Special thanks to those who took out time to drop comments after reading. This story is being followed by thousands of readers but it’s sad they just read and keep moving without a word of encouragement for the writers. And this is why I do not joke with the commenters on this blog. You are the real MVP. Thank you so much.
The Poisoned Chalice ends today with the last episode written by one of the prolific writers I know – Lekan ‘Linkin’ Olofinji…Enjoy!
Click HERE for all episodes of ‘The Poisoned Chalice””
After listening to Pastor Poju’s message on “The end thereof…” on his way back from work, Lawson realized he couldn’t continue living the lie he had lived for years. The Pastor’s incisive message was a direct appeal to his conscience. Lawson’s heart took a quantum leap from the echoes of Pastor Poju’s voice in his head. Little wonder he had stopped at the Area G Police Command en route his house
The laced strings that held his life bound were beginning to fall to pieces. His sinful ways had forged a malignant empire in his heart that he was beginning to see his sins crawl in his skin. For someone that had become born again from the day he knew the meaning of the word, it was hard to fathom how much he had slipped far from his Christian beliefs and standards that he couldn’t view them from a distance anymore, not even with the aid of binoculars. The guilt he felt in his heart was so terrible that he feared only one out of the holy trinity still had faith in him
He knew he stood no chance with his wife, not with the prenuptial agreement neither did he stand a chance with Ada. Stephanie would ensure he left the face of the earth without a pin for an asset. Either ways his life was finished.
Albeit, why continue on a crooked path whose end both on earth and beyond can only be tragic?
Why postpone death and continue enduring the venomous torture from Ada’s stings when he could just slip to obscurity in the fastest possible time which would save him further heartaches and misery. At least he could guarantee he would rest in peace if he did settle scores with God. But to continue to have dealings with Lucifer’s high priestess was tantamount to suicide. His close alliance with the whore of hades Keeper was an eternal dent on his supposed well-grounded Christian background.
Lawson thought he was hearing clearly from God like he did hear him speak to him in his early days as a believer, though there was a difference to how God spoke to him this time. In those days when Lawson dedicated his whole life to the Lord’s vineyard it felt like God did speak to him from a megaphone, so there was no way he would have faltered. What Lawson heard now felt like a whisper in the wind…a whimper!
“Whatever direction the wind chooses to blow or the path the road meanders towards, I have become resolute not to leave without a fight.” Lawson concluded under his breath even though he doubted his own words.
While at the Area ‘G’ Command, Lawson disclosed all he knew about Ada’s criminal tendencies and past time to Inspector Ahmed- his childhood friend. He told on her even though he knew it would mean the revocation of his medical license. A more devastating fate awaited him at the home front not even with his American bred wife. It was a dead end! Yet the best decision of his miserable life.
Ada had a history of substance abuse, blackmail and drug trafficking but Inspector Ahmed couldn’t rely solely on viva voce and some random text messages to nail Ada. So with the help of Inspector Ahmed, Lawson came up with a plan.
Having listened to Pastor Poju’s message on his car stereo, it dawned on him that his new disposition to life wasn’t a day late and a dollar short as he had made himself to believe. How could it be when God had handpicked him for a revival?
“I feel this is my last opportunity to get things right and amend my ways. It doesn’t matter how things turn out as long as I hear him say those words to me on the last day”;
“This is my beloved son in whom I’m well pleased. Come thither Lawson! “
Lawson continued to day dream with reckless abandon. His thoughts raced to places he had long forgotten. His soul had been born anew. He was playing the victim, the villain and the hero.
Lawson momentarily forgot where he was or what he was up to though his hands were firmly rooted on his hand wheel, his right leg slightly on the throttle and eyes seemingly on the road.
A shabbily dressed middle aged man behind the wheels of an old and rickety Volvo station wagon blared his worn out horns loudly behind Lawson’s Toyota highlander. Though his being was driving along the Area G police command road, Lawson’s mind was where he was 2 weeks earlier. For a moment, he thought he was in the Calabash stadium in Johannesburg watching a local match between Kaizer chiefs and Orlando Pirates, surrounded by a groupof Vuvuzela blowing fans. That was what the honking translated to in his mind’s eye.
