The chronicles of a high profile gigolo
My phone rang, it was mum. I sighed, why did he have to involve her in this?
She was frantic and at first I panicked thinking she was calling on an entirely different matter. My mind raced as I wondered what the problem was. I had never heard or seen mum in a state other than calm. She was a bit incoherent and it took a while to piece her words together.
“Mum, this is about Chief Jacob?” I was taken aback by her panic, how bad could this situation be?
“No I am not sleeping with his wife.” I responded to her query.
“I did not snatch his girlfriend mum.” I was getting irritated.
“Just come over to my place now Faruk.”
“Mum…” I took a deep breath clenching my teeth as I did so “I have a very important meeting right now but I’ll be there as soon as I can mum.”
“Faruk” Her voice was laced with steel “cancel that meeting and be at my place in thirty minutes”
“Mum, it’s with the commissioner for housing, I have spent months trying to secure this meeting, I can’t cancel.”
She hung up. I was pissed, very pissed, I had come this far without any help, and farther than they could have envisaged I would without dad’s help. I was in control of my affairs, and I wondered why they couldn’t see this. Why they thought I needed help wiping my butt. Even if I did, why would they think it was them I would come to especially seeing as I hadn’t come to them for help so far?
Yes I was worried about the situation, but after the whole brouhaha put up by both mum and dad, I was more pissed than worried. Thing is I couldn’t see what harm he could really do, most of the jobs I got, I got as a front, rarely did my name appear on documents and even when they did, it was usually in a technical capacity. There was so much he could trace to me. I used to be upset that there wasn’t really a trail that could be used to show my job experience and I kept telling myself that I needed to have more of a presence as regards the contracts and the supply jobs that I performed on. I recently contracted a lawyer to register a proper company in my name so that when the time came, I could build up on it and on the strength of that, get jobs. That way I could build my own conglomerate- an even bigger one than dad’s . At this point however, I was glad that things had not been set in motion. There was little or nothing for Chief Jacob to bring down. It was then that a dark thought crossed my mind. What if Chief Jacob having found nothing, decided to get me killed? I dismissed the thought as quickly as it came; it certainly couldn’t be that serious, he was too highly placed to risk everything he had built over a woman; well two women, I told myself, but the thought found a place in the darkest and inner most recesses of my mind and stayed there occasionally rearing its head mostly in the middle of the night. On those nights I would get up and creep around my house, checking to see that all doors were firmly locked.
It took a while but I eventually had to admit that the situation affected me more than I initially thought it would. So I followed the dictates of common sense. I kept a somewhat low profile, avoiding nightlife and any women whom I felt may have the slightest connection with Chief Jacob or any of his associates. I did proper background checks on my marks and avoided any women who hit on me with no prior connections.
Silence. Nothing happened, no one troubled me, none of the contracts I was working on got terminated, no payments were delays. Nothing out of the ordinary happened; Chief Jacob did not take the matter as seriously as mum and dad did apparently. I dropped my guard considerably but I was still careful with the new women I met, I still did my due diligence. It was at about this time that I first saw Frances, at a bank, one of the old generation ones. I had a cheque to cash and I kept telling myself how backward the bank was, how old the tellers were, how the security guards were slouched. I couldn’t wait to get out of the building and then she breezed in.
Frances Olanbiwoninu, she wasn’t pretty, neither could she be described as beautiful in the true sense of the word, but she exuded wealth and smelt of money, she also looked like someone who was highly connected. So I tarried in concluding my transaction, making sure I got as close to her as possible, her letter head bore her name and it was my lucky day that one fell out from a sheaf of papers she was holding. I handed it to her and walked out. I had to do a background check first. What I found out surprised yet pleased me. She was definitely moneyed but more importantly she was into younger men.
Truth is, I didn’t get as involved as I thought I would with Frances, yes she was into me, yes she thought I was heaven sent sex wise, yes she threw money my way, but she held back where contacts were concerned. She didn’t want a scandal she said, she was a married woman and irrespective of what went on behind the scenes, she was seen as respectably married and this was not something she was willing to risk losing.
