With Dele asleep, he installed the tiny transmitter on his home line and another inside her mobile phone, which she had left on the dining table before she went to bed. The monitoring machine went into his desk drawer in the office. Now, whatever she was up to, he would soon find out. What if she was having an affair? Hmm, he would cross that bridge when he came to it but he wouldn’t lose sleep on that. Within a day, he would find out.
Dele was upbeat. Thanks to her new friend Cecilia, she could have Supo tossed out of the house by the police by filing a bogus domestic abuse report. When the cops arrived, she would turn on the waterworks or tears after saying he threatened her. She had a her game plan but loved talking it over with her friends and had even promised she would treat them all to a sea cruise as soon as she got rid of Supo.
In his office, Supo was going over a case file when a tone alerted him to the fact that his wife was on the house phone. Opening the drawer, he pulled on a pair of headphones.
‘My sister, the idiot is at work now. How’s your day?’
‘Very well. What happens now?’
‘I’ve searched his home safe, found the deeds of some, not all of the houses we have’
‘Are the deeds in both your names or just some?’
‘Only about three including this house is in both names. Is that a problem?’
‘Not really. As long as we can show the length of the relationship, even if not all are jointly owned, most judges are friendly towards female partners. Hey, that’s why people come from all over the world to divorce in London. It’s the divorce capital of the world as those Russian oligarchs have found out. The women clean out their husbands. Ha ha.. Now you must photocopy all those deeds without him finding out’
‘Hmm, you are talking my language now. The properties we have, I think, add up to about five million pounds minimum. Imagine a millionaire and he still drives that old crappy Honda. His Nokia mobile phone is so ancient I dont think he can receive texts on it, you know he hasn’t bought a new suit in the last ten years and I swear he still recycles his condoms. What a cheapskate!’
‘Oh Dele, you crack me up. Is he really? Is he that bad a husband or even dad?’
‘He’s not bad. Looks after me and Olu I guess but my best friend’s husband changes her Mercedes sports car every year. He also buys her new jewellery every birthday and dinners in fancy restaurants all over Europe. My husband? The Jollof rice take away king.’
‘Don’t worry, as soon as we force him out of the house, you can have it all. Trust me.’
‘That’s good. I can’t even stand looking at him and his expressionless face. You know, he never shouts or get angry. What a wimp. My next man must be over six foot two inches tall as all my girlfriends say any Nigerian man shorter than that is no good’.
Ten miles away in his office, Supo sat absolutely still as he stared ahead to a spot on the opposite wall as the conversation ended. He then collected himself and went back to his business. That night before he left work, he gathered some old deeds belonging to clients, copied this on the high resolution machine after making some alterations and headed home. On the way home, he reflected that his wife’s torrents of verbal abuse were so nasty that if it was directed to a dead person, the deceased would wake up saying ‘Haba, this one is too much o!’.
‘Hello Supo, welcome home. Did you have a good day? ‘’ Dele asked
‘Not bad at all. Busy but enjoyable. You?
‘Didn’t go to work till noon but there might be a chance the firm will expand soon. I would love to run that firm as I think I could make it more successful. If only we could buy it. What do you think?’
‘Might not be a bad idea. I’ll ask one of the law clerks to run due diligence on it without the owners knowing. I’m not promising anything, mind, just that I would explore it’
‘Good enough for me. Hungry?’
‘Yes, fancy some Jollof rice take away?’
Two hours later, when all was quiet in the house, he went to the home safe and identified the deeds she had found. The rest, he swapped with those belonging to clients that he had brought back with him. He shut the safe and went upstairs where they had sex before falling asleep.
Over the next few months into early May, Supo was very busy. He listened to recordings of both her mobile and house phone conversations. He found out that she planned to have him removed by the police by the end of June or early July. He rapidly sold twenty five properties, luckily for him at the high end of the market due to London demand. The cash proceeds were then transferred to accounts he had in Lichtenstein and then onwards to Nigeria, where it disappeared into numerous accounts he controlled with no electronic footprint. Their London residence, a five bed detached house worth about £700,000 didn’t have a mortgage as far as his wife knew. Well, it did now, as Supo had borrowed money using it as collateral. The funds from that sale also vanished into the ether. Dele had no clue about this as attested by her phone conversations.
