Ashley was tired of the director of the orphanage home. She had been there several times and each time, she tells her to be patient. She had been patient for one week now. She was running out of the little money, Stella had given her and she was tired of the hotel, she was lodged in. she sat in the bar attached to the hotel, smoking and drinking a bottle of Gulder. She thought back to the life she had lived, to how Tega had used and deceived her and she sighed deeply, as smoke curled from her lips to the evening sky. “This na waste of time o. I need information now, why that woman dey waste my time? I no get money again o.” she thought to herself.
Her phone rang and she got up and moved away from the blaring speakers. It was Stella calling and it would not be good for her to hear music anywhere near her. She might assume that she was back to her old tricks.
Ashley: “Stella good evening.” she said into the phone.
Stella: “how far now? What is the update? Any luck?” she asked.
Ashley: “don’t mind the director. She seems to want a bribe before she gives me any information. Anytime I go to see her, all she says is that I should be patient.” She replied.
Stella: “okay, I will transfer some money to you, so you can settle her.” She said.
Ashley: “Ha…I don’t know how to repay you o, Stella. It’s not every day, one finds a friend as true as you o.” she replied.
Stella: “my friend, forget that matter. Take care of yourself o and all the best.” She replied and ended the call.
As soon as the call ended, her phone immediately began ringing. Ashley looked at it; it was Tega. She hissed and ended the call. He called again and she ended it. The third time, he called she angrily picked it;
Ashley: “wetin happen Tega? Why you dey disturb me?” she asked, shouting into the phone.
Tega: “babe howfar? You no dey call person self?” he asked.
Ashley: “see me o. Na me you dey talk to?”She shouted.
Tega: “relax. You don too old to dey do okpo na. Na make me say make Dele discharge you.” he replied, laughing on the phone.
Ashley:”Tega wetin make you dey call me?” she replied, calmly.
Tega: “work dey. Your cut na five hundred thousand naira.”
Ashley gulped the air, as the words froze in her throat. “Five hundred thousand…babe, that na block o.” She thought to herself.
Ashley: “wetin be the job?” she asked, walking back to her table and lighting a fresh stick of cigarette.
Tega: “Na one madam we wan obtain. The woman hold better bread and we hear say she no dey tak her pikin play.” He replied.
Ashley stretched her legs under the table and blew cigarette smoke into the air.
Ashley: “Which part I dey play for the story?” she asked, already spending the money in her head.
Tega: “Na you go pick the girl. The pikin dey go one deaf and dumb school for Effurun.” He replied.
Ashley: “deaf and dumb?” the cigarette fell from her hand.
Tega: “yes. See show Mega Club, I go give you better line.” He replied and ended the call.
Ashley sat staring at the ceiling of the bar for several minutes. She turned the words of Tega in her head then she smiled. She smiled, then she grinned, and then she laughed. She laughed hard.
Voke stepped into the sunlight, rubbing his wrists. He had finally been released after a week. His body had pains in places he didn’t know existed in his body. He walked out of the police station slowly, his eyes still trying to get used to the light. A car horned by the side of the road, but he didn’t turn as he was not expecting anyone with a car. The car drove close to him and horned. He turned and on seeing who it was, he sighed; it was Dr Fejiro. He walked to the window on the passenger side and stared at the man.
Dr Fejiro: “get in, let’s find a place where we can talk.” He said.
Voke stared at the man for some minutes then he opened the door and entered the car. Dr Fejiro drove to a restaurant along Airport Road and they sat down. A waitress came to them and they ordered food; Dr Fejiro ordered Ukodo (yam peppersoup and palm oil), while Voke ordered for starch and fresh fish banga soup. Their food was brought in and they both dug in.
After the meal, Dr Fejiro paid and they got into the car and drove away. Dr Fejiro took them to a bar along Water Resources road. The day was still early, so not much persons were inside. They sat down and Dr Fejiro ordered for a bottle of wine and pack of cigarettes. Voke watched him quietly as he lit a stick and drew smoke into his lungs.
Voke: “that thing will kill you, you know?” he said, before pouring a glass of wine for himself.
Dr Fejiro: “yeah yeah…working on quitting. So you are studying to become a doctor? That is not bad.” He said, in between long drags of the glowing cigarette.
Voke: “you said you wanted to talk. Well what about?” he asked, ignoring Dr Fejiro’s attempt at friendliness.
Dr Fejiro: “I want to get to know you, that is all. If you are my son, I would love to know you. But first, tell me about Friday. What was he like?” he asked.
Voke: “Friday? Friday was Friday. He was lively, fun, intelligent and he was selfless. He was a sickler, did you know that? He was dying when he came to your house. I begged him not to go. I fought with him that night but he won’t listen. He said a man deserves to choose how he dies.” He replied, his eyes faraway.
Dr Fejiro: “Mercy was AS I know that. Why didn’t she tell me she was pregnant? It would have made a difference.” He replied, shaking his head.
Voke: “why did you leave her?” he asked, wiping his eyes quickly.
Dr Fejiro: “she caught me on the bed with her best friend.” He replied.
Voke: “so you guys parted ways before she was pregnant with Friday?” he asked, sitting up.
Dr Fejiro: “that is the bothersome part of this whole tale. Did she already have Friday for someone else and you are my son or was Friday, my son and you are someone else’s? I can’t seem to make head or tail out of this whole mess.” He replied, staring at the ashtray in speculation. “Before he died, Friday made a statement. He said that he was sending an avalanche my way. Do you have any idea what he might have meant?” he asked.
Voke shook his head and stared quietly at a boy and a girl, who had just walked into the bar. The boy’s clothes was wet, he observed absently.
Voke: “I don’t know. I didn’t even know he knew you existed until after his death. I need to make arrangements for his burial.” He added suddenly.
Dr Fejiro: “don’t worry about it. I have it covered. I don’t know what it is like to live in this world without a family of your own; no father, no mother; just the two of you but I can see that it is a difficult life. How did he find you?” he asked.
Voke: “he ran away from his foster home then he came to the orphanage home I was in and stole me. How he knew where and who I was, I don’t know. He gave me to a woman, who needed a child and she took care of me until she gave birth to her own child and I became a burden. He took me from her and we have been together ever since.” He replied, softly.
Dr Fejiro: “he loved you.” he said, softly.
Voke: “yes he did. When he saw your daughters, what did he say to them?” he asked, his eyes red with unshed tears.
Dr Fejiro: “he got his boys to rape all of them and my wife too.” He replied, softly and blew smoke into the air.
Voke stared at him with his mouth open then he drew his chair back in fear.
Voke: “did Orezi touch any of your daughters?” he asked, his voice quivering.
Dr Fejiro: “I don’t know their names but the two of them slept with my daughters and my wife. Why do you ask?” he asked, placing the smoking cigarette on the ashtray gently.
Voke: “Orezi is HIV positive.” He said. “Jesus! Friday what were you thinking?” he added to himself.
He raised his head as Dr Fejiro, his eyes blazing with fury, veins standing on his neck with the effort at controlling himself, dove across the table at him and both of them plus the bottle of wine, the glasses as well as the cigarette stubs in the ashtray fell to the floor.
Dr Fejiro: “why? Why would he do that to me? Why?” he asked, as he squeezed the collar of Voke’s shirt in a tight grip, tears falling from his eyes to Voke’s cheeks and lips.
Voke stared at him in fear.
Question: how will Dr Fejiro deliver this news to his family? Do you think Ashley will get involved in the deal, Tega wants her to do for him?
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