Not So Happily Married ……Episode Eight

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Some questions are not meant to be answered and most times the questioner knows the one who is being questioned does not have to answer. Some other questions however are meant to be answered and most times both the questioner and the one being questioned knows it. The latter were usually the hardest questions to answer; the type of questions whose answers stuck to the roof of one’s mouth; hard to spit out, yet harder to hold in.

Omoboye’s question had to be answered, she also expected it to be answered only I couldn’t answer not because I didn’t know the answer but because the question both enraged and hurt me. It told me in clear terms that I was neither forgiven nor trusted.  To be fair, it was only natural. I shouldn’t expect to be trusted and forgiven just like that. Omoboye wasn’t God, was she? Even God has to be beseeched to not remember one’s sins. My only wish was that she would talk to me about the bitterness or pain that might be left in her heart but it was as though there was a wall; a very thick one that stood between us.

It is funny how our roles became reversed in such a short while. I thought. Just some few weeks before, I had been the one who refused to forgive and just when I let go of my resentment and anger, Omoboye brought her own issues to fore.

She didn’t repeat the question. She didn’t even say her usual “have a nice day” when I dropped her off.

As I drove away, something told me she might have taken my silence as “Yes” and I felt like racing back to tell her the answer was no but I didn’t instead I thought of another way to answer her question. It seemed easier.

****

He didn’t answer my question.  Bisade must be pregnant. That was what I kept thinking as I walked into my make up studio. There was work to be done. My students were there waiting. They were supposed to have a practical session but I rescheduled it and locked myself up in my tiny office.

Anger coursed through my veins, I wanted so desperately to call him, vent all the anger that I felt. I wanted to curse Bisade to her face but I didn’t even know where she lived; I didn’t know where she worked. I knew next to nothing about her. I decided I could go home and rummage through some stuff and see if I would find the information I needed somewhere.

I didn’t know what exactly it was that I was looking for but I knew Jite had a box filled with papers on the top of our wardrobe. I decided to start my search from there.

The box was filled with letters, printed e-mails, photo albums, greeting cards and some notebooks.  I told myself I had a right to go through my husband’s stuff and so I began to read the letters.  The letters evoked several emotions in me and I forgot the pain I felt and the real reason for the search. Some of them made me laugh, some made me turn up my face in disgust and going through some, I felt pangs of jealousy. There were too many girls, some of them were familiar names but majority were names I had never heard of.  Jite and I had had  shared stories about exes while we were dating. He had told me there were too many to talk about but had mentioned the name of the notable ones.

I had what could pass for fun until I reached a Blue coloured envelope that had the word that had been giving me nightmares written on it in Jite’s handwriting. “SKIPPER”

I sat up immediately I saw it and began to open the envelope with shaky hands. It was filled with pictures taken in several cities of the world. Whoever you are Skipper; you are one heck of an Ajala the traveler. I murmured going over pictures with backgrounds like the Burj Al Arab, the Eiffel Tower, the statue of liberty….there were about sixteen pictures in all and Skipper looked exquisite in all of them. The pictures all had an inscription on the far right corner; “Love. Skipper”

“Who is Skipper?” I asked for what was could very well be the thousandth time?

“Why not ask Jite?” I thought

“Why ask him?”

“For your peace of mind, for your sanity, is it not better and easier to ask?”

“No, I don’t think I want to know. But still, I want to know.” I told myself sighing.

Skipper is beautiful; I had to admit that even though it was painful to admit it.  I stared at the one she took in Paris, in front of the Eiffel tower wondering why anyone could be that beautiful and why Jite had never mentioned her. Was she that special? She must be. He had even created a different envelope for her pictures. I stared at the pictures for another fifteen minutes trying to find a flaw – a crooked or broken teeth? K- leg?  dark spots?. I found nothing. There must be a flaw somewhere I concluded. No one could be this perfect.

I didn’t stop looking for faults until the words of the text message I read in Zanzibar and its implication jumped into my mind. Skipper was in Lagos and she didn’t know Jite was married, she hadn’t wished him a happy married life. I obsessed over that for a while before other thoughts set in. Those calls that he took in private and which always turned out to be from Skipper. Could it be they were already meeting? She must have told him she called and sent a message, how come he didn’t ask why they went missing on his phone? What does Skipper want from my man?

*****

Sweets,

Bisade is not pregnant, at least not for me. Like I told you earlier, we used protection. That’s not the only reason I know though. I have spoken to her after we came back from Zanzibar. I know I promised not to have anything to do with her again, but I felt like I needed to see her, I felt I needed to know there were no problems. I know how much it would hurt you if it turns out she was pregnant. I also needed to apologize to her because I feel like I used her. In case, you are wondering, we didn’t do more than talk.

She assured me I was forgiven and she wasn’t pregnant. Once again, I am sorry for this mess we are in. it was all my fault. If only I had forgiven you in the very beginning. My behavior was inexcusable. Omoboye I am sorry and I love you. Even in all this madness, I still love you. I must also add that I meant it when I said we should slow down on the pregnancy thing. I want you first before any other thing, and I mean it when I say it won’t matter if we never have children. I would still love you. We would adopt fifteen kids or whichever number you wish. Just don’t lose yourself in this mess. Let’s be happy babe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Jite

The idea of giving her a note sounded like what a coward would do and I had a feeling that Omoboye would feel the same way. Why do I find it so hard to talk to Omoboye about stuff? I wondered as I slipped the letter in my pocket. I knew it would be better to say those things to her face but I didn’t want to see the disbelief and distrust in her eyes. I could only hope that when she read it, she would think about it and believe me.

****

I wanted to burn the pictures along with Jite’s box but I felt that would be too dramatic. My mind was in turmoil and the unanswered questions kept revolving, who is Skipper and what was the urgent thing she needed to discuss with Jite. After over an hour of thinking about Skipper, I decided to leave the house. I didn’t want to face Jite not with the way I was feeling.

I also wanted him to suffer, wondering what could be going on in my mind.

I packed a bag and left for my Parents’ place. I knew Mom would want to ask why I wanted to sleep over at their place and I had a story ready. Jite was out of town.

****

Jite,

I would be at my Parents’s place. I will tell Mom you travelled. It shouldn’t be for long. I need to clear my head. We should talk when I get back. I will appreciate if you don’t come to the house or try to tell Mom what is really happening.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Take Care

I read the note for the third time and afterwards placed the one I drafted for her beside it. I wrote her a note, she wrote me a note. Only hers got delivered while mine couldn’t reach her. Are things this bad? I wondered. Why would Omoboye leave my house to clear her head in her father’s house? Did she not know how wrong that was? Every responsible and wise woman knows how wrong it is to leave her husband alone for any reason. I felt anger well up in me as I looked around the house, checking for things she might have packed to help give a clue on how long she might be gone. The wardrobe looked untouched; I could barely notice that anything was missing. That is good. I thought hopeful that it would be for a few days.

****

Being at my Parents’s place wasn’t fun, it was the reason I stopped living with them after graduating from the university. My mother was too bossy, too judgmental.

She had snorted when I told her Jite was out of town and I didn’t want to stay alone murmuring something about how the matter that a man says Baba must not hear would eventually be settled by Baba. I had ignored her, pretending I didn’t hear her words.

I stumbled on “I didn’t know I was pregnant” the day I got to my parents’ place. Mum usually slept before 9pm and that gets reduced to 8pm on days when Dad wasn’t around which was usually five days in a week given that he worked in Ibadan. After Mom slept, I saw a movie until 11pm and turned in for the night but I couldn’t sleep, I kept tossing around.

At first I thought it was because the air conditioning was too much but I later realized it was something different, something that brought tears to my eyes. I was missing my husband. It’s amazing how something you have done all your life suddenly becomes alien. Before marriage, I had slept alone without any discomfort but there I was without my husband for just one night and all I could think of was how soothing it would be to have him beside me.

After two hours of trying for sleep, I went back to the sitting room. I scanned the stations to see if there was any program that would interest me.  It was while checking through  the channels that I saw “I didn’t know I was pregnant”. The cases the program featured were a bit different from mine but it was still similar in a way. These were women who didn’t know they were pregnant until the day they started having contractions. One of the cases I watched that night was someone whose baby just dropped on the floor of their sitting room. I was excited. Perhaps I was pregnant after all. The only difference was I suspected I was pregnant while they never had a clue. anorexia

Their stomach size didn’t increase while mine was increasing. They didn’t have symptoms while I was having symptoms but still I was glad to see the programme. Perhaps my contractions would just start one day and my baby will drop too. If I was pregnant, it would be around two months. That is too early for other people to notice, isn’t it?  I thought excitedly. I slept happy after that confident that I was truly pregnant and ignoring the tiny part of me that was still in doubt.

