The back and forth between King Edem and Java through Polycarp was reminiscent of two kings unwilling to trust each other though they were aware that they needed each other’s help to succeed in crushing their enemies.
King Edem might have prayed for a chance to carryout his vendetta on Morg and his whore wife, but there was no way he was just going to hand over his cache of money, unknown by the government.
All his publicly known assets, liquid and otherwise, had been confiscated, but he still had a trick or two up his sleeves. Even though everyone in the organized crime community had given him a wide berth when he’d been caught, there was still one inconsequential person who still handled his matters outside.
“Tell your cousin to visit me next weekend,” he said to Polycarp and was in time to see the wide smile on the bulky prisoner’s face.
“You won’t regret this, boss,” Polycarp enthused, “I’ll send word out immediately.”
King Edem grunted and looked around the prison yard, reminding himself that he was going to be here all his life because of all the people he had killed. But he sneered at the back of a passing warden, this place couldn’t stop him from killing more people, old man Eket could attest to that.
When the call came in later that night, Java shoved off from his chair and danced to no music but the happy thumps of his heart.
He knew he would have made a comical sight to whoever happened upon him dancing like a typical white guy and especially to no music at all.
Java was 5.8ft tall, fair in complexion, lean muscled, complete with six pack abs definition, a full sleeve tattoo on his left arm and wore thick lenses. He was the complete appearance of a soft rich kid and really, he was…or had been.
His father had flushed away his mother’s inheritance in bad investments and he’d only been saved because his late mother had preserved his own money, separate from the one his father had squandered.
Java’s real name was Desmond Otobong Udom and his father had disowned him because he’d refused to release his inheritance to him. Java had been afraid that he would squander his money too.
But he had gone and squandered his money by himself when he’d entered a business agreement with Udo Ebenezer; apparently he was really his father’s son.
The man had looked sincere and had delivered his promise on the thirty percent increase on his investments, consecutively, over seven months.
So, Java had stupidly and greedily given him all his money and the guy had vanished from the face of the earth, disappearing with Java’s ten million.
He hadn’t been the only person he had duped; they’d been other rich kids and some business men. In total, Udo Ebenezer fled with over a hundred million naira and nobody knew where he’d vanished to.
When he’d gone to his workplace, a new generation bank where they’d had most of their meetings, he’d been informed that Udo Ebenezer wasn’t their staff and had never been.
It had made no sense. Java had always met up with him at the bank; he’d seen his plastic I.D hanging from his neck over his impeccable tie and banker suit. He had always appeared to come out from the recess of the banking hall to meet him and the meetings had always been brief.
Udo Ebenezer had always seemed busy and perpetually answering calls pertaining to other people’s investments. He had seen him help out one or two customers who were having difficulty at the bank, he had witnessed him speak with one or two of the bankers, dressed as he was and hanging I.Ds too.
After the revelation, he had realized that those people had probably been his con group. They had played them a long con.
The house Java had visited Udo Ebenezer on several occasions was empty and the people around had no idea of his where about. They told Java and the other equally duped people that the house belonged to a man who lived abroad. When Udo Ebenezer had moved in, they’d just assumed the man must have rented the place out to him.
What Java couldn’t understand was how he’d managed to consistently deliver thirty percent increase on his investment, over the seven months he’d been investing for him, as well as to the other duped people.
Java hadn’t been able to return to his father who had his own problems with the people he’d lost their money. And he’d not been able to go to the police since Udo Ebenezer had warned that some of his investments hadn’t been legal. The criminal had only deigned to give this warning after he’d already invested the money and Java had been begun receiving returns.
He’d been nicknamed Java by his fellow rich kid friends when they’d discovered the things he could do with a laptop and internet. Just for fun, he had once hacked into the bank close to his house and went through the account profiles of customers and workers alike.
As at that time, he’d still had his money and his mother’s death had still be fresh in his head, as well as her advises to him; so he hadn’t done anything like steal from people’s account.
Java had a deep fear of going to prison, which was why he’d never considered a criminal career…until he’d been rendered penniless and hungry for months.
