I read all your comments on the last episode but I did not reply because I didn’t want to give away some things. Thank you all for commenting. You guys always make me 🙂
I refused to look at the word count for this post so it must be long, I think, but with good reason. Have a good read…
Dedicated to Ifeanyi Onochie and Essence CJ. You guys know why.
The envelope came in exactly a week to Easter Sunday. As usual it was dropped at his doorstep – there was no knock or any attempt by the messenger to ring the bell. The person simply turned away and got into the rickety red Golf Volkswagen he came with.
Bullet watched him from the comfort of his bedroom, on his laptop, as the vehicle drove away and disappeared from the surveillance camera’s vista. Bullet hopped off his bed and hurried to the front door. He picked the parcel, swept his eyes around for strange presence and then retreated in. Opening the parcel, he kicked the door shut and it automatically locked on its own. Bullet hurried back into his room and emptied the contents of the parcel on his bed.
Like every job, this one came with its own mobile phone carrying a secure line. Three wads of dollar notes in hundreds and finally, two photos of the person he was going to assassinate. When he brought the photos close to his face, his non-existent heart sank.
“But I like her. She’s my favorite actress,” he said to no one before he brought his lips to kiss the photos consecutively. “You’re so beautiful Eva Ogiame.”
He put the photos aside and turned on the phone. One dial and he was connected to the agent who always got him his jobs.
“I don’t want to do it,” Bullet said.
“Because I wank when I watch her movies?” He said sarcastically. “Stupid fool; you went and got me Ditorusin’s baby mama. Do I have to tell you what type of shit I’ll get into?”
“Bull, this job is not from a jealous husband or some relative fighting over land. This is from some big egbon somewhere. She has to go.”
“Double the price or I walk and become her bodyguard.”
“I’ll speak to the client.”
“Double the price,” Bullet insisted, knowing how much his agent took from every job. Hearing the greedy bastard grunt silently on the line made him ponder on why he hadn’t wrapped his pudgy fingers around his neck yet.
“Good. Any time frame?”
“Twenty days. Natural death.”
Bullet hung up. Twenty days was too long to wait. He needed time to study his prey first and to masturbate over her for real before she kissed the earth goodbye.
He took off his bathrobe and flung it on the bed. Afterwards he bought out a suitcase containing surveillance equipment that was supposed to be planted around Eva’s home. After inspecting everything within the box to make sure things were perfect, he shut it and smelled his armpits.
He stunk. There was no way he was going to the delectable Eva’s home smelling like a laborer.
She woke on Easter morning feeling pretty normal. Nothing in the air told of her death. In fact, she woke up quite elated and she didn’t know why. Perhaps it was because the night before, Dominic had wired millions into her account for no serious reason. When she enquired why, he said because he felt she deserved to be shown love by some man, even if it was him. She had made fun of the whole thing but when she hung up, happy tears ran down her cheeks. Her pillow remained her comfort for the night and on Easter morning, she was up and giddy.
Her mother gave her a surprise call. It wasn’t new for the woman to call during Christian holidays to bless all her children but calling from just a few kilometers away was a huge Easter surprise. The old woman had visited Ralph and his family and brought along her last twin sons for the holiday. Eva was not privy of this and was a little upset that she was just finding out but when she heard their voices that morning and spoke to every one of them, her spirit was lifted. She even went as far as instantly wiring half a million to her younger brothers and Ralph’s children.
Ralph was quick to scold her for spending so much but Eva laughed it off and asked what Jesus would do.
“Jesus would want your behind in church this morning,” he replied.
“I hear you Pastor Ralph. But Jesus is right here with me,” she said, lighting a cigarette.
“At least come and let the senior pastor bless you. He’s a fan.”
“And I’m an AC.”
Eva laughed hard at her dry joke and ended up coughing.
“I hope you don’t still smoke?”
“No. Am I mad? When everybody’s dying of cancer?”
“Okay, good. But just come to church.”
“I’ll see you guys and mama tomorrow.” She gave him a noisy kiss and rang off. Twenty years of smoking cigarettes and nobody knew she still indulged in the habit apart from Lexus.
Maybe she should call her and say Happy Easter or something. Wasn’t it what mothers did, just like her mother did a few minutes ago?
