“Acnes, did you guys do what I asked? Did you call that our mystery customer because I need money badly? Ejiafe asked his friend Acnes who was wearing big transparent glasses that were wide enough to fit a person’s arm.
“Of course na,. You no trust your boys again. See, Chairman na we need money pass you. You suppose know na” Acnes laughed jolting Ejiafe by the side.
“Chairman, he said he would come with his guys to come pick up the goods tonight” Spider added. He had been playing games with his phone and on his thighs, was rested a red face cap he had worn earlier. The priest had insisted he took it off before entering the church. “All these holier than thou priests sef”, he had lamented to his friends.
“Ehen? That’s good. That means we will get our cash today” Ejaife answered relieved “I hope all the kilos are inside?”
“Yes boss…below the the first chamber of the casket” Acnes offered, while Stone cold nodded although his attention seemed to have been fixed on some girl at the other pew. She had been moping at him and stone cold was beginning to find it irritating.
“She likes you” Spider teased as they all followed his stare.
“Like? That’s not like…that’s fear” Stone cold answered grinning and they all snickered.
“Will you guys be quiet? This is a funeral” Odafe scolded, cutting into their conversation. He couldn’t help but overhear his brother’s conversation with his friends which had suddenly unnerved him. Kilos? What kilos? He had heard rumors about his brother dealing in drugs; he just hadn’t thought it had gotten this bad. He had also learnt that he started indulging in them after he, Dafe left the house. That realization had twisted the pit of his belly making him feel more terrible than before. Everything was his fault, his mother dying, his brother’s drug addiction problem, his father…..
“Honey, isn’t Omotore coming? Your dad is about to round up his eulogy, soon you will be next and then her” Rhoda asked breaking through his warily thoughts.
“Hmm…I don’t know. Let me call her” he answered rising from his seat to excuse himself. He passed the crossed thighs of the invitees seated next to them and went through the side door. Shading his eyes from the sun by throwing on his dark shades, he dialed his sister….
Below the church auditorium, in the closed children’s bible teaching auditorium, Omotore moaned as her uncle Ojako took her from behind, ignoring the cry of her cell phone.
“We should get back” she heard him mutter softly between gnashed teeth, reducing his pace.
“No. Don’t stop” she pleaded as he pulled himself away and staggered to a chair. Sitting, he zipped his trouser and then, watched her pull up her underwear in annoyance.
“I can’t believe we were just doing that…in a church” he spoke his voice a waiver.
“So?” Omotore asked pulling her skirt back up still upset…
“You know they will be looking for us” Ojako answered, suddenly tired. The response was more of a statement than a question, quibbled to what she had asked.
“So?” she asked again. This time she was done arranging her clothes and was now struggling to drive her feet into her black heel shoes.
“I don’t care” she continued succeeding in wearing one. The other seemed to be stubborn.
“Well we should be careful you know” he insisted as he watched her sigh. Both shoes were now on her feet and she was looking through the content of her bag.
“I know. I’ll be heading back to the church auditorium since you don’t want me anymore. Are you coming with?” she asked sending the red lipstick pass her lips and then, wrapped them together almost simultaneously.
“No. I shouldn’t. I don’t think it will be a good idea if we show up together” Ojako answered shifting in his chair. Even though he knew it would look repulsive, not showing at his sister’s funeral ceremony, he couldn’t help but feel some sense of guilt. I have just made love to my sister’s daughter at her funeral for God’s sake. “I’ll head back to the house and feign being busy for the wake reception”
“Ok. If that’s what you want. See you at home” she retorted as she quickly gathered her cosmetics back into her bag. After straightening up her blouse once again, she walked out of the room, without a second glance at him. Ojako stared after her…
By the window, Gina who had excused herself from the church auditorium to use the restroom stared in horror with mouth ajar…
The unexpected visitor
Captain Efetobo slumped into his favorite chair in his study room and grinned faintly. “Finally the day is over” he thought gladly as he stretched exhaustedly on the chair. The day had been a huge success, despite how awkward it had been; Onajite ashes had been laid to rest in the cemetery- a six feet hole next to his brother’s headstone. Seeing his brother’s grave again had unnerved him but he had braced himself as always throughout the ceremony. If there was anything he had learnt over the years, was how not to feign over little things like a grave. Brume was dead, he couldn’t harm him now…neither can his wife.
