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

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As they drove back to the station, Kogberegbe pondered his next line of action, knowing the only way to further break the case would be illegal; and as much as he despised it, he knew that both Sangosina and Abu weren’t going to tell him all they knew just by interrogating them. Kogberegbe also decided that he was going to spend the night at the station, personally watching over the two culprits until he could find a trustworthy officer to keep watch over them pending their transfer to a proper prison as soon as they could find enough evidence to put them behind bars. Since he wasn’t sure if they still had moles within their branch, he wouldn’t would rather sacrifice his own comfort than risk another dead end…literally speaking. If he was to believe Sangosina, there were other people involved in the homicide; Kogberegbe intended to bring to the open all the information concerning them and bring them to justice or at least give the police all the evidence they would need to make the arrests.

At the station, he confirmed that Abu was still alive, though still unrepentant; then he locked up Sangosina in a cell in the opposite wing from Abu so as to bar any kind of communication between the two.

“We both know I won’t be in here for long” Sangosina said quietly to Kogberegbe

“We’ll see” He responded

“You don’t want to play this game” Sangosina said

“The earlier you wipe that smug look off your face and start telling me the names of those involved in this, the better for you.” Kogberegbe said angrily

“Won’t happen” Sangosina responded with a devilish smile

“Ronke was pregnant as at the time of her death…but you know that already don’t you? My hunch is that the baby is yours; what you probably do not know is that the paternity of the foetus can still be determined, and I’m arranging for your DNA sample to be taken as soon as possible. That at least ties you to the victim; and the already established fact that the murder was carried out by your security guard ties you tightly to the murder. You have a perfect motive to have wanted the child dead, especially since she was the daughter of an opposition politician. It would have been too scandalous and a killer to your career if the story had broken to the media. Well, here’s news for you…the information will still get out that you had illicit affairs with a minor. It will kill your political ambitions and tarnish the image of your party” Kogberegbe said through clenched teeth, not pausing for breath and when he was done, he noticed the smug look gradually disappearing from Sangosina’s face “Plus your guard made some incriminating confessions against you” Kogberegbe lied

“He could have been working on his own” Sangosina said “moreover, he won’t be there to corroborate your story will he?”

“I won’t even bother to ask how you knew about his death, but thanks for reminding me that attempted murder and accomplice to actual murder can be added to your case file while your boy Abu will go down for murder…oh, did I mention that I am going to make sure the court doesn’t hear your case for a looooong time? You won’t be eligible for bail, I will use the fact that you almost took off today against you; and in that period you’re waiting for your case to be heard, I’m going to make sure you’re locked up in a real prison where we’ll check to affirm that you have loyalists. You are going down for a really long time, that I can assure you” Kogberegbe finished and went to take a seat at a temporary desk arranged for him where he could monitor the hallway leading to both Sangosina and Abu’s cells.

He made arrangement for Sangosina’s DNA sample to be taken in the morning as soon as it can be arranged. He apologized for having to stress Dana so much, he knew there were other staff in the lab that can be used but there was no time for Kogberegbe to sift through them all to know which ones could be trusted or otherwise. Kogberegbe also confiscated the food that Sangosina brought for Sabo earlier in the night, it would also be tested for poison. Kogberegbe wanted to make sure that even if he couldn’t find enough evidence to nail him for Ronke’s murder, he would have a lot of other incriminating evidences that would give him maximum sentence. Kogberegbe stared at the phone, wondering if he should call Dr Okanlawon or not, he needed the connection that Doctor could offer, and he needed it quickly, so he decided to try his luck. Doctor picked his call on the first ring as if he’d been standing by for it. Kogberegbe moved away from the hallway.

“I’ve been expecting your call” Dr Okanlawon said, affirming Kogberegbe’s thought.

“Sorry it’s coming late sir” he said

“Was he really trying to run away when you got there?” Dr asked.

Not bothering to ask how he got the information, knowing all the players in the situation have eyes and ears all around, Kogberegbe simply said “Yes sir”

“Tell me everything detective, every single detail”
The time was already 2.A.M but Kogberegbe obliged, Dr was his client and he had every right to details.

