DILEMMA - Episode 6

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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - her palms together apologetically, someone who can do that, professionals, nodded her agreement, kill somebody's child, to eat shrimps at the restaurant, chief, mahogany table.

"But wait a minute," Ijeoma said, standing up now to face Uju. "Why are you just telling us?"

Uju remained mute. A moment passed before any words availed themselves in her head.

"Well," she began. "I'm not even sure. I've just been so confused. I wanted to tell you guys o, but I guess it skipped my mind."

Her friends eyed her suspiciously.

"Skipped your mind kwanu (how)?" It was Thelma.

"Don't mind her," Ijeoma said. "Because she needs our help now, she has opened up to us. Well done ma. And I thought we were friends. Didn't we say no secrets? Were you not the one that even said..."

"Haba!" Uju said, laughing and rubbing her palms together apologetically. "It's ok na. This small issue again. Ok, I'm sorry."

"Sorry for yourself o," her friends said.

Uju pleaded with them for a while and when they had come around, she asked:

"So what suggestion do you guys have for me?"

"Shebi it's Chinwe?" Thelma said. "We will find her and deal with her again na."

Ijeoma sat down again. "You mean by ourselves?"

"Yes na."

"No o. Let's not take that risk again o. Does Uju even know her address. This is job for professionals. Let's just hire someone to mess her up."

Uju stared at her. "You know someone who can do that?"

"Yes na. You no trust me again?"

Uju and Thelma laughed and Uju gave her a thumbs up.

"Yes o. I trust you. Anyway, as for the address, that's a small thing. I can get it from someone at my husband's office. I'm sure someone will know."

"No o!" Ijeoma shouted. "Later you will say you have sense. Do you want them to trace it back to us?"

Thelma nodded her agreement. "That's true."

"What you should do is go to your husband's office and ask for the records. I'm sure hers will still be there if you look properly. That way, no one will know the exact information you are after." As an afterthought, Ijeoma added. "Just in case something goes wrong."

"Ah!" Uju shouted. "Go wrong? Something like what, please? I don't want to kill somebody's child o."

Ijeoma laughed and poured herself a glass of whiskey. "Nothing will go wrong. I'm just kidding. But we have to play it safe all the same."

Esther slid the door open and walked in now with a black polythene packed full with groceries.

"Aunty, I'm back," she announced and continued to the kitchen.

Thelma let her walk out of sight before she spoke. "Ijeoma, this your girl set o. You just settle down find fresh fish for your oga. You no see my own house girl? Very worwor (ugly) thing. That way I know that even if my oga gets very drunk, he will still not go to her."

Uju and Ijeoma burst out laughing. Thelma continued:

"But wait o. Has she always been like this? I just never really noticed her before now."

"No o," Ijeoma said. "Her eyes just opened fiam recently. I think all these small small Lagos boys have started calling her on the road."

"Dey there," Uju said. "Calling or touching? She probably even knows more than you. She looks very wise. See her eyes like torchlight. That's why I do my own house chores myself. I don't want any problems. Even if I wanted to consider getting a house help, I'll go for a boy o. I can never go for a girl. Mba! Not after what chief attempted with that Chinwe girl."

"You have a point sha," Ijeoma said. "But I don't have to fear that. My own husband is never around anyway. And even the few times when he is; you see this my two eyes?" she pointed with her forefinger and middle finger to her eyes. "They are everywhere. Nothing escapes my notice in this house o. They can't even try it. I will cut his prick and put pepper in her nyash."

Uju and Thelma laughed hysterically until the tears came to their eyes and then a call came in Uju's phone. It was Chima.

*          *          *

It was nearly a week after their agreement about Chinwe. Uju's patience was already running thin. Two days before, she had met with the cheeky, unsmiling blackmailer because he had called to say he needed more money. "Same amount," he had whispered into the phone and giggled until Uju got annoyed and ended the call. But she had met with him later that day to provide the requested funds. The next day she had visited chief at the office and hung around until chief announced he had to attend an urgent business meeting.

"Wait for me," he'd said. "I'll be back soon. There's one fine restaurant just around the corner. They just opened. I want to take you to lunch there."