It was funny how he felt no remorse, Captain Efetobo wondered warily as he pulled out the lower left drawer of his desk and brought out a bottle of whiskey. His wife was dead, burned and buried; gone forever and he felt absolutely nothing. He poured himself some liquid from the bottle and then, from another drawer, he pulled out a piece of paper stuck between the head of the rolling edge and poured the powdery substance in it, into the drink. After stirring the mixture with his finger, he began to sip his drink, throwing his feet over his desk as he continued his controversial thoughts. Onajite was the love of his life and although things had gone cold between them over the years, there were still those times and days he was willing to kill for her.
Several years ago, in 1982 to be précised, captain Efetobo recalled; he had learnt from his private investigator of the hotel she was patronizing, a hotel he knew absolutely nothing about and wanted to see for himself. He needed to know if the rumors were true, if her affair with that wretched pauper was indeed true. The world was talking about it…and he had asked her but she had lied right into his face and even though he had believed her lies, he still had his doubts. Little did he knew he was going to have the greatest surprise of his life.
‘I believed Onajite! I believed you!!” He yelled after banging into the hotel room to find her naked beside a closet. The son of a bitch was lying completely nude, his face covered in shock.
“How could you do this to me Onajite? After everything….” He yelled his voice soaked with sobs.
“I…” Onajite tried to say, her face crowded with so much emotions. He could see the fear in her eyes as she shuttered.
“What did I ever do wrong other than love you?” He asked, trying to restrain himself from strangling her as he stood in front of her, his hands molded into a fist and then, the idiot just had to speak. Captain Efetobo shook his head sadly as the memories unfolded more vividly.
The fool had gotten out of the bed, pulling the bed-sheet over his naked body as he approached him.
Captain Efetobo could not recall now what he had been saying but he knew at that moment, he had lost all his senses. His gun was out of his belt hole before he could stop himself and then everything was a blur.
Right now, all he could recall was dragging Jite out of the hotel with him. He had called Ovie, his crisis manager right away to take care of the situation but Onajite was never the same after then. Even though they had moved away from Lagos back to Delta state, she could not look at him the way she used to. All she saw was the man who killed her lover in cold blood.
“Who is it?” he called out sounding almost intoxicated as knocks landed on his door.
“Sir, it’s me Tina” the housemaid called out from the door.
“Oh! Come on in” he answered as he threw his legs down and glared at her from his glass cup. “What is it?”
“Sir, I’m sorry to bother you but there is a lady out here to see you” the maid answered knotting her knees in curtsy as she approached his desk.
“I thought all the guests were gone” he answered displeased by the information.
“Yes sir but this one came after they were all gone and insists on seeing you” the maid explained apologetically.
“I see, Alright! Let the guest in” Captain Efetobo answered reluctantly, throwing his legs back on the desk as he resumed his sipping. Geezs!, just when I’m celebrating.
The maid curtsied again and then left. Few minutes later, she ushered in a woman. Captain froze, his cup stopping halfway to his lips.
“Bridget!” Captain muttered quietly unwilling to rise from his seat.
“Efe! It’s so good to see you again after all these years” Bridget answered as she crossed the door to his table strutting on one knee.
“What are you doing here?’ he asked confused “I mean I saw you at the church but I thought it was probably someone else” I hoped it was someone else.
“No, No it was me, I was at the church this afternoon. I’m sorry for almost interrupting your eulogy. I had no idea I was that late” Bridget answered apologetically as she pulled a chair and sat. Captain Efetobo stared at her, too stunned to say more. She had changed, old age hadn’t done her any favors, he thought sweeping his gaze over her. After the service, he had looked around for her and when he couldn’t find her, he had concluded that his mind had been playing tricks. But here she was, looking up at him with those sad black eyes that were almost identical to Onajite’s. Her hair had gone grey except for those on her light dark skin. She had been Onajite’s best friend, Captain Efetobo shivered, and she knew too much…how do I get rid of her?”
“So how did you know? That she was dead?” He found himself asking as he pushed aside his drink and glared at her.
“Your son called me” she answered with all the trace of sadness gone from her voice.
“My son? Which of them? Now, don’t lie to me Bridget” Captain Efetobo responded angrily “I thought you and Onajite had an arrangement. You were supposed to stay out of her business”
“I know that and I am not lying. Ejaife called me. Your younger son” Bridget insisted flushing from his outburst.
“Ejaife? How could he possibly know you? You are lying, Bridget” Captain Efetobo retorted.