****

I didn’t talk to Omoboye until the third day after she left the house. It wasn’t because I wanted to honor her wishes and not call. It was because I couldn’t. Her phones were switched off and I know she would be upset if I called her Mom. I knew very well how much she hated people thinking there was anything wrong with her life. When the call went through, I didn’t ask why she switched off or why she didn’t contact me, I just asked how she was doing.

She assured me she was fine and would be home soon.

“Jite, I feel much better now. She said. I should be home in two days time. There is so much we need to talk about when we see. I have some questions I need answers to.”

“How about I come to your Mum’s place?”

“No, you can’t do that. She would wonder why. She already suspects that we have issues.”

“Okay. I understand. But Boye, why don’t you just come home today. I have missed you so much. This house is empty without you.”

“I hear you Jite but I would like to stay for two more days. However, there is an option. You could come around late this night and say you had to cut short your trip. Make sure it’s really late so that we can say we would rather sleep over instead of going back to the house.”

“That’s okay with me Boye. I can do that.”

“Jite” She called in a tone that made my heart skip a beat.

“Yes love”. I answered half hoping she would say I love you.

“We would be sleeping in separate rooms and don’t ask me why.”

With that she dropped the call, I didn’t have a chance to respond, not that I would have said anything. I was still very worried about her state of mind and was prepared to do anything it would take to make her happy.

****

After Jite and I spoke, I decided it was time to talk to Boladale. Although I hadn’t deleted her contact on my Blackberry messenger and phone, I wasn’t picking her calls; neither was I acknowledging her messages.

I called her up that afternoon and informed her I would like to see her. She asked if I would like to come to her office and I said I would prefer if we met at a Sweet Sensation outlet close to her office.

She hugged me as soon as she saw me and I hugged her back. It was a bit awkward but I smiled at her. I needed her to think we were cool.

“Babe, what’s up? How is married life? I don’t even need to ask, I can see you are glowing.” She added.

Something about our friendship had changed. Before the pregnancy issue Boladale and I could talk for hours about just anything but there we were acting like two siblings who were meeting for the first time.

“I am fine Bola. I am sorry I wasn’t picking your calls, I was just so annoyed with you but I am past that now. I don’t want to sacrifice our friendship because of something so trivial.”

“Thank you Boye. Thank you. This makes me feel so better.”

“It’s okay. No problems at all.”

“Boye, I didn’t tell you everything the other day. I want to tell you now but promise me you would forgive me.”

“Bola, I can’t make a promise when I don’t know what’s involved.”

“Omoboye, please promise me.”

“Boladale I can’t promise you.”

“Hmm, either way I just have to say it. I have to lift this terrible burden off my shoulders. When I am done saying this, Boye you can kill me and I would deserve it.”

“Boladale, what is it that you have to say?” I asked in an impatient voice.

“Remember, when I said the father of my unborn baby is a married colleague, I didn’t mention that he is someone close to you. Someone very close to you.”

I shivered, a sudden cold enveloping me. It was as though a bucket of chilled water was poured on me. “Someone close to me, someone very close to me. Someone that is your colleague” I murmured.

“No, Boladale.” I shrieked, flying out of my seat as comprehension set in.

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COIN…..there are two sides to every story (Episode XII) by @obasatemitope

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Stripper you said?”
Jack frowned “Yeah? Thought you knew; why else would you be asking me?”
“What did you mean when you said ‘freelance’”
“Means you aren’t really bound to the club. You do your thing as and when you want”
“Ok. But I was of the impression that she used to come here with her friends?” Kogberegbe was getting even more confused.
“Perhaps. Like I said, I didn’t know her that well. The job comes with a lot of protection for the girls. It’s a high class thing, and I know it’s one of the ways girls get high level contacts in Lagos. It also pays well, and it’s safe. Just a bit of pole dancing or something, no touching except for special requests and it comes with the girl’s consent. I’m not really sure what goes down in there; we have levels of operation in here and only designated staffs are allowed in the suite. We don’t know much about the girls, and absolutely nothing about the gold and diamond members”
“Those are the ones allowed in the VIP suite?”
“Yea. Silver members have another lounge; and unregistered members like you are not allowed beyond the regular floor”
“I see” Kogberegbe said “Who owns this club”
“Look, I’ve told you more than I should. My shift doesn’t end till another four hours, I just asked someone to cover while I went to the gents. I’ve overstayed as it is”
“Alright. Thanks for your time” Kogberegbe said without a choice because Jack had already turned his back and was on his way in “You have my card, please call if you remember anything else”
“Sure” Jack said and a few steps ahead, Kogberegbe saw him toss his card into an industrial bin.
Sitting in his car, Kogberegbe dialed Fadekemi’s number. She picked on the fourth ring “Yep” she said.
“It’s Kogberegbe”
“Ok”
“First let me apologize for earlier” He said
“It’s cool” She responded briefly.
“Sorry I’m calling this late but I need to ask you further questions…”
“Yea, she said so” She responded incoherently.
“Excuse me?” Kogberegbe said
“He’s here as well”
“Who?”
She gave a short laugh “She should be with you in ten minutes don’t worry”
“Hello” Kogberegbe said, confused. It was as if she was responding to a totally different conversation.
“Alright then, later” she said and went off the line.
Kogberegbe stared at the phone, wondering what madness just happened. Now he’s been able to confirm for sure that there was someone in Ronke’s clique that at least Fadekemi is scared of; and now he suspects that that person might be Fadekemi’s boyfriend. The only explanation was that he was beside her when Kogberegbe called, and must not even get a whiff that she’s been speaking with a detective. Now, Kogberegbe wondered if he shouldn’t really be taking a deeper look in the school or even among the clique. And he also wondered if Fadekemi wasn’t deliberately sent to him to throw off the trail, what if she’s been lying to him all day?
Kogberegbe put his earpiece in place, phone in the holster, turned to his favorite radio station and drove out into one of the well lit roads in Lagos state. The state was always busy, no matter what time of the day and this made it beautiful in an eerie way. Despite the daily huddles faced such as heavy traffic and poor electricity supply, Kogberegbe loved Nigeria, but particularly Lagos state and he couldn’t blame the people that daily fluxed into the state. The expensive lifestyle that also came with staying in Lag suited him just fine; he made enough to cover up for such expenses. As he drove, he noticed one of the billboards erected by the Ministry of Environment “Keeping Lasgidi clean…Eko o ni baje o”. Lagos was getting popularized as Lasgidi, and the numerous names never ceased to amuse him; some others would call it Eko state, combining English and Yoruba to qualify the state. But whichever way it is called, there was this solidarity slogan about not allowing Lagos to get spoilt, literally, and that seemed to build a kind of belonging in the people, making them feel like something bound them all together as they answer “o baje ti” in response always to the slogan of “Eko o ni baje”. Kogberegbe smiled, thinking he certainly belonged here. A few minutes later, his phone started ringing. He just glanced down briefly to ascertain the caller before refocusing on the road. As much as he liked Lagos state, he knew he had to be careful at all times and as such, he knew that one of the most stupid things he could attempt to do at that time of the day was to park to pick the call. And it was for this reason that he put on his earpiece before leaving the clubhouse, for it was also dangerous to drive and use the mobile phone.
“Fadekemi” He said into the earpiece in acknowledgement.
“Hi detective. First of all about earlier, it’s not cool. Second, sorry for the incoherent responses I gave, I couldn’t speak where I was and you ensured you called long enough that I couldn’t continue to ignore”
“I apologize. I am constrained by time, that’s why I have to get to issues as soon as I can. You held back some information about Ronke, I wonder why?”
“Excuse me?” She said. Kogberegbe could sense the anger creeping back into her voice.
“About what she…or perhaps you all do at the club”
“I’m afraid I don’t get your drift”
“Do you work at the club for instance?”
“I’m beginning to feel sorry that I came to you detective. How dare you insult us so? Of all places to work, would it be at a club house?”
Now, Kogberegbe was all the more confused, because it sounded like Fadekemi was telling the truth. “I’m very sorry Fadekemi, but trust me I’ve not had any intention of insulting you, not before and not now. All I ask is for you to help me make sense of a few confusing things.”
“I hear you”
“That club is pretty expensive, and it requires referrals. How did you guys join the club?”
“First of all, there is no such thing as ‘expensive’ for some of us. And for your information, Ronke single-handedly organized the whole thing. She did it as a surprise on Dapo’s birthday, and we’ve been frequenting the place ever since. We like it there, it’s not as low class as most other clubs you see around, if you know what I mean”
“Yea, sure.”
“Well then I gotta go now” she said hurriedly. Kogberegbe heard footsteps in the background and Fadekemi’s “Yea, it’s mom” before she went off the line.