She tapped on her phone and unlocked it. Lexus was on speedial. It was that easy to speak to her. Yet she couldn’t. Instead, she chose to send her some money. A huge sum.
“I didn’t tell you I was broke,” Lexus said the moment Eva picked her call minutes later.
“Just a little something for your Easter, baby.”
“What do you want in return, Eva?”
“Nothing.” Eva flicked ash into a gold ashtray on her bed and ran a hand through her unkempt hair. She couldn’t wait to wrap up production for the movie she was presently involved in. Taking the role of a mad woman on the streets was really challenging.
“So um… you’re coming for dad’s dinner?”
The silence that followed was awkward.
“Look, I gotta go, Eva. See you later and um…thanks for the dough.”
“You’re welcome, baby.”
Eva laid her back on her bed after that and lit a second cigarette. She was going to stay in for a while and ignore all scheduled engagements. Her personal assistant was somewhere taking calls from her business line and making sure no one bugged her. Eva pulled out a movie script from the nightstand and began to pore over her lines. Outside, thunder grumbled. It was going to be a rainy day.
“You gave me twenty days.”
Bullet scratched his beard and stared at a tray of vegetables before him. It had been a good idea to prepare his own Easter meal but now that the ingredients were laid before him, he was at a loss on what to do.
“Hey, I said you gave me twenty days,” he repeated to his agent who had gone silent on the line.
“Well, the client wants it done today.”
Bullet gave his phone an annoyed glance, a look that he would have sent to the agent if he was standing right before him.
“I want 20% added…”
“Come on, Bull.”
“You know how I deal. That or nothing.”
Bullet terminated the call as he heard the agent replying angrily, and went back to his vegetables. He stared at his wristwatch. No time for a meal. He had to move.
He hurried into his bedroom. On his bed lay his laptop and he pulled it to him. After a few taps on the keyboard the screen revealed surveillance footage of Eva’s home, down to her bedroom where she was sprawled on her bed, smoking and going through her lines.
Bullet really liked her. After watching her for an entire week, it was hard not to get attached, which was a good thing. The best kills were the ones where he nurtured some form of emotion. Eva was going to be a relishing experience. The part about him making it look natural, he didn’t like. It would have been his utmost pleasure to have her die by his hands.
He enlarged the footage of her bedroom and satisfied his eyes with the smooth creaminess of her body. She was very classy even in the confines of her own bedroom. The way her nude legs were spread on the bed and the flair with which she handled the burning stick of cigarette was something out of a movie scene. He didn’t like her hair but he understood that she was playing a part that needed her to look that way.
He fought his lust and revisited his plans, running quick but thorough calculations in his head.
Eva, like any other person in the world, had certain habits and mannerisms. She loved to take tea every morning, as against the coffee normal individuals took. She always hit the gym by seven and returned by eight, stopping at the same store on her street to buy supplies for her house. Even if she didn’t have anything to buy, she would stop and engage in small banter with the owner of the shop.
Eva was obsessive about her body. Her house had more mirrors than there were windows and for every time she passed by one, she would stop and suck in her tummy and check out her butt or squeeze her breasts before moving away. She was planning to have a breast lift and possibly, implants. She wasn’t so sure yet. Every evening, whether at home or away, she called or received calls from a friend, Sade. They would talk for almost an hour, mostly gossip and mundane things women loved to talk about, and they would broach on the subject of the breast implants or having a complete ‘mommy makeover’. Eva wasn’t yet settled on it but Sade was. They were planning a trip for the middle of the year.
Eva loved chocolate. Dark chocolate. Her freezer was packed full of them and if she wasn’t smoking, she was having a choco feast. Her smoking habit was ruthless. When alone, she smoked stick after stick of cigarette and Bullet found it ironic because she was the ambassador for some big company that was on a cancer prevention campaign. She had a huge stash of cigarette boxes hidden in her closet and a heap of ash and cigarette butts in her garbage.
Yes, he had checked her garbage too and found some interesting things like a pair of underwear which he was saving as keepsakes. After she was gone, he would erect a small monument for her in his bedroom to masturbate over every night for a whole month before he finally laid her to rest in his mind.
