April 28, 2018 at 8:35 am #1209656ValentineAdmin
The Midnight Encounter
© 2018 Olumide Odusanya
It was 5:35am on a Friday morning and traffic on Ozumba Mbadiwe road in Lagos was building up. Fancy air-conditioned company buses, public buses, and private cars kept switching lanes every now and then, trying to get to their destinations faster. Just by the bridge that linked Victoria Island and Ikoyi was a lifeless body, facedown. Even though it was an eyesore for this part of town, nobody took a second look at the sight.
A homeless woman walked past the body pulling her toddler son along. After walking a few meters away from the body, she stopped, assumed a squatting position and whispered something in the boy’s ear. He nodded and ran back to the body, knelt down beside it, and started going through the man’s pockets. He didn’t come up with anything, till he struggled to squeeze his hand underneath the jacket of the unconscious man. A smile appeared on his face as his hand came up with a small phone. Just then, the man grabbed him by the wrist, and he screamed, dropping the phone in the process. He ran off to his mom, and they hurried away from the scene.
The man rolled over and squinted as the street lights got in his eyes. Coughing continuously, he struggled to assume a sitting position. He dusted off sand from his face, as he moaned in pain. His face was a swollen mess, with patches of dried up blood here and there. His blue jeans was ripped on the right side just below the knee, and one leg of his white sneakers was nowhere in sight. Memories came flashing in rapid successions and then feared gripped him. He gritted his teeth as he tried to stand using his right hand for support; his shoulder hurt badly and he fell back on his butt. He took a deep, did nothing for a few seconds, and then laid his left hand on the ground for support as he sprang himself up.
His barefoot kicked something as he staggered off. When he turned around, he saw it was his portable Nokia phone. He went down gently, picked up the phone, and continued his walk to the bus stop just underneath the bridge. Pedestrians got out of his way, and people in their cars stared at him strangely. He dusted off the phone, and with shaky hands, typed in a code. A response text came in almost immediately. He closed his eyes for a second as if summoning courage, and then opened the text. A smile crept up his bruised up face when he read the content, and then he started laughing as tears flowed down his eyes.
6 Hours Earlier
David was speeding through the freeway in his Camry, bopping his head to some hip hop music; a smile on his face from the money he had just made. He was the manager of one of the hottest music stars in the country, and they had just scored their biggest gig to date; a two hour appearance at a senator’s birthday bash, and the pay was twenty thousand dollars, which was equivalent of seven million Naira. Standard agent fee was ten percent, so his share out of the money was seven hundred thousand Naira.
With his two hands on the wheel while singing along to Kiss Daniel’s No Do song, he pulled out his Nokia phone from the breast pocket of the shirt he had underneath his jacket. One eye on the road, he dialed the *894# code for his bank’s mobile banking, and followed instructions to check his balance. He got a message shortly that showed he had N7,035,000 in his account. Usually, with his other clients, the money was transferred to the artists’ record label account, before he got his share. But, Molano, his latest artist was a maniac drug addict with about a dozen goons following him to every show, and he didn’t usually trust himself with large sums of money when he was in a drug induced state, so he normally liked to have all the money transferred to David, and then have David take his cut and then transfer his lion share to him the morning after.
‘David, are you sure you don’t need one of my boys to drive behind you? This is a whole lot of money.’ Molano had told him as he was leaving the party venue a few minutes ago, but he reminded Molano that they hadn’t been paid in cash, and they both laughed.
As he made the bend from the Lekki-Expressway to join Ozumba Mbadiwe road, he put the phone back in his pocket, and revved up his car engine. He hadn’t gone far when the car wheel started wobbling in his hands, and he realized he had a flat tire. “Shiit!” he cursed under his breath.
He was parked on the side of the road now, with C Caution in place, trying to make calls, but no one was picking up. He felt chilly, and he didn’t know if it was the cool breeze from the Lekki lagoon that was responsible for that or the fear of being robbed. He always prided himself for being a physically fit guy, but the packs on his chest won’t mean anything if he was approached by guys with guns. A few cars still passed every now and then, but there was no one walking about. Even the police men that were usually at the junction ahead were not there today.
“Hello.” A female voice said
“Whoa! You scared me.” He said in a low voice as he turned around to examine her. She was short and curvy, and had on a black dress, which was why he hadn’t seen her coming.
“This spot is really dangerous. You shouldn’t stay here too long.”
“Thanks. I have a flat tire, my friends will soon come pick me up.” He said.
