On Tuesday, during break, Desmond did not go out. He sat in the class with his head bowed on his desk. Egbe watched him from her desk for some minutes then she walked up to him. She squatted by his side and asked him what was wrong with him. He replied that his stomach was hurting him. She then tried to get him to get up but he refused. He kept saying he was going to be fine, even as his tears fell on the floor one drop at a time. She turned to go get help, then she noticed the smell.
Egbe: “you pooed on your shorts?” she asked, her voice filled with worry.
Desmond nodded. Egbe turned quickly to her desk and picked a cloth that had been used for fine arts class. It was big enough to wrap around someone. She rushed back to Desmond and forced him up, even as he resisted. Then she wrapped the cloth around him and lifted him up. He moaned and groaned all the way to the sick bay. Egbe’s pupils who were playing close to the classroom watched with big round eyes as they passed. Along the way, Egbe saw one of the cleaners and she informed her of work to be done in her class.
At the sickbay, the nurse gave Desmond drugs for diarrhea and he was placed on a bed. Egbe sat with him, as he moaned and tossed on the bed, worry in her eyes. Break ended but she refused to leave his side. Some few minutes after, the headmistress walked in and saw her there. The woman was angry with her and ordered back to her class but Egbe refused to listen to her; there was no way she was leaving Desmond. She didn’t care what the headmistress said. Meanwhile Desmond’s health was slowly deteriorating. The nurse came back and checked him then she said that he needed to be taken to the hospital. Immediately, Egbe called Major Festus. He picked on the first ring, and he said he was on his way.
Desmond was placed in the school bus and Egbe, despite the headmistress’ warning and expected sanctions, joined them and they were taken to the hospital that Major Festus had submitted to the school as the family hospital. Immediately they got there, a young handsome doctor took over and Desmond was moved into a room.
Egbe wanted to enter with the doctor but the nurses drew her back. At that moment, her self-restraint broke down.
Egbe: “He is my son! I want to see him! I have to be there with him! You have to let me see him!” she screamed in the hospital lobby, tears welling in her eyes.
Major Festus: “Martha what are you doing?” he asked. He had just entered the hospital to see Egbe jumping and screaming.
She turned on hearing his voice and she ran into his arms, sobbing. He stood still for a moment, unsure of what to do, then he patted her on her back slowly. He turned to the nurse;
Major Festus: “where is my son?” he asked, wearily.
Nurse: “the doctor is with him now. They have to run some tests to find out what exactly is wrong with him sir.” She replied.
Major Festus nodded his head and led Egbe to a lounge chair set up for visitors in the hospital lobby. Both of them sat down.
Major Festus: “it is going to be fine. He is going to be fine. Stop crying.” He said softly, handing her his handkerchief.
Egbe: “it is not alright. Nothing is ever alright. Nothing!” she shouted then she got up. “I have to get back to the school. I have probably lost my job now.” She said coldly.
Major Festus got up and grabbed her. At that moment the hospital swing door, swung open and a stretcher was pulled in by a nurse. In the stretcher was Lady Florence. Major Festus’ hand dropped from Egbe’s hand and he staggered forward to his wife’s side. Her eyes were closed. He turned to the nurse and asked him, what was wrong. The man told him that the ambulance driver said she had collapsed at a boutique and the owner of the boutique had called the ambulance service. The stretcher was rushed away.
Major Festus stared at the stretcher for a minute then he turned to find that Egbe had disappeared. He rushed out of the hospital but she was gone. He sighed and returned back to the chair to sit down with his hands on his chin.
Olamide sat watching the sea. The tides came and went, leaving debris behind. He watched young lovers hugging and kissing, cuddling and fighting under the blanket of the afternoon sun. He flicked the ash off the cigarette in his hand and then he returned it to his mouth and took a drag. His mind went back to the sex he had with Florence; “Now that woman knows how to fuck… God! I didn’t know I could release so much sperm or even go the number of rounds I went with her. She’s a nympho that is confirmed. I wonder why my dummy brother is so willingly let her stray like this. Well it is his loss. I will be digging that well for a long time to come.” He smiled and blew smoke into the afternoon air.
