The Regents Centre,
Raymond parked the unmarked police car opposite the hospital and turned to Supo who was still massaging the back of his head where Sugar had struck him. “Are you ready for this?” he asked his partner. Supo was silent, like a man contemplating the meaning of his life.
Raymond regarded the officer beside him. ” Do you want to check up on this or should I do it?”
Supo looked at the hospital building through the windscreen as if he could see a sign that would ask him to come in. “I don’t know.” He looked at Raymond. “Maybe you should go in and let me wait in the car.”
Raymond opened the door and stepped out with one leg. “As you wish. I will find out if Mr Philips is at this hospital, if he is, we shall call for back-up. I don’t want a repeat of what happened last night. We made a mistake and you almost paid for it with your life.”
“No, I made the mistake,” Supo insisted. “It was totally my fault. I should have listened to you.”
The overweight officer continued. “Sugar could have shot me but he didn’t. He could have ended my life with one bullet to the back of my head. That would have been the end of my life.” He paused as the reality of his mortality sank in. “When you revived me last night and I realised I was still alive, I felt some great relief. Some time ago a man preached to me about giving my life to Christ and becoming a Christian. I laughed it off as the ramblings of a fanatic but after what happened last night I am strongly considering it.” He turned to Raymond. “I have never given any thought to what would happen to my soul when I die. Last month my mother visited me and asked me a question. She said, ‘what is the state of your soul? Who do you belong to?’ I paid little attention to her words. She promised to pray for God to open my eyes to see the truth. Last night, when I woke up from that blow to my head, I saw the truth.”
Raymond felt uncomfortable listening to Supo talk about religion. ‘I am a police officer, not a spiritual counsellor,’ he thought to himself. All he wanted to do was complete his assignment and go home to be with his family. “Look Supo, I don’t understand much about what you are saying but I think you are very tired. Police work can get overwhelming. What you need is some rest. Take a holiday and when you get back to the job you will be completely refreshed.”
Supo lifted his right hand and silenced his partner. “Thank you for your advice. I need a moment to myself. I need to sort out some things in my life. As things are, I don’t think I have much time. I think God gave me a second chance last night for a reason. I think he held back Sugar from pulling the trigger to give me an opportunity to fix my mistakes.”
Raymond stepped out of the car and shut the door. He bent down and looked at Supo in a curious manner. “I will be back in a few minutes. Are you sure you will be okay?” He asked.
Supo just nodded his head. Raymond walked away.
Supo tried to pray. His heart felt heavy with the weight of his sins. He didn’t know where or how to start. “Jesus, I am…sorry…forgive me….for all the bad things I have done.” He paused searching for the right words to use. He struggled to remember the many prayers he had heard as a little boy growing up in church. Those prayers eluded him. Suddenly he held his head in his hands. “God forgive me and save my soul from perdition,” the fat man cried out.
Across the street Raymond watched Supo as he prayed in the car. He saw the fat man’s body move with huge quivering sobs. He shook his head with some sadness. He suspected that Supo was having a nervous breakdown. Why else would a grown man cry like that? He drew a deep breath, turned around and walked into the lobby of the hospital.
Tinu sat up in bed thinking. She looked at her husband who was moving around in his sleep. Since last night he had been acting strange. He came to bed after midnight but he hardly slept. He rolled about on the bed and muttered in his sleep. Dotun only muttered when something was bothering him. Since she received the call from Shade last night about the shooting of her husband Gbenga, Dotun had started acting strange. Why didn’t he want to go and see his daughter, she wondered. What was it about her house that made him recoil the way he did and bluntly refused to do anything to help his own daughter? Or was there someone in that house he was avoiding? She sighed deeply and held a pillow to her chest. What had happened in Shade’s house that made Dotun afraid to go there?
A thought crossed her mind but she pushed it away. It came up again like the noise made by an irritable mosquito. She looked at her husband again. Had something happened between Dotun and someone when he visited his daughter’s house? The thought that he had something to do with another woman just wouldn’t go away. Was he acting strange because of a woman?
She got out of bed and entered the huge walk-in wardrobe and shut the door. She knelt down by the only chair in the room and started praying. “Lord, I don’t know what is happening to my husband, but you do. Please get him out of every trouble he got himself entangled in.” She paused in her prayers trying to grasp the thoughts than ran through her mind. As unbelievable as it was, Tinu felt that somehow a woman was involved in this situation. She felt in her heart that this woman was trying to manipulate her husband. “Lord, if there is a woman troubling my husband, if she is trying to manipulate him in any way, Lord, deliver him from her wicked hands in Jesus name!” She raised her voice then started praying fiery warfare prayers.
