He fluttered an eye, nothing. Again, and a flare of gnarly yellow jumped him. The flash upset his eyes, and before he could reconcile them to stillness, ripped them into a gory mess.
Everything happened within seconds.
Seconds ago, K. Hacib, as was popularly referred, grinned at the Padre – a tailored smartness of black, balding greyness and a glitzy cross- at the organ pipes, the frescoes, the chandeliers, then at her – his other half. Inches away – appropriate to acquaintances- well wishers and party crashers, was seated Hacib’s rotten apple. His Adams Desire; his twinge and lust; black leather and purple sheets; victoria secret and lingerie. His Nadia.
The Celestial band eased the traverse of gratuitous reminisces with sopranos, falsettos and rhythmic “God Give Us Christian Homes” verses, and he let the details hoist him above all. To men like Hacib, life was nothing but seconds and thereafter. The thereafter made the seconds worthwhile; the seconds made Nadia a worthy the risk.
*East Side, Gents. Twenty minutes!*
The IM lifted his spirits.
“To the moon and beyond!” His perfect smile, seconds later, ferried the vows to the bubble-eyed white fondling his bow tie and tugging at the cuff of his shirt. They would make a fine pair, create cute babies, more wealth and have great weekends in the Caribbean. The first two her purpose; the latter summed his.
“The heart wants what the heart wants, even that which is worst for it”, the toast ended. Music kicked in, feet found floor and birthed soft taps. That was his cue. 348 seconds later, bright and breezy, he zipped through the maze of cheery cheers and chirpy awws, seeking the gents and its client-patron confidentiality.
20 seconds of rushed embraces, hasty undressing, palpitating heartbeats, hurried smooches, disheveled weaves, scuffles, kisses and slobs and he was in Carthage, the Milky Way, Byzantium and a number of other imaginary locales – with Nadia. Seconds after, Nadia halted. It wasn’t a perfunctory reaction to a too quick quickie. Her halt was succeeded by an ear-deadening shriek!
Seconds before the cry, the asphalt that aligned the restroom with Golgotha’s gate had screeched loudly and doors had slammed in tandem. A man in a faded jean short with an unclothed torso had hurtled across the rutted tarmac, unto the lawn and made straight for the restroom. Followed closely were bronze bullets whizzing like faulty drones and husky men directing their destinies. Four shots rang through the room. No six. Two ricocheted. Two lodged into the running man whose limp body slued across the floor’s dank overlay. One hurled Lindsey away from point A to point B (where exasperated coroners could easily do away with the green residue). The last took three seconds. In between those, Hacib impetuously attempted to blink twice.
The eighties, particularly infamous for gratuitous frolicking, philandering, inappropriateness in matters of public affairs and its numbers of glitterati, was for tycoons and 21st Century magnates a stint of improvidence in the history of black civilization. They weren’t hard pressed for opinions before they blurted during round-table meetings, in paroxysms of anger, “All that vitality and potential wasted!”
But for a town like Orle, where the black folks – suppressed into constants and variables by impeccably patterned caste systems – would give up almost anything to escape the cesspool that was their lives, it was considered crass commercialism to yield such a goldmine unto mindless depravity or degeneracy. There had to be a profitable cycle to the meaninglessness, splurge and transgressions. All Orle needed was aficionados in the conduct of commerce, proper affiliations, tight circles, fat checks and foresight. Jerome Kaplan was the man who envisioned it all. The yellowy lights, crystal balls, the glitzy bars and their aluminium poles had his imprint. He knew that men were traders first, humans second, and in trade belonged to either of three archetypes: the buyer, the seller, and the periphery – those who would broker with Mephistopheles to belong to either of the other two. He also knew any niche market needed some sort of check and balance to ensure continuity and stability, and since he was the apex trader: the jaguar, his insurance was the pack of sinews, muscles and Italian Uzis that he hired to do his biddings.
Whenever the Peripheries filed for a loan, he made them capitulate to a proviso of double payment. That was his business clause; either that or they turned up their wives, daughters, nieces or mothers for show sport till the debts were cleared. It was the Jerome way. Reason only slough of despond made men sought Jerome’s deal.
Lupe was one of such: an intransigent spendthrift, a con man and a bust opportunist. He had conned Tom, duped Dick and defrauded Harry. But the bio network in which con men thrive is a limited one. And since con men do not weather storms well and neither do they make very good loan clients, Lupe’s fate vacillated between hail and brimstone the moment he brokered a deal. His prospective apple wasn’t too far from the tree; all he needed was the perfect hoist. He had overheard a man talk gold; had weighed in with expertise and walked the talk. Only he needed cash where his mouth was. Jerome had the cash. Simple arithmetic. Unknowing to him, man was Tom’s friend; Dick’s bother in-law, and Harry’s celibacy sworn-anchor – whatever that meant. So, somehow, cash got holed up in transit and Lupe, the African Charles Ponzi, got conned. When Judgement day turned up, Lupe came up short; inches more when he had no relatives to work the pole.
