Thursday, January 30, 2014

DEVIL'S PAWN [Excerpts 3...Close Shave!]

“My wallet was there at the graveside? O! I remember now. He…he…e, I must have left it with Oche last night."

Simon hoped Dave had not heard the confusion in his voice. He waited to hear Dave mention it but only the raspy breathing came over the phone. It seemed Dave was waiting for him to continue talking.

I’m in deep shit!

Dave grunted, urging him to keep talking.

“I dropped it when we went to pick the girl and he held on to it for me. I totally forgot to ask him for it.”

“Well, that is just by the way. I just wanted to know if you were okay. I’ll come by soon to check you up. Don’t go anywhere alone until we find out what this is about.”

Dave hung up.

Simon dropped the phone on the bed after the call. He closed the window and locked his door. It would be game over for him if one of the Cats were to walk into the room and find Oche’s clothes in his room.

Even one of his neighbors could walk in for a chat. He couldn’t risk that happening. He picked a mop and bucket of water from the bathroom and started cleaning the blood off the rug.

He was almost done scrubbing when his eyes caught something odd under his dresser. It was half covered by a t-shirt that did not look like his. Using the mop handle, he dragged the object out.

Before he got it fully out from under the dresser, he knew what it was. It was another penis. He did not give it more than a passing thought. He spread the t-shirt. It was Kunle’s.

No doubt it was.

He looked at the penis and wondered if it was Kunle or Oche’s.

The penis was gnarled. Clearly, the rats had taken a bite or two out of it. As if on cue, a rat left its hiding place under the dresser and scurried across the room into the open kitchen door. Simon ignored it.

Only one thought was on Simon’s mind as he wrapped the penises in Kunle’s t-shirt. He would have given his hand to know what Emeka was thinking at the moment. Dave did not sound like he was hiding something. But it could be an act.

And then there was his wallet.

It was beyond doubt now that he was involved in whatever had happened. It was now a question of how and why.

He packed all the bloodstained clothes into a Ghana-must-go bag together with the wrapped penises. The bed sheet went into the bag too.

Two minutes later, he walked out of his place with the Ghana-must-go bag. It felt very heavy in his hands. Even though nobody paid him any attention, it seemed as if every eye was querying the contents of the bag as he walked along the streets.

He cast furtive glances around, praying quietly that he wouldn’t meet a policeman on his way.

He was lucky, no one asked any questions.

The communal refuse dump loomed in the distance. That was his destination. He doubled his pace. When he got there, he looked around to see if anyone was looking then dumped the bag. He waited a few seconds then turned to walk away.

“Stop there,” a voice bellowed at him from a cluster of bushes behind him.

He turned round to see a huge police officer with a baton emerge from the dense foliage. The look on the officer’s face was damning. Simon moved slightly away from the side of the dump where he dumped the bag and made up his mind to pick another thing if the policeman asked him to retrieve his refuse.

The officer looked almost comical with his thick moustache twirled at the fringe and the faded beret plastered to the top of his mis-shaped head. Simon barely stopped himself from laughing out loud.

“You no sabi read book,” the officer growled, pointing to a sign that read ‘NO DUMPING OF REFUSE HERE, offenders to pay N20,000 fine.- by Police Order’.

“Officer, abeg, no vex, I go carry am commot for there.”

“Wetin bring you come here in the first place?”

“Forgive me, officer, I no go do am again.”

Simon made to remove a small black bag. The officer stopped him.

“Na that one be your bag?”

Simon’s heartbeat raced. He checked to see if the policeman had another weapon aside the baton and the handcuffs stuck in the waistband of his trousers. There was none. Making a run for it seemed like a very possible option.

“You fit leave am there sha, but you go first settle.”

The man was smiling now.

“You say?” Simon relaxed.

“You fit leave am there, but you go pay so that next time you no go come again.”

Simon was relieved. The man obviously wanted money. A small smile crept on his face. His crazy heartbeat gradually slowed to normal. He reached into his pocket and brought out a one thousand-naira note, smiling.

The officer did not make a move to collect the money.

Una go intentionally do bad thing come dey beg. Mchew!” He hissed, still making no move for the money.

Simon knew it was risky to overstretch his luck. The policeman could decide to verify the contents of his bag. The fine alone was N20,000 according to the sign. It was better to pay up and get as far away as possible.

He reached into his pocket again and added two thousand naira note to the first. The officer snatched the notes from him and pocketed them quickly.

He looked around to be sure that no one had seen what transpired, and then said, “You fit go now but if I catch you again, I no go collect three thousand o!”

Simon turned around and walked briskly away. He turned a corner and ran away very fast, thinking of the twirling moustache.

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