Archive for lagos

I Have Seen Poverty

Posted in poems, random with tags , , , , , , , on January 29, 2016 by Charles Bernard

poverty

 
It stares at me everyday on news headlines
It glides like Lagos state traffic
It screams in the ruined town of Maiduguri
It flows like River Niger along Onitsha boarder
 
Yes I have seen poverty
 
It lives in the swollen belly of Somalia kids
It swims in the painful tears of Sudan kids
It plays with kids on the street of Freetown
She is the smiling toothless kid of Congo
 
Yes I have seen poverty
 
Embedded in the long speeches of Mallam Sanusi
It is sleeping near Abacha’s resting place
It is living on Dimba Igwe’s regular column
Google Africa you can find her in abundance
 
Yes I have seen poverty
 
It flies around with flies near many open latrines
It lays lonely in many rusty water pipelines
It hovers over us as a thick fog
It flies to Swiss banks for vacation occasionally
 
Yes we have all seen “poverty”
 
#greendiarynotes

Black Cartel 7 “A New Dawn”

Posted in random with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2013 by Charles Bernard

Black Cartel 7 “A New Dawn”

Multiple ripples of fear in the crime world accompanied the news of Shadow’s death, the invincible executioner of the Don has been killed and every cartel family in Nigeria was wary of the Don’s wrath. The Don’s dominance was greatly shaken and even Lone Shark knew that dangerous bloody days waited in the near by future. The battle line has been drawn and he was at the center of it all, Lone felt the pain of every soul that would be wasted for his sake and thought of going to Don himself to negotiate a way out.

But he knew nothing would please the Don but his head on a platter and he wasn’t ready to offer his life to the man who murdered the only family he had. Let him come and get it himself Chief Donald told him while he discussed the matter with the old man.

Chief Donald stroked his beards as he always did when in deep thoughts, then said to Lone I think you should take a vacation son he said to Lone Shark and allow me to maneuver the situation to our favor. There won’t be much causality I will make sure of that, it won’t be long before everything settles then you can return the Chief concluded. Lone Shark stuck a stick of cigarette between his lips and proceeded to light it, he inhaled deeply then sent thick white smoke into the air towards the sky, what will the Don do godfather? Send an army? Sorry to disappoint you but I am not leaving Lagos till I see the end of everyone that murdered my family. The day I watched my brother lowered into the grave I swore to avenge him, I can’t turn back now that I am close to making good that promise this is my war and I intend to see the end of it.

Very well said Chief Donald I won’t stand in your way just be very careful son, you mean more to me alive than dead. Thank you godfather said Lone Shark.

……………………………………

Maria staggered from side to side as she walked through a dense maize farm under scorching mid day sun, her blouse was soaked with sweat and her feet was badly bruised.

She had managed to escape by tricking one of her abductors into wanting a conjugal session with her. She had left him lying cold in her cell with a bullet hole in his skull. She was eager to the high way before the other man returns and set out to find her, she had managed to retrieve her hand bag from one of the drawers before setting out, they were kind enough to have left her personnel effects intact save her phone which was no where to be found. At last she made it to the high way and was lucky to secure a cab, in no time she was headed to the heart of the city. Her first stop was an ATM from whence she proceeded to her hotel, they had reserved her luggage. Maria had a quick shower and a fast lunch then was on the road to the airport, she wanted a night flight to Lagos but was only lucky to have an early morning flight. She borrowed a phone from a stranger and made contact with Don Juan who was so happy she was still alive. Contact with this person once you reach Lagos said Don Juan then he proceeded to give her Chief Donald’s phone number which she jotted down on a piece of paper. When the line went dead Maria regretted having not asked him about Smart though she had her reasons of not wanting to raise the Don’s eyebrow but she wondered if he was still alive. Part of her missed him greatly. Come sunrise tomorrow she would be on her way to Lagos, there she will get answers to all her questions.

………………………………………………..

The Don walked to and fro from one end of his balcony to the other end with a glass of wine in his hand, occasional he paused and took a sip, when it ran empty he had one of his bodyguards refill it. Shadow’s death had greatly unsettled him not that he lacked hit men but he didn’t just trust their capability and also he has Lone Shark to contend with, he was already running out of ideas on how to kill the him however he has one more move to make on the chess board, one that Lone Shark will never for see.

A potbellied police Chief arrived 30 minutes late the scheduled time for his appointment, ordinarily the Don would refuse to see him and reschedule the appointment he hated lateness. Rather he motioned him to take a seat opposite him even though he was a sucker for punctuality he didn’t care for protocols on days like this, I have someone I need you to take care of for me officer the Don said after the police man had settled opposite him. You know the usually drill the officer responded to the Don’s request whom in turn motioned to one of his guards, the guard brought him an envelope which he handed over to the officer. The officer peeped inside it, a crooked smile lined up on his lips, consider it done Don all I need now is the data. The Don gave him another envelope containing information about Lone Shark then said I must warn you this one is highly dangerous. No need to worry Don we know how to deal with such people the officer said.

That same night few hours after the police officer left the Don’s house Lone Shark was arrested as he left the hospital were Smart laid fighting hard to live again, he was still unconscious and the Doctor gave no hope of him coming around soon which troubled Shark greatly.

License and registration please one hungry looking policeman inquired, Lone Shark first instinct was to blast him through the head and speed off but he thought otherwise. He had neither of what was demanded so he squeezed five hundred naira bill and handed it over to the policeman who blatantly refused the money demanding he identified himself. Within minutes of the little commotion three other policemen appeared from no where and the first police man explained to one of the men whom seemed in charge that the vehicle of Lone Shark matched the description of a recently stolen vehicle, the man passionately apologized to Lone Shark but asked him to follow them to the station to make a statement, it was just normal routine consistent with police work he explained. Itching to get home quickly he agreed to follow them, he was certain the police can’t hurt him all they wanted was money and some dumb shit statement. It didn’t occur to Lone Shark yet it was staged till one of the policemen sent an electrifying shock through his system, he wanted to struggle but it was already too late a tape was placed over his mouth and his hand was cuffed behind him. Through a dreamy eye he saw one of them fixing a silencer over his pistol then he knew it was over, he wasn’t going to wake up from this sleep ever again gradually he drifted forever to dreamland.

……………………………………………………

At nearly same time as Lone Shark’s murder, three men acting on Chief Jaja’s order dressed as catholic priests invaded the Don’s house pretending on wanting to pay him homage, on some recent donations he made to the church. The gateman was use to priests visiting the Don so he wasn’t suspicious as he let them in, it was easy to pass all other guards all the way to the living room. They were directed to the balcony where the Don still sat planning on the next move after Sharks death, he was relived to see the priests they seemed the perfect distraction. His face changed from a glow to that of horror as he watched them gun down the two body guards that were with him, then the barrel was facing his fore head within seconds it was all over and the men left the way the came.

When Chief Donald heard of the Don’s death from Chief Jaja he was over whelmed but his feelings soon turned to worries as he called Shark’s number severally failing to reach him on each occasion, he was certain something had happened and he feared the worst that came to be.

………………………………………………………….

The dawn of a new day brought with it the dawn of a new era in the cartel circle, while the news of the Don’s eclipsed other important news items in the media, allegiance to cartel house of the late Don faded away with the night, many sought the face of the obvious next Don “Chief Jaja”. An emergency meeting was scheduled at mid night to merge powers and flush out what ever remained of the late Don. Many small time affiliates left town in a hurry fearing an uprising against them. The house Chief Donald was silent and in a mournful mood following Lone Shark’s death, his body was discovered along the coast of Lagos beach.

Maria arrived Lagos to an atmosphere of mixed emotion Chief Donald sent a car to pick her from the airport, the moment she settled in she made inquiries about Smart and was told of his condition.

With a huge bouquet of flowers she visited him at hospital, as she sat beside him she whispered into his ear please live for me dear one. He let out a weak little gasp of air at her words this made her smile with tears in her eyes, she then said you are going to live for me.

She stayed with him all day, holding his hands and telling him sweet words occasionally he smiled but he still seemed withdrawn from his surrounding but it gave her great hope and joy to see his lips move.

