POSTED 08/01/2018 14:27
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Jozi’s eyes woke before the rest of his body. And he remained there, sprawled in the center of his bed whilst staring blankly at the geometric patterns in the ceiling. For the past two days, this had become his morning ritual. Lying awake and staring, like a man resigned to the crashing waves of life. He knew every intricate detail of the 3D patterns in his ceiling but that was but a task his sub consciousness had set for itself while the remaining 10% of his being had him obsessing over someone. Obsessing over a man.
He wasn’t in love and he wasn’t gay either but still his heart ebbed at the thought of Akpan. His body tensed as the scene from that night replayed in his head. His jaw still hurt. Unconsciously, he raised his hand and ran his fingers along the small length of his jaw, reliving the punch as if it had just been yesterday. He trembled, a ripple reaction from the rage building within.
Next to him, there was a small sigh and slowly, his feats from the previous night came to him. He sat up in bed, one hand still rubbing his jaw while his eyes began to accustom him with where he was. He was in his room and it was a mess. His clothes lay strewn on the floor and empty wine bottles garnished the table tops. For a second, the room swooned and his head panged.
Bits of last night slowly returned to him. He had been to a night club, he must have gone drunk.
Next to him, someone stirred and he sighed to himself. He had brought another one home. He wondered if his father had seen him drunk and clinging to another hooker, rambling lousily and tossing insults at everything and everyone. Despite the imagery, he couldn’t help but smile to himself, relishing the disgust his father must have felt at seeing his first son wasting his money on wine and night women.
What did he expect? He had abandoned his own son a long time ago.
Jozi struggled out of the bed and staggered to the only picture in his room. A picture of himself and his father. He paused for a moment to absorb the photo, swaying as he struggled to find balance on his right foot, his left foot leaning lazily against it.
He was much younger in the picture. A smiling lad ready to take on the world, sitting joyously on his father’s lap. His father had been smiling down at him as well, those were one of the few times he had ever seen Pius Etim smile. The smile had drawn a line from his lips and radiated from the corners of his eyes. His father’s eyes had been bright and cheery, so full of pride not masked with hate and depression.
Jozi blinked back tears.
Those were simpler times when his father had been an honest accountant but now…Now, Money complicated things and uncaged the monsters in every Etim. This was in the past now. He sighed and reached behind the portrait for a concealed lever. He flipped it and the photo came open like a door, revealing the glossy metal door of a vault. Jozi did quick work of inserting his code and opening the vault. He took out a ward of cash, locked the vault and repositioned the photo.
“Baby” He heard her voice.
Right on time, he thought with a smile. These women could smell money even if you dropped the wad in a pile of shit.
“Is that for me?” She tweeted in glee. Jozi turned to meet her with his million dollar smile.
“Yea, babe. Of course it’s for you. But you're gonna have to get it though.” He said. She was on all fours in his bed, branding that sexy smile that had him hooked from the moment he saw her.
“Put on your dress, bae.” He teased twirling the money above her head, she was on her knees now, reaching for it like a dog to a bone.
“Why? Are we going out?” She cackled, eagerly trying to snatch the money from him.
“We will, now put on the fucking dress.” He snapped, losing patience.
“How much you got there?” She asked, reluctantly reaching for dress on the nightstand by the bed.
“150k. All for you babe.” He smiled, she reciprocated, slipping her dress on in one swift pull.
“Great. Good girl.” He remarked, moving over to the window which had been left graciously open. “Like I said, babe. You have to go get it. You charged real high for your services last night. How much was it?”
“Jozi, what’s all this? What games are you playing now?” She frowned.
“How much was it?”
“70k,” She pouted, getting off the bed.
“Good. I’ve got 150 here for you. But you’re gonna have to work for the extra. Okay?” Jozi teased in his boyish tone, enjoying the fret registering on her face.
“Okay, what do you want me to do? Another blow job?” She hissed, looking sour. How easily they changed when you make them acknowledge their place, Jozi smiled.
“Nothing of the sort, darl.” Jozi sighed and with one flick of his hand, he tossed the cash out the window.
She stood there staring at him, brows furrowed into a unibrow, utterly confused.
“You just tossed my cash out the window?” She snapped.
,em>Her cash. Jozi suppressed the urge to laugh.
“Come. See babe, it’s just down there by the sidewalk, you better go get it. If you don’t get it in the next five minutes, I’m gonna take out the extra and give you your 70...!” He scolded, pointing out the window but before he could finish, She dashed for the door, flung it open and disappeared down the hallway. Jozi watched in marvel, chuckling.
He turned back to the window. He hadn’t lied. The wad was just lying there in the driveway and a few meters from it, Ajax was approaching it. Ajax was his father’s Chief of security, a large rootless man in well tailored suits. The kind of men his father liked to hire.
“Psst! Ajax!” Jozi called out to him. Ajax looked up instantly and saw him.
“Sir?” He grumbled.
“There’s a whore coming down to pick up that money. I want you to bundle her up and throw her out.” Jozi chuckled seriously.
“Yes Sir.” The big man nodded, glanced down at the money and looked back up at him. “Sir? Do you want me to throw her out after she’s picked the money or before she's picked the money?”
Jozi’s eyes lit up with amusement. He considered the question for a moment before responding, “Ajax, you look like you could use 150k, and that’s the Money right there!” He chuckled. “I’ll leave that to your discretion.” Jozi teased and shut the window.
