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A Thorn in Her Life

By Olatunbosun Adetula (Nigeria)

Chapter 9


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Chapter 9


Maria gazed at her cell phone in utter confusion, wondering why Paul didn’t pick up her call. She took the phone again and dialed his number. The phone just rang in her ear. She was afraid when she thought of reasons why Paul refused to pick up her call and she was confused. A maelstrom of pain flashed across her heart. She was confused and dazed and she locked the door of her office and drove straight to Lagoon hospital.
Doctor Brown was Paul’s colleague at the hospital. When Maria asked him about Paul whereabouts, he told her that Paul hadn’t resumed working since yesterday night.

“He was supposed to resume last night. I waited for him but I didn’t see him,” Doctor Brown said.

“I have called his number several times. It was ringing but he won’t pick up my call,” Maria with confusion on her face.

“I have also called the number and it rang for so long but there was no response. I wondered what went wrong.\,” Doctor Brown said.

“This is quite unusual; I believe something has happened to him,” Maria said and tears streamed down her face.

“Calm down, Maria, I will call the other doctors and tell them what is happening,” Doctor Brown said and went out of the office.

“I am lost,” Maria sobbed.

      Shortly two other doctors came to doctor Brown office and told him they didn’t know Paul’s whereabouts. One of them suggested they inform the police. Maria called Paul’s cell phone again and it rang again but he didn’t pick it up. Maria was so confused and soaked up with tension and she stood up and walked about the office. Then one of the doctors suggested they check Paul at home.

“That is a very good idea,” Maria said and nodded her head.

“Let’s go quickly,” Doctor Brown said and the third doctor Murray went to inform the police.

      When they got to Paul‘s house at upper lane in Victoria Island they found the gate wide open and Maria prayed within the car. She made up her mind to expect the worst. Doctors Brown and Lugard came down from within the car and Maria walked behind the two men. She was afraid so she fled back to the car and cried as the men got to the front door.  They knocked on the door but it wouldn’t open. Maria watched them and left the car again, walking to meet the doctors with tears all over her face. The doctors told her that there probably wouldn’t be any problem at all but she didn’t swallow their conviction hook, line and sinker.

      Maria put the key into the lock when she discovered that the door was not open. She turned the knob. There she saw Paul lying with his face on the floor. She shouted and ran to his side, wailing as the two doctor rushed to him. They carried him to the sofa and checked his pulse; suddenly they discovered he was still alive. Maria stood and wailed in a corner. She just couldn’t believe what she saw.

“He is alive, he is alive,” Doctor Brown shouted and Maria cleaned her face and went to look at him. She saw him trying to breathe and she touched his face.

      The doctor removed his clothes and called for an ambulance. Soon an ambulance came from the Lagoon hospital and took him away. Maria stayed inside the ambulance as the team of doctor treated him on the way to the hospital.

      The following day Paul woke up. Maria was beside him and she tried to tell him what happened. Soon Doctor Brown came to meet him.

“You were injected with a strong and powerful chemical, Doctor Paul.” Doctor Brown said and dropped some drugs on the table. Paul was confused by the doctor’s revelation and tried to understand where and how the chemical got into his body.

“Doctor, I am so confused; I don’t know how this chemical come about,” Paul said.

“It was injected in the food or fruits you have taken,” Doctor Brown said.

      Confused, Paul thought deeply, remembering the apple he had eaten after Ruth gave it to him. He racked his brain and tried to decipher how the chemical came into his blood stream but much as he tried he didn’t understand how it got into his body.

      In the evening Paul was discharged from the hospital and Maria drove him home.

“I ate some apples and then I fell down,” Paul said.

“Did you buy the apple?” Maria said and changed the gear.

“No, someone gave it to me; it might have been spoilt,” Paul said.

“You really need to be careful about what you eat, dear.” Maria said and drove to a petrol station.

      As the attendant sold fuel for her, Paul went to the mall inside the petrol station to buy some cans of Coke. As she prepared to pay the attendant for the fuel, a sport car came and parked beside Maria and Bath came down from the car.

      Bath saw her and at first he wanted to drive away. Still he changed his mind when he looked at her face, thinking she must be sad because of her boyfriend. But here she was happy like a baby. Many thoughts jostled for a space in his mind as he parked the car beside her.