………………………………………………..

Two months later Lagos was still same as last two months to the common man on the street, the same hustle and bustle to make ends meet. But the Black cartel had a new leader and with new members including Smart who received a fortune from Lone Shark’s will while Chief Donald was vacating with Don Juan in his hill top mansion in Mexico.

One beautiful Friday morning a beautifully dressed Maria was saying I do to Smart in a small customary court in the city of Vegas. After the exchange of vows Maria whispered into his ear are you now rich enough to take care of me, he smiled and kissed her passionately on the lips then whispered in turn to her ear I would answer that question everyday for the rest of our lives….

Black Cartel 4 “Smoking guns”

Posted in random with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2013 by Charles Bernard

Black Cartel 4  “Smoking guns”

Bobby was biting his nails absently minded; it was a habit he exhibited whenever he was excited or terrified. He had recently quit cigarettes but he craved for one like a dying wish right now. He constantly glanced at the rear mirror and to the shanty restaurant 20 feet down the street. The sound of his ring tone had him nearly jumping out of his seat that he accidentally pressed the horn button, it was his kid sister. He wiped his fore head with the back his left hand as he whispered into the receiver. He kept tapping the dash board, making inconsistent rhymes. Inside the shanty restaurant that had only 4 tables, an old woman whose over bleached skin had seen better days sat behind a battered counter. Her gazed was fixed on the uncommon sight of two strangers who sat at the corner. They were talking in tunes so low that even when the traffic noise outside faded she could still not hear a word, rather she only saw their lips move, occasionally she turned to look outside through the dirty white transparent curtain that had seen better days, into the street, but her mind was solely on the two customers who had over paid for food they didn’t touch or even seem to notice it was before them.

Maria and Smart held each others’ gaze as if one was trying to read the others’ mind. Listen Smart something serious is going on down here and I got a hunch a big revolution is about to take place in the crime world. I’d like to know exactly what’s going on within the circle. I think really you are asking the wrong person, i am just a peddler! I don’t belong within the circle. But you must know things or heard things, Listen Smart I am going to say this without caring how it would sound to your ears, I am in love with you! At this Smart made a gasp and blew out lightly. Maria I feel the connection too but I don’t think I have the balls to date a lady like you, look at this way I am not just your class and you don’t come from around here. Smart I honestly understand your fears but the Col is dead, the Chief is dead! They big fishes are gone, I don’t know how this works down here but when the bosses are killed the small fishes are usually left to their fate, they end up either busted by police or killed by angry cartels seeking revenge.

Now I don’t want you falling victim to any of those misfortunes, I care that much about you. I like to think I am safe Maria, besides this is neither my war nor that of one family against another! A man is on a vengeance mission and I am not on his hit list. You mean you know who killed the Col and Chief? I only got a wind of that information but not the details. Just then Smart’s phone rang, it was Lone Shark. Leave the city before the soon came the mean voice, it would probably get messy in the next couple of days. Okay Lone, where are you right now? On my way to Lagos, I have some business to take care of. Do you need me Lone? No Smart just go somewhere you can’t be traced and lay low for a while, it should soon be over. Okay got it.

Maria could link up the conversion in her head but she couldn’t grasp in depth the information exchanged. Maria I am sorry but I don’t think it will work out between us. Sure I understand Smart but I still need you to tag along with me for the little time I have left down here in Nigeria, what exactly would be my role beside you? That is your choice to make, either to be a tour guide, a friend or a lover? Just then they heard a gun shot, even the old woman rushed to door to have a peep into the street. Two men were crossing the road from the spot where Bobby kept watch; they were heading towards the restaurant.

From where they stood Bobby’s brain mixed with blood splashed on the windscreen was visible, Smart turned to old woman who was visibly terrified, any other way out of here ma? She pointed behind the battered counter, in a flash Smart and Maria made a dash disappearing from the restaurant, leaving the old woman standing confused. The two men came in almost immediately, each armed with pistols and an urging desire to kill. In one single motion they scanned the whole place before turning to woman, where the hell are they? She pointed again to behind the battered counter. The rushed behind but the back door was wide open and no trace of them, they followed the way leading to adjacent street.

Out in the adjacent street, Smart and Maria boarded a taxi but the man refused to move insisting he wasn’t going in their direction, Smart was trying to explain the urgency of the situation but Maria drew a gun from her thigh, placed on the man’s skull and screamed go us the fuck out of this place! The two men shot after them but they had gone out of range.

……………..

That same day at the first hint of darkness after the sun went home to behind the cloud. Somewhere in Ajungle, one of the most notorious areas in the city of Lagos, within the enclave of one of the many houses. The man everybody called Shadow sprinkled a thin line of cocaine on his desk, it was just a bit longer than an inverted exclamation mark. With one deep inhalation of air he sniffed it all into his system, a weary smile lined his lips. He stroked his beards as if in deep thoughts, and then looked up at the Don who sat opposite him quietly all along, calmly smoking his fat cigar. I told you I am taking six months break after the last job. I know that already Shadow but this will pay you well even better than the last one. Don money is not my problem, 30 hit a year for 10 years can earn a man his pension.

You know something Shadow you won’t last six months, if you don’t take this job because sooner or later he will hunt you down too. Shadow’s eyes flicked, nobody knows I even exist Don! That’s true but when I have a gun to my head I’d hand over your biography. Is that a threat? No Shadow just a note of warning. Why are so interested in this Lone Shark guy? He has nothing on you. You should be too because last week you killed the only family he has on earth. You mean he is… Oh yes Chief Edet’s kid brother, he has killed two people already and won’t stop till everyone is dead. He can’t come to Lagos, he knows better! I smell him around here already Shadow. Do what you do best, track him and kill him. I will pay you double the price. Done deal Don, he would soon join his brother and the family. Just make it a clean job as usual. Alright Don I got this one, but it is the last one for sure.

……….

Lone Shark pressed the bell again and again, he stared at his watch, 11:17pm probably the old man was asleep or killed too. He was about to walk away when the familiar voice responded from behind the large steel gate, who is it? Baba it is me Shark, in a moment the gate opened. The old man hugged Shark hard, it was rumored you were killed too Lone, I am sorry about your brother and family, it was a real tragedy. Baba thank you, bless the gods you’re still alive too. Did you visit Lanre? Not yet but I hope, just be very careful the rumors I hear of him are not good. Thank you Baba, I’d like to pick some personnel effect from the house, I don’t have the keys anymore! Lanre came and locked up everywhere, he even came with some people to inspect the house yesterday, I think he is planning to sell the place. Don’t worry Baba I will find my way in, Smart fumbled with the back door for a short while and it was open, inside the house was quite as a graveyard.

He switched on the sitting room light and the house seem to come alive but more like a motion picture, he could see his brother helping his only son do his homework, the wife making the table for a meal, people coming and going. His brother’s picture hung in a corner, the smile he wore now seemed to Lone as if he was biting his upper lip in regret. Don’t worry brother I will see them all join you in hell. He went to his room, from the ceiling he brought down a box, there were plenty wads of naira notes, an ECOWAS passport, two pistols fixed with silencers and many cartilages of bullets inside it. Lone smiled as he closed the box again, Lanre I am coming for you!

…………..

Maria yelled at Smart the second, would please you calm down for a minute? Calm down huh? They shot my friend in the fucking head and you’re asking me to calm down. Smart Bobby is gone, nothing can change that. The police would take care of his corpse. Smart gave Maria a bewildered look, so I will just leave my friend on the street like that with his brain spilled out? Smart those men came for you and they would sure be on the look out for you even as we speak. Okay I am getting out of town tonight he said panicking. Right away she asked? In an hour or so, Smart I am coming along. No way will I endanger your life! My deal has ended, the Col is dead. Where are we headed? Lagos, Smart responded curtly. I am heading back to my hotel to pick my few things, will be back in a moment. Please don’t point a gun to cab driver head this time.

She smiled and said only when necessary. On her way Maria called Don Juan and explained that the war was getting out of hand, she had to leave for Lagos. He gave her a go ahead, then requested Smart’s phone number and promised some money to her once she touches down Lagos.  Two hours later Smart was alone on a night bus to Lagos.

