Martins rolled the ring in-between his thumb and his forefinger. It was beautiful, made from 24 karats gold and Cullinan Diamond. It was large, one centimeter in diameter. The head of a Lion was edged on the ring and it had the words ‘Dum vivimus, vivamus‘ engraved on the inner circumference. It was a great thing, the Blue Canim. It was not meant to worn, it was meant to be worshipped.
He looked at the ring in his hand and threw it against the wall. It wasn’t the real thing. He’d owned several replicas of the Blue Canim, some of them very expensive but none of them could satisfy his hunger for it. Now he was close to holding the real thing he was besieged with doubt. Too many things plagued his mind. There was the problem of the two women who had been killed right after he robbed them. He no longer trusted Tiny Tony, there was that. And now, he was not sure how much the Detective knew about him and his side hustle. He’d done this for almost two decades without getting caught, why would he throw it all away from one ring? Except this wasn’t one ring; this was the Blue Canim.
RoseAnn was coming over later to discuss their trip, that part scared him too. He’d finally found someone he could give his heart to, was the Blue Canim worth losing that relationship for? And if he was caught, would she still date him when the whole world knew he was a thief? Too many questions. He needed a break.
He picked up his car keys and headed for the door. The fake Blue Canim caught his attention and he picked it up. He looked at it and put it in his pocket, it was better no one else saw this around him.
He was about opening the door when someone knocked on it. He turned the handle and pulled the door open.
“Good afternoon, Mister Martins.”
It was the damn detective again. This was a sign, he was not doing this job again. No way, there was too much heat headed his way.
“May I come in?” The Detective asked.
Martins wanted to say slam the door in his face but he knew that would not be help him. He stood aside and the Detective entered.
“What can I do for you Detective?” Martins asked.
“Can we sit please?”
“No, I’m fine on my feet.”
“I’m sorry, I’m old.” The Detective said and sat.
“What can I do for you?”
“Before we start, I want to guarantee that none of this is being recorded and none of this will ever be used as a testimony against you.” The Detective said.
Maybe he needed to sit. Martins sat and said. “Continue please.”
“I’m not going to mince words here because I’m desperate and in a hurry. I know you were involved in the robbery and murder at the White Agate…”
“Detective,” Martins cut in. “I’m not going to sit here and hear this accusation.”
“Let me finish please.” The Detective said. “May I finish?”
Martins had no idea where this was going but if this man had any evidence against him, he wanted to hear about it.
“Go on.” Martins said.
“You may ask what my evidence is and in truth, I don’t have anything I can arrest you with yet but I will find it.”
Well, that answered his question. “Are you finished?”
“No, I’m not.” The Detective said. “I could find evidence and get you locked up but that’s not what I want to do. I’m here to propose something to you.”
“Well, I’m assuming you are not finished.”
“This is not something I would ordinarily do but I recently found out I have a son who is dying and I’m in desperate need for money.”
Martins stood. “Wait a minute, is this a shake down? You want a bribe? For a crime you cannot even prove I committed?”
“If this was a shake down, I will be here with guns and a handcuff.”
“So what the hell is this?”
“I need your help. Borrow me all the money I need to take care of my son, I’ll keep off the police from you and I’ll pay you back your money.”
Martins laughed. Was this a trap? Or was it a joke?
“I don’t know what you think you know about me,” Martins said. “But this sounds like a big joke to me. Let’s say you are right and I’m a thief, why on earth will I need your help?”
“The woman you killed at the White Agate…”
“I did not kill anybody.” Martins retorted.
“The woman that was killed at the White Agate is the relation of someone I know and they are powerful, they won’t stop until they catch whoever did this.”
“I know you did it. I could help them find evidence connecting you to the murder. I already have one and it’s only a matter of time before a team of more funded, trained and equipped people find out more.”
Martins wanted to scoff at everything the Detective was saying but he could not. He was afraid the man was right. But there was no way he could take him up on his offer. At the end of the day, the man was still law enforcement.
