This will be the last time……….

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“This will be the last time.” She decided blinking back tears as she alighted from the Okada.

“ I am never going to do this again.”

“ahn ahn, when it’s not a curse or something. I have to be wise because this thing oo, it’s me that it will affect in the future not him.”

She was mad at herself at her carelessness and lack of judgement. She kept criticizing herself as she walked to the building. She didn’t have to do a five minute walk, she could have made the Okada stop in front of the house but she was too ashamed to do so. What if he knows what young girls come here to do? She had thought.

The gate was always open; it was as though the Doctor liked to think he was operating a standard hospital or Clinic. Yes there was a Clinic in the compound; a place where women who needed their babies came to give birth but she was sure the other thing he did inside his living quarters was his major source of income. It wasn’t like she had ever met another girl there in all the times she had been coming but she knew he had a long list of clientele. A list that included even married women. Dr Kilani was popular in the town. He was the top pick if you needed to kill a foetus or embryo as the case may be.

She held the duffel bag close to her chest, almost as if it were a weapon to defend herself with. She prayed in her heart that the Doctor’s wife won’t be the one to open the door. You would think the woman would respect her husband’s clients since it was a major source of their income; instead she seemed to have perfected the art of throwing disdainful looks. The last time she was there to kill a foetus; the one she had nipped in the bud so early it was almost as if it had never been there. The Doctor’s wife had thrown her big stomach in her face as if to say; “look, some of us allow it to grow”. She hadn’t thought too much of it then, not until later. All that went through her mind that day was how Dr Kilani could kill developing babies when he also had one on the way. Didn’t things like that attract Karma?

That day however, she heaved a huge sigh of relief as she saw that Dr Kilani was the one who opened the door. She saw a baby’s Cot just behind the door and almost said “Nice Cot”, so lovely” but she caught herself realising it won’t be appropriate given the circumstances.

“Folake, please I need about five minutes so I can finish this match. I hope you don’t mind?” He added with a smile.

“No, I don’t.” She replied.

Of course she didn’t mind. The same way she hadn’t minded when Tade told her he couldn’t follow her to the Doctor’s place because he had to watch the match, the same one the Doctor was watching.

She kept her eyes on the Cot thinking of how she would love to have something like it for her baby whenever she got married.

A creeping sadness washed over her at the thought.

Why can’t I keep this baby? she thought. “Maybe she would be really beautiful, my brother’s children are, it must be in the blood.”

But then she knew why she couldn’t keep the baby. The society didn’t expect her to have kids yet, she was supposed to be a good girl, face her studies and remain a virgin till her wedding night.

“Will you prefer to lie down on the examination couch so you can relax before the procedure?”

“No Doctor. I am fine.”

“Good.” He replied.

Procedure, procedure, procedure. She repeated over and over in her head. It’s a procedure and then tomorrow I will be me again. I will go home and no one will ever know I was pregnant.

I should just get up and leave now, she thought knowing she couldn’t. But this will be the last time. She told herself again clenching her teeth at the thought. I should write that in my Bible so that I will keep the promise.

“Oh crap. I know that doesn’t help.  Didn’t I write in it that I will never miss my quiet time?”

*****

“The match’s over. We can go in now.”

“Ok” She replied.

“What were the scores?” She asked glancing at the TV.

“1-0”

“Who won?”

“Liverpool”

Oh Karma is such a fast bitch. Tade was a Chelsea fan. Now she was sure she wasn’t going to be the only one suffering.

She followed him into the room. The neatness of the room never ceased to strike her. She also always wondered if it was the Doctor’s wife that cleaned it or if he did it himself. It was like any standard hospital room. White washed walls, a drip stand, an examination couch, the reclining chair he used for the “procedures” and a high stool that he sat on while performing them. She dropped the poly bag that contained the usual items that she brought with her in a corner of the room; a bottle of bleach and a big sachet of detergent. One thing was certain; his wife was never going to run out of detergent and bleach.

She lay on the reclining chair, she had come prepared; a free flowing dress that would ensure she didn’t have to expose her body more than necessary. She rested her back, lifted up her knees and then parted her legs. She was ready; Dr Kilani had full access now.

She closed her eyes as she heard him move towards the high stool that was placed just between her legs. She heard every sound even though she wished she could tune them out. She exhaled deeply as he parted her thighs knowing it was going to start anytime now.

