The Death of John Okro (2)
“Una serious at all?” Bento snorted at his two cohorts. Osho especially, had never been so happy to see his field marshal.
John Okro froze on the floor at the sight of the sub-machine guns as they shone under the glare of the headlights.
“Haba. Una fall our hand. Una just call now now say una don see de babe…” Bento trailed off as he saw Miriam’s body lying on the floor. Motionless. He drew in a breath and lifted his shoulders in shock: “No tell me say una don kill am o!” Osho spoke up immediately.
“No oh. She never die. She faint. I wan help Labi beat this fool…” as he said this, he kicked John Okro with his unbitten leg. John didn’t even wince, his eyes remained trained on the men with the guns. “…das why I jus knock de babe out.” Osho finished.
“Ok. God save you. Cuz you know say Uncle Terry wan end de girl by himself.” And if he wasn’t sure before, now he was sure that Miriam’s penultimate words to him were true: “Well, I think they want to kill me!” He stole a glance across the floor to where she lay. Somehow, he suppressed the urge to reach out to her and try to make it all go away.
“Who are you?” John wasn’t even aware he was the one being addressed. As payment for his silence, Bento sent his palm into a rough collision with Okro’s cheek. “Osho, empty him pocket.” All Osho found was a wallet. A knock-off labelled ‘Marlboro’. Bento took it from Osho and the first thing that caught his eye was the oversized I.D. Card. He started to laugh. Osho chimed in:
“john Okro abi?”
“Yes. How you take know?” Bento asked,
“I hear am dey tell de babe. She shout ‘Whaat?'” Osho now looked down towards John, “Guy, no dey use dat name scope woman. E no dey pay.”
“Oya load dem inside de motor make we dey go,” Bento barked. The other man with a gun nodded. They called him Steering. Because of his excellent skills at the wheel. He was always the designated driver. It didn’t mean he was any less fearless though. He hoisted Miriam’s limp body into the back of the van. Okro was made to walk in on his own. At gun point.
“Na your type Uncle Terry dey call ‘bonus kill’,” Osho sneered at John once he was in the back of the van. The van itself sat three in the front: the driver and two others. The rest of the van was the carriage section and it was sealed off from the passengers. It was empty save for a small stool. John was made to sit opposite it. Beside Miriam.
Once John had taken a position, Bento promptly slapped her. She started awake and tried to sit up. She opened her mouth to scream but the sight of the tip of Bento’s SMG silenced her. Bento beckoned on Steering with his head and the driver proceeded to produce two small sacs…
A few minutes later, John and Miriam were bound by their wrists and ankles. The sacs were also thrown over their heads and secured. Once they were done, Bento barked out orders:
“Labi, you no fit. Enter front wit me. Osho, stay wit dem. I trust you but I go still padlock the van in case of in case-ity.” Labi looked a bit stung by the demotion but he understood. Now though, they could be reunited with their guns. Osho wagged his at Okro even though John could barely see through the sac. He got in the back as well and sat on the stool; facing John. Before closing and locking the door behind them, Bento warned in a stern tone. “From here to Ekiti, you get like four hours. I know say your mind na to beat this guy. Beat am but no kill am.” Since all the four men wore balaclavas, they were able to at least see Osho’s lips widen with delight.
However, the sac on his head didn’t allow them see John Okro smile as well.
Thirty minutes into the trip though, the smile was gone. Osho , it turned out, was quite adept at torture. John ached all over but his mind was racing all the same. Miriam pleaded with Osho to stop, Osho asked if she would like to take over receiving the beating and the three others in front shared a huge bottle of dry gin. They could hear absolutely nothing but heavily muffled sounds of body hitting metal because the van, in its former use, had been padded to carry fragile materials.
Gratefully, Osho tired out soon after. John tried to roll himself up and gauge what part of his body hurt the most. It seemed Osho had done a decent job of spreading out the pain but it was nothing John wasn’t accustomed to.
“I’m sorry I got you into this,” Miriam wept in John’s direction.
“Oh, it’s fine,” John managed to reply, suddenly glad that the goons hadn’t deemed it necessary to gag them. “But promise me something…” Osho perked up at John’s words. He had his eyes on something else before but now he stared at John intently as he moved.
“What?” she asked. John manoeuvred himself till he was kneeling beside her. Using his shoulder, he felt about for her face and then stooped to whisper in her ear.
“Promise me you’ll have sex with me when all of this is over.”
The van screeched to a halt inside Uncle Terry’s compound. Steering cared little for it being past 1am. To him, there was no point driving if one parked noiselessly. Three men alighted. Bento looked at Labi: “Go carry de girl come drop for ‘lab’.” He pointed at a door roughly fifty meters away. It was a massive compound. “I go go arrange de chair dem. Tell Osho make e carry d guy come too.” As he said this, he handed Labi the keys to the back of the van. “And heyss! Close your mouth in front of Uncle Terry. You know say you no sabi speak English and hin dey hate to hear pidgin.”
“Ok,” Labi and Osho were yet to actually meet the man they were hired to carry out this operation for. Bento only contacted them early that morning. The last thing on Labi’s mind was to create a bad first impression. He headed towards the back of the van.
