Chapter 3 - Knock, Knock, What's Coming?
Karaoke Kid was doing melodious justice to a classic from Boys II Men and most of the customers appeared to be under his spell. Mitchell nodded in approval; the boy was earning every kobo of his wages. Mitchel looked at his watch after handing an impatient customer a bottle of lager; it was 8.30pm and Madam Mo had not turned up. She was one who never missed a night at the lounge. He made a note to give her a call as soon as he was done attending to the queue.
Karaoke Kid ended the song and an applause rang out from the audience.
‘Alright, everyone I can’t do this alone. Who wants to do a duo with me?’
Members of the audience began to concentrate on their meals and drinks like he had not addressed them. Mitchel shook his head and smiled as he handed the serving lady a bottle of Chardonnay. It was still early and they were not inebriated enough to be courageous. He understood his customers enough to know that behaviour would change in another hour or so. Nothing like good old-fashioned alcoholic inspiration.
‘I will,’ a female said.
Mitchel and Karaoke Kid turned in the direction of the anomaly. She was of average height, ebony and beautiful. She was about twenty meters from where Mitchell stood but her eyes were big and bold. Karaoke Kid recovered quickly and walked up to her. ‘We have a contender,’ he announced, even though, what he really wanted was to ask for her name. ‘What track would you like?’
‘Can you rap?’ the lady asked.
‘I sure can.’
‘Soldier by Falz and Simi.’
The musical chemistry between the two was spectacular and the lady’s voice didn’t only strike all the right chords but Mitchell’s being as well. He found himself smiling, spellbound like every other person in the lounge. He had become a bee and she is honey. The applause and catcalls were thunderous after the karaoke was over.
‘Sade,’ Mitchel called the serving lady.
‘Has that lady ordered any drink today?’
‘Yes, a Pina Colada,’ she responded.
‘Is she with anyone?’
Sade arched an eye in surprise. Mitchel always played it cool with the ladies. ‘Are you okay?’
‘Do I look unwell to you? Answer my question jare.’
Sade grinned. ‘No one.’
‘Good. I need you to cover me once I’m done with her order.’
‘But she hasn’t ordered anything.’
‘Yes, she has.’
Kenneth was concerned. He had rung Cynthia a couple of times and her line kept going to voicemail. He tossed on his bed. Something was off, he thought. He couldn’t chat the Mugu so as not to spook him. That act would bell the cat. He had to go to her place.
Tear drops rolled down Mope’s face. How could Teddy have betrayed her. She was more distraught at the fact that he didn’t tell her than the act itself. Their union had not been blessed with a child so she could stomach the need to continue his lineage. But, they had been able to talk about anything so why was this any different? Why had she been oblivious during the three and a half decades of their relationship? He had shown no signs of infidelity. She shut out the thought that the lady was a liar. One look at her and anyone would know that she was Teddy’s daughter.
Mope sighed. Goodness, it was frustrating being angry at a dead man. Other things being equal, she’d be at the lounge, but she had been drained of all strength. She was perfectly fine with being Moping Mopelola tonight.
‘Toyosi!’ Mope called.
The help was in her room in less than a minute. ‘Ma?’
‘Get me a bottle of red wine. Bring two glasses as well. We are drinking away our sorrows tonight.’
Toyosi couldn’t remember telling Madam Mopelola that she had anything to be sorrowful about but who was she not to share her Madam’s sorrow? ‘Okay Ma.’
As Toyosi left to do her bidding, Mope couldn’t help but wonder what Eniola wanted. ‘Teddy,’ She muttered.
Eniola watched the tall, broad-shouldered, dark man walk up to her bearing a tray of Pina Colada. He did not have a uniform like the others who took orders, so she figured he had to be up to something.
‘Hello,’ he greeted.
‘Hi,’ she responded.
‘Your order is here,’ he said and bowed in a way that made him look silly in a comical, albeit endearing way.
She smiled. ‘I didn’t request for a drink.’
‘After a performance like that, you certainly would need one to soothe where that melody came from.’
‘Hmm hmm,’ Eniola smiled, raising her eyes. ‘Well, I was actually ready to order a drink. What do you have there?’
‘Begins with a P and ends with an A,’ Mitch grinned sheepishly. He wondered what had taken over him. This lady had eliminated his poise and cool with the least amount of effort.
‘Pina Colada. Are you stalking me?’ She said raising an eyebrow.
‘On the contrary,’ Mitch replied. ‘I literally found out a few minutes ago. May I?’
Mitch settled the drink on her table. ‘I am a bartender and have to return to my post before my replacement poisons someone. May I have your phone number? I’d very much love to see you again.’
Eniola had decided that she liked him. He was charming and funny. She smiled. ‘Well, I don’t want anyone poisoned on my count. Where’s your phone?’
Mitch suddenly realized that he had no phone with him. He swore silently.
Eniola caught the look and swiftly came to his rescue. ‘Let me have your number. I’ll call, I promise.’
Kenneth’s knuckle rapped on the metal gate again. The gate came open this time, revealing an apprehensive looking gateman.
‘Oga Keno,’ he greeted. ‘Which kin place you send Cynthia go?’
‘She never come?’ Kenneth tried his best to keep the fear out of his voice.
‘I never see her shadow since Saturday when she commot. Oga and Madam dey return tonight. Wetin I go tell them?’
‘Don’t worry. I go find am,’ Kenneth said before leaving. Something was definitely wrong. He dialed Mr. Brown’s number.
The automated response was: ‘The number you are trying to reach is unreachable.’
Three hours later, he still hadn’t been able to reach Cynthia. He returned to her residence and knocked the gate. Only seconds passed before the gate swung open.
The gateman had clearly been crying as his eyes were swollen. He was slouched like his back bore the weight of the world.
‘Wetin happen?’ Kenneth asked.
The gateman opened his mouth to speak but nothing came out. He shook his head.
‘Talk na,’ Kenneth asked again, dread filling him up.
This time, the gateman found his words: ‘She don die. Cynthia don die.’