The man blared his horn dangerously yet again, cursing this time. He pulled up his Volvo proximate to Lawson’s car.
“Ogbeni! Oh Mad ni? Why you dey use your blood money car stroll for road? Na only you them build the road for? Abi you no like as traffic no dey this road today? E be like say na you Ambode mobile court go first use do example”
The man’s rants finally brought Lawson out of his prolonged revelry. It was then he realized he had been driving and not watching a match like he thought.
“Oga no vex abeg!”
“Gerrarahia joor!” The man shunned his apologies. He slammed his leg on the throttle and his car’s engine revved in protest. In a few seconds the rickety Volvo station wagon was out of sight
Lawson’s was surprised that the man’s hateful outburst had not gotten to him as much as it would have on an ordinary day. That was the least of his problems. At least his mission for that day was complete. He took the bend to his right as he drove home in one peace
“I thought I had this fool under my clout” Ada fumed. She threw her phone carelessly on the bed. Her face wrinkled in displeasure like some fowl-scratch marks on the ground. She still could not understand why Lawson had not returned her call or replied her messages. She picked her phone from the hopeless position it was beginning to find comfort in on the bed. She called his line for the umpteenth time yet no response. This time Ada’s anger seemed to surge through the pores of the skin on her face like a virus. Then her phone rang sending shock waves through her spine. It had been sudden, unexpected. Lawson had finally decided to return her call. Ada picked the call immediately like her life depended on it.
“Lawson ! How dare you? You wanna play ball with me, huh? You seem not to have learnt your lessons.” The words came cascading out of her buccal cavity like a pack of wolves let on the loose in the wilds after many years in captivity…The man at the receiving end rendered incommunicado the whole time.
After 5 minutes of back and forth conversation on phone, Ada disconnected the line without warning.
She looked into space as she tried to comprehend what it was that gave Lawson the effrontery to call her bluffs.
“Wait a minute! Am I missing something here? Are there loopholes in my strategy now? Who is Lawson to dictate the pace at which I saunter? I’m gonna shock the douchebag!” She picks her phone to call him?
“Wire the 200k”
“Remember that’s the last cash I will ever give you.”
“Whatever fool! Just wire the money” Ada knew she had lost yet another cash cow the moment she ended the call. This wasn’t a good sign.
It didn’t come as a surprise to Lawson when he stumbled on Ada having a tete a tete with his wife. Ada was letting Mrs Lawson in on her husband’s deepest secret. The die was cast!
After Lawson’s wife had ordered Ada out of her house following the discovery, Lawson expected the worse from her as she stormed into their bedroom. Lawson had been hiding there all through Ada’s scandalous revelations. He had been bracing himself up for his wife’s onslaught. He felt like a condemned man whose neck had been placed in a guillotine awaiting the deadly blade that will decapitate his head.
He knelt before his wife looking more sober than a child that was born without a silver spoon caught stealing meat from his mama’s pot.
“I’m sorry Steph, I was going to tell you about it? I was just too scared to tell…”
“Just shut the fuck up! You lying two-faced cheating bastard!” She cuts in. “
“Our marriage should never have been. Look I’m going to sweep this under the carpet but know that it will be hard for me to trust you ever again”
“Please Steph forgive me. I’m ready to do all it takes to right my wrongs.” Lawson sprawled on his knees not leaving the floor for one second. He begged his wife profusely till he was lost for words
“Just get your filthy body out of here. We are not sleeping in the same room tonight. In fact I can’t stand the stench emanating from your cheating and hideous ways right now. Just leave!” Mrs Lawson screamed so hard that her husband cringed in fright. Lawson was reduced to tears…tears and sweat rained torrentially across the entire length of his face. He was broken!
“Honey, whatever decision you take on this matter just please don’t leave me”
“Who the fuck is your honey and who said anything about leaving? This is my home, my marriage… you think I’m gonna throw away 5 years just because of that slimy bitch and your gross infidelity? Lawson, if you know what’s good for you, you would leave my sight before something really bad happens.”
Lawson slowly rose from his downtrodden position on the floor of their room as he makes his way out of the room.
Mrs Lawson picked her phone to dial a number as soon as Lawson left her presence
“Hello. Brian are you still in the country?”