…………..

Lanre walked casual into his sitting room, weary from another disappointing meeting with the Don, where the discussions circled around Lone Shark still running wild. He had killed two top members of the cartel and was probably in Lagos. He won’t come here Lanre reassured the Don, he knows it will be too hot for him. But when Lanre glanced casually over to the dining section of the living room, what he saw bewildered him beyond comprehension. It was more like a horrible dream that one prayed to wake from immediately. That single glance cast cold chills down his spine, which it elevated him to a whole new level of consciousness. His wife was tied to the head armless seat of the table, shot through the head. Her head tilted backwards a little. His two sons, 15 and 12 years old, tied and shot in similar manner. Only his little daughter yemi 3 years was merely bond by a scarf and a tape on her lips, a handkerchief was tied over her eyes too. A little note was pinned to Yemi’s shirt, too little to atone for her father, too pure to be killed and too innocent to watch the art of it too. Lanre rushed to the little girl, loosening her amid choking tears. He couldn’t scream as the little girl’s eye held his in a questioning manner. She seemed to be asking what just happened and he had no answers.

With shaky fingers he dialed the Don’s number, whispering Lone Shark was at my house!

Black Cartel 3

Posted in random, short stories with tags , , , , , , , , on September 8, 2013 by Charles Bernard

Black Cartel 3

Lanre sat quietly in deep thoughts, his office was at the far end of the duplex, built on the land that was once occupied by the Afro beat legend Shrine ‘Fela Kuti’ the office was simple and well secured. He had insisted on keeping it when the Chief requested him to work solely for the Cartel family, the noise from many thousands voices arguing in the near by computer village, a market just a stone throw away from his office, filtered into his office as a faint sound, he had purposely left his window open today as if expecting the news to fly in through it. The one thing that was on his mind was Lone shark! Occasionally he stared at his phone in anticipation of the Don’s call. Only one stage remained for the deal to be sealed, the death of Lone shark. He alone stood between him and limitless wealth. He! Lanre, a common lawyer would be one of the big men soon. He was going to now live in Victory Island, where most of the big men lived. Chief Edet deserved it all, he had crossed him! Hasn’t he been faithful enough for 13 years? They were friends before business further sealed the bond between them; he became the boss and has always been treated as such. But he betrayed the very trust that made them thick; he must pay for the pains meted upon him “Lanre”. The Don was the perfect ally to his revenge plans, the miserable 80 million naira that was going to be his cut is nothing compared to the wealth he was going to inherit. One thing stood between him and his dreams, Lone Shark! Every other person was dead!
………………
Maria peeped again from behind her window curtain, the two men she had seen yesterday sat at same spot, occasionally taking a glance at the direction her room’s window. She had seen them at the money changing market yesterday when they went to change money. She didn’t want to create panic so she couldn’t tell Smart. They had followed them around a bit before finally disappearing, Now they trailed back to her room, well they better be prepared to have a real fight from her, if they try messing with her. She brought out a make up kit she had carried from home, from beneath its mirror upper layer she unhooked a .380 pistol, embedded in a thigh strap. Don Juan had paid the airport authority to smuggle the box for her, and now it was going to come in handy. She tried the gun strap around her thigh, it fit perfectly. There was a knock on the door, she peeped out once more and they men were still there. It was someone else she then, she put away her box but left the gun strapped to her thigh, her silk evening gown concealing the weapon.
The Col wore a serious look as he walked through Maria’s door, “welcome Col” she murmured after closed she the door behind them. Maria I want to make something clear, I don’t entertain my clients mingling with my subjects. I am sorry Col I don’t quit follow? Is there a problem? You want out with Smart yesterday; he was just showing me around the city, is that a problem? Not really but next time if you need a tour guide ask me directly. Ok but I don’t think I’d need one anymore, please tell your boys to stop following me around, it irks me. I’d see you later Maria he stormed out. She picked her phone immediately he after he left, moments later Don juan’s voice was on the other end.
…………..
Chief Ohams listened attentively to voice on the other end of the line, he is the only obstacle! Eliminate him and the deal is struck.150 million naira is yours once Lone shark is dead. I am going to delay the family’s meeting till Wednesday; I want some good news before then. Alright Don, I will make sure of that. Damn! Lone shark was proving more difficult to eliminate by the day, he had probably left for Abuja or Lagos. But the Don had assured him that he was still within the city. But where is the fucking ghost! Dead lines can be deadly in this of work, and if the rest of the family learns of the truth behind the plot, they will surely team up against him! The Don was clean before them; he had used him to do the dirty work. He must see the Col at once, the search for Lone shark must intensify.
He must be dead before this week is over.
……….
Smart’s whole attention was on the piece of steel pointed at his fore head, his eyes was fixed on the muzzle of the .45 Caliber pistol. He could feel his life hanging on Lone Shark’s second finger, which was calmly resting on the trigger of the pistol. Smart I am going to ask you this a second time only because I don’t think you understand the depth of what you have gotten yourself into! If not a hot piece of steel would have been resting in your skull by now. Why does the fucking Col want me dead? I don’t know man; I am dead serious he only said something about a change in power. A change in power? From whose hands to whose hands? I might as well be shot dead after this but I just want you to know my friend was killed too, I am just holding unto an olive branch granted by the Col. I am not going to shoot you Smart, but I am going to need you. If you love your friend and your life, you would help me avenge him and secure you. Not that Smart loved Eli to the point of risking his life or that he felt a need for security. It was rather out of an obligation to do something that seemed right that pushed him to agree in helping Lone Shark. The Mexican lady, what do you know about her? He had lowered the gun now, Smart felt more at ease. She is some kind of mistress to the Col, I quit disagree with you on that, Mistresses don’t look that Smart! Let’s find out more about her. But mean while I need to know whom the Col receives orders from. There must be some kind of link leading us up the chain. How do you know this Lone? Smart this is what I do for a living. See your kitchen window fixed, we have much work to do before dusk.
………….
At almost same wee hour, Maria was on the phone with Don Juan. Boss I think there have been a kind of drug war down here, the top mobs are expanding their territories seems our client fell victim. Look Maria that the Col don’t want you frolicking with his agents doesn’t mean he is the enemy, research more on this theory of yours and feed me some facts. One thing is certain whom ever killed Chief Edet must account for my money or see my fury. Okay boss, I’d do my best. And the line went dead. The first sign of dawn had begun with a faint twilight; Maria stared into the empty street through her window. Not a soul was insight. Soon the sun would begin to rise on another of the many Fridays she is likely to spend in Nigeria. Soon too she would return to Mexico she consoled herself.
………………..
At about 9 am that same morning Smart received a call from Lone Shark, everything is ready, perfect time to divert the target on track, the deep voice commanded. Alright, right away. Smart’s palms were wet as he dialed the Col’s number.
Buried in agonizing thoughts the Col was driving to his office in a rather slow unusual speed, he just had an unpleasant encounter with Chief Ohams, who was threatening fire and brim stones if Lone Shark wasn’t dead by Monday. What does that fool know about capturing criminals like Lone Shark? Lone Shark is certainly going down but more time is needed to hunt him down! When his phone rang he had a second guess not to pick the call but he did anyway. Col I have information on Lone Shark! There was urgency in Smarts voice, where the hell is you boy? I am at my house, and Lone Shark? He just left here! Whattt! Give me a minute I will be there right away. The Col started toward Smart’s apartment, all his escorts were sent away earlier on when he had to meet Chief Ohams. He didn’t see the truck jump into his path; it seemed to appear out of no where. He rammed his hilux against it….
…………..
The Col could hear voices although he could not make meaning out what was said, it was like they were several metres away. His head felt heavy; there were bits of sharp pain all over his body. His hands were bond behind him on a wooden chair without an arm rest and his feet were tied together too. He tried to scream but his mouth was taped, everything was just echoing in his head. He was still struggling to gather his thoughts when he heard the sound of someone’s foot steps fast approaching, the room was very dark he couldn’t even make out the direction of the sound. Lone shark switched on the light, the Col was in the centre of a small room. You finally wake up Col, he peeled off the tape, and he was staring into the eyes of the one man that has eluded him these few days. Col you wanted me here I am! You know this is a federal offence and you will pay with your life, oh you are threatening me? Well you see Col I don’t even have a life anymore. Let’s call this bluff off, release me and I will help you Shark. I don’t need your help sir! I just need a little information, who ordered the hit on Chief Edet? That is classified information I don’t have access to the details! Then who does? Release me first. Well Col you leave me no much choice than this, Lone Shark pulled out a pair of surgical glove and pliers from the overall he was wearing. One swift pull and the Col’s pre-molar was gone with some flesh attached to it, another swift pull the second pre-molar followed. The Col gave out a loud cry, Lone shark smiled. I think your coming around Col, now who gave the orders! The Col spat a mixture of blood and saliva to Shark’s face which earned him a broken rib. Within an hour it was all over, Smart received a short timed call from lone Shark. Listen to 9 pm news.
……….
Chief Ohams was startled when he received the news of Col Butu’s dead. The Col’s orderly reported that he was found by the road side heavily mutilated; an anonymous caller had called his office and reported his location. It was the hand work of that monster Lone Shark he murmured to himself, the very thought of this enraged the hairs on his body. He called the Don for the 3rd time still there was no answer, everything seemed wrong today. He then called his travel agent and booked a 9am flight bound for Abuja the next day, it was time to rejoin his family and make sure they were safe. The Col had probably revealed his identity, that monster would surely be on the look out for him.
…………..
At 9pm the local station had the death of Col Butu on its headline; Smart stared at the mutilated body on the screen with complete astonishment. He had no pity for the man; rather it was the fear of Lone Sharks capability he feared now. The picture of the Col was only cast for a few seconds, for the remainder of the news item an old picture of Shark adorned the screen, he was the major suspect and a price tag of 500 thousand naira was placed on him. You must leave Port man; soon the soldiers will apprehend you for questioning” Said Bobby who was totally freaking out on the turn of events. Not yet Bob, I still have some issues to tidy up, at least as long as am at your place I can’t be traced.
At same hour Chief Ohams was on the phone with the Don. He killed the Col, Don! We are no longer safe! No Chief Ohams, you are no longer safe the Don thundered back. I told you to silence him not alert him. We tried our best but the man seemed like a ghost, he just appears and disappears. You would soon be one your self if you don’t kill Lone shark and the line went dead. On the large flat screen television the headlines were read out again, with the Col’s death on top of the news items. He had a sudden urge to smoke pipe. As he turned to head towards the bar section of his large living room, Lone Shark was standing right in front of the bar, a piston fitted with a silencer in his right hand. Take a seat Chief we just need to have a little chat, how did you get in here? Listen Chief I will do the questioning here, take a seat please. Chief Oham’s slumped into the nearest cushion as if was struck by a sudden heart attack. One of the cooks walked into the sitting room and was shot in the head by Shark. Jesus! The Chief screamed as the body of the man slumped to the ground. I don’t think he can hear you tonight. Please spear my life; I will pay you whatever amount of money you want. I just want some information, who ordered the hit on Chief Edet? I didn’t have anything to do with your brother’s death, I hate asking questions twice Chief, who ordered the hit? He was pointing the gun to his head now; it is from within your cartel Shark! Lanre your brother’s lawyer knows everything, am only machinery. I just wanted my cut. Only at the sight of a gun do people like Chief Ohams tell the whole truth, Shark was shocked by this revelation, how can Lanre betray the family after all that was done for him? Well chief you wanted your cut you will get it in full. He then sent 2 hot pieces of steel into the man’s skull.
………………
News of the Col’s death had reached Maria an hour before the news on television, as she watched the broadcast it sent chills down her spine as the news had done earlier. She called Don Juan after the television confirmed the news, Maria am about to have my breakfast, I hope it’s something important? Yes Don, the Col is dead! What!! How? Killed by some assassin or mob, was it drug related? I don’t know yet but I hope to find out soon. Report any new stuff you notice, let me make some calls to other clients in Nigeria and find out what is going on. One more thing Maria, get out of that city as soon as possible. Ok boss, bye.
Next she called Smart, we need to talk Smart, and he gave her direction to where they could meet.
………….
That Same night Lone Shark left P/H for Lagos, he didn’t tell Lanre to expect him. (to be continued….) .

