Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Prologue That Never Was

Leye - Every other Wednesday

This was going to be the prologue to my novel, Easy Motion Tourist, but we ended up going with a different one, and as a consequence a different subplot. Now that I'm working on the third book in the Amaka Series (the second book is currently being edited), I decided to revisit material left out or otherwise unused from the first book. 



“I told him he has to take his shoes off to weigh himself properly. He took them off, picked them up, and stood on the scale again.”
The girls laughed.
“I have warned him, he has to lose weight or lose me.”
The door opened and music filled the ladies toilet as Ada walked in.
“His wife is big like him. She can bear his weight, but not me,” Onome said.
Ada reapplied her lipstick in the mirror. Next to her, two girls took turns sitting on the basin to take selfies.
“He said he will send the driver tonight. I said he should walk to my house if he wants to see me. At least, let him start from there.”
Ada screwed her lipstick back into its case and put it in her purse. At the door she stopped and turned to the girls. “Are you free tonight?” she said.
The girls looked at each other.
“Who are you talking to?” Onome asked.
“You. Are you free tonight? My friend likes you. Are you free?”
“Are you mad?”
“He’s a senator.”
Onome turned to her friends. “Girls, I’ll see you later,” she said.
*          *          *
Wasiu left his table and went to stand at the door. A young man in a corner had been looking at him. Swe Bar was full of men and they were all looking at him. Maybe it was his agbada. Unlike him, they were all in jeans and polo shirts. Or it could be his grey hair.
But the one at the corner did not look away when Wasiu stared back at him. And when Ada followed the girl into the ladies and walked past him, they looked at each other as if they knew. If she didn’t come back with the girl, Wasiu would suggest they go to Y-Not.
“My senator, meet my friend, Onome,” Ada said.
“Pleased to meet you, Onome,” Wasiu said. “Let us leave”
“Sir,” Onome said, “Where are we going?”
“To my hotel.”
“But sir_”
“I don’t like the way the people here are looking at me,” Wasiu said and turned to leave. He took Onome’s hand.
Outside, a driver opened the backdoor of a Range Rover and Onome got in.
“I have something to discuss with you,” Ada said as the driver shut the door.
“Now?” Wasiu asked.
Wasiu studied her. “Get in and close the door,” he said to the driver. “What is it? What is the problem?”
“There is no problem. It is about my boyfriend.”
“What about him?”
“I want him to join us.”
“To join us, how?”
“You know what I mean. He can work with us.”
“Oh. You told him?”
“Yes. You know I’m a girl. All these girls know me. But him, he’s a fine boy and they follow him.”
“I see. And he has the stomach for it?”
“Of course.”
“Is he in the club?”
“Ok. Bring him.”
“Yes. You said he has the stomach for it. Let him come with us tonight.”
She searched his face. “Let me go and get him,” she said.
*          *          *
The driver turned off Lekki Epe expressway unto a narrow road that soon turned sandy. Wasiu was in the passenger’s seat. Behind, Onome sat between Ada and Greg, Ade’s boyfriend who Wasiu recognised from the bar.
Onome shifted to the edge of the seat and looked out the windows. “Where are we going?” she said.
“To my hotel,” Wasiu said.
She looked at the road ahead. The car’s beam swept over dense growth on both side.
“Please, I do not want to go again,” she said.
“Don’t worry. We will soon be there.”
“Please sir, you can drop me here.”
The driver turned in his seat. “Sharap.” His glare pushed Ada back into the seat.  “Blood of Jesus, blood of Jesus, blood of Jesus,” she said.
The SUV stopped in front of a bungalow at the end of a long road into the forest. Wasiu went to open the door of the house. Greg got out. Onome held Ada’s hand when Ada opened her door to climb out too.
“Sister, please help me,” Onome said. Tears dropped from her eyes. She sounded out of breath. She was shaking.
The driver came to the door left open by Greg and reached in. He grabbed Onome’s arm. She screamed and held Ada’s hand. Ada snatched herself free from her grip. The driver pulled her out and put a finger to his lips. She trembled silently.
Wasiu returned to the car. “Go and prepare her,” he said to the driver.
Onome screamed. The driver slapped her across the face with the back of his hand. She stumbled to a side, broke her fall with her left hand, and ran the way they had come. The driver walked behind her, pulled out a pistol from under his shirt and fired into the air. “Stop or I will shoot you,” he said.
He took her hand and led her into the house. In his other hand he held his pistol pointed to the ground.
“So you think you can do this?” Wasiu said to Greg.
“Yes.” He pulled Ada’s hands off his waist. “Yes sir.”
“Good. Prove it. Kill her.”
“Kill her.” Wasiu nodded at Ada. He reached into his agbada with both hands and when they came out, he had a pistol in one and a sheathed dagger. “Now,” he said. “Or I kill you.” He pointed his gun at Greg’s head. Holding the dagger’s leather case under his armpit, he pulled out the blade and tossed it to the ground.
Greg and Ada stared at the knife. They went for it, fell and rolled, entwined in struggle. Greg reached for the dagger and Ada picked herself from the ground. She ran in the direction Onome had run. Greg got the knife and chased her. Wasiu aimed and fired two shots. He walked to the bodies where they had fallen on each other and shot them again.
The driver came out holding his gun by his side and a phone in the other hand.
“Who is it?” Wasiu asked.
“What did he say?”
The driver raised his gun and shot.
Wasiu dropped to his knee. He clutched his belly and looked at the blood it left on his palm. He looked up.
The driver pointed his pistol at Wasiu’s face. Wasiu smelt the carbide still escaping from the barrel. “He wants to talk to you,” the driver said.
Wasiu had one hand to his belly and the other on the floor pressing his pistol into the sand. He let go of the weapon and took the driver’s phone. He listened and handed back the phone. He braced himself. The driver shot.
Holding the phone to his ear and nodding, the driver walked into the building. He fired two shots. He came out dragging Ononme’s body by the legs. He left her at the foot of the boot. He walked to Greg and Ada and gripped an ankle on each dead body. He took four steps, each burying his feet deeper into sand, then he let go of Ada and dragged Greg to Onome’s body. He went back for Ada, then for Wasiu.
He stretched his back then he pressed a button on the key holder and the boot opened.
*          *          *
The driver slowed down and put on the car’s interior lights. Two police officers stood on both sides of the deserted road, their police van parked further down. One stepped to the driver’s window and twirled a finger. The driver wound down.
“Please, step out,” the officer said.
The driver adjusted the pistol tucked into his belt before he opened the door. He placed on leg onto the road and looked up at the officer aiming his AK-47.
Shots tore into the driver. He fell back sideways into the car and slumped into the foot well, leaving a smudge of blood on the seats.
The policeman slung his riffle back. He pushed the driver’s leg back into the car and he shut the door.
The second officer walked up struggling with the weight of a jerry can held by the handle in both hands between his legs. Together they lifted the fifty-litre container and doused the dead driver. They emptied the rest of the petrol over the SUV and stepped back. 
The shooter struck a match, let the flame catch, then he tossed it onto the dead body. The cabin lit up with a swoosh. He held up his hand to shield his face from the heat of bright orange flames curling around and leaping from the car. He turned and began walking back to their van.  A single gunshot made him jump. He turned to the burning car. The other officer was on the road, the empty jerry can between sprawled legs, blood spreading out from the head.  His AK-47 searched for a target. He did not hear the second shot.