I drove up to them while loading their bags in the car and packed behind them.
”You have a cool ride” Maria had said.
I thanked her and told her that I preferred her own ride. I needed to make her feel in charge.
There was something about Maria. She had a lot of confidence.
”Can I have your phone number” I asked Maria when they were ready to move.
”Why not” she had said while fumbling for her phone inside her handbag.
She brought out a motorola Razor phone. Exactly my type of phone but the grey colour type.
She found her number and called it for me while I registered it with my own black Razor.
I called the line to make sure it was correct and it was. I also used that opportunity to send my own phone number to her.
Her friend can squeeze her face from morning until night. I didn’t care.
Something was different with Maria. I suspected that she was an actress or a model of some kind but I didn’t want to be to forwarding with questions. I decided to find out another day.
They drove off as I walked back to my car, started the engine and followed them.
The speed they were on wasn’t what I wanted, therefore I blazed past them on top speed and waved at them.
A call came to my phone immediately and it was Maria. She warned me to drive slowly but I was already over 200 meters away from them.
She had made the first call and it was encouraging, whatever the reason was.
I got home after some hold ups between Tincan Island and Berger. It was already late in the evening.
I called the house agent and asked if he had found a new place. He said there was a block of four flats at Adetola street in Surulere and that it was new. I promised to visit there the next day.
I called Ifeanyi, the guy I met at the Apapa Wharf. He was excited. He said he lived in Surulere too.
Great! Everything was shifting to Surulere. The new Maria, Ifeanyi, the new house.
”Ifeanyi I have a business for you tomorrow, I will meet you at the wharf” I had said to him on the phone.
Even though he didn’t know the kind of business it was, he was still excited.
He asked me to call him as soon as I got to wharf the next day.
I called Daisy and asked how her day had gone. She said she was OK and that her mother asked of me… I told her to greet the mother for me.
Early the next day, I called the agent and drove to Surulere.
The new house was a one-storey building of four flats. It had enough compound for four cars. Someone had already moved in to one of the top flats. It remained one flat at the first floor. The other two flats were on the ground floor.
Since I didn’t want to live on the ground floor, I initiated the payment procedure immediately.
We called the lawyer who directed us to go and pay N500,000 into an account in Diamond bank. Then we would proceed to his office to sign some papers. His own fee was N50,000 while the agent demanded for another N50,000 as well. I agreed.
I drove to the Bank and withdrew money. I paid in the money into the Landlord’s account and drove with the agent to the Lawyer’s office in Broad street. After signing the agreement papers, I paid him N50,000.
It was time to settle the agent.
”You understand I cannot give you N50,000. You will get N20,000” I had said to him.
After much haggling and re-negotiations, we agree on N30,000. I paid him and drove to the wharf.
It was already past 12pm, when I got there.
I called Ifeanyi and we met at the same joint where we drank some days before.
Before buying him any drinks, I told him that an agent called Chukwudi had stolen my money. I didn’t give him the details but told him where he had claimed to be his office.
He didn’t know Chukwudi but promised to ask questions and track him down.
I told him that the roles he would play in the ”Operation Chukwudi” will earn him N20000. He was very excited as I handed him N5000 advance payment and ordered two bottles of Gulder beer for him.
I left the wharf later and drove back home. It was time to approach the landlord for my refund.
As a Nigerian, I was supposed to get my money from the Landlord before paying for the new house but I knew our landlord was a weakling.
Weaklings usualy kept their promises because they had no heart for the unpredictable troubles.
I sipped a mixture of JW and juice and waited for the night to come. It came.
It had rained in Lagos that evening which made motorists to got hooked in a dreadful hold up between Alakija and Barracks.
My cousin returned before the Landlord. I told him that I had found a new three-bedroom flat in Surulere. I didn’t tell him that I had paid but I told him that it would cost us N600,000 for two years.
He asked when I would get the money from the Landlord.
”We are going there this night” I had said.
He didn’t want to follow me up there but I needed a second person.