THE UNDOING OF AKPAN
It was untill the warder pushed Akpan into jail and locked him in that he realized it wasn’t a joke. At first, he thought he was dreaming. He thought it was a prank as Lucy, (small madam, as he would always call her) pulls on him from time to time. The manner with which he was manhandled and the brutal force with which he was pushed into jail took the scales off his eyes.
He could still remember how it all started. Everything happened in a flash, like a trans. He could see the police speaking in low tones as though deciding his fate. With what he already experienced, he was certain that even if he had anyone to bail him out, the police would refuse it. Small madam had instructed them to lock him up without bail and he was certain that the so called police officers would take the law into their hands, as long as the stipends she gives them keep coming.
Worse was the fact that he had no Attorney. If this case ever saw the glimpse of a judge, he was certain he would be left in the fate of a shyster. The more he thought about it, the more difficult it seemed to wriggle his way out of the impediment.
The lousy cry of the long chain at the locks woke Akpan up from sleep. He had drifted into a deep sleep from his thought. Thoughts he still wasn’t sure if he had any control over. The other inmates, two guys, who smelt like trouble simultaneously cast a warning glance at Akpan. They had previously collected the only money he was able to hide from the prying eyes of the police with a threat to slay him, had any word, even a tiny shrimp of their downgrading escapes got out.
The warder finally unlocked the gauge after struggling with it for some minutes.
“Akpan Odochie, someone is here for you”. Without a slight waste of time, he gathered the locks, ready to get to work. Akpan immediately rushed out before he got locked in again. Though its been just 24 hours, the breath of fresh air as he stepped out of the tepered cubicle felt like a luxury he wasn’t sure he could afford. He tiredly strolled into the waiting room, not sure what to expect. He knew he had no one. Who would come here to see him? Whoever it was, he cared less. The few minutes break from his devourers of a roommate was what mattered to him.
He paused a bit, the moment he saw his boss alongside another young man. A smartly dressed young man. The classic tuxedo and designers shoes he had on was enough insight. He didn’t just pass for a lawyer but a very rich one at that. As Akpan made for his seat, he did the quick maths. If this Lawyer is as rich as he looks, it only meant one thing: he was good at what he did! The entire incidents since the past 24 hours have done nothing but nail him as the culprit.
He could still recall the look on the police men’s face when they saw him. It was the same look they give condemned criminals before taking them from the court in a black Maria. They had handcuffed him immediately, no iota of doubt that he was guilty shown by either of them. “What have I done wrong” he asked himself. “I only did what my fellow guys do: gym for 6pacs and get tattoos for aesthetics.” The harsh voice of his boss jerked the thoughts out of his mind.
“What were you thinking commiting a crime in my house and trying to frame my daughter for it” the old man lashed. He went on and on about how he had trusted him with his keys to not only keep his gate but also drive his daughter to wherever she went.
At the time he finally calmed down, Akpan wanted to talk but couldn’t find his voice. Everything in him screamed for defence but where would he begin? After a few seconds of solitude, the words where finally able to form.
“Sir, this young man that was murdered in your house is your daughter’s boyfriend and samples of the drug slipped into his drink were found in your living room. He had come earlier that afternoon to meet with your daughter as usual. Why don’t you ask small madam, she should know what happened to him, I wasn’t in the living room with them. I’m innocent, I swear it…
“Will you shut your dirty mouth! I’m here to make complaints about what you have done and here you are pouring petrol into the fire. My lawyer here, Barr. Emechebe will draft the necessary documents and see to it that you remain locked up for the rest of your days on earth. That way, I keep you far away from my daughter. Trecherous young men like you cause the downfall of opulent men in a twinkle of an eye.” He yelled and stormed out of the room.
Akpan’s chin remained lowered, aiding his widely open mouth. He had heard that some rich men go to any length to protect their interest but he never thought he would fall prey to any of such people. He could still remember the day he met lucy. He had saved her from a young man whom he then, regarded a bandit. The young man had descended on her like his equal, ready to get his pound of flesh. Lucy had taken him home and managed to convince her dad to let him drive her around and at the same time be her body guard.
Akpan was positive that his boss knew the type of lifestyle his daughter, his only child endulged in but is hell bent on playing clueless all the same, to protect her. Now he knew better. The supposed bandit he had saved Lucy from might probably had had his own share of “the Lucy’s ill treatment”. How was he ever going to get himself out of this mess?