When he was through, Dr said “He sounds guilty to me Detective. I want maximum sentence, what are you doing to make sure this happens? Should I call my lawyers?”

“Please calm down sir. That’s not the whole story sir; Sangosina is the prime suspect in the case but I have reasons to believe that there are other people involved sir”

“Others, you say?”

“Yes sir. But I am not yet privy to the information. I need to find means of breaking Sangosina, but I’m certain it’s not a thing your lawyers can do sir. He can also access god lawyers, and that is one thing I do not want him to do right now. He needs to see the insides of a real prison and he needs to be threatened, but to threaten him, we need to find his weak point, only then can he give us the information we need sir.”

“I’m well connected detective. I couldn’t  use my power to protect my daughter, I can at least use it to avenge her”

“I was hoping you’d say that sir” Kogberegbe responded

“I’ll call in favours with the Ministry of Interior and Civil Defence Board. You mentioned maximum security prison right?

Kogberegbe knew he didn’t mention maximum security prison but he wished not to argue so he said “Yes sir”

“It will be arranged. Prepare him for transport tomorrow”

“Yes sir”

“I thought he was a friend, detective…” Dr Okanlawon said, his voice trailing

“Yes sir” was all Kogberegbe could say for he couldn’t put himself in Doctor’s shoes. Losing a child is a grief comparable to none.

“We were neighbours” Doctor continued, getting himself back together “Trust me, I know one or two ways to threaten the man”

“That should come in handy sir”

Good job, detective. I am not disappointed”

“Thank you sir” Kogberegbe responded.

The first call Kogberegbe received the following morning was at 6:30 am from Dr. Okanlawon.

“Has there been any uproar there?” He asked straight up

“How do you mean sir?”

“Less is more, detective; you should know that. Anyway, I want to assume that some drama will unfold at the station. If my instincts are right, and knowing you, you’ll want to keep it under control; but allow it detective.”

“Sir…” Kogberegbe was about to argue but Dr Okanlawon was already off the phone.

At exactly seven a.m., a car recklessly entered the police station, stopping as abruptly as it had swerved in, such that the two uniformed men who were lurking around had to jump out of harm’s way. Without offering an apology, a derailed looking woman got out of the car, closely followed by another who seemed to be in charge of calming her down. Neither of them bothered to shut the car doors.

“Is Sangosina here?” she asked at the counter, obviously trying to calm herself, her left hand holding her wrapper from falling down though she made no attempt to tie it. Her “buba” was a different one from the wrapper even though her looks and carriage suggested high class. Kogberegbe was certain that something not too good must have befallen her to be reacting the way she did.

“ma’am, no one is…”

“Ha!” The woman screamed at the top of her voice, simultaneously stamping her right foot and bending her head in one direction “Ogbeni, you will feel the sting of a cobra if you don’t tell me at once where the bastard is! I have been to three stations this morning, searching for him before being directed here. Do I look like I’m here to play protocol?”

Kogberegbe suspected that this was Sangosina’s wife and that this scenario was what Doctor had called him about earlier on, so he motioned for the constable to allow them in. The constable barely finished –pointing in the direction of the holding cell when the woman stormed in without further wasting words. The hallway was dark as there was no electricity and since the DPO wasn’t around, no one saw reason why fuel should be wasted on electrifying the station.

“Kemisola, is that you?” Sangosina called out meekly and Kemi who was originally headed in the opposite direction, towards Abu’s cell, turned back towards the voice immediately.

“Ha! O o de ni s’orire iwo omokunrin yi. Ko ni daa fun e, ko de ni ye e kale…” she started raining curses on Sangosina.

“E ni suuru mummy Ewa” The second lady tried to placate her.

“Suuru bi ti bawo?” she asked, hissed and turned back towards Sangosina “Wo, Sangowande Sangosina, except I am not Kemisola, Kofoworola’s daughter in this land, I will make you regret the day you were born, gbabe! Se o mo pe omo ale ni e! if you are not a bastard and a coward, how come you didn’t inform your fellow child molesters that you call politicians, that immediately I heard about your evil acts, my children and I dissociated ourselves from you? Why are we having to pay for your sins???”

