Episode 12

Mr Badmus tried to look through his blood shut eyes but couldn’t. he had just been given the greatest level of beating he had ever received. He had looked up at the hooligans hovering over him after he was thrown to the cell and knew that he was in deep trouble. They muttered something about welcoming him to the house and he thought it would be a simple handshake but what he got was a boxing session. They all tested their fists on him like he was the latest punching bag in town.

He tried to stand but could not muster enough strength to pull up a leg so he just lay there on the floor. He swore in his heart to get even and make Belina wish she had never been born for all he had passed through the past few days. For the third time, he mentally crossed his heart, this time very determined, “if I can get out of this place, be prepared Belina”, he thought before he dozed off, giving in to sleep as a consolation.

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Before I knew it, I was on my way home. I had attended to two patients before leaving and I had been enjoying myself immensely when I noticed that it was past five. I left the hospital feeling very happy and when I got home, I found the house open. My new mom has a very large supermarket and I was surprised that she was home already. I entered and greeted her lovingly. She was about preparing dinner so I quickly went to change my clothes and I joined her in the kitchen. She was very interested in what happened on my first day at work and I relayed everything neglecting one very aspect, obviously. We laughed so much as we prepared a very sumptuous pounded yam and egusi soup. She also relayed her day at the supermarket to me and just when we finished cooking, Prisca walked in and everything became livelier. We ate in silence as was the custom of the house and I reverted back to the bedroom with Prisca after we had cleared the plates. Her dad wasn’t back from work yet so we had eaten without him.

“So, how was work today baby girl?” she started and I started wondering just how far I was going to tell her. I repeated everything I told mum also leaving out the most fascinating part of it all. Trust prisca, she read in between the lines and noticed some loop holes and fired back; I did not have any other choice but to open up to her. “Well, I met someone that looked so… I don’t know. I originally thought he was a statue, then while I was admiring him, he moved and I almost swallowed my tongue in shock and wonder. He is so good looking”, I ended my sermon when I noticed that I had gone too far. “uhn, I can practically see stars running around in your eyes, tell me, what is his name” she asked smiling stylishly. “What stars? Well I don’t know his name and I am happy I don’t. I don’t want a man in my life. They have all been a huge disappointment. Look, I am happy you have a good and loving dad and also Tony but men are good to you but sis, not me. They have made my life miserable. Everyone of them”. I said with enough vigor to make her believe me. She shook her head, “sweetheart, don’t be like this” “Really? Do you know what it is like to have the type of father I have? Well no. what of Kelvin’s betrayal? I felt like dying that day Pric, you don’t know what it is like to be face to face with your boyfriend and have him throw trash in your face. That left me totally broken. What if Tunji? He practically made my life a living hell and you want me to think about a guy? No. I don’t have them in my dictionary. I would only treat patients as patients and live my life as a single lady besides, God did not make it compulsory for us to get married”. I said and wiped the tears that were already flowing from my eyes. This was the first time that I was letting out my feelings since last week and Prisca held on to me as I cried and whispered words of encouragements.

After I had composed myself, I remembered that I had not even checked how much I would be paid as salary and I told prisca who laughed wondering if she could forget such a thing. I brought out the envelope in my bag and opened it. I read the letter and when I got to the place where my salary was stated, I opened my eyes and mouth in shock.

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Richard went home with with tony. He really needed the company cos he had been trying to get belina out of his mind and everything he tried did not seem to work. They got to the house and they both collapsed on the chair. They had both eaten at the hospital’s restaurant so hunger was out of the question. They had both been pre-occupied towards the tail end of the day and they started wondering why people did not come throughout until around four. Almost everyone wanted to do one thing or the other and by the time they were free, they were already exhausted. They got to Tony’s house around 8 and after about 10 mins rest, Tony put on the TV and the first thing that was displayed was news and from the speaker, he was able to grasp that they were talking about the murder case. “Oh my God, Richy, I forgot to tell you; the guy that abducted Belina was murdered on Saturday” Richard did not like the fact that Belina was the topic again when he was trying to forget her but what he said captured him. “Yeah, I saw the murder case but was that the guy who abducted her?” he asked alarmed. “uhn, wait” He increased the volume and when a certain picture was placed on screen, his eyes almost popped out of its socket. “No, it can’t be true”, he gasped, “it can’t be” “What can’t be” Richard asked very confused and worried now. “That man there is… is Belina’s Father”, he dropped The blood in Richard’s face drained instantly.