She'd smiled a superficial smile and when chief had gone, she'd called in his new secretary, who was a man this time, and asked about the staff register and some other unrelated documents. She'd chosen to be vague in order to leave the unsuspecting secretary in the dark as to her motive. And when he'd walked out, leaving her alone at the large mahogany table in her husband's spacious office, she'd flipped through the records, page after page, until she found what she had gone looking for. Later, chief had returned and they had gone to eat shrimps at the restaurant. She'd been nervous all through the lunch because it was the first time she had snooped around in his office. But in the end chief hadn't noticed because there had been a lot on his mind. And it was probably also because he never really paid enough attention to her to perfectly understand her nuances and moods. He still didn't know her like Chima did.

Now, she had come to see Ijeoma, to give her the address and to discuss the plan with her. She knew she was already taking laws into her hands but she didn't want to go too far with it. Ijeoma had just excused herself to use the bathroom and Uju sat alone in the living room. She stood up now and walked over to the refrigerator beside the large mahogany table in the plush dining room, and there she helped herself to some juice. She poured her glass half-full and stood there sipping from it until she heard Ijeoma's phone ring. It came from the living room.

"Ijeoma! Your phone o!" she shouted as she ambled back toward the living room.

Ijeoma was out in a flash, the door banging loudly behind her. She snatched the phone from the table, stared into the screen and strode upstairs to take the call. Ijeoma stared at her and called after her:

"See who said no secrets o. You've added another man to your list okwia (right)?"
Ijeoma was already out of sight and did not hear her remark. Uju sat on the sofa and pulled her legs up close to her body, drinking slowly while she waited for Ijeoma. Ijeoma rejoined her nearly five minutes later and sat across from her. She took the note from the center table.

"This is the address eh?"

"Kai. Don't change topic. Who is the new man that you don't want me to know about?"

Ijeoma laughed and put the note down again.

"It's just one small boy o that I met yesterday. He has been disturbing me, asking me to..."
"See you! Small boy indeed! Isn't that your kind?"

Ijeoma burst out laughing again and segued.

"That's the address right? I don't think I've ever been there. But my guy will know it. I'll give it to him tomorrow."

Uju held her right ear and pulled firmly on it. "Tell him no complications o. No casualties. In fact, tell him clearly, no bodies. Let him just give her a sound beating and tell her to keep off. I'm pretty sure she'll get the message."


"But you know, I've been thinking, what if she decides to go public with the information she has when she realizes I authorized the attack."

"She wouldn't dare," said Ijeoma with utmost conviction.

"Ok, I hope so." Uju sighed and again nestled herself into the coziness of the sofa thinking all the while about how close she now was to the end of her teeming troubles.

Uju was at Chima's place the next day. She wasn't sure whether it was her ninth or tenth visit to his apartment but everything there had registered itself on her mind so that it all felt familiar, like her own home did. She had come because when he called her back at Ijeoma's house, he had pleaded with her to come over, saying that he needed to see her. She sat there now, certain that nothing would happen except a conversation. Chima was staring at her in that way that made her heart flutter like a winged butterfly.

"You really suspected me didn't you?"

"Well, everyone is a suspect in this. Even my best friends," she lied.

"But I told you to let me know each time they try to extort you so we can share the burden together. We are both involved in this and the money shouldn't come from your pocket alone."

Uju thought to herself that well, it wasn't really her pocket. It was her husband's because if she asked for a million only a day after he'd given her half a million, he wouldn't think twice before he gave it to her.

"And I told you not to worry about it," she replied. "I can handle it." She stood up now. "I have to get going."

Chima stood up too. "What's the hurry?"

"I have things to do. I have a husband to cater to."

Chima did not argue again. He took her wrist and pulled her into a kiss and it was two hours later before she grabbed her purse and left his apartment, without him. She didn't want to risk being seen out in the open with him again. She cast furtive glances around the surrounding environment outside to ensure no one was taking pictures and then she got in her car and drove off.

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Written By:
Kadiri Alex

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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog: DILEMMA - Episode 6
DILEMMA - Episode 6
Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - her palms together apologetically, someone who can do that, professionals, nodded her agreement, kill somebody's child, to eat shrimps at the restaurant, chief, mahogany table.
Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog
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