Yvette was another factor, I met her around the same time I met Frances; well seeing as that night at the club was the first time I actually met Frances, I have to say I met them the same day and Yvette even though younger was the one who sprung up the contacts; she was madly in love with me.
My phone rang, it was pope again, I waited till it rang through and then I dialed Yvette’s number once again. I needed her desperately, the adrenaline rush had still not subsided, it was the first time ever I was getting shot at and if this has not happened to you before, I assure you it’s one of the worst feelings ever and it doesn’t feel any better even if you do not get hit by that bullet. That whole thing about your life flashing before your eyes? Well it didn’t happen to me instead I got this constant buzz in my head and this awareness of being alive that I had never felt before; that’s what I felt. I was very aware of being alive, I really don’t know how to explain it but I’ll try to.
I felt every nerve, every heartbeat, every single strand of hair, the hardness of each of my finger nails in its nail bed. It was not a fleeting feeling; it stayed with me for hours. I think the knowledge that the danger I was in was nowhere near gone also kept the adrenalin pumping. The only part of my body I didn’t feel or that I was not completely aware of was my legs. I felt a crippling numbness from wait down, and it was a miracle that I kept driving, I drove till the temperature gauge hit the roof and till I ran out of fuel, what else could I have done. Still I couldn’t reach Yvette, I eventually got out of my car, gingerly testing the ground with my feet; I didn’t trust my legs to support me but thankfully they did. My phone rang again and this time it was Alhaji Bukar. I stared at my phone unsure of whether to pick up or not. I did not pick up and he called right back; I started trying to put two and two together, in less than two hours, I had been shot at, my car had been crashed off the road, everything I had and a hell lot more had been taken from me, the people who owned the “hell lot more” and who would not hesitate to snuff the life out of me were calling me and relenting in with their calls.
This was certainly more than a scam or the money would have been moved quietly and I would have been left out to dry but there was certainly more to this. One of the things that occurred to me as I walked away from my car was the possibility that Pope and Alhaji Bukar, were behind this scam, but that made no sense, they stood to benefit greatly from the success of this project. And then I came upon it, it probably took so long to occur to me because it was so long since the occurrence or occurrences that led to my dilemma. I had expected him to strike swiftly but he hadn’t and I must have let down my guard a lot more than I realized. But how did he do it? As though on cue, my phone rang and thanks to the true caller app, a name flashed on the screen and it was his “Jacob” I picked up my pace, common sense told me I needed to put as much distance between myself and my car. It most likely had people still tailing it.
I picked up on the fourth ring; “Hello…” I didn’t know what else to say.
“Hello!” his voice boomed, unable to hide the pleasure he felt “This is Jacob, and I just wanted to hear your voice before you die, it’s over for you young man, no one messes with me and I mean no one, much less a nobody like you. I would take your life myself but you’re too inconsequential to be on that roll call I’m however sure you know pope.” He laughed and it sent shivers down my spine, that maniacal laugh. I was not tongue tied anymore but I had nothing to say so I continued listening.
“Oh by the way have you been trying to reach Yvette?” that got me bristling, and I saw red. “If you as much as pull a hair…” he didn’t let me land, I was cut short by that laugh once again and my heart sank. I wondered what they had done to that poor girl. She was not even my girlfriend in the true sense of the word yet she had done so much for me. I realized at that very moment how deeply my feelings for her ran.
“The fool is in love, I thought you did this for a living, it made me doubt the plan would work but I guess you are a bigger fool than I initially thought. Yvette works for me; she is one of my women, and yes by that I mean she is my mistress, she jumps when I say so. You thought she was in love with you? You fool, she does this with whoever I tell her to”
This time my heart did not merely sink, the pit of my stomach fell out and the place it used to occupy was taken up by my heart. I couldn’t understand it, Yvette is as classy as they come, she couldn’t have pretended to care as deeply as she did, that was true care that I saw in her eyes when she looked at me, that was true love too. And apart from all of this, what about the money she had transferred to my account? What if I had absconded with it . The meeting with the minister too, how could she have organized that if she wasn’t actually highly connected. Then she came on the phone,
“Faruk” I could sense a playful smile playing on her lips and “No hard feelings darling, it’s just business” I couldn’t take anymore, I hung up. I couldn’t believe it, the way she sounded, so at ease and devoid of emotion simply threw me. It was as though she had pushed a knife into my chest and then proceeded to slowly extract it, all the while smiling sweetly at me.
