Written by: Victor Chinoo
“What do you mean you could not find out which airport he was flying to?” Dayo asked, his voice dripping with rage. “We tried, but for some reason, we could not track which travel agent he used to make his reservation, sir,” the subservient voice on the other end of the phone replied. “What do I pay you guys a lot of money for? Find him!!! Find him now!!!” He barked orders at his secret staff. “I have informed Raymond, sir. He will find him.” “How? Do you realize how big London is?” His staff did not answer, realizing the enormity of the task at hand. “Anyway, I don’t care how you do it, just do it, morons!” “Okay, sir.”
Dayo hung up and called Bimbo. “Bimbo daring, how are you doing at work today?” “I am doing well, dad. How about you?” “I am fine, my lovely daughter. So, did Biola make it safely to London?” “Yes, dad. He called a while ago to tell me that his flight arrived safely at Heathrow. His friend, Deji picked him up a while ago. They should be in Deji’s apartment at St. John’s Wood now. Is it St. John’s Wood or Camden? Let me check my phone for a second, he texted me the address of where he is staying.”
Bimbo looked through her phone for a moment and returned on the line. “Yes dad, it is St. John’s Wood.” “So, everything is going well between you two, I take it?” “Yes, dad. He brought me a bouquet of roses yesterday. I guess sometimes you have to lose what you have to appreciate it more. He has been superb since we came back together. I could not be happier.” “Good. That is what I want to hear.” “Thanks daddy for looking after me. I love you so much!” “I love you too Bimbo, my darling daughter.”
As soon as he got off the phone with Bimbo, Dayo dialed one of his secret staffers, an information technology expert. “Ifedi, I want you to hack into Bimbo’s phone right now. Get me an address in St. John’s Wood, London that is in a text sent to her by Biola.” “You will have it I a few minutes, sir,” Ifedi replied, flush with confidence. He had access to the phone of every member of Dayo’s family and his staff too.
Dayo sat on his balcony, impatiently waiting for Ifedi’s call. His phone rang and he jumped on it, but it was not Ifedi. The call came from one of his numerous girlfriends. He frowned, refusing to take the call. A few more minutes later, his phone beeped again. This time, it was a text from Ifedi. He had the address in St. John’s Wood – 89 Hill Road, St. John’s Wood. He texted the address to Raymond who was operating in London. Then, he called him afterwards. “You got the address, right?” he asked authoritatively. “Yes, sir.” “Good, get on with the task at hand. I want you to follow Biola wherever he goes. I want pictures on a daily basis. I want to know where he eats, where he sleeps, when he sleeps and when he wakes up. Everything!” “I will leave nothing out, sir. My boys and I will cover everything.”
“Please…please take your call,” Isabell said in frustration. She had been calling Princewill without luck. At first, his phone rang but now, he was completely unreachable. “Where are you, my Prince? Please turn on your phone. For God’s sake, we agreed that we’d talk every day. Where have you been for the past few days, Princewill?” She muttered anxiously, attempting to smash her phone against the wall.
After calling several times without success, she decided to call Miranda. “Miranda, please could you track Princewill down for me,” she said over the phone, her voice filled with concern. “Is everything okay?” Miranda asked, sensing her concern. “I don’t know. It is very unlike him not to take my calls and not to call either. I am really worried. It has been nearly three days now since I last heard from him.” “Okay, I will go over to his hostel to see what is going on with him,” Miranda promised. “Thank you, Miimii. I will be expecting your call.” “No worries, Isabell. I will find him, okay?” “Thank you, baby girl.”
“She is actually doing well,” the pretty young doctor explained. She was no more than twenty-six, oozing with confidence. “Even though she is still in coma, her signs look good. We think she will snap out of coma, sooner than later,” she added with a comforting smile. “Thank you very much for taking good care of her.” “No worries, that’s my job,” she said, her alluring British accent coming through, beautifully. “God will bless you!” Modupe’s mother, Ajoke said to Biola after the doctor had left. “We are very grateful, my child. God will bless you abundantly,” her father added. “You are welcome. Your daughter means the world to me,” he replied. They returned to Deji’s apartment in St. John’s Wood to get lunch.
Outside, Raymond and his colleague, Dele sat in a silver Ford Fiesta hatchback. Spring was beginning to make way for warm-less British summer, so it was not too cold. The engine was running so the car would stay warm. Modupe’s parents had arrived in a different vehicle driven by Deji’s girlfriend, Chantal, a white British girl. They had been dating for over two years. Deji was already thinking about proposing to her. Raymond and Dele focused on Biola and Deji as they entered the building. They were not aware that Chantal, Ajoke and Olayinka were headed for the same apartment, so they took pictures of only Biola and Deji. “That white girl fine oh!” Dele said as Chantal exited her Vauxhall Astra with Modupe’s parents.
“See her backside!” Raymond pointed out, whistling impulsively. “And her car no bad…Vauxhall Astra. This na baddest babe!” Dele continued to pore over Chantal. “To own a Vauxhall Astra, she definitely has a cool job. And to live in this kind of place, she has to be loaded. I wonder which Naija guy dey carry this one,” Raymond remarked. “What makes you think Naija guy dey carry am?” asked Dele. “Are you blind? Can’t you see the old black man and woman with her? From their dressing, can’t you see they are Nigerians?” “I see.” “That suggests they are her boyfriend’s or husband’s parents…I am very sure of that.” “Baddest Naija guy!” Chantal locked the Vauxhall Astra, walked across the street with Modupe’s parents and headed upstairs. Biola and Deji had arrived a few minutes earlier. Raymond and Dele got pictures of them as they exited the car and climbed upstairs.
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“Let’s go clubbing, Biola. There is nothing you can do for now. Just take some time to relax while we pray for Modupe’s quickest recovery,” Deji suggested later that evening. Chantal had gone back to her apartment and Modupe’s parents were sleeping. “I can take you to Cokobar. There is a Naija comedy show going on tonight – Seyi Law, I go dye, Funnybone, Okey Bakassi, Basket Mouth, Klint Da Drunk, AY, Bovi and Gordons are all performing at this show. It will be great. You have to come with us. Chantal is coming, she loves Naija comedians. Basket Mouth, Bovi, Funnybone, Okey Bakassi and Seyi Law are some of her favorite comedians.” “I was going to say no, but if Basket Mouth, Bovi, Funnybone, Okey Bakassi, Seyi Law, Klint Da Drunk, AY, and the rest of the gang are performing at Cokobar, then I am coming,” Biola replied. “You’d love it. Cokobar is the place to be in London when a Naija show is in town.” “I will rest up for an hour or two and we can leave afterwards. Is that fine?” “Of course,” replied Deji. “Get some rest, so you are ready to laugh all night.”
It had been a wonderful night of comedy. All the performers came prepared, wowing the audience from start to finish. In the end, people gathered around the bar for some suya, drinks, and socializing. Obalande Suya Express, a popular Nigerian barbecue restaurant in London operated a kiosk in Cokobar for the night. There was a long winding queue of Nigerians and non-Nigerians waiting to get a taste of suya. “You guys are having fun in London, Deji,” Biola pointed out. “You have your own Obalande Suya Express here in London?” “We get everything in London now. London is Lagos, part two,” Deji replied proudly. Isabell stood in line a short distance from Biola. She looked at her phone every few minutes, waiting to hear from Miranda, who had not been able to track down Princewill, yet.
Intermittently, she would raise her phone to her face and look at it, praying for news…good news. “You really like this guy that much?” Toluwa asked her. She and Toluwa had met shortly after her arrival in London through a mutual friend. Toluwa had lived in London for several years, so she was quick to show Isabell around town. “I do…I don’t know what is going on. Why would he switch off just like that?” “Unless he is with another girl,” Toluwa remarked. “Not Princewill. He loves me with the last drop of his blood.” “Never say that about a guy…Naija guy for that matter. You should take it easy with this love thing, girl.” I wish you knew who I really am, Isabell thought. I am a real player, but Princewill, he is my soulmate, she thought to herself.
She raised her face from her phone momentarily and caught sight of Biola. She had seen him a few times in Lagos – from a distance though. Once she was in Seyi’s loft when Biola stopped by. She saw him from her vantage position in the bedroom, while he, Biola discussed with his father in the living room. I think this is Seyi’s son, Biola, she thought. Walking up to him, she said, “hello” “Hi,” replied Biola, staring at her while rummaging through his mind for answers as to who Isabell was. “You are Biola, right? Biola Awe, Chief Seyi Awe’s son?” “Yes…who are you?”
A short distance from them, a flash rained down on them momentarily. Someone was taking a shot with their phone. Raymond had taken a shot of Biola and Isabell, casually. He made sure to capture their faces in the shot. “Did you get their faces?” Dele asked him. “Yes, look at it,” he replied showing the shot to Dele. “Good job. Let’s send it to Dayo right away.”
“I am not sure you know me, but I am a friend of your dad’s,” Isabell replied. Biola knew his father ran around with a bunch of young girls, so he did not need to consult with an angel to know that Isabell was one of them. “I see. So, what brings you to London?” Biola asked. “I relocated to London recently. You know, life in Naija is getting tougher by the day. What about you, are you on holiday or on a business trip?” “Both,” Biola answered. “Would you have some time for a drink or two sometime before you leave?” Isabell asked, somewhat impulsively. Perhaps she was searching for some kind of distraction from Princewill’s disappearance. “It depends on my schedule. Let me have your number. If time permits, maybe, we will get together sometime.” “Sure, call me or text when you have the time.”
A scowl appeared on Dayo’s face as he stared at the picture that Dele had just sent him. He began to breathe fast, drawing in a lungful of air and exhaling rapidly. He dashed to the fridge and fetched a bottle of Gulder. With a shaky hand, he clipped off the lid and drank straight from the bottle. He dragged himself to the couch and sank in. He lifted his phone one more time and stared at the picture again. Biola and Isabell? In London together? What is going on? So, Seyi is now working with his son against me? How can this be? Has he told his son about sleeping with my late wife? What does Biola know? How much? Do I strike before it is too late? Is it worth letting him marry Bimbo? He could barely plug the stream of thoughts that crashed violently down the hills of his embattled mind. Breathing hard, he dialed Jimoh’s number.