Bullet rubbed tired eyes and extracted his eyes from his laptop screen, ignoring the disturbing boner he was having, for Eva had spread open her legs wider and he realized she was wearing nothing underneath. He slammed the laptop shut and forced his thoughts to think of something disturbing like the cute baby that had singled him out in a supermarket just two days ago, and was smiling at him for no reason. So disturbing the situation was that he abandoned his shopping cart and ran out of the shop as if being chased by wild dogs.
He wiped imaginary sweat from his forehead as the memory of that day deflated his erection. He hated babies and children in general, but it seemed he was going to need a child for his plans. From what he gathered, Eva loved children. Everywhere she went, she smiled at them and took photos with them and their mothers. A child was perfect for his plans. He picked his phone and dialed his ex; they hadn’t spoken in months. Easter was a good excuse to borrow his kid for an outing.
The rain had just let up. She was glad. She smiled at the guys who had offered to help with her shopping. They were fans and good-looking ones too. She wondered if the taller of the two was good in bed. Should she throw a subtle invitation? Would he catch it?
A loud thunder interrupted her thoughts and she looked up to the sky. Too bad for people who planned to go to the beach. Sade was one of them. She had plans to take her husband and kids out before a small get-together at hers later that evening.
“Oh, thank you, boys,” Eva smiled as her fans put her shopping in the trunk of her SUV. She was about to launch into a seductive act for the tall guy when a little girl, calling out her name, ran towards her and tugged at her jeans.
“Yes, darling?” Eva’s face lit up.
“I love you!” The girl wrapped her hands around Eva’s thighs in a tight hug.
“Aww…” Eva laughed and lowered herself into a stoop. The girl reminded her of Lexus as a little girl. The pink dress she had on was almost identical to the one she had bought for Lexus on her sixth birthday.
“I love you too, precious. Where’s your mommy? Are you alone here?”
“My mommy is there!” She pointed to nowhere in particular. “But I came with my daddy. I saw you and I told my daddy I want to come and greet you.”
“Aww, thank you.”
Eva pinched her nose. “Happy Easter to you too.”
“Can I have your photograph?”
Eva and the boys burst out laughing. “Yes you can have my autograph but where do I sign?”
Eva heard the voice of an adult male and looked up to find a dwarf staring at her with curious eyes.
“Eva, see my daddy,” the little girl introduced.
“Jenny, I told you not to go anywhere.”
“Oh, it’s okay.” Eva remained stooped. She didn’t want to stand and tower over the man. She gave him a second look and discovered he had on designer clothes and carried a sophisticated air about him.
“Hi, my name is Donald.”
He offered a hand and she shook it.
“Sorry about my daughter. She’s crazy about you.”
“Oh, it’s fine. I’m crazy about her too.”
“Aunty Eva, I have something for you.”
The girl ran off and Eva finally rose to her feet. Her heels were killing her. She leaned by the driver’s door of her car and smiled every five seconds or so at the dwarf until his daughter returned. She came bearing a box of Godiva assorted dark chocolate, one of Eva’s favorites, and handed it to her.
“This is for you. My daddy say you will like it.”
“Oh dear.” Eva touched her chest, smiled at the girl and looked at her father.
“Erm…I’m also a fan. We saw you shopping at the mall.”
“Thank you. And thank you, Jenny.” Eva hugged her.
“Eat one,” Jenny ordered.
“I should eat one?”
“Okay.” Eva laughed and picked a chocolate nugget from the box. She bit into it and offered it to the girl.
“Oh no,” her father hurried forward. “Her mom would kill me if she knew I gave her chocolates. We have lunch waiting at home.”
Eva opened her door and kept the box of chocolates and picked a small jewelry box from her handbag. Inside it was a pair of silver bracelets she had bought for Sade’s daughters but she felt it was good enough a gift for the little girl.
“I have something for…” She stepped out of the car but met no one.
She gave the parking lot a good sweep of her eyes and found the dwarf and his daughter entering a car at the other end. There was a woman with them who didn’t look so happy. She dragged the girl’s hand, shoving her into the backseat of the car.
“Oh well,” Eva muttered to herself and discovered her sexy admirers had also gone. She got back into her car and replaced the bracelet in its box, then she threw another chocolate nugget into her mouth and fired up her SUV.
