CHAPTER 18

Tunde got into late in the evening. He drove straight to the place where Chief Badru had advised him to go that morning when they spoke. The day had been an eye opening one, and it still had few hours left. He was going to learn more about his new employers and probably get the introduction he craved.

As he drove into the club he smiled at a lady who was clad in a tight fitting top and leggings. Things the ladies do nowadays for quick cash, he thought as he eased his car past her and parked the car. He was hit by her thought as he got out of the car. He could see her smiling face, her wonderful body.

He sighed as his heart ached in longing for her. His loins stirred and he was aghast when he realised he craved her. Maybe after this case, maybe; he would finally do right by her and give her his name. ‘Mrs Yewande Smart,’ he liked the sound of the name. It got better every time he allowed himself indulge the fantasy.

He walked into the building rolling his car key. In all the tragedy that surrounded him, he was amazed her thought could be the medicine he needed to smile. Yewa.

Chief Badru was already waiting for him. He was with his drinking buddies and they had lots of empty beer bottles as well as exotic drinks on their table. It wasn’t hard to imagine the drunken Chief was the person who assaulted Damilola days back. The man was a certified recalcitrant.

‘You’re late.’ The man had beady eyes, yet his mind was still sharp, Tunde was impressed.

‘I had to take care of pressing matters.’

‘And? Is it done?’ His eyes did not waver.

Tunde studied the man. Most people got drunk and lost control of their faculties, Chief Badru got drunk to attain a level of perception he couldn’t reach when not inebriated. He suddenly realised that the man had purposely assaulted Damilola two nights earlier. His blood boiled, he felt like reaching out and strangling the man.

‘Done. It’s been taken care of.’ He said his voice calm.

‘Good, that’s what I wanna hear. These gentlemen here are Bayo, Lekan and that’s Feyi.’ Chief Badru pointed at his drinking buddies one after the other.

Tunde bowed slightly. ‘Evening gentlemen.’

They croaked unintelligibly causing Tunde to wonder. ‘Sit with us dear boy, we have loads to discuss.’

Tunde sat, wary of the men at the table. ‘Relax, I have an assignment for you, it’s urgent, short and the pays ten million. And you may decide not to work for me afterwards. What do you say?’

‘I’m a sucker for a huge payday. And you say this job’s timeline is short?’

‘Two weeks max. All you need to be, and do is what I’ve seen you do. Just be yourself on the job.’

Tunde mulled it over. ‘Can I think about this? Take some time?’

‘Nope. You decide here. Now. If you want in, you got in. If not, I won’t be having much to do with you again.’

That was it then, Tunde thought. His get with the programme psych, and he knew he couldn’t resist. Not one criminal would. Not in Nigeria, not anywhere in the world. They would be more worried about the specifics.

‘What does this job entail?’ He asked.

Chief Badru smiled, ‘you’ll find out soon enough. All you need to know for now is that should you accept the job, Feyi here would be taking you where you need to be.

Tunde started to protest as he looked at Feyi again. He was shocked by what he saw, the man had transformed from his drunken stupor to totally lucid. It dawned on him instantly; he was in the company of killers.

‘What do you say?’ Chief Badru asked again, this time, he was impatient.

‘I’m in,’ Tunde said, his eyes fixated on Feyi. He had been close to stopping a bullet that would terminate him. Thank goodness he didn’t decline.

Feyi’s face was blank; he rose, nodded imperceptibly at the Chief and turned to Tunde. ‘Shall we?’

Tunde looked from chief Badru to Feyi. He regarded Bayo and Lekan, both were expressionless. He got up reluctantly, straightened his shirt. ‘I want my money ready when I get back. And I’ll take cash.’ He followed Feyi out the bar.

‘Tail them, make sure he doesn’t overpower Feyi. If he does, end him. I will have no use for him.’ Chief Badru addressed the men with him minutes after Tunde and Feyi left.

They nodded, got up and left the table. The chief carried his glass of wine when they had left and emptied it in one gulp. Time to see if Tunde really could swim with the sharks.

****************************************

Agent Bakare left the rendezvous point twenty minutes after Tunde. He walked to where his car was hidden in the underbrush. He removed the leaves and branches he used in disguising his car. He got in and drove away from the house. That would be the last time he saw it he realised. Sadness crept up on him, he fought it off. He would go in a blaze of glory.

He drove to the cargo airport after Abeokuta, parked his car and strolled onto the tarmac. ‘Hey Chuks, are we good to go?’ He called out to the pilot of plane that was transporting goods to Abuja. He employed the pilot’s services anytime he knew he needed to fly to any location in the country without travelling with commercial airliners. There were no questions asked between them, theirs was a relationship of convenience.

‘I was about to leave dear friend. You cut it real close.’ Chuks flashed his teeth.

‘Let’s go then.’ Agent Bakare went to the ladder and climbed into the plane. Chuks and his crew of three entered too. The plane fired up five minutes later, they taxied the runway, and the plane lifted excellently.

Agent Bakare closed his eyes as the plane levelled out in the air and started cruising. There was very little time to achieve a lot. He would not go down without taking the fight to them.

***************************************

Evan McGregor had been watching Efe Charles for close to an hour. He had pored over satellite images for hours. No thanks to the darkness that plagued the country at night, he kept missing the agent in the dark. Frustrated, he called up a friend in NASA and gave him the satellite coordinates. ‘Get me clear as day images,’ he demanded.

He waited another hour before the images got to him. Then he had trouble identifying the exact location. When he finally got it, the thought of sending the images to Adamu Alli crossed his mind. Irrationally, he dismissed the idea. He was uncomfortable with the decision. He grabbed his phone, dialled the airliner and got a seat on a flight that was leaving Abuja for Jos in half an hour.

He grabbed his things and went out of the office. He knew intuitively that he wanted to be the one to apprehend the agent. There was a lot that the man would know that he also needed to know. He headed for the airport.

He landed at Plateau International airport and took a cab. He paid off the cab man and walked half an hour to the house. He constantly resorted to his map, but in the end, it was worth it. He heard screams coming from the house, he heard gunshots, then he saw the agent walk out of the house and start for the road.

Evan knew he had lost his edge, so he kept his distance and followed the agent. When they were about getting to the road, the agent suddenly got a burst of inspiration. He ran back into the woods and climbed a tree. Evan wondered what madness possessed the agent. He soon found out.

A lorry drove into the woods ten minutes later. He watched as the agent jumped down and returned to the house. He felt like screaming and telling the agent to run for his dear life. He suddenly noticed that sitting behind a desk had tremendously limited him. He had lost touch with his basic instincts.

He watched the agent peer at the man who led the soldiers, he did too. He recognised Captain O’Brien immediately. He was still wondering what the man was doing there when he noticed Efe Charles was slipping away. ‘Damned slime ball,’ he cursed and he went after the agent.

He waited for the agent to get to the road before accosting him. ‘Stop,’ he released the safety catch of his Walther pistol. ‘Turn around, slowly.’

Charles did as he was told. No point aggravating a trigger happy individual. He turned and became confused. He was staring at a white Caucasian male.

Evan saw the reaction; he was used to it now. ‘You and I are going to have a chit chat. Trust me; I’m one of the good guys.’

‘Then why are you pointing…’ Charles didn’t get to complete his sentence; Evan shot him just above the heart.

‘Sorry friend,’ he apologized as he watched Charles’ inert body hit the ground. Things would go a lot easier this way. He grabbed the agent, moved him out of the road and waited. Five minutes later, the lorry passed. He smiled to himself. Not bad for a guy who’s lost touch eh? He looked at the agent’s body. ‘What to do with you?’

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