Those Awkward Moments (Episode 19)

Those Awkward Moments (Episode 19)

So here’s what you missed on THOSE AWKWARD MOMENTS

Remember how Kevin and Jude got robbed and then Jude got shot because he blurted out to the robbers he was gay, and how Janet put all the blame on Kevin because his version of what caused Jude’s gunshot incident didn’t add up? Well, now Janet is not the only one who suspects something amiss concerning that day. It just so happens that three days after he blackmails his boss, Kevin gets arrested by the police!

Talk about bad luck!

And that’s pretty much all you missed previously.

*

“What the fuck – Guy!” yelled one of the three robbers. He had the bag of loots in his hand, and his exclamation was aimed at the one with the gun, whose hand was now shaking as he stared down at the man he’d just shot.

I was shaking too, right on the floor next to Jude, who lay disturbingly still, a pool of blood collected around his head and spreading out from his back. I’d screamed when the shots were fired, and now, I lay there, staring with shock at the man I loved, held immobile by fear that he was dead.

“You said no one would get hurt this time!” the robber continued.

The third member of the gang, clad in blue jeans, a different attire from the black trousers his partners favoured, had his hands over his head and was pacing, looking visibly agitated, like he’d never perpetuated something this dangerous before.

“Abeg!” snapped the shooter. “Na him fault.” He waved his gun-hand at Jude, and I flinched away from the gesture. “See as e dey compare me with himself. Faggot oshi!”

“So you had to shoot him?!” the panicked one screamed. “How e take concern you say them two guys dey fuck, eh?”

“No tell me that nonsense!” the shooter shot back at him. “Na homo them be! Na abomination be that!”

Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, a part of me that was as yet unaffected by my shock appreciated the irony of a thief claiming moral superiority over a homosexual.

“E concern you?!” his partner yelled, looking furious and advancing with a cocked fist.

Sensing an impending altercation, the blue-jean-clad one drew forward and inserted himself between the two. “Control yourself joor! Wetin dey worry una two sef?”

I looked on as the two burglars eyed themselves angrily, before they turned in the direction of Jude and I. I’d found my voice by this time, and spoke up, “Please… My friend is losing blood. He has to be taken to a hospital…”

“Who tell you say make you talk?” the shooter rounded on me. “You want your own too?” He swung his gun at me, causing me to recoil and whimper in fear. “When plenty women dey this country, na man you dey find. You be disgrace!”

The one with the bag moved swiftly over to Jude. Bending over him, he reached out his gloved hand to Jude’s neck, obviously feeling for his pulse. Then he straightened up. “He’s alive. Guy, drop your gun. At least let’s leave someone alive who can take this one to the hospital.”

The shooter hesitated, still pointing the gun at me. Blue Jeans moved forward and snatched the firearm from him, before hissing, “Let’s get out of here!”

And so they did, exiting my living room and the horror they’d wreaked in it. Blue Jeans left last, with his gun aimed at me until he was out of the room. I waited, listening to their footsteps fade away as they hastened out of the compound. Then I heard the faint sound of a car engine igniting outside the compound, followed by the vehicle vrooming away.

They were gone.

It was only then that I got up and rushed over to Jude. He still wasn’t moving. But I could hear the faint rattle of his breath coming through lungs that I was positive had been shattered by the entry of the bullet that hit him on the chest.

With tears in my eyes, a trickle that began spilling down my cheeks, I grabbed him, fighting the instinctive need to just lie there, crying, with him in my arms. Jude needed my help, not my abject misery.

“Jude… Hold on, please…” I choked out. “I’m going to get you to the hospital…”

Just then, I felt him move his head. He was definitely alive. I felt hope bloom inside me as I leaned closer to his face. He was moving his lips.

“Kevin…?”

“Oh my God – Jude!” I blubbered gratefully through my tears.

“Kevin…I’m sorry…” he said in a hoarse voice that got cut off by a cough. Blood spurted from his mouth.

My heart constricted.

“Jude baby…Don’t talk…Let’s not do this now…”

“Kevin, I –”

“Jude, please… don’t exert yourself –”

“Shut up…” he rasped. “Can’t you see I’m trying…trying to tell you something important…”

“What is it, baby…” I said brokenly, a short mirthless laugh escaping me at the thought of how he could still demand to be listened to when he was at death’s door.