It didn’t make any sense to me, none of this did, why would a man go to such lengths just to get at someone who was sleeping with his mistress and his wife? If sharing his women meant so much to him, why would he still put Yvette out there and “share” her with me? Why risk such an amount of money to get back at me? I had a thousand questions, none of which I was certain would be answered.
Now I was well and truly lost, Yvette had been the one I was relying on to come up with an exit plan, a plan to remedy this situation and I only just found out that she had only been acting a script, that door was firmly shut. It occurred to me to call dad, but I wasn’t sure he could help, he had had a run in with Chief Jacob before and by all indications he had not exactly ended up with him on top.
I was truly lost. Yvette I realized meant more to me than I had ever admitted, than had ever occurred to me. She was an astute business woman and even though she never tried to control any of the business deals I had handled while she was with me, she would gently nudge me in the direction of smart business decisions and not once did any of her suggestions tank. I had therefore come to trust and respect her deeply without realizing. The money she moved to my account as part of the oil well deal has completely erased whatever distrust I may have harbored but the truth is I did not even distrust her at any point, like I said I have always lived a charmed life, people have always been willing to do things for me and I had had no bitter experiences. It therefore only felt natural that Yvette would do things for me that went beyond the ordinary and without any serious commitment for me. I guess I have always taken these things for granted; taken people for granted and rode on the goodwill of people. It has always been there and I’ve always expected it to be there and now that it was not, I was shattered with no plan in place and no idea where to go.
I flagged down a taxi and hopped in. I must have sat in the taxi for a while, completely lost in thought because the taxi suddenly screeched to a halt and I almost jumped out of my skin as I ducked. Instinct told me I was about to be shot at again but the taxi driver twisted his head around to snap at me impatiently;
“Oga which way?”
“Uhn?” I had no idea where I was headed.
“Where you dey go oga?”
“Ibadan” It was the closest city I could think of and I just felt the need to leave Lagos but that was on impulse and there was still no plan. The cabman looked at me as though I had lost my mind.
“This is Lagos.” He spoke slowly as though I were a really slow human being. I sighed, “How much will it cost to take me to Ibadan?”
“I no fit carry you go Ibadan but I fit carry you go park.”
“Take me to Ibadan, how much do you want?”
He parked properly off the road, and asked me to come down. I think he couldn’t really make me out and he was worried I was some sort of well-dressed psycho. I didn’t help matters by saying “Just keep driving”
He opened his car door, walked around to my side of the car and pulled the door open.
“Oga abeg I no want any wahala, just commot for my car”
I stepped out, I seriously needed to get a grip, needed to come up with a plan. I took several deep breaths and then lost all calm; a text came in from Pope;
“Faruk if you do not pick my next call,
There is nothing else to discuss
You are dead.”
I have sat with Pope in the same room and stared into those soulless eyes. If he said I was dead, then I was dead. I broke out in sweat; I knew all along from the way his call had been persistent that he knew something was amiss but that in itself was not a confirmation. His text was the final nail in the coffin. My palms were sweaty as I loosened a couple more buttons on my shirt.
The phone rang, it was Frances, I engaged the call, I had to keep the line free for Pope’s call. It occurred to me to call him but the truth is I was too scared and in no rush to speak with the man so I would wait for his call. The darned thing rang again, I stared at it as though it was the devil himself on the other end and the truth is Pope is the devil. He name flashed on the screen and I wiped my sweaty palms on my pant seats before taking the call.
I waited for him to speak first but he did not so I was forced to speak “Hello” it came out as a croak so I cleared my throat and tried again this time adding a “sir” for good measure;
Stay tuned for episode 7 next week Friday.....