“Thank you for the warning and all Detective but I insist that I don’t know what you’re talking about and I think it’s time to go.”
“Mister Martins, I’m a desperate man and you know desperate people do dangerous things. You have a daughter, don’t you?”
Martins moved closer to his man, his right hand balled into a fist. “Are you threatening my daughter?”
“No, I’m not, that would be stupid. But being a father, you will understand what’s going through my mind. I don’t know anybody else who can help with me this amount of money that is why I’m throwing away my integrity and reputation by coming to you.”
Martins sat and contemplated the Detective. He pitied the man, he looked genuinely in distress and desperate but he would be stupid to offer him any help.
“I’m sorry Detective. I hope you find help for your son but I cannot help you, I am not what you think I am.”
“I hope you change your mind.” The Detective said and stood. “My son doesn’t have a long time but please call me if you do.”
Martins stood and watched the Detective walk out of the office. He understood the Detective’s willingness to throw away his career for his son’s life. He should be able to do the same for his daughter. He would. But first, the Blue Canim.
Martins stood by the car waiting for the bell to ring. He’d made up his mind on what he would do. He was going for the Blue Canim but he could not concentrate with RoseAnn and Wura in town. He was not even sure where he had to break into to steal the Blue Canim yet. There was always a chance of him getting caught and he would not want his girls in town for that either.
The bell rang, school was over for the day. For the term for his daughter and Aunt RoseAnne. He saw them coming out of the school hand in hand and he smiled. It wasn’t just a facial movement but the smile came from deep within. They made him happy and he would have nothing tamper with that.
“Hey ladies.” He said.
Wura hugged him and he kissed her on the cheek.
“Aunt RoseAnne said I’m not coming back to school tomorrow.” Wura said.
“No love, you are not. We are traveling.”
“Where are we going? Is Mommy coming with us?”
“I’ll answer your questions in a minute baby. Wait in the car while I speak to this beautiful lady, okay?”
Wura nodded and entered the car.
“Even after a long day, you look beautiful as always.”
She smiled. “And you know the right thing to say, as always.”
“So, about our trip…”
“You want us to go tomorrow? What’s the hurry?”
“There’s no hurry. We are not leaving the country tomorrow.”
“So where are we going?”
“Abuja. You and Wura will go to Abuja tomorrow, have a little ladies time for a week and I’ll join you.”
She frowned. “I don’t understand. You want only two of us to go?”
“Exactly. Wura has spent time with you in school but how many hours have you spent together, alone? I know she looks so nice now but after a few days, she may not look so nice anymore. Maybe by the end of the week, you will pull out of the trip all together.”
She wasn’t convinced. “I don’t know.”
“Do you trust me?” Martins asked.
“Of course I do.”
“Then believe me, this is a good idea. I have to confess this will be a hard sell to her mother so I need to know you are on board.”
RoseAnne smiled. “Alright, I’ll do it.”
“Are you sure you can live without your daughter for a whole week?”
“I’m not sure but I’ll try.” Martins said.
Everything was almost ready now. With RoseAnne and Wura going out of town, he could have the mental space and emotional freedom to plan for the heist.
“What will you be doing all week anyway?” RoseAnne asked.
He looked at her and smiled. “Living my dream.”
Martins sat across from Tiny Tony, listening but also watching the man. They were joking around, talking about different jobs they had pulled together. Martins was laughing at all the jokes and he even told some but he never forgot that Tiny Tony was not to be trusted.
Tiny Tony put out his cigar on an overflowing ashtray and pulled his chair closer to Martins. It was time to talk business.
“So apparently the Blue Canim has been in Nigeria all along.” Tiny Tony said.
Martins frowned. “No way.”
“Yes it was. It was in the house of General Galadima.”
“Didn’t he die five years ago?”
“He did and thank God, his family did not know what the ring was. It was just another piece of jewelry to them.”
“So what happened? One of the children try to pawn it?”
“Not really. EFCC happened. They raided the house and it was part of the items confiscated.”
Martins paused and considered what he’d just heard. He could not believe some ignorant people had been in possession of the Blue Canim for so long.
