As if it mattered if they died or lived. Nobody knew where they were or what was happening. Unlike previous kidnappings where the relatives and loved ones were “carried along” right from the start, this gang of wannabes were intent on prolonging the suspense of the evil they had done. They were quite enthusiastic about how easy it had been for them to snatch the children of a man of God right from under God’s very nose. At least, to them, the cathedral where our father officiated among other Fathers, in the name of The Father, was the very nose of God The Father. And what a feat! Such an accomplishment at such a young age! What glorious execution! They, with mere cunning and without arms had pulled off the impossible. They would revel.
And they did. For three and half days.
By the night of the fourth day, the lanky one that was looked to as the leader was finally ready to demand a ransom. Amidst their celebrations and rejoicing, there had been snatches of conversations on who would make the call and how much they would demand. Again, evidence of their baby wetness in the kidnapping business. Fine details like that would have been sorted pre-capture by the experts. Finer details like pick-up point for the ransom, where the loot would be shared and in what ratio and what to do with the captives were things I was certain this group of four had not even gotten round to thinking about.
And from the looks of things, they would fight. Terribly.
“Bring the phone. We should call now.”
“What amount will we demand? We need money o.”
They were making effort to speak English. To impress us. It was hilarious. But did I dare laugh? Were they so ignorant of sound and distance that they imagined we had not heard their exclamations in concentrated Yoruba during their praises to Eledumare for granting them success in their first venture? Or do they think I did not boil with rage at their reference to Timi’s budding breasts? They thought calling them unripe oranges was funny. I winced at the panic in her eyes as she crossed her thin arms across her chest.
“One million for the four of them is enough. We are not greedy.”
And they started laughing. Hitting one another’s backs and running into walls and nearby structures, typical comics of the African laugh-on-the-run style. I felt like joining them, only to laugh at their stupidity though. Not greedy? Who cared? If you weren’t, you would have settled for just one child of Father Surulere, instead of the four.
“But, we dey hunger oh. You sure say one milla go cut am?”
The biggest of them, let’s call him Biggy, was not able to convey his need for more naira notes in the pretend English they were desperately holding on to. He had the biggest tummy of them all, literally and figuratively. In the days they had spent captive, Biggy was the first to complain of hunger. He would jerk up from whatever position he was in, tilt his head back and shout, “Ebi oh!!!” (Hunger oh!!!), as if calling upon a god to save him from distress. He would proceed to gather ingredients, pots and plates and set them to cooking.
And he would talk, whistle, sing, laugh and do everything possible to ensure a significant volume of his saliva formed part of the recipe.
Biggy was also the one ready for the next venture without having even resolved the very first one. His bulging eyes were like those cartoon characters with currency signs in their eyes, jaws ajar and slobbering all over a fantasy of wealth.
“There is four of us. There is four of them. Why do we no ask for four million?”
That was the only lady among them, Sade. She thought herself a better leader than Lanky. And if I was to vote, I would give her all my support. Her math skills were top-notch, and her command of English was killing… literally. She could stand up to any of them and win in a tussle. And her beauty was to die for. Don’t ask me why or how. I was being observant of my environment and taking note of special details like the mole just behind her left ear, her split lower, luscious lip bravely fighting the Harmattan and the slightly larger left breast that jiggled when she walked, or better put as bounced.
And I found myself bopping along to the bouncing. If Stockholm was going to lay hold on me, it had better chances of doing that through her left hemithorax.
To be continued…