A story written by INEGBENOISE OSEODION OSAGIE. (07068221839, 08093828575, [email protected])
Ezinne watched the liquid flow up Bakare’s straw into his mouth. No one but him drank beer with straws. He sipped as though nothing but the sipping mattered to him, as though not a part of her mattered, not even her shadow lying on the sands of the veranda. He focused on his beer, drawing the brown liquid through the straw. When foam started fighting with him, he threw the can into the dustbin and dipped a hand in the beer pack for another.
“Why didn’t you further to law school?” he asked.
How could she go to law school with a big belly? “Sometime this year, I’ll further.”
“Your husband has lots of money, I figure.”
“The CEO of Erneto Aives.”
“Good life for you.”
What was good about the life? Money had no worth when there was no one to spend it on. “What about you, you have lots of money?”
“No, but I’m okay.”
“The deals don’t bring much?”
“What deals?” He faced her for the first time, squeezing eyebrows and forming the perfect ignorant face.
“I’m not stupid, Bakare.”
He focused back on his beer. “What deals are you talking about?”
“That is long gone. No more heroin,” he said, and surged some of the liquid up his straw.
“I’m no police. I want to help you. I have a buyer who plans on buying a huge dose.”
“I said no more heroin.” He threw an empty can in the wastebasket and dipped into the beer pack for another. “I manage the small computer shop and that’s all.”
“You think I can’t help because of the things you’ve done to me?”
He punched a can open and some liquid dripped down the can. “What things have I done to you?”
Years would come and he’d continue asking that, same questions with same ignorant face. “You made me kill my children, our children. You deserted after putting them in my belly, and you’re not even sorry. Not an iota of apology hides in your voice. But I won’t hold anything against you.”
“Sorry is only said when a crime is done. You are the one who ought to be sorry to the children you murdered.”
“I tell them sorry every day, and I’ve paid for it. I’m paying for it. You have no knowledge of what I’m going through.” She watched him sip the beer. He indeed had no knowledge of what she journeyed through, had no knowledge of what happened to her womb. If he did, he’d probably smile, smirk and could even hoot. God knows, this man must atone for his sins. By her own hands. “I pray and hope you go through same pain. Let fate deal with you. But as for now, let’s discuss about my buyer. Let’s discuss business.”
He glared at her. “I did nothing to you, Ezinne, and concerning your business talk, I don’t discuss business with women. Consider it a policy.”
“I’m not just any woman. I’m the wife of the owner of the biggest quarry industry in the state, and I’m the one paying the bills for the deal.”
That got to him, took him away from his beer. He laid his beer on the floor and glared at it. “How much do you have?”
“Up to six zeros. You’ll get the money at the point of exchange.”
He rose and gulped the remaining of his beer, his Adam’s apple rippling down his throat. A knife would do well in slicing it, so everything could end at the veranda. “Let’s enter the house.” He tossed the can towards the bin, but missed the hole.
She stood up and followed him inside.
“How many kilos?”
“Four full kilos.”
“When do you want it?”
“Sometime next month. We could start with that, but there may be more meets. Give me your number.”
“Same as before.”
“You don’t expect me to still have it.”
She brought the phone from her purse and held it out to him for his number.
He typed his number. “Where do we meet?”
“The orchard is okay. You’ll meet the buyer there.”
“Whom am I dealing with? A buyer or you?” A fleck of infuriation flashed across his voice.
“You’re dealing with a buyer. My only business is the bills. When the time comes, everything will go as planned.”
“The buyer is a man?”
He eyed the statuette of a sprinter on the centre table, looked at Ezinne and back at the statuette.
“You have a cold Malt?” she asked.
“Go check the freezer.”
She stalked to the refrigerator at the edge of the dining and opened. Two bottles of Malt lay in the cold. She picked one and pulled out its cover with a bottle opener. There was no problem drinking Malt in an enemy’s house.
“You know any good painter around?” His voice rang from the sitting room. I need a new portrait painting.”
“I noticed you removed your paintings. They used to make your house beautiful. There’s a paint house somewhere around NPA. You could check there.”
“I’ve seen it. He paints well?”
“It’s a she.” Her taste quenched with half of the drink down. She laid the remaining half on the table.
“Women don’t paint well.”
“She’s a good painter. But if you don’t like her or you want a man to paint your work, there is another painter down Tunji Avenue. It’s a man. You could check there.”
He stretched out on the sofa, resting head and legs on the chair’s arms. “I may try there.” He stretched a hand to the table and picked the statuette, forging a new face and a new tone less like him. “When did you start dealing with drugs?”
“A lot happened while you were away.”
“Your husband knows about it?”
“No. I’m simply helping someone with the pay. I don’t get to see the actual thing. Think of it as an investment.”
He stroked a leg of the statuette. “You have money. I’d advise you not to go into this thing.”
“You are in no position to give me any advice.”
Another minute of silence surfaced. His face transformed as she waited for his next words. “Be careful. If caught, you might get life.”
To Be Continued….