Beating The Odds – Episode 16
© Brian Ngoma
Sky sat in a corner at KFC southgate where no one paid attention to her. Like always, she had worn all black with her favourite boots. She never liked skirts nor dresses. In fact, Cayn had never seen her wear one. She was always in tight black jeans, black top especially ripped crop tops and mostly with a black leather jacket or a coat. She prided herself as a renegade. Even before Cayn got her off the streets, she had always been a troublemaker. It was her defiance that drew him closer to her. He saw in her eyes what he was growing up; hunger and desire for trouble. He made her his family. She got her tablet, plugged in the headsets and called Cayn. “Boss, the operation is in now progress,” she looked around and everyone was busy in the eatery.
He cleared his throat. “Okay, has Boyce entered Bank?”
“Yes Boss and I am looking at our middle man Martin right now, he’s in Mobile City pretending to check out some phones,” she laughed. “Things you have taught us.”
“Keep an eye,” he said. “Check your environment. Is it all clear?”
“Like i said the last time, it’s all clear. I have done some counterchecking and we are good. You seem nervous, is it because of Shekinah the new Chief?”
“No it’s not, i just have a headache, Okay ensure Martin gets the money,” he said.
“He will boss.”
Cayn hung up the phone and put it on the table. He looked down through the windows and saw Sky putting the headsets on the table and grabbing a bite from a chicken wing. He was at the top floor of Kulima Tower building opposite Investrust bank and Southgate shopping mall shadowing the operation. He had seen all of them since they got there. He saw Sky settling down at KFC and Martin separating with Boyce. He was alert looking everywhere till he saw a familiar figure in the crowd at Kulima Tower bus station. He quickly stood but the figure disappeared as quickly as he saw it. It wasn’t a mistake; it was Blank shot. “Damn,” he cussed and got his phone. Before he could dial, Sky called him. He looked at the phone and looked down at KFC, she was not there. He answered it. “What is it?”
“Blank shot Boss,” she said her voice quivering.
“I had a feeling,” he said. “Listen to me carefully.”
“I’m all ears boss.”
“Inform Martin about the detective, tell him to tell Boyce to cut the operation now!”
She was quiet.
“Are you there?” he asked alarmingly.
“Yes boss. Martin has just sent me a text that the operation was successful. Boyce is now leaving the Bank going to meet Martin,” she said. “What do we do about the detective.”
“He is not alone i know, find a way to leave this place i will deal with him. Under no circumstance should he see any of you. Are we clear?”
“Yes Boss,” she answered. “Wait Boss, are you here?”
“I said i will deal with him, get out of here now!”
“Right,” she hung up the phone.
Cayn grabbed his brief case and rushed to the elevator. He got on it and off to the ground floor. After leaving the building, he bought some bananas and apples from the street vendors. He went round the Kulima tower building to where he had seen Blank shot. He couldn’t see him. He decided to go to the Airtel store opposite Investrust bank. Just as he got out of the station, he saw Blank Shot idly standing before the vendors. He stepped back and looked around. He swiftly walked into the Airtel shop. In there, he bought a phone whilst keeping check of Blank Shot. He called Sky. “Have you left?”
“Yes Boss, I am behind Martin and Boyce’s car right now, we are leaving town,” she responded.
“Good,” he hung up.
He left the Airtel shop and found Blank shot gone. He walked to where he had stood and stood as if checking the phones on the tables. He stood quietly trying to listen to the voices around him and he couldn’t mistook the voice that came with a hand to his shoulder. He turned around and kept an expressionless face. “Detective Boadi,” he exclaimed.
“Cayn,” the detective said.
“What a surprise. You also shop from here?” Cayn asked.
“Sometimes but what a coincidence,” The detective held his chin looking around. “What brings you here?”
Cayn lifted his plastic bag of fruits and the other containing a box of the phone he had just bought. “I was doing some shopping,” he smiled.
“I didn’t take you for a person who shops around these areas,” The detective said.
“Hmmm detective come on, I am Zambian, what do you expect. These are the places that raised us huh,” he laughed. “What are you doing here yourself?”
Boadi looked at him suspiciously. He could see the burning anger in his eyes. He knew that he was the one he was chasing but he didn’t have any evidence. The detective composed himself and answered. “Work.”
“OH, protecting us the citizens. You sir and your people are doing great work.”
Boadi felt like he could punch the young man. “Thanks Cayn, but what are you really doing here? It can’t just be the fruits and the phone.”
Cayn felt like the detective was probing into his soul. One slight mistake, he could betray himself. Composed, he answered, “This is town detective, it’s for everyone and it’s where i work from. In case you have forgotten, i have a Car wash off East Road so that question is kind of an insult to me.”
“I have my eyes on you young boy, you can deceive everyone at the station but not me,.. I know you have something big going on, i can feel it and i promise you I’ll catch up.”
The heartbeat could have sold Cayn out but luckily, the detective didn’t know what was going on in that chest. “Why getting all angry detective? I did nothing, have i? Is it now a crime to be found in town? Let’s do this, you should email me your schedule of coming to town so that we don’t cross paths.”
