Rushing through the mad traffic that is part and parcel of Lagos, Inspector Kowoje was able to make it to the office an hour and thirty minutes after the phone call made to the police station soliciting for help had ended.
Truth be told, he would rather not have come at all. But sadly there was no subordinate officer to push the work on. Those yeye subordinates. When you wanted some peace and quiet, they were everywhere. Like flies.
Harassing the inmates. Hailing you and asking if there was anything for the boys. But the moment there was some real work to do, they vanished- it was almost like they had some sixth sense regarding such matters.
Kowoje adjusted his belt, fitting the belt through the last loop on his plain black trousers. Problem was, it was sure to come out again, seeing as the belt was ill-fitting, and then the stiff leather would stick out like some sort of prehensile tail.
The sheer madness!
Somewhere at the back of his mind, he made a simple note to harass belt sellers more. They had to feel some of this pain of course. But back to the present. He cleared his throat loudly and knocked.
“Yes, come in.” Answered a soft feminine voice from the other side of the door. A woman! That alone made it worth the time he spent getting to the nonsense office. With a wide grin, he opened the door and stepped in, fingering the huge baton attached to his trousers by the simple expedient of tying the stupid thing to a belt loop.
“Inspector Kowoje of the Nigerian Police For…” His voice trailed off as his brain practically shut down on all other activities, to take its sweet time in observing the vision of loveliness, seated cross-legged on a chair before him.
He didn’t know his mouth was wide open. It was so wide in fact, you could have comfortably put your fist in it.
Could, not should. If you did, Kowoje would most likely clamp down with his teeth. He’d bite you. He was that kind of person.
One enterprising housefly flew in through the open door, hovered briefly around the open mouth, changed its mind and flew off to find somewhere else to perch on.
“Excuse me?” The bespectacled goddess in pink and white said. And just like that, Inspector Kowoje got his marbles back. He drew himself up smartly, saluted a woman with no official authority whatsoever and said in his deepest baritone
“Inspector Kowoje of the Nigerian Police Force madam. We got a distress call from this address. Something about a suspected suicide ma. Reporting for duty ma.”
Tsk tsk tsk. Men can be so silly sometimes. The power of a pretty woman. But I digress. Back to our dear friend Kowoje.
The four-eyed beauty (counting the lenses, of course) gave a soft sigh. She shook her head briefly from side to side as though trying to clear it of an unnecessary burden and pointed to a door on the far right.
“Take that sir, follow the stairs to the fourth floor. Then the first door by your left. The manager is waiting for you there.”
Nothing hurt half as bad as having to walk away from her, but Kowoje was nothing if not a man of action who put duty above all others.
With a silent solemn oath to spend no more than five minutes with the manager upstairs so he could come back here to know the delicious slice of humanity seated at the front desk better, he marched off in the direction he was given.
He barged into the described office. True to her words, there was a small pudgy fellow waiting for him.
Men like Kowoje hated men like the manager. They envied them because they were everything they weren’t. Rich. Pampered. Powerful.
Kowoje was sure the secretary downstairs was not a cold fish around this man. She was probably chatty and overly friendly whenever she was chanced to see him. Cursing the dumb luck that cursed him with such a hard life bereft of fawning beauties, Kowoje barked out a harsh “Yes? What is it?”
“Good day officer, glad you could make it.” His voice contained a hint of sarcasm. But there was nothing Kowoje could do about it. This man held the knife and the yam. He was rich and probably watched football with several of his ogas at the top. Recognizing the danger of letting his contempt show, he drew himself up and tried again
“Inspector Kowoje of the Nigerian Police Force. We got a distress call from this address. Something about a suspected suicide sir. Reporting for duty sir.”
Then the man nodded, like a master finally satisfied with the efforts of a particularly promising, but lazy apprentice. Then he spoke.
“Apparently we’ve had a suicide. One of the members of our staff. Of course this doesn’t bode well for the company, especially now that we’re vying for a particularly juicy government contract. So here’s what we want you to do…”