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Guns For Money (continuation) - Literature - Nairaland

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Guns For Money (continuation) by DODO005: 12:07am On May 16
At the moment I had a full charged cheap phone, including my wife’s fully charged cheap batteries I had took along to charge in the city as usual at one of the various road sides’ battery chargers who greedily charge us N50 per battery. My wife phone at the moment had no battery, and the other people I could call to explain my situation to, which included my brothers, uncles and other relatives in our hamlets had also surrendered their batteries to me for charging that morning as I set for the city. They all depended on my arrival to be able to communicate with the world again. But right now, they were all incommunicable until I return home safely.
I appraised my situation and then hurried down the lonely pathways, using my knowledge of the bush and the surrounding trees. I calmly negotiated my way through the jungle. The journey was easy and smooth at first, but as I matched on the load on my head became a burden and then I mistakenly lost my footing and dropped exhausted to the ground. I realized I was no longer strong and young like before and that my sixty five years on earth was telling on me.
Again, the fact that I had not actually prepared myself to spend my time on the road made things worse. I realized I was suddenly thirsty and needed water to soften my dry throat. I picked up my tired frame from the ground reluctantly and navigated my way towards the smell of a stream close by. This was part of the secrets we had been taught from childhood. The sun by this time had long disappeared and a bright moon was just smiling its way to the world.
The day was getting a little bit darker as I made my way around the thick bush. I suddenly felt lonely and begged to hear the noises of other creatures around. I luckily noted some group of Monkeys as they stared quizzically at me and then darted across the trees in a wild pack. I also noticed two Squirrels as they darted into the bush, including a big snake that apparently was after them for dinner. I was not really afraid of these small animals or any other bigger ones, but rather, I was more concerned and scared of meeting another human being like me; a stranger who could be more dangerous than all the animals put together.
I made my way to the stream and was lucky that the water was fresh and drinkable. I filled my stomach with little quantity of the light of life, washed my face and feet and then decided to take a short rest before continuing, a mistake I was later to regret, for sleep suddenly stole me away. I believe it was that instinct of a Bushman that jolted me up few minutes later as my sharp ears suddenly picked out the sound of an approaching machine. I bolted up and listened more attentively to the approaching sound of a vehicle. I hurriedly dashed into the cover of some thick bush with my load and quickly climbed up one of the tall trees around, where I quietly concealed my thin frame and waited frightfully.
I noticed the shape of a big black car, a Jeep precisely as it slowly came into view. The car drove some few meters to where I had earlier been resting and I counted four dodgy looking men as they dropped out of the car, paused and then suspiciously scanned the surrounding.
I almost froze with shock where I was hiding and silently prayed that none of them should look up towards the tree. Luckily for me they seemed satisfied and one of them, a broad shoulder sturdy man sauntered to a spot and then pulled off some scrub of grass. The three other men joined him and then like magic they all fetched out four automatic AK45 riffles from the grass and examined them one after the other with expertise. They all stood up and suddenly aimed the nuzzles of the guns directly at my position. I thought I had no other option than to come out of my hiding and surrender to them. I was just about to do that when they all lowered their riffles and then returned to their car with excitement written all over their faces.
I watched the four men discussed something among themselves, examined the guns ones more and then their leader a broad shouldered man with shaved head in jeans and a T-shirt made a phone call. Then to my surprised, they all piled back into their car and drove away with the guns now safely in their possession. I cautiously made my way down from my hiding place few minutes later after ensuring that they had gone. This I could ascertain from my position.
I watched with fear as the big car climbed into the dark highway and then disappeared into the night. I huff a sign of relief and gracefully thanked my creator for guarding me against these dangerous human beings from the city and their evil minds. I then casually made my way down from the shady tree with my cumbersome load. My first thought was to bolt into the night immediately and ferried my thin scared frame from the dangerous vicinity. I had gone some few distance when I suddenly noticed that the black polythene bag where I had kept the numerous phone batteries I had charged in the city was no longer inside my shirt pocket.
No, this was not something I should leave behind given its importance to our existence in our tiny hamlets. I told myself, and then quickly dashed back frightfully to the tall tree in search of these important items. Using my phone tiny torchlight, I frantically combed the whole area like a desperate gold digger in search of raw gold. My forehead and face were drenched with sweat with my shirt sticking miserable to my tired body. I searched and researched everywhere around the tree, including near the stream and the surrounding scrubs of grass the four strange men had picked out their guns and at the end of more than half an hour I could not find anything.
Dejected and broken, I decided to let go and continue my journey back home. I picked up my load, strengthened myself and was just about to dash back into the tiny path that leads to my destination when my alert eyes suddenly picked out the bright headlights of an approaching vehicle again. The sight of the approaching car gave me a fright and I once again quickly dashed towards the shady tree and hurriedly climbed back to my hidden position at the topmost part of the tree. I watched silently as the big car approached and quickly noted that it was the same black Jeep that had left not long ago. The car came to a stop at the same position it left some minutes ago and the same four men jumped out with their riffles. I watched silently as they made their way to the dry scrubs and then returned the guns to the same spot they had picked them from.
Then the leader of the gang did something that surprised me. He sauntered to the car and brought out a small bag, unzipped it and counted out some rolls of money. He then wrapped the money into a black polythene bag and dropped the cash into the same spot with the riffles. They then covered back the spot with scrub of grass and then fetched a bottle of drink.
I stared frightfully at them as they all took some swing from the bottle, smoked what smelled like marijuana, including cigarettes, chatted happily in low tones and then finally returned to their big car and excitedly drove away into the night.
You know money and its enticing force, so the first thing that crossed my curious mind that night was to jump down and grab the black polythene bag containing that huge roll of money. This could be an opportunity of a life time, I reasoned, as something inside my mind encouraged me and urged me to go on with my plan. Honestly, I had never in my entire life seen a large roll of money like that. All I needed to do was to hurried down from my hiding place and invade the bag of money and convert everything to mine without anyone suspecting. I told myself.

