It was a silence that could be cut by a knife that followed the conversation Tola ended up having with Rabe. It had taken her almost ten minutes to narrate what had happened with Tony, and not forgetting to chip in the little gossips she had overheard. Tola had narrated how she had seen Tony being whisked away with a lady but she conveniently omitted the part where she had ducked when Tony sighted her, if Rabe had to know, she didn’t think it was time. She knew Rabe would have scolded and given her a time-wasting lecture, the kind she wasn’t ready to hear.
They were in his sitting room at his four-bedrooms flat on Awolowo, Ikoyi. Rabe had taste and it was very obvious in the way he lived, the man lived in style.
The sitting room had the look and smell of luxury; you don’t have to be an interior decorator to sense how expensive everything was. The curtain were Indian lace, the floor was old pine flown from Mongolia. The furniture was obviously Italian and the very huge television could make a first generation bank manager die when destroyed, were very expensive. He had just one car though which Tola didn’t understand but couldn’t bring herself to ask. She never poke-nosed unless absolutely necessary. She was the only female in the group and knew better than to put her nose where it could be cut off.
Rabe had a lost but calculated look on his face as he paced, his hand-embroidered Senegalese kaftan trailing behind his ankles as he made a ‘slshh…slssh’ sound with his feet. Tony had hated that sound with a passion but had never complained to the tall, Fulani man before. Hugely because Rabe was a silently cruel man no one wants to mess with. Tola heard that he had cut off someone’s left toes before for calling him ‘a slow tortoise’.
Rabe was from one of the northern states of the country, he had been introduced to Tola as a counterfeiter who had ties with the Arabs. From the first day she met him, Tola knew Rabe was someone to be feared. He was nice, always smiling but they all knew the evil beneath that smile. A charmed look always got to her, but Rabe’s six feet handsomeness and gap-toothed smile didn’t register charm to Tola. He was sweet all right, but anyone that knew him as deeply as his associates did, know that Rabe was deadlier than a snake even with his gentle look. It has worked for me severally though, so they all shut up about it.
The pacing man was getting on Tola’s nerve and making her uneasy but she dared not talk. She sipped her wine as quietly as she could and made sure not to make any unnecessary sound. Rabe would stop by the bar and look at Tola as if to say something, and then he would resume walking.
Tola was getting quite on edge; even the cold soothing drink couldn’t ease her. She didn’t have the time in the world to waste watching this aboki dude try and get his BFF out of trouble again.
But in thirty silent minutes, she had had enough. She had places to go, so at the risk of being spat on, she cleared her throat and stood up. Rabe walked up to her and put his hand on her shoulder, eyes leveled with hers with a blank glare.
“Sit down, Tola,” he said and gently but firmly pushed the disapproving lady down. Tola frowned, she didn’t want to sit but she did anyway, Rabe has spoken! Rabe made to turned and walk away again; Tola then grabbed him and pulled him to sit beside her. Rabe glared at her like he was about to slit her throat, Tola withdrew her hands from his body in a flash.
“Please, Rabe, enough walking and pacing, please I beg you. I have a pressing problem that I have to go sort out,” Tola pleaded, not looking at Rabe.
The man didn’t stand up; he shifted and allowed his vicious glare to fall directly on the cowering lady. He then asked if her supposedly pressing problem involved a friend that was about to go to jail for a very long time. Tola knew where he was going with the argument so she kept quiet.
“I didn’t think so,” Rabe said as he acknowledged Tola’s discomforted silence.
He got up and picked up his phone from the stool beside Tola, which seemed to remove the lady from her trance.
“Who do you want to call?” Tola asked as she moved to sit at the edge of the chair. Rabe gave his ‘come-on’ smile and replied that he was about to call Obojor and Tola nodded in agreement. She knew that Tony was going to badly need his lawyer. Obojor was needed to help buy enough time for Rabe to launch his clean-up mission. However, Tola wasn’t sure she needed Tony out too soon. She had a few mischievous plans up her sleeves, and they weren’t all for anyone’s good but herself.