‘Cecilia, how are you?’
‘All good, Dele. How’s life?’
‘Surprisingly not bad. Supo has been attentive, even buying me flowers. I’m astonished’.
‘Maybe he’s changing over a new leaf?’
‘Maybe and he’s exploring the opportunity to buy the company I work for as well’
‘Wow. You don’t think he knows any of the plans we have afoot?’
‘Nah. He usually lives in his own world. Although we have been having sex more. Maybe he’s dumping all those floozies who hang out at his restaurant’
‘Does he have affairs? We could nail him on that as well’
‘I don’t know, don’t think so. He’s too dull for any woman except me to take a sexual interest in’
‘He’s rich and some women like that. You never know.’
‘It’s possible, some deaf, blind and mute female will always fancy him’
‘Ha ha ha…you always have me laughing. By the way, thanks for those deeds. As soon as you have him out of the house, we can start to stiff him on the properties. What are those names on the deeds as many are not in his or your names?’
‘I asked him some weeks ago, very cleverly after sex. You know men are always off guard post coital. He said the names are the companies he owns’.
‘Ok. All good’
Supo switched off the recordings again and thought. He’d emptied out his bank accounts, converted same into Euros and divested the cash to Dubai to invest directly in properties. The only thing he couldn’t touch on such short notice was his pension but he had compensated for that loss.
Meanwhile he had a long planned trip to Canada, to which he had asked her to accompany him but she declined.
‘Cecilia, he going away to Montreal on the 3rd of July for a fortnight. I’m not going with him and neither is our son, Olu, who is going elsewhere with friends.’
‘Great, I introduced you to that locksmith so let Supo head for the airport then change the locks’.
‘Yep. That’s the plan’
‘All packed my dear?’ Dele asked
‘Yes, just waiting for the taxi to Heathrow’
‘Dad, your taxi’s here’ yelled Olu
‘Bye you both. See you in two weeks’
‘Of course dear, of course’
Supo left the house for the last time, turning around in his seat to look at where he had lived for 14 years. After check in at Heathrow, he bought a drink and then called home.
‘Darling, all set. Just thought I’d say bye again’
‘Nice of you, Supo. By the way, when you get back, don’t come back to the house. The locksmith has changed all the keys and you are no longer welcome here. Understand?’
‘I don’t know what you mean. What’s going on, Dele?’
‘Don’t come back here again, that’s all’
She hung up.
At the house, she waited for him to call back and was somewhat surprised he didn’t.
In Supo’s office desk, his monitoring tape was clicking on and off.
‘Cecilia, he’s gone! God is wonderful. I have gotten rid of that sad cheapskate of a man.
Are you there, Cecilia?’
‘Yes, I am.’
‘You don’t seem pleased for me’
‘I am but my staff has finally gotten around looking at the deeds and other assets’
‘He liquidated everything. Some of those deeds were not even his but his clients, not dummy companies. Check your bank accounts too as I think he’s removed all the money as well.’
‘Noooooooooo….surely not. Oh My God, Oh, My God. Surely he’s not that clever. Ooooh that bastard, fucker. Please double check, as you may be wrong. Please O’
Eleven months later, Cecilia and her team had found nothing but cold trails and dead ends. Dele was then shocked when bailiffs turned up at the house to effect repossession, due to the outstanding debt leaving her with no recourse but to apply for council housing after filing for bankruptcy. Her credit cards maxed out and to top it off, her friend Cecilia gave her a bill for services rendered.
Supo? Somewhere in Nigeria, enjoying life with the sum total of the assets which when he liquidated all, came to just a shade under 11 million Euros. He paid upfront for his son Olu’s university education, along with assurances that the young man would never be in want.
Dele sits inside her tiny one bed council flat in one of the most run down and dangerous estates in London, gazing into what her life used to be, cursing Supo daily.