Here is the 3rd episode of The Poisoned Chalice written by Olarinde Samuel. Enjoy!
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Ada wiped the coke off her nose with one hand and held her phone to the ear with the other; funds were running low, she desperately needed cash. She’d made a lot from the research and her job as a stripper in the lesbian club in New York City, but she blew all her earnings twice as fast on her addiction; she soon learned the fine art of blackmail,and she learned fast.
“Listen to me, and listen real good. If that bitch comes to you and I’m not there; your wife’s phone is going to get some calls from me Law, and it’s not going to be pretty the things I plan on saying to her. You don’t want to mess with me I promise you.”
Lawson was shocked.
“What do you want with her Ada? And you’re threatening me, I thought you guys are friends; I thought we were friends!”
Ada laughed hysterically.
“I am not friends with no dumb-ass like you. You’re just a means to an end, and if you don’t serve your purpose, there’s going to be hell to pay. Let me walk you through this; you’re not carrying out no test, she can’t have no baby. If you’re as smart in your head as you are on bed; you better make damned sure you find a way to help her lose herchild when she shows up, or you’ll be finding a lawyer to help you keep some boxers and a shirt when your wife’s done with you. I know about the prenuptial, I know your sick ass is a paedophile, and I sure as hell hope that you still remember how you moaned like a dog when I let you in my cookie jar. #500,000 to my account before noon tomorrow, and make sure I get a call when my friend decides to show up.” She dropped the call and inhaled the rest of the powder at a go. Doyin couldn’t be married; she couldn’t have babies.
“We belong to each other ‘D’, you promised…”
Doyin’s stomach was beginning to bulge slightly, her appointment with Dr. Lawson was already a month overdue but she kept procrastinating.
“Eight weeks” he’d told her while she held on to Ada’s hand in the consultation room; “once the fetus is eight weeks old, the genotype can be determined.”
She desperately wanted to know; but almost as much as she longed to know, she was afraid to know. She had imagined Ada would pick a fight when she found out she was yet to go back to the Doctor’s, but the latter took it all in stride; “No pressure love, whenever you’re ready, I’ll call. him and book another appointment” she’d said when they got around to talking about the test.
She got out of bed and had her bath quickly, she was really becoming lazy. A month had passed since she last got to her boutique in the heart of town, and she knew very well that her girls could not be trusted. A little after an hour of trying different clothes on, she settled for a lose fitting gown that concealed her tummy and still managed to look sexy.
“Where is it now?” she thought aloud as she rummaged through her handbag to get her iphone, it was 10:31amalready. “Hello Bose, how are you? I’m coming in to check on you today” she continued after exchanging pleasantries with the female voice on the other end of the line.
“Please balance your books well, and don’t be telling me stories when I get there”.
“Yes madam” the other lady replied curtly before she dropped the call.
“Wo bo se drop call nigbati mo si nsoro lowo, onibaje ni girl yi sha (Look how she dropped the call while I was still speaking, this girl is so insolent). I have to take this up with Hassan again, I don’t know why he keeps playing devil’s advocate for these useless girls anyways” Doyin ranted speaking to no one in particular. She checked herself out in the mirror one last time and made for the stairs. As she opened the door still thinking of which car to go out in, the gate opened and Folake drove in.
************************“Calm down, you’re freaking out Flakey!” Doyin had to scream as Folake continued to muddle her words amidst heavy sobs. “Whatever is the matter, stop crying and talk to me for the love of God.” She said withgenuine concern when her friend stopped crying for a moment.
“It’s Hassan” Folake replied. Doyin’s heart leaped to her mouth.
“What’s wrong with him?” She shot back immediately with horror written all over her face.
“He’s going to lock him up”; Folake was crying again.
Doyin was confused. Hassan always discussed everything with her and until sleep claimed her the night before, there was no talk of locking anyone up, or getting locked up. “Who is locking who up?” Come on pull yourself together and tell me what exactly is going on here!”.
The police officer struggled not to shiver in the coldness of the office as he watched the huge man his superiors called ‘oga’ pacing the large room.
Hassan creased his brow as another drop of sweat fell from his forehead. Memories flooded through his mind, he could see the smirk on his step-brother’s face even as he looked into the expressionless face of the man who was once shared the same office with him. He sat before Uche and made no attempt to hide the indignation in his voice.
“How could you? Money? Because of money, you endanger millions of lives and put all that I built from scratch in jeopardy? You’ve done the one thing I detest the most, you lied.”
He got up again and walked to the corner; watching the beautiful scenery from his view always helped him calm his nerves, but not today.
“This would be your last day as a freeman, lock this good-for-nothing miscreant up!” Hassan screamed ashe stormed out of the room after overturning the large table.
Uche’s face showed the first trace of fear since his misdeeds had been discovered. “I’ll call his bluff” he’d told himself when the men from the police force had shown him hard incriminating evidence.
Hassan sometimes got hot-blooded, but Uche knew his friend to be a shrewd business-man. Locking a business partner up was bad for business, but locking his very good friend up would be pushing the limits.
The law enforcement agents bundled him out of the room, hitting him every step of the way. He looked around, grateful that it was a Saturday; it would have been a spectacle if the workers were around to witness his humiliation.
*****************“Doyin, you have no idea what I hide under this make-up; Uche is the worst decision I have made in my entire life.”
