Category Archives: Bite-Size Fiction

Quick, short works of fiction

REDEMPTION part 2

I know Anu said not to look for her, but in his one thing, I can’t respect her wishes.


It hasn’t been easy, and I have spent a lot in time and finances, but I know where she is now. Or where she will be by 5:45pm tonight.

The thing is, after she left me, Anu went back to her old ways, standing in street corners and getting picked by strange men. I always went after her but somehow, someway, just as I got there, she’d be gone.

But I never gave up.

Even now, I’m still after her. The thing is, life is hard as a prostitute. It’s no easy life, the life they lead. And Anu found a terrible vice which she clung to with the desperation of a man drowning. Drugs.

 And now she’s in serious debt to the biggest drug pusher in this country. His real name, nobody knows, or perhaps those who know would  rather not attract his attention by showing it.

Irregardless, he’s known as ‘the dark one.’ People whisper it and look at you sideways if you ask about him. Those who offend him have a habit of going missing. Government officials, policemen, even soldiers.

Mysterious deaths trail his rise to power and his location is rarely ever known beforehand. He simply pops up somewhere and vanishes again.

But today, I know where he’ll be. At exactly 5:45pm.

And that brings me to the reason why I’m been chaffeured into the seediest part of town in a taxi.

There’s a small hotel not to far away, named ‘birds of paradise’ and that’s where I need to be by 5:45pm sharp.

The taxi pulls up and I alight. Quickly I pay the driver and glance at my rolex- 5:42pm. I’m just in time. Quickly I cross the street and enter into the building.

It’s dimly lit, with smoke clouding the ceiling, everywhere is hazy and strobe lights are flashing. It’s not the kind of place I would frequent, but I’m a man on a mission and as such, I’ll do what has to be done.

Anu is in trouble. Big trouble. Her supplier works for the dark one, and she owed him a whole lot of money. So he told his boss what happened and then he came for her. He licked Anu off the streets and initially planned to do away with her. But then he had an idea and decided to have an auction instead. So he’s​going to sell her off to the highest bidder.

She’s a pretty woman, well versed in pleasuring men. For any of the crime lords that show up, she’ll be a good catch. All they have to do is simply bid high enough.

I have also come to bid.

Just as I get a seat, a bright light comes on and Anu walks onstage. As she walks towards us, seated in a ring at the end of the stage, the spotlight follows, showing everything. My breath catches in my throat and I have to struggle a bit to breathe again.

That’s my wife, dressed in nothing but a short dress and makeup. The dress is tight and clingy and it’s obvious she’s not wearing anything underneath. Her hair is all made up to look pretty but her eyes tell the truth. Even from way over there I can see the pain in them. She knows what she has gotten into.

Someone comes on stage after her. He’s of medium height, a vague dark shadow only distinguishable by being darker than the other shadows that form the background.

“Gentlemen, this is the moment we have all been waiting for. I’m giving out this young, delectable sweetheart for a price. But only if it’s reasonable. If you want her, then let your money speak for you.”

There’s abiut thirty seconds of silence while the men take it in. Then a voice rings out.

“I’m willing to pay fifty thousand naira.”

Quickly I speak up “One hundred thousand naira”

“Two hundred!” Someone from the back.

Soon the price goes up to a million and gradually people drop off till I’m left with the gentleman from the back. He shouts “I’ll pay one million, five hundred thousand naira for her.”

Fairly desperate, I reply “I’ll pay three million naira for her and I’ll pay now!” The room goes quiet. We don’t know exactly how much she owes him, but we all know it can’t be that much.

I hear whispers

“He’s mad. Three million for a woman?”

“I hear she’s even a prostitute. I could get another one on the street for far less.”

“Yes, but you can’t keep her can you? This one is for keeps.”

“Why does he want her so bad? He’s not even one of us.”

“She means something to him, I can tell.”

There’s a satisfied chuckle and then the dark one speaks up for the first time since he made the introduction

“Any other offers?” I hold my breath. No one talks. 

“Three million it is then. Sold. Please come with me.” I release the breath I’ve been holding and follow him. He leads me into a small room. Then he sits and offers me a seat. There’s better lighting here, and I can see him clearly. He’s nothing spectacular, an easily forgotten face. Just one among thousands, but this man has the one thing I want most in this world.

He extracts a pack of cigars from his suit pocket. He offers me one. I decline. I don’t smoke. The door opens and Anu comes in followed by a thug.

“Here it is” says the drug pusher. “Now make good on your bid.”

“Can I have an account number?”