He moved his head closer to my ear, and whispered a very soft and sincere “I love…”

He didn’t complete it. He fell back into my arms and drifted off in unconsciousness.

“Jude…Jude!” I screamed. “Don’t you dare die on me! Don’t you dare! It’s going to be okay. You’re going to be okay.”

And then, I laid his head gently back on the ground, before getting up and rushing outside. And then I began shrieking at the top of my lungs, my urgency imparted with every word I uttered:  “Somebody, please help! My friend is dying! Please!”

***

Somebody, please help! My friend is dying! Please!

The replay of that horrible afternoon sped through my mind, ending with an echo of that desperate cry for help. Unbidden, tears stung my eyes and I blinked rapidly to quell them. This was neither the time nor place to cry.

It’d been several minutes since my arrest, and I was now sitting alone in the interrogation room. It was a room just like in the movies – square-shaped environment, with cold, whitewashed walls and an opaque glass window fixed to one of the walls. I suspected there was a room on the other side of the window, and that my tormentors were probably in it now, observing me in my solitude for any telltale reactions to the notion of my arrest. My handcuffed hands were placed on the desk in front of me, my eyes were heavy from holding my tears in, and my heart ached from realizing afresh what I’d lost after that fateful day.

Just then, the door swung open, and in walked a stocky, middle-aged man in an ill-fitting suit. He had a folder in his hands and wore a small smile on his face, like he’d just finished enjoying a joke with someone else right before he walked into the interrogation room. That someone else could have been the other policeman who walked in after him. I recognised him as Sergeant Chuks, the uniform who snapped the cuffs around me back at my house.

“Sergeant,” the suited man began, “kindly take the handcuffs off Mister Achike. I’m sure he has no intention of trying anything foolish.”

“Yes, sir,” the sergeant said, before walking over to me and uncuffing me. He looked woodenly at me as he took off the restraints from my wrists, and I stared just as coldly back. And then, without a word, he walked out of the room, shutting the door behind him.

The suited man approached the table and took his seat before me. “Mister Achike, I’m Detective Elohor. May I however call you Kevin?”

I stayed mute, giving him my best ‘You can fucking do whatever the fuck you fucking want to do’ look.

He nodded, getting the message. “So, Kevin, do you know why you are here?”

“Because you people seem to think I had something to do with my best friend getting shot. And that’s just crazy!”

“Why do you think it’s crazy?”

Emeka, don’t say anything! I’m calling our lawyer now! My mother’s shouted warning just before the police car whisked me away from her presence resonated in my head.

“Kevin?” Detective Elohor urged.

I pushed away my mother’s words and started, “Well, for one, we are best friends –”

“Friends kill each other all the time,” Detective Elohor interrupted. “Family members, close relatives – you’d be surprised how many murders are perpetuated by people who are loved ones to the victims.”

“But I was the one who called for help…who took him to the hospital for chrissakes! Why would I do that if I wanted him dead?” I said exasperatedly.

“Maybe you shot him, intending to kill him, started to feel guilty and decided against having his blood on your hands.”

“This is crazy!” I burst out, slapping my hand down on the table. “I did not kill my friend!”

“Your friend’s not dead,” the detective said calmly, “so of course you didn’t kill him.”

“I did not try to kill him!” I snapped, my voice rising. “You people are wasting your time with me!”

“Get a hold of yourself, Kevin –”

“Actually, I think I’d much rather we keep things formal,” I interrupted him coldly. “Only people I have no problem with being in my life are permitted to call me Kevin.”

“Very well, Mister Achike,” the detective said, unruffled by my acerbity. “Kindly control yourself though, unless you’d like to cool off in one of our cells.”

I backed down, settling for a smouldering look aimed at him.

The door opened again. This time, it was the mustachioed policeman who walked in. he’d changed and was now in a suit, his better fitting than Elohor’s.

As he came to take the seat beside Elohor, I began speaking again, “You guys have to let me go! I didn’t do anything. You’re wasting your time with me. The person who shot Jude was an armed robber –”

“We are well aware of that,” Detective Abayomi said.