“So, EFCC has it?”
“Yes they do.” Tiny Tony said. “It’s been held with other items at the Central Police Station.”
“The Police Station? That is stupid.”
“No, it’s not actually because it’s not common knowledge. And who will be stupid enough to break into a police station especially now when it is under serious security.”
“Isn’t that what you are asking me to do?”
“The fact that you can do it doesn’t mean you are not stupid.”
The police station wasn’t an easy target. He’d stolen things from a military barracks before but that was still a residential area. This types of jobs worked better with a team. And more importantly, an inside man. The Detective! Having the detective on his team would be a great advantage for him, if he could guarantee that the Detective will not sell him out.
“Now that you know where you have to rob, do you still want to do this?”
“Of course I want to.” Martins said. “Do you have a blueprint of the station?”
“What do you think I am? The FBI?”
Martins did not laugh. “Do you have it?”
“Yes I do.” Tiny Tony said.
“Alright then. Give me that and any other thing you have.”
“You’d need a man on the inside.”
Tiny Tony knew this and Martins knew this too. The Detective would be a perfect insider. He was experienced and knowledgeable. He was known for his integrity so he probably won’t be the first suspect. But it was dangerous. Maybe he could find another person. It might take a little time but he would find another person.
“One more thing Joe.” Tiny Tony said. “The ring and the other thing will be moved out in forty eight hours.”
Okay, so maybe he did not have time.
Love was not a good thing. Or maybe Parenthood was what he should blame. A week ago he was just a guy, living a simple uneventful life. He had integrity, he was honest and he had no affiliations with evil. But now, he had offered to help a thief and murderer and he was about to sell another piece of his soul now.
“What do you want Detective?” The DPO asked.
This was even more difficult than talking to the thief. “My son is dying and I need help.”
“I’m sorry to hear about your son.” She said, and she sounded genuine. “What’s wrong with him?”
“He needs a bone marrow transplant and it’s going to cost a lot of money. I need your help Boss.”
She sat back in her chair and folded her arms across her chest. From his years of observing people he’d learnt that was not a good sign.
“I’m not asking you to give me your personal money.” He said.
“So, from what money do you want me to give you?”
“I know how junior detectives make money here. I know how they paid for their SUVs and Dubai trips, I just want a little bit of that. But for my son.”
She looked at him, it was obvious she could not believe what she was hearing.
“I don’t understand.” She said.
“Do you have children?”
“Yes I do.”
“Then I don’t think you should have any trouble understanding.”
“I understand why you are desperate Detective, I just don’t understand the part of the SUVs and Dubai trips. Is there something going on I don’t know about?”
He could not believe this. She was trying to act ignorant?
“I’m not telling you anything you don’t know about. I’ve been here for a long time and I know what I know. Please, just help me out.”
“Let me get this straight, you think there is some illegal money we are making here and you want a part of it?”
“I know officers in this station make a lot money on their EFCC busts and I just need you to put me on one of those as soon as possible.”
She chuckled, then relaxed in her chair and laughed.
“Detective, I’m going to pretend this didn’t happen and I’ll ask you to leave my office now.”
“What?” He felt blood rush to his head. “You are going to laugh in my face and walk me out of your office?”
“Exactly.” She said. “Except you want to be bundled out of here.”
Detective Muritala stood. “You are going to regret this. I know a lot more than you think. I may be old but I know every trick in the book and you are going to find out what it means to cross me.”
“Are you threatening a superior officer?”
“I’m threatening a fool with a lot to lose.”
“You are the fool and you are the one with a son to lose. Now, get out of my office.”
He’d never hit a woman in his life but he felt like hitting this one. She looked at him and smiled.
“You want to punch me?” She asked. “Please, I beg you, do it. You will be dead long before your son dies.”
He pushed his chair aside and walked out of the office. He closed the door behind him and leaned his head against the wall. This was his last point of call. Was he really this useless?
His phone rang, he looked at it; it was the thief.
“Hello?” He said.
“Are you still interested in that money?”