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As I stared at my salary, I could not believe my eyes. When I did the interview, I was asked how much I would like as my monthly salary and I had said, 100, 000 Naira. The place where I worked before, I was being paid the sum of 70, 000 Naira but here I was staring at the whooping sum of 150, 000 Naira. I closed my eyes and opened it again but the figures hadn’t flown away. I closed my eyes and thanked God much more than I have done in the past few years and when I finally opened my eyes, I saw Prisca smiling down at me. I jumped on her and hugged her so tight and I guess she felt uncomfortable. “Thank you darling, God has been using you to make my life a blessing”, I said truthfully. “I am sure I would not be anywhere if not for God, you and your family”. “Oh, come on now, firstly, I did not do anything, at least, I am sure you would have done the same for me. Secondly, stop referring to my parents as my family now they are your family members too so they are our family, ok?” “Yeah, Yeah, I have heard you…” I stopped when I heard a car horn. “That’s dad” she said and we both made our way outside to open the gate for him. He drove in and we happily hugged him like little infant children and collected his suit case. Even though he was the owner of his company, he always kept late at work saying that ‘if you want something done properly, monitor it yourself’. He gave us a package and what was inside was grilled chicken and ice-cream, my mouth started watering instantly. He always made it a custom to buy something for the girls whenever I was there on visits and I had no doubts that he did the same when I was not there. The ‘girls’ also includes his dear wife of course. Mr and Mrs Jegas are very caring and also very pampering in most cases but they don’t accept shit at all.

We served his food while he took a cold shower and when we were sure that the table was well set, we went to focus our attention on the package we had received. Mum had already taken hers and we went there, took the nylon and started consuming its content. Dad came in later and also focused on his meal squarely. He looked famished as he ate and I wondered when last he had eaten. He finished his food before we finished our grilled chicken. We left the iced cream and went to clear dad’s plates. We washed them immediately, chatting all through and before we knew it, the plates were finished. We went to the sitting room, picked up the cups of iced cream and when we noticed that dad was tuning to news, he headed towards our room to watch movies in the small TV there. We shared a joint dislike for news because it carried one bad news or the other especially if the news is Nigeria based.

We had just taken a few steps when I heard a name and I froze. I turned around like a robot and what I saw on the screen was more than I could fathom. I nearly dropped my iced-cream in extreme surprise as I stared at my father’s picture being labeled as a murderer. They displayed him on TV without even a singlet. All he wore was a torn trouser as his face looked beaten and battered.

I expected myself to feel sorry for him or even feel sad or even angry at him but I did not feel anything. I just stared at the TV at first in shock seeing him there and then; I did not feel anything again. I wanted to hate him the more but I couldn’t, I wanted to pity his condition because he is my father but I just could not. I finally felt Prisca’s hand on my back as a sign of comfort but all I could do was stare blankly at the TV. Mr and Mrs Jegas was busy expressing his views about the matter and none of them noticed that they had anyone in the house who knew the murderer much less his daughter. Mum turned and seeing our expression was stricken. I immediately turned and headed towards the room but I was too late, dad had already turned in my direction. “Belina”, his bass voice rang out in the house and I turned. He looked from me to the TV and before I knew what was happening, they were all by my side consoling me like I needed consolation. I laughed slightly and said, “I am OK, I am just fine. I should be crying but I cant bring myself to doing that” I said with a smile and dad said something about it being bad to cry over someone who did no other thing but bring me pain and I smiled. I thanked everyone and left to the safety of the room. As I laid on the bed, the reality of the news dawned on me as I imagined myself as a murderer’s daughter and my heart did a somersault. I pulled myself together and was determined to get over it the way I had gotten over every other challenge I had passed through in life, besides, I did not want to be a pain in the ass in this peaceful family.

I put on the TV and put it in Novella E1. Prisca had bought Startimes for her bedroom TV and she paid the subscription herself every month even though the main DSTV was in the sitting room. I drank my iced cream and Prisca came in seconds later and was surprised to find me in a good mood. I saw her puzzled look and smiled saying, “I have always despised him Pric and I don’t view him as my father, he never was”.

She pondered on it for some time and came to a conclusion that I was right so we settled down to watch soap operas as we licked the very sweet iced cream.

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Tolu laughed gaily as he listened to the news. ‘Look at these fools’, he said still laughing. He looked at the name and remembered that he was the father of the abducted girl Tunji had talked to him about, the one who gave his daughter out to be kidnapped because of money. He thought the man got what he rightfully deserved. He did not just know how a father could ever do that. He felt it was worth celebrating and he made a mental note to go to his favorite bar the next day, buy drinks for some friends and drink some goodness to his life but for now, he needed some good sleep.

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A week passed and everything had been going on well. During the past week, I had seen almost everyone in the hospital and was surprised that they were all young people within the age of 35 and below. Patients were coming for me on a daily basis and I particularly enjoyed my sessions with Deji. He hadn’t fully recovered his memory but be had remembered three names, though he did not know who those names belonged to, he mentioned the names and when I asked his parents, I found out that there were people in his life with such names. His improvement was a great thing to me and I always looked forward to our sessions together because he is a very interesting person to have around.

