Martins paced in the room, his face still throbbing from the punches. Things had gotten out of hand. The only reason he had had so much confidence was because he assumed RoseAnne and Wura were safe. How did they find them? He’d made sure Tiny Tony did not get a whiff of their travel. Was someone watching him? Or worse, watching them?
His options were limited. There was no way he would see harm come to RoseAnne or his daughter. He did not want to hand over the Blue Canim but he would, if it would mean his girls could go free. If. That uncertainty was his fear. Criminals were known to break their promise from time to time. He had to negotiate his way out of this one. RoseAnne and Wura were unlikely to be harmed for now, as long as there was a chance he would cooperate.
Martins knocked on the door. No answer. He banged on it. He heard a foot shuffle behind the door.
“I’m ready to talk.” He said.
The door swung open and the officer who had punched him earlier entered.
“You need to get me out of here.”
“This is not a negotiation. You either…”
“Shut up, you big, bald idiot.” Martins said. “I’m not giving you anything if you don’t get me out. If I give you what you want, how do I know you won’t hurt my daughter and leave me to rot here?”
“That is not my business.”
“Are you new to this?” Martins asked. “You don’t know how this works?”
Martins saw a hesitation in the officer. So maybe he was actually new to this.
“I see what’s going on here. You don’t know anything, they just paid you to beat me up and question me.” Martins pulled the chair and sat. “Let me tell you how this works. I am a high value prisoner to whoever paid you because of what I have. They will torture and threaten me until I give them what I have. But until I do so, I am very important to them. Do you understand?”
“I don’t care how this works.” The officer said. “I only care about doing the job I’m paid for. And if you’re so good, you pompous bastard, how come you are the one in jail?”
The guy had a point. If he was so great, he shouldn’t be in jail. If he’d followed his instincts to take RoseAnne and Wura and walk into the sunset, he wouldn’t be here. Greed and obsession; that was what he followed.
“There’s no need for all these talk,” Martins said. “This isn’t a peace summit. I’m not giving you anything until I’m out of here.”
“That is never going to happen.”
“We are not releasing you, not on bail, not for any reason.”
Martins chuckled. “You just confirmed you don’t know who you are working for. You know what, I’m not talking with you anymore. The next time you talk to whoever is giving you orders, tell them I want to talk to Tiny Tony.”
The officer looked confused.
“You don’t even know who Tiny Tony is, do you?”
Detective Muritala panted as he ran to the foot of the stairs of the plane. He was lucky to have met the plane, he’d been told. He was on his way to Kano again and like his previous trip, he was going with a lot of apprehension. Shekiya had called to say his son was in a coma and the chances of him coming out of it were getting lower by the minute. He was yet to meet the boy or he should say the boy was yet to meet him. If he died now… he shook the thought off his mind, he was not going to die.
He entered the plane and found his seat. He was just sitting when his phone rang. He did not know this number and frankly he was not in the mood to speak to anyone.
What if it was Shekiya calling? He answered the call.
“Detective Muritala?” It was a male voice, one he did not recognize.
“Yes, who is this?”
“It doesn’t matter who I am, I just want to offer you a deal.”
“Please, I don’t have time for…”
“It’s going to save your son’s life.”
Detective Muritala paused. Who was this man on the phone? How did he know about his son? More importantly, what was this deal he was talking about?
“I’m listening.” Detective Muritala said into the phone.
“I need you to get something for me from Martins.”
Detective Muritala looked around to see if anyone was listening. No one was supposed to know about Martins or his involvement with him.
“Who are you?” Martins whispered into the phone.
“That is the wrong question Detective.” The voice said. “You should be asking what I need you to do.”
“How am I supposed to do deal with someone I don’t know?”
“Because I will save your son’s life, that’s why.”
Detective Muritala sighed. “Go on.”
“Martins has something of ours and he’s refusing to give it up. He trusts you so maybe he will give it to you.”
“He doesn’t trust me.”
“Well, the bastard doesn’t trust anybody but he doesn’t have many friends right now, you are one of the few people he would talk to so make it work.”
“How am I supposed to trust somebody I don’t even know?”
“You don’t have to trust me but this is a business transaction for me. My people have already spoken to them at the hospital in Kano and I know how much you need. The money is on ground already, all I need to do is give the signal and your son’s life will be saved.”
Detective Muritala sat up in his chair. “Send the money to the hospital now and I promise I will do anything you want.”
“Business doesn’t work that way. Do what I ask, and I’ll send the money immediately.”
What the man was asking was simple. All he had to do was get something from Martins through any means he could and his son would be saved. He owed this Martins man no loyalty, none at all.
“Alright, I’ll do it.” Detective Muritala said. “What do you want me to collect from him?”
“Just a small jewel called the Blue Canim.”
“That is all?”
“Yes.” The man on the phone said. “Oh wait, there’s something else.”
“What is it?”
“You cannot allow Martins come out of that station alive.”
Detective gasped and lowered his voice. “You want me to kill him?”
“Do we have a deal?”
Martins sat, resting his head on the table in front of him. He had not eaten anything since he was caught. He’d not even been given water. He’d been a criminal for a long time but he’d never suffered the consequences, things had changed so fast. He was hot, he needed to use the toilet, he was of course thirsty but nobody had answered his request for any of those things. They say crime does not pay but crime had paid him big time but now he was the one paying.