“There were three of them and they –” I broke off when the policeman’s words sank into my mind through my hysteria. “Wait, what?”

“I said we know you didn’t shoot your friend or have anything to do with what happened to him,” Detective Abayomi said. “We already have the three robbers in custody.”

“But this guy said…” My voice petered out as I pointed at Detective Elohor. “You said…back at my house…” Incomprehension clouded my mind.

“I know what we said, Mister Achike,” Detective Abayomi said. “We needed to impress upon you the grimness of the actual reason you’re here.”

“You must be joking,” I said disbelievingly.

“On the contrary,” Detective Elohor said, “we’re dead serious.”

“No, you cannot be serious, if all this has been a ruse to get me here,” I countered. “Let me even get this straight. You people” – I jabbed a finger at them – “came to my home, humiliated me in front of my mother and neighbours, all in an arrest for something I didn’t do, because you wanted me here for something else?” I was aghast.

“That’s pretty much it,” Detective Elohor said, with that complacency that I was starting to really, really dislike.

Feeling cold fury surge through my veins at the audacity of these policemen, I bit out, “And if I decide not to comply with this something else you expect of me?”

“Oh!” Detective Elohor said with a chuckle as he turned to face his partner, who was still staring woodenly at me. “Did you hear that? He’s acting like he has a choice.” When he returned his gaze to me, he said simply, “You don’t!”

“I have rights!” I burst out.

“Yes, you do. But you’re going to help us with this, or we’ll find something to arrest you for, even if it’s simple littering.”

“This is outrageous!” I heaved, staring disbelievingly at the two men, all the while wondering if I had the presence of mind to call their bluff. I didn’t. I sighed then, and said, “Fine. What do you want?”

“You’re making the right decision,” Detective Elohor beamed.

“I didn’t say I was going to help,” I said tightly. “I have to know what it is you expect from me first.”

“Fair enough,” Detective Abayomi said before opening the file his partner had placed on the table. He flipped a few pages and skimmed them, before starting with me, “We have reason to believe you recently started your first job since graduating from the university, right?”

“Yes? Is that one a crime too?”

“Don’t be a smart mouth,” Elohor cut in.

Abayomi continued. “You’re songwriting for the record label, Highland, right?”

“That’s correct.”

“Songwriting!” Elohor said with a scoff. “Your father allowed his son to go study music as a course?”

I didn’t just dislike this man’s attitude. I disliked him as a person, I realized as I glowered at him. “My father didn’t allow me do anything. It was my choice to study what I knew was best for me. Now, can we please get on with this thing?”

Abayomi recommenced with his questioning. “So, as a songwriter there, we have to believe you’ve worked closely with Mister Bassey, right?”

“What does that shady bastard have to do with anything?” I blurted.

The two men drew back from me, clearly surprised by my utterance.

“So you know he’s shady,” Abayomi queried.

I tightened my mouth.

“Do you mind elaborating on that?” Elohor persisted.

“Yes, I do mind. What he has to do with why I’m here?”

A moment passed, during which the detectives looked like they were contemplating how persistent they should get with pursuing my involuntarily-volunteered information. I stared resolutely back at them, my expression letting them know they’d have a battle on their hands if they intended to pursue that line of questioning. I was going to say no more on my personal opinion about Ryan Bassey.

“Well?” I said.

“We have reason to believe, from a reliable source, that Mister Bassey is involved in some really incriminating activities.”

“Like?” I was becoming interested.

“Insider trading, embezzlement, lots more.”

Wow! So Chief Bassey is not just a philandering horn-goat, I thought. Aloud, I said, “Okay, but I still don’t get my part in all this. He should be the one sitting in this room with you guys, not me!”

“You’re here because we want you to be our eyes and ears in Highland.”

A mirthless laugh burst forth from me. “Please tell me you’re joking!”

“That’s the second time you’ve accused us of being jokesters,” Detective Elohor snapped.

“That’s because you guys say the most ridiculous things,” I shot back.

“Careful now, Mister Achike,” he warned.

