“Of course, you can’t tell me that because you aren’t going,” Chief Eseme surmised, his expression mottling rapidly into a lethal combination of frustration, intense anger and exasperation with his only child.
He had envisaged a great future for the boy, more so, after his brother had died. But there in lay the problem, his brother had died and he had ceased to live.
Understanding had been paramount in the beginning, but there was so much he could take. He wanted his son to explore all his potentials; as it where with his present attitude, Chief Eseme felt like he was about to lose two sons.
Whatever happened today, he was determined to force the issue; Fred either chose to work, it didn’t even have to be at his company, or he’d lose a son. He was tired of being in limbo, some pertinent decisions at his group of companies were pending because he couldn’t allow another person run his company, while he had an over qualified son just lounging about.
Caro saw the fury on her husband’s face and knew that he was about to do something drastic. She reached out and touched his arm, usually, in an explosive situation, which invariably, usually involved Fred, her hand on his arm could calm him. But not today, Caro panicked for a second, she loved her step son, she had mourned a lot when they’d lost Jeff, even though she’d not yet been married to Eseme yet; she was part of the family and she tried to be fair with everybody involved.
“Since you have the impertinence to say that to me in all casualness, I beg that such casualness be used, at once, as you deep your hand in your pocket and repay the money you took from my case without permission.”
Fred straightened his slouched posture in alert, he knew he was in trouble.
“Darling…” Caro began.
“Don’t do it, don’t presume you can calm this situation. The boy is obviously, a self sufficient adult, and he is comfortable in his irresponsibility. I treated him like an adult and didn’t ask what he took my money to do, sincerely, right now, I no longer care about that, I just need my money back…now,” he concluded and glared at Fred.
“But dad, I told you I’d return it,” Fred said plaintively.
“Yes, you did. But that day has passed and I’ll no more extend the pass…”
“Dad, please, today isn’t a good day for this…”
Chief Eseme ignored his son and wiped out his cell phone.
“What are you doing?” Caro asked in trepidation.
“Calling the police,” was his clip reply.
Caro watched as he put the phone to his ear and it began ringing, she was desperate, she didn’t want father and son to be estranged. She battled with the propriety of what she was about to do in front of father and son, but diffusing this time bomb was way important.
“Charles Eseme, if you call the police on your own son, you aren’t going to get…”
“Yes, hello, this is Chief Eseme…”
Fred’s heart thumped loudly…
Caro got in Chief Eseme’s face, her eyes glaring at him when she whispered threateningly, “Remember Kayanmata,” her whisper had been staged, so Fred had heard what she’s said even though it made no sense.
The point is, Fred was now curious about what she’d said because his father’s reaction was instant, he just ended the call to the police.
“I thought you said it finished,” Chief Eseme asked, narrowing his eyes suspiciously at his wife and whispering, but Fred still heard.
“I got a new container for today,” Caro replied and folded her arms under her bosom belligerently. “I’m serious, I won’t use it if you do this thing.”
“If you used it now, I’ll not do it,” Chief Eseme got close to his wife and whispered to weasel a promise from her.
“Done,” she replied and watched his wide grin spread across his face in anticipation.
Fred was sure they probably had forgotten he was still standing there; he knew his dad was in love with his step mom, so it wasn’t a thing of surprise when the woman had major effects on him.
“What is Kayanmata?” he asked suddenly, breaking into the haze his parents where beginning to fall into.
His father glared at him, put his arm over his wife’s shoulder and walked her towards their room.
Whatever Kayanmata was, he was grateful for it, he sighed in relief and walked out of the house. But it was short lived because he was gripped again with the dread of having to face Emma at the campus.
WHEN HE STEPPED OUT of his car, two campus security men were waiting to escort him to the Vice-Chancellor’s office.
Fred tried to explain that he wasn’t a student of the university, but none of them would listen. Could his dad have set this up? What the hell was going on? He was being treated like a criminal and he was afraid to hear the allegation that might be thrown at him.
“You are Fred Eseme?” the vice-chancellor turned in her swiveling chair to ask.
“Yes, madam,” Fred answered and wished for once that he could deny his name.
“We have reason to believe that you are involved in cult activities on the campus and several students feel that you threaten their very existence.”
He didn’t know when his mouth had dropped open but he was conscious of the dry breeze of the AC, cooling the interior of his mouth, so he shut it.