“Bath.” Maria said.

“Maria, how are you?” Bath said and got out of the car.

“I am fine,” Maria said and smiled.

“Your tank is empty, right?” Maria said as bath came to her side.

“Yes, that’s why I zoomed into the station.”

“Well I came to buy fuel too,” Maria said and paid the attendant

“You look gorgeous in your mini,” Bath commented as he admired her mini-skirt.

“Thank you for your compliment, Bath. Excuse me,” Maria said and went to the car and pressed the horn.

      Bath looked at her as she pressed the horn and wondered who she might be waiting for in the petrol station.

“I am sorry; I am waiting for my boyfriend,” Maria said. She got out of the car and went to meet him, smiling as the breeze fanned her face.

“You are waiting for a new boyfriend, right?” Bath said and Maria looked at his eyes.

“What did you mean by that Bath?” Maria said.

“Nothing really; I am just curious.” Bath said.

      Maria saw Paul when he came out of the mall with two bags in his hand.

“Look - here he comes,” Maria said and pointed to Paul in the distance.

      Maria excused herself and went to open the door of the car. When Paul came he dropped the bags of groceries at the back of the car. Bath watched, shocked, and he removed his sun glasses, his heart palpitating. When Maria looked at him and saw the confusion on his face, she shrugged her shoulders in an “I don’t care” expression and she went on to introduce Paul to Bath.

“Bath, meets my fiancé Paul Adam,” Maria said and Paul stretched forth his hand to greet Bath.

“Bath, Bath Benson,” Bath said and shook Paul’s hand.

“Hello Bath Benson,” Paul said and looked into his eyes.

“Hello how are you Paul?” Bath said.

“I am fine, thank you,” Paul said and they talked for some minutes. Later Maria looked at Bath and spoke “Bath I think we have to go. We’ll see you another time,” Maria said.

“It is okay. Take care, Maria,” Bath said as Maria went into the car.

      Bath was mad as the red Camry left the petrol station. He thought Paul was supposed to be dead by now. In his mind he thought he was seeing an apparition of Paul, he knew he was in a reverie and he would soon wake up. He went to his car. When he got in he felt a sudden burst of indignation, trembling with anger as a wicked grin escaped his mouth. He drove off and hit the steering of the car with his hand.


                                                       X   X   X   X

                            Two men shot dead on the island                        -       The Punch
                            Five killed two injured as Rival gang fought       -       The Guardian
                            Two people murdered in their home                    -       Thursday

      The Inspector General of police Mr. Maxwell was furious when he saw the newspaper headlines. He dropped the newspapers on his desk and called his personal secretary, telling her to send a query to the commissioner of police, Mr. Raymond. He opened one of his files and brought out several petitions that the people in Victoria Island had written against the commissioner of police, Mr. Raymond. In their arsenal of evidence, the petitioners forwarded more than two thousand documents to support their arguments; Mr. Maxwell couldn’t read the petition again. He was so angry that he stood up and left the office.

      Later the police authority set up a nine-man judicial commission and they investigated Mr. Raymond. After a thorough investigation they found the commissioner guilty of many crimes. He was given an orderly trial and was accused of obfuscating evidence, helping criminal gangs perpetuate crime, bribery and corruption on the island. He was dismissed from the force and faced criminal prosecution at the law court; Mr. Raymond was sentenced to life imprisonment after he had forfeited all of his assets.

      A new commissioner of police, Mr. Clifford, was appointed as the chief security officer on the island. Immediately upon coming to office, he commenced an investigation into all the crime and killing on the island.

      Bath watched on the screen as the former commissioner of police Mr. Raymond was being led into a Black Maria van. He stood up and switched off the television set. He went to the window knowing he had lost an ally in Mr. Raymond. Later as he stood by the window his father called him from the hotel and he told him to tread carefully until the new commissioner of police arrived.

      Bath was unhappy. His crimson eyes became violent inside the living room. He struck the centre table repeatedly, mad because Tony had betrayed him, Tony was the last person he thought could betray him, Tony had given him a heavy blow in the scrotum and he had to live with the pain.