“Look,” Detective Abayomi cut in, “it’s not a dangerous thing, what we’re asking. We just need someone who can give us information on everything going on in that company, whatever you see or hear that seems out of place.”

“Why me? There are workers there with way more access to the kind of stuff you people are looking for. I’m just the songwriter, a junior one for that matter.”

“Exactly! That is why they’d never suspect you.”

“What about your source? I mean, if he or she knows all that they’ve told you, they have to be working there, right?”

“Our source was an anonymous tip,” Elohor said. “Look, anything you think of, we’ve already tried. You’re our last resort and you really don’t have a choice –”

“That’s actually not true, detective,” a voice cut in at the same time that the door opened yet again.

The three of us looked up at the tight smile on the face of the newcomer. Of the three suits in the room, his was the sharpest and most stylish. His spitshined shoes gleamed in the poorly-lit room and his gait was confident as he approached the table. My mother had finally come through in fetching support for me. The newcomer was Timothy Obi, our family lawyer. He was also that groom at Jude’s sister’s wedding, who had frowned his way throughout the nuptials. These days, he was Janet’s ex-husband.

I let out a sigh of relief the moment I saw him, feeling as though the room had become ten times brighter with his entrance.

“Mister Achike does have a choice,” Timothy continued.

“And you are?” Detective Elohor said, looking instantly hostile.

“Timothy Obi. And Mister Achike is my client, who will no longer be answering any more of your questions.”

“Pardon me, Mr. Obi, but I’m not sure you understand what is going on here –”

“Actually, I do,” Timothy interrupted. “You see, I happen to believe you guys arrested my client despite a lack of evidence and a warrant. The bit about the warrant I gathered from my client’s mother, and the bit about a lack of evidence I gathered from my client’s innocence concerning the issue about his friend’s shooting. So on my way here, I asked myself why the police would so flagrantly apprehend a responsible citizen from his home and bring him down here for questioning, and it hit me. You didn’t arrest him for any wrongdoing. You simply used that as a ploy to intimidate him to do some other shady business for you. Am I right, detectives?”

For a moment, the detectives stared at him with muted antagonism.

Then Elohor said, “And you gathered all this simply from putting two and two together?” His tone implied that he believed someone in the know had tipped the lawyer off.

“Well, detective,” Timothy said with a condescending smile, “some of us in law enforcement are actually very intelligent like that.”

The policeman stiffened at the subtle insult.

I cheered silently for Timothy. Way to go!

He continued, “Seeing as you two aren’t denying it, it behooves me to point out that what you’re doing is an abuse of the law. You cannot make my innocent” – he laid a heavy stress on the word – “client do what he does not want to do.”

“He already agreed to help us,” Abayomi said stiffly.

“He did?” Timothy’s surprise was magnificent. He turned to me. “Did you, Kevin? Did you agree to help these gentlemen with their investigation?”

“No, I didn’t,” I replied, staring pointedly at Elohor.

His expression turned grim in response.

“See?” Timothy returned to them. “So, detectives, why not you stop with this incompetence and let’s do the right thing.”

After what felt like an eternity, Detective Abayomi finally said, “He’s free to go!”

Feeling a surge of relief, I quickly got up from my seat. I hugged Timothy briefly, before we made for the door. He pulled the door open, and stepped aside for me to precede him out of the room. I was right at the doorway when Elohor spoke up.

“Before you go…”

“What is it now, detective?” Timothy said with exaggerated exasperation. “Haven’t you guys pressured my client enough?”

I stopped and turned to look back at the policeman.

“Oh, this isn’t pressure, Mr. Obi,” Elohor said. That complacency was back, and it had me worried. “We just want to remind your client that we have the culprits who robbed his house in custody, and that they have some very interesting things to say in their confessions.”

I felt an icy cascade fall over me as I listened to him. My heart began sinking to my belly.

“Details,” Elohor continued, “we cannot promise to hide from the press, you know, considering how incompetent we are.”

My heart settled in the pit of my stomach, and I felt cold through and through. The blackmailing sonofabitch! I swore silently at the policeman.

“No one cares about your silly confessions. I mean, really, give it up, detective,” Timothy rejoined. He turned to face me. “Kevin, let’s go. Your mother is worried, and she’s waiting in the car.”

