A SMALL OFFICE FOR THE DSS…
It was called an annex, but in reality, it was a dumping ground for rejects and mediocre agents, to curb the invariable overflow at the main office.
The annex didn’t get any big cases; they were almost lower than the police in their ranking as a security outfit. In the beginning, when the idea of the annex emerged, it was supposed to be a mechanism to motivate dawdling agents into being active again.
Great feats were not expected to come from anyone sent to the annex; therefore, agents that were sent there struggled and fought their way out with any case they were given just to prove their worth. Threats of being sent to the annex made agents alert and ready to work.
But in the past year, the trickle of reasonably important cases that had been awarded to the annex had stopped. The agents there grew bored and weary and life just went down hill for them.
And as expected, in the case of people not wanted for their expertise, they found other things to occupy themselves.
The annex had become not a mechanism of motivation but a machine of punishment. In recent times, not only rejects and mediocre agents were sent there, but brilliant agents whose crime had been over ambition or perceived insubordination.
There was no fighting chance when one got to the annex, an agent’s career was assumed over when sent to the annex. Without an explanation, cases had just stopped coming into the annex and therefore the workers there were just salary earners.
A typical morning at the annex involved cleaners cleaning half heartedly, agents trickling into the office at odd hours, some slept, some watched whatever was showing on the TV and then they went home.
Because there hadn’t been any worthwhile cases in a while, the head of the annex, who was actually a brilliant agent among others, took one look at the Okpo case file and had handed it to the most mediocre pair of agents in the history of the DSS.
Agent Timothy and agent Theophillus…
The Okpo case involved a man suspected for electronically stealing money from banks. The head agent of the annex, senior agent Ette, had no idea how that case had gotten to the annex, but he assumed that the main office probably wanted the case dead and therefore it wasn’t important.
Mike Okpo was the suspect, a wealthy looking middle aged man. And since the other smart agents knew the case would never amount to any worth, a silent vote had occurred and the valueless work had been handed to the two skinny agents…Timothy and Theophillus.
It wasn’t as though the workings at the annex would be supervised, but senior agent Ette, after years of working at the main office was well versed in the intricacies of bureaucracy. So, instead of flinging the case file onto the dusty pile at the back of the office, he arranged for the two agents to go on mild surveillance; just photographs to confirm or debunk that Mike Okpo was guilty.
A camera had been produced and the agents had been set on the trail of the supposed criminal to document his daily activities in photographs.
The agents must have misunderstood their superior because Ette kept sighing heavily as he flipped through the pile of glossy prints which they’d confidently admitted they’d taken.
Ette sighed again as he flipped another photograph and saw the front of a popular hotel, the fifth so far in the pile of ten photographs.
“I don’t understand this, Timothy, did you go sight seeing instead of surveillance on Mike Okpo?”
Timothy exchanged a telling glance with his partner, silently they wondered if their boss was okay. “We went for surveillance, sir,” he answered convincingly.
“Then why is there no single picture of Mike Okpo in this report?” Ette asked, looking at them wearily.
There was a pause of silence, where the partners exchanged another telling glance, they were both silently wondering why their boss would want Mike Okpo’s photos.
Theophillus cleared his throat and sat up, “Sir, you asked us to photograph Mike Okpo’s activities…”
“And we did just that,” Timothy completed with conviction.
“You are obviously alarmed at the number of hotels the man visited in a week, we were too. And we did also wonder what he did in these hotels,” Theophillus pointed out pensively, his frown alluding to his pondering on the issue.
While the two slow agents tasked their barely working brains, they failed to see the flabbergasted look on Ette’s face. The superior agent was at that moment wondering how the idiots before him had gotten into the DSS in the first place; they were the epitome of the height of stupidity.
Rubbing his eyes wearily, he sighed and wedged his chin on his palm, while staring at them in complete wonder; Timothy and Theophillus were really a rare breed.
“Yes sir!” they answered simultaneously and smartly.
“I gave both of you this case because, as you can see, the rest of us are busy.”
Both agents turned to stare into the small office, some people were sleeping while the rest gathered in front of the 20 inches television to catch a football game. They nodded in understanding.
“We know this, sir,” Theophillus offered apologetically, because he sensed that they might have made a mistake in the case.
“I asked to know what Mike Okpo was up to…”
“We didn’t realize you would prefer him in the photos,” Timothy interrupted in reconciliation. “I’ll make sure he gets in it this time around.”
“Yes,” Theo concurred and nodded too.
Ette stared at them and sighed heavily again, there was no better way to explain the matter to the dullards. He nodded and waved them away, there was no need to give himself a heart attack, after all, the case wasn’t important.
The moment his case file left the main office of the DSS he’d been aware. As a cyber criminal, if technology didn’t give him certain privileges, money definitely would. It was the reason he did what he did, he would never be tired of acquiring money.
