Tag Archives: death

NEGRITUDE part 8

The time for the match drew close,  before then, Mr. Stone had successfully whipped the town into a frenzy.

First he started the rumors; tales making rounds of a fighter who had fallen in love and wanted a chance at freedom for himself and his love. In a town soaked in boredom, where everyone’s personal business was everyone else’s latest news, the gist spread like wildfire.
Then one day, while smoking at a public bar, packed full with patrons thirsty for both beer and gossip, he let slip the possibility of him allowing the fight.
At heart he was a hapless romantic, but then, he had gotten the slave at such a high price- a man had to recoup his investments did he not?
So, of course, the entrance fee was going to be on the high side. Only those who desired to watch beauty and love, faithfulness and date in action would be allowed to come and watch.
In the meantime, you could come see the negro if you had a few shillings to spare. With a swish of his cloak he left the bar, and almost three-quarters of the bar went with him.
He got home and had Koby put on display, with people thrusting money into his hands to see the fighter. That day, he made enough to buy another Koby.
Koby meanwhile, busied himself with preparations. A prince back in his homeland, he was intimate with the means and methods of dealing death.
A veteran of several tribal wars, he knew that half of what guaranteed success was the proper mindset. And also, preparation.
So he took deep breaths, exercised and stretched his limbs. He ate his meals and went for regular strolls, within Mr Stone’s enclosure of course. Then he took up running, and joined the household slaves in fetching the heavy jugs of water.
At night, he took up sticks and worked through the night, twirling and thrusting in patterns handed down from generation to generation.
Weeks passed and his hand grew even more calloused, limbs thickened and grew, and his endurance grew steadily.
Finally, the match was fixed and the day arrived.

The entrance fee was seven pounds, yet the spacious arena was chock-full.
For people to contend with, the prison happily contributed it’s prisoners on death row after  a lump sum of money had changed hands. Savage killers, murderers and psychopaths each, they had been guaranteed a pardon if they participated. Illegal, but in those times, records could easily be doctored. And they were, with blatant regularity.

For anyone who died, the cause of death would be ‘natural causes’.
 So of course, everyone in the ring had a motivation. When Koby stepped into the arena, people went wild, throwing roses and all sorts at him. Thanks to Mr. Stone and his publicity, everyone felt like they knew him.
A deadly, quiet savage, he had fallen in love with  beautiful slave girl; and now, he was ready to fight to keep what he had found. He was going to fight for freedom and love.
The housewives agreed as one that it was deliciously romantic.
The spinsters fantasized about him in their sleep and could often be heard muttering his name under their breath as they tossed and turned at night.
Men grunted and drank to his health as they gulped down mugs of beer in the evenings.

And each of these groups were fully represented in the arena.
He entered with just one weapon, a staff with a blade attached at both ends. Inlaid with iron and bound with iron rings, it was a bit on the heavy side, but very sturdy. It had to be, it would decide whether he lived or died.

Armor was not to be allowed.
As he walked to the center, people cheered, the noise loud enough to be heard and felt a good distance away.
His first opponent was released from a set of five cages of different sizes hanging suspended about three inches from the ground.
A mad murderer known as ‘Smiling Sam’ his weapon of choice was a cleaver, and not just any cleaver, the cleaver he had used to chop up bodies before he was discovered and arrested.
Armed with a manic smile and his wicked looking blade with brown stains, he advanced on Koby. Koby waited for him to get close enough, then quickly, almost a blur, he twirled, reached, sliced the inside of Smiling Sam’s wrist as the lunatic raised his hand to swing. The cleaver dropped to the ground. A sharp quick slice sent his head after it, and Koby stood as his lifeblood leaked to the ground.
Attendants rushed out and dragged the corpse away. Some others opened the next cage door and out of the separate spaces divided by a partition, two men stepped out.

One had a sword. The other had nothing. His teeth had been filed into sharp points and his fingernails were long and sharp, talons, in fact. They called him “The cannibal of the hills.”
Before capture, he would often go after people and kidnap them, before taking them with him to the hills, where he roamed. 
Then he would set them free and then proceed to hunt them down. When he eventually found them, he ate them.
The two criminals came for Koby at the same time. Koby kept his eyes on the one with the sword. The cannibal wasn’t much of a threat, he had to first get close to attack. So he went swinging and thrusting, forcing the swordsman to parry blow after blow after blow. Just as he got in, slicing into his belly, he felt a sharp pain at his back. The cannibal had clawed him! He had almost forgotten about him. Turning back with anger, he severed off his head.

