Tunji stood behind the counter drinking a bottle of coke, the fat female officer teased him. Kadija was her name,
Kadija: “Kai, Sergeant Tunji you and Coke eh? You’re lovers!”
Tunji and others laughed. They were five at the counter. The remaining officers were outside, some sat at the veranda while others were preparing for patrol.
Tunji: “Nothing sweet pass chilled coke wey dey sweat na!” it evoked more laughter.
Kadija: “But you know say e get caffeine and it isn’t good especially for your age.”
Tunji took the last gulped and belched,
Tunji: “Abegi maik I hear word jare! Do you know when I have been taking Coke,eh? I am forty five and I have been taking Coke since I was a child. That was my father’s best drink. And remember that there is a saying that baboon cannot give birth to a monkey it can only give birth to a baboon,” everyone laughed.
Sule one of the officers at the counter who was munching kola bitterly called everyone’s attention,
Sule: “wait! Maik una wait! Noise from the cell,” they looked at each other as Tunji and Sule ran in.
Everyone moves back as the officers dashed in,
Tunji: “ Bring water!” he bent down and touched Henry’s neck and placed the back of his fingers on the nose to feel the breathe but it seemed he had stopped breathing. He stood up and looked Sule,
Sule: “What?” he whispered.
As Tunji was about to reply him the bucket of water was poured on Henry. And it resuscitated him as he coughed dryly holding his chest in pains. Everyone’s face lit up with a smile. Tunji and Sule dragged him to a corner,
Tunji: “maik una allow em rest! No more drilling!”
Presido and others murmured.
Henry wished for death as he sat in the corner, sobbing with eyes closed.
Throughout the night Shola was restless. What had happened to her man? His number was switched off.
Shola: “Is he dead?” she shook her hand, “Nooo, God forbid!”
Her mind went back to Bola’s assumption, ““Ehm, what if they are having a nice time?”
Tears gathered in her eyes,
“But Henry wouldn’t possible do that to me now?” a strand of tears dropped down her check, she sniffed and wiped her face, “ Nooo. Henry loves me too much for that!”
She sat at a small dining table. The Spaghetti that was lying before her had gone cold. Worry had stolen away her appetite. Different times of weird and bad thoughts made her mind an abode. She pushed the food away and buried her head in her hands and started sobbing. What she should do? And she didn’t have access to the Chairman’s house. Who was she going to ask?
“What am I to do?” she spoke to herself.
She picked her phone as she was about to dial Bola’s number, Bola’s call came in,
Shola: “I was about calling you. I’m really worried, Ore mi” Bola’s voice was distant,
Bola: “Hello, Hello babe! Can you hear me?”
Shola: “Yes! Yes!”
Bola kept asking same question and the call ended. Shola hissed and tried the number again but it didn’t pull through,
After few minutes of trying, the number went through,
Bola: “sorry your line was breaking when I called.”
Shola: “Yours too!”
Bola: “Network wahala.”
Shola: “I am dead worried oo!” Bola sighed.
Bola could feel the sadness in her friend’s voice, she was worried too. How would she break the news to her? She had heard of Henry’s detention that was why she called. She needed to tell her.
“Say something na! Why are you quiet? What do you think I should do,eh?”
Bola sighed again,
Bola: “Ore mi, I learnt Henry has been detained!” she managed to say.
Shola’s heart missed a beat. It seemed she had suddenly lost her understanding of English.
Shola: “I don’t understand,” she said in Yoruba.
Bola repeated what she heard said but this time in Yoruba. Shola’s started panting and felt numb at once.
Bola: “Don’t do anything stupid,please. I’ll be on my way!” It was nine at night.
The call ended,Shola sat expressionless-no thought was running through her mind but her body temperature had gone high. She felt nauseous.
Thirty minutes later Bola and Shola were on their way to Police station,
Bola: “Let’s leave it tomorrow morning. They might not allow us see him this night!”
Shola: “I won’t survive without him this night. Besides I am not going to see him but to bring him home.”
Bola knew Henry was detained for attempting to rape First Lady that was what she was told. She couldn’t tell Shola. Shola had asked her what Henry was arrested for but she claimed to be in total oblivion.
As they got to the station, it was Sule and Kadija that attended to them,
Kadija:”Yes, how can we help you?”
Bola and Shola stared at each other,
Bola: “We are looking for Henry!”
Sule: “Henry who?”
Shola: “Henry Ishaya!”
Kadija opened a book ran through its pages but there was no name as such,
Kadija: “There’s no one here with that name!”
Shola with a crying tone said,
Shola: “He is here!”
Sule: “Young woman don’t come and waste anybody’s time here. You’ve been told there’s no name here like that!” he said.
Bola: “the guy that had an issue with First Lady!” Bola didn’t know when that came out; Shola looked at her bemused, Bola avoiding her eyes.
Kadija: “or that bastard! Are you his sisters?”
Bola: “we are his friends, officers!”
Shola: “I’m his girlfriend,” she finally found her voice.
Kadija and Sule exchanged glances;
Sule: “sorry but you can’t see him!”
Shola: “Please what did he do? What is his offence?”
Kadija: “Okay if you must know he almost raped the first lady!”
Shola: “That’s a lie!” she yelled.
Sule and Kadija in a chorus,
“You can’t see him. Good night!”
Shola lost it as she started yelling, crying and pleading, “I want to see my Henry!” she kept repeating those words.
Bola dragged her out as they were threatened with an arrest. Chairman had given the DPO an order that Henry shouldn’t be bailed neither should anyone be allowed to see him,
“I want him to rot in there!”
The next day in the morning, Henry felt better. But the gross image of what happened last night kept flashing through his mind and the presido’s words echoed with the image,
Presido: “it will be Mr rapist turn tomorrow!”
He couldn’t believe such atrocities were going in a place that was meant to correct the mindset of criminals. He could still hear the agony of one of the men that sat in a corner when he had just arrived,
“Help me O God!” was the cry the man let out when the lanky looking Presido flapped his scary looking slab of meat and mounted on him.
Henry in pains had sat in a corner shivering as the man was raped, gang raped by the others. They called it “welcome party!” the Presido had his share first before any other person. Henry learned that it had become a ritual, some sort of initiation. Some men ended up dying from the evil act.
Having another man inside him was filth, pure decadence! Henry said.
That was inhumane abominable. Henry stared the man who was raped in pity. The man couldn’t sit he was lying on his stomach and placed his hand on his butt writhing in pains.
Presido walked to where Henry was and smiled at him,
Presido: “Hope you’re warming up for tomorrow!”
Henry gave him a stern look.
Questions: Do you think Henry is fair-treated? Would he be “welcomed” like the others? Would should Shola do to help Henry?