“You don’t know how to change a tire?”
“No. I do, but the extra is also bad.”
“I know a place you can stay till tomorrow morning. It’s very cheap.”
“Thanks. But my friends are on their way.” He lied to feel confident.
“Okay. Just don’t stay here too long.” She said and started walking away. He dialed Molano’s number again, and listened as it kept ringing. His eyes were on the strange girl, and as she was about to disappear into the night, he shouted out, “Wait!”
After booking a room, they decided to get some drinks at the bar before retiring for the night. The place was a small motel with 6 rooms lined up on a straight line, with a gated car garage just outside each room. Opposite the rooms was a line of palm trees, and beyond that was the bar, which had five straw roofed small tents scattered around, where people could have some privacy. David was in one of them with his new friend, Mary. He had learned that she was a prostitute from the way she related with the people at the bar, but they hadn’t reached any agreement of sex for pay. All she wanted was a place to sleep.
Bob Marley’s classic song, I Wanna Love You was playing in the main bar and it was funny watching her sing along with her thick Efik accent. She was a very pretty light skinned girl with curves in all the right places. The red lipstick on her supple lips made her appear so enticing to David. He had never been the type to do hookers, but the girl was getting to him.
“Please can I use your phone?” she said in a sexy voice. He hesitated as he usually didn’t like giving out his phone, but reached into his pocket and handed it to her anyway. He took down the last content of his cup and poured himself a full glass of Heineken. His hand went from the cup to his chest to reassure himself his other phone was still in place. For some reason, it felt like he was carrying seven million Naira on him.
“Thanks.” She said and handed him back his phone. “I’m ready to go in whenever you are.”
“Oh! Okay.” David responded and took down half the content of his cup before getting off his seat. “Okay. Let’s go in.”
A small bed, a bedside stool, and a TV were what the room had to offer; standard for a cheap motel. The air-conditioning was really working to the max though, he would give them that. It was so cold he zipped up his jacket instead of getting out of his clothes. Laying face up on one side of the bed, he felt awkward as she started to undress. Sitting on the other side of the bed with her eyes on the TV, she bent down a little to take off her shoes, and then she started to unzip her dress from the side. He couldn’t help but notice her well curved shape, and glowing yellow skin. Her hand stopped all of a sudden halfway, and then she started zipping up again. “I forgot something with the barman.” She said and started wearing her shoes again. “I’ll be right back.”
He watched her walk out of the room and pulled out his phone after she shut the door. He tried to reach Molano again. The phone was still to his ear when the room door opened slowly, and Mary walked in, fear in her eyes. Behind her was a short muscular guy with a shiny bald head, holding a pistol to the back of her head. He pushed her forward, and then pointed the gun at David with the index finger of his left hand up to his lips; signaling to David to keep quiet or else he would get his brains splattered on the room wall. Behind him came a taller, more muscular guy in a black unbuttoned short sleeve shirt, with a white t shirt underneath. The guy moved over to the TV and turned it up to the maximum.
David could remember seeing them at the bar when he first walked into the motel compound with Mary. He could have sworn she set him up, but the fear in her eyes was genuine. His hands were up as he sat in bed, with his back against the wall. The tall guy walked over to him, and started going through his pockets. He found his wallet and pulled out all the cash in there, plus the ATMs, put it in his pocket, and then grabbed David’s phone from him. As the guy went through his phone, the one with the gun kept it pointed at him, but his eyes were on the prostitute. For a second, David felt he could take them both, but he feared that Mary might become a causality of war.
“What’s your First Bank five digit pin?” the guy with his phone shouted out. David guessed he had gotten through his email messages and seen the seven million Naira alert. The one with the gun walked forward and had the gun barrel on David’s head, a move to get him scared. The line in his Smartphone wasn’t connected to his account, so they couldn’t access the account even if he gave them his five digit pin, but then they would get the message that that wasn’t the line connected to the account, and search him for another phone. He didn’t want that to happen, so he just went mute. The guy with the phone moved closer and gave a back hand slap. “I said, what is your five digit code?” He said, slowly this time.
Gun to his face, his whole life flashed through his mind. Are you willing to die for seven million Naira, he thought to himself. If he gave up the phone and his code, Molano and his goons will still kill him anyway, so he just stood still with his hands up; and then came the punch to his face. He had seen people take punches in moves and shake it off like it was nothing, but right now, he felt like he was losing consciousness. He couldn’t even hear what they were saying anymore; all he could hear was a buzzing sound, and his vision had gone blurry. He felt blood trickle down his nose. The two guys were arguing now, and Mary was crying looking at his bloodied up face.