The swordsman was still coming for him, one hand clutching his stomach. With ease, Koby finished him off.
Attendants came and dragged away the corpses and another set of attendants opened the third cage door. This one they opened after all the attendants had left the arena, and they opened it while standing on a raised platform. The moment it was open, they took to their heels.
Gingerly, like it was testing the floor, a clawed foot came out. Then another, and gradually a leopard slinked out.

Koby held his breath. No one said anything about fighting a leopard. But then, he was asking to be free, wasn’t he?
It would not come cheap.
He and the leopard stalked each other, moving round in a circle. Koby mirrored it’s steps, watching for the bunching of muscles that signalled a pounce, there! As it came for him, he was already in motion- he shifted a bit to the side and sliced.
Enraged it came for him again. He sliced it across the about, and it caught him just below the knee with a claw. He drove the blade into it’s shoulder. They separated, bleeding. 
The beast staggered a bit, and fell to the ground in a heap. Attendants, unwilling to come near it quickly opened the fourth cage and hurried off. From the two partitions, three hefty men came out. One clutched a club, another held two knives, and one held a spear.
Koby watched them, wary as they advanced. Then he noticed something, the leopards head shifted a fraction. It wasn’t dead! 

Just as the trio raised a war cry, it turned into a shriek as the leopard got to it’s feet, shook off the effects of blood loss and pounced on the spearman.
They rolled to and fro, and his screaming was cut short. He wasn’t quite dead when it lowered its head and feasted on his innards, pulling juicy bits and gulping them down
The remaining two kept a respectful distance between the beast and it’s prey. Then the club wielder noticed how preoccupied it was with it’s meal, for the leopard hadn’t been fed for three days prior to the match to out it in the proper frame of mind.
He snuck up behind it and clubbed it to death. Satisfied, he came for Koby. At this time, Koby had several cuts and gashes from the knives. Slowing, the knife user was gaining an upper hand. And now, his friend had joined in.

He gritted his teeth and offered a prayer to ogun, the yoruba deity of hunters and war and fought on. Finally, he managed to kill the two criminals.
The last cage swung open, and spilled its contents. When they came out, the entire arena went quiet. People whispered to one another;

“Aren’t those the ‘George twins’?”

“Lord that’s insane.”

“Some say they’re not even human.”

“I agree. Sixteen men between them, sixteen good men.”

“Monsters, the both of them”

And then soft feminine whispers of

“Oh, Koby!”

“The poor darling” 

“Oh he’s gone.”
Ewatomi meanwhile gripped the railing from where she was sitting, a side attraction.

Some fingers pointed in her direction. Tongues wagged. They knew she was the woman Koby was fighting for, after all, did he not offer his life to set them both free?

Buxom housewives were green with envy. They didn’t have anyone willing to do anything so romantic for them.

Ewatomi didn’t hear the whispers, didn’t see the pointing fingers, her mind was filled with fear for Koby’s safety.
She called to mind the legend of the ‘George twins’. At first, they had been hunters of big game, quite good at what they did, but with the price of meat being what it is, they didn’t get the life of luxury they desired.

Then one day, someone stole from their hunting lodge one night. They tracked him, hunted him and killed him.
At that point they discovered even easier prey- people. So they closed the lodge and held themselves out as men-killers for hire, assassins.

Slowly, their came spread, no one earmarked by them ever got away. Everyone who ‘did business’s with them came back satisfied.

Poison, accidents, stabbings, they prove proficient in every scenario given. People feared them.
Eventually, the officers of the law got fed up with their notoriety and went to arrest them. First, three officers were dispatched. They never came back. Then five went after them. They didn’t come back either. Eventually the entire barracks emptied itself into the streets and armed to the teeth, they went to the house of the ‘George twins’
A lot of officers died that day, but eventually they won thanks to the sheer force of numbers, and captured the brothers, binding them hand and foot before taking them to jail.