He had sold most of his cloths and his mother’s jewelry, the ones he father hadn’t already sold, to get by and when he’d finally fallen in with the wrong crowd of Lagos hackers, he’d had no choice but to steal people’s money.
Lagos was a dangerous place for a hacker. The computer nerds were as smart as the law officials and snitches were tenacious.
The decision to leave Lagos had come after the usual hackers’ hangout had been raided on information. Not everyone had been arrested but names had been confessed and arrests had been made.
Java had hidden from the public for almost a month and when he’d thought it safe, he had gathered the little money he’d stolen, grabbed more of his mother’s jewelry from the family safe and returned to his mother’s family home at Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
He had been glad that they’d been no relatives occupying the house. And he’d been glad to reconnect with the only young relative he’d met, Polycarp, who insisted on introducing him as his cousin when Java’s mother had been an only child.
Polycarp had said it would be easier than explaining their distant relationship. Java was just glad that he had someone he could relate with comfortably, someone that was affable and willing to help him get used to the strange town. He’d only been here a couple of times when he’d been younger and now, he needed to worry about what he’d do for work.
Everything had been rosy until Polycarp had gotten arrested with a group of marijuana selling dudes and he’d ended in prison.
In fear, Java had once again been reminded of the raid at Lagos and had returned to hiding. On one of those days, he’d become so bored he’d risked returning into cyber space, a thing he’d sworn he’d never do again.
But after seeing a movie featuring money trails, he’d gotten an idea.
Udo Ebenezer had once given him an account of his just to show he was trust worthy. After he’d vanished with his inheritance, Java had hacked that bank’s profile and found the account but it had been empty. In frustration, he’d given up.
With motivation from the movie, he risked returning to cyber space, hacked into the account. Excitedly, and shockingly easily, he’d been able to follow a trail, the amount hadn’t even been up to a million but it had surprisingly led him to several other accounts that held different names but had Udo Ebenezer’s passport.
He had been shocked to find a school account which listed Udo Ebenezer as proprietor.
Flummoxed, he’d asked around and was directed to the one year old school that was the rave in Uyo. And further online searches had shown him the state of the art fixtures in the school and a grinning Udo Ebenezer who promised parents quality education for their children and safety.
Hacking into the school account again, he’d wanted to clean out the money in it but had discovered that the account held no more than three hundred thousand at a time.
Java had been confused until he realized that the school account was probably a dummy account…a sham. Udo Ebenezer as the con man that he is was probably kept an unknown account where all the school funds were funneled into.
For days, Java roamed his mother’s family home, a dank, massive bungalow with eight rooms, restless and furious and for the first time, he wanted to kill Udo Ebenezer. He worried about it, imagining different scenarios of murdering the con man.
And for the first time, he missed his ‘cousin’, Polycarp; his street wise relative would have known what to do or how to go about it.
He obsessed about it until he went back online and after three nights, he was able to hack the school system, but he was only privy to names of staffs and pupils; nothing on the site indicated where Udo Ebenezer was hiding the bulk of the money.
While still browsing through the school site, he came across names of outstanding pupils from the previous terms, two brothers made the list. At least he assumed they were brothers, since they shared the same middle and surname – Morgan Ekpembe.
The name rang an insistent bell in his mind, but no matter how he wracked his brain, he couldn’t recall where he’d seen that name.
After months of staying away and having acknowledged that he couldn’t do anything to Udo Ebenezer, at least, not alone and without money, Java went to visit Polycarp in prison.
The guy didn’t look the worse for wear. Polycarp was on the huge side and he looked the same, except he was locked up. He also still had his sunny disposition and was able to grin at Java when he saw him.
When the initial pleasantries ended and Polycarp asked why he looked so down, Java poured out his woes to his cousin.
“So, what do you need to fuck this guy up?” Polycarp asked seriously.
Java dared not laugh at the preposterousness of the question. What would his cousin be able to do from prison? But he answered him anyway for the fun of sharing his vendetta with someone sympathetic to his plight.
“I want my money back, first of all and most importantly. But I also want to expose him for the thief he is; I want to destroy his life as he did mine,” he had replied fiercely.
Then he sighed forlornly, “But that would take elaborate planning and it would need a lot of muscle since I can’t just hack my way to my money, he has it hidden somewhere and those needed muscles would have to be paid. In fact, following him up and knowing his schedule needs much money,” he finished tiredly.
