130: Lying Low

posted in: Season 2: The Shadow Chase | 0

October 2006, a major police raid had occurred in Surulere Lagos Nigeria. The targets were the self crowned owners of the area known as the area boys.
Among the people captured were Kola, a popular gangster who had terrorized Kilo and its environs, Baba and numerous others. During the raid which started when the Police rescued a young man whose bag had been snatched, one of the area boys had attempted to escape. The police had shot at him, wounding him on his right leg which rendered him incapacitated.

For many days after the raid, a kind of quietness had descended on Surulere. Nobody knew how the police got the tip off where the area boys used as their hideouts. Nobody knew how the police got the tips on where to ambush the petty thieves.
Nobody except Ozoigbondu. I had pictured a situation where Baba and his two friends would be captured while trying to take the bag from Luke but it seemed the police had other plans. Things had escalated beyond control which resulted in more raids. Perhaps one of the people captured had told the police where their hideouts were located.

Fear had started to grip me finally and my survival instinct told me that it was time to move.
From the very moment i returned from Maria’s place to the following three days, i didn’t leave my apartment. I was unbelievably scared for the first time. I knew that if any of the area boys in Police custody talked, i could be rounded up by the Police any moment.

As a result, i would wake up as early as 4am and stood near the window, looking out for any slight movement. I was mostly on the look out for the area boys. They could have also known that i had a hand in what happened in their little territory.

Four days after, i told my cousin that i was leaving town. The problem however was that i didn’t know where to run to. I had ruled out the East because i didn’t want to go down there. I wanted to stay close to Lagos for visa purposes. I didn’t know much about Ibadan, i had been there back in 2001 but i knew nobody there. I had been to Ekiti state as well but that was way back in 2002. I didn’t know anybody there too.

After careful deliberations, i decided to stay back in Lagos but that would be in another area. Surulere was already hot for me and i had the feeling that it was only a matter of time before the police or the area boys turned to me.

I had packed a few cloths, shoes, toiletries and some other important items into a large traveling bag and dragged it down to my vehicle in the night. I was scared to leave at night, therefore i waited until the early morning. Before 6am, i had left my house and entered a bike to Cele bus stop along oshodi-apapa highway. During the long bike ride out of Surulere to Cele bus stop, i had expected a bullet to hit my back but i managed to survive those horrible moments.
The previous night, i had called Okey in Jakande estate and told him to wait in the house for me. When i got to his house, he asked why i didn’t come with car.

I lied to him that i wasn’t in the mood for the morning driving and gave him the keys to go and pick it up. He had visited me once in surulere, therefore he knew the way to my house. He left to go and get the car while i sat in his parlour.
As i wondered what to do next, i also reflect on the things i had done in the past few weeks. I had done enough things that could have gotten me jailed or killed. My plans seemed to have worked all the time but i also knew that things didn’t naturally work that way. It was only a matter of time before one plan go horribly wrong and i would be captured with a net that i could not be able to wriggle my way out of.
I slept.

Okey returned with the car after over an hour. When he came upstairs, i asked him to return down to the car and walk around the area to check if he had been followed. He wanted to know why i expected him to be followed but i only told him that there were not many such BMW models in te area which meant that he could have been followed.
When he returned, he claimed there was nothing suspicious.

I went down and picked up my bag, then covered the car with its taupolin. It was time to lay low for a while. I was fast turning to a runner once more just like back in Portugal.

I called my cousin and told him that i left the house and that i was in Jakande Estate. I told him to be careful down there in Surulere. He assured me that nothing would happen to him. According to him, his God would never allow anything to happen to him.
Of course faith was required.
” just be careful” i had told him.

I had decided that i would not go out for days but when it was evening, i got bored and walked out to the cybercafe near the Jakande estate gate. There was no free space in the cafe, therefore i walked across the road to eat some food. I was hungry.
The Igbo woman who owned the restaurant wasn’t around but her two beautiful daughters were there. I had instantly picked on both of them but i needed to make my move on only one at a time.
First things first, i asked what they had.

” we have foofoo, garri, semo and wheat. Bitteleaf, egusi and vegetable” one of them had said.

Right from my childhood, i was trained to eat anything. I grew up eating foofoo and garri but at that moment in that restaurant, in front of those girls, i was not going to touch foofoo -Akpu. Mbanu!.
How could i eat that smelly food in front of those girls. I was going to play the Nigeria styled big boy.

” give me wheat and vegetable” i had said.

‘how many meat” the taller one asked.
Her name was Uzoma.

” put four” i said.

I knew that four was above the Nigeria standard. The general standard in Nigeria was two, irrespective of the sizes.

When the food arrived, the meats were packed in a different plate. I didn’t know the sizes before requesting. I had thought that it was the normal small size that costed N50 each but i was wrong. There on the large plate were four large meats, each the size of a child’s head.
” uhm Uzoma, this is too much” i said pointing at the meat.
”how did you know my name” she said while smiling.
I told her that i just heard her friend called her.

”she is my sister, not my friend” she protested.

” remove three meats there and give me one” i said.

” you for tell me you no get money naa” she said and laughed. Apparently it was a joke but i decided to twist it to my advantage.

” Na when i come to marry you, you go know if i get money or not” i said.

”hahahaha, you, come to marry who, i day craze to marry you abi, you no go go find your level” she said as she took the plate of meat away.
When she returned, she dropped the plate containing one meat and left.
Uzoma had made her point. I was not in the same level as her. She was on a higher level and i could only get to her if i elevated myself to her level.

I slowly ate my food, washed my hands and paid. I returned to the cafe and bought a 30 minute voucher.
Inside my yahoo mailbox, numerous new mails were arranged in the order of their arrivals. As i scrolled down to start from the first one, my eyes caught Chiamaka from Ojo. I opened it. She said she had tried calling me but i didn’t answer. According to her, she had celebrated her 18th birthday two weeks ago and wanted me to come.
I ignored it.

I read through the other mails. Efuah didn’t send any mail and so was Agnes. My inbox was full of spam mails. I deleted them and opened yahoo messenger. Chief Mrs Amaka Eze was online.

”hello, did you see my mail” she sent.

‘happy birthday’ i replied.

She asked where i was and said she would like to see me. I agreed to see her the upper week but refused to tell her where i was.

When i left the cafe, i called Elizabeth. She was happy to hear that i was back at jakande. She had gone to buy food stuffs at Celebrity bus stop and would come when she returned.

I called Rose in Port Harcourt. She said i was wicked and had stopped answering her calls. I apologized.

I called Liz in Aba. She was happy to hear from me and said she would like to see me again soon.

Irene said she would come when i wanted.
Daisy said i had changed from me to something else. Call girl said she won’t have time to leave her business and go anywhere.
Petrol girl asked who i was.
Stella still had grudges but said she had forgiven what i did to her because of God.

After placing the calls to my numerous concubines, i watched the TV until Elizabeth called and said she was at the door.

” An Atheist believes that a hospital
should be built instead of a church.
An atheist believes that deed must be
done instead of prayer said. An
atheist strives for involvement in life
and not escape into death. He wants
disease conquered, poverty vanished,
war eliminated.”

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