They were shut in a solitary cell, and at first, the wardens decided to starve them to death, but the brothers broke out of their cell and broke into the kitchen. They killed the cook, ate a lot of food, killed two officers and returned to their cell with some food items. After that, they were fed regularly and on time.
For years, they lived in solitary, never seeing the sun. And now, they had come outside for one more hunt…

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STORIES FROM THE HUNT

Just a moment before it hits its target, one of the hunting dogs caught a whiff of the predator and smoothly slid into action.

With a loud bark that alerts Ogunjimi and probably saves his life, the brave hound launches itself headlong to meet the approaching threat. A heartbeat later, the other hunting dogs follow suit.

It’s a bloody, drawn out battle. Snapping teeth, scratching claws flashing here and there, with Ogunjimi shinning his flashlight and trying to get a clear shot at his assailant with his dane gun.

A chance! Quickly gone. Still anticipating- another, the barest flash of black and BOOM!!!

The silence that follows is deafening. Carefully, gingerly our hunter makes his way to the corpse of the big cat. Limping and whining, the dogs move away.

 With the muzzle of his gun, he prods it. It moves just slightly- quickly he fires again, this time at the head. He prods it once more. It does not move. Now satisfied that it is dead, he fetches a cord of hard leather and binds it’s feet with it. Binds it really tight.

Then the muzzle follows, or really, what is left of the muzzle after the bullet has shattered the skull and torn fur and flesh apart.

The skin of the beast will provide a befitting covering for him. The meat could be eaten or sold to the highest bidder. The claws made into amulets and charms.

Nothing will go to waste.

This is the life of a hunter in the forests of mother Africa. 

Kill or be killed.

STORIES FROM THE HUNT

“When a lion wakes up, it prays just one prayer. Lord, show me the animal I’ll eat today. Then leave us alone.”

High-pitched bird calls echo around the forest bouncing off tree trunks and leaves dripping water. Sunlight cuts little paths through the canopy of leaves, tracing a delicate pattern of light and darkness on the leaf strewn floor.

Twigs and dried leaves crumple and crackle as tiny life-forms continue their busy schedule of eat or be eaten. Which in all fairness isn’t much different from what we larger life-forms do. We just happen to be better at that eating part.

A deer steps out nimbly from behind a tree. Wary, she looks to the left. Then to the right. She raises her nose to the air to sniff daintly, and satisfied, takes a few steps to her objective. A small, crystal clear brook. Gently, ears active for the slightest warning, she lowers her head to drink. This is how it is to be prey. 

A wary life. Always watching, always looking, always ready to run. A moment’s hesitation would be the difference between deer and venison. 

Not to far away, hidden in the undergrowth, lies one of the biggest predators known to nature. His muscles taut, he readies himself for his moment. He knows the perfect time to strike, it is that moment after the deer has had that first sip of water, where the thirst almost drives her mad and she hurries to take even larger gulps.

At that moment, hopefully, she would be temporarily distracted. At that moment, she would be easy. But not a moment before.

Here it is, a slow, careful sip, and… Now!

Ogunjimi releases the arrow he is aiming at the deer, and the breath he didn’t even know he was holding.

The arrow flies true and sinks into her head like a knife into butter. She falls to the ground. Quickly he leaves his place of concealment and goes to fetch his prize. She’s a good, big one. More than enough meat for the next few days. And perhaps he could sell some body parts for extra cash. Chuckling softly, he drapes the corpse round his shoulder.

Hanging from his belly are two dead squirrels, not too far away, attached by means of a rope to a low hanging branch of a tree, is a fat, juicy, bush pig.

All in all, not a bad day. As he gets to the place where he tied the pig, his hunting dogs come running to greet him with yelps and barks of joy. He pats all three on their heads and tells them what a good job they have done today. Then he adds the boar to his burden and slowly, they make their way through the forest, heading for home, rest, and a warm meal to end the day with.

The sky is brightened by a flash of lightning and thunder rumbles in response, the forest going quiet. Dark clouds block out the sun and it becomes impossible to advance further. Rain drops, fat and heavy, begin to fall, splashing lazily against his hunting gear, the meat, the dogs. With the light from a torch, Ogunjimi finds a place to hide to keep away from the rain till it subsides. He drops the carcasses a short distance from where he and his dogs huddle together to keep warm…

To be continued…

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…”