GRACE - Episode 8

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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - hospital, First Bank branch, half a million Naira, account, bank, cheque, boys, Chief, lawyer.

There was no time to chase after the criminals. I had other things in mind. First, I had to get Oluwabusuyi medical help. I jumped to my feet and helped him up as I shouted for help. A taxi driver was kind enough to come my way while others fled. I helped him into the taxi and the driver headed for the hospital. The driver sped as fast as he could. In one instance, he drove on the wrong side of the road to beat typical Lagos traffic. “You are going to be alright, Oluwabusuyi,” I urged him. His blood was dripping onto the taxi seat. Soon, we arrived at a hospital and I had nurses help him into the theater. They worked on him frantically with the doctor on duty. I used the hospital phone to ring up Chief Adefarati. “Someone in your team set us up, Chief,” I said. “Oluwabusuyi is badly hurt. They stabbed him ruthlessly in the back, but I think he will be fine. I am certain that someone in your inner circle who was privy to the fact that we would be in bank today sold the information to James. Maybe, they planned to steal the money for themselves. I don’t know,” I explained to him. “I am thinking the same thing, Abimbola. Stay safe. I am sending some men over to the hospital now,” he replied. “Thank you sir,” I replied.

Looking across the street, I saw a First Bank branch. I walked quickly to the bathroom and eased myself first. Then, I dug into the shorts under my skirt and pulled out the half a million Naira cheque. I had suspected that something would go wrong, so I took time to stow it away. I held it in my hand and walked across the street. I had other documents I needed to open up a new bank account too. In the banking hall, I asked the customer service lady to open up a new account for me. “It will take a few days for the account to become active,” she explained. “I want it active now!” I said impatiently. “No, that is not possible.” “Can I talk to your manager, please?” I asked. She looked me over and then walked away. I knew she must have been expecting her manager to tell me off on arrival. When he did appear, I stood up and shook his hand firmly.

“I have half a million Naira to deposit in a new account, but I am only willing to open the account if you are willing to make my new account active right now. Otherwise, I will take my money to another bank,” I explained with audacity. “Of course, that is possible,” he said with a smile. Money does talk indeed, everywhere, but it has a particularly loud voice in Nigeria. “Make sure that you attend to this young lady as she wants, Bunmi,” the manager ordered the customer service girl. He began to leave, but then, he turned around. “I think I can help you in my office,” he offered. I followed him to his office and he worked briskly to open my account for me. I handed him the cheque and he looked it over. “It is a First Bank cheque, so I am sure it will drop into my account today?” I asked. “Yes, of course,” he replied. He left the office and when he came bank, he handed me my cheque book and a statement showing that the half a million Naira had dropped into my account. I signed all the necessary documentation and made doubly sure that the money was there. I got my receipts just in case, and began to leave the bank. I even made the manager sign a statement confirming that he handled the transaction by himself.

As I began to leave, he stopped me and offered his business card. He was flirting with me. I was sure he was interesting in my fortune. I took his card and promised to give him a call. When I returned to the hospital, I was careful. No one knew I had cashed the cheque, or that I even had it, so I kept that firmly to myself. Oluwabusuyi was out of the theater after a few hours. Chief Adefarati’s men drove me home. I did not even mention it to my parents, but I had my mother checked into a hospital immediately. “How did you get the money?” My father asked cautiously. I explained what had happened to him and made him swear not to mention it to anyone. Chief Adefarati began a thorough investigation of his own. In addition, I hired a former police officer who ran his own security company to look for James, find out who may have tried to steal the cheque and to help me look for the Olabisis, and hopefully, my little Grace.

“If you find Foluke, you will certainly find James,” I told the private investigator. I knew that James was more careful, but Foluke did not have the sophistication to elude us for too long, so I urged him to start with her. Benjamin had been charged to court and Chief Adefarati was pressing all the right buttons to make sure that he was sent to jail for life. Chief Adefarati summoned a meeting of the area boys in and around the area. “Someone tried to kill a girl under my care,” he told them. “What have you heard about that plot, boys?” He asked them. “You know me…if I find out that any of you was involved, I will make sure you are killed and thrown into the lagoon. You should tell me the truth now or face my wrath,” he threatened. He was a former area boy himself, and he knew all the tricks. He was well connected too and they knew it.

“Who arranged that hit?” He asked. His voice was rising by the minute he was standing at this point staring them all in the eye. “Chief, ask your lawyer,” one of the boys by the name, Rufus said. He was as dark as charcoal with facial marks that could be likened to the Grand Canyon. “My lawyer?” Adefarati asked. “Yes, your lawyer, sir,” Rufus insisted. “I hear sey him and James work together. James pay am to tell am when that girl go waka go bank to cash that money (I heard that he and James work together. He was the ones that told James and his men when that girl would try to cash the cheque),” Rufus explained. “Who told you this?” “It was one of the boys on the mission, sir. He told me that James hired him and other boys to steal a cheque.” The next day, Chief Adefarati had his boys drag his lawyer to his compound. They flogged him until he said the truth. “Please, stop…I will tell you the truth,” he pleaded. “You may be the lawyer, but we own the city. We can kill you here and throw your body in the lagoon and no one will ask any questions. So you wanted to double cross me?” Adefarati asked him.