      Bath went to the window and thought, he couldn’t trust anyone again, and Tony must be planning to ditch him and ran away to the States with all the money he had given him. He wondered why Tony could do such a thing to him. When he got tired of thinking he left the window and went to his room.

     He fell on the bed but couldn’t sleep, thinking about what he was going to do to Tony for betraying him. He stood up from the bed and went into the bathroom. Minutes later he dressed up and went to his wardrobe, bringing out his suitcase and flicking it open. Then he saw it on one of his files. He smiled as he picked up the photograph.

     Tony and Ruth were in the living room. Ruth’s tummy was big, and they had fixed their wedding for the following month. They were watching television when Ruth’s cell phone rang. When she picked it up, she heard Mike’s voice.

“Hello Ruth, I am back in the country,” Mike said.

“Mike dear, when did you arrive?” Ruth said and stood up. Tony lowered the volume of the television set.

“One hour ago. Dad is taking me home; we are within the car,” Mike said.

“I will come and meet you at home now.”

“Don’t bother; we shall see you tomorrow,” Mike said.

“Okay, we shall see tomorrow morning then,” Ruth said and the phone went dead. She was so happy.

     Ruth was very happy, Tony came to her and she told him that Mike was back in the country. Tony was so happy that he drew her close and they embraced. Later they switched off the television and went to the room upstairs.

      Bath could still recognize the house; he parked the car in front and left the car. He looked around and, seeing nobody, he walked to the gate. Meanwhile Tony had opened the front door and gone outside to lock the front gate. As he walked to the gate he met Bath inside the compound, walking toward the front door. Tony was shocked when he saw him.

“Hello Tony?” Bath said and Tony looked frightened.

“Sir, you frightened me. What a surprise,” Tony said.

“Like they say, if the mountain refuses to come to Mohammed, Mohammed must go to the mountain. Tony, I have come to thank you,” Bath said. Tony smiled, although he was astonished by Bath’s appearance in the compound.

“Come right in sir, I am so happy to see you,” Tony said and they both walked together into the living room.

     When Bath got into the living room, he sat down and looked at the house all over again, smiling.

“What an earthly time of the night to come and visit me, sir,” Tony said and looked at the wall clock. The time was a quarter to twelve.

“You don’t know how happy I am, Tony; I came to express my gratitude to you for killing that asshole.”

“You don’t have to stress yourself over that sir,” Tony said and Bath smiled.

“Tony, thank you very much,” Bath said and Tony laughed and told him to stop thanking him for nothing.

“What can I offer you sir?” Tony said and went to the bar.

“You can give me anything Tony.”

“Let me give you a whiskey then,” Tony said and poured the whiskey into two tumblers and brought them to the table. He gave Bath one tumbler and he took the other one.

      Ruth heard the two men talking so she got up from the bed and came downstairs. When she came down, Tony went to meet her and introduced Bath.

“Save the introductions, Tony. I know more about Mr. Bath,” Ruth said and went to greet Bath. They both exchanged pleasantries as Tony looked on with a smile on his face. He sat down beside his wife.

“Your wife is very beautiful, Tony,” Bath said and gulped down the whiskey.

“She is the most beautiful woman in the world,” Tony said.

      The whiskey gave Bath a lot of courage, so he smiled sheepishly and looked at Tony with evil eyes.

“I wish you safe delivery, Ruth.” Bath said and smiled.

“Thank you very much, sir.” Ruth said and went back to the room upstairs.

“So Tony when are you traveling to the States?” Bath asked and Tony shifted on his seat.
“How did you know I am traveling, sir?” Tony said and looked Bath in the eyes.

“Right, you didn’t tell me, but my father did.” Bath said and called for another round of whiskey.

“Really, I have collected my entitlement from him and he planned to host my wedding and disengagement at the Victoria Hotel,” Tony said, smiling, and poured a large volume of whiskey into Bath’s tumbler.

“I wish you a successful married life, Tony,” Bath said, gulping down the whiskey quickly and closing his eyes for a split second.

“Thank you sir, I am very grateful,” Tony said and Bath stood up.

“Let me be on my way then; the night is getting colder,” Bath said. He stood up and fumbled with the car key inside his trousers. He looked at the wall clock - the time was quarter past one. Suddenly Bath brought a small pistol from inside his trousers and pointed it at Tony’s head.