But again, something else inside me warned and cautioned me against this step. This was not my money, then why should I have a sudden interest in it? I reasoned. But I came down casually from my hiding place and still uprooted the content of the black polythene bag. It was the largest concentration of currency I had ever seen in my life. I noted that among the currency notes were some crispy foreign bank notes I had never seen before, including rolls of Nigerian one thousand naira notes. My grassy hand felt the notes and their clout and was almost tempted to keep some to myself and damn anything. With these notes in my pocket, I reasoned, I will now have cash to buy more goats, hens and sheep and probably have more power and influence in my community and also give me an opportunity to solve some of the numerous problems bedeviling our helmets. The world we now lived in and found ourselves was all about this man- made paper note known as money and right now I have plenty of it in my hands. All I need to do was to pack everything and get the hell out of the place. I calculated as I stared at the bundle of bank notes in my frail hands. But the guilt about the source of the money suddenly pricked my conscience. The silent warning from my mind resurfaced and cautioned me once again against this move. Something deep inside my soul warned me and made it glaring to me that the crispy money was not actually part of my legitimate striving on earth. This was not my money, then why should I keep what is not mine? This could be some blood money. This invisible voice reminded me.
I was still holding the bag of money, deliberating on what to do, when I suddenly heard the noise of an approaching vehicle again. My eyes picked out the fast approaching headlights of the car and I froze and then instantly jolted back to the dangerous situation I was in at that moment. I quickly dropped the polythene bag with the money intact back to its place and hurriedly covered the spot the way I found it and then dashed back frantically to my hiding place at the top of the shady tree. I watched with a frightful silence as the car approached. I quickly noticed that it was not the same black Jeep with the four men this time around; instead it was the familiar black painted van of the police with its trademark siren light in its multicolor glow. The van made its way slowly into the arena with a familiar insight. I stared more frightfully at the van as it made its way to the same spot I had dashed away from few minutes ago. The vehicle finally parked and I watched as four uniformed policemen jumped out and suspiciously scanned the environment with their apprehensive eyes.
I could not believe what I was seeing. These were actually real security men in our familiar Police Force uniform, I noted. The leader of the team finally stepped forward and I quickly noted the Inspector tag on his shoulders from the reflection of the bright shining moon and twinkling stars from the sky. He matched to the hidden spot, pulled off the scrubs, retrieved the black polythene bag and then ordered one of his men, a constable to pick the guns. The constable, a thin looking lad, picked out the riffles one after the other and then distributed them among each other. They all examined the riffles, and after been satisfied they stood quietly and watched greedily as the inspector counted the roll of cash from the polythene bag.
I could see the excitement on their faces, including the greed on their suspicious eyes. The inspector finally paused, pulled out some rolls of cash and shared it among his men. I could not see the exact amount, but I knew there was more inside the polythene bag than what he gave them. The three other men, a sergeant and two constables shared the money among each other. I watched as the inspector finally counted another roll for himself, pocketed it and then folded the black bag with the extra money with a greedy frown. He said something to the others, and they all nodded. He then retrieved one of the guns from the constable who apparently was holding it for him and they all returned to their van and drove away.
I stared quietly at the moving van from my position and watched with relieved as its tail lights disappeared into the highway and into the night. I waited for another ten minutes, afraid of coming down from the safety of the tree. Wow! What an escape. I reminded myself and once again looked up to the sky and thanked my creator for sparing my life in the hands and guns of these greedy looking city policemen and their dangerous minds. I had no doubt in my mind that these men would have wasted no time discharging their bullets into my thin frame if they had sighted me. I knew I had just witnessed a pre-arranged exchange of guns for money between a criminal gang and a legal security force. My bush mind and jungle sense told me that the four men in the black jeep were robbers and the four uniformed men were members of our country Police Force, collaborating to rob the people. While the four robbers carry out the action, the four policemen I guessed equally provided the arms to make the action happen. I realized their underground night transaction was a secret they would have loved no one else to see or know about. I then wondered what would have happened if anyone of them had crept in while I was down from the tree with the money bag in my hand. Definitely, I would not have lived to tell this story.
The moon was still shining boldly and the stars still twinkling brightly from the sky when I decided to make my way down from the shady tree. The place was no longer a safe place to be. I told myself and hurriedly jumped down with my load. My only regret was that I could not find the phone batteries and I was no longer interested nor have the mind to search for them in the unsafe environment. I promised myself not to bother coming back the next morning or anytime in the future to search for them. To hell with the batteries, I consoled myself and then hurriedly dashed out of the surrounding into the thick jungle and into the lonely path that would lead me home. I knew my people would understand with me when I recount the story of my escape from the jugular of death in the hands of four vicious looking robbers and four greedy uniformed policemen.


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