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The Mechanics Of Yenagoa (Season 2) – VIII
Post Series: Mechanics of Yenagoa

“Reverend, I am not accusing you of anything. I’m only saying that the hospital says my sister’s husband died from something he ate or drank.”

“And that something he ate or drank came from me?” Reverend Ebizimor didn’t look up at me as he spoke. He appeared distracted by something he was looking for on his dishevelled table, and it didn’t help that his three phones kept ringing at the same time, interrupting his search. I didn’t need to look at his face to know he was mad as hell, but it didn’t deter me from stating my mission to his office that afternoon.

“I can’t say anything about what he ate, but I know he drank the water I bought from you some weeks back and then he died, just like that.” I waited for him to say something, but he remained silent, a faraway look in his eyes. “Sir, is it out of place for me to wonder about the coincidence?” I asked, hoping to grab his attention.

“What coincidence are you talking about? Look, Brother Jacob, this rubbish thing you are telling me, please don’t go and say it outside here oh, because it can land you in serious trouble before the law.”

“How do you mean it can land me in serious trouble before the law?” I summoned the courage to ask, but even before he answered I knew where he was headed.

Suddenly, I felt uncomfortable sitting there and quizzing him about Benson’s death. It made me wonder whether coming out to meet with the anointed man of God in his office was even a good idea. Something about Reverend Ebizimor had changed since my return to Yenagoa, but I couldn’t place my finger on it. He oozed power and arrogance, and I was terrified by his presence and rage in a way I had never been in the past. But as terrified as I was, I needed answers I believed only he could provide.

It bothered me that I couldn’t get Ebiakpo’s oblique words out of my head. That was why I felt compelled to embark on a troubleshooting expedition to the Reverend and general overseer of Fire for Fire Liberation Ministries four days after she and I spoke in her bedroom, not realising that I too could be in the frame for what was starting to appear to me like a case of premeditated killing.

“Ebinimi, didn’t you just confess to me that you were the last person Sister Ebiakpo’s husband visited before his unfortunate demise? Don’t you think you would be a person of interest if people decide to probe further? After all, you even have motive.”

“I have motive?” Now I was really perplexed. I had gone to him for answers but instead of the clarity I sought, Reverend Ebizimor was making me look like the bad guy.

“I believe you do,” he stopped ransacking his table for a minute, looked me in the eye and added, “Blessing told me you knew about the marriage ceremony in Port Harcourt.”

“Blessing told you what?” I was shocked my girlfriend would run her mouth to the whole world even after I begged her not to tell anyone about Benson and his new wife. I was angry Blessing couldn’t keep it a secret between us just as we agreed and it made me wonder if her loyalty was with me or with Reverend Ebizimor. It was a question I looked forward to asking her in person when she came over later at night.

“Ebinimi, you will try and leave my office now so that I can concentrate on what I am looking for. I don’t think I have time for your baby Sherlock Holmes antics this afternoon.”

“But – ”

“But what, Brother Jacob?” he barked at me. “Didn’t you read the instruction taped to the bottle?” he reached for one from underneath his table and pointed to something written in very small prints somewhere near the place  NAFDAC registration number should have been on the improvised paper wrap that carried the name of his church. “It says clearly here, like it does on all of the bottles I sell to my members, that its liquid content loses its efficacy after seven days of purchase and must be discarded. Ebinimi, you kept it for three weeks, three weeks!”

Our eyes locked, but it wasn’t until he looked away I noticed something in his body language I had never seen before – fear.

I left the Reverend’s office with my tail between my legs and headed straight to the workshop to join Saka, Biodun, BRD and Oputari. However, with what had just transpired between Reverend Ebizimor and me, there was no way I could concentrate on fixing anyone’s car. So when Aguero called to say he was on his way to the workshop, I dropped my tools, gave Saka and the other guys some instructions about the jobs on ground and the customers we were expecting, and went into the house to wait for him. I really needed the distraction.

Aguero and I hadn’t seen each other in a long while so we had a lot of catching up to do, but before we talked about cars, women and money, he asked after Ebiakpo. Like most people in Yenagoa, he also heard about her husband’s death on social media and even though he called immediately to offer his condolences, which I accepted on her behalf, he still promised a follow-up visit. And boy, was I glad he showed up when he did?

“So, have they fixed a date for the burial yet?”

“Date ke? You know how our people are about burials. It’s not something to be rushed.”

“But your brother-in-law wasn’t that old na, so I don’t think they should keep the body in the mortuary for too long.”

“When I spoke to Ebiakpo this morning, she said the family has fixed a meeting for Sunday and she wants me there with her. I think it’s in that meeting they would fix a date for the service of songs and the burial proper.”

“Oya na, make you let me know when una fix date so I go fit send my own contribution to you. And Ebinimi, if there’s any other way you’d like me to pitch in, please feel free to let me know.” When he said that, I couldn’t help but wonder if his offer to assist the family was because of me his friend, or really because of his son, Anda. Whatever was the case, I thanked him for the offer and promised to fill him in as the picture became clearer.

Not wanting to dwell on Aguero’s dalliance with my elder sister so I wasn’t tempted to give anything away, I quickly changed the subject.

“So, are you in touch with any of our lecturers?”

Aguero gave me an update on the latest happenings in school. He told me that the protracted ASUU strike meant that things were really slow and that our masters programme in NDU was sort of on hold. But my friend had become friends with almost all our lecturers and supervisors, so we had nothing to worry about. He said he sent them money every now and then, and that whenever he did, he made sure to inform them it was from both of us. To say the least, I was touched by his thoughtfulness and generosity. Even though we hadn’t seen or spoken to each other in a long time, it was nice to know Aguero still had my back.

On the issue with my ex, Adinna, since I had taken my pound of flesh, there really was no point holding on to past grudges. All was forgiven.

When I asked Aguero about her, he told me she was fine – and then he dropped the bombshell.

“You know she left me, right?”

I couldn’t believe it. Adinna was back in play! When I told him I was sorry to hear about the break-up, I didn’t mean it. I tried, but I wasn’t successful in wiping the smirk off on my face so I turned it into a question.

“What happened? You guys were so in love with each other.”

“We are still in love with each other, but she had to marry the old man.”

“What? You mean Adinna is married to Justus Woyinpereowei?”

“It was the condition he gave her for my release.”

The smirk returned, and this time I didn’t care whether Aguero noticed or not. This self-acclaimed “player” and his “playee,” had been played by the 64-year-old commissioner for Employment, Rehabilitation & Social Welfare.

 

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