“I’m sure Mister Achike would beg to differ,” Elohor said.

Timothy glanced back at him and then turned to me again, doing a double take when he saw how affected I was by the policeman’s veiled threat. He lifted his brows at me. “Kevin, what’s going on? Do you know what they’re talking about?”

Oh it’s nothing really, Tim. Just two men, whose job is to serve and protect, blackmailing me into cooperating with them using their knowledge of my sexual orientation.

I looked past him and hatefully at the Detective Elohor. He shrugged, as though to say, ‘It’s up to you.’

I wouldn’t have cared if it was just about me. They could go ahead and leak all they knew to the press; I didn’t care. I would survive it. But I wasn’t the only one involved here. The other person was lying in the hospital, far away from this world, and incapable of making any informed decision.

So I swallowed hard and walked back toward the table. And then I sat back down on the chair I’d so eagerly gotten up from moments ago.

“You’re a very smart fellow,” Elohor said, while Timothy stood by the door, looking confused by the turn of events.

“Let’s just get this over with,” I replied stonily. “You want me to be your inside man at Highland, is that it?”

“Yes, that’s it,” Abayomi said. “All you have to do is keep your eyes and ears open for anything that might point to your employer’s guilt or complicity in anything dubious. No information is too insignificant. Report anything and everything back to us.”

“Right.”

“You don’t have to look so morose. You’re part of the good guys here. You’ll be helping to take down corruption in this country.”

“Forgive me if I don’t see that bright side along with you, detective,” I said flatly. “I’d be risking the loss of my job and end of my career because of what you’re asking me to do. No one is worth that, certainly not Ryan Bassey.”

“Who said anything about Ryan Bassey?” Abayomi said. At the confusion on my face, he added, “Oh no, Mister Achike, we are not after the father. He’s not the criminal. His son is. It’s Joshua Bassey we want.”

Written by Reverend Hot

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13 Comments

  1. Mandy
    November 03, 06:11 Reply

    You know that scripture that says something about he who lives by the sword dying by the sword? Well, he who starts to blackmail shall get blackmailed in turn. Ntoo to Kevin. lol
    But really, to kowtow to something he doesn’t want to do simply becos he’s protecting Jude? This is love.

    • Dennis Macaulay
      November 03, 08:07 Reply

      Eventually Jude will shag his best friend in his flat while he is out running!

      • Rev; Hot
        November 03, 08:12 Reply

        Well, that was reaaalllly specific 😀

  2. Kaytee
    November 03, 08:26 Reply

    na wa… this suspense ehn!!!!

  3. JustJames
    November 03, 10:00 Reply

    This Kevin guy is a mumu…
    There’s something called denying. Do they have evidence that he is gay apart from the words of thieves? I get that he is trying to be noble but he could be playing with his life here of chief bassey finds out he’s got a snitch in his company.

    *takes deep breaths and reminds self that it’s fiction*

    • Pink Panther
      November 03, 10:08 Reply

      Guilt of something you are which everyone sees as wrong can push you into doing things that in retrospect you’d see as too rash. Sort of like instantly jumping to deny that you are gay and blaming the gay porn shoot you were involved in as you being drugged. Sometimes, the first thought that plagues one who is threatened with getting outed isn’t rational.

  4. Hisroyalsexiness
    November 03, 10:59 Reply

    For crying out loud, there was his lawyer beside him.. He could have confided in him.

    Anyway, its fiction.
    Nice one Rev. Hot

  5. PETROVICH
    November 03, 11:41 Reply

    Ghen Ghen Ghen Ghen, classical case of Lobatan…..This suspense ehn….

  6. Delle
    November 03, 12:05 Reply

    Emm…wait o! This story is good enough to be turned into a movie, what are u waiting for Rev.Hot? Do you know just how much Emem Isong would be willing to give you for this stellar writing?
    *and then it hits me*…oops! It has gay characters. Sorry 4 my brief wave of stupidity.
    Boy do I love the suspense in this…nice work Hot Reverend…*winks*

    • kelly
      November 04, 11:04 Reply

      I for one will love to play the role of kelvin

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