After much deliberation, Kogberegbe decided to call Dr. Okanlawon despite the time insensitivity.
“It’s late, detective” Dr. Okanlawon said gruffly
“Apologies sir” Kogberegbe said.
“Uhn-uhn?” Dr. Okanlawon asked impatiently
“I was wondering if I could go through Ronke’s school effects. That’s if she left anything behind in school and if you’ve collected them sir?”
“No, we’ve not got round to doing that. We’ve not even formally informed the school authorities yet. I can’t say for certain that she left anything in school, but I believe she has a regular room and some of her friends are always there so there is a possibility. If you need access, I could place a call tomorrow and probably arrange someone to box and take them to the house, if that’s fine.”
“That would be perfect sir” Kogberegbe said.
“Please remind me in the morning”
“Definitely sir”
“Is that all, detective?”
“Eeer, I’d also need to know what allowance you gave Ronke?”
“Is that important to the case?”
“It probably is sir”
“Well, it varies…varied” Dr. Okanlawon corrected himself, then took a pause before going further “But we tried to keep it modest so that she wouldn’t get carried away with frivolous activities”
“Could you please be specific sir?”
“It should be in the region of #30,000. Between #30,000 and #50,000, but definitely not more than that. It was just for upkeep, we supplied everything else she needed”
“Thank you sir”
“At some point, her mother said she requested for more. But we expressly declined, so I’m sure that isn’t an issue in your case”
“It shouldn’t be sir” Kogberegbe lied “But can you remember when this was sir?”
“Not really detective, but it hasn’t been more than a few months”
“Thank you sir” Kogberegbe said.
“Are you going to tell me what this is about?” The venom was slowly entering Dr. Okanlawon’s voice but Kogberegbe wasn’t intimidated. If anything, he had learnt that in his line of work, one had to be hardened and prepared to meet with all sorts- intimidations, lies, rudeness and annoyance alike.
“Not right now sir, I haven’t yet figured out the relevance of these information; I just know for certain that they will be useful whether in affirming suspicions or discarding them” Kogberegbe answered.
“You’re hiding something from me detective; I am not stupid, you know.”
“Your daughter was a clubber Doctor”
“You insinuated as much the very first day you visited the scene”
“She was a heavy clubber sir. And there’s an indication that she frequented an expensive club” Kogberegbe said, certain that he had to give Doctor some information, howbeit little, if he wanted to get him off his back.
Dr. Okanlawon sighed “Well, she made a choice of where to spend her money then.” He said sadly, then after a long pause said “There’s more to this isn’t there?”
“It is a very expensive club sir, I have been there myself”
“And I suppose the charges don’t fall within the range of the allowance I mentioned?”
“Even if she went five times a month, and alone, I’m afraid not sir” He didn’t bother to emphasize that she financed her friends to the club.
“Then Dapo must have picked the bills. His parents are quite wealthy too, and you know boys have a way of getting more cash”
“Absolutely sir; I will question him about this tomorrow sir” Kogberegbe said.
“I heard he was picked up?”
“Yes sir”
“Have you talked to him?”
“Yes sir”
“Does he strike you as someone capable of this crime?”
“No sir. But I’m sure the Police are doing their job sir” Kogberegbe said.
“The boy’s a good lad detective; we attended the same Church when we lived in their estate. I would say I know him quite well, but I obviously didn’t even know my own daughter.” He paused; Kogberegbe refused to comment, so Dr Okanlawon went on “I don’t want to make the mistake of requesting his release if he’s involved in this, do you understand?”
“I understand sir” Kogberegbe responded.
“Do you have an idea when he can be bailed?”
“I’m not sure sir. But I was told his parents were there this morning, they should work things out soon.”
“Keep me informed detective”
“Yes sir”
“During the day detective”
“Yes sir. Sorry for the disturbance sir.” Kogberegbe said.
“Bye then” Dr. Okanlawon said, immediately followed by a click that indicated he had cut the line.
Kogberegbe found it difficult to sleep, another experience that felt alien to him; the hollow feeling persisted. He sighed in resignation when he heard a click which made him realize he’d unconsciously dialed Lucy’s number.
“Hello” She said, her voice sounding so sweet, like he was hearing it for the first time. “Hello?” She repeated in a sleepy voice.
“Did I wake you up? Kogberegbe asked.
“Not really, what’s up?”
“What? Oh, nothing really. I was trying to call someone else and…” Kogberegbe tried hopelessly to explain the mistake off.
“So it was a mistake then”
“Yea…erm…” He stuttered.
“It’s cool. You take care then”
“Lucy?” Kogberegbe called
“Yes?”
“Nice hearing your voice.”
She gave a small laugh “Thanks. I know you’re dying to discuss your case”
Kogberegbe laughed back. He really did miss sharing with her; whether directly or indirectly, she used to help him through his cases. “Probably” He said out loud.
“Maybe we should do lunch tomorrow then? I’m really knackered tonight and I’ve got an early shift tomorrow” Lucy answered.
“Ok, that sounds great”
“And Steve…?”
“Yes?”
“You should get some sleep yourself” she advised.
“Thanks. I’ll do just that. I’m sorry I forgot your birthday”
“It’s alright, it’s a weakness with most men anyways” Lucy said and Kogberegbe scoffed. He didn’t like the sound of being categorized with ‘other men’ but he knew he deserved that. Lucy ignored the scoff and said “Don’t forget to call the person you originally intended to”
Kogberegbe laughed “Goodnight Lucy”
“Goodnight” she said.

 

COIN……there are two sides to every story by @obasatemitope (Episode XI)

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FOR PREVIOUS EPISODES PLEASE CLICK HERE

Kogberegbe wondered how rude these kids have become, lips pursed. But he was thankful for the timely jolt. How could he have been drowning in such silly thoughts about women? The first thing he did was delete his ex-wife’s number from his phone. He knew that for him to be able to move on, he had to shed some of the weight he carried. He took the picture which he had kept dear over years, and carefully laid it in the waste basket, his secretary would throw it away first thing in the morning. It was difficult for him, but he knew that if he had to face the future bravely, he had to let go of the past which held him captive for so long.

He picked up his phone, recorder, notepad and headed out of his office, switching off the lights as he left. He secretary closes at 6pm, he made it a rule for her to leave the office, whether or not he was back from field work. She had a lovely family and Kogberegbe encouraged her to keep it intact; the least he could do was send her home to them in good time.

Kkogberegbe would have loved to go in his own car, but he didn’t want to spook Fadekemi. His car was an old model, the colour unique and hence it would stand out. If anyone didn’t want him to find the killer, they could go an extra mile to permanently keep someone else quiet if that someone else posed a threat. Kogberegbe didn’t want to risk another innocent life. He flagged down an empty cab. One of the good things about Lagos is that you’d hardly ever find a shortage of cabs. Even private car owners sometimes shuttle their cars to earn extra cash.

“Shoprite” Kogberegbe said through the window.

“#2,500” The driver said

“What!” Kogberegbe frowned in the darkness. Exploitation! The distance from his office to shoprite wasn’t more than 10 minutes; with traffic perhaps twenty “#2,000” he negotiated.

With a simple nod of his head, the driver agreed to the price and Kogberegbe hopped into the passenger seat. Luckily, traffic wasn’t as bad as Kogberegbe had envisaged, though that also meant he arrived Shoprite five minutes early.

“Oga, you no talk say I go wait o…” the driver started lamenting immediately Kogberegbe told him he would wait while he talked with Fadekemi, and then take him back to his office. Even before the driver finished his lamentation, Kogberegbe thrust #5,000 in his face. That should keep him quiet for a while.

