NICHOLAS EPISODE SEVEN

COLLEGE OF EDUCATION
ILORIN
11 A.M.
29, JULY 2015
School had always intrigued Adam. It was mostly a waste of time, but it was also a great opportunity. You rarely use most of what you learn but you learn a lot from what you rarely pay attention to. He had not spent much time in school himself and he could not help but imagine how different his life would have been if he had stayed in school. He had not and he had learnt to live with that part of him.
The school gate was narrow, enough to keep knowledge in and enough to keep miscreants out. He joined a group of students as they walked into the school. He was dressed in street clothes so he drew no attention. He had never felt like he belonged in school, he still did not feel like he did. But he had a mission; find out what really went wrong with Kemi.
He had made a few calls and he had a student waiting to meet with him.
He headed towards the Fine and Applied Arts department. He had arranged to meet one of Kemi’s friends. He had not told her why he wanted to meet her but she had agreed to meet him without much persuasion. The school was not in session so they would have privacy in the classrooms. He could not help but notice the sculptures in front of the classrooms as he entered the department building. He loved art and could not help but wonder how easy it came to some people when he did not have the slightest clue on how to make anything remotely beautiful. The building had a long corridor. There were flower pots in front of each classroom. Fine art was displayed all over the department. He could see paintings on the walls of each class as he passed by. It was obvious the department had gone out of their way to make the building different from others in the school.
He had done a background check on his Contact on Facebook. He was sure no other person in his division would do have done this, so he had not mentioned it to anybody. It was the only way he could know about her; he liked to know people before he met them. He had had to dig through a lot of people with the same name before he found the person he wanted. She was a twenty two year old girl who loved to paint. That was what her profile said. She also loved to teach, so she was in school to learn how to teach others art. He had checked her favourite music and movies. He was not surprised he was not familiar with most of the artists she listed as her favourites. He had googled some of the artists. There was no pattern. They covered a lot of genres. Her favourite movies were not familiar either. Most of them were from before he was born. They were all romantic movies. He was not a fan of romantic movies but he did not mind a lady who was. He had studied her pictures; she seemed to be a very happy person. Well, you don’t take pictures when you are sad. Happy people were easier to interrogate.
He entered the studio where she had agreed to meet him. She was sitted with her back to the door. She was wearing blue dungaree overalls. Her hair was tied behind her back in a ponytail. He could see part of the canvas she was working on. He moved closer and coughed slightly.
“Hi, you are the guy who called right?” she said without looking back.
“Yes, my name is Harry Potter.” He said with a smile. She paused and turned back to look at him. She was wearing a pair of eye glasses. He had not seen those in any of her pictures.
“Harry Potter huh?” she smiled. She stood up and rubbed her hands on her overalls. “Well, I don’t see any scar on your head.”
“What can I say? Miracles happen.” He moved towards her as she stretched out her hands to shake him.
She immediately returned to her work. He could now see she was painting. He had no idea what she was painting but it was still a nice blend of colours.
“I didn’t know you would be working.” He said as he pulled a chair up beside her.
“Oh, this? I’m not working.” She rubbed a part of the painting with her fingers “Hand me that brush please.”
He observed her as she worked. She seemed to do everything with purpose. Every stroke of her brush looked like it meant the world to her. He had tried but he still had no idea what she was painting.
“What are you painting exactly?” She paused and looked at him. She looked very serious. “I’m sorry. I wasn’t supposed to ask?”
“No no, I just had a thought; this painting can be anything I want it to be, right? I had an idea before but right now I can’t decide what I want it to be.” She placed her brush on the canvas stand and removed her glasses. “How about I leave this painting and we talk about why you are here?”
“Okay. We can do that.”
“What’s your name anyway, Mr. Harry?” she said eyeing him mockingly.
“My name is Anderson. Anderson John. I want some information about somebody you might be familiar with.” He had a cover story. It was not airtight but he was going to pursue it.
“What do you want the information for? Are you a spy or something?” Everything was obviously a joke to her.
“I’m not a spy. I wish I was.” She smiled. “I am gathering the information for my firm. We always try to investigate our new contractors.”