“I’m sorry, I’m just shocked, madam. I am not even a student of this university,” he reasoned, opening his palm to show his innocuousness.
“If you are not, why do you hang around the campus everyday?” the VC interrogated, thumping her nose and trying to look mean like an Italian crime boss.
Fred thought it would be inappropriate to laugh, he couldn’t laugh, he felt everything was against him today, of all days. Was it a sign to stay away from Emma? What was causing all this complications?
“I’m very sorry Ma, if I’ve given a wrong perception of my presence at the campus, but I’m here everyday to drop off my friends who school here and I just like the environment, that’s all,” he explained, trying to look innocent, even though he was innocent.
The VC sighed wearily and slumped her shoulders like a forlorn teenager would in a white movie; she had totally given up looking mean.
“Okay, I’ve heard you, but just…stay away from the campus, unless you want to donate a fat sum of money to some of our ailing departments,” she said it airily, even though for a split second, Fred saw that she seemed really worried, in fact, stressed about the ailing departments.
“I’m sorry to have added to your stress…”
“Who is stressed?!” she suddenly exclaimed looking warily and wide eyed at Fred; it was a very suspicious look. “I’m not stressed!” she snapped moving forward in her seat threateningly and causing Fred to shift back in his seat in defense.
“Who sent you, eh? It’s those good for nothing deputy VCs who have been eyeing my seat for months now, isn’t it?”
Fred was lost, he was suddenly feeling like he had found himself in an alternate universe where reasoning was a bit warped. What had he said to trigger this attitude from the Vice Chancellor? The woman really looked stressed while continuing her rant, it was possible that she might have a nervous break down if care was not taken.
“…they have been making me look inept and they keep dropping words like ‘stressed’ and ‘mistakes’ and ‘retirement’; I’d rather die than have them usurp my seat!”
She had screamed the last part of her rant and then she took a deep breath and oddly enough, when she let that breath out, she was back to the mild, kind looking woman Fred had met when he’d first entered the office.
“You have a nice day now,” she said with a calm smile and waited for Fred to recover from his shock and leave her office.
Fred refused to open his mouth after that, he just nodded, got up sharply from his seat and walked away.
“Please,” she called out and Fred waited at the door, turning to listen to what she had to say.
“Tell those balding men out there that today isn’t the day I retire, I still have three more years; you can go,” she waved him off, turning to the documents on her table.
He shook his head to clear it and pinched his thigh to confirm that he was actually awake and not dreaming. What balding men, he thought just before he opened the door and stepped out.
And right there, on the couch in the waiting room were two bald men, their eyes looking shifty and venal in their sockets. So, she hadn’t been lying or crazy, there were actually men aiming to take her job; Fred was all for the woman, after all, she had let him off a tricky situation, so he gave them her message.
“The honorable VC says to tell you that today isn’t the day she retires, she has three more years to go,” Fred announced eloquently and marched out proudly. But not before seeing the disappointed expressions on their faces and the shock on the secretary’s face.
It was a very weird situation that did nothing to explain why he’d even been summoned to the VC’s office in the first place; or expose the person behind the report that he was a possible cultist.
Cult affiliation was a dreadful accusation as far as Fred was concerned, and to be directed at him by some unknown person, he was feeling decidedly threatened. He couldn’t think of anybody that he’d offended, he knew his father wouldn’t go that far; but would Emma go that far? Fred had not seen her since her announcement.
Shaking his head, he discarded the absurd idea. With all that had happened in the past months, the thought of the legendary cyber criminal, Mike Okpo, was far from his mind, therefore, he couldn’t really pin point where this attack proceeded from.
It wouldn’t have made any difference if he’d been looking at where he was going; but suddenly, Fred was surrounded by a group of guys. When he looked up, his heart sank, he knew from their stoic faces that he was in trouble.
“Fred Eseme,” one of them called and Fred considered denying his name, but, deep down, he knew they knew him already. Someone was orchestrating a fucked up day for him and the ‘choir’ was singing at a high pitch.
“Alpha wolf wants to see you,” the guy announced.
It didn’t sound like a business meeting. Fred knew that he could only escape whatever was coming to him if he knew the person behind the orchestrated attack.
But no matter how he tried, his mind was still blank on that front.
The story continues
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