Outside the door of the walk-in wardrobe chief Dotun Babalore stood and listened to the prayers of his wife. “How did she find out about the maid? who told her that I was involved with Yemi?” he whispered to himself. He quietly got back into bed. Sleep had fled away from him like a madman running through the marketplace. As he waited for the dawning of the morning, all Dotun could think about was the unborn child the maid carried in her womb.
Kalu woke up suddenly from an alcohol induced sleep, sat up in bed for a moment but fell back on the bed. He felt like a boxer whose body and head had been brutally pummelled by a superior opponent. His eyes felt like they carried heavy loads and refused to stay open. He shook his head as he tried to recall what happened the previous day at Yemi’s house. The maid had acted like a slut and thrown herself whorishly at Segun the deceiver. As Segun’s face floated before his eyes, an anger rose up from within him and made him sit up in bed. He remembered seeing Yemi and Segun at the hotel holding hands and laughing like old lovers.
A bitter taste rose to his mouth and he rushed to the bathroom and spat into the wash hand basin. He splashed some water on his face, looked up to see his tired red eyes staring back at him.
He had gone out in anger and got drunk with his friend but that hadn’t taken away the feeling of despondency he felt. Yemi had betrayed their love by throwing herself at that engineer. He hated himself for acting like a coward by backing away from a bold confrontation with Segun. He should have done something. He shouldn’t have allowed that man to take away his girl without a fight. He had to do something about it. He took off his clothes and got under the shower. As the cold water hit his body his mind woke up slowly. The old Kalu came back. He got out of the shower, tied a towel around his waist and stood before the mirror. He looked into his eyes and spoke to his reflection in the mirror. “Kalu, you are not a coward. Be a man!” He shut his eyes for a moment and when he opened them there was a fire burning behind his eyes. “Yemi, I am coming to get you. God help any man who stands in my way.” He entered the bedroom, reached for his phone and called Yemi. It took a while before she answered.
“Yemi, is everything okay? Where are you?” he asked.
“Kalu, I am at the Regents hospital in Ikoyi.”
“What are you doing there?”
“Gbenga is very ill. I brought him to the hospital.”
What was going on, Kalu wondered. “Where is his wife? Why can’t she bring him to the hospital?”
“Hmm,” Yemi exhaled. “It is a long story. A lot has happened since you left yesterday. Mrs Shade Philips seems to have lost her mind. She wants to kill Gbenga and I.”
“She wants to what? That makes no sense!”
Suddenly Yemi shouted on the other end of the line. “Doctor, is he going to be okay? Doctor, answer me!” There was some chattering on the line.
“Yemi!” Kalu shouted but the handset was dead. He threw the phone on the bed and wore his clothes in a hurry.
Something made Supo lift his head from the dashboard. Through the mist of tears he saw a man with a lab coat come out from the gates of the hospital in a hurry. Something about him made Supo suspicious. He watched as the man tore off his lab coat and threw it into a dustbin. The man walked past the unmarked police car and entered a car parked in front of him. Supo moved over to the driver’s seat with great difficulty, manoeuvring his body over the gear of the car. He wiped his face with both hands and waited. The man started the car and eased out into the street. Supo started the car and followed him.
Moments later Raymond came out of the hospital and stood in front of the gates. He looked at the spot where the unmarked police car had been parked. It was gone and Supo was nowhere in sight.
Shade Philips sat on the bed thinking. It seemed like Roberto was about to ditch her. She could tell from his voice that he was panicking and looking for a way out, a way to leave her behind while he returned to Italy. She had invested too much in the relationship for him to back out now. She had to make sure he didn’t get on a plane and abandon her in Lagos. She picked up her phone and called a number.
“Yes?” A gruff voice answered.
“I’ve got a job for you.”
“I am listening.”
“There is an Italian staying at the Radisdon hotel Victoria island. Make sure he doesn’t leave that hotel until I get there.” She gave him Roberto’s name and room number.
“Is that all?” The man asked.
“If he proves difficult, use every means necessary to keep him there. He should not leave the premises of that hotel for any reason until I get there. Do you understand?”
“I understand,” Mukaila said. “And my money?”
“You will get your money,” the adulteress promised.
To be continued…..