A.G. Gets a Sidekick (2)
If you haven’t read it, please read A.G. Gets a Sidekick (1)
“Okay. So sign the dotted lines on the last page and I’ll be unto you a proper darling and stop the baddies. It really is that simple.” A.G. had been looking away towards the aisle as he said these words. Umar made no attempt to reply. A.G. now aimed his stare at him and realized Umar was looking rather stiff. His face wore a determined yet thoughtful expression and his fists were clenched. He was absolutely still and looking straight ahead. The yelp from one of the air hostesses as she was being knocked unconscious did nothing to change Umar’s disposition.
Neither did the shocked gasps and cries from on-looking passengers in both cabins.
“Sir, the bad guys are coming to get you. They move rather slow but they’ll surely get to you.” A.G. deadpanned despite the pandemonium.
“What does your company do?” Umar asked completely ignoring A.G.’s entreaties.
A.G. relaxed in his chair. Shehata’s men were wreaking havoc only a few feet away in the other section but the mark was suddenly stubborn. Two could play.
“My company? We’re the good guys. We save the world pretty much. We develop our own tools for stopping evil. Our technology while far advanced is also extremely expensive. And we’re running out finances. That’s, of course, why we need you.”
“I want to be your sidekick.”
“I’m not afraid to die. I want to do something meaningful with my life while I yet have it. I want to do what you do. I will sign the contract once you agree to that.”
“You are truly mad!” A.G. was shocked at his request. “You think this is fun and games?”
“I know it’s not.” Umar responded briskly. A.G. immediately thought of a solution.
“Okay, I’ll make you a deal. Sign this, and I’ll make sure you’re on the board of the company. This contribution is enough to earn you a place on it either way. You can fix the world from behind a chair.” They heard shrieking coming from the other end of the plane. On the screen, they watched as the unconscious body of the hostess was tossed onto the thighs of two petrified female passengers. Several passengers could be heard yelling “Blood of Jesus!” The pistols each of the three masked men held were now visible as well.
A.G. and Umar also watched as one of the men motioned towards the air hostess assigned to the business class cabin. She approached them. One of the three spoke:
“Tell your pilot not to turn this plane or land early. One of my friends here can fly a plane with ease. We WILL kill the entire crew and fly this plane ourselves if a landing sequence is initiated less than two hours from now. Are we clear?” The hostess nodded amidst intense perspiration. The man who spoke flicked his finger in an unspoken ‘Go.’ She ran past Umar and A.G. on her way to the cockpit.
“We are looking for Mr. Umar.” The one who had spoken before was speaking again. We are here to kill only him. Any of you make this job any more difficult for us and we will kill you as well.” From the movement on the mask A.G. could make out which of them was speaking.
It became apparent that they had a picture of Umar and were calmly going from seat to seat checking for him. The flight from Lagos to Sokoto was a guaranteed three hours. They knew they had time.
“Mr. Umar, kindly come out before we find you!”
“They’re calling for you…” A.G sang.
“I accept your offer.” Umar intoned. “But how do I know you’ll even be able to save yourself let alone me?”
A.G. smiled thinly. “You already know.”
The tops of two pens, coloured red and black, were visible from Umar’s breast pocket. He pulled out the black one and A.G. simply peeled to the page where the dotted lines appeared. Umar signed. A.G. smiled again. Fuller this time.
He replaced the contract in the folder and tossed it on the floor. He then reached into his jacket yet again.
“Stick these in your ears,” A.G. handed Umar two out of four tiny balls of specially wrapped cotton, “and hang tight. This should be fun.” A.G. proceeded to wear the other two. Umar saw what was left in A.G.’s hand: a small metal article with a red button on it. No larger than a matchbox. His curious side was aroused again.
“What’s that?” he asked excitedly.
“My beeper.” A.G. replied.
Beeper in hand, he stood up and walked through the open door that led to the other cabin. He was easily spotted.
“You! Go back or I’ll shoot you.” The man speaking looked at the picture in his hand again just to make sure he wasn’t speaking to Umar.
“Well, actually, I don’t want to die. I know where Umar is.” Seated where he was, Umar widened his eyes as the reality of impending betrayal dawned on him.
“Where is he?” the one in front asked.
The aisle was narrow and didn’t allow the three men stand side by side. Instead, they stood one behind another. About a meter apart. The one closest to A.G. was standing halfway down the cabin.
“He’s in here somewhere. However, before I disclose his location, I’d like to tell you some other things.”
“What other things?” the closest masked man.
“I promise that what I’m about to say will be to your advantage but I couldn’t possibly tell you while all these people are listening. It concerns your boss, Shehata…” A.G. paused briefly to ensure they had taken the bait, “…and it would surely implicate me. Make them close their ears please.” A.G. gestured in the general direction of the passengers. At the mention of their revered boss’ name, they immediately became curious. Who told him the identity who they worked for? Clearly, this man knew things. The three of them immediately started wagging their pistols.
“All of you! Face down! Close your ears! Now!” They screamed. The sound of moving bodies hurriedly bending downwards and stuffing their fingers in their ears made A.G. chuckle.
The one farthest behind spoke now: “So. Tell us what you have to say.” As he said this, the goon closest to A.G. left his weapon trained on him. A.G. raised his hands in surrender.
“Brief Ear Entrapment Pulse.” A.G. said opening his hand to reveal the beeper.
