Looking forward to 1st May? We are…
Read Episode Two of M.O.T.I.V.E.S by Unen Ameji
Didn’t catch Episode One? Yup, Read Here
Episode Two – M.O.T.I.V.E.S
“Gala, Gala, Gala, Gala, Ptttff! La’Casera” it was Victor Dakar shouting like the determined hustler that he was on the Nyanya-Maraba Expressway, hawking. Victor Dakar – a name he had given himself 11 years ago – was a name without roots. He was a man with no identity but a man who instinctively knew his worth, even if it came by hawking to meet his needs. He was a man who would find himself, a man who would be a victor. He knew he had been born in Dakar, Senegal – that much, his mother had told him before tossing him out on that cold rainy night with nothing but his backpack filled with crispy notes amounting to a million Naira. The unwanted was cast out.
A loud blare of car horns brought him back to the present as he narrowly missed been hit by a bus. He couldn’t afford memories now and consciously replaced irking thought with the thought of the car he was going to buy as soon as he made the last deposit. Skillfully, he watched for forlorn faces in cars stuck in the heavy traffic waiting for a facial expression that looked like hunger, boredom or a mixture of both. Most often than not, these expressions made sales and he had packaged his dynamic duo – Gala and La’Casera in light green almost transparent leather bags. It was easier to sell and made profit for two products with just a single sale.
“Gala! Gala” he bellowed as he held the last two leather bags for the day walking in the direction of his shack nested beneath the footpath leading to his Kubgo residence, as he fondly called it.
Just then, a white Lincoln Navigator parked across the road and a lady came out.
“Gala!” it was a single call but a ton of eager young boys flew across the Expressway to answer the call. He looked at the owner of the voice and turned back to continue his search for buyers of his last two leather bags.
He had just sold the last of his bags when he felt a sweaty hand on his bare back.
“Na you she dey call” it was a cashew nut seller.
Victor looked across the road to the woman in a body clinging black gown that stopped at her knees, standing in impossibly high pink pumps. She didn’t look like she was interested in gala or his La’casera, moreover he had just sold the last of it. He obliged her all the same and crossed over.
“Good evening Ma” he greeted, holding his empty bag.
“Good evening. I saw you hawking your gala in leather bags and must say I am impressed. You see, I have a new product and I think you will do great with the marketing” she said airily.
“I can give you my number and I come see it tomorrow” he replied watching her face intensely. Something told him she wasn’t about selling anything.
“I would rather you see it now” she insisted.
“Madam, it is late and have to make report at my supplier after selling” he lied. He had no supplier. He bought outright and sold for his pockets.
“Alright Inale, I have a message for you from your mother” she finally volunteered laughing at a private joke.
“My mother is dead” he said painfully, his jaw twitching. This woman knew who he was.
“No, she is not. You know it. Now do we continue this discussion here or are you coming in?” she asked indicating that he enter her car.
“I would rather you tell me who you are and how in heaven’s name did you find me?” he asked getting angry.
“I am Charity, Charity Ajero, your mother’s lawyer. Your mother has, well, I’d say interesting network. I would not say it was an easy find but she did” she said coolly regarding him with sharp eyes.
“What does she want from her dead son?” he spat dispassionately, refusing to acknowledge the fact that the woman who had thrown him out was suddenly looking for him after 11 years.
“Your father is dead” the lawyer said waiting for his reaction.
“I do not have a mother and I most certainly do not have a father ” he declared, turning his back and making to cross the road.
“You will be inheriting roughly about ten million dollars” she said in a raised voice. She caught his attention.
He stopped and turned to look at the woman. Clearly, she was serious and without meaning to, broke into a loud heartfelt laughter that echoed and had passersby look at them.
“What is in it for her?” he finally asked, coughing and rubbing his eyes clean of the tears that had formed as a result of the belly-filling laughter.
“Revenge” she said after a while. She didn’t find his amusement a tad bit funny.
“That sounds like her, a lot like her” he said looking past her and into the green hills, remembering the last time he set eyes on the woman who had bore him.
“You should come in” she made for the car again.
“Look emmm, ….” He called trying to remember her name.
“Charity” she supplied graciously.
“Charity, I don’t want to have anything to do with that woman” he continued stubbornly.
“She wants you to get what is rightly yours” Charity maintained coldly, she needed him to get with the program and not waste her time. Patience was not her virtue and she didn’t care for it.
“Wait, let me get this straight. She disowns me, throws me out and refuses to tell me who my father is for 29 years and then suddenly, she wants to take revenge and give me the right to inherit a million dollars?” he asked as he wiped the last of the tears from his eyes.
“Ten million” she corrected as her phone rang. She ignored it.
“You get ten million dollars, not a million dollars” she corrected impatiently as her phone buzzed.
“What is in for you?” he asked noticing as she expertly typed a message.
