He swerved through the crowd, taking his cloth off as he walked. He stashed the jacket and cap in a refuse dump and continued on; he looked around and began to search for faces that looked out of place in the market. When he reached the designated place, he ducked behind a pillar where another person was waiting to continue the journey. They moved the money into a new bag and the guy in the brown jacket, continued on with it, till he got to the parking lot where trucks were loading and offloading goods. He found one that was about to leave and dropped the bag in the back. Let the police have fun with that, he thought gleefully as he sauntered away.
“Sir we have no visual on the suspects but the bag is still in motion, it just left the market now.” Obidi said over the radio.
“Alright follow them, till they lead you to their hideout. I do not need to remind you to keep your distance.” He said firmly.
It had been a long and hectic day for Chima; it was the festive period and jobs came at him thick and fast and he loved it. More jobs meant more money and more money meant peace for him and for Christmas all he wanted was peace. His wife was already on his case demanding money for the purchase of Christmas clothes for the children, as if his parents bought him any when he was their age! He shook his head in anger but he had to do it, especially as his neighbor Ekene who was just a mere laborer had already bought for his kids the week before. His nagging wife would not let him hear the last of it, it was Ekene this, Ekene that, forcing him to spend most of his nights at a bar parlor and getting home drunk enough not to care about her bickering.
But he knew he could not shirk from his responsibility for too long, his kids deserved to look nice on Christmas day like other kids their age, there wasn’t any need denying them that pleasure, his childhood should not determine theirs.
He reached under his chair and felt the money again, that was more than enough to buy Christmas clothes, a small goat and still have some to spend on his girlfriend Nkechi. He felt a stirring in his loins, they were to meet tonight, she was finally going to allow him visit her after many weeks of asking, she was a waitress at the beer parlor he frequented. For weeks she had given him many a sleepless night, his dreams were often filled with images of her tight young body and he always hated waking up next to his wife with her sagging body. Tonight was the night to make his dream a reality.
He pulled up at his home and was just getting down from his truck when he was surrounded by armed men, shouting commands at him. Thieves he thought to himself, they had come to steal the money he had spent all day daydreaming about. His wife would never believe him!
He lay flat on the cold floor, his nose immediately filled with the earthy smell of the ground, his body shook with fear, apprehension and despair.
“Where is the money, where is the girl?!” The men kept yelling at him.
“What girl? Oga I no know wetin you dey talk about!” He managed between blows and kicks landed on him by expert hands and heavy boots. “The money dey under my seat.”
One of the men reached under his seat and pulled out the plastic bag. “Sir, it is just thirty thousand here!!”
“I found the bag!” A voice called from the back of the truck.
He had a brief reprieve as the men all went to see the said bag, what bag are they talking about? He wondered. His question was answered when one of the men who had been pummeling him came up to him with an empty school bag.
“How did you get this bag?!” The burly man who had been kicking asked.
“I swear oga, I never see that bag for my life!”
“Talk true!” Another said smacking him above the head.
“Oga na true, I no know where e come from. As you see am, na so I see am.”
The burly man moved aside and started talking into the radio.
“Sir, this is Obidi, we found the bag but the money is gone. We have a man in custody, the bag was in his possession. Yes sir, we will bring him back to the station.”
“Ah Oga, station?! Wetin I do na?! Na work I just dey close from now. I no do anything oh!! Abeg, I no do anything oh.”
His entire plea fell on deaf ear as he was handcuffed and bundled off in a police vehicle.