Chapter 2 – Knuckle Up and Phone a Friend
So the three burly bums split up to surround him, he looked the closest in the eyes and said, “make you no say I no warn u sha” and with flicking his ankle forward, he kicked up dirt into the face of the previously laughing bum to the left of him and before the others could do anything he had crouched, then lunged forward with his head straight into the chin of the Dada guy. The impact sent him flying back as blood and teeth fell to the ground, Mr ripped jeans looked crazed and dived at Hakeem, but Hakeem saw this coming and jumped just in time, using his free hand to lunge over him pushing him to the ground. As he hit the ground Hakeem had already turned around and was kicking him in the stomach. The third guy had just cleaned the sand off his face to see both his friends in pain on the ground and said “Mehn, 5k no reach for this kind wahala oh” then turned tail and ran.
Hakeem watched him leave as he kicked the ripped jeans guy a few more times to ensure he stayed down. He then asked him “watin una want? I don dey face this kind rubbish everyday and I don tire. So answer me now! Who sent you?” and Mr ripped jeans, coughed and said “Abeg, abeg, e done do. Nah just your small bag dem say make we collect.” Hakeem kicked him again and said “Who ‘Dem’ be and how dem come know where I dey? Talk fast-fast or loose teeth like your friend”. Mr ripped jeans was obviously in a lot of pain but knew what was best for him.
He explained to Hakeem that early this morning some men in suits came up to them at the bus park close by and asked if they had seen a small boy with a small black bag. The Dada’d guy had seen him so they gave them N5,000 to go and pick up the bag, and said that they would get N10,000 each when they get back. He went on to tell Hakeem that the men were still there waiting. With this Hakeem looked up at the direction the other guy had run off to. It came to him that the bum must have been going to tell those people looking for him that he was here. With a final kick to the bums stomach he ran full speed after the guy that got away.
As he got onto the still quiet and early morning streets, he just saw the bum rounding the corner that lead to the bus park. He upped his speed and ran as fast as he could to the street corner and upon reaching it he stopped, leaning his back against it and and peeked around. He saw 5 men in suits all standing by some parked jeeps; the escapee bum was animated talking frantically to them, pointing to where he had come from. Hakeem’s back suddenly felt warm again and this time he didn’t have to guess if it was something good or bad about to happen. Frustrated and now planning on his escape plan, Hakeem saw one of the men in suits gesticulate for the bum to show them the way, however as soon as his back was turned, the man pulled out a gun and shot him without a word.
The shot wasn’t that loud for some reason, but he had heard it all the way from his distant street corner hiding spot. The men all just came together, picked up the bum and threw him in the back of one of the jeeps. They then proceeded to enter the vehicles. Hakeem’s mind was racing, and the blue rock in the bag was now glowing as bright as the time he had gotten attacked by those armed robbers, after he had stumbled into their hide out looking for somewhere to sleep. And in order to survive he had to kill a man. He knew he had to run again, but he had no idea where to, as he peeped round the corner again he saw that they were driving towards him.
He steeled his mind and was just about to start running when a car pulled up from behind him with a single man inside. The man opened the passenger side door and said, “Get in now Hakeem! Get in the car if you want to stay alive”. Hakeem was taken aback, he didn’t hear the car pull up in all his panic, and now this guy knows who he is. What was going on and how could he escape cars and guns? The man removed his glasses and said, “Please Hakeem, you can trust me, I’m Ik’s uncle Ekene. You have to get in the car before they see you.” Upon hearing his long lost friends name, Hakeem felt a little trust bubble inside him. He knew he was in trouble either way, so he jumped in.
Ekene told him to crouch down and then switched off the car, wound down the windows and lit a cigarette. “What?!” Hakeem exclaimed, “Na now you wan smoke? Those people dey find me and I know sey dem fit kill me sharp sharp”, to which Ekene just quickly shushed him and went back to casually smoking with the radio on. Just as he blew out his second plume of smoke the three jeeps pulled out of the street ahead and rounded the corner. The men in the car looked at him but drove by, as they got to the end of the road and turned right to get under the bridge. Ekene flicked away the cigarette, started the car, hit the throttle and they were off.