One day, fresh out of a mudding session, satiated into fatigue by tanned cheeks and ebony buns, watching Dr. 90210 Liposuction procedure, Jerome had an epiphany: he had too many protein deposits in his life that had to be nicked. Lupe made number two.
The next morning, holed up in a swamp up north, shirtless and scrawny, Lupe saw the muzzles and the frisky fingers too late. Sprint, scurry, scale, none who knew the sluggard would have thought him a splendid sportsman, but expediency holds sway over concealed capacities. For three hours he ran, and just when he thought the squall had waned, they caught him, cuffed him around for good measure, before dragging him off to Golgotha.
Hacib didn’t blink because of the suddenness of it all, not really, but because in a long while, he had to admit the wretched witch was right – he really was going to die a terrible death. Memories and ego, he chose Golgotha for those reasons. He knew enough during the days of hot mornings and steamy nights, when his uncle had the former and he the latter, that his uncle’s wife would get the statement.
It was a brief period, their meetings lasting seconds mostly. He found peace; she didn’t. “Die you wretched bastard!” she yelled as he tiptoed out of her room – and out of their lives. He had met Damila who was too loving to detect the symptoms of infidelity. She was his golden ticket – a lifelong assurance of effortlessness and opulence, and he wasn’t going to ruin that with a married woman, let alone risk discovery. But when everything had finally played to perfection, she turned up with her appeal and now Golgotha was taking its dues – in blood.
Golgotha the structural wonder was a renaissance behemoth. Exquisite in taste; resourceful in services; built from the rubble of the civil war to Italian standards, Golgotha got is modest share of favourable reviews, international mentions and hosted primetime events. A few kilometres from the lagoon in the north, bordered on the eastside by the desert and on the south by Orle’s exterior, it was naturally poised to attract the weird assortment that summed its clientele: Lawmakers, statesmen, tycoons, warlords, profligates, naturalists, environmentalist, animalists, warlords, gunlords, mobsters, henchmen as well as the miserly and their not too distant cousins – all of which hoisted the cultural appeal of the hotel on an enviable pedestal. Because of these, Golgotha had the front spot in dailies and news reportage: couples fawning over each other one moment were hurling each other several floors below, ceremonies turned scandalous, and men who waltzed in with chips on their shoulders were found floating face down in the lagoon the next day. Golgotha was the perfect place for anything, and it was there Jerome’s hired henchmen were headed with Lupe when the latter extricated himself.
He raced through the lawn, vaulted the hedges, doubled back onto the tarmac in confusion, before deciding the eastside restroom was his best bet at eluding his captors.
She saw him first, an odd brand of bewilderment contouring her face, then the jet black hair making good work of her graces whirled back slowly before he lurched forward, slipped and curled up. All these happened within seconds. Seconds before the final shot. Before the flash jumped Hacib’s face and ushered the projectile that ripped his head into chunks and smithereens.
It took a few seconds before the drunk realised that the recipient of his pee wasn’t the urinary but what should have been the groom had his head been intact; more before the horrified guests understood the plot behind the bloody scenery; much more before the world knew the true story.
A day later, dragging the south end of a reefer, Jerome Kaplan busied himself with the contents of the morning’s Daily.
“Bloody Suckers!” He chortled, repeating the headlines with the thrill of one who recently unearthed the etherealness of self-indulgence.
OIL DECLINE IN SECTOR THREE
B.H SATANA TRAVELS IN COUNTRY’S CRISIS
THREE KILLED IN A WEDDING.
INFIDELITY AS NEW HUSBAND GETS CAUGHT DEAD WITH MISTRESS IN COLD BLOOD.
THE MYSTERIES OF GOLGOTHA
He grinned, took another drag, spurred on by the good news of the previous day. He felt protein light already, and in the bliss of that consciousness beckoned to Jamal, his son
“Young blood, get my other phone. Let me put a call through to your mother about your Uncle’s wedding. He would be hell pissed I missed it.” He flipped open the first page.
Dami Lare is a Writer. Editor. Thinker. Poet. A graduate of English whose love for Art and its genres translates to words, philosophies, mythologies and drumbeats. He loves the structured word as much as the created rhythm and to him that is art. Connect with him on facebook as Dami Lare.
Photo Credit: Google images, shutterstock.com
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