“Of course. Tade?”

The thug gives me a piece of paper. Quickly, I get my phone out and make the transfer. A few seconds later, a phone beeps. The thug produces a small phone, looks at the message and nods.

Oga the alert just came in.”

The dark one nods and says “You can have her.”

Fifteen minutes later, I’m flagging down a taxi.

A year later…

 It hasn’t been easy. I had to check Anu into a rehabilitation center. She cried everytime for a whole week and her eyes were red each time I came to visit. Soon she was clean and drug free. I also had her checked and treated for a few STDs. Luckily enough she didn’t catch anything that couldn’t be gotten rid off.

When she was through with everything, she looked like her old self again. And I asked her if she would  mind coming back to me.

On hearing that I intended to still keep her as a wife, she fell to my feet and cried a whole lot, begging for forgiveness. I was moved to tears too and soon joined her on the floor where we hugged and cried and hugged some more.

But a last, she’s back home, once again in charge of her business- I had someone manage it in her absence and proud mother to my two wonderful kids.

REDEMPTION part 1

Do you know how it is when you really, really love someone who doesn’t love you in return?

Someone who doesn’t care?

Let me try to explain it to you. It’s something terrible. They hurt you, but it really doesn’t matter, because it’s them.

Its like gripping a sharp knife, and it’s cutting you to the bone, and you can see it, feel it, feel the blood trickling down your wrist, your arm. But you cannot let go, because losing them is a fate worse than death.
Anuoluwapo.

When I met Anu for the first time, it wasn’t really the best of first impressions. I was driving past the red light district a few blocks from my house- a necessary evil, the only other alternative being to take the long, arduous road that trailed the back of the estate, an extra 35 minutes of driving, not to mention the fuel consumed.

Some of us who owned property in the estate had picked offence at prostitution taking up residence at our front door and time and time again, we petitioned the government to have them do something about it.

We kept getting the same answer

“We’re working on it.”

But then, the girls weren’t too forward about what they did, they didn’t call out to customers or build brothels nearby.

They just stood outside, striking seductive poses in skimpy clothes, waiting patiently for business. When someone interested came by, he’d pull up to his pick, they’d bargain through a lowered window and when a deal is struck, she would get in and drive off.

Being a busy person, I often return home by 7 or 8 in the evening, just in time to witness the start of the skin business. 

On that day as always, I drove slowly past, careful to dodge the people milling about and picking girls up when I saw a girl sitting on her own in a corner. Unlike the others, she wasn’t up and about. For some reason, that drew me like light draws a moth.

I pulled up and killed the engine. 

“Hi. Why are you on your own?”

“Nothing. I just like it here. Do you want a girl for the night?”

“No. Not really.”

“Oh.” She sounded so disappointed, I felt I had to make it up to her someway. So I checked the glove compartment and gave her a small bundle of cash. She collected it and counted it then turned to me with a big smile

“Ten thousand naira? That’s a lot! Thank you.” Then she turned coy, eyeing me from under lowered lashes as she hid the money in her bra

“Are you sure you don’t want some company? I can make it worth your while you know. I’m really good. Everyone says that.”

I smiled and handed her a business card and a pen.

“How about you write your number here and I’ll call you if I need you.”

She gladly took the pen and scribbled her number across the back of the card. From somewhere, she produced a stick of gum and started chewing it.

“Call me.”

“I will.”

Over the space of two years, I got to know Anu as more than a walking fleshlight. We talked a lot over the phone, and she often confided in me. Busy as I am, I always have a listening ear for people I call friends. Anu’s case was no different.

Gradually we became close. And one day, I asked her out on a date. She agreed. By 5pm that evening, she alighted from an okada (a commercial motorcyclist) in front of the eatery I invited her to.

She was dressed in a very, very, short dress. So short in fact, it covered almost nothing. Quickly I gave her my suit to wear. She gave me a dubious look and I coughed softly

“It’s cold inside.”

“Oh. Okay. Thank for the suit then.”

It indeed was cold inside, but it wasn’t the real reason for me giving her the suit. As she followed me to our table, men turned to stare at her. They were almost drooling.

But we had a quiet uneventful dinner. Time, as it is wont to do, flew from us. Before you could say Jack, it was late and she had to go.

I offered to drop her off. When she got into my car, she took off my suit and started to unzip her gown and loosen the clips binding her hair.

“What are you doing, Anu?”

