The chronicles of a high profile gigolo
“Faruk, you are dead, and you know what this means.” Chief Jacob really did me in, he had done a thorough job; Pope was still speaking, “You have thirty six hours, I want my money and the proceeds you promised.” He hung up, thirty six hours, not twenty four or forty eight hours, thirty six hours. I might as well have jumped into the ocean after that call, there was no way on earth I was raising that kind of money in thirty six hours, hell I couldn’t have even if he had said thirty six months. I knew for the first time the true meaning of being alone. I however acknowledged the fact that even if I had a posse of friends, they would probably be of no use at this point, still it would have been nice to have friends who would pass on the legend of Faruk James after my impending demise. Dad had made his stand clear well before this point and if it took everything he could muster to stop Chief Jacob when they had their run, I was certain he wouldn’t want to do it again.
Yvette was the only person I could have counted on if I had envisaged this although I never could have envisaged this in my wildest dreams. This was supposed to be an easy business deal, easy money. The betrayal hurt and the hurt was real bad. Where could I have gone wrong with her? Yes I realized from the phone call that she had been playing a role all along but I must have meant more to her at some point than a mark. The affection she showed me during our brief “relationship” couldn’t have totally been an act, I saw more in her eyes, her actions, the way she was about me, how she loved me irrespective of all the other women, how she turned a blind eye to their presence than pretence. Then it struck me; how much of a fool I had been, it made no sense that a woman, as beautiful, sophisticated, cultured as Yvette with so much business acumen and financial savvy would for any reason be content to hang on to whatever bits of affection a man was willing to throw her way, hoping for the day the man would eventually pick her as the one. Not even if that man was the almighty Faruk! It hurt to admit this but the moment of truth was here and I had to accept it. I had to start telling myself some hard truths, I had to find a rallying point, a place to start recovering from if at all recovery was possible. I walked for a bit, I needed to clear my head, although this was impossible at the moment but I needed to put together a plan or the beginnings of one. The more I walked, the more I realised there was only one place to go. Two days ago, if I had been able to envisage this far-fetched situation, I would have been certain that Yvette would have a way out, not just per advice but also steps to take.
“Yvette” the name kept popping up in my head, so did her face, I still found it hard to grasp, to believe she wasn’t truly in love with me. Once I had woken up to see her staring at me, I felt loved, the look in her eyes was half sad half something I couldn’t place but which I determined to be love because it left me feeling warm and happy. There was also the way she deferred to me and when necessary gently nudged me to accept her suggestions. This couldn’t have been total pretence I told myself; no one could fake such an intensely emotional look, no one. But apparently there was someone who could and her name was Yvette. As the minutes crept by, I realised how hurt I was by Yvette’s actions, and not just because I had been taken for a ride; I had to concede that this was more about how I felt about her than the money. I never really thought about how I felt about her before now. Yes I wanted her in my corner but I didn’t think she had become such an important part of my life.
The further I walked and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I had little other choice than to run to dad. I called first and was relieved he had no idea what was going on. I hailed another cab once he assured me he was home, this taxi ride was without incident although I still slumped low in the back seat and kept looking over my shoulder to be sure I wasn’t being followed. Dad listened to my narrative till the end; mouth agape, he interrupted a bit at first but as the story went on he simply stared at me, his shock becoming more apparent as the narrative progressed. I left nothing out except the amount involved, I couldn’t bring myself to just spit out that amount in the course of the conversation and he waited till I finally stopped speaking and hung my head between my shoulders. I was humbled, I was weary, at any other time, I would tell myself this was temporary and I would bounce back but I couldn’t even dare think at this moment of breathing beyond tomorrow. Pope had given me a deadline, this deadline was not a timeline within which I was to refund him capital and profit, it was a timeline as to my impending and certain demise.
“How much is this we are talking about?” Dad’s mouth was finally shut, he sat forward waiting for the figure. It took a while and tons of courage to eventually spit out the figure. I thought he was going to die when he had a near seizure and I panicked.
“You are mad Faruk!” He screamed “…and dead too! What the hell were you thinking? There’s nothing like quick money young man, I kept trying to impress this on you but you wouldn’t listen! What do you expect me to do for you now?” under any other circumstances, I would have walked out on him, our relationship prior to now had depreciated to that level, but not today, I dared not walk out, I had nowhere else to go, no one else to turn to. I sat there with my head still hung between my shoulder blades. I didn’t say a word, didn’t talk back, I was at my humblest; I waited till he stopped for breath, waited till he asked again; “So what do want me to do for you at this point? Even if I closed all my accounts, found willing buyers for all my properties inclusive of shares within the next twenty four hours I couldn’t still come up with that kind of money, and even if I could, why should I ? I have worked too hard and too long to get where I am, I will not use everything I have to right a stupid wrong of yours.” He paused again; I guess he was staring at me. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked a third time through gritted teeth, I could sense the shock was being replaced by anger. I remained mute and he repeated the question when I refused to say anything- what could I have said, he yelled the same question a fourth time in frustration. “What the hell do you want from me?” I shrugged and mumbled, “I don’t know dad.”
“Get out of here! Get out of my house this minute!” I was incredulous, he was chasing me out of his house, my father did not want to have anything to do with this, it was my mess, all mine. I was truly screwed. I got out of the chair and stumbled. I righted myself and squared my shoulders as best as I could manage before proceeding to walk out of the living room. What else could I have expected I asked myself, I was almost at the gate with no idea in the world as to where I was headed when dad called me back. “Faruk! Get back here”, he was at the main entrance of the main section of the building. I didn’t need a second invitation, I spun round, shooting him a grateful look. He suddenly looked tired but nowhere as tired as I was. I was grateful just to not have to leave home. It was suddenly home to me again, I felt like a lost child dragging so much trouble back home after a wild adventure.