His discomfort wasn’t his biggest problem at the moment, it was the thought of his daughter and RoseAnne stuck with these criminals. Who knew what they may have done to RoseAnne or worse still, to Wura. He shook his head, he shouldn’t be thinking about things like this. Or maybe he should. He deserved the mental torture. He’d been a very bad person, he should pay for it.
The door to the room opened and he lifted his head from the table. Two men entered, both of them people he’d never seen. From the suits they wore to their composure, he knew these were not street police officers like the idiot he’d been dealing with. They could be secret service or something more covert than the secret service.
“Hello, Mister Martins.” Officer One said. “I am Agent Sanni.”
Agent? Who were they? FBI?
“I am Agent Ponsah.”
Martins looked from one agent to the other as they sat. Agent Sanni looked like he was the one running the show but Agent Ponsah looked more intense. They didn’t look like men who came to play. But agents?
“Can I ask a question?” Martins said.
“Please go ahead, Mister Martins.”
“You can just call me Martins.” They nodded. “You said you are agents? Which Agency do you work for?”
“I’m sorry I cannot say.” Agent Sanni said. “Our unit is a convert operation. For your peace of mind, just think of us as police.”
They were so professional and precise it scared him.
“Can we ask some questions now?” Agent Ponsah asked, his eyes holding Martins’.
“How did you get information something was being held in the station?” Agent Ponsah asked.
Martins knew he couldn’t tell them the truth. At least, not the whole truth.
“I have sources, people who tell me things.”
“Can we have the name of your source please?”
Martins shook his head. “I’m sorry, you cannot.”
“Martins,” Agent Sanni started. “I hope you understand you are in a lot of trouble. Giving us a name right now will go a long way to help you.”
“Oh, so guys can offer deals like the FBI does in movies? If I give you my source, you put under witness protection and I go and live in a far place like Kotangora. Is that it?”
“We are not the FBI but we can offer you a deal.”
“That’s nice to hear.” Martins said. “This is what I want; a full pardon, no prosecution at all and I’ll give you the name of my source. I’ll even give you the name of his grandfather if you want.”
“I’m sorry, we cannot offer that kind of deal. A reduced sentence is the only thing we can guarantee.”
“So you are saying, I’m going to jail for sure?”
“What do you think?” Agent Sanni said. “You robbed the police headquarters.”
“Attempted.” Martins said. “I attempted to rob.”
“You understand you will have to give us your source eventually.” Agent Sanni said.
And Agent Ponsah added. “Willingly or unwillingly.”
Martins understood what they meant.
“Willingly or unwillingly? I thought the FBI was not allowed to torture.”
Agent Ponsah looked at Martins, his eyes not blinking. “We are not the FBI.”
“How long do I have before the torture starts?”
“We have other questions to ask.” Agent Sanni said.
“Are you connected in any way to the previous owner of the seized properties?” Agent Ponsah asked.
“Are you asking if I was stealing something back for the original owner?”
“You could answer that question too.”
“No, I wasn’t. I was on a personal mission.”
“Did you have a partner? Someone on the inside or the outside who helped you?”
Martins chuckled. “I’m not stupid.”
“Please answer the question.”
“I didn’t have a partner.” Martins said. “If I did and I’m not saying I did, do you think I would sell him out?”
“Are there any questions you will answer willingly?” Agent Ponsah asked.
“If you ask me if I’m hungry? I will willingly tell you yes, because I am.”
The agents stood.
“We’ll be right back.” Agent Sanni said.
“We need to take off the suits.” Agent Ponsah added. “The drycleaner asks questions when he sees blood on the suits.”
Martins smiled until the agent left the room then he placed his head on the table.
This is not going to end well.
Detective Muritala entered the station feeling like every eye was on him and they all knew what he wanted to do. He couldn’t overanalyze this. The only thing he placed his mind on was his son. He needed to save his son and he had promised he would do anything it would take and that was what he was about to do.
He looked around, there were no familiar faces. He needed access to Martins. Was he really going to kill him? Maybe he didn’t have to. The only thing the man said was to make sure he didn’t leave the station. Oh, this was too hard. All his years of honest service and integrity had disappeared like smoke. First he agreed to help a thief steal from the police, now he was considering murdering that thief. Was his son worth all of these?
He heard a scream come from inside the station and he hurried in the direction of the scream. The closer he got to the scream, the more he was convinced it was coming from Martins. Was he being tortured?
He was almost at the room where Martins had been earlier when he met the bald officer.
“What’s going on there?”
“Some agents are in there. This is no longer just the police now.” The bald officer said.
“Yes, they are torturing him.”
“They said this wasn’t just a robbery case anymore. It now had to do with financial crimes and terrorism.”
“Just some crap they cooked up to justify what they’re doing.”
The bald officer walked away and Detective Muritala followed him. The screams he was hearing made him nauseous. How was he supposed to talk to Martins now with the goons in the room? Even if he waited till they, what were the chances Martins would want to talk to him or even be able to?
His phone vibrated in his pocket and his heart skipped a beat. Could be the man who promised to take care of Ahmad. Or maybe it was Shekiya. He brought out the phone; it was Shekiya. He couldn’t remember the last time he received a good call from the woman.
He sighed and answered the call.
“He’s gone, my son – our son, is dead.”