“Contractors? None of my friends are contractors”
“He is not really your friend. He is a friend of a friend. He is a friend to Kemi.” She raised an eyebrow when he mentioned Kemi.”We are not asking Kemi because she would not be so honest with us, being his girlfriend.”
“Girlfriend? Kemi is nobody’s girlfriend. Are you talking about that guy; Abdul?” she asked with a snort. She obviously did not like Abdul. And now he knew his name and he was now sure the mysterious man was not dating Kemi.
“They are not dating? What kind of relationship do they have?” He wanted to ask a lot of questions but he did not want to push her.
“He started coming around a few weeks ago. He would offer to take us to lunch. We refused at first, but we caved to the pressure. He was nice, so it wasn’t a big problem. But then he started isolating Kemi. Naturally we thought he wanted to ask her out but he didn’t. Kemi told me he started asking about her hometown and her friends at home.” She stood up from her chair and began to pace. “Guys are crazy, they ask all sorts of questions but even for a crazy guy the questions he asked seemed too specific. She told me about his questions and about how tired she was of seeing him. Then she stopped talking to me about him. Kemi was always on edge. She avoided any question about him. After a while, I just stopped asking.” She stopped suddenly and looked at him. ”What did you say you wanted with him again?”
He was trying to process all the information he had just received. He still had no idea who this Abdul character was or what he had to do with her kidnap. He could not understand his interest in her hometown.
“We are just trying to know all we can about him. Would you say he looked dangerous? Do you think he can do anything dangerous, like…. uhm, kidnap?” he was pushing his luck and he knew it.
“Kidnap? No. He is a northerner, they kill not kidnap.” She found that funny, he didn’t. “But seriously, there is more to the guy than meets the eye.”
Adam could not have agreed more. He had more information for his boss. His boss did not like information. It did not mean an arrest had been made. It did not mean he could get his fifteen minutes of fame.
“Anderson, I don’t know how good a contractor Abdul is, but as a person, he rubbed me the wrong way. He came here once in an official car. It had CyberCorp on its plate number. That’s the company trying to get the contract, right?”
CyberCorp? He did not know that.
“Ha… yes. CyberCorp. I have to thank you. You have been of help to us. I hope your painting turns out perfect.”
He left the school and wandered about uncertainly. Twenty minutes later he was sitting in a restaurant. He looked out of the window. He had not always enjoyed being a cop but for the first time he felt like he had a purpose. A single purpose; find Kemi’s kidnapper.

* * *
THE BOSS’ HOUSE
ILORIN
9 A.M.
29, JULY 2015
He waited at the doorway. His house, well one of them, was a masterpiece. It was his first house and he had put a lot of effort into it. Even after seeing it for years, the landscape was still breathtaking. He shifted his attention to the gate, he watched as the blue Rover drove in.
“Faruk, what do you have for me?” he watched as his new favorite person walk up the stairs.
“I might have found a solution.”
“Good, you know I’m all about solutions.”
“I have somebody on the inside that will help us.”
“Oh, good. Very good. Who?”
* * *
CYBERCORP
ILORIN
9 A.M.
30, JULY 2015
Nicholas tried his best to sit comfortably. Sitting comfortably in front of seven men staring at you is easier said than done. He had tried to imagine this meeting. He had not succeeded. He was a Youth Corps member who had become the Chief Executive Officer of a very big company, he had no idea what to expect.
The conference room where they were sitting was big. Space was not problem for a company like CyberCorp. The room had two very large windows. They overlooked the city and Nicholas loved the view. The room had a large conference table. The table was the highlight of the room. It had a reflective glass top with golden edges and a black telephone sat on the table. Black marble legs held the table in place. There were five chairs on each side of the table. He was sitting at the head of the table.
Six of the chairs around the table were occupied with men with serious faces staring at him. He could sense their disdain. They did not expect much from him and he did not blame them. He had no idea what he was doing. The meeting was the idea of the lawyer. He had told him everything he needed to know about the company. He had done his own research too. He did not want to be embarrassed beyond what was required.