The ‘lab’ was Uncle Terry’s private torture chamber. Bento had already called to update Uncle Terry on things. He let himself into the cellar and proceeded to set the chairs up. Steering stood back and watched.
Meanwhile, Labi unlocked the door to the back of the van. There were no floodlights on in Uncle Terry’s compound so visibility was extremely low. Barely seeing into the van, he called out: “Osho, where the girl abeg? Bento say make you carry the guy dey come. The way she was hurled at him, he practically had to catch rather than take her. It seemed to Labi that what little activity she had left had been beaten out by Osho. Once he had her balanced on his shoulder, he proceeded towards the cellar. “Do dey come oh!” he yelled back towards the van, “Make we do finish. Sleep don dey catch me.”
Uncle Terry was mumbling to himself triumphantly as he walked down to the cellar where the fools were being held. How many times did they need to be told, beaten or killed before they knew not to mess with him? He spoke out loudly as he walked into the dingy, dank room.
“The name ‘Uncle Terry’ wasn’t given to me because I loved cartoons ,” he started. Opposite the door he entered from, two struggling people were tied up with black sacs covering their heads. A male and a female. The four others in the room wore balaclavas and held sub-machine guns. MP7s. Bento and Steering stood to his left. He assumed the other two men to his right were Bento’s mercenaries.
“So who’s the unlucky fellow?” As Uncle Terry asked, he took his Beretta out of its holster.
“We heard him telling the girl his name is John Okro, Boss.” Bento said
“Whaat?!”Uncle Terry was clearly bemused and tried not to laugh.
“Unfortunately for you Mr. Okro, I have no interest in idle bad guy chit-chat where I explain all my schemes and plans before leaving my incompetent hatchet men to finish the job. Tell God I said… ‘wassup?'” With a smile, he pointed the gun and released two bullets into the man’s chest.
“And as for you Miriam, deliver the same message to God in case your friend goes to hell.” Two more shots rang out.
The sound of the bullets made Uncle Terry freeze in mid-motion. He turned around just in time to see Bento and Steering drop to the floor. One bleeding from the head, the other from the neck. His next instinct was to point and aim in the direction the shots were fired from. Labi was a deer caught in headlights. Dumbstruck by what he perceived to be Osho’s madness, he could barely react as he was pushed towards Uncle Terry. He felt the Beretta’s bullets before heard them.
Uncle Terry was swift, sidestepping Labi’s frame as it fell towards him. Labi’s lifeless body fell on Miriam, toppling her. She shrieked with fear. Uncle Terry looked around the room scouring it for the traitor. While Labi fell, he saw movement but now he couldn’t tell where the last man was.
Then he heard his voice from behind: “You guys could really use a chic in your crew. As Uncle Terry made to turn he felt the bullets sear into his right arm. The Beretta dropped to the ground as he yelped in anguish. John Okro tore the balaclava off his head.
“Two reasons. One: these masks are soooo uncomfortable. No woman would allow anybody go around committing felonies in this. You gotta keep it fashionable.” He tossed the balaclava to the floor “…and two: a female would notice that I was wearing someone else’s clothes!” Okro pulled at the obviously loose-fitting tee shirt he was wearing. The one he’d taken off Osho after he’d choked him unconscious in the van. He thought about how much fun that was and smiled to himself. Especially the part where he stuffed Osho’s own socks into his mouth. He watched as Uncle Terry tried to grab hold of the fallen Beretta with his other hand. John shook his head as he walked towards him and kicked the gun away.
“Uncle Terry,” John started in an informal tone, “the Lord said I should tell you something…” the man clutching his arm as blood spurted out began to whimper.
“Fall down and die!” And yet another two shots rang out.
She put the key in the van’s ignition and turned. The engine roared to life. She navigated the vehicle out of the open gate. She had no idea where they were headed but she drove anyway. Once she had somehow steered them onto a highway, Miriam turned to John.
“Explain to me how it is that you can do what you just did, but can’t drive a freakin’ car.” He took his eyes off the road to look at her.
“I just can’t. That’s why I do what I do.” John answered,
“And what is it that you do?”
“I’m a bus conductor…”
“What the?!” Miriam almost jumped. For ten seconds, she juggled between staring at him wildly and looking at the road.
“Don’t sound so surprised,” John said. It did nothing to remove the look of utter bewilderment on her face. John tried to make her a bit more at ease.
“It’s a long story,”
“Wow, you are…” Miriam trailed off shaking her head in disbelief. She was still having trouble taking it all in. John saw it as an avenue to change the subject.
“Okay. So now will you have sex with me?” John smiled exaggeratedly.
“Like I told you before: NO!” Miriam began to giggle. If he wanted to have his wicked way with her, he would have done it ages before they got in the van.
“Come on! I just saved your life. You should be both grateful and scared of me! I kill all the bad guys.” That last statement was delivered in Okro’s best attempt at an Italian accent. It was lame but she got the idea. She was laughing now.
“Touch me and I’ll kill you…” she threatened. John widened his eyes in mock-fear. He straightened himself and looked out the passenger window to his right. With a mischievous grin, he brought his left palm to rest roughly on her shoulder. She guffawed heartily.
“Oh, you’re a dead man…” she said.