The Black Cartel

Posted in random, short stories with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2013 by Charles Bernard

The Black Cartel

THE PLOT

As Smart climbed the stairs he felt an uncertain uneasiness building up within him, he had rubbed his wet palms on his pant, trickles of sweat also formed on his forehead. He told himself the hundredth time even if she hates me I’d just be polite, after all it was I, who “pissed” her off the first time we met, I will just apologize and get on with my errand! Bigger problems lay ahead; the most difficult was lone Shark how was he to find a ghost? Within the enclave of her room Maria tucked at the tip of her short gown as if she was desperate to cover every piece of flesh the white flowered cotton gown could extend to! But it stopped just mid way between her knees and her enormous hips. She flattened the dress over her laps by rubbing her palms against it. She was checking her face in the mirror to make sure her make up was perfect when a gentle tapping on the door confirmed his presence, she wasn’t nervous to see him but everything had to be perfect, she had chosen seduction as her game plan, it was the easiest way to get a man talking about things he thought know not. The moment Smart entered the elegant but simple room he engulfed by lust it began to spin its own web around his thoughts, he tried looking away from the sexy Mexican lady before him he only found his eyes locked in hers. Hi welcome, she motioned him to sit and sat directly opposite him. Am sorry about the other night he began but she cut him off almost immediately, its okay actually! I wasn’t just in the mood for discussion. She stood up and walked over to the little stool that was in the corner of the room and picked out a bottle of tequila among the four other different bottles, with two glasses. Let’s do that introduction thing again she said and resumed her sitting position. She filled a glass and handed it over to him then filled hers. What’s your name? She asked with a smile drawn across her lips, all the while Smart’s eyes never left her body, it followed her round the room, drawing different anatomy of the small portion covered by the short gown. For sure we started off on the wrong foot Smart heard himself said, it was almost a whisper, and she made a face then said I am sorry about that! Am Smart, he said casually, Maria! They shook hands. Are you a soldier? Not knowing what else to tell her he did for a living he murmured nop! I just work for the Col! Interesting, so what do you do? Am sorry to disappoint you but it is confidential. Maria didn’t probe further she understood confidential, he was the perfect mark to make her job easier. Are you the Col’s mistress? The question annoyed her greatly with the manner with which he asked it. He was indirectly calling her a prostitute to her face. She didn’t show her emotion this time. Calmly she replied, Well You see Smart I am a business woman she re-crossed her legs as she spoke. Smart stood up and said Very well then I should get going now, can I have the money? I should be back by 4 pm. You know I was thinking of touring your city, would you be obliged to show me round. You mean like a tour guide? Well you can call it that but more like a friendship though.

……………

Somewhere in the city, the weak rays of the setting evening’s sun cast a sharp silhouette on a well trimmed flower wall, the dense cluster of delicate petals housed a variety of flowers and fruit trees. A sharp natural fragrance hung in the air not even the tiny balls of white smoke from chief Oham’s pipe was enough to pollute the alluring atmosphere of his garden. The Col sat opposite him sipping quietly from a glass of red wine. The usually calmness of the chief has transformed into rage, he wore the look of a worried man yet he didn’t raise his voice when he spoke to the Col, but took time to rub off just the right impression. With lone Shark roaming the street you know very well nobody is safe! I wonder why the delay in sending him to join his older brother in hell, Chief I assure you we are doing all that is possible. Col I want you to do anything possible just as long as lone shark dies! It is just a matter of time Chief, he can’t hide forever sooner or later we will pick him up somewhere. Alright Col I believe we have an understanding I will be traveling by weekend a grand meeting of every el-cartel house is going to take place in Abuja. I’d love this issue resolved while am away. I’d like to come back to a safe city…..