Doyin was amazed at her friend’s revelation, to think that Uche could be such a devil…Fraud, infidelity and even domestic violence? She found it difficult to believe a man as innocent-looking as her friend’s husband could beculpable of such hedious acts.
“It’s going to be okay Flakky, I’ll speak with my husband and see what I can do.” Folake smiled as tears gathered in her eyes yet again.
“I hope you’re right Doyin, I hope it becomes ‘okay’. Hassan is very upset, and he has every right to be. It took me some time to find out, but that thoughtless short man I had the misfortune of falling in love with is a disaster waiting to happen.”
Doyin held her close. They had not spent time together in months and this was a far cry from an ideal ‘re-union’ but she was glad she could offer her friend some succor. She silently made a commitment to do everything within her power to remedy Folake’s situation though she wasn’t sure how easy it would be.
They ate Hassan’s breakfast and made jest of his cooking skills when Folake lightened up a little. As she rose to leave, she looked at Doyin again with pleading eyes. “Fikayomi is just 2 Doyin, I didn’t ask God for the grace of a single parent, and I don’t want him to grow up knowing his father as a convict.’
*********************“Hassan, do you trust me?”“Yes I do.” He’d replied with all the sincerity of an 8year old.“I have to tell you the truth, I’m like your father now that dad is dead. Your mum…Well, she was a very bad woman. You were young when they separated but dad told me, you know he tells me everything don’t you?” Hassan nodded sheepishly, not sure he really understood what his step-brother was saying.
Gregory smiled, he had the little boy exactly where he wanted him. Hassan and his mother were something; black magic just didn’t work on them. They’d tried everything; Gregory’s mother wanted to kill the little boy, but Greg was smarter, he knew Hassan would be useful someday and that day had now come.
Carol was their maid and Gregory, her son tended the flowers. Hassan was 5, there was a big fight that night. His father yelled at his mother so much Hassan had to escape and take cover in his room. Then he heard his motherscreaming; he ran in and her face was battered.
“If I ever set my eyes on you again, you’re a dead woman” his father yelled before storming out of the room. Hassan cried and cried till he fell asleep in his mother’s arms. When he woke up the day after, she was gone.
Three years later, Hassan had learned to accept Gregory as his step-brother. But even though Greg’s mother started sharing his father’s room the day after his mother disappeared, he never called her mother.
“Your mum cheated on dad, she slept around too much and dad couldn’t take it anymore.” Gregory scrolled through his phone and produced a picture.
“See”, he said bending to Hassan’s height to show him a picture of his mother and a man kissing.
“Your mum is bad Hassan, when she comes for you, don’t go with her.”
The angry curses of other road users and their blaring horns jerked Hassan back to consciousness. “Oga, you wan sleep for road? If you no get where you dey go abeg clear make we move!” One man took his time to give him a piece of his mind. Hassan apologized and drove slowly to his home wondering how long the traffic light had turned green before he came out of his reverie.
At 38, he was yet to forgive himself for believing the lie that sent his mother to her grave.
“Why did you have to do it Uche?” he muttered under his breath.
************************Doyin greeted her husband with a hug and a full kiss as was her custom. He collapsed on the sofa and tried to smile for her but failed woefully.
“I know what happened love, but you have to forgive him” she started gently getting on her knees, “Folake was here and I know how terribly hurt you must feel Hassan. I know you’ve lost a fortune but he’s your friend, and he’s her husband, and it’s not a nice thing to do if you imprison your business partner. It could…”
“That’s where you all get it wrong” Hassan cut in coolly. He got up and walked away from her kneeling figure so she got up and turned to face him too; his voice was calm, it was too calm. Doyin felt naked before him as his eyes looked into hers like he could see through her; all her secrets.
“You see, I don’t care about the business, or the fortune that’s been lost.” He carried on from a corner in the spaciousliving room. “Profit can plummet for all I care, those things don’t mean much to me…” His eyes were blazing fire now, and his voice was cold.
“I care about loyalty, trust. Once it’s shattered, there’s no going back. I can forgive incompetence, even stupidity. But a lie, to my face? I can’t stomach a lie from anyone. When those that I call friends, when family lies to me Doyin, I better not find out!”
Doyin had never imagined her heart could beat so fast, she had never seen her loving husband show so much hate, so much disgust.
“Do you know what lies do Doyin? They destroy lives, they tear families apart. Shoot me, curse me, insult me, even steal from me, but never ever look me in the eyes and tell me a lie! I can’t forget a lie, I can never forgive it!” Hassan continued but Doyin heard no more.
Tears streamed down her face as her mind recounted all her secrets; all the lies. The nights she’d passed in Ada’s place, her genotype, the contraceptives, if he ever found out; the baby… What if it was a sickler, Hassan would never forgive her. Her vision got hazy, there was pain in her chest.
“Doyin, Doyin”; she heard a voice akin to Hassan’s from a distance as she struggled for breath before the room whirled suddenly and the light went out. Her eyes closed and a bewildered Hassan watched his pregnant wife as she hit the floor with a loud thud before he could reach her.
OLARINDE SAMUEL is a Human Resource Professional. He possesses a strong passion for finding something good and making it better. He is innovative and always willing to make a positive change through his craft as a writer. He is set to lead the third charge into finding answers to the mystery of the Poisoned Chalice.