“Thank you very much for welshing on your promise after all I did for you,” Bath said and looked at Tony with bloodshot eyes.

“Drop the gun sir; I don’t understand what you are saying,” Tony shouted and pleaded as the nozzle of the gun touched his head.

“Nobody dupes me and gets away with it,” Bath said and shot Tony in the forehead as he pleaded with him. The bullet pushed Tony backward and he fell on the couch. Watching him fall, Bath was still not satisfied. He got close to him and he shots him again thrice and Tony became still as a large bird starting shrieking in its flight over the house.

      Ruth was deeply asleep when she heard the deafened sound of the gun. She was dazed, but she left the bed with fear and ran down to the living room. Ruth fell on her knees when she saw Bath with a gun in his hand and Tony on the floor in a pool of blood. She knew that was the only sensible thing to do as Bath pointed the gun at her. Bath didn’t spare her life as she pleaded and begged him repeatedly. He shot her several times in the belly. Ruth fell down on the floor. Bath walked out of the living room and closed the door, leaving the compound. He drove away very fast.

      The following day Mike and his family rushed down to the Lagoon hospital were Ruth was admitted. Paul and the other doctors fought hard to save her life. She had bled profusely before the neighbours had found her and alerted the police. Later, as her life hung between life and death, Ruth spilled her guts to the police. She told Inspector Johnson how Bath came to their house and shot Tony at close range.

      Mr. Graham and Mike wept profusely as the doctor worked inside the theatre to save Ruth’s life but she couldn’t make it. She gave up the ghost after another pint of blood was given to her.

      Paul wept profusely when he came out of the theatre.


                                                X   X   X   X


Dark clouds settled over the city. Mr. Benson wore a cardigan as he sat down with his business partner, Barry, where they were talking in the living room. Mr. Barry’s face was contorted by doubt as he drank a glass cup of whiskey. Barry had taken a loan from the bank and used the money to buy two vessels which he sold to Mr. Benson, but Mr. Benson had reneged on his promise. He had been using the ships but had refused to pay for the two vessels. Now the bank were disturbing Barry.

“I expected you to pay the money, Benson. It’s been six month and the bank is worried,” Barry said.

“I will pay the money, I promise you, Barry.”

“When are you going to pay the money?”

“I can’t give it to you today, but I will pay.”

“Look Benson, I think you don’t know what you are saying. My house and company could go for it.”

“Don’t let the bank threaten you, Barry. You are not a spring chicken, remember?” Mr. Benson said and lit a cigar.

“You sat down here spilling rubbish. Now the bank is anxious to collect their money,” Barry said. His constitution could melt gold.

      Mr. Benson stood up and went to the bar; Barry looked at him with anger.

“Look Benson, I will come and collect the two vessels next week if you don’t pay the money,” Barry said and stood up.

“You can’t do that, Barry. You dare not do it,” Mr. Benson said and came back to sit down.

“I am going to do it, Benson. Enough of your nonchalant attitude.”

“Are you threatening me, Barry, with the police?” Mr. Benson shouted.

“Look Benson, I am sunk. The bank is after me. I will lose all that I have worked for all my life,” Barry complained.

“Barry, calm down your nerve. We shall solve this together.”

“Look Benson, I am tired of your dilly dally. My money or the ship!” Barry shouted and left the living room.

     Mr. Benson’s blood boiled as Barry departed. He knew he had to do something fast before Barry carried out his threat. Further, he knew when Barry determined to do something, no living soul could stop him. The thought of paying over ten million for the two vessels struck his mind like terrible lightning. Rosco was around inside the compound. Benson took his phone and called him.

      Rosco was tall and hefty with a bald head. He came into the living room two minutes later, wearing a yellow T-Shirt and face cap. He saw Mr. Benson sprawled on the couch with a tired look on his face. He saluted him. Mr. Benson stood up and spoke.

“Did you see the man that just left the house?” Mr. Benson asked as he struggled to stand up. His voice shook with nervousness and he went to the bar and poured a whiskey into his glass cup, gulping it down his throat.