“I need you to do to one dirty job for me before you leave”
“You need me to threaten someone?”
“It’s a lot more serious than that. I need you to draw blood”
“Yup, someone just messed with the wrong bitch.”
Inspector Ahmed and his team of police officers at the area G police command had been keeping a close surveillance on Ada since Lawson gave them a lead. However there was a problem; Ada’s drug dealer was a known drug lord whom Inspector Ahmed has dealings with. Clamping down on Ada on the spot would mean implicating a man who paid royalty to the Area G police command. That would never happen as long as Inspector Ahmed remained in the police force.
“Biggety is my niccur. He is above the law. I suppose we only have axe to grind with Ada; the bitch who has turned my childhood friend to her maga” Those were his exact words to Lawson the day he explained his mission and how he and his officers hoped to perfect the plan they had tagged “Operation nail Ada.”
Of course Lawson had to pay his dues asides being an old friend of the Inspector.
The team of policemen swooped in on Ada from their hiding place immediately she finished her transactions with Biggety. Ada had been caught with 3.5grams of cocaine she had bought with the last cash Lawson sent to her. It was a done deal!
Stephanie’s recent manic displays unsettled Lawson, he was finding it difficult to get anything tangible done at the hospital. Though Ada had finally been put behind bars, he still was finding a hard time coming to terms with his wife’s uncompromising behavior. The charismatic lady was left unshaken by the recent turn of events and had continued performing her wifely duties regardless, though she was cold towards Lawson and acted strange a times. Lawson still did not feel comfortable. He had expected the worse, this definitely wasn’t the Stephanie he knew or had God decided to look beyond his sins and past transgression in an attempt to give him a new lease of life? Since he had decided to turn a new leaf he concluded that his wife’s forgiving heart was divine. Lawson took a glance at the digital wall clock in his office. “Whew! It’s past five already?” It was time to leave the office
As Lawson settled into his Toyota highlander, he suddenly realized his work was not complete yet. He needed to do one last thing to get a chance at redemption. He needed to send a message to Doyin to apologize for the ills his actions caused her. He had to confess his sins and make the crooked paths straight again. Ada’s arrest had taken his mind off that.
His message to Doyin was some characters away from its end when an SUV pulled over some metres from where his car was in the hospital’s parking lot. Lawson only looked up briefly before he continued to type the text message on his I-phone. He typed vigorously on his phone barring the distractions he was beginning to notice around him. Then the distractions became real. A 6-foot-5, 170-pound man wearing a tad gear military jacket, a fisherman’s cap which almost concealed his face and dark sunglasses walked daringly towards Lawson’s Toyota highlander. Lawson took his eyes off his phone’s screen momentarily. A quick glance at the intruder turned him to jelly. The fierce looking young man held a sledge hammer on his left hand and a pistol on his right. Lawson is aghast! Without much dilly-dallying, the assailant slammed the sledge hammer on the side window at the drivers’ seat where Lawson was. He then proceeded to firing three shots at Lawson in quick succession. A bullet hits Lawson’s temple and the others dislodged into his thorax. The assailant darted into the waiting bullion van.
Moments later, the assailant’s accomplice drove off recklessly at the detriment of other road users. Lawson was left in a pool of his own blood though a muscle on his hands was able to twitch his phalanges against the sent icon on his screen.
Lawson took one long but final breath to oblivion just in time to see his unfinished message delivered.
Hassan observed his wife closely as she lay comatose in her bed at the hospital. This was the first time he was seeing someone in coma and it really was strange to him. He walked out of the room in resignation.
Hassan’s mind gradually began drifting at the quiet spot he sat in the reception area. He had his own secrets too. If only he knew he would have told his wife he had forgiven her for the lies, the secrets and the hidden truth before she slipped into coma. He feared he would never have the chance to…ever again! He loved Doyin so much that the love he had for her reminded him of her mum’s
Hassan’s mum had taken the fall for him. He had killed his step brother erroneously following a confrontation that ensued between the duo. Hassan found out that Gregory and his dad had told him lies about his mum all those years she was estranged from him. They had been solely responsible for her mum’s heart problems and her miserable life.