At two minutes to eight, Kogberegbe decided to call Fadekemi. “Just pulling into the car park, slight traffic. I’ll be at the second entrance in three minutes, you need to pick me up. I have an unmistakable red scarf tied round my neck” she said.

“Cool” he said and four minutes later, they were in front of the entrance. Though the red scarf stood out like she’d said, Kogberegbe was confused with the rest of Fadekemi’s outfit. She had big goggles on, in fact, massive; a very short skirt, heavy wig and really high heeled shoes. Kogberegbe told the driver to stop. She saw him immediately and made her way gracefully inside the cab. You’ve got to give it up for these girls, they are classy, Kogberegbe thought, smiling.

“You’re looking at me like you’re judging me det…” Kogberegbe  gave a fake cough to cut her short. He gave her an eye signal, directed at the driver. “well, Kogberegbe”. The driver obviously found the name amusing, for he tried hopelessly to control his laughter, glancing towards Kogberegbe for a brief second.

He cleared his throat as a cover up “Where to now sir?”

“Just find a good spot in the parking lot” Kogberegbe responded.

“So?” Fadekemi looked at him defiantly.

“So what?” He gave her a surprised look. She gave him a matching look and he said “well…you look…dressy. That’s all”

“I mustn’t look different from the other nights when I go out.”

“You dress like this every night?” Kogberegbe asked.

“If you have a problem with it, I could leave”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be rude” Kogberegbe apologized.

“Can you excuse us for a minute?” Kogberegbe asked the driver.

The driver glanced at him in a ridiculous way “Leave you in my car? My car??”

Kogberegbe showed him the complimentary police badge which he usually carried for such occasions. “Go with your key. And you need not go farther than a few yards” He handed him an extra #5,000 “And that includes taking me back to the office” Kogberegbe gave him a menacing look. He knew the man had already made from him, more than he could probably expect for the whole night.

“I will just be by the bonnet sir o” The driver said.

“That’s fine” Kogberegbe responded, moving from the passenger seat to the back seat for proximity.

“ehn ehn” The driver said, getting out with his keys and rooted himself firmly close to the door, arms akimbo.

Kogberegbe slid forward to switch on the car radio, not because he cared for the music but to ensure the cab driver stood no chance of listening in to their conversation. Even if he wasn’t a direct threat, he seemed to like money enough to make Kogberegbe careful. For all he knew, the man could head straight to a news company to share all he heard.

“Ok, it’s safe to talk now Fadeke” Kogberegbe said.

“Just before the ASUU strike, Ronke seemed excited about something. Before then, she had been acting strange, sometimes totally off, as if something was bothering her that was beyond her control, but she wouldn’t share. She confided in me that she was doing something that could potentially be dangerous. But she wouldn’t tell me much, she said she could take care of herself. I guess she was wrong” she paused “My thinking is that someone had treated her badly and she’d been finding a way to get back at the person. She probably found a way. Her excitement was quite scary.”

“Tell a about this change in attitude, please be as explicit as possible” Kogberegbe said. He had switched on his recorder before changing seats, careful not to raise Fadekemi’s awareness.

“I am not sure if this part is relevant. But sometime last year, Ronke was very sad. Something apparently bothered her but she wouldn’t share. She must have been afraid of something or someone. She gradually sank into herself, blanking out at times, not corresponding coherently and seemingly distant most times. We had to assume it was something to do with her family because all seemed to go well in school. So we all decided to help her stay strong through it, have enough fun to drown the sorrow. After some time, she seemed to find her strength back, she became lively again. But I’m sure this doesn’t have anything to do with the murder, it was a long time ago” she said.

“You never know which little bit of information would be helpful in getting to the root of an investigation. Please go on” Kogberegbe urged.

“There isn’t much to say. About a month ago, she said she found a way to get even”

“Did she tell you who or what she was talking about?”

Fadeke shook her head “She said it was better if I didn’t know the details but she promised to tell me as much as she could as soon as the situation was dealt with. I didn’t push her because I’m sure we all have parts of our lives that we’d rather keep private”

“Sure.” Kogberegbe said, looking up from his writing pad

“I hope you didn’t put my name in that pad of yours?” Fadeke asked frowning.

“Why do you ask?”

“You know, just in case they catch up with you and kill you, I don’t want anyone getting any links to me. I don’t want to die yet”

Kogberegbe was bewildered, but one look at her face and he knew she wasn’t joking “Fadekemi, no one is going to get killed”

“How are you sure of that? Just three days ago, I was with my friend and I could have said the same thing you just said”

Kogberegbe sighed, showed her his writing pad in assurance that her name wasn’t there. There were scary movies everywhere and he was certain that she watched more than a fair share of them.

“You watch a lot of CSI movies don’t you?” Kogberegbe asked.

She laughed boldly “They’re actually my favorite”

“It’s obvious. But you need to slow down yea? Lagos isn’t as bad as L.A or Miami”

“Yea right. I’d rather be safe than sorry. Ronke isn’t safe” Fadekemi said.

“Back to Ronke, did it ever cross your mind that it could have been any of your friends that put her in the scary state? Or a fellow student?” Kogberegbe asked. He noticed the same scared look he observed in her eyes earlier on.

“No” she simply said, avoiding his gaze.

“There’s someone that you’re afraid of within your caucus isn’t there?” Kogberegbe voiced his concern.

“I’m sorry I cannot be of further help detective. I’ve told you all I know though right now it sounds futile to me. I’m sorry I wasted your time.” She tried to open the door.

“No, not at all please” he placed his hand gently on her arm “I’m sorry if that’s a path you wouldn’t like to thread”

She looked stern “It is”

“Then I apologize” Kogberegbe said. “Would you mind if I asked a few more questions?”

“Sure, go ahead” she removed her hand from the door knob.

“What do you think of Ronke’s boyfriend?” Kogberegbe asked

“Dapo?” she asked, surprised “He’s a cool guy, cute too” she said, her eyes betraying envy “They made a fine couple and I’m certain that if Ronke hadn’t met her death, they would have been crowned the couple of the year by the end of this session” a teardrop rolled down her cheek.

“Did Ronke mention her pregnancy?”

Fadekemi looked surprised “What are you talking about?”

“Autopsy showed that she was pregnant as at the time of her death”

“Oh dear! How devastated Dapo must be” she said

“Come on! He’s a kid!!” Kogberegbe said

“What do you mean?” she questioned “If I know of a couple who loved each other truly, it was those two. Dapo would have been excited about it, they would have found a way to make things work.”

“Yet you weren’t aware of this little information?”

“You are honestly not suggesting that Dapo killed her?” she looked angry

“I am not suggesting anything. I am just trying to find a murderer, that’s all”

“I understand your skepticism about him being a Pastor’s son and fathering a child out of wedlock but if they weren’t ready for it, there are ways of going about it; he definitely wouldn’t resort to killing Ronke! That’s ridiculous”

“But you’re certain the child can only be his?”

She looked from side to side “What on earth are u suggesting? First that Dapo is a murderer and now that Ronke was a slut? She was anything but! Of us all, she was the easiest going and I think this is an insult to her memory. And at this point, I don’t know what lunatic put you up to the task of investigating this case”

“Her father did”

“He’s made a grievous mistake” she said, getting out of the car.

“We could drop you close to your car” Kogberegbe called after her

“That won’t be necessary” she tossed over her shoulder, not bothering to look back.

Kogberegbe looked on as she walked away with finesse. She was a refined and intelligent lady but her dressing depicted something demeaning. He wondered how one could dress like this every night, taking in her extremely tight jeans which hugged her buttocks uncomfortably. He knew she dared not bend down. The driver peered in “Would you like to go to Allen sir?”

Kogberegbe was confused only for a second, then he burst out laughing. The driver must have assumed that Fadekemi was a pick up girl and that she did not agree with his negotiation. He laughed loudly and told the driver to take him back to his office.