“Which kain nonsense twenty thousand naira be dis, Friday?! You dey craze?! I tell you say I no fit hustle twenty thousand in ten minutes?!”
Bullet got slapped in the face with a wad of one thousand naira notes by his ex.
“Your mama no born you well. Abeg, give me something better jor!”
He sighed and eyed her. She used to be beautiful and had promise of being someone better but something had died in her. Back then, just nine years ago, he would have done anything for her but he was tired of fixing her alcoholic ass.
They were both born into poverty and abject suffering and had journeyed their way through life as survivors. They met at some grubby bar in Ikorodu. He was laying low after some kill which went south and cost him his pay; she had just come into Lagos, looking to catch the Lagos dream. She was bright-eyed and beautiful and had all the curves he loved in his women. She didn’t mind that he was a dwarf as she attended to him, ignoring the other customers in the bar. She entertained him all evening with her stories about life in Ghana and although she was not intellectually up there, he found her engaging still. He wanted her to be exposed and enlightened as he was, having garnered knowledge from every source he came across—books, news media, movies, the internet and even from day to day interaction with people. Just like him, formal education was a gift never given to her but he wasn’t going to let that be an impediment to her. His intention was to do enough jobs, get enough money and have them move to someplace where they could spend the rest of their lives. But that never happened as she got pregnant and lost her mind. On his side, every time he tried to stop, some bigger and better job fell on his lap. He became so rich and so notorious for his kills in the underground world that he got comfortable being called an assassin. The crowning moment of his career was when a couple of newbies at some clandestine party to celebrate his boss’ birthday, approached him and called him their mentor. That was when he determined it was best to remain in the job for a few more years before retiring. His dreams for his baby mama had long gone gray as did her looks, character and tightness of her vagina.
And yeah, he hated their kid too. He had paid handsomely to have the brat aborted but her mother ate the money and showed up at his doorstep months later with a smiling-faced baby in her arms.
Bullet sighed one last time and counted fifty thousand naira to top the twenty he had given her earlier.
The woman didn’t complain. She shoved the cash into her handbag and ordered their daughter down. Two doors slammed simultaneously and Bullet was left alone.
His mind went back to Eva. With the way she consumed chocolates, she was going to finish the whole box before she got home. And if she did so, then she had between twelve to eighteen hours to die, if no one noticed anything awry.
Methanol was a poison that took its time, and its effects were similar to alcohol intoxication, being that it is extracted from alcohol itself. Most people who have died from it were thought to have overdosed on alcohol. Now, going by Bullet’s calculations, that would be the case for Eva since she had two parties to attend later in the evening and he was certain she wasn’t going to say no to any form of alcohol. All things being equal, by the time she died, she was going to die alone, and in her bed.
His work was done – sort of. But he had to be sure she consumed the entire box. Hence, he followed her in his car all the way home and waited for almost five hours, watching her from his laptop as she showered, fussed over what to wear and what wig would go with it. In the end, she settled for a simple white dress that made her look like an angel, but she picked a wig that in his opinion, didn’t do justice to the shape of her face. All the same, she looked exquisite. She came out, glowing like the star she was and got into her vehicle again. Since he couldn’t see her, he had to assume she was taking her time finishing off the poisoned chocolates, but it wasn’t until after she threw out the box out on a busy street that he became satisfied that his work was completed.
He made a left turn at an intersection while she turned right. He would have loved to follow her until her final hours but watching from his laptop would suffice. He turned on the radio and drove home.
She didn’t like the look Dominic was giving her. It carried the ‘stop drinking’ instruction. Hell no. She was having a ball and she wasn’t drunk. Okay, maybe she had had a little too much but it wasn’t new. And she could totally handle herself. She blamed it on the glass of wine she had at Sade’s; it must have been cheap. Only cheap wines got one tipsy so fast.
She turned and saw Chris by her side, a bottle of champagne in hand. He had chosen to be the barman for the evening. She smiled at him and he smiled back.
“Didn’t know you could rap.”
“I try,” he answered and filled her glass.
“don’t fall in love with Lexus.”
“You heard me. don’t fall in love and complicate things. She loves Kasi and that’s what her father and I want for her.”