She winced as he inserted whatever it was that he always inserted into her cervix. She had never looked at his instruments. She saw them but never really saw them. They were always too disturbing for her to look at. She kept her eyelids shut tightly and her teeth clenched together as she felt him begin to scrape.

 “This would end soon”. She thought. “This is not like the first time. That was a nightmare.” She didn’t like to think of it but the memories always came back every time she was in the room undergoing the “procedure”.

They had been more than careless, she in particular. She hadn’t even realised she was pregnant until she was three months gone and then they had used every drug they managed to hear of but the foetus only continued to grow, She had taken injections too from a Nurse that lived down her street. When that too didn’t work, she had started doing all the things that were supposed to make a pregnant woman lose her baby only hers didn’t plan on going anywhere. And then finally a week to her fifth month she had discovered Dr Kilani. When he examined her he had said just two sentences.

“Tricky”

“It’s doable.”

He had then given her drugs, told her to lie down and did something that gave her stomach spasms and made her leak amniotic fluid. Come back after twenty-four hours he had said. By the time she came back, she was having what he had called contractions and then he had made her push the foetus out.

“It would have been a girl.” he had said asking if she wanted to see it. She had shaken her head and then he had cleaned her up and gone somewhere for about thirty minutes. She had guessed he went to dispose the foetus but she had never asked. It had been a horrible time, she had bled for days and had to go back to the Doctor who told her there were pieces of tissue left in her. That was the first time he did the scraping thing and then less than 10 minutes later, she was good as new.

She had never forgotten, the memory remained in her head and even now as she tried to stop herself, she couldn’t help the tears from falling.

This has to stop. This would be the last time. She said aloud as Doctor said; “We are done. You are good to go.”

“Interesting.” He replied. “The last time? Well if you say so.”

She hurriedly put her panties on; dropping the 10,000 naira she had told her Mom was for some advanced level practical on the Couch she had been lying on.

“I mean it Doctor.”

“I am not arguing Folake but you and I know you would be back. Your type always come back.”

She ignored his words and hurried out of the room.

“Don’t forget to use your antibiotics.” He called after her. “We don’t want you to have issues getting pregnant again.”

She heard him but ignored him again.

“This will be the last time. I will see to it.”

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?”

 

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

 

 

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Another aspect of the story he couldn’t shake was the double life the girl lived. That could be an important lead he was omitting.  What if she and not her father had made a strong enough enemy to get her killed?

Kogberegbe double checked his house security system and drove out of his garage. His car, like his favorite jeans, was well used.

As he sped along the deserted road, he leisured in the cool breeze and absence of traffic jam. The car stereo was blaring a rock song that helped to get him in the swing of things. Anyone who saw him at this time would not have the faintest idea he was a detective. This suited Kogberegbe fine, the more his true identity remained hidden, the better his chances of penetration during tough cases.

By the time Kogberegbe got to the Okanlawons’ estate, his mind was clear and set to analyze the task at hand. His first few stops were to the Okanlawons’ neighbours. He needed outsiders’ view of the family as there could be things Dr. Okanlawon wouldn’t want Kogberegbe to know, because of his reputation. When he got to the first house, he was glad he’d decided to set out early.

Making a living in Nigeria, especially in some densely populated cities, meant leaving the house before day break, and a surety of not making it back home till very late at night. Kogberegbe watched as the mom scolded the older of their two children to move fast as they were running late. It was just 5:45am. The father gave Kogberegbe a look that said he wasn’t welcome at this time at all. He shook hands with Kogberegbe reluctantly and his wife checked the time while the two children looked sleepy and cold. Kogberegbe assured the man he would only take a while.

“Sure” The neighbour, Mr. Adamson said.

“I assume you’re aware a murder was committed in this neighbourhood yesterday” Kogberegbe said

“Yeah, heard. It’s unfortunate but I’m sure if there’s a way we could be of help, we will”

“Did you hear or see anything out of the ordinary in the early hours of last night?” Kogberegbe asked

“Not at all. Judging by the number of hours I put into my work, you wouldn’t blame me for sleeping like a log, which is what I do. Moreover, the Okanlawon’s house is two houses away. There’s a low probability I hear an occurrence in my own house, much less theirs” Adamson said, smiling humorously.