 

Kogberegbe picked up his car, deciding he still had time to make one more stop which he would have deferred to the next day. He got the name of the club which Ronke and her friends visit, from Dapo. When he made a quick scan of the club and saw no familiar faces, he was a bit relieved. He had pondered on whether he would meet the friends there or not. Kogberegbe caught sight of a couple of mid-age men coming out of where he assumed was the VIP lounge, followed by some pretty girls. The club also had a hotel at the back, he mused at how convenient that was. He sat at the bar, slowly sipping his iced tea. He however noticed the bar man eyeing him suspiciously, sure that not many men showed up at a joint like this and paid so much to gain entry, only to sip iced tea. So Kogberegbe beckoned to him and ordered a bottle of rosé. The man nodded, finished folding his napkin and fetched the drink. Kogberegbe didn’t like alcohol, his system could barely take it down. But his job sometimes warrant that he indulge. The bar was thinning as the barman placed his drink in front of him. As he made to open the small bottle, Kogberegbe touched his arm, slipped him his card and quietly asked if they could meet after his shift. The barman looked from the card to Kogberegbe with hard eyes, not uttering a word. Kogberegbe feared that the man would call bouncers. He couldn’t read his expression at all.

“How much for the drink?” Kogberegbe asked audibly.

“#5,000” The barman answered coldly.

Kogberegbe fringed inside at hearing the cost of a small bottle of rosé, his brows arched for a second but he managed to pull himself back together quickly, reaching inside his pocket. He counted ten notes of #1,000 and slid it towards the man.

“Out back. Ten minutes. Name’s Jack” The barman said, still with the stern look. Kogberegbe thought the man would do better as a bouncer!

Ten minutes later, Kogberegbe’s rosé sat a few sips down at the bar while its owner stood in the hot windy night, waiting for Jack. Ten more minutes, Kogberegbe heard “Yo!” to his right and walked towards Jack.

Thanks for meeting. Name’s Kogberegbe”

“Really?” Jack asked “Thought it was a joke on your card” He still wasn’t smiling “So, your cash’s counting, what’d you want?”

Kogberegbe produced the radiant picture of Ronke which had been used to place her obituary “this girl used to frequent this place. Do you know her”

“Yea. Not so well though, club’s got boundaries. But yea, she’s always here. Haven’t seen her in days though, maybe cos of ASUU strike. I’m sure she’s a student.” Jack’s communication was impressive. Kogberegbe assumed he’s one of the numerous educated Nigerians who had to make a living anyhow for lack of suitable jobs.

“No” Kogberegbe said.

“Excuse me?” Jack said with a confused frown.

“She’s not been here because she’s dead”

“Oh yea?” Jack asked “I’m sorry to hear that”

“I was hoping you could tell me about her”

“Like I said, there are boundaries here so I didn’t know her that well. I believe she was one of the club’s freelance strippers and I know a few of the older men took interest in her. She was pretty”

“Stripper you said?”

 

COIN……there are two sides to every story by @obasatemitope (Episode III)

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IN CASE YOU MISSED PREVIOUS EPISODES, PLEASE SEE HERE

“Notice any phone around this room?” Kogberegbe asked the closest police officer to him.

“No sir” the officer replied “The parents confirmed it’s missing. They have been trying to call the number since early morning and it’s not even ringing. Her dad said she never switched off”

“Wrong move” Kogberegbe said inaudibly. He straightened up and walked towards the window. There were traces of sand on the rug that suggested where the perpetrator had marched. It wasn’t enough to make a cast but Kogberegbe could deduce that the owner had big feet and judging from the sole imprint, it was a heavy shoe, probably boots. His eyes went from the rug to the drawn window blinds.

“Was the curtain drawn when you got here?” Kogberegbe asked, looking out the window to the front of the house where the gateman now crouched, weeping openly. He was a Hausa man, far away from his home and very likely without a relative close by. He was on his own.

“No. we pulled it to have better lighting. But that” he pointed at the side window “was open when we came. We suppose the culprit came in through it”

Kogberegbe moved to check the window. The sand there was thicker than the one at the other window but contaminated. He didn’t bother to ask who did, just instructed the photographer to record the mark at the other window. It wasnt the first time he’d experienced the nation’s policeforce contaminating evidence at a crime scene, even after being warned not to; they just seem not to understand how relevant the tiniest of evidence could be. Kogberegbe surveyed the window pane and saw a faint line of blood. The owner must have tried to wipe it clean, making it a smear. He noticed a sharp edge on the window pane which must have cut the culprit’s arm. He looked outside the window. To the side, a large tree grew with a thick branch just under the window.

Kogberegbe decided he’d seen enough from the room and it was time to survey the compound, so he proceeded out of the room, accompanied by a police officer at Kogberegbe’ request. Kogberegbe was glad to find out another flight of stairs led down apart from the main one he came through. He didn’t want to face the Okanlawons just yet; he didn’t have as much information as he wanted. His hunch was that the culprit jumped the fence from the back of the house. However, the fence was high and glass shards were used for security on it. No one could climb through this without getting injured except – Kogberegbe turned sharply and started checking the fence at the back side of the house. At the right hand side of the house – the side which faced Ronke’s bedroom, the shards were chipped. With the thick sole the killer wore and with the aid of a ladder at the other side of the fence, the entry was bound to be a piece of cake. But how could he have jumped in with such soles without being heard? He certainly wouldn’t have dared to use a ladder inside the house?

*****

Kogberegbe decided it was time to question the guard. Kogberegbe found him at the gate, looking a little more composed but didn’t say a word or meet Kogberegbe’ eyes. Kogberegbe noticed another guard, he had expected that the old guard would be fired and was certain Dr. Okanlawon would have him locked behind bars for not preventing the unfortunate incidence. On second thoughts, Kogberegbe walked past the guards to check what lay behind the fence, detailing the officer to stay behind with the guards. A very thick bush was all that separated the Okanlawon’s property from the next building. This must have come in handy for the murderer. Kogberegbe looked at his beloved Nike shirt and thinking it might be the last time he would wear it, plunged into the bush. Thinking he was lucky to have worn his field shoe, he traced the chipped part of the fence. Beneath it, he found a tyre rim with a new rope tied to it, which was flung a length away from the rim. Kogberegbe was certain this was the work of an amateur who didn’t think of covering his tracks much.

Back inside the compound, Kogberegbe saluted the officer and said “Can you get some of your men to fully search the bush beside this building?”

“Yes sir” the officer replied

Kogberegbe then motioned for the old guard to come with him to the side of the house.

“What is your name?” Kogberegbe asked him

“Musa sir” he replied

“How long have you worked here?” Kogberegbe asked, squinting his eyes.

“Ah oga, flenty years sir, long long” Musa said, his accent very thick.

“Can’t you give me an estimate?” Kogberegbe pressed.

“Sir?” Musa asked, with a confused look.

“Never mind. Tell me what happened last night”

“Oga, I no just know. I only know oga” Musa pointed toward the building, indicating Dr. Okanlawon “come down this morning and he vex. Another time, just folise, e fush me here, fush me there. Oga, I no kill am, Allah, no be me”

“I know it wasn’t you” Kogberegbe wondered the best way to go about the interrogation as the man obviously had problem communicating in English. As he paused, Kogberegbe saw two men dressed in white, emerge from the building pushing Ronke’s body in a stretcher. The ambulance driver got down at the sight of the nurses and opened the back door. Kogberegbe would go for the autopsy report later that day if it was ready. Although he didn’t see any bruises around the girl’s thigh, he still needed to be sure she wasn’t raped. He couldn’t rule out that this was just a lunatic case.

“Musa, what time did you sleep last night?” Kogberegbe asked, bringing his attention back to the guard.

“Ah, like fast three oga”

“Past three Am? Did you parade- I mean, walk round the compound while awake?” Kogberegbe asked

Musa shook his head vigorously “No oga, at night like that, is diraft we play so we no go sleef”

“So you played draft all night?” Kogberegbe asked and Musa nodded “who did you play with and where?”

“Me and Adamu. Is Adamu cofa that building” Musa said, pointing at the building to the left of the Okanlawons.

“Where did you play the game?” Kogberegbe asked

“In that my afartment” Musa pointed at the gatehouse

“When did Adamu leave?”

“Two Porty- paip” Musa replied

“How are you sure it was two forty five?”

“Is time young madam come” Musa said, momentarily shocking Kogberegbe despite suspecting the girl had been out the previous night.

“What do you mean ‘come’” Kogberegbe demanded, writing on his pad

“Sir?” Musa asked puzzled

“Come from where?”

