I AM ABIKU 3.1

image cr. MarianneWithTheSteadyHands

I woke up to chaos.

Mom and Dad were rushing about the house, yelling at the help, yelling into their phones, yelling at each other. No one even noticed that I’d woken up late and I thought it would be a good idea to keep it that way.

I crept into the kitchen and stuffed my mouth with akara balls. I was almost through the backdoor when I heard my Dad’s voice (still yelling into his phone), “Tell Mr. Effiong if he says one more word to the police he can forget about having my chambers defend him!”

I dropped my bag and went to confront my parents.

They’re an interesting pair. One is a public prosecutor (Mom) and the other is a defense lawyer (Dad). I can’t imagine what they were thinking to marry each other but luckily their cases only cross once in a while. When that happens, however, one of them (usually Dad) has to go stay in a hotel for a while.

I found them both in the living room now, half dressed for work, papers scattered everywhere, each on the phone to their respective office.

They seemed hugely distracted so I was surprised when I came into the room and they both turned and shot me startled looks. Then they glanced at each other. It was very suspicious.

“What, ” I asked slowly, “is going on?”

My parents looked at each other again and my Mom shrugged in a gesture that seemed to say “you might as well tell her.”

My Dad sighed. “A call came from your Mom’s office early this morning. Your banker – Mr. Effiong – he’s been arrested.”

I goggled at my Dad shocked, “What? Why?”

“They’re saying that he robbed his own bank,” my Mom added sinking into a chair tiredly and trying to push her glasses into her hair only to realize that she was still wearing a hair net. She pulled it off with annoyance, “it makes no sense!”

“But – ” my mind staggered under the unexpectedness of this information, “but – why would they think that?”

“Evidence,” my Dad said quietly, “apparently there’s video surveillance footage that shows him doing the deed.”

Suddenly my heart and mind began to race. “Did they – did they say what he took?”
Now my parents were both looking at me with meaningful expressions.

“Some cash. Not enough for early detection. Also not enough to be worth the risk. But they’re saying he also broke into one or two safety deposit boxes.” My Dad came up to me and put his hands on my shoulders, “the surveillance doesn’t show  it but – Maro, its possible…”

“…that mine was one of them,” I finished for him, grimly, “so are we going to see him or what?”

***

The Mr. Effiong that sat across a bare table from me about an hour and a half later was a far cry from the chatty Uncle of less than a week ago.

He was hunched in his chair and with his clothes all rumpled and his hair uncombed, he looked 10 years older than his forty something years. He kept on looking from my Dad and I to the handcuffs the police had insisted  on keeping on his wrists and back again in a confused fashion like he wanted us to explain them to him.

“I watched that video, Tommy, It was really me! But -” he raised his bewildered glance to us, “it was like watching a film effect! I just kept thinking how can that  be me if I can’t remember doing something like that? Won’t I at least have an inkling of the memory? Have I gone mad?”

My Dad was sitting with his head in his hand looking harassed. I didn’t blame him. He was here as a lawyer but Mr. Effiong was his friend too. “It’s ok, Nsikak. We’ll find out what happened.” Colours that were blurry with his confusion swam around him.

Mr Effiong’s colours though – fear, shock, tiredness, a deep confusion and disbelief, all these hues shuddered around him but not the slightest hint of anything that would have immediately told me he was guilty.

Any idea I had of him being my witch had been far fetched to begin with. Being with him squelched whatever was left of it.

He may have been the man in the video but he was innocent.

Which could only mean that he was framed.

Was this the work of my wannabe witch then?

“Uncle,” I asked frowning as I tried to clarify things in my head, “what took them so long to see the footage? Is that how your bank usually operates?”

Mr. Effiong shook his head sadly, “It’s so strange. I’m the one who always insisted that the security people were not going over the CCTV recordings everyday the way they should. I’m told that the reason they checked was because they were given an anonymous tip. Imagine the shock of finally reviewing the recordings and finding me on them!” He laughed humorlessly, “If I ever get out of this mess, all of them will be in trouble!”

Poor Mr. Effiong. Even at a time like this, he was attempting to crack his dry jokes.

I resolved in my heart to make sure that he did get out of this mess.

Not that I knew exactly how I was going to do that. Things kept on happening around me but I didn’t seem to be getting any closer to the truth.

I picked up my schoolbag ready to leave so the driver could drop me off.

“Ah – Maro,” Mr. Effiong raised his handcuffed arms towards me and I paused in the act of getting up. “That man’s daughter is in your school right? Commisioner Talabi? She said so on her form when she opened a junior account with us last week. Maybe you can ask her to alert her father about my case? He’s a good man – and he has connections! I’m sure he can help!”

“Nsikak!”my Dad’s tone was disapproving and sad. “Maro, I think you can go now.”

I got up slowly as my Dad leaned towards his distressed friend and spoke to him quietly. Commissioner Talabi. That must be Jumoke’s hot shot Dad.

Something nudged in my brain but I couldn’t pay it too much attention because I was too busy thinking: Me? Ask Jumoke for a favor?

Ew.

We’re coming closer to as far as I can go with this story since it’s already published! Remember, if you don’t want to wait for a weekly update, you can get an ecopy here or a physical copy here. But keep in mind that some things may be different since I have continued to edit since publishing! Hehe!
Meanwhile what do you think of Maro and her mystery? I love hearing back from you so please don’t hold back…
-Indigo Radio xx

FYI: All the chapters for this story can be found HERE on Channel One with the most recent chapter at the top.

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