• Short Stories

    Payback – 2

    It was wrong. It was breaching her privacy. It was breaking her trust in him. It was something he didn’t want to do, something he could have sworn he’d never do. But he was going to do it and Sunny was certain that he would come to regret it.

    “I want to know who she’s meeting, when and where. I also want to know if someone else is tailing her. I want videos and I want pictures.”

    “It is understood, sir.”

    “Good. Begin now.”

    He exited the car, got into his own and drove off. Then Sunny started his car and went in the opposite direction. He had just hired a private investigator to track his wife’s movement and while guilt tore through him, fear crushed him more.

    Was he prepared for the secrets that might be unearthed?

    No, he wasn’t, Sunny thought, slowing the car down as he approached the traffic light junction. He hadn’t been prepared when an anonymous caller left an envelope for him on his car and he wasn’t going to be when the PI would return with whatever information he would uncover. His wife was seeing another man and there was no preparing for that.

    Onyi, why?

    The question tormented him. He should have asked her that. Maybe he should have confronted her. Why hadn’t he done that? Why was he choosing to do things this way instead of a direct, face to face confrontation?

    He was afraid she would lie to him. Sunny told himself that truth as he honked and waited for the gates of his printing press building to open. He had tried to ask her and her feigning ignorance scared him that she would only lie… and he, in his desperation to not have their lives change, would believe her. This might be the worst thing he’d ever done but it was the only thing that would leave him without any doubts.

    Willing himself to look calm even when he was not, he climbed up the stairs to his office and was surprised to see Onyi seated on his personal assistant’s guest chair.

    “Onyi, you’re here.” He took her hand to help her to her feet.

    A smile curled around her mouth as she responded. “Yes. I came to see you but Blessing said you had an appointment in town.”

    “So, I did.” He said easily, crushing the quick tug of conscience. “Let’s go into my office. Blessing, hold every call or visit until I’m done with my wife.” He added to the PA.

    “Yes, sir. But Solomon said someone dropped this off for you at the gate and it’s marked urgent.” Blessing held out a brown envelope.

    He eyed the envelope suspiciously even as he took it. “Who dropped it off?”

    “Solomon said the messenger did not leave a name.”

    “Someone dropped an envelope for me and he didn’t bother to make enquiries as to who they were?” If he wasn’t unnerved, the reproof wouldn’t have been sharp.

    “I asked him same thing, sir. But he said that the man dropped the envelope, got back on his bike and drove off before anyone could question him.”

    “That excuse is not good enough, but I will deal with Solomon later.” He walked with Onyi into his office, waited for her to sit before he did. “I think these guys at the gate are becoming incompetent. People can come in at leisure, drop off whatever they want and walk away, and no one knows who they are.”

    “Has this happened before?” Onyi asked.

    “It’s certainly not a first time.” Sunny grunted, stared at the envelope and wondered if he should open it.

    Would it be pictures again inside?

    “You should have a talk with them then. They are probably lax in their duties.” Onyi said, her voice breaking into his thoughts.

    He lifted his head and looked at her. “I guess I’ll have to do that. Um, is there any particular reason you’re here? Is something wrong at the hotel?”

    She smiled and shook her head. “Not at all. I thought I should take my husband out to lunch. You’re not too busy to join me, are you?”

    “Ah, no. Lunch together would be nice.” It was something she did every once in a while.

    “Good. Attend to your urgent mail then and we’ll be on our way. I have a mind to taste the jollof rice at Tiffany’s Kitchen.”

    “My urgent mail?”

    She pointed to the envelope still in his hand. “That’s marked urgent, so I think you should see what’s inside before we go.”

    “Oh.” He looked down at the envelope. Did he want to open it now?

    “Well, go on and stop looking at it as if it’s something suspicious.” Onyi said, her tone amused.

    He looked at her, frowned at the laughter on her face and lowered his gaze on the envelope again. “Maybe I should deal with this after we’re done with our lunch.”

    “Why not now? It says ‘urgent’ and that obviously means it’s very important.”

    “Why are you in so much of a hurry to see me open it?”

    “What?” She laughed. “Who says I’m in a hurry to see you open it? The envelope is marked urgent and I just figured you will want to attend to it before we go out, that’s all.”

    Sunny blinked and forced back the rise of suspicion. Deliberately, he set the envelope on his table and stood up. “If it was important enough, whoever delivered it should have left a message. Let’s go. When I get back, I will spare my valuable time for it.”

    She stood up too. “As you wish.”

    Lunch would have been a more enjoyable affair if his thoughts didn’t keep going back again and again to the envelope and what was in it. He was so distracted that Onyi commented on it–twice.