“What are you talking about?” Sangosina asked, obviously confused.

“Wo, I give you 24 hours gbako to locate the whereabouts of my children o. how you were so gullible to lead them to us, I would never understand. But ma fi ina omo jo mi o! if anything happens to either one of my children ehn, I promise you, all four children from your first marriage lo ma je Olorun nipe and I will make sure I support the lawyers in prosecuting you…” she beat her chest with the palm of her hand “emi kinni yi ni mo wi be. I have documents to put you behind bars for the rest of your life. I will finish you! You have not started!!” with those words, she turned to leave.

“Kemi, hold on a bit. None of these make sense” Sangosina said

The woman stopped in her tracks and turned back angrily “oh, I forgot, the reason why I know who they are is because they told me. They told me they gave you an assignment and you failed and that the fact that they have your children should be a warning to you. I wish they could just kill you and leave my children and I alone. After all you’re nothing but a worthless pig.” She concluded, tears flowing freely down her cheeks as her friend held her shoulders, nudging her out of the station.

Still in his vantage viewpoint, Kogberegbe watched as Kemi’s friend ushered her into the passenger seat without any resistance from the latter, as she herself took the steering.

Kogberegbe placed a call to Dana to know how soon she would arrive at the station for the DNA sample. She confirmed that she was twenty minutes out and that she understood when Kogberegbe tried to explain that he needed her to take the sample because he didn’t know who to trust.

Kogberegbe rallied some policemen in preparation to escort both culprits to separate maximum security prisons. Dr. Okanlawon had also ensured that some army officers would be present in each vehicle so as to avoid foul play since Kogberegbe would not move with the vans. Kogberegbe felt relieved when he heard the information, though he was also told that the men wouldn’t arrive until midday. Kogberegbe felt that was fine, since he was still expecting Dana for the sample. Kpgberegbe felt exhausted so he decided to go wash his face, certain that the stroll to the tap would do his cramped legs some good. It did. On his way back in, he noticed that there was only one constable at the counter.

“Where is Constable Gbemileke?” Kogberegbe asked

“He took the nurse to the cell sir”

“Which nurse?” Kogberegbe asked, frowning.

“For the DNA sample sir”

Kogberegbe’s frown deepened because he knew there was no way Dana would be referred to as “nurse’ and also because he wasn’t expecting her till at least twenty minutes more. Turning around, Kogberegbe doubled up towards the holding cell; he got to the hallway just as Gbemileke inserted the key into the cell’s keyhole.

“Stop at once” Kogberegbe ordered at the top of his voice. In a swift movement, the impostor dropped the small case he was carrying, stabbed Gbemileke and threw the knife in Kogberegbe’s direction. Kogberegbe docked, thankful that the man wasn’t a skilled thrower. The impostor attempted to open Sangosina’s cell but the key wouldn’t give, it must be the wrong one. Kogberegbe got back on his feet, called for help and in no time, the mass of policemen he had got together appeared in the hallway, trapping the man in there, as there was no other way out of the cell area.

The man was arrested and cuffed while Gbemileke was rushed to the hospital. Though the other constable claimed to have searched the impostor, Kogberegbe was furious because it definitely wasn’t properly done otherwise the knife would have been spotted. Further search revealed a syringe containing some fluid which Kogberegbe suspected was intended for Sangosina who visibly shivered in the cell. Every other thing in the briefcase looked genuinely like that of a lab scientist. As much as the police interrogated him, the man refused to say a word. Kogberegbe noticed that Sangosina was rattling so hard that he feared he might have an attack so he kept a close eye on him. Sangosina finally decided to sit on the floor, murmuring incoherently.