“It was the devil’s work, Chief,” the lawyer pleaded. A heavily built young man landed a heavy block on the lawyer’s head and he gasped in pain. Blood began to gush out. “Where is James?” Adefarati asked him. “I don’t know. We met in my house a few times. That is all I know. Once, he came with a young girl.” “How does he get in touch with you?” “He calls my office.” “The next time he calls, tell him you have information for him, and then let me know. If you run, I will find you. You cease to be my lawyer from now on. When I catch James, you will be ordered to leave Lagos. Anywhere you stay in Lagos; we will find you and kill you. For now, bring James in. You must bring him in or I will kill you,” Adefarati warmed the ‘two-timing’ lawyer. I quickly went into hiding. I could not trust anyone, so I took my mother to Ogun State and hid there. She was from Ogun, so we felt relatively safe there. She was getting better as well. The medication she was taking was working. I wanted to make sure that James was taken out of the way before I could resurface again.

“Barrister Awe,” James said over the phone. He had called the lawyer’s office in anger. “Where is that girl, Abimbola?” He asked the lawyer. “When are you going to give me my share of the money?” The lawyer asked him. “What money? The girl fooled us. There was no cheque in the bag. Were you working with her?” James asked angrily. “Are you trying to make excuses to avoid paying me? That will not work, James.” “I swear by the shrine of Sango, that girl still has the cheque. Where is she?” “You have to come to my office tomorrow evening. You need to bring some money; at least five thousand Naira before I can give you that information. I know where the girl is but I cannot be working for you without pay.” “You wily old lawyer. I will be there tomorrow. This time, I want information that will lead me to her. She has half a million Naira.” The lawyer quickly called Adefarati and informed him. He had his men stationed all over the area. There was going to be no escape this time.

James disguised his face with fake beard, but Foluke was unmistakable. She wore sunglasses and scarf, but not even those could disguise her. She and James got off the bus and walked towards Barrister Awe’s office. They looked over their shoulders every few minutes to see if they were being followed. When they entered the crooked barrister’s office, there were seven armed men waiting for them. James tried to run, but they shot him in the leg. He yelled out in pain. Foluke froze in fear. She was crying like a baby. They dragged them both to the police. Chief Adefarati was on hand to warn the police that if both of them were not charged to court, his boys would burn down the police station and come after the police chief’s family. A week later, I was back in Lagos. My mother was talking by now, which made me very happy. We never returned to Olodi Apapa. I rented a decent flat for us in Isolo and began to think of a business I could start. My private investigator now focused on finding Grace. I took evening classes to further my education while I explored business options. It was time to contact Pastor Gbenga. I dug up his address and wrote him a letter.

Dear Gbenga,
I am sorry for having not written you in quite some time. Please bear with me. A lot has happened since you left, and our address has changed time and again. The address above is our permanent address now…sort of. I cannot express my gratitude enough to you for saving my life. Thank you so much. I have to say that…I miss you. I was wondering if you would be kind to visit. I have a few things I would like to discuss with you. More importantly, I would like to see you. I look forward to hearing from you.


A few weeks passed by and I did not hear from Gbenga. Then, one afternoon, I was in the kitchen helping my mother fix lunch for my siblings who were in school when someone knocked on the door. When I opened the door, he was standing there with that alluring smile of his. “Gbenga!!!” I shouted. We hugged. Quite frankly, I thought about kissing him, but I stopped myself. He was a man of God, so I did not want to push it…yet. “You are looking very well now,” he said to my other who had dashed out of the kitchen when she heard me shout Gbenga’s name.  “God has been great,” My mother answered. “Look at you, you look like an angel now,” he said to me. “And you too,” I replied. I was clearly smitten by him…he was by me too, but he played the pastor at first.

“I have been thinking of you,” he said. We were alone in his hotel room. He insisted on staying in a hotel. “Me too,” I replied. “I was wondering if I could kiss you,” he asked. I nodded. Carefully, he took me in his arms. Gently, he kissed me. He was tender and soft. Everything else I had known had been violent - sheer brute force and sadistic. For the first time in my life, I felt tenderness and it was great. His eyes were closed when he kissed me. I could hear his heart speeding like a formula one race car. Mine sped just as fast, if not faster. “I love you Abimbola,” he finally said. “I love you too,” I replied. “Tell me about yourself,” I requested. I barely knew anything about him. “What do you want to know?” “Everything. Have you been in love before? Who was the lucky girl? Where are you from? Do you have siblings?” I wanted to know everything about him. I was lying on his broad chest while he lay on his back. Peace swirled all around me. Love, I guess this was it for me. I was all in. I adored Gbenga with all my heart and soul. “I was once married,” he began. I was surprised to hear that, but I leaned in and listened. “My wife died some years back.” “I am sorry to hear that,” I said. “Thanks. It is a long and gory story, but I will tell you all about it…” He took a deep breath, stroked my hair gently and began to talk.
Story continues...

Written by:
Victor Chinoo

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GRACE - Episode 8
Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - hospital, First Bank branch, half a million Naira, account, bank, cheque, boys, Chief, lawyer. An African Literary Blog
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