“I’m getting ready. Aren’t you planning to have sex with me? I’ve done it in cars before, you don’t have to worry about me. Just adjust the seat so you can-”

My hand wrapped around hers shut her up. Leaning forward to look directly into her eyes, I said slowly

“Anu, I’m not planning to sleep with you. I mean it.”

“Why are you so nice to me then?”

The question hit me like a runaway train. Different thoughts and emotions swam in my head and I stuttered.

“I, I think I’m in love with you.”

“Harold. You’re a business mogul, a respectable person. What would you want with me?” Her voice broke.

“I’m just a common whore.”

That night I took her home and we talked for a long, long period. She finally admitted to loving me but quashing it, because she felt nothing productive would come out of such. I assured her that she was worth a lot to me.

Anu is a person. A beautiful person. She has been through so much, and she’s a bit jaded and distrusting of people but deep inside, she’s sweet and caring and in her own way, better than a lot of the girls that walk around with their heads up in the clouds like they’re not as human as the rest of us.

Gradually we started dating. We eventually got married. A small quiet court wedding. My friends raised hell over my decision, some honestly thought I had gone mad. Even now they think it was insane of me to have done what I did. But I’ll do it all again if I had the chance.

Anu moved into my house and became my wife. I changed her wardrobe and got rid of the skimpy clothes, remainders of a past that no longer bound her. I bought her jewellery and dinner gowns. I bought shoes and sandals from Italy and Paris.

Nothing was too expensive. Then one day she told me she was pregnant. I almost died of joy. When she put to bed, it was the most beautiful baby ever. A chubby little angel. I named him Oluwagbemileke. or as we called him around the house, Leke.

Four years after Leke, Anu got pregnant again. When she announced it, I was so ecstatic I kissed her right there on the kitchen counter. 

“Daddy, why are you using your mouth to touch mummy’s mouth?”

That brought us back to earth real quick.  I ‘discovered’ a box of biscuits and soon distracted the boy. A few months later, Oluwafunmilomotodarabi was born.

It was all nice and dandy, a picture perfect family. Anu had a thriving business as a makeup artist and my business was going good and strong.

Then one day I got back from home and met a note on the bed.

Harold.

Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. But I can’t continue this life we’re living. 

I need excitement. Thus marriage is nice, but its boring. I need to feel like a woman again. I’m leaving. I’m not right for you.

There are a lot of other women out there, respectable women. Go after one of them and settle down.

Please don’t try to find me.”

ALONE?

Remi has a simple, easily predictable lifestyle. 

As a working class woman, the  official closing time from work is 5pm. So once it’s 5 on the dot, she’s done for the day, and thats it.

  With about 15 minutes needed to pack her things together and get to the parking lot, she’s always out of the company building by 5:15pm.

She immediately turns right, and driving at a constant speed of 50kph, it takes her 20 minutes to get home. Exactly 20 minutes.

Everyday.

And then she pulls into the driveway, gets her house keys and walks up to the porch, house keys in her left hand. By 5:37pm on workdays, she’s to be found in front of her house, unlocking the door and slipping inside.

She doesn’t go anywhere on weekends, except when she has to replenish her store of foodstuff and that occurs every third weekend, during the market days.

You see, Remi’s life is quite nice and cozy, comforting in it’s consistency. So today, like every other workday, she’s at the door by 5:37pm, just turning the lock when she hears a rustle. She doesn’t pay it much attention, infact she doesn’t pay it any attention. She knows the neighbours have a pet of some sort, and it’s most likely the animal was slinking about in the decorative shrubbery. Nothing to bother about. How much damage could it do?

It’s at that precise moment that she feels the touch of something cold and heavy in her side. Involuntarily, she is rooted to the spot, quaking with fear. Her eyes travel slowly downwards and she finds a gun pressed nicely to her waist. Like it wants to give her a big hug. Muzzle-first.

Shielded between her lithe frame and the stranger holding it, the gun isn’t obvious to anyone nearby, and besides, she hadn’t gone to any trouble trying to establish any level of camaraderie with her neighbors.

They wouldn’t even notice if she went missing. The thought hits her like a brick between the eyes. Unbidden, a hot tear makes it’s way out and trickles down her cheek.

The stranger holding a gun to her side orders her with a rough voice:

“Lock the door and come with me, no funny business now. I don’t want to have to do anything stupid.”

Docile, fearful, she obeys, twisting the key in the lock and hearing the sharp ‘click’ as the tumblers slip back into place, the door once again, locked.

With that sound, all hope abandons her.

