The Aftermath 8

It was the special night and everything was set for the job. He’d never been more glad the Nigeria Police was not the FBI or NYPD. The Police had beefed up their security because of all the cash and valuables they were holding but still it was nothing a little creative thief could not get past.
He walked into the police station through the front door. He wore no disguises, he was going in as Joseph Martins of Joe Martins Jewelry. The Martins everybody knew and could recognize. He wore tight navy blue trousers, a black T-shirt and a grey sweater with its zipper loose. It was a dull combination, the kind that wouldn’t get too much attention. It would also help him move through the darkness without been seen. He held a satchel. It was nothing but a satchel to everybody and they would find it so if they opened it but it had a secret compartment that held all the tools he needed.
He got to the counter and looked at his wristwatch. It was 7:15. It was go time.
“Good evening.” He said to the officer at the counter.
“Good evening. Can I help you?” The officer said.
“I hope so, I’m here to see Sergeant Bosede.” Martins said.
“I’m sorry but I don’t know anybody here by that name.”
“She said you might say that because she’s actually new. She’s supposed to be in the accounting section.”
“Could you please sit?”
“Of course.” He said and took a seat.
There was a Sergeant Bosede who had recently been posted to the Police Headquarters but he would not find her because her maternity leave started that week. He didn’t need the officer to find her but he needed to establish a reason for being in the station. He looked around the lobby; there were a few armed officers, understandable considering what they held. They were smart enough not to show too much by bringing in too many officers though. Most people, even some officers in the station, did not know what they held. It was safer that way. Or so they thought.
He looked at his watch again, it was 7:20. Time for the next phase. He brought out his phone and typed. Detective Muritala was at the other end of the phone. The man was brilliant, way more than he’d expected. He was desperate and that was good thing. The detective needed this to go well, almost as much as he needed it to.
“Get the pizza as planned.”
He hit the send button and waited. In one minute, the power will be cut off and everything will go black. He dipped his hands into his satchel and reached into the hidden compartment for the night vison goggles. Time was everything. As soon as the power went off, he needed to move.
He closed his eyes and tried to stay calm. He didn’t want any of these parading ninjas to pay him any attention.
“Hello?”
His eyes snapped open. He looked up and saw a woman standing in front of him. He was going to need to move in forty seconds, he could not be talking to anybody at that time.
“Can I help you?” Martins said.
“I heard you were looking for Sergeant Bosede.” The woman said.
“You are not her.”
“No I’m not but we work together. She’s on maternity leave, I guess she didn’t tell you about that.”
“No, she didn’t.”
Twenty five seconds more.
“The officer said you had something for her?” The woman said.
“Yes, I do.” Please go away.
“I’ll be seeing her this weekend so I can take it.”
Ten seconds more.
“Can you just get me a pen, I’ll leave a note.” Martins said.
Seven seconds more.
“Sure.” She said and walked away.
Martins sighed and gripped the night vision goggles.
Three seconds more.
It was almost time. He looked up and saw one of the gun wielding officers looking at him. It did not matter because it was time for darkness. He looked down and waited for it.
No darkness. Everything was still as bright as before.
He looked at the light bulb above him, everything was fine. He looked at his watch, it was time. What on earth was happening with the Detective? They’d gone over the plan several times, why was he delaying?
The officer who was looking at him earlier, started towards him. Bloody, old, stupid detective was ruining this for him. He hated when things did not go to plan, it made him nervous and that was not good because the officer was already standing in front of him.
“Please identify yourself.” The officer said.
Martins smiled as much as he could without showing how nervous he was.
“I am Joseph Martins Officer.” He said. “I believe we’ve met before.”
That threw the Officer off his interrogatory stance. “Sorry?”
“Have you ever been to Joe Martins Jewelry store?”
“The one on Masade Avenue?” The officer asked. “No, I haven’t.”
“Oh, sorry then. But I have to be honest, you look familiar.” Martins said. “I own the store.”
“Okay.” The officer said.
He stood in front of Martins and his eyes went from his T-shirt to his sweater and his trousers. And then his eyes went to the satchel. Not the satchel, please. Martins’ hand was still on the goggles. He was already about two minutes late and he could do nothing without the goggles. That was if the stupid Detective ever got around to cutting the power. He needed to distract the officer from the satchel.
“Are you married officer?”
“Yes, I am.”
“Then I think you should bring your wife to Joe Martins, I’m running a special discount for wives of law enforcement agents.”
“Can I see that bag?”
Martins swallowed. Crap!
Swush! The light went off.
Martins heard the officer retreat and he immediately pulled out the googles. He put them on and looked around the room. Most of the occupants of the room were taking it easy, they were used to power outages. The officer who was talking to him before was standing beside another one and the officer was pointing in his direction. Did they suspect him? Were they coming for him? He could not wait to find out. He looked at his watch, he had lost five minutes already.
He stood and moved in the direction of the store where the Blue Canim waited for him.
He had studied the blueprint Tiny Tony gave him and he knew the station like he knew his daughter’s name. Detective Muritala had made things easier for him by getting him details of how the store looked like and what kind of locks to expect.
He got to the corridor leading to the store without any problem. Everybody was sitting still, waiting for the generator to come on. It never would, he had made sure of that but they did not know that. Some people had put on the torches on their phones but he walked without making any noise, most of them did not even hear him pass.
He looked at the door to the store and stopped. There was a big problem. Two of them, actually.
