It was already getting late. I was supposed to pay a visit to a colleague in town but today happened to be one of those days that rarely occur. Those days where you abandon your rigid schedule to get to the bottom of an issue that doesn’t really concern you but is intriguing enough to hold your attention. I’m not an all round nice guy contrary to what William thought. No, not all. I certainly do have my shining moments which are not too few but they are all dependent on my mood at a particular point in time.

I was actually in a very good mood this morning. One of my clients had just paid me for a job I did some weeks ago and he actually referred me to a friend of his who’s job I’d just finished when William stumbled out of the bush. I had some money in my pocket and I was itching to spend it. I won’t claim that I’m a regular Mr. Nice Guy or philanthropist. I barely have enough for myself but I had a poignant feeling that he was someone who had to be helped and I was the only one who probably would . It was fate that brought us together and I helped him, just like the good Samaritan.

Williams was staring absent mindedly into space. My heart went out to this unluckily lucky man. His story was a heart wrenching one and I made a mental note to narrate it to one of my writer friends to see if a good script could be made out of it which we could probably sell to those depressingly uncreative producers in Nollywood. It would be a refreshing change from those ridiculous scripts with no sensible plot.

In many ways, I could relate to his tale because it reminded me once again of a serious case of heart break I went through in my undergraduate days. I got my pound of flesh of course but its been pretty difficult to have a meaningful relationship with any woman since then.

“So what are you going to do now?” I asked.

“I don’t know.” He said looking glum. “I need some time to think everything over.” He turned his gaze to me. “What would you do if you were me?”

I wanted to tell him to kick Veronica out of his house without a penny. Strip her of every privilege you ever gave her. Go out there and have random sex with every pretty lady that pleases your eyes. In fact, go international with it. With the money you have, it’ll be a piece of cake. After all, what women really care about is money and comfort, isn’t it? It isn’t rare to see a woman who is given everything but yet she can’t keep her legs shut. That was what happened in my case. Trying to understand them could make your brain twisted. But again, this was marriage; for better or worse. In the heat of anger at betrayal, we have the tendency to pass instant judgment without giving the other party a chance to explain. Lawyers called that fair hearing, right? However, a cogent and logical explanation is all that should ever suffice. Not that rubbish about “to err is human; to forgive is divine” or “forgive and forget” as we are often wont to do to wiggle out of it. No way! I’m human and there’s no delete button in my brain! I always believe that we have a fore knowledge of the consequences of our actions, no matter how slight and humans…normal humans anyway, ought to act in a way that attract the good consequences only. But that’s a bunch of bull I’m talking about. It doesn’t work that way.

“I hardly find myself qualified to offer an advise or even make a comment in this intriguing story of yours sir.” I said. He nodded in understanding.

After a pause, I asked him. “Do you still love your wife?”

He measured his response for a time before he said. “Very much.”

“You are a kind man with a soft heart.” I said, mildly surprised.

“That’s the problem!” He exclaimed. “Nice guys always get run over. I know I should hate her and inasmuch that I’ve tried to convince myself that I do, I know I don’t. My head knows I should get rid of her as soon as possible but my heart tells me different.”

There was a brief pause between us. There were still some nagging questions in my mind and as I was about to voice my concerns, he spoke.

“I still don’t understand how Joe factors into all this.” He said, his face frowning.

“Why would my wife drive him away from my house?”

“I was about to mention that. It sounded a bit odd to me.” I had this persistent feeling that Joe may be quite a villain in this saga but there wasn’t enough evidence.

“Joe is my best friend. In fact, my only friend. She respects him a lot. That much I can tell.”

I nodded feeling sad that he hadn’t considered the remote possibility that Joe had a hand in here somewhere. I wasn’t going to bring it up anyway. William stood up suddenly and stretched.

“I need a good night’s rest.” He declared. “Things will probably be clearer after that.”

“That’s very true sir.” I agreed, standing up and regretfully realizing that our conversation had ended.

He signaled the driver who had been shuffling around the car aimlessly while we spoke. The excitement of having oga back had evidently not worn off. They spoke in hushed tones and the driver dashed into the car and came out with a fat envelope which he handed to him.

“What’s your name friend?” William asked, suddenly becoming aware that I hadn’t told him my name.

“Victor.” I said. “Victor Olalekan.”

“Have this.” He thrust the thick envelope into my hands. I looked at him quizzically but he nodded. I tore the envelope open and a thick wad of #1000 naira notes greeted me. I wasn’t expecting that.

“Thank you sir, thank you sir.” I said gratefully, bowing my head obsequiously.

“It is I who should be thanking you. You saved my life today.” He said, earnestly.

“I’m glad I was able to help sir.” I said, noticing he still held something in his hand.

“Here is my card.” He said, handing to me a gold embossed card. “Give me a call next week. We shall have more to discuss by then.”

I took the card gratefully. It read “William and Sons Exports. Authorized dealers of German, American and Chinese auto machinery.” A stylishly simple business card that oozed success. He was the real deal. He extended his hands with genuine thanks in his eyes. I took them with both hands. He thanked me again and was off. I watched the car speed up the road, raising dust. I was momentarily distracted before I realized what an odd I sight I was standing with a fat envelope of money I held on my right hand and his business card on my left. I called the bar man and sorted the bills and then headed to Samantha. It while I was inside that I counted the money William gave me. It was fifty thousand naira.

**********

It was an impossible task to reach William via the phone numbers on his business card. I waited patiently for a week to elapse before I started calling but the numbers were inactive. I discussed the issue with my friend who didn’t believe the story until I showed him the thick wad of one thousand naira notes. When I got back to Lagos, I decided to pay a visit to his Lagos office. I wore my best suit and drove to Victoria Island where his head office was located. When I got to the place, I saw a large expanse of land surrounded by high walls. When I requested at the gate to see him, the security operative grilled me for a while on why I wanted to see him before telling me Mr. William was out of the country. Well, I thought to my self. I tried. I had hoped I could add him to my clientele list but I guess I had been paid off. Over the next few months, I gradually forgot about him.

It was over a year after everything. Business had been rough and I was broke and in mad need of new clients. I was inside Oando filling station at Ikorodu Road where I went to buy N500 fuel for my car and N500 for the keg in the trunk for my generator set. I was shutting the trunk when someone tapped me. I turned and the well-dressed stranger told me someone in the car wanted to talk to me. It was a massive SUV, a Toyota Sequoiya. I walked to the side window of the monstrous vehicle and was about to tap the glass when the glass slid gently with a hum.

“William!” I gasped. By his side was the strikingly pretty lady I had seen a couple of times at Sidwell’s. She had put on so much weight now and smiled at me. In the small baby-strap seat between them was the cutest baby I had ever seen!

Malcolm

Follow Malcolm on twitter @saymalcolm

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