“I am not lying Efe. My daughter Gina confirmed that she gave him my number” she replied her voice rising. “Listen here Efe, I agree that Jite and I agreed that none of her dirty secrets will ever be out in the open but now she is dead, I think it’s important you know some things, not just for you but for the whole of your family”
Captain Efetobo burst out in laughter springing to his feet and then circled round the desk to Bridget.
“I want you out of my house this minute Bridget. Now!” he roared slamming his fist on the desk.
“I’m afraid she wouldn’t be going anywhere, dad” Ejaife answered walking into the room with his hands in his pockets.
“Ejaife!” his father answered surprised to see his son by the door. “I thought you were supposed to be out”. With your friends, he might have added.
“Me? Out? To where?” Ejaife asked laughing. Ignoring the surprised look on his father’s face, he turned to Bridget and apologized.
“I’m sorry about my father’s rude behavior Mrs Bridget. I’m afraid he is still mourning the loss of my mother. I’m Ejaife. You are welcome to stay if you want” Ejaife answered throwing on his best smile.
“Of course, you are Ejaife. My Gina pointed you out to me at the funeral service.” Bridge answered returning Ejaife’s smile with a smirk.
“Really? Gina was at the service? I didn’t see her” Ejaife asked surprised.
“We left early I’m afraid. She saw something that she wasn’t supposed to see” Bridget answered her voice quivering at some thought.
“And what could that be?” Ejaife asked curiously as he pulled a chair up to sit opposite Bridget, adjacent to his father’s desk.
“Look here Bridget; I really do not have time for this. You can take your gossip elsewhere” Captain Efetobo thundered moving swiftly to the door and then turning the knot. The door shrieked opened and Captain Efetobo gestured her out. He could feel the weight of his son’s eyes on him but he could care less. I just want her gone!
“I’m sorry Efe. I’m not going anywhere until you hear what I have to say” Bridget insisted. Captain Efetobo grimaced.
“I didn’t want to be here. When your son here called me to inform me about Jite’s death and funeral, I told myself that I didn’t have to be here” Bridget continued clueless of the rage building up gradually in him like a volcano.
“But you are here, why?” Captain asked spitting out the words like venom.
“Just few days after his call,” Bridget answered gesturing to Ejaife who had crossed his legs comfortably as if waiting to listen to some tale. “…I received a mail package addressed to me from Jite” Bridget pulled her bag from the shoulders and unzipped it
From it, she retrieved an envelope with the name Bridget scrabbled on its surface.
“Huh?” Captain Efetobo exclaimed feeling the air go out of the room as his heart began to beat faster. Almost in a flash, he snatched the envelope from her hands even before Ejaife’s hands could touch it and pulled out a DVD-R from the it. “What is this?” he asked in contempt.
Bridget was silent.
“I’m asking you Bridget, what the hell is this?” Captain Efetobo asked uproariously.
“Dad, please calm down. Your voice is on the roof. Soon everyone would come rushing in here to find out why you are yelling” Ejaife pleaded looking from his father to Bridget for some reassurance that there wouldn’t be any brawl.
“Don’t you see what this woman is doing, Ejaife? Don’t you see? I said I do not want her in this house” Captain retorted spitefully. “I want her out of this place, now!”
“Dad! Dad! What’s going on?” It was Odafe rushing into the study with his wife Rhoda on his heels. Soon after, Omotore and Ojako walked in with the same look of confusion plastered on their faces.
“Better. Everyone is here now” Bridget answered gladly as she glanced round the room.
“Dad? What’s going on?”Odafe asked looking at the woman he had seen earlier in the church. “I’m sorry, who are you? You look vaguely familiar? I saw you at the church but I still cannot place your face”
“My name is Mrs. Bridget Ejieke…Gina’s mother” Bridget answered, her new British accent murdering the pronunciation of the last name.
“Oh! It’s nice to meet you again ma. It’s been a long time. I really could not recognize you anymore” Odafe answered gladly as he walked up to her and bent over for a hug.
“It’s good to see you again Odafe. You’ve grown so much” Bridget responded but noticing the woman beside him, her smile faded “and you must be Rhoda” she continued staring at Rhoda’s outstretched hand for a handshake. Ignoring it, she turned to Captain Efetobo and asked:
“Do you want to see what is in the DVD-R or not?”
Ejaife took the DVD-R from his father and walked over to the Personal computer resting idly at the far end of the table. After booting and inserting the DVD-R into the multimedia optical drive, everyone besides Omotore took a seat-she stood instead behind Ojako’s chair- as they curiously watched Onajite come on screen.