The power outage was planned so it would coincide with the time they changed the guards at the door of the store. The blackout should have kept the door unguarded for a while but the Detective had delayed and now a new set of guards were posted at the door. He had a Taser in his satchel that could do the work but there was a great chance there would be noise and he would have to tie the officers. He didn’t have time for that. He had to do something else.
He dug into his satchel and brought out a small high-power flashlight. He put it on and shone it in the direction of the officers. They immediately stood up and reached for their guns.
“What are you doing here?” Martins asked and before they could answer added. “How can you do your job when you can’t even see?”
He could see the officers were confused and that was all he needed.
“You,” He shone the flashlight on the face of one of the officers. “Go and get a flashlight now.”
The officer stumbled forward and past him. He smelled alcohol on the officer as he passed. That was great.
“Hey, come back here.” Martins said. The officer stopped. “You two have been drinking?”
“No sir.” The officer said.
“You have been drinking on the job? Two of you get out of here, I’m assigning other officers here now.”
“Sir…” The second officer started to protest.
“Report in my office once the power is restored, you are both going on suspension. Now get out of here.”
The two of them walked away. Martins sighed. He could not believe that worked. It was a whole lot of help that the officers were drunk, they didn’t even bother to ask which office they were to report to to get their suspensions. He had no time to celebrate though.
He knelt in front of the door, brought out his wrench and pick and went to work. They were stupid to use such a simple lock. But according to the Detective, changing the lock would draw the attention of people. It was still stupid. The locked clicked open and he pushed the door in. He entered the room and closed the door behind him.
He looked around the room and shook his head at what he saw. It was a surprise no one else had broken into this place to steal the money. Cash lay on the ground in bundles and piles. If he wasn’t busy stealing something else, he would start hatching a plan to rob the station and steal all the cash. Focus! He looked around for the safe that was supposed to hold the Blue Canim. According to Detective Muritala, it stood by itself, he could not miss it. But he was missing it at the moment.
He walked around the room. There wasn’t much leg room, there was cash everywhere. A little stacking and arranging would have saved him all these stress. He pushed a stacked pack of dollars aside and saw the safe. He dragged it from under a pile of money he wished he could take too and carried it to the corner of the room. He set it down and set his satchel down beside it. He brought out a stethoscope and knelt beside the safe.
He sighed deeply and placed the stethoscope beside the dial of the safe and turned it. It was a three combination lock and this could take a few minutes. It wasn’t his first time opening one of these safes but inside this safe was the Blue Canim; that was enough to make him nervous. A lot could be going on outside but he had no time to think about that. He listened for the clicks and made a mental note of every number where he heard them. He was hot, sweat streamed down his face.
Three minutes later and he gotten two of the combination numbers. That was faster than he expected. Maybe he would make up for the time he’d lost before. He heard another click and that was it, he had the three numbers he needed. He smiled, time to meet you baby.
He turned the dial to the first number, he heard the fence fall into the wheel notch. He turned again and the second fence fell. This was going great. He was about to turn the dial the third time when he heard voices outside the door. Had they found him? Did the drunk officers tell somebody something?
He stopped and listened. The seconds dragged and felt like hours but he knew he could not move until he knew for sure the voices were not coming into the store. The door of the store opened and two people; a man and a woman entered. It was the woman who had come to talk to him about Sergeant Bosede. Did she lead the officer here?
He stayed still and watched. They held torchlights but he was safe behind a huge stack of money. If and when they came around that huge stack, there was no escape for him. He dipped his hand in the satchel and gripped the Taser; he would not go down without a fight.
The man and the woman whispered to each other, he could not hear their words but it looked like they were not here for him. They were opportunists trying to steal part of the money. He was not surprised. Frankly, he expected more than just two people. He had no idea how long this people would spend in the store. He could not wait forever.
He turned the dial again and the third fence fell into place. The safe was unlocked. All he had to do was pull the safe-door open. He took a deep breath and pulled the door. The hinges of the door creaked and Martins stopped. The other occupants of the room must have heard too because they were silent too. He ducked lower and waited to see what would happen. A couple of seconds later, he heard the door close softly. He looked; they were gone. That was good but it wouldn’t be good for long. There was a huge chance they would send officers in his direction.
His head told him to get out of the store before he was found but his heart longed for the Blue Canim.
He opened the safe totally and he could feel his heart racing. He was about to meet the real Blue Canim. He shone his flashlight into the safe and there it was. It sat there among the gold chains and diamond rings like a King, lost in the market in a town where no one knew who he was. Martins picked up the ring and smiled. At last, he had the Blue Canim.
The door burst open and he dove to the floor. He heard the sound of boots on the floor, several flashlights swept through the room. They had found him. One of the boots moved towards him. His Taser would do some damage but it could not get him out. Was this it? All these years of stealing and building his empire would be lost? Wura! He’d been so lost in what he was doing he’d forgotten his baby. He had to escape even if he would be shot. Wura was not going to grow up without a father.
Martins kissed the Blue Canim, picked up his Taser and waited, ready to move. He would get out of this. He loved his daughter too much, he would get out of this.
He heard a deep, crushing thud and for a second he could tell where the sound came from. Then his eyes began to water and he felt dizzy. He heard the sound again and this time it was accompanied by a searing pain in his head. He tried to stand but his legs were no longer functioning. He touched his head and felt something liquid on his head. It was not water. He looked up and saw an officer with the butt of a gun aimed at his head.
His vision became cloudy and he felt like throwing up. He collapsed to the ground and everything started to get dark.
He would not die. No one would take them away from him.
RoseAnne. Wura. The Blue Canim.

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