In his mind, the detective had already shot Cayn in the head. He was so pissed because he knew he had been beaten once again. “Good day,” he ran off crossing the road to the bank.
Cayn breathed out in relief. His hands were all shaky he left the plastic bag with the street vendor. He walked to his car which was parked at the Airtel Store’s car park facing the bank. As he started the engine, the detective and Shekinah came out of the bank. From a distance, he saw the Chief for the first time. She was shouting at Boadi and seemed pissed. Boadi punched the air in frustration looking at the direction Cayn and him had earlier stood. He drove the car into the road when he met eyes with Shekinah. She looked at him suspiciously and touched the detectives shoulder pointing at him. Cayn dropped the visor and sat upright avoiding her stare as he turned the car and drive out of the street. His heart was racing, just one stare and she didn’t even know who he was and he got scared like that. “What’s wrong with me?” he hit the steering wheel in frustration. “They knew we where here, we just beat them by seconds. Who the hell is ratting me out?”
As he drove out of town, he knew the car was compromised. He drove it to one of his nearest car parks and had it parked. He told the manager to get rid of the it and get him a new one. He got another car and drove home. He found his gang waiting for him all happy to celebrate.
“We have done it again boss,” Sky said patting his shoulder.
“Yes we did but we should be more careful,” he said sitting down. “You all need to go home and rest.”
“Boss, Sky told me Boadi was there,” Martin said.
He breathed in heavily and said, “Yes, we were not careful but i took care of him.”
“How?” Sky asked.
He looked at her and said, “Listen everyone,” he turned his attention to the others. “We have to lay low. Everyone has to go back to their places and conduct your cover up business. We have too much heat on our tails and another job would send us to the gutter. I’ll wire your monies after a week.”
“For how long Boss?” Wezi asked.
“Three months,” he responded.
“What?” Martin shouted. “Three months is too much boss.”
“It is my belief that everyone here has businesses that can sustain them even for a year. I taught you better, come on you are graduates.”
They all faced down except for Sky who kept her eyes on him. He could see she was not happy and he knew it wasn’t about the forced leave but why the hell was he shadowing the operation when she’s the main shadow?
“The boss is right,” Boyce said after much consideration. “The detective is on our asses like fire and if we ignore him, things might end up pretty bad for us. I don’t want to go to jail, i have a family. Three months is Okay, we’ll make do Boss but i think you should take care of that detective.”
“Kill him,” Wezi said jokingly.
“Trust me, I’ll take care of him. I just have to find out why he is always up to date with what we are doing right here. See you in three months, the money will come after a week don’t worry.”
They all left leaving him with Sky. They went up to the bar. He got a bottle of Whiskey and poured in two glasses. He could feel her eyes on him. He had trained her well, he thought. Perhaps, it was time for her purpose to be accomplished. “I am sure you are wondering why i was shadowing the operation when you are the shadow,” he handed her the glass of whiskey.
“You don’t trust me,” she said with a sad face.
“I trust you with my life Sky,” he said walking up to her. He led her to a chair and sat down. “The man i started this business with made me the shadow. For some reasons he made to have little faith in people. Not that i don’t trust you but the people we work with are my worry.”
“That shows you don’t trust me Boss,” she stood up. “Four years Boss, four Fu….,” she paused, drank the whole whiskey and gulped looking at him.
“If any consolation, You are the only one i trust here.”
“Your actions today have proved otherwise,” she poured some more whiskey in her glass.
He looked at her and could tell she felt betrayed. He stood up and got the bottle of whiskey from her putting it away. “What’s the date next Monday?” he asked her.
She looked confused thinking about the relevance of that question to their conversation. “What has the date got to do with this Boss? Today is the 17th,” she counted.
“What’s the date Sky?”
“22nd March Boss,” she answered.
“Mean anything to you?” he asked her.
She was quiet thinking. “It doesn’t mean anything to me but to you. You have always kept this day sacred. I had almost forgotten, that’s why you have told the gang to go for a vacation. Damn, i forgot,” she said.
“Yes. I am telling you this for the first time. This day signifies something special and sorrowful to me. 23rd March is when my mother was supposed to be getting out of jail for her first sentence.”
She looked at him with her eyes wide open. “I thought Thelma was your mother Boss,” she said her hands on her mouth.
“Thelma was an angel to me,” he said looking at a photo on the table. “My mother is still in prison and for me to show you that i trust you, i want you to help me get her out of there.”
“Are you with me or NOT?”
“Just know that if we pull this off, all the Odds we’ve beaten so far will seem like nothing.”
She looked at him. She saw how his eyes were sternly looking at her. She saw trust in those eyes. She knew him better and he had never asked her for anything bigger than that. That was the first time he mentioned his mother to her. He must have had valid reasons and he had been nothing but a true definition of human being. She never lacked anything. Everything she desired, he provided for her. Just like him, Danger aroused her. What’s the plan Boss?” she smiled sipping on the Whiskey.
To be continued