………

With genuine amusement Maria watched Smart speak Nigeria local version of English ‘broken English’, Even though she only understood bits of his words the rhythm of his speech thrilled her. He had promised she will enjoy suya “roasted meat” she didn’t quite trust him but it smelt good. 50 meters away by the road side sitting calmly in a black hilux, wearing a black hood concealing his facial features and peeping from a small binoculars, lone shark was watching this two with keen interest, his life was evolving around an unending myth these few days, tonight it had these two in focus he was desperate to get his hands on a good piece of information. Lanre his brother’s lawyer and PA had told him that Lagos and Abuja was in no mood for a grand reception on his behalf neither was P/H a safe haven. It was best to leave the country, he had advised. But Lone shark wasn’t one to run from a fight, they killed his only brother he was determined to seek revenge. He knew the Col worked for someone and that someone wants him dead, that same face behind the mask definitely killed his brother too. Everything was moving smoothly, he had followed the Smart closely but was too careful not to tip him off, it was all falling into place with the Col, Smart was the perfect link to get to the Col. Now the white woman was another piece on the chess board he didn’t quite understand it’s role. She seemed to fall from the sky into the picture now she was courting Smart. He had seen her at the hotel with Col, two soldiers always kept watch over her from a distance. The soldiers wore plain clothes and carried pistols. Patience! Lone shark whispered to himself, they would all soon fall prey….

…………….

Sequel to the next episode “City Of Blood”

Back at his apartment Smart sat at the edge of his bed, his forehead buried in his palms, his heart and head pounding in a perfect rhythm, he was savoring the effect last night alcohol. He had a real swell time with Maria, she was so sweet, that at a point he was toying with idea of them ending up in bed in his head. As if she had read his mind, she flirted with him more and more always wearing a gorgeous smile. The booze kept flowing as well as unending discussion they were like two close friends who had been apart for a very long while. By mid night he was too drunk to even stand up without staggering. She had to help him call Bob who drove him back home. A Creaking sound from the kitchen revived Smart to full consciousness, he started at his bedside clock it was 4:15 am, he strolled casually to the kitchen not really in a panic, the moment he stepped into the kitchen Lone shark was pointing the muzzle Of 0.45 caliber to his forehead…….

*(I greatly appreciate all your criticisms people, it makes my day actually and also I highly regret all the errors you guys have to keep encountering. I am working on a perfect editor, soon there should be an improvement. Things are really on the fast side right now. Thanks everyone, you guys are awesome.”

The black cartel

Posted in random, short stories with tags , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2013 by Charles Bernard