Polycarp grunted and thought for a several minutes, “Come visit me again in two days; there’s something I need to confirm before knowing if I can help.”
“Okay,” Java had replied without much faith.
But two days later, he had gone back to see his cousin who’d been excited to report that he could actually help.
“So, there’s this guy…”
And Polycarp had told him about King Edem and how he came to be arrested and the criminal’s personal vendetta against the agent that caused his arrest.
Java had wondered how this would help him, but he’d perked up when Polycarp had mentioned Morgan Ekpembe. He didn’t just recall the boys in Udo Ebenezer’s school site but where he’d first encountered the name.
The arrest of the most wanted criminal kingpin in the south had made both local and national news. And while he’d been surfing the web back then, several online news popups had carried the news with praises for the DSS agent who’d done outstanding work in a Nigeria that was largely corrupt.
“Well, this is even better than what I’d planned. I was thinking we could con the man out of his money with the pretense that we know where to find Morgan Ekpembe, since King Edem had a price on his head. But you actually know where he is, or better yet, where his kids are. This would surely make him release the hidden money everybody says he has.”
“I thought all his assets had been confiscated?” Java had asked.
“There’s rumor that he paid a good sum to have his former business partner who’d testified against him killed in prison. And he’d sent out an anonymous price for anyone who killed Morgan Ekpembe, but at the time, all underground connections were giving King Edem a wide berth since the DSS were still sniffing out his associates.”
“Polycarp, I…I don’t want to hurt kids,” he’d whispered to his cousin, his eyes flashing through his thick glasses at the wardens standing around the visiting area. He knew he needed resources to go after Udo Ebenezer, but to hurt kids for money was way out of his league.
“You won’t have to, the muscles I’ll provide for you will do that,” Polycarp had said with a huge grin.
“But I’m not a criminal, I don’t even look like one. How am I supposed to command your army of muscles by myself?” he’d asked worriedly; seriously, how would his cousin even be able to provide him muscle from prison?
“When we get to that bridge, we’ll cross it. For now, I’ll give you a number to call. Shaggy is a bad guy, he’ll be able to help you gather the muscles and keep them in line. Besides, I’ve fed them stories about how bad you’d been at Lagos,” he said with a grin.
Java had still been very worried, “I’ve not even agreed to do this and you’re making plans. What did you say about me?”
Polycarp shrugged, “Nothing much, just that your innocent look is a deceiving front and that your tattoo is really the true reflection of what you are…a bad guy!” he had finished with a flourish and laughed, clearly enjoying himself.
“Whatever, I’ll think about it,” Java had grumbled, wondering how he’d gotten himself into this mess.
“There’s no time for thinking; I thought you wanted to get your inheritance back. You’re going to be a mommy’s boy and allow a cunny-man to walk away with your ten mill?” he’d asked snidely.
And Java’s old insecurities had come hurtling to the fore of his mind. The insecurities that had led him to get the full sleeve tattoo in the first place, just so he wouldn’t look so gullible and vulnerable with his fair skin and thick glasses.
He had been tired of being called an ‘ajebutter’ in school and had gotten the tattoo to his mother’s dismay. And then he’d joined a gym and a personal trainer had wiped him into shape. The mean look and attitude, he’d practiced in front of his mirror.
But all those things had occurred when he’d been a privileged son of millionaires. Now he was really in the streets, the ghetto and he was afraid it wasn’t just enough to look tough.
Agreeing to Polycarp’s plan seemed to be working though. And after several back and forth messages between himself and the terrifying King Edem, the imprisoned crime boss wanted a face to face meeting; Polycarp was sure he would release the funds.
Java was happy for success so far as he’d never thought their bogus plan would work. But after the instant joy had passed, he returned to his seat and worried about the crime boss seeing through the hoax.
Because no matter the stories Polycarp told about him, he wasn’t a criminal. No matter that he had mastered the look and attitude of a mean guy, while still wearing his thick glasses, since he couldn’t see without them…deep down he knew that he wasn’t a criminal.
DUCT SEASON 4 continues
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