Mike Okpo smiled as he lounged on his comfortable bed, the length of it occupied by different makes of laptops. He had been pilfering people’s money in kobos and one nairas, amassing his wealth, but that was no more enough, he needed the big bang.
And he knew the unknown genius that would help him. After this one, big bang operation, he would disappear into thin air and would never be heard from again…except at a different country though, or continent, he hadn’t decided yet.
There was another reason he doggedly waited for his young friends in front of their department until they got through with all their lectures…Emma.
Fred knew he was diabolically handsome. He was aware of the effect of his smile, height and fair complexion on the female folk, both old and young. Before the tragedy, when he’d been only interested in academics, he’d almost been shy of his looks but not quite, because it worked like a charm when he wanted a bit of release after a long study week.
The girls fell over themselves to make any of his wishes come true, he hadn’t had much wishes then, just a warm body for the night, no strings attached.
And when he’d left his serious self behind and embraced his new life and new friends, he purposely used the effect of his beauty and it had never failed him. In fact, he had to literally beat girls off the tail of his shirt; he liked women but not all of them, especially Stella.
In light of this status quo, it was a thing of shock when he had met Emma.
She was a direct entry student and so Fred hadn’t known her until the boys had begun a new session as second year students of the department of Geography. Before Emma, Fred would just drop the boys at school, drive around town, visit some of his temporarily permanent girlfriends and then return to take the boys for an evening of fun before depositing them at their homes.
It had been a particularly gloomy day as it had rained early in the morning. At noon the sun was still struggling to break through the clouds as Fred had maneuvered his car and parked at his favorite spot.
“Hey, Emma,” Paul had called out to a girl in jeans, walking by, obviously, towards the department.
“Hi Paul,” she waved, her glance swiveled to the other members of the group, “Obot, Ekong,” she added in her greeting, then she blessed them with a mysterious smile.
Fred had come out of his car, hurried to Ekong’s side and whispered urgently, “Introduce us! Introduce us…I’m your elder brother,” he directed.
“Emma,” Paul called again when he heard Fred’s interest. She stopped and looked back.
“Come say hi to my elder brother,” Paul invited with a genuine smile.
In all his life, he’d gotten used to the bright smile of interest he usually got from girls whenever their eyes settled on his blessedly handsome face. He had been expecting it, he had even smiled widely to better expose his manly dimples; it made the girls go crazy.
Emma’s gaze had just slowly met his, her calm expression hadn’t changed except for her brows to levitate just a bit in an expression of slight mockery, then she’d smiled at Paul, shook her head as though dealing with kids and continued her walk to the department.
Fred had felt as though he’d been punched in the gut, his heart twisted in blatant disappointment and dismay. The boys had walked away not aware of his pain, it wouldn’t be the first time a girl had not given Fred the time of the day, they knew he always got the girl, so Emma’s snub had not been a cause for alarm.
He had wanted to feel that way too, but he couldn’t. Helplessly he had kept coming and staying longer hours at the campus just to catch a glimpse of her.
She was 5ft 5, chubby with curves that left him breathless when he watched her walk away from him, chocolate complexion and hazel eyes that plagued his dreams…his day dreams anyway, he imagined her eyes smiling in acceptance to his advances.
But it never happened, when she happened to catch his eye, she slowly looked away as though he could have been air…invisible.
Fred was frustrated; who did she think she was? How could she treat him as though he didn’t exist?
And so, a few days ago, in a desperate bid to catch her attention, after waiting almost all day for the customary glimpse of her, he’d finally spotted her approaching the general direction of where he stood.
Because he was angry with himself for wanting her so much, when they were a bunch of females, prettier than her throwing themselves at him, he had wanted to show her that he didn’t care. So, as Emma approached, he had turned to the nearest female in the group of student taking shade under the tree his car was parked and put his arm playfully around her.
Unfortunately, it had been Stella’s shoulder. She had turned with a frown, ready to blast the guy who would have such impetus to touch her highly priced shoulders, but had met Fred’s smile and she’d melted against him.
It was a vulgar scene, something he wouldn’t have wanted Emma to see even if he’d wanted to catch her attention and hopefully make her jealous. Stella was psychedelic, all bright tight dresses, detailed make-up, long nails and hair; all Stella wanted was a rich man, youth and handsomeness was a bonus. In her dear mind, and Fred knew this too, when he had smiled at her, she knew she had hit the jack pot.
Emma had finally reached where he’d been standing, she made sure her eyes met his, and then she raised her brows in mockery again and actually smiled. The effect had been breath taking, his arm over Stella’s shoulder had gone limp and fallen off, while he stared at Emma’s back.
What had her smile meant?
Two days later, he still couldn’t fathom it. But he had a sick feeling that it was nothing good; he suspected that she’d smiled in victory at seeing him for who he really was. But he wasn’t like that, Fred denied mentally while strolling to the coca cola canteen situated inside the University of Uyo campus.