    It made him irritable and nervy by the time he returned to the office. And because he was, Sunny snatched up the envelope, opened it and pulled out its contents.

    It was a single picture and a large font typed note: she has always been mine.

    His heart squeezed with pain as he stared at the picture. The same back head view of a man bent over Onyi’s hand, kissing it and the smile on her face, adoring.


    Her name was a hoarse whisper as he slumped on his chair. She was wearing her black and white striped trouser suit and he scanned his memory for when he last saw her in it.

    He couldn’t remember.

    Had it been when he travelled to Abuja about five weeks ago?

    It was possible, wasn’t it? She was likely to meet with whoever her lover was when he wasn’t in town, not so?

    Christ! Her lover. Was that who he was?

    But what else? Sunny asked himself, hating that he was still desperate to disbelieve all the evidences his eyes were seeing. Did he need reports from a private investigator to believe that his wife was having an affair when he had pictures before him to prove it and a note…

    His contemplation screeched to a halt and Sunny picked up the A4 paper with the words typed in the middle–she has always been mine.

    It was… she was seeing a man she’d dated before.


    But it couldn’t be him. Not him. He’s left Nigeria. He was based in Germany now, wasn’t he? Hamburg, his last information had said. Resident in Hamburg and married himself.

    Oh good grief! Did he come back? Was Craig back in Nigeria?

    Sunny snapped up and pounded on his table bell.

    “Call me Solomon this instant.” He instructed when Blessing bustled into his office.

    “Yes, sir.” She said and exited.

    He paced back and forth, telling himself he was overreacting and unable to relax until Solomon knocked on his door.

    “Come in.” He said and forced himself to resume his seat.

    “Good afternoon, sir.” Although, he’d greeted him previously, Solomon did so again and with a respectful dip of his head.

    “I want the description of the person who dropped this envelope.” Sunny said. He was too impatient to beat about the bush.

    “Em, sir, he was a young man. Like twenty-something years old.” Solomon’s face screwed up with concentration as he talked. “Tall and slim and dark in complexion. Very dark, like this Ghana people. He was wearing black jeans, a red T-shirt and black jeans jacket, and em, I think black canvas.”

    “He wasn’t someone you’d seen before?”

    Solomon shook his head. “Em, no, sir. Today was my first time seeing him.”

    “And you couldn’t get his name?” Now, he had the temptation to slap the middle-aged security man.

    Again, Solomon shook his head, looking rueful. “No, sir. Before I could even ask him anything, he jumped back on his bike and zoomed off.”

    “That was not smart, Solomon. Yesterday, someone walked in here and left an envelope on my car and you said you didn’t know who did so. Today, someone else, or maybe the same person, left another envelope with you and you couldn’t get his name or where he came from. You’re becoming sloppy in your duties, Solomon, and this will not be tolerated.”

    “I’m sorry, sir. But I can tell you it’s not the same person because today is the first time I’m seeing this boy. I mean, the one who gave me the envelope.”

    “It doesn’t matter how many times you’re seeing him. When a delivery is made, you should inquire where from, and not just for whom. You can’t just receive mail from anybody and bring it in without knowing where’s it’s coming from. Have you never heard of letter bombs?”

    Solomon blinked as if the thought was shocking, which probably it was, Sunny thought. “Em, yes… no, sir. I did not think it would be a letter bomb, sir.”

    “Well, this one wasn’t. But such things have been known to happen and carelessness like yours makes it hard to know who’s responsible.” He flicked a hand in dismissal. “Make sure this does not happen again. You may go.”

    “Yes, sir.” Solomon gave his head another dip before taking his leave.

    Alone once more, Sunny lifted the paper and read the message on it again.

    If it was Craig, then he must have told Onyi the truth… was that why she’d been impatient to see him open the envelope?

    Good Christ! Were they doing this together?

    Follow me on Twitter: @TMDavidWest

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  • Reply Joanna March 26, 2019 at 7:29 am

    Oh my, so interesting
    I’m itching to know what the investigation would reveal.
    On the other hand I wish he’ll just ask her. Trust is a fundamental part of relationship and communication goes in hand with it.

  • Reply FavouriteShades March 26, 2019 at 11:42 am

    Can you please just ask her already?

    kai this is enough to give the man HBP

  • Reply mobolaji March 26, 2019 at 12:12 pm

    He is going to have a heart attack before he knows the truth. Why can’t he just ask? What is the meaning of trust? He should give her a benefit of the doubt. Someone is going to a lot of trouble to break his marriage.

  • Reply David Iyke March 27, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    Just ask now
    I suspect that Onyi is fully aware of this

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