Segun looked up from the menu he had been studying and gave the Frenchman a look that matched Chuks’ own. Who was “we”? And what did he want their training at Star Ranges for?
“We had better get on our way. I have something to show you.” Dé Crozon opened his coat, reached in and took out a few dollar bills which he threw on the table, and the trio walked out.
They walked along the sidewalk, winding the streets Chuks knew very well. It took a while before Chuks realized where they must be going: the police building there on the island. Sure enough, dé Crozon turned into a short road, more like a close, at the end of which there was a large building outside which the words LIPD were mounted outside at waist-level, colored in gold that shone in the sun.
“Em, what are we going to do at a police station?” Chuks asked. He thought the man was going to turn them in for some crime they had committed.
“You’ll find out in a moment,” he replied, only adding to the tension already building up in Chuks’ stomach.
They had now walked through the gates, and they both took in the number of sleek police vehicles parked on the grounds. For Chuks, confusion had totally set in. If the police had cars like these, how could one now explain the rusty old pick-up police pick-ups that plied the roads everyday?
They walked through the car park toward the front entrance. They were about to go up the stairs that led to it when the doors opened, and a young lady pushed out a rather serious-faced man on a wheelchair. He was talking to an officer who walked beside him, holding a file folder. Chuks had to look a bit, but he recognized him.
“Isn’t that Detective Tobi Akano, the man that got shot during a run-in with the Eel around when we first started at Star Ranges?” Segun asked
“It’s like he’s the one o,” Chuks replied, craning his neck to get a better view. The story of the death of the country’s Defense minister and the killer who called the police beforehand— specifically that man who was seated on that wheelchair —had been all the rage six months ago.
“Too bad,” his friend said, shaking his head.
Dé Crozon went forward, and they followed him up the tiled front steps toward the detective on the wheelchair. The woman behind it looked up first, then the detective’s eyes followed and his expression softened. He said something out of the corner of his mouth and the officer he was talking to saluted and walked past them, into the car park.
“Detective, how do you do?” the Frenchman said, stretching out his hand.
“I’m fine, thank you sir.” Detective Tobi Akano shook it. Mr dé Crozon regarded the lady holding the handles of the wheelchair.
“And who is this young woman? I haven’t seen your face before, have I?”
“Oh yes, please meet my assistant, Ef— ”
“Evelyn,” she cut in, smiling sweetly. For some reason Chuks couldn’t see, the detective’s eyes went as wide as saucers.
“Happy to meet you, Evelyn.”
“Same here, sir.”
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The detective’s stern eyes found the both of them before his assistant had even finished replying. Chuks felt a bit uncomfortable, standing before such an authoritative police figure as this. All his life in Nigeria before going to Cambridge, one thing about policemen had been ingrained in his subconcious: standing before one, whether you had broken the law or not, usually meant a visit behind the counter in your near future.
And Chuks and his friend had minded their business all their year and-a-half back here, so he was still wondering what on earth they were looking for at the Lagos Island Police Department.
“And who are these, Mr Clyde?” he asked, tilting his chin at them.
Dé Crozon and Evelyn looked at them both. It was a little akward, what with them also looking at him to make the introductions.
“Oh, just two young men I had the good fortune of meeting. Can we go inside, detective? I have some matters I should want to discuss.”
“No problem, let’s go.”
His assistant wheeled him around and through the open doors, and the three men followed. The noise and cacophony of the police department hit them at once. Inside, the building was a large, open space, with what looked like a sea of open offices on their left. Dé Crozon touched a passing officer and told him to take “them” somewhere.
Chuks knew who “them” meant when the officer looked at him and Segun. Dé Crozon motioned for them to go along, and the officer took them down into the offices, while the very person who had brought them here went along with the detective and his assistant.
“Where are we going to again?” Segun asked him, looking over his shoulder to see the three of them going into the elevator.
I wish sey I know, Chuks thought.