If I was to think my way past these mean looking assassins, I would have but just two seconds to plan that in my head. Four of them. Their blood-red eyes bored into my soul.. I could almost hear their wishful thoughts. They could have sworn I would be in the boot of that Mercedes Benz, dead in no time. Wishful thinking. The two of them stood their grounds, rock solid.
Huge and bold that there was just little space left for the sun rays to peek through; and I thought I was huge. Asides killing for a living these men must have spent a greater part of their times in the gym lifting kilos of
loads and popping some of those banned steroids.
Tic.. tic.. two seconds over. The first assassin took two steps forward..
The radio went flying in the air and it smashed the first assassin across the face while I ran as fast as light towards him. His eyes were on me. Never for once falling for my distractive arm flips and zigzag run. He must be good – the second assassin. I saw his hand reach quickly for something tucked into his trouser. With his second hand holding up the first in support he aimed, but I kept coming.
“yee! Mogbe!” i heard him scream. I mean the shop attendant, in his deep Ibadan voice.
The first killer recovered quickly. The blood trickled down his face. His jaws clenched. If he was to have his way, he would have loved to kill me, wake me up and kill me again and again. But I said, “if”. His big hands made to grasp me as I went under in a slide through the space between his legs pumping my right hand up in a jab as he clutched on his manhood with his mouth shaped in an “O” before dropping on his knees. Once i was up, just two quick steps and i would be an inch away from the second. It did not have to be that way. So i made sure to pick up the radio on the ground before bringing myself to a screeching brake so i could get on my feet. I heard the scratchy sound of my jeans against the rough ground towards the door and knew instantly that I would most definitely need a
replacement. Getting to my feet, the nuzzle of the gun was right there on my face.. the clean, shiny silver metal. But I was not scared even though it had made me pause for a second. The delay that was not needed. I made to
“Don’t!”, he said.
Really? Don’t what exactly? His eyes bored holes in mine daring me to make that move. Squinted tightly with clenched jaws in a bid to communicate his seriousness to me. Funny guy. I smile.. he cocked the
Death comes when it cannot be avoided. In a situation where one move can lead to your death and no move at all can still lead to your death what do you do? Why let them have it on a platter?
“This is Ibadan. Broad daylight. You will not pull that trigger!” I muttered and jumped on him. He caught me right there in mid air like a piece of toy. Thanks to my radio for it came in handy. I hit him several times on his face and he was forced to fall back with me on top. The two assassins waiting outside were shocked to see us collapse in a heap by the door. They were unaware of the situation inside. With the bulky men by the door there simply was no view left.
To my feet I tried to get on, but a strong relentless hand impaired my movement. Without looking back I rammed my right heel against his shoulder. Maybe it was his face. I did not look back to see but whichever spot i hit, it got the job done. I have just these two to deal with. Without stopping, I ran directly towards them. They quickly switched into the combat stance.. wrong move. I smiled once again.
I ditched the move and took to the left side of the busy street. Why engage these amateurs in a combat and risk loosing my life to the ever-ready angry Ibadan mobs that could form just in a twinkle of an eye?
What was it they said to the roman soldiers in the days of old? “fight not to die but to live to fight another
day”. Was that ever said in the roman history? I am not so sure but, it does sound like something a Roman General would have said to his soldiers – maybe a Spartan General. Or just about any General. The men raced me down the street. It was not hard for me to lose them. All i did was get mixed in the crowded market nearby and replace my run with a gentle stroll.
How lucky I was. All they needed to get me was a scream of “ole”. Thief. And the crowd will finish the job. It is a good thing they sent men who have little knowledge of the city to fetch me.
In the train I sat, looking out the window at the great city of Ibadan almost out of view. The last smell of the city on me blown lost by the wind. I sighed. What a day! I looked at my right lap. The blood had already
stopped flowing. How the hell did i get stabbed without knowing? Which of the assassins did that? I still don’t know.
I raised the radio up to have a look. The dried blood stain of the assassins made me smile inwardly.
The blood of my enemies. I had no intention to wipe them clean. They are mine to keep.. a trophy. And oh, I did not pay for that radio. I placed it on my laps, held tight by my left hand while I inspected my bruised knees with the right. I looked up to meet the questioning eyes of the young lady seated directly opposite me. She had a little boy of about nine years of age beside her and a basket of food items on her laps. She smiled politely and held tight the little boy’s hand from picking yet another carrot.
“Temilade, keep your hand to yourself.”, she chided him.
“Just one more, aunty mi”, he whispered pleadingly. It would take only a man with my kind of heart to refuse him the carrot.
“please…aunty Kemi”. Nah! I don’t think so.
“Let him have some carrots.”
Our eyes met. She wouldn’t stop batting her eyes. Nervous I guess. She reluctantly let him have one.
“Just this last one and no more. You hear?,” she warned.
“..except you want to go to bed hungry today.”
I let my mind wander in reminiscence away into the wilderness of regrets. My eyes closed, my regret not going well. I felt sleepy.
“Where are you headed?,” the female voice brought me back. I looked at her. Kemi, was that not what the little boy now sleeping had called her?
“I do not know. I have no idea where this train is headed,” I answered honestly. “what about you?”
She did not act surprised. Just calm.
“This train heads to Oyo. I am taking my little nephew to come stay with me. He just lost both of his parents five days ago.”
“Oh! I am sorry,” I lied coolly, faking a sympathetic look at the sleeping boy. “How old is he?,” I asked.
“He looks nine.”
“Yes, I know. Everybody says that.” she smiled.
The train went on for a while with neither of us saying a word and I dozed off and the dream came upon me. I pulled the gun out of my pocket about to shoot the rich politician on his knees begging for mercy.
“Please, don’t shoot my daddy,” the little voice said. I refused to look into her eyes.
She tugged at my shirt.. “please mister? Mister.. Mister?”
I jerked up half awake.
“Mister, we are in Oyo now.”
I looked around. We were the only ones left in the train. I looked quickly around and saw it lying on the train’s floor beside my feet – my radio. I picked it up.
“You can come spend the night in my house.” I sure wasn’t going to say yes.
She saw the negative look in my eyes. “Don’t worry, I have the house to myself. I inherited that after my dad passed away. I am his only relative.” she smiled.
Staying with this girl means endangering her life. I thought for some seconds..
“Okay. Thank you.” I followed behind her.
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