Two days later, as was his usual practice, Tomiwa dropped his children in school and his wife at the market before heading to the park for the day’s business. It was a beautiful Tuesday morning, the weather was just right and everybody at the park went about their business as usual. Five long trips into Tomiwa’s day, luck smiled at him; he’d just dropped off a passenger and was about turning when two hefty guys walked up to him.
“Oga you dey do drop?” one of them asked.
“It depends because I no dey like to go far like that, where you dey go?”
“Na just Ganiu street there.” The second one replied, pointing to indicate that their destination was close.
“Okay, na five hundred o.”
“Oya make we dey go.” The first one replied as they got into the tricycle, Tomiwa smiled at his luck, he’d expected them to haggle the price even though he wasn’t willing to accept anything less than three hundred naira. Soon, they got to their destination, paid their fare and turned when a voice stopped them.
“Na that guy carry una come?”
“Babanla, na him o, you know am?”
“He don carry me for free before, how much you can give am?”
“Na drop we do so na five fibre we give am.”
“No o, add one bale join.”
“Okay.” And he gave Tomiwa an extra one thousand naira. The happy Tomiwa smiled and thanked them before leaving.
As soon as he left, one of the hefty guys spoke.
“Babanla, I just dey reason am o, that guy go dey useful for us o.”
“Shanawole, I dey shame for you o, you no con get sense again, why you dey talk like this, person wey we nor know, I don dey tell you say you no dey get sense for afternoon but you no wan gree.” The second guy replied. Babanla was lost in thought, shanawole could be right, the tricycle rider could actually be useful if they approached him in the right way; meanwhile the two hefty guys had engaged in a curse battle.
“Eish!” babanla shouted to quiet them.
“Everytime, I dey always ask God why hin gimme two senseless omose (workers) like you, una two no dey get sense except when money is involved.” He added.
“Baba, na this idiot o, I just bring suggestion come and he…” Shanawole was saying before Babanla hushed him.
“Just shut your dirty mouth, I never talk finish, you don dey display another round of foolishness (pause) now, you Shanawole, your suggestion actually has sense in it but we know next to nothing about this guy so from tomorrow, you must follow him around and monitor his movements to find out his daily routine while Scorpion will monitor the garage for any suspicious activities and please make sure you are as discreet as possible. I need a report by Friday.” He said with an air of finality, Shanawole and Scorpion nodded to show that they understood the instructions and then followed Babanla into the house.
Meanwhile, Tomiwa continued his business as usual, grateful for the little fortune he’d made. After the day’s business, he went home to be with his family. As was the family tradition, everyone had to summarise their day to the whole family after dinner then night prayers will be said and everyone could go to bed.
One innocent week later, Tomiwa sat at his favourite canteen eating when Shanawole walked in with a younger guy. They sat two tables away from the oblivious Tomiwa and communicated in low tones so as not to attract attention to themselves, the plan was to remain as inconspicuous as possible to avoid Tomiwa suspecting anything; they both ordered their food and ate normally like other customers. Tomiwa finished eating before them and left the canteen, from their findings, they knew he’d walk back to the garage, rest awhile before continuing his business. Unknown to Tomiwa, there was a lanky young man waiting just outside the canteen ready to follow Tomiwa just to re-confirm his daily routine, as expected; Tomiwa casually walked the short distance to the garage and went straight to his tricycle to rest. The guy lingered around awhile but never strayed too far from his target, he was extra cautious of his actions because he could not be noticed by any of the garage touts else he was a dead man. He walked briskly to the rendezvous and was glad to meet his colleagues waiting in the getaway car; he got in quickly and they zoomed off. They all alighted at their destination and walked into the expensively furnished living room of the three-bedroom flat that belonged to Babanla. Scorpion was on hand to receive them then he heralded their arrival to the boss who appeared minutes later with a tobacco cigar stick jutting out from the right side of his mouth and a bottle of Hennessey in one hand. One look at him and you don’t need an external observer to tell you he was high; he sat heavily in one of the three cream leather armchairs and propped his legs on the glass centre table. One point to note about Babanla is that no matter how high he was, when it came to business, he was always alert.
“Any show?” Babanla asked in a husky voice which meant the boss just got served by a girl.
“Baba, everything dey normal, we have confirmed the guy’s routine.” Shanawole replied.
“Okay good, Shadow, what is the next line of action, what do you have planned?”
“Baba, we don’t need to give him too much info, Scorpion will approach and tell him that we’d always contact him whenever we need a ride.” Shadow, the one who’d followed Tomiwa from the canteen, replied.
“Shadow, that sounds too easy.”
“Baba, I know but trust me, once we have used him like four or five times, we’d start dropping bits of info, that way, he’d at least be waist deep before he figures out anything.” Babanla smiled, Shadow was the brain behind his success, he could never disagree with him when it came to business and he just felt whatever he said was right and final; being a first class graduate of economics, Babanla had every reason to believe that Shadow was a certified strategist. He knew that the other boys in the inner circle were jealous of his behaviour towards Shadow but he cared less, he couldn’t let other people’s feeling destroy his business.
“Fine…” he finally said “… That’s final boys, the Shadow has spoken and I believe you can handle yourselves from here, Scorpion serve them, I have unfished business, I’ll see you guys later.” He concluded and went back the way he’d come. Shanawole and the other guy sat beaming knowing fully well that the phrase ‘serve them’ didn’t mean just drinks, it also meant there was a package containing at least fifty thousand naira in it, except Shadow, he was always serious. Shadow collected his package and walked out of the house without saying goodbye to anybody but the guys were used to it, he was the boss’ right hand man and they couldn’t complain.
“Wetin dey always do this Shadow guy sef.” The new recruit, the one that had gone with Shanawole to the canteen, asked.
“Ol’boy, you better mind your mouth, if Baba hear you, your own just fit finish nanow, I no go do like say I know you gan.” Scorpion chided.
“Rugged, I no pity you at all o, I dey always tell you say no be everything wey your eye see na im your mouth go talk, abeg no kobalise my career o because if anything happen, na me them go call.” Shanawole further scolded the nineteen year old.
“Okay, e don do, make we sef enjoy small now.” Scorpion said and retrieved a bottle of vodka from the boss’ mini-bar just behind the dining table.
“Tomiwa, I’m your wife and confidant, just tell me how you got the money.”
“Hannah it’s like you’re the one satan sent to ruin my mood this night abi, well for your information, go back to those that sent you and tell them I’m not around.” Hannah clapped her hands thrice.
“When you’re not doing taxi business, ordinary keke rider lasan lasan and somebody is always paying five thousand for drop, ordinary keke o and it’s not as if you’re going far o. just garage to Ganiu street that the highest amount you’ll collect for a trip is four hundred and somebody paid five k, okay, you’ve turned me to mugu abi or you think I’m stupid abi or maybe you’ve started taking things that don’t belong abi and…”
“Hannah! If you don’t shut up now, I will slap that your loose mouth, you must be stupid, infact you’re mad, it is me that you’re talking to in that manner abi, you’re raising your voice at me.” Tomiwa shouted while Hannah stared wide-eyed with both hands on her chest, seconds later, she broke into a sarcastic laugh and clapped again.
“Eh, I am finished, my husband wants to slap me…” she said to no one in particular then turned to face Tomiwa.
“… So because I asked you a simple question, you want to beat me, because I asked a simple question Tomiwa you want to slap me, oya na, this is my face now, come and slap infact, this is my whole body, beat me, what am I saying gan, kill me, if you don’t kill me today, you’re a bastard, kill me o and eat my flesh.” She said and held Tomiwa by his shirt collar as she pushed her head on his chest.
…to be continued