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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Filters 2

 The sun hid behind a cloud, but Jesse could feel a tingling heat run up his forearm, and his tongue sat dry like dessert sand. Jude was to his right calm as a plant in a garden, calm because he knew the sun would shine, and because he knew he would get the water he needed to thrive.

"Please come with us." Jesse said, with about as much ambiguity as a dying man's last words.
Bode followed, unperturbed, he followed them to their car which was a mournful black that gleamed as the sun poked out its head for a peek.

"Ok, we're here, what now?." Bode asked daringly.

"Jesse, please open the boot."

Never taking his eyes off Bode Jesse did what he was told.The boot opened with a pop, and Jude lifted it all the way up. Bode walked to meet him, petulance in his steps, then looking into the boot his jaw dropped with terror.

"You bastards! what have you done?." he barked, with tears already welling up in his eyes.

"There are always consequences Bode, even for people with a god complex such as  yourself." Jude offered casting Jesse a cursory glance.

"You...You killed her!" Bode reached down to touch the lifeless body of his grandmother, his breathing growing heavier with each inch.

He pulled up the pillow stuffed garments.

"What...what is this?"Bode asked, ambivalent but settled. Jesse's face broke out with a smile and Jude gave him an appreciative nod.

"As you can see Bode, we know you, we know what makes you tick, your grandmother for example, raised and sheltered you from an alcoholic father and a promiscuous mother. Your beloved grandmother, the only one in your life whose had a share of your recent fortune. We know that she lives in a nice flat on Adeyemi Cross Street, we know all this and more, so that if you fail to comply with our demands....well, something a little more bony would be in our boot."

Bode smells the wrapper in his hands, and indeed it wears his grandmothers scent of groundnuts and fresh pepper.

"I could just take her and run."

Putting a friendly hand on his shoulder Jude smiles and says.

"The woman owns a restaurant in Ikeja, her church is on her street, two bus/stops away is the only childhood friend she's got left. We did our homework Bode, your nana ain't going nowhere!"

Twelve minutes later an alert came in on Jude's phone. He was now two million Naira richer, he gave the defeated Bode an encouraging pat on the back and sped off with Jesse by his side.

"Pillows in her clothes, nice touch, I fell for it too."

"I am a man of nice touches."

"Yes oo, the guy sef too stubborn, I mean what's 2 mill to a multi millionaire huh?"

"2mill less?" Jesse said shrugging, Money never carried much weight in his heart, but it always seemed to fill up his pockets.

"Yeah well, to be fair 5 mill out of 15 was a little steep, but the dudes got absolutely no street cred. Just because his Benefactor is high up in the military doesn't mean he can do whatever he likes."

"Speaking of Benefactors, is your father going to be shoving a foot up my ass for this?"

"For what? Someone refused to pay us our due, we took care of it, and as a bonus, no one got killed."

"Right, ok so cool, we're in the clear then."

"Yes, if Bode takes this all in good faith and doesn't try to retaliate."

"Why do we always make more enemies than friends?"

"My good looks and your intimidating presence."

On a wall, inside a tightly guarded room, in a tightly guarded building, in Abuja is a large Screen. On this screen there are pictures of several men and a handful of women, mug shots, taking without their knowledge. They all coincidentally seem to be squinting pensively at nothing, as if somehow aware that they are being watched, but they are not, because The Eagle covers it's tracks. Mr Charles Chukwudi sat on his desk, staring at the screen on the wall.It was somewhat a pictorial list, but it was no names of noise makers. Everyone on the list was guilty of crimes that affected the nation as a whole, everyone one the list was ostensibly untouchable, none were above the law, but many stood it's equal. They swam in the tides of legitimacy, stealing ashore once in a while for a quick but profitable heist, then diving right back in, undetected by everyone,everyone except of course The Eagle. That wall, that screen, bares at least a dozen pictures, and one of them is the gracefully aged face of Mr Stanley.

"Think I need to buy fuel." Jude said as he pulled into Ikeja Under-bridge, the filling station before him wasn't selling and that magnified his want.

"Might have to be black market."

"Yes perhaps, hey any news on that Silas Package?"

"None, A.Ks been tailing the guy all month, so far his clean, but he seems content with using the cash dirty."

"Hmm, tell A.k to keep on it, dudes bound to rouse suspicion soon enough, then he'll come running to us."

Jesse pondered the directive momentarily then procured a cigarette from his back pocket. He lit it, and blew into the air a kiss of smoke.
"You ever think about bowing out? Retiring?, your Dad especially seems like his been doing this for like forever."

"Why'd you ask? If you're tired we can arrange for..."

"No no no, all I'm saying is, the wealth you guys have amassed alone would take decades of layering to turn clean, and believe it or not someone somewhere is aware of what we're doing and doesn't like it one bit."

"Yeah well.." His phone rang and what he was about to say was lost to the world forever like a plant that barely takes root and withers beneath the soil. He turned down the radio, and picked up the call.

"Hey, Seun, what's up?"

"I dey, but um, we've got a bit of a situation."

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