The Midnight Encounter
© 2018 Olumide Odusanya
It was 5:35am on a Friday morning and traffic on
Ozumba Mbadiwe road in Lagos was building up.
Fancy air-conditioned company buses, public
buses, and private cars kept switching lanes every
now and then, trying to get to their destinations
faster. Just by the bridge that linked Victoria Island
and Ikoyi was a lifeless body, facedown. Even
though it was an eyesore for this part of town,
nobody took a second look at the sight.
A homeless woman walked past the body pulling
her toddler son along. After walking a few meters
away from the body, she stopped, assumed a
squatting position and whispered something in the
boy’s ear. He nodded and ran back to the body,
knelt down beside it, and started going through the
man’s pockets. He didn’t come up with anything,
till he struggled to squeeze his hand underneath
the jacket of the unconscious man. A smile
appeared on his face as his hand came up with a
small phone. Just then, the man grabbed him by
the wrist, and he screamed, dropping the phone in
the process. He ran off to his mom, and they
hurried away from the scene.
The man rolled over and squinted as the street
lights got in his eyes. Coughing continuously, he
struggled to assume a sitting position. He dusted
off sand from his face, as he moaned in pain. His
face was a swollen mess, with patches of dried up
blood here and there. His blue jeans was ripped
on the right side just below the knee, and one leg
of his white sneakers was nowhere in sight.
Memories came flashing in rapid successions and
then feared gripped him. He gritted his teeth as he
tried to stand using his right hand for support; his
shoulder hurt badly and he fell back on his butt. He
took a deep, did nothing for a few seconds, and
then laid his left hand on the ground for support as
he sprang himself up.
His barefoot kicked something as he staggered off.
When he turned around, he saw it was his portable
Nokia phone. He went down gently, picked up the
phone, and continued his walk to the bus stop just
underneath the bridge. Pedestrians got out of his
way, and people in their cars stared at him
strangely. He dusted off the phone, and with shaky
hands, typed in a code. A response text came in
almost immediately. He closed his eyes for a
second as if summoning courage, and then
opened the text. A smile crept up his bruised up
face when he read the content, and then he
started laughing as tears flowed down his eyes.
6 Hours Earlier
David was speeding through the freeway in his
Camry, bopping his head to some hip hop music; a
smile on his face from the money he had just
made. He was the manager of one of the hottest
music stars in the country, and they had just
scored their biggest gig to date; a two hour
appearance at a senator’s birthday bash, and the
pay was twenty thousand dollars, which was
equivalent of seven million Naira. Standard agent
fee was ten percent, so his share out of the money
was seven hundred thousand Naira.
With his two hands on the wheel while singing
along to Kiss Daniel’s No Do song, he pulled out
his Nokia phone from the breast pocket of the shirt
he had underneath his jacket. One eye on the
road, he dialed the *894# code for his bank’s
mobile banking, and followed instructions to check
his balance. He got a message shortly that showed
he had N7,035,000 in his account. Usually, with
his other clients, the money was transferred to the
artists’ record label account, before he got his
share. But, Molano, his latest artist was a maniac
drug addict with about a dozen goons following him
to every show, and he didn’t usually trust himself
with large sums of money when he was in a drug
induced state, so he normally liked to have all the
money transferred to David, and then have David
take his cut and then transfer his lion share to him
the morning after.
‘David, are you sure you don’t need one of my
boys to drive behind you? This is a whole lot of
money.’ Molano had told him as he was leaving
the party venue a few minutes ago, but he
reminded Molano that they hadn’t been paid in
cash, and they both laughed.
As he made the bend from the Lekki-Expressway
to join Ozumba Mbadiwe road, he put the phone
back in his pocket, and revved up his car engine.
He hadn’t gone far when the car wheel started
wobbling in his hands, and he realized he had a
flat tire. “Shiit!” he cursed under his breath.