“Oh, she go kilus flinty night with uncle”

“She goes clubbing at nights?” Musa nodded “But her parents said she never kept late nights”

Musa shook his head sadly “them not know. She climb down apta oga and oga madam sleef pinish. Simall uncle now stay outside, carry little madam go. Apta, he bring am con’ back. E say I no tell”

“And you didn’t tell?” Kogberegbe asked

“I wan tell oga one time but oga e busy no be simall. Simall madam see me that day and she vex. She say she chase me leave if to try it again. I no get flace to go so I not tell again” he cast his eyes down “and oga not will belief me sef”

“When did she start going out at nights?”

“Ah, flenty flenty times ago o. She still go secondary school that time but almost pinish”

“Hmm, tallies” Kogberegbe nodded, scribbling more on his notepad “come with me please” Kogberegbe led the way around the fence, stopping at the chipped part and pointed up.

“Eh!” Musa exclaimed “Is there he enter?”

“My guess. Did you hear the person break this glass?” Kogberegbe asked

“Nobody bireak anything last tonight” Musa shook his head

Kogberegbe mused over this information and caught a glimpse of a shabby looking man stroll inside the gate. His skin had a dirty colouration it must have attained over years of going unbathed. His clothes looked like it would never recover, not even with a good laundry. Kogberegbe however wasn’t surprised at this sight, he saw people like this almost every time. The man’s mouth was open in what might have been confused for a smile but on close consideration proved to be the way his lips permanently stayed apart, baring his brown set of teeth. He stood at a distance resting on his hips, watching Kogberegbe.

“Who’s this guy?” Kogberegbe asked Musa who was still assessing the damage

“Ah! Adamu” Musa said, beckoning to Adamu and saying more words in their native language. Adamu, with mouth, still agape, walked closer. Kogberegbe noticed his eyes were also permanently squinted. He gave a long Hausa speech.

“Where were you last night Adamu?” Kogberegbe said, cutting him short in whatever he was saying. Adamu only gave Kogberegbe a blank look. When Musa started his own round of Hausa, Kogberegbe understood that Adamu didn’t understand English and he concluded questioning him wouldn’t be much use since there won’t be a way of verifying. Adamu started another long speech punctuated with “two porty paip” and “Ronke”

Kogberegbe pointed at the chipped glass while Musa quickly supplied the question. Kogberegbe couldn’t decipher the expression in the squinting eyes but was willing to take it for ignorance. Adamu spoke again, giving his head a forceful shake, palms up. Musa explained that Adamu hadn’t heard any sound either.

With Musa’s help, Kogberegbe found and heaved a ladder against the fence. Musa also found something heavy enough to break glass with.

“When I say ‘now’, start breaking the glass, okay?” Kogberegbe instructed Musa who now propped on the ladder. He nodded his comprehension.

Kogberegbe went to the gatehouse where Musa and his friend claimed to have spent the night and called out “Now”

Musa hit the glass as quietly as possible but strong enough to break it. Though faint, Kogberegbe heard the sound, and it was daytime. Even if Musa slept off, the other occupants of the house would have heard. He concluded the glass wasn’t broken the previous night. Through Musa, Kogberegbe learnt Dr. and Mrs. Okanlawon’s room was at the back of the house, away from the traffic noise that never ceased, even at night. This explained why the culprit chose the side fence to break in. and it showed the perpetrator had a lot of time to study the house with its occupants. Kogberegbe rubbed his forehead. How could the suspect be an amateur but know enough to study the family well, as well as know when exactly to carry out bits and piecesof his plan?

Boarding Tales ~ Episode XV (Bosola’s Confessions)

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‘‘This whole drama needs to stop young lady.’’ Mr Adisa said giving me a stern look

‘‘Sir, I think we need to review the punishment in light of Bosola’s confession.’’ He added addressing the principal.

‘‘Adisa, wait a minute. That won’t be necessary, besides I think she was about to tell us something.’’

‘‘Young lady, you said you have something to say.’’

‘‘Yes sir, I do.’’

‘‘Sir, I don’t think you should still listen to this girl anymore. Don’t forget you still have to be in Ibadan today. I really don’t know what game she is playing but we don’t have time for this theatrics.’’

‘‘Mr Adisa, why don’t you let her talk? I am very interested in whatever she has to say.’’ Mom said

‘‘Nneoma, leave it alone. Whatever it is she can tell us on the way home.’’ Dad replied

The principal cleared his throat noisily.

‘‘Bosola Adesegun, I have to be in Ibadan like Adisa said. We will talk about whatever you want to say when you get back from suspension.’’

‘‘I won’t be coming back to this school sir.’’

‘‘Oh yes you will my dear daughter. You are definitely coming back.’’ Dad replied.

Yewande and her Mom had remained silent all through. The principal stood up to leave and my parents and Yewande’s mom shook his hands.

******

I had vowed never to talk to Yewande again but for some reason I felt like there were words to be exchanged.

I walked to her Mom’s car and as though she sensed I was coming came out of the car and leaned against it.

‘‘So what were you planning to say?’’ She asked

‘‘I was ready to talk about what this school really is. I wanted to tell the principal about how Mr Adisa sleeps with girls and how he encourages students dating.’’

‘‘And what did you think that would achieve?’’

‘‘I don’t know but I just get annoyed anytime he mentions how decent his school is.’’

Yewande laughed holding her sides.

‘‘And then what happens when he knows? He would close the school? He would sack Mr Adisa? You are so funny.’’

‘‘You think he won’t do that?’’

‘‘Bosola stop fighting battles you are bound to lose, just go on your suspension and come back to do Iye’s work.’’

‘‘Yewande, I am sorry I came to talk to you.’’ I said walking away. I blinked back the tears that blurred my vision telling myself over and over again how stupid I was to have changed my mind about talking to Yewande.

*****

We travelled in silence for about an hour before I summoned the courage to speak.

‘‘Dad, Mom, won’t you ask me what happened, won’t you ask me what I wanted to say in the principal’s office?’’

‘‘Bosola, what do you have to say. I said what do you have to say? You can still talk because I have not sunk my teeth into your flesh, biting until I can taste blood. The reason you are talking is because I haven’t picked a toilet broom to whip you until the evil spirits in …..’’

‘‘Mom, he had sex with me when I was nine years old.’’ I shouted interrupting her.

I watched her mouth open and blocked my ears at her shrilling screams of “who” who is the animal”, the car swerved dangerously as dad stopped the car.

‘‘What did you just say?’’ Dad said, his face a painful mask

I still don’t know what possessed me to talk the way I did, perhaps it was Mom’s self righteousness or the need to spill everything out that kept plaguing me.

‘‘Uncle Demola slept with me when I was nine.’’

‘‘Oh Jesus. Why did Demola do this to me ehn? How did I offend him?’’ Mom wailed placing her head in her laps.

‘‘Bosola, you said Demola raped you at nine. The same Demola, my brother’s son?’’ I nodded although it was more of a statement than a question.

He placed his head on the wheel. I watched them both. Mom sobbing into her laps, Dad with his head on the wheel. I didn’t feel any pity for them. There was more.

‘‘He didn’t just stop after that. It continued until the time Dad brought me here to boarding school.’’ With each word that I said Mom’s sobs became louder.

‘‘Bosola,’’ Dad said raising his head from the wheel. ‘‘I want you to tell me everything Demola ever did to you and I want you to also tell us what you wanted to tell the principal in there.’’

***

I was one of those little girls that everyone loved to carry and call the wife of their son, brother and sometimes themselves.

Uncle Demo loved me specially; He would always give me a huge portion of the meat Mom gave him for dinner.  Everyone called me his baby. He would help with my assignments, and even help with my household chores. I would stay in his room whenever Mom and Dad were out of the house.

I was Eight years old when he would play Shina Peters’ records and teach me some of the songs. He would read out stories from Hints and Better Lover magazines. He would ask if I understood what was happening in the stories and pinch my budding breasts. I would laugh at this. It was both painful and enjoyable being pinched like that. Other times he would tell me to put my hands in his trousers and help him rub his “kokoro”. That was what he called it then.

The first time I rubbed it for him, I got afraid when it began to swell and asked if it pained him or if it would burst like a boil. He had thrown back his head and laughed for a few minutes. When he was done laughing, he nodded his eyes brimming with tears brought on by the laughter.