“Minus my legal fees?” she asked jokingly breaking into a smile. He was coming around.
“I suppose everyone is on board with this”
“Just you” she flashed her best smile.
“Right” he answered watching her.
“Well, here is my card…just in case you change your mind. Come by my office tomorrow”
“Will she be there?” he asked, apprehensive.
“No. she won’t be dealing with you directly” she said sweetly getting into her car.
“Of course” he swallowed bitterly.
“I will be expecting you though” she said as she closed her door and keyed her car.
“Uhmmm” he nodded. She watched emotions play on his face. He would come, she concluded.
“How does one get loathed just because you reminded one of your father? A man you have never met or chose?” he asked, his eyes grave.
“You will have your answers soon enough Inale. I will be waiting for you” she said kindly.
“It’s Victor now” he corrected, feeling a little triumphant at his new alias.
“I know, Victor Dakar” she said in wink before driving away.
“And that my friend is how I got to the hawking profession” he said to no one in particular, walking slowly to his house and tearing open a gala wrap he had reserved for himself.
Her office, located in a Residential Estate in Maitama extension, was not an ‘office’. It was a modern terrace duplex, completely detached and heavily guarded. He wanted to turn back but his curiosity at finally meeting a dead father had him knocking on the intimidating steel gate with a security camera.
“Do you have an appointment?” it was the security guard in yellow and red uniform. His green wool cap made Victor cringe visibly at the ridiculous outfit. The getup looked like a deliberate attempt at belittling the guard and everything he stood for, and it was working. This was the reason why he stuck to hawking. He decided what to wear, sell and what time to close.
“Yes” he answered after a moment, handing over the nicely crested business card.
“Please fill this form” the guard handed over a form and collected it once Victor had filled it satisfactorily.
“Please wait here” he instructed with authority.
“Will do” he mouthed.
Few minutes later, he was ushered into the house and left in an empty room with white walls and huge Plasma TV on the wall. The empty room which looked like a reception, had no chairs. He stood waiting for the next instruction. He smiled at the thought.
“I see you decided to show up” he turned at her voice to see a scantily-clad woman in black bikini, furiously rubbing her wet hair with a white towel. She had curves that threatened to spill from her bra and firm rounded hips that could make a man want to be a dog for a long time.
“Yes” he answered thickly, his eyes stopping at her tight nipples. Her navel captured his attention as he traced the tattoo carefully with the writings leading directly to her crotch.
“Like it?” she asked as she watched him force his eyes back to her face.
“It is an interesting tattoo. I should study it sometime” he flirted with a serious face.
“I would like that. Thank you” she flirted back.
“So here I am” he said lightly, looking at her with desire curling in places he didn’t want noticing her.
“I can see that. Please follow me to my office” she said taking the lead as she wrapped the towel around her waist.
Her office was surprisingly professional, furnished with an impressive library and dark brown mahogany shelves carrying law books and extremely large blue bonded book collections. The cold office had a Yanni’s First Touch playing softly in the background and News on Al Jazeera on her TV playing noiselessly. It was the news on the late tycoon’s death on repeat.
She walked over to the wardrobe and eased a wrap gown from the hanger over her shoulders, letting the towel fall and walking over to her desk. He was tempted to ask her to pick up the towel, he hated littered room.
“You can pick it up if it bothers you” she said simply, catching the disapproval in his eyes.
“So, who is my father?” he asked as he took a seat across from her.
“Was, he is dead”
“Right. Who was my father?” he asked watching her power her laptop and reach for a file simultaneously.
“You may know him, you may not” she said handing him the heavy file.
“This is one hell of a file” he commented dryly but felt a little heart kick.
“I decided not to print all of it. Enjoy. What do you want for lunch?” she asked picking up her intercom.
“Pounded yam, Vegetable soup and assorted meat. Pineapple juice, freshly squeezed would do. Thanks” he smiled.
“You know, for one who hawks for a living, I am surprised you know what pounded yam and assorted meat is” she said sarcastically dialing her kitchen.
“I am going to be roughly ten million dollars richer, I think it is about time I started ordering like a millionaire” he threw her words at her with a piercing look and a twitch in his lips, stopping a grin from coming out.
“I see” she smiled repeating his order and asking for spinach sauce and samosa for herself. Victor made a face before standing up with the file and going over to the comfortable sofas across the office. He sat down and took a deep breath and then he opened the file.
The moment Victor opened the file, his eyes popped at the identity of the man who was said to be his father. Chief Badmus Bello, the dead Tycoon and political Godfather. The one man who he had tried to meet severally and had had the honor of driving in his convoy for a day before he was accused of stealing and picked up by the police only to be warned off after an anonymous bail was posted.