“Wickedness. Callous people” Kogebregbe heard Sangosina mumble. “It is true, so Kemi was right, they want me dead. It is done, finished”

By the time Dana arrived, all the strength appeared to be zapped from Sangosina’s body. Although he was cuffed and armed policemen lurked around as Dana took his blood, hair samples and saliva swab, Sangosina was cooperative on his own; he had obviously given up.

Dana took the food sample as well as the syringe brought by the assassin and headed back to her office.

“Please I am ready to make a confession” Sangosina beckoned to Kogberegbe “I hear your men talking about maximum prison, please don’t take me there, I will tell you all you need to know. I heard there are soldiers out there waiting for me”

“Yes,, we’re just waiting for the final go and you’ll be on your way. A few years with heatless criminals should loosen you up a bit”

“Please, honestly, I will talk. I will even give you a written statement with all the names of the people that are involved in this thing. Please just take me to a less severe environment”

“That’s not for me to decide.” Kogberegbe said to him, feigning a disinterested look.

Sangosina started sobbing like a child, mucor coming out of his nostrils. Kogberegbe mused at the irony of life; this was a man who exuded authority and scare, as fierce as a lion just a few days on, but now nothing more than a puppet.

Kogberegbe’s phone rang, he automatically picked it without checking the phone screen, as he’d done all morning.

“Yea?” He said into the mouthpiece

“Hi” said the voice that never ceased to sound sweet to his ears even at such a peak period in his investigation­ Lucy’s.

“I’m in the middle of something babe” He said softly

“Oh, ok. Sorry for disturbing, I’ll call later then”

“Alright then. Thanks”

Kogberegbe got the signal that the transportation would be set in twenty minutes; he gave a nod and told the policemen in charge to get ready.

“You can at least find my children?” Sangosina said desperately “You heard my wife, they don’t deserve to pay for my sins”

“Why should I help you?” Kogberegbe shrugged

“Please detective. I beg you in God’s name, this is not what you think it is. I didn’t kill Ronke”

“Yea, but you gave the order; and your boy did kill her”

“It is the devil’s handiwork, I swear!”

Kogberegbe laughed “That convenient statement again? It never ceases to amuse me”

“Honestly, Sabo wasn’t supposed to kill her. It was just supposed to be a threat” Sangosina continued; Kogberegbe stylishly switched on his recorder.

“You’ll be transported in ten” Kogberegbe said in an attempt to sound uninterested.

“Please help my kids!”

“You have nothing to offer me. As far as I’m concerned, the work I’m paid for is a wrap. I nailed the girl’s killer and the person who gave the direct order. That’s good enough for me”

“If you give me a pen and paper, I’ll write a full testimony. My wife has proof to substantiate all I will write.”

Ife Won Gbona by Kayode Faniyi (@il__Duce)

ife gbona

 

It should be impossible. Finding personal space within the turmoil, the tumult, that was the hostel area of the university campus at night should be impossible but the gravity of their engagement wove a cocoon around them. So feet sloshed noisily through mud, some clacked over tar and mouths yapped excitedly or solemnly and cars honked and revved recklessly and big speakers flung music far and wide and later flung voices selling products far and wide. But they were in their special cocoon deliberating on issues of the gravest importance. Thus the chaos slipped by them noiselessly on that night the sky banished the stars from its face.

She was the more comfortable of the two. This was her territory: it was the front of her hall of residence; he was trying to make incursions into her life. Every girl knew how to dance that dance by instinct. For three weeks, she had led him in that dance, inviting without inviting, dismissing without dismissing. She had boxed herself into a corner however when she had unwittingly put a deadline to a concrete response. It had to have fallen out of its own volition because as soon as she had uttered “three weeks,” she had wished she hadn’t. It really was an open-and-shut thing, but the thrills of the delay were the fun. And like any CEO worth his salt cuts costs, he had tried to cut the time, because it really was open-and-shut. But you never know till you take the plunge.

