How could I have forgotten the code word? This was a spiritual attack obviously and I blamed mama Tito. After the public feud she had with my mother, she became the symbol of everything bad that happened to my mother. If she lost her footing, it was mama Tito and if mosquitoes decided to bite at night, of course mama Tito must have sent them. It didn’t make sense when my mother blamed her, but it did now. Mama Tito had done this. I would die in poverty. There was nothing preventing this unknown courier from emptying his loaded gun in me.
The courier turned to look at me properly. The light rays of the shops also illuminated his face. I could distinctly see his features. His wasn’t handsome and he reminded me of someone; Steve.
Yes, Steve! I had finally remembered. I cleared my throat and tried to imitate his huskiness
‘Steve Alpha, the code is Steve Alpha’.
He kept on staring at me as if I was an enigma. He was trying to figure me out.
‘Did the cat hold your tongue before’, he quizzed
‘I had to wait for those two cops leaning on that car to move’, I pointed to the guys walking
He turned around to look at them. My nervousness was gone, I could think clearly now.
‘Where is my package?’, I inquired after he had acknowledged my code word.
He looked up at me again, while reaching for the back seat. He pulled a black briefcase.
‘The lock code is 5543, do you want to inspect it’?
That was a trick question. The text said nothing about inspecting it. This man had some doubts but I wasn’t about to clear it for him.
‘No, that would be all’, I reached out and shook his hands.
‘It was nice doing business with you’, he muttered as soon as I stepped out of the vehicle, then he drove off.
I had finally succeeded. I looked at the time, it was 9:30pm. I brought out my phone. I had put it on silent before entering the car. I had done the right thing. Seven missed calls from ifeoma. Imagine having to get shot because my phone kept ringing out loud. I called her. She picked on the first ring
‘Baby where are you?’ Her voice laced with concern
She didn’t have to worry anymore, I was coming back made.
‘Sweet, I’m walking home’
‘Enter bike na’
‘I’m almost home’
‘I love you Sam’
‘I love you more baby’.
I couldn’t go home. Not yet at least. The text had said I should head to the meeting point. I wasn’t planning on going there but I had to know the content of the briefcase. I surveyed my surrounding and noticed I was close to a filling station. I all but ran there and asked the attendant for the toilet. I was purging I told him. He took pity on me and pointed out the rest room. As I closed the door, I felt safe. I put the briefcase on the toilet lid and turned the scrambled nubers to 5543. There was a click and the briefcase opened. I gasped. I had hit the jackpot at my first attempt. Staring back at me, was a case full of bundles of the hundred dollar note. I counted the bundles, twenty in all. I had never felt a dollar before not to talk of hundred dollars, but now, I had twenty bundles of them. Assuming a bundle held hundred notes, twenty bundles was equivalent to two hundred thousand dollars. I didn’t know when I burst out singing:
Today, today, my levels don change, my levels don change
Mama Tito, my levels don change, my levels don change
Brother Dafe, my levels don change, my levels don change
Poverty leave me o, my levels don change
I was still dancing with my handkerchief when the attendant knocked on the door
‘Bros, I hope say you never die o’,
‘Chairman, I don finish, make I flush toilet’, I replied.
I carefully picked a bundle and took out five notes. Five hundred dollars. With the exchange rate, that would amount to over two hundred thousand naira. It should be sufficient for valentine. I flushed the toilet and picked the briefcase. On my way out, I gave the attendant five hundred naira. He was full of gratitude. He even called me oga. I laughed, boy Sammy was now an oga. I called okechukwu.
Okechukwu was the go to guy for anything you needed. He was forever dependable and I could trust him. I needed to change my dollars to naira and he was the only one that could have the numbers of the mallam that changed currency.
He picked on the second dial
‘Okey venture’, I hailed him
‘Sammy akwukwo’, he hailed back
He was fond of calling me Sammy akwukwo because I had once helped him to fill his tax forms and open an account.
‘Okey, my guy wan change dollars, you get connect?’
‘Sammy, why I no go get connect’, he replied
He proceeded to call out the number, he wasn’t ok texting it. I hailed him again and said goodnight. Then I called the number he left me. The man asked me to come now. I had learnt my lesson, I flagged down a bike.
The exchange didn’t waste time. The man gave me one hundred and ninety seven thousand. I dashed him the five hundred, he called me oga. Oga Sam, it had a nice ring to it. I asked him to give me a bacco bag. As I got outside, I emptied the contents of the briefcase into the bacco bag and I discarded the brief case. I went into the provision store and bought some stuffs; the stuff I promised ifeoma I was picking. As soon as I was done, I stepped outside. My phone beeped again. I brought it out, it wasn’t mine, it was the IPhone. Another text
AT THE MEETING POINT WITH THE SQUAD. PROCEED CAREFULLY. RIVAL SQUAD HAS BEEN TIPPED.
ON MY WAY TO MEETING POINT. FLAT TIRE OCCURRED. RIVAL SQUAD TIPPED? CONSIDER RESCHEDULING AT ONCE.
Warri boy no fit carry last. Meeting point ko, meeting point ni. I switched off the IPhone. Any attempt to reach me would prove abortive. I flagged down a bike, at last, I was going home to Ifeoma