“I pushed him away from me when he tried to attack me, he lost balance and hit his head against the wall.” That was Hassan’s mum confessional statement during her trial. It was still fresh in his memory.
Uche, who was an eye-witness at the time of the unfortunate incident, corroborated her story. Hassan’s mum got the maximum sentence in lieu of her son who was the real culprit. It was easier for her to go to prison because her Doctor had told her she had only few days to live. She hadn’t even started her prison term when she died from a cardiac arrest while being driven in a Black Maria.
Uche was the only man alive who knew Hassan and not his mum was the murderer.
Uche knew the day would come when he would use the murder incident to his favour but he didn’t expect it to be this soon. After he had threatened to tell on Hassan if he didn’t let him off the hook, Hassan decided to bury the hatchet.
Hassan was not scared of Uche’s threats, he was only afraid that his actions could spell doom for his wife who was lying in a state of coma. He was ready to make peace with anyone that had stepped on his toes, hoping that would motivate the God he had been fervently praying to, to bring his wife back to life. He needed his heartthrob back not dead but alive and he was ready to be nice and dandy to everyone and anyone who had been a jackass in his life. At that moment Uche was the least of his problems. He would deal with him at the appropriate time.
One of the nurses that had been in Doyin’s room screamed down the hospital lobby, cutting short Hassan’s line of thought. He immediately feared the worst.
Hassan lurched forward towards Doyin’s room with uncalculated steps that reminded one of King Zarkon’s hurriedly put together robots from the popular Voltron Cartoon series. Hassan braced himself for the worst. However, he was immediately stopped on his tracks by the nurse who had scampered off his wife’s room in search of the resident Doctor. That was all the information Hassan needed to come to the conclusion that Doyin would never come out of her coma. It was the end of them.
The gates of the prison were flung open as Uche walked out of it a free man following days of incarceration. He heaved a sigh of relief. He still didn’t believe he had to remind Hassan that he hadn’t forgotten the murder he committed years ago which was a more heinous crime than his offence of theft and fraud before the unyielding man broke the ice.
Uche’s joy knew no bounds immediately he spotted Folake. At first he took bold giant strides away from the mean looking officer in black who had escorted him out. Later he darted forward, towards a wife who had stood by him amid his criminal acts both at home and work. Uche and Folake locked each other in a warm embrace that seemed to last for eternity.
“Mr Hassan you can come in now”
Hassan finally gained access to Doyin’s room after a long wait. “This will be the worst moment of my life” He thought.
The last time he felt this way was during his mum’s final moments as she was being hotfooted by police officers from the court room into the Black Maria just before she passed on to the great beyond. He thought for a moment if his heart could stand losing yet another loved one in so little time. This was going to be the death of him. Suddenly his wild guesses were put to rest
“Mr Hassan, your wife has finally made it out of coma” The resident Doctor gleefully announced as Hassan stepped into the room.
“Doyin is alive!” Hassan couldn’t believe it. He watched as his wife’s eyes flicked open and her lips parted. She had finally regained consciousness. “Yes!” He exclaimed loudly, jumping into thin air like someone who had just won a lottery.
Hassan joy knew no bounds as he attempted a dive at his wife who was beaming with smiles this time, though weakly. He was immediately shielded away from her by the nurses on duty
“Mr Hassan, take it easy! You wouldn’t want her to slip into a coma again, would you?” The resident Doctor asked.
Hassan tried to downplay the euphoria that had enveloped his entity. Doyin reached out to Him. They both held hands making silent promises to each other
“I’m….sorry…for keeping…it…” She stuttered badly. It was her first attempt at speaking after coming out of her comatose state
“Ssssh! don’t say a word” Hassan hushed her.
“We all have our secrets dear. No one is ever a saint! Let’s shove the ugly past aside and look to the future with renewed hope. I know this will be pretty hard for us, considering all that has gone down but our undying love for each other would lead the way.
I love you Doyin and I will never stop loving you until the day I draw my last breath”
But she was gone!
LEKAN OLOFINJI is a creative writer with repute. He is a wide reader who possesses a wide range of knowledge in diverse subjects. He is an idealist with a knack for controversies and realism intertwined by a pinch of sarcasm.