She would interject briefly, and watch the perplexity jump into his eyes, like: wasn’t this already obvious? She’d pull a poker face and he’d be forced to ramble, she half-listening, he jittery, tentative, on unfamiliar, treacherous terrain. The jitters were a sight for her twinkling eyes, the ramble music to her ears. And as the clouds shifted to reveal the crescent remains of a giraffe-chomped moon, in the open seclusion of their special cocoon, she finally brought the dance to a halt, fearing that the monotony might scare him away. That perplexity again. He sought clarification, dreams no strangers to uttering illusions. She proclaimed the monosyllable clearer and it flared like New Year’s Day fireworks through his night. Crack! Crackcrackcrack! Crackcrack!

“Yes! She said yes!”

Response, in coming, was swift.

“Who said yes? That girl abi?” replied a Facebook friend whose name he had been too thrilled to register.

“What girl?” he teased, “My mum finally agreed to send me some money.”

“You’re an idiot.”

He had even forgotten to at least hug her, or how do they react to these sorts of events anyway? Wheeling away, in glee or not, certainly wasn’t one of the more acceptable reactions. But he had heard her laughter fly after him as he wheeled away. She had put him through hell!

To love was one heckuva thing. They had been friends, good friends for the past couple of months, after having bumped into each other volunteering for work during NASS week – an annual avenue for the union of science students to jamboree and as an afterthought, learn. She had been in Refreshments and he, in smartly tucked-in black white over black, had been manning the aisles as one of Protocol at Conference Centre, venue of the annual NASS Week Lecture. Professor Lamikanra, the pharmacist-poet had been delivering his keynote speech as the Special Guest of Honour – the title and content of which scant attention had been paid to – when he stopped, declared that the hall was a congress of chatter and proceeded to walk out – unprecedented in any annals of Ife history.

He had been busy stealing glances at the smiling girl close to the entrance, where the refreshments stall had been set. Her fringe bounced on her forehead and her bangle-like earrings danced beneath her ears as she dashed from cupping punch to allotting assorted pastry to serving trays. Her lithe frame, itself framed by a snug powder blue T-shirt and black form-fitting jeans, was unburdened by any of those extravagances of protrusions men were wont to lust after. He hung back to clear the mess the professor’s untimely departure had caused and later on managed to find himself in her general direction by happenstance. Total happenstance.

She was in the same department as he, he learnt, only a year lower. And since the students in the department were mammoth, it was plausible that neither had ever set eyes on the other in at least two years.

That stuffy academic – who the devil does he think he is, leaving a public lecture midway? What if they were making noise? Were they primary school pupils? Those are the ones required to keep mum. Nonsense. Better things to talk about anyway. Cooking was her favourite hobby, no? The way she was flying up and down back there… Nah, she just loves organizing stuff. She’s quite the cook though. Just the wafting past of the aroma of her cuisine and Lazarus would come forth… no, kick the tomb down at about the second day, no Jesus needed. No kidding. Hysteria! She got jokes. Take it easy, bro. Actually, her hobby was singing and she had once considered a career in music but a grimly determined lecherous producer had swung her off that course. Sad. His own hobby was reading. Oh? She loved to read too. And to write? Well, past her diary, not really. Well, he pretends to write poems and stuff like that. Poems,huh? Funny how he said pretend to write but had he ever read Telephone Conversation by Wole Soyinka? Oh yes, he had read it and God, the cheek of Kongi. West African sepia, peroxide blonde palms, plain or milk chocolate complexion… God, hilarious and yes, served that racist so-and-so right. No, he was only twenty-six, the hair would have been raven black then, just like his friction-blackened bottom, not the flamboyant sporangiophores of these days. She’s quite the delight; she wouldn’t mind if he asked for her number, no? Sure. Zero-eight-zero-three-eight-zero-six-five-zero-nine-zero. She didn’t care much for people saying “o” for zero – it’s a digit, c’mon. It’s crazy what the telecoms companies around here put them through, he’s calling her line right beside her and he’s getting “not available at the moment.” It’s crazy, maybe he should just reel out his number. Okay. With what name should he save the number? NASS Week girl. Laughter. Lade, actually. Oh, fine, his cousin, twice removed, pretty beautiful, just like her, answers Lade too. Oh, what a coincidence. Lades are typically fine. Are they now? What’s his name, by the way? Bisola. Shucks. Androgynous. Well, his mother and all… but forget all that, she has a wonderful. You flatterer. Thanks anyway. Phone call. She has to run now, but it’s been nice meeting him. Later. Headlamps.

