Sunday, 10 February 2019

The Plan (pt. 3)


Click Here for Part 2


Ikenna heard his uncle snarl at the lady to keep quiet and hand him her handbag. When she did not respond, he saw him bring out something from his pocket which to his horror turned out to be a knife. “See this knife? If you no co-operate, I go stab you.”
Aunty Njideka handed over her bag then and at that same moment, someone else approached them. It was an old man, obviously just passing through. “If you shout, I go chook you,” Uncle Chudi threatened her as the old man got nearer. When he got to the point at which they stood, the old man noticed something was amiss but did not interfere, instead he hastened his steps and hurried out of the alley.

Ikenna watched his uncle take something out of her handbag after a brief search before handing the bag back to her. Then he searched her pockets and took out yet another thing. He felt terrible to the pits of his stomach. What his uncle was doing was very wrong and he wished he could stop him. But how? He was even more scared of him now that he knew what he was capable of. If he had known all along that his plan was a criminal one, he would not have been so willing to be a part of it.

Oya, let’s go,” Uncle Chudi said to him when he was through with his operation.

As they ran out of the alley together, Ikenna stole one last look back at Aunty Njideka. Something told him she was crying and the thought wrenched at his heart, making him feel worse than he ever had in his life.

You are a bad boy, he thought to himself.

********

“Our plan went perfectly well, Ikenna.” His uncle was smiling like the cat that got the biggest fish in the soup pot as he counted the stolen money. They were back home, in Uncle Chudi’s residence which was a small room that was furnished only with a bed, a clothes hanger and a plastic chair. Uncle Chudi was sitting on the bed with the items he had stolen from the lady spread out before him, while Ikenna occupied the plastic chair, eyeing him sullenly.

Nna men, that lady was loaded. Five thousand, five hundred naira! And see this phone of hers; android phone! It will fetch cool cash.”

“But uncle, what we just did is stealing. It is very bad.” The words burst out of Ikenna before he could stop them. He couldn’t help it; he was very disappointed in his uncle and felt bad about the part he had played in the robbery.

Immediately, the grin on his uncle’s face was wiped off and replaced with an angry look. “You dey craze!” he began angrily in pidgin before lapsing back into Ibo. “You think it is clear eyes they use to make money? See your mouth like ‘stealing’. It is called sense. Smartness. You have to be smart to make money!”

Ikenna stared down at his toes. He was in complete disagreement with his uncle and wanted to say as much: he wanted to argue with him that there were many people that had become rich without committing crimes… that being smart did not have to involve stealing. But the angry look in his uncle’s eyes robbed him of the courage to speak.

Taking his silence for agreement, Uncle Chudi smiled again. “You did a good job today and I will reward you with a good meal. Eat well and prepare for evening.”

Ikenna’s head shot up in alarm. “Evening?”

“Yes, of course. Won’t we continue working? We are going to carry out the plan again and again; we will continue making cool money.”

Uncle Chudi took him to a canteen for a heavy meal of fufu and vegetable soup, and afterwards, they returned home to rest before going out in the evening for another round of robbery.

As he laid on the concrete floor listening to his uncle snore contentedly away on the mattress beside him, Ikenna began to draw up a plan of his own. He could not continue to let this evil go on. It needed to stop!

He kept staring at the rectangular piece of plastic in his hand. It was Aunty Njideka’s ID card. It had been in her wallet and Uncle Chudi had roughly tossed it aside when he was bringing out her money to count.

The ID card had her office address and it was around this that his little plan began to form. Her office was not far from where the robbery had happened so it would not be hard for him to locate it. He knew this because it was a big building not far from the alley the robbery had happened at, and had a very noticeable signboard. He could just go to her office, return the ID and cashless wallet to her, apologize and then show her where she could get his uncle arrested.

But the thing was, did he have the courage to do that? Turn his uncle over like that? What if he ended up unable to locate her, where would he tell his uncle he had gone off to? What if he she got him arrested instead of his uncle?

In the end, he just had to work up the courage to do it. He could not bear the thought of continuing to be a pawn in his uncle’s robbery scheme. What if they got arrested one day, or what if one of the victims proved stubborn and got killed in the process of the robbery?

So he took the four hundred naira change his uncle had placed on the table and slipped out of the room without him noticing.

The Story Continues>>> Click Here for the Final Part

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