The Big Man 2
Cautiously, I nicked the prostitute’s purse and hung around to hear the random comments from the crowd. Nothing worth noting.
I finally tore myself away from the crowd, before the police came in. I made my way to ShopRite, where I roamed around, lost in thought. Nothing made sense to me anymore.
I dialed my wife again. “Hey”, she chirped, too lively for my liking. “Hey,” I replied. “How is the day going?”
“Fine, fine!” she replied, which that infuriating cheerfulness. “When are you coming home?”
I scowled. “Soon, love. Soon.”
“Okay…” I heard the hesitation in her voice, so I asked “what’s up?” “Nothing, really.” There was a low voice in the background. “I just got lost in thought. Come back soon, sweetie!” and the line went dead in my hands. I shrugged. I leaned against a wall, and finally opened the prostitute’s wallet. I found about N3,000 in loose change, which I added to my wallet, and kept on rummaging. Her driver’s license told me she was 28 (I already knew her name was Sophia Oyeleke – I just preferred to refer to her as ‘the prostitute). There was a scrunched up tissue paper which I was sure carried loads of the AIDS virus, and finally, a badly squeezed piece of paper at the corner of the purse. I carefully pried it out, and folded it open.
On it was written the words WADDER. I studied the paper for some time, and was about to discard it when I saw another barely legible scribble, obviously written so that it would not be easily seen. It read “The G A M E, 14:23).
There was no date, but I decided to take my chance that it was today. I checked my watch. It was 12:30 pm. Less than two hours to go. Time to find WADDER and the G A M E.
Daw Red coughed, and flung the cigarette stick away. Christ, he really needed to stop smoking that shit. His lung trouble was getting bad.
He straightened his shiny green suit, patted his blonde hair and strolled into ShopRite. ShopRite was the perfect cover. Hundreds of people flocked in daily, and no one gave them a single notice. True, there were security cameras all over the place, but it was just routine shots, nothing detailed. Plus the Nigerian police was inept as fuck.
Yesterday, he had come here, as was his tradition, to play the free games at the G A M E, and exchanged the package with that dumb whore, Sophe. Unfortunately, she never made it, and called later in the evening to say she had a new client come into town. Bitch.
So now, he had to go back to ShopRite and wait again. Deciding to kill some time, he was coming two hours early to check out the perimeter and play some games. Really, it was just to play the games.
As he walked into ShopRite’s building, he ran into a strange guy in really wide pants. The man seemed pretty much in a hurry, and Daw Red took no notice of it. He waltzed into the G A M E, flashed his ID card, and sat at one of the consoles.
He hoped to God that the bitch wouldn’t ruin his day for the second time in a row.
I’m an idiot sometimes.
After wasting a lot of time outside, I finally found out that the G A M E was just a small building occupying the same place as ShopRite. If only I had asked questions from the beginning. The time read 14:15 when I arrived. I got into ShopRite again and walked to the G A M E.
The attendant there asked for my ID, which I provided. As she was logging in my information, I noticed a name. Daw Red. Since non-Nigerians frequented the place, I thought nothing of it.
I sat beside a guy in a green suit, and began to play one of the free games on display. I was disinterested.
14:23 arrived, and my phone’s alarm (I had set it previously) began to ring.
As I tried to stop its shrill rings, a guy in a green suit glanced at me, then at his watch and finally at the doorway. I could almost hear him curse, “fuck”, then continue playing his game.
I studied him. He seemed to have lost interest in the game. He glanced at me again, and saw that I was staring directly at him.
He stood up abruptly, and stormed out of the game centre. I wasn’t sure whether to follow him or not.
The attendant said “Daw Red, hey, where you dey go?”. I heard him say “fuck” again, and break into a run.
I sat there for some time, thinking: Daw Red. WADDER. WAD DER. DAW RED. Even in my morose state, I could see how his name made up this anagram.
I stood up and chased the stranger like my life depended on it.