Chris smiled one more time and walked away. Eva sipped some of her champagne and shook away the dizzy spell that breezed by her head. Maybe she was getting old and couldn’t quite contain her alcohol anymore.
Kasi walked in. He kept a normal face but Eva knew what had gone down. She smiled to herself and seconds later, Lexus appeared. Eva felt some sense of accomplishment, like she had done something right as a parent for the first time in her life. Now she could rest easy knowing her baby had gotten her man. She let out a silent belch and turned her attention on Genesis. She didn’t like her one bit but she knew Dominic was sold on her. Dominic wasn’t the type of man to dedicate himself to loving a woman so fast. All his exes underwent a dry first phase with him and always threatened to break up if he didn’t give them his time but Genesis had been different. Eva didn’t know how she did it but Dominic had invested his time and resources into her in just the first week alone and that had been hard for Eva to accept. It was painful to finally accept that he was taken and harder still, by a woman she brought into his life. Yet she had to be big about it and had considered severally, having the talk with Genesis.
She stood up now, on wobbly legs and tried her best to walk to her in a straight line. By the time she got there, she was having a nasty headache but she suppressed the feeling and pulled a stool to sit before Genesis.
“Hi bartender,” she greeted and Genesis gave her a mean eye.
The kids were still partying but she was done for the night.
“Mom, you can’t drive like this.”
Lexus’ voice sounded like it was coming from somewhere else. She tried to steady her gaze on her but she couldn’t.
“Let me take your key.”
Lexus snatched her purse from her and took out her car key. She handed the purse back to her.
“Go and sleep in my room.”
Eva turned away and stepped out into a very long hallway that stretched out forever. Lexus room had to be one of the million doors either on the left or right. She didn’t know which. She was going to pick the nearest. So she staggered towards the nearest door on her right and without knocking, stumbled in.
What her blurry eyes met wasn’t expected but definitely one of the most beautiful things she had ever seen. She shook her head to clear it but it remained there. Age had done nothing at all to Dominic’s sexy body in the nude.
“Eva?!” Dominic bellowed.
“You guys were having sex? Oops. My bad. But yay, Genesis, you took to my advice.”
Eva wanted to leave. She really did but she felt really sick and had this urge to throw up really bad. She tried to push it down but she couldn’t as her throat gagged and her mouth was forced open. It was one of those long vomits that seem to take forever and when she was done, she discovered to her horror, that she had thrown up on Genesis whom she didn’t realize was standing in front of her the whole time.
“Oh God, Genesis, I am sorry.” She covered her mouth after the deed.
“We were not having sex – yet. I was standing right in front of you, about to take off my clothes and look what you did.”
“I’m sorry. My eyes are playing tricks on me.”
“Because you’re drunk, Eva.”
Genesis grabbed her hand and led her out.
“Where are we going? Aren’t we going to have a threesome?”
“Nope. I’m taking you to have you and myself cleaned up…”
“Just shut up, Eva. I’m locking you in my house before you do something really stupid. Have a sense of decency as a woman, for Christ’s sakes! Your daughter and her mates are in this house!”
Genesis’ tone shut her up for good but it did nothing to the way her vision was getting blurrier by the moment. Colors around her began to mix themselves and it was hard for her to focus on anything unless she squinted really hard. She was glad to have Genesis guide her or she would have crashed to the floor.
When they got to Genesis’ apartment, she allowed her undress her and relished the cool feeling of a wet towel on her body as it wiped her clean. The best part was when Genesis slipped something comfy on her and pulled off her wig, reducing the headache she was feeling. Then when her body hit the bed and the air conditioner began its full work, she had a temporary moment of respite.
Genesis left a while later and she was all alone and had drifted off for a while. But a crippling stomach ache woke her up and ushered in the agonizing struggle with life that ultimately led to her death. She had struggled to reach her phone to call Dominic but her sight had gotten so bad, everything around her seemed like huge, colorful clouds, trying to choke her. Seconds later, she collapsed, face up, hands resting limply beside her as every muscle in her went dead. She was choking on her own vomit but couldn’t stop herself.
She didn’t see death coming. Her cognitive senses were still in the dream she had woken from. A dream of six year old Lexus in a little, pink dress, telling her she loved her and handing her a box of her favorite chocolate.