‘‘Bosola, it could burst and that’s why you have to help me. Just allow me to lie on you.’’ I was afraid and allowed him to lie on me. He made me promise not to tell anyone as it would make them panic. ‘‘They would think I am about to die.’’ He said.

We continued like that for a while. I would remove my clothes and he would lie on me, he would breathe heavily and I would mumble sorry afraid he was suffering from an illness and could die.

I never told anyone what Uncle Demo and I were doing, not when we finally had sex and not even when I was old enough to know the meaning of what we did. I had come to enjoy it and  looked forward to it.

*****

Mom continued to sob as I spoke but Dad kept looking at me, his face expressionless. His face betrayed nothing not even when I told him how Demo had given me birth control pills the day I told him I have started seeing my monthly flow.

I switched to talking about the school. I told them about Toluse, Mr Adisa and Iye. I described a little of the things that went on in the school. I used the expression Sodom and Gomorrah. It was only at that word that Dad’s eye twitched and his face fell as if he wanted to cry. The car became quiet once again as soon as I finished speaking. The silence was broken by Mom after several minutes.

‘‘Bosola, you would be going to church with me as soon as we get back to Lagos. You have to be delivered.’’

‘‘She won’t be going for any deliverance.’’

‘‘Fola why would you say that? This girl is being attacked by the evil one, she needs to be delivered.’’

‘‘Shut up Nneoma’’. Dad screamed. ‘‘Shut up this minute.’’

‘‘The issue here has nothing to do with evil spirits or good ones. The person who needs deliverance here is Demola and I am going to ensure he gets delivered to prison.’’

‘‘I remember I was against him living with us, but if I had said no then, your people would have said your Igbo wife is hostile.’’

‘‘Woman, that’s irrelevant right now. We have to find a way to get out of this situation. First we need to get to the town, spend the night there and leave for Lagos tomorrow morning. I will deal with Demola when we get home.’’

‘‘As for that school and Mr Adisa, They would hear from me. I mean what kind of a school puts a young man in charge of the female hostel?’’

COIN ………there are two sides to every story by @ObasaTemitope (Episode II)

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IN CASE YOU MISSED EPISODE 1, PLEASE SEE HERE

He made for the window quickly. He knew he should climb and escape but temptation kept him rooted. He eyed the dead girl’s bag and decided no harm could be done if he helped himself to some money, she wouldn’t need it now anyway.

He searched though the bag and took her money as well as her phone which he was sure would be worth two years of his salary. Leaving that behind would be mad of him.

He felt awkward as he reached the window and the clumsiness caused a loose iron on the window sill to cut into his skin. He didn’t feel the pain, indeed he was used to pain, but he was worried. Chief had warned that there should be no bloodshed, not from the girl and not from him, the stranger. He hurriedly wiped the blood with his glove protected palm and proceeded. The Chief was too careful, the stranger now realized, perhaps to a fault. It was in case of unplanned bloodstains that Chief insisted he use new clothes so that nothing would be traced back, should he leave a scrap of the cloth. He also warned that the new clothes and shoes be thrown in the nearby stream immediately after the assignment. The stranger was also to have a good bath.

Of all these, he intended only to have a good bath. He’d never had new clothes in his life, why would he throw away his first just because he had an assignment with it? Moreover, he hadn’t made any mistakes and he wasn’t spotted by anyone.

He knew the assignment had worked out fine…

******

Detective Kogberegbe was a man who was a bit too carefree for his position; this usually showed in his dressing, which unless he couldn’t help was always casual. Despite his dressing, he felt uneasy. Although he was well trained in his field, he never liked to see innocent people die, especially in their youth. He spat on the sidewalk as he considered the Okanlawons’ residence. The tall gate was slightly ajar so he pushed his way in, nodded a greeting to the gateman who visibly trembled. His eyes evidenced he had been crying and he looked disoriented, Kogberegbe didn’t want to be in the man’s shoes. A girl had been killed in the house he guarded and he didn’t even have a clue as to who the perpetrator was.

A policeman was stationed beside the guard and Kogberegbe knew the guard was in trouble. He smiled wryly.

Kogberegbe recalled his earlier conversation with Dr. Okanlawon, a well-known politician in town. Dr. Okanlawon wanted to get to the root of the matter, no matter what or how much it would cost. His only child had been murdered and he felt aggrieved, disgraced and sour. InOkanlawon’s opinion, it was linked to his political status. Kogberegbe could not dispute that; it was the first lead he would trace.

Dr. Okanlawon already called in the police but didn’t trust them to get the murderer. A fellow politician recommended Kogberegbe to him and he’d placed a call to the private detective immediately. Kogberegbe gave Dr. Okanlawon instructions not to allow the policemen move anything till his arrival, he needed everything to be intact to make his job easy, assuming of course that the perpetrator had left clues, which he doubted if the murder indeed was political. But would ‘easy’ qualify any job in Nigeria? He mused. He had tackled many cases in the past that he knew shouldn’t have lasted more than hours if it was in a developed world where there were facilities to play around with.

He reached the staircase and took them in twos. Inside, a woman who he assumed to be Mrs. Okanlawon lay on a long sofa, disheveled with a blank look in her eyes. Kogberegbe hoped she would remain sane for long. Three women who spoke comforting words to Mrs. Okanlawon flanked her. Mrs. Okanlawon didn’t move much less acknowledge his entry. She was fully dressed, like she was at work or on her way down to the office when she discovered her daughter was dead.

“Morning Detective” a gruff voice said on Kogberegbe’ far left. Kogberegbe turned his head towards the voice and recognized Dr. Okanlawon at once. Kogberegbe strode towards him. Dr. Okanlawon sat with his legs spread, his arms clasped together between his legs. He wore pretty attire made with Guinea material that shone its newness.

The friends that flanked him weren’t bothering with kind words, all of them sat in silence. Kogberegbe shook the hand Dr. Okanlawon offered.

“You were highly recommended” Okanlawon said in the same tone that showed he was barely holding himself together “I hope you’re not going to disappoint me”

“I’ll do my best sir” Kogberegbe replied, “Can you tell me again how you found the body?”

Doctor explained that his daughter, Ronke who was a 200 level student in a Federal University, had come home because of ASUU (Academic Staff Union of Universities) strike. She was a straightforward girl who never kept late nights, move with bad company or misbehave. She didn’t have many friends, her parents knew the few she moved with and she was a brilliant child. It was the third time she would experience ASUU strike and would call home immediately for them to send a driver to pick her up. She never stayed back when the school was closed. All in all, she was a good girl and everyone loved her.

She however had a habit of waking up late. She started this in her final year in secondary school but got worse at it after she gained admission to the higher institution. She explained this off that she simply slept late and therefore refused to see a Doctor.

So they let her be, since it wasn’t affecting her in any way. She always had good grades and they concluded that if she needed rest then she could always have it as long as she made sure she got up earlier while in school so as not to miss classes.

That fateful day, she slept late again- or they thought she did. The parents were very busy people; the mom was a commissioner and usually went to work earlier than Dr. Okanlawon. Her driver picked her up as usual and he, Dr. Okanlawo was getting ready for work when she called his phone. They had been trying to renew their daughter’s passport and Mrs. Okanlawon was contacted by the Immigration office that Ronke had an appointment for 11:00am. She tried to call Ronke directly but her phone was off and Mrs. Okanlawon was sure to forget to pass the information across once she got into the flow of work for the day.

Dr. Okanlawon, on receiving the message, headed for Ronke’s room, knocked the door a couple of times and soon became impatient, determined to knock some sense into his daughter about her sleep. He then opened the door angrily, shouting Ronke’s name but there was no response. He walked into the room further and didn’t need to be told Ronke was dead. He however moved close and checked for a pulse that wasn’t there, her head was in an odd angle that told him it had been snapped.

“I called my wife immediately, told her she’d better start heading back. She tried to argue but I convinced her of the necessity of coming back home. I called the police immediately after that and then you” Dr. Okanlawon finished. Kogberegbe was taking notes.

“I assume you have hired hands in this house?” Kogberegbe looked around to take in the magnificent building. He wondered why Nigerians loved to build huge houses that would cause maintenance problem after their demise. Anyway, he thought to himself, it provided employment for other people.

“Yes we do. But they don’t share the house with us. They resume work at 8:00am and close at 9:00pm with the exception of days when we have a special occasion.”