Five minutes later he was walking into a large dining room for breakfast. His father and sister were already seated at one end of the lengthy oak table that took up the center of the room. A banquet of assorted meals was served on platters but no one was eating, they had been waiting for him to come down as if on premonition.
His father looked up when he walked in. He had hooded eyes, dark holes that eyed and ridiculed wordlessly, whenever they settled on him. His father cocked his head slightly and let those eyes follow him all the way to his seat. He sat two seats away from both of them, but still the static tension in the air made the hairs on his skin erect. He casually took a plate and served himself like he was oblivious to the two pairs of eyes in the room, wishing the silence could last another few minutes so he could take his leave after his fill. But there was no such luck.
“Sir, I have dreary news for you.” Ajax interrupted from one the dinning doors.
For a second, Jozi thought his whore had done something crazy like bash a car window or maybe Ajax had killed her in the struggle. He knew she would have put up a fight. He glanced at his father nervously, fearful for the aftermath.
But his father’s his laser attention had left him for his chief guard and next:
“Come in.” Pius waved him over and the big man took huge steps into the room, carrying an air of his own as he presented himself before his boss.
“One of our spies, tasked with watching Akpan, has been taken out. He died two days ago in a car accident. We lost all contact with him and my sources could only ascertain he was killed just yesterday. I had to be sure he was the one, so I went down to the morgue. He is dead.” Ajax stated, his face betraying no emotion.
“Accident you say?” Pius narrowed his eyes, stark with disbelief.
“Yes, Sir. As we speak, I have made moves to allow my investigators confirm that no foul play was involved but until then, I can’t say for sure.”
“Put another one on Akpan immediately.”
“Already did. He's staying at Le Meridien hotel currently as we speak. A cleaning service is attending to his house after the bash your daughter threw two days ago.” Ajax said and Pius stabbed a glare at Ima, who shied from eye contact with her father.
“Thank you, Ajax.” Pius plastered a smile and Ajax left immediately.
Jozi let out steam, grateful Ajax had handled her without much ado. He turned to his father, intrigued by the news Ajax had delivered.
“What do you think pops, coincidence?” Jozi asked.
“Last night.” Mr. Pius snapped, his eyes rolled towards his son in a deathly motion.
Jozi was caught off guard and stared blankly at his father as his brain struggled to juice meaning from his curt response.
“Last night.” Mr. Pius repeated lowly, drawing each syllable as if he were referring to a mentally deranged. Jozi watched in horror as the old man flushed slowly, preparing to pour forth hell. Only then, did he see meaning in his father’s words.
“I was wasted. I know. I brought home a whore. I know. I really tried to keep it down though. Sorry if I failed.” He could feel the laser beam of his father’s eyes etch into the side of his skull but he refused to grace him with a glance, reaching for the toast and butter.
A moment of silence passed and he added meekly, “At least I used a condom.” Still not daring to look at his father.
“Look at me when you talk to me, dwarf!”
His father's roar shook him and he managed a frantic gaze at his old man. His father’s face had curled in disgust and those eyes had almost disappeared into slits under his protruding forehead.
“I a-am s-sorry.” Jozi whined. His confidence had flown out the window and his inner man had curled into a ball. “I won’t do it again.”
“You had better not!” His father snapped, eyes blazing. “You’re like a bone in my neck. I sent you to the best schools and what do you have to show me for it!” He roared and the crystals in the chandelier overhead rattled. Jozi dropped his food and folded his arms to keep from shaking, looking down at his laps.
“I talked to all my connections and I tried to set you up in high places but I’m ashamed to present your certificates before anyone. I managed to force you on Akpan. Hell, sometimes I wish that chap was my son!”
Jozi boiled at the mention of that name and knew the lauding had only just begun.
“He was a focused young man. He knew what he wanted and how to take it. If I still had him on my payroll, I'd be talking presidency by now!” Pius yelled, each word cut through Jozi like hot shrapnel, burning scars as they went. Jozi shut his eyes tight.
“I just don’t understand why that young man became weak? He was doing fine until…” his father’s voice tailed and in that moment, Jozi peaked a more relaxed older man. One at peace with himself and the world, reminiscing good old days of his prime. Emotions balled up in Jozi’s throat. He couldn’t believe his father could feel this way about someone other than his son.
As quickly as Pius had drifted off into his reverie, he returned to his rage.
“I thought you could learn from him, so I put you under him with your crappy certificates and everything. I’ve been watching you! You go late to work, you can’t even handle a simple case!”
“I never wanted to be a lawyer!” Jozi squealed, annoyed at how feeble and broken he sounded, realizing that he was trembling like a child. “I wanted to do politics, like you!” His tone wavered, heavy with grief.
“I chose what would have been best for you. You were my son. I know you from the inside out. You would have been an even more crappier politician!” Pius spat and Jozi decided he could hear no more.
“I’m not going to sit here and listen to this and I’m no longer working under Akpan.” Jozi seethed, rising to his feet, aiming to slap his old man in the face as he walked away.
“That won’t be an issue. I already called his firm and handed in your resignation, you useless twat! Just don’t come running to me for any money from now on,” His father chuckled as he walked away and he wanted nothing more than to see that old man and that Akpan grovel before him.
He would bring them to their knees. He would start with Akpan and he knew exactly where to start. Edima.