Nico: “this one wey you just dey by yourself dey smoke, dey smile so, how many wraps of weed you don drag today?” he asked, as he walked up to Olamide
Olamide stood up laughing and both men hugged. Nico was not a tall man neither was he big in body frame but Olamide knew him to be a deadly opponent in the boxing ring back in the day; he was fast and he was smart.
Olamide: “long time, no see my man.” He said as he sat back down on the palm tree root, he had claimed as his seat at the beach.
Nico: “I dey tell you. E don reach like eight years abi? Omo you try o. dem no just gree release you, even though them know say you innocent?” he asked, settling down with Olamide.
Olamide: “they didn’t need me to be guilty. The fact that I was a Nigerian was enough to get me a life sentence. I thank God for God sha.” He replied, his eyes narrowed in remembrance of those dark times in his life.
Nico: “omo na so. When Chiefo tell me say one tall guy wey say e name na Olamide dey find me ehn… I think say na lie o. I feel say na that way you take go o. like as dem do Boris and him brother, Eddie.” He said.
Olamide nodded and brought out his cigarette pack. He handed the opened pack to Nico, who took a stick and lit it. They smoke quietly for a while; each deep in his own memory. After sometime, Olamide throw his cigarette stub and sighed
Olamide: “I get job wey go pay well.” He said.
Nico: “wetin be the level? I dey game for anything.” He asked, sitting up straight.
Olamide: “It’s a hit job. The man’s wife wants him gone so she can do what she wants. The pay is four million naira. You can pick your team. I will give you the man’s schedule and everything you need to get it done and done properly.” He said.
Nico: “Nice. You see why I like you; you no dey waste time for your doings. Just give me the details. I go run every well.” He replied.
Olamide nodded his head and got up from the ground. He dusted the seat of his trousers and turned to Nico;
Olamide: “do you still drink Guinness stout?” he asked smiling.
Nico: “bros that na question?” he asked, smiling back.
Major Festus was counting the squares that made up the tiles on the floor of the hospital lobby for the second time when the doctor came out and walked towards him. he stopped his pacing and stood still staring at the man. The man’s face looked somewhat familiar but he could not place where he had seen him. He knew he had not seen him in the hospital before.
Doyin: “good afternoon sir. I am Doctor Doyin.” He said, stretching his hands.
Major Festus: “good afternoon doctor. Please what is wrong with my son and my wife?” he asked.
Doyin: “your wife and son are suffering from food poisoning sir. You are lucky it was caught on time. It would have led to serious complications and possibly death.” He said softly.
Major Festus: “food poisoning? How is that possible? I eat the same food as they, why was I not infected like them?” he asked.
Doyin: “are you sure? Are there no days, that you ate out or you were not hungry?” he asked, staring at Major Festus intently.
Major Festus thought for a minute then he banged his fist on his palm;
Major Festus: “On Sunday after church. We had jollof rice but I didn’t eat. I had to rush out on business before the food was ready and I came back really late that day.” he replied; his eyes suddenly hard. “That cook…” he added. He turned to the doctor; “how are they now?” he asked.
Doyin: “oh, your wife is recovering but for the boy, it is too early to say. You know he is smaller and food poisoning tends to affect children in a worse way than adults. They are both under observation now.” He replied.
Major Festus nodded and excused himself. He drove with barely contained fury to the house. On getting there, he immediately fired the cook and the maid. He paid them their salaries and asked them to leave immediately. The two women begged him, crying profusely but he refused and immediately placed a call to the army post close by. The women immediately left taking their belongings along with them.
Later that evening, as Doyin was closing for the day, Egbe came into his office quietly. She explained that she had been directed to him and she wanted to find out about the child she had brought in earlier.
Doyin: “where you the one that was shouting he is my son outside?” he asked, staring at her curiously.
Egbe: “I am very close to the boy. I wasn’t myself then. How is he?” she asked.
Doyin: “I can tell you over dinner. I am starved and I need to leave before the MD finds something for me to do.” He said.
Egbe: “is something wrong?” she asked, her eyes widening in worry.
Doyin looked at her quietly for a minute and shook his head.
Doyin: “I think someone is trying to kill Mrs. Olayinka and her son.” He said.
Question: Do you think anybody wants Florence dead? What do you think would happen to Doyin if it is found out that he prescribed the poison placed in the food?
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