She’s walking quietly towards her car, destination unknown when she sees her new neighbor wave to her. He’s a handsome, muscular young man, about the same grade with her. Sometimes he waved to her when he saw her over the shrubbery. Often he’d shout a greeting. But she’s​ never replied a greeting before, and not replying one now wouldn’t be anything new. She prays fervently in her heart that he notices something out of the ordinary. That he calls her back. Anything.

But nothing happens. She’s in front of her car now. When suddenly she hears

“Hello sir, do I know you?” She turns quickly. It’s her neighbor and he’s talking to the stranger.

“No sir, you don’t. I’m Remi’s brother, and I need to take her back home.”

“Back home? She lives here.”

“I mean ‘home’ home. Our mum is sick and she’s been wanting to see Remi for so long. It’s been a while since they’ve spoken. So I’m taking her home to see mummy.”

Time passes as her neighbor considers this tale. Meanwhile Remi is firmly chanting in her head- Please don’t believe him, please don’t believe him, please don’t believe him, please don’t believe-

The neighbor nods, apparently satisfied. So the stranger steers her away from safety. Her eyes widen.

Suddenly, like a cat, he pounces at the stranger and knocks him down, slamming his hand once, twice to the ground. He loses his hold of the weapon. Then his head follows, with one heavy hit against the pavement, the stranger is unconscious.

“Call 911. Do it quick woman, before he comes around.” Even as he talks, he’s producing something shiny from his pocket. It’s a pair of handcuffs. He snaps them around the strangers wrist.

Task complete, he turns to give Remi a long hard look. 

“I’m Chibuzor by the way, your new neighbor. It would do you a fair bit of good to be more friendly to people in the future.”

Soon the police men arrive and bundle the suspect. Chibuzor exchanges a few words with the officers, they salute him and come for her. A few questions and then it’s all over.

Later that week, she gets the details. The stranger was interrogated and the police are able to get his house address. They get a warrant and go in for a search. His house is covered with photos. Photos of Remi. Leaving her car. Entering her car. Eating at a restaurant. Talking to a guy. The guy’s face is peppered with holes, holes made by something being jabbed into the picture repeatedly. There’s a pencil nearby. The photos are all tagged with time slots. 4pm. 3:13pm. 12pm.

When she sees the picture evidence, she confirms that yes, at that precise time, she was doing just that.

But that’s not even the most disturbing thing. Far from it.

In the bedroom, there’s a full wardrobe of clothes, all her exact size. Shoes too. And underwear. Fancy, lace stuff. The windows are  covered with thick red drapes. There’s scented candles at every point in the room. Small heart-shaped pillows litter the place.

There’s a sheer nightgown laid on the thick king-size bed in the center of the room. It’s almost transparent, doesn’t really cover anything.

In one of the locked drawers, they​ find a wrap of cocaine and several packs of condoms and lubricant. Several ‘toys’ are there too. Things would have gone real bad for her if she had been taken back there. But she got lucky.

Thanks to a neighbor who just wouldn’t mind his own business.

PAID IN FULL part 1

AKIN

Everyone calls me the village rascal. Me? I’m not bothered. I can’t care less what anyone thinks about me. Okay. Perhaps that statement isn’t completely true. There is one person whose opinion actually matters to me. That one person is my brother, Oluwadamilola.

It’s funny, seeing us together, you wouldn’t know he’s my brother. He’s a direct opposite of everything I am. While I’m short and muscular, he’s tall and lanky. I’m as black as the bottom of a clay pot used to the searing heat of a charcoal fire, he’s fair complexioned. I’m loud and aggressive. He’s quiet and peaceful. I can start an argument in an empty room, he detests raised voices.

Kpom! Kpom!!

Someone’s at the door. I lift my head up, listening to make sure it’s my door. The sound comes again, and this time, I’m sure. I move to open it. Standing there is Okon, childhood friend and fellow riff-raff.

“Akin, let’s go to madam Smooth’s bar.” His face splits in a wide grin. The thought of alcohol is the only thing that makes Okon smile. The only thing. I swear the boy is even more useless than I am. And that’s a terrible thing. But then, I also happen to have a deep seated respect for a cold, sweating bottle of ’33’ export lager and so I fetch my shirt and pull it on. Snagging the flip-flops from the backyard, I’m ready to go.

We make our merry way to madam Smooth’s, for a bottle or two and a pinch of trouble and excitement.

An hour and a half later…

Things are a bit blurry. Bottles litter the top of the table where I’m seated. Some of them are rolling about, spilling drops of alcohol on the dusty floor. There’s a small plate containing catfish bones which are all that’s remaining of the peppersoup we ordered a while back. At this point,I’ve had enough of stuffing myself. A bit of trouble would be nice, you know, I can use the exercise.