What had followed was a great friendship, nine months of it, nine months of which they could not have been separate for more than four months, adjusting for inconsequential stuff like sleep, personal time and separate classes. They were a poster couple in denial, the department concluded, when upon enquiry they would deny dating.

Two weeks into the tenth month, he had stuttered through “I think it’s time we take our friendship to the next level.” Fucking chore. And the conniving nanny-goat had pretended that he was speaking Obahiagbon. “What do you mean the next level?” What did she think? Instead, he had struggled over the great detail of presenting their history to their present and the prospects of their future together, plus, he really, really loved her. And next to breakfast… and maybe lunch… maybe dinner too, she was the best thing he had known for the past nine months, Honest to God. She hadn’t bought the sales pitch; she bought time instead. Internal bedlam; external discomfiture.

But she had finally said yes. There had been times his faith had flagged but the wait hadn’t petered out to dashed dreams. The wait paid off. Good things, he had read somewhere, come to those who wait. Like tips.

And like all lovers who had newly sought each other out, they had begun a fevered voyage of discovery. Of the next five months, perhaps four they spent together or something that unbelievable. Linked by fingers, they attended theatrical productions and concerts and whatever was on at the fabled Amphi. Soon they sought privacy and reduced their retinue of friends to a retinue of two. Soon, they started to kiss, she dogging his hands’ just so they did not roam to restricted areas. Soon, the restrictions were lifted and with that, the need arose to seek out crevices, nooks, crannies, to exacerbate each other’s raging passions, always stopping short of one last film of barrier.

Then she had proceeded on Industrial Attachment while he prepared to graduate. The brewery gig had been facilitated by Tola, a best friend before that boy came along to knock her down a few pegs. Tola’s mother had a friend who had another friend who owed the initial friend a favour; and IT placement? Blob of cream.

And there, she had been besieged by men and boys: sophisticated old men who knew well how to railroad a girl into seeing things their way, and passionate boys besotted by beauty who wheedled assiduously till she gave them some audience, any audience at all. At Ijebu-Ode, on the premises of GrapeHop Breweries, she had come to realize the enormous power accorded her by erm… which one administers beauty – was it Aphrodite or Venus now? There had even been a boy who didn’t mind playing second fiddle to the boyfriend she told him about – he just wanted to be called hers too! She had given a few things a long hard thought… and no, she loved him – the poor him back at school – head over heels… or so, but… could one love two… should one love two? She perished the thought.

Back in school, he had transformed into a painstaking burrower and grub-worm going through the pages of the internet and fat books, ferreting out any information relevant to penicillin resistance in bacteria. Penicillin had essentially become a useless anti-bacterial agent – you learnt that in Year Two. Bacteria, pluckier than every folk tale tortoise put together, had found the means to thwart Fleming’s noble efforts – like manufacturing the enzyme Penicillinase – by digesting Penicillin. He and a group of twelve others had isolated Staphylococcus species from all manner of sources, most cringe-worthy of which were roaches immersed in test tubes of nutrient broth and swabs of pig poo. Scientists must however soldier on without relent or disgust and so they had completed isolation and characterization, and finally subjected the scrutiny-survivors to antibiotic sensitivity tests to determine what antibiotic and which does of that antibiotic might work or not. “Your lot,” drawled Dr Ahmed, bespectacled and perennially worn out, “falls on Penicillin.”