The black cartel

Col Butu’s office wasn’t as spacious as Smart expected, the colonel’s large body seem to occupy half the space. His bulge eyes scanned Smart from head to toe, it was so intense he literally wanted to melt away and disappear from this place. He would have preferred to be in prison as he had anticipated when was arrested an hour ago. He had just left the canteen where he usually had lunch, when soldiers apprehended him, booting him off the ground before tying his hands behind his back and taking him along with them in their jeep he couldn’t ask any questions as they didn’t seem interested. Young man do you sell drugs? The Col’s voice echoed in his head. Noo – sir! Smart stammered. Information reaching me and the evidence before me suggests otherwise. What information and evidence sir? Smart asked in the most saintly voice he could muster. It is not for you to verify, I have been watching you for weeks now and if I were to follow protocol you will be behind bars right away or rather short dead. I swear sir I don’t have a clue of what you are saying. Even though Smart was terrified he wasn’t ready to start accepting responsibility for crimes he knew he was guilty of, at least not without visible evidence besides this was Nigeria the evidence is the amount of bribe that would be asked of you. The Col had guessed right when he thought the criminal might deny. He had passed his first test without knowing it, well let’s see how he will fare with the reminder of the trials and information he could generate the Col said in his mind. He then said to Smart you’re just a small fish swimming alone in a big ocean young man, I own the ocean you see. I would have you report back in two days time we do have a lot to talk about. I would be watching you don’t make any wrong move. You can go home now. Smart was totally terrified and confused, he wanted to ask questions but he knew soldiers and orders, as he left the office he felt his feet and hands bonded with some invisible rope and a camera hovering over him.
……….
Maria woke to her first dawn in Africa, from her hotel room in Lagos she could see the sun rising lazily, it’s golden rays shooting fort from beneath the blue cloud. She recollected her mission carefully, her boss had assured her that her life is in no danger but was only a bargain chip to a business spanning into millions. The only part that disturbed her greatly was getting involved with the Colonel romantically to obtain information, it would have been okay to fuck a different man every other day in Mexico at her boss wish, it was her job, she was paid a good sum to do it, but to be involved with an unknown man in a foreign country for a whole year scared her to the bones. When Don Juan gave orders you dare not disobey, she shifted her worries to the man she was to meet in the next five hours, was he going to be brutal like her clients in Mexico who always ride her like a donkey. Even though she hated her life she was grateful to Don Juan for giving her one.
Carefully she unpacked her luggage, from the many folded clothing she choose a red gown that stopped just above her kneels. Men and red clothing she thought, it works always. She checked her self in the mirror one more time, the gown showing her enormous hips perfectly. In two hours she was aboard an airplane headed for Port Harcourt.
……………..
Smart couldn’t sleep; he sat on the edge of his bed in deep thoughts. Young man you sell drugs? The words kept echoing in his mind. Yes he did sell drugs but not just enough quantity to raise the military’s attention, No he wasn’t a drug dealer, it was just suppose small time stuff, buy a little sell a little, and make some extra cash while doing his nysc. He stared at the remaining stash on his desk, he felt a twitch in his stomach, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to sell dope anymore, someone must have leaked the information to the soldiers, it must be from the circle of three, he had created enough buffer to protect him from local consumers. I have to be careful from now on he thought, that means no more supplies till things cool off. Meanwhile he had to identify the muse that leaked the information. There was only three people whom he supplied directly, Mike, Cyprus and Bobby. Now he had to meet them one by one before calling a general meeting of the three. It was almost 3am, he had not slept a bit, his back arched as he tried to stretch, and he hissed cursing the idiot that leaked the information to soldiers under his breath. That fool must pay.
……………
The colonel stared at his watch impatiently it was near 1:30 am and Chief Ohams hasn’t arrived, the once lively bar was now almost deserted. It provided a perfect cover, he had sent his orderly home hours ago and drove himself to this place, he wanted everything to be perfect, not that he didn’t trust his boys he just didn’t trust anybody. He was about to light his second stick of cigarette for the night when the Chief Ohams took the seat directly opposite beaming an obvious fake smile. Apologies my friend I had to be sure the press didn’t follow me here, there has been lots of musing around these days as if the many security challenges we are facing don’t keep them busy enough. The Colonel face was impassive even though he managed a smile he was all about business and wanted to get to that point as soon as possible. Everything has been arranged chief, the first batch of the package would arrive by weekend that would only establish our connection of course, in due time if our client is really reputable there would be more shipments. Very well Colonel am only worried about your boys, this is big someone might try to blackmail us, I assure Chief he will six feet below before he even had the slightest chance. Then let’s toast to success, once we successfully dispatch this batch I will make more funds available. As always you will have your returns Chief. I think that would be it for now. Col Butu watched the short figure of a man stroll away moments later he heard his car engine come to life. Even though he hated the man the money was too good for emotional sentiments and it was all too easy for him, before the year runs out he would be rich enough to retire.
…………
The phone kept ringing to Bobby’s annoyance, he hated early morning calls with a sleepy eyes peeped at the phone screen, Smart’s name brought his senses back at once, something was wrong he thought at once. Bobby spotted Smart almost immediately as he approached their usual meeting point, a big tree just behind his apartment, he scouted the area in one single motion to be sure Smart was alone. There was no time for pleasantries as each wore a worried look, Shit man its 5 am what’s so important that can’t wait till sunrise, Bob someone sang to the military about our business, Bobby’s hands was already trembling and he stammered a bit when he spoke, how bad is the situation? I suggest we get out of town immediately. Relax man if it was that bad I won’t be here talking to you, I’d probably be dinner to a thousand mosquitoes in one of the prison rooms. But we will all soon be! Let’s leave town before they get to us. I am afraid they already did, I was apprehended today by soldiers. And they let you go just like that, not really but they don’t seem interested in placing me behind bars. I don’t understand man, you mean they just let you walk home. Yes! Why arrest you then? I will find out in due time bro. Right now I just want to know who the fucking snitch is. Bob I hope you have nothing to do with this because if you do it will be your head before mine. Come on Smart! You know I’d be the last person to snitch on the team besides we go way back before this business. Alright I trust you man that’s why I called you to help me figure out who did, Cyprus or Mike? We have to watch their moves and I am leaving that task to you, I’d like to know who they talk to, if any of them have any soldier friend, also I’d like to know everything about their women, if any of them is connected to the military. I will deal with the soldiers myself. Alright I’d keep an eye on them. One more thing Bob no more supplies for now till I am sure what we are dealing with. Am game as always Smart. Whatever you need!
………………
It wasn’t until 7 pm that Col Butu called Maria to expect him at her suite right away, she had expected to meet him earlier but he explained he had a conference to attend, the choice of her hotel room was based on secrecy of the operation, They had to be careful not to attract unnecessary attention he had told her. Maria stared at her self in the mirror, a wary smile lined her lips, her mind reflected on how life has really changed in such a short while, two years ago she was a university student, she was going to obtain her degree in mass communication, she wanted to be a presenter she had often mimicked Christina Ampour to her boyfriend Carlos and he told she was going to be perfect on the screen she believed him but her whole life changed when one day the police called her for some questioning, she thought Carlos was in trouble again. It was not to be as she was led to her home to identify the bodies of her mother, father and sister. They were all tied to the dinning chairs and shot through the head. She felt the ground fleeing from her feet, the shock didn’t allow her to shade tears, she was grateful though her brother was safe, but her affection towards him soon turned to scorn when police investigations revealed he had ran away with large sum of money belonging to an el cartel. Her family were killed as a result and even her life was in danger too so she had to run away, started sleeping in night clubs, to earn a little money she became a stripper, it during one of her many nights at different clubs she met Don Juan, he took an interest in her and soon she was solely working for him. The gentle but consistent tap on the door revived Maria to reality; she took one last look at her reflection in the mirror, perfect! she thought. Col Butu was always about business with whom ever he had an engagement, it was a standard he had set for himself. The huge man’s eye scanned Maria from head to toe, it sent down chills down her spin. She smiled at him to ease the tension that was building up already inside of her. Welcome to Africa the Col said almost immediately as he stepped in, he motioned her to sit. Maria assumed the position of a guest, I hope you like your temporary accommodation or would you like a change? Yeah sure I don’t think it is necessary Col. I have been briefed about you Maria, now I want you to brief me about your boss don Juan. What do you want to know Col, specific answers require specific questions. Everything Maria, I want to know everything but more specifically is Don Juan capable of 1 million dollar shipment of drug and guns? Col my boss is a billionaire even if he won’t ever make Forbes list, the problem I’d like to think is do we have the market for our products? I’d like to think so Maria, when next you report to Don Juan tell him we do have a deal.
Col my boss said to tell you this in person he is a serious business man who hates to be short changed, Maria your boss’s reputation preside his message. I must tell you Col he practices the act of revenge religiously. I like your tone but I hate your choice of words, I get the message you are trying to pass across but I hate threats. Now that would be all for today, see you in two days, if you need anything call me directly.
…………..
Smart couldn’t sleep; his mind was too busy to be calm. Images of Col Butu kept flashing in the dark, what does the Col want from him? There was no option of a military connection he had not exploited in his thought, yet he could not establish a major lead. There was too much at stake if he was to take to his heels. Life was not this complicated a year ago, he was just another stranded graduate waiting on the nation to call him up for service, even though he lived from one pocket money to another, life was fun. He was so used to getting broke that it didn’t matter when he had no money he simply got through it like every other day. Every day was almost like the one before that sometimes the only difference was that he wore different clothing or he drinks one bottle of beer more than he did the day before. Even though he smoked marijuana most days it never crossed his mind to sell drugs, it was something thugs did, there was always dangers involved, the type that involved floating bodies in lagoons, how ever his resolution cracked when he encountered an old friend who came to visit relatives from Lagos. Few days of hanging out with him had Smart asking many questions, he was so loaded with naira wads and spent them without worries. They drank choice wines, had numerous flings which he sponsored, he was always parting him with little amounts of money, he didn’t even have to ask for it. Eli how did you make so much money? Smart asked with surprised filled eyes, you’re into yahoo yahoo business I guess? Hahahaha no my friend I just sell the good stuff. What is so good? He brought out a wrap of marijuana and sniffed it, this is money my good friend. Raw cash! Wait you mean you sell drugs? Common that’s way too dangerous, yeah in Malaysia maybe but it is legalized on the streets of Lagos. Your crazy Eli, how can you be dealing dope after graduating from the university? Do you have any job waiting for me, besides I just want to make a little money then am off. You could make some too, naaah not me I can’t sell dope, that’s where you got it all wrong Smart it is way too easy, besides nobody is looking for the small dealers on the street, they go after the big fishes from whom the can get enough bribe. You would soon be going to Nysc camp; it is always a good place to sell dope. Before anybody realizes someone is dealing dope your stash is gone, your money would be in your pocket. It sounded a good idea at the time, went smooth as an operation, Smart made triple his investment but there was never going to be enough money, he kept investing it all and gaining it all. One day Eli called him, brother I have hit the real gold mine a real money spinner. Fill me in Eli I don’t have a clue of what you mean, Smart how does you making your first million in 2 weeks sound? Sounds like a film trick my brother. This is real, we going to be dealing cocaine now! Are you mad Eli? How do we even get the supplies without the law on our ass in no time? Just like we do with weed soft peddling, think about it Smart, I will call you tomorrow to know your stance as for me am already on course.
Every worries smart had was erased a week later when the supplies came, the product sold like wild fire, the money was flowing in so rapidly that he didn’t have time to even think about the law, his three close men was the buffer between him and the final consumers, they had buffers too. Most people were so excited to try out the new stuff in town, of course it was a small time business in the drug world but the turn over was consistent they all came back for more. Even though Smart didn’t make his 1 million naira in two weeks he knew it was only a matter of time before he hit his first milestone. It was a wild dream that was going to come true till the Col struck.
……..
The bar was almost deserted expect for a few late drinkers like smart who littered around beneath different thatched huts, each roofing was made of thatch in a circular shape the size of a large umbrella, the flooring was ruff surfaced tiles it had no walls but pillars supporting the structures. The pillars were decorated with pictures of different wild animals. Smart sat alone in one of the corners thinking about his appointment with the Col, it was only a night away and he had no lead on what information was leaked to the military. Running away kept popping up in his mind but he knew his life would be ruined. He was a corps member and the Col probably knew that, how will his parents feel if they found out that their first son is on the run for drug charges. His mother would die! Nipping the problem in the bud seems the only viable option. He tried calling his friend Eli for like the hundredth time but his number was still switched off. The waiter came around again he ordered his 7th bottle of Guinness extra smooth, he stared at the pack of Benson and hedges on his table with disgust he picked up a stick from the pack, hissed before tucking it between his lips, the lighter wouldn’t spark up flame. One last effort got him puffing, he looked up and a lady was standing in front of him, she must have literally appeared out of nowhere. First instinct was to scream but he wasn’t that drunk, can I use your light? Maria was eager to walk back to her room, she had misplaced hers and it was too late to buy. Sure miss, thrice she struck yet no flame. Here use mine he offered her his stick. She turned to leave after lighting her stick. But he obliged her to stay, let’s share a drink please, am not he hooker she replied sharply. I never said you are! His sense of humor attracted her but it was excitement of knowing someone on a personnel level in a new country that made her stay. Even though Smart was drunk the surprise his eyes emitted made them bright. Am Smart maim, Maria she relied curtly. Are you Italian? Nope! I am from Mexico. ‘’Mexicans and drugs’’. Smart intended that as a joke but Maria wasn’t smiling. Maria totally regretted sitting down to talk to him. Not wanting any further personnel question and answer session. She stood up and left. Hey am sorry, did I offend you? Smart wanted to run after her but thought otherwise. He looked at his watch it was 12:45 am, the waiter came with his order he declined, paid his bills and made for home. He had forgotten about tomorrow, his thought shifted to why the white lady left.
………..
Maria wished she never left her room that evening, now she must leave this hotel for another with hope she didn’t encounter the inquisitive stranger again. She hated people that asked too many question, she had gotten his attention he was sure to return and find her. Which will in turn cost him his life; she hated the thought of another young man lying along the street dead because of her. It had happened a few times in Mexico, but they deserved their deaths she thought for they had tried to take advantage of her. But this fellow made quite an impression of a sense of humor, he was just too eager. Tomorrow she will complain to Col about the food and request a new suite in a different hotel.
…..
As a last resort Smart assembled his three right hand men in his apartment at noon, they sat as friends, there was enough meat and drink on the table, after which they smoked a marijuana pot, it was near 7 pm when the Col called him to come over, it was at same hotel he was at last night, Smart now told his men all about the military involvement in their business, if I don’t return tonight I might as well be in prison and even then I will know which one of you here sang to they soldiers, I will give my orders from prison. If I do come back still I must have found out the truth, that person better be ready for hell. Before he left he pulled aside his close friend “. ” If anybody tries to leave he is the traitor, bind him till I come back he left for the meeting in his mind he was certain he will return, his thought laid with the bargain the Col wanted. What he didn’t tell his close friend however was that if nobody tries to leave then the traitor was certainly him, it was a crude judgment but he trusted his instincts. He was directed to the swimming pool side of the hotel, it was almost a deserted area at night. It was mostly occupied by important personalities at this hour security personals swamped the area. A soldier lead Smart to the table where the Col sat, he motioned Smart to sit opposite him to which he obliged. To the Orderly he said, Go and bring my orders with two bottles of Heineken, I hope that’s your brand he stared at Smart briefly. Smart was too tongue tied to speak. With the Orderly gone Smart sat alone for the first time alone with the Col, his eyes was laden with fear as the Col’s bulge eyes scanned him for seconds. Why do you do drugs? I was suppose to flush you out till I realized you were a corps member that why I didn’t carry out that order immediately. Your little supplier in Lagos is death, so is everybody connected to Chief Edet, he stepped on the wrong person’s foot. Now give me a reason to let you live. Eli was dead! Everything started to add up little by little, his phone had been off since a day before the soldiers had apprehended him but Eli had assured him they had the military to protect them incase of emergency even though there won’t be direct their direct involvement how then is it that they are the ones hunting them. I notice your disturbed by your friends passing, it is classified information, and you never heard that understand! Our kind of business is war, to grow you need to acquire more territories and to do that blood must flow. If you play your cards well however you will always be on the winning side. Just then the orderly returned with two plates of pepper fish, two bottles of Heineken and glasses on a large tray, the bottles was in a small crate, the fish was garnished with vegetables and pepper sauce. A plate, a bottle and a glass was placed before each, the Col gave the orderly the rest of the night off, a waiter brought tissues, liquid soup and two bowls of water. I had a long day and so hungry you happened to be my guest so share a meal with me, smart couldn’t refuse for it was almost an order.
………
Maria was surprised to see the young man trying to find out about her last night seated with the Col, when the Col told her he was around if their was anything she needed she had gone to meet to secure permission to move to another hotel, she had wondered the reason she was going to give him but approaching him she didn’t need one anymore, she had found a reason to stay at last someone on the inside. She couldn’t wait to get to her room to report her findings to Don Juan. She made a light complaint of having no local currency in her possession and the Col gave her 10000 naira but promised send someone to help her change her notes, perhaps he could help he said, pointing at Smart. Okay she replied causal and left. Smart sat tongue tied everything was happening so fast he wasn’t sure if he was dreaming or awake to these realities.
At her room Maria waited as patiently as the phone kept buzzing, a sleepy but firm Don Juan voice answered from the order end, damn! You bitch I am trying to rest, am sorry boss, but something came up, what couldn’t wait for 6 hours. We have got an insider, when Don Juan answered his voice was filled with eagerness, is he clean? I don’t know how connected but a good bet he seemed. Alright bring him in but keep him aloof on the matter at hand. What about the Col? Proceed as causal as possible. Hey Maria don’t fuck this up. Good night boss. The line went dead, she was eager for day break, finally she might not stay up to a year, and her mission would soon be over.
…………
It was half past 1am when Smart walked through the sitting room door, the house was in a total mess, nothing was in it proper place save the cushions and television set. His men were fast asleep in different corners not wanting to wake them he slipped past. He had a lot on his mind already.
On his bed his mind kept wandering around the puzzle confronting him, what was the Mexican lady’s connection with the Col, certainly his mistress he thought even though it didn’t quite appear so? There were other pressing matters than who the Col beds at night. Eli was dead; his name was on a cartel death list on certain assumption of his connection to some Chief Edet. Certainly more further supplies wouldn’t be coming, how was he to cooperate with the Col on his quest, as it was requested of him to point out the sub dealer to Chief Edet, he needed to be flushed the Col had explained, it was his first mission, a kind of initiation. He accepted without knowing how to contact the man who handed him a parcel every Saturday night at 9th avenue. There was no phone number, no address, and no name. The Col was kind enough to help him with the last piece of information. He went by the nickname lone shark whereas his real name was Luis. Tomorrow he had an appointment with the Col’s mistress; he so much delighted in the task since it means having a chance to offer her apologies upsetting her the other night….. To be continued.