He had agreed to the meeting. It was a meeting with all the Vice-Presidents of the company. It was fixed for Nine A.M. One of the Vice-Presidents was running late. They had decided to wait for him. Small talk was not an option. He had no idea what he would talk about. He looked at his watch for the fifth time in seven minutes. He was trying to keep calm but he could not help himself, he still felt agitated.
The door opened and the Vice-President in charge of Operations entered. He was a tall man. He had a nice beard; mostly white. He had an air of knowledge about him. He rarely wore a suit he had been told and he was not wearing one as he walked in. His white kaftan was heavily starched and neatly pressed. He was highly respected. He was the best person for the position of C.E.O. according to several bloggers.
“You are welcome sir.” He stood up to shake hands with him. He had thought hard about how much respect he should give his subordinates. “We have been waiting for quite a while.” He was fifteen minutes late.
“Sorry about that, I got stuck in traffic.” He greeted his colleagues and sat on the chair closest to Nicholas.
The meeting was supposed to help him get to know his VPs. He did not expect them to accept him, but the lawyer had agreed with him, it was time he met with the people he would work with. He pushed a button on the telephone on the table and a secretary brought the printed agenda of the meeting. He was going to try his best to make the meeting as professional as he could. The secretary gave each person a copy and left the room.
“You are all welcome. I’m glad you all could make it. I will not take so much of your time. The first thing I want to do is to meet everybody, get to know what part each person plays in running this great company.” He had made a good start, he thought. His opening sounded better than it had in his head. “I know your names, but how about you just tell me what you do and what your unit is currently working on. I’ll like Mr. Sanusi to start.” He leaned back in his chair, like any C.E.O. would, and listened.
“I’m the V.P. Sales and Marketing. We run all the….” He listened to them talk about how their department was the most important of all the departments in the company and how much progress the departments had made with them as the head. They did not think much of him but they still tried their best to impress him. They all did important work for the company and he was suitably impressed.
“Thank you all. I must say I’m very impressed with the work you all do in this company.” He tried his best to make eye contact with every one of them. They all looked at him, they studied him. He had expected this and he was doing his best not to be unnerved by their stares. “Right now, I want to hear about the major partnerships this company has. I think we should start with the foreign ones. Mr. Dosumu?”
He spent forty five minutes listening to them speak. He knew most of what they told him so he studied as they spoke. A few did not sound interested in answering to him so they gave short answers. None of them said ‘sir’ or ‘Chairman’ or ‘President’. He did not expect them to.
“Okay.” He tried his best to look and talk like a ‘bigshot’ C.E.O. “By the way, none of what is going on in the company is being communicated to the press, right?”
They kept quiet and stared at him. A few of them shook their heads. He decided not to pursue the matter. He noticed of the men had a hand raised up.
“Yes sir, you want to ask something?”
“Yes Mr. Akorede.” He was the first to address him by any name. ”Do you actually plan to run this company?”
He was surprised by the question. He thought holding the meeting will convince them he planned to run the company. He could feel their eyes boring into his head as he thought about the best way to answer the question. He decided to keep it short and simple.
“Yes, I plan to.” They stirred in their chairs. A few of them smiled and shook their heads. “Is there a problem gentlemen?”
Mr. Chukwu, the man in the white kaftan, stood up. He pulled his chair back and walked towards the window overlooking the city. Nicholas followed him with his eyes. It looked like the group were going to allow him do the talking, so he waited for him.
“Nicholas, that is your name, right?” he had not expected to be called by his first name, but he nodded. “You know what I see when I look through this windows? I see a city full of people, oblivious to the fact that no matter how many people vote, a few men decide the governor of the state. No matter how hard they work, a few men get all the money.” He turned away from the window and faced the table. “The C.E.O. of this company is one of the few men who make the decisions that will affect the life of the city. He is a powerful man. ”He walked towards his chair, pulled it and sat down. “Mr. Akorede you are not that man.”
Nicholas shifted in his chair.
“What did you say?”
“You are not the man to run this company.”

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