“Understandable. Do you have a night guard?”

“No. we just moved in and still trying to get our own footing” Adamson said

Kogberegbe surveyed the building “How well do you know the Okanlawons?”

“I’m afraid, not much” Adamson sighed “Almost everyone in this estate work hard and barely notice one another. We’re all hardly ever at home- with the exception of some housewives. But from what I know, Dr. Okanlawon and his family are a polite bunch. They were really warm and welcoming when we moved in and though we don’t see much of one another, I know them to be a good family”

“Do you think Dr. Okanlawon might have some strong enemies?”

Adamson gave a weak smile “Don’t we all have enemies?  As for strong ones, you’ll have to ask him because I’ve not seen or heard about him getting on many people’s wrong side- not Dr.”

“What about Ronke, Dr Okanlawon’s daughter?”

“She was a warm girl. Pity she got unlucky with fate, whoever did it must be insane. The girl would never hurt a soul. She was easy going, smiled radiantly and would greet from afar, even if you didn’t see her. We’ve heard people say they would want their children to have her kind of spirit. She mostly stayed indoors and if she had to go out, must get back home before eight pm. That’s about all I know of her, mostly gathered from what others say about her in the estate”

“Thanks, you’re been of great help” Kogberegbe lied.

“Glad I could” Adamson said, shaking Kogberegbe’ hand again before Kogberegbe passed him his complementary card

“Just in case anything comes to your mind which you have omitted, or you see anything unusual, please give me a call”

“Sure” Adamson said, walking Kogberegbe to the gate and opening it wide for his car’s passage

“Sorry I took your time. Bye” Kogberegbe said.

 

Kogberegbe interviewed some more families but didn’t get any new information. Everyone believed Ronke and her parents didn’t keep late nights. No one thought Dr. Okanlawon could have an enemy that would hate him so much as to hurt him. This left Kogberegbe retracing his steps to his starting point- Dr. Okanlawon’s gateman. Musa looked like his world had fallen apart. Kogberegbe doubted that he had his bath or even slept at all.

“Oga, that one, not froblem” Musa responded when Kogberegbe pointed it out to him “I no haffy”

“Well, you shouldn’t be. You were sloppy with your work and someone got killed” Kogberegbe said bluntly

“Thank you oga.” Musa replied with a smile, apparently without comprehension “Madam no well again. Oga carry  madam go hosfital por morning. Oga sep pit no stay again. To kill me right”

“You shouldn’t talk that way Musa” Kogberegbe said, trying to calm him down “You don’t deserve to be killed, even though you made some mistakes. What you can do now is to help me find the girl’s killer”

“Ah, oga, I want now!” Musa said as if he was offended that Kogberegbe thought he wouldn’t help “Me not haffy”

“So, let’s start from here” Kogberegbe said, leading Musa to a bench even though Musa was bent on punishing himself to death. “Musa, I want you to relax okay?”

“I okay” Musa said unconvincingly.

“Now Musa, I want you to think deeply” Kogberegbe said.

“yes sir” Musa replied

“Was there any time during the day that you left the house?”

“Lept?me I no lept the house anytime. Pood sep, na when pood seller come to me, I buy pood, chof am por oppice there” Musa said, pointing to the gatehouse that now housed a new gateman

“Okay, so tell me about yesterday, starting from the morning, what did you do all day?”

“I not do flinty. I not even chof” Musa said miserably.

“Then you must have heard when the glass was broken” Kogberegbe prodded and Musa looked even more miserable, silent and not catching Holme’s glance. Kogberegbe’ heart started beating faster. “There’s something you aren’t telling me right? “ At this, a tear rolled down Musa’s face “Talk to me Musa, help me find this killer, then at least Ronke can be avenged and you can find some peace”

“I drunk” Musa said in a small voice

“You got drunk?” Kogberegbe asked, to which Musa nodded. “Why and how? Tell me about it”

“I not know how to drunk bepore. My wipe por billage I want marry, they marry her to give another ferson” Musa stated feebly

“Okay, go on”

“I not haffy. My priend not like me not haffy and say to helf me”

“So, your friend helped you by getting you drunk?”