“What is that?” A.G. couldn’t be bothered with who was talking. He replied anyway:
“Your worst nightmare,” A.G.’s face wore a look of incredulity as he added: ”Duh?!”
He pressed the button.
Any passengers without their fingers stuffed far up their ears would have heard absolutely nothing but they would have felt their ears almost ripping up as a silent pulse attempted to puncture every ear drum within a twenty-meter radius. The three men screamed and crumbled in pain. Now they were stooped one behind another clutching their ears in agony.
A.G. got to the first one and made his knee connect viciously with the squatting man’s face. The impact made his mask fly off. He was bleeding from the nose. A.G. reached for his wrist and twisted. The snap was audible as the dislocated joint ensured that the goon’s grip on his pistol was loosened. The weapon dropped to the floor. A.G. shifted to one side and hurled the man towards the doorframe that led to the business-class cabin with all his might. He crashed into it headfirst and screamed as he landed on the floor with a thud.
By now, the effect of the beeper was wearing off on the other two men. They were now trying to regain their bearing. A.G. was also bearing down on the second masked man who was rising slowly. As soon as he saw A.G., he raised his gun to aim. A.G swivelled to his left and reached out quickly enough to get his right middle-finger beneath the trigger; barring him from shooting. The third man was sure he’d save the day though. Eyes fuzzy, he excitedly raised his gun and pointed it in A.G.’s general direction.
He pulled the trigger quickly.
A.G. let go and a body fell forward. The third masked man let out a gasp and his hands fell to his side once he realized he’d just shot his friend. Chaos was going on all around as all the other passengers cowered in fear upon hearing the gunshots. Some hadn’t even gotten their fingers out of their ears but had seen what was going on. The fear in the atmosphere was palpable.
The third goon let his eyes follow his comrade’s body to the ground. He looked up: and A.G. was suddenly two inches from his face.
And snarling with anger. His shirt and jacket were smeared with another man’s blood.
“You stained my shirt!” A.G. growled. There was barely time to get out a “What?” in reply. A.G. reached for his weapon as well. This time, he simply twisted his wrist without snapping. Firmly enough to disarm him. He aimed his assault at his face instead. A.G. smashed into his face thrice with his other fist. The masked man was falling backwards when A.G.’s boot connected cleanly his chest. That sent him flying to the very end of the cabin. A.G. strolled over to where he lay writhing in pain.
“I wish I hadn’t done that… but this is my favourite shirt.” And that was when the applause rang out.
A.G. shook his head and cursed under his breath. “Damn Nigerians.”
“My work here is done.” A.G. had searched the injured and the dead and gotten rid of everything on them that they could possibly wreak any more havoc with. He began walking back to his seat. “Oh wait…” A.G. turned around and walked towards a man seated by the window. As he approached the man, A.G. pulled out a transparent package with tiny pills in them.
The man was wearing a red t-shirt.
A.G. handed him the plastic box as he spoke: “Take a few of these every thirty minutes and you might just get laid before the end of the year.” A.G. winked as he turned around. The man looked at the box and read the product name…
“That was quite the show. I’m really impressed. And I’m convinced now more than ever that I did the right thing.”
“You did indeed.” A.G. said as he settled into his chair.
“I want to be your Robin,”
“What? I thought we’d been over this. It’s not a stroll across town. It’s difficult dangerous work!”
Umar was unmoved. “Kindly look at my signature.” A.G. opened the contract with a suspicious glint in his eye. Umar sounded oddly confident. He flipped to the page with the dotted lines.
There was no signature.
Umar dangled the black pen before A.G.’s eyes. “Temp ink. I got it in India. Automatically vanishes after five minutes without leaving so much as an impression on the paper it was used on.”
“You bastard!” A.G. cursed.
“See? I’ve got tricks too. But hear me out.” A.G. was all but foaming at the mouth. Umar continued undeterred.
“Let me be your number two and you will have all my money at your disposal. Train me if need be. Do whatever. I will fund your organisation easily. One million per quarter? I’ll give you that on a monthly basis…” A.G. was still quiet.
“Please?” Umar was smiling. A.G. knew he’d lost this one and sighed dejectedly. He tossed the contract back at Umar. That was money even he wasn’t stubborn enough to turn down.
“Wonderful! This is going to be the greatest partnership ever!” Umar was alive again. He’d found something to live for. Something to give him a real challenge.
Umar used his other pen to add a few clauses to the contract while A.G. watched and guided where necessary. Once he was done, he signed the dotted line and handed the contract back to A.G. with a smile.
“From all that just went on, it is quite clear to me that James Archibong is not your real name. Seeing as we’re going to be partners for the foreseeable future, I’d like to know your real name.”
“You can call me A.G.”
“A.G.? What on earth does that mean?” A.G. was still miffed at being played by Umar. He tried his best to sound as unfazed as possible.
“Shut up,” he spat.
“Please, I’d love to know. I’m sure it stands for something regal-sounding and meaningful.” Umar patronized. A.G. stared at Umar intently as if wondering what part of his face to punch. He spoke in a whisper.
“You must not laugh. I am codename Actor Guy.” It was pure reflex: Umar broke into raucous laughter and was about to say something which A.G. immediately figured would be an ill-advised joke. More irate than ever, A.G. halted him.
“Shut up!” A.G. yelled.