He took the same seat he had been seating in when I left the living room and so I took the one I had just left. He sat there for a while just staring at me, I couldn’t hold his stare so I bowed my head, unable to believe how humble I suddenly was.
“Where is your passport?” he finally asked, “At my place”, I suddenly couldn’t call my apartment home any longer. “You have a valid Visa for the UK?”
“Good, we have to find a way to hide you while we quickly make arrangements for you to leave the country. It’s the only way for now, at least until we find a more lasting solution.” He paused and then continued “How the hell did you get mixed up with Pope Faruk? That man is a lunatic, anyone who does business in this country will tell you that for free.”
It was the first time he was acknowledging that he knew who Pope was and I shot him a look of surprise. He didn’t acknowledge my surprised look. “Pope right now is the biggest problem on our hands. I am sure he already has eyes on you and he will until you either come up with the money or he kills you. We need to find a way to keep you hidden from him and then get you to the airport. I need to make some calls, excuse me.”
He stepped out of the room, I wondered who he was going to call, and if he also had any shady business contacts. He eventually came back with a paper napkin that had a hurriedly scribbled address on it, below the address was a phone number. “Take a shower before you leave” he said “You look like shit. When you get to that address, you call that number, do not ask who you are speaking with, just tell him you are from me, he’ll handle the rest.” I got out of the chair and thanked him. He brushed off my thanks and said “You need to pick up your passport on the way to him.” I nodded my understanding, he continued “Faruk, do exactly as he says if you want to live.” I nodded once again and left his presence.
My passport was nowhere to be found when I finally made it to my apartment, they thought about everything didn’t they? I never stood a chance from the get go did I? Even though I knew exactly where I had left it, I searched the entire apartment; I searched until dad called me, I relayed this new development to him on the phone and waited while he processed the information. He eventually told me to stay put until I got another call from him and then he hung up. When he eventually called back, he told me to proceed to the address he had earlier given me and to only call when I was two buildings away from the address. I was to follow all instructions without deviation he reiterated; “If you have any desire to live beyond tomorrow.”
I changed cabs more than once on my way to the address dad had given me, I was tempted to call ahead and tell whoever was on the end that I was on my way but common sense and survival instinct prevailed and I followed dad’s instructions. Finally I was in the neighbourhood and as a final precaution, I alighted intending to make the rest of the journey on foot. I kept staring over my shoulder and took a detour when I saw a shady looking character following me. Maybe he was just going in the same direction as I was but I was unwilling to take any chances, I followed my gut instinct and detoured, he followed, I kept glancing over my shoulder, the fellow, a really tall guy with huge biceps continued following unperturbed. I couldn’t make out his face as he had a baseball hat drawn over most of his face and it was already dark. After I made a couple more turns, I became certain he was following me. I had no idea what to do and I was also uncertain of how to make it back to the address from my present location as I was not familiar with the neighbourhood. I kept walking looking for the perfect opportunity to break into a run and ditch my man Friday. The opportunity did not present itself, at least not until I got the text message. I wasn’t expecting it and it threw an already confusing situation into an even more confusing state. I had no idea what to make of this, it was too suspicious considering all that I had been through in the past few hours. It was straight to the point;
“Babe I have your passport and I’ve bought tickets
I had to go through with the plan or we’d both have been
killed. I’ll explain it when I see you and you’ll understand.
I need you to get to this address as soon as possible…
Be careful babe, you’ve got eyes on you.”
It was Yvette, I didn’t think twice about going to meet her, I had a rough idea of where this new address was, I needed a cab, I ducked around the corner of the next street and crawled under the slabs of the drainage in front of the first building I saw; fortunately the drainage was dry, I was fast enough to get in there before Man Friday could turn into the street. I waited for what seemed like an eternity before I clambered out of the gutter. I made a run for the main road which fortunately was close by and hailed a cab. It was while seating in the cab and after the pounding in my ears had subsided that I began to question the sanity of my move. This woman had betrayed me once in the greatest way possible, what was to stop her from doing it again? How could I tell she wasn’t doing it again, how could I know for sure she wasn’t ushering right into the arms of Chief Jacob and his goons, maybe Pope even. I pulled out my phone and punched in her number, the phone was dead. I needed to talk to her to get assurance from her that she was on my side once again, to get an explanation for what was going on. I needed her to tell me that there was a plan B, that she was actually fooling Chief Jacob and not me. I realised that this was a farfetched hope but I still hoped nonetheless. Then I panicked at the thought of getting killed by my own stupidity. I was supposed to be getting as far away from this people as possible yet here I was getting driven voluntarily towards the very woman they had used to get me into this mess.
I almost asked the cab to turn round twice but I didn’t and when my dad called, I didn’t pick up. He kept calling and when I realized that he wasn’t going to stop calling, I sent him a text.
“Dad, not to worry, I’m sorting it out.
I’ll call you soon.”
His reply was almost instant;
“You fool, pick up the phone and do not deviate from the plan.”
I didn’t pick up, and even though something told me that I was driving towards certain death, I didn’t ask the cab to turn around.
Stay tuned for Episode 8 next week Friday. Please share, like and leave a comment.