I had just finished my session with Deji and was back to my office when my secretary called over the intercom. With my observation, I should be within the same age with Joke, my secretary and I took her as a friend. “Miss Belina, there is someone here to see you but he won’t give his name”, she said “Hmmm, is he with a gun?” I asked half jokingly and half serious. Her voice held a smile when she said, “God forbid bad thing” “Alright, once you are sure there is no cause for alarm, send him in”, I said and hung up. Few seconds later, I heard a knock and I said a low but firm, “come in”, the door opened and for one second I thought I would be seeing the guy from last week but I couldn’t have been more wrong. I sprang up from my seat, “What are you doing here Kelvin?”

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Richard sat down on his seat fighting an inner battle. He had avoided the second floor throughout last week like a plague when all he wanted to do was go there even if it would be just for a minute. He hadn’t thought about Tonia at all throughout last week but he had had the usual nightmare once last week and it was worse than before. His attention had been seriously divided last week and Tony had noticed and commented on it but he had made up excuses. He had promised Tonia not to have anything to do with the opposite sex but here he was having his thoughts bugged by one woman as if she had bewitched him. His eyes went to the roof imagining what was in the next floor and what might be going on there and they next thing he knew was that he was already at the door heading towards the place he had been avoiding.

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The court appearance of Mr Badmus was two days away and yet he had not admitted to being guilty. He had been tortured terribly but he kept on repeating “I am innocent”. The police station still remained the same with five police men at the counter waiting desperately for someone to come with one complaint or the other. They looked hungry and even though the “police is your friend” slogan was typed boldly on an A4 paper and was pasted on the wall behind the counter, no one seemed to be visiting their ‘friend’ today, but all of a sudden, a tattered looking man who looked like a candidate for the prison cell walked into the police station and asked the police men, “can I see the police?” One of the hungry police men answered annoyingly, “you dey craze? The people wey you dey see so no resemble police?” “Oh, sorry, I wan drop one evidence o, the evidence show the person wey kill Deputy Governor pikin” The police men laughed him to scorn, “what do you know about that? You don’t even know that the murderer has been found. Abeg leave this place and let better human beings come in jare”, another officer said. Just then, inspector Sule came out of one of the offices and asked what was happening. “oga, no mind this idiot o, hin talk sey he get evidence for Tunji murder case”. “Just shut up there” he said and faced the guy, “sorry for that, where is the evidence?” he asked and the guy brought out his phone and gave it to him. He led the guy to a quiet room and he played the video recording on the phone. The conversation was between he and Tolu who had been drunk enough to spill the beans. It so happened that Tolu had gone to the bar to celebrate and after he had ordered drinks for everyone in the bar at his expense, he had drank and drank enough alcohol that he mouth was all over the place. His friend, the guy with inspector Sule, knowing the way his friend normally was whenever he was drunk, positioned his phone somewhere which could capture both his face and his words. He wanted to use it to make jest of him after he was sober as was their normal custom but when he started saying things about Nigerian police being stupid and how they had escaped him and taken someone else for a crime he committed, he knew the recording would be an asset.

“Wooow”, the inspector said when the recording ended. “Can you lead us to the place he stays?” The guy grinned, “Yes, if I would get something in return, free lunch no dey anywhere o”, he said. The inspector got the message, “No problem, I assure you that you would be rewarded by Mr James himself”, he said. “Ok, but make una no use that una siren o and you go follow me enter the house but no wear uniform o”, he said standing up. Everything was made ready and within five minutes, they were on the road.

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“I said, what are you doing in my office?” I yelled the second time at Kelvin who stood speechless before me. He stammered, “I… I came to see y… you”. I laughed sarcastically, “Yeah right and how did you know that I work here in the first place?” I asked trying all I can to calm my nerves. “I made some findings”, he said. I clapped, “that is good of you, now, leave my office” I said icily. “No please, I came to beg you for all I have done, I… I am so sorry. I was so stupid. My friends pushed me into doing what I did that-” “Hey, would you just save it?” I cut in. “I am not interested in your fairy tale so please spare me the trouble of gazing at your irritating sight. Leave” I said pointing at the door. He went on his knees, “Pls Belina, I have not been able to live a meaningful life since that day. You are the only one who could make my life meaningful again pls…” he was saying but I was beyond hearing as my anger was beginning to rise to a dangerous level. I left my place behind the table, stood before him and pointed at the door, “leave now” but he would not stand up from the floor. “I said leave now, leave me alone”, I yelled and just then, the door opened at there stood the guy from last week and my secretary, looking from me to the man on his knees.

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