The Philips’ Residence
Gbenga shook his head vigorously, trying to ward off the tiredness that descended on his mind and body like a heavy blanket. He struggled against the ropes that bound him like an animal sacrifice, but his efforts were futile. Sadique had done a good job with the ropes. “Why are you telling me this?” he asked his soon to be ex-wife.
“I feel I owe you an explanation,” Shade said.
“You don’t owe me anything. I don’t have to listen to this nonsense anymore! Sadique, take this phone away from me.”
Shade chuckled derisively. “You are in no position to make demands. Sadique no longer works for you. He now works for me. He will do exactly as I say. So shut up and listen!”
“You won’t get away with this,” Gbenga said.
“Yes, I will. Unlike you, I know how to carry out a plan effectively.”
Yemi moved away from the car quietly and began typing furiously on her phone. This time, Sadique didn’t notice.
“Hmm,” Shade exhaled loudly. “Gbenga, I married you for your family name. Your father was rich and powerful. How else could I gain access into the Lagos social class if I didn’t have a recognised and powerful name? My family name was bland, colourless, unattractive. Who knew chief Babalore in Lagos? Hardly anyone. But your family name was the key which opened doors for me within and outside this country.”
Gbenga gritted his teeth, trying to contain the bitterness of his soul.
“You have to thank Ngozi your mistress for pushing me to marry you. She saw your potential when I couldn’t see it. If it wasn’t for her advice I would have married a struggling prince from Ekiti state. I liked him, but I liked your family name more. How could I give up the power, prestige and wealth that came with the Philips’ name?” Shade asked.
“Shade, you are sick. You need some professional help,” Gbenga managed to say.
Shade continued. “Thanks to you I got all the contacts I needed to make something good out of my life. Of what use is my beauty if I don’t have money to go with it?”
“Shade, I never realised you were this vain,” Gbenga said.
“God knows that I tried, I tried to love you like a wife should. I tried to make our relationship work but I couldn’t. I went through the motions and told myself that one day I will love you but it didn’t work. I prayed a lot but my prayers fell on deaf ears. I think it all happened for the best. If I had been in love with you how could I have met Roberto, my Italian lover?”
“You are despicable!” Gbenga spat into the phone.
Shade ignored him. “So that you know, Roberto and I are going to get married. Too bad you won’t be around to witness it. Everything has already been arranged. We leave for Italy this week and my daughter is coming along with me.”
Ngozi parked in front of the gate and got out of the car. Sugar and Diana followed her. She entered the house, went to the visitor’s room downstairs. She stood at the entrance and pushed the door. It swung open to reveal an empty bed. She stepped into the room and looked around.
Sugar followed her into the room. “Where is the person we brought this equipment for?”
Ngozi was silent for a moment. “It appears he is missing.”
“What do you mean, ‘he is missing’?” Diana asked.
“I left him right here on the bed about an hour ago. Either he got up and walked away or someone carried him away from here.”
“Why would anyone do that?” Diana asked.
“To kill him,” said Sugar, looking at the bed.
Ngozi turned to him. “Why did you say that?”
Sugar pointed at the bed. “The sheets have been changed. There is no evidence that he was ever in this room. You said he was shot? There is no sign of blood on the sheets or on the floor or anywhere else in the room. Everything has been wiped clean.” He knelt down and smelled the floor. “Some sort of chemical was used to wipe the floor. Whoever did this is a professional.”
“Sadique.” Ngozi whispered to herself.
“What do we do now?” Sugar asked.
Ngozi looked up in contemplation. “Let me think.”
The police officers got back into the patrol car.
“We should have ignored that call for backup. It was a waste of our time,” Supo said.
Raymond drove out of the street and got back on the main road. “We did the right thing,” he told his overweight partner.
“No, we didn’t. Before we arrived here the thieves had escaped with the loot. These are rich people, they can afford to lose some money. It won’t hurt them one bit. I am sure everything in that house is insured,” the fat officer said.
Raymond had a worried look on his face. ” Why are you talking like this? We are police officers and it is our duty to protect the lives and property of the rich and poor. There is no discrimination in our job. We treat everyone equally.”
“No we don’t,” the fat officer replied. “We treat the rich differently. We act like they own us. They feel entitled because of their wealth and expect us to go out of our way to protect them specially. We protect them from the poor that surround them, who feed out of their garbage cans. We are slaves of the rich, recruited and paid by the government,” said Supo.
“You sound like a disenchanted Marxist,” said Raymond. “If you feel this way you shouldn’t be in the police force. You should do something else. We are sworn to protect everyone equally. If you feel this way about the rich, you will not be able to carry out your duties without bias,” Raymond paused for a moment. “You should consider resigning from the police force.”
Supo didn’t answer his colleague. He watched with bated anger, the panoramic view of the houses of the rich as they drove towards the Philips’ residence.
Chief Dotun Babalore’s Residence.
The phone beeped. Who could be sending him a message at this time of the night, Dotun Babalore wondered. He looked at the phone. When he saw that the message was from Yemi, Shade’s maid, he sat up in his chair.
‘Chief, I have very little time left. I think my life is in danger. That is why I have to share this with you. I want to let you know that I enjoyed your company when you visited your daughter some months ago. I particularly enjoyed the last night we shared together…”
Chief looked around the empty room to make sure nobody was hiding behind the curtains, reading the volatile information contained in the text message. He raised his hands to his head. His temple throbbed with pain.
That night, three months ago, was something he never wanted to revisit. It was a memory he wanted forgotten, obliterated completely from his memory, but here it was right before him. The maid was bringing it all back to him. If Tinu ever discovered what happened that night between him and Shade’s maid, he wouldn’t know what to do.
He wiped the sweat off his brow and continued reading the text message.
‘What happened that night between us was very special and I will cherish it in this final moment.’
Chief was confused. ‘This final moment’? First she said her life was in danger now this? What was this woman talking about? If she was trying to manipulate him again, this time it won’t work on him.
‘If we don’t ever meet again, I don’t want to die with this secret I have carried in my heart for the past three months. Since the day I discovered it, I have been full of joy. Chief, I am glad this happened with you and not someone else. I have had some relationships in the past, but nothing compares to the way I feel about you. I was overjoyed when I discovered that we share something special between us, something born out of love, true love. Chief, I want to let you know that I carry your seed in my womb.’
“What?!” Chief Babalore stood up knocking his chair to the floor.
The door opened and his wife rushed into the room. “What happened here? Are you okay?” she asked.
Dotun tried to compose himself. “Oh, it was nothing. I’m fine.”
His wife looked at him with suspicion. “Chief, I heard your voice from upstairs. What made you shout like that?”
“How many times have I told you to fumigate this house? There are rodents everywhere,” Dotun retorted.
Tinu looked around the room. “I see. Is that why you shouted like a villager, because of a rat? I thought your life was in danger.” She turned around. “I am going to bed.”
Chief picked up his chair and sat down. If what he just read from the maid was true, his marriage, his reputation, his home was in danger. He looked for the phone he dropped on the table and read the message again. This woman wanted to ruin his life. But if her life was in danger, shouldn’t he do something about it? The maid was carrying his love child! He couldn’t allow any harm come to his unborn child and its mother.
‘Beep.’ Another text message was delivered to his phone.
‘Chief, if anything should happen to me tonight, if you never hear from me again, I want you to know that I love you.’
The message ended.
Dotun thought for a moment, then made a call.
“Hello,” a strong voice answered.
“Nosa, sorry for calling this late. But this is an emergency,” Dotun said.
“It’s okay, Dotun. What is the matter?” asked Nosa Arugbe, the inspector general of police of the federation.
To be continued.