“It do good. I drunk and I sleef and I wake and only headache, I not thinking flinty about my wipe again because apter I wake, not long, oga or madam come and work start again”

“So, you got drunk and slept off all through the day till when your boss got back?” Kogberegbe said bewildered

“Yes oga”

“While you were drunk, do you realize anyone could have sneaked  in to lay all the pathway that made the murder easy?”

“Sir?”

“Never mind. How long have you been doing this…drinking to stupor I mean?”

“I not drunk to anywhere o oga, na just here por my oppice”

“Ok, how long have you been drinking? When did this start? Yesterday? Last week?”

“Not last week, another week”

“You mean week before the last?”

“Last last week?”Musa said nodding

“So, who’s this friend that introduced you to drinking?”

“Sabo, na Sabo. He gateman there” Musa said pointing at their neighour’s house, separated by bush “My priend, Sabo is. Me I bring Sabo prom home por North, tell oga there” He pointed again at the building “I gibe am gateman, Sabo good strong man prom my billage. He come and he become gateman, we good priend”

“I see. So you have a close relationship with this Sabo. Ok, on the night of the murder, where was Sabo?”

“Aah, me no know. Sabo always inside por night”

 

“Alright then. I guess I’ll have to talk to your friend. Musa, when was the last time you ate?” When Musa continued to look at him blankly, Kogberegbe added “food”

“Oh pood? Me no want pood. They hang me, kill me”

“No Musa, you don’t deserve to be hanged. I want you to find something to eat. You’re good to me alive than dead okay?”

“Me no want pood” he insisted

“But I want you to okay? Please” Kogberegbe stood firm and Musa kept quiet, averting his face. Kogberegbe headed for the neighbour’s compound. He’d been there earlier that morning but didn’t learn anything different from what others had to say. Though Kogberegbe greatly doubted that the murderer lived in the neighbourhood, it was his job to explore all possibilities. The killer might have had some help which could be anyone in the neighbourhood. Or at the least, Sabo might have been awake and witnessed something while Musa was in drunken sleep.

Sabo didn’t look too pleased at the sight of Kogberegbe.

“You come bepore” Sabo said, in the same adulterated English with which Musa spoke, not masking his displeasure to see Kogberegbe.

“I know I have been here before. There’s been a recent development and I’m afraid I have to question you again if you don’t mind”

“Oga e not like disturb. He want to go out not long now…”

“Never mind, I’m not here to see your boss” Kogberegbe cut in, studying Sabo’s features while he spoke with him. Sabo was very dark skinned like the other gatemen in the neighbourhood, typical of northerners; but he didn’t look half as fragile as the other men. Sabo was averagely built and about 5’9. He also carried a cool expression that convinced Kogberegbe that Sabo drank regularly. From his facial features, he also smoked a great deal.

 

 

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

imagesCA5L3OIL

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 IX)

 bosola

“Bosola Adesegun, Yewande Olutola, come out here now.”

My heart skipped a beat and I glanced furtively towards Yewande’s bunk. She was brushing her hair seemingly oblivious of the problem at hand. I swallowed hard still contemplating whether to go outside to meet Mr Adisa or simply hide under the bed.

“If I have to call you girls the third time, I would come inside to drag both of you out .” I glanced around taking in the several pairs of eyes that were alternating between Yewande and I and decided to leave the room.

I walked out of the dormitory listening to the platter of several feet following me.

“Kneel down there,” he said as soon as I stepped outside

Yewande Olu……..

Yewande walked out before he could finish calling her name and without a word leaned on a pole in front of the hostel, I looked at Mr Adisa expecting him to ask her to kneel down too but he acted as if he didn’t see the defiant stance of Yewande and just asked us both to follow him.

I knew without doubt that our offence would have something to do with our disappearance the previous evening.

“Who could have reported us?” My mind went to Slappy, “it would be a good way to revenge, wouldn’t it?” I mused. I also thought of Toluse and wondered if someone had told him I didn’t spend the night in the school. “Can Toluse be vindictive enough to report me?”

My fear increased when I realized we were heading for the principal’s office. We entered the office and I saw the principal. He was dressed in a white Jalabia, he was unshaven and his pupils were red. “Okay, this is really serious.” I thought. The principal visited the school once in three months and he had been around the previous day so I knew whatever it was that brought him must be very grievous.

He ignored our chorused “good morning sir” and pointed directly at us;

“So where did you young ladies sleep last night?”