Something tickles my nostrils and I turn to see a lady swish her way past. She’s wearing a shimmering black gown that just calls me. And calls me. And calls me.

I take a deep breath, inhaling and enjoying the heady feminine perfume that follows her passage like froth in the wake of a fast ship. 

Suddenly someone steps in, rudely blocking my view of that nice-

“Keep your eyes in your head, filthy cow.”

What? Who is this one?

“Infact, I think you should apologise to my girl for staring at her like that.” The bar goes quiet, drunk and half-drunk patrons twisting and turning to get a view of the unfolding drama. But I want no part in it, so I ignore him and grab another bottle from the pile before me. I touch the cold, slender neck to my lips and suck-

WHAM!

The fool slapped me! He slapped me?! That’s unacceptable. Before I even know what I’m doing, my hand shoots​ out, grabs an empty bottle of lager and my fingers wrap around the neck. Then from there, it travels with its prize to the floor. It’s a hard cement floor, underneath all that dust, and the impact shatters the lower half of the bottle, leaving me with jagged, sharp edges. A weapon. I swing around to face the man, this idiot that dared to slap me.

I see the daring in his eyes, he’s daring me to go ahead. Despite trembling with rage, I finally get ahold of myself and start to turn, to settle so I can continue to drink the precious lager, and then the fool has the effontery to smile.

Without thought, I swing the broken bottle into an arc, one that ends in the soft flesh of his belly.

In some sort of demented slow motion, I watch the broken bottle tear through cloth and flesh, a wide crimson gap opening in it’s wake.

Blood spurts from his torn belly, all over me. All over my hands, my shirt. Marking me as his murderer.

While the heat of anger rapidly cooling, I hear Okon’s voice as though from far away…

“A-A-Akin. What have you done?”

The broken bottle, now soaked and dripping with blood falls from my limp fingers to fall to the ground…
To be continued…

DEATH AND A CUP OF COFFEE, PLEASE? part 4

The really interesting thing about  Inspector Kowoje, indeed his one redeeming quality was his inability to let go of a case.
Once he had a case to handle, he became a bulldog, worrying it still he eventually cracked it wide open. No matter what it took. The most he ever had to spend on a case was three months, but this one was warming up to take the crown.
First, it was finding out who +23481907897712 was.

From all indications, it was someone  really high up on the food chain- the telecom company was extremely reluctant to reveal who this person was, even after several threats to arrest the employees, their families and neighbours and girlfriends and even the mosquitoes unfortunate enough to fly into any place inhabited by a company employee, they remained mute. At the end, Inspector Kowoje had to go for a court order and even then, the information provided was minimal. It was a line owned by a certain Salisu, and provided a company’s address as a place of residence.
A pre-registered sim, obviously. A dead end.
So he went back to Mrs Andrew’s phone for more info.

Searching through her messages he found a level of romantic correspondence between Mrs. Andrew and the mystery person but not enough info, or was there?
He started picking out personal references in the conversation.
A birthmark on the right thigh. Good for identification, provided he found a way to get every male in Lagos to submit to a strip search. So, another dead end.
Perhaps when he had the suspect in hand, he would use it as a means to cement his identity but otherwise, it was useless.
So Inspector Kowoje kept chasing whatever leads he could find, crossing his fingers and hoping for a lucky break. Who knows? The suspect could just fall into his lap one day.

Three days later, at the police station, Inspector Kowoje was staring at the case file, eyes as red as sango’s trying to think if there was any unexplored avenue to crack the case when someone knocked at the door.

Kpom! Kpom!!

“Yes? Come in.” He answered wearily. The door swung open and the bespectacled company secretary came in.
The day suddenly seemed a bit brighter. He sat up, cleared his throat and asked what he could do for her. She told him she had information. Valuable information. But she was scared. Would she be safe if she testified against the murderer? She didn’t want to end up like Mrs Andrew.
After several assurances she laid the story bare.

+23481907897712 was the manager. Mrs. Andrew had been having a sizzling affair with the manager- an office romance of massive proportions. But somehow, no one in the company knew. No one, except the secretary  who once caught them in the act, when trying to retrieve some files from oga’s office.
On that day, she closed the door and ran down the stairs and out of the company building. She knew if she was caught, it would most likely spell the end of her corporate career.
It was like a shot of adrenaline. Inspector Kowoje thanked her and set things into motion. The manager was invited for questioning. One thing led to another and he made a slight blunder, and Inspector Kowoje clamped down on him like a steel trap. He was put under arrest.

