The story of fate and destiny Chapter 8 The Mother Writing in progress. If you
“Character contributes to beauty. It fortifies a woman as her youth fades. A mode of conduct, a standard of courage, discipline, fortitude, can do a great deal to make a woman beautiful”
Call Nonso an unconscionable medical practitioner whose stock-in-trade was in underground and illegal dealings in organ harvesting and you wouldn’t be wrong. He had been at it for decades and was quite popular within the organ harvesting circuit as “Dr. Shapshap” coined in reverence of his swift and deft 30minutes procedure that left his patients for dead.
In the early years, he would try to salvage the life of his victims, spending hours removing the most sought-after organs in hope that they could go on to live a normal life, or a semblance of same. Not only did most his donors die weeks after from severe complications, but their bereaved families also called for his head on a platter.
On many of such occasions, the police were involved. He would go on to spend weeks behind bars until he sold virtually every item he ever owned to buy himself freedom to breath God’s freely given air.
One time, he paid for it with his leg after a hot chase, during a police raid, left the officer with no choice but to immobilize him with gunshots from his rusty pistol aimed at his torso; the bullet found his right thigh instead. Such was the abysmal mastery of target practice of the Nigerian police.
Nonso managed to crawl to safety to save his life, but his leg was never the same after the encounter. The bullet wound, that he initially treated by himself, cold and grim, rough at the edges and badly scorched was infected before he could get proper medical care. It healed badly especially because he crudely dislodged the projectile that could easily have killed him, using an unsterilized shard of glass and stale whiskey.
Peeved by this incident, his business model changed afterwards as he consummated his network of many years, to lead the most powerful organ harvesting syndicate in the city. Victims of kidnap, ritual killings and survivors of near-death motor accidents became his most prized assets. His make-shift theatre was a mud hut whose walls a bland symphony of browns capped with a thatched roof upon which birds sat as if it were truly fashioned as their divine perch, their place to sing and play. Sometimes the birds entertained him as he shook off the sweltering heat that burned his scalps during his procedures, which he carried out almost naked.
His theatre was set in the forest somewhere between Ogere and Ibadan along the busiest inter-city road in the country – The Lagos -Ibadan Expressway. The distance meant that he rarely returned to the city except to see his only son, who lived with his “sister” in the suburbs. The boy was his only gift to the world, and he gave him reasons to keep his illicit trade going.
His “sister”, Agnes, was also his most reliable courier of many years. She never asked questions and her loyalty was never in doubt. They had a good working relationship that grew his business over the years, despite the ravenous food chain that lurked within the underground network. She was unyielding and feared no one, a virtue that endeared her to him.
Nonso believed that he was serving the greater good, afterall, there was a universal shortage of organs for transplantation with many patients waiting on the list for a donation match. The popular statistic brandished by global agencies that; 20 patients died each day waiting for an organ on the transplant list, reminded him that there was more to do.
Illegally harvested kidney sold between N170,000 to N1 million. Some human organs sold for only N250, 000, like the heart he harvested from a ritual killing two weeks earlier. Not even the looming threat of imprisonment for a term of not less than seven years if found, arrested, and convicted was enough to deter Nonso. It only made him more careful.
That morning, he made the rare trip into the city at the behest of Charles who was a renowned kingpin in the underground drug circuit. He owned a network of security urchin that sold “life insurance” to other partners in the underground business whether they wanted it or not. They either paid levies on their earnings on every deal or paid dearly with their lives.
Years earlier, Charles had saved Dr. Shapshap’s life after he was snitched on by a member of the syndicate, shot brutally by the police and left for dead. Nonso had reached out to him for help after he almost bled out. They were natives of the same rustic village far in the East and now shared a nexus – the criminal underground. Charles felt obliged to help, it was the least he could do.
He was nursed to health by Charles’ long time drug mule for many months until he found enough strength in his legs to hobble about the house. It took 5 long months before he could venture out into the world again and into the same livelihood he had left behind.
Charles gifted him his drug mule, along with a good sum of money to start afresh. Her name was Agnes; same one that was now accompanying him to the city to see their long-time benefactor.
Pat was getting restless as she paced her room bare footed with her phone clutched in her right hand. Something had gone terribly wrong for sure; she was almost certain. For the first time in her life, she feared the worst.
“What if Sandra had been kidnapped?” She shook the thought away, shaking her head and shutting her eyes firmly, just as soon as it formed in her head.
“What if she had been kil……..God forbid” Another voice inside her feared, but she snapped her fingers about her head.
“What do I do?”
She had not been in contact with her sister for over 6hours and she had no idea where to start looking. She didn’t have Charles’ phone number and there was no way she could find the address of their rendezvous. They always met first at a restaurant before he would drive her to a fully secured short let apartment or a boutique hotel somewhere in Lekki. Each time was a different location.
In the quietude of her apartment, her brain worked overtime to figure out her next move. Scrolling through her contact list, she stumbled on several phone numbers of a police superintendent she had once flirted with and dated briefly.
She held the phone to her ears until the familiar raspy voice of the randy policeman responded on the other side of the call.
The announcement of his arrival was the slight drop in the air temperature, the pervasiveness of his sweaty scent and the descent of absolute silence as the doctor leaned his body weight on his left leg before easing himself into the couch at the living room in Charles ‘palatial home. Agnes stood behind his chair with arms akimbo wearing her famous frown that oozed absolute business. She had placed her only work tool, the sterile organ transport container, with wet ice stuffed inside, next to her foot as they both waited for Charles to speak.
He sat with his back turned to them on a swivel chair, as he puffed on a fat cigar between his crooked fingers. He was still dressed in his night wear.
“What took you so long?” His voice lacked empathy and patience as it resonated through the living area.
“Traffic Boss. Traffic” was all the doctor could offer in response, as he struggled to his feet.
“We need to get started quickly; the girl has been sedated for hours”
“Nonso, you know I don’t deal in this your filthy organ business and this isn’t about the money. I like everyone to do their business fairly” He paused for effect.
“I believe you, boss”
“No, you don’t. You see, my god mother has been sick for some time now and we have been to all the specialist hospitals in this crazy country” He paused again, shaking off dying embers of ash away from his cigar into the coffee table in front of him. “Those bastards only just discovered that her kidneys were gone weeks ago, and she has been on dialysis ever since.”
Charles pushed himself to his feet. “Mama has been there for me all those years when I was hustling to make sense of this hustle. It is time to repay her in kind”
He walked briskly to within inches of Nonso’s face before saying “Don’t fuck this up. You owe me.”
“Not a problem boss, I will handle this sharp sharp.” He said just as a grin twisted his face into a twitchy sneer.
Agnes looked on, with the unbroken waves of wrinkles on her forehead unmoved. She was barely acknowledged since they entered Charles’ living room, but that moment, his eyes rolled her into his view.
“Agnes, please ensure to reach the contact at the hospital on the mainland within 1hour. I don’t care how you do this. Just do it. You know the drill. We are already behind schedule.”
Agnes nodded in agreement.
“Where is the donor?” Nonso asked.
“She is a fresh one and she is quite young. Just the perfect one with a healthy body.”
“You do know that we will need to run some tests on her for compatibility, just so we don’t have to look for another donor”
“I honestly don’t care. Just get me her kidneys. I need them” Charles barked.
“Follow me” Charles ordered as he walked on to an oversized mahogany door that led into his guest room, while at the same time rummaging through the side pocket of his nightie for the key. His cigar was getting in the way and so he slips it between his lips.
When he found it, he turned the door handle and swung it wide open.
Nonso and Agnes squinted their eyes to adjust as Charles turned the light switch on.
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