Solonzo’s mention of Ada during his unwelcome visit to Martins’ apartment had unsettled him. For the first time since Ada’s disappearance, Martins began to picture the possibility of Ada being alive. He knew he had to talk to someone about Solonzo’s threats, and the only name that came to mind was Deji, his one-time roommate and friend.
Martins knew he couldn’t disclose the details of his latest discussion with Solonzo to his wife, in other not to frighten her. Not even when the delivery date of their baby was close. He was trying all within his power to make life easy for Aisha, at least till she puts to bed.
As he drove to 5, Otolorin street, Lawanson, his conversation with Solonzo continued to play out in his head like a broken record. He still couldn’t come to terms with the fact that after several years the robbery incident at the bank was still going to be haunting him. Deji had warned him not to start what he couldn’t finish when the young man realized Martins knew too much and wasn’t going to keep mum. When Deji had gave that warning, Martins had dismissed it as mere threat, now he knew better.
Martins knew Deji would not easily agree to a conversation with him, not after his supposed betrayal. But he was still going to try anyway. Worse still, he was certain his friend turned ex-convict still had scores to settle with him, he just couldn’t tell how Deji planned to settle the scores.
5, Otolorin street Lawanson was a beehive of activities when Martins made his entrance into the compound. The sound that emanated from the compound was deafening. On reaching the compound, a quick glance at the crowd that gathered for Madam Ekaette’s sister’s naming ceremony, Martins could tell that it was twice the number of attendees at his wedding with Aisha which by his estimation was a large crowd.
Martins and Aisha had a serious fight about her long list of invitees for the wedding a day before they tied the nuptial knots. He had told Aisha that her list of invitees surpassed the mammoth crowd that trudged to watch the 2000 AFCON Final between Nigeria and Cameroun at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos. Now, what he saw at Mr. Okafor’s residential rental building looked like an invasion from a planet in space that was suffering from a population explosion. The first person Martins recognized at the party which was in its full swing was Sylvanus. The restless young man was devouring a massive plate of Jollof rice with reckless abandon.
On sighting Martins, the compound’s loose cannon rose up from his seat to salute his caretaker, whilst carrying his plate in hand, “Oga Boss! all the hailings oh! You just dey show ni? E be like say na your Jollof rice I dey chop so oh” Sylvanus continued eating his meal while still standing. From where Martins stood, he could tell that he was tipsy.
“Sylvanus you are never serious. I wasn’t even aware of this party”
Sylvanus is befuddled, “Oga Martins you no know say Madam Ekaette they do her pikin naming ceremony?”
“I was told it’s her sister’s not hers”
“Oga Martins ah no understand your English oh! Na the person wey serve me rice they do party, that’s all that concerns me”
“So you are eating at a party and you don’t even know whose party it is”
“Wetin be my own with who get party. As long as say the party na for my compound and Jollof rice reach my side, me no get wahala.”
“Anyways, I shouldn’t be talking to you, where is Madam Ekaette?”
“She go they the other side where Nneka and Uju they disgrace their full lineage again.” Martins looked ahead at the direction where Sylvanus pointed towards. He immediately spotted the duo of Nneka and Uju exchanging words over a bottle of Hennessy that Madam Ekaette’s brother in law had handed over to Uju. Madam Ekaette tried to pacify the warring parties as the atmosphere became tensed. Martins had being so engrossed with the activities in the compound that he hadn’t seen the small crowd gathered around the Nneka and Uju, the most problematic ladies in the compound.
“Thanks for making yourself useful Sylvanus”
“Anytime boss.” Martins scurried to the scene of the controversy to get first hand clue as to what was transpiring…
“Nneka na longer-throat go kill you before your time,” Uju fumed.
“Na you get your mouth oh! I sha know say I know go give you that Hennesy.”
“Nneka na trouble you dey find. You know wetin I fit do oh,” Nneka held on to Uju’s skirt in preparation for battle
“Wetin be this rubbish na, Uju and Nnneka? I no call una come here come spoil my sister naming oh. Make una just carry una self enter house,” Madam Ekaetta was losing patience with the girls. Martins had almost gotten to the spot where guests that came for the party had turned to spectators of a girl’s fight when Runo came out of her apartment in fury.
“Gosh! Can’t someone sleep in peace in this compound? For heaven’s sake, who let these dogs out?”
Uju who by this time was spoiling for a fight, hushed Runo, “Bag of bones abeg enter your mama nest, abi who be your mama mate for here?”
“Hey don’t bring my mama into this. Don’t even dare?”
“You heard me,” Runo was waiting for Uju’s response when he spotted Martins. “Yeah, thank God Oga martins is here. I can’t stand here and be bantering words with you. We are not in the same class dear” Runo sashayed pass Uju to meet Martins, but she was rudely stopped by.
“Come back here, where do you think you are going to?” Uju yanked her arm aggressively as Runo hits the ground with her head crashing into the wall adjoining her apartment. In a split second she had gone blank.
“Uju don kill person pikin oh!!!” Nnenna screamed, causing pandemonium in the party.