Man In Black Episode 73

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“He just ran straight to meet us. We didn’t even have to corner him. When we put handcuffs on him, he just started crying that it’s because he and his family were hungry.

“Ngozi and Danladi came after we had already caught him, with few other officers. One of them was from LIPD. The Lagos Island officers have already taken him back to their station since before five o’clock.”

Tobi looked at Kunle with pride. He hadn’t even known that Danladi and Ngozi had been there as well. True, the burglar was only one person, and somebody who sounded like he had never been in trouble with the police before. He hadn’t even gone there to steal money, self. Just food items. But a burglary was a burglary, and Kunle’s ingenuity in making up for the lack of manpower most especially impressed him.

An officer waking up by four-thirty to put on his uniform and deal with a crime deserved a round of applause. That was the kind of gra-gra that got people promoted in the force. It most certainly had gotten Tobi promotions. Multiple.

Danladi was tall, thin and dark complexioned like most Hausa people Tobi knew with a head that was rather small. Ngozi, on the other hand, was man in a woman’s body. She was tall for a woman, and slim, with a very agile physique and a voice that was as strong as that of a man.

Kunle, Danladi and Ngozi. Wazobia. The thought made Tobi smile.

“Kunle, stand up. Come here.” Kunle did as he was bid. Tobi couldn’t stand, but he could surely smile proudly and shake Kunle’s hand in front of everybody else. “Well done, Kunle. Well done. Keep it up.”

Kunle most definitely looked proud of himself. And Tobi wanted him to be.

“Ngozi, Danladi, you people tried as well,” he said when Kunle had sat down again. “But next time, try to respond more quickly to a situation, especially an emergency. Just imagine Kunle and those two officers didn’t come. Maybe the burglar would have escaped.”

Both junior detectives began at once to list excuses for not responding on time, but a pointed frown from him shut them both up.

“All of you know I don’t sugarcoat my own. All the rest of you, shame on you. You want everything to be the way you like, abi? You don’t want to inconvenience yourself. Continue like that o, and you’ll be answering “junior detective” maybe for the next ten years.”

Most of them laughed, or made noises that showed they thought he was bluffing.

“Oh, I’m joking, abi? Ten years from now, don’t say I didn’t tell you people. Kunle, prepare the paperwork on the incident. It shouldn’t be more than one page.”

“Okay sir,” Kunle said with a smile.

In the past, Tobi had given paperwork assignments many times, and each time the person in question would just smile and nod his head. Tobi didn’t understand why, but now he had caught on. It was a common joke in the department that if you wanted any paperwork done, all you had to do was to give it to any of the junior uniforms in the main hall. Those ones viewed any little work they did as very important, so you just had to make it sound important enough. Kunle wasn’t lifting a finger over any paperwork, everyone seated in the room knew that. Now, thank God, Tobi knew it as well.

“And you must do it inside here, o Kunle. I want to see it in your handwriting before you take it to print.”

That wiped the smile off his face. No, not really wiped. It just transferred it. To Tobi’s face.

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*********

Tobi was sitting at the head of the coference table, and he turned around in his wheelchair.

“Cole, you will help me do— ” He saw the photo grid on the screen of the computer the guy was facing. “Tundee. . . ” he tried to read the bold text at the top of the screen, above the photos. “Tundeednut. Tunde Ednut? Am I seeing double or is that Instagram I’m seeing on that computer screen?”

Many faces turned to look. It was Instagram, truly. Laughter broke out like a rabid cough around the room as Cole deftly minimised the page using the keyboard shortcut and then turned around to stare at his Tobi with innocent eyes.
Instagram? They were having a meeting and that was the only thing Cole knew he could do?

“Yes, Cole, what was that you were doing?” Tobi wanted him to say it with his own mouth before he said anything else.

As you can see, sir,” Cole began, pointing at the computer which was on to the desktop screen, “the screen is now blank. The reason is because I just finished organising the telephone directory you told me to create for you, if you can still remember.”

Tobi smiled knowingly. “Ahn-ahn, I can remember, now. Shebi you mean the same one I told you to organise three weeks ago that you completed on the same day. Yes Cole, I still remember.”

The whole room erupted in laughter. Efe who was standing behind him as she always preferred to do whenever they were in Homicide, laughed so hard that Tobi wondered if she would drop the tablet in her hand. The room was soundproof, but some outside in the main hall still stared inquisitively through the glass walls. Even Cole managed a nervous smile.

“Oh, so it’s funny now, isn’t it?”

The laughter died all at once.

“I caught you using social media on Monday morning and all you can do is laugh?” Some of the junior detectives smiled openly at his worse luck.

“Oh, and it’s funny to you people,” he said pointing at all of them. Their smiles disappeared as quickly as they had come. “All of you were sleeping when your mates were working, only for you to come here and laugh over something as stupid as this? Get out, all of you. Out, out, out!”

Many of them bumped into each other in their haste to put as much distance as possible between themselves and the room.

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“All of you will meet with the juniors outside and take enough paperwork off their hands to last you half of today, and be fast about it,” he called after them. “That excludes the three of you. Get back to work,” he said to Kunle, Danladi and Ngozi.
The room’s occupants were down to just Tobi, Efe and Cole, who looked at Tobi expectantly.

“Yes, go with them. Didn’t you go to police academy? Or is it because you don’t wear police uniform?” 

Cole’s mouth opened and closed, but he didn’t say anything. He looked at Efe. Tobi scoffed. If this guy really thought his assistant could help him here, then he was a really big fool. 

He walked out too, dejected. He should even be thanking his God that I only gave him small punishment. All of them. Cole had left the door open, and when a cheer went up in the main hall they heard it loud and clear. The officers there were getting themselves rid of scary looking bundles of paper, enough to last a whole day per person. It’s still the same thing.

“You really surprised them today.” Efe walked around the wheelchair to his front.

“And isn’t it about time? God knows I’ve spoiled that Cole. He now thinks that because he can press computer more than anybody in the department, he can do whatever he likes. If he wants to learn the hard way, it’s fine with me. Take me to the main hall, please, I need to kickstart my system.”

He picked his customized LIPD mug off the table and she wheeled him out. They were on the outside of the cubicle offices, so the only officers to see were the ones walking about. The coffee table was just outside Homicide. Tobi had been watching it when they were inside.

“Nice day, eh, Tobi?” 

Tobi looked up. Mr Clyde was at the coffee table as well, plastic cup in hand.

“Mr Clyde, it’s good to see you.”

“Good morning, sir.”

“Yes, good morning to you two.” He picked the big glass pot and filled his cup from it. Then he handed it to Efe, replaced the lid of his cup and lifted it to his lips.

“There’s creamer in the drawer, you don’t have to take it like that,” Tobi told him as Efe filled his mug. Mr Clyde held the cup at eye level and turned it in his fingers.

“I prefer a brew of French dark roast, but in the absence of one, plain black will do.”

Tobi shrugged. “It’s your choice, then. I can’t drink it black like that.”