Lost But Satisfied - Episode 5
Chased by a Past
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Jerry wondered, as he walked to school, if he wasn't supposed to ever love fair ladies because he couldn’t fathom the reason the two fair beautiful ladies left him. That day was the third day after he met the beautiful thief. Yet, he couldn’t keep his mind off her. Sometimes, when he mistaken other people for her.
He was an early riser and always made sure he got to the school first. In addition, luckily for him, his street wasn't far from his school- trekable . When he got to three streets from his, he wasn't surprised to see the beggar, seated already. This beggar was an old crippled woman.
However, he felt enormous pity for her whenever he saw her and for that he decided that he would always give her a big amount of money every day. Seeing that he had no family member to help him enjoy the money he was now getting, and everything he owned. He saw no harm in giving the poor woman some money, making her day, putting smile on her dry ragged lips.
‘Good morning’, he said as he brought out a note and gave it to her absent-mindedly.
‘Thank you my son, the sun of this earth shall not shine like your glory would’, she said with cracked voices, as she collected the money with delights in her eyes, her brown teeth matching the colour of her brown tattered wrapper.
Something fell from her hand as he turned. He turned to see what fell he couldn't see it clearly as she had hidden it in her cloth
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. Was that a gun? He wondered.
Well, he didn't see it clearly but he was sure it was a black object. She smiled deceptively at him. Whatever she was hiding in her cloth was her problem and not his. He kept walking and then paused when he realized he had just given the woman a thousand naira.
‘What is wrong with me?’ he whispered. His mind wandered off to the dry ground, which looked as if even if rain fell for thousands of years, it would never become muddy.
The rain, which everyone was expecting, had only sent storm and thunder to announce its impending visitation, and had been doing that for days without showing up.
After closing from school that day, he decided to hang around and walk home with the Agric and P.H.E teachers, with whom he discussed and enjoyed himself. He sighted the old woman again and his mind went to the black object.
‘Uncle, we’ve always being talking about our past, but I’ve never seen you say anything about yourself. Why?’ Said the Yoruba teacher, Miss Rita Jacobs. ‘One eats with a friend because of the pleasure of friendship not because one lacks’.
Miss Jacobs was a tawny lady; slim, tall, and would have been considered beautiful; if not that she wore long, faded skirts, big blouse and gowns, shoes that were always oversized. Her dressing had a way of confusing people on what category of people to classify her in- a member of deeper life or S.U? Her hair- rather, her wig- disfigured her face so much that one might be forced to imagine how ugly her children would be. However, she didn’t look like someone who cared about their crazy talks. Her ear and body were always devoid of jewelries.
Although she wasn’t married, she was looking older than most old women, making many men avoid her like plague. Even Jerry didn’t like her when he first met her, but hearing her speak: her seasoned opinion, her reliable advice, and her joy always enthralled him that he felt like listening to her always.
‘Enn…’ Jerry muttered and shrugged, ‘I have nothing interesting to say’.
As they got out of the staffroom and headed towards the gate.
‘Do you mean your childhood was that boring?’ Miss Jacobs said as she looked at him as if she was seeing a ghost for the first time in her life.
Jerry hissed and grinned.
‘That means you didn’t go out of your way to have fun with ladies, and you know what I mean…’ She made a face at him.
‘Ahhh!’ He belched in laughter, and bent forward, covering his mouth as his eyes roamed the street, 'Miss Jacobs, don’t let children hear you say that’.
‘What did she say? The line from which you are taking this thing is too serious. Almost all the men that I’ve ever come across, including me had done it before’, the P.H.E teacher added.
Jerry held onto his bag and stared into the space. He wished he could also tell them fascinating and exciting adventures but there was nothing he could do, nothing to say. Seeing that they would keep pestering him, he decided to fabricate his past a little. A little dot and brushing wouldn’t destroy anything.
‘Well…’ he said and saw their eyes brightened, ‘I didn’t do anything. You know I was a cool boy, little trouble, no girlfriend, few friends, and thing like that’.
He saw that the brightness in the P.H.E teacher eyes fade, replaced by an irritating look.
‘Are you kidding me?’ In this year?’
‘Actually…’ Jerry said to give them something to hold, a reason good enough for them to stop talking about his past, ‘II lived with reverend Fathers, Popes. You know how strict it would be there’.
‘That's a big lie… My friend, Paul, lived in a monastery also. If I tell you how many women he had taken to bed even before he escaped the prison of a place, you would not close your mouth'.
