’What do you think happened to the bodies? We did not find any of them, but we were sure they were inside!’ Sergeant Oke from Abuja police headquarters reported to no one in particular. The police headquarter was located in Iyanya main street.
The Department Police Officer, MaryJohn, looking stressed out and disillusioned, invited the other policemen into the main hall. None of the men looked happy.
Standing six feet six tall, the DPO was an intimidating man, and, coupled with his goatee and sharp black eyes, that unnerved men with weak nerves, the man was an unforgettable person. He hardly smiled and when he did it was usually a smirk. He was arrogant and had an annoying habit of never staying without smoking.
Just when his fellow policemen thought that his features couldn’t get more severe, he got a cut on his cheek when he was trying to nab a criminal. That only added to make him more formidable. The only odd thing was that his name did not match his personality.
They had gone to the house with the machines that were needed to bring out the body of Mr. and Mrs. Ani, but they found nothing in the crumpled house. Their bodies were simply not there, which had been the case in the other houses that fell.
The last two fallen houses also had two people inside it. Their bodies were not found so the police could not actually declare them dead but missing. This was beginning to piss the DPO off big time. And he didn’t like getting pissed.
‘We did not know what happened, sir, but we were assured that they entered the house together after returning from a wedding ceremony. That is all we know,’ Sergeant Oke explained.
Sergeant Oke was very short and he used that to his advantage. He often said and did the most annoying things that would make one want to kill him, but after a look at his very brief nature, one would have no choice but to shake one’s head and walk off.
’Sergeant, are you trying to tell me that in the last ten months, I have had twenty collapsed buildings that killed not less than two people on each occasion and no one knows what happened to the bodies?’ MaryJohn exclaimed, going to stand over Oke, using his height to impact his point.
Oke cowered. Not that he was a coward, but in the face of his boss, he couldn’t help being intimidated. The DPO was a very hard man to talk with when he was angry or cranky, and he was both at the moment. Oke did not blame the man though. He would be if he was in his position.
‘I have twelve men on this case and none has anything to show me,’ he addressed all the men in the room. They all bowed their heads in shame or was it defeat? ‘I might as well go into the street and bring hooligans to work on this, because I am sure they will bring in better results than the twelve of you put together.’ MaryJohn knew he was being harsh, but he was desperate. They needed to do something fast. He looked at several of them, one after the other. ‘Has anybody done a third check on the people that built the houses and the materials they used?’
‘Yes, sir,’ a sergeant replied. ‘We did that again. We came up with the same thing. It is not the fault of the people who erected the structures. The collapsed houses were built with the best materials by the best building construction firm in Nigeria. We have nothing against them.’
‘Is that so?’ He flung out his hands to all the other policemen, as though asking for their opinion. ‘What then is responsible for making all those houses collapse, trapping only two people all the time?’ He turned to the sergeant that just spoke. ‘Samson, I want you to try and find a connection between these missing people. I want to know if they have anything in common, anything at all even if it is a smile. I want to know it. And by God don’t disappoint me.’
‘Yes, sir!’ the sergeant bellowed, his voice sounding sure even though he had no idea where to start in going about the assignment.
‘Others go inside that city and find me something to blame for these missing people. Anything that looks like anything should be brought to me ASAP!’
‘Off with you then. Samson and Musa, may I have a word with you two?’
Sam and Musa meekly followed him to his office. MaryJohn waved at the visitors’ chairs for the policemen and went round his table to sit down. His office was not up to his taste at all but he had decided that he would not pay attention to it anymore. The photos of the two men he hated most in the world hung on his east wall. They were the president of this messed country and the governor of Enugu, his state of origin. They were the worst hypocrites in the whole wide world. He even had the Nigerian flag blocking his view of the window. Well, he did not want to think about that now.
He studied the two policemen for a while. He knew that Sam and Musa were the worst people one could put in the same team. Ironically they worked better together. The only problem was that they caused more harm than they fixed. MaryJohn had separated them when they pulled the stunt that nearly cost him his job. He would have fired them but he knew they were irreplaceable.
Returning his attention to the two friends that valued each other more than they let on, he suggested, ‘I want the two of you to work together. Do you think you can do that without killing somebody?’
Here was how it was with the friends; Musa was married, Sam was not. Musa was gentle, Sam was not. Musa was calculated, Sam was not. Musa didn’t talk much. Sam talked a lot. Musa was careful, Sam was not. These were the list of the main things that made them very incompatible.
Sam and Musa looked at each other and then at their boss. Sam knew that they could work together but sometimes he did not like working with Musa because he found him very boring. Sam and Musa became best of friends when they first entered the police force. Sam still did not like Musa’s wife or the way Musa disliked taking risks. But in this case, he knew that he would not choose any other person to work with.
‘I think we can,’ Sam said.
Musa did not agree with him whole heartedly but he would rather work with Sam than work with his current punk ass partner. He just hoped that his wife would not beef and start harping on the fact that Sam was leading him astray.
‘I think I can manage not to kill him for the time being but once we are done with the case, I am also done with him,’ Musa said.
Sam smirked at him. ‘You should be thanking me for wanting to work with someone that is as boring as you. You should be thanking me.’
‘Oh, I am thanking you. I will thank you when you try any of your stunts, with the soles of my shoes. They are new, you know?’
‘I know. I can smell them all the way to this side of the room.’
‘Play nice, children,’ MaryJohn chided mildly, ‘we don’t want someone crying because of someone. I want you two to go out and get me something tangible. I want to be done with this case like yesterday.’
‘Yes, sir,’ they both said, standing and saluting him.