He walked by students, mostly female, striking becoming poses for their photos to be taken; the coca cola canteen was situated in an area opposite the mini stadium, a place which harbored a hoard of commercial photographers.
His eyes stared unseeingly as he approached the giant square structure built with aluminum material, carrying the coca cola brand. It was the only canteen that was airy and comfortable and was sure to have cold drinks.
Fred ordered his drink and waited for the attendant to pull it out of the refrigerator; he felt her presence before she even spoke, her scent filled his senses and he stiffened his neck, held his breath to stop the wild reaction in his stomach.
“I’ll have a coke too and a donut,” she said politely in her sultry voice.
It was a voice of fantasies, of dark erotic nights and passionate dreams. Fred refused to turn or acknowledge her presence, his body was all tensed.
“No need to be so stiff,” she said, turning her curvy body to face him while they waited for their orders.
Fred had no option but to turn, but he did it after he had sighed heavily, he felt like a squirrel caught in full glare of a headlight in the middle of the road. He had to brace himself for the breathless effect of Emma in close proximity.
When his eyes met hers, she had a mocking look in hers and she smiled, not in mockery, but in friendship. Breath was knocked out of him at the lovely sight, he felt like grabbing her there and then, throwing her over his shoulder and taking her home to be his forever.
Shaking his head, he scattered the alarming thought and turned to the attendant, handing over his money. He noticed her rustling in her bag for her own money.
“I’m paying for hers too,” Fred managed to croak while he waited for his change. Without facing her, he felt the malevolent stare she was directing at him.
“I’m not some bimbo you need to buy,” she ground out, her eyes were narrowed angrily at him.
Fred felt like he’d just been given an early Christmas present when he realized that he had rattled her cool demeanor.
He smiled, “No need to be so stiff…Emma,” he said, smiling smugly at her.
As fast as the angry suspicion had filled her heart, it dissipated and in its place was mirth. Valiantly, Emma tried not to laugh, but her mouth twitched and she ended up chuckling deeply.
“We should share a table then,” she suggested, picking up her order and weaving her way to a table at a corner.
He smiled and followed her, his heart doing tiny flip-flops at the possibility of holding a conversation with her.
But it didn’t happen.
When Emma settled down, she delved into her snack and totally ignored Fred. He watched her snack disappear together with her drink in minutes and knew the true meaning of fear, when she wiped her hands and made to stand up.
“I thought we were sharing a table,” he asked, almost sounding angry.
“We did,” she replied sincerely but with that mysterious smile that made him want to kiss it off her mouth and learn her secrets.
Fred shook his head at his misleading thoughts, “Maybe, carry on a conversation?” he pointed out succinctly.
“About what?” she countered with a derisive frown and stood up, swinging her bag on her shoulder.
Shaking his head exasperatingly, he sighed and leaned back in his chair, turning away and refusing to say anything else to her.
Emma waited, her eyes roving his handsome face now that he wasn’t looking. His sulky look actually made her feel guilty for ignoring him; she wasn’t that kind of girl, she wasn’t into bothering what guys thought about her. She wasn’t one to be concerned of a guy’s feelings, but here she was, actually considering apologizing to this particular guy.
“I’ll see you tomorrow,” she said and walked out as fast as her legs could carry her.
It took a while for what she’d said to sink past his disappointment into his mind…she had said she’d see him tomorrow. A wide smile suddenly blossomed on his face at that realization, then he looked around self consciously in case somebody was watching him smile by himself…nobody paid him any attention.
EMMA HURRIED AWAY WITH a racing heart and a secret smile. She had looked through the opposite flushed window at Fred’s reaction, and she had seen him smile happily at her farewell or maybe he was celebrating his conquest.
She was generally a cynic and didn’t believe in fairy tales.
Because her father had died and when her mother had pulled herself out of her two year depression – the length of time since her father’s death, she had fallen in love again.
Her mother had been so excited about the phenomenon, her eyes which had been permanently gloomy had brightened and Emma had gotten her mother back.
But then she married the man and became his slave.
Emma had not been able to tolerate the way her step father had treated her mother, especially because she couldn’t get pregnant, and had stood up to the man. It had not been a lovely sight, Emma had been bruised from the experience but she had also scored some points, the scars from her nails would forever be on the man’s face.
Well, the whole situation had resulted in her mother sending her to her brother’s home at Uyo with a letter that specifically warned her hot headed uncle not to dare retaliate.
As far as Emma was concerned, all guys brought misery, well except her father and uncle. Yet, her heart danced every time she sighted the fair complexion man who was so handsome he should be jailed for it. She was sure he was a play boy but it didn’t stop her stupid heart from wanting him.
With an exasperated groan she sighed and hurried into the hall, she’d see how it panned out, was her last thought before shifting her concentration to the lecture.
The story continues
LagosConvo family, I greet you all. Its your girl Emem Bassey. So, people have been wanting my stories as a full novel, I have done this and even added hotter scenes to it. Please help my ministry.
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