Diary of an urban man 9 “A new beginning”

Posted in random, short stories with tags , , , , , , , , on May 6, 2013 by Charles Bernard

I sat with the two men that has been my friends these past months, it was a relationship that began at the table and ended at the table, there was no other connection between us other than booze. It was at this table that I found freedom most times, the intoxication of alcohol temporary took away the sorrow that returned soon enough.

Silence him forever, problem solved! Mark injected to cutoff a dialogue on what was the best way to get my son back, silence who? I asked, the supposed husband of julie. I have since understood Mark to be a practical fellow but murder was way out of line even though it seemed a practical solution. Try and talk to Julie first Fred suggested, Fred was a diplomatic fellow and his suggestion seemed more logical, I’d go with Fred I said finally, dead end Mark insisted, believe me man nothing would come out of it and this is sober me talking, even though we were all very drunk I knew nothing would come out of it but it was better than murder. I decided I’d to give it a shot, we drank till mid night like we did most nights, Mark was always the one to fall asleep at the back seat, Fred often sang along with Fela from the stereo as I drove each man to his door step. We all had time to squander, Mark’s two daughters had gotten married and his only son was a young lawyer practicing abroad, he was successful in every aspect of life he had ventured, he lived in a duplex with his wife who was a constant pain in his ass. Fred was a doctor in political science whose university was always on strike for most part of the year, we often tease him of collecting money he didn’t work for, and he yells back he didn’t stay up all night for years reading for nothing.

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Age had taken it’s toll on Julie but her beauty was still very evident, winkles had start to appear around her eyes but her body stood firm with her ebony skin still shining like it did years back. Her eager eyes had not deemed either. I stood by her office door admiring the woman for a short while, Beckley! What a surprise! What brings you here? Look Julie I must apologize for how things turned out after your mother’s death, you left and I was too angry to go after you. I am glad things turned out this way, I wanted this life. We could have built it together the life you wanted, problem was that I was ready but you weren’t. I was going to marry you,no you were not sure it was the right thing to do, that was 25 years ago and nothing can change that now. I heard about your family am so sorry, please accept my deepest sympathy. You couldn’t call me Julie; it would not have changed anything. But I’d know you cared either way, Beckley to be very frank with you I did care but that is on a social level nothing personnel, do you detest me that much? No I don’t boo; you just don’t exist for me anymore. I am here to change that Julie, change what? Everything, the way you feel about me, how do you intend to do that? I love you and would want you to be my wife! I’d like to cater for both my wife and son, hahahahahaha, I didn’t intended to mock you but you sound so funny. How can you ask a 52 year old woman for her hand in marriage, that is love Julie. No dear that is insanity! Besides I have a family, a husband and son!Point of correction my son, and you’re not even married to that man, I don’t need a certificate and a ring around my finger to prove it. But you might have to need those in court. Beckley if you’re threatening me I’d ask you to leave immediately, no julie am just telling you it is not legal, legal or not am totally comfortable with him. If you are, I am not, I want my son julie. Your son? I am short of words that the only ones I have left is please leave my office and never you come back, one more thing, leave my family alone. A son would always return to his biological father believe me.