Fast forward to a search warrant and a court order allowing a medical examination of the suspect and all the clues snapped into place. Not only did he have a birthmark on his thigh, the semen sample matched. The manager couldn’t hold it in anymore- he confessed to murdering Mrs Andrew in a fit of rage after days of obsessing over her. She wanted to end the affair and be faithful to her husband. He didn’t. One thing led to another that morning and well- it happened, he raped her. She was going to report him to the police, he knew it, he could see it in her eyes, so he stabbed her to keep her quiet. Stabbed her again and again, crying as he did so.
Then he cleaned himself up, and called the police.

His trial was brief. The judge found him guilty and sentenced him to death by hanging. As he heard the final judgement, Inspector Kowoje smiled broadly. Another job well done.

Then someone tapped him lightly on the shoulder. He turned, it was the company secretary and she was smiling.
“Hello Inspector.”
“Hi. How are you doing?”
“Pretty good. Look I was wondering, if you’re free, would you be interested in grabbing a bite with me?”
A wide grin from ear to ear. Things just kept getting better and better…

DEATH AND A CUP OF COFFEE, PLEASE? part 3

“Mr. Andrews. Where were you on Wednesday, 12th of October, 2016?”
It was common police knowledge. Crimes of passion are often committed by people close to the deceased. In this case, it was a hasty rape and a brutal murder. Obviously the person involved had a very personal stake in the matter. And who else would have a stake as big as the husband?

Mr Andrews was Inspector Kowoje’s favorite for the murderer. But there was nothing to pin him with. He had a clean record, no previous convictions and several people were willing to testify to his peace-loving nature.
The only chance he had was to try to place him at the scene of the murder. But of course, he had an alibi. Perhaps more shouting would make him slip up and say something incriminating?

“Where were you at the time of the victim’s death?!” Inspector Kowoje bellowed.

“My client has answered that question. We are done here.” His lawyer, a slim petite creature in a smart suit and skirt stepped forward and hit her palm on the desk, staring Inspector Kowoje in the eye all the while. The message was clear- back off or we see in court.

Inspector Kowoje wisely backpedaled.
“Just doing my job ma.”
The suspect stood up, sniffling and his lawyer conjured a handkerchief from somewhere. Mr Andrews dabbed at his red, wet eyes. The lawyer pulled him down to a hug, shooting the Inspector a look that would totally roast yam.

They maintained the posture a bit longer than was necessary, a fact that Inspector Kowoje noted with amusement. Mr Andrews was not going to stay a widower for long, if he didn’t manage to get him locked up quick. Kowoje adjusted his trousers, fiddled with his belt.
Damn belt again.

As they left, he turned in his chair to stare at the picture of the president hanging on the wall. Just he begun to contemplate whether he would eat a king-size plate of food for brunch or two normal plates, the door flew open.
“Sir!”
“Damn you Shehu don’t you know how to knock?”
“Sir. I’m sorry sir. The forensic expert just got to us sir!” Remembering where he was, he gave a crisp but hasty salute. Then shut his mouth, though he obviously couldn’t wait to spill the beans.
“Alright man, go ahead. Say what you have to say and get out.”

“Sir. I think you’d better read it sir.” He slammed a sheet of A4 paper on the desk. On it were the text messages received by the victim.

You see, it wasn’t easy. She had a password, and also encrypted her phone with the latest software. But then, phones are a great source of information for any case in this modern era, and as such, Inspector Kowoje had okayed the contracting of a forensic expert with top-notch technical skills. Seemed his gamble had yielded result.
He scanned the messages with his eyes until he got to the part outlined in red ink. This was what had caused the great excitement leading to Shehu’s brief lapse in protocol.
It read as follows;

+23481907897712:
U knw u should hv stayed wit me. I luv u. I hv alwys. He cnt compare wit me. Why liv me for him? U belong wit me, & if I can’t hv u, no 1 else will. I’ll nvr share. Ur mine!!!

Inspector Kowoje scratched his head again. This was puzzling. A third party? She must have been seeing someone behind Mr Andrews back. As such the marriage was not as happy as it seemed.

Obviously this person was passionate about the victim, and terrible diction and abbreviations apart, this person fit the profile. But the question remained.

Who exactly was +23481907897712?

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DEATH AND A CUP OF COFFEE, PLEASE? part 1

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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.

Kpam! Kpam!!

“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…”