He could not believe and closed it to look at Charity. She nodded, the seriousness and intensity told him this was not made up. He took a deep breath before opening it again. And he read. The exact dates, early pictures, his present net worth, investments, his family, rumors and alliances, the double-shady dealings and the women – it was a complete biography, only that he probably had the only copy. All doubts on the genuineness of the file and motive behind his mother finally revealing his father dawned upon him. There was not enough truck to take the filth and atrocities.
It took 3 hours of carefully studying the file to finally reach the last photograph.
“He was on the news yesterday” he croaked, stunned and disbelieving. Chief Bello could not be his father.
“He died yesterday” she supplied watching him.
“He has been buried?” he asked. He was clueless as to the emotion that was appropriate. Anger? Joy? Gratitude? Pain?
He had all of those and more.
“Not yet. I suppose today? Informants tell me his son, the Pastor your brother that is, is making the arrangements and won’t allow him be buried immediately”
“Is he requesting for autopsy?” he asked, his throat filling up.
Victor was overwhelmed with the revelation and the last piece of information in the file had been a young picture of Chief Badmus. Victor was a perfect copy of his father at that age.
“That’s the premise” she supplied pitying his predicament.
“Why now?” he asked her after five minutes of reflection and squeezing his eyes shut.
“You would have to ask your mother that”
“You should ask her on my behalf. That’s part of your job, is it not?” he spat hotly.
He couldn’t believe it. Victor Dakar, son of Chief Badmus Bello, late Chief Badmus Bello, he corrected himself as he stood up and walked around her office. He pressed his eyes with his hand to stop the tears coming to his eyes and the anger at his mother. He didn’t deserve any of it, all of this.
“Where is their history?” he asked, hands in pocket, turning to face her.
“What?” Charity was a little confused at the question.
“How did the two meet? How did I get here?” he asked, his eyes blood shot.
“Again, you would have to ask her” she stated calmly.
“Hmmm, I wondered what she is paying you for. One would think she was paying you to tell me all I need to know” he said with a tight smile.
“She is paying me to represent you. I am going to get you your inheritance” she retorted, confident of her abilities.
“It is all about the ten million dollars” he said darkly.
“What if I don’t want any of it?” he continued walking over to painting at the end of her office. He wanted to cry but he couldn’t show his weakness.
“I am assuming you are still shocked. I suppose there may be more of you”
“And how many of us will be coming out of the hiding to claim our settlement package?” he asked disgustingly.
“As many as he fathered but none who has me as their legal representative” she smiled smugly at his look of disgust.
“I sense you have an axe to grind too. What did he do to you?” he asked staring at her. She looked at him back from her seat, a minute later, she stood up and went to him.
“This is my father. George Ajero” she said simply as they looked at the painting on the wall in front of them.
“A SAN too” he noticed.
“Yes” she said simply with a pained smile.
“Where is he?” he asked.
“He is dead. Your father killed him”
“These were your father’s wishes. He said categorically that on his death, he was to be buried without any autopsy carried out” it was SAN Dele Adewole, Chief Badmus Bello best friend and lawyer in an emergency meeting called by the late Chief’s brother, Abdullahi because Debola wouldn’t bulge on committing his father to earth without an autopsy and basically delaying the rites to be performed according to the Islamic faith.
“What else were his wishes? Did the wish include not finding out if he was killed?” Debola barked at the old dignified man in black suit and grey shirt.
“My son, I am telling you what the provisions are for his burial. If it pleases you, the documents can be presented. Your mother is aware of this” he said steadily, not flinching as he watched Alhaja with clouded desire. He wanted her so much it hurt but he had kept his feelings away all these years, now that the Chief was dead, he wanted nothing more than to hold her and tell her everything would be alright. He had never seen a more devoted mother and supporting wife. He would convince her to marry him, he thought unashamed that his coveted his best friend’s wife.
“Mom, is that true?” Debola asked watching helplessly as his mother blew her nose into her handkerchief.
“Yes” she whispered and blew her nose again, nodding and drying her red eyes.
Laide was seated beside her beautiful mother because she felt obligated. She had shed tears the moment she had arrived but had since stopped, trying to keep a strong face as she had been told by many to. The truth was that she couldn’t wait to have the old man committed to earth. She wanted to get out of here. She looked around for Kasimu, their eyes met and she lowered her eyes to his crotch. He froze and moved away from her view. She hid a smile.
Kole had been bailed out but the presence of policemen on the premises reinforced the fact that they were not going to let him walk away just yet. He wore dark shades and no one knew whether he was high or crying. He simply sat, watching as the conversation flew over his head and waiting for the ceremony to start before slipping away.
“I am not convinced but if that was his wish…, I have to respect it” Debola said finally defeated.
“Thank you” his mother whispered as he came close and held her.