Penicillin did not have his full attention however. There was Mary – the buck-toothed beauty, ebony but for her teeth, a classmate over at Dr Asiwaju’s lab. There was Itunu in Year Two Microbiology whose eyes smoked volumes and volumes of naked lust. There was Abiodun in Professor Imole’s lab, whose innocence and Christian piety was so alluring he wanted to rid her of them. But he loved her – the her on IT – and why the hell was he harbouring crushes for three different girls when it was as obvious as the sun where his heart lay? He perished the thought. His heart went to Lade, wherever she was, and he thought that boys might be feeling towards her the way he was feeling towards these other girls, and thought that older men might presently be executing schemes to lay their grubby mitts on her, and became overcome by an animal rage he had to stand still for minutes on Motion Ground to repress. Mongrel snarl.

Heck, he had to suppress raging jealousy when she as much as talked to any other boy whilst they were together. Jealousy was that concept the extent of which he’d only been exposed to soon as the right combination and amount of chemicals signalled he was in love with Lade. It was fashionable to claim one didn’t get jealous, and that jealousy was for the emotionally craven. But, could love be and jealousy be absent? Perhaps, if there were no proprietary instincts… Light bulb. That could be the subject of a poem Ayn Rand would find absolutely abhorrent, reject and denounce stronger than she did Kant.

One Small Step for a Man
by Bisola Sotade.

If there were no proprietary instincts:

Breakups wouldn’t be messy;
  hearts wouldn’t break – for
I wouldn’t own you,
  or try,
  nor would you me.
Our children will be our children;
  one for all
  and all for one.
One small step for every man
  would truly be giant leaps
  for all of mankind.
You wouldn’t scythe me down from lofty height
  because you’d tower,
  you’d soar high as I.
Leaders wouldn’t be corrupt;
  the saner isms, who knows,
  might even work!
There would be no selves to serve;
   dining would be collective.
There would finally be rationale
   for the existence
   of words like “perfect”, “utopia”, “ideal”, “love”.
Skin colour would be just that –
   different shades of one
   not criterion –
   to accept or to deny…

…If there were no proprietary instincts.

And then she came back to school, two-month attachment over, and all was well, no word, not one, about the icebergs marginally missed.

That night, they had found a crevice, this time a building in construction, well off the civilization of possible intruders – past the Sports Centre, past the banks and set back some fifty metres off the long stretch of Road One. Rumour had it that the building was to house a research centre or so, but its completion, as usual, had been put on hold for very long. They set at each other with a vengeance. They kissed and groped and sucked and shed excessive skin like defoliating snakes and fell to love, she grasping the frame of a window, he grasping her waist, thrusting gently from behind and sometimes working his hands up to ply her small breasts topped by nipples that stood out like twin minarets over a domed mosque. He had been in heaven, his face a picture of vagina-wrought ecstasy. In her case, “God, I’m getting fucked and I love it!” she blurted, amidst moans and moans and moans. God sighed: one more set of prematurely humping human in the habit of invoking His Holy Name in the middle of this sweet – He made it; He knows – but untimely therefore unholy act. He – Bisola – had chuckled at her new-found candour, whispering (and kissing) the fact into her ears. And when the deed had been done, she cried. For innocence forever bid bye, she cried. For new waters that demanded navigation, she cried. For a vow of celibacy she in a flight of Christian fancy had taken, she cried. She cried, for now she wouldn’t come to marriage unsoiled. He patted her back and she cried on his chest and he thought: Damn! that was good!

And wearing a moulding blue gown over an impeccably snug black suit over a pink-and-white chequered shirt and a sleek slim black tie, he was convoked, and it was time to leave her once again and hope against hope, in their deep of deeps, that distance would hold, rather than break. Back at his hotel room residence, the goodbye had taken all night. There was sweat, and tears, and seminal fluid; and sweat and tears and seminal fluid, and sweat and tears and seminal fluid. Till they were spent. Utterly.