After a few minutes, he regained full consciousness, and the aggressive guy asked him for his code again. When David remained mute, he told his accomplice that they had to take him back to their place. He disappeared into the bathroom, and came back with small bowl with water in it. He reached into his pocket for a handkerchief, handed it over to Mary and ordered her to clean David up. With tears in her eyes, and a shaky hand, she succeeded in wiping all the blood off his face after several minutes. The guy with the gun had tucked it away now, and was pacing the length of the room, restlessly. The other guy was going through David’s phone.
“We have to go now.” The short guy said in a low voice. The mean guy pulled Mary away from David, examined him for a second, and then motioned for him to get up. Although woozy in the head, he managed to stand up on his own. The guy with the gun pulled it out from his back, and waved it at him. “Try any funny moves and I will blow your brains out.” David nodded and the guy put the gun back behind him, held in place by his belt. The taller guy walked out the door first, then the short guy, and then Mary and David.
Outside was quiet as a song had just ended and another slow jam was coming on gradually. The barman was dozing at his stool, and the security man David had seen earlier was nowhere in sight. The short guy got into the driver’s seat of a black 190 Benz, and the other guy held the back door open for David to enter. He stopped Mary from going in after David, and signaled for her to get into the front seat. He looked around before getting into the back seat with David. The heavy engine of the Mercedes Benz came to life, and they drove towards the gate. The security man appeared from nowhere, and with no questions asked, pushed open the gate for them to drive out.
They hadn’t driven far from the motel when the guy started pressing David for his bank pin again. Like earlier, David said nothing. He got vexed and hit David on the mouth with the back of his gun. “Patrick, you want to kill him? Wait till we get to the house.” The guy driving shouted out.
“His silence is pissing me off.”
“Don’t worry, he will talk when we get home.”
“Can I drop off now? I don’t want any money again.” Mary said with a shaky voice.
“Shut up b---h.” The guy said and slapped her head from behind. “Why didn’t you bring us this hard head?”
“I did what you guys said, okay. Just let me drop. And please don’t kill him.”
“Maybe we might just kill you both, b---h.”
When David heard that, his survival instincts kicked in and he head butted the guy with the side of his head. He tried to wrestle the gun out of the guy’s hand, but his grip was still tight on it even as he was in a dazed state. Mary started clawing at the guy driving. Screams, grunts, tires screeching; it was chaos as the car zigzagged along the road.
Three shots rang out in close successions, and the back windshield got shattered. The tall guy was obviously more powerful than David, and in the struggle, he managed to point the gun at David’s g---n. Click! Click! He pulled the trigger, but he had run out of bullets. With fear for his life, David had a rush of adrenaline, and he head butted the guy again; this time getting him smack in the face with the back of his head. The gun fell to the floor of the car, and the guy slumped back on the car seat.
The car was moving at a slow speed now as Mary was still kicking and clawing the other guy. David opened the back door and jumped out of the car. Just then, the driver stopped the car, gave Mary a resounding slap that sent her to sleep, and then he put the car in reverse. He moved in reverse for a bit, and then he swerved the car around, hitting David in the process, and sending him flying in the air. He landed hard on the sidewalk with a big thud. The guy came out of the car, and hurried over to where David lay on the sidewalk. He released the safety of the pistol, pointed it at David and pulled the trigger. Click! Click! Click! “Shiit! Patrick had the gun with the bullets.” He said as he kicked David angrily in the face, and rushed back into the car. He looked at David’s unconscious body on the sidewalk through the rare-view mirror. “Lucky freaking bastard.” He said with a frown on his face before zooming off.
The EndApril 28, 2018 at 8:45 am #1209658emileagosuMember
David is saveApril 28, 2018 at 10:21 am #1209703SoftieMember
u trust stranger, that’s why u suffer that muchApril 28, 2018 at 11:02 am #1209717MikelMember
God save u
next tym trust no oneApril 28, 2018 at 2:49 pm #1209801Lonewolf05Member
Narrow escape.April 28, 2018 at 4:18 pm #1209830hillarious_bahbzMember
david has been saved by his creatorApril 28, 2018 at 6:16 pm #1209868jimmartinsMember
tough guyApril 28, 2018 at 9:36 pm #1209941senator danielMember