“All will be fine. You will be fine” he hugged her and watched as his Uncle Abdullahi, the family Alfa began coordinating the burial arrangements. He had tried his best but if the old man wanted to be buried immediately, who was he to stop it. He didn’t have the spiritual capacity or faith to raise him from the dead and even if he did, he would rather let sleeping dogs lie.
The truth was that Debola was relieved and had staged the delay just to make a show. The autopsy episode was sown out of the need to object to something to prove that he, Debola Bello was in charge and wanted to be sure there was no foul play. At his arrival at the airport, they were so many reporters; his team had had to block the myriad of microphones that were pushed into his face. Now, he was sure the man was really dead. He could use the money to settle a lot of things, like his new family and the new baby he had just fathered with his former choir mistress. He saw Martha approach and the thought died a natural death.
It was going to be harder than he thought. He was a desperate sinking man who couldn’t divorce his wife because he was a pastor to one of the biggest new generation churches. He had a responsibility to his members all over the world but could ten million dollars liberate him? The answer was not comforting
The man watched from a distance as they came. Each in a convoy, each one of them a rogue, cheat and killer. He watched them come out of their exotic cars and watched others drop from their private chopper. It was the perfect setting.
The dark grey skies thickened furiously as family and friends of the Late Chief arrived at The Castle in convoys that flooded the grounds. Former Heads of State, past and present Governors, Ministers, Spiritual heads and Executive Officers of international and indigenous companies came in troves to pay their final respect to the icon, the big heart who was now lying in state. The condolence register had since been opened and the dignitaries flooding the exquisite large room already prepared for guests overwhelmed Sekinat. Thankfully, his body would finally be buried and everyone could leave. The sooner the ceremony was over, the sooner she could leave The Castle with the baby growing inside her. She watched Alhaja Kadirat cry from afar and took a deep breath. What did they say about widows who grieve the most?
The mausoleum stood poignant and imposing like the man who was going to be lying it. Painted in crisp white with tall Victorian columns located on manicured lawn few meters away from his favorite wild mahogany tree, the Alfa, Badmus’s step-brother, read out words from the Quran and delivered a message with Debola itching to say few words. This was his father’s funeral and here he was standing on the sidelines. He felt like shit. He smiled at the profanity and looked at his wife who looked like she would laugh out any minute now.
The official pressmen had set up cameras from the moment Chief Badmus’s body had arrived at The Castle on his private plane and the live streaming as event unfolded had taken over several stations across the country. Martha had been impressed with the turnout and with the level of dedication the political vultures came to pay their last respect. Of course he was one of them and it was only normal that they would troop out enmasse to be at his burial. She imagined his Will and smiled. She knew just what Debola had planned and she would simply ask for more than half of whatever he gets. What would one do with $5 million dollars? She fantasied. Just then, Martha noticed movement behind her and felt a piece of paper being pressed into her hand.
She turned around quickly to catch a man in black suit leave and disappear into the crowd. Looking around, she noticed the rapt attention of everyone, staring at the Alfa and reciting the last recital before they committed the body to the mausoleum.
Secretly opening the piece of paper underneath her phone, it simply read – Leave Now.
Her head jerked up and looked around again for a clue. There was no one looking at her or acting suspicious. She stood for few minutes, her heart racing when her phone vibrated. It was a text message – Leave Now!. There was no sender number.
She watched Debola focus on his Uncle. Should she take him along? Perhaps she should, just in case it was a kidnap attempt, she thought looking around again.
She found his hand and pulled at it. He looked at her with impatience.
“What is it?” he muttered under his breath.
“Come with me now” she replied in a mutter before dragging him along, eyes following them. Debola nodded courteously at the onlookers and followed Martha who was obviously in a hurry to reach the main house 500 meters. She was standing by their car when he reached her.
“What is it now Nomso? You do realize that my father will be laid to rest any minute and as the first son, I must be there” he said, heaving.
“Get in” she ordered.
“Bola, get in” she said entrusting the piece of paper in his hand. He entered the car reluctantly.
“What is this?” he asked throwing the piece of paper on her.
Just then, the loud thundering sound of an explosion filled the car that reverberated and shook so hard, the glasses shattered. The heart wrenching sound traveled the distance and they felt the impact as it flung their car against other parked cars.
He fell sideways, pushing his wife to the ground as he opened the car door, feeling pieces of glass on his body. He felt her move and then watched in horror as blood flowed from the back of her neck. The windscreen had shattered and large chunk of sharp glass was lodged at the nape of her neck.
“Nomso, Nomso” he called weakly, the ringing bell in his ears was beginning to clear as he looked around littered bodies everywhere. Shouts emanating from persons he could not see filled air but a look at the direction of the mausoleum confirmed what he thought it was.
A bomb blast at the mausoleum.
M.O.T.I.V.E.S is written by;
Author of Memoirs of a Justified Gold Digger on Amazon.com
See new book Love on the 25th on Okadabooks http://goo.gl/hmsKnv