By Larry Sun
“With enough hard work and dedication, you’ll surely see it through. Don’t see your being a policeman as a curse. Do you believe in destiny?”
Daniel did not know how to answer the question. The honest answer to that question had never occurred to him. He felt as if he believed it, yet he did not believe it all the same. Crazy, like the way he believed that witches and wizards exist but did not believe in the existence of ghosts. Daniel had always strongly believed that we are the masters of our destinies and we shape them to what suit our purpose—either good or bad. And he also had always believed that whatever happens to a person is his destiny, it’s what he cannot but do. Destiny is the master, it can never be controlled but it rules our lives. Each man will always come to term with that thing after swimming through the cesspool of life—his tomorrow, his Destiny.
“I don’t know if I do, sir.” He replied honestly.
“Well, believe it or not, it has been destined that you’ll be a policeman, and who knows? This destiny may lead you to your greatest destiny; if being a footballer is part of that destiny, you’ll surely become one.”
“But I’m confused, sir, how can I be a footballer when I’m still a mere police officer?”
The detective patted him on the shoulder, “Have faith, my friend. This profession may be an avenue to that profession. All things work with and for a reason, finding yourself in the force is not by accident, it happened for a purpose. Besides, you said you got yourself recruited—nobody forced you to do it.”
They continued walking silently.
“Sir,” Daniel called.
“Can I ask you a question?”
“Of course, it’s Q and A time.”
“Are you a Nigerian?”
That was not a kind of question he had expected the young man to ask him.
“Wow!” he paused, then he asked the younger officer, “Do you think I’m not?”
“I’m having a personal doubt about your nationality.” He stopped, expecting the detective to say something but when the older man did not talk he continued, “Because you sometimes use some strange expressions when you talk. I’m sorry if I seem to be going too far.”
Lot smiled, “No, you’re not going any farther than necessary. I’m a Nigerian just like you but my mother was a Roman descent, so she taught me many Latin languages when she was alive. Those strange expressions you heard me speaking were Latin. You can see my skin colour, it’s not a bit different from yours, is it?”
“Thanks for satisfying that curiosity of mine, sir.”
They continued walking in silence again, each person deep in thought. A scrap of paper blew along the street and at one corner two rubber tyres burned sootily.
Daniel broke the silence again, “You wanted to ask me a question.”
“Oh, yes,” Lot paused, then continued, “We both know that Cain died from a gunshot to the head.”
“When you were called to see the body, did you find the weapon—the gun?”
“That means, without any doubt, Cain was murdered.”
“But isn’t it possible for him to have committed suicide?”
“If he had committed suicide, then his ghost had probably risen and concealed the gun somewhere nobody could find it.”
“Maybe someone else took the gun when he took his own life.”
“Why would anyone do that?”
“Hakeem perhaps, he saw the body first.”
“Hakeem you say?” the detective feigned surprise. “What would that boy do with a gun?”
“Well, that boy is over fourteen years old and he might decide to keep the gun. You know our Naija teenagers, he might have kept it to use as an object of pride among his peers.”
“Or he might even have been the murderer of Mr. Martins.”
Daniel could not believe his own ears. “My God! That boy is a kid for singing out clear.” He made a screaming whisper.
“A kid. What if he’s a kid? Grow up and stop being a kid yourself, everyday we see murders committed by kids–fourteen, fifteen, sixteen for God’s sake! Or younger. Of all weapon arrests, almost half involve teenagers. A bunch of teenage boys somewhere stabbed a woman a sixty-four times to steal a lousy thousand naira note. Two twelve-year-olds in P.H threw a kid of five from a cliff. In Delta, two ten-year-old boys killed a two-year-old. It’s the same with robberies, assaults, rapes, you name it. Don’t you read the papers? Almost a decade ago, the ten years old Damilola Taylor was stabbed in the United Kingdom by some racist teenagers and left to bleed to death. Search for the name on the internet and read the story about the boy’s death.”
Daniel groaned, “Hakeem is not the murderer, he’s not.”
“I know he’s not, the fact that he’s younger doesn’t exonerate him is what I’m trying to tell you. Mind you, this murder is a well-planned one; it’s not the kind a fourteen-year-old can commit.”
“Glory be to God.” He sighed in relief.
“But Cain did not commit suicide, he was murdered.”
“I’ll say you should not totally rule out the possibility that he committed suicide.”
“Suicide is out of it, I know Cain was murdered.”
“I was called by the deceased.”
Daniel’s heart skipped a beat, his eyes almost popped off their sockets, “When was that, sir?”
“At about 10pm on the seventh.”
“The night of the incident?”
“Exactly, I received a call that night from a man who called himself Cain Martins, he said he had paid a certain amount of money into my bank account for the job I was about to do. He refused to divulge when I demanded the kind of job he was offering me, he said I should come early the next day and I would know, he gave me the address.”
“So that was the reason you appeared suddenly at the crime scene?”
“Now you’re getting it.”
“After the call, did you check your bank account to know if he was actually speaking the truth?”
“I did, he really paid some money into my account.”
The detective paused before answering, he didn’t at first want to respond, thinking the statement a non sequitur, and Daniel almost fainted when he did.
“My God!” exclaimed Daniel, “that’s a pretty large sum of money.”
“You see what I mean?” Lot asked, “Does a man pay a detective that whooping sum of money just because he wants to commit suicide?”
Daniel frowned, “Sir, do you not think the man who called you was not Cain Martins? Maybe it was someone else claiming Mr. Cain’s identity.”
“It was Cain who called me, I know that too.”
“Don’t be too sure about that, sir. Voices can easily be disguised—especially on the phone.”
The detective shook his head, “No, that is not the case. When I came to the crime scene that morning, the first thing I checked on the corpse’s was its mobile phone; I checked the dialled calls, and guess what I found, it was my number, even the exact time I received the call was recorded on it.”
Daniel sighed again, “That explains it, someone tried to stop him from telling you something very important—by killing him.”
“We don’t know that for sure.”
“Okay, I have a question, sir,” he was already feeling free to strike a conversation with the renowned detective, “What would you have done if you had found out that your number was not on the dialled calls of the deceased?”
“Then I may have believed your theory that it was someone else who called me. Then I would have collected the phones of everybody connected to Cain and checked each person’s dialled calls.”
“But won’t it be easier if you had called the number used to call you, and you would know the culprit when it rang?”
“A hidden number was used to call me, so the only choice would be to check everyone’s call records.”
Dust tickled in Daniel’s nose and he sneezed, then he said, “Didn’t you think that the person might have deleted your number from the phone after calling you?”
“You see, when you commit a murder you make twenty-five mistakes. If you can think of fifteen of them, you’re a genius. The criminal, having succeeded in mimicking the deceased’s voice, may probably fail to perform a simple task of deleting my number from his phone, or he may underestimate me thinking I can not go so far as checking his phone. Many great criminals get caught by a simple mistake.”
“Would you have checked the wife’s phone too?”
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