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“Talk before I blow off you brains,” the police officer warned him. “Her name is Christiana,” Uchenna said. “What does she study? Whe...

“Talk before I blow off you brains,” the police officer warned him. “Her name is Christiana,” Uchenna said. “What does she study? Where does she live? Why did she ask you to shoot that poor boy?” The police offer hurled questions at Uchenna. “She is a law student. We met through another girl who is a friend of hers. She lives on campus, sir.” “So why did she ask you to shoot him?” “She said that the guy had treated her very badly and that he felt she was stupid. I think he slept with her and dumped her.” “Is that enough reason to try taking anyone’s life? How much did she pay you to shoot him?” “Nothing sir. She paid me no penny at all.” The policeman slapped him. “You just shot him because she asked you to do so? What was in it for you?” “Officer, he slept with her. She promised to date him if she killed the guy for her,” Prince said. “So because of woman you offered to take a life? I will make sure you never see the light of day anymore,” the officer declared. “Please sir; it was the devil that made me do it.” “The same devil will take you to hell. You will face firing squad…I can assure you that!”

“When do you think we should return to campus?” Maureen asked. “I don’t feel safe returning to campus until I know who wanted me dead,” Donald answered. “You should go back to campus you know. You need to catch up with class. I don’t think you should give everything up because of me.” “I would give up the world for you, Donald.” “You have already given up so much that I think it is time for you to return to school.” “I have my books here. I am reading when I can. Enem is coming to visit later today. She is bringing the notes to me. I will catch up in no time as soon as I am back on campus.” “Thanks for staying, Maureen. I am very grateful. Please feel free to go back whenever you feel like.” “I will. I need you to return with me though.” “I should be ready soon.”

“You lovebirds, how are you doing today?” Wendy asked. She and Chidozie had travelled home to see how Donald was doing. “We are better today. Donny is able to move around with greater ease now,” Maureen replied. “I can’t stop saying thanks to you Wendy,” said Donald. “If you keep saying that thank you to me, I will ask for my kidney back,” Wendy teased. “Please stop it. That is what friends do for friends.” “Not all friends though,” Maureen pointed out. “I know you would do the same Maureen, so enough of the thank you!”

Enem walked in as they were talking. After pleasantries, she handed Maureen the notes she had asked for. “We have a quiz in a week, so you have to be on campus for that. “Of course I will.” “I got you your favorite, Donald,” Enem said. “What?” He asked. “Guava!!” “Thanks Enem.” “You are welcome.” “Ngozi!!!” Donald called to his mother’s house help. “Please come and wash these guavas for me. Ngozi picked up the bag of guavas and disappeared to the backyard. Donald’s phone rang. He picked it and slowly stepped aside. “It is good to see you moving around, Donald,” Enem said. “I thank God for his mercies and all of you who have been of great help to me,” he answered. “Hello!” He said into his phone microphone as he stepped away. Slowly, he stepped further away. When he returned, he had a frown on his face, even though he tried to mask it. “Is everything alright, Donny?” Maureen asked. “Yes, all is well.” “Who was that on the phone? You look a bit troubled.” “I am fine actually. It was a friend in Enugu. He called to check in on me and to tell me that he lost his mother.” “Eyaa!!!” They all exclaimed sympathetically.

Ngozi returned with the guavas and placed them beside Donald. “Let me have one of those,” Chidozie requested. “No, they are all mine,” Donald insisted. “There are nearly twelve of them. Let me have one my brother,” Chidozie pleaded. “No. You had Enem say they were for me. I am not sharing them.” “Come one, my cousin…just one.” “No. Enem, they are all mine aren’t they?” “They are all yours. I would suggest that no one bothers him. Let him have them all by himself. He deserves every bit of the guavas, given what he has been through,” Enem responded.  “So if Maureen asks you for one, you would not offer her?” Chidozie asked incredulously. “Not even Maureen. The guavas are mine.” He rose to his feet and walked away with the bowl of guavas. “I never knew you liked guavas this much,” Chidozie remarked. “Now you know.” Donald went to his room and retuned shortly without the bowl. “So did you lock them away?” “I had two and locked the rest away,” he replied. “I will have to invade your house at night with a gun to get one,” said Chidozie with a hint of humor.

