The two masquerade trees on either side of Nachi’s gate were swaying grudgingly to the rhythm of the wind. Their reluctant movement looked ominous, like a foretelling of something sinister to come.
The presence of the oncoming security van caused a stir amongst the already excited onlookers. They started to disperse haphazardly. No one knew what to expect. Rumour had it that some security men had beaten a young man who was found wandering around the avenue past midnight into a coma. The commotion made Kene look back.
Kene was startled when he saw two stern-looking men, dressed in an all-black uniform coming for him. His legs felt wobbly. He tried to face them, but slipped and landed on the sharp curb demarcating Nachi’s flower bed from the driveway. Blood gushed out from the back of his head like a burst pipe. One of the men in black took off his jacket and pressed it on his head to stop the bleeding. Kene passed out as they carried him into the back seat of their van. “Call the chairman, tell him what happened,” one of the men said to the other. The van drove off, with its siren on full blast. Trying to negotiate a bend, they nearly hit a White Range Rover Velar.
Seated in the front passenger seat of the white Velar was a hefty man with a broad scar running from his right cheek to his chin. At the back was Nachi, dressed in an immaculate white-slim fitted shirt on white ripped jeans. On seeing the aggrieved-looking bystanders around the entrance of his home, he instructed his driver to drive past his house. “Take me to R’s Luxury Place.”
“Mark!” now speaking to scarface, “Find out what’s happening in front of my house. Ask the boys to sniff around.” He turned to the young lady sitting beside him. She too was dressed in an off-white shirt dress. “My dear, I’ll send someone to get your phone and bring it to the hotel…” he was interrupted by the sound of his ringing phone.
It was the Chairman, Bellomo Residents’ Association on the other side. “Mr. Chairman sir, good afternoon sir, you remembered me today, hope all is well?” It was Nachi’s nature to flatter as a ploy to disarm.
“Nachi-the young millionaire, all is well. I come in peace”. Chairman’s tone sounded warm and friendly. “There was a nuisance disturbing the peace of the neighborhood, especially yours. We already handled it, nothing to worry about” Chairman continued.
“Aha, that’s good to know. I’ll send one of the boys to say thank you.” Nachi replied with a chuckle.
Chairman knew he was getting a bribe to nib any complaints against Nachi in the bud. The phone call was meant to invite Nachi for a meeting to discuss what Kene accused him of. Kene’s wife had told Chairman all that transpired between her husband, Nachi, and Doublar. He was still unconscious in the hospital, so Chairman called his wife to know how he was responding to treatment. Out of the ‘magnanimity’ of his heart, he picked up part of Kene’s hospital bills.
He was enthralled by Victoria’s beauty and just wanted to please her. He had even promised to recover Kene’s money from Nachi because he knew how vicious Doublar could get if they fell behind the loan repayment terms. Because of his dubious friendship with Nachi, he decided to use a proxy to influence him to pay up Kene’s 10% commission. At this point, it was time to use his trump card- Marilyn.
The poolside at R’s Luxury Place was busy, more women were lounging on the side than were in the pool. Marilyn was one of these women lounging by the pool side. She was wearing a two-piece white bikini, relaxing on a chaise lounge, listening to songs on her iPod, with a half-full cocktail glass beside her. White was her favourite colour, and her preference seemed to have rubbed off on Nachi whose wardrobe was gradually turning into an all-white affair.
A firm hand tapped her from behind. She pulled the left airpod out of her ear and turned around. “Here is your phone ma’am. Oga Nachi is waiting for you upstairs,” one of Nachi’s boys said, handing her the phone. She took the phone without saying a word. She had forgotten it at Nachi’s residence. She always spent time there whenever his family was out of the country. “Ma’am, Oga said…” “I heard you the first time, I’m not …” the phone started ringing, cutting off her tirade. You can go, I’m coming” she said, waving him away.
Marilyn rolled her eyes when she saw the caller ID. “Hello uncle Zack, what do you want this time?” she sounded irritated. “Come on Mari, is that how you talk to your sweet uncle these days?” he said in a mocking tone. “There is nothing sweet about you Uncle, what do you want?” Now in a serious, formal tone, Chairman responded “Ok, if you insist. Your sugar daddy is owing my good friend -Mr. Kene Achu. Please, convince him to pay up, Ok?” “I won’t do it”, retorted Marilyn.
“You won’t? How do you think my dear arrogant brother would feel if he finds out his precious only child is not a second-year Radiography student. Surprised much? Yes, I know you’ve been lying to them.”
“You’re just plain evil Uncle, no wonder, you have no wife and kids at your age” she snapped back.
“Just do it sweet Mari” the line went dead…