the opposite direction. Both of them would go round every inch of the grounds if they had to. The boy, whoever he was, was about to breathe his last.
The midnight sky was blocked from view by the smoke rising from the inferno which in turn created a sinister backdrop to what was about to transpire. Pinto’s glistening blade reflected the devouring flames as he crept around the side of the house Risky had initially asked him to check. Adrenaline was coursing through his veins as were the marijuana he did a few hours ago… and the ‘shepe’. His allegiance to Risky was unquestioned and possibly unrivaled. Somebody had messed terribly with him and that person, if he was still in the compound, would not live to mess with anyone again.
Once again, suddenly seemed that he was hearing sounds of a scuffle but he couldn’t be sure.
Then he unmistakably heard Eye Patch’s blood curdling scream…
John Okro knew not to mess around with people who were armed with sharp, lengthy, glistening knives. It was fortunate to be given the advantage of seeing them before they saw you. And with Lady Luck being fickle and all, you had to take full advantage of her when she came around to your side of the bed. Out of the shadows, his knee came hurtling towards an unsighted Eye Patch’s unprotected groin. The man yelped almost quietly as the limb hit its target. Again. And again. Okro moved swiftly clutching the man’s wrist that was attached to the palm holding the knife. He then lifted one of his own legs till his thigh and lower leg formed a number seven. He moved Eye Patch’s stretched arm into the corner of the seven till his elbow and Okro’s knee were aligned. In one swift motion, Okro flexed his leg muscles squeezing the arm while he dragged the wrist skywards instantly snapping Eye Patch’s elbow.
And that was when Eye Patch screamed.
He bent down and picked up the knife that had inevitably fallen. He heard running footsteps on the concrete floor and looked up waiting for his next opponent to turn the corner.
As Pinto rounded the corner in full flight, he barely had time to take in the scene before he saw the flying knife, identical to his, making its way towards his neck. His reflexes were good. But not good enough. The knife missed his neck but still managed to lodge itself proudly in Pinto’s clavicle.
And then he screamed.
Okro sneered at the silhouette emptying his lungs into the night sky. Pinto’s bloodshot eyes now assimilated everything on ground. The boy with boxers, a crying Eye Patch, the knife in his shoulder.
He screamed again.
This time with anger, with venom, with untapped vengefulness, with loyalty to his injured cohorts. He glowered at Okro and tore the knife from his skin. Now he had two weapons. One knife smeared with his blood, the other about to be drenched in this bastard’s.
Okro looked at Pinto’s expression. He knew pissed when he saw it.
“Oh crap,” he thought out loud, “Here we go again…”