“I see” Kogberegbe added this in his notepad and said he’d like to see the body.

A police officer who’d planted himself beside Kogberegbe minutes earlier nodded and led the way.

There was a lot of activity in the girl’s room. Men in black uniforms were moving in different corners, taking notes of the scene. Pictures were being taken of the corpse.

Kogberegbe allowed the photographer to round up before moving closer to the bed, slipping on his gloves. He wouldn’t want to meddle with any evidence – if it wasn’t meddled with already. Ronke was sprawled awkwardly on the bed, her legs slightly apart and her right hand dangling off the bed. Her eyes stared unseeingly into the empty space. She was a pretty girl, well developed for her age, fair complexioned and tall. She had her natural hair on which was long and very black- perhaps too black, Kogberegbe thought, concluding she must have used hair dye while she was alive. Kogberegbe checked beneath her brightly coloured fingernails for signs of struggle but it was clean, not a single scrap of skin to lead on.

He took in her dressing and frowned. She wore a very skimpy blue skirt that hugged her buttocks tightly and an equally tight red blouse that barely covered her navel. The only underwear she wore was her panties. Her face was, in Kogberegbe’s opinion, too heavily made up and she had big beads around her neck and wrist, the colour of her blouse. Kogberegbe doubted anyone could dress up so heavily just to get in bed and sleep the night away. She gave the picture of a lady that just got back or on her way to a club house. Kogberegbe produced his writing pad and made some notation, he would have to requestion the girl’s father. He saw her little handbag lying a foot from the bed, picked it up carefully and searched. The handbag was empty which made him wonder if she used or planned to use the bag for the night.

“Notice any phone around this room?” Kogberegbe asked the closest police officer to him.

“No sir” the officer replied “The parents confirmed it’s missing. They have been trying to call the number since early morning and it’s not even ringing. Her dad said she never switched off”

“Wrong move” Kogberegbe said inaudibly.

Temitope Obasa is a young nigerian author. Although she studied science at graduate level, she discovered early her talent in writing and has since developed a vision around that. She has written a lot of scripts for stage and televison. Her first novel STROKES OF LIFE was published in 2009.

photo credit: google images

Boarding Tales ~ Episode XIV (Bosola’s Confessions)

african_lillies

****

“Madness! That’s what this whole business had to be.” I said a bit loud to myself after leaving Yewande’s bunk. I listened to the peal of the breakfast bell as it rang for the last time. I wasn’t hungry at all or better still I had no appetite for food. I wondered if that was part of the effects of becoming a witch.

I was beyond angry, I felt betrayed and manipulated. I had thought Yewande had made friends with me because she really wanted to. I really wanted to make her pay but I couldn’t think of anything that could be done, I was too worried about the implications of being a witch.

There were a lot of things I still didn’t understand about the dream I had and the woman I saw. I was sure Yewande could shed more light but I was determined not to talk to her. Not in this life or the after I hissed holding back tears.

*****

It should have been just a dream, that’s what I had expected it to be.  Why else would I have been washing the back of a strange woman at a stream?   It was supposed to be a mere dream, fearful but meaningless. The first unusual thing about the dream was that it had started and ended with the woman saying “Don’t be deceived, this is not a dream.”

There had been two Hyenas lying down on the grass behind the stream. She had talked about Wheat and how I was supposed to spread the grains once a week.She had smelled of musk and sandalwood; a smell that even in the dream had reminded me of the incense that Mom sometimes burns. My horror started when after I woke up, the smell of musk and sandalwood pervaded the whole room.

How could what should be a dream not be a dream? The question that kept ringing in my head up until the time Yewande called me to her bunk and broke the news to me. I had felt shock at first but understanding had followed. It was certain. My worst fear was confirmed. Bosola was now a witch.

I spent half of that Sunday thinking about the woman, wheat grains and Hyenas. A part of me thought about how it could be a blessing in part. I would be able to punish Slappy. Perhaps turn her into a mouse. I laughed at that loving the idea. I discarded the thought after reminding myself that I had no wish to be a witch. So what’s the way out? I asked myself. Later that day, an idea formed in my mind; something that could only be executed after the masquerade festival.

****

The day our parents and our accusers were to come, I dressed up as early as 5.00 am in readiness. Yewande woke up later than usual, perhaps because she knew she wasn’t going to be attending the class. I watched as she packed her bags and emptied her wardrobe. She gave her provisions away and I watched in disbelief as everyone scrambled to get some even the ones who had accused her of being a witch also collected. Aren’t they scared? I thought

I attended the morning assembly while Yewande stayed in the room. I would have advised her to attend if we were still talking. But since I was still very angry with her, I hadn’t been talking to her. It seemed she had noticed and had also stopped all forms of interactions with me.

I wasn’t afraid any longer. I was ready to face the guys. Their books and the money were even in my backpack, I intended to return to them and apologise. I knew this might spell trouble for me but for my plan to work out, I had to make my own conscience clear

****

I couldn’t concentrate in the class; I had never been able to. Even without the burden in my heart I wouldn’t have understood a word.

It was further mathematics; a subject I believed was for the heavenly beings. The best score I ever got in mathematics was 56 so I wondered how anyone would expect me to grasp further mathematics. What’s my business with dy dx for heaven’s sake? That was the question I had almost asked the teacher once when he told me to find the dy dx of a particular mathematical problem. I had thought better and to avoid problems simply told him I don’t know. It had never bothered me to be called a dullard, not then, not ever.

I tried to drown out the teacher’s voice with my thoughts but somehow it kept creeping in. I checked my watch amazed at how much time was gone already.

Where were my parents and the guys? I wondered. I was still thinking of this when someone walked into the class. I looked up immediately and met Toluse’s eyes as soon as I did. I wondered why he could turn cold so suddenly. A thought crossed my mind making me smile wryly. I looked intently at him as he spoke to the teacher and I noticed he was trying to change his posture every second. It seemed as though he could tell my eyes were on him. I knew getting Toluse back wouldn’t be an issue if I was interested. The teacher motioned for me to follow Toluse and heaving a sigh of relief I did.

We didn’t say a word to each other throughout our walk to the principal’s office. He entered his office with me and I wondered why he felt the need to do so.

*****

Yewande was seated with a woman who I presumed must be her mother. She reeked of wealth and class. She seemed angry but for some reason it looked like her anger wasn’t really meant for her daughter. I spotted mum and dad next; there was no emotion in their eyes. It wasn’t as if I was expecting them to be overjoyed at seeing me but I expected to see anger or disgust. The two guys we had met in the university were also seated on the left. It could have been a courtroom of some sorts with the pissed looking principal as the judge and Mr Adisa with the no nonsense look plastered on his face as the prosecuting lawyer. The only thing that would have been wrong with that court was that there were no defence lawyers.

The principal cleared his throat.

“Ahem….it’s good that the second odaran is here now. You girls have both had one week since this incident happened and none of you still deemed it fit to confess. I am very ashamed of you girls and more importantly of the disrepute that you have both brought this school into. You have shamed me and the decent teachers and students of this school. For this reason we have decided to punish you both. Yewande is a serial offender and although I hate to disappoint her Mom I am going to have to send her out of my school his time around.”

I glanced at Yewande and saw that she could as well have been a thousand miles away.

“As for Bosola,” the principal continued. “She would have to go on three weeks suspension.”

I heard my mum gasp mumbling Jesus.

“It’s painful to me that you girls have not confessed to stealing the properties of these gentle men. Since you have refused to own up to it, I would have no choice than to pay for their loss.”

“Sir, there will be no need for that.” I said

“I took those items and I’m ready to return them.”

“Bosola you did what?” My Mom screamed. “Lord have mercy, are you also a thief now?”

“Calm down woman”, my dad said. She looked at him and nodding her head she sat down.

“Sir,” I continued. “Before I return those items to them I would like to say here now before everyone and my parents that I do not wish to remain in this school.”

“What!!! Yewande screamed startling everyone. Bosola how dare you say that, have you forgotten Iye’s mandate?”

“I don’t care.”

“You have to!”

“You ladies should wait a minute, who and what is Iye?” The principal said

“Sir, that’s where I intend to go next, there is a lot to talk about sir and I’m glad we have our parents here and these two outsiders too. You have been living in a fool’s paradise sir. Today I’m ready to tell all.”

photo credit: google images

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