Jerry scratched his head as he became lost. The flow of thought had reduced drastically, and his thinking, shallow; ideas refused to form in his brain. They danced a little in his brain, but when he tried to form something out of them they showed themselves as useless and unfit for use.
Then, APC members campaigning got into the street. As it was usual in the month of October; they had introduced it to the month of November. Jerry looked up and saw, from the corner of his eyes with relief that the P.H.E teacher had open his mouth midway. He had been meaning to continue with the topic but the campaigners infuriated him.
‘What is wrong with these ones?’ the P.H.E teacher complained. He liked to complain about things: neighbors, the students, the management.
Jerry, still staring at the people, wasn’t looking at his front when his left leg hit a stone, making him moan.
‘When you use your left leg to hit a stone’, Miss Jacobs said, ‘that means there is danger looming somewhere’.
Miss Jacobs was from the western Nigeria and had value for the culture of her land unlike most Nigerians in Fortune City. Jerry immediately snapped his fingers across his head as if the looming danger was dirt on his head and he was trying to dust it off.
‘That is a lie’, the P.H.E teacher said.
However, Jerry had a feeling Miss Jacobs was right because he couldn't shake off the fear of impending doom. He had plans to buy the film the beautiful night thief recommended. Therefore, after leaving the two teachers, he boarded a bike to a popular junction.
It him a while to get but when he eventually did, he was so excited that he didn't know see someone approaching. The guy was a sturdy short on.
‘Hey... Guy,’re you blind? Am I too short?’ The person asked irksomely with a voice that sounded like a broken record.
‘I’m sorry… sorry’.
Jasper, a dreaded sharp shooter among all the criminals of Fortune City, stood transfixed as he saw who it was that had just run into him. He almost screamed and ran for his life.
‘Sorry for yourself’, he shouted as he pushed past him. At that instance, he hated his voice. Leech wasn’t dead. Leech was still alive. He shook his head as he watched Leech leave. He frowned as Leech left. Leech would never forget a face, never. He remembered faces and names more than anyone Jasper had ever met, and Leech, not recognizing him surprised Jasper.
‘Wow…’ Jasper mouthed, and wrinkled his nose as he wondered if that was indeed Leech because Once, a top Fortune City assassin had killed Leech and their doctor confirmed the death.
Once was his senior in the job of assassination, who was called Once because he killed once and for all and had been getting jobs a lot from chief.
Peradventure one discovered that another assassin didn’t kill a person he was supposed to kill. And, one got the opportunity to kill this 'dead’ person, one would get the opportunity to kill that other assassin with dignity because one of the code of conducts of Fortune City association of Life Taker (F.A.L.T) restricted assassins from killing one another without an authorization from top men like chief.
Jasper had been looking for opportunity to kill Once ever since the day he killed since the day he killed someone close to him. Seeing an opportunity like this again, and finding diamond on the street of Fortune City. Both were impossible.
Jasper changed his mind about going to survey the house of the new person he was to kill. He would do that later. He followed Leech and saw him clutching a book, and a film, very typical of him.
Read " The Thorny Path to Europe " by the same author ( Akíntayo Akinjide )
. Leech boarded a bike, which drove off immediately.
With his weapons bag dangling from his shoulder, Jasper climbed a bike.
‘Follow that guy’, Jasper ordered as he pointed at Leech,’ follow him gently’.
The bike zoomed off. He was happy that he was holding his weapons bag since most of the things he needed to kill Leech were there. Now, he would definitely kill him sweet and clean as he did all his job unlike that foolish Once. With the thought of that, he smiled and licked his lips. He tasted imaginary blood. The bike zoomed into a street and stopped.
‘Stop’, he hissed at his own bike driver and dropped, ‘how much?’
Jasper brought out five hundred naira note from his pocket and gave it to the bike man, his eyes glued on Leech’s back as Leech moved towards a house.
‘Keep the change’.
‘Boss, thank you’.
Jasper felt like calling Chief Suberu that he saw Leech, but he didn’t want to bring the news of Leech being alive. He didn’t want to spoil the suspense; instead, he would do as Chief had always wanted. He would kill Leech.
Even if this person wasn’t Leech, he would still kill him and falsify the evidence just to get to Once. There was a need to kill Once once and for all.
Jerry glanced at the side as he dropped from the bike, and saw the guy he ran into at the bus stop getting off a bike. He smiled as he strolled to his room.
‘Human. Water’, he muttered.
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