“I have to leave now,” said Enem. “My mother is still making lunch. She insists that you eat before you leave.” “I have to run. I am in a hurry. I have a lot of reading to do,” Enem insisted. “No, you cannot leave. It is rude in my culture to leave now. She is nearly done cooking.” “While if Enem leaves, we will have enough for the rest of us to eat,” Chidozie joked. “You like food a lot,” Wendy pointed out. Enem stayed back reluctantly. About half an hour later, they were feasting on yam porridge with green vegetables. Enem ate fast. Soon, she was done and on her feet, ready to leave. “Let me finish and walk you to the road,” Maureen pleaded with her. “I really have to study, Maureen. Please don’t worry. I will find my way. I got here on my own.” “I don’t care. You came all the way to see us. I am walking you to the road. Please give me fifteen more minutes.” Enem sat back, peering intermittently at her watch. Suddenly, policemen circled the compound, rushing into the building with force. They wielded guns as they entered. “No one should move!!!” They shouted. Stunned, Chidozie, Maureen, Enem, Wendy, Ngozi and Donald’s parents watched in confusion. “Who is Donald?” The lead policeman asked. “I am Donald.” “You spoke to the lead officer investigating your shooting a while ago on the phone.” “Yes I did.” “He has directed us to arrest Miss Enem Christiana Abassi. “There she is,” Donald replied.

They whisked Enem off her chair. “What is this? What have I done?” The policeman slapped her in typical Nigerian policing style. “You have no right to do that,” Enem shouted. “What is this? Please leave my friend alone!!!” Maureen shouted. “Honey, the police have the shooter in custody and he has confessed that he was hired by Enem to shoot me.” “What?” Echoed everyone. “”It is not true,” Enem shouted. “You will have to explain yourself at the station. We will have you transported to Enugu immediately. Donald, we will need you at the station in Enugu by tomorrow.” “I will be there.” “Enem, did you actually do it?” Donald asked her. “It is a lie!!! I would never do a thing like that. I forgave you a long time ago.” “If that is true, then they will release you soon. And…those guavas, I have not had any. I would not let Chidozie or anyone have any either. I wonder why you gave them to me alone. I will have that tested. If you are innocent, again, I am sure we will find nothing.” “I am innocent,” Enem shouted.

“So you still claim your innocence?” Sergeant Okilo asked Enem the next morning. “I am totally innocent. I did nothing,” she replied emphatically. Okilo walked to the counter and returned with a pistol. He cocked it in front of Enem and dragged her to the back of the building. There was a deep septic tank there, which was no longer in use. “I am going to shoot you now and throw your body in there. By night, we will drag you out with a rope and dump your body in the bush. No one will ever find you,” he threatened her. “Go ahead and shoot me,” she said. “My father will find you no matter where you run to. He has connections. I am not afraid of you. I am innocent,” Enem maintained. Okilo was shocked. Disappointed. He could not believe that his trick had not worked. This girl is either innocent or she is a hardened soul, he thought. He raised his gun nonetheless and aimed it at Enem. She shuddered a little bit, closing her eyes. Okilo raises the gun to the air and fired. Enem did not see which direction the gun was at when he fired since her eyes were closed. She was shaken to the marrow. She placed her hands to her chest expecting to drop to ground any moment.

“So you are afraid? That is my final warning. The next one will fly straight through your head,” Okilo warned. “Bring that boy here,” Okilo shouted to his subordinates. They dragged Uchenna outside. “Yes, it is her,” he shouted before Okilo asked him any question. “She claims she does not know you. She says she never met you.” “Christiana!! Please tell them the truth,” Uchenna begged for his life. “If you don’t have any proof of your story, I guess we can waste both of you and forget you,” Okilo warned. “I have a recording of her telling me to shoot Donald,” Uchenna shouted. “She did not know I recorded it on my phone.” Fear jumped into Enem’s eyes. She began to palpitate. “It…it…it is…a…a…lie,” she stuttered. “My friend prince has a copy of the recording too,” Uchenna insisted. “I gave it to him just in case, and I have a copy with another friend in Lagos.” “I have listened to the recording and our voice expert has confirmed to me that the voice in the recording is yours, young lady. The only thing that can save you now is to tell the truth to lower your punishment. Otherwise, we will seek the death penalty,” Okilo threatened. “He is a pig!!! I hope he burns in hell,” Enem shouted. “And you, you are incompetent. You were supposed to kill him!!!” She yelled at Uchenna. Her emotions unraveled and she began to pour out her soul. “You need to pull yourself together and put it in writing, else, we cannot help you,” Okilo urged her. “You are all pigs…all men are pigs. They use you and dump you like a piece of rag. So, Donald thought I would forgive him just like that? I wish he had died!!!”

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CONVERSATION - Episode 14 An African Literary Blog
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