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It was a dark night, the moon refused to visit earth and it seem the stars was in agreement too, the only source of illumination was the chandelier that hung above the balcony, I sat with Jide who was so lost to some deep thoughts, I was worried I had to ask,

Dear what is wrong? You don’t seem you’re self tonight. I’d rather not talk about it; I think I can deal with it myself. So when did we start dealing with things alone? I thought we are a family and families solve their problems together that’s what makes them thick. Darling I understand perfectly where you’re headed, but I don’t want to bother you with this even though it concerns you, am sure I can handle it. But you have to let me know first if you trust I can, as your wife I have every right to know what is eating my hubby away. Nothing is eating your hubby away, he is right here with you. Okay drop it already dear, I hate to see you worry, tell me what is wrong.Mr. Beckley paid me a visit today and was threatening fire and brimstone. What is that suppose to mean? What is his problem with you dear? He wants his son back and he is desperate too. So what? If he wants a son he should go father one and leave ours alone. Desperate men are dangerous dear; I can’t just watch him flex his muscle people might get hurt. So what are we going to do? Don’t worry love I will take care of him! How? I haven’t made up my mind yet but will soon do. Please dear I don’t want any publicity on this matter, it will hurt my son. Our son dear, I care about his feelings too but he too will have to make a choice someday. I had made that choice for us 25 years ago and nothing will change that. He has come of age dear and will have to carve out his own path.

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If I was troubled by Beckley’s visit, it matters not now. How to shield Jide away from the whole drama was now my headache if Beckley was desperate then Jide was more than desperate. A clash was inevitable between them; I didn’t want my son becoming a trophy sort of, a thing to be fought for.I knew Jide’s business had ties with drug dealers, he has never discussed the details with me but I had seen documents detailing such, I also know he wasn’t directly involved. But drug meant guns; guns meant handlers, then killers. It all looked like a scandal waiting to happen. I must warn Beckley to stay off one more time. It was-already 2 am with Jide gone to bed I was alone on the balcony dialing Beckley’s number. Julie!His voice was very much sober, what a pleasant surprise. Don’t take this the wrong way but I want you to leave my family alone! This is the second time you’re telling me that, I get it boo, I get the message. No you didn’t cause if you did you wouldn’t have paid my husband a visit after you left my office. Point of correction he is not your husband expect if you have some papers to prove it, secondly I only asked for what is mine. Alex is not yours! Stop pushing it,well my blood runs in his veins, so does mine! Just stop what you’re doing it could get messy on both ends. Alex is such a nice name Julie, I love it. Just stop pushing it, it was over between us I hope it stays that way and I ended the call.

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Julie’s threat meant nothing; her words merely urged me on!I was getting on their nerves I knew it but if it was the only way to gain access to my son I had no regrets. Jide was a cheat, an opportunist who had one tabled before him. How can you move in with a woman and not marry her? 25 years wasn’t 25 days he was a con master who had perfected his act, he stole what was mine 25 years ago because I didn’t fight enough but he won’t do it again. Am sure they had hidden my identity from my son, I must get to meet him, I had to explain how I failed him, how his mothers infidelity cost us a perfect family,how my ego stood in the way, how pride robbed us both and how we could not achieve an understanding. I must see Julie again tomorrow morning.

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I should have drove myself to work this morning instead of allowing jide to drop me, after last night’s saga I couldn’t sleep well and was too weak for anything when the day broke, I wanted to stay home all day but Jide suggested I go to the office, it would help you think less of the situation darling, I would drop you dear. Beckley was seated in the receptionist when we walked in, there was a moment of awkward silence as jide shot him a bloody eyes and he returned the favor! What the hell are you doing in my wife’s office? Wife? Are you serious Mr. Jide? It was a sarcastic question, I warned you Beckley stay clear my family, leave us alone. Wait darling you have actually been talking to this fraud all along? I would explain later dear, please Beckley you need to leave. Julie i am not leaving till I get the information I need and that includes with this impostor gone. Don’t dare insult my husband! Did he actually put a ring around your 4th finger? Walk beckley.Mr. Beckley you just bite more than you can chew just be prepared to lose your teeth. Is that a threat? No it is a promise! Jide turned and left, left me standing confused. I knew he was angry with me too, angry I had not let him know I was talking to Beckley,I knew he felt betrayed. I walked past Beckley into my office, sank into my chairs, when I looked up Beckley was sitting opposite me. Why do you want to ruin my life, why are you struggling to destroy everything that took me25 years to build? I don’t get you Beckley,really I don’t. You are asking for an impossible thing and you know it, why are you fighting a lost war just to destroy other people’s happiness? I am sorry Julie! Tears filled his eyes; if you were in my shoes would you let another man have your son? Even if it is a lost war at least my son will know who his father is! That he came from a noble lineage not that of a drug baron, I loved you julie and believe me I still do, I have not gone to court to pursue the case cause I respect your privacy. I will let you see your son when he is back which is soon, I will let him know his father but my family stays intact. If you truly love me then you must respect this agreement. Alright Julie even though it wasn’t what I hoped for when I woke up this morning,

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I left Julie’s office feeling happy, even if I don’t get my son back, it meant something that I would finally get to meet him, it was a positive outcome, one that would gladden Christine’s heart too, she has been dying to meet him too. I went to my hotel room feeling so happy, I ordered a bottle of jack daniels on my way up, Port harcourt had the finest of weather, I would visit the pool later in the evening to have my share of its women. I dropped the drink on the little center table and went in to have a light shower. Clad in my white towel around my waist as I came out, two men dressed in black where seated, one on the bed edge, the other on the arm chair enjoying my booze, one was flipping through my diary, well Mr. Beckley I’d give you a chance to complete this before we deliver our message. They kept drinking while I was filling these lines.

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Jide wasn’t just any man, he have his ways of doing things which surprises me sometimes and most times endear me to him. I was expecting an evening filled with questions and arguments, I was already seeing tempers raised and nerves frayed. There was the usual silence about the house when I walked in, Jide was his calm loving self, welcoming me, asking after my affairs and we had a little chat before I went to the bedroom to undress, I wanted to bring up the morning affair and clear the air about Beckley but decided against it. When Jide was ready to discuss him I will be ready too that was my resolution.

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I nearly fainted when I saw the tiny headline under the celebrity column of a newspaper publication; I had gone to make my hair and decided to kill time as I waited my turn. The manager of Beckley collections is dead, “murdered in cold blood by unknown gun in his hotel room, I couldn’t finish the rest of the story, I couldn’t believe Beckley was dead. I knew at once it was Jide’s handwork, I knew he would also deny any involvement, I knew I wasn’t going to ask him either. One thing was certain I wasn’t going live with a murderer and my son isn’t going to bear a murder’s name. My world was going to change forever, the only man I trusted had severed every love Ihad for him, and it was going to be me and my Alex now trying to conquer the world by us. It was always us right from the beginning, Beckley destroyed the girl in me and Jide battered the woman I had become. I thought of Christine how devastated she would be, I was going to lagos to see her.

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Vanity upon vanity all was vanity, It was 4 weeks since Beckley died, I stood and watched the man that once meant the world to me lowered into the ground, behind the dark shades, my eyes were watery and the tears soon caressed my cheeks, Alex stood by me, I had told him everything, he couldn’t understand why some things did happen but am sure time would reveal more, he is my son and would bear my name. As requested half of Beckley’s wealth went to the orphanage and the rest mostly landed properties went to the family. Jide made severally attempts to meet me but I avoided him completely, I had made plans to liquidate my assets and in a week time I should be on my way to London with my son. It was time for a new beginning.

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Special thanks to all of you my friends who kept urging me to write more and bring this story to conclusion personally I didn’t think it evolve to this extent, I am most grateful for your times, criticism and encouragement. I hope someday to live up to your challenges and give you guys that much anticipated novel. Much love to everyone of you

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