“In our dormitory sir,” Yewande replied

You, you ehn,” the principal said pointing a finger menacingly at Yewande, “you just resumed from suspension and you have started again. I will teach you a great lesson this time around, I promise you.”

“Now what is your name?” he asked turning towards me

“Bosola.”

“Bosola kini?”

“Bosola Adesegun”

“Bosola Adesegun, I understand you are a new student and you just joined us in this secomd term. I know you won’t want to disappoint your parents so I want you to reply me truthfully, where did you girls spend the night?”

I turned towards Yewande and replied in a shaky voice; “Where she said we did sir”.

“Where she said?”

“Are you okay?”

“Do you think this is a joke?” The principal bellowed

“No sir, it’s the truth sir, we slept in the dormitory.”

“Can you get your room mates to testify to that?”

“Sir, everyone hates me, no one will testify in my favor”

“Okay, since you girls have no truth in you I will have to show you this.”

He handed a printout to each of us. I glanced at Mr Adisa irritated at the look of righteous indignation plastered on his face.

I read the e-mail, re read it and glanced at Yewande, there was a bored look on her face as if she couldn’t care less. My mind was in a turmoil and I kept imagining what my mum’s reaction would be  if she heard about what just happened. But first I wanted to slap Yewande, she was supposed to be the more experienced and smarter one between us, yet she was the one who made the dumb mistake of leaving her prefect tag in the guys’ apartment.

“Sir, I don’t know anything about the missing items”, I said turning to the principal

“Young lady, I don’t understand you, are you finally admitting that you didn’t sleep in your dormitory last night?”

“Yes sir, we didn’t sleep in the school.”

I realized it was useless to continue lying, the e-mail had all the evidence they needed, Yewande had forgotten her prefect tag in Sylvester’s room. The tag had her name, and the school’s name printed boldly on it so it.  Yewande hadn’t been the only stupid one. I had also made the mistake of allowing Kolade to take a picture of me lying on his bed wearing nothing but one of his t-shirts. That was the picture I was certain would kill my mum if she saw it. They had included a photograph of Yewande’s tag and also my picture in the e-mail they sent.

“Yewande is that true?”

“It is true sir, we slept in those guys’ place. I spent the night with one; she spent the night with the other guy. That’s all.”

“That’s all? How can that be all?  ”What about the missing cash and novels?”

“Did you read what those guys called this school? They called my own school a training ground for prostitutes. That’s what they called you girls and I am tempted to agree.”

“Which of one of you stole their =N=2,000 and novels?”

“I didn’t take anything sir,” I replied in a trembling voice

I honestly wanted to disappear; this is something to be ashamed about Bosola I told myself. I could live with being called a prostitute but a thief was unthinkable.

“Adisa, take them both back to the hostel and search their belongings very well. I worked hard to build this school to the great standard that we boast of today. I won’t allow these stupid children to ruin my work.

 

*****

Mr Adisa led the way back to the hostel, he announced at the entrance of the hostel that he was about to come in, he gave the girls five minutes and then entered the dormitory.

“This is really a day for standards” I mused; usually Mr Adisa would barge into the female dormitories anytime he felt like. Sometimes during siesta, he would even walk around the bunks and kiss some of the female students on the lips.

We entered and I went straight to my bunk, the occupants of the room watched on. There were lots of mutterings and hissing and somehow I guessed they had gotten wind of what happened. I watched disinterestedly as Slappy approached and told Mr Adisa that she would love to help with the search. They searched all my belongings and even almost ripped the mattress out but they didn’t find anything.

“I and some other seniors can take her to the bathroom and search her body,” Slappy suggested

“Don’t bother with that yet”, Mr Adisa replied

Mr Adisa, Slappy and her team moved towards Yewande’s bunk and searched her things as thoroughly as they had did mine. I stood by watching as they searched, I noted the sweat beads that had formed on Mr Adisa’s head and wondered about why it was so easy for him to switch back and forth between being a responsible teacher and an irresponsible one.                                                                    

“Take them to the bathroom and search them” Mr Adisa ordered after searching Yewande’s stuff for over thirty minutes and not finding any of the missing items.

 “Slappy must be pissing in her pants from ecstatic joy”. I thought looking at the wide grin on her face.

photo credit: google images

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