And while he was gone, she’d missed their bodies locked, writhing in that enduring struggle. She’d missed the aimless strolls into the night, the pretentious star-gazing like scenes leaping from pages of formula romance. She’d missed his idiotic prancing, or what he must have felt was dancing. She’d missed his jokes. She’d missed the seduction – trailing kisses over her face, teasing her lips till she at last fell in step with his lust. She’d missed the conferences about the portents of the future, those enormous eyes of his poring over every inch of her face, the beauty of the twin brown probes unnerving and comforting at once. You didn’t want to be staring into those eyes up close. And she’d thought: Oh, if only he were here, he’d know what to say and his eyes and lips, well, they’d settle the business. But he wasn’t and she’d thought… and there were boys, tons of boys, from the downright despicable to the downright desirable… and they weren’t going away… and she thought. What love was this that permitted the prospect of others? And so on the battle raged in her lithe frame, weighing on her mind, and unsettling her heart like that day a year or so ago she’d fallen in love with him.

He’d come back. She’d been glad, ecstatic even. He’d been gone for six months, pre-NYSC call-up work. For one week, they’d stuck to each other like a dog stuck in a bitch, rolling back the months, catching up on lost company… the coitus too. The phone calls, the messages weren’t it, never could be. There was nothing like the medium of presence. There was nothing like seeing the reckless laughter as it spilled forth from both their mouths, or the smiles the voices over the telephone hinted at. There was nothing like kissing the kisses they crudely mimicked over the phone.

He always understood. God, she loved that expression: “I get, Lade. I understand.” Then they’d forget whatever it was that was the problem. She’d finally opened up to him about her IT travails. “Communication is key among couples,” he’d say. So she told him how sorely tempted she had been and he had understood. “It’s human nature. The important thing is you passed the test.” And they had forgotten about it. He hadn’t bothered to tell of his own temptations – what was the point?

The cosmos had to have thrown a party. Several stars struggled to outwinkle themselves and the full moon beamed the full force of its dull ambience over the world, and the lovers silently contemplated their love. He sat swinging his legs absently, his hands tangled in her hair, looking down at her, a smile plastered on his face, and she lay on his laps twiddling her thumbs, staring up at the partying cosmos, her hair a mass of brown, synthetic untidiness. Desires had been sated earlier; now, satiation pushed silence to beg contemplation.

He’d understand. He always does. All she needed to do was just broach it and broach the topic she would. He would understand.

“Bisola,” she murmured, “I,” tentative, “I want to break up.”

Silence. Astonishment. Sombre procession of memories before his eyes. Memories lived: The promises of forever. The poems and longass love letters. The passion of loving, the rapture of sex. The public dinners. The furtive fiestas. Memories unlived: He tuxedo-clad, she in virginal-white, the unruly silence, the eternal wait for the time allotted to reservations to pass without event. Kids – two boys and two girls meandering over the lawn. The holidays. The getaways. The joint accounts, the jointly owned businesses… the jointly earned acclaim.

Animal rage snarled at the betrayal of love, at the audacity to embark upon the betrayal of love. The jarring bareness of the building suddenly became forbidding. The surrounding darkness of the semi-forest suddenly became forbidding. She looked lovingly into his eyes waiting to hear the soothing “I understand”, waiting for the inevitable inquiry which she’d satisfy satisfactorily. Out of her sight, the fingers of his right hand curled round a stone and grasped it tightly.

You’ve probably heard the sentiment expressed before, that there exists only a thin, semi-permeable membrane separating love and hate. You’ve probably heard of how quickly that membrane can be dissolved, given the right conditions. Love, like blood, a homogenous muddle ultimately separable into love and hate, like blood and serum. Love and hate: two extremes of one spectrum united in cyclic oneness. Love and hate: one the ying, the other the yang. Love and hate: the seeds of one contained in the other’s height. The British writer, Will Self, once wrote: “Love and hate are intimately comingled.” In order to hate, one will surely have loved first.

His left hand tightened around her chest like a clamp around a slab of wood. He struck. Surprise muted her for several seconds.

The frogs and crickets that previously lay quiet in the enveloping darkness kicked off in horror at the ferocity of the blows and the frightening yelps of pain. Her screams mingled with their cacophonous chorus of horrific chirps and croaks to create music suited to blackness. She struggled and bit and thrashed. His resolve, however, had become iron.

 The writer is on twitter as @il_duce . Check out some of his other works on his blog.  http://kayodefaniyi.wordpress.com/

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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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?”

 

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