Man In Black Episode 21


The atmosphere was tense. The incident was still imprinted in the minds of all, Tobi’s, most of all. The scene was the homicide unit, and all the division’s junior detectives were there, as well as their head and his assistant. Even Chief Rikau was present also.

“The Eel,” Ngozi said. “What kind of name is that?”

Only few of Tobi’s junior detectives had been around yesterday when that anonymous call came in, and even those ones had been upstairs, in their offices. Word of it had spread through the entire department like wildfire just yesterday. 

And the incredible thing was that most of that spreading hadn’t even come from him.

It was those junior officers. Tobi had seen three or four of them narrating the incident to a group of his junior detectives just out in the main hall after closing hours yesterday. And no doubt their telephone operator was the reason those ones had even known about the call at all. In fact, the only person Tobi had given his account to at all had been the Chief, and no one else.

By this morning, any junior detectives who had no idea what had happened would have been given an earful.

“It should be obvious enough. Eels are known for being slippery, right? Which means this person, whoever he is, believes himself to be slippery enough to outwit the police,” Cole offered.

“Ehen?” was the only thing Ngozi said.

“And why did you not go after him, Tobi?” Chief Rikau said. “Somebody came, violated my office and drank my juice. Why didn’t you at least find who it was?” 

The detective fixed him a look of disbelief. All this man was concerned about was his drink?

When Tobi had sprinted to the Chief’s office yesterday after the caller’s last statement, he had discovered that the door was locked from inside. It had taken him a while to force the door open, but even before he did, he had sent a junior officer outside to check the office’s window and make sure anybody that tried to escape didn’t make it far. When he finally got the door open, he had seen the office empty, and an open pack of Chivita and a glass cup on the table. 

The only indictaion someone else had gone in there aside from him or Chief Rikau— because Tobi had definitely not seen it there during his dressing-down —was a piece of paper taped to the wall below the window on which was written:

So long, suckers, in black marker ink, and under it a pink lipstick print.

Tobi had seen the officer he sent at the window the moment he opened the door, and the guy just shrugged and shook his head, then told him that he hadn’t seen anybody.

It wasn’t until the Chief came back to his office to demand what the hell was going on that Tobi had even known that the fruit juice on the table hadn’t been his doing. The look the man had given him when he first thought it was Tobi that had done it was definitely a look that could kill.

“This person had everything planned. The locked door provided him plenty of time to escape, also considering your office is on the ground floor. Someone who has the guts to admit commiting murder right here at the department has to have a very good means of escape, now, abi?”

The others nodded. He continued.

“Not that we didn’t try and find who it was, anyway. I sent some officers outside to check for any suspicious person, and to ask those around if anyone suspicious had been seen hanging around the building. No one saw anything. It was as if he just disappeared.”

“Are you telling me we don’t have any camera outside my office?” the Chief asked Tobi. The detective started to sigh, but he caught himself just in time. He had already answered this same question at least five times before.

“No, sir, there’s no camera outside your office.”

“But there are cameras everwhere inside here. How come we don’t have anyone outside my office?” the Chief pressed. No one answered him. In here, the only person that usually spoke to the departmental head directly was Tobi himself. The detective left his boss to puzzle that one out for himself, then turned to face Cole instead.

“And you told me what he said about why his voice sounded like that, about the voice scrabble is real?”

Cole smiled, but Tobi didn’t see anything there was to laugh about.

“Yes sir, a voice scrambler is real. I know how to configure one myself.”

“But why haven’t you told me about it before?”

Cole just shrugged his shoulders. “You’ve never asked.”

Tobi stared a bit at the polished wooden top of the conference table.

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“There’s no way the person could have been able to escape that fast. I’m sure he had already gone before he even told me that he was in the Chief’s office. The only thing that baffles me most is how he knew that the office was empty.”

“That means he was hiding in the Chief’s office the whole time. That explains how he was able to start the call immediately the Chief was out of his office,” Kunle said.

Tobi’s eyes widened. That was definitely plausible. There was a cupboard inside there that was big enough to contain somebody. But there were also other pressing matters at hand. 

“That may be true, but for now we have to focus on what’s on ground. This guy said he’s going to kill the Minister of Defense on the twenty-third— ”

“Why again did he say that?” the Chief interrupted, impatience plain in his voice.

“He said something about the minister deserving to die if he can’t even protect his own country.” 

The Chief got an expression on his face as if he had something in mind for that caller, something that involved a cane, a table and some rope.

“I know it doesn’t make any sense, but today is the twentieth. Whether or not that call was a prank, we still have three days to report what happened here. My only question is how can we communicate directly with the Ministry of Defense? And even if we can, self, how can we find a way for them to take us serious?”

Chief Rikau hissed, then sighed. “Let me go and see whether there is anything I can do.”He stood up and went out.

Tobi nodded. If there was anybody that even had a shred of a chance at establishing contact with the defense ministry, it couldn’t be an ordinary lagos island detective.

“If you want my opinion, sir, I think the caller was just looking for attention or something,” Efe said the moment the Chief had left. She didn’t even sit at the table. She was standing behind Tobi’s chair. Just like her not to find her voice until the boss had gone.

“Even if he was saying the truth, I’m sure they have more than enough security to tackle him if he tries anything,” Kunle opined.

“Oya, that is enough,” Tobi said. If he left them, they would do nothing but speculate all day. “Everybody, back to your office.”

As everybody aside from Cole left, Tobi knew they had to hope that call was a fake. Because if it wasn’t, and that was the same person that had killed Ms Durojaiye. . .

He knew they wouldn’t be taken seriously, because Detective Tobi Akano knew that, if he was the Minister of Defense, and he recieved a call in his office that a myserious person had called the police and claimed he would kill him, then he would be mad before he paid it any mind, either.