Book One
“To those who abuse:
The sin is yours,
The crime is yours,
And the shame is yours.
“To those who protect the perpetrators:
Blaming the victims only
Masks the evil within,
Making you as guilty,
As those who abuse.
Stand up for the innocent
Or go down with the rest.”
-Flora Jessop.
Kayode Majekodunmi glanced at the wall clock in his office as it struck 10 am. Three hours of doing absolutely nothing. Well, six months if he was being completely honest. Kay – as he was known by his friends and family – was beginning to regret starting up this private investigation franchise. Since setting up shop, he had only been hired for his services twice. The first had been a case about a missing dog and the other… a disaster.
Obviously, not many people thought hiring a private eye to keep tabs on a cheating husband or dubious business partner was a good idea. Why pay someone when they could do it themselves, right?
In the beginning, Kay had been enthusiastic and hopeful, convinced that the clients would roll in sooner or later. Nowadays, however, he only came to the office to keep up appearances, also because he had paid the rent for one year. No use wasting all that money.
As he contemplated his lot, Kay left his seat and came to stand in front of his desk. All the expensive furniture set up in the office was of no benefit to him now — not the polished hardwood desk he currently leaned on, nor the intricately designed hand-knotted rug his feet were currently sinking into. In Kay’s opinion, the lone painting on the wall adjacent and the over-embellished ceiling fan were the most useless.
“Mr Kayode, you need a space for your clients to feel at home,” Bolanle, the talkative interior decorator and his sister’s friend, had told him the first time he had stepped into the office. “The wood for the desk and cabinet was made from the mighty Iroko. The rug is Persian – the best you can purchase out there. I hand-picked this painting of the Eiffel tower myself.” She had smiled, obviously proud of her accomplishment. Paying no mind to his prolonged silence, Bolanle had continued. “I love this wallpaper so much! Don’t you see how it complements the brown of the desk and cabinet?”
Truthfully, Kay disliked the colour green, but he didn’t say that to Bolanle. The only piece of furniture he liked in the room was the rug and maybe the desk. Everything else could go to blazes for all he cared. Not having the heart to crush her hopes, Kay faked a smile and told her he appreciated her work.
Exhaling, Kay perched himself on the desk and picked up the newspaper lying on top of it. Its centre-spread ad was the source of his woes for the day. It bugged him why Mrs Williams published such an ad in the first place.
“This just arrived for you Kay”. Joan, his secretary/receptionist announced as she sauntered into the office.
Joan had the annoying habit of never knocking before entering his office. Her behaviour irked him some, but he overlooked it because she was punctual, diligent, and intuitive with a good sense of humour. Joan was an outstanding secretary if he ever saw one. Kay supposed having little or no privacy was a small price to pay for an organised office.
“What is it, Joan?” He asked, suddenly feeling exhausted.
Instead of replying, Joan nodded at his feet. “Barefoot again, I see. The content of that newspaper got your wheels turning?”
“You read it, did you not?” At Joan’s affirmative nod, Kay continued. “Why would a so-called competition disparage me? In a popular National Daily no less.”
Joan shook her head. “We don’t know that he was talking about you…”
Kay flipped the newspaper open to the page and began to read. “ ‘Mrs Williams did well to contact us for the job of finding her missing son. Although it was last minute and the situation dire, we managed to salvage it and successfully reunite mother and son. If the case had been left in the hands of incompetent masqueraders, I fear what would have become of the poor boy.’ “ Kay looked pointedly at Joan. “Still think that wasn’t about me?”
Joan rolled her eyes. “Enitan Akugbe is a sham of a detective, you know that. So what if he was referring to you? No one cares. Besides, he mentioned no names.” Joan shrugged. “You did your best Kay. Mrs Williams was the impatient one.”
“If she had waited just one more day. I’d have had my big break.” Kay tapped his chin thoughtfully. “I should never have turned the case files over to her. It’s obvious this joker utilised every one of my notes to solve it, and now he’s taking all the credit.”
“Self-pity doesn’t become you, Kay. Shake it off.” Joan was beginning to sound impatient. “Here. Perhaps this could serve as our big break after all.”
Kay collected the package Joan held out to him. It was unmarked, but a bold handwriting scrawled his name in black ink across the back.
“Who brought this?” He asked, eyes glued to the envelope. Anticipation caused his hands to tremble.
“No idea. The security guy said a man dropped it and left right away.”
His curiosity aroused, Kay opened the package and spilt its contents onto the table. The face of a popular, fast-rising politician stared back at him from half a dozen pictures. A four-page document and a blank cheque accompanied the photos.
Contained in the document was a mini-profile of said politician, with instructions on the job required of him: Dig deep and scavenge ANY dirt that he could find about the man in the picture.
In the signature at the bottom lay the clue he required to find out who had sent the package.
Adrenaline coursed through him, firing up his nerve endings. At long last!
“Joan, it seems you’re right. We may have gotten a client. I want you to run a diagnostic check on this signature for me.”
“Right away.” Joan raised the envelope in a mock salute before leaving the office.
Kay had already gone back to sit behind his desk. He picked up one of the photos and studied it. The politician was one he recognised from numerous campaign advertisements on T.V.
“I wonder what skeletons you’ve got hidden in your closet Mr. Adewole-Smith.”
Soon after, his laptop beeped. Joan had forwarded the results of the diagnostics, which revealed to whom the signature belonged. Chief Coker, leader of BBG – the main opposition party to Mr Smith’s LFP party.
Kay smiled. This was most definitely the big break he had been waiting for.
©Hafsah bint Nurein
Thank you and see you in the next one.

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