“Mr. Barry, sir. Yes, I saw him outside,” Rosco said.

“The man has become a shaft in my eyes,” Mr. Benson said.

“I will get him, sir.” Rosco said and went outside.

      Mr. Benson was tired as he climbed the staircase and went to his room, Gina had traveled away, and so he fell on the bed, took his phone and called his physician. Barry’s visit had unsettled him and made his blood pressure very high.

      The sky was studded with stars as Barry drove home. He was angry with himself for trusting Mr. Benson so much. He thought Benson was a dupe .As he thought within the car he switched off the car radio because it interfered with his thoughts. He considered the bank. In his vision he could see the bank manager and the police sealing his house. He really needed to collect the money or the ship before the bank carried out its threats.

      Barry got to the road that led to his house. Suddenly, like a bolt from the blue, he heard squeals of tyres as a car double crossed him on the road. He slammed on his brakes and his car came to a halt. Meanwhile, outside his vision, Rosco had descended from the other. Barry was not lucky. Rosco got to his side, brought out his gun and shots him several times in the face. Then he stuffed his plump body with catalogues of bullets. He looked around. Seeing nobody and happy that he had completed the assignment, Rosco went to his car and sped off.

      Some policemen were on routine patrol when they heard the sound of gunshots in the distance; they drove very fast and followed the direction of the sound. They got to the place when Rosco was about to leave the murder scene. The police chased him as he tried to make a getaway. Rosco drove very fast and looked back in the side mirror to see police cars tailing him. When he knew they were closed on his tail, he stopped the car behind two buildings. Rosco opened his door and jogged into an alley, running very fast. Later he walked gently and glanced back every few seconds.

      He walked very fast and hoped nobody would see him. But he got another think coming. Standing at the end of the alley was Sergeant Roger and three other police officers. Rosco found himself looking down the barrel of Sergeant Roger’s gun.

      Rosco was arrested and taken to the police station and, after two days of torture, he spilled the beans.

      Mr. Benson was sad when he heard that Tony had died. Kabonski told him that Bath killed Tony. Mr. Benson clenched his fist and went to the bar. He knew he had trouble up his spine. First was Rosco who was yet to give him a report of his murder and now there was Bath with his trouble. He couldn’t think straight. When Bath came to the living room, his father spoke to him angrily. Bath tried to explain why he killed Tony but his father was not happy his explanation.

“He tried to dupe you and you got him killed. You are senseless, Bath. Very stupid,” Mr. Benson shouted in anger.

“Dad - listen to me.”

“I can’t listen to your foolish reason. You are nothing but a mad dog and you killed Tony and his wife for nothing,” Mr. Benson said, tightening the muscles on his face and going into his room.

      Later, as he rested, his cell phone rang. It was Tommy, one of his assistants in the hotel.

“What happen to you, Tommy?”

“Rosco has been arrested sir. I wanted you to know”

“When, Tommy?”

“Last night. He was accused of killing Mr. Barry,” Tommy said and Mr. Benson kept silent, although the sudden realization sent a shock wave down his spine.

“Call superintendent Sparrow quickly,” Mr. Benson said. There was anxiety in his voice.

“I have called him sir. He said the new commissioner of police won’t play ball. He tried to talk to him last night but he met a brick wall,” Tommy explained.

“Calm down, Tommy. I will see him personally.”

“All right sir.”

      Mr. Benson was nervous. He stood up from the bed and went to the window. Then he became so nervous that he went to the bed and fell on it. He couldn’t sleep until daybreak. The following day he tried to reach out to his friend but none of his friends could get across to the commissioner of police. Mr. Benson knew he was in a cul-de-sac as he stood by the window in his suite inside the Victoria Hotel.

     Two police cars were parked in front of the Victoria Hotel. Sergeant Larry and five police officers went into the hotel and arrest Mr. Benson. Soon Mr. Benson was arrested on the strength of Rosco’s allegation.

      A warrant was issued by the court for Bath’s arrest. When Bath got the news that the police had arrested his father, he left the house and went underground. His disappearance became a mystery and the police launched a manhunt for him.

       The newspaper headlines pronounced